Pt V. Plans, Plots and Workarounds (With not evidence of much jolliness)
A variety of Stillness(es) settled over the area of Dingledong where the proposed wedding of Prince Frendlehanz (the presently Unhappy With The Whole Business) to Princess Whinsome (currently given to much thought and… in comparison to Prince Frendlehanz… mature reflection) was supposed to have taken place. There was the confused sort, the angry sort, the sullen sort and the downright ‘What The Frib’ (the mild oath) Is Going On’ sort. The older generation of nobility, royalty and clergy had repaired to respective apartments to have various bumps, bruises, and other attendant injuries seen to while insisting ‘someone’ without being specific on the matter would have to called to account; anything to cover up their distinct lack of dignity that day.
Meanwhile in yet another secluded apartment princes Frendlehanz, Hulstrum and Hanselfrendlesten gathered in a grim sort of fraternal acknowledgement that the others ‘had acquitted themselves, not so badly’ that day. Hanselfrendlesten was determined to find the jolly, albeit questionably, side of things.
‘In my experience this how weddings often go. Assassination attempts, kidnappings foiled or otherwise, sudden flight of bride or groom with secret lover and a subsequent war. In this respect things are so much simpler in the far away eastern lands,’
‘Attendant war?’ Hulstrum’s ears allegorically levitated, he had been trying to think of an excuse to avoid telling his father what had come to pass. In his limited experience of basic economies and barbaric societies wars solved problems. ‘How so?’
‘Well,’ drawled Frendlehanz who had been doodling out a plan for a garden so grand you could store a town in it and thus his mind turning to acuqesitions of land not that of his father’s or loyal nobles (cronies) ‘We could blame it all on Hasselduff, Moochenmuch or Grunzelpratz either singularly or in any sort of secret alliance. There was much supressed ill-feeling I was not hitched up to any of their daughters,’ his expression suggested no enthusiasm for any of the proposed selection ‘We could claim they were seeking revenge,’
‘Ah,’ said Hulstrum with the closest he could come to in terms of a smile ‘Since that old fool,’ he cleared his throat ‘The Arch-High Elect Supervisor for The Supreme One was heard to exclaim ‘Fel Beasts’, we could say there were definitely magics, and blame shamen from the barbaric north, hired by agents or agencies from Hasselduff, Moochenmuch or Grunzelpratz, in any combination. These shamen are rascals, all dressed in immodest rags, waving sticks with bones and speaking in unnecessary heavy accents made worse by gibbering and capering. They will suit the purpose fine,’ he glowered into a large wine cup ‘Probably true anyway,’
‘Now that is splendid thinking friends!’ exclaimed Hanselfrendlesten ‘All we need to do is announce we have uncovered this evidence, gather up our own retinues, a few companies their nobles don’t want to pay for, for a short time and some witless types who think they’d make good soldiers. We then cross a border, doesn’t matter which one. March up and down in a stern, restrained way, it’s called a Demonstration. Someone will get nervous, hand over a few folk they don’t like as scapegoat hostages and let us have the said dupes’ properties. We go return, honour satisfied and by then the girls should have come to their senses,’ he swilled wine ‘I like it!’
‘Indeed!’ exclaimed Frendlehanz, thinking on a nice piece of northern Hasselduff which would suit his purposes for his large garden with a town ‘In the morning we shall place this before my father and his nobles. Let us to rest gentlemen!’
‘Will you two be sharing a bed?’ Hanselfrendlesten, asked, smirking.
‘Stretch not your good fortune, brother,’ Frendlehanz retorted with a sardonic emphasis on the last word.
In other apartments a serious discussion between The Chancellor of the Exchequer, The High Diplomat and the princesses Whinsome and Aureyborealice had gone on long into the night. The men had listened intently to Whinsome, rarely had they been privy to such intelligent and well-reasoned discourse, as she explained why Arch-High Elect Supervisors for The Supreme One said what they had said and the underlying ramifications upon the various religious services and ceremonies of ignoring anything said by The Arch-High Elect Supervisor. In the light of this she then went on to explain just how binding the wedding pronouncements were.
