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Fool Without A Master (Chapter 19 Part 2)

by MissGangamash

Do not fear, dear reader, after all we have been through, do you honestly think I would be so mean as to leave my story there? Although I do believe that is what is commonly referred to in the writing business as a blooming fantastic cliff-hanger.

I will admit it has been some time since I last put pen to paper but I felt I owed you an explanation so I will pick up from where I left off.

The horse.

I had been right, I did know that horse. I’d recognise that fine specimen anywhere, and his even finer rider.

My knife clattered to the table, a forgotten thing as my feet led me to the door. Peaches’ impatient hooves clicked against the floor to the beat of my erratic heart.

The metal of the latch was stingingly cold as I flicked it up and opened the door. And there he was standing a mere few strides away. He ran a rough hand down Bucky’s broad chest, eyes trained on me.

My throat dried instantly.

He wore chainmail but the Kalmador colours were missing.

His lips quirked up in a smile and something inside me aligned.

“Well.” I sighed, leaning on my doorjamb, feigning calm. “You took your time.”

Teeth scraped his lower lip, suppressing a grin. He shook his head and gestured at the expanse of nothingness all around us.

“You didn’t exactly make it easy for me, did you?”

“Where’s the fun in that?”

Kaspar took one step towards me and I ran, crashing into him with such force it knocked the wind right out of me. The links of his chainmail bit into my chest and I squeezed him tighter. His hand pressed to the back of my head, cradling me against him. The feel of his fingertips on my scalp swelled a lump in my throat.

He felt so solid. So warm. Not just a fabrication on parchment.

“You’re really here,” I mumbled into his neck, dropping all pretence.

His lips found my cheek. “I’ve got you.”

My legs buckled and Kaspar lowered me carefully to the ground, dropping with me as I crumbled. The damp grass soaked through my tights instantly, one of my knees almost frozen due to the gaping hole there. He sheltered me from the crisp breeze with his body, rocking me gently as I wept.

Feeling a warm presence around us, I lifted my face and was met with a dry, heavy swipe of a tongue from chin to forehead. I batted the muzzle away and Kaspar let out a chuckle, the sound sending tingles through my body.

“Hello, sweet Peaches,” Kaspar muttered with a tone as soft as butter. “Thank you for keeping this one in one piece for me.”

She whinnied in response and pressed her forehead hard against Kaspar’s in greeting.

“Bucky’s over there.” He nodded over to where his impressive stallion was tethered, “How about you go and catch up with your old buddy?”

Peaches’ ears swished at the sight of the handsome horse and she happily obliged, trotting away and leaving us gazing longingly at one another.

“I can’t believe you’re here,” I rushed, his face distorting through fresh tears.

He hushed me like a child, his hold of me tightening. His pounding heart thudded against my cheek as he smoothed my hair behind my ears. “I told you I was not letting you go, didn’t I?”

You probably have a few questions, so I will try to answer them all now.

It turned out that I had missed quite a lot while I was minding my own business trying and failing to grow cabbages. King Cedric had been furious when he found out his son had betrayed him and aided my escape but all of that got pushed aside when the raiders finally came. Thanks to King Oldin actually doing something right for a change and using his abundance of manpower to help protect the citadel, King Cedric and Kaspar were able to lead them to victory and drove the raiders back before they did irreversible damage.

Shortly after the dust had settled, Kaspar and Lady Delphine divorced. It had been Delphine’s idea. She discovered her father’s plans and refused to be his pawn. She moved back to Ullswood and abdicated her title, seeking a life that was her own. Now that the union between Kalmador and Ullswood had been severed, King Oldin no longer had his hold over Cedric and in a matter of months the king was able to win back his people’s trust by lowering their taxes back to their original prices.

Kaspar’s relationship with his father is still rocky to say the least, but Cedric has seemed to acknowledge that his son is a good man and an even better prince to his people. It is clear that, despite them not seeing eye to eye on all matters, they have deep rooted respect for one another and want what is best for the kingdom. Cedric even allowed Kaspar to search for me in his downtime – which was not very often.

