King Lance Kingdom, the King of the kingdom of Kingdom had called his two daughters to him in his study, which was located just through an ornate door in his throne room. This likely has some relevance that has, as yet, escaped the narrator.
On his mind was the future of both his young daughters. He was a doting father, after all, as single parents are wont to be, and only wanted the best for them. You could say he was wont to want what he wanted as well, but that would just confuse the issue.
Princess Norma is already glaring at the narrator. This tale is starting poorly for the poor scribe, who is already poor at his duties.
Princess Eazlee, whose betrothed, Sir Coddenpeace, had been lost in battle, two years past as the Kingdom measured time, and was still heavily grief stricken was his greatest concern, of course. His beautiful daughter had gone half mad, as has been evidenced by her erratic behavior in previous installments of this already erratic ongoing tale.
Princess Norma was his second greatest concern, for those with poor math skills, for her own rather bizarre habits. Despite his many attempts to find her a good husband, she had frightened them all away with her keen intellect, a weapon for which few in Kingdom were well matched.
King Lance would have worried more about his eldest child, Prince Salient, but the Prince was a man, and bound to figure things out on his own. Despite the apparent sexist nature of this attitude, it goes without saying that Prince Salient was always the one who had the brightest ideas.
He was also rather dashing, if the narrator does say so himself. A man’s man, if he might be so bold. Broad shouldered, athletic, skilled in many different techniques and with the loveliest hair. He was the living embodiment of nobility and grace, given elegant form.
As King Lance sat down with his two daughters, heart heavy at the difficult decisions he knew he must make with them, the door to his study flung wide, admitting Sergeant Sertin, who was fully flustered and flushly floundering.
“What’s the meaning of this?” Lance demanded, standing up so he could sit again with a bit more regalness.
Sergeant Sertin knelt before his liege. “My King, forgive the intrusion, but I bring word from the eastern Southern Woods. Barbarians have been sighted.”
Lance gasped. “Are you sure?”
“I’m not just sure, I’m certain,” Sertin said with a great deal of certainty indeed. Enough, at least, to make Lance gasp once more.
Princess Eazlee, clearly distraught, squealed and fled the room as fast as her fashionable shoes would allow. Furthermore, frightfully fast for family favor.
“Eazlee, be careful,” Lance called. “You might fall and skin your knee!”
“Really?” Norma asked him with disbelief.
Lance sighed, the weary sigh of a father who fears for his family. “Indeed. I can not bear the idea of her knees being skinned.”
“Seriously?” Norma asked, again with disbelief.
“For certain,” Lance told her.
“Yes, sire?” Sertin inquired.
“No,” Lance told him.
“Ah,” Sertin intoned with a good deal of uncertainty.
Norma face palmed, a bad habit she had developed over the last couple of stories, and went to sit by the window.
“What were we talking about?” Lance asked Sertin.
“Barbarians in the eastern Southern Forest,” the good Sergeant reminded him.
“Of course, yes, most ill news,” Lance mused as he stroked his beard. “Gather some men and investigate further, Sergeant. Determine the size of the horde.”
“Right away, your majesty,” Sertin replied, and quickly left to do just that.
“Norma,” Lance sighed. “I think perhaps you should go and see to your sister.”
Norma was watching through the window as Eazlee rode out from the castle, headed towards the eastern Southern Woods, hell bent for leather.
“Do I have to?” she asked.
“It is your sisterly duty,” Lance told her.
“What if I cannot find her?”
“Search until you do, and let nothing stand in your way,” Lance said with an air of regalness.
“Fine,” Norma grumbled as she stalked from the study.
Some time later, Princess Norma found herself in the company of Sergeant Sertin and a small band of soldiers on their way into the eastern Southern Woods. She had not fully explained to the Sergeant why she, a Princess, was doing so, but he had learned long ago not to ask too many questions of the Princess, least she give him a tongue lashing.
Not the good kind, either.
Ahem. Moving on with the story.
Soon enough, they reached the edge of the eastern Southern Woods, a sprawling spread of spruces and shrubs said to be saturated with small game. Sadly, the soldiers were not sporting, for they could have had spiced stew for Sunday dinner.
“The barbarians are no doubt nearby,” Sergeant Sertin told his men, and Princess, who was obviously not a man. “Step carefully, least we find ourselves in a deadly battle, from which few would likely return.”
