The Ballad of Jortus

Bortus J. Witherton, the last known descendant of the Savior of Hronesburrow, stood upon the deck of the capital ship Revenant II staring out at the tapestry of stars and galaxies before him. The crimson planet Cygnus-7 provided the landscape of the screen, as it orbited slowly around this system’s Yellow Dwarf. Frigates, transports, and capital ships even larger than the one he occupied all warped into view with tiny flashes of light. Cygnus-7 was not about to be attacked. This dusty planet was now the host of one of the biggest parties in the galaxy. Politicians, admirals, kings, and anyone who is anyone comes to this planet annually to celebrate the surrender of the Krydook leader Ph’ytook Viss’ege.

It was Bortus’ great-great-grandfather, Jortus H. Witherton, who led the final battle against the alien menace and ended the war that had claimed millions of lives. He had heard the stories growing up. Listened to how they grew more and more fantastical. The last telling had his great-great-grandfather piloting a capital ship by himself into the Krydook mothership. Jortus, Bortus had heard a drunk admiral shout, killed over three hundred soldiers and broke Ph’ytook Viss’ege’s neck with his bare hands. The truth was that it took strategy and cunning to outsmart and outmaneuver the Krydook leader and that fact is slowly disappearing as the tall tales continue to increase in height. Now, years later, the tradition carries on and Bortus sighed deeply at the thought of it all.

He imagined the thousands of tables of food that would mostly go untouched. Hundreds of impoverished families could survive years on it. He imagined the abundant vats of wine, beers, and mysterious alien liquors. All of it would be gone by day two. He grimaced at the thought of the war stories and praises thrown about. Men and women who have not seen more than a small skirmish bragging about the battles they have fought and won. He was glad he would not be there to experience it.

The sound of footsteps briskly walking towards him snapped Bortus out of his trance. His fists clenched in anticipation. “Bortus!” a young voice shouted from behind him. “Bortus, what do you think you are doing?!”

Bortus turned, fists unclenching, and a smile spreading across his face. “Just taking a moment to enjoy the view, Admiral Tulley. I’m getting back to it now,” he said, nodding towards the bucket and mop in a corner.

The admiral followed his eyes and squinted. “See to it that you don’t miss a spot! The Queen of Mygus will be here within the hour and I will not have her cross this deck in its current scuffed and spotty state!” With that, Admiral Tulley spun on his heel and marched out of the room.

Bortus nodded his head and walked towards the mop and bucket, whistling a tune. As the floors began to sparkle and shine, Bortus passed a plaque below the Admiral’s chair that had his great-great-grandfather’s name engraved on it. He gave it a respectable nod and continued about his work.

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