Hard Boy

Chuck’s flashy thing (don’t be smutty!) involved another random title generator thing. Stuffed if I know how the title ties in with what came out of my brain… or why the hell I’m penning fantasy-inspired exposition. Anyway…

Hard Boy

I was a beggar once; clutching at scraps in the gutters, grinning black teeth at the first hint of coin. Lady Luck smiled upon my sorry carcass, handed me a  chance meeting that set me in kitchens, quarries and finally the court.

I became King. Wealth and power were mine. A princess took my hand, my heart. We built castles together, traveled to lands distant and near. We  adventured.

We could not fill our empty halls with small feet and high, giggling laughs, for Lady Luck can grant only so many boons, but we were happy. We had our  kingdoms, each other and our adventures.

Time passed, glaciers crumbled, stars died in the heavens and the sun finally set upon my  realm.

A blight rolled in from all corners, rotting gold in coffers and hope in hearts. My queen and I, always so strong, sold trinkets and baubles. Palace deeds,  worth a fraction of their value, passed to other hands. In exchange we garnered supplies, stout staves and passage on ship. Fortune, as we had found so  many times before, awaits across the sea and over the horizon.

We stamped the world flat beneath our boot-soles. Into mountains, deserts, forests and glaciers, we delved. We saw ancient temples, vast and sprawling  cities and caverns so deep and beautiful their memory pulls tears from my heart. We slept beneath the stars and moon, we napped in simple wooden  shacks and the homes of dignitaries. On our travels, we bathed in the world’s beauty, hunted our fortunes and saw so much of life it turns my heart hard.

Why hard, not soft with joy? Because I missed the Blight.

So busy was I looking for gold and jewels and artifacts I missed the black fingers clawing at my soul. I failed to notice the cooling of my queen’s touch. Forever a fool, I took the bilious blackness spilling from our mouths as former  passions, the askance glances and long silences as fatigue. We had traveled long, strode hard. Weariness was an expedient deceit to spin myself.

I cannot tell you who the Blight corrupted first, only that we suffered in its grasp for many years. A venom-hearted puppet master, it smashed us together on jerking strings, cast us to the gutter where again we begged for scraps. When its viral touch turned our hearts as cold as the concrete on which we  laid our heads, I saw salvation in sacrifice. Or maybe that too is a lie I spin myself.

The puppet master’s strings were no match for my blade of desperation. Tethers gone, my queen and I flew apart. She has a new castle. I am still  comforted by cold winds and harsh kerb stones.

With my queen released, the last of my old life is gone. The vitality of youth is but a failing memory and my shoulders , ruined upon the mats of battle-sport, ache when the wind blows cold. I have not the means to even mention coffers, but they would be as empty as my pockets.

In the darkest night, I  feel the blight gnawing at my chest, tormenting me with images of my lost life. Sometimes, I consider giving in, taking a breath and diving into the  darkness.

I am old and weak and poor, but I have my staff, my mind and my body. My boots are worn, but they can be repaired. My arms have withered, but they  can be nurtured. My spirit is cool, but its flames can be fanned.  My ears are dull, but I hear the call to adventure.

It is all I’ve ever heard.