Lage’s Game: Chapter Eight, Part Two

The walk felt endless. I wished more than once that I’d taken Lage up on his offer of his cloak. But regrets were pointless and I trudged on, refusing to be dragged by the guards. I would stand on my own two feet.

After what felt like an hour of walking, we emerged from the forest into a clearing. There, towering up out of seemingly nowhere, a gated city with a tall castle stood.

It was like something straight out of a fairytale. The walls were of white stone, two stories tall, with ramparts. There was a thick trench dug before them, filled with spears and what looked like a small frozen bed of water. There was the drawbridge that was lifted up. But before this drawbridge, on our side of the moat, was a solitary guard and several waiting horses.

“Take her on your horse,” Rebella ordered one of the guards before mounting her lovely dappled gray horse. I wanted to touch the horses, to take in all their colors – for I had never seen one up in real life before. But now was not the moment to be in awe. I was hoisted up to sit before a guard, and Rebella whirled her horse towards the drawbridge.

“Lower the drawbridge!” she called out. “The princess orders it!”

Clankings answered, and the drawbridge lowered swiftly. Rebella ordered her horse forward with a click of the tongue, and we followed her as a cluster of guards.

We passed beneath the thick of the wall, and we entered the city.

I was struck by the sight first. There was myriads of houses toppled together, stacked upon each other, and clustered in shapings that seemed to suit people of all sizes. There was some that bore tiny gnome-like doorways that were round. There were some that seemed just a little too tall, and lopsided at that too. There were others that seemed svelte and elven.

Yet the people before us couldn’t have looked more bland. They were dirty, browned with sun and exhaustion. They were monochrome in their blandness, their clothing all turned to the same shade of brown and dirt as they were. Their clothes were tattered and thin. They hastily rushed out of the way of the princess’s horse. It was that or be crushed, I guessed, for Rebella stared straight through them and seemed to pay no heed to anyone. Her horse marched on, and the people scattered like ants. The guards had their hands on the pommels of their swords, and glared angrily all around.

Whispers rose, fingers pointed, but they were far away. No one dared come near to point at me.

As we proceeded through the city, the stench let itself be known. The air was in turn crisp and cool of winter, then it was the moist warm stench of fecal remains. Then it was mold, then crisp again with another gust.

This place stinks, I realized grudgingly.

And yet, the castle that towered before us did not look like it ought to belong in a place of stink. It was tall and spired, it was magnificent. It had handfuls of turrets, towers, and pointy-topped roofs straight out of a novel. It was made of the same white stone as the walls were, and it looked surreal. I wondered if the stink would get better as we approached.

After a good hour of riding through the thick of filthy people, we were met with another wall, another gate which Rebella ordered opened – and which swung open inwards for her. Again, she rode onwards as if the world owed her something.

It was in here that the stink finally let up. Here there were snowy gardens, fluffy bushes that were topped with red winter berries. Fruit trees that were bare save for ice and snow. Here, the poor were obviously not welcome.

We rode onwards, our breath misting icily before our faces. Colorfully dressed people were seen walking about here and there. They curtsied as Rebella passed, and turned their faces away from the guards – and turned quickly back to gawk at me. They rode on horses as well, trimmed in fur cloaks and richly decorated clothes.

Finally, we had crossed the gardens. The castle stood before us like a multi layered cake, the immensity of it mind boggling. It was tall as a skyscraper, taller than I believed any medieval palace had ever been. Here, at its outer edges, it was already three flights high, and it only grew taller and more multilayered towards the middle.

Rebella dismounted, landing gracefully like a cat. People rushed forward from an open doorway, and they were not dressed in furs. They were simply clothed, and seemed to be servants. Rebella tossed her horses’ reins at them in disdain, and turned to face me.

“Bring the girl,” she ordered the guard behind me. “Hurry up!”

The guards clustered around this horse, several of them holding me while the guard behind me dismounted. Then, by several hands, I was passed down and placed on the ground like a very precious lump. Or a lump they believed might run away. But that was stupid. Where was I to run to?

With one scowl from Rebella, she turned and marched into a large doorway before us. The guards hastily followed, three of them clustering around me to hold my shoulders and half-carry me forward.

Inside, the corridor was dark, lit by the occasional lamp. The lamps were gorgeous! They had an oriental flair to them I supposed, looking all blown glass with leaves and elaborate people painted onto them and the wood pieces holding them carved as well with swirls and motifs.

Rebella paid this no heed. She marched straight on, her cloak billowing about her. I stared from one lapm to another until I saw spots. Then, as I was blinking spots out of my eyes, we reached a doorway.

Rebella shoved it open with a bang, and we were flooded with light.

We were let out into a courtyard, and I had to blink and blink to be sure it was real. Of course it couldn’t be – nothing int his world seemed to be – but it was.

It was green. There was grass, fruits trees, and so many bushes of fruits and vegetables in clusters here and there in spiralling pathways. It stretched on in all directions for a good hundreds of feet, like a small field. Up, above, a domed ceiling lined with metal spires held up twinkling glass that made this all possible.

Rebella was drawing off her cloak. She tossed it to a servant who rushed to her side to catch it before the white fur touched the ground. Turning, Rebella seized me by the shoulder and began to march forward, straight into the heart of the inner gardens.

There, a cluster of people were attending to a large chair. On this chair, lumped up in silks and fabrics, was a wizened elderly woman.

She bore some traits of resemblance with Rebella, but there was a softness to her that Rebella did not have. Also, she was half dead. Literally.

Decay clung to one side of the woman’s face, revealing bone and teeth beneath. The eye on that side was white and half lidded.

There was a strange, putrid, decaying scent as we marched through the garden towards her. SERvants stepped aside from the cluster, and Rebella thrust me forward to the elderly woman as we reached her.

“I’ve brought a card collector!” Rebella announced loudly, but not triumphantly. It was merely a fact.

A woman, middle aged and robed in vibrant red, stepped forward from the side of the throne. “Why would you disturb mother with that?” She had gold earrings, gold paint around her eyes, and hair that was intricately shaped in coils atop her head.

“Maybe she can tell us how to cure mother,” said Rebella coldly, not looking at her sister. Instead she was looking somewhere aroudn their grandmothers’ knees. I could not see what there was to look at there.

“You’re disturbing her,” snapped the sister, but she silenced as the Queen, I supposed she was Queen, lifted a hand. This hand was good, not rotten. It had long nails that were immaculately cared for, and several gold bangles around the wrist.

“Come here,” said the old woman, her one good eye trained one me.

GiveAway Coming Soon!

Hark! You read that right! I am on the cusp of publishing a new Farfadelian novel, and with it comes * drumroll * a GIVEAWAY! That’s right, lovely friends! But not just that -> I will be hosting TWO giveaways in the coming months!

Wait, I just said one, then I said two? What could that possibly mean? What it means, dear friends, is that I will be hosting one giveaway for the TwoLoveBirds, and one for my more adult novels! The one for the TwoLoveBirds will be first, and will happen VERY SOON. As in, as soon as I can order the book and get it sent to me. But that has to wait until I have finished editing and formatting the Farfadel story, as I will be ordering them both at the same time. Therefore!

