The old world

Written in response to: Set your story beyond our own world.... view prompt



Where was he? He had gone to the baker, to buy them a loave of bread. She had just gotten a loaf from a cheaper bakery, yesterday, and it was made with plaster of Paris, instead of flour. Flour being a scarce, item, as of late. The bread made both of them sick, and thier vomit was white, and full of this plaster paste. She knew, she had been had, by the illreputable baker. "She would get him,"she fumed "he won't make us sick again." Her son had been gone now for a long time, and she worried if he had been robbed. These were hard times, many were hungry. The very hungry ones went around with charcoal on thier faces, and especially on thier lips, begging for a morsel of food. The black lips, a sure fire way, to let the others know you were hungry. This represented them being so hungry, that they would even eat thier own charred coal. The children around the kingdom, were all very thin. She sewed, and many of the peasants from near by, used her seamstress work, when they could. Needing socks, was a necessity, in this cold winter. Alot of the people gave her bread, or things from around thier house, as a trade, for payment. They were barely surviving. She had enough wool to make three pairs of socks now. She wondered how, the Kingdom, and the two of them, in general, were going to make it through these hard times.

The king looked up at his prison, dungeon guard, and said " You can't kill me or you'll have nothing, I refuse to tell you where my Kingdoms gold is. Let me be, and I'll make sure everyone is well fed for the rest of the winter. I'll implement a well faring program, for food rations. My people are starving, while you hold me captive," his voice raising higher and louder as he spoke.

She went out, to look for her loved one. Walking the steet of marketers, many of the shops were closed. More, and more, black lipped people walked the busy streets. The feeling of dread, for the Kingdom, grew, and grew. No one knew the king was captured, at the momement. Many hated him, as they tucked thier skinny children into bed. They had always been a well off kingdom, and people were surprised, at the lack of food, and the lack of attention, from thier leader. Many of the shop keepers, could not stay open, as the economy was so horrible. No one fixed thier horse shoes, no one bought hats, food was scarce. The Kingdoms black cloud, was dark.

She walked by the low slats on the Castles bottom floor, hurrying, to find out where her son had gone to. "Where had he gone for so long, she worried". She stopped, when she heard a voice carrying on, about his people dying. She gasped, and stood to the side, listening for more information. Bent over to the side with her ear to the bars. "Could this be why our King has forsaken us," she thought? "Is he hostage"? A mean voice yelled, at who, she now recognized as the guardian, in the dungeon. He went on, about his own King, and that thier kingdom would take care of this one, if only this King, would only give up his whole supply of gold. " NO" shouted the King. " I WILL NOT BE CODDLED, AND KEPY BY ANOTHER KINGDOM, now let me go". The gaurd made a large clunking sound, and then the kings voice was quiet.

When she got home, her son waited at the table, half the loaf of the fresh bread eaten. She told her 27 year old son, what she had heard. They pondered what to do. Where was the gold, that the other Kingdom coveted? If they could find it, they would give it to the keeper of thier King, and save him, set him free. She thought hard, and told a large group of people, what she had heard. The members grew, and they yelled louder, and louder. The mob started to chant, "Save our King, feed our children".

