Sunday, 22 April 2012

The Chronicles of Jack The Axe

Some Time Later
The Fall and Rise of Humpty Dumpty
Part One

Humpty Dumpty was the King’s snitch.

All day long he would prowl the castle walls spying on the townsfolk in the square and the market place below and reporting any indiscretion he “thought” he may have witnessed to the King’s guard.
No stall holder made a mistake counting his change or selling bad produce. No beggars attempted to seek alms outside of designated areas or hassled the pedestrians without fear of retribution.
That was, of course, those who hadn’t paid the “right” tax to Humpty’s agents.
The resentment towards Humpty Dumpty from the general public was so intense that it came as no surprise that when his body was found broken and shattered at the base of the market wall. The thorough investigation that followed uncovered no one who heard anything or saw how it happened., despite all of Humpty’s personal belonging going missing and the large number of footprints in the goo that was the lifeyolk that his smashed remains lay in.
As fragile a being as Humpty was it was agreed by all and sundry that even an elephant would have trouble surviving a fall from such a height onto the solid surface of the market square.
Humpty Dumpty’s body was taken to the court coroner and after a short and somewhat suspect investigation his demise was attributed to Death by Misadventure.
When no family member, no matter how distant, came forward to claim the body, arrangement were made to give Humpty a pauper’s burial and the crown took possession of his estate. When the box containing Humpty’s remains went missing it was put down as to administrative error, quickly covered up by enterprising (read fearful) young clerks and hidden in a paper trail nightmare.
The box containing the last mortal remains of Humpty Dumpty didn’t go missing however; they were secretly appropriated by the Necromancer Department of the King’s Guard who were waiting for an opportunity such as Humpty’s death to occur. A simple avian type life form would be a fantastic subject for the reanimation experiments being carried out by the Necromancer.

So called Fairy folk creatures had become a problem in the kingdom over the last dozen or so (months?) when somewhere in the outer forests a seam opened and strange creatures started to appear .Talking animals, puppets, gnomes and other oddities arrived en mass coming to find sanctuary in the Castle and its surrounding woods and farmlands.
The old king had always been a merry ol’ soul but his kindness had been played upon by creatures that realised that they were living longer, were generally stronger and had a natural aptitude for scaring as many children as they could in a day.
Humpty was a classic example of power corrupting, as the King had no idea he was extorting funds from the traders. There were reports of puppets leading young boys from school to be used as slave labour for others, and the trade in kidnapped princesses was becoming a national sport.
Something had to be done to restore the balance and the Necromancer, working outside the boundaries of his brief, was going to give it a good hard shake to remedy the problem.

The Necromancer had the box with Humpty’s corpse placed on the operating table and ordered the gnome messenger killed and disposed of. This was an experiment of total secrecy and the Necromancer wanted no one to be able to trace it back to him. In truth, there was no Necromancer Department of the King’s Guard; this was just how he liked to refer to himself in his secret journals.
He was, in fact, the Postmaster General who had managed to come across the Book of the Dead in the Postal Service’s aptly titled Dead Letter Office. He had studied long and hard and had subsequently christened himself The Kingdom’s first Necromancer.
His abject hatred for Fairy creatures dated back to the time his Mother and the daughter of his sister were slaughtered by a wolf that mysteriously vanished along with any trace of his Ma.
The Necromancer swore to avenge his Mother and niece’s death and with the knowledge he had gleaned from the Book of the Dead, was sure he could bring the race of fairy mutants down and drive them from these lands.

The book had revealed to the Necromancer that a reanimated life form of a composite such as an egg would seek nourishment for the missing lifeyolk. This would entail Humpty seeking out similar life forms to eat to suppress the emptiness left by its missing internals and soul. Since Humpty was a Fairy creature he would ignore humans and only seek other fairy creatures as food.
In short, The Necromancer was creating a zombie fairy creature killing machine.
All the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again, for one, because they had no idea how to go about it and two, they hated his guts and were glad to see him gone, but the Necromancer with a bit of patience and a lot of glue knew how to do it.

An obsessive compulsive gnome was the key to the reconstruction/reanimation of Humpty Dumpty.
The book, which seemed to communicate subconsciously with the Necromancer, was responsible for the knowledge of spells and majik needed for the task but the physical assembly of the crushed body of the egg would take a pair of patient and dexterous hands.
The Necromancer had found the gnome in the markets picking up dropped grains from a stall it was managing and forgoing all sales to finish the task.
The Necromancer spend a good part of a morning casually bumping the gnomes table and spilling more in a sort of sadistic experiment.
When the gnome had finished the Necromancer offered him a surprisingly well paid position in the Post Office for his diligence.
An offer the Necromancer would never honour and a post the gnome would never fulfil.

To be continued.......

Edited by Cathie Tranent, art by Simon Sherry

No comments: