“My dearest son, Pynecris, you have brought honour to your family. For your selfless and heroic actions, you have been bestowed the title of Duke, and will become the military advisor to the king. Please, come forward to receive your honours.”
Mother was holding back tears. Who could blame her? Her one and only son was a hero of legendary scale. Twice as many elites had gathered to see me receive my accolades as attended Glenfrook and Lila’s wedding. Understandable, I suppose— weddings happen every day.
I could feel the eyes of every eligible noble woman like lasers on my behind as I approached the dais.
“Thank you, thank you, everyone. Please be seated. Mother, Father, I am deeply indebted to you for this acknowledgement. Honoured guests, before I receive the trappings of my title, allow me to tell you the full and unabridged tale of my heroism, as I know your hearts are aching to hear the totality.
“No, mother, they deserve to know the truth. It will be months before the history books have been rewritten and printed. You can’t expect the eager citizens of our land to wait so long.
It began, as the best legends do, with our hero at his lowest point. My existence had been reduced to that of a mere commoner. No title. No inheritance. No future. I knew I must take fate into my own hands and remind everyone I am a hero worthy of their reverence.
I prepared for my journey only by sharpening my sword. I wore no armour, brought only three attendants, and a scant month’s worth of rations and beer. Determined, I headed into the wilderness to single-handedly remove one of our kingdom’s remaining threats. Whichever beast happened upon me first was destined to perish.
I embarked at dawn on that fateful day. Well acquainted with the uninhabited lands that surround the kingdom, I was surprised to catch the scent of danger so soon after heading out. I expertly tracked the unknown creature, and discovered it in only a few hours.
The beast was licking its devastatingly long claws clean of the blood of its last prey.
My attendants scattered, drawing its attention, but I bravely strode forth and unsheathed my sword, allowing for their escape. It is I, I said, Your Doom, come to put you in the ground! The monster leapt at me—this I dodged. I dodged also swipes of its lethal claws, which would have cut me to ribbons had I been less agile. I allowed the game to continue for a short time, letting it grow in confidence before landing my fatal blow. Positioning myself to receive the creature’s weight, I braced myself as it pounced upon me, and parted it from its source of life.
As an attendant cleaned my sword, I wondered if the beast felt at peace in the knowledge it was slain by such a mighty Fiddlefolk as myself. My attendant said he thought it unlikely, but I hold out hope, for its sake.
I dragged the pelt for hours, taking breaks to dine and bathe of course, arriving at exactly the proper moment to bestow my gift to Glenfrook and Lila at their modest ceremony.
I needn’t describe to you how impressed you all were with my timely arrival and generous gift, but it was of course obvious how your admiration for me soared to new heights at that moment.
The looks on the faces of the newlyweds was enough to make all my trouble worth it. They were overwhelmed with gratitude, and showered me with praise and thanks. My mother was reduced to tears.
Unfortunately, this joy was shattered in its infancy as we came under attack from an unknown evil.
I pushed my way through the scattering wedding party. Everyone but myself was in a state of panic—I already had a plan. I stopped to reassure one young woman who threw herself at my feet, crying,
“Pynecris, please save us! Only your bravery is a match for this certain doom!”
“Wait a second, are you talking about me?” A woman from the crowd stood and interrupted. I hate being interrupted.
“I asked you why you were stupid enough to bring the pelt to the wedding when it would lead more of them right to us!”
“Oh, you’re too kind! But please save your admiration for after my speech. Where was I? Oh yes,
I made my way to where Glenfrook and Lila had run off to. Unwilling to face the attack as Fiddlefolk, I saw their human forms burst into the sky above me.
I knew immediately this would make my plan a surefire success.
When I reached the area of trampled grass where Lila and Glenfrook had transformed, I surveyed the scene and waited for my moment.
From their vantage point, Glenfrook could now see the shape of our attackers: a clan of vicious badgers. Their sword drawn, Glenfrook defended against them with some skill, killing one and maiming two others. At this point, Lila, having no weapon, ran off. Glenfrook took many bites and slashes to the legs, causing them to fall to their knees.
Though I could see these monsters were twice the size of the one I’d cut down earlier in the day, I fearlessly put my plan into action. I could not allow poor Glenfrook to be slaughtered. Expertly, I climbed Glenfrook’s clothing, avoiding snapping jaws and swipes as I ascended. I quickly reached their ear and shouted to them. They were so happy to see me! Glenfrook, I said– USE ME!
Always the clever one, Glenfrook understood my plan immediately. Taking me in hand, Glenfrook pointed my caboose at the attacking badgers, and I sent a lilac mist of immense proportions into the air all around, reducing the beasts to miniatures of no consequence.
At the last possible moment, Lila burst from the nearby garden shed wielding a massive machine spouting ear-splitting noise: none other than Fiddlefolk enemy number one, the lawn mower. I was immensely grateful for my place in Glenfrook’s hand at that point, as Lila indiscriminately ran down the tiny badgers before she knew what was what.
The noise of their destruction was somehow even worse than that of the lawn mower, though both were over quickly. The couple were in a state of shock, but I, composed as ever, leavened the mood with a few residual toots.
With the garden cleaned of…bits, and Lila and Glenfrook returned to Fiddlefolk size, the reception continued with redoubled gaiety. My father nearly took the crown off his head to place upon me, but I couldn’t accept—Glenfrook will certainly make a better ruler than I. I’m modest enough to say so. They can’t compete with my heroism, of course, but that’s why they need me as their right hand.
So, here we are! I’m sure you’re all overwhelmed at hearing such a tale, but there is no need for ovation. Be at ease, my kindred, I will protect your comfort for all my days.”
My father bade me kneel, and placed his sword upon my shoulders, giving me my title and appointment. The sobs of joy from the crowd heartened me, and I rose from the ground a Fiddlefolk ready to serve with honour.
I became slightly alarmed, however, when the crowd began to disperse.
“Wait, isn’t this event catered? Wait, everyone, I’ll have some food brought. Do stay and make merry, won’t you?”
Glenfrook placed a hand on my shoulder.
“Pynecris, pay them no mind. Tonight and every night you will dine at my table. A seat of honour is reserved for you. You, my dearest Duke, saved my life, and it will not be forgotten. Come and eat a hero’s feast among friends.”
“Well,” I smiled, placing my arm over theirs,
“So long as it’s not beans.”
This story is my response to the June 24th prompt, “unreliable narrator.”