January 08, 2016

Getting past the Guard at the Gate

Annette stepped forward and positioned herself about two inches in front of the gate guard, with her face right up against his nose.

“Listen up, you!” Annette screamed into his face. “My mistress is Princess Gladiola of Notia. She’s here by appointment to see your worthless ruler! Now I don’t know how things are done in this mud-hole you call a kingdom, but in Notia, royalty is given respect!

“You have about three seconds to acknowledge my mistress and open up this here gate and let her in, or I’ll be telling your dim-witted prince you ought to have your head chopped off for being so rude to a royal princess! Do you hear me?”

The gate guard, his face now a pasty white, nodded his head. “Aye, I can hear you. So can the whole street. For that matter, they might be able to hear you clear out to Land’s End, the way you shriek like a harridan.

“In your precious Notia they might cut your head off for being rude, but here they’ll cut it off even faster for disobeying orders. My orders this morning were to keep the gate shut and not let nobody in.”

During her speech, the guard had been backing up, and Annette had followed him, never allowing more than a few inches between them.

“Well, somebody’s head is going to roll, and that’s for sure,” Annette said in a normal tone, though she didn’t move away from him. She pulled a folded piece of paper out of the pouch she wore at her waist. “Can you read?” she asked in a condescending tone.

“Nay, ain’t nobody on the island can read, ‘ceptin the prince hisself and maybe the vicar.”

“Well, if you could read, I’d let you read it for yourself, so you could know I’m not lying. But since you can’t read, I’ll just have to tell you what’s in it. When we got here last night my mistress, Princess Gladiola of Notia, sent a note to the prince.

“This here,” she said, waving the note in his face, “is the note we got back, and it says we’re to see the prince in his throne room three hours after sunrise. Now, it’s almost that time. So somebody has given the wrong order, because the prince has invited us in, you see. If the prince invited us in, like this note says he has, then whoever gave the order to keep us out is doing what the prince doesn’t want him to do and, like you said, he may lose his head for disobeying the prince’s orders. So you’d better let us in, so we can see the prince, like he wants us to.”

The gate guard nodded, but didn’t move.

“Well, are you going to let us in, or do I have to smash down your rickety little gate and go find your boss and tell him you’re refusing entrance to a guest the prince has invited to the throne room?”

The guard shook his head violently. “I would be letting you in, Miss, ‘ceptin you got me backed up clear against the wall, and I can’t move to get to the gate.” (From Crown of Tears by Scott Ashby) Read more about this book here..

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