27

Oct

by thefourpartland

This is the prologue to a new story that popped into my head. As you can tell from the title, I don’t know what to call it yet, but I do love the main character. Came about from a series of audiobooks I was listening to.

My coming has long been foretold. Or rather, my return. No one predicted my coming the first time. Not very surprising, since I was the orphaned son of farmers. I know, I know, clichéd beginnings and all. Not that my parents died from anything noble. Common pneumonia, caught during a slightly worse than normal winter. And as for the farmer bit, well, there’s a lot more of us farmers than there are nobles. Stands to reason some of us are going to make a go at things.

I did, and a damn good go I made of it too. Looting, pillaging, winning battles, sacking cities, it was a grand old time. I even got given the title Bloodaxe by one of the cities I destroyed. I rather liked the imagery of it, and began to sign it as my name. It was a great piece of propaganda.

Time passed, and after a while I got bored with sacking. You see, the problem is if you sack a city, it gets mostly destroyed, and doesn’t make any money for a long time. But if you capture a city, and tax it, why, it makes money every year. So I overthrew a couple feudal lords, bundled their lands up into a nice little kingdom, and settled in as a monarch.

I never got too settled, of course. Got to keep the neighbours on their toes and weak. But after a while I got a bit older, and decided my son needed seasoning. So he took over the raiding for me. Kid’s got the nickname Forkbeard. Not quite as spectacular as my title, but he does have a damn fine beard. Took after his dad in all kinds of ways, but mostly in the fine family tradition of pillage and plunder.

So, Junior’s taking care of the military, I’m running the place (I named it Rudvic, after my old mum), and some prat shows up and says I’m going to be killed in a coup and return when the kingdom once again needs a great military leader. Me being a kind and gentle monarch, I have one of the guards punt him out the castle gate.

Of course, this silly bugger of a preacher decides he’s going to keep running his mouth about my coming doom. Now, most of the populace has the good sense to treat him like the nutter he was, but some of them actually believed him. Thinking back on it now, I should have had all of that lot slain for being gullible idiots.

I was nice and didn’t, although that was partly because all those gullible idiots started treating me like I was some kind of warrior saint who watched over the kingdom in times of need. I failed to point out that twenty years earlier, the kingdom hadn’t existed, and I had formed it by beating some nobles over the head with my axe until they wrote me into their last will and testament. Which I made sure got executed. Immediately.

Even I have my limits though, and when the prat didn’t shut up after several reminders, I had him nailed to the castle gate. Upside down. Silly bugger kept preaching right up until the moment he died. And given the coup happened about six months after he was killed, and it was Forkbeard who did it, well, maybe I should have listened a little closer. And paid attention to the fact my son really didn’t fall very far at all from the family tree. Took after dear old Dad just a little too closely there.

So, now I’m hanging around, wondering which god it was I nailed to the castle gates, and when he’s going to let me get off my ass and do a little victorious returning. Of course, I’m not sure which kingdom I’m going to be returning to. Mine fell apart in petty squabbles after my son proved he was as crap as a monarch as he was as good as a fighter. And now the lands are all bits and pieces of baronies and earldoms and ducal courts, and there’s fourteen civil wars carried on at any one time and five of them only using assassins and spies.

I thought I was ruthless, but these rulers today? They’ve made punitive taxation into an art form. Even some of the demons I run across around here are impressed. Bringing back my old style of pillage and plunder would probably be a boon to the ordinary peasants. At least I was one once.

Anyway, enough wittering on from this old fart of a warrior king. But you’ll hear from me again. I’ll come back, and when I do there’s going to be a rocking party. I can’t wait.

Comments

  1. Daniel Ritter on 11.29.1999

    I dig the flatly flippant tone of this guy. He’s got chops, and no need to be flashy about it, just a calm swagger. Sounds like he’s got history enough to make interesting things happen now, maybe even bump into some grudges along the way.

  2. The Four Part Land on 10.28.2011

    There aren’t too many old grudges that he runs into as the story progresses, but he goes a long way towards making new ones. 

    It is a lot of fun writing him, trying to keep up the style throughout . I do run into an issue occasionally where I feel dialogue would be better suited, and I’ve been avoiding using it so far. 

    He’s an amalgam of a lot of traits of Viking rulers, even borrowing his name from one. They were a fascinating people. 

  3. Steve Green on 10.29.2011

    Hiya James, I’m going to echo Daniel’s comment, I like the sense of humour running through this, and look forward to reading more of it.

  4. The Four Part Land on 10.30.2011

    Well, good news is I cracked 10k words on the story today, so I just might be in the market for a reader or two.

    Not entirely sure how long the story will be, but probably 15k, maybe a little bit more.

    Hopefully the humour keeps coming through. Got my fingers crossed.

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