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Parowe opened his eyes and took a deep, sudden, breath of air. With a shudder he leaned forward. Again, another nightmare. He slowly lowered his bare feet onto the yellow, spongy ground, and threw open his tent flap. God, he thought, I don’t know how long I can stand camping here. Though he had been here for as long as he remembered, it never felt completely natural. The landscape ahead of him was veiled by a yellow sheen, curdmist, a common trait of mornings, but nonetheless annoying. Through the mist, colossal outlines of crumbling towers could be seen in every direction. They reminded Parowe of the buildings from his homeland, except these were coated in a slimy golden sheen. He longed for the days when he could remember his life, but now all of it had faded into his mind, a product of his extended period of life in such an atrocious environment. He had seemed to have some type of amnesia, and he had never figured out exactly how it had developed. The numerous towers were so tightly packed that they caused the land to resemble the bottom of a chasm, making it even more disgusting than it already was. This made it hard to navigate the surrounding area, and even harder to traverse during a storm, as massive chunks of the pinnacles could be brought down and floods could easily develop. There had been numerous times when Parowe had to change his route due to boulders that would block the way, making traveling more difficult.
Parowe unstaked the tent and the tarp beneath it, then folded both until they could fit into his bag. This was done with much care as to not carry pieces of the crumbling and moist, almost milky, ground into his bag, which could melt and ruin the whole shelter, and his collection of books. This was because the tent was made of leather, and his books, already inside the bag, made of paper. Although the dirt like material could destroy objects, seeping into them and making mold, it was also revered as a holy sort of material by many of the occupants of this land, as it was said in Parowe’s books.
When the bovine lord gifted this land to us, he gave us sustenance, the ground. Other deities, those who are false, simply give hope, but ours gives cheese.
A line from one of Parowe’s books, one that he had been reading that morning and was a favorite of his. Closing this last book and putting it in his bag, he began a short prayer. “Dear lord, that of cow like godliness. You inspire your followers and are a light for those that need guidance. One day, we all hope to meet you, creator and giver of the land that is ours.”
The cheesy earth was a product of the supposed cow in the sky, the celestial being that the Bovine Lord had turned into after his death, a figure that could sometimes talk to people, even appear in the form of a cow, though Parowe had never seen it happen. He had learned this all on one of his first expeditions in this land, during a time when he could still remember his past. In that flagship adventure he had come across a deserted monastery, a makeshift hovel that was carved into the side of one of the giant columns. Though it had looked already ransacked on the outside, what he found within the temple had surprised him. As he walked into the structure, carefully swinging the door as not to alert anyone inside-if there was anyone there-he laid eyes upon a few seats, and then an altar, one that looked somewhat ceremonial, almost sacrificial. Behind the altar was what had excited him the most, thinking back to this day still filled him with anticipation and a fervor that he had not matched since.
There, hidden at the back of the temple, was a wall that was carved into and filled with books. Although all of these were seemingly religious, no information on the area itself and how to survive, they were the only solace Parowe could find in this land. He spent many days holed up in that small, damp building, trying to escape this world, trying to find a better life within the books. He partially did this, finally finding something to put his faith into, no more hopeless wandering, but a part of him was lost that day. The tenets of the Bovine Lord were harsh and strict, requiring that all followers must make a sacrifice of some sort every week. This sacrifice couldn’t be a mundane object, such as cheese, but something of value, something that would please the Bovine Lord. The sacrificed object would then be buried in the ground, to dissolve and become one with the great cow in the sky. Parowe had lost cheesewheels, the magical objects which could Raise monsters from the cheese, waterskins, and many other objects of value this way. Even though the lord took so much, he was a forgiving God. It was said in his books that sacrifices must not be made if they endanger the apostle's life, and Parowe had had his share of weeks where he was not able to give an object.
Another tenet of the religion was that another’s life should never be put in peril, which had brought about a whole change of lifestyle for Parowe, as he had been a bandit before, taking with brute force, not caring about life. Parowe had remembered waking up one day, much like other days, and simply being a bandit, not wanting to be one, he just was. There was nothing he could remember before that, and he wasn’t sure if there ever would be. Reading through the holy books had changed his life, and he thought that it was for the better. After his holy isolation was finished, he felt as if he was a new man, finally truly alive. He kept a few of the books still, from that day, and his faith was still strong, as it was all he had. Bringing himself out of his mind, memories of better times, he came back to the task at hand, packing up camp.
