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Oliver D. Bernuetz's Stories

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How Lhankor Mhy Cleared His Mind

Lhankor Mhy was not having a good day. He had stayed up late drinking the night before with Orlanth’s thanes and was not feeling at all well. Orlanth had asked him to compose a poem praising the son of a visiting chieftain since Donander was off wandering. Normally Lhankor could have easily knocked off a poem full of praise for a young lad. It may not turn out as artful as one of Donander’s but it would have got the job done. Unfortunately the lad in question was somewhat lacking in praiseworthy attributes. In fact the exact opposite was all too true. Yet Lhankor had bragged loudly the night before that he would easily come up with the rhymes and praise for the young lad. After all it wasn’t his fault that the lad’s lack of height was more than made up for by his width. And it certainly wasn’t his fault that his skin tone was an odd sort of orange colour. Truth be told the only lines Lhankor had come up with so far were:

“He stands brave and stalwart, spear in hand
 Looking vaguely like a pumpkin bent on war.”

No, that wouldn’t do at all. It didn’t even rhyme. Damn that Issaries. He had a gift for the right words and he had said he would help but he had ended up drinking even more than Lhankor so he was sleeping it off. Why had they drunk so much? He needed to clear his mind. All he could come up with were stupid rhymes that would end up starting a blood feud. They kept popping into his mind.

“He stands so sound and ready for battle,
 Pity he’s so round, might as well forget about the cattle.”

“Lo, here comes our hero
 Looking like the number zero.”

The number zero? What on Genertela was that? It’d be great stuff for a satire but what he needed was praise that sounded at least half hearted and sincere.

“Behold the conquering hero!
 So round, so firm, so fully packed.”

No, no this wouldn’t do. He must be going mad. He decided he had to find Chalana to see if she could help. He found her in her hospice straightening up. He burst in. “Chalana, I beg of you. Help me. I’m going mad. I’m supposed to come up with a poem to praise the dreadful spawn of a visiting chieftain and all I can come up with is idiotic drivel that will start a blood feud.”

Chalana looked sternly at him. “Perhaps you’d have an easier time of it if you hadn’t gotten as drunk as a skunk with the thanes last night.” Lhankor Mhy shook his head, “No, that can’t be it. Normally even if I was too drunk to walk I could still come up with better verse than:

“Rolling, rolling, rolling. Keep them heroes rolling!”

Please help me. I must be losing my mind. I can’t afford to lose my mind. It’s all I’ve got.” He paused,. “Well and the beard. Of course.”

Chalana rolled her eyes and muttered. “And the beard. Of course.” Louder she spoke, “All right, I’ll help you. But why are you lying down on that bench?” Lhankor sprang to his feet. “I don’t know. It must be part of my madness. Please help me.” She gestured for him to steady himself and started to speak, “Let’s see what I can…” She trailed off and peered closely at him. She steeped away and crossing her arms on her breast said, “I think what you need to do is to take a good look at yourself.” Lhankor started, lay down on the bench again and spoke, “Of course. Well it all began when I was quite young you see. My beard was a straggly little thing back then and…” Chalana shook her head. “That’s not what I mean. You need to take a good look at yourself.” “But, don’t you want to ask me about my mother?” She shook her head no. Stepping to the door of the hut she gestured to someone outside. A brief whispered conversation ensued and Chalana came back inside carrying Elaml’s shield. Holding it in front of Lhankor Mhy she said, “You need to take a good look at yourself.” “But what’s this going to do…” he began before trailing off. He squinted into the mirror and spotted something odd about his left shoulder. “Oh, a good look at myself. Now I see what you mean.” Making an “O” shape of his forefinger and thumb he raised them to his left shoulder and quickly flicked something away. Chalana had stealthily picked up a jar from the table and deftly caught the object Lhankor had flicked away. She jammed the lid on tight and putting it on the table placed a big rock on top.

 Lhankor was ecstatic. “Oh, thank you. I owe you a big favour. Now I can finish my poem properly and no feud will occur.” He started towards the door and stopped. “And when I’m done I will turn my brains to thinking of a proper punishment for our flea friend Eurmal.” He smiled nastily through his beard and turned to go. On the stoop he stopped and turned around. “Say do you know any rhymes for orange?” 

Last updated October 07, 2016

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