Ransom of a King's Heart

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A story of treachery, but by whom?

Submitted: July 18, 2013

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Submitted: July 18, 2013



A quiet city sat nestled gently into the hillside, and a sovereign castle stood on the hilltop looking down on its harmonious hamlet with pride. But this was just a facade, for within its walls waged unrest as rumors spread of the Kings treachery. Whispers echoed through the ears of the people, whose believe in the safety of the walls that surrounded them quickly wavered. Far above this state of uneasiness, alone in his study paced a regal figure with a golden crown upon his head.

“My liege.” A voice called. The King turned to see his advisor -and childhood friend- standing at the door.

“Nikolaus come in, come in. What have you found out my friend?” The King said.

“Unfortunately nothing. No one seems to know where the rumors started.”  Nikolaus reported. The King cursed and continued pacing. He thought to himself of what precautions to take. He approached the window and began to speak;

“Their dreams turned to obsession.” He paused. “A nightmare truly. Gibbering whispers disassembling truth, they curse my name and ignore reality. Mark my word, by high noon tomorrow one will stand above the rest. Using their confusion and ‘the word of God’ to turn them against me, and that they will. They will come for I, and for the crown.”


“I can hear them now;” The King interjected. “‘Put ‘em to death.’ In this age a Kings greatest enemy is the distrust of his people, and it spreads like a pestilent.” He sighed. As his majesty continued his ramblings a man clad in armor, sword at hip and shield on arm approached the aide and quickly whispered in his ear. Nikolaus nodded and the knight walked off.

“Sire, duty calls. Perhaps you should rest, I’ll give my attempt to have this all sorted before waking hours.” The King looked up and agreed.

“Yes, yes perhaps you are right. Go, I will be fine.” At his word Nikolaus turned, and with an unusual smile, left. The King continued to pace. Nikolaus continued down a long stone hallway, at the end of which sat the King and Queens chamber. The Queen sat alone before a vanity, looking deep into the glass. Daunting thoughts rushing through her quiet mind.

“The glass reveals more than we ask of it,” The Queen turned, startled. “Doesn’t it, my Queen?”

“Oh, Nikolaus you startled me. I thought you were my husband.”

“The King?” He quickly responded. “No, he paces in his study.”

“It seems that is all he does as of late.” Sighed the Queen.

“I’m here.” Nikolaus said, approaching the Queen.

“Are you? You seem to be always by his side.” She quickly stood, knocking her chair to the ground.

“As do you, but that hasn’t kept me away.” He placed his hand on her cheek. “I know you Sarah, the King seems to have forgotten who you are. But I can’t seem to.” Nikolaus brought his lips to hers, and stole away a kiss.

Far from the illusive infidelity, the setting sun shrouded the sky in a red veil and people gathered to whisper of the Kings misdeeds. They talked of his masquerading as the peaceful monarch but the crown was truly laden with blood, they wish their voices heard. The gossip ceased as a loud voice called out to the people, beckoning them to the town square. Standing on a wooden podium a priest raised his hands to the people.

“Come all, come and listen closely to my words! By good men, the King shall be deposed! The paramount will be overthrown, we will take his crown!” His words echoed through the city but the crowd talked amongst themselves. “God has given me the vision.” He yelled, falsely claiming prophet. “That the head upon which the crown lies is undeserving, your ‘King’ as you call him, abuses his title.”

“The King has done nothing against us!” One man yelled from the crowd.

“He’s right.” A woman carrying a child stepped up. “The King would not betray us so.”

“But he has can’t you see,” The preacher argued. “He takes our tax to feed his belly, to adorn his neck and wrist.” The preacher raised his hand, pointing with the other. “He builds his army while we live in squalor.” The priest coughed heavily. “Living on mud floors like pigs!” The man continued on his rantings, twisting phrases to his whim, using ‘the word of God’ to his benefit and telling only half-truths. Unbeknownst of his lies, the crowd cheered. Giving in to his fallacy. As the crowd cursed the Kings name the priest looked off toward a young man in gilded guise, who smiled and nodded. The boy walked off toward the castle as the preacher turned back to the crowd. “Tomorrow we take the crown!”

The castle stood silhouetted on the setting sun, and the King still stood in his study staring down at the city below. He sighed and left the window sill, leaving his study he walked to his chamber. The door creaked loudly as he opened it, but when he looked in it was empty. “Sarah?” He called. The King closed the door behind him and traveled down to the dining room. At one head of the table sat the Queen, and in the chair next to her sat Nikolaus who whispered softly to her majesty. The door swung on loose hinges and knocked against the stone wall.

“My liege!” Nikolaus said startled by the sound.

“Good evening Nikolaus. Sarah, can we have words?”

“Of course.” The Queen turned to her suitor, placing her hand on his wrist. “Give us a moment would you?”

“I,” He paused, looking at the King. “Yes Ma’am.”

“Thank you Nikolaus.” The King said taking the seat by his wife. He placed his hand on hers and spoke; “My Queen, I feel as if we have grown apart in these passing days. I fear my thoughts have kept me from you.”

“While your, absence, has left me feeling lonely. It has however given me time to myself which I do so enjoy at times.” She smiled pleasantly, thinking of her time with Nikolaus.

“I wish you no heartache my dearest.”

“And you have not caused any my King.” As she spoke the large doors once again slammed against the wall as they opened. A young man in gilded garb with a complacent look calmly entered the dining room.

“Son, what are you doing home so late?” The King asked.

