Pt VIII… A Jolly (if you like that sort of thing, and are on the winning side ) Battle and a possibly not so Jolly Family Circumstance (unless you like chuckling at other folks’ problems)
Historians of later ages were to have tremendous fun arguing over whether ‘The Wars of The Six Nations’, ‘The Summer Wars’ ‘The War of the Twin Weddings’ or ‘The Wars of the Schismatic Succession’ was the correctly apt title. A minority inclined to the more basic and acerbic approach wanting it to be known as ‘The Thirtieth Avoidable Dust-Up’ were ignored as taking all the fun out of the argument.
Firstly Bishop Twoodoodle and his self styled Righteous Host marched west, which since the princesses were in the south was an indication firstly this force had lost its way, and secondly a general illustration of the average intelligence therein. This being no surprise to the now very stern alliance of The Three Princes, for alphabetical purposes being Frendlehanz (gardens on hold and not as friendly to the peasants as he used to be), Hanselfrendlesten (it was a war, what more did he need to be told?) and Hulstrum (don’t mention the wedding unless you were tired of living) who set their small but no-nonsense professional army in very swift pursuit and met the foe along the River Islewhenddle. The night before the battle Bishop Twoodoodle and what he deluded himself and them into being his captains were discussing a map, which since it was of a location two hundred miles east was of little use, but of this they were not aware. There was a ruckus in the camp, reports of some fair headed lad sitting in trees and warning the troops (or so titled) they would be massacred. The men had hurled coarse insults called him as weak as a snowflake, which was damn silly since it was spring and as anyone knows lots of snowflakes cause trouble. They tried to catch him but he skipped away.
Later that night The Three Princes were given the latest dispositions and numbers of the foe. No one was sure which bold scout it was, only by his voice he was reckoned to be a young ‘un and had fair hair.
That morning Twoodoodle’s Righteous Host gathered on the same side of the river as The Three Princes‘ forces ‘cas it wuz muddy on the other side’ and ‘wanted those snowflake princes to hear the insults’. The principal of the obvious tactical advanatge of being on the opposite side if the river not ocurring to them. Thus The Righteous Host was promptly massacred by sword, spear, lance, arrow, mace and being shoved in the river. Twooodoodle was found hiding in a cornfield dressed as a milkmaid in the what may have been the worst disguise in many a long year. Despite his pleas, both craven and loud he had large pieces of wood tied to his arms and legs and was launched down the muddy bank and into the River Islewhenddle, from whence peasants could hurl insults and objects him. Hulstrum had thought it a bit short for a battle, and had to make do with prisoners who had been identified as ones using the stupid ‘snowflake’ insult. He, coming from a place of severe winter storms did lecture them, during their last day on Earth ,with the aid of a small sharp knife on the folly of using such a word as an insult, in particular to a prince versed in blades.
It was after the last screams had died down and the pleas from Twooodoodle grew fainter that a messenger, quite weary and hot from galloping (with the aid of a horse) brought news of the invasion from Chilbin. Everyone within hearing range looked to Hulstorm.
Who struck a very serious and straight backed pose:
‘Vilfahengo (The Iron), my father. He comes to humiliate, harangue and conquer. From whence I was a child, and in painful passage from thence unto callow youth and on into bleak manhood did I serve under the lash of his tongue and sneer of his lips. There was no pleasing him. In my short sojourn here have I experienced a land more flexible, albeit it in a whimsical way. Yea, there be trials, tribulations, two very stubborn young women and a fellow who should not be in charge of religion. Yet here, this is now my home. And I wilt fight against the chill of my father. For I am for these warm, green places!’
The cheering started from his own retinue several of whom had recently formed attachments (quite frequently) to some of the bridesmaids, and liked the beer, which was not brewed with thistles. Both Frendlehanz and Hanselfrendlesten shook Hulstorm‘s hand (the former not for too long, or warmly…lest folk read too much into it; the latter with an ironic smile and a jovial ironic insult, which of course could only be seen as a statement of praise,).
