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A Fool's Bucket - Ch. 4.2

by ExOmelas

Back on the stage, Buck stretched his arms, lowered himself up and down on tip-toes a few times, and took a deep breath. Everyone was settling back down, including Erson on the couch beside Pires. Buck caught Pires's eye and she nodded, slowly, counting down from ten with her fingers. Briefly, Buck glanced at Erson, whose mouth was hanging slightly open, presumably in anticipation. The last finger Pires left up was her right index finger, which she pointed at Buck and mouthed the word "Go".

Buck's poem he'd written revolved mostly around the wonders of Resador and how Pires's father had been able to bring so many of flowing in by opening trade relationships with the South Eastern islands. It was supposed to be about various jewels and fabrics - though Buck had shoehorned in some gushing over a particular type of flute - many of which Erson seemed to have taken a liking to throughout the week. He was even wearing a turquoise Bleira jewel in a golden necklace that sat on top of his light blue tunic - not to mention the fact that he'd worn almost entirely grey for his first three days.

As Buck reached the end of this section, however, he slipped into song to tribute Resador city court. He began with a crowd-favourite, with some call and reply about how there was no place they'd rather be. The replies were slightly subdued at first, but once everyone woke up from their poet-induced slumber they were toasting Buck with flagons held high. Pires squinted at him, but she joined in too, as did Erson. In fact, Erson's arms were in the air and his foot was pounding out a rhythm on the carpet. He didn't seem to notice that his mother was glaring at him in wide-eyed mortification.

She sat back when Buck moved on to try out a few lines he'd written to the same air as the 'Lay of a Lost Father', a sort of solemn ode to a place that meant everything to him. Erson continued to smile, as did Pires, who touched her hand to her heart when he saluted her part in the foundation of the court.

Buck was glad he'd added in this section when he moved onto his poetical discussion of shepherds. Erson was sleepily laying back against his corner of the couch, while Pires glanced anxiously towards the Queen. This time, the Queen did not look round, nor did she make eye contact with any of the Resadorian citizens who snuck looks over their shoulder towards her. Rydone had explained to Buck that ever since the meeting he'd been in the rafters for, if someone in the city referred to 'shepherds' in the same sentence as the Queen, that could be roughly translated as 'the Queen's war is pointless, and she's a bigger fool than Bucket for engaging in it.' 'Bigger fool than Bucket' was a phrase Buck had often heard thrown around in drunken Resadorian arguments, but he'd never have imagined hearing it applied to a queen.

Luckily it was soon time to move on to his praise of Pires. While perhaps no less inflammatory to the Queen, at least he could do this in his sleep. He led into it by repeating how she'd built a court based on her father's trading networks, then described how the people loved her, then how Buck loved her for letting him let his creativity fly. This was where he was supposed to leave it: trade, people, Buck - rule of three. But hey, Erson had asked for song, and Pires had seemed okay with it last time.

Before Pires had explained that she intended subtlety for the event, Buck had got started on a simple but loud song about how she and Erson would be a perfect match.

And I think sometimes of love for her,

She's surrounded by loyalty.

As he gestured to himself and the adoring courtiers, he elongated the last syllable, making it distinctly an 'ee' sound. Then he looked up to the dais, eyes flicking between Pires and Erson as the courtiers twisted around to follow his gaze.

But I think we all want more for her,

Yes, she needs more than me.

A few courtiers whooped at that, though Buck hoped it was to enthusiastically signal wanting more for her, rather than a scathing indictment of himself.

There's a love we cannot give to her,

No romance comes from me.

Buck winced at how often he was rhyming 'me' with itself. 'Her' was repeated on purpose as a refrain but this was just clunky. Still, it wasn't like Erson was a connoisseur. He just had to get his point across and vaguely stick to metre. He focused on Erson as he sang his next two lines.

Perhaps there's someone near to her,

Whose kindness is plain to see.

