|Photo by Helen|
Wasyl Waring-Wynd walked across the floor, his old bones creaked with every step he took. His jotting desk hung from his neck by a leather strap. The wooden panel lay flat against his chest, while its bottom edge rested on his waist. In his right hand he carried a quill and in his left a pot of ink. He hoped whatever it was the King wanted him to scribe, wouldn’t take very long. I have a cheese sandwich and a mug of cider waiting for me, he thought. No consideration. Oh no, don’t mind that it’s my lunch break.
He stopped in front of the King. “Sire, you sent for me?”
“Master Wynd, do you know what a Writing Prompt is?”
“A Writing Prompt Sire?”
“Yes, that’s what I said. You write, don’t you? Therefore you should know.”
“Know Sire?” All Wasyl could think about was his sandwich. A nice blob of that fruit chutney cook sent up would go well, he thought as he licked his lips and stared blankly at Boroff.
“What a Writing Prompt is!”
“Just a moment, Sire. Here hold this.” Wasyl shoved the ink pot into Boroff’s hand. Boroff, somewhat surprised, scowled at the little man, as he watched him turned the wheel that sat on the side of his jotting desk. The wood panel cranked itself downwards until it was lying horizontally from his body. Wasyl looked up at the King and grabbed the ink pot. Placing it down on his board, he stuck the quill in it. His gnarled hand reached into the deep folds of his rough robe and pulled out a small book.
“What’s that?” said Boroff, growing more impatient by the minute.
“This Sire, is what is called a Word-mean-ary. Something I thought up. Quite clever don’t you think? I’ve been adding to it for years.”
“Get on with it man!” Boroff tapped his foot against the cold stone of the floor. His cheeks, growing redder by the second, made him looked like he might explode any moment.
“Psst, psst, Wiz,” said the dragon.
The Wizard glanced towards the table, then back at the King. Boroff, preoccupied with the Scribe and his book, didn’t noticed the dragon. Magico sidled up to the table.
“What do you want?” he whispered.
“I can’t see a thing from here. Prop me up, there’s a good fellow.”
“All right, but make sure you keep quiet. The King is not in a good mood.”
“As if I would cause any trouble. You certainly know how to hurt a chap’s feelings.”
Magico narrowed his eyes. “Now look here knocker, behave or I’ll put you back in my pocket.”
“Don’t get excited. I promise. I’d cross my heart if I had one and some hands to do it with. There, believe me now?” The knocker gave him a toothy grin.
Magico closed the weighty tome that sat to the side of the knocker and propped the dragon up against it. He walked back over to Boroff.
The Scribe, book opened, searched down the page. “There are many words in my Word-mean-ary, Sire. I’m sure I’ve seen prompt in here somewhere.” He licked his finger and held it in readiness to turn the page but as he did, his thoughts turned once more to the cheese and chutney sandwich, and his finger remained static above the book.
Boroff glowered at him, then snapped his fingers. “Wake up. Get on with it before I part your head from your shoulders!”
Wasyl jumped back to the present with a jolt as the vision of his sandwich disappeared at the mention of the loss of his head. “Ah yes, here it is. Prompt: to stimulate, encourage, nudge, inspire.”
“Tell me what a Writing Prompt is, and hurry up about it.”
“That’s easy Sire. It’s writing something that is encouraging, or stimulating. To whom do you want me to scribe such a thing?”
“To the Writer of course.”
“Have you not noticed the dark sky? Or how everything is changing? Apparently the Writer is upset and needs a Writing Prompt to cure it, or life as we know it is finished.”
“Who is this Writer?”
“It’s who created us, so the Wizard here tells me.” Boroff jerked his head in Magico’s direction.
“Yes, Scribe. The Writer has created all that we know. But it’s suffering from something called Writer’s Block and only a Writing Prompt can cure it.”
“I see,” said the Scribe. “Perhaps you need to have me write something encouraging like, The Writer’s a jolly good fellow, or everything you do is wonderful. These are encouraging words.”
“But will that work? Is it enough?” Boroff turned to Magico.
The Wizard shrugged but said nothing.
“I say,” said the dragon.
Boroff swung around. “What is it?”
“I told you to be quiet,” said Magico. “I’ll put him in my pocket Sire. That’ll shut him up.” The Wizard marched over to the table and grasped the knocker.
“I wouldn’t do that if I was you.” The dragon puffed out a cloud of smoke that drifted up into the Wizard’s nose.
Magico coughed and spluttered. “And why not?” he said shaking the knocker.
“I kno-o-ow wha-a-a t a Writi-i-i-ng Prompt really is.”
Magico ceased jiggling the knocker up and down.
