A naive jester receives a peculiar object and takes fun and laughter too far.
|word count: 3,817 Prompt 3
Nimrod is the court fool who lives in the kingdom of Vortigess. He loves to laugh and make others laugh. But there is a problem; his mentality is to take things to extreme measure in the name of fun. Fortunately, he has not done anything rash or grievous-yet.
One sunny afternoon day, as delightful birds and butterflies fluttered about and the spring air was fragrant with the scent of flowers, Nimrod was entertaining King Griever and all the royalty. The comedian was dressed in a typical white and red suit and curled socks with bells at the tips. On his head was a cap with thin, cone-like tassels having bells at the ends. Nimrod’s face was painted white, red dots. His shamelessness and lighthearted antics filled the room with laughter that echoed throughout the vaulted chamber.
“People say I’m an embarrassment,” Nimrod said as he shoved an entire banana in his mouth and threw the peel behind his back. People chuckled as white banana was smeared all over his face. He spun around and walked. “But that is furthest from the…whoops!” Nimrod yelped as he slipped on the peel and fell face first into a large cake. Everyone broke out in laughter. It continued as he struggled to get out of the cake then slipped on the fallen frosting and toppled onto his back. People’s faces were turning red. Nimrod tried to stand as he flopped on the ground like a fish.
Finally he struggled to his feet. “I meant to do that. I just wanted you all to know you should avoid slipping on banana peels.” He stopped until the laughter lulled as all attention was on him. “Now I would like to show you all a magic trick.” He took off his hat then walked to a chest against a wall and withdrew a mouse. He returned to where he was. “Before your eyes…” he paused and took out a handkerchief. “…I will make this mouse disappear.” Nimrod put the mouse in the cloth and covered the little creature. “Abracadabra!” he said he opened it revealing the mouse. The people burst into laughter. “Eh, Forget it. Why do I try.” he said as he tossed the innocent rodent behind his back like an apple core. People laughed sourly at the funny but cruel act.
Once again Nimrod waited for silence. “So what is it that King Oloft treasures most?”
The audience booed at the mention of the loathed ruler of the hated kingdom Thourn.
Nimrod returned to his chest and pulled out pillows and stuffed them under is costume to make his stomach appear to be bloated and he did his impression. “I, King of Thourn, do passionately do announce what I hold most dear…FOOD!” Again the court erupted into laughter. Next Nimrod went to his chest and pulled out a dress and put it over him and he took up a silver goblet. “I also love to get drunk and prance in women’s clothing. I love wine so much it practically runs through my veins!”
The laughter continued. Nimrod stopped his impressions to directly insult king Oloft. “Now we all know the king of Thourn is greedy. But just how greedy is he? Why, I hear he would sell his own mother for a farthing. He would even trade his liver for a sack of rubies. Of course he could not live without a liver but we all know how stupid he is too. He’s so stupid he can’t tell a horse’s rump from its head. If you don’t believe me, go to his lands and you’ll see him riding backwards on a mare.”
Finally Nimrod stopped and bowed. “Thank you, one and all.”
Everyone applauded. King Griever stood from his throne. “Oh, Nimrod, you are most delightful to be in the presence of! Bravo!” Then people began throwing money at Nimrod’s feet. He took a bag from his chest and filled it with the gold and silver pieces.
The people continued to praise the fool as he continued to bow. “Thank you your majesty. It was my pleasure. Now if you will all excuse me, I must go to me room to prepare next week’s performance and to rest.”
The king nodded to him and Nimrod left the court with his prize and went to his quarters. “Ah, another day of fun and jokes,” he said. Then he looked down. “I’ve been doing the same things for years. If only I could do something truly outrageous and amusing! Oh, but how?” He tapped on his chin in thought. “I feel like fishing.”
Nimrod went down the hall dressed in a normal tunic and was stopped by Princess Thiana. “That was a most joyful time in the court today. Where on earth do you get your ideas?”
“What can I say? It comes to me as easy as dreaming. Now if you’ll excuse me-” Nimrod acted as if would walk to the left then deliberately walked into a wall.
The Princess laughed. “You never cease to amuse me! Have a good day Nimrod,” Thiana said as she left him.
Nimrod smiled as he went on his way outside to a lake to fish. Beside the lake were wooden sticks that had fishing rods tied to them. He took one and sat down in front of a lake and cast his line. About thirty minutes later, he saw a boat approaching him. Nimrod was curios and stood. Soon he saw a man wearing a crest depicting a circle of dolphins that he wore on his chest-the symbol of the kingdom of Thourn.
When his boat touched the bank, the man stepped onto the ground. “Greetings, you must be Nimrod.”