“Do you think so?” Norma asked, somehow doubting.
“I’m certain,” Sertin said.
Norma rolled her eyes and followed the Sergeant deeper into the thick of the forest, a dark and gloom filled place, except for where the sun shone through, making it bright and jolly.
“There,” Sergeant Sertin said at last, pointing through the trees. “The barbarian horde!”
Norma peered ahead as the soldiers gasped, never having been forced to face a barbarian horde during their service to the Kingdom before.
“I don’t mean to argue, Sergeant, but can one person count as a horde?” Norma asked, watching the lone figure in the near distance.
“When it comes to barbarians, yes,” Sertin replied with certainty.
“How, exactly?” Norma pressed.
Sertin gave her a guarded look. “Barbarians can’t count.”
Norma nodded slowly. “Forgive me, Sergeant, but I am not accustomed to you making such statements.”
Sertin nodded in return. “Lieutenant Tantamount was supposed to be in this episode, but the writing schedule conflicted with his bikini wax, so I was written in with his dialogue.”
“Ah,” Norma said, understanding, after a fashion.
“Let’s get closer,” Sertin told his soldiers. “We must see what this rogue is up to.”
“I thought it was a barbarian,” one of his men called to him.
“What’s the difference?” Sertin snapped.
“Six hit die,” the soldier replied.
Sertin grunted. “All the more reason to be careful.”
As they drew ever closer to the not so nearly distant barbarian, Norma realized it was a woman, and she was chopping down a tree. In fact, she had already chopped down several trees with the skill and efficiency of a beaver. A fearsome beaver. A fearsome and angry beaver.
Tall, broad shouldered, and heavily muscled, the woman had hair like living flame, only it wasn’t, and generous assets beneath her simple leather clothing, which was skimpy at best, a swimsuit issue cover at worst.
“She doesn’t look all that fearsome to me,” Norma pointed out.
“Don’t be taken in by her feminine wiles,” Sertin urged her.
Norma arched an eyebrow. “I wasn’t.”
“It’s easy to do,” he countered.
“Maybe if I was you,” she argued.
“Especially then,” he snapped.
Norma felt a bit unsure of how to react to that.
“Who’s there?” the barbarian called, ceasing her tree chopping and brandishing the axe in her hand in a most menacing manner.
Sergeant Sertin stood. “Sergeant Sertin of the Royal Guard of the kingdom of Kingdom,” he cried.
“Oh,” the barbarian woman said. “How ya doin?”
“Egad,” Sertin sighed. “I can not understand her guttural tongue!”
“Hey, my tongue hasn’t been in a gutter,” the barbarian woman snorted. “At least, not today.”
“This foe is too great for our small force,” Sertin declared. “Men, ride for the castle and get reinforcements!”
“Yes, sir,” the men replied and fled quickly to get reinforcements.
“Sertin, there’s just one of her, to like, ten of us,” Norma pointed out.
“As I said, we are outmatched,” the Sergeant told her.
“You do a very good Lieutenant Tantamount,” Norma admitted, though it pained her.
“Thank you,” Sergeant Sertin replied with a smile. “I’ve been taking some acting classes and really feel like I’ve improved a great deal.”
“That’s great,” Norma nodded.
“I’ve been offered a role as Brad Douriff’s butt double, you know,” Sertin said smugly.
Norma stared at him for a long time. Sertin stayed smug. Norma decided to get back to the story.
Turning to the barbarian, Princess Norma bravely faced the savage killing machine and asked, “Do you have a name?”
“Oh, yeah, I’m Barbara,” the barbarian told her with a wave of her axe.
“Barbara the barbarian?”
“That’s me,” Barbara agreed.
“Okay then,” Norma sighed. “Might I ask why your chopping down these trees?”
“Ah, yeah, sorry about that, but I need the lumber,” Barbara admitted a bit sheepishly.
“For what, exactly?”
“Well, the invasion of your kingdom, of course,” Barbara told her.
Norma stood there for a moment, unsure how to proceed. Sertin was making threatening jabs with his pike, but Barbara hardly seemed to notice.
“I’m sorry,” Norma told the barbarian at last. “But I find it hard to believe that you plan to invade with only yourself.”
Barbara thought about that for a minute. “I can see how that would be weird, but trust me, I have a plan.”
“Such as?” Norma asked.
Barbara looked about to make sure no one was listening, then whispered, “By invading. Invasively.”
