Buttercup: Queen of Death
Buttercup wants nothing more than to bring about death on her nightly gallops with her rider and to follow up a night's work with a breakfast of brimstone and a good brushing of her fine fetlock fur.
Sure, she'd prefer it if her rider wasn't always losing his head in some sort of shrubbery or other, and that said head didn't smell and look like a round of gouda that should have been tossed in the Liffey three months ago, but she's had little to complain about until recently.
See, lately, the island of Ireland has become overrun with death harbingers. A situation that's threatening to put Buttercup and her rider out of business...and that would really put a dent in Buttercup's steady supply of brimstone.
Luckily, Buttercup knows how to get into people's heads and is ready to use her rider and her stablehand, Eamon, to take down the competition.
If you're looking for clever laughs along with your Celtic legends, then mount up and take a ride with Buttercup: Queen of Death today.
This story is 5200 words long, or about 20-25 standard paperback pages.
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Eamon was the sort of fella who tended to drift into whatever jobs were available that could keep his belly filled and his head protected from the island's incessant rain. Unfortunately, jobs just weren't what they used to be. Long was the day when all a fella had to do was tidy his hair, brush down his tunic, and stride up to the nearest castle to find himself carrying firewood, scrubbing pots, or mucking out stables to earn his way in life.
But not lately. Lately, people had grown too wary of strangers to take one into their eighty-five-bedroom, well-fortified keeps. Rampant death always tends to put people on edge, and the deaths they were rampant. People just falling over left and right they were. Eamon was no eejit, and he could see where and why business was booming. After all, wasn't it a fact he'd spent many a sleepless night in his youth thanks to his Da's tales about the island's legends.
Legends of the death harbingers.
And so Eamon came up with a plan. It wasn't the best plan, mind you, but he had come up with it after five pints of ale, which “does tend to make even the stupidest plans seem grand.
Which is why, when all the rest of the world were snoring in their beds, Eamon sang off-key tunes at the edge of the main road to keep himself awake while waiting for his next employer.
He didn't know which of them it would be. Lord knows, the small island had more than its fair share of beings that brought death. The banshees. Old Balor. And all manner of others. Death was rampant because there was an overpopulation of these bringers of death all trying to ply their trade in a crowded market.
And the thing was, the island didn't even need a single death bringer. Not only was every other clan trying to kill you off just for being born to a different clan, the very landscape had it in for you. The damp conditions brought rot that started in your toes and worked its way into your bones; there was the high likelihood of walking off a cliff; and don't forget the risk of being trapped in some bog or other.
All these ways of dying, and yet for some reason the damn people had to go and invite a plethora – Eamon once worked for scribe – of death-hungry beings onto the shore. I mean, a thousand welcomes can only go so far. It was as if the island's residents hated life or something.
Eamon was just pondering whether his people were innately suicidal or just too convivial for their own good, when he heard the sound of hooves.