Some day my prince will.., p.1
Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font       Night Mode Off   Night Mode

       Some Day My Prince Will Come, p.1
Download  in MP3 audio

          
Some Day My Prince Will Come
Some Day My Prince Will Come

  Raymond Daley

  Copyright 16/6/14 by Raymond Daley

  From the top of The Tower you could see everything that existed in the city of Eloire.

  It was just buildings. There were no people-no life.

  Well, not quite.

  There was one life now. But it had ended many more.

  "MONSTUR WITHIN, BEWHERE!" read the badly spelt but well-intentioned warning message. On initial inspection the six foot high letters were written in red paint. Again, not quite. Not paint.

  Certainly red though.

  The last character wasn't completely finished but going by what had come before, it was half an exclamation mark. And judging by the partial skeleton below it, the writer had fallen foul of the very fate he (or she!) had been trying to warn others about.

  Most people attempting The Tower came to Garden City first. Whether it was to gather supplies, buy maps, hire a guide or to just sleep in a real bed one last time before questing off to their certain death.

  All the barkers in Hawkers Row had a different pitch.

  "All right boss, looking for a map?" or "Good day to thee sire, wouldst thou have need of a guide on thine journey?"or the more usual "You're going to die, leave me your armour buddy? I can get three hot meals for that armour." which was the most common barkers call.

  The local bar was busier than usual when the man walked in. "I'm looking for Eugene, the peasant?" It was a deep voice. Eugene saw why when he looked over.

  "Over here boss. And that's Eugene The Pleasant. Regardless of what others might say. Set my new friend up with a tankard of nice cold ale bar keep!"

  He came in, sat down beside Eugene and apologised for his mistake. He was your classic hulking Barbarian type. "The name's Allin. I don't read too good, so sorry about the mix-up with the name."

  "Not a problem boss. Pleased to meet ya." Allin tried not to crush Eugene's hand as he shook it, barely succeeding. Eugene was going to be carrying his sword in his left hand for the next couple of weeks. It was a good job he didn't use it very often.

  "A man on the city gate said you know Eloire real well. How well might that be?" Allin asked.

  "About as well as a person can boss, seeing how I was born there. One of the last families before the clear-out. I was five when we finally moved." Eugene said.

  "I wanna go to The Tower." The way Allin said it, it didn't sound like a request.

  "The Tower, I can do that boss. Did the man on the gate tell you my rates?" Eugene asked, hoping that he hadn't.

  "Three Talents a day. But I'll pay five, and a bonus of fifty more when we get back." Allin said.

  "We?"

  Eugene didn't like the sound of that. "I'll take the five Talents boss, but you'll have to explain all that 'we' business. Most of the people I guide to The Tower never come back. It's me, not we. I've not had a live one leave yet." Eugene knew he shouldn't have explained it like that to Allin but he liked to be honest and let his potential clients know exactly where they stood before they got started.

  "I want you to take me up The Tower. To the top." Allin said. Again, it didn't sound like a request.

  "To The Monster, you mean? You here to try for the bounty then? You wouldn't be the first, boss. And you won't be the last either." Eugene said.

  "I will. And yes, to The Monster. Bonus of fifty Talents when we make the kill. And one third of the bounty after we collect." Allin sounded pretty sure of himself. Mind you, with muscles on muscles like that, he could afford to sound brave. They were all so different once they got inside The Tower though. Soiling their armour, screaming for their mothers. It was enough to make a grown man weep into his ale.

  Speaking of which.

  "Your ale, gentlemen. Ah-hem!" Maxus the bar keep was never very subtle when it came to the matter of payment, Eugene could see his hand outstretched waiting for the money.

  "Pay the man boss. We'll sup up and be on our way, okay?" Another bar bill, nicely avoided by Eugene.

  Allin dropped three dull copper coins into Maxus' hand. "Leave us." He'd finished his ale before Eugene had taken more than a couple of mouthfuls of his. "Let's go then." Allin said.

  Eugene picked his tankard up and drained half. "I'll finish that later, put it on ice Maxus!" he yelled across the bar as Allin all but dragged him out of the bar.

  Outside Allin already had two fully loaded horses saddled up and ready to go as well as a mule with extra supplies. He'd clearly done all the hard work of preparation before he bothered to find Eugene. Whose job didn't really start until they reached the fork in the road just outside Eloire. That was a little over two hours later, they'd been riding pretty hard to make it before nightfall.

  "Which way?" Allin asked.

  "Quickest and safest way to The Tower would be the left fork boss. If we go the other way, there's a dead-fall trap in about a mile. If we go left, we'll be at the base of The Tower in an hour. We can camp there overnight." Eugene said.

