Agaston the Undying

Writing Prompt: The hero this time is from another world and not chosen by the elders. He wears the same weird clothes and weirdly resembles our previous king, who was assassinated after he laughed at a dead animal underwater.

All around upon the ground the people of Ovalice gazed in anticipation of the Chosen One, and none more so than the new found King, King Balog, Balog the Breaker of Skulls.

For countless years the Chosen One had been selected from those eligible in the lands of Ovalice. A farmhand, a stable-tend, the butcher’s young apprentice, all very unlikely candidates, and yet not once had the Elders failed in their intuition. Not once had the Chosen One failed in their duty.

But now the Chosen One had come falling from another World, this One not of the Elders’ making, this Chosen being was…

“King Agaston?” it was a subtle cry from the throats of many, a question that quickly found its answer as Agaston (the King that was) came crawling out of the sky in a thunderous rain of purplish blood.

“Impossible.” King Balog, with hefty silver hammer in his hand, forced his way through the crowd of gaping faces, “Agaston is dead, he was assassinated after mocking the corpse of the great Water Deity, Unda-Knar-Well.”

“Bloody well deserved it, too.” a shout came from the crowd.

The body of Agaston, strewn helpless in the dirt, gave a grunt, turning over to face the waning sun. Already the skies were calming, no longer riddled with the storm that had summoned him here. “Where am I?” he managed, groping at his well-weathered face. He was sodden hair to head to toe with sweat, and from him wafted the most deplorable stench, not that any of those present could have named it (it was the stench of oil, from a World far beyond Ovalice’s own).

“Reuben,” King Balog roared, “I call you so for you are no King of Ovalice, you are but a man risen from the dead.”

“I feel you’re underplaying the importance of my having risen from the dead.” Reuben was struggling to his feet, trying desperately to make sense of where he was, “And might I ask, how do you know my name?”

“There’s no need to play games with us, Reuben.” Balog descended on Agaston, taking hold of the undead-king’s neck in one hair covered hand. Balog’s breathing was heavy, short and warm, an apt description of the man himself. “It is my pleasure to learn you on how I came upon my name.” the Breaker of Skulls smiled, dropping his hammer. With one hand resting beneath Reuben’s chin, and the other pressing down upon his scalp, Balog heaved, and sought to bring his hands together.

“Stop it! You’ll kill him!” the protests came few and far between, for none in the crowd much wanted to face the same fate as Reuben would.

First came the cracking of bone, then the slight sagging of the skin, as little by little Reuben’s head was compressed before the unnatural might of King Balog. Blood seeped casually from Reuben’s eyes and ears, running indifferently down from his nose, his teeth shook and then shattered, every fragment of his skull parted company, and slowly his brain began to break.

Then with one final slapping of force Reuben’s head exploded, raining over all that stood too close. King Balog grinned, wiped his hands against the silk of his tunic, and waited patiently for Reuben’s body to fall. Only it didn’t, and it wouldn’t. It remained as rigid in death as in life, perhaps more so. But then Reuben was already dead, wasn’t he?

Balog growled at the defiant corpse of the Old-King Agaston, gathered up his hammer, and began to spin it furiously at his side. Building speed and purpose Balog threw the blur that was his hammer at the waiting corpse, aiming for the bodies stomach, hoping to break a few more bones before the fall.

But the fall was not to follow.

With so simple a movement the body of Agaston did something that would secure the Old-King’s place in the undying memory of Ovalice. It did something that warranted the writing of both tales and songs alike.

It caught the hammer.

Mid-swing, full force, as if it were no more than pebble that had been tossed by Balog.

Reuben pushed aside the now stuttering King Balog, and from a throat within a neck that held up what looked more alike a deflated balloon than a head, he said, “I know not why I’m here, nor do I remember this place or my ruling of it. But I can tell you this; my World, the World I have fallen from, was destroyed by the one you call Unda-Knar-Well. The last I remember I was drowning, and then I was falling, and now I am here. Whatever the case may be, I believe I am in some way meant to help you, to keep your World from that same fate.”

There were gasps, there were cries of fainting disbelief, there were quiet murmurs of some foul magic at play, but one and all agreed that Agaston, Agaston the Undying, was a worthy Hero, and perhaps the only one who could make sense of a threat they knew nothing about.

Copyright © K R Perry 2019

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