Even though it was a simple tent, it was a poor man’s mansion in this land, and Parowe had tried to keep it as pristine as it had been the day he had stolen it. He then sat on top of his sack, and touched his palm to his magical device, a cheesewheel. These cheesewheels were usable only when filled with power, which came in the form of crystals, crystals that he had stolen from the victims of his past. He was running out of power for his cheesewheel now, and would have to find a more holy way to get cheesewheels, something more honest. That would be his next task, a bigger undertaking than simply waking up. He began to use the device. Visualizing himself expending the power within the cheesewheel, and putting it into the earth, Parowe took a sharp breath, then exhaled into the world. Out from him came a yellow, moist breath, much like that of curdmist but it seemed different to him, more powerful. The breath of a used cheesewheel crystal was filled with magic, and could do fantastical things. Parowe didn’t know how he could use these without learning how, it seemed as if he was always able to. Perhaps he had been a magician in the past.
Slowly, out of the mist, came a stumbling and disfigured form. A mixture of hard cheese and fat, held together by small threads that were barely visible, which left the creature to resemble a sort of zombie that could barely hold itself up. This figure was what Parowe could Raise with his cheesewheel He checked his cheesewheel to see if it had any power left in it, just looking for a little bit more, but it had gone completely dark. Curse these damned devices, could they not go out any sooner! “Casu, scout the surrounding area,” with a shake of his hand, Parowe sent the monster, he called him Casu, to sweep the perimeter of the camp. He wasn’t sure if Casu was a new monster each time he rose it, or the same creature, a simple part of the ground that was beneath them. Even though the creatures could be taxing on cheesewheels and somewhat hard to learn to command, they were certainly useful, scouting the environment, and a good distraction.
Spending all of his life that he had remembered in the harsh environment had taught Parowe how to survive in such a place. It was all that he knew, even when he tried to think of his life before he came here, he couldn't remember anything. It seemed as if he was here for a reason, but if even that was a truth he could not know. He often thought himself similar to the cheese creatures, wandering, barely sustaining life, and not having any purpose. He had questioned the point of surviving for quite some time, and after much deliberation had concluded that it was for the Bovine Lord that he continued to push on.
Parowe then started setting out a plan for his next adventure, finding another cheesewheel. The safest way to do this would be making one using cheese and lard, which weren't hard to find, but they could take years to make naturally. Parowe had tried to make one once, but he had stopped after a week, his patience faltering. Though he was patient in his religion, other inhabitants of this land weren’t always as… devout as he was, and he would be at a disadvantage spending all his time in one place, building the device. The next option would be stealing from another survivor, but with Parowe’s faith, he was going to try an approach to finding a cheesewheel that didn’t take from anyone. Perhaps he would try and trade for it, that seemed much more pleasant than thievery.
In this land, people were either survivors, or they were dead. Barely anyone lived in any sort of luxury, and even when they did it was temporary and dangerous to be relaxed. Parowe looked around himself, seeing the large towers. In the distance he could barely spot a tall one, significantly bigger than all of the others. These columns would often have small camps, if they could even be called camps, near them because of how well they marked land, and because these areas could sometimes have fresh water nestled in the stone, not cheese, alcoves in the surrounding area.. It was decided, then. As soon as Casu got back from scouting, Parowe would set out to the tallest spire he could see.
Anne walked out of the cave, hands feeling its slimy walls as she scrambled towards the light. It’s not that much different than the sewers back at home. Anne had spent more than enough time wading through them for treasure to get used to these types of environments. The sewers in the city, her old city called Akthia, were always full of discarded trash from the nobles. This could be as insignificant as food scraps, but she would take what she could get. She remembered the day that it had all changed.
