Late Summer, Year 591 of the Second Coming
Some say that fools are born of demons. Others claim they pop out of rabbit holes with jester hats glued to their scalps. And then there are those who believe that fairies and trolls make them out of mud and feed them magic mushrooms until they grow up.
My favourite one, though, is that fools eat their mothers and fathers and then disappear in the woods, where they hide until kings find them and make them their joke-slaves.
I never understood why it is so hard to believe we had normal childhoods. Fools get born naturally too, and we’re a pain in the ass just like all children are. But I guess the answer lies somewhere along the lines of mediocrity. Because everyone’s a fool when growing up. Even the fools themselves. So we’re hard to tell apart from the rest of the kids.
I often think of these superstitions. Not because I’m constantly surrounded by them, but because they don’t sound so bad compared to my story. I’d trade the poor town of Comde for magical woods, fairies, and trolls any day. And I’d rather eat my parents than ever live with them again.
But it’s too late to change that now. I spent my childhood in Comde — a quiet town close to the King’s Household. Mother and Sav took care of me, and I shared a room with the giants I was forced to call my sisters.
My mother was boring. I’ve been thinking of other words to describe her, but boring suits her like bile suits the plague. My sisters, on the other hand, are something else. I could think of a thousand epithets that’d fit them, but they all come to the simplest one: evil.
Besides me, the only interesting character in our home was Sav. He was a huntsman. A big, yet sneaky bastard. With bare hands he broke logs in half and choked bears only to prove how manly he was, scoring some extra man-points for sporting a long beard and always wearing a sleeveless shirt. No matter how cold it got.
Needless to say, I was a disappointment compared to him. And as the only other sausage in the family, Sav was taking it pretty hard. He was unlucky enough to have five daughters and one boy who turned out to be the most feminine of his children. But I knew Sav was secretly proud of his girls.
The giants beat me regularly. I’m not even ashamed to confess it because they were tough girls. Martha especially. Her shoulders were so broad she could double-hug me, and her legs were those of a statue. It was as though my mother fucked a mountain to produce such a monstrosity. Martha even had a couple of curly blacks on her chin. A couple more than me.
Mother popped us out off and on. I was the second youngest, so when I became aware of being alive, Martha was already ten. One more came after and then my mother went out of business. Which meant I was Sav’s last hope. But I never fulfilled his expectations. Not even close. He was devastated.
Molie came to the world when I was three so I thanked mother for having at least one child for me to be mean to. I regret it nowadays, but you do what you see. And I’ve seen a lot of bullying. Thanks to my sickly nature, I was too weak to tyrannize anyone but Molie. It was all fun and games until I chased her out of home one day. She never came back.
Sometimes she makes me wonder if there’s an afterlife.
During my early years, I learned to be clever with my bullying. As a weak little imp that I was, I made my tongue my strongest weapon. Where my sisters used fists, I used words. That was the beginning of my career, I like to think. And it turned out quite well for me, if I may add.
Words hurt more than fists and my actions are the ultimate proof. I got far with my filthy mouth, but it wasn’t godsend. It took me years to master it. Now that I’m forced to recollect the memories from those days, I can’t do much but cringe and fight the idea of crawling into a corner and puking. But there’s one thing I decided to do if I’m to finish this late diary. And that’s to tell the truth.
So, in the light of the pain-in-the-ass disclaimers, let me tell you how I turned my childhood misery into an adventure.
Name a list of all the shitty stuff towns usually have, and I assure you you’ll find all of them in Comde. Corrupt administration? Check. Infectious brothels? We have them. Envious and vengeful neighbors? Got your back.
Considering its size, Comde was pretty crowded. Though not even a high population could save it from the small village mentality. Everyone knew all there is to know about each other. Even without meddling in other people’s affairs, I knew who’s fucking who, who’s having drinking problems, and whose kids were doing what.