Norma sighed and felt her eye twitch. “I gathered that when you said you were going to invade.”
Barbara leaned back a bit. “So, you’ve uncovered my plan. You’re a clever one, you are.”
“You told me the plan! I didn’t uncover anything!”
“Is this one of those Jedi mind tricks?” Barbara asked. “Cause, I’ve never been good with those.”
“What?” Norma shouted.
“Get out of my head!” Barbara cried, throwing her axe aside to clutch her head.
Norma took a deep breath and counted to ten. “If you plan to invade, don’t you think it would be better if you had an army?”
“That’s what the lumber is for,” Barbara gasped, still reeling from Norma’s psychic assault. “I’m going to build a fake army.”
“A fake army?”
“No! The master stroke! You’ve pulled it from my brains!” Barbara cried. “You and your devilish science fiction slash fantasy powers!”
“I don’t have any powers,” Norma groaned. “You’re just an idiot.”
“That’s a possibility,” Barbara agreed. “But still, you have to admit, you used some very clever mind tricks there.”
“No, I didn’t,” Norma sighed.
“Not even one?”
“Hmm,” Barbara pondered, not unlike another character in another story.
The men returned then, with more men, a bit quickly perhaps, but not so slowly the narrative would lag. It was enough that Sertin was certain they had at last outnumbered their enemy. He made this thought clear when he said, “We’ve outnumbered the enemy!”
Norma wanted to hit him with something large and heavy. Barbara had the same idea, grasping a large and heavy tree branch and swinging it up, having lost her axe in her battle of wills with the Princess.
“Gasp,” one of the soldiers gasped. “She has a club! What should we do, Sergeant?”
“We have no choice,” Sergeant Sertin said with grit in his eye, which he blinked rapidly to try and remove. “We must retreat. We cannot hope to defeat her when she is armed thus.”
“Or, you could just pull your own swords. You outnumber her twenty to one, after all,” Prince Salient offered as he rode by, on a hunt judging by his manner of dress.
“Prince Salient has a point,” Sertin said. “Men, pull your swords!”
“Wait!” Barbara cried, throwing aside her weapon. “I’m still in barbarian lands over here. If you attack me, it’s a declaration of war.”
“She’s right,” Sertin sighed. “Men, menace threateningly!”
The men growled and seethed and foamed at the mouth. Barbara backed away. Norma did a bit, too.
“But, sir, how can we make certain she doesn’t return?” one of the mouth foaming soldiers asked.
“Easily,” Sertin said.
“Here!” Princess Eazlee cried as she stumbled from the underbrush. “Where are the fearsome, manly, barbarians?”
“Actually, there’s only one, and it’s a woman,” Norma pointed out.
“Oh,” Eazlee said with a bit of disappointment. “Ah well, not like I haven’t done that before. Excuse me, I have to be captured and held hostage now.”
“Eazlee,” Norma said with a bit of concern for her sister. “Sergeant Sertin and his men have already devised a plan to rid us of the barbarian. It’s too late.”
“Dammit,” Eazlee grumbled. “And I ran all the way out here.”
“I know,” Norma said, ignoring the twitch in her fingers. “There’s always next time.”
Eazlee sighed and nodded, waving to Barbara, “Next time you invade, take me prisoner. I’m very good at it!”
Barbara fled, perhaps in fear, perhaps to boldly plot a new plan. Most likely because she didn’t swing that way. Almost certainly because she did and Eazlee was kinda cheap.
“Well done, men,” Sertin said. “We’ve saved the kingdom. The barbarian horde will never return.”
“Are you sure of that?” Eazlee asked, bitter resentment thick in her voice.
“I’m not just sure, I’m certain,” Sertin replied.
Norma face palmed.
The Bugbear has all the basketballs.
Copyright © 2013 Cain S. Latrani
This, and other really stupid tales of The Kingdom can be found in the novel, The Kingdom: The Novel, by Cain S. Latrani.
The author of this blog, who is also Cain S. Latrani, really doesn’t recommend buying it, however. The entire thing is pretty absurd, and the result of a drunken weekend in Idaho. That said, the author of The Kingdom: The Novel, and this blog, Cain S. Latrani, who really needs some name recognition, hereby refuses to take responsibility from any of the known side effects of reading The Kingdom: The Novel by Cain S. Latrani.
Seriously. Not my fault. Shoo.