Saturday, 23 June 2012

The Chronicles of Jack The Axe


 Lucky escape

Seeing the Market Controller earlier in the afternoon had really lifted Jack’s spirits and he realized he had cleared a lot more timber forest than he had expected.

“Funny how some good humour can make your day” he mused. So he packed up his axe earlier than usual to maybe have a read by the river in the late afternoon light.

This fortunate series of events was more than lucky for Jack, for no sooner had he left that a more determined and focused Market Controller passed by in a way that may have made a very suspicious Jack make an instinctive move to protect himself.

Humpty had changed.

Physically he still had the appearance of a large egg rolled in a dung pile but a look of fierce determination had replaced the vacant look of before.
Humpty just radiated menace.
Humpty had been “Enlightened”
He now made his own way back to the Kingdom with surprising speed; he had a new hunger, a new agenda, a new goal and most of all a new master.

After a few hours the Necromancer had become worried.
“What if things haven’t gone to plan?” he wondered and was now seriously thinking that it may be the case.
The Necromancer knew it would be pointless to look for Humpty if the Witch had bested him because the house would be invisible to his eyes and he’d be left walking around forest in the dark vulnerable.

He made the decision to abandon Humpty here and now, something he was going to do in the township anyway. This way at least if he was gone, he was gone. If not, it was a long way back home for Humpty, someone with no navigational skills save those of finding his mouth with his hands.

Either way his responsibility for the Zombie Dumpty was over, it was not how he would have preferred it to end, but he must get on with his life regardless of the fact that Humpty no longer in it.
Oh, how wrong he was.

Home again

Humpty ran through the night, his supernatural body resistant to fatigue. No one told of his passing because those who were silly enough to be out after dark and encountered him, whether Fairy or human never lived to see morning.
Lucky for the folk of the Kingdom Humpty came back to town late in the evening. The guards on the gate that night were not prepared for the zombie Dumpty juggernaut and the last they ever heard was a sinister laugh and the gnashing of teeth.
The Necromancer had been totally wrong of his understanding of Humpty’s directional abilities. Humpty made a beeline for the Necromancer’s house and more importantly the library.

The Necromancer had a miserable time coming back to the Kingdom, due to waiting for Humpty and his subsequent no show, he had left later than expected and had to make most of the journey in the dark meaning he didn’t pass the through Kingdom gates until after midnight.

The lack of guards seemed very odd considering the King’s latest decree.

The Necromancer entered without sighting anyone.
Riding through the empty streets the Necromancer thought how ironic it was that he felt safer now than ever before in these dirty fairy stained streets, while the rest of the Kingdom locked their doors in fear.

When the Necromancer arrived at home his feelings of security were well and truly trodden on as he was confronted by the sight of his front door smashed in.

Stepping carefully over the shattered wood that littered the stoop he peered inside. A trail of upturned furniture and smashed belongings led straight to his chamber.

“The Book” cried the Necromancer as he ran to the library. He stopped frozen in his tracks as he realised the Book of the Dead had been stolen.

Revelation
The Necromancer had found the Book of the Dead missing but in its place rested a piece of parchment bearing a one line of writing scribbled in charcoal from the fireplace read:

THE KING.  AUDIENCE.  NOW.

The Necromancer’s blood turned to ice.
Had he be found out practicing the dark arts?
Worse.
Had he been linked to Dumpty?
Lucky he Humpty wasn’t here, who knew what the Elite Guard might have done to him.
At least this way he could try to explain to the King himself.

So with a deep sense of dread and at a ridiculous hour of the morning the Necromancer made his way to the Palace.

Though the thought of bolting and finding somewhere to hide in the forest crossed his mind more than a dozen times, the Necromancer stayed himself with the undeniable belief that what he had done was natural justice. As well as that, he had worked out a couple of good “porky pies” as backup, the first that he had found the book in the garbage, or that the Egg just turned up at his house one day.

Either way he would first have to discover what he was accused of before blurting out excuses.

As he approached the Palace, even at this time of the night, activity seemed a lot less visible. Even though it was the King’s Palace it was also the administrative hub of the Kingdom and many people worked nights to prepare for those that worked with the King during the day.

The Necromancer just walked straight through the front doors with no one there to greet him or ask for his summons.
As he walked down the long great hall that is the entrance to the King’s chambers the Necromancer still encountered nobody but observed signs of struggle such as a moved rug or overturned table or stool. It wasn’t until he opened the grand doors to the King’s auditorium that things became clearer.

To be continued.......

Edited by Cathie Tranent, art by Simon Sherry

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