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Story The first page/chapter of Part two of my Kings Tale. Posted for opinions..



What is Evil, really?
Jul 31, 2021
The King and the Bargainer

Part one: The Court of the Commoners

It seemed yet another boring Sunday in my Royal Court at first, but not for long. Perched there on my receiving throne and full of sweet red wine I was less-than-eagerly fulfilling my sworn obligation and begrudging duty to my people and Kingdom.

What exactly was this thankless duty? Well, a simple one in theory, and ultimate tedium in its execution. Anyone, whether stinking rich or poor, important or not has a right (ordained by me long ago) for an entire two minutes of my full royal attention to address me directly on ANY matter they wish to discuss, regardless of how trivial or ridiculous it might seem. It's mainly to make me aware of any situation in my Kingdom from any point of view, from coddled princes to dirty beggars. Whatever the problem, concern, or complaint I sit here ready to listen, as long as it's exactly two minutes.

Of course, these presentations are perfectly timed, and every word is meticulously recorded by a scribe sitting close by (no wine for this royal lackey, since this duty requires a clear head to write every word accurately). This area around me is well-guarded and the rules are strictly enforced, unless I say otherwise. To allow anyone to speak no matter how common they are, all these statements (and often full conversations) have to be amazingly short by nature.

The vast majority of my subjects take this Sunday event quite seriously, but not ALL do, including my esteemed self. This event certainly does have its uses; Since certain matters in past sessions have been brought to my attention just in time so I could correct them before they got too far out of hand. These Sunday sessions with my subjects have proven their worth time and time again.

However, more often than not many of the things I am made privy to are utter nonsense and gibberish, and not worth my Royal attention. Complaints about transgressions, stolen items, indiscretions, injustices, etc. The list of miseries seems eternally tedious to listen to.

Sunday should be a day for enjoyment, doubly so for those of Royal blood such as my glorious self. Still, for me, it is a day of absolute drudgery as King, as well as being the only meaningful thing that could ever occur in a lowly peasant's life of laboring. They live their entirely pitiful impoverished lives in utter misery slaving in the mud, and so an audience with their ruler should give actual purpose to their worthless common lives.

As their liege, I don't begrudge them this personal honor of basking in my glorious presence, this is what they should live for, having little good in their petty existence. The only thing I regret is the fact that it has to be ME sitting here tolerating such drolleries for an entire day.

In the Sunday decree, it is specified that literally anyone can show up, from my Kingdom or otherwise. no matter how utterly wretched they may appear in clothing or demeanor (or scent). They petition my court, and as long as they carry no weapons they have their two minutes granted in my royal presence.

I do enjoy keeping this interesting, so several seasons ago I added another irresistible caveat to any individual who wants to participate. Full diplomatic and criminal immunity for anyone, friend or foe alike just on this day. Even if they are a criminal or a personal enemy, they all share the same freedom to visit on Sunday in the same manner, their peaceful composure in exchange for their two-minute say, just on Sundays obviously.

Upon my Royal word, they shall neither be apprehended or interfered with during their comings or goings on that day (unless they are actively committing an offense right then and there). Seems unfair otherwise no? By including those who could not speak for fear of being caught, jailed, or risking execution for their crimes. I give them their voice as well and deny no person my ear on these particular days.

I believe I am more than fair, I am also just, publically at least. Everyone should get a chance to speak, no matter their social condition or criminal status.

Yes, these peasants can often be quite disgusting, I’ve even seen a number accompanied by their very own small clouds of flies, which I promptly order swatted. There is an official swatter, who has the sole duty of chasing flies and executing flies throughout my palace. During these Sunday sessions, he is bound to be here with me as well, in case needed to combat these filthy peasants bringing all manner of dirty creatures into my Royal Court. Even worse yet, for a disgusting fly to land on my personage. That would seem a sacrilege.

Of course, every time he fails to swat one he looks comically ridiculous, and makes me laugh far more than my jesters did, present jester included. Therefore his position as Royal swatter is secure as long as I still reign, and he keeps my mirth going.

So, goblet in hand, these poor souls make their cases and statements. Such wretched specimens are damned hard to even look at, let alone listen to their incessant whining.

Of course, the boot-lickers are far worse, with their honeyed words and false worship. Like the sweetest sugar, their flowery praises go through me like the bitterest salts, while I smile, nod and sip my wine, caring a bit less moment by moment.

Such is the solace of drunkenness, which sadly I was not that deep into my cups quite yet, but soon would be.

"Sire, the criminal Bouchard is here for his audience" My entry guard announced. "By all means send the ugly bastard in" I motioned to the guard as I spoke, bemused. Finally something fun to do.

