Young Writers Society

Home » Forums » Resources » Writers Corner

LMS: A Fool's Bucket



User avatar
760 Reviews



Gender: Other
Points: 33596
Reviews: 760
Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:36 pm
View Likes
ExOmelas says...



Fair warning, I came up with this all in one night while watching tennis.

Where some people say that James VI & I was once 'The wisest fool in Christendom', Bucket is the most cunning, most cynical, most conniving fool in the southern duchy of Resa. Together with his duchess patron, the two carefully hone his fool's babbling before every visit by anyone of note. Through this, they are able to pressurise and unnerve every duke, baron or even royalty who comes to visit.

Well, I say royalty. They've always had success with the Queen, with her parents and siblings. But one day a visit from the young Prince shows Bucket what happens when he topples off the edge of the knife he has been dancing his motley on.

What fools these mortals be!
William Shakespeare
A Midsummer Night's Dream


Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do.

Linkin Park
One More Light


  





User avatar
760 Reviews



Gender: Other
Points: 33596
Reviews: 760
Fri Dec 27, 2019 1:27 am
View Likes
ExOmelas says...



A thin strip of light lay over one side of Buck's face when he awoke the next morning. He screwed up the eye caught in it, groaning. Sometimes the execution of an early morning plan was significantly tougher than the concoction. He'd moved his pallet a few feet before settling down to sleep so that it was directly in front of this narrow window, and he'd be woken up as soon as dawn broke. The two guards' body clocks would likely wake them soon anyway, but he probably had about half an hour. He wriggled out of the sleeping back and knelt at the side, where he'd left the bucket.
"Morning, Simone," he whispered. "You seen my notes?"
He had brought a few sheets of parchment tied together at the edges, on which he often scribbled shorthand notes about guests who came to Resador City, whom he might have to research in order to set up a plan with Pires. He turned the first page away from the notes about Erson.
"Alright... What did I learn last night?" he murmured as he wrote. "Hilene... chatty - with questions, little about self. Back to normal on way to sleep? Suggests not night owl. Victane - quiet outside, doesn't like the cold? Liked watching me plan."
Buck frowned, chewing on the end of his quill, then immediately grimacing because he'd dropped it in ink last week. He wrote down four questions to have answered by the end of the day, then stretched his legs and headed off to find the shopkeep to ask for breakfast.
There was a door to the left of the bar that the shopkeep stood behind; as Buck knocked on this, he heard footsteps approaching from behind.
“Morning, Buck,” Hilene said, giving him a quick smile. He motioned with his eyebrows towards the door. “You getting us breakfast?”
Buck nodded. Hilene was back to sentences longer than three words, it would seem. Maybe he had just needed some sleep last night. Before he could test again by asking him a question, the door swung open behind him.
“Good morning,” said the shopkeep. “I’m guessing you three would like breakfast?”
“Victane doesn’t eat breakfast,” Hilene said. “He says an extra half hour sleep gets him going better in the morning.”
The shopkeep shrugged. She adjusted her cream linen shirt which was tucked into a wide brown skirt, yawned, and scratched behind her ear. “Fair enough then. Take a seat by the bar and I’ll bring you out some eggs.”
Buck and Hilene slid onto the nearest two stools and waited for the shopkeep to re-emerge.
“I didn’t know that about Victane,” Buck said.
Hilene shrugged. “It comes up every so often when our boss offers us snacks in the morning, when he’s assigning us jobs for the day.”