What does this mean? This means, if you want any adorable cards featuring the lil’ birdies, a novel featuring them, or their latest children’s activity book, you better go and follow them tightly on Facebook or pay very close attention to my blog in the upcoming weeks! The giveaway will probably be international, and don’t worry, I will try and post about it a crapload so everyone has the chance to see it and enter. The second giveaway will feature my latest Farfadelian novel (always a fun read!), digital version sof some of my novels, and some character art I’ve been working on. There will also be a secret way to get two entries in both giveaways (much secret, much awesome!).

The secret is… fanart! If you send in a picture or story that you or your child does of ANY of my characters/stories, you will get a second entry. Please nothing gross or nudity. Plus, if you do send in fanart/fanfiction, you will get promoted the hell out. So artists, here’s your chance! I will flash your art like it’s the last big thing before the end of the world, and I will ooze happy jujubes about your story (as much as I can), as long as it’s about my characters or stories that I’ve published, either on Amazon, Smashwords, wattpad, or my blog.

So if you’re a person who needs a lot of time to do your art and find your inspiration, this is your starting shot! Bang! Go, go, go!

Finally, here are some pictures of what I’ve been cooking up as the future prizes!

The base sketch for one of the portraits that will be given away!
One of the lil birdie cards!

Confusion and Coloring Pages!

Hey everyone! I just wanted to let y’all know that there was some confusion on Adelaide and Shadow’s story -> It was missing two chapters around five and seven! I’ve fixed it, so it should read smooth(er) this time around! Expect more chapters to be coming soon!

As for an update, hmmm. How have I been? Tired, mainly. Very tired. I haven’t been getting around well to things I should be, and so the lag is tiring me. But I’m hoping that after this long weekend I’ll be back on my feet and be able to kick butt and finish my projects! ‘m working on a fanfiction that I’m posting on AO3, a Farfadel novel, and Chaos’ novel, all at the same time as I’m doing some life projects! Go, me! I’m also trying to up my social media presence on instagram and draw more… I’m just trying to do more I think y’all.

I’ve also been rather depressed lately about the progress I’m making as an author. The problem isn’t with my writing (though sometimes I do beat myself up for that as well), but rather with the social networking part. A huge part of how I define my success is how well I connect with my audience and how well they perceive what I want from my story. I know I can’t expect zillions of comments but… I feel like I’m not succeeding in this aspect. I’ve been telling myself that it’s only normal not to have that big of an audience, but, you know, there’s friends I know who are WAY more successful with their FIRST BOOK. Ugh. I am genuinely happy for them but it’s a reflection of how I’m failing, I feel. Anyways, it’s something to work on I suppose.

Oh, also! In case none of you have noticed, I’ve added Colouring Pages to my blog. It’s basically the lineart for my pictures, and I figured it would be awesome to see some of y’all color them in, and posting coloring pages has been a project I’ve wanted to do since the beginning of Farfadel! I’d be immensely flattered too if you did color them in, of course, and would love to know which is your favourite Farfadelian picture! rescan rohtua.jpeg

“Of Adelaide and Shadow” Chapter Seven

Well, as fate would have it, Adelaide was getting along quite well for a woman, er, chipmunk, without an army. She was doing so well, she found herself cackling and saying “It’s almost as if I don’t need an army!”

Whoever told you that you needed an army in the first place?” asked the soft-spoken oracle from behind her.

The pair were in a dark alleyway. Behind them was a large barrel upon which the oracle was fastening a lid. At his side was a large pole with a net at the end, the sort one could use to catch fish. Adelaide was at the end of this pole, weilding it more or less well.

I did!” she said, giving the barrel a small chipmunk kick. “I thought I couldn’t do anything without an army.”

Well, you certainly seem capable all on your own,” said the oracle sweetly as Adelaide twirled the fishing net about herself.

March! March! March!” cried out another series of frog guards that were marching down the road.

Hah!” squeaked Adelaide. With a thrust she twirled the net, and slung it out into the road. With a final “March!” three frogs were caught up into it. Four others tripped on the pole and landed on their noses. Those behind were startled, but they could barely say “March?” before their compatriots were hefted up into the air.

Adelaide, grunting from the effort, swung the frogs up – and tipped them into the barrel that the oracle opened for that purpose.

With another “hah!” several more frogs were caught up!

March- rubbit- attack!” croaked the lead frog as their compatriots were once again hefted up into the air and away into the barrel.

Help!” said the frogs from within the barrel.

Ah ha ha!” said Adelaide the chipmunk, twirling the fishing net and bonking several frogs atop the heads with it.

The frogs charged. Left and right the fishing pole struck, laying about and laying the frogs flat upon their rumps. On the count of three, all was still.

Adelaide made a satisfied ‘hmph’ sound and set the net beside her. The oracle nodded and said “Good job, your highness,” and he began plucking up the limp frogs from the earth and dropping them into the barrel. On occasion one or two of the frogs that were already within the barrel tried to leap out, but the barrel was too deep. Within several moments there were no frogs left in the street. The oracle fastened the lid upon it once again.

Now!” said Adelaide. “We shall put that barrel in the dark of the alleyway. Once I have conquered the kingdom, I shall have them sent away.”

Very well,” said the oracle before tipping the barrel onto its side. With a push and a shove he began rolling it down the alleyway. Thumps and exclamations rang out from within.

Ouch!” “Eech!” squealed the frogs from within. Adelaide and the oracle paid them no heed. They knew that the frogs were of a complaining sort of people. They were not truly being hurt more than a scuff or a bruise.

Once the end of the alleyway was reached, the two set the barrel in a dark corner where no one would find it. The frogs, sensing they were about to be abandoned, set up a clamor and began making a ruckus of ‘rubbits’ and even shouted out ‘help!’.

Adelaide knocked on the side of the barrel. “If you are quiet, when I send you away you shall have rations for the road. Honeycakes,” she said.

The frogs were silent. Not even a ‘meep’ was heard.

Adelaide nodded, satisfied. The oracle was impressed. “What a diplomat you are,” he said sweetly, happy that the frog’s fate was not too sour.

I learned from the best,” said Adelaide with a sniffle. For the thoughts of her parents being dead. Ah! How that hurt her little heart. How it still sent tears to her eyes and mad her heart grow heavy. But it also strengthened her resolve. It made her certain that she must be the one to reign now. There was no one else to do it but her.

But she still had no army! What was she to do?

That busied her mind all night. She thought and thought while walking the dark alleyways with the oracle at her side. She wondered and pondered while snatching up frogs and bargaining them into silence. Then, as the first glimpses of dawn shone on the horizon, a realization came over her.

It was not glistening and shining but a calm, hard, and truthful fact that she became aware of.

She did not need an army.

What? What is a princess without her army? Well, as it turns out, very capable.

With her fishing pole in one hand and the promise of honey cakes in the other, Adelaide was rounding up most of the Frog King’s army into barrels that she stole from around the city. Once that army was out of the way, all she would have to contend with were the Frog King’s personal guards. That, and the Frog King himself.

As dawn broke across the city of Farfadel, Adelaide was cool. Adelaide was calm. Adelaide felt neither exhaustion or frustration. She was ready.

We are going to take over the castle,” she announced to the oracle.

Oh?” said the oracle, proving just how mild-mannered and unshakeable he was. “Alright then.”