‘Then together then!’ called out Frendlehanz, who was not much on battlefield eloquence but did sound quite strong of voice and could raise a very noteworthy mailed fist.
It was briefly decided for purposes of geo-political strategy, at which Hanselfrendlesten was quite good, Hulstorm should ride west with a view to completely supressing the rebellion in the west, as they had it coming, while Frendlehanz and Hanselfrendlesten would march northish and thus Hulstorm avoiding fighting his own folk (even if he did say he wouldn’t mind attacking his father, personally). The strategy explained by Hanselfrendlesten (experienced in international war) being that Vilfahengo (Chilbin-king of and ill-tempered Iron) would be so furious that he couldn’t find his son straight away he would lose his concentration and go galloping all over the place.
Overall the three lads what with marching, massacring and being very far away from those two annoying girls were having quite a splendid time.
Meanwhile King Genially, hot of temper and beset with much flusterings and ill-humours said he would obviously have to sort things out himself! Firstly he locked bishops Humfelsteffstong and Hylorididoda in a tower for being fools and would not listen to pleas as to why hadn’t he done the same to the other bishops? Thus obviously not even close to be jolly he stormed over to his daughter’s manse. There was much alarm for he was very brusque to the servants, told the dear old gardener he could not care less about the roses, threatened to push The Clerk of the Princesses’ Household’s head into the ornamental goldfish pond and demanded, loudly to speak with his daughter.
Whinsome appeared, dressed modestly and holding a very holy book to her breast.
‘My Lord Father by Law and the Supreme Being,’ she began, he spluttered, she therefore continued, quickly and coherently of course ‘Aureyborealice my spouse By The Will and Wisdom of The Supreme Being, As Declared and Witnessed By The Arch-High Elect Supervisor is not here. My Lord Father by Law and the Supreme Being. She would not say where she has gone, but it was of great importance to the realm,’ Whinsome smiled fondly ‘I am sure this is so, for one whose beauty is beyond compare; possessed of long flowing blonde hair, yet is not vain and is kind to everyone, sings with birds, talks to small furry creatures, dances barefoot in gardens, has such a gentle yet incisive wit, knows much about finance, taxation and economics as well as the underlying themes of the geo-political and-‘
‘Now look here young lady!’ Genially interrupted, he did not care for this fulsome praise of his daughter from another young woman certainly not one to whom she was arguably spoused(ed) and, therefore did not most definately, certainly not want Whinsome to go on beyond the word ‘and’ lest he hear ‘things’ parents didn ‘t even like to hear of passing between child and spouse of the traditional sorts. He continued ‘This has gone beyond even a Bother. There is a rebellion in the west, the Tax Union and Trade Agreements are under threat from dispute and an unforeseen trade in Lychees ‘
‘Leaches!’ cried a servant
‘No,’ sighed Whinsome ‘Lychees which flourish in the unusually subtropical climate and mild winters in the region where lieth the castle and estates of my parents. There I agree with you, My Lord Father by Law and the Supreme Being….The Lychees question…’tis a bothersome thing,’
‘Yes!’ grumbled Genially, confused at agreeing with Whinsome ‘And now we are invaded from the north by Vilfahengo (The Iron) of Chilbin!’
‘Don’t forget that an army out of Grunzelpratz led by an association of doctrinal bishops, three opportunistic dukes and one of King Jerbloom’s three singularly useless sons, in this case Kurntool marches upon Turgidan to unseat The Arch-High Elect Supervisor for The Supreme One. Although this host now has to turn around and march back because Grunzelpratz is being invaded at the behest of Vilfahengo (The Iron) by a host of barbarians from the far north,’ said Whinsome, trying to be helpful
‘How do you know that? Seated here in this small isolated manse!’ he demanded.
‘Ah My Lord King,’ came a quavering voice as out doddered Bishop Quirrblelong ‘These two young women, blessed by the Wisdom of the Supreme Being know(eth) much in length on breadth of perceptions. Would you like a current cake?’
‘I careth not for currants!’ blustered Genially who was losing the thread of the conversation.
