The Messenger

Words to include: deliver, gate, reject

“Arm the battlements! Close the gate!”

“Wait, what? Sir, please I need to deliver this letter, it’s urgent!”

“Your problem, not ours.”

“But it’s a direct message to the king, from her royal highness the Duchess of Cornwall! You know, his daughter?”

“Oh well, in that case…” the two guards finally looked him in the eye and simply sniggered and laughed in his face. Today was not a good day for Roger, although lately there hardly ever was a good day. You see, Roger worked as a royal messenger for the Duchess of Cornwall, and she had some very strange ideas of how to use his services. Last week she’d told him to go into the swamp and yell at it for being so disgusting and useless, in the hopes that it would simply collect itself and move away. The week before that she’d told him to go to every man in the kingdom named Steve and tell him that he was an asshole and would regret what he had done to her. And just yesterday, she had told him to go into the woods and find the strange old hag who lived there, to tell her that she should stop bugging the Duchess in her beautiful castle, because she was apparently jealous of her, that she had succeeded where the hag had failed. Whatever that meant. So, of course, the hag said to Roger, “I curse you! I curse you and your message so that you may go back to your mistress and tell her, that she too is now cursed!”

“What kind of curse?”

“Excuse me?”

“Well, are we talking about the classic, turn you into a toad curse, or something more specific, or perhaps detrimental to her wellbeing?”

“Ah, well, I guess I never really thought about that. How the curse could be a fitting, meaningful punishment. You’re right, I was just going to go with the classic toad curse, but I think this time I might spice things up a little. Yeah! Let’s try something new for a change!”

“Good on you! That’s the spirit!”

“I curse you and your message to be laughed at for all eternity!”

“Wait, what? You’re cursing me?”

“Well yeah, then you transfer the curse to her, right?”

“I guess so, I mean you’re the witch, you should know these things.”

“Oh, so that’s how it is then! Be off with you, you pig. Oh woops, sorry.” And with the wave of her hand, Roger turned from a pig back into a human again, and he began his journey back up to the Duchess and her castle.

At the castle, Roger was greeted with copious amounts of laughter, so much so that no one would let him in because they were simply laughing too hard. Roger stood there, waiting for them to stop for what seemed like hours, until he heard something from the other side of the gate.

“Has anyone seen the royal messenger? Roger was it? He’s behind the gate? We’ll stop laughing and nodding like idiots and let him in! He’s got an urgent message to deliver to the king.”

So the gates were finally opened for him, and he was greeted by the lady in waiting, Theresa. She was so shockingly beautiful, that Roger couldn’t help but stare. She locked eyes with him, and was doubled over in hysterics within seconds. Never has a bubble of affection, popped so quickly or so hard for poor Roger. He snatched the letter out of her hands and left in a bit of a tizzy, muttering under his breath as he went, “ungrateful ingrates, how would they feel having to do this job? No one seems to care about all the hard work I’ve put in, my dedication. And why won’t they stop laughing?!”

So Roger set out on the road again, to diligently deliver the letter he was so unceremoniously charged with, because, of course, that was his job.

Which brings us back to the gate Roger had just been rejected at, the gate to the Kingdom’s capital, Kartinia, on his way to see the king. The two guards manning the gate, we’re trying so hard to hold back their laughter, but every time he showed them the message or looked them in the eye, they balled over in hysterics. So, of course, Roger came up with a terribly cunning plan to get into the city, past the gate and into the king’s presence so that he could finally deliver his message. He shouted to the guards, “good! I see you enjoy my jokes. You see, I seek employment behind the walls of Kartinia, as a jester. I was the greatest jester in the land of Cornwall, and I seek an audience with the king to prove my worth as a loyal subject.”

The guards, still laughing, turned to each other and in one look, seemed to agree that he was the funniest thing they had ever seen, and immediately let him in. Everyone they walked past, as they led Roger to the royal court, nearly fell over they were laughing so hard. The guards couldn’t believe that they’d found such a gold mine, as they led Roger to the castle. Such a gold mine he was, they began to daydream about the kinds of promotions such a find would get them. The taller guard dreamt of being knighted and sent off to guard a small town on the coast, that seemed to only be inhabited by beautiful, young women. The other guard dreamt of working atop the same gate, in the same guard tower, except this time with a large, very comfortable leather recliner. They both sighed with glee, thinking of how this one, very strange man, would be the ticket to all of their biggest dreams coming true.

In the throne room, the king was meeting with his subjects in most need, passing on his wisdom and making judgements to hopefully solve their problems, when the taller guard burst in, laughing uncontrollably.

“What is the meaning of this?” The king asked.

“Sorry your highness. It is just that we have found a very promising new jester for you. We haven’t been able to stop laughing since we met him!”

“We? Aren’t you from the gate? Are you telling me that both of you buffoons have left your post to show me some jester? Is anyone manning our gates?!”

“Hm? Oh, I guess not.” And at that, two guards ran straight out of the room, towards the gate, while another two apprehended the guards originally from said gate, dragging them down to the dungeon for abandoning their post. At this, Roger thought it would be the perfect time to announce himself to the room. He took one step in and immediately, the room was incapacitated by laughter. Even the king could barely move he was laughing so hard. So Roger walked forward, and kept walking until he was face to face with the king. Some of the guards were fighting against their own laughter, crawling along the floor to try and protect their king, but the laughter was too strong. Roger gently placed the letter on the king’s lap and turned around to leave. The King, barely able to speak through the laughter kept trying to say, “stop him!”, “apprehend him!” and “capture him!” but never really managed to string the full sentence together. The guards, attempted to crawl after him, but no one could catch him, because as soon as they knew where he was, they couldn’t stop laughing at him.

Having done his job, Roger left Kartinia in his dust and resolved it would probably be best to live a simple life, on a farm somewhere, where no one would be incapacitated by simply looking at him. And at that, he walked off into the sunset, dumbfounded at how his life could’ve changed so quickly.

Meanwhile in the throne room, all the hullabaloo finally calming down, the king opened the letter that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere and found this simple note inside, ‘Dear dad, I hate you, you suck. Love, your daughter Lydia, Duchess of Cornwall.’ Never had the king experienced a stranger day in his life.

The Messenger
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