The King and The Brewer’s Son is fictional literature about two men who are linked by destiny. One, a poor, modest family man with no desires but to eek out an honest living and honor his wife and child. The other, a hideously disfigured King who’s only thought since childhood has been power and revenge. It all takes place in an inspiring enchanted setting.
Life is full of heroes and villains.
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The King and The Brewer’s Son
Newman L Dalton
They say that a king can only rule over his people as well as he can rule over his own demons.
As a young man, Prince Cyrus’ life was the envy of the entire realm and his face was divinely handsome. But toward the end the Trowarkian War, the Trowark army laid waste to Cyrus’ Kingdom of Sacred Heart. The Trowarkian soldiers were given orders to brand the young prince but not to kill him. This was to forever signify to the people of Sacred Heart, that not even the royal family was safe from the blade of Orlon, King of the Trowarks. The prince’s young face was slashed from his hairline to his chin, causing him to lose his right eye. Because their enchanted herb gardens had been burnt and the proper tools of medicine looted, the healers of the kingdom were forced to stitch the prince’s eyelid shut in an attempt to hide the grotesqueness of his empty socket. Before the Trowarks could finish the job of annihilating the Kingdom of Sacred Heart, they were given orders, by King Orlon, to march north as their own borders were being threatened by an onslaught of menacing skirmishes.
Sacred Heart was spared, but it was left a broken kingdom. Prince Cyrus was left with a torn, hideous face. And with Cyrus’ father, King Maysow slain, the queen was left with no husband and little power. Infighting amongst noble suitors began, as they all tried to force the beautiful Queen Elizia to marry before Prince Cyrus’ 20th birthday. This was when he would be crowned ruler. Cyrus even feared for his own life at the hands of greedy nobles that wished to lay claim to his power. He was forced to learn the art of manipulation at an early age. When most children were still learning simple arithmetic, he had discovered how to successfully coordinate an assassination. Cyrus made it to his coronation and from then on ruled with an iron fist. He never missed an opportunity to display his power and savagery. Cyrus once saw the reign of his father, King Maysow, as benevolent and just. He now regarded it as weak and pitiful. He vowed to himself to never let history repeat itself. His soul burned to find an unstoppable power. The era of benevolent rule was dead, and the reign of Cyrus the “Unique” was born. Cyrus’ brutality was as unique amongst his family line as was the grotesqueness of his face.
“Keen! Hurry with that wood. The fire is almost gone,” Nina yelled from her wooden chair. She was nursing an infant girl and could not stand for the child to be cold.
Keen shouted back from the front porch, “Till this day, I still don’t understand how such a small woman has such a large voice.” Keen was a thin young man with an awkward but likeable clean shaven face.
“One of these days, dear, I’ll let you nurse a cold, starving little girl. I’m sure you will yell just as loud.”
Keen paused for a moment and then smiled. “No… No thank you dear. I’ll leave you ladies to it,” he shouted back through the thin wooden wall separating the outside of the shack from the inside. “Your wood will arrive shortly on a silver platter.”
With that he quickly backed his way into the tiny dwelling with his arms full of fire wood. He then kicked the door closed behind him. Keen was so efficient at opening and shutting the door that barely a wisp of cold air made it into the small shack.
Nina was laughing by now, at the same time, trying to tighten her belly as to not disturb her child. “It’s lucky for you honey, that I didn’t marry you based upon the merits of your humor,” she smiled warmly.
“You were kind to marry me at all my love… don’t remind me.”
Just as he’d said that, he heard the galloping of horses in the distance. Keen unloaded the freshly chopped wood and tossed bits of it hurriedly into the fire. Nina craned her neck to look out of the window.
“Keen, what is the matter? What have you done? Did you steal our bread or did you buy it?”
“I bought our bread, love.” Keen was sweating by now and his bowels trembled. “I bought it! I don’t know what’s going on.”
Peering through the window, the couple watched a trio of soldiers on horseback approach their small cottage. Two of them stayed mounted. The last man moved his heavy sword out of the way of his right leg and cumbersomely removed himself from his steed. Moments later, Keen and Nina heard the knocking of a metal fist at their door.
