Events in the Life of Mackwynd the Paladin | By: Joseph Schlegel | | Category: Short Story - Fantasy Bookmark and Share

Events in the Life of Mackwynd the Paladin

Brief History of Mackwynd the Paladin

Thirty years ago, Mackwynd was born in the peaceful country of Jubilee. His birth was heralded amongst the Jubileans as the future heir to the throne. The Jubileans had long awaited this birth, which took slightly longer than most births for some inexplicable reason. His own father, Earlwynd, would never see the birth, as he died in battle while waiting. But how could he die in battle when Jubilee was a peaceful country? Well, Earlwynd got word that a small army of forest misfits called Grifters was coming to Jubilee to wreak havoc on the land. He knew that if his people found out about this, that they'd go quite insane, because the people of Jubilee are naturally imbalanced emotionally. So, he went off to beat them single-handedly.
There were about thirty-one of these large, infamous madmen walking towards Jubilee in a drunken attack. Earlwynd noticed their hideousness, and decided he was glad he wasn't ugly, but that he had 'pearl black hair and taciturn eyes' as his mother-in-law always told him. He then remembered that his mother-in-law died just the day before, as he was reading her a story from the Book of Intrigue about his grandfather, the great king of feasts. A tear came to his eye as he recalled how she had looked at him so intently as he told the story, and how hard he had tried to make her laugh, but she wouldn't. He had thought his jokes just weren't funny, and he had kissed her goodnight. Now he realized she was dead, and still lying in her bed in the castle. He cried. As tears filled his eyes, he saw a blurred image come towards him and drunkenly swing its axe.
News came to Jubilee quickly. On realizing that they had killed Jubilee's king, the Grifters returned to their forest home to celebrate with drinking and a game of toss the king's head around the circle. A young apothecary was searching the area around Jubilee for medicines and came across the body of Earlwynd. He reluctantly returned to Jubilee with the body, and everyone decided to hang the apothecary for finding the king, but not finding his head. The land of Jubilee was no longer peaceful. They were in an uproar. A land with no king is like a potato. Just a potato, nothing else. It was at this time that Mackwynd decided to finally be born.
The whole nation turned out for the public viewing of the birth. The crowning of a prince which occurs whenever a royal son is born is quite the occasion. In this case, it would be a crowning of a king, and the people did not want to miss this most unusual event. As Mackwynd poked his head out, and was about to be crowned king, the Grifters stormed the city with a pack of War-blats, and wreaked havoc as was their intended plan. The War-blats were vile, pernicious pig-like animals that killed everyone and dragged Mackwynd back to the forest of the Grifters. Thus, Mackwynd saw bloodshed from day one of his birth.
The Grifters soon grew tired of Mackwynd, and left him at a village they had recently burnt to the ground. A very old, experienced apothecary was the only man in the village still alive, due to his many ointments that saved him from the flames. Taciturn had vibrant eyes, and had long ago had quite the romantic escapade with Mackwynd's mom ... but that's another story. He had a long, white beard ... but not anymore, because it was burned off in the fire. He raised Mackwynd as his own, but never told him of his royal birth. When Mackwynd was 18, Taciturn died from an overdose of Rat's Liver. Mackwynd searched the house and found, in a small drawer, a note that read, "Remember not to tell Mackwynd about how someone he knew was killed by evilness."
Mackwynd vowed to get revenge on evil. He would make himself a paladin. He rode out for a new land and a new start. A paladin school in Anllyndia took him in, as they noticed a 'royal potential' in his eyes. Emotionally unbalanced, they told him he was ready and let him go a little early. Nonetheless, he had learned much, and is now able to function in life. His emotional outbursts only help in battle as he avenges the death of 'someone he knew.' Knowing that the best way to get revenge on evil is to do good, he has tried to live by a strict moral code. He only cries occasionally, when eating potatoes mostly.

