Drama Fantasy Funny

The town of Coyne is a remote area. It's very well hidden with a forest around its west and southwest entrance. The northside has a mountain range that winds in a zigzag pattern and toward the easternmost edge of the town, a wide, roaring river separates the small community from its nearest neighbors. All these considered, the council of Coyne felt it was unnecessary to raise and maintain a standing army. Coyne had no distinguishing features that made it noticeable; it's mountain range--known as the Dotted Mountains--provided enough of a fortress to deter any outside invaders; the Coyne River's currents were so stirring and violent that it could rip through even the sturdiest vessel, more so than any high tide on the seas and oceans. As for the bridge, it could be easily retracted by the gatekeepers who overlook the structure.

There was also nothing worth taking from the town. The largely agrarian society valued garden tools for practicality and the foodstuffs those tools could be used to grow. The only thing thought to be worth stealing or pillaging would be the church property, which would be a matter of timing. After a sermon, for safety reasons the church ministers keep the relics in their homes in secure locations to further inconvenience potential thieves.

But even with these barriers in place, foreign invaders and monsters have made attempts to desecrate the tight-knit community and after generations of attacks, the council decided to put its foot down. The income that comes from selling the produce to the neighboring villages was used to raise and train an army from the regular civilian population. In the beginning, the Coyne Army was an ill-disciplined mess, a cockup of the highest degree. Misplaced weaponry, low morale amongst the soldiers, poor planning, and a patchwork of uniforms and Coyne would never be taken seriously, until military assistance and training came from their better equipped neighbors. After 130 years, Coyne, an already tough to invade town, had the military might to enforce its sovereignty from an damned fool brave or stupid enough to try to invade the community.

But this was irrelevant to one such traveler who needed sanctuary. While it was now very well defended, the town wasn't averse to accepting tourists, even if it was in the boonies. The mysterious traveler was noted by the guards as standing at a great height. He never slouched or leaned forward, he stood as still as a statue, and his trotting footsteps sent vibrations through the guards' armor. They didn't detect malice or evil from the traveler, but it was still customary to perform an inspection.

This was strange, the traveler hadn't expected the armed protection. Either news didn't travel as well or he was uninformed. The guards asked him to freeze in place, and he complied. This was interesting now. They asked for his identity and the purpose of his visit. He wasn't moving in, or there'd be some luggage. He had nothing to buy, or the guards would've felt for coinage. He wasn't there to harm as they'd confirmed, he didn't even own a weapon. Then what was his purpose? Why did the mountainous traveler come to the town?

The guards then surmised that he may have been a directionless wanderer, journeying between towns without a real purpose or method. There wasn't any reason for the guards to deny the man entry. They gave him a brief warning about causing trouble and allowed him inside. Upon entry, the man noticed there was a change far beyond the brand new military units at the gates. Wasn't it a small agrarian town with a local church? Not anymore.

The church was now a cathedral, 75 meters tall and artfully decorated inside and out. Priceless relics and idols secured in reliquaries ready for the next sermon; storehouses for all the food and grains grown; a fort named in honor of the town's founder, where all the troops train in the town's defense; a large market for tourists and domestic traders to browse, buy and sell wares; the town had the excitement of a small city. The traveler was surprised. This wasn't the boondocks he remembers. A town isolated from any convenient means of travel, out of the sight of the wealthy lords and vassals, was bustling.

An eating establishment in the western section of town stood timeless, untouched by the town's progress. The traveler was suddenly hit with memories of old friends, fights, risky dares, glances at the girls. He wanted to collect his thoughts with a meal. Delightfully, the restaurant was among those that hadn't changed since he'd been there. The same family ran the building, the same meals were served, the same beer was brewed and served at the patron's request, the same rowdy drunkards were removed for causing a disturbance; the traveler could cry.

The restaurant's delicacy was a grilled steak, cooked with wine and topped with butter, with a side of vegetables. He enjoyed his time alone, but was welcoming to the youngsters who wanted to hear his story. Without telling them directly, he told the youngsters about a town situated between a ripping river, a dense forest, and a tall range of mountains. It didn't take long for the listener's to learn that he was talking about Coyne itself. The history of the town that was taught in their schoolhouse matched the tale told by the traveler, personal anecdotes notwithstanding.

It was assumed that the traveler was a scribe or just very well read. Perhaps he'd been aiming to come to this village all along. Or maybe he keeps a record of towns this isolated and hidden? Not quite. As it turns out, the traveler was the original town planner. He served on its earliest council and decided where to build certain structures and how they should be.

This didn't make sense. How could this traveler claim to be a founding member of Coyne when the town was founded over 200 years ago? The traveler asked the listeners to join in closer. He revealed a symbol with a dragon and a sword beneath its chin, the Seal of the Council of Coyne. When questioned for his identity, the traveler merely grinned and said: "I am Julius Coyne, and I founded this town."

June 01, 2021 19:07

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.