“Mister Suntor?” the voice was deep and had a very crude accent. “Mister Keen Suntor? Son of the brewer Myzel?”
Nina looked at Keen and swallowed. She covered her bosom and wrapped the infant in a blanket. Keen glanced back at her and slowly moved towards the door.
“The same,” he muttered much more softly than he would have liked. Keen closed his eyes tightly and attempted this speaking thing again but in a deeper voice. “This is Keen, son of Myzel the brewer.” Unknowingly, Keen had placed both hands flat on the door as if to hold it closed.
“Permission to enter, sir.” The voice was anything but friendly and Keen could tell that the word ‘sir’ was not a sign of respect, but more of a formality. A product of years in the king’s service.
Keen stepped away from the door. “Come in… please.” Keen’s voice was hesitant.
The door flew open and along with it came the cold air. The infant wailed. The man who entered was the size of a house. He wore the king’s colors and smelled of horse manure and alcohol. His face was covered with a thick beard, and an iron helmet rested precariously atop his large head. Keen, in spite of himself, wondered how the man ate, drank, or even kissed a woman with a beard so full and coarse. The bearded soldier’s attention darted instantly toward Nina and the screaming baby. Nina rocked hastily to calm the child. With the door still wide open, the sound of horses and two other soldiers growling and laughing accompanied the frigid air into the cottage.
With little regard for the helpless Nina and child, the bearded soldier looked back at Keen, straightened his back and began to announce himself.
“I am Captain Henry Dungal of the King’s army. His majesty requires your presence at sunset.”
“I’m sorry…?” Keen responded.
Dungal broke his military bearing for a second and leaned forward. “He wants to see you. For dinner.”
“For dinner?” Keen sighed. Slightly more relaxed, he started to put more bits of wood into the tiny fireplace. It crackled, and that warmed Keen’s face to a smile. Suddenly, he remembered that he had a visitor. Nina, with child in arm, stood up and shut the door and kissed her child on the forehead. Captain Dungal turned to the sound of the door being closed. It was clear that Dungal was a man that wanted to know everything that was going on around him.
“Yes Mr. Suntor… for dinner.” Dungal fought a slight chill but kept his bearing. “I have orders to deliver this message. Nothing more. You are to come by horseback to the statue of King Maysow, in the southern courtyard of Sacred Palace.” Dungal reached into a large pouch that was tied to his sword belt and produced what looked like the bladder of some large grass eater. The bladder had a small wooden funnel fitted with a cork at the end. Keen watched the large man work. With both hands, Dungal uncorked the bladder tilted his head back and inserted the tip into his beard where his mouth would have probably been, had Dungal not had such a mammoth beard. Seconds later, Dungal placed the bladder back into the pouch and wiped his dripping beard. It seemed he had performed this drinking ceremony thousands of times as it was completed in the blink of an eye. Keen was awe struck. “Oh, and one more thing Mr. Suntor,” Dungal huffed producing a sweet stale perfume of hot liquor. “No weapons.”
Keen tilted his head and furrowed his brow, “But, I haven’t any weapons.”
Dungal looked at Nina. Nina shrugged. He refocused on Keen, “Like I said, no weapons.”
Captain Dungal turned on his heel, and as abruptly as he had come, he left. The door fluttered in the wind and Keen rushed to shut it. Keen rested his back against the door, murmuring to himself, ”sunset…” and then turned his head to his wife.
“Should I bathe?”
“Dear, you know we have no soap. We can barely afford bread. Besides, if the king’s company smells like that man, his nose will not notice you at all. Lastly, you bathed at the last full moon. Let’s not be greedy.”
“This doesn’t sound good dear.” Keen scratched his head. “Do you still have any more of your grandmother’s perfume?”
Nina clutched her child. “I’ve only got enough for a few more sprays and I was saving it for a special occasion.”
“I only need half of a spray. I just want to take the edge off, dear. I must be tip top. I don’t know what is going to happen.”
“I suppose you’re right,” Nina replied. “It is in Cinda’s drawer, under her pajamas wrapped in a blue cloth. Half a spray honey.”
