Writing Prompt #102 “Hamartia” – Travis


Hamartia literally means tragic flaw. In stories this flaw often leads to the heroes downfall. We all have traits that complicate our lives, traits that put us in the line of oncoming traffic, traits that lock us into a futile and ceaseless battle with ourselves/the world. Like the woman who continuously chooses unavailable men or the man whose self-worth directly correlates to the size of his wallet. The first time we put on a mask in order to belong is a mistake many of us can admit to making.

Travis Locklin was a loyal and faithful servant.

As a member of the king’s army he fought with great bravery.

The King awarded him great honours and after the last battle in which he led his men successfully against the foreign invaders the King had elevated him to the rank of Duke in gratitude for his services to the kingdom.

On the way home from the battle and not long after hearing the news of his new honour Travis and his companions stopped at a tavern to refresh themselves and celebrate the victory and his newly acquired honour.

It was here that Travis met the three women sitting together at the back of the bar.

The women were shunned by the others in the bar but as they rose to leave they placed three pieces of paper on Travis’ table: Duke, Prince, King.

Travis looked and laughed at the words before him.

Dismissing it as fanciful he and his companions went on their way.

A week later at the conclusion of another savage battle Travis and his troop found themselves victors once again.

This time the king overjoyed with his kingdom being saved made Travis a Prince of the realm.

This news gave rise to Travis thinking back to the odd women in the tavern.

He now realised that two of the three words had come true.

His thoughts turned to how the third could possibly eventuate. Travis’ elevation to the peerage had placed him fourth in line behind the king’s three sons. His sons were warriors like Travis. In Travis’ mind he knew that accidents do happen.

In the next encounter the third son of the king died in tragic circumstances. It seemed he was the unfortunate victim of friendly fire. Suspicious but something that did happen in the heat of battle.

As the battle had occurred near to Travis’ home the King had ordered that all meet at Travis’ castle to celebrate their victory.

Travis’ wife, Lady Travis, was well aware of the events leading to Travis’ recent success.

The King in their home was an easy target and who would suspect the loyal Travis of killing the King. That act alone weighed heavy on Travis. Kings he knew were anointed by God, to kill a king; especially in your own home was a huge betrayal of trust. But Travis saw his chance and was willing to run the risk.

In the dead of night when all were asleep and he had drugged the King’s guard he acted, killing the king and smearing his blood over the sleeping guards so as to deflect blame.

In the morning when the atrocity was discovered all hell broke loose.

The two remaining sons sensing they might be next fled from the kingdom.

With the King dead, the sons fled, Travis was suddenly the one in line to the crown.

He had achieved his goal. He was now the King and went about pillaging the Kingdom to satisfy his own greed. People fled the land; his armies deserted him for they saw not a King but a cruel and evil tyrant.

With the Kingdom in tatters Travis sat in his castle feasting and lording over all who questioned him.

He had lost sight of the role of King. His blinding ambition and greed resulted in a huge force being built to bring him down.

Travis thought he was invincible, as he had slaughtered every potential enemy.

But across the border a huge force was amassing and within days had invaded the land and as Travis was now only guarded by a token few he was an easy prey for the former King’s sons as they took back the land and the crown.

Travis met a grisly end; his head severed and mounted on a spike for all to see the tyrant was now dead.

In the annuls of history they recorded the life of Travis as a tragedy, where a good man had allowed ambition, his fatal flaw, to overpower his reason.

Written for: https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2015/04/12/writing-prompt-102-hamartia/

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26 Responses to Writing Prompt #102 “Hamartia” – Travis

  1. Lyn says:

    Great story, Michael. If I could relate the message to recent political turmoil somewhat closer to home rather than in that far off kingdom, my mind would go to a certain K.R. and J.G.

  2. Excellent story Michael and very clearly illustrated! Bravo!

  3. CC Champagne says:

    As always in awe of your amazing mind and writing! (PS. Possessive ‘s on King’s in the third paragraph from the end… *blushing*)

  4. Nice work. You’ve summed up the whole concept so beautifully that it makes me want to write a new story with a tragic ending. Generally, I go for happy endings — the character overcoming his fatal flaw — generally with the Lord’s help, since most of my work is aimed at being faith-based inspirational fiction. However, this past week, I just finished a story with a not-so-happy resolution, so who knows: maybe I’m on a roll.

  5. Excellent my friend. I do like a grizzly ending 😋

  6. milliethom says:

    What a great story! It fits the word prompt perfectly and I really enjoyed reading it. 🙂

  7. mj6969 says:

    Lovely “fairy tale” quality to this – well written and I can picture you reading this aloud to children. Or adults – some of us love a good yarn 😀

    • Thanks Mercy, yes we grown ups do.
      On April 30th the tale weaver prompt will be bedtime stories for older children. See what you can do?

      • mj6969 says:

        LOL —- I don’t know why I’m laughing at your comment – for some reason the words “bedtime stories for older children” has set me off ….

        Oh dear …. I think I need nourishment of another flavor – and I must look at the MLMM prompts because the A-Z (and I’m not finished writing them yet) are wearing on me. A different perspective perhaps …. LOL – let the madness sit a spell 😉

        OMG – I so totally forgot to mention when I commented the 1st time – loved the 3 “ladies” 😀

  8. mandy smith says:

    We call that Karma. When the sum of a person’s actions results in their future fate. Things started out on such a positive not for Travis . . .

  9. RoSy says:

    Power & greed are a deadly combination.

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