Sunday Story: How the Mighty Have Fallen

Hello all! Gen here! I'm an avid Pinterest user and I was once a rather prolific writer. How are the two combined? Well, I've been saving a number of writing prompts on Pinterest. These are short sentences that set up a scene, character, bit of dialogue, or other prompt to get you to write. I thought, for my contribution to this blog, I'd pick a prompt and write a short story for you all.

Things to keep in mind when reading:

1. I'm not editing this. It's very much a one-shot, quick and dirty, let's see what I come up with story. Also length will vary.

2. I don't make the prompts. I find them, and I save the ones that interest me or sound intriguing, but they're not originally mine. If you want to see all the ones I've found, I'm on Pinterest as "Mesembria"

3. I love feedback. Let me know in the comments or by email if you've read this. If you did read it, you can expand on that by telling me what you thought. Good or bad. I'm a big girl and can take criticism, but please make it constructive!

4. I'll try to do this every Sunday ... or every other Sunday ... but it depends on if anyone is out there reading (see point 3)

Ok, with all that out of the way, here is the prompt for the first Sunday Story:

How the Mighty Have Fallen

Thunder crashed outside, lightning flashing through the dirty windows illuminating nothing by the driving rain outside. The wooden walls creaked and groaned with the force of the wind. The barkeep paused, glass in one hand and bottle in the other, to raise his eyes to the ceiling as if expecting the whole roof to come crashing down. When it didn't, he gave a short laugh and a half smile to the man seated at his bar, setting the glass in front of him and pouring dark liquid from the bottle.

"Quite the storm," the barkeep said, trying to keep his voice light as another crash echoed outside.

The man across from him said nothing, grabbing the glass and downing the drink in one long swallow. He slammed the glass back on the wooden bar and reached for the bottle. Startled, the barkeep let it go, walking to attend to his other customers as the man poured himself another drink.

"You might want to take it easy," a soft voice beside him said.

The man turned, eyes red and bloodshot, brow creased and mouth frowning deeply. His long hair was damp from the downpour and hung in stringy tangles, and he wore clothing that might have been fine at one point, but were now dirty and full of holes.

“Mind your own business,” he grumbled, downing another glass.

The girl beside him was young, but held herself in a way that made her seem older. She was dressed for a long trip on the road, wearing a cloak with the hood thrown back. Her gold hair was pulled back in a ponytail, her skin fresh and clean, and golden earrings hung from her ears. She put her hands on the bar and the bedraggled man could see jeweled rings sparkling on her fingers. He grunted, pouring more of the bottle into his glass.

The girl sighed. “It’s just that it looks like you’ve already seen the bottom of several bottles, and the night isn’t that old yet.”

Swallowing again and pounding his glass back onto the bar, the man grumbled. “You don’t know anything about what I’ve been through.”

The girl raised an eyebrow. “Enlighten me, then. Maybe start with a name?”

The man barked a laugh, loud enough to make the barkeep and some of the other patrons glance over at him. The girl didn’t move.

“Jared,” the man said. His words were slurring and got louder the more he spoke. “You want to know my story? You want to know what brought me to this crappy village in this crappy weather to drink until the rain stops? Fine.

“I was a good man once; a rich man, a strong man. I was devoted to my goddess and I believe it was because of her that I made it to where I was. I had a wife, a son, a home! I prayed to my goddess every night, thanking her with offerings to her altar, honouring her with the finest temple my gold could buy. I had quite a bit of land, all farmed by good families, and they prayed to her, too. Life was good.”

He paused to pour and drink another glass. The girl said nothing. Thunder continued to rumble as the rain pounded the inn.

“My people loved me, and I loved them,” he continued, a slight hitch in his voice. “I swore to protect them. I knew all their names. But it wasn’t enough. Not nearly enough.

“The raiders came without warning. The sun set on a peaceful world, and the moon rose to chaos. They burned everything. They slaughtered everyone. I fought and I prayed. Where was my goddess now? She who had given us such peace and prosperity. Where was she when they burned her temple with my family inside.”

The man stopped. He looked down at his hands. Tears flowed from his eyes, unnoticed as he stared. The girl shook her head.

“Some things cannot be controlled by the gods,” she said softly. “Some things, no matter how many prayers and offerings are made, cannot be helped.”

“How can you defend them?” the man bellowed, tossing his glass to the floor. He spat at her feet. “They are all dead because of her. She should have saved us. I was a king! I was their king!”

The girl smiled at him, her eyes sad and yet full of mischief.

“I know,” she said. “And I was your god. Shall we get your kingdom back?”

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