Gesturing to my servant for more wine, I was in a good mood for once. This was no mere common peasant visiting. This scoundrel was triply condemned for the deaths of my soldiers in the woods at the borders of my kingdom.

Didn't matter though, since this was Sunday, and freedom was his for today. Tomorrow, I'd send a hardened war-party out to collect his head for me and mount it on my gate, as my former spy was so adorned and decorated. For now, he was my guest. Respect would go both ways, as I have designed this to be.

In Bouchard strolled, head held proudly high, since he yet possessed it, contrary to my inevitable wishes. As all in my Kingdom would attest, I am a King that always keeps his word, so this criminal was safe, for today. He had in fact done this before. So I welcomed him in as a wayward but doomed brother.

I adored my most welcoming smile for him-"Hello old enemy, and welcome to listening day! Please allow me to get you some wine! Its the least I could do for such an infamous scoundrel! I am honored you are here, and safe as always" Gesturing to my servant to serve Bouchard with a wave.

"Thank you Sire, I'll take white wine if you possess it, or maybe something rare?"

"Of course Bouchard, only the best for you, whom have eluded my laws and army for quite a long time. Except for the ones you've murdered of course, those you did not avoid"-I triple nodded for my servant to pour my finest wine on the table for my guest.

Bouchard stood there, a small man wearing a scarred countenance and shabby grey clothing that was full of holes. He was balding, with a fat face more suited to a jolly saint than a murderous enemy. When he wasnt smiling outright, Bouchard seemed to smirk. Not unpleasant to look at, and at least he didn't smell bad. This I am always grateful for. For an outlaw, he seemed fairly educated.

As the goblet was handed to him, I was compelled to ask- "So Bouchard, I have heard you murdered three more of my people last week. Is this true?"

Bouchard waited until he took a long swig of wine to reply. "My compliments Sire. I daresay this is far better quality wine than any of the stock I took recently from some wealthy traveling merchants, next time they should hire better guards and not the soft fops that were there. And no your Highness, I did not murder three of your people, I merely defended myself by efficiently ending their assault. The three soldiers you sent directly, and the two peasants that went with them as guides"

My response was immediate and honest - "Well, just between us Bouchard, peasants don't count do they? I won't hold their deaths against you, fear not, just my men's deaths, those you will be held accountable for, as soon as this day ends."

Not being able to help myself, I started uproariously laughing at the thought of the common peasants death not counting. I'm sure I made an interesting portrait right then.

Finishing his goblet off, Bouchard decided to clarify why he was visiting and using my hospitality.

"Sire I'm here to ask of you to show mercy, not for me, but for your own men. Consider their lives, their families, and their loyal devotion. Send no more men after my head, for every person you send will be returned absent of their own! This I guarantee my liege. If you order your men to murder me, they will pay the price for it, not me. I do not intend to die from your abject hate or the relentless enforcement of your Kingdom's absurd laws. So mercy for me will equate to mercy for your men. Consider it Sire". He tossed down his cup, waiting for my response.

I carefully placed my own goblet down, nodded to my wine servant to go retrieve the dropped one, and decided to double down on my policy, since I make no exceptions in matters such as these.

"Bouchard, today you are safe. Go eat, drink, and enjoy the comforts and pleasures of my Kingdom today by all means, for tomorrow you shall die in a most horrible fashion. The law isn't about my enforcer's lives, but the ones who find it necessary to break them. Rest assured friend, I will send as many men as are needed to capture and execute you, preferably in front of me on a chopping block! When all is said and done, I fully intend to boil the flesh from your criminal bones and have a fine personal wine cup carved from your bald skull. This shall happen if not tomorrow then very soon, and your two minutes are up Bouchard."

“Very well my liege, I’ll see you soon, perhaps next Sunday, while you might be short a few more men, perhaps more than a few. Just fodder for the flames to you no doubt. Thank you for this brief audience, I bid you a good day Sire”- Bouchard curtly bowed and walked out, unimpeded.

Yes, I fully intended to have my new cup, perhaps with his name carved on it in fancy script, but for now it irritatingly still sat upon his criminal shoulders that were walking casually out of my Court, with a plethora of armed guards visibly angry and staring with daggers at his swaggering exit. Ah well, that is business for another day.

For now, more wine was needed, along with the drunkenness it brings, so the show could go on.
No readers in such a place hmm? Shame.
Not surprising for this community however, since its not about Foids! hehe
Did you post this one before? I remember reading about the man who killed soldiers
brocel your writing style puts the reader in that time/era quite well but the entire first half is about this two minutes window everyone has to speak but as soon as Bouchard walks in it seems to go out the window so their conversation is unstructured and confusing.

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