‘No, no my good king,’ persisted Bishop Quirrblelong ‘These are Current Cakes. Current as in the state of existence and thus alluding to their persistence in freshness so avoiding the hardness and staleness one does so encounter these days. I fear it is because we do not have the art of cupboard making and small wooden chest making that was praised by many in days of yore. Now my great uncle-‘
‘Oh spiffle on your great uncle!’ roared Genially and stormed off, pausing to grab the hapless The Clerk of the Princesses’ Household and immerse him in the aforementioned ornamental goldfish pond.
Once the king’s retinue had rescued the poor clerk from possible drowning or choking on a goldfish they led the king back to his palace wherein he had a furious row with his Queen Domestica, who was only just recovering from a number of shocks. He blamed her for both children being wayward….Who needed all those gardens anyway? Also she should have sent Aureyborealice off to a remote religious retreat run by remote religious women, long ago. And it was she who was to blame for encouraging that Old Fool Doctrindoss The Arch-High Elect Supervisor for The Supreme One by being so kind and amenable to him. He was way past his senses and it was about time they elected a fellow for a set term and not let any old goat ramble on. He( Genially that is) blamed the women of the kingdoms for being far too kind to the old idiot, just because he reminded them of some favourite great-uncle who used to tell them funny stories and pretend to be farm animals, and what was the good of that anyway? Who needed farm animal impression when a nation was being invaded and Tax Unions with Trade Agreements were falling apart. And why did folk think Lychees were so important ?When this was over he would have every Lychee tree, or bush, or whatever they were burnt down. See what Doodle would think then? He ( Genially that is) knew his (Doodle- that is) game! Ha! He thought he could be emperor of all the nations by growing Lychees. Who ever heard of an empire built on growing vegetables or fruits or such stuff?. It was the sword and Tax Unions and Trade Agreements that counted. And why had she (Domesticia) suggested Whinsome in the first place? Ohhh that girl pretending to be religious was artful! She’d ensnared Bishop Quirrblelong into cooking currant cakes! Whereas everyone knew he (Genially that is) hated currants. Currants caused more indigestion, consequential dyspepsia and thus rebellions and schisms more than anything else. And she (Domesticia) should have seen to that, since women listened to her. Why hadn’t she stopped the currant trade in the first place?
Domesticia had listened with forbearance, while waiting for one of her serving maids to bring her the large jug filled with iced water which of late she had used to dab on her forehead to stem the headaches. Once the jug was handed to her, she walked up to her husband, tugged forth the top of his trousers and emptied the entire contents ice and all down said garment, then thwacked him on the head with the jar. While he crouched in a most undignified manner, his eyes rolling and odd gurgles coming from his mouth, she stood over him.
‘Aside from your unjust tirade husband, for the past thirty and two days whence folk have tired of your petulance, ill-governance and poor humour to dear Aureyborealice I have been met by two and ten women who will keep still their tongues no longer announcing you are the father three and ten children of ‘natural’ status. May those chunks of ice serve to spare any further women from your smooth and jolly blandishments!’
And thus did she repair to her own apartments to understandably weep.
But soon there came a soft knock at her door and a lady-in-waiting appeared with a solicitous announcement.
‘My Queen. The Princess Aureyborealice hath arrived by surprise and brings another,’
Domesticia bade them enter.
In walked dear Aureyborealice, holding firmly by the hand, her aunt.
Lady Frastreiayal, of the Grim Northern Mountain of Urnnnng (practitioner of magiks, nurser of grudges, and currently of a curiously humorous yet penitent air). Sister of Domesticia ( once gracefully aging, now distraught queen of Dingledong and of many years marriage to King Genially…the status currently questionable).
‘My dear daughter. And my dear sister. How glad I am to see you both! This is a trying time!’
Although Aureyborealice did smile most generously, there was a certain knowing turn to the curve in her lips, along with a faintly sardonic glint to her eyes. Her mother (as mothers do) noticing these things, looked to her daughter, puzzled.
‘Mother,’ said Aureyborealice ‘Aunt Frastreiayal has something of a confession to give unto you,’