His first search had taken him to the little village of Madden which my parents now call home – named after the family that founded it and still makes up about a third of the population. Yes, the Treagers are alive and well. The knights had managed to squirrel them away when the raiders swarmed in. Mr Treager managed to clobber one of the ambushers over the head with a clay pot on the way out, snuffing him out like a candle. He’s very proud of that story. Brings it up every chance he gets.

There has been an attempt to rebuild Greysmarsh after the attack but most of its inhabitants had decided to move to more desirable locations. Kaspar had expected me to have settled down with my parents after my exile so his worry only heightened when my parents told him they had not seen me since the day I left for the palace. Apparently Kaspar had tried to fool them into believing he was just a simple knight to avoid creating a scene, but the Treagers have always had an eye for faces and Kaspar gave up the pretence almost immediately.

What a day that must have been for them, to get a personal visit from the prince himself. But, of course, the revelry was overshadowed by their sudden fresh fear that their son was in danger. Kaspar made up a story that I had been on my way to visit them and I was simply a day behind schedule so he had come to check what the holdup was. He told me they bought the lie but I know that could not be true. Why would the prince himself come all that way to find a missing jester? But Kaspar is still convinced he did an exceptional job at curbing their worry.

So, after that failed attempt at finding me, and many more after, he was close to giving up altogether until he happened to pass through the little farming village where I worked off my food debt and he caught the backend of a conversation about a certain red-headed loner. It turns out the farmers made bets every time I left on how long it would take for me to return for more food after another failed harvest. I would be offended but at least I am keeping them entertained.

Kaspar asked around about this apparent red-headed loser – I mean loner – and they pointed him in the direction I usually appeared from like a ghoulish apparition with terrible fashion sense.

And that, dear reader, was how he finally found me.

Our emotional reunion was several months ago now. I write this in the middle of summer from Kaspar’s desk overlooking the palace courtyard. The morning sun filters through the curtains, giving me just enough light for my ink to successfully find parchment.

Yes, I am back in the palace. Not only has my exile been revoked but I have been granted my old job title. You read that right, dear reader, I am once again the court jester.

My second chance has put a lot of things into perspective for me. I am going get it right this time.

Now that Kaspar is no longer betrothed, Cedric has no qualms with me leaving my bed in my tower room untouched and seeking the much more appealing option within the prince’s chambers. It is not public knowledge that the prince and the court jester are an item but I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that if she were here now, Mirabelle would be my secret confidant. My heart aches and fresh bile clings to my throat every time I think of her. I check up on her parents from time to time. There is a hollowness within their home now, like the light within it has been eternally gutted. Laina is barely a wisp of a person; she floats about the farm like an echo. Elias’ dramatic weight loss has given him an awful sallow complexion. People say his loss of appetite is all in his mind, that he simply needs to allow himself to eat but he refuses. The neighbours have banded together to keep watch over them. They take turns helping them both with the more challenging jobs around the farm. It’s painful to witness, but I make sure to do my part.

Kaspar has also unwittingly watered the seed of guilt within me when it came to my own parents. He had lied when he told them why he had sought them out. Not only did I know they didn’t believe him because a prince would not travel all that way for a jester, but the idea that I had come to visit them was unbelievable in itself.

Not anymore.

At the turn of the seasons, Kaspar and I travel down to the little village of Madden and spend a night in ‘The Three Bells’ – The Treagers’ new inn, an ode to their successful jester son. Kaspar had kept that part of his little tale to himself so he could witness the look on my face as we both rode into the village and I looked upon the sign hanging above the door of the tall, narrow building. Of course, I replaced the sign with one of much higher quality once I was properly settled in. The way the sun bounces off those three shiny bells is a sight to behold.

When word got around that The Three Bells was a frequent resting place for the prince himself, its popularity rivalled that of The Clover’s in its heyday. I even painted a portrait of Kaspar for my parents to hang up in their entryway to really get the point across and so even if their customers were not fortunate enough to cross paths with the crown prince, they could all get a sense of what it was like to stand in his presence.

