Woke up with this idea in my head and started scribbling it out. I'm still not a hundred percent happy with it but it's only a few minor tweaks that are required. Although the last time I said that to myself I ended up reshaping the destiny of nations!
On a completely unrelated note:
I was in the library the other day and picked up
I was entranced. High Quality photos, that don't just treat the subject as a kind of "Look at the freak with his tattoos" which I've seen in other books, the obligatory Goldie paintings of course, but that's fine because he's simply one of the best artists that I've ever seen.
It covers the mythology of the art and tracks its use throughout our country giving us stories of Moko from our earliest histories up to the modern day people that get it done and the tattoo artists themselves..
I would highly recommend it to anybody that needs information about the art of Maori tattooing for whatever reason.
~An Alliance of sorts~
~An old mans passing and what came of it.~
The old house had certainly seen better days. Although it was well maintained the signs of fresh repair were all around, like the owner it was part of the old world and in constant danger of being left behind.
To walk through the dusty halls is to travel back through time via furniture and fashions but there is one area that is free from dust. Between the bedroom and the mans kitchen is his study which houses all sorts of things from the useful to the obscure. This is the old mans life now and he labors at his desk, desperately trying to get everything done before he feels the grim and icy grip of death.
“Honored friends” the quill blotched under his unsteady hand and he cursed as he reached for the blotting paper.
“You are old Father William and you're son is no suitable replacement”
“Good evening my old foe” Father William set aside his writings “you're awake earlier than usual”
“I stand vigil as I must” the head of the monster was stared fixedly at the blade which had ended his days “but I stand by what I said, your son will not walk easily in your footsteps”
“It won't bother me, I'll be dead” he sighed “but you're right, he has no love for the old ways. Were it up to him you would have been flogged off to the first museum that would have you while I, I would while my days away simply waiting for death to claim me”
The Jabberwocky was silent for a time and the sound of the quill on the high quality velum was the only sound.
“May I ask you a question?”
“You've never needed to ask permission before”
“You abandoned your claim to the throne when your father died but you've never told a soul the reason why”
“To sit in that chair is to invite the ire of the queens. Especially during the recent Alice Wars. Better for all concerned that I stepped down quietly and married for love rather than political points”
“But now Queen Alice sits on your throne, you think she would approve?”
“Stop fishing. I've never met the queen as well you know”
“I've met one or two in my time”
“Alices, or possibly Alicii. They'll generally show up when the need is great and the peril most dire.
“You've never mentioned this before”
“It's not a tale that I like to tell you shorter lived creatures”
“Shorter lived? I'm almost Eighty!”
“I was five centuries before I discovered you in my forest” the head noted dryly “I surely would have seen many more if you hadn't been so quick with the evil snickersnee”
“It's the Vorpal Blade as I have mentioned before”
“The vagaries of two different languages” the monster dismissed it as insignificance. To my people in their craggy homes it was always the evil snickersnee. A thing to flee rather than burble blindly towards. For many long and happy centuries the blade was lost and our domain stretched from one end of the Wonder to the other. But we became complacent and in our laxness the great depravity began. That was the beginning of our undoing mortal man. For when the mad blade reappeared it was wielded by the Alice, whom we also called the destroyer, in our chronicles”
“I've never heard of this before”
“Hardly my fault. The last I heard the white queens knights had locked our tomes away for reasons I'm sure were of great import. The destroyer appeared and disappeared mysteriously when our domination of the Underland was broken. There were those who claimed one of us had killed her but none that I knew ever attempted to take credit for the deed”
“She may have seen her end coming” suggested the old man “and attempted to run from destiny”
“Perhaps. All I knew was that it was safe to venture our again but I was ever loath to step out of my Tulgy Wood. That she had gone was a fact but who now wielded that most evil blade? Thus I claimed the wood as my own and stayed there happily intact until such time as a young prince saw fit to render me otherwise in the shade of the TumTum tree”
“Jabberwocky” the old man said suddenly “do you have a name? I've never thought to ask”
“It is as the ode has it. Manxome, or that's the best translation that you could pronounce”
“Manxome” the old man clutched at his chest and collapsed to the floor as the ancient death curse was finally brought forth.
“Technically you should have rolled the x a little more” the head noted rather dryly “but it hardly matters now”
~A Fathers funeral and a Mothers lament~
Old father William, known to many as the Noprince, was buried with all the honors that befitted a fallen royal. This was gossip to be savored for the red and white queens had both decided upon a simple quiet ceremony but Young Queen Alice who had been surprised to learn that she had been named as his beholden, much to the private anguish of his son who had received a small windmill and a cat that would neither grin nor furnish him with anything more rewarding than the occasional dead mouse. had insisted upon the proper funeral of state.
