The Fall of Lord Blackthorn

Foresight and Fools

He stopped, listened. From behind him, the sound came again. A whisper so soft Blackthorn had to strain to hear it. "Ho eyo he hum." Yes, he was not mistaken. "Ho eyo he hum." This time followed by the tinkle of bells. Blackthorn's sword glinted as he looked behind the throne.

In the tiny space between the throne's back and the wall was the court jester, curled in a ball, arms clasped around his knees, which he had tucked up beneath his length of a chin. The bells in his cap jingled quietly as he rocked back and forth.

There, cradled in the fool's lap, was the scepter.

Rage consumed Blackthorn, a fire in his blood. He leveled the point of his sword mere inches from the man's neck. "Why hast thou taken it?" he whispered, fiercely.

The jester looked up, and what little light there was here gleamed off his tears. "Ho eyo he hum," he whispered. "My king is gone, and darkness has come."

The flames of anger within Blackthorn died, doused by sorrow, pity, and, above all, shame. He lowered his blade. "Keep it safe," he said softly to the jester. "It and the crown, if need be."

The jester solemnly nodded, then looked behind Blackthorn. "Ho eyo he hum," he said, voice quieter than before. "I see three, where there should be one."

He did not understand what the jester meant until he turned and noticed that with the arrangement of the torches, he cast multiple shadows upon the wall. As all men do, he thought.

Then he exited the throne room, ordering the guards outside to keep it locked to all but the jester, saddened that the Crown Jewels of Britannia were best entrusted to a fool.

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