Baron Bautzinder’s Living Will

Each member of the Bautzinder family was more deranged than the last. And the *last* of them, Master Flogle, was soon to die childless, thrusting upon him the responsibility of embodying the purest distillation of dementia.

The denizens of Kaufhooringburg whispered that he’d sent for the finest building materials: timber from Bolankesh, iron from Mount Bur, silks and ivory from the Houses of Discord in Pithria Majora. Thereafter, ruthless, toothless mercenaries populated his estate.

Winter’s fifth day came and went, the cold inhabiting the spaces between bone and fat, just as it lurked between the floorboards and in the walls. There was an outrageous party, to celebrate Bjorgi’s five-year-belated homecoming from The War. The beer overflowed. All was well.

But on the sixth day, all remained dark.

Those who’d attended the celebration — meaning, virtually everyone — awoke to pure lightlessness. Fearful, tearful, they clustered together and clutched one another.

The voice of Master Flogle Bautzinder carried throughout the gloom:

“Whosoever reaches the end of my labyrinth shall be my bride. By God, she or *he* shall bear me a son to inherit my estates.”

Torches flared to life. Silk curtains lifted. Before the townsfolk: spinning blades, collapsing floors, and automaton flame-throwers.

 

(A fantasy microfiction. The prompt was “labyrinth.” Honk On, my Geese.)

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Baron Bautzinder’s Living Will

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