So it was that his body was paraded through the streets upon the rather shaky shoulders of the queens knights who were, in turn, carried upon the broad shoulders of some rather hastily appointed squires. In his hands he clasped the Vorpal sword , that blade still dirty with the dread blood of the monster, for even now it remained so sharp that none could clean it without it drinking of their blood.
The long dead head of the Jabberwocky was carried behind by the queens own pageboy and in respectful silence the three remaining queens of Wonderland walked with measured steps.
Behind them also marched Cardsmen and Chessmen alike, shoulder to shoulder in grim solidarity and none who allowed emotion free reign were mocked on this the saddest day.
The red queen as once such, it was long whispered that they had been lovers once, but nobody was ever foolhardy enough to ask outright. In marked contrast the white queens face was dry as an ivory figure, lending truth to the belief that she'd traded away her tears along ago. At her side a small pagepawn, wept into the queens heavy shawl.
The night was heavy with the anticipation of rain; indeed a few drops had already fallen on the lone guards good tunic But he ignored any bad weather and remained at his post proud to serve both the queen and the old traditions of the land.
“Guard” a woman called from the dark of the hedge maze “there was a death here was there not?”
“A funeral ma'am” the guard answered respectfully “it was father William, he who slew the Jabberwocky and gave up his throne to follow his heart”
“Did he now?” the owner of the voice stretched her head into the light in order to better see the mausoleum and for a brief moment her eyes blazed all aflame in the light of the guards fire “I'm sure I would have like to see that”
A claw, as long as he was tall prodded the guard in the chest. “fetch me my son will you not?”
No journey was ever longer as he descended those terrible stairs. As was proper he sank to his knee in front of the sarcophagus that housed the single occupant and then his gaze drifted to the famous sword.
“I wouldn't do that were I you. To take up that blade is a hard choice and if you don't know how to wield it then it would only make her mad”
“You're alive!” he tripped over the bottom stairs and stared up at the Jabberwocky who smiled down from his self”
“You're alive!” he tripped over the bottom stairs and stared up at the Jabberwocky who smiled down from his self”
“No” the head said calmly “Not yet. But this isn't the right place to start talking resurrection, someone might hear you. Bring me out to our most noble of visitors and take that sword with you”
“I thought I wasn't to touch it”
“There's a world of difference between carrying it and wielding it. I've not stood sentry over the cursed thing to abandon my post now”
“Proud Matriwocky” the guard announced at the quiet prompting of the head “I present to you your lover, such as he is”
“This isn't my lover” the Matriwock loomed over them both “born of the earth like this he is now my son” With surpassing skill and tenderness the head of Manxome was plucked from the platter and hidden under her wing
“I trust that the funeral was pleasant at least?”
“One of the better ones mother. Two queens and the current Alice turned out”
“When they find this mess in the morning you will be summoned to the royal courts of Wonderland. What think you of your chances?”
The guard shook his head, I've no chance at all though my Queen Alice will speak up for me I am certain her voice will be lost by those who shout that I have failed utterly in my duties”
“Then present the blade of the destroyer. For I have a use for you and at last a use for it”
Gossip flew through Wonderland at breakneck speed pausing only to pick up the bits of half truth and outright lie that it lived on. In the wake of this strange bird a new story was left, the mausoleum of Father William had been desecrated and the Vorpal blade, the head of the monster and the guard had all vanished into the night.
Though great were the rewards offered none were collected upon for in truth the guard had quite vanished from the sight of any in Wonderland.
~A Queens awakening and a Queens proposal~
Twas breaking early in the morn when the young queen was awakened by a loud clattering of armor and much shouting, paying no head to the comfort of her toves who had curled up next to her and gyred in their alarm.
“What is the meaning of this?” she demanded, throwing open the wide doors “some queens round here are trying to sleep”
“An intruder your highness” her youngest knight staggered under the weight of his armor which, if the gossips were to be believed, he slept in each night in case of a sudden need “we would have tied him securely with rope but we had none and were thus forced to, improvise”
“I see” Queen Alice looked down at the face of her missing guard bound rather uncomfortably with a string of sausages “you have some explaining to do I think”
“I do your majesty” the guard bowed his head in acceptance of her judgment
“No explanations!” barked an crimson soldier with his sword already half drawn “where is the vorpal blade? And the monsters head! Tell me lackwit and I'll make your end quick”
“Put away your blade sir knight. My wayward guard shall be my breakfast guest and there he will entertain us with his story”
The knight visibly hesitated and then released his sword to bow before the queen “I would beg your forgiveness my queen. For my passion for justice quite overtook me. It is a common failing in the forces of the red knights”
“No forgiveness is necessary sir knight. I would rather a knight of passion than an unfeeling codfish”
It might have been the strangest breakfast ever held were this not Wonderland. Better then to say that it was the strangest breakfast held that morning which was attended by a queen. For so many of her court had heard of the return of the guard that they had descended upon her in heavy flocks in order to hear the guards story. In the end the queen gave the order that this would be a picnic held on the wabe of the big hill.