  "We aren't camping. Left then. Let's go." Allin said and geed his horse down the left fork. They were at the base of The Tower in less than twenty minutes, the sweat was pouring off the horses and the mule was close to exhaustion. Poor thing. Eugene knew exactly how he felt.

  Allin didn't waste any time once they'd stopped. He was straight off his horse, tying up all the animals and readying a sword, a shield and a small backpack. "You need anything?" he asked Eugene.

  'Just a new spine, perhaps?' Eugene thought to himself. "Nope boss, I'm good." he said, through gritted teeth.

  Allin laughed, a strange sound coming from such a big man. "No weapons?" he asked.

  "No boss. No weapons. It's how I've survived so many trips here." Eugene said.

  By not providing a threat to The Monster. That was how.

  Allin threw him a waterskin. "Make yourself useful then, carry this. Now let's go inside."

  "I believe there's the small matter of my five Talents before we start? Most clients don't last the first day, so I like to get paid up front. If you don't mind?" Eugene said.

  Allin threw him the money. "If I don't make it, and there's not much chance of that, you can sell the horses, and the mule. And anything left in the packs."

  Nice. Regardless of whether Allin did or didn't live Eugene was going to come of this with a nice little chunk of change. Either way, Eugene was making out like a bandit without any of the associated risk.

  The sun was low in the sky by the time they went inside so they lit torches from the fire bowl near the main entrance. I won't bore you with the details of the inside, when you've seen one fresco of olive branches, you've seen them all.

  Behind the pillars, Allin saw the stairs. "We go up?" he asked.

  "Not here boss, there's a spike trap at the top. Down this right hand corridor then up the next set of stairs. Nothing deadly there, okay?" Eugene said.

  Allin just nodded and headed down the right hand corridor. To the untrained eye both the left and right corridors looked identical. To the unwary adventurer the left one had at least three deadly traps that Eugene was personally aware of. As they rounded the corner and reached the bottom of the safer set of steps, Allin was standing with his hand out.

  "Here," he said. "for keeping me alive this far." It was another five Talents.

  "Thanks boss. That wasn't necessary though." Eugene said.

  "How many times have you been here before?" Allin asked.

  "To The Tower? Hundreds." Eugene said.

  "No, inside it I mean." Allin said.

  "Oh, I see. Nine times. I always buy information from any guide that travels here though. Which way they came, which corridors they took inside, where the traps were, what kind, how they were triggered
. It's how I've lived so long. As you might have guessed, not many guides like to come inside any more." Eugene said.

  Allin grinned. "Yeah. The guy on the city gate said I'd have to pay big to make you follow me inside. You must have had Barbarians try in here before me though?"

  Eugene nodded. "Yeah, lots. They all died."

  Allin was about to go upstairs when Eugene stopped him. "Left side of these steps only boss, that's the side closest to the wall, okay?"

  Allin didn't ask why. He could see the space in the cobwebs on the right side of the steps, where the spinning blades came out from. They moved up to the first floor slowly and carefully, stopping now and then to bypass some of the more difficult or sneaky traps. They rested on the third floor.

  "How far to the top?" Allin asked.

  "Seven more floors. We have to switch to the other stairs for the next ascent though. These aren't safe from here upwards. Don't ask why." Eugene said.

  Allin gave him a few more minutes rest than he really wanted to. Eugene could tell Allin was eager to press on but not so much as to lose him for a guide. They were starting to lose the light from outside by now and Allin was keen to get going again. "Which way now?" he asked.

  Eugene pointed off down the corridor. "Down here boss, stepping on the light tiles only. Never the dark ones. Then up the stairs, until we reach the top."

  "You ready?" Allin asked, impatiently.

  Eugene stood up. "Sure. Let's get this done."

  Allin accidentally activated one of the dart traps in the corridor with his heel, but it hit his shield. They stepped carefully until they reached the stairs. "Any traps here?" Allin asked.

  "No boss. Clear run to the top now. Nothing else nasty from here until The Monster. Then it's all yours. I won't be going in that room, okay?" Eugene said, making sure Allin understood him.

  Once on the stairs Allin was taking them two or three at a time, Eugene wasn't exactly running to keep up as such but he didn't fancy being left in Allins' wake. To his credit, despite reaching the top a full four minutes before Eugene, Allin waited quietly and patiently until Eugene caught him up.

  "Here," Allin said, giving Eugene a very full coin purse. "That's fifty and a whole lot more. Even if I don't make it, I think you more than earned it."

  Now Eugene felt a little bad about taking his money, knowing Allin was going to be dead in the next few minutes.

