10 October, 2017 by katelaity
‘Who the devil are you?’
At the best of times, it is probably wise to wake a monarch gently. Perhaps they will have dreamed of wonderful things and be quite cheerful; on the other hand, as the crown often weighs heavily, they may have dreamed of rather vexing matters and be as grumpy as any toddler after a too-short nap.
The king in green had apparently not dreamed well, even if he had in fact been slumbering for more years than anyone could recall. The startling power of Tansy’s sneeze had been more than enough to jog him from his deep snores. Now he looked as angry as a cat who’s fallen into the milk jug.
‘Who the devil are you!’ he repeated. Although his clothing was all rich greens of silk and fur, his face had become very red probably due to his rage. I think we were all frightened into muteness. I rather hoped to come up with something intelligent to say but how to explain ourselves in the concise terms that a busy king would appreciate.
‘I-I..’ I began but how to go on? I could give my name but what would that mean to a man of his stature? Better Lady Judith should answer. She would know what to say. However, turning my head to seek her beautiful countenance, I saw that she was instead awash with horror and cowering toward the nearest tree.
‘Come away,’ she whispered huskily to me. It was not an invitation, rather a pleading that we ought to escape. I looked at my friends who all stared in open-mouthed astonishment at the king. This would not do.
The king himself blinked and rubbed his eyes, as if uncertain whether we were real or dreams he had dreamed. It seems likely that a king would assume those who did not at once obey him would be more likely to be figments of his sleep, yet as he rubbed and we remained stubbornly before his eyes, he had to conclude that we were both real and not his subjects, for we had failed to respond to his direct command.
This enraged the king, to no one’s surprise. ‘Seize them!’
The direct was clear and ought to have been obeyed. However there were no courtiers or soldiers at hand to carry out his wishes. He looked about him, expecting that his people would be nearby.
‘Come away!’ Lady Judith repeated, holding out a hand.
‘Come, Tansy, Chambers!’ I hastened my friends along as the king stamped his foot. His frustration was plain. We hurried away as he drew in a breath that seemed to last a very long time. I found it a challenge to imagine how all the air could fit into his lungs (though to be sure his chest expanded prodigiously, it did not seem especially capacious).
As we trotted off, Judith speaking of the necessity of horses and proclaiming that she knew precisely where we would find some mounts of extraordinary beauty, a sudden silence filled the garden. Portentous and slightly eerie, at least it did not last very long.
‘WHERE. ARE. MY. GUARDS?!’ The king shrieked the words at a volume so deafening that we were quite neatly knocked off our feet. Scrambling to our legs once more, we doubled our speed for at once the walled enclosure seemed full of uniforms of bright green as his guards heeded the call.
‘We must escape!’ I did not like the pale mask of fear on Judith’s face as she scolded us. What would the king do to us?!