Pt XI… How Princess Whinsome stopped with the jolliness and started being constructive
Princess Whinsome (Spouse By The Will and Wisdom of The Supreme Being, As Declared and Witnessed By The Arch-High Elect Supervisor to Princess Aureyborealice) had seen fit to drop all of the complimentary words which proceeded the phrase ‘Princess Aureyborealice’. Whereas she had been feeling for some time, in varying degrees rather cool to the rest of the family for sundered reasons such as frivolity, hysteria, ill-judgement and general lack of maturity, Aureyborealice had always seemed in addition to being sweet and loveable; also dependable, resourceful and intelligent. However of late she had breezed off without much of an explanation for an extended interlude.
The result had been to leave Whinsome to discuss or debate with numbers of clerics all of whom wanted her to listen them to repeat the arguments she had already heard, several times, as if they alone had thought of them. She had also been obliged to diplomatically deal with various young women of rank who had wanted to know if she and Aureyborealice had been obliged, because they were married to ‘err…umm…well…you know….’. As regards this delicate subject Whinsome had started off quite well with discreet variations on the theme of ‘Oh no’ and changing the subject. Of late she had found she had been grinding her teeth and supressing the urge to empty to contents of flower vases over some of the more vapid giggly types. Also a couple of lesser merchants had managed to sneak in and ask her if she could put a good word in with her father for their marketing scheme for Lychees. Mischief had taken over there and she had said if they travelled to see him personally he would no doubt listen (As far as she knew he might well…and both parties deserved each other.)
Thusly….One morning Whinsome sat in the garden, firstly giving quiet thanks for the gift of warming sunshine and no one being around, thence the sweet bounties of nature with no Lychees in sight and finally praying quite heavily for all the fighting to stop. This peaceful interlude was broken when in scampered, strode, bustled or blundered as befitted their characters and physiques a group of courtiers; the ones who had managed to have caste-iron excuses not to be dragged along with Genially (now short on jolliness) on his march north to confront King Vilfahengo (The Iron and very cross) of Chilbin. She could not imagine why they were heading to her in such a purposeful manner, unless for some, possibly understandable reason they no longer had much faith in the local bishops and clerics and wanted to organise an impromptu gathering for prayers of deliverance.
‘Oh Princess Whinsome,’ one fellow cried out ‘Great calamities are abounding,’
At the first instance, for The Life of her she could not imagine why a bunch of middle aged men of some rank were coming to tell her about it. Reasons soon tumbled out as would a large collection of unfavoured clothes once shoved hastily into a wardrobe whose doors had been slammed shut and locked, only to be idly opened by someone else.
‘King Genially rode north to do battle with Vilfahengo of Chilbin. He and his lords got into a loud dispute as whether to parley, charge or manoeuvre to refuse a flank. Regrettably everyone came away with a different idea. Thus the army moved or didn’t move before dawn, in differing directions. The king’s retinue seeing the foe charged, dragging the king along with them, he fell off his horse and expired on a thorny bush. By the Supreme Being’s Grace….’
‘Wisdom,’ she interjected ‘I am sure Wisdom, your tone suggests some small comfort, so it must be Wisdom,’
There was a hasty mumbling resulting in agreement, the fellow proceeded.
‘As seen fit by The Supreme Being there came a great unseasonable snow storm which has stopped any further progress by the invaders. Apparently Chilbin armies respect such weather, they have a saying which translates as ‘Travelling Idiot’s Weather’. Thus they halteth,’
‘The demise of Genially. How very sad for Dingledong,’ Said Whinsome no longer a little guilty at not feeling sad at all ‘What is Prince Frendlehanz doing in reaction?’ as soon as she asked the question she had a feeling there would be an ‘Err’. There was. Followed by…
‘A message was passed by some vulgar barbarian, using an arrow as means of transport. Apparently the prince has been captured and transported into some barbaric clime by the notoriously fearsome harridan named Magnificalorin, the flame haired and fiery daughter of Gurt Broadsword. A barbarian of some standing,’
Whinsome wondered on the circumstances of the capture.
‘How very unfortunate a coincidence. Then is Queen Domesticia acting as regent?’
