Flash Friday 07/02/2014: Ten Pints of Milk
A new era dawned on the Realms of Aesworth. Within its borders sat the Humans, the Elves, the Dwarves, the Gnomes, and the Orcs, out of which Orcs acted much like that one smelly room-mate you can’t quite get rid of, and demanded that everyone else left instead. Upon these races, a new age had come, as the invention of a nice cup of tea had managed to permeate into even the most remote of villages. But a Dark Time was passing over these lands, as everyone came to realise that they were hooked on the beverage, but nobody had gotten around to making any milk yet.
One hero stood up to the call.
As the Darkness of black tea passed over the kingdoms, it was up to Baelon, the Dairybringer, to cut through the dark tendrils that gripped the populace. Forged in the Kingdom’s finest cows and refined to perfection, he crafted ten perfect, pristine pints of milk, each of them in a carton as flawless as its contents. He took these ten pints and loaded them onto a horse, which was painted white and went curiously slow, which ended up holding up other horses along the roads. On this horse, he went on a delivery mission.
Five of the pints landed in the hands of the five human kings, who each ruled a kingdom as large as the others. At first, peace was brought to the human realms, but it was short-lived; before long, wars began to break out over the pints of milk. Some rallied under the banner of full-fat, declaring that tea just didn’t taste the same without it. Others formed the rogue rebellion of the semi-skimmed, taunting the loyalists with accusations of being ‘pudgy bastards’, the results being bloody and either side’s game. By the time the kings had settled their disputes, they had realised that, in their ignorance, they had allowed the milk to go off, driving them into madness and turning them to evil.
Two pints went to the Dwarven Lords Under the Mountains, who took the milk with much jubilation and blessing. The celebration was cut short, however, when it was discovered that it didn’t go well with lager, stout, ale, whiskey, cider, rum, or even shandy. The dwarves expelled the Dairybringer from their kingdom, accusing him of darkening their doorstep, yelling at him in-between bouts of trying to get the flavour of milky whiskey out of their mouths.
Two pints were gifted to the Two Avatars of Nature, who graced the thrones of the Elven city hidden in the woods. They were curious at first, but then quickly began to discard it once they discovered that it helped build up bones and teeth, meaning that it would toughen up their precious, frail figures that all elves held dear. People started to turn the moment they realised that the milk was extracted by taking one of Mother Nature’s finest, most elegant of beasts, and squeezing its delicate parts until milk came out. To top it all off, one of the Avatars of Nature looked absolutely ridiculous with a milk moustache. The elves kept the milk, but told the Dairybringer that his services were no longer needed.
Baelon’s end came before his quest’s. As he was riding his horse towards the Gnomish city, he was ambushed by a party of Orcs, who shot him in the chest and stole the pint of milk for themselves. They delivered it to the Orc Warlord Gak’tun, who saw great potential in the pint. It was powerful. It could control the minds of lesser races. Most importantly, he greatly enjoyed the little maze puzzle that was on the side. While the other, lesser races could not or would not utilise the power that the pint had, Gak’tun plotted an attack on the entire Realm of Aesworth, where no man, dwarf, elf or gnome could have a cup of tea without the fear of it being far too milky to even be classified as tea. With an iron fist (although one that contained less iron than he hoped, given it was cow’s milk after all), he began his dominance over the Realm, crushing the hopes and spirits of the other races with his acceptance and use of the forbidden white liquid.
There was one man who rose from the ashes; Harlen, son of Baelon. He knew how his father’s milk was made; more importantly, he knew how to unmake it. In a world where the rivers ran white, the cows were relieved, and the lactose-intolerant were as good as dead (or wishing they were), only he could bring back a peaceful time when milkshakes were a thing of mystery, and the only way to do that was to fight back with the arch-nemesis of milk; cheese.
He was still a novice at Cheddarmancy, but Harlen was confident. The people loved him. The people needed him. Most of all, he had been sponsored by just about every single mouse that lived on Aesworth. It was time to turn back the white tide, and bring about a new golden age. Or, more accurately, more of a yellow-y one. Armed with only some buttermilk and a strainer, Harlen set out to complete the quest set before him.
And the rest, as they say, is history. They also say that he managed to win, and so you really should worry about that part, but they also like to add that it is, in fact, history. The people of Aesworth do like their history lessons.
923 of the silliest words I have ever written. Still no regrets.
Book Spotlight — A Hero Unto Death: Another story about a quest, except the hero goes on a quest that’s not against a milk-bearing Orc. And also dies before he actually starts it. And has to be carried the rest of the way by his faithful companions.