The Kingmaker And The Asshole
I wake up… only to wish that I hadn’t. It feels like someone is drilling inside my head. Everything in my room is spinning, and gravity seems to have multiplied tenfold. I take a step outside my bed—immediately I feel bilge rushing up my throat. I run towards the bathroom. I fling open the door, I open the seat and it all rushes out of me.
I am never, ever, gonna drink again. Ever.
“As the leaves turn to red
the weaves of youth must be shed
and whatever remains left…. must be unsaid.”Hermann recites the rhyme with a smile. He must’ve sneaked up on me while I was relieving my stomach off its content.
I return that smile with one of my own, if albeit, a weakly, more sickly version. “I-” I vomit again. “Geez, what did you drink?” “Mead. I think. I don’t know. Agh, I am never drinking again.” Hermann laughs. “You’d be surprised how many times I’ve heard that.” “I mean it. No alcohol. Never.”
I try to remember what I did. I went to the new neighbour… he presented himself. Nidar Greyscale, that’s what he called himself. He offered me some beer- mead. I drank it. Then I proceeded to tell him an eye-dropping account of the Accident. Way to make an impression there, Rune.
A third wave of vomit makes its way up, and I hug the porcelain throne. ” I guess you wouldn’t be interested in the bacon-pie I just made then?” I glare at Hermann. If looks could kill…
He completely ignores my look and continues to talk in a chipper voice.
“But alas, I did not come here merely to tease you. The lady Elena has called. She said, and I do so quote-” he clears his voice and affect a aristocratic lilt- ” the fucking bastard hasn’t answered my calls. Why hasn’t the fucking pleb answered my calls?”
My face turn even more pale. Elenie called?
I lurch back to my room and take up my phone. Sixteen unread messages. Crap on a cracker.I look at the lastest one.
I am coming over to you. You better not be masturbating or watching any of those weird Japanese movies. Anime, Elena, dammit, they’re called anime. The message is dated fifteen minutes ago. It takes a normal person about twenty-five minutes to make the drive from the Havenius Orchard. So it’s safe to assume that she will be here in ten.
I open the door to my room and shout. “Elena is coming!” “I will bring out the finery and red carpet!” “Hermann, you are a sick, sick man.” “Thank you.”
I shower quickly and grab some clothes that I know will offend Elena; cargo pants and a t-shirt with a picture of a levitating spoon underlined by the text There is no spoon. Elena Havenius is a direct descendant to one of those kingmakers I mentioned before, and a honest to God bona fide noble. Noble, as in Game-of-Thrones scheming and an actual fief. Well, perhaps not a fief these days– its more of a enormous orchard and some square-kilometers spread across Sweden.
She also happpens to be my oldest friend. Hmmm, technically speaking, she is my only friend.
And even though a decade has passed, I can still remember the first day we met.
10 years earlier
I am walking to the swing. That tub of lard Anderson has used it for a small eternity, and its finally my turn. I cross the sandlot and I am just about to jump on when someone grabs my shoulder.
I turn around slowly to meet a blue-eyed monster. Nooo. It’s Ragnar. Ragnar Röv- Ragnar the Asshole. Just because he is a year older than everyone else and a couple of centimeters taller, he thinks that he can bully anyone and get away with it. And for some reason the Teachers never see his true face. They just see a blond little cherub, complete with curls and the blue eyes; the poster-boy for the Aryan race.
“Ragnar, I was here first.”
“So? As if I care. Get off.” He takes a step closer to me. “I’ll scream. I’ll tell the teachers.” Our eyes meet. He seems to take my mettle- and find it lacking. Then he shoves me hard. My head hits the metal-frame of the swing.I see red and I charge him. My charge takes him to the ground. He twists around and headbutts me. Once. Twice. Thrice.
I just lay there. My head. Ouch, ouch. It hurts.I can feel something hot and wet running down my face. Blood. My nose feels weird…
My eyes turn moist and I bite my lip. Not gonna cry, not gonna cry.
“Yeah, take that Runey. Remember, the next time I won’t-” Ragnar gives of a high-pitched scream and falls to the ground. Behind him stands a second blonde cherub, this one female.
He makes a effort to stand. “You little bit-” A tiny hand flies out and slaps him. He looks surprised at her. “Did you just slap me?” The girl speaks for the first time. “Yeah, and I’ll even do it twice.”As if to make point clear she slaps him again. “See?” She slaps him a third again. The most incredible thing I have seen this year, no, ever happens. Ragnar’s lips start to quiver.
She raises her hand for a fourth time, and Ragnar shies away, like a dog that has been kicked too many times. He gives her an evil look and runs away. “Yeah, run away you little bitch!”While I stand up and try to remove all of the sand, she screams more taunts.
Eventually the girl turns her stare at me. When it looks like I am done getting the last of the sand out my clothes, she extends her hand. “My name is Elena. What’s yours?” “Rune.” “You know, Rune, in this world there are doormats, and there are stompers. That’s what my daddy says all the time.” Okay… “I think you are a doormat.” The words hit me like stones.
“But that’s alright. You can still be my friend.” I don’t know what to say or think, so I smile shyly at her. “Okay, we can be friends.I think.”
That was the first time she insulted me. It would not be the last. And so our odd friendship started.
I am walking to the upper plane of the villa when I hear the familiar roar of a certain car. There is screeching sound followed by the sound of a door closing. And then…
“Yeah I am coming, just hold on!”