“I’ve been listening, and I know what to do. I told you dragons were clever.”
“Let him speak.” Boroff pushed the Wizard aside and glared at the knocker. “Spit it out then.”
“The Writer,” began the dragon, “creates and a prompt is something that one does to inspire or nudge. Therefore a Writing Prompt is an idea that may inspire the Writer to continue creating. All you have to do is come up with an idea that stimulates the Writer and everything will he hunky dory again.”
“Hmm.” Boroff hated to admit it, but the knocker had found the solution. “We need an idea. Wizard have you got one?”
“Emm.” Magico racked his brains, but all he could think of was pictures of dancing girls he’d seen in a magazine he found hidden in old Maduf’s wardrobe the day he visited him. “How about a room full of dancing girls Sire.”
“Dancing girls,” repeated Boroff. As he turned this idea over in his mind, he liked it more and more. “Scribe what do you say?”
“A cheese and chutney sandwich Sire.”
“Ninkinpoop!” Boroff rubbed his chin and paced up and down. “I have it. Scribe, write this.” The Scribe took out a small square of parchment, dipped the quill and held it ready. Boroff started to dictate. “King Boroff sat upon his throne while a hoard of the prettiest girls appeared in flimsy attire before him and danced the dance of the seven veils. It was a sight to behold.”
“Some chance,” muttered the dragon.
“I’ve scribed that Sire. What shall I do with it?” He held out the parchment.
“We need to send it up to the Writer of course. Here Wizard, magic that up and make sure you do it right.”
“Sire.” Magico took hold of the parchment and folding it up, strolled over to the window. He tried to hide his shaking hands.
“I could puff it up,” said the dragon, “if Wiz there fails.”
Magico ignored the knocker, leaned out of the window and started to mumble the spell. Light sparks danced around the piece of paper until it drifted from his hand skywards. Magico kept up the incantation, his voice becoming louder with each repetition. The parchment floated up and up until it vanished behind the dark clouds that crowded the sky.
For a moment, the shaft of light shimmered. The King joined Magico at the window and stuck his head out to look.
“It’s working, it’s working.” Boroff rubbed his hands together. I wonder when the girls will appear? he thought, as he pulled his head back in and turned around. He took two steps forward. His head started to twist in one direction, his torso in another and his legs in the same direction as his head. “Arrrg,” he cried as he tottered forward, well not forwards so much as sidewards, backwards, all over the place really.
“My, that’s a crick in the neck if ever I saw one?” The knocker laughed.
Magico on hearing the Kings cries, swung around. “Sire.” He ran forwards, (well not ran, but did his best to imitate running. His legs, just didn’t seem to do anything but amble) to his aid, but Boroff was twisting and falling all over the place.
A gust of wind blew through the window and with it came the parchment, all twisted up. The dragon observed it as it glided to the floor. “It appears the Writer didn’t like that idea of yours Kingsy. I say, you look like one of those court jesters dancing around like that.”
Magico picked up the parchment and unravelled it. As he did, so the King also unravelled.
“Who did that to me? I’ll have him flogged and quartered, then hung and, and, oh I’ll think of something.”
“The Writer, Sire. It didn’t like your suggestion.”
“But you did look funny. Do you have a court Jester?” enquired the dragon.
“Jester?” Boroff, somewhat flustered, took a moment to consider the question. “No, I do not. Such fools.”
At that moment, the shaft of light expanded and filled the throne room to fall upon the King like a spotlight. His robes melted away, and for a split second he stood naked as the day he was created. On his head appeared a red and white striped hat with a bobble and some bells. His body become clothed in a tight fitting garment. That too was striped red and white and in his hand he held a pig’s bladder, from which bells also hung.
“Sire?” said the Wizard, staring at the King.
The light now stretched over to the the table and illuminated the dragon knocker. It grew so bright, that Magico, Boroff and the Scribe had to hide their eyes. When it faded again and they open them. They gasped.
“I say, I like this.” The knocker now had a body and around its shoulders was draped a red velvet cloak. Upon its head sat a golden crown. It glanced over its shoulder towards the throne. That too had become enlarged, well large enough to seat a dragon. The dragon smiled.
Through the window, the twittering of birds could be heard. Magico moved towards the opening and looked up. The dark clouds had diminished and in the clear blue sky were instead, white fluffy ones. He continued to look at them twisting and swaying to a rhythm that was all their own. Magico watched as the clouds drifted together to form words.
He glanced at the King now in jester’s clothing and the dragon dressed as a King. The Writer knows a fool when he sees one, and one that has the ability to be wise. Magico smiled as he read the words in the clouds ‘Chapter Two - The Dragon King.’ “A new chapter begins,” he whispered.
~ The End ~