The Death of Taciturn

Mackwynd was outside working in his potato patch. He liked potatoes very much, because they always seemed to bring back memories from his early childhood. It was hard to remember much, but every time he dug up a potato, he would get a quick flash of something. He found that, by piecing together certain memories, he could remember specific episodes from his life. Mackwynd looked at the sky, and marveled at the beauty of the majestic clouds that loomed overhead. He didn't like rain himself, but he knew that his potatoes liked rain, and that meant that he would try and like it too. Thus, he marveled at the clouds as he dug up another potato. A flash of memories flushed into his mind like a tidal wave. He saw a pig-like creature sniffing at his face and licking him with a warty tongue. He saw a large sword being tossed from person to person in a circle. Then he saw a human head lying in the center of the circle, glaring back at him with glazed eyes. But, alas, the tidal wave of memories left as quickly as it came, and Mackwynd was left with just the residues to look back on. He remembered a pig, that's all. Then he remembered a potato, and realized that he had just dug one up. He snapped back into reality and looked up at the clouds. He marveled.
As he was walking back home with his bucket of potatoes, he decided he would ask Taciturn a little more about his past. He knew that Taciturn remembered more than he was telling him. Whenever he would bring up his past, Taciturn would turn to him with those penetrating paisley eyes, and say simply, "The past is the past."
"Wow," Mackwynd would think. "Taciturn is really smart." Then he would marvel.
Well, that day, Mackwynd decided that he was through marveling at his superior's intelligence. He would find out once and for all what he knew about his past. As Mackwynd walked up to the apothecary's hut, which was formed from charred pieces of wood, he realized that something was wrong. Taciturn was not hiding from the sun as he usually did. He was instead sitting in the center of the large field to the side of the house, looking up at the sky. Mackwynd knew that it was not like Taciturn to marvel at clouds. He usually got upset at Mackwynd for marveling. In fact, one time, when Mackwynd was just sitting in the hut, marveling at a particular grey rain cloud (for he could see the clouds through a large burnt out hole in the roof), Taciturn had turned to him and said, "Marveling again? Marveling's for Grifters and Freaks!" Then he had slapped him in the face with a dried salmon. Mackwynd had cried for hours that night. Not so much because of the salmon (he actually rather enjoyed getting hit with dried salmon, because the taste would remain on his skin for hours and he could lick himself and taste the salty taste of fish, which would take his mind off of his troubles) but because he remembered that he had forgotten to sprinkle the potatoes in the field with the apothecary's growth toxin. He knew that this was because he had marveled too much, and that Taciturn was right. Taciturn was always right. "The past is the past." And Mackwynd had cried.
So, as he was walking up to the hut that day, and saw Taciturn just sitting there in the field, right below the hot sun, and marveling at clouds, Mackwynd was quite shocked. He was even confused, because there weren't any clouds in the sky that day that were worth marveling at. He knew because he had just spent hours in the potato patch marveling at the clouds, and it was really nothing spectacular.
"Taciturn," Mackwynd cried out. "What are you doing?" But Taciturn paid no heed to the boy. He continued to look up at the clouds and burn in the heat of the sun.
"Taciturn," Mackwynd said again as he got closer. "Are you marveling?"
"No," responded Taciturn, as he turned his head slowly to the boy. "I'm not marveling." That's when Taciturn's head dropped, literally dropped, right off of his body. Another severed head in the history of Mackwynd the Paladin. It will please the reader to know that this will be a common theme in the life of Mackwynd the Paladin, and even becomes the preferred method of slaughter for the boy as he begins his fight against evil.
Mackwynd was shocked to see this head fall off of his caretaker's shoulders, and decided that this was not normal at all. What caused this? How could this have happened? He decided at that moment to search the house, through all of the cupboards and shelves that Taciturn had not allowed him previously to gaze at. That's when he found the empty phial of Rat's Liver, and knew that this was no accident. Taciturn had willingly and knowingly taken his own life. He knew that if you inject Rat's Liver into your system, and then sit in the sun, that the heat would expand the liver into a large bubble that would root itself in your head and pop it off. Mackwynd had experimented with small pond frogs, and he had watched in horrid fascination as he saw hundreds and hundreds of small frog heads fly off of the small bodies all lined up in a row. Frog head soup that night had a much thicker consistency than normal, and had been quite tasty.
He then found the note that said, "Remember to tell Mackwynd about how someone he knew was killed by evilness." This is when he realized that Taciturn had planned to tell him more about his past that day. He was planning an interactive discussion in which he would explain how someone he knew had had his head severed by mean, evil people, and then his own head would fall off in illustration. A tear came to Mackwynd's eye as he realized just how much Taciturn truly loved him. Then he became angry, because of what evil had done to someone he knew. Then Mackwynd cried as he saw that his potatoes had dried out in the hot sun and that they were not feeling well. Then he got hungry again.
The frog head soup he prepared for himself that night was not so tasty, but very substantial. It would be the last meal he ate with Taciturn. The next morning, after marveling at the beautiful clouds in the sky, he set off for a new land, and a new future.