The group looked as unhappy as any group of men could when having to admit their leader had been found wanting in more ways than one.
‘Apparently the Lady has become aware of the king’s infidelities, thus in shock and distain she hast quit the realm by means secret,’
As that came across to Whinsome as Domesticia being the last to find out, Whinsome found she was drumming her fingers on her book of Prayers for a Goodly Thoughts, only she found she could not summon Goodly Thoughts for the present.
‘Ah then by royalness does not Princess Aureyborealice become Regent Queen by Ascent?’ (and thus get her frivolous bottom back here)
There was a shuffling. A red faced fellow of girth was by combined effort of the rest shoved to the fore.
‘She is not to be found your lady,’
Whinsome did not feel comfortable at the sound of the reverence in ‘your lady’, nor the slight bow. Overall she felt very uncomfortable. Especially when one gaunt fellow of beard and hair of black and iron grey, elbowed the other one out of the way, then somewhat marring his initial impression of being grave and serious by nearly dropping the red leather box he carried, the act causing the lid to slop open and reveal out Whinsome a crown of gold, a few minor jewels and all topped with a fluffy blue leather cap of (she felt) undignified design.
‘Your lady,’ he said a deep voice shaking ‘ Princess Spouse By The Will and Wisdom of The Supreme Being, As Declared and Witnessed By The Arch-High Elect Supervisor. Acceptheth this the Regent’s Crown of Dingledong for as long as the Supreme Being see fits,’
‘Sees fit,’ the rest intoned in the sort lot musical discord which would give even the most casual and forgiving of choir masters a bout of dyspepsia .
At this juncture, previously unseen, appeared Bishop Quirrblelong who seizing the crown from the box, advanced on poor Whinsome.
He commenced to sing. Those birds of previously stronger spirit not already unsettled by the preceding chorus decided enough was enough and took flight.
‘Oh Supreme Being. By thy infinite wisdom and beneficence. We crown Whinsome, Lorina, Maydearlene, Theseeleee, Ingomin, Flaridia, Rhyledelli, Porrido. Fayre Maiden Princess of Trundlealong by thy Grace Regent Queen until thy see(est) necessary of Dingledong,’
And with his strength spent plonked the crown ,at a slight angle, on Whinsome’s head.
While she was remembering how she really disliked that last silly name Porrido, (and how her brother up until quite recently had still been inanely fond of calling her ‘Porrido-Porridon’t ‘) some other fellow pressed into her grasp a staff with the image of a very surprised bovine, seeing as how it was on two legs. This presumably meant something to do with office. Meanwhile everyone was down on one knee (each that is, not one particular knee) and mumbling very quickly some sort of oath. She hadn’t even had the time to say ‘But….But’
She was gathering her breath to say ‘But….But’ when into the garden march six very over-dressed fellows, the business accentuated floppy hats; they all bore silver trumpets, which they commenced to deafen everyone with, happily in tune. This seemed to be some sort of signal for at once the garden became very crowded with folk, who judging by the goodly state of their clothing were at least ‘quite affluent’. As one they chanted.
Hail to the Regent Queen Whinsome
Hail. Hail. Hail
Loudly,three times, worrying Whinsome that the effort might well induce that sort of weather.
It was then from the crowd, moving in a deferential manner but nonetheless with confidence and purpose came The Chancellor of The Exchequer and The High Diplomat, who knelt very briefly , then rose, turning to the clutch of men The Chancellor of The Exchequer saying.
‘My Good Lords. Would you please excuse us if we took a slight interlude of Regent Queen Whinsome’s time. ‘Tis The Matter of Policy regarding The State of The Lychee markets,’
Since everyone there had recently made investments in the said commodity there was no argument, although several serious guards of both men, politely kept the host at bay while Whinsome was shuffled off.
As her nerves were getting somewhat frayed by the whole business and the crown a slight size too large was weighing heavily on her ears Whinsome felt cross, thus she could not help herself, when out of earshot of the mob, to blurt out to the pair, irrespective of their rank.
‘I do not care a spiffle about the stupid Lychee market!’