Nimrod contorted his face. “Umm…what are you doing here? Aren’t we enemies or something?”
The man smiled. “Don’t worry, I haven’t come to fight. I am Kronus.” he came closer. “Your wit and ingenious humor is legend in Thourn.”
Nimrod’s face lit up. “Really? But how?”
“Travelers that have sojourned around Vortigess have come to Thourn with word of mouth of your fame.”
The flattered fool raised his eyebrow with a look of pride. “What can I say?-I’m gifted.”
“Indeed you are. If only you could entertain the people of my kingdom. We would be most grateful.”
Nimrod looked down in thought. “Well…I could take a short leave of absence. What could it hurt?”
Kronus displayed a broad smile and clapped his hands together. “Splendid! Let’s not wait a minute more. Let us go!”
“Tee, hee!” Nimrod laughed. “I can’t wait. You are all in for a treat, yes very much so!”
The fool boarded Kronus’ boat and they rowed for Thourn.
“How long have you given services to the kings’ court?”
“Since I was a teenager. In school, I was always making the class laugh until they burst. I was given many warnings, but it never silenced me. Eventually I was expelled. Then my…” Nimrod licked his thumb and threw his head back. “…talent was noticed by a nobleman. He introduced me to Princess Thiana. Oh, I could make her laugh until she cried! Then she let me perform in front of the king and his court. I was an instant success!”
“Amazing,” Kronus said nodding. “I look forward to seeing your gift being displayed in front of the king. He himself is awaiting your arrival with much anticipation.”
Nimrod poised himself in a puffed up manner. “I see. Well, he will soon be suffocating with laughter, as well everyone else.” Then a stringent look came upon him. “I will receive gold for my efforts right?”
“Of course, just as or more than you are used to. You will be the star of the kingdom,” said Kronus.
Nimrod became alarmed. “My chest! I don’t have my chest!”
“The chest with all my props.”
“Relax, we will supply anything you need.”
“You will?” asked Nimrod.
Soon they reached the other side of the lake where Thourn was. They got out and went up and over a hill. There they came to the gates of Kings Oloft’s domain. The kingdom of Thourn was very similar to Vortigess. The houses were of black and grey stone with shapes like that of Nimrod’s kingdom. The streets were wide and made with cobblestone. Kronus led Nimrod to the castle with fountains of white porcelain that appeared on every other street corner. Also like Vortigess, the commoners were dressed in clean tunics or dresses that showed their moderate prosperity and cordial happiness.
Kronus stopped in the middle of town square. “People of Thourn,” He spoke loudly. “People of Thourn. It is my pleasure to introduce Nimrod who has come all the way from his on home to bring us laughter and cheer!”
There was applause and whistling with bright smiles. The people circled around him.
Nimrod looked as though he felt like an exalted king. He appeared giddy with praise and waved proudly. “So where will I be performing first?-here or in the castle?”
“You will perform in front of the royal court so you can gather your things for the show.”
Kronus pressed through the throng of people with Nimrod following. The cheering and praise went on as he proceeded to the castle the whole way there. Nimrod was beaming with delight as if he would explode. At last they reached the open gate to the keep. The fool was ushered into the royal hall and was once again introduced with great hail from the royal house.
“Just ask what you need and it will be provided. You perform at noon.”
So Nimrod was met by a servant who supplied all the things would be required for the show: men and woman’s clothing, different sizes of leather balls, pies, fruit, rope and other items.
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Kronus had a coy grin as he went to the king’s throne room. “Lord Oloft, I have him eating out of the palm of my hand.”
“Good. I want the plan carried out swiftly. As soon as he has performed, give him the Humero Staff.” King Oloft sat with a straight back and hands gripping the chair arms lightly. He veered his eyes and chuckled manically. “Very soon and that goat of a ruler king Griever will have his kingdom turned upside down-perhaps even literally! Ha! With the infectious power of the magical, staff Nimrod’s mind will be bent to do atrocious things. He will be helpless against its control!'”
“Indeed my Lord.”
“Remember to tell him that the staff will only work in Vortigess,” said Oloft with stern eyes.
Kronus answered in reverent haste. “Yes my King,”
Noon came quickly and Nimrod presented himself to the king and his court. “To the royalty of Thourn. Thank you. I would like to begin with a song I wrote myself.” Nimrod cleared his throat. “I live in a house with a giant mouse, and eat my food like a big fat stooge. La, la, la, la, la. I wear my hat on my feet and my shoes on my head, and I sleep with a chicken in my bed. La, la, la, la, la. I love to prance in women’s clothes and I talk and play with magic gnomes. La, la, la, la, la.”
