Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Chapter X

Considering his reputation, Brandon Darkwood was surprised at the number of villagers who turned up to see him off the day he was due to leave Xarnip for the city of Erilliance. Many of them, he suspected, were just so happy to see him go they wanted to be there when it finally happened. Others were just waiting around in case someone else got transmogrified - entertainment can be scarce in the port of Xarnip.
Whatever the reason, there was quite the crowd. As cheering as this was to Brandon, it worried his mother. If there was one thing Clayton Darkwood relished, thought the Queen, it was a crowd. Especially one who had seen little enough magic that it they'd hang around for the chance of seeing a fellow villager turn into a toad. She hoped her husband would know enough to restrain himself.
"Over there!" cried someone in the crowd. Brandon squinted at the spot on the horizon where everyone's attention seemed to have been drawn. The top of a sail and a crows nest had appeared. The noise of the crowd swelled as everyone began discussing what they saw. After a while the roar died down again, since it was apparent the ship was still a ways off. Then the Queen's voice exploded over the crowd.
"No you can't 'come with'! What has gotten into you? You've never shown a shred of interest in magic, and you just show up and tell me you wanna ship off to Erilliance?"
She stopped. The entire crowd had shifted it's focus and turned around.
"And what, pray tell, are you all looking at?" she asked.
The crowd rapidly shuffled back around. Brandon pushed through it to see his half-sister Jiuni staring up at their mother.
"But mother!" she implored, "I want to fly again! I was just getting the hang of it and I.. Changed back. But I know someone in Erilliance can teach me how to change myself, I just know it! Please?"
"No!" Insisted the Queen. "I know you, you'll have forgotten about it by tomorrow! And then you'll be stuck in a strange city with no way to get home and I'm gonna hafta bail you out! Now go home and unpack that bag!"
Jiuni ran off crying. The Queen turned to Brandon.
"See what you done?" she said, "You done put idea's in the girl's head! It'll be weeks 'fore she forgives me for that!"
"Your husband is about to see you for the first time in twelve years," said Brandon levelly, "Do you really want to be a hippo when that happens?" sardonically.
The Queen looked at him, but for the first time Brandon could remember, she didn't have anything to say. He smiled as he turned away and walked back towards the port.
Suddenly a murmur broke out across the crowd. Brandon looked to see what everyone was pointing at. A small bolt of purple light was making it's way across the sky having started from the crows nest of the ship. When it reached a certain point in the sky it began to move erratically, leaving a trail, like a giant purple crayon in the sky. First it drew the standard symbol of pirate on all worlds - the skull and crossed bones. Then it added a Wizard's hat and an eye patch. The crowd went wild.
As the ship got nearer the skull emblem didn't fade. And just as the noise of the crowd was starting to die down, the skull opened it's mouth.
"Hellllllllooooooooo Xarnip!" it boomed enthusiastically. The crowd, which now constituted nearly the entire village, let out a roar. Brandon glanced over at his mother. She looked disgusted and was staring disapprovingly at the crowd, but none of them seemed to notice.
"How's everybody doin' today?" continued the skull. Some of the villagers, to wrapped up in the excitement to remember their "official" stance on magic, yelled back various responses.
"Wonderful," said the skull, "Just wonderful. And now, without further ado, the you all came here to see, The infamous sorcerer pirate and your own former king, the one, the only, the incredible CLAAAAAAYTON DARKWOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!"
There was a blinding flash of light and a splash and suddenly the Wild Abandon was at port. To follow this up, Clayton, clad in a flashy purple tunic and cape and flanked by massive orangutans, floated off the deck of the ship and onto the pier.
The Queen strained to make herself heard over crowd as she strolled out to meet her former husband.
"Just what in the name of the Gods do you think you're doing?," she asked, "Did I tell you to come here and do a magic show? You're here to pick up your son and then you are getting out of here, you understand me?"
"Wow," said the Sorcerer sarcastically, "Nice to see you too, honey. What's the matter, afraid you'll fall for me again if I stick around?"
"That was a nice fireworks display," retorted the Queen, "That skull emblem was almost as big as your ego,"
"That's the best you could do?" asked Clayton. "I haven't seen you in twelve years; you'd think you would have had time to come up with a more creative insult,"
"Haven't given it much thought," answered the monarch, "You see unlike some people, I actually have a job,"
"So what's pirating," asked Clayton, feigning offense, "A hobby? Very few people could do what I do,"
She smiled at him. He smiled back. Then they ran up to each other and embraced.
"I've missed you," said Clayton. They pulled apart.
"You're still not staying any longer than you have to," said the Queen, as they turned and walked down the pier.
"Of course not," said Clayton, "We have to be at Erilliance in a few days. My men - "
"Ook!" interrupted his bodyguard.
"Sorry," said Clayton, "My crew needs to load up on supplies. I was hoping we could stay here for tonight and leave early tomorrow morning,"
"I'll have my people prepare you some rooms," said the Queen. She hesitated, looking at the orangutans, "Well, one room and several trees,"
"Much obliged," said Clayton.
The Queen climbed into her Sedan chair. It set off, Clayton and the crowd following behind.


Nathaniel Cornstalk said...

Read my blog on my birthday, people!

Erin said...

It's the day after your birthday, but I read your blog!
A really good post, I liked it. I like the relationship between the queen of Xarnip and Clayton Darkwood. And there were orangutans. :)

Marten said...

of all the orangutans on darkwood's crew, how many of them have set foot in a library?