My house was located on the outskirts of the town, far from the wealthy districts. Those gossipped a lot, but not as much as our parts. Sometimes I have a feeling we were all living in one giant house, peeking at each other in secrecy. Not much unlike the king’s Court, I’ll later learn.
For the greater part of the year, mediocrity ruled Comde. And that’s a good thing, don’t get me wrong. Since we were close to the city of Temira, the king’s men were taking care of the road thugs and the merchants didn’t inflate the prices. But that also meant we were under strict, watchful eyes of the king’s administration. Which considerably lowered the fun side of crimes.
There’s not much more to say about Comde. It was a decent and boring town for the most part. Though there is one thing worth mentioning — the infamous festival where my story really begins.
What pops in your mind when I say ‘Town Fair’? That’s right: loud men, girls on heat and way too much strawberry tarts.
And, boy, did I love all of those. I could never pile up enough insults from the local girls while listening to noisy drunk men. But at least there were enough tarts to eat myself to death. There was a lot of music, too, which I nowadays take for granted. Back in the day, a good tune was a rarity.
Our Town Fair was creatively named Comde’s Fair. And at Comde’s Fair, we had Comde’s music, Comde’s food, and Comde’s dances. All of which were standard festivities we added our name to. We didn’t even provide our own entertainers. We borrowed cooks, musicians, and dancers to do the festive stuff for us. Not surprising, if you ask me. What more to expect of people who kill, farm, or whore themselves to death for a living?
But no matter how poorly designed our Festival was, there was something unique about it. For where else could you see the king’s men attending a small town festival?
The Fair took time during the late summer of every year. And, in addition to the local losers, the first day saw the king’s men marching into our town. They’d line up in a procession, wearing full plate armor, piercing the sky with halberds and spears. Swords and heavy purses swung on their hips.
We thought we were special. And the king encouraged us in believing so. But not everyone bought the narrative. Some knew what really caught the king’s eye — the mines resting in the Kopnar Hills just outside Comde.
“It’s gold,” some said. “No, no. It’s diamonds, for sure!” others protested.
No one knew what was hiding in the belly of the mines, but it was important enough for Bald to govern it. The high security prevented us from finding out, so we were left with nothing but wild guesses. The soldiers never spoke of it either. They’d milk all the fun from our Fair and when it came to an end, they’d carry the Hill’s goods back to the capital.
Still, no one complained since the soldiers loved to drink and fuck. And drinking and fucking came expensive. That year, we were ready for their annual visit, but the king decided to surprise us. You see, in addition to his men, King Miran the Bold himself was coming to Comde.
As usual, people fought and stumbled and stomped over each other to get the best spots. Hours before the procession even started. All of that only to shout and chant until their mouths go dry. Because there’s nothing more amusing than looking at armored men sweating their skins off on the noon sun.
Nevertheless, they gathered. And that year, I joined them too. It was a good one for me as I was healthy enough to attend the Fair. I wanted to experience it fully. Heck, I needed to. So I joined the hungry ranks ready to tear each other over meaty bones that were the spots with the best view.
I thought the entire thing was utterly foolish, but I had something else in mind. My play was to squeeze close to the road before the pushing began, my hands ready to pick the pockets. So I waited there patiently, eyeing my future benefactors.
The distant horns echoed and the soldiers appeared on the horizon. Above them, a chariot rose, wearing a crown as a decor. At that moment, everyone realized Miran the Bold was coming to the Fair.
People went wild — everyone wanted to peek into the king’s chariot. The ‘line’ guarded by a few poorly dressed town officers, broke and people spilled over the road. They yelled and pushed each other around aimlessly.
I found my place in the middle of the chaos. I pushed some people here, pulled some hair there, all the while reaching for the purses hanging on their hips. Fists struck me wherever I moved. But none of them stopped my busy fingers. I was snatching everything. Copper or silver. It didn’t matter.
Soon the king’s men joined the bashing, pushing the folk to the sides to clear the road for the king’s chariot. I managed to keep myself on my feet, stealing the coins from the ones who were knocked down.
