Friday, November 9, 2012

Day Three-Twenty-Five: Get a signed agreement next time

Aw, shit, man. Shit shit shit.

The skittery dude - whose name I now know to be Hoban, Hoban the Messenger - was still passed out when I got up this morning, so I decided to deal with my dad first. The nobles all gave me appraising looks as I donned my socks, and I knew they wouldn't let me get away with ignoring my promise. I was on the hook, and I set out for my parents' farm first thing.

My dad had imbibed a hell of a lot of alcohol the previous night, so he'd slept in an extra half hour. (We're all used to getting up abnormally early, now, thanks to him, and he gets to sleep in?! Injustice.) Mom let me in, gave me an eel cookie, and told me to rouse the old man. Greeeeeeat, not only was I telling him what to do, I was waking him UP at the same time.

I skulked to the door of my parents' bedroom and knocked gently on the warped oak. My dad's snores eclipsed the sound, his massive form rising and falling under a thick woollen comforter. I had to slam the door as hard as I could before he responded with anything beyond a snore, a snort or a fart.

"Hhuhuhwhat?" he mumbled, moving the blanket aside to glare at me. "Mmmph, you. Whaddya want, your high 'n mightiness?"

I quavered. Figured I'd start with something light. "Ah, um, we, ah, all just… wondered… where you were…"

He watched me for a moment in silence, glancing down at the bed. Then he widened his eyes and turned over again. Guess he figured that was explanation enough for his location. 

I bit my lip and took off my hat, crumpling it with my jittery fingers. "Um. Hey, dad?"

Belch. "Whaddya want? Go 'way already."

I forced my spine into a stiff pole, hoping that the gesture would similarly stiffen my resolve. It didn't really work, but it helped me force the next few words from my mouth. "Ahhhhhhhhh I was wondering if you'd maybe not wanna beat people up so much maybe. Maybe. Ahhh. Yeah. Not… not beat… yeah."

His breathing stopped, and he looked back at me, sleepy eyes now wide and alert. "Huh? The hell do ya mean, not beat people up?"

I was in it now. My feet were stuck in the quicksand, my face surrounded by vipers, the grim hand of death toying with my heart. What the hell, go for the gusto.

"They don't…. people aren't happy, dad. They don't want you to beat 'em up so much. At all. Anymore. I'm all grateful and such for what you've done, but… you can't… you can't just… just…"

He lumbered out of bed, hitching up his drooping pants. As my sentence slowed he towered over me, thick eyebrows furrowed disapprovingly, pointed at my head like twin caterpillars searching for a leaf to eat. Caterpillars of DOOM.

My father laid his hand on my shoulder, and not in a friendly way. "They don't want me to beat 'em up."

I gulped, fairly certain that my entire tongue had fled down my throat with the spittle. "Th… th… that's…"

"That's what, you puke?" He gripped my skinny shoulder and lifted me half a foot off the ground, heedless of my whine of pain. "That's fuckin' whaaaaaat?"

My mouth ran dry. My lips cracked. My soul bled out through the cracks, taking with it any bravery or sense of responsibility. My bladder, which had been so kind to me in the last few weeks, so gentle and loving, gave way and filled my breeches with sour urine. My teeth chattered, my eyes swivelled in their sockets, and I would have uttered a thousand apologies for my idiocy had I not been concerned with all of the aforementioned sensations. 

Giant shadow things? The fall of the castle? The Baron's face a burnt wreck? The deaths of two comrades, and my own death? Ain't got nuthin' on my father when he's legitimately pissed.

Yet he wasn't quite pissed. I mean, sure, he was mad, but there was an unhealthy dollop of black humour lingering behind my dad's expression, and it sprang out of his skin as an evil smirk. "Well, hell, y'can't talk to me here, so let's do it in public, eh? Y'can tell me exactly what ya want by that fuckin' tree."

Time passed. I felt movement in my fear, heard my mother greet me as I passed through the kitchen, held aloft by my father's merciless fingers. I didn't regain my sense of existence until he let me go and bellowed for the whole village to gather near the golden tree. Everyone came, because, y'know, they're not crazy.

"What ho!" Oswald yelled, ushering everyone over to form a semi-circle around us. "What ho, my fine lads 'n lasses! My son, here, says you've got a beef with me! Little pissy-pants here - 'n who gave 'im that habit, anyway, 'e never had it as a kid - says you don't like me! Want me to stop beating hard work into ya! Go on, Dragomir, tell me what they think about me!"

Everyone stared at me, plainly nervous. The only one who didn't was Libby, 'cause she'd slept right through my father's yelling. She doesn't fear him, hence, she ignores him, and he doesn't bully her in return. She's got a sweet setup, she does.

I tried to speak. My tongue was still hiding somewhere under my pancreas. I babbled something incoherent and wriggled my arms.

"Ha!" My father slapped my back hard enough that I fell face-first into the grass. "Useless wretch. 'e called me in to work this land, 'n that's what I'm doing! You think I'm harsh? Stop your bitching! You don't know what it's like t'live through a winter in the wilderness! I fuckin' do, and if you want your land to be ready for cold weather -"


The voice surprised everyone, including my father. He halted his speech at once, peering curiously over the assembled crowd at the raised hand near the back. It was carrying a piece of parchment.

