Pt XIV… ‘To be jolly. Or not to be jolly. That is the question‘
Prince Hulstorm had journeyed far and wide, albeit it in a smallish way, along the North West of Dingledong. He had slew(ed) some who would not see sense; some guilty wretches found skulking were hauled out of their skulking places while others, pitiful folk threw themselves down on their knees and after say ‘Ouch! My knees!’ confessed and beg(ed) forgiveness for their transgressions. With everyone now calling him ‘Great and Dread Sovereign Within Whose Shadow We Seek Sanctuary and Wisdom In Thy Justice and Mercy’. He hoped that would be the end of the titles, he kept forgetting what he was about to say.
Because there was Lady Rahsemynd always accompanying him there was a lot less slewing. She being ever ready to convince him to show Justice, Mercy and for good measure Clemency. He was a bit conflicted; slaying or slewing was the Chilbinian Way, while showing Justice, Mercy etc, meant there was a danger of him being granted even more titles, these not being suited to his austere and uncomplicated ways (ie slaying). HOWEVER whenever Faye Lady Rahsemynd spoke in those gentle, kind, yet firm ways how could he argue with her? For did she not ride her horse in a dignified manner? Was she not always uncomplaining over the rigours and discomforts of constant travel? For she was not wont to scratch under her armpits, did not clean out her nose and ears with a finger, nor make noises ill-becoming to a lady after eating. Were not the peasantry constantly praising her with weepingful joys and blessings? And was she not most pleasantly sensible, down-to-earth and practical company, not being liable to suddenly to dance barefooted or sing to rabbits like one little nut-hutch he could mention? Yes, it was only right and proper he should accede to her pleas, to let her sternly, but fairly lecture those transgressors on the errors of their ways and have them take most solemn oaths to devote themselves to good works for the community at only basic wages and accommodation. Also weeping they did agree. (and those few mean spirits who did this just for show were aware there was a very grim Chilbinian with a sword standing behind her, so they had best get on board with the new ways).
Thus did the North West plead(eth) for Hulstorm to stay and be their prince and rule them sternly but wisely. He was of an unusual dither over this and pondered in the night; thence did appear, softly Faye Lady Rahsemynd.
‘Prince Hulstorm,’ she said for she was not one for titles and anyway did not want to embarrass the dear boy who was so obviously flustered by them ‘I would ask, for the good of these people that you should accept this offer and help them to repair(eth) the damage wrought over these years past(ed)’
At this instant the moonlight did fall upon her eyes and sparkle most delightfully therein while a gentle breeze did raise strands of her auburn hair into an entrancing dance, some stroking the small mouth, currently bearing the hint of a smile.
Hulstorm thence fell to his knees, but being of soldier upbringing had trousers sufficient to take the impact so suffered upon them no injury. Gently he did take her hand and with unusually soft voice did ask.
‘Only dear lady, if thou wouldst be my wife. For I cannot hope to take on such a task without you beside for me. This I must confess unto thee, within this turbulent heart has grown a love for thee,’
Faye Lady Rahsemynd put one hand to her heart and flustered.
‘Oh my. Dear Hulstorm, though my heart doeth soar and sing to hear these words, what is to be done about this,’ for once she was stuck for words ‘That strange wedding early this spring?’
‘Oh that hoo-hah!’ in other company he would have used more earthy language ‘ Dear gentle Faye Lady Rahsemynd, know ye that since the demise of the unworthy Twoodoodle, the priests of Chilbin have secretly journeyed here to speak with their brothers-in-faith who for years have kept secret loyalty to the northern ways of faith unto the Supreme Being and careth not for any Arch High Elect Supervisor for The Supreme One ?’
‘Well, yes my dearest Hulstorm but I thought(eth)…’
Emboldened by the wonderfully persisting moonlight on her eyes, he placed one finger to her lips.
‘Then worryeth not any more Fayre Lady Rahsemynd, for we shall take solemn and biding oaths to follow northern ways of belief, I shall personal and independent make renouncement of that Stupid Wedding (oh the relief to say that!) and we shall be married in plain and simple ceremony,’
Of course the young woman gave out with a small cry of joy, naturally did he kiss her hand and since the moon would not leave those eyes alone did he hold her close and they conducted a small swirl of a dance.
Nearby two rough and common soldiers watched on. One wiped his eyes and blew his nose into his sleeve.
‘I likes a nice romantic interlude,’ he confessed.