As the king had said, a rebellious group of mages had attempted to overthrow the city. In an attempt on the king’s, Palthun’s, life itself, the mages tried to cover the whole city in cheese. This was for reasons unknown, but the fact that the wizards were capable of such a disaster was enough to scare all of the citizens, the ones that didn’t die from the excess cheese covering their city, Akthia, had escaped with the king to found a new city, simply called New Akthia. Anne had been lucky enough to be hunting on the day of the event, and had missed it happening at all. Living alone had its benefits, no grief from the terrible event, like many others in the populace. She missed the old city, but a new start didn’t hurt. She was still poor, but now there was less competition.
The cave had smelled rank, but she had figured that sleeping there was a safer option than trying to make shelter outside, lest there be cheese monsters or even a hostile person. This enclosure was at the bottom of a giant column of cheese. She tried her best to stay away from anyone she saw, as people could only bring trouble. As she crested the opening of the cave, her expression turned from a gloomy contentedness to one of awe. Directly in front of the cave, not forty paces away, was a massive herd of cheesewalkers. The morning light made their furry hide glisten with moistness, while it made their chitinous legs shine, nearly glowing. Their horned heads were bobbing up and down, grazing the cheese, gigantic eyes not yet taking note of Anne. She had heard tales of people that could herd these beasts, but she doubted that was even remotely possible.
Anne stood nervously, stiff, thinking to herself.. Finally. I can make a change. With one cheesewalker hide I won’t have to be a peasant any longer, I can be something more, and I’ll be rich. She wouldn’t be the one looked down on in the city, New Akthia. No longer a filthy street urchin, perhaps she could even build a reputation with the noble society, but those were thoughts for the future, not in the middle of a hunt. If she actually managed to get the fur of the animal, she would be a bigger target from possible thieves. The people in this musty place were ruthless savages, uncultured to a degree where they nearly lost their humanity, and she would try to avoid encountering them as much as possible.
The only way she would be able to take the hide would be through veering one monster out of the pack and then taking it down while it was alone. If she attacked it while it was in the pack that could anger the other animals and make them all run away, which would leave her on her hunt for longer than it needed to last.
Anne grabbed a small, hardened chunk of cheese and threw it down at the animal closest to her. It Raised it’s head and glanced toward her, then slowly skittered toward the cave. As it neared, Anne prepared to mount the beast. Once it was within a few feet she dashed up to its side and leaped onto it, struggling to hold on to its smooth and damp pelt. She hastily grabbed onto one of the animal’s large horns, and tried to get her legs up and around the torso, but failed, dangling off of a horn.
Without any warning the beast started moving slowly, and then began running toward the herd. Damn, if only I had gotten my legs around it. The beast went faster and faster, and Anne held on as tight as she could to the slick horn. A loud bellow was let out from the creature, and the rest of the pack began running. This was a stampede, and unless she could somehow control this animal she didn't know how she would get out of this. With a heave she lifted herself on top of the animal and got her body on top of it’s neck. With one hand gripped on the horn, she pulled her dagger from where it had been on her belt. With each bump of the beast’s movement she was nearly thrown off, into the moving animals, with their deadly horns. Horn in one hand, she lowered herself in front of the animal’s face, readying her dagger. For a brief moment she stared into the dark pupil and saw life, something sentient and real. Swiftly , with a thrust she stabbed into the monster’s eye, and it let out a roar unparalleled by any noise she had ever heard before. Even though she had effectively stopped this one cheesewalker, the stampede was relentless.
In killing the animal she had put herself in an even more precarious place than she had been in before. She quickly took the monster’s lifeless body and crawled under it. Here’s to hoping these creatures have some respect for their dead, she thought, as she positioned herself completely under the carcass. Stomps as loud as thunder resonated around her, each one seeming louder, closer to killing her. She lay there, trembling with fear, hoping that the animals would stop soon. Closing her eyes she tried to imagine something else, feeling the wet, almost muddy cheese beneath her and trying to forget there was a corpse on top of her. Though she felt so scared an electric excitement was inside her. It wasn’t over yet, but she had killed a cheesewalker.
Slowly, she felt the vibrations on the ground around her lessening. Anne shifted out from under the body, and let her eyes adjust to the light, then peeked out to see if there were any cheesewalkers left. Quickly, a lightning fast blur of black and white galloped towards her. It was no cheesewalker it almost resembled… Is that a cow? Anne attempted to lift the carcass up over herself again so this last animal wouldn’t trample her, but the corpse was stuck on something. She looked from the body to the cow, and in slow motion, it hit her in the face, the dark, glistening hoof. Anne let out a loud yelp. Right before everything went black, she heard something that was barely even legible, a faint whisper. A whisper that said, Bovine Lord.