Fear and anxiety had squeezed my lungs the entire first ride down to Madden but my parents’ warm, open embrace had cauterised the stinging wound of my own creation. As soon as I was enveloped by Mrs, Treager’s thick, meaty arms, I couldn’t believe I had ever doubted her love for me. Mr. Treager clipped me round the ear for worrying them both so, before gripping the back of my skinny neck and pressing his hot, wrinkled forehead hard against my own in a manly display of affection.

And just like that, we were a family once again. The funny little lad of Greysmarsh had really gone and carved his own place in the world and my parents could not be more proud of me. Winning the affection of the prince himself also did not go unnoticed.

As for my special little gift, I have accepted that I will never truly know where it came from and why I have it. I have not told Kaspar about it, but I most likely will at some point. My ability was mine and Mirabelle’s little secret, and I fear that if I tell another soul, I will lose that connection with her. It is an illogical thought, I know. I feel like I am attempting to gather the last few remaining crumbs of her existence in a futile attempt to create something lasting. But I know she will always hold a place in my heart and I will miss her every day for the rest of my life.

I do think Kaspar suspects something, though. He is not just a pretty face. I have caught him admiring my work several times, looking a little too closely for a little too long. Maybe I will wait until he asks me why the sketch of Bucky he keeps by his bedside makes him want to go riding every time he gazes at it. I like to think it is the real Bucky communicating with him through my pencil.

Alta- my beautiful, loving Alta- managed to get her business back running and is now also thriving. Whenever I can, I make sure to slip in a good word for her at the palace. So far, I have two sets of motley designed and created by her in my wardrobe embossed with her signature delicate filigree embroidery around the cuffs and collar. Cedric is also willing to let her make something for Kaspar when there’s another big event, which is pretty huge for an unknown Cragdale dressmaker.

So, that is all there is for me to catch you up on, dear reader. I cannot say I expected the story to end the way it has, but I am thoroughly ecstatic with how it has all come together. And there I was, a mere few months ago, wondering if Peaches really would result to eating my decomposing body if I were to die out in that shack before she did. She is still alive and kicking, I will add. Well, maybe her kicking days are behind her. She has aged considerably; partially blind now with snow white, wiry hair around her eyes and muzzle, but she always manages to give me a giddy tail swish when I come to check on her in the palace stables.

The shuffling of bed sheets coming from behind me means Kaspar is waking and I do very much wish to be there when he stretches out and starts blindly searching for his morning cuddle.

Dear reader, I had been lost for so long. Never knowing where I truly fit in. Always a little out of sorts, that was a good way to describe the general workings of my brain. But now, as I look at my love, face buried deep in his overstuffed pillow, bare back glowing softly in the light of the waking sun, I have realised something. I had always struggled to find a place to call home, because it was never a place for me. It was a person.

Before I truly leave you, I shall thank you again, dear reader, for taking the time to get to know me. I wish I could know you just as deeply. But our time together is over. I am done with living in the past because, for the first time in a long time, I want to keep my feet planted firmly in the present.

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616 Reviews

Points: 70264
Reviews: 616

Sat May 21, 2022 6:06 pm
RandomTalks wrote a review...

Hi MissGangamash!

RandomTalks here with a short review!

It took me a while to get to the ending, but I wanted to do this with more than enough time on my hands. Some part of me cannot believe that this is the end, but more on that later. Let's move on with the review first!

It was very obvious in the previous part who Wallace's mystery visitor was going to end up being. Still, their reunion managed to contain every bit of the expected emotion and meaning that it should have. This last interaction between the two of them is a testament to your perfect understanding of the characters you have brought to life in this story and your impressive ability of capturing their growth and development in the most realistic way possible. I can confidently say that I have been with Wallace through every step of this journey and I can confirm that Wallace has been himself, even in moments of despair or growth or change. You knew who your characters were and you knew where you wanted them to end up. And because of that clear vision, your readers could enjoy this beautiful and trying journey of Wallace Treager.

“Well.” I sighed, leaning on my doorjamb, feigning calm. “You took your time.”