“Of course, my dear, I don’t want to smell too friendly.” Keen forced a smile. Just then a huge brown rat scurried across the floor. Keen stomped it with his heel, and picked the rat up by its broken neck, its little legs still kicking. “Put this in with the cabbage dear. We can use the meat and I’ll see if I can trade the pelt for more bread.”
Nina smiled and replied, “Who is going to want to trade for a rat pelt?”
“I’ll trim it and say its rabbit… a small one.” Keen breathed in deeply. “Tonight at dinner, I swear, I will only eat a couple bites and I will ask the king if I can bring the rest home.”
“And if he asks for your head in exchange?”
Keen nodded and winked. “More delicious rat stew for you then.”
Captain Dungal and his men trotted through the wilderness of Beak Forest, the horses chattering amongst themselves as did the men.
“Sir, what does the king want with the brewer’s son?” one of the men asked in a clean, dignified voice.
Captain Dungal pulled on his reigns causing his steed to jerk to a halt. The horse turned half left of its own accord and Dungal yanked it back to face his men.
“Sergeant Huxby. I don’t have the authority or knowledge enough to assume what the king’s wishes are. Why he chose me to deliver this lowly message is beyond me as well. If that satisfies your curiosity Sergeant… that will be all!” the Captain seethed with speckles of foamy white saliva flinging through the air.
“My mistake, sir,” Sergeant Huxby replied in a forced solemn voice.
For the first time, the third soldier spoke up in a gruff bearish voice. “Always stickin your ‘ead in other folks business. Tell me sergeant, is it dark in the Captain’s beard whilst he chews you wif ‘is words?” Corporal Timber chuckled. Ironically, Corporal Timber’s name was quite fitting. The size of a tree trunk, he was one of very few soldiers in the King’s army that could make Captain Dungal look small.
Sergeant Huxby turned his head quickly and with venom in his eyes, he belted back, “Oh, piss off you. Why they let half breed Trowark freaks like you in the king’s army is completely beyond me.” Huxby’s horse shook its head wildly and backed up a couple of steps. It was as if Sergeant Huxby’s temper had momentarily infected the steed.
“’Cause I can crush a weakling like you in my fist.” Timber raised a clenched hand just above his head. His bulky fist resembled a giant pale greenish rock, and thick golden rings wrapped tightly around two of the fingers. Two large canine teeth protruded from either corner of his closed mouth, with his bottom lip wrapped tightly around them.
Just then Sergeant Huxby and Corporal Timber turned their heads toward the sound of a Captain Dungal’s whinnying horse. With a thud of bone, flesh and iron armor, the Captain crashed onto the trail floor and his horse fled into the forest like a bolt of lightning. As his horse galloped into the distance, Captain Dungal scrambled to his hands and knees all the while struggling to draw his heavy sword. His men had already dismounted, drawn their arms and were looking for the source of danger. Sergeant Huxby was stepping backwards toward his captain. He lowered his free hand to help the captain up. Captain Dungal shrugged Huxby’s arm away with vengeance and pressed his free hand down on his knee to hoist the huge bulk which was his body, back to its feet.
Corporal Timber had his sword drawn and was stalking towards the edge of the horse trail facing the forest. His head was leaned back as he sniffed the air. His eyes squinted dramatically and his mouth frowned. He let out a loud belching growl and turned his head back towards the two men.
Corporal Timber muttered under his breath, “The stench.” Then his voice grew louder. “Imps… One, maybe more.”
Captain Dungal caught his breath and with teeth pressed together mumbled, “I hate imps.”
Just then an ugly three-and-a-half-foot tall, muscular childlike creature, grasped the branch of a trailside shrub with its bony little hand. He pulled it down below his toothy drooling mouth and began to speak in a high pitched voice that rose even higher at the end of each sentence.
“Heeeeeeeiiiiihhhh???” The flustered imp sighed as he struggled to make human words. “I know what king wants with brewah’s son.” His eyes smiled. Then in a flash a second imp tackled the one that was speaking and the two of them disappeared momentarily into the brush.