‘Yer,’ agreed his comrade, sniffling ‘Makes a pleasant change from all them betrayals, slewings and loud trysting in woods, what keeps you awake at night,’
‘Humph,’ commented King Vilfahengo from a bed located in a smallish recently conquered castle on the border betwixt Dingledong and Chilbin ‘This despatch is from my usually worthless son Hulstorm. It appears he has annexed the north-west of Dingledong and by popular acclaim been made prince. Also he is to marry The Fayre and Much Adored By The People Lady Rahsemynd and in her honour by popular acclaim name the land Rahsemindia. Humph,’ he turned the page of the despatch ‘He also says he acknowledges me as Lord Sovereign and renounces anything that Arch High Elect Supervisor for The Supreme One said about any wedding as heresy, blasphemy and so forth. Hmmm? I wonder what the Throne of Dingledong thinks of this? I forget who actually sits there,’
‘I can answer that my ever attentive lord,’ said Lady Frastreiayal of The Grim Northern Mountain of Urnnnng from the depths of the luxurious bedding ‘I have a letter here from Queen Whinsome of Dingledong. You may recall we have been in correspondence for some time over the question of Princess Aureyborealice who was far too clever, scheming, eforvescent and know-all for my peace of mind. Queen Whinsome has also received correspondence from your son. She agrees to his wishes and apparently has told any nobles who have complained to go and count their Lychee holdings. It would seem the north-west now known as Rahsemindia and the rest of Dingledong parted cultural ways years ago, most folk, she says do not give a,’ she paused ‘ Snooddlewip…. I assume that must be some vulgarity in common usage in Trundlealong,’
‘Hmmm,’ Vilfahengo (currently The Nearly Affable) said, being steward over lots of barbarians he was not used to having things go along in such an easy manner. ‘Mind you, I wonder how with the flame haired and fiery Magnificalorin; daughter of Gurt Broadsword feels about the business?’
‘I have been notified by this despatch,’ said Lady Frastreiayal of The Grim Northern Mountain of Urnnnng (and quite content with matters as they were going) as she waved a rather grubby piece of parchment ‘She has been so busy intent on holding hostage Prince Frendlehanz and despoiling him, that within the next few months there will be evidence of her efforts.He was ceremonially kicked by Vargahona, the girl’s mother, in the ‘Ol’ Synggs’, the traditionally expected response by the parent when they find their unmarried daughter has been put ‘Up The Duff’ by a lad, and then the pair were married with much celebration and slapping on his back. On hearing the news Gurt Broadsword called for a true with Prince Hanselfrendlesten of Trundlealong who has been currently marching up and down Grunzelpratz. The Prince agreed since who was he to stop a fellow celebrating his daughter’s wedding, especially to Good Friend Frendlehanz? And anyway since King Jerbloom, his association of doctrinal bishops, three opportunistic dukes and his three singularly useless sons are reported to have been slain here and there along with their generally not-very bright loyal supporters someone had to run the land didn’t they? So there he was staying and would not pursue any barbarians who were going back home. How very nice and tidy. Think you not my ever present lord?’
‘Hmmmmm? So neither boy is paying attention to that old fool of an Arch-Idiot?’
‘It would seem not. The event was been taken as a most useful occurrence which led to constructive thinking,’
‘Hmmmmmmm. That still leaves the problem of Princess Aureyborealice. Hmmmm. Dear Lady,’ he said putting down the papers and taking her hand ‘Let us be married. It will make things much, as you say nice and,’ and rare laugh ‘tidy’
‘My lord. I thought you would never ask,’
Vilfahengo was getting quite used to this jolliness business. In measured doses of course. And he had to admit he and Lady Frastreiayal of The Grim Northern Mountain of Urnnnng had worked out just the right doses.
Even more Meanwhile….
At the abode of Queen Whinsome, in particular the apartments of Princess Aureyborealice
‘Good morning to you too Aureyborealice. Did you sleep well?’
‘As if you cared Whinsome….. The Sneaky! I hope you get fleas in your undergarments at the next ceremony when everyone is watching you and you have to sit still,’
‘My maids, my ladies and I regularly check my undergarments Aureyborealice. Three attempts of your we have foiled. You really should accept how things are. Your father was a hopeless bed-hopper. Your brother is glad to be out of the business and cheerfully progenying. While you,’ Whinsome sighed ‘When everyone found out how adept you were at getting their secrets and manipulating behind the scenes but making the class mistake of boasting once,’ she knelt beside the girl currently in a magnificent sulk on her bed ‘Well no one trusted you to do things properly. You can’t treat the whole thing as a lark Rorie,’
‘Not supposed to call me that anymore,’ snuffled Aureyborealice ‘We’re not best friends. An’ you’re so mean. You let them shoot arrows into my bottom!’
‘That was only once and with a drugged dart when you first tried to escape by climbing over the garden wall. I told the royal guard they would have to find other ways to stop you as that practice would make you too sore and woozily in the head,’
‘Then they dropped a smelly ol’ net on me. And how did you train big sloppy dogs to chase me, catch me and lick my face senseless?’
