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33
Strong Drink

Written for B2MeM 2010:

Araman Challenge: Write a story, poem, or create an artwork from the point of view of a character who is drunk or otherwise under the influence.


~~~

It had seemed like a good idea at the time. Filch one of Father’s brandy bottles and find out what all the fuss was about. And at first, the warm, slightly dizzy feeling had been pleasant. But the more he had drunk, the more that feeling had gone away, and now what Erchirion felt was sick. Very sick.

He lay upon his bed and wished he could die. His head pounded and there was a burning knot in his stomach that he knew was going to come back up eventually. His door opened and light fell across the bed. There was a tall silhouette in the doorway.

“Ah, sailors and the demon drink,” came his father’s voice. “You’re only thirteen, ‘Chiron. That’s a little early to be starting, don’t you think?”

Erchirion could only groan in answer. Imrahil came into the room and Erchirion could see that he was carrying a bucket. He pulled a small, dark bottle out of the bucket and set it upon Erchirion’s bedside table. The bucket he set on the floor.

“Let’s have at you then,” the Heir to Dol Amroth said cheerfully, grabbed his middle son by the back of the neck, yanked him up and pinched his nose shut. When Erchirion gasped for air, he found that the small bottle contained a truly noxious, fish-smelling potion which was being poured down his throat. His stomach rebelled and potion and brandy promptly came back up, into the bucket which his father had swiftly bent his head over.

“There, that’s better. Now let’s get a better sort of drink into you.” Imrahil poured him a cup of water from the pitcher on the table and made him drink it. This was followed by a second cup. “Strong drink dries you out, ‘Chiron. Remember that. Drink a fair bit of water and you’ll feel better the next day.”

Erchirion wasn’t sure there was going to be a next day or even that he was going to survive the night, though his stomach felt somewhat better already.

“Now we walk.” His father pulled him to his feet.


For the rest of his life, one of Erchirion’s fondest memories of his father was of that night, when Imrahil spent three hours hauling him all over the keep, through all the long halls and even onto the battlements, when he felt Erchirion’s feet were steadier. The exercise was interspersed with more drinks of water and a few trips to the garderobe. The Prince kept up a steady stream of talk the whole time, not requiring any response from his son. Bits of history of Dol Amroth, sea stories of former princes and a few tales of his own misadventures flowed forth. As the time wore on, Erchirion’s head began to clear, the throbbing to subside. Eventually, Imrahil led him back to his own bedroom, where Erchirion was relieved to find that the noxious bucket had been removed. The Prince tucked the little bottle into his belt pouch.

“Sleep in tomorrow, ‘Chiron. Go see Master Kendrion if you need some willow bark for your head.”

Erchirion pulled the covers down and crawled gratefully into his bed. He was tired from all the walking. But there was a burning question in his mind and he asked it of Imrahil.

“Father, why are you being so nice to me? Why didn’t you punish me?”

Imrahil cocked his head and smiled. “Why ‘Chiron, don’t you think you’ve punished yourself enough already? Good night.”

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