The Beggar's Night

Submitted into Contest #16 in response to: Write a rags-to-riches story.... view prompt

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General

Two men sat at a small, wooden table in the local pub after a long day begging. The duo, while they did not know each other's names, were becoming a fairly profitable team together begging in the town’s square. The first, Raymond, was going over the day’s events and town gossip with the second man. That specific night, the town was alight with the recent news of the local Lord’s son’s engagement to a court nobleman’s daughter.

“Who gives a damn?” The man threw out drunkenly, “It’s just those haughty bastards spending more of our money on their fancy shite.”

“I honestly can’t find it in me to care anymore, it’s not like they can suck money out of either of us for this shite, right pal?” Raymond chuckled. 

The two men laughed and continued to drink their rum and complain. The attitudes of the night seemed to agree with them, and a few other patrons of the pub began to float over to the two men’s table to share their complaints. 

See, while the nobleman’s daughter and himself were not controversial, the local lord and his son very much were. Servants in the lord’s castle had spread the news of the plans for the wedding, which included temporarily raising the monthly taxes to pay for the event. As one can assume this idea was not popular, yet no one seemed to be actively raising their concerns with the plans. Though, unbeknownst to them, the town would later reach a breaking point that same night.  

Just a few hours later, Raymond stumbled down the cobblestone alley, looking for a place to rest for just a moment. The moon, sitting high above the debauchery that had taken place less than an hour from the present time, watched and guided him to a small yet comfortable alcove. When Raymond settled down, he knew nothing of what the next few hours would hold, and how it would linger with him for the rest of his existence.

What felt to him to be just a few moments later, Raymond’s eyes fluttered open. The moon, still holding high, was just beginning to reach its peak in the night sky. While he felt some peace at that moment, it would not last. Before he could even rise from his makeshift home, he heard vague shouts coming from the direction of the city square. They seemed angered, and they startled poor Raymond, who only wished for another mug of ale. The crowd’s screams only grew louder though, eventually enveloping what seemed to him to be the entire world. The cobblestones shook as the mass began to move down the main street toward Raymond’s alcove. As they approached, he was able to identify the seemingly drunken mob’s purpose — to do away with the entire local nobility that very night.

Raymond, the poor man, tried his best to shrink into his cozy alcove but it would not be enough to save him from the mass. He wished only for the crowd to pass him by and to return to the pub, but alas, neither of those fates awaited poor Raymond. As the first members of the crowd began to step past his alley, torches in hand, Raymond stupidly leaned out to glimpse what was happening. That ended out to be the worst decision he ever made, Raymond would later determine, as man deeply inebriated stopped and pointed at poor Raymond with an impassioned look in his eye.

“OUR KING! You shall truly be our savior, my Lord!” The man cried, getting the attention of others.

After that the situation escalated quickly for poor Raymond, as the other members of the crowd began to take notice of the man’s declaration. In their drunken states, people began to rally around Raymond as their king. He attempted to deny the accusations, but could barely get a word out before he was swept into the crowd. 

He was touted above the ground by various members of the crowd who drunkenly repeated the chant, “King, king, king!” over and over and over again. Finally, the repetition and beating of the chant mixed with the inhuman amounts of alcohol in his system, Raymond gave over into the crowd’s demands.

He loudly proclaimed himself the new king, with his crowd of fellow drunkards leading him to his castle. The man, having had nothing an hour ago, suddenly found himself on the top of the world. He had gold coins and rum, pillaged from surrounding businesses and houses, thrown in his direction to honor him. And, as he grew even more drunk on power and rum, his demands grew. 

“Bring me my carriage! Where is my guard? I grace you all with my presence!” He randomly threw out, pointing at random people in the crowd whilst sitting atop a goat cart pulled by a few men. King Raymond possessed all the spirits, golden pieces, and power he wished and, just for this moment, he forgot who he was just an hour or two ago.

Things went very much downhill for our King Raymond very shortly after that. As the sun began to rise in the east, the local lord’s guard began to awake and, more importantly, care about what was happening. During the riot, the night guard watched on and laughed as the crowd drunkenly ran in circles around the city and touted a beggar as its king, but in just a few hours the events of that night would matter. The guard, assisted by the early dawn light, set out to disperse the crowd, a task which at that point seemed almost too easy. They found many of the rioters slumped over, hidden in alleyways or in the local pub, including the King himself. 

Many would not remember the events of that night, but King Raymond would always carry with him a vague recollection of what had happened that night. Curled up in his alcove, Raymond found himself just as penniless as he was just a day ago, but nonetheless he was determined to sleep off his hangover and set up shop in the town’s square by lunchtime.

November 23, 2019 01:12

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