‘You must stop trying to escape. Accept things as they are until everything settles down and then we can decide what is best. You won’t have to wait long. Vilfahengo has gone back over the border, well I know the border has edged a bit north but like the new nation of Rahsemindia, no one here really wanted those bits and amongst those native there the feeling was mutual,’
‘And my aunt has married Vilfahengo…… The Grumpy! My stupid brother has gone barbarian-‘
‘He merely defended his pregnant wife by correctly slaying usurpers and his Father-in-Law Gurt Broadsword is very pleased with him. He has been given a wedding present of his own tribe, the survivors of the attempted usurpation. They are now engaging in productive agriculture albeit in a trade of aphrodisiacs which the locals have been using for centuries. Very popular in the six kingdoms,’
Aureyborealice considered her slippers, she hated stupid curled up toes, she was sure Whinsome had made it mandatory she could only wear fluffy slippers with bells and curled up toes, you couldn’t sneak in those and there were limits to barefooting. She snuffled again and pouted. Sneaky Whinsome being nice to her.
‘Ohhhhhh Whinsome you are so clever and adapt. An’ folk pay you respect for that and because you can thwack with the staff anyone who attacks you,’ Aureyborealice pout turned to an a skewed hopeful smile ‘I know! I have a plan. You consume lots of those aphrodisiac plants your brother is growing, and I’ll ask my Aunt Frastreiayal if she can use her special powers, which you are bound to know about, to help you grow man bits and then,’ she sighed ‘I could have your babies,’
Whinsome had thought when Frastreiayal had written to her outlining just this very thing Aureyborealice might suggest, Whinsome had assumed the lady was indulging in some sardonic northern living-too-long-in-a-remote-castle-jest. As she massaged her nose between her thumb and finger she mentally apologised.
‘Rorie,’ she began with a sympathetic smile, which was taken the wrong way
‘Ooooh you agree!’
‘You see,’ Whinsome forged on ‘This is why I am queen and you are not. You have all these colourful ideas, some of which work but others are simply wacky-doodle,’
‘But I like man bits,’ protested Aureyborealice.
‘I will not ask for details of how you reached that judgement. Apart from the fact it is a load of goozlestrutzen of an idea, I do not wish to have man bits. I am perfectly content with my body as it is,’
‘But we are married!’ wailed Aureyborealice
Whinsome was beginning to wonder whether the dose of the something in the wine all those weeks ago had been a measure too strong and had lasting effects. There again there could be ‘something in the family’ after all. One had to consider just exactly what was in the crossbow bolt. Or mayhap the strain of keeping all of her plans in that busy head and having some go down the privy had unsettled Aureyborealice’s balance of judgement. And there was the chance it was a combination of the whole lot, for she had been so very astute at the onset, in a breezy ebullient sort of way.
Whinsome sat on the bed taking both of Aureyborealice’s hands in hers.
‘Now. On that subject. I wish you to listen very carefully and be very clever and grown-up as I know you can be,’ Aureyborealice sniffled again and nodded ‘You see there has been this issue between the nations of Hasselduff and Moochenmuch as to which one should ensure the safety and security of Turgidan estate of The Arch-High Elect Supervisor for The Supreme One and they have been marching back and forth without actually fighting. Thus The Arch-High Elect Doctrindoss did request them to gather for a solemn discourse. Since neither king, respectively being Strebvest (The Plain) and Clodgrop (The Mundane) were not really enthusiastic about fighting only about financial gain they did with their nobles, captains, bishops and so forth to see what he had to say. On the field did Doctrindoss appear and,’ she took in a deep breath ‘Declared their current marriages null and void, say they should marry each other and unite the nations, he then declared this to be thus and walked back to his abode,’ she cleared her throat ‘Playing a jaunty tune on a tin whistle,’
‘Does that mean he has been declared not suitable to discern the word of The Supreme Being?’ trembled Aureyborealice, Whinsome nodded ‘And thus the marriages are null, void and never happened,’
‘Uh-huh,’ (must have been wacky-doodle for years- now there’s a lesson for us all- Whinsome thought unto herself)
At which juncture Aureyborealice burst into tears and Whinsome was obliged to hold her, patting her shoulder.
Thus not only was her foundation to rule in question because she had been recorded as supporting Removed Doctrindoss, at great theological length when others would claim he was certainly wacky-whooo-hoo-a-doodle, but she had a tearful and unhinged besotted princess possibly-contender-to-the-throne on her hands.
Whinsome definitely felt she was personally possessed of an uneasy head.
With a stupid crown that did not fit properly.
Aureyborealice, A Fable in Several Parts…Part I
Aureyborealice. A Fable in Several Parts…Pt VI
Aureyborealice. A Fable in Several Parts…Pt XI
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