The kings head shot up, quickly looking towards the slats, in the upper corner of his cell. His defeated mood, slipping away, as he heard his people chant, for his release. "PSSST," he heard coming from the slats, "where is the gold my lord", said a quiet voice. "In my room" the king replied. "How do I get into the castle, your Highness" said her son, to the chained up king. " Tell the gaurd you have found me, in our own dungens." the king said morbidly. "This horrible man, has come as representative of our neighbors king", he sputtered. " He wants us to be one Kingdom, with his, but I have superior supply of gold, and we need it for our Kingdoms own wellbeing". "I cannot give him all our Kingdoms gold, said the king, to the young man's voice". "I have a plan" the young man said. "I will take half of the gold, and buy the Kingdom supplies, from the other Kingdoms rations, for our people, so they shan't be hungry". "The other half, I will present to your keeper" he whispered. "Then, when you are free, we will take the gold back, fight them for it," he said a little louder. Just then, a unrecognized man, busted into the Kings small jail. " I have come to save you sir, please come with me,we have just gotten word of your capture". I represent the kingdom next to you, and this nincompoop, that has you hostage, is going to be stoned to death, when he gets home". The king breathed out a huge sigh of relief, and rattled his chains, with a motion, to release him from them. The king said "allright my new friend, and what do you want in return for my safe return". "Any thing you can spare, would suit me fine, your majesty" he said with a false smile, kneeling before the King, and releasing him from his bandage. Her son heard all of this, and thought, "I shall let the new hero, take care of this affair." The kings bones creaked when he stood, and his ribs protruded out of his cloak. He was not of sound mind and body, a period of three months had gone by, while he sat hungry, and so did his people. He knew that this person, who had barged in, come to rescue him, and that this new man, was the other kings advisor, but he was at a stalemate. Do or die,was really all he had, for choices. " I think half of your gold, is a fair trade, for your safe release, from this idiot" spitting on the former gaurd, and pointed to him, he had just recently thrown him to the floor. " This tyrant here on the floor has taken it upon his own self, to hold you captive, your majesty. For three months now. My good King, your neighbour, suggested, that, I come save you, your Majesty, from this monstrosity". We would only ask maybe, for half your gold in return" he said to the hungry king. "Yes" he squeaked to the new henchman. " It is a small price to pay for my safety, and the well being of my kingdom" he whispered. "Alright let us be gone, from this black hole in the ground, and take you to your luxurious chambers, where you belong, your majesty. The price your paying us, for this release from this awful criminal, IS a small return." " Thank you" said the king, " I feared my kingdom would be destroyed, the famished King, relied sadly". "This lost cause for a man, that was holding me, demanded ALL of my gold, why you, being of kindly nature, and gentleman, have only asked for half, thank you again, kind sir". Her son heard all of this, eavesdropping, for quite some time now, stood straight, and quickly walked over to the hungry group of people on the street, a few blocks away. "OUR KING HAS BEEN SAVED", he yelled looking each and everyone in the eye. "The neighboring King, has come to our kings rescue. Half of our gold is going to out, and over, to our neighbour's kingdom" he bellowed. "YAAAY our King is safe from the enemy," they exclaimed, to each other, and to anyone that would listen.

The king sat in his chambers, months later, wondering, if he was the victim of a scam. A messenger brought him a letter, that said the original gaurd, who had, had him hostage in chains, was stoned to death. They would be throwing him in the sea tonight. The dead man's demise, gave him no satisfaction, on the loss, of half,of his Kingdoms hard earned gold. He looked put at his people walking, on the street, none too thin, and felt a little better.

It had been many months, since the kingdom had suffered, and the shopkeepers, were all open for business. She had many orders for thin summer socks, and spent her days knitting the string apparel. The weather was fine. Her son and some of the children close by, thier bodies had filled out considerably , with the resources being available, in particular, food. There were only, a very few black lipped people, on the street, most of them being professional beggers. Asking for free food was always a number, even when times weren't tough. To each his own, was her attitude.

The neighboring, evil King sat with his favorite henchman, gloating over the stack of gold, he had before him. Given freely, by the hungry king. The stoning of the first man, he sent to take his neighbor hostage, was now dead, and tossed to the fish. " It was like taking candy from a baby, sir" the favorite henchman said slyly. "Yes my plans are always extreme, but they work don't they my partner," the other unsavory King said to him, sliding him over, a half of his half of gold. The plan executed, and now over. The rescue of the other king, and the death of the original nincompoop, hostage taker, done. The evil King, had paid a paltry sum, in advance, to the dead man now in a watery grave. They both sat like demons counting thier money. "Send my good friend, our neighboring King, another thank you note will you" he said with a mask of deciet on his face.

February 20, 2022 21:16

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