Castles, The Princes That Fought (Chapter 10)
Prince Brown's men expertly lumbered up the base of Mount Tarkoon. Nightfall was dropping on the scene like the final curtain at a play. A fantastic play staring Prince Brown as the dragon hunter!
Prince Brown tried using some complicated hand signals to explain to his men what he wanted to do. Unfortunately he hadn't shared the meaning of these signals with his men yet so this left them confused. "All right," he whispered loudly. "We are only at the very base of Mount Tarkoon. We need to get up there to kill that dragon! Be careful not to make too much noise or the dragon may swoop down and barbecue us! Light your torches, men!"
The men in Prince Brown's squad fumbled with their torches for a moment. Thinecrump was one of the first to ignite his torch, followed by Prince Brown.
"Excellent," Prince Brown announced. "Here's the plan. I was trying to explain to you boobs using hand signals but you guys just don't get it. So here's what we're going to do! There is a secret path that leads up this mountain. We will follow that path and sneak into Ilkspeake's cave! There we will teach that dragon a thing or two about what it means to be one of Brown's men!"
"What about the dragon's magic fire breath?" Asked one of the men.
Prince Brown stroked his chin, which even in the heat of battle he always managed to keep closely shaven. "Worry not, men. We have good on our side. A little fire has never scared away one of Brown's men, has it?"
"Why are we doing this?" Asked another man.
Prince Brown smiled, knowingly. "Why? Please do not tell me that you fools have not heard the Legend of the Treasure of Ilkspeake!" He paused and surveyed the men's faces. He could tell by the blank expressions, and in one case drooling, that the men had, in fact, not heard of the Legend of the Treasure of Ilkspeake. "Ha!" Prince Brown exclaimed. "It is a legend older than all of us. Well, maybe not Crumpy here, but most of us younger folk! It is a story heard by every babe on the knee of his mother. Every child in the schoolyard tells it to their friends."
Some of the men blinked. Some did not. Some were paying attention to Prince Brown's speech. Others were pretending to pay attention. Still others were just looking around and not paying attention to his speech. Another group was looking around but actually was paying attention to Prince Brown.
Thinecrump raised his hand. "Once, many years ago there was a terrific and terrible flood. It ravaged the crops and famine spread throughout the land. All the kings and emperors and sultans of the land joined together to find a way to fix the crops. So they pooled their resources into a tremendous fortune called, 'The Fortune of the Fifty!' It was then that a powerful wizard named Taltamus--"
Prince Brown interrupted, "Yada, yada, yada... there's a big ass pile of gold up in the dragon's cave!" For the first time the men seemed to be interested and followed Prince Brown's hand as he pointed up to the cave near Mount Tarkoon's summit. "So let's get our sorry butts up there and steal it!"
"Hooray!" The men cheered, continuing their treacherous climb up the base of Mount Tarkoon.
As the men bumbled past them, Thinecrump put a hand on Prince Brown's shoulder. "Why did you stop me? I was just getting to the part where Sultan Shamamii rides the dolphins across the ocean to fight the water princess!"
"Sometimes," Prince Brown explained. "You have to keep it short and sweet with these guys." He watched for a moment as the men ineptly traveled up the mountain's base. Then he turned back to Thinecrump. "It was pretty awesome the way he used those dolphins though."