And so it was! Great reader, powerful one of vast imagination, imagine as you will, this scene.

A chipmunk! Gloriously decked out in the brightest of reds and deepest of black armor. Her chin is high, her eyes are flashing with determination. One hand is on her hip, the other is on the fishing pole. Her tail is up and fluffed, ready for whatever may come.

At her side stands the oracle, a figure so slim and so calm nearly everyone (certainly, you too) underestimates him. His eyes are brilliant, his hair floating like streams of smoke about him.

Ah! The sun shone upon them. Ah! They were brave and glorious! Ah! They were noble and righteous-

We’re going to sneak up through the sewers and kill the Frog King when he isn’t looking,” announced Adelaide proudly to the whole city.

Well, perhaps not so noble or brave…

Oh?” said the oracle gently. “Are we?”

Adelaide’s round and fluffy ears pricked, hearing something in the oracle’s gentle tone. “What?” she asked, turning to face him. “Did you see something different?”

The oracle smiled kindly. “I see you and him having a great and glorious final battle. You will win, of course. Do not fear.”

Tish-tosh,” muttered Adelaide. “I am a strategist and a plotter, not a chivalrous buffoon. I will do no such thing. I am small, and must put the advantages to my side. We shall sneak into the castle.”

Must it be the latrines though?” winced the oracle. “We will not be able to sneak upon anyone if we reek of that.”

Adelaide considered again. “I am a chipmunk,” she muttered. “I could scale the walls.” Then, looking over the oracle, she said “I could hide inside your sleeves and you could enter the castle by saying you’ve seen something the King must know.”

The oracle frowned. “Me? But I am not the king’s oracle!”

Adelaide chuckled in a very chipmunk-y way. “Do the frogs know that?” she asked.

Now there was a little problem however. You see, the King and Queen of Farfadel did not have an oracle. Hence, Adelaide and the oracle did not know what they were impersonating. They drew upon their imaginations, rumors and tidbits, and they scavenged around for whatever might look mystical and empowering.

A scarf went missing from a windowsill. An orange vanished from a cook’s shelf. A book was snatched up from a door left ajar. Some beads and baubles went missing from an abandoned stand – and there it was.

As the sun rose and beat down unusually fiercely upon Farfadel, the oracle presented himself at the castle’s gates.

His long black robe was doused with fairy glitter that itched at the nose. His ears were hung about with several earrings of red, green, and orange. As his ears were not pierced, they were hooked atop his ears and left to jangle as they would. His long ashen hair was no longer visible. In its stead, three scarves of blue, green, and yellow were cockishly draped and fluffed atop his head. His pale face was adorned with several charcoal squiggles and markings here and there, along with more fairy glitter. Some of the glitter had gotten into his eyes and turned them quite red and dangerous looking.

In his left hand the oracle was holding a thick volume. It was a book on plums and the preservation thereof, but they had doused it in the last of that fairy glitter and now it looked very respectable and venerable. In the other hand the oracle held the orange.

Why the orange?” he had asked, perplexed as Adelaide shoved it into his hand.

I do not know,” Adelaide said. “And neither will they. So they will think you are powerful.”

And it worked.

The oracle drew up before the guards at the gates. His eyes flashed red, his entire robe glittered and sparkled in the light of the sun, and he was made up of almost every color imaginable. Standing on one foot, he balanced himself and held out the orange to one side and the book to the other.

Also, Adelaide was sitting cross-legged atop his head with her eyes closed, pretending to meditate.

Great beings of infinite solitude,” intoned the oracle, glaring down at the shocked frog guards that were beign slowly blinded by all that glitter. “I must partake of your leader and meeteth with him.”

The frogs blinked. They looked at each other. The oracle continued.

For I! I am the King’s oracle!” and he stamped his foot to the ground so he stood powerful and strong. In a fantastically overdone gesture he thrust the book forward and the orange behind him. “Stand back! For I am the King’s oracle!”

The frogs blinked. Small flakes of glitter trailed through the air. Adelaide peeked one eye open to see how it was going.

Glitter landed in the frogs’ eyes. They blinked, and began tearing up most painfully. This, they believed, must be the true power of this strange being.

So they hopped aside, muttering under their breath “Oracle, oracle.”

Hah!” With an arrogant sniff the oracle marched on by.

Into the castle he strode, Adelaide silently cheering. On and on he marched, straight into the empty courtyard. Straight up the great big steps and to the great big doors. He pulled them open with a loud creak, and marched on in.

There, the halls were silent. The air smelt of stale bread and unwashed floors. There was no pitter-patter of servants doing lazy chores. There was only flap-flaps in the distance of marching frogs.

To the left,” muttered Adelaide. “He is most certainly in the throne room.”

And so on they went. The throne room was not far. Past the turn, up a tiny flight of stairs, and past another giant set of doors- that was guarded by over a dozen frogs.

Rubbit!” they said in a very menacing way, pointing their pointy spears at the oracle.

I am here to see the King!” announced the oracle imperiously. “For I am the King’s oracle and he must hear what I have to say.”

The frogs looked at each other. Their leader went ‘rubbit?’ and shrugged. The shrug was repeated and the frogs hopped aside, pulling the door open as they went. Obviously they were not very motivated for their guarding job.

With head held as high as it could go, the oracle marched on through. Straight into the throne room.

Oh my,” squeaked Adelaide.

Oh,” said the oracle softly.

Rubbit!” intoned the giant frog.

For the Frog King was now as tall as any human! As wide as any elephant! He sat like a large wobbly wart atop the King’s throne, his sides spilling over the chair. His chins wobbled and his beady eyes glistened as he looked the pair over.

Oracle?” the frog King said, his huge mouth flapping open and shut with a smacking sound. But what was worst of all was the smell! The room stunk!

It was putrid, it was petrifying, it was pungent, in the worst of ways. It was nearly enough to make one faint.

But the oracle was too mild-mannered to say anything about the stench. “Why yes, I am an oracle,” was what he said in his sweet tone. And he lifted up his hands.

Adelaide bounded down, landing squarely on the book. “Give me that orange!” she ordered before plucking it from the oracle’s grasp.

Rubbit?” croaked the Frog King, his huge eyes focusing upon Adelaide.

Tremble in fear, you horrid creature!” squeaked Adelaide, drawing her sword and thrusting it forward in a dramatic gesture. “For I, I am the Princess Adelaide! I was once your betrothed and now I shall be your murderer! Lay down, and let me slay you!”

Unfortunately, the Frog King was not that verbose. He merely heard a shrill “bla bla bla” and noticed that the tiny chipmunk was holding what looked like a very fancy toothpick. He thought that it would be quite useful.

Also not fortunately, the frogs on the other side of the door suddenly seemed to recall that their job was to guard their King. Upon hearing “bla bla bla murderer bla bla slay you!” they used their small iota of intelligence and realized that he was in danger. With a bang the door burst open and the dozen or so guards spilled through. They waved their spears and shrieked curses in their frog-language (“ribbut”, if you really must know).

And so the moment was. Adelaide, standing upon a book, sword pointing at the King. The oracle, pinned from behind by a dozen guards.

Oh! The suspense! Oh! The danger! Oh! ….

Look, a cliffhanger.

