The Folly of Ambition

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
The Folly of Ambition introduces a protagonist at odds with his world. A man exhausted by a daily routine in a mundane city, made sarcastic and bitter by his witnessing of city life, decides to pick up and go; with visions of grandeur and adventure.
Selling all his possessions and leaving for the open road, an embaressing light is shone upon his naivety and he seems to face difficulties on his doorstep. Barely out of the city, he soon realises The Folly of Ambition.

Submitted: January 10, 2009

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Submitted: January 10, 2009



The Folly of Ambition.
Redwood City. The place is an emotional black hole. There is nothing of interest and no real humans.  After living in the capital for a while, one regresses in evolution. A mindless, emotionless parasite remains whose base desires rise above nothing more than eat, sleep and fuck. I live in Redwood City and still consider myself of the human species, but can feel the claws of all those slack jawed idiots wrenching me down to their level. 
 It used to be a city of marvel, attracting tourists from all over the land. It has the largest market in the West, the most glorious palaces and most of all, is the central seat of the Kingdom. This, if we follow the line of thought, means their Royal Majesties sleep cheek to cheek with the bandits and whores who infest the under body of Redwood. Don’t misunderstand me, it is still the capital city and has many fine aspects but to fully experience the tedium of it, one must live there.
 After dark when tourism ceases, the only establishments left open are the questionable ale-houses, gambling shacks, “financial consultants” and the most prosperous of all: the brothels. It seems that a sick God turns the city upside down of a night, and scares morality away. Cutthroats and bandits team together in alleys they pay rent on; females ply their trade in and around taverns and the city watch turn a blind eye to most of the crime through fear.
 But come sunrise, all is well again with the naivety of men who sleep tucked in their beds, oblivious to their city’s true nature. Well I for one grew tired of this puddle of depression long ago and have been yearning to leave for months now, but the city has a power. It throws a black sheet over your eyes and ties you to your bed, drawing you into its self-centred microcosm and whispering on your ear:
“This is the capital dear man! Outside my walls there is nothing; primitive tribes and wasteland.”
 It took me a while to free myself from the psychological torture and realise that there is a world out there, and it’s there for me.
 And so on New Year’s Day I left behind the King’s city and rode onto his highway instead. I had never liked horses; they bit me, kicked me and made my arse red raw. And so I had purchased the smallest and most timid looking beast for the journey, and after three minutes I was nursing a swollen foot from its affectionate play. But I was free of that scum bucket after twenty years of avoiding dark alleys and the open road sang to me, congratulated me on my survival.
 But shit, now what? Once I was clear of the inward flowing traffic, I realised my folly. I had sold my house and all my possessions and had the essentials needed in a rucksack and two panniers on my horse. And here I was on the busiest route in the land, with hundreds of small roads sprouting from it and I had to intention of taking any of them. I had kept riding while thinking this and after nearly running an old man off the road, his squeaky cursing brought me back to reality and I decided to make for the nearest settlement.
 It turned out to be called Barrow, and what a letdown it was. It turned out that even a full day’s ride from Redwood, this place was trying its hardest to mimic the atmosphere I yearned to escape. Even the brothels had the same names! The Leaky Lady, Pleasure Forever. I felt sick.
 I found the nearest Inn and turned in for the night. But no, nothing is that simple. First I was harassed by a prostitute with a shovel for a face, chased by a madman screaming “This is my war!” and nearly mugged by a group of schoolchildren. Having escaped with my skin intact, I stabled my horse with a scrawny page and retired to my room. 
 My horse had proved the host of many fun events on the journey such as bucking me off, stopping for no reason and shitting on me when I dismounted. As such I had named him “My Riveting Companion” but then decided on a more sedate “Horsey” in fear of offending the hellish beast with my sarcasm. My room was a poor state of affairs, which I cannot describe in fear of dying of boredom and drear. Anyway I found a threadbare blanket with a questionable smell and avoiding the lice infested bed, curled up on the wooden floor by the fire, instantly falling asleep.
I awoke looking at the darkened ceiling and smelt candle smoke; I even saw a wisp drift over my head. I heard footsteps descend the staircase quickly and looked to the window. It was dark outside and the tavern below was silent. I sat up and God’s Balls! I have never experienced such pain. A wrenching pang in my stomach, I looked down to see the hilt of a small dagger embedded in my lower torso. My vision blurred as I felt the onset of extreme pain which follows a recognised injury.
 And it came, searing and abso-fucking-lute. It spread like an electric current through my body, tiny piranhas wrestling through my veins, chewing at their walls. Suddenly I lurched forward and clawed at my stomach, my eyes rolled back into my skull and my back arched. Blood exploded from my tongue and filled my mouth. My teeth had torn into it but I didn’t feel the pain. I stumbled to the shutters to rip them open and let some moonlight in. My questing hands found them and I pulled them down, but the pain had stolen my sight.
I opened the window and breathed in the crisp air; it was ecstasy but ultimately increased my pain. I experienced a moment of clarity and found my vision.
 In the stable yard of the tavern, I saw a scrawny male leading a horse into the darkness. I looked from the knife in my stomach to the boy I had entrusted my mount and belongings to. I cursed and slumped down the wall.
Fucking peasants, they’re all the same, Redwood or not.

© Copyright 2019 Robert De Wolfe. All rights reserved.

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