Friday, April 12, 2013

Day Four-Thirty-Five: The best reason


Before today, I never thought anything would drive me to stay in Pubton.

There is much to be said for this town, of course. I'm proud of what we've done. It looks spectacular, especially with the addition of Pagan's buildings. In the last three or four months we've exploded into a major centre of industry. I have friends here, colleagues, a place I learned to call home. More than that broom closet or my house in the castle, this, Pubton, is my home. I have memories, and memories are more valuable than anything.

But I also have… memories.

Memories of squabbles, of struggles, of endless battles against horrible monsters and animals and soldiers and slaves and loved ones, most of all loved ones, all haunting me, haunting this place. This town. As much as I love Pubton, as proud as I am of Pubton, I couldn't stay here anymore. Not with everyone constantly staring at my little girl, wondering, despite her innocence, when she would snap. Not if, but when. No chance at all. I had to take her away.

Bora… the other day, Bora… that was the last straw. It would be just us two, Eve and I, leaving and taking our chances in the wide world. If I had any doubts… that kiss… did it. Goodbye relationship complications, goodbye political life, goodbye destiny. Normal life ahoy.

And then…

The ceremony for handing over mayorship of Pubton took place at noon, under, where else, the golden tree. I'd hoped to leave earlier, but Harold insisted that it be at noon. I know he wanted to give me as much time to think as possible, hoping I would change my mind, but I was adamant… and my dad wouldn't wait any longer. He wanted power now.

Standing side-by-side, beneath those shining boughs, I felt free. Liberated. As though Harold was about to take the chains off me and put them on Oswald the Asshole. Time to start a new life, Dragomir, old boy, a new chapter in the book.

I looked at Eve, standing in the small crowd of people who'd gathered to watch. Not everyone in town, and almost no one from Libby's hut city, but enough. Everyone who was important.

Eve was with Bora. I couldn't look Bora in the face. I haven't since the kiss. I doubt I ever will again. I've tried, and… the taste, the vile, putrid… it's always there. Haunting me. Another reason to leave. Maybe I could forget that kiss ever happened.

Harold approached. Nervous.

"You're a disgrace," whispered the father at my side, though loudly. "Fuckin' disgrace. Hope I never see ya again. I'll take good care o' your wife 'n girlfriend for ya while ya run off, ya fuckin' coward."

I didn’t answer. I just smiled.

Most mayors, Harold says, have a sign of office. It's the same as a king's sceptre and crown. We'd never settled on one, nothing official, so we decided it would be the hat. The floppy, smelly, unwashed, crappy hat June gave me in Goblinoster. I might have felt bad that my father was inheriting close to a year's worth of sweat and weathering, but, well, I hate my father. No issues.

I bowed. My father growled, and a hushed silence fell over the crowd. Harold gently touched the hat.

"Do you, Dragomir, forsake your office, your titles, and all ownership of the office of mayor?"

"Yeah."

"Y…" He leaned in close. "You're supposed to say 'I do'."

My smile widened. "Yeah."

Harold shook his head. Nevertheless, he slowly pulled the hat away, held it nervously in both hands, and turned to my father. My towering, domineering father, too tall for Harold to place the hat on his dome, too proud to bow and accept it.

It was over. He was mayor. I stood, and waited for the end.

"Do you, O-"

Harold's frightened words were cut off by a loud, hiccoughing cough, a massive POP from one of the half-finished walls, and the crunch of breaking wood. Everyone turned, instantly forgetting the sombre occasion, looking between buildings and craning their necks to see -

"Holy shit," I said, eyes wide as I strained on my tip-toes. "That's the Matriarch."

The Matriarch indeed. A crumbling, half-broken, on-its-last-legs version of the great beast, but the Matriarch nevertheless. Much of the roof had caved in, most of the cannons were broken or missing, the wheels bore huge gouges that made movement difficult, and the sound hiccupping out of its innards was not that of a sleek engine of death, but, rather, a wounded animal, slowly dying. Wood screamed both within and without the mighty vehicle as it dragged an entire section of wall out of the ground, the low foundations of stone and mortar tearing at the Matriarch's underside.

It shuddered. The wheels stopped, and one fell off. The whole thing collapsed, leaning hard to one side. All was still.

Silence. For one torturous, uncertain minute, silence.

Then we were running. Everyone who'd lived in the castle, who'd seen the great Matriarch rolling through its wide streets and the fields beyond the walls, opening up to reveal a tree magnificent in its plainness, ran for the wooden corpse. As we neared it the front of the Matriarch rumbled, pounded from inside, and the latch fell open at an angle.

From it came a familiar face, so plain and so wonderful that I was amazed I'd forgotten it. Princess Celine. She blinked at us, her expression as impressively and impassively amused as ever.

People cried and ran for her. They ran, because wherever Princess Celine was, surely there would be, surely, surely, as they pulled her free of the wreckage and embraced her, throwing her up and cheering, everyone pushing at the ruined lid of the vehicle, surely, surely -

A mechanism somewhere inside the Matriarch groaned. Mighty springs released, and with help the top lumbered upward. Beneath the great dome, bathed in sunlight, dressed in plain clothes but still as regal as ever, was Queen Daena.

