The King’s Messenger

Writing Exercise

Goose fat slid down the king’s chin. He took another bite from the meaty shank clutched tight in his clubbed fist and chewed, openmouthed, as he watched the lowly peasant that bowed before him in his chambers.

“You have news, then?” the king asked.

“I do, sire. I’ve come from the front lines to deliver an urgent message.”

The king chortled. “Good news, I expect. We’ve had the savages against the wall for months, now. Has their king finally come to see reason?”

“He has. It took all this time to convince him of what was right, but he finally agreed that this is the only path.” The peasant bowed more deeply, practically prostrating himself.

The king clapped his heavy fists together gleefully. “Then it is over, at last.”

“It is.”

The peasant stood. In his hand was a short sword the length of a man’s thigh. Without a sound, he leaped forward and plunged the sword deep into the king’s enormous gut. He pressed in until his arm sank into the fat of the king’s stomach. The king gasped, scrabbling weakly at the arms and neck of his assassin.

“This is the message, oh great king,” the assassin whispered. “You have been vanquished by the savages you so despise.”

“You…w…will die…here,” the king sputtered.

The assassin wrenched the sword from the king’s belly. “You first.” He reeled back and slashed the sword one final time.

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