The Cast Out King – a short story

     Gilder, The Cast Out King, sat underneath an awning of the Cloven Hoof Tavern on the outskirts of Aris, his Kingdom. An imposter sat upon his throne. A throne of rubies crafted with the fire of dragons by his ancestors. 
     “Allo, King,” snarked a passing miller that led a mule and a cart of hay through the muddy and rutted streets. The poor on the edges of the city were not afforded the stone streets the interior of the city had. The men out here had the privilege of slogging through the mud for the next six months.
     “Refer to me as you would any other King,” snapped Gilder, his gaunt bones covered by old wrinkly skin and wrapped with nothing more than rags thrown out by peasants to keep himself warm. 
     The miller smiled. If he had been twenty years younger and held his sword, Gastron, he might have done something about this. Instead recoiled against the cold stone of the tavern, letting the some of the rain dampen his clothing and skin. 
     “You’re just a cowardly old man. A loon!” said the miller and he spat at the bare feet of Gilder before heading toward the gates and back to his windmill for the evening. 
     Gilder watched him go. Rage boiled inside him. He promised himself that when he retook the throne he would be a just and fair ruler. In his mind, he was taking down a list of all those to be struck down for being cruel to him.
     His cruelty could not be matched. When the Knights of Crom arrived the miller might be the first to find out the type of heart Gilder possessed. 
     Rustling came from inside the tavern. Gilder stirred, placing his ear against the tavern wall. He heard the thunderous footsteps of Dern plodding along the thick floorboards.
     Light began to flow out of the slits in the shutters. The shutters did not open and never would. In Aris, there was an unsaid agreement between the police that kept the interior portion of the city crime free and the outside a little more lawless.
     The poor had to be able to pay their taxes after all.
     Dern slung the door open nearly hitting Gilder at the wall. He looked down upon the old, withered man before him. 
     “Well ain’t it the Cast Out King,” Dern chortled. “What do I owe the pleasure this evening, my majesty?”
     Gilder leaped to his feet, pushing past Dern, a man over twice his own height. “There’s no time. They’ll be here soon. Come, Dern!”
     Dern bellowed out a laugh from deep inside his bulbous belly. “Alright, your majesty. Anything for the Cast Out King!” Another hearty laugh followed as he walked into the tavern. 
     The inside of the tavern was decorated with the heads of great beasts, that no man who drank there could take down, on the walls. Tables and benches made of thick oak boards from the outlands finished out the decor. By the giant fireplace sat a set of stairs that led up to Dern’s bedroom. 
     Dern lit a fire and warmed up his hands. 
     “Make yourself scarce you dolt,” said Gilder. “The knights are going to be here any minute.” 
     “The knights?” 
     “Yes! They’re…”
     The door of the tavern opened up with a whoosh. In stepped a single man dressed in leather boots, leather pants, a flowing white shirt, topped off with a long blond beard and flowing blond hair. Any princess in the world would jump him and half the princes too. 
     “I’m here to see the Cast Out King,” the knight said. 
     Gilder stepped forward. For the first time in years, he felt underdressed in his rags. “I’m Gilder, the Cast Out King.”
     The knight smirked, stepping forward with an extended hand. “Your majesty, my name is Keen, leader of the Knights of Crom. I hear you have a proposition for us.”
     “That I do. I want you to help me reclaim my throne.”
     The Knight smiled. 
     “Do you think he looks like a king?” chipped in Dern.
     “A decapitated horse could stand in front of me wanting the same thing and I would help him to the throne if the price was right.” Keen looked Gilder in the eyes, “The price is right, is it not?”
     Gilder smiled as he tossed aside his rags revealing a threadbare satchel. He pulled the satchel to his front and pulled from within a glass orb and inside pulsed a golden, flowing liquid that rolled around inside. 
     Keen’s eyes lit up and smile showed his perfect teeth. He took the orb from Gilder and inspected it. The golden light made his baby blues eyes even more marvelous. He handed the orb back to Gilder.
     “You are a man of your word. And I am a man of mine,” Keen tossed three gold coins on to the table. “Keeper please use these coins to house my friend for the evening and get him to the tailor in the morning. Make sure he’s given attire fit for a king.”
     Gilder smiled as Keen dropped to one knee in a bow as one would do for a king.

This writing prompt was given to me by Casey Hill via my Facebook Page. He’s an awesome game maker and you should scope out his game Arkon

As always, thank you for reading and check out my books

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