‘Would that you could be allowed to address our bishops and clerics,’ said The High Diplomat. ‘And make them see the sense of the predicament ,’
‘They would not listen to a woman,’ lamented Whinsome. ‘They will be telling each I have lost my reason and am but an hysterical woman. Even if they agreed with me, they wouldn’t want me to be seen to be convincing them. They would have to have a conference, the sort that lasts a year and everyone gets crosser by the day,’
The Chancellor of the Exchequer was forming words into what he thought was an acceptable form of solution, when Aureyborealice who had been finished off a cream cake said thoughtfully.
‘Dear Chancellor of the Exchequer? Art not the bishops and various senior clerics exempt from taxation? Yet if things go badly and lead to war, might you have to turn to them for taxations to pay for said war? Yet if they were listen to dear Whinsome, who is quite the cleverest when compared to them, might they find it in their,’ she coughed politely ‘Hearts and minds to consider the points she had raised and thus the immediacy of such a war be avoided?’
The Chancellor of the Exchequer having heard from Aureyborealice exactly his line of reasoning, was impressed. If he had ever had the time to have a daughter, he wished they would have been blessed with the same insight as this most fayre of princesses. Indeed there was more to her than the singing, dancing and discousring with creatures and flora.
Aureyborealice concluded the meeting by saying everyone must be so dreadfully tired and she and Whinsome were going to repair to her apartments, being a modest sized Manse (a manse being a Mansion that wasn’t allowed to reach its full potential) to repose.
‘Princess Whinsome?’ asked The High Diplomat in all solicitude ‘Might you need to be covertly escorted back to your parents,’
At this Aureyborealice frowned but said nothing.
‘I fear not,’ Whinsome said with a sigh ‘My parents have long cherished this idea for an independent income by growth and harvesting of Lychees which would flourish in the unusually subtropical climate and mild winters in the region where lies their castle and estates. They plan to sell them as an exclusive product for the general health and well being of the wealthy. Thus from the day I left they will have been busy converting my apartments into offices and storage houses while my private Garden of Repose and Reflection will be dug up for planting purposes,’
‘Digging up a garden!’ Aureyborealice said, for once sounding a little vehement, she gave Whinsome a sympathetic pat on the shoulder and escorted her away murmuring sympathies and solicitudes.
‘Lychees,’ The Chancellor said, speculatively to himself despatches to agents and merchants in other nations forming in his head.
Aureyborealice gathered the staff within her manse together said they should now go to bed and not bother trying to get up early in the morning as everyone would be far too tired, or fuss about her and Whinsome as they were quite capable of looking after themselves; adding
‘These are singular times,’ she said, but brightly ‘I daresay if everyone acts in a sensible and calm manner it can all be sorted out. If anyone bothers us, I will tell them the entire manse is in a state of religious reflection and repose. In fact with the aid our goodly own priests Whinsome and I will place the necessary scared ribbons across the doors, then good gentlemen you too can have a very long lie-in tomorrow,’
When all was done Aureyborealice nudged Whinsome into the bedroom, Whinsome being very shy.
‘I think you are my husband,’ Whinsome said ‘At least from the general theological and church law this must be so,’
‘Well I could be yours,’ Aureyborealice observed ‘There does not seem to be any guidance on that topic. I think it best if we say we are each other’s spouses otherwise people will get in such a tangle if one claims traditional titles,’
‘Very wise dear Aureyborealice. We should say Spouse By The Will and Wisdom of The Supreme Being, As Declared and Witnessed By The Arch-High Elect Supervisor. If we say it quick and coherently enough it will fuddle most folk enough into acceptance,’
‘Quite so dear Whinsome. Let us then prepare and get into bed I don’t know about you but I am so tired,’
Whinsome was rather glad to hear bed being associated with sleep as some girls of free and unconventional spirit…..Well you could never tell.
She was even more relieved when no sooner than they were in the large bed did issue from Aureyborealice‘s side a long series of snores.
Sleep did not fall upon Whinsome quite so quickly, for truth be known, there in the dark and alone to herself she admitted the whole business had become rather exciting.
Lady Frastreiayal of the Grim Northern Mountain of Urnnnng went to bed, puzzled. She had been looking forward to viewing all the fuss on her mirrors, now she felt rather anxious to see what was taking place.
Was something unforeseen taking place?