Looking through the weathered columns of cheese, Parowe could see a figure stumbling towards him. “Casu, is that you?” The thing raised a hand, a gesture it used as a way of saying affirmative. As it walked up to him, Parowe asked, “Did you see anything?” again, a hand was raised. Parowe’s face twisted into a concealed fear and regret. It had been many weeks, maybe even months, since his risen creature had spotted something, and Parowe had just barely escaped that encounter.
Parowe had sneakily attempted to remain hidden while he snuck up on the man in this last encounter, but suddenly, he heard a noise behind him. The person he had been approaching wasn’t alone. With a war cry the silhouetted figure behind Parowe revealed himself, spinning a sling and getting ready to hit Parowe. With a crack Parowe heard the sling release and a crystallized chunk of cheese darted towards him. In an attempt to escape the bullet’s trajectory, Parowe leapt out of the way but it was too fast. With an explosion of pain the object had pierced Parowe’s leg, embedding itself in his flesh. Filled with adrenaline and ignoring the pain, Parowe ran away until he collapsed on the ground. He had escaped, but just barely, and the wound had taken him quite a time to nurse back to proper health. How he escaped was beyond him, he shouldn’t have been able to outrun two healthy men with an injured leg, but he had done it nonetheless. He could still feel pain in his leg sometimes, not as terrible as it had been then, but an afterthought of how it had felt.
This time would be different, like he had told himself before, instead of trying to be a thief Parowe wanted to state his intentions upfront. No swindling, no trickery. He had never practiced honesty until the Bovine Lord had entered his life, and now was a chance to try it out on a real person. Perhaps he could find a companion, someone to explore and escape this wretched place with. Though Parowe’s day to day goals were centred around finding more cheesewheels and making sure he wasn’t dying, in reality all he wanted was to get out of the place. He began calling it by a name that had come to him one night while in the shrine, Fon’doo, and all he wanted was to rid himself of being within it. This place was obviously not meant to be habitable, which led him back to the question of why he was here, it could be for any number of reasons, and he knew it was unanswerable by himself. If he really wanted to find out why he was here, he would need to find a remnant of his past, something, the place he came from our a person he had known. Perhaps that would awake him from the amnesia-like forgetfulness he had contracted.
With a sharp thrust of his hand downwards, Parowe made the monster disintegrate into the ground, now there was no going back, his cheesewheel was all used up. He then stood, feeling a brief twinge of pain in the leg that had been hit long ago, put his bag on, and started walking in the direction that Casu had come from. The creature wouldn’t be much help in leading Parowe there, as it only took direct orders and seemed as if it didn’t have a memory, it was more of a tool than a sentient being. Parowe reached the edge of a small ravine that was only a few feet deep, but it had a higher edge on the opposing side, just tall enough that Parowe couldn’t see anything over it except the tops of columns. He jumped down into the chasm, and then reached and pulled himself up over the other wall. If only my pack was lighter, he struggled his way up and over the wall, looked over to the valley below him, and subsequently became filled with disbelief at what he saw.
In front of the small hill was a pack of cheesewalkers, stampeding at a speed that was astounding. He proceeded to watch the herd careen down the valley, shocked by how fast they were capable of going. One of the cheesewalkers appeared to be dead, perhaps he could skin it once it was alone and finally have a real meal. He hated depending on cheese as much as he did, especially because it was supposed to be revered, not consumed by mere humans, it did seem like an act of god that he lived in an edible landscape. The cheese was a sacred object, but it also just tasted terrible, cheese simply wasn’t meant to be the ground a world was built on.
The animals began to come in much smaller numbers, until there were just a few left, the runts of the litter following their pack. It surprised him that there were so many, the times he had seen them before, though only while they were grazing on cheese, there were never so many of them. As the last animal ran out of view, he saw something that was even more outrageous to him.