Or at least, had been. As Buck finished the high note of 'see', he noticed Erson, who was snarling at him. His top lip had tugged upwards at the sides into an ugly grimace that would put even Misene off. The next words flew from Buck's mind, but Buck thought that was probably for the best, what with the way Erson's right hand was clenched around the arm of the sofa and his left was curled tightly up into a fist.

"Enough!" he shouted, though Buck had had no intentions whatsoever of continuing.

His gaze flicked over to Pires, who would be about ready to deploy the 'pay him no heed, he is but a fool line' that had extricated them from countless situations over the years, but she said nothing. She glared at Buck, her own jaw clenching like Erson's. Buck gulped. Well, at least they were on the same page.

"Your grace, I can only apologise," Pires said after a moment. She pointed at the door with a stiff, unwavering index finger. "Bucket, get out!"

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Tue Nov 26, 2019 2:07 pm
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JabberHut wrote a review...


okay I had to tease myself and skim the next part to see what happened because WHAT

I expected things to go badly but WHAT

You once again did a great job leading the leader into a sense of peace before quickly bringing the house down, so kudos bUT HOW RUDE OMF.

I like how you summed up the song in storytelling narration. I did this in my NaNo, leaving a comment about potentially making lyrics but omg I cannot. xD STILL. Whether you choose to replace it with lyrics is up to you because it reads very well and was very easy to catch on to the point of the song. It also allowed the narration to squeeze in some Buck perspective where entertaining lyrics would not.

Actually, even during the lyrics section at the end, you did the narration between lines again, and I just really like that. It helps to keep the environment alive while the song progresses, which is very easy to forget about when writing lyrics in stories. Plus, it was an excellent way to tell this part of the story, where Buck mentions marriage and the subjects are quick to anger. The pacing for this worked extremely well, I thought.

So I SUPER enjoyed the fact that Erson was enjoying Buck and the song. It was beautiful how he continues to accept Buck over time, and the stark contrast to the queen made this even better. We're led to believe this could upset Erson, but in reality, it's only the queen that's the concern. Erson has character hidden beneath that stuck-up facade, and seeing a huge glimpse of that here was really exciting.

Then the whirlwind reaction to Buck's end of his song was crazy and surprising. I didn't expect Pires to be so angry as well, and this makes it all the more unexpected and unpredictable which is AWESOME. Making my jaw drop is a good thing, and I think Pires' reaction was really key in the way this scene turned out. She clearly had something on mind that Buck was not made aware of (despite her [best] efforts), and seeing her reaction to a seemingly catastrophic outcome is fascinating. She got just as angry as Erson (whether it was an act or not), and she obviously has practiced authority to be able to hold her ground against a dear friend and tell him to get out. Plus, she doesn't tell Buck everything, like what would happen if he did sing about a proposal, which is also significant. She clearly assumed that Buck didn't require that level of detail in their discussion beforehand, but now that they know Buck missed a significant piece of information when writing his song, I wonder how this will turn out for him. Hopefully there's some level of understanding from Pires, but Erson will undoubtedly remain furious which is SO SAD BECAUSE HE WAS SO LOVELY THIS CHAPTER. //sob

Oh, and I do wonder how the queen reacts to this. She didn't like Buck's antics while Erson did, and now that this got out of hand, I wonder if she'll be smug about it in front of Erson. Like "I told you, sonny, party clowns ain't worth it!" or something.

I will read the next segment tomorrow as I have to get to work now, but I look forward to getting some more insight into what happened. I think some of my questions here will have been answered to an extent with the rest of the chapter, and it's just the way of things that it's broken up here. It was a great dramatic pause, though, let me tell you becaUSE I NEED TO READ MORE. I will be back! :D

Jabber, the One and Only!

ExOmelas says...

teeheehee this is exactly the reaction I was hoping for! there's a couple of questions still left at the end of 4.3 but it's hopefully quite a clear set-up that these will be answered in chapter 5.

thanks for the review :D

"Now I realize that there is no righteous path, it’s just people trying to do their best in a world where it is far too easy to do your worst."
— Castiel