A Span of Power

Medieval Bridge Frias 14th century over Rio Ebro Jim Anzalone flickr

Photo credit: Jim Anzalone

Fir hobbled toward the bridge, his cart piled high.  The line was short for market day, but extra security slowed it down.  Farmers whispered of the Usurper returning, gathering his armies downriver.

Fir knew the farmers had been better off under the “Usurper” than his brother, but nobody dared speak aloud against the legitimate crown.

Finally, Fir was next.  He shuffled forward, shakily handing his permit to the guard.  “I’m to take these cakes to the kitchens.”

One guard laughed, showed the parchment to the other.  “This says go straight to the guard house, old wretch.”

Fir protested, meekly.  After searching the cart, they waved him on, over the bridge and into the city.

At the guard house, they teased, grabbing the cakes.  Nobody recognized him; they were all too young, except Anser.

He bleated, almost crying: “But who pays me?”

Pushing past his comrades, Anser barked, “No need to be rude, boys.  Here, I’ll take you.”

Once inside the castle, Fir stood straight.  His face reassembled, losing years and gaining determination. “Don’t eat the cakes.”

Anser snickered.

“How fares my brother?”

“Death looms, your majesty.”

“Good.  Pour me a bath.  This time, I want the transition to go cleanly.”

Word count: 200.  Written for this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction challenge.  Big thanks to Al Forbes for hosting, and to John Robinson for providing the original photo prompt, below.  Click the link to read the rules and join in, or click here to skip straight to reading the other stories.


Photo © John Robinson

20 thoughts on “A Span of Power

    • No, it’s not part of a series… Yet! I keep track of all the names I mention in these flash fiction pieces, though. We might hear more about Amartafir (that’s what I’ve decided his full name is) and how he wrestled power away from his tyrant brother, only to be named the Usurper and exiled… But now he’s back!

      Glad you enjoyed it – thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Whether you think Fir is the treacherous Usurper or the rightful leader of the people depends on what side you’re on, but yes, Fir is clearly willing to sneak behind his brother’s (tyrannical?) back to regain power. 😉 Thanks for reading!


    • Hm, good point. Although if the cakes had regular old poison in them, that wouldn’t show up with magic detection. So maybe they actually did have a wizard there, and he or she just wasn’t looking for poison.

      And yes, I think the place will be better off with this ruler than with the last one. Thanks for reading, Al!

      Liked by 1 person

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