“Of Adelaide and Shadow” Chapter Six

In her mountainous castle hidden deep within the rocky crags that jutted forth on the mountain range, the Dark Queen of Mysteries noticed all this.

Goodness gracious, something is happening over there,” she said. And once more, she determined to keep hers and herself well and out of it.

Woefully, that was very much what all other Great Beings said to themselves … save for a feisty new being by the name of the Fire Lady.

Goodness gracious, something is happening over there!” she cheered, shaking her hands in the air. Just then, she hovered as a mist above the rocky chasm wherein she dwelled. Deep down lay her castle, settled within the very lava of the earth. She, being the Fire Lady, could travel through flame and fire and see all. And she liked what she saw.

Trouble trouble too-da-loo,” she said gleefully, diving down to ride a tumbling current of air into Farfadel. Sparks danced in her wake and her ashen hair waved in the wind. Chains jangled about her hips and her long coat rippled like smoke about her.

Through firepits she popped, spying here and there upon the misery of the common folk. Oh! She was gleeful! Oh! She was excited! For she knew that these whispers of malcontent rode the winds of change. And no one loved change more than the Fire Lady.

Trouble trouble toodle dum,” she hummed before spying – a chipmunk? What? She turned right about in the torch she was floating above. And sure enough, why! She spied with her little eyes a chipmunk.

In armor.

With a sword.

The Fire Lady blinked again and cocked her head to the side in amusement.

The very tired chipmunk marched up to the torch bearer- a farmer upon the farthest edges of Farfadel who was ushering his sheeps into the barn for the night.

Kinsman!” squeaked Adelaide, planting her hands her hips.

What? Who is there?” and the farmer whipped about, jutting his torch before him. He looked all round with his beady eyes- and saw no one. This gave him quite a fright, especially as Adelaide kept talking.

Kinsman!” she squeaked, bouncing up and down with a chirp. “I am your Queen!”

Oh good lords!” squealed the farmer, thinking that some evil spirit was upon him. He turned round and dashed towards his house, tripping as he went and sliding upon the damp grasses. A spark hopped off his torch and landed in the grass. There it sputtered.

A tall flame rose, and in it stood the Fire Lady, regal and sneering.

Well hello, chipmunk,” she said, stooping to look down upon Adelaide.

Adelaide put her fists on her hips and looked up as proudly as she could. “I am Queen Adelaide! Who might you be?”

I am the Fire Lady,” cooed the Fire Lady, extending a finger of smoke to tickle Adelaide’s chubby cheeks. “And you must be the princess Adelaide.”

Adelaide scowled as hard as her little chipmunk face could. “I will be Queen! I have an army! And a prince beloved! I will rule Farfadel!”

Oh? Will you?” and the Fire Lady smiled tenderly. For she, the Queen of Passions, was the power behind burning love. She knew too well the sacrifices one would make for those they held dear. So she nodded to Adelaide.

Your spark is strong, little one,” she said warmly. “Need you anything?”

For a moment Adelaide paused. Then her face softened. “A horse,” she said lamely. “I cannot walk all the way to the castle fast enough. I must meet my beloved and rescue my parents from the Frog King.”

My, my, quite a lot for someone your height,” said the Fire Lady, amused in a warm and gentle way that she had not been in some time.

I can do it!” said Adelaide. “My prince and I have great plans for Farfadel!”

Ah, thought the Fire Lady. You are the spirit on the winds of change. But she loved change, and so she loved Adelaide instantly. She nodded, patting Adelaide a little thumpily atop the head. “Of course you can do it,” she said gently. “And I shall help you do so.”

You- you shall, Great Lady?” asked Adelaide, surprised. For many a Farfadelian feared the most volatile of the Great Beings, thinking her temperamental. They were wary, saying that her volatile spirit was too strange for their gentle lands. Well!

I shall spur you on your way!” cheered the Fire Lady, giving Adelaide a final thump atop the head. Then, straightening, she plucked Adelaide up in one hand. With the other she blew down the door to the barn.

Within, an astonished band of sheep, a plucky old horse, and a terrified goat looked out.

Behold!” cheered the Fire Lady, lighting a giant (and completely unnecessary) flame in her hand. The poor animals frighted and even Adelaide was startled. But the Fire Lady strode boldly into the barn. Her footsteps left smolderign marks on the hay, her breath was steaming smoke.

With a thud she dropped Adelaide atop the goats’ back. “Hold on tight!” she cheered, whirling her arms so the air swirled and caught up around them like in a windstorm. Sparks flew, and beyond, lightning flashed across the sky. The animals were quivering in fright. The spirited goat had had enough. With a bolt and a ‘be-e-e’ of fright, the goat sprinted out of the door. Adelaide bounced, caught ahold of its horns, and flapped in the air above the goat as it ran. And ran. And ran.

For the firestorm that had begun did not abate. Instead it was chasing the poor goat, whooping and cheering and roaring as it ran. Adelaide squealed as the fire cam far too close. The goat shrieked. The road itself seemed to scream in terror as the burning fire bolted after them. Farfadel careened around Adelaide as she waved through the air, still clutching for dear life atop the goat’s horns.

Then, by some magic or other, the goat ran straight into the city of Farfadel.

Now, gentle reader, it takes a solid day atop a strong horse to get across Farfadel, and more so if your horse is lame or blind. A goat, no matter how terrified, could only have crossed such a great distance by virtue of magic. Physicists, those silly people who rely upon mathematics and numbers, would conjecture that the heat of the fire created a vaccuum effect which sucked the city of Farfadel closer and straight up to the running goat. That is quite silly. Of course it was magic because the city of Farfadel was not one of those lands that moved. Farfadel was firmly rooted.

However. We can argue the virtues of Farfadelian physics another day. Suffice to know, dear reader, that all of a sudden! With a rush and a boom! A sparkle and a dash! The Princess Adelaide, nay, the Queen Adelaide arrived in the capital city!

And no one saw it.

Quite literally.

As the goat crossed the city lines, there were no guards holding post at the gates. As its tiny hooves pitterpattered across the stone walkway, there was no one about to hear it. As it drew to a heaving and snorting halt – well there was no one around!

Where is everyone?” asked Adelaide, looking about. Her words echoed back to her …

And then there was a rustle.

A shuffle.

A prying eye peeked out from the shadows, brilliant and golden like the sun.

Well hello,” whispered a man’s voice, soft and silky. “I have seen you coming.”

Supposing that he was speaking about the giant column of fire that had chased her here, Adelaide nodded. Well, she told herself matter-of-factly, Queenship begins now. So she straightened her back, looked down her small nose, and declared “I demand you show yourself!”

And he did.

With a silky rustle, a tall and slim shape moved out of the shadow, not so much seperating itself from it but stretching out from it. He was a man, tall and spindly, with ashen grey hair that hung down past his hips. It reminded Adelaide of the Fire Lady’s. His face was tender and smiling, his hands bony as he reached for Adelaide.

Hello,” he said before poking her on the cheeks.

With an outraged sound Adelaide swatted at his finger. What was with everyone and her chubby cheeks? “Ah! I am your Queen!” she squealed. Then, pointing a finger up at him, she demanded “Kneel before your Queen!”

Ah, yes,” he said in a silky voice. “Where are my manners?” And he sunk down upon one knee before the chipmunk Queen, bowing his head.