King Oloft forced a horrendous laugh and stood to applaud. “Encore, encore!”
Nimrod went to a pile of props and brought back three large pies. “Who here likes pie? Well I don’t care. Anyway, I love pie. And when I feed my face, I really feed my face.” The fool took a pie and splattered it into his face. Laughter followed. He went to his pile of items and dawned a bright pink dress with a bodice and wore a long wig. He lifted the tone of his voice to sound feminine. “Excuse me but would someone tell me where I can freshen up? Oh my, is it just me or is it hot in here?” Nimrod took out a colorful fan and fanned himself. Then in a random moment, he threw another pie into his face and then spoke regularly. “Sorry I don’t know what came over me. I can act spontaneously at times.” The fool took off his apparel. Then he jerked his head to the right in a spastic manner. Next he jolted his whole body. People were laughing hysterically. “I’m sorry. Sometimes I can’t help but…” Nimrod slapped his face. “My apologies. The only thing worse than my lack of bodily control is my mood swings. One moment I can be totally calm, the other I…” The performer looked at one of the servants standing by and yelled with faked anger. “…DOES MY FACE AMUSE YOU THAT YOU STARE AT ME SO?!” Nimrod shook his head. “Forgive me, I…” He looked at a guard holding a spear. “…Please don’t hurt me! I’m sorry if I didn’t amuse you!” He shook his head again as if warding off his facetious fearful reaction. Then he bowed and spoke plainly. “Thanks to all-It was a pleasure to entertain you.”
People tossed coins at his feet while cheering. He waved and put the money in his pouch. Nimrod was about to exit the court when King Oloft stopped him. “Wait my friend, there is something my nobleman Kronus is to talk to you about-in private.”
Kronus beckoned to the fool. “Follow me.”
“Okay,” Nimrod said childishly as he skipped after the nobleman to a door in the royal court.
Kronus led Nimrod through the door and shut it. It was a small room with murals of fighting warriors and picturesque scenes of rolling hills and shady forests. At the back of the room, was a long metal chest. “You are an exceptional mind. In your honor, we want to give a most extraordinary object.” Kronus went to the chest and pulled out a key. He opened it to reveal a long rod with the head of a painted jester at one end.
“How neat! Thanks!” Nimrod grabbed it.
Kronus put hand on Nimrod’s arm. “Wait. This is more than just a simple staff-it is magical. Let me show you.” He took the staff, pointed at a wooden cabinet and out popped a shirt, pantaloons, hat and a pair of socks-all moving like an invisible man was walking in them.
The fool was speechless. Suddenly he jumped and clapped his hands together. “How utterly amazing! Let we try!”
“The only way a person can use us if he is in his own kingdom. Once you return to Vortigess, let you imagination run wild. Just think it and it will be done.”
Nimrod was suddenly eager to return to the kingdom where he lived. He urged Kronus to take him back immediately. He walked with spring in his step through the cheering crowd.
Nimrod raised his voice. “I regret to say I will not be able to entertain you all. A situation presses me. Now if you will excuse me.”
The cheering died down and soon after, he and Kronus reached the boat. The fool ranted on about what he would do when he made it back to Vortigess-truly they were heinous, sickening things. Nimrod was too enraptured to notice the relishing look on the nobleman’s face. After reaching the other side of the lake, Nimrod bounced out of the boat giggling.
“May you put on a wonderful show,” Kronus said with a sneer.
It did not take ling until he entered the castle and went to the king’s court, gripping the staff with both hands. “May I have everyone’s attention?”
King Griever yawned and stretched. “With all admiration Nimrod, it getting dark and I will retire early.”
“Ah, but now I have a rare treat,” he fool said gripping the staff. “Allow me to demonstrate.” Nimrod pointed the staff at a servant and in a flash of light, he was in his underwear pajamas.
Some in the court laugh but most looked shocked and afraid. As soon as Nimrod had used the Humero Staff, a demented expression suddenly over took him and he appeared altered somehow.
King Griever jumped to his feet. “Sorcery!”
“Come now it’s not so bad. How about another trick?” with another point of the staff, four of the noblemen were suddenly dressed like Nimrod, in his colorful, ridiculous outfit. The jester laughed maniacally. The look in his eyes showed he was slipping further into insane delight.
“Let us get a little more serious comedy!” Nimrod used the staff to turn the king’s head into a chicken. The whole court was repulsed. “Let us see, who shall be next?”
At those words, all the royalty began running out of the court in a panic. “Where ae you all going? The fun has just begun.” Nimrod raised his staff and door to the court froze shut in a wall of ice.
Princess Thiana rushed to Nimrod. “Please, stop! Look at what you are doing!”