Alright, definitely back to chatty. Buck rubbed the back of his neck. “I was wondering about Victane actually. He was awfully quiet on the way here.”
Hilene let out a long breath through his nose, pursing his lips. “I think he misses his daughter.”
Buck’s eyebrows shot up and he forgot his next line of enquiry. “I didn’t mean to drag him away from his family!”
“No, no. She left Resador City years ago. She’s a trader,” Hilene said. He glanced towards Victane, who was still on his side facing the fire. “But he’s leaving the home where she grew up. I think he just needed a moment.”
“Yeah, he did seem to perk up towards the end of the night,” Buck said.
“Yes,” Hilene said, as the door beside the bar opened again and the shopkeep came through, carrying three plates of eggs. That was a one word answer again, just as they were talking about the point of the night where Hilene had gone quiet. But perhaps it was just because the food had arrived. The shopkeep placed the plates down on the bar and slipped around to the other side, drawing a stool out for herself.
As they tucked in to the food, which was delicious, Hilene asked her, “What’s your name, by the way?”
“Dosine,” she said, “And you two?”
They told her their names, Buck using his true name of Buttane, and Buck made up some backstory about the audience with Erson that had earned him his place at the Royal Court. They continued their chat as they ate, but Dosine ate faster than the others, then excused herself to go get the horses ready.
As Hilene finished off some bread that had come with the toast, he said, “We should go wake Victane. But Buck… Just, you asked why Victane brightened up towards the end of the night. Well, you’re about the same age as his daughter. And I think he might see her reflected in you.”
“Aren’t the two of us the same age?”
Hilene chuckled slightly. “True, but she liked to dance. You’ve seen me dance.”
Buck laughed. “I appreciated the attempt, man! That was a fun birthday. But I get what you’re saying. I’ll be wary of that.”
Hilene smiled, wider than he had when he’d greeted Buck before breakfast. “Thank you. Right, let’s go wake him.”
Buck nodded, hopping off the stool. “You do that. I’ll go pay for the horses.”
He headed back out the front door of the hut and followed the path of flattened grass around to the back, where there was a stable attached. Dosine was tending to the three of the horses who had been led out of the stable and tied to a wooden post. Buck let out a small sigh of relief. He knew next to nothing about horses and would have struggled to pick out which three to take.
“Hey,” he called as he approached. “How much?”
“A gold each?” she asked, patting a big brown horse on the nose.
“Sure,” Buck said, wondering a moment later if he’d been expected to haggle. But Pires had set him up with plenty of money; there was no reason to offer less than Dosine seemed to find fair.
A moment later Hilene and Victane appeared at his side. Hilene grinned wide and slowly approached the brown horse.
“Can I have this one?” he asked, turning around to face Buck. Three word answers gone again.
“Of course,” Buck said. He let Victane select which of the remaining two horses he took, then slowly approached the third. He rarely left Resador, and when he did he did so in a carriage with Pires. He had little more than the basic understanding of how to ride a horse.
Once he’d handed Dosine the coins, she helped him up onto the horse. He closed his eyes and tried to remember the one time as a child he’d ridden a pony at a courtyard fair. Surely it couldn’t be that hard to remember. Muscle memory was coming back to him, here and there, and he could copy Hilene and Victane for the rest.
“Good luck!” Dosine called up.
Buck gave her a smile and wave, then mimicked the two guards as they kicked the sides of their horses and headed back towards the road.

