A Long Long Time Ago Miles From Anywhere

“Rimaykullayki!” waved the strangely garbed visitor as he approached King Rabletop III whilst doing his morning exercises. The king stared forward without uttering a word.

“Rimaykullayki!” said the stranger again, not sure if Rabletop had heard him the first time. “I’m Alan. My ass and I are lost. I think we took a left when we should have took a right back there. We’re heading to Machu Picchu.”

Rabletop stood properly and looked at his strange visitor. “You’ve made me lose count now”, he grumbled.

“Sorry, my strangely dressed friend. Do you know if I’m heading in the right direction?”

“Strangely dressed friend? You can talk. What’s that bird growing out of your head?”

“Bird out of…? Oh, you are referring to my regal feathers. I am Apu Alan, King Alan, Son of the Sun.”

“King? I am the only King of the Land. I am King Rabletop III of this Great Egyptian Empire.”

“Shouldn’t you be an Emperor then? Of an empire?” Alan was genuinely confused.

“Never mind that!” Rabletop didn’t like being questioned, so decided to ask another question. “Son of the Sun? Does that mean Great Ra is your father?” Rabletop bowed respectfully and raised his hands up to the sky.

“No,” Alan replied. “My father’s name is George. I was appointed Apu Alan last week, and have since then been looking for a site suitable for Machu Picchu. I was told to search the lands for a well-hidden site deep within a rainforest. Obviously I’m lost as there’s only a couple of trees here. Do you know of any rainforests?”

“There’s an oasis just up the Nile,” Rabletop pointed back in the direction Alan had approached from. “Back that way. Way back. There aren’t any rainforests around here. It’s not very often we have rain.”

“Wait a minute.” Alan had a moment. “Egypt? The Nile? Land of the Great Pyramids?”

“Spheres.” Rabletop corrected. “Great Spheres. I take it you’ve heard of us?”

“Oh yes, but I thought you had pyramids.” Alan’s eyes widened. “When I find the site of Machu Picchu, I shall construct some of the greatest pyramids ever built there, and then construct more in the lands all around. Our great civilisations will differ because of your spheres and our pyramids. We will be known the world over for hundreds of years to come! Yes, the signs are all there!”

Rabletop pondered the pyramids, but still decided his spheres would be the way forward.

“I shall leave you to your sunbathing then.” Alan said cheerily. “I shall head back the way I came, and look for this oasis of which you speak. If it isn’t suitable, I shall continue on my journey. Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Once again Alan waved.

“Rome?” Questioned Rabletop. He watched his visitor and his donkey walk back over the triangular sand dunes and away into the distance, where they first became tiny dots and then disappeared from view completely. “Why does everyone want pyramids?” He bowed, looked up to the sky, and then restarted his morning exercise.

Reverence Ep.5: Road Trip

Æthelstan squirmed and fidgeted at his side of the carriage. Hempsty sat open legged in the centre as Katherine squirmed on the floor between them. Gemevere twisted her back on her portion of the seat, cracking a few bones as she stretched. Hempsty rolled his eyes which caused Katherine to giggle. Æthelstan twisted once more.

“Enough!” Æthelstan declared. “Stop the vehicle. This is ridiculous. I would sooner walk to Nottingham than travel in such cramped style. How can you manage with such a tiny carriage?”

“We wuz doin’ just farn!” Gemevere answered, “‘Til you two stopped us. By ‘eck, weyave loadsa room in ‘ere when you arn’t ‘ere.”

“At least youse can sit sorta properly” Katherine moaned. “I’ve got four knees in me face.”

“And your garment, cousin, takes up enough space for another person.” Hempsty had to join in the collective moanfest.

“There’s nowt wrong wiv me frock, ‘Empsty.”

“It is slightly old-fashioned.” Katherine lifted some of the dense material. “It must way a tonne.”

“This, deary, is the latest fashion.” Gemevere glared frostily at the woman crouched between Hempsty’s legs. “I dunno what that is what your wearin’, but it looks bloody awful.”

“Gemevere! Please! Language! We are still in company!” Huffed Hempsty.

“The wench certainly has a unique tongue.” Æthelstan remarked.

“Oi! ‘Oo are you callin’ a wench?” Gemevere squirmed. “King er no king Ah’ll show you just ‘ow much of a wench I am as soon as ahcun move!”

“Remain calm, cousin.” Hempsty pulled on the reins to slow Sentinel a little. “We merely have to go over this bridge, around the following bend, along the road a short while, and then we will enter Skundersthorpe. We shall bid farewell to our travelling companions there.”

“Skundersthorpe?” Æthelstan questioned. “Where on Earth is Skundersthorpe?”

“It’s on the road ter Nottin’am.” Gemevere snapped. “A long walk away, but on the way.”

“I thought you wanted to help people, cousin.” Whispered Hempsty.

“Depends on the people, ‘Empst. She tried to rob us,” Gemevere nodded to Katherine, “An’ ‘e could be a town vagabond fer all we know.”

“Vagabond!” Æthelstan repeated slowly and extremely loud.

“That’s done it!” Katherine giggled. “His face ‘as gone a bright shade of red.”