Eventually, the king rode through the crowd and the soldiers turned more violent. People dispersed, leaving the casualties on the ground. The euphoria died and the folk of Comde turned to what they knew best — drinking.
I was left standing and a smile crept on my face. I was rich. The bruises and scars on my body incomparable to the glorious four silver and twelve copper coins I’d stolen. I grinned at my hands filled with metal, ignoring drops of blood. When I joined the crowd at the Fair, I went straight for the candy table.
“Let the overeating begin,” I said, pulling out a silver coin worth about twenty strawberry tarts. They tasted so good I was glad to ignore the pain of sweetness rubbing my beaten gums.
The Fair was officially open and everyone had drunk themselves unconscious before the night fell. By that time, the king’s men rose a camp behind the Fair.
As for me… Well, I didn’t drink back then, but I was high on sugar and craving for an adventure. When I think of it nowadays, I would’ve been better passing out instead. But the king’s camp was too inviting. I simply had to get inside.
I was never a patient man. For me, being patient is like holding piss in your bladder. Unpleasant, painful. Besides, I always take a leak whenever I need to. Just one of the perks of being a fool.
Even in my younger years, I had a very short fuse. Luckily, I was a weak man, so I didn’t have much chance to show off my impatience. But I had plenty of trickery up my sleeve. Just imagine the ideas I got once I entered the king’s camp. It was an endless, unexplored field made by the rich. I knew nothing about them, and yet I hated them.
To justify my actions up-front, king Bald set his camp right next to the Fair. The size of his temporary home was twice as big as the Comde’s Fair. Unnecessary space occupied by unnecessary shit. I simply had to contribute. For how many chances do you get to take a dump on the king’s property?
By the time I reached the tents, I was in deep stomach pain caused by the tarts, and everyone else was heading home to rest for the second day. It would’ve been wise for me to go too, I thought, but falling asleep with severe gut pain wasn’t an option.
There were no fences around the camp. Which was understandable for its enormous size. Even if one wanted to disturb the size-of-a-town camp, he’d have to sneak past dozens of guards, maneuver the impromptu streets between the tents, and not die to the archers on the lookout.
It was both a challenge and a necessity. There was no way I was holding the growling dump inside of me any longer. Nature was calling and I wanted to try out one of those infamous chamber pots the rich folk use.
As I was sneaking through the camp, I realized I actually did inherit something from Sav. The moment I stepped inside, I became a shadow. Silent and careful, I bypassed dozens of guards, giggling as I circled them. I challenged myself to be as close as possible and not be noticed. It was a fun game. One that easily topped most of the games I learned to play by myself. Though it was equally stupid. Playing it felt like scratching my own butthole and then sniffing it — highly pleasurable and idiotic at the same time.
I got bored quickly. The guards were barely alert, which made the game tedious. The only thing that managed to scare me was my growling stomach. So I hurried, leaving the guards behind and aiming for the nearest tent.
With the coins in my pocket being the most of my weight, I let my arms carry me to the top. At first, I was scared, but the urge was so great I simply stopped thinking. My courage paid off quickly and I found myself on top. The tent was about nine feet tall, but to me, it was the top of the world. I could see the entire camp and the Fair behind it. Far in the distance, I even saw my house.
My stomach growled again. “There, there, tummy,” I patted my suffering friend and moved on. Not knowing if there was anyone below me, I kept my feet on the supporting beam not to disturb the roof. There were no holes on the sleek canvas I walked over, so I decided to jump on a smaller tent next to it. It had a hole on top.
“Sevens, thank you,” I murmured when I peeked inside. There were a couple of chamber pots on the floor. My intuition didn’t fail me.
I dropped down and lowered my pants. “To shit like a king,” I said when my crack met the one on the pot. It was love at first touch. The slight cold of it tickled me and I giggled. A quick and satisfying act. I kinda wished it lasted longer. “I’m taking you back home with me, big boy,” I said after realizing the pot was made of gold.
