Chapter 38:

Chapter 38


The doors to the throne room. Large, dark oak doors. Lumbering. Breathing as if a life lost was still trying to exist inside its timbers. The dismembered, disgraced, desecrated bodies of King Lancaster and his Queen hung above the frame like twisted ornaments. Their blood dripped down, staining the doors. Entrails draped like curtains, grazing the body of their advisor left on the floor. The symbol of the lavender division painted and etched into the door. Grimwald's mark. A mockery of those who foolishly took him in. A refugee he was not. He was a calamity. Elizabeth, Isaac, and Vera all put their hands upon the door. This was it. No going back. The beginning of the end.

"Ready?" Isaac asked.

"Win or lose, I'll see you guys on the other side." Elizabeth responded.

"Let's end this." Vera said.

"For Ethros." Together in unison they cheered. They pushed the doors open. They creaked with unfathomable weight. Their destiny awaits. Their fates had been sealed. It was time to face their opponent. It was time they put a stop to...

"Jester?" Said Elizabeth, confused. Sitting at the other end of the chamber, just in front of the throne, was the King's Jester. A short, young man. All features obscured, except his face. Crystal blue eyes and a small tuft of blonde hair created an innocent more reminiscent of a kid than an older adult, though no one actually knew how old Jester really was. No one knew really anything about him. Talk about his existence was kept strictly within the confines of the castle. All that the public really knew was that he was the greatest performer Ethros had ever seen. That, and that he wore a silly looking, full body, red and blue costume with little golden bells. Jester whipped his head around, causing the points of his cap to flop around. He smiled.

"Hiya!" He called out, jumping to his feet. He seemed completely overjoyed, despite the situation.

"Jester..." Elizabeth approached cautiously. "Where's Grimwald?"

"Grimwald? Oh he's not here."

"Obviously." Isaac scowled.

"Where is he, Jester?"

"He's at the old church, waiting for you guys." He explained. Isaac and Vera groaned with disappointment.

"The church?! Why would he be there?! Why would he be guarding the castle so much if he wasn't here?!"

"I can answer that!" Jester enthusiastically offered. "He said it was uh, a diversion." Suddenly, the doors slammed shut, and the thick tendrils of the plague kept them locked.

"Jester... let us go. We need to stop Grimwald."

"I'd love to Lizzy, but here's the thing. I'm not supposed to let you." Jester's voice dropped. His look of content turned to contempt; happiness dissolved into pain. He began to march towards the heroes.

"Oh please." Isaac scoffed. "It's two experienced fighters and their support versus one lonely performer. What do you honestly expect to do against us?"

"Did you know, I'm not just a performer. I was one of Lancaster's top men, second only to the Queen. He put more trust in me, and my capabilities, than any other member of the royal advisory and guard combined. And now, Grimwald has given me that same trust, with an even greater reward to back him up. So, worrying about me, over yourselves." Jester stopped in his tracks. He stood straight up, head tilted back. He closed his eyes, filled his lungs. "Well that's just comical." Spikes sprouted from his abdomen. They careened towards the party at breakneck speeds. Isaac and Vera braced themselves. Spells and shields blocked the incoming attack. They flinched, taking their eyes off Jester for a brief moment. By the time they reopened their eyes Jester was already on the attack. Springing forward, he seemed to wield two spears in his hands. Stabbing and jabbing at the opposition, Jester fueled each attack with blood stained, heartfelt, tear-soaked rage. He reeled both spears back behind his body, ready to swing them forward like clubs. While Vera ducked, Isaac stood confused. Jester swung the spears, and two axe heads lodged into Isaac's sides. He screamed; his legs buckled.

"What the hell?!" He said through choked blood. Jester kicked Isaac down and pulled out his axes. Vera snuck around the performer. She aimed her staff and casted a furious flourish of flames. Jester spun around. His head contorted and morphed. His flesh hardened into scales. His cap twisted into horns. Jester lowered his head, opened his maw, and breathed fire from his new draconic from. Vera tried her best to beat back the embers. Her hands trembled. Sweat dripped down her face. Exhaustion overcame her with the flames. She fell back and Jester let up before the burns grew too intense. He stood up straight, and his face morphed back to normal.

"Jester..." Elizabeth whispered, distraught. "Are you..."

"A mimic." He finished. "Why do you think I'm doing this?"

"I, I had no idea."

"Of course you didn't. No one knew, no one except the royal family. It never struck you as odd that I never left the castle? Even the King and Queen got out from time to time. Not loyal old Jester." Isaac quickly came up from behind. He thrusted his blade into Jester's back, was surprised to find he just went through an empty hole. "Please, I can have eyes literally everywhere on my body. You didn't think I'd see such an obvious sneak attack coming." Jester morphed his leg into a hoof and kicked Isaac back.

"But why Jester? Why are you doing all of this?! Why side with a monster like him?!"

"Because we're monsters together, that's what he said at least."


"Do you know what it's like? To be a prisoner, a victim, for wanting to be free? My people and I have to live in hiding, because if we don't, we'll be persecuted! No other race experiences that! No orc, no elf, no dwarf has to live through what we do! Why do you think we disguise ourselves? It's not to lure you in, or to catch you by surprise. It's because we're scared of you! We wanted to be like you, but you rejected us! That's why! That's why I have to do this. For my people. Lancaster may have spared me, but he kept me in hiding. Grimwald has promised us freedom, at the cost of my servitude. Even if he's lying, and he probably is, I can't risk squandering the tiniest bit of truth behind his words. He has made me an offer I just cannot refuse. I'm sorry."


"Jester." A dark voice spoke inside his mind. "Stop fooling around. I entrusted you with the task of eliminating them. It's time to end this. It's time for the curtain call." Jester sighed.

"Yes, Grimwald." He whispered. "Again, I'm truly sorry."