Flash Fiction Month 2016, Day 12
“Forsooth,” cried Lord Zucker von Berg, bursting obnoxiously into the banqueting hall. “Thou surely canst not believe what mine brain hath devised.”
Sir Myspatz and Sir Bebeau rolled their eyes.
“What misfortune hast thou wrought upon our good world now, von Berg?” asked Myspatz. Lord Zucker von Berg had of late risen greatly in the esteem of the serfs, and Myspatz’s own fiefdom was now frequented by none but poor minstrels. Sir Bebeau, it was said, now fared even worse.
Lord Zucker von Berg spread his arms wide. “No misfortune for those whose misfortune it is to have made the acquaintance of a great many people, which is of course no misfortune at all!”
Von Berg had of late also begun burdening his pigeons with tedious missives writ in tiny script.
“Get on with it,” grunted Sir Bebeau, making a “get on with it” gesture that did cause the mead to slosh out of his tankard and onto the floor.
“As gentlemen of note, you must surely have encountered that grave source of perplexation wherein one’s associates do grow so great in number that the mind canst not tally them?”
“Nay,” answered Myspatz.
“Nay,” belched Bebeau.
“Then happy is it,” continued von Berg, ignoring them completely, “that I have commissioned the Codex Facies: a ‘face book’ by which one may match the visages of one’s kith with their likenesses upon the page, and thus discover in parchment and ink the names the brainly humours doth forget.”
Lord Zucker von Berg waited eagerly for applause. It didn’t come.
“Naturally,” he continued, regardless, “not all copies of the Codex Facies shall be alike in content. One needs invite one’s friends to provide their likeness, whereupon one should also provide one’s own. You will be greatly delighted, I think, to discover that thine…” he passed a copy to Sir Myspatz, “and thine…” he passed one to Sir Bebeau, “include one friend already.”
Sir Myspatz opened his copy of the Codex Facies. There upon the first available expanse sat the face of von Berg, lips pursed in what Myspatz could only imagine was an imitation of some quacking fowl. It seemed to him a terrible imposition.
“Lord Zucker von Berg,” he said, standing somewhat unsteadily from his seat upon the banqueting hall bench, “this is a terrible imposition and I demand satisfaction!” And with that he slapped von Berg across the face with his greasy glove.
“Very well,” said von Berg, taking back his book. “I shall unfriend thee!” and he tore his likeness from Sir Myspatz’s tome.
But: “Nay!” cried Myspatz. “This shall not do! I demand satisfaction at the point of a lance. If I am the victor, thou shalt do away with thine ridiculous book of faces.”
“And if I am the victor,” said von Berg, “thou shalt embrace it!”
“Fine!” spat Myspatz.
“Fine!” spat von Berg.
And Sir Bebeau elected to oversee the contest.
The moment Sir Myspatz mounted his horse, he began to regret his sudden temper. He had, after all, just consumed as much food in an afternoon as a serf was wont to see in his entire life. This made Myspatz wonder if von Berg’s book was really the greatest threat to his fiefdom and its dwindling population, but beyond that it made him unsteady on his steed and that steed shaky on its legs.
Sir Bebau gave the signal to begin, and almost immediately Sir Myspatz was dismounted once more. He found himself staring, winded, through the slats in his visor as von Berg approached. He carried the Codex Facies. Not only that, Myzpatz noticed, he was writing something in it.
Unceremoniously, von Berg dumped the tome on Myspatz’s cuirass with a clang.
Sir Myspatz lifted his visor and read that first entry:
Lord Zucker von Berg hath poked thee.