The Adventure through the Desert
Mackwynd had never seen any other land besides his potato patch at Taciturn's deserted town. He had never received a clear answer from his caretaker as to why the residents of the town were all gone, and why all the buildings were burned down to the ground. Whenever he asked a question like that, Taciturn would turn to him and say, "The past is the past." Mackwynd would marvel, and not ask another question for at least three weeks.
Time went by quickly at the potato farm. The potatoes grew well in the charred remains of the homes, and there was little time for oneself. Taciturn insisted that there wasn't even time for marveling, but Mackwynd thought that there's always time for a little marveling. This is why Taciturn's death had such a dramatic effect on Mackwynd's life. He was really the only person that he had ever known. True, he had lived with the Grifters in his youngest years, and had even played a game of poke the severed head's eyeballs with them, but Mackwynd remembered none of this. He only received a few mental reminders during his potato marveling periods. So, in Mackwynd's world, there was no one else; he and Taciturn were alone in this world.
Mackwynd's decision to let the potatoes rot and go to waste while he searched for evilness was a difficult one. It took about three days worth of marveling before he finally made up his mind to leave, and even then, he took another three days to decide where to go. To the north there was a large forest, with large trees that looked like giant green castles covered with ivy. The foliage frightened him. To the south, a gigantic lake with crystal clear water stretched to the expanse of the horizon. Mackwynd knew how to swim quite well, but, unfortunately, he did not know this, having never stepped foot in water in his life, not even to bathe. To the west, an almost unseen swamp loomed in the foggy mist. There were snakes there, for sure, and maybe even serpents and slith-blats. To the east there was a desert. In the desert there was nothing. Mackwynd chose to start his adventure.
The desert terrain was quite difficult to traverse. The sand would go up to his ankle with every step, and the sun beat down on him with all the energy of a viper. The cloudless sky gave Mackwynd little to marvel at, and he decided to never marvel again. At one point Mackwynd was quite thirsty and thought he saw an oasis in the distance. He walked towards the oasis, getting closer with each step. When he reached the oasis, he bent over the water for a drink. It tasted strangely like sand, but he knew that without water he would die. After getting his fill of sand, Mackwynd was surprised to look around and see no oasis there anymore. He was shocked at how much water he must have drunk to empty an entire oasis, and he marveled. Remembering his pact to never marvel again, Mackwynd hit himself in the head and decided that marveling was too intricate a part of his nature for him to stop; he retracted his vow.
He walked for twelve days before reaching a real oasis, where he again marveled at how much water he was able to drink. He also marveled at how wonderful the water tasted. Mackwynd was looking at the water for a long time, marveling, when he noticed the face of Taciturn, his dead caretaker. Taciturn seemed to be looking at him, begging him to speak. Mackwynd asked the question, "Taciturn, I'm tired. Where is evilness? I'm going to avenge the death of someone I knew. Help me."
Taciturn responded, "The past is the past."
"I know," replied Mackwynd. "I know."
Taciturn's visage disappeared from the water's ripples, and Mackwynd took another sip. The water seemed to move about his mouth in an odd way, slithering and sloshing from side to side. Afraid that he had somehow taken in Taciturn's head, Mackwynd quickly spat the contents of his mouth onto the sand. Sure enough, a small, baby viper had been in his mouth. Mackwynd was upset at first, but then realized that the viper had meant no harm, and may even be more frightened than he.
He said, "Hello, little viper. I'm sorry I nearly swallowed you. If you think it was frightening in my mouth, imagine what it's like in my stomach. That would have been really scary."
Realizing that the little viper could not speak, Mackwynd continued, "I don't know what to do, little viper. Taciturn won't help me. The clouds aren't even here to help me. You're all I've got. Can you show me the way to where I'm going?"
The little viper immediately made its way through the sand in the westward direction. Mackwynd followed. The little viper slithered quite quickly, and Mackwynd could not keep up. Thankfully, the little body made tracks in the sand that he could follow. He followed the tracks for twelve days, seeing nothing that resembled any place that he would like to go. All he saw was sand. Suddenly, without warning, Mackwynd stumbled over something and fell hard into the sandy earth. He passed out with the fall, and awoke moments later with a large bump on his forehead and a bruise on his shin. He looked to see what had caused the fall. A potato.
Mackwynd was back at home, on the potato farm. The little viper had lead him back the way he came. That bastard! mackwynd wanted to kill that little viper so badly. He wanted to decapitate the little fiend. Mackwynd picked up the potato instead, assuming that the viper was long gone. Looking at the potato, he received a bad memory of a time long past. he was in a dark cavern of some sort, and could see a small spot of light ahead of him. He made his way out, and heard the cheering crowd. Then he saw blood and carnage. Then, the memory faded, and Mackwynd only remembered blood.
Mackwynd decided to make his way back to the home of Taciturn, and look for something else in the hut that could aid him in his journey. On his way back, he saw the little viper. It seemed to have a smile on its face, happy to have aided the traveler back to his home. Mackwynd had nothing but malicious intent for this little creature. he picked up the viper and returned to the hut. Grabbing some scissors from Taciturn's shelf, Mackwynd snipped the little viper's head off, and it fell with a thlump into a pot of boiling water. The frog head soup that night tasted particularly delicious, with an exquisite flavor of viper that was uncommon in those parts.
Mackwynd slept well that night, with dreams of happiness and merriment. He saw a large tree covered entirely with small black ants. The multitude of ants made it look as though the tree was moving. In the dream, Mackwynd reached his hand out to the tree, and the ants began to cover him as well. Then he turned into a tree himself, and yet was able to move about. He awoke.
Had Taciturn been alive, he would have told Mackwynd that he had slept for seven days. Viper venom is used by apothecaries thoughout those parts as a sleep toxin to aid in curing several ailments, as well as to give the added benefit of cool dreams. Mackwynd did not know this, however, as he rarely helped Taciturn in his apothecary work, and instead worked all day in the potato patch. He preferred the rough texture and nonjudgmental eyes of the potatoes to the slithering slop and judging cures of the potions that Taciturn created. Looking at the remaining bones of Taciturn's body, Mackwynd decided to live out his dream. He would go to the forest and find that tree with the black ant covering. Maybe it would help him in his quest.

To Be Continued...(but not anytime soon)
Click Here for more stories by Joseph Schlegel