‘At present,’ confided The High Diplomat with a brief nod from The Chancellor of the Exchequer ‘Nor do we,’
It was in a small drawing room where light wine and cakes were served that Whinsome was introduced to the present geo-political situation. Hulstorm was securing the north west but was being acclaimed which she judged was not something the centre should be content with, even had been generously funded, this however had been for the express purpose of securing, acclaiming had not been part of the arrangement. The north in general was of course being invaded by snow and The Chilbin, the former delaying the latter, so two of the reason why she was Regent Queen did not have to be laboured over. Part of North Trundlealong and most of north Grunzelpratz was being overrun by barbarians (it was a commonly held belief of the times that barbarians did not have the astuteness to invade they just ran about the place, overrunning). Taking advantage of everyone else’s preoccupations Hasselduff and Moochenmuch’s smallish armies were marching back and forth in front of each other to prove they had the right to protect Turgidan (the very small chunk belonging to The Arch-High Elect Supervisor for The Supreme One, located where the borders of Dingledong’s four neighbours met) , in exchange for a modest tax donation (modest being equivalent to the gross-nation product of either of the nations)
‘You have not mentioned my own fayre’ (Whinsome said the word with slight sarcasm) ‘Trundlealong. Pray let me guess my good lords. There are riots by farmers objecting to having their lands turned over to Lychee production. Thus while mobs march this way and that, no one cares a stale cake about to whom I am married, or who else is invading whom?’
‘Succinctly and accurately put your Highness,’ said The High Diplomat.
‘Have we any idea where my,’ clearing of the throat in a cold manner ‘ Aureyborealice, Spouse By The Will and Wisdom of The Supreme Being, As Declared and Witnessed By The Arch-High Elect Supervisor has noodled off to?’
The men exchanged brief glances whereas the words were not up to the standard of a artisan’s tavern at closing time, there was a noticeable edge to the tone and usage of words expressing dissatisfaction creeping into in the manner of the Regent Queen’s mode of speech.
‘No your Highness,’ they both said. She noted their tones were devoid of alarm.
‘Oh spiffly-diddles!’ Whinsome exclaimed and eyebrows were raised ‘I will give her nose such a tug when she comes back!’ and this in a state of agitation which nevertheless suggested purpose Whinsome rolled up her sleeves (her reasonably beautiful features somewhat screwed up in concentration and her russet hair dishevelled by the crown-currently considered by her as ‘stupid’) ‘Good lords and gentlemen! Bring me forth a map of the whole mess of the six kingdoms and another solely of this realm which has been for far too long benighted by jolliness!’
They were impressed.
‘And by the way,’ she added ‘Get someone to release that pair of old stodgies (stodgies???…both men thought), bishops Hylorididoda and Humfelsteffstong from whatever tower they are in so I can formally pardon them and tell them to do something useful with their fat heads. I cannot abide having martyrs around the place, even if they are turnip heads and deserve being dunked in a goldfish pond! They attract even bigger gazumbos (a word not for polite company) who start a following!’
‘Gazumbos eh?’ murmured The Chancellor to the High Diplomat as they took leave to find maps and issue orders. ‘I am beginning to like this girl,’
‘And!’ came the voice, quite strong from the room ‘Have a despatch sent to my brother Prince Hanselfrendlesten who no doubt is having a splendid time fighting barbarians across the north Trundlealong and Grunzelpratz telling him I now rule in Dingledong and I want to know just what sort of progress he is making,’
The High Diplomat swiftly returned.
‘Of course Your Highness. Should we inform your parents?’
Whinsome’s eyebrows arched and her nostrils almost flared. Her tone dripped sarcasm.
‘Please do. And bid them to send me a crate of Lychees as a gift!’
‘I beg your pardon your Highness,’ said The High Diplomat sucking in a grin ‘Is that in the literal and not a secret family code?’
‘Hah! If they tried they would only forget it!’ she smirked ‘Actually tell them I demand a dozen crates of Lychees as is my recently proclaimed, that is NOW, right as their daughter. And all the lands which are mine in Trundlealong I will donate to farmers cast off of their land because of those Lychees!’ she paused for breath ‘Oh yes. And the despatch to my brother. Be so good as to add in whatever code he uses, what lands does he intend to snaffle for his own, and not to think I don’t know he intends too!’
The High Diplomat had a feeling he might start to enjoy his job again.