“That’s disgusting,” said a high-pitched voice above me.
I froze. And then I jerked, almost knocking down the chamber pot. “Who are you?” I asked, more ashamed of the stench than being scared.
“I’m Ellie,” the girl said and disappeared for the longest second of my life. She dropped from the top and opened the tent for me to come out. I pulled up my pants in the meantime.
“Thank you,” I said. For the first time in my life, I think. “What are you doing here, Ellie?”
“Looking,” she smiled and lowered her view.
“For my love. Sir Arhon.”
I squinted my eyes at her, checking her age. She must’ve been a couple of years younger than me. “But you were looking at me,” I said.
She giggled. One of those stupid tee-hees only girls can pull off. “I wasn’t looking at you,” she said. “You’re ugly.”
“Words hurt,” I thought. Even from innocent little girls. Especially from them. “Fuck you,” was all I managed to mouth. Back then I still cared what people thought of me.
She covered her mouth in shock. “You can’t say that. Father says the Sevens will smite you!”
“Oh, just move aside,” I pushed her and walked away.
“Wait,” she ran after me. “Can you help me?”
“Help you with what?” I said, pretending to be offended, though I still turned to face her.
“This tent is the only one I can climb. Can you help me with another?” There were tears in those cheeky little eyes. I hated her.
“And what’s in it for me?”
She put two fingers on her chin, probably mimicking someone older she saw doing it. “I won’t tell anyone you’ve been sneaking around. And I’ll give you one of those chamber pots. You sounded like you were in love with it.”
Only then did it occur to me that she was probably with the king’s men and I was the trespasser here. Not a good situation. But what really got my attention was that beauty I spoiled in the tent. It could be all mine.
“Smart girl,” I thought. “We have a deal.”
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Ellie had what I’d call ‘dancing feet.’ She moved as though skipping over puddles and balanced on every narrow surface she could find. At first, I went to catch her, thinking she’d fall when she climbed an improvised theater stage. But the girl landed with barely any effort. It was kinda impressive.
“Are you always so jumpy?” I asked quietly, afraid of being noticed by the guards.
“I’m not jumpy,” she said loudly, “I’m practicing to become an acrobat.”
She was fearless. Not only was she brave enough to roam the camp during the night hours, but she didn’t mind being seen by the guards at all. And she might’ve been fascinating in her endeavors, but she was attracting so much attention I eventually quit sneaking around. It was impossible to stay in the shadows with such a noisy monster like Ellie was.
On our way to the tent she wanted to climb, we paused for her to catch her breath. Even while sitting, she kept on squirming, scratching her ass against whatever she used as a seat. Like she had bugs itching her pink.
She didn’t talk much, but her moves betrayed her character. Judging by her confidence, she was from the camp. Though she didn’t reek of royalty you usually see among these places. She was an ordinary, playful girl with an occasionally harsh tongue. I liked her.
“Want some?” she asked me when she pulled out a handful of some kind of fruit. It was small and hard-shelled. She had to crack the husk before eating the contents.
“What’s that?” I said.
“Something exotic, my brother says. Stole it from him,” she giggled and threw one into her mouth. It cracked between her teeth as she chewed it. The sound reminded me of eating gristle.
“I’ll pass,” I said. “How far until that tent?”
“It’s the one right there,” she said, pointing at the closest tent. It was also the biggest one I’ve seen so far. Bigger than my house, even. I wondered how many people it could fit.
As much as its size astounded me, it was only wider, but not much taller than the one I spoiled. Like most of the tents in the camp, it was excessively decorated and smelled of honey and flowers. I touched the sleek canvas, testing how rough the surface was for me to grip on it. It wasn’t ideal, but I wanted to impress Ellie, so I jumped on it right away.
The climb was easier than I thought it would be. When I got up, I anchored my feet into the supporting beam and lowered my hands for Ellie to grip them. A small jump was enough for our arms to merge. She had the softest hands I’ve ever touched.