Adelaide nodded, satisfied. “Rise!” she squeaked.

The man did, pressing his lips together to stifle a smirk.

Now!” Adelaide shifted to stand upon the goat, looking left and right at the deserted street. “You must tell me what is happening around here!”

Well your highness,” the man said sweetly, allow me to introduce myself. “I am the Oracle of the Dust road.”

Adelaide nodded. “I have never heard of you,” she announced.

The man laughed softly. “Many have not. But I saw your arrival, and before that I saw the arrival of your prince, and before that the arrival of the frogs. Tell me-” and he hesitated, lifting a finger. “Would you like to know what happens next, my Queen? For I can tell that you truly are the princess Adelaide, which not many other would.”

This gave Adelaide pause for thought. Were this many truly an oracle of good strength, she ought to keep him by her side. Especially if he alone could verify that she was indeed herself. “What is it you want, oracle?”

He sunk down upon his knee once more, this time keeping his gaze level to hers. “I see myself in the Great Halls of Farfadel, beside the throne upon which a Great Queen rules contently. I wish to see those days – and my future that comes from it. For I see a beatiful woman dressed in red and I should very much wish to meet her.”

Red? Adelaide thought, rolling her eyes. Red was such a common color! Everyone loved red! Why, her prince and her both wore red! Narrowing her eyes, she hoped that he didn’t fancy her prince, unwittingly thinking him a princess.

But the honest face of the man, and his powers to recognize her, swayed her to keep him by her side. “Very well,” she declared boldly. “If you are to prove your powers to me – and I should very much like to see you prove them – I will have you stay by my side. Now answer my questions! What has happened to the good people of Farfadel in my absence?”

The oracle smiled sadly. “They have fled the great city, your majesty. Some still hide in the darker streets, as do I. For the frog soldiers have conquered the city since the,” and he hesitated, then plunged on. “Since the Frog King ate both your parents up.”

He what?” squeaked Adelaide, horrified.

The oracle bowed his head, nodding miserably. “May they rest in peace,” he murmured.

Adelaide reeled. Her gaze cast around miserably. She had never intended for this to happen! It was all that hunters’ fault! Why, if he had not taken her away, they would have rescued her parents before this horrid event! And yet – “where is the Denerspellian army?” she asked. “Have they not taken over the lands yet?”

The oracle shrugged as if he had not given them much thought (which he truly hadn’t). “I suppose they ate their fill and left. They were seen charging away a few days ago, straight back into the forest whence they came from.”

Adelaide wept bitter tears. No parents! No family! No army! What was a Queen to do without her army?

Well, she dried her whiskers and straightened her back. Conquer is what she would do! “Very well!” she chirped. “Oracle, you and I shall take back this city!” And she drew her little sword. “Huzzah!”

Huzzah,” cheered the oracle softly, waving his hand gently in the air. “Now we ought to go hide before the patrols find us.”

The patrols?” chirped Adelaide.

Why yes,” the oracle said gently. “The frog patrols.”

March!” “March!” “March!” “March!” cheered on the little frogs as they hopped and bounced down the dark streets, their spears slung over their shoulder. Little steel caps sat on their heads and toothpicks in their belts should things come to close combat.

That’s them?” asked Adelaide, peering out from behind a shed.

Oh yes,” said the oracle softly. “And their toothpicks are very sharp.”

Humph,” said Adelaide, watching as the frogs turned round the corner and disappeared. “Well we shall have to do something about them.”

Hmm,” the oracle said, tilting his head to the side.

I need to regain the throne!” muttered Adelaide. “and I need an army!”

But where was she to find one?

Things, at just about that time, were going terribly for the prince. By virtue of a piece of meat trailed through the woods the hounds had been led in a very large circle. The army, following the hounds, was thereby being led along by a piece of meat on a string.

Worse, the prince was dreary, dismal, and even dejected. Thankfully he was also determined, decided, and definitely not going to give up. Yet his army, oh my, was feeling dull, disenchanted, and even … damp on account of a fine drizzling of rain that had begun to fall. What was the prince to do?

My armor is going to rust!” whined a footsoldier who already had so much rust on his armor he looked orange.

My sword is going to rust!” complained another soldier armed only with a spear.

My feet are cold!” said a soldier with a club foot.

It feels like we’ve been walking in circles all day,” said one of the few sensible souls in that army. Promptly, everyone hushed that soldier.

That’s enough of that kind of complaining!” roared the commander, still hopeful for a promotion. “We’re obviously not where we started off today and -”

They are right however,” said the prince coolly to the commander. “We must halt!”

Halt!” bellowed the commander, thinking that maybe if he shouted loud enough he’d get the promotion?

Halt!” said the lieutenants.

Halt!” said the corporals.

Halt!” repeated just about everyone else.

What are we doing?” asked the houndsmaster, turning around in confusion.

We stop,” said the prince. Then, dramatically combing his beautiful hair back from his face, he looked his army over. “Dear soldiers,”

Oh goodness, said the forest, another sweet monologue. And the trees and the birds and the bees leaned in to hear the prince’s sweet voice.

We have been travelling hard and long. I do not know why the route is so difficult or long. I do not know where it is leading us. But I know my beloved is at the end of it,”

At that the elves in the forest looked to the ‘beloved’, also known as a fat slab of meat. The elf holding the meat held it up and made kissy faces at it.

And we must find her,” pleaded the prince.

To which, the elf gave the meat the most sorrowful gaze and held it close to their heart. Another elf gave the first a small smack on the back of the head.

Let us set up camp, take shelter, and bide until tomorrow,” said the prince sorrowfully. For he feared every moment him and Adelaide were apart was a moment she was suffering. He feared for her heart, her well being, and for whatever dastardly things could happen to a chipmunk in a glass bottle. Suppose she got too hot? Suppose she was thirsty?

Ah, that night the prince wept sorrowful tears in his tent. Ah! Adelaide, Adelaide, he thought. She was all he thought of.

And from not so far off, the prince was all the other prince thought of.

Ah, look at that silhouette,” said the elf prince, looking at the silhouette cast upon the side of the tent by the lamp within.

Sheer’a, his commander, coughed into her elbow. “That’s the houndsmaster’s tent sir. The prince is in the other one.”

Oh,” said the elven prince, his ears perking at the sight of – the dark tent wherein the prince was actually sleeping by now. “How lovely.”

All the elves within rolling distance rolled their eyes. The elf prince took another heaving sigh, and sat down on a fallen tree trunk to watch the dark tent. His elves, dark as the pitch of night and blending into it, set up their own camp around the other camp. By virtue of being dark as the pitch of night and blending into the forest as only elves could, they tripped mightily over each other and bumped over each others’ toes in the process. It was a bit disenchanting, but mercifully no one but themselves saw it.

The night passed gently. The elves slept in fitful rotation in their camp, and the humans slept lightly in theirs. The rain pitter pattered softly above all, streaming down tree trunks and slithering across the earth in tiny rivers that sunk into the ground.

The next morning the rain had ceased. The sun rose, its rays glinting off raindrops that clung to leaves still. The human guards cried out “First light!” and went around awakening their fellows.

The elves stretched and yawned silently. Panther-like, they slunk closer to the humans to watch as the day developed anew.

The prince rose, combed his hair, and stepped outside of his tent. Ah! These first-born rays of sun glowed gently upon him. Ah! How the trees wished to stoop and caress his hair with their branches. Ah! The elf prince sighed and propped his elbows in some sticky sap as he watched.

Dearest everyone,” was how the snarky prince began his monologue.

And “Kidnap him,” was how the other prince ended that monologue.

It took everyone by surprise! The elves took a moment to think of how to do it. But once they had their minds wrapped around it- the surprise passed on to the humans.

Hark!” shouted a lookout as the elves slunk from the forest like dark shadows with pointy swords.

Ah!” squealed the commander, for once forgetting about his promotion.

Bow wow!” cried out the dogs, knowing that these were the people with the good meat.

The prince lifted a hand. “We come in peace-” he started, knowing that the elves of this land were usually sensible. How often had he travelled these parts and not encountered a problem?

Greetings,” said the elf prince, raising his own hand in return to the other, more beautiful, prince. The sticky sap on his elbow glinted in the sunlight. He walked forward stealthily, smoothly, with his eyes fixed cat-like upon prince Shadow. “I know what you have come for. And I know you shall not find it. For you see-” and here the elf prince showed his slightly villainous nature by monologuing and laying all his plans bare as only villains do. “I have led your army and yourself on by a bit of meat. Your hounds followed, and now you are hopelessly lost.”

All hope is not lost!” said prince Shadow fiendishly with a determined, dastardly, and devout look to his eyes. “I will find my princess and-”

Oh, I do not want to hear you talk about her ever again,” the elf prince said with a most effeminate flip of the hand. “Shoot him,” he ordered.

What?!” yelped the prince, reaching for his sword.

In vain! Alas! Woe! Tarnations and damnations! The very effeminate hand flip was a secret gesture amongst the elves and it meant ‘shoot him’.

Fortunately, the elves were armed with blow guns set with stunning potions in the barbs. With a whirring fwump!, one elf placed a blowgun to their lips and the prince was shot in the shoulder.

For a moment he staggered. Wooziness claimed him. His limbs grew weak. His soldiers watched in horror as he grew limp and fell- straight into the awaiting arms of the elf prince.

Ah Romeo, Romeo,” sighed the prince as he hefted the other prince up into his arms. With hearts in his eyes and love in his heart he walked over to Shadow’s horse and placed him upon it. Then, his eyes flashing with royal determination, drive, and dastardly… oh bother. He was motivated.

You can go home now!” he announced to the Denerspellians. “I shoo you away!”

This prince (Not to be confused with the other prince laying unconscious upon the horse) was not quite that good at monologues. The Denerspellians looked back at this prince, blinking.

What are we shoeing?” asked the houndsmaster.

The prince,” muttered the commander, wondering who was going to give him a promotion now.

Ugh, I just can’t stand this,” said the pampered royalty that was the elven prince. “Look, someone get rid of this army. Hurry up now, I don’t have time for this.” And he tossed his own glorious silver hair over his shoulder and looked haughtily down at his commander.

Sheer’a refrained from rolling her eyes. Then, she snapped into ‘dealing with humans’ mode.

Arrrr!” she said, crouching down and bearing her teeth. “We’re going to eat ye’ all!”

Arrr! Munchies we have!” repeated the other elf soldiers, crouching down and bearing their teeth.

Run! Run and hide!” said Sheer’a, shaking her fists before her like she was squeezing out invisible juice. For extra effect, she rolled her eyes up into the back of her head.

The Denerspellians cocked their heads to the side.

What are we doing?” asked the houndsmaster.

I do not know,” said the commander quietly.

This usually works on most bandits,” said Sheer’a, a bit embarrassed as she straightened her hair. “Uhm, follow us. We shall see you home.”

The pampered prince rolled his eyes and sniffed. Then, quite happily, he looked over his hostage. “Ah, Romeo, Romeo,” he muttered under his breath. With a light hand he caressed Shadow’s hair. Then, taking the reins of the horse, he began to lead it away. Similarly, several elves took it upon themselves to lead the Denerspellians home – and the two parted ways.

Now, you see, both the prince and the princess had no more army. My! What are either of them to do?

I’m Still Writing!

Today, as it stands, I’ve written 3,000 words. I’m so pleased and proud of myself just for that, but it was also words in a Farfadel novel that I’ve been blocked in for some time so -> I’m unblocked! And usually when I get unblocked in one story I get unblocked in several so YAY!

Also, I feel like I’ve discovered a coloring style that suits my style. It’s simple, childishly so even, and yet I feel it suits Farfadel. I like it a lot more than when I add in more shading and stuff (which I always find ends up looking tacky).  So behold, Queen Adelaide everyone (again!)

And yes, y’all are going to be getting more pictures from me as I try and figure out this style!adelaide horse close up.jpeg

“Of Adelaide and Shadow” Chapter Eight

Prince Shadow awoke feeling woozy and sore. With a groan he sat up – only to discover that he was in a bed with the sheets and blankets tucked up over him gently. He was no longer in his armor, instead being dressed in a light sleeping tunic. By the scent of flowers and perfumes, he had been bathed and his hair had been washed.

Blinking in astonishment he looked around. The room was sparse, a small round thing with a domed roof. The rock it was hewn into was a light grey. Sunlight streamed in through light purple curtains.

Gingerly the prince moved. Oh, his body ached. Oh, how there was a sore spot in the middle of his back.

But the prince was stubborn and so he moved, dressing himself with a set of clothes and boots that had been set beside the bed. Then, he stared down the dozen elaborate hair pins that were atop the bedside table. There was even haircombs with gems set in them for his use.

What on earth are these all for?” he muttered to himself. Choosing the plainest comb and pin, he set about pulling his lovely hair back into a braid. That being done he pinned his hair up so it was safely out of the way.

After all, he thought, who knew what sort of horrid and dastardly adventures were about to happen? The last thing any adventurer needed was to have hair in the way!

Now ready to face the day, the prince stalked to the curtain. He brushed it aside and ah! How the light glowed gently over him! How the mountain cried out happily at seeing his face!

For beyond this tall window was a balcony, and beyond this balcony a courtyard, and further yet was the valleys and peaks of the craggly mountains.

With a gasp the prince realized he was in the Dark Queen of the mountain’s castle. Or a section of it at the very least. For where else would there be such a magnificent view?

Drawing the window open, he stepped cautiously out onto the balcony. Warm air greeted his face. Soft music drifted on the wind towards him. The scent of the forest filled his lungs.

Ah, what a lovely moment it was.

Then – he looked to the left.

Oh,” he said, seeing someone looking back.

Hallo,” said one prince to the other. For there sat the elven prince on a cushy velvet pillow, strumming a guitar. His long silver hair was coiffed in long braids that hung down his back. His tunic was simple but elegant in shades of green. His fingers were glimmering with gems as he played.

You kidnapped me,” announced prince shadow, gripping the railing in fury.

Oh don’t be so dramatic,” sighed the prince who was known for being the most dramatic thing on this side of the mountain.

My beloved awaits for me to rescue her!” snapped Prince Shadow. “And you’ve gotten in my way!”