What fools these mortals be!
William Shakespeare
A Midsummer Night's Dream


Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do.

Linkin Park
One More Light


  





User avatar
760 Reviews



Gender: Other
Points: 33596
Reviews: 760
Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:19 pm
View Likes
ExOmelas says...



Chapter 15.1

Buck took a deep breath, and opened the door to Pires’s office.

“Oh. Hello, Erson,” he said.

Erson was sitting directly in front of Pires’s desk, exactly where Buck usually sat. The sunlight streamed in across the two of them, illuminating some paper on the desk. As Buck moved into the room he saw that there were already a couple of words and phrases jotted down, but he had to go grab an extra chair so he couldn’t immediately see what they were. Pires always kept a few less luxuriously cushioned chairs up against the far right wall of the room in case any allies were joining them for discussions. Usually Buck was there before the ally though, and sitting in his usual chair.

“Morning, Bucket,” Pires said as he drew the chair up to sit next to them. “Erson got here early, as you can imagine, he and Myal staying in the palace of course.”

“I – yes, that makes sense,” Buck said, sitting down on Erson’s left.

Erson turned to face him. “Good morning.”

Buck gulped and turned to Pires. “So, where have you got so far?”

Pires turned the paper around to face him. “Well, we’ve been given the name of the ambassador who’s coming to meet us. Seemingly it’s a rather small party being sent first – just the ambassador, a ship captain and a single deckhand. Then they’ll return home and discuss… essentially discuss whether I am more worth contact with than my father. They did not get on so well with my father.”

“I understand,” Erson said. He leaned in slightly, facing straight forward. “What exactly will they be looking for in you?”

“My father – and Buck’s for that matter – had a habit of taking what wasn’t theirs. I like to think that they would never have had tried to take those islands by force but if the forces had been weaker and they thought they could have taken them… I can’t speak for Buck’s father but I’m not confident mine would have stuck to diplomatic endeavours,” Pires said. Her eyes stuck to the notes, not meeting Erson’s. Buck had never really considered that; his father had never been the fighting type. But he’d been far too young to know Pires’s father. The only thing he really remembered was that his Royal Guard uniforms were less brightly coloured than Pires’s.

“You certainly have a handle on diplomacy,” Erson said. “I’m here, aren’t I?”

Buck chuckled for the briefest of moments before his conscious mind caught up with him.

“Essentially we just have to be courteous, on our best behaviour and not try to swindle, manoeuvre, or otherwise manipulate the ambassador,” Pires said.

Now Erson did look at Pires. He raised an eyebrow and said, “I didn’t think that was what you meant by diplomacy.”

Pires looked away from him and turned her notes back around, putting her quill to the page. But she didn’t write anything new yet. She cleared her throat. “We have a clean slate. We can do this.”

Buck glanced down as his eyes widened. He’d left Simone in the bucket at Victane’s with his mum. He hadn’t expected to run into Erson quite so soon, but he’d figured it would happen eventually. And when it did, he was hoping to avoid the mention of buckets or foolery, on either side. Of course, Pires had immediately cried out his name as he entered the room, so that was that for that plan. That was actually an oddly simple mistake for Pires to make, but maybe she was just as stomach-churningly nervous as him. In any case, he was glad he did not have Simone with her while they discussed theft from a foreign nation.

“So this nation,” Erson said, breaking the silence that had begun to stretch, “they are interested in scientific advancement? I heard there was some intrigue over a cooling device. Not that there’s much need for a cooling device where I come from, but it’s a fascinating idea – perpetual temperature regulation.”

Pires glanced at Buck, who shrugged. He was just glad Erson wasn’t burping in his face.

“Yes, it was an invention of Buck’s father’s, and he was taken into service to develop it for them, as essentially punishment,” Pires said. She stopped short of exactly what for. Buck wasn’t sure if she knew about Simone, in fact. Perhaps her father had told her.

“I won’t pry,” Erson said, looking at Buck for the first time since he’d come in. Then he turned back to Pires. “But tell me more about this ambassador. Have they gone on missions like this before? The arrangement sounds rather specific is all I’m thinking.”

“It didn’t say in the letter but, er, I think so,” Pires said. “They must have swift boats to be meeting us so fast. They sent a single messenger with the letter, and that’s not even to precede the main party, just the ambassador. I think it’s a safe bet that they’re sailing out to other places quite often. Why do you ask?”

“I’m just curious,” Erson said. “It would be nice to eventually meet more people from around the world, see how they live their lives. I don’t think anybody thinks this kingdom is perfect, and thanks to… what we’re doing… I will have the chance to make some changes one day. Perhaps I shall be able to see some other ways of building a society.”

Buck smiled despite everything. He remembered Erson saying something like that back in the Royal Valley. Perhaps one day all of this would be behind them and Erson would be busy changing the world. The conversation went on for a while with Erson asking more questions about the nation, though Pires ran out of answers soon. For being such a key part of the recent history of Resador, Buck for one had given very little thought to that nation off to the south. Pires had brought it up very rarely too. But now they had to face it, and their history, if for no other reason than to satisfy some of Erson’s burgeoning curiosity.

What fools these mortals be!
William Shakespeare
A Midsummer Night's Dream


Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do.

Linkin Park
One More Light


  








But even the worst decisions we make don't necessarily remove us from the circle of humanity.
— Wes Moore, The Other Wes Moore