“I’m adding endless fun and flavor to the court that is what!” With another point of the staff, half the court was turned into living scare crows.
“What a hoot!” Nimrod then caused more of the court to turn into colorful piñatas. The raging fool took the staff and hit one of them and candy and confetti came bursting out. He knelt down and scooped up some chocolate and caramel that had fallen.
“Oh but why stop here? The commoners would love my antics!” Nimrod raised the staff and the ice on the door shattered. He walked through it and made his way outside. “Greetings everyone! Prepare to laugh your heads off-perhaps literally!”
The heinous jester looked to a woman and with her children near her.
“My good woman, do you ever worry about feeding your children? Well, worry no longer!” Nimrod motioned with his staff and the woman turned into a giant sausage link. “Dig in little ones. Ha, ah ha!”
The loose fool skipped down the cobblestone path as people stared at the former beautiful lady. Once again, the jester used his power to turn an entire street of homes into ginger bread houses.
He then he saw a dog barking at him. Nimrod spoke to it. “Day to day, the same kinds of animals. Let us see what I can do for you.” With a point of the staff the dog grew bat’s wings and its legs became like a deer’s. It continued to transform as it grew along neck like a giraffes’ and the face of pig.
People were fleeing in fear of the powerful madman. But all he had to do was to look at whomever he willed and point the staff at anyone he pleased and the damage was done.
“I think it is time for the royal gardens to undergo some special tending.” As Nimrod loosed a sickening, scornful taunt, the power of the Humero Staff transformed the bushes and trees to match the metal head on his magical implement. Branches and twigs became bundles of multi-colored tassels atop a grinning face.
“No that is truly a handsome tree,” Nimrod boasted.
Suddenly he turned around just in time to an arrow bounce of his chest-and then another. Then a dozen guards rushed to seize him with brandished swords and axes. The fool looked to them twelve yards away and turned the lot of them into pigs in dresses.
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While calamity ensued outside, Princess Thiana was crying over the horrific thing that had become of her father. The chicken headed king wandered around aimlessly. Thiana rushed to a guard just coming down from the castle wall.
“Have an archer take down that monster!”
“We have tried! He is impervious and impossible to get near!” said the guard widening his eyes and shaking his head in fear.
“The key lay in that staff. There must be a way to get it.” Thiana looked down and paced in thought. “I have an idea. It is simple, perhaps too simple but I can think of nothing else.”
The Princess ran out through the gate. “Nimrod!” she shouted.
He turned around. “My dear princess, how can I help you?”
“This place is so colorful and alive with mirth. Well done,” she said. “I would like to give you something for all this.”
“What might that be?”
“How does a big kiss on the lips suffice?”
Nimrod blushed with a beaming smile. “Ah, a kiss-from the most beautiful lady in the kingdom-how could anyone resist such an offer? I will be there in a moment my sweet.”
Thiana smiled and batted her eyes. The fool skipped towards her with a coy air and stopped with open arms, holding the staff in his right hand. “You may bestow your gift milady.”
The princess pursed her lips and cupped his face and kissed him. She pressed her lips against his and when he was unawares, Thiana reached for the staff but Nimrod quickly drew it back from her grasp and stepped back. “Naughty princess. Nice try. But unfortunately…”
Before Nimrod could finish his words, a man from behind him snatched the Humero Staff as the mad man held it away from Thiana.
“No! Give that back!”
“Destroy it!” cried Thiana.
The man holding the metal staff cast it onto the ground and picked up an axe where the guards were standing and struck the magical rod. With the sound of an anvil against anvil, it shattered into glowing pieces like shards of a blue diamond and instantly all returned to normal; people were people, the garden was a garden, and houses were stone and timber once again.
Nimrod fell and convulsed. A streaming line of blue light came from his chest. Then he closed his eyes and became still. Princess Thiana knelt and the seemingly dead man opened his eyes. “I feel strange. My power it’s gone!-But I feel good to be rid of it. All that I did was brought on by that magical staff. It was absolutely none of me!-just cheap tricks!” A look of dire worry came over him. “Umm….what will you do to me?”
The princess frowned down at him. “The king will decide that. However it seems you were controlled by it. He may show you mercy in light of this fact.”
Nimrod was brought before the king. “Because of your heinous actions you will be punished. But my daughter has asked that I grant you mercy.” He was silent for a few moments. “You will serve one year in prison.”
“Alas, I suppose I deserve it.” Nimrod sighed. “I truly am a fool it appears.”
The malefactor was shut in the dungeon and all were glad the calamity was passed. Nevertheless, his humorous talent was missed but a new jester was ordained but nothing compared to the goofy antics and imagination of their good old Nimrod.