“Stop right now!” Æthelstan demanded once again.

“Verily you cannot expect me to stop whilst traversing a bend, Æthelstan?” Hempsty pointed out of the open window ahead of him. “This road is littered with chancers and peasants.”

“An’ we’ve met the same one twice!” Gemevere wasn’t letting Katherine off lightly, “and more’n likely a new ‘un an’ all.”.

“Now cousin. We shall be bidding farewell to these people shortly. Don’t you think we can do it fondly?” Hempsty really wanted to restore a little tranquillity to the cramped conditions.

“Ah’ll fondly bid farewell to ’em, Empst. Glad to. Sooner the better.”

Hempsty pulled the carriage over to the side of the road, where it joined a small gravel pathway that led through a small wood. “I shall let thee walk into to Skundersthorpe from here. It is much quicker along this path than following the main highway which takes us around the entire town before entering it for some reason. And there is no toll on the path either, so you can enter without paying.”

“Paying?” Katherine asked. “I’ve never paid to get into town ever.”

“I doorn’t doubt that.” Gemevere opened her door and stepped out of her side of the carriage. Hempsty moved himself around on the chair slightly so Katherine could slide herself along the floor and then leave the carriage herself. Æthelstan waited for someone to open his door for him, but soon realised that wasn’t going to happen, so stepped out through his door himself.

“Looks like we’ve picked up a stowaway.” Katherine commented as she noticed a woman sleeping on the roof of the carriage. Gemevere looked up and saw the curly-haired woman wrapped in a tattered blanket.

Hempsty stepped out of the carriage. “It’s no wonder Sentinel struggled, pulling the calash and five of us all by himself. Verily cousin, I think we too shall visit Skundersthorpe to enable Sentinel to receive a thoroughly good rest.”

“Saw we’re spendin’ more time wi’ these two, then?” Gemevere’s face filled with dread.

“Not if you don’t want to, deary.” Katherine smirked. “Oi! Missus. What do you want up there?”

The woman stirred upon the roof, and looked at the three faces looking back at her. She made a move to jump off the carriage the other side, and saw the bearded man looking at her from that side. She muttered something which none of the four travellers could understand, before becoming cloaked in a swirling black cloud. The cloud faded, and the woman was gone, replaced by a raven that flew into the direction of Skundersthorpe.

“Well, that’s summat yer doorn’t see every day.” Gemevere remarked, totally puzzled.

Hempsty tethered Sentinel to a resting station and water trough at the side of the path, and then ran to join the other three who walked together towards the new town… somehow putting their differences behind them.

This is the fifth part in the Reverence storyline. The previous four parts can be found in my Storylines menu.

Reverence Ep.4: Kings and Highwaywomen

“STOPPPPP!!!” bellowed a familiar voice from outside the calash. Hempsty pulled on the reins and brought Sentinel to a gentle stop.

“I doorn’t believe it!” sighed Gemevere. “‘Er again! Could yer not’ve picked a more busier route ferth’ trip to Nottinham?”

Hempsty glanced over to his cousin and rolled his eyes. “Verily, this is the only road to Nottingham, my cousin. You’ve obviously chosen a busy day on which to commence thine mission.”

“I’d hairt tut th’ be usin’ this roard every dare. What does this Katherine woman want from us now?”

“Well, my cousin, we’d best dismount and find out.” Hempsty raised his voice slightly, “After all, pray thee don’t forget, Lady Reverence is accompanying us from a distance.”

They both climbed out of their carriage and found Katherine Ferriers standing just in front of Sentinel, and an oddly dressed man patting the horse’s nose.

“What would you like from us now, Katherine?” Hempsty asked, glancing oddly towards the second stranger they’d met that morning.

“Obviously nothing, since you’ve already taken me gun from me.” Katherine spat. “This man needs a ride into Nottingham and I thought you and Lady Lah De Dah ‘ere may be kind enough to offer.”

“Verily you must know that our carriage only has space for two persons, my fair lady. How would you think a third would be able to accompany us?”

“Well, for starters, there’s more room in there for four folk at a push,” Katherine nodded toward the redwood polished vehicle, before patting Sentinel’s neck. “And then there’s always the ‘orse. One could always ride side-saddle.” She looked over at Gemevere.

“If you think arm…”

“Of course not.” Katherine interrupted before Gemevere had chance to finish her sentence. “Just saying. An’ if there’s room fer four, then I’m coming along too.”

“Now just a minute.” Hempsty was enraged. “We have one horse and a long journey ahead of us. How on Earth can you expect him to pull all four of us plus the calash all that distance? We have to decline your request with absolute certainty.”

“So you would refuse your king?” Katherine smirked.

“My king?” Hempsty looked at the oddly dressed man again. “This man is not my king!” he scoffed.

“This is King…” Katherine was interrupted this time, by the new stranger.

“My name is Æthelstan, the first king of the Unified England. This fair maiden told me you were heading to Nottingham, where I too must attend court with the High Sheriff there. My entourage was taken by a gang of vagabonds in an eerie wood back along the road somewhat. I have no idea where they may be now, but I must get to Nottingham as soon as possible. The future of England depends upon it.”

