The Quest for the Sword of Justice! Part Seventeen: The Queen of Whimseria
This is my NaNoWriMo 2016 Project. Thanks so much for stopping by!
Osiris, Willow, and the Wizard arrived at the Castle of Whimseria. Before it stood the Labyrinth of Loons, a formidable challenge of silly tests that protected the castle from all but the most determined of entrants. Two guards stood in front of the door to the labyrinth, and without correctly answering their questions, one could not enter the door. Some folks spend mere minutes in the winding corridors before giving up in frustration, for others it would take days.
Others still would never emerge. Perhaps they were still lost in there somewhere?
The Wizard was hoping to avoid all this difficulty, if possible. He didn’t like difficulty.
“This is kind of frightening!,” said Lisa. “I’m not sure how I feel about it.”
I promise it’s going to be silly. I know we haven’t had anything good and silly for a while.
“Did you write stuff last night while I wasn’t around?”
“I bet you did. I bet you’ve got something up your sleeve,” said Lisa. “You didn’t like it when I said that we should get rid of so many characters.”
One of the keys to being a writer is knowing how to deal with criticism.
“I agree with Lisa,” said Melanie. “This is a little frightening!”
Don’t worry. Let’s keep going shall we?
“I hope I don’t regret agreeing to this,” said Melanie.
The Wizard approached the guards. They each held a long stick topped with a pointy metal thing.
“A pike!,” shouted Lisa.
What’s that sweetie?
“They’re called Pikes, I think.”
I know, but we’re in Whimseria now, finally, after a thousand million pages, so things have to be silly.
“They’re called Pikes. I looked it up.”
Well here, they’re long sticks topped with pointy metal things.
“Halt!,” shouted the guards in unison. “Who dares to approach the Labyrinth of Loons?”
“My goodness!,” said the Wizard, pausing in his advance, “I expected a more royal greeting!”
“We give the same greeting to everyone who approaches,” said the guard on the left. “Even if you were the Queen Herself, I am still duty-bound to ask you who you are.”
Osiris rolled her eyes under her mask. “This is going to be a long day,” she muttered. She got off of Barry, who made a goat sound.
Willow jumped down off her horse. “Do you need some help up there Wizard?”
“No, no!,” said the Wizard, waving the others off, “I’ve got this!”
“What’s going on with Jeff the Turtle?,” asked Melanie.
Aha! I’m glad you asked.
“Oh no,” said Lisa. “Now you’ve done it.”
As soon as he’d made his declaration of intent to Quest, Jeff the Turtle picked a direction and set off on his journey.
So far he’d made it about ten feet down the road.
He was troubled and of two minds. Should he reassume the persona of Ragnar? Should he try and find the evil sorceress who burned down the closet? Should he continue to look for his parents?
These questions haunted him. A traveling merchant, complete with old horse and old cart, clattered his way up the road. He paused at seeing the turtle.
“I say,” said the merchant. “Perhaps I’ve been out here on the road too long? It looks as though that turtle is lost in thought. Also, he appears to be wearing a tiny hat and a tiny sword! Have I become lost and stumbled into Whimseria on accident?”
Jeff was startled at the sound of the merchant’s voice. He turned and gave a small bow. “Hello there traveling merchant! My name is Jeff! Have you any wares that might assist a turtle adventurer in his quest of vengeance? If you do, I have the coin to pay for them!” Jeff pulled a small bag out from behind his shell and shook it. It made a tiny clinking sound.
“A talking turtle? Wait! A turtle adventurer you say! I heard stories of animals seeking adventure as a little boy, but I always assumed they were myths!,” said the merchant. He rubbed his eyes. “You seem to be quite real and I’ve not had any ale as yet today.”
“Oh yes I’m quite real,” said Jeff. “Those stories you’ve heard were no mere myths, tis true. We turtles used to go on grand adventures. These days, we are lucky to eat and live in cubes.”
The merchant started to rummage around in his cart. “I am duty-bound to assist any and all customers as a member of the merchant’s guild. Let’s see…I think I’ve got something…ah! Here we are! Not five months ago, I came across this tiny suit of armor, thinking it was part of a child’s toy. Would this help you?”
Jeff struggled to see the armor, as it was all the way up in the air next to the merchant. Still, it looked promising. “I believe it would, good sir!”
“Excellent!,” exclaimed the merchant. “Here, allow me to assist you in putting it on.” The merchant bent down and carefully clad Jeff in the armor. Surprisingly, it fit the turtle perfectly. “Why, that almost looks as though it were made for you.”
“I agree,” said Turtle Jeff. “It is strange indeed! What do I owe you for this excellent armor?”