The elf prince strummed louder. “I don’t want to hear about her!” he called over. Then, stopping his music and setting his guitar aside, he rose to his feet. In three steps he was at the edge of where his balcony ended and Shadow’s began. “I’m your beloved now,” he announced.

That’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard yet, and believe you me I’ve heard a lot of stupid things. Now give me back my sword and armor.”

No,” said the elf snobbishly. “Aren’t you too sore to wear any armor?” Then, he added with a sneaky grin. “Have you any pain in your back?”

The prince scowled. Ah, he thought, the ruffian hath laid a curse upon me! But for all his sneakiness and cleverness, he was honest. “Well yes,” he admitted. “What spell have you cast upon me?”

I placed a pea underneath your mattress,” said the elf prince most smugly. “I heard only the most refined and noble of human princes can’t sleep unless they are on the softest of beds.” The elf grinned victoriously. “This makes you worthy to be my betrothed.”

Prince Shadow scowled, straightening his back. “Ah, it is but a miserable little back ache. It does not prove a thing!”

The elf prince grinned. “It means everything!” And then, perhaps just to be irritating or perhaps he truly was attempting to woo the prince, he sat back down on his pillow and began to play a love tune.

Oh bugger!” said Shadow, snatching at some moss off the wall and holding it to his ear. “Stop playing!”

Hey!” squealed the moss. “Lemme go!”

Ah!” the prince yelped and threw the moss at the other prince. The moss, which was a talking moss native to the talking marshes, landed with a soft thwump on the guitar. It oozed and squelched down to sit atop the elf prince’s knee. There, it hummed and began to sing along (just to irritate prince Shadow).

Prince Shadow threw a tiff. He marched back into his room, shutting the glass door that led onto the porch. He yanked the curtains shut as well!

But still, just to irk him, he could still hear that elf warbling on about their unending love. And still, he heard the moss singing along ‘sha la la’ in the background.

Prince shadow pulled out his hair pins and shook his hair down (for all glorious and dastardly villains think with their hair down and framing their face most evilly). Hair now suitably evil looking (and gloriously beautiful and glossy in the darkened room) he began to pace. And plot. And plan.

Finally, he tried the door to his room. Just to be sure it was locked.

It was.

Then he went back to pacing. And planning. And plotting.

After the third ballad was crooned to him from across the balcony, he came up with a plan.

It was a most dastardly plan. It was reckless, it was bold, and it was glamorous, er, uhm, brilliant.

So the prince set down and began tearing the bedsheets up into long and thin strips. This was harder than it seemed, as the seams were quite strong. But he channeled all his princely frustration into the ripping thereof, and he soon had quite a number of long strips. These he then began to braid together.

Picture if you will, gentle reader, the dark prince sitting in the shadows, smirking as he twisted and wrenched the fabric together. Beyond the curtains the sun was setting and shadows were creeping up the walls.

Just about as the prince wound the last braid and knotted it shut with a frustrated yank, the strumming stopped from the other balcony. The moss finished its last ‘sha la la’ and there was the sound of someone clearing their throat.

Will you be coming for supper?” called out the elf prince. “My parents are expecting you.”

Prince Shadow yanked again on the knot just to be sure it was tight. “No!” he called out. Viciously, he imagined himself kicking a number of royal elves in the buttocks.

Why?” whined the elf prince, his voice closer. “They’re going to imagine you don’t want to meet them!”

‘because I don’t’, mouthed Shadow. Then, he straightened and walked to the curtains. With a villainous sigh he composed himself and tossed his luxurious and quasi-hypnotizing hair over his shoulder. Then he brushed the curtains aside, pulled the glass door open, and marched on out.

It was a good thing he had chosen to do it too, for the elf prince had one leg slung over their railing. “Oh,” he said, “I was just about to come say hallo-”

Prince Shadow took him by the shoulders and pushed him back onto his side of the balcony.

Oh!” said the elf prince, completely miffed. “You’re acting like you don’t like me.”

Oh, woe, thought prince shadow, pressing his lips together tightly. Then, with a glamorous sigh, he put the second part of his plan into action.

First, he swept his hair from his face. Ah, how the dark elf prince swooned, dazzled by such beauty.

Listen,” Prince Shadow said in a most sweet and seductive tone that he could manage. “I need to be alone tonight.” And, for good measure, he combed his hair again from his face. “Men like I, who are so sensitive of heart and skin, we must be left to meditate upon things.”

The elf prince merely blinked, oblivious to all but how beautiful this mesmerizing creature was before him. Shadow might as well have been listing the virtues of one ox in the marketplace for all the elf prince noticed his words.

Shadow smiled sweetly, leaning forward across the railing towards the elf. “So you are going to leave me perfectly alone tonight? You won’t send anyone to disturb me? I really need to be alone.”

Of, course,” said the elf prince as he leaned forward with stars in his eyes and heart a-flutter.

Great! See you tomorrow!” and Shadow whirled away so fast his hair whipped the elf prince in the face. With a dart and a duck he was back into his room with the door and curtains shut.

The elf prince sighed and plunked his chin into his palm. “He likes me,” he murmured, staring off into the distance where his beloved had just been.

In his room, prince Shadow was gleefully holding a series of keys he’d just stolen off the crown prince’s belt. Holding it to his chest, he stifled a villainous chuckle. He combed his beautiful hair back from his face, and began to plot some more.

Now, as the elf prince skipped off to supper with his family and the stars began to shine in the sky, the dark prince by the name of Shadow had several plans in his head.

Firstly, the dark and nefarious prince wanted to rush out the window and be free! But he knew he would not get far without a sword, or armor. So he must find a way to get some.

Now upon this, he thought and thought and thought. And then he thought some more. As a plan of the most cruel and dastardly sorts came to fruition in his mind, he tiptoed to the wall on the side of the prince’s room and pressed his ear against it. There, he waited for some time.

Finally, he heard the sounds of the elf prince returning from supper. He was alone (perfect!, thought prince Shadow) and he was soon laying down with a creak on his bed.

Prince Shadow smirked. He hid the series of keys in a pocket in his tunic. He combed his hair back and stuck a very sharp hairpin in it. He selected a series of three other hairpins and placed them in his belt. Then, he stepped out onto the balcony.

Much like the elf prince had done earlier on, he slung himself over from one balcony to the other.

A cool breeze gusted over the prince, ruffling his hair and setting it to dance in the wind. His face reflected in the glass, and it was beautiful and almost innocent looking. Beyond, the curtains were drawn and so prince Shadow could not see into the room.

He tried the door, and it was locked fast. So he knocked gently on the window, calling out “It is I,” in a very soft and gentle voice.

There was a rustle and the sound of footsteps. The curtains were brushed aside, revealing a most perplexed prince. He unlocked the glass door and pulled it open.

What are you-?” he started, but prince Shadow put a finger to his lips.

Shhh,” Shadow said. Then, trailing his finger down to the elf prince’s shoulders, he pushed him backwards into his room.

Eyes widening, the elf prince moved like a happy puppet. Shadow shut the glass door behind them and drew the curtain. Just in case guards might look up. Then, he drew the sharp pin from his hair.

With one glance around, he saw that this room was much like his own, except that it was not quite as empty. There was a chest of clothing, a hand stand, and a very large and comfortable looking bed. Shadow smirked at the sight of the bed. He pointed at it with the hairpin.

