Quick Disclaimer: I do not own these characters or the world they inhabit. They were created by the fabulous people at Zombie Orpheus for their equally fabulous RPG, Masters of the Metaverse! Special credit to Chris Ode, Lisa Coronado, and Matt Vancil for coming up with the characters of King Teddy, Sue, and Franklin. Be sure to tune in to Twitch.TV/zombieorpheus every Monday at 6PM PST to see more!
It was too early in the morning for this. Sue adjusted her bandana as she hurried down the hallway and pulled her hair back into a ponytail. She had barely had time to finish breakfast after an attendant had come to alert her that King Teddy was requesting her daily report. Usually she had more time to prepare, more time to get things together, more time to finish eating. Turning a corner, Sue almost collided with a hunched over figure. Straightening up she came face to face with a somewhat miserable looking teenaged boy who adjusted his glasses at her.
“Oh, Franklin! Sorry I didn’t see you there. Are you going to see him too?”
Franklin sighed heavily, “Of course. I have financial reports to finish and I couldn’t do my work yesterday because my cousin decided I needed to spend the day training the Rushmore attendants. On the plus side, Abraham Lincoln has a hat now.”
“You know, Franklin, I hope you don’t mind me asking but why did you agree to come and work here? No offense but this job doesn’t really seem to be your cup of tea if you know what I mean.”
“Oh it isn’t. But my mother thought it would be good for me to have a summer internship.”
Sue looked quizzically at him, “But it isn’t summer any more, its spring.”
“I know.” he said, “I don’t think my mother likes me very much.”
By this time they had reached the grand doors leading into the royal office. Two guards stood at attention outside but they quickly opened the doors once they saw who was coming. Inside there was an enormous desk with a large leather chair for the king. Behind the desk was a fireplace over which an attendant was attempting to hang a newly painted portrait of King Teddy. In the corner, a small roll top desk waited for Franklin, who deposited his papers on it and began working. Sue stood by the royal desk waiting for King Teddy to appear. She did not have to wait long. The doors to the private suite banged open and the royal personage appeared. He was doing up his leather shirt while an attendant trailed behind him.
“Ah! Miss Sue! So good of you to come!”
“Your highness.” said Sue, “Is everything all right? You don’t usually call for me so early in the morning.”
King Teddy threw himself into the leather chair and waved the attendant away. With a short nod to Sue, the attendant withdrew back into the royal suite, pulling the doors shut behind him. Reaching under the desk, the monarch produced a large bear hide and began dusting it.
“Of course everything is just fine! I woke up early this morning, saw it was such a fine day and I said to myself ‘Theodore! You must make the most of this auspicious dawn!’. And what better way to do that then to start things off early?”
“Yes, well some of us like to finish our breakfast without choking on it first.”
“Good for the constitution! Choking is the body’s way of reminding us to be vigilant!” he replied, flinging the bear hide up and over his head. Sue was now confronted with two pairs of eyes both with seemingly equal intelligence. She sighed and pulled out her reports as the king took out his self surgery kit and began repairing various cuts and scrapes from his morning calisthenics.
“Preparations for Chestgiving are underway. We have sent out the invitations to the local nobility and they are aware that they are supposed to bring a gift this year. The buffalo herd is being replenished however the game master does request that you limit yourself to only two per day when hunting. It will take about a month before the herd is back to full strength and she doesn’t want you to run out of food.”
“Really? Well, if I must.” the king sighed, “Though I don’t understand why it takes so long to replace the animals? Surely they are aware by now that a mighty king such as myself has a mighty appetite for meat as well as life! Speaking of, I’m feeling a bit peckish. MEAT!”
Sue looked up from her papers. The king sat in front of her, looking down at his surgery kit, with his left hand held out before him. There was an awkward pause until finally the attendant who was trying to hang the portrait, climbed down the ladder and reached under the desk to produce some venison jerky from the king’s own supply. Placing the strip of dried meat into the king’s hand, the man climbed back up the ladder and restarted his picture hanging. The king bit off a piece of jerky and waved at her to continue.
“Uh, right. The herd of zombies you ordered has been spotted on the edges of the south border and should be here in a few days.”
“Bully! We shall ride out to meet them at once!”
Sue stared at the king, “Ride out? Your majesty, they’re about five days out from here.”
“Exactly! What better time to- TEA!” And here the king thrust his hand out again all while keeping eye contact with Sue. They stayed like this until the attendant, who did very little to mask his annoyance or his sigh, came down the ladder once more. He took a teapot off the desk, moving the self surgery kit out of the way as he did so, and poured a cup of tea for the king. He then sent a very pointed look toward King Teddy, one that was either ignored or not understood, and retreated back up the ladder.
“Your majesty, we hired these people to bring the zombies to us. It doesn’t make sense for us to ride out to meet them, especially now! They aren’t even that close. And Orville Wilbur Wright is due to be reporting in any day now. Why not just let the zombie herders do what we hired them to do?”
“Nonsense! A king that cannot herd his own zombies is no king at all! I would never hire someone else to do it, that must have been Franklin’s idea.”
A heavy sigh came from the corner of the room and Franklin put his face into his hands. Sue wasn’t sure but she thought she heard a muffled scream of frustration.
“No! We will ride out! We shall meet them and I will inspect the herd! HAT!”
There was a loud crash as the portrait came smashing down to the ground behind the king, who made no indication that he had heard the noise at all. The attendant, who had thrown the frame down in a fit of rage, stormed over to the desk and removed the king’s hat from the back of his chair and thrust it down in front of him. The attendant then left the room, ostensibly in search of a broom and dust pan, leaving Sue and Franklin alone with the king. King Teddy removed the bear hide and replaced it with the hat, closed up his self surgery kit, and taking a final sip of tea rose from his seat.
“Well then! No time to waste! Prepare Taft for me to ride! Saddle your customary ruminant steed as well, perhaps a large dog for Franklin.”
The sound of head meeting desk made Sue turn around. Franklin was sitting at his desk, working as normal save for the pencil that was now stuck to the middle of his forehead. King Teddy strode from the room and Sue walked over to Franklin. Reaching toward him, she removed the pencil and set it down on his desk.
“Come on, we might as well get going.” she said.
Franklin sighed, “I suppose. The only thing we have to fear is a large man child riding on a bison.”
Sue chuckled and the two headed off toward the stables.