Slowly, as if an act of the Bovine Lord, the corpse of the dead animal, his meal, began to reanimate itself, not lifting onto its legs, but slowly shuffling across the land, as if being pulled by something. Or pushed. A person came out from under the corpse, on the side opposite Parowe. He saw long hair, and she got to her knees, trying to stand up it seemed. If this was not an eventful day, Parowe didn’t know what was. He started walking down to help her from whatever she had just been through. She hadn’t seen Parowe yet when a rumbling noise came from the side of the valley that the cheesewalkers had been running from. Figuring that it was simply another one of the herd, Parowe continued on his way to the corpse. He would ask for the loot later, or maybe they could split it, for now he wanted to just try and help this person out, maybe gain some trust. He looked up to the rumbling sound, What in the Bovine Lord’s name is that creature… As it got closer Parowe saw black and white, leathery skin. This creature looked absolutely alien, not buglike like any other animals around here, and completely unhuman.
Skin of white and black, shining horns, dark hooves. On four legs rules the master. It is not a mortal, nor any other creature, for he is God himself.
Parowe recited the line in his head, it was from his most prized book , A Glass of Milk in an Ocean of Dairy. The being described in the book matched perfectly with this thing in front of him. So perfectly it made no sense. Why was God here today, what had he done to deserve this. Perhaps he would finally be rescued from Fon’doo, taken away once and for all. Forgetting about any thoughts of rescue, Parowe watched as the being continued to run down the valley, coming right towards him. He smiled, taking in this moment. This was glory, finally, the spoils of surviving. A simple gift from the one he worshipped, more than well deserved. As the beast drew close Parowe closed his eyes, spread his arms, and waited to receive him.
After waiting for more time than what should have been appropriate for God to… do something, Parowe opened his eyes. Just in time to see the cow trample over the person laying next to the cheesewalker, and disintegrate into thin air and cheese. A flaming jealousy seeped into Parowe, filling all of him. I was the one! I was meant to be an apostle of the God, not someone else, me! Barely containing himself, Parowe walked down to the trampled person. Thinking about what just happened would lead him nowhere, he had nothing better to do but examine the scene. Trying to rationalize the situation, he imagined that she had been simply trampled by a cheesewalker, not touched by the bovine lord. She was in immediate danger from the wound, and Parowe was compelled to fix her wounds. He didn’t know by what force he was made to do this, if even just compassion, but the jealousy seemed to cool and empty out of his whole being.
Parowe set down his bag and got out a makeshift bandage, wrapping it around the wound on her head, a bloody scrape going from her eye to the top of her forehead. She’d be very lucky to get out of this without scarring. He continued aiding her until it was a passable fix, then put his pack on, and after much deliberation, decided to take her with him. Carrying her over his shoulder, he decided to find a place to let her rest for the night, somewhere he could set camp, then he would come back and skin the animal. If she was the one that the Bovine Lord had chosen, then at least he could be a witness of his god’s greatness.
“And as soon as the cheese was expanded it covered the whole city, that's what the spires…” Anne mumbled off. She was explaining to Parowe about why Fon’Doo, as he called it, is the way it is. Parowe had never known that Fon’doo was on top of a city, let alone that there was a world outside of the cheesy area he’d spent all of the time he could remember in. Still recovering from her wounds, it was hard for Anne to talk for long, but Parowe was insistent that he learn as much as possible.
“So where exactly are you from?” he asked.
“New Akthia, it’s a city a few weeks trip from here, I’ll bring you there with me if you want, it’s where I’m going.”
“I want to know more about Fon’doo, what it is. Why is this land even here when it’s so different from the rest of the world?”
“Well, it’s essentially a wasteland. A few followers of a religion live here, something about a Bovine Ruler, and hunters come here, but not much else. The mages that Expanded the cheese using a magic that makes things bigger, on top of this place, did it in rebellion against the king, Palthun, who isn’t that bad. Most of the people of New Akthia are now scared of magic wielders, but I’ve seen some and they aren’t terrible, it all depends on how the tool of magic is used. Anyway, they Expanded the cheese and have been lost in this land since, and that was a few years ago. None of the mages have ever been seen, I wouldn’t doubt that they died in the Expansion.”