“But you aren’t the king, Æthelstan. King Arthur is the king. You must be from another kingdom.” Hempsty tried to prove he knew what he was talking about.

“I was King of Mercia for a while, but then become King of All England after the unification.”

“England ‘ant bin unified.” Gemevere needed to say something, suddenly noticing a sudden gust of very cold wind which made her lose her thread of thought. “Looks like a storm’s comin’ in.”

Sentinel suddenly reared onto his hind legs, at almost the same time as the cold blast. Hempsty settled the horse once again, and looked at Æthelstan. “We have no knowledge of a King Æthelstan, Æthelstan. If we were to offer you carriage, verily you must prove thine identity to us.”

“I can prove it!” Katherine spoke up once again. “I ‘ave some coins you see. The king’s face is on ’em.”

“Very well, let me see.” Hempsty sighed. “Sometimes the likeness on some of these coins leaves a lot to be desired, but alas, it may be the only proof we have.”

Katherine reached into her purse and obtained a single silver coin. She checked it before handing it over to Hempsty. “I want it back, mind.” she said, momentarily pulling the coin away. Noticing Hempsty’s unimpressed glare, she handed it to him somewhat sheepishly.

Hempsty inspected the coin in great detail. “Would thy be so kind as to turn to the left?” he asked as he held the coin up beside Æthelstan’s face, who did as he was asked. “Quite remarkable. The likeness is simply astounding. Here, cousin, take a look.” Gemevere took the coin from Hempsty and compared the likeness herself. Katherine kept her eyes firmly upon the coin.

“This in’t real.” Gemevere declared. Both Katherine and Æthelstan looked at her with differing expressions, Katherine’s appearing somewhat desperate. “Th’date on ’em is 928. We’re in 489 so there’s naw wear this is real.”

Katherine grabbed a few more coins from her purse and checked them as well. “Oh yea…” her voice trailed off. “489 you say? An’ coins from 928? This is 1642. You all must be ‘avin’ a laugh.”

“I can assure you, fair maiden, we are in the year 489.” Hempsty was just as confused as everyone else.

A loud clap of thunder jolted everyone, which was quickly followed by the heaviest of rain.

“Quickly! Into the calash!” Hempsty ordered, and all four did as instructed. Æthelstan, Hempsty and Gemevere sat on the seat, and Katherine found herself sitting on the floor at the front of the carriage facing the other three. “I will carry you to the next town, where you can find an alternative way for the remainder of your journey. I have no mind to play such games of the mind such as these.” He passed the coin back to Katherine, and pulled on the reins to let Sentinel know to move along.

Sentinel struggled to get started with the extra weight, but eventually got going. A raven settled on the roof of the carriage as the horse slowly moved forward.

This is the fourth part in the Reverence storyline. The previous three parts can be found in my Storylines menu.

A Long Long Time Ago Around Bathtime

Queen Ellimayee waited patiently as her four servants poured warm water into her bath.

She then waited a while longer as the four servants left the room, to return a short while later with fresh goat milk to add to the water. Then, Ellimayee waited again as the four left the room, to return with a large selection of sliced strawberries and rose petals. They sprinkled these into the bath water also. A fifth servant then entered the room and with a large mop, and gently stirred the contents of the sunken bath to give them a good mix. Ellimayee then had to wait while this servant picked the pieces of strawberry and rose petals out of the mop and scatter them back into the water. All five servants left the room, allowing Ellimayee to disrobe.

“Ah!” Ellimayee remembered. She wrapped her robe around herself again, and dashed out to the kitchen. “I forgot to ask for the honey!”

She searched high and low through all the cupboards and alcoves, and couldn’t find the honey anywhere. Then, she remembered she had left it inside the linen basket in the corner of the bath chamber. She dashed back, intent on finally relaxing in her luxurious bath. She retrieved the jug of runny honey from the linen basket, and stepped around the pillar. She took one step around the pillar and stopped. In front of her, asleep in the bath, was King Rabletop III.

In temper, she threw the jug to the ground, which shattered on impact, sending the honey running in all directions. She then clapped her hands, indicating to her servants that they should all return the the bath chamber immediately.

“If I can’t relax,” she thought, “then neither can he,”

Rabletop slept soundly through all the commotion.

Not so long ago I posted A Long Long Time Ago. This is the second recorded event from around the same time.

A Long Long Time Ago

“My People!” Declared King Rabletop III, as he stood atop the Great Plinth. His wife, Queen Ellimayee stood with the other five people who had gathered around. “Today is a great day in our Kingdom. For today, ahead of the Setting Sun, our First Great Memorial has been created. Future generations will flock to see its remarkable construction which is guaranteed to stand the tests of time.”

“Husband,” Ellimayee held aloft her hand. “Do you think the circular shape is grand enough for such a memorial? Would square, or even triangular, not have been a better option?”

“Triangular? It took over fifty years to create this shape, dear wife. We’re about to go into 3999BC and we need something striking to mark the occasion. Triangular indeed. Has anyone heard of a triangular construction? No, wife, this is the way forward.”

The gathered crowd clapped, and then returned to brushing sand.