This first sentence spoken between the two of them after long years of separation that must have been unbearable on both their parts capture their dynamic perfectly. It was such a careful yet obvious presentation of longing and desire and sheer happiness masked behind a pretense of light sarcasm that neither of them feel. And yet, that is how they have interacted from the very beginning; that is how they always express their affection unless they are too overwhelmed by the situation to bother with such cover-ups. And to be honest, the entire interaction was so typical of both their characters, that it simply made me smile.

Their reunion was beautiful and emotional and it went perhaps exactly the way I had imagined it would. However, my one complaint would be that it ended too soon. It felt a little rushed, and I can understand that considering you had to end the story with this chapter. Still, I feel like we waited for a long time for Wallace to finally claim his silver lining, and even though present Wallace seems happy and at peace with himself, I wish we could have stayed with Kaspar and Wallace for a little longer.

I had always struggled to find a place to call home, because it was never a place for me. It was a person.

The final part of the chapter was a good wrap-up for the novel. The narration felt a little predictable to me, like you were trying to tie up all the lose ends to give Wallace his happily ever after. However, since this is the end, that has to be the final goal, I guess. I do believe that the entire section could have fitted better as an epilogue from present Wallace. That way, you could have put more focus on Wallace and Kaspar's reunion, and the ending section would have that finality to it without feeling a little disjointed.

Other than that, I really appreciated your efforts to provide every character with closure. Like I said, it felt a little rushed, but I liked how in the end, it felt like Wallace was arranging his tiny little world on paper, realizing and appreciating it with a new maturity. After all, that has been an integral part of his character - his inability to belong anywhere or to anyone. For the longest time, I had thought that Wallace could have belonged with a lot of people, but he extricated himself from all such situations because he did not himself know what he was looking for or what he wanted. At times I would see him react to certain situations in a certain way and I would realize that he does not know what he is doing. He is frustrated because he does not know who he is and that lack of knowledge left a gaping hole that he filled with insecurities, self-doubts and loathing, and coping mechanisms that weren't always healthy. This inner frustration and loneliness and resentment led him to separating himself from the rest of the world without even meaning to, and we could sense that he himself did not understand these feelings completely, but they were always an underlying aspect of his character, subtly influencing his decisions and reactions.

However, we saw him grow. We saw him lash out at times when he could not translate his feelings, we saw him speak up for himself and those he loves and we saw him lament and regret decisions he made or decisions he didn't make. But most important of all, we saw him transform into an individual who was able to get past all of that and finally accept himself and learn to respect and appreciate who he is. There was this sense of calm and peace with which the story ended that made me feel that Wallace truly is at home now. He is comfortable inside his own skin and he is happy. Of course, Kaspar contributes to that happiness to a large extent, but for some reason, I want the sole credit to be Wally's. I want him to own himself and the happiness and calm he has gained now. For me that was the most incredible honor - to accompany this character and to watch him change and grow into a person he is at peace with. Wallace's growth was the most important aspect of this journey, and while it is a shame that he had to go through such tragedy and loss to finally find peace inside himself, I am glad of where he is today.

Overall, this was a very wholesome and fulfilling end to the story. Of course, there are certain parts I had envisioned a little differently (I miss Mirabelle!), but most of all, I liked that this story was an ode to a complex character who finally learned to belong, to himself and to others.

Thank you very much for sharing this story and I wish you all the luck for your future writing endeavors!

I can't say 'until next time' this time, but I do hope I get to read something of yours again!

Keep writing and have a great day!

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1232 Reviews

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Reviews: 1232

Sat May 21, 2022 10:56 am
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...

Hi MissGangamash,

Mailice here with a final (shorter) review! :D

Phew, I didn't think we'd see another part, but of course I'm glad! :D

So we have now officially reached the end and I like how everything has now developed into a new and positive change though. I'll keep it short here, and just tell a little of what I've noticed here.

One positive thing I noticed was how Kaspar and Wallace met again. You notice that something has happened and at the same time that Wally is still the same when he speaks, as can be seen here.