Parowe looked at her with his beady eyes that seemed naturally disbelieving, examining. He seemed as if he had nearly had his whole world shattered, which wasn’t very far from the truth. “My whole world was a farce? Everything here was a crime committed by some rogue magicians? I am a follower of the Bovine Lord,” said Parowe. “How do you explain that animal that trampled you, I’ve heard whispers of his name. He must be real, how could you even prove that?”
“I… I’m not sure what that cow was that trampled me. I would dismiss it as a normal cow that got lost, but I heard a voice that said Bovine Lord right before I fell unconscious. I’m not saying that your religion is true, I didn’t have much knowledge of it before today, but there was something unnatural.” The acceptance of Parowe’s religion made him feel somewhat better, he wasn’t completely crazy, not some maniac roaming the wastes. A thought struck him, a brief, quick thought, but he suddenly began to question everything he had known once again.
“Why am I here?” asked Parowe, more intently than any of his other questions. “You mentioned the mages being left, lost in Fon’doo, am I one of them?” Images began flashing in Parowe’s eyes. The slums, a crying beggar child. A sum of money. Save them from this world. A king that would give the money. The same king, tricking them into killing the poor. A cheese, expanded. Poison on magical cheese that caused amnesia. Magicians, dying, suffocated in cheddar. Digging, trying to find his colleagues. And then, wandering, lost in Fon’doo, the last of the magicians.
“The king put us up to it!” Parowe shouted in disbelief, not completely understanding what had even just happened to him. “He lured all the mages in, promising money. If we killed the poor in the slums by covering the area that they lived in with cheese,that would lessen the chance of a rebellion, and we would be rewarded. But he lied! Palthun, the king, wanted us to be dead, and the poor, as we were both most likely to rebel. He doused the cheese that we were expanding with a poison that made all who used magic on it have amnesia, and then he set us to the act. He figured that any of the mages that didn’t die in the cheese by suffocation would be lost, wandering in the cheese, forgetting their lives. But I could still do magic, that’s how I remembered, that’s the link. We need to kill the king.”
“You have to be kidding, did you make this up Parowe!? Do you take me for a fool?”
“Did you believe in the Bovine Lord at all before I told you about the whispers that I’ve heard.”
“I get your point but… Killing the king? He’s the king Parowe. Not some person who wronged you that you’re seeking revenge after, he’s the ruler of this realm. How do you expect to even get to him?”
“I take it that he’d be interested in cheesewalker skins?”
With that, Parowe and Anne started planning, plotting, how exactly one goes about killing a king.
“Well here we are, New Akthia, the home of the supposed tyrant king.” said Anne. Parowe was enamored with the land, it was something different for a change, not cheese. The grass was amazing to him, a small, living thing, that simply grows out of the ground. Though he had remembered the king’s past, he had not remembered much else, and discovering the world was a new experience for him. A world that didn’t smell like cheese, stinky and old, just the smell of air and grass.
Over the trip, which had consisted of a leisurely walk once they were out of Fon’doo, Parowe had taught Anne about the Bovine Lord, and the tenets that he followed. While still not fully converted, Anne was somewhat of an apostle of this God, be it a powerful force or a mysterious set of coincidences. The Bovine Lord taught not to kill, but what Palthun had done was inexcusable in both of their eyes. A man can kill for a justified reason, or a man can kill for greed and power. The self righteous king was the latter.
As they neared closer Parowe felt disbelief. He had gone from surviving, just scraping by in a land made of food, to attempting one of the biggest crimes, or if it went right, one of the biggest victories, of the century. If everything went according to plan, they would be able to pull it off and remain unnamed, not targets of Palthun’s guards.
They walked through the city, towards the palace, a large, outstanding structure, one that didn’t fit in with the rest of the squalor and poverty the city seemed to be in. Light shined off of the metallic walls, almost retaining a golden sheen. The building itself echoed greed. They would need to find a place to buy a raising crystal before they went into the palace, hopefully Parowe wouldn’t need to use it. Anne navigated the dank alleyways of the city quickly, maneuvering in and out of tight, dark crevices, trying to find a person that might have some magical influence. It wasn’t nearly as easy as Parowe would have thought it could be, after the “Mage’s rebellion”, the public was scared to interact with any magical object at all.