Huxby and Timber glanced at each other and shrugged, their swords still at the ready. The shrubs were moving and shaking with cat like screeches coming from them. The screeching turned in to a hideous sounding scold. ”You not tell the humans what we heard!” the second imp yelled. The rumbling stopped. The first imp whispered, “The humans will want to give us tresha! heeeeeeeeiiiiihhh?”
Corporal Timber approached the bush where the two imps were last seen. He was sniffing and cursing under his breath.
“Corporal, don’t get too close to those buggers. They may be small but they pack quite a wallop,” Captain Dungal urged as he motioned for Timber to step back.
Corporal Timber’s giant barrel chest was heaving with excitement and rage. He didn’t quite believe that he couldn’t tear one of those little devils apart like a roasting hen, but Captain’s orders were to stand down, so stand down he did.
“That’s right ugly. Wallop, Wallop!” the second imp shook his tiny fist in the air as the other one covered his mouth and giggled.
“What is it that you heard imp?” Captain Dungal asked. “What piece of information would I want to give you treasure for?”
“Heeeeeiiiihh?” the first imp bounced from side to side as if it had to relieve itself.
The second imp which was obviously more accustomed to human interaction chimed in, “Tresha first.”
The first imp hunched his back and bared his razor sharp teeth. “Yea… Tresha, heeeiiiih??!”
“I adhere you to the laws of the forest, you scoundrels. If I give you your treasure, you must give me the information you promised,” Captain Dungal proclaimed impatiently.
In the old days when all of the creatures lived in harmony, Soreen, the goddess of the forest made the seven laws. One of them was that all who lived in the forest would honor bargains made between one another. These laws were made in order to keep the tranquility. This law was particularly useful when dealing with imps who were famous for their dishonesty. They were prone to tricking humans and other creatures in the most cruel of fashions… even if the joke led to the death of one of them. Any creature that did not live up to these laws was cursed to a gruesome death within seven hours of the offense. Even the otherwise immortal imps were not immune to such a curse.
The imp’s eyes glowed yellow, a sign of rage among immortal creatures, and each let out an evil hiss. Then one spoke up, “Fine… I know laws ugly… tresha first.” The words pushed like thick mud through the creature’s countless rows of jagged teeth.
Captain Dungal reached into the same pouch that held his precious drink and pulled out three golden clanes, the currency of the old Kingdom of Sacred Heart. He held them up for the imps to see and in one motion tossed them on to the ground a few feet in front of the naked little devils. The second imp started dancing and hopping up and down like a crall-vulture in front of a dead hildabeast. The first imp pushed the second onto the ground with tremendous strength and rubbed his hands together. Licking his lips, he croaked, “We want the Huxby too! He is clean. Has lots of meat. Heeeeeh… Heeeeeh.” The second imp dropped the coins and shook his head vigorously and echoed, “Yes, very clean… We want the Huxby too!”
“You will take what’s given you, demon from hell,” Captain Dungal sneered, his jaw clenched with hatred.
Sergeant Huxby spat on the ground and gripped his sword even tighter.
“HeeeeeeeAaaaaaahhheeeeih, Uglies!!!!!!” the second imp finally lost his bearing and screamed in tantrum. He then calmed himself. “You will hear only what we want to say then,” the imp rasped. “King found the eighth law.”
“What do you mean?” Dungal gruffed.
The imp tilted his little head to either side with each syllable. “That’s.. all.. three.. clanes.. buy.. Uglies!” he screamed at the top of his lungs. Then, as suddenly as the rage filled the little imp, it left him and he broke out into devious laughter.
With that, the imps collected their treasure and disappeared in to the forest giggling and howling and singing impish songs until their voices were no longer audible. Captain Dungal looked over his shoulder to see where his horse may have gone but it was too late. His horse was far out of sight. With great hesitation, Captain Dungal joined Corporal timber on the back of his horse as he could not bear the thought of joining Sergeant Huxby on the back of his.
‘The eighth law,’ Dungal thought. ‘What on Maysow’s grave is the eighth law and what does it have to do with the brewer’s son?’