“Well.” I sighed, leaning on my doorjamb, feigning calm. “You took your time.”

I still like the way Wallace talks and the way he sees himself, and I like the fact that nothing has changed.

I like how this interaction took place as if not X years had passed, but only a few hours. I think it is well done and also leaves the reader with a smile.

I didn't like the transition about the narration of what happened in all that time. However, I liked the narration and clarification of the individual lives of the characters and details of the country, especially because it gives another brief look at everything. But I think it also gives the reader the feeling that the meeting of Kaspar and Wallace is just a detail in this big and wide story. I think it would definitely feel better if you put this transition as an epilogue, and end chapter 19 with the last dialogue between the two, because it feels like a good ending but also a good beginning.

This review is a bit shorter because I think I already said everything in my last one. I liked the story a lot, especially because we have something beautiful and tangible here, and towards the end, even if it gets hard, a good ending can come.

Have fun writing!


I've already replied on your wall because I didn't know your review would still be here when I republished XD But thanks again for reading and reviewing! I'm glad you liked the story and the wrap up :D

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51 Reviews

Points: 175
Reviews: 51

Tue May 17, 2022 8:19 pm
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SalisRuinen wrote a review...

Hello again! Salis here with my final review for this story!!

I was smiling for most of this half of the last chapter and that is proof that I am very happy with how Wallace's tale ended. Some people might say that the shift in terms of tone between this and the previous chapter is too sudden and thus the finale of the story is not as rewarding, but I would disagree with that on every turn.

There was still some pain here, mostly related to thinking about Mirabelle and something else, which at least for me was paiful. Kaspar and all the people of Greysmarsh had experienced a number of things, having taken part in or having been drawn in events of great of importance while Wallace had been living in exile away from them. Just like with arriving in Greysmarsh after it was already destroyed, at the end of the story the protagonist had remained on the sidelines for many crucial developments. A part of me is happy for him, because he was thus kept safe, as I'm sure he' would feel as well, but there is also a sadness at being only a witness, not being able to do anything until it is too late. In that regard, this story's protagonist is quite unique and is probably one of the main reasons I love it, always making me feel multiple things at once.

Two were the highlights of this chapter for me – first and foremost, Wallace and Kaspar's reunion. Honestly, when he first saw the prince, I wondered if this wasn't a dream or his imagination playing tricks on him due to the great urge to see the man he loved again. I was very happy Kaspar was actually there as in my opinion Wallace deserved the gift of happiness of being reunited with him. You went all-out with describing every detail of the emotional experience of the reunion as masterfully as possible and you have my eternal gratitude for that as it made the scene that much more impactful.

Second, Wallace meeting his family again and the tale of their inn's rise in popularity. I was as worried as him about how he would be received after seeing the Treagers and was overjoyed at their reaction. While them having an inn was cause enough to celebrate in its own right, The Three Bells becoming so famous was an even more welcome surprise. Everything actually worked out for these characters (at least most of them) against all hope.

Now, for the two sentences that stayed with me the most after reading this and will stay with me for quite a while, I believe: 'I had always struggled to find a place to call home, because it was never a place for me. It was a person.' This legally brought a tear to my eye as it summarized the essense of the whole story in the most perfect way.

It was a lost man's journey of finding somewhere (or in this case someone) to belong. While all the events Kaspar told Wallace of were important, they paled in significance to me compared to the lovers' reunion. And the two sentences I mentioned further strengthened that feeling. The feeling that had always been at the back of my mind while reading this story – it didn't need to be about grand battles and adventures or to focus on social turmoil as it usually is. Those could simply be the background for a troubled man's journey and it would've been perfect just like that.

And that's exactly what this is. The perfect ending to a perfect story. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting me bear witness to this journey and feel like being a part of it.
Hope (I'm actually asking to, not just hoping) to read more masterpieces from you in the future!!!

I didn't realise if you unpublish and republish that the reviews would stay XD Anyway, I've already posted on your wall. But thanks again for reading and writing such a detailed review! It really means so much to me <3

When all think alike, no one is thinking very much.
— Walter Lippmann