After shoving their way through the cramped crowds of the underground markets, Parowe and Anne finally found a vendor that had what they were looking for. With a few extra coins she had kept, Anne was able to buy one crystal, but it was only for expanding. Parowe wasn’t sure how it would work with it cheesewheel, as he’d never used an expansion crystal, but he would figure out soon enough.
“Are you ready to go in?” Asked Parowe.
“If you are…” Anne said, trembling. With a delayed speed, Parowe went through the open doors of the palace, more nervous than he had ever been. Soon enough, he came across a variable that he had not expected. The assistant to the king. “Hello,” said Parowe, quietly.
“Yes commoner? What business do you have here?”
“Um, we’re just looking to talk with King Palthun,” said Parowe, voice unsure.
“Well if you want to meet him you’ll need to schedule an audience, and I assure you, peasant, it will be quite awhile before he has enough time to meet you. He’s a very busy man, do you understand?”
Feeling like children being reprimanded, Parowe and Anne both nodded. “Well, are you going to leave?” Parowe started walking away.
“Wait!” said Anne. She opened up her bag and took out the cheesewalker hide. The assistant suddenly looked disbelieving, seeing a commoner with such a valuable item. “Well, that certainly changes things. He’ll like to have another skin for his collection, and I’m sure he’ll love to find out who you stole it from,” then the assistant cackled a snobby, annoying laugh. “Right this way,” she said, pointing to a door to her left. The duo pushed open the doors and entered the room, in front of them lay an immaculate throne on top of a grand staircase. Anne had sold part of the skin to find out what time the guards would be switching, and it seemed like it paid off. The king was alone.
“Close the door, please,” requested a booming voice. Parowe closed the door and they started to make their way up the staircase. As they reached the top, they became immediately in front of the king, a personal audience, no guards at all. “We have something we think you’d be interested in,” Said Anne.
“And that would be?”
“A cheesewalker pelt, freshly skinned.”
“Well, come on now, show me it!” The king’s voice rumbled throughout the throneroom.
Anne lowered her bag to the ground and reached into it, pulling out the skin, accidentally knocking the bag over while removing it. The skin unraveled and a knife fell out, clattering onto the floor. For a moment, both parties stared at the knife, the weapon, laying on the floor. Parowe swiftly grabbed it and put it to the king’s throat, but not finding it in himself to make the kill. “Do it Parowe!” whispered Anne, hissing at him. He moved his hand forward, slashing against the king's neck, not looking but imagining the murder in his head, then he opened his eyes.
In front of him lay a dead cow, slumped over in the throne, blood rushing from the beast’s neck. “What is this!?” shouted Parowe. He looked over to Anne, only to see nothing, the yellow carpet that was underneath her, but nothing on it. Looking back to the cow, he saw the crimson blood dripping into the yellow rug from the cow’s fatal wound, seeping into it. Suddenly, the yellow rug turned to cheese. With a start Parowe began panicking, trying to protect it from the Bovine Lord’s blood, not letting the sacred object be touched by the blood of a god. Slowly, Parowe’s attempt was proven futile. The whole room slowly filled up with the God’s crimson ichor, and Parowe began weeping. His morals were broken. The Bovine Lord’s body began floating in it’s own blood as the throne room became a tank for the fluid. Parowe tried swimming, trying to get closer to his god, to fix his wounds and save him. There was no more air left, the room was full with what had been the Bovine Lord. Much like the peasants in the cheese, Parowe began suffocating in the God’s blood.
“Parowe, wake up, we did it!” Parowe opened his eyes and took a deep, sudden, breath of air. With a shudder he leaned forward. Again, another nightmare. Parowe found tears on his face, he was in an infirmary bed. “We killed the king! The peasants have a chance to rule!” Silently, Parowe cried, watching Anne’s happiness over another man’s death. Parowe had killed a man. He was no better than the king. In murdering Palthun, he had broken his tenets, and was no longer a disciple. “Parowe, are you listening to me? You killed the king! It was all you, and it was amazing!”
“Anne, I killed God,” Parowe whispered, eyes full of tears. He slowly put his head in his pillow and tried to fall back asleep.