The crowd parted. The skittery man, now looking refreshed and cleaner but still dangerously gaunt and nervous, stepped through and up to the tree. He stayed away from my father, but his tongue remained strong.


I had a quick flashback of King Gok warning me to watch out for manors owned by knights. Whoops.

Dad smirked. "The hell's all this, then? What's 'is claim? Lemme see."

Jittering, Hoban took a few steps forward and lightly tossed the piece of parchment to my dad. He grabbed it in midair, waved it open, and read. Then, expression blank, he handed it to me, because he can't read. That's mom's job. 

Locked in shock, I read the document. It was a copy of a signed agreement made between this Pagan guy and the former owner of the land, a King Dob. It outlined the exact borders of Pagan's property, granting him full and immutable control over all things contained within its borders. He has every right to kick us out.

When I finished, Hoban laughed and pointed one knobbly finger in my direction. "That's… that's what you get! Not talking to me… leaving me to sleep… in the cold… for three nights… THREE NIGHTS… YOU COULDN'T ONCE TALK TO ME?!"

I shrugged, twitching. I was still paralyzed, my arm aching badly. The shrug made it worse.

Hoban laughed again. "HA! Shitty… SHITTY SETTLEMENT! My master… he'll SHRED you! He'll TOSS YOU OUT! This, this, this, this PIECE of CRAP isn't FIT for HIS LAND - "

The tirade turned into a shriek when, surprising nobody, my father grabbed Hoban by the head and lifted him into the air. What DID surprise people were his next few words.

"HEY!" he screamed, the full force of the sound travelling into Hoban's left ear. I'm surprised it didn't burst the messenger's brain. "YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP! DON'T YOU INSULT OUR VILLAGE! WE WORKED, HELL, THEY WORKED DAMNED HARD ON THIS PLACE! IT LOOKS FANTASTIC!"

So far Pubton consists of a pub, two farms, and the foundations of a bunch of other shit. And lots of building supplies, stacked haphazardly. I wouldn't call it 'fantastic', myself.


My dad hurled Hoban into the golden tree. He hit the branches and tumbled out onto the ground, gleaming twigs jutting from his hair. With a squeal of fright the messenger got to his feet and fled into the morning fog.

That marked the ascension of my father's popularity in Pubton.

There have been no complaints about him today. He hasn't abused anyone, nor has he gone on any drunken rampages. Productivity is as high as ever, and though Oswald still yells at people a lot, they don't seem as inclined to complain. Hell, at one point I heard a few workers talking about just how good a guy he actually is, under all that muscle and hatred.

I have been emasculated in front of my peers. My people.

I sat by while my father defended Pubton from some dude.

I allowed a crazy witch to persuade us to set up camp on someone else's property.

I peed.

I think I need some advice. Time to write a letter.


Dragomir the Humiliated


  1. Poor Drags.
    *Pats him on the back*
    Things will get better...

    (Muwahahaha! Pagan will soon receive a fox to the face, I hope...)

    1. I drew your first appearance last night. No fox launching, but plenty of foxes. Your time will come.

      For anyone who wonders, 'Pagan' was the name of an actual knight I came across while doing research on medieval villages. As I recall he sounded like a bit of a dick, so the name stuck. A shame little of the RESEARCH stuck, but... that's Dragomir for you... anachronisms abound...

    2. Still, I stand by my maniacal laughter.

    3. the gods of poultry and cattle (don't bug me about my choice of worship)...did...Matt...let you have a animal firing gun...or...crossbow?...Matt...what have YOU DONE!'s...just...SHEER MADNESS!...I love it!

      Now why didn't I think of that!? ANIMAL WEAPONS! The most renewable and easily adaptable material for combat! Tie two geese by the necks and you now have Num-chucks! OR! Tie a badger to a stick and you have...A BADGER ON A STICK!

    4. Eh...the fox launcher was Matt's idea. All I wanted was for my girl to be barefoot and raise foxes, and he decided that the launcher was the best way to make them useful. I imagine the foxes getting a thrill from being launched through the air and don't mind being ammo at all!

      Oh, and he let her have a fennec. Have you ever heard a fennec scream? What horrors have you unleashed upon Tales of Elsewhere, Matt Bird?

    5. Matt is indeed a mad/diabolical mastermind at heart, always plotting the downfall of civilization and the replacement of society with his own iron fist of judgement! I wouldn't be surprised if he already has the interior decorating planned for his tower of DOOM!...wait a sec...I might be confusing Matt with that just what he wants me to think!

      Back on topic though, the Foxes are a hilariously awesome idea. But they're missing something...small adorable hats...just saying

    6. She isn't a noble, so I doubt that little hats would be something she put on her foxes. I could maybe see little bandanas around their neck, but that is up to Matt. Poor guy seems to have a lot on his plate.

      That said...I'm trying to think of an unoffical name for the little group of foxes. In my mind, her little fennec is called idea why.