  "It'll buy a lot of ale, that'll help you forget. You know ..." Allin was clearly a mind-reader too, Eugene thought to himself.

  Allin looked over at the three arches which led into the room beyond, the only room left. "Which is the safe one?" he asked.

  "Opinions on this differ boss. Some said left was safe, others said right was safe. A very few said the middle was safe. I can't be sure, I've only been up here twice before. I left before the client ever made his choice on both occasions." Eugene said.

  Allin removed a small wooden buckler from his pack. "Let's see, shall we?" he said, and rolled the buckler into the left arch. A large blade sprang out and sliced it in half.

  "Not left then boss. Strike that off." Eugene said.

  Allin looked at him and grinned that maniacal grin again. "I guess not. Throw me the waterskin. You can make it back to the horses without water, right?"

  Eugene nodded. "Sure boss, why?"

  Allin rolled the waterskin into the middle arch. Nothing happened. "I guess the middle is safe then. If you want to follow, you can. If you want to leave now, you can. Consider your job done. I can remember the route back down by myself. You can go back to the animals, camp there until morning. Wait until noon for me. If I'm not there by then, I never will be. Have a nice life Eugene." And with that Allin walked off through the middle arch, drawing his sword as he departed.

  It was a few minutes more before Eugene decided to follow after him.

  As Eugene rounded the bend in the short corridor he entered a large darkened room. He could just about make out the massive figure of Allin and by the far wall the sinister outline of The Monster.

  The legendary Spider Witch.

  "He's not dead Eugene. All the others died as soon as they looked at me." she said. "By the way, I wish you'd come to visit me more often."

  "Sorry Mum. Hello Mum." Eugene said.

  "Allin, why aren't you dead? You should have been frozen as soon as you saw her." Eugene asked.

  Allin laughed that creepy little giggle of his that sounded so wrong coming from such a big guy. "Sorry about that Eugene. There was a small something about myself that I forgot to mention. I'm blind. Why do you think I kept asking which way?"

  REALITY INTRUSION!!!!!!

  Hi there! I'm Ray Daley, your friendly author.

  This is where I got stuck so I'm letting you, the reader chose your own ending.

  If you want to see Allin live, read Ending One.

  If you want to see Eugene live, read Ending Two.

  If you want a complete surprise, read Ending Three.

  Please be a nice reader and choose ONE ending only.

  END OF REALITY INTRUSION!!!!!!

  Ending One

  Allin took one sidestep and melted into the darkness of the room.

  "Eugene, where did he go honey? Help mummy out." she called to him.

  There was a dull slightly damp thud, like a side of freshly cut meat hitting a butchers slab.

  "Too late Eugene, she's dead now. I really would have split the bounty with you too. Your skull is gonna make a nice soup bowl, I think." Allin stepped out from behind the corpse of the Spider Witch.

  Eugene never even got chance to breath.

  THE END.

 

  Ending Two

  Allin moved silently through the darkened room.

  "Where is he Eugene? Help me please? For old times sake? Haven't I made you lots of money like this?" she said.

  "To your left Mum." Eugene said.

  There was a dull slightly damp thud, like a side of freshly cut meat hitting a butchers slab.

  "Decided to go halves on that bounty after all, eh Eugene?" Allin stepped from behind the corpse of the Spider Witch, with a grin on his face.

  "Yeah. Who wants to be a mummy's boy forever. I can live like a King now. Don't forget her head, we'll need that as proof." Eugene said.

  Allin laughed as he cut off the head of the Spider Witch.

  "I would have never guessed you were blind, by the way." Eugene said.

  "People rarely do. It's been nice doing business with you Eugene."

  THE END.

 

  Ending Three

  Allin melted into the shadows.

  "Eugene? Where is he?" she said.

  There was a dull slightly damp thud, like a side of freshly cut meat hitting a butchers slab.

  "Eugene?" she called out again.

  "No more Eugene. There's no-one left to keep us apart now Martha. I'm going to keep that promise I made twenty years ago. We're going to leave this place, only this time it'll be together. No more being his slave. We can be together now Martha. I love you." Allin said.

  "He was a good boy, in his own way." she said.

  THE ACTUAL END.

  Authors Notes:- One of my first attempts to write a fantasy story written as the third story of week twenty-four of my Year Of Living Bradbury. I sent this to Robot Cowgirl for a submission titled "Swords & Sorcery" who liked it but still rejected it. I used to really enjoy the old choose your own adventure books and when I couldn't decide which of three endings to write, I decided to use that format here.

 
Turn Navi Off
Turn Navi On
Scroll Up
Scroll
Add comment

Add comment