Flash Fiction Friday: A Villain’s Work is Never Done

Welcome to my first Flash Fiction Friday! Today I have a short humorous tale of epic fantasy. A behind the scenes look at running a kingdom.

Image by TenebrisCilva from Pixabay

A Villain’s Work is Never Done

“I am Rathnor! Scourge of Alayria!” The large barbarian struck a fearsome pose, his metal and bone armour clanking. Then he glanced to his right and asked, “How was that, scribe?”
A smaller man seated at a table filled with parchment sheets, a quill pen, and ink smiled. “Most excellent. Very intimidating. Perhaps more from the diaphragm, so it projects more. You want to frighten as many peasants as possible.”
“True, true.” Rathnor nodded. “Let me try again.” He cleared his throat, took a deep breath and cried, “I am Rathnor! Scourge of Alayria!”
The timbre of his voice boomed across the room and the smaller man clapped. “Much better. I believe you have it.”
“Oh, good.” Rathnor exhaled, relaxing. “I’ve been off my game. With these last two raids, I just haven’t struck the same terror in people I used to.” He slumped down on his throne, picked up his battleaxe, and scowled. “Look at that!” He rubbed a spot of dried blood off the handle. “Did you fire my weapons cleaners as I asked? I keep finding stains on my weapons.”
The scribe nodded. “Handled. I had them beheaded yesterday and hired a fresh team. They guarantee their work or one free sacrifice with your next order.”
“Oh, they sound promising. What about the new henchmen?”
The other man sighed. “That is proving more difficult. The quality of henchmen has declined these past few years. No coordination, no work ethic. I mean, the last horde I interviewed refused to even swarm their opponent. They fought him one by one, and their skirmish ended in defeat! Can you imagine?”
“Shocking!” Rathnor growled. “I don’t want men like that doing my bidding.”
“Well, I hear your enemy, Eldar, hired them, so it may have worked out for the best. And I have a line on some promising mercenaries that seem eager to join your ranks. They follow orders and are quite bloodthirsty. Not overly ambitious, though, so no threat to your throne.”
“Good.” The barbarian grunted. “I wouldn’t want a repeat of the incident with Valwic. It took forever to clean his guts off the walls.”
The scribe shuddered. “No, we definitely do not want that again.” He picked up a few sheets of parchment. “Do you want me to read you the pillaging reports for this week?”
“Oh, please do, I could use a bit of a nap.” Rathnor settled back on his throne and closed his eyes. The voice of the scribe droned, reciting names of ravaged towns and lists of stolen goods. Soon Rathnor’s snores filled the room. The scribe smiled and went back to his work. Running a barbarian’s kingdom took skill and commitment, but he enjoyed the challenge.

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