I pulled her up and instructed her to walk over the beams. But I didn’t have to, for she knew the drill. With her dancing feet, she hopped on the top and started walking to the center of the roof. I followed her lead. We paused every few feet so she could put her ear on the canvas. After a couple of stops, she nodded and pulled out a knife that was strapped to her shoe. Creepy girl.
She then cut the canvas with surgical precision and peeked inside. I squeezed next to her, tucking my nose into her sleeve. “Sweet and warm. Like early spring,” I hoped. I was disappointed — it was mostly sweat and feet.
On top of that, I had to push her to the side to make more room since she didn’t care about me anymore. Ellie grunted as I squeezed in. Being bothered wasn’t for her liking, but I didn’t like being ignored either. She might’ve gotten what she wanted from me, but I wasn’t done. I was too curious about what she wanted to see down there. That, and I still didn’t get my golden chamber pot.
“I can’t see,” I said. She sighed and ripped the canvas for an extra inch. “Oh…” I gasped when I looked down.
How do I put this? What we saw down there was some kind of a… sword fight.
One of the two men was Sir Arhon, that much I guessed by the redness on Ellie’s cheeks and a sweat drop leaking from her forehead. She enjoyed the view but was embarrassed at the same time. I found it weird too. Yet we kept on watching without saying a word.
The lighting cast by the braziers offered us a view on every tiny detail and all the sounds were carried to the top. The sword fighting continued for some time and then the men jumped on a bed. I could almost feel how soft it was by the way their bodies bounced off it.
Keeping their swords on point, the two then wrestled. The smooth sheets rustled beneath their weight as they showered each other with sweat. Their long hairs were swinging in the heat of the fight. Their muscles tensed and throats grunted.
The sword fight was followed by carrot eating and then pie stuffing. They crawled over each other, getting into positions I didn’t think bodies could pull off. The whole process lasted for a long time. I regretted not bringing some strawberry tarts to share with Ellie.
When the show ended, Ellie and I were as exhausted as the men beneath us. But we stayed up there for some time, trying to discern what they were whispering about. Ellie was, at least. I, on the other hand, had to restrain myself from counting the freckles on her cheeks. She was kinda cute.
Ellie wasn’t as jumpy once we got off the tent. I wanted to help her climb down, but she insisted on doing it on her own. All of sudden she wanted to be sneaky.
Hoping we’d continue our little adventure, I pressed on by pointing more tents we could climb, but Ellie wasn’t interested.
“I’m tired,” she said. “Aren’t you?”
I was, but I also didn’t have that much fun in years, so I wanted more. Ellie didn’t care about my wishes, though she was polite enough to lead me out of the camp.
We walked side by side and I wanted to ask a hundred questions, but the lump in my throat clogged all the words inside. I glanced at her occasionally. She kept her eyes glued to the ground, her mind somewhere far away from our late-night stroll.
“My house is on the other side of the town. Wanna see it?” I managed to ask when we reached the end of the camp.
“No,” she said bluntly. “They most likely found out I escaped my tent again. They’re probably worried.”
“What do you mean worried? Why would they care?” I wanted to ask but only nodded instead. I didn’t understand why her parents would care. Mine wouldn’t, that’s for sure.
She waved at me and then rushed toward the camp. I was left standing alone. I wanted to call for her, but couldn’t remember why. Only later did I realize she didn’t keep her promise — no chamber pot was to be found in my hands.
“She’ll be there tomorrow,” I guessed, so I decided to head back home. Though I couldn’t resist looking back a couple of times. A smile crept on my face when she jumped on a platform and balanced her footsteps.
“It was a nice evening,” I concluded while walking home. Happily. I even jumped a few times in response to the fire in my stomach. And it wasn’t the food.
Blinded by all the fun I had, I didn’t even think about what I’d witnessed. And if I had any sense of what was good for me, I’d never return to that camp. But I was a fool. Just like all children are.
And I couldn’t wait to meet with Ellie the next day.
Diary of a Fool Chapter II ends here.
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