The merchant shook his head. “I could not accept payment for it, for I got it for free myself. Tell you what though, are you in need of a ride? I am making my way to the land of the barbarians, and I’d be happy to provide transport.”
The word “barbarian” triggered memories in Jeff of being Ragnar, and his lost quest to find his parents. “Ah! That would be most helpful, thank you!”
The merchant gave the turtle a little bow, and helped him up onto the cart. “I am more than happy to have some company. The only companion I’ve had the last few years is this old horse, and he’s not able to talk.”
The horse made a horse-snorting sound.
“See, look what you did,” said Lisa. “None of that was important!”
“I don’t know, I kind of like it,” said Melanie.
“We haven’t even gotten to the part with the Queen yet. That was the whole thing we were supposed to do today,” said Lisa in a huff.
Okay fine. We could skip there I guess. We could skip over the Labyrinth.
“Yay!,” shouted Lisa. “I’m excited!”
The things I do to please my family.
Suddenly and without warning, the Wizard, Osiris and Willow were admitted into the secret tunnel that lead straight from the opening of the Labyrinth to the Castle.
“What about Barry?,” asked Willow. “Will ‘e be okay out here?”
“We’ll have your mounts taken to the royal stables,” said one of the guards.
The party made their way down a long, winding tunnel, lit with torches, eventually emerging in front of the castle. On seeing people come out of the tunnel exit, the castle guards were startled and one of them ran over.
“Oh my goodness!,” said the guard. “You came straight through the passage that leads to the castle! You must be important indeed!”
“Indeed we are!,” shouted the Wizard. “For I am the Royal Wizard of Whimseria!”
The guard blinked. He looked the Wizard up and down. “Really? I don’t recognize you. Are you sure?”
“I am most sure! For your insolence, I’m going to tell the Queen to relieve — “
“Please ignore my Wizard friend,” said Osiris. “He hasn’t eaten in a day and he gets a bit cranky.”
“Too true!,” shouted the Wizard. “I am parched as well!”
“Right this way, everyone, please follow me,” said the Guard.
They were all escorted into the Queen’s chamber. The Queen of Whimseria sat alone in a long room, upon a throne which sat upon a high dais. She did not have any guards in her throne room. She preferred to guard herself.
“My Queen,” said the guard. “These folks came through the Labyrinth tunnel, so they must be important!”
The Queen nodded, and with a silent wave of her hand, dismissed the guard. She stood up and stepped forward off the dais. Upon seeing the Wizard, she squinted slightly. “Wizard, you seem somewhat familiar, have I met you before?”
The Wizard gave a deep bow. “My Queen! It is I, the most Royal Wizard of Whimseria, finally released from my imprisonment. I am back now at last! Ready to do my duties once more. I — “
“Oh yes that’s right,” said the Queen. “When you were kidnapped, I assumed that you had died due to your lack of skill. We replaced you within 48 hours. Please surrender your wand and hat to the guards when you leave.”
The Wizard’s mouth opened slightly. He was, for once, without words.
The Queen walked over to Osiris. “And who might you be? You look most formidable!”
Osiris gave a small bow. “My lady, I am Osiris, warrior of legend, keeper of the Isle of Heroes. I have come to ask you a favor.”
“The Isle of Heroes…,” mused the Queen. “Your island used to provide great services to the kingdoms of this realm.”
“Did you know that we’re on an island right now?,” asked the Wizard, finding his words once again.”
The Queen paused, looked at the Wizard in disgust, and nodded. “Yes. Everyone knows that. Please, ex-Wizard, do not interrupt me again. I do not enjoy being interrupted. I have executed men for less.”
“Apologies, my Queen.”
The Queen turned back to Osiris. “I have not had any help from your guild in years. Why should I help you now?”
Osiris lowered her head in a sign of respect. “It’s true, my lady. It has been a tough time for heroes. With no one to train, I’ve had no one to provide. But things are dire. Zeltar is trying to escape, and — “
The Queen held up her hand. “I know your true purpose, do not try and deceive me. You are — “
Willow bounced around suddenly. “I’m an elf! Yay!”
The Queen tried to ignore this strange outburst, and continued. “You are trying to retrieve the Sword of Justice, and you are already too late. Zeltar is not your true mission. I….I’m sorry, am I doing all of this right?”
Melanie paused and looked to Lisa’s mom. “I’m sorry,” she said, “Am I doing all of this right?”
Yes! You’re doing great!
“I haven’t acted since college,” said Melanie. “It’s kind of fun!”
Lisa bounced around on the couch. “I’m an elf! And I’m also the Wizard! I like this.”
I should have done this from the beginning. It’s like watching a bad TV show, only it’s great.