By Douglas E. Gogerty
Prince William and his father's men were sitting in an establishment. A messenger rushed into the place as they were reveling in their power. The messenger was out of breath and took a few moments to recover. Then to everyone's shock, he announced that the warlords had accepted their offer. They agreed to accept Prince William as their new sovereign.
The Prince let out an excited yell. Someone came over to investigate, and the Prince ordered another round for the group. He could not remember ever hearing such good news. However, before the drinks were delivered, his father's men had stormed out of the bar. At first, he had thoughts about what he was going to do. Instead, he just sat there with a funny grin on his face. He just soaked in the current state and began to daydream.
He was happy that his father's men had gone. He could just sit there in peace. There were several fresh drinks there for him to enjoy. He sat there in a daze.
He was hoping that his father's men would become his men. They installed him as sovereign, and they would want places in his rule. He smiled. That smile soon faded as he realized they were too independent. They were much too unpredictable to retain. Something would have to be done with them. He was aroused from his daydreams by one of the men.
He did not want to go with the man. The man insisted, but the Prince still refused. The man left and returned with a few more men, and the Prince decided to join them. He got used to ordering people around, but those he ordered around were cowed by the actions of these thugs. He had no authority of his father's men, and they knew it.
Thus, he walked with them reluctantly. He walking was such a problem, that the men surrounded him to keep him from wandering. They practically dragged the Prince into the parlay tent. The emissaries from the warring factions were there. There were even groups that were not represented in the last round of negotiations.
One of the representatives stepped forward and spoke.
"It has been greatly discussed, and we accept your offer."
"Were there any dissenting voices?" asked the head of the Prince's group.
"We are all tired of the fighting. Thus, we have voted for peace unanimously."
"Is this what you all want?" said the King's man to the rest of the crowd.
"Yes," replied the representative and the rest nodded.
"You want this pipsqueak -- this pretender to royalty -- this poor excuse of a man for your sovereign?"
"Yes," they continued to respond.
"All of you want this?"
The crowd nodded. They all agreed with the terms. The Prince meekly smiled at the result and shrugged. An elbow to the ribs wiped the smile off his face.
"Are you sure this is what you want?" the Prince's group leader asked.
"It is time for peace."
The King Thorbjorn's men tried to begin a fight but the emissaries were prepared. Before the meeting, they had prepared an escape. They fled before a fight could get going. They pulled out in a big truck as the men chased them. It was all but official that Prince William was indeed the sovereign of the Pirate Peninsula.
The Prince was once again lost in daydreams. He thought about what to name his new kingdom. So many thoughts went through his head. It was not how he imagined, but his dreams had come true. He just stood their with his thoughts as his father's men came back into the tent.
One of the group of thugs threw the Prince onto the ground. He put his foot on his head, and asked, "What are were going to do now?"
"You said they would never accept this offer," stated another to the leader.
"How are we going to continue on if the war is over?" asked a third.
"We should kill the Prince now. That would void their deal," stated the man with his foot on the Prince.
"They seem to be united. If they got together against us..." another added.
"Our allies have deserted us. It is best to kill the Prince and regroup," the man standing on the Prince said.
"Boss? You have been pretty quiet. What do you think?" one of the men asked.
"Boss?" added the man with his foot on the Prince.
One of the men walked over to the leader, and looked at him. He appeared to be leaning casually against one of the tent poles. He was oddly quiet and they all wondered what was happening. What was he doing? The man looked at the leader closely. He reached out to touch the boss when a bullet struck him in the shoulder knocking him over.
"Get down!" he shouted.
Bullets began flying through the tent. The leader of the group was finally knocked over. He had been dead for a few moments, but was held erect by the pole. All of the men dove to the ground. They could hear the bullets whizzing through the tent. Occasionally, one would strike a pole or a table or some other object. Debris would fly around at the strike.
Just as suddenly as it had all began, all was quiet. The men looked around, but they did not dare stand up. They tried to get to the door, but the gunfire resumed when they got close. They looked for other ways out. One of the men pulled out his knife, and said he would cut through the tent and make an exit. That is when they noticed the strange smell.
Before they could do anything, the men noticed that the tent had erupted in flames. One man overturned some tables to use as cover. The men still alive piled behind the makeshift barricade. The Prince stayed in his spot on the ground. He knew he was not welcome in that group.
After a few moments, he tent was gone. There were a couple dozen men with automatic weapons surrounding the smoldering ruin. The men continued to hide in their barricade of tables. However, the bullets went right through the tables. They provided no protection at all. An expanding pool of blood surrounded the table splinters when they stopped firing.
The truck with the emissaries returned to check on the situation. Prince William was still alive but he was coughing horribly. The chief spokesman walked up to him and said, "What do you have to say now -- king?"