She saw me first. She smiled, and laughed, and beckoned me to her. I smiled, and laughed, and with almost a hundred souls both familiar and unfamiliar to her I charged up the crusty brown field towards her tree, forming a happy circle around her, cheering and calling her name, Daena, Daena, Daena, queen of the realm, Daena.

"Dragomir," she said, hugging me, "my gods, it is so GOOD to see you. We've been travelling for so long, I didn't think the old girl would last! We thought for so long that you were dead! And everyone - everyone here - you got so many of them to come… oh gods, it's SO GOOD TO SEE YOU ALL!"

She squished me against the tree. I happily accepted a sliver to the cheek before wriggling free.

The cheering continued. A dozen hands, avoiding Daena's still-kicking legs, reached to touch her gently, as though she weren't real. She laughed and welcomed them all, and Celine joined her in the warmth, dancing and playing and enjoying life, glorious, wonderful chance -

- but I'd lost track of the celebrations.

There was someone skulking behind the tree. In the rear of the Matriarch, at the edge of the rise of dirt and grass, skulking and watching and hiding, slinking about in tattered clothes and a ragged mantle with a cardboard crown on his shaggy head. He saw me watching and he shrank back, alert and afraid.

Jeffrey. King Jeffrey.

The happiness died at once. It was inevitable. Queen Daena was a package deal. She came with her husband, a man she said she was going to leave, a man I thought for certain was long dead, a man who should be dead, for all the atrocities he'd committed, all the people he'd sent to death, all the callous judgement errors and bad calls, all the idiotic things, the hole, gods, it was his decision, forget the bald man or the penguin, it was him, the hole, the hole, the fucking hole that ruined my life, it was HIM, IT WAS ALL HIS FUCKING FAULT -

Before I could control myself I'd slid down the back of the grass pile, heedless of stains or injury, and charged at the deposed monarch. He shrieked and tried to flee, but he was too thin, too tired, and I too well fed and too fast. I caught him, screaming and crying, and I pulled him with furious strength, my hands burning, my gloves melting away, hurting him, hurting him, but I didn't care then and I don't care now, because what I did next is one of the most satisfying things I've ever done in my whole rotten life.

I dragged Jeffrey in front of a hundred people, his former subjects, and while they watched I punched him in the face.


 Time slowed. Daena's expression turned into an O of confusion and horror. Celine froze in mid-dance. The people, the watchers, all those who knew why, gawked as my fist collided with his scruffy fucking face, sending him to the ground without pity or mercy.

Silence. Only the sound of my fist as I hit him again. And again. And again. Sweet justice at last. No Omega Corps to hide behind now.

The queen screamed, Celine tried to stop me, and after four hits I did. I hadn't hit him hard, because I can't hit anything hard. Nevertheless he had a burn mark on his right cheek, one I suspect is still healing. He whimpered, he cowered under my feet, and as I stood I knew what had to be done, what might not be done if anyone else was in charge.

I strode to Harold. He had the hat. I grabbed it from him and put it back on my head.

"Hey, wait!" my father said gruffly. "You -"

"SHUT YOUR FUCKING MOUTH, YOU OVERBLOWN ASSHOLE," I screamed. "I'M THE FUCKING MAYOR OF THIS TOWN, AND SO LONG AS I'M THE FUCKING MAYOR, WE'RE HAVING A FUCKING TRIAL FOR THIS LOWLY PIECE OF SHIT. STARTING TODAY."

And that was that. My father backed down. He looked both bewildered and impressed.

Jeffrey is in Evangelina's old jail cell. She's been set free. I've made her one of my advisors. Attempts to argue the point were immediately shot down. Whatever she may have done pales in comparison to Jeffrey's crimes.

A trial. We're going to have a fucking trial.

Sincerely,

Dragomir the Mayor

6 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Lol, Steewpid in the background today!!! I know he's been waiting for this moment since day fucking one...if he gets this satisfaction, does that mean that eventually Vimhtaar will eventually be referenced as "Vimhtaar" in the story?

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  3. Ballad: "Jeffrey the king of fleas"

    Oh look upon thee fallen king, all mighty and fare.
    Adorned in brilliant robes of filth, and unkempt hair.

    Once you had it all, now all that's left is a Queen and a tree.
    Poor Jeffrey the fool, all you rule now are the fleas.

    You towered over us once before, a path you had beget.
    Long did we suffer your rule, a mistake you will forever regret.

    Freed at last, our Mayor Dragomir hath decreed!
    "Foolish Jeffrey, this day you shall bleed!".

    (Basically a small way to show the extreme joy that this entry brought me. I almost blurted out "F**K YEAH" to myself over today's entry XD)





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  4. YOU JUST KEEP MAKING ME HAPPIER! THEY'RE HERE! DAENA AND CELINE! And me?

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  5. Also, Dragomir was awesome! Maybe he should've killed Jeffrey, though.

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