“Now pray tell us your story” the queen requested after everyone had gotten comfortable and she had passed on the suspiciously familiar sausages.
The guard attempted to get to his feet but the queens own Tove, who was comfortably draped in his lap, was unwilling to move and so he remained seated “I abandoned my post good queen and took with I the many named blade”
“and the head. We know this, the question is why did you do it? And why is it that you returned to me?”
“Upon my honor it was at the command of Quinalyce of the Wock” from his pack he drew forth a travel worn length of scroll fastened with ornate clasps “good Queen Alice. I bring you her words and ask you to read them before permitting me to continue on with my story”
“Hail Queen Alice” her page read aloud and clearly, “ruler and rightful queen of Underland, Wonderland and all it's right and proper holdings. I greet you in the spirit of friendship and the sharing of names for I am Qunialyce, ruler and rightful queen of Underland, Wonderland and all it's right and proper holdings. Indeed the only true difference between us is that you have not yet been blessed with royal progeny whereas I am a Matriwock of Matriwocks
I am informed by my son, he who gave his life to watch over the most evil snickersnee, known to you perhaps by the crude name of Vorpal Blade, or even Jabberwockies Bane although you might appreciate the irony of this rather vulgar title.
Regardless of the name of the evil tool I admit that I have stolen it along with your guard and my son. One of these I return to you but I shall hold onto the destroyers blade for safekeeping. Should there ever come a time of utter frumiousness then you have but to ask and I shall relinquish my claim upon the blade.
Do not punish your guard for deserting his post for in truth he had no choice in the matter, just as he had no choice when I pressed him into his current role as ambassador to your court.
But I confess that it is clearly in my best interests to keep a tight hold of such a valuable and dangerous weapon and I am reliably informed by the latest flight of gossips that while the Queen of hearts has her guards of cards and the other two have their pawns and knights you have neither save for what they have given you”
Queen Alice gazed casually around the wabe where her own court was sat, awaiting the rest of the letter and saw that it was true. Many of her courtiers were nothing more than bores and idlers farmed out to her by the red and white queens under the guise of them being the voices of experience.
“But now to the true purpose of this missive which is to warn you of the machinations of the pair of queens that proclaim you their equal with one voice and plot against you with another. I have seen this game play out before Queen Alice and it does not end well for you. Already the queens flood your lands with those loyal to them alone. It is quiet and the most subtle of invasions.
It will not be long before things begin to go wrong, indeed it may already have begun but they will not have been brought to your attention as they are only little things and well beneath the notice of a queen such as yourself. But each problem will stand on the shoulders of another and, in order to assist you in your time of hardship the queens shall move their own people into positions of power. After which it is only a matter of time and politics before your true position is known to all, not that of a queen but merely a pawn who was permitted to dream.
However, this day I am requested by your guard to foil their schemes and to that end I offer you the gift of alliance between our two peoples. Such a thing could only ever bear sweet since it would give you access to the flights of Wock similar to the Royal Burblers who have accompanied your guard and my ambassador and allow you to stand against the plans of the queens on an even footing at last”
Her page stopped at the queens signal “The Royal Burblers?”
“I left them camped in the Tulgy wood your Queeness. For to arrive at the head of a combat wing of Wock would only be asking for more trouble”
“I see” she said thoughtfully and the young page returned to his duty.
“In return I ask only that you allow the Wock access to the Tulgy Wood , where once we did burble happily in the leafy confines and would do so once again.
Agree to this and we shall be sister queens that stand firm against the designs of red and white alike!
Yours in Royalty
Quinalyce of the Wingsrest Aerie.”
The signature was a complex design, carefully burnt rather than written into the parchment. It took up the rest of the scroll save for a small footnote
“PS: I am informed that this would technically make you an Auntywocky. Ahem”
“My queen?” the guard asked while page struggled to roll the ornate scroll neatly away and the court buzzed with the revelation of the Matriwocks proposal “Quinalyce gave me this ring for you. It signals acceptance of the alliance”
The court leaned forward as one to see the heavy ring and she noted those who were not schooled in keeping their interests hidden, that there were more than she liked decided the issue.
“I do not believe I need to hear the rest of your tale at this moment Guard” the ring made a talon of her little finger “For deserting your post I punish you with the title of ambassador. Return to the Matriwocky and inform her that our two shall indeed become one. Further I should like to meet her in the Tulgy Wood where we might discuss matters in privacy.
The queen stood, her own Tove regally covered her shoulders. “This court is closed for the day. Those of you who serve two queens are given until this time to decide which of us you truly serve"