“Apologies father, just attending to some business in town.” The boy approached and hugged the Queen. “Hello mother.”

“Did you do as I asked?”

“Yes, mother.” The Prince listlessly answered. The King stood and hugged his boy.

“What business does a youngen such as yourself have in town, Hagen?”

“Oh, nothing of importance father.” Hagen replied. The King looked at his son, and thought for a moment. ‘Could it. No.’ His majesty dismissed his scrutiny and continued on.

“As you say, well have a seat then son. Dinner will be served soon.” Hagen nodded and sat down, “Nikolaus!” The king called. The trusty advisor entered and raised his ear toward the King. “Will you be joining us for dinner?” Nikolaus looked at the Queen who subtly smiled toward him.

“Yes sire, as you wish.”

“Splendid!” The King reached over to a guard and called him over. “Tell the chefs we’re ready to eat, then by all means go have your dinner as well.”

“Aye my liege.” The guard went off toward the kitchen. One by one the cooks brought out meals, steaming dishes of the finest variety. Steak, lobster and lamb. Laid out on the long stone table, which was adorn by a long red table cloth and various golden candelabras. One by one invited guests and servants sat around the table and enjoyed their meals. The captain of the guard, who sat at Nikolaus side. Next to him the head maid, across from her Alfred, the Kings personal butler. The line of people continued down, Lords and Ladies of the kingdom and even local merchants. The night was filled with glasses of wine and laughter, it seemed as though no problems haunted the halls of the castle.

As night fell all left for their homes, and the castle began to quiet. The King stood at the gate and waved on his friends as they stumbled down the path, -due to the excess of wine- just then one of the guards approached the King; “Sire, allow me to take you to your room.”

“Thash nice o’ yous.” The King said lifting his arms to the guard. “Come here yous.” The King hugged his guard, patting his back. The guard looked around dumbfounded by his situation, he turned toward Nikolaus who stood with hand over mouth. He nodded at the guard and turned away, retiring to his room. The King hung an arm around the guard and gibbered staring down to the floor. The guard quickly carried the King to his chambers, before entering he knocked.

“Come in.” The Queen called out. So the watchman entered and placed the King on the bed. Before leaving his majesty called out to his ward.

“Yes my King?”

“Fetch me the Amontillado would you?” He asked. The guard turned to the Queen, who shook her head as if to say ‘No.’ The guard nodded and turned back to the King.

“Yes sire.” He bowed slightly and left, closing the door behind him. The Queen approached her husband and sat by him.

“Come Siegfried, let us rest. We can tend to your drinking habits in the morning.” The Queen joked. They lay beside another, -still in their evening attire- and close their eyes. If not for their regal appearance, one may mistake them for a common couple. Before completely giving himself to the grace of sleep, the King heard a familiar voice, one he could not mistake.

“Alert the guards, make preparations for the morning.” The voice ordered. The King began to question this voice, but alas, sleep had already taken his majesty in its warm embrace.

 The moon set on the western horizon, and the sun soon followed rising from the east. The sky bore a marvelous gold hue, and the morning star rose to settle amongst the clouds. This tawdry facade, did not last long as slowly an uproar started in the city. The preacher stood tall on his stage built of deception.

“The tenure of this King is over! Let us disanoint his majesty!” The crowd cheered, “No mourning friends! Our voices shall be heard!” The self-proclaimed prophet led the people from town toward the castle. As they approached, the guards called out to the inner castle. Yet no bolt fired from the arrow slits. The guards stood aside as the people stormed the castle, those that stood in the way were trampled and beaten. ‘Hang ‘em!’ One yelled, and his word was heeded. As the townsfolk climbed up to the castle walls, and prepared several nooses. They beset the inner castle, and climbed to the King and Queens wing. A heavy rapping on the chamber door woke the King and his wife. They stood to attention.

“Who dares disturb us at this hour?” The King exclaimed. The rapping continued, with a loud slam the door flung open and the mob rushed in, taking hold of his majesty. “What is the meaning of this?” He panicked.

“Oh my!” The Queen was taken aback. “Let him go!” She attempted to free him from their grasps, but was quickly knocked to the ground.

“Bring ‘em to the gallows!” Another roared. The King struggled but the mob was too much for him. They brought the King to the castle walls, bound his hands and tied a noose around his neck. The preacher brought him to the edge and spoke out.

“Finally, we have the tyrant! Now,” The preacher removed hi majesty's crown. “Now, we can choose a new just King!” The crowd cheered. He waved his hand for silence and the people slowly calmed. “Now, ‘my King’. Do you have any last words?”

“I do.” The King stepped to the very edge. “I know not of who truly leads this betrayal. I do know however, it is above your level of planning, preacher.” The King paused, looking among the crowd. Seeing his wife, son and Nikolaus standing all together. The Queen, with sadness on her face. But Nikolaus and Hagen held a demeanor of austerity. “Look at what you have created, look at these maddened creatures.” The King gestured to the crowd. “All of you, you let him curse my name, call me a tyrant and you falsely praise him like a prophet. I’ll now calmly await my bitter end, by the length of this rope. Mark my words, my people, the bloodstained pages of history hide reality. But I will remember the truth.” At this last word the preacher cringed, and gave the final push. The noose extended as the King fell, and as the rope became taught the Kings body lurched. A dishearteningly loud crack echoed over the crowd. No one spoke.

© Copyright 2019 Tucker Haase. All rights reserved.

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