I am going to tie you to your bed with your shirt,” he announced in a whisper.

Alright,” said the elf prince most naively.

Shadow smirked.

Moments later, Shadow was still smirking. “I told you I was tying you to your bed,” he said as he sat down on the edge of the bed.

Mff!” protested the elf prince who, indeed, was tied to the bed posts by virtue of his torn-up shirt. He was also gagged by virtue of a piece of shirt as well. He aimed a kick at Shadow and badly missed.

Now,” Shadow said, reaching into his pocket. “If I recall well, you had peas placed in my bed. A thing I am quite sore about,” he muttered viciously while drawing several dried peas from his pocket. These were the ones that had been placed under his mattress and which he had discovered while plotting and rummaging around earlier on. “And since you are such a curious elf,” he stooped over and lifted the side of the mattress. “You shall find out if your skin is as thin as mine. There!” and he tossed the peas under the mattress. “Have a good night!”

Mff!” said the elf prince in horror, knowing full well that he too would have a sore back by the morning if he slept on peas.

Shadow chuckled darkly to himself and let the mattress down with a thump. Then, sweeping his glorious hair from his face, he marched to the chest and began to rummage in it. Several moments later he found that the sword he was looking for was directly beside it.

I’ll be taking this,” Shadow said, taking the sword and its belt and tying it around himself. “And this,” he said, stealing a magical chest plate that made one look most manly and handsome. “And this,” he said, taking the shoulder pauldrons that magically never mussed one’s hair or snagged them in any way. “And this,” he said, taking arm bracers that magically … something or other.

Then, dressed and ready to run for his life and that of his beloved, prince Shadow drew open the curtain. But first, he, like all true villainous people, had to monologue.

Good bye my not-so-beloved,” he snarked, executing a bow. “Rest well!” And then he drew the glass door open and crept out onto the balcony.

The elf prince rolled his eyes and hmphed in disdain.

Outside, the moon was glowing gently among some fluffy clouds. The air was now crisp and cool. Gentle breezes rustled through leaves and carried the scents of the forest to the prince.

It was the perfect night for an escape.

The prince let down his rope of braided bedstuff. It was long enough to trail onto the grass of the gardens. With a gleeful smirk he thought himself so lucky.

And then, just as he swung himself off the porch and began his descent – the moss started to holler.

ALARM ALARM! The hostage/guest of honor is escaping! ALARM! ALARM! He’s braided a rope of bedstuff and is climbing down from the porch! ALARM! ALARM!”

The prince cursed. How he hated talking mosses!

So the prince scurried down that rope as fast as a snake! He scurried, he rushed, and he darted out into the dark garden.

Within moments a series of elven guards arrived upon the scene, their armor glistening in the moonlight and their lovely hair shining as well. Swiftly, under the clever orders of Sheer’na, they encircled the gardens and began to ruffle through the bushes.

The prince, meanwhile, was up in a tree and observing all this. Oh, how lucky he was, he thought. Unless they thought of looking up, he would still be able to sneak away.

And then he leaned against the mossy tree trunk.

ALARM! ALARM!” shrieked that moss. “The handsomely dastardly prince is up in this tree! ALARM ALARM!”

Oh, goodness. How the prince hated talking mosses. How he also hated blow guns as another sleeping dart thudded into his neck, narrowly avoiding the armor he wore. As wooziness and sleep claimed him, he fell from the tree with a thud.

When the prince awoke, he was tied to a bed by virtue of – not his shirt – but by what looked like very solid rope. He had been stripped of the armor and there was twigs and leaves in his lovely hair.

Several guards stood about the room with cross expressions on. Amongst them, with the most unhappy expression of all, was the humiliated elf prince.

The prince had a tunic on, but there was no clothing that could hide that look of damaged pride.

Prince Shadow looked at him guiltily. “I suppose you won’t let me tie you to your bedposts again?”

Augh!” the elf prince shouted, snatching up a pillow from the bed and beating Shadow about the head with it. “You horrid, stinky, awful, thing!”

There, there,” muttered Sheer’na, pulling the flustered prince away from the bed. “You said yourself he told you what he was going to do.”

But, but!” wailed the elf prince while Shadow spat out a mouthful of feathers.

Hush,” muttered Sheer’na. “Please be quiet until your parents arrive.”

Parents?” squawked prince Shadow.

Yes,” said the elf prince smugly, holding the pillow to his side. “You have broken our law by attempting to leave without permission – and so they will judge you harshly!”

A sense of dread settled over prince Shadow. What was he to do? For the Dark elves of the mountain were known for being cruel and just as mysterious and strange as the Great Queen who ruled above them. What sort of punishments would they reserve for someone … attempting to leave?

Ah! How Prince Shadow wondered!

And Ah! So shall you. For behold! Another cliffhanger.

 

Adelaide!

Be-fucking-hold! Queen Adelaide, Ladies and Gentlemen and folks in between!

adelaide victorious.jpeg

This, if you haven’t been reading along with the story, is massive spoilers, by the way. If you have, it’s probably still spoilers. This is Adelaide’s end form/final mutation from the story ‘Of Adelaide and Shadow’. So WHY oh fucking why am I sharing it?

To motivate myself, selfishly. I have been so focused upon Chaos’ story that I have totally left Farfadel in the dust. But you know, Farfadel is one of those stories that is close to my heart so… I must continue to share it!

So let me tell you a little bit about Adelaide, for those who are wondering ‘Is this a story I’d want to read?’.

Adelaide is a princess who grows into a Queen. She starts off insecure but devious, and ends up, well, bad-ass. She literally rules the world and shapes Farfadel into what it will be, and is constantly referenced in later Farfadel novels. So if you like humor, fairy tales centering around a woman who grows in strength and awesomeness -> this is the story for you!

Join me, one and all, in reading ‘Of Adelaide and Shadow’!

Of Adelaide and Shadow; Chapter Five

Help! Help!” squeaked Adelaide the chipmunk, battering her tiny fists on the glass bottle. But it was no use. Far away, through the tall grasses, she saw her future, her beloved, her army, and all that good stuff, growing small and distant.

No one can save you now!” cackled the hunter in a most villainous way.

Oh yeah?” squeaked Adelaide. “How about myself?”

Oh,” said the hunter, lifting up the glass bottle and rattling her before his face. “But you’re a chipmunk.”

So what?” Adelaide squealed, kicking the bottle. It made a dull thunk. “I’ll show you!” and she drew her tiny sword. Whack! A chip of glass went flying off of the inside of the bottle. Whack! Another chip went flying. Whack! A crack appeared in the glass.

Oh,” said the hunter again.

Hah!” said Adelaide, landing the final whack. The glass shattered – and Adelaide fell. Whump!

Oh,” said the hunter again, looking at the suddenly free princess.

Freedom!” squealed adelaide the chipmunk, throwing her fists (and tiny sword) up into the air.

No!” barked the hunter, diving down to snatch at Adelaide. But it was a trap!

Adelaide smacked! Whacked! And nearly knocked the hunter silly upside the head with her sword.

The hunter reeled. Adelaide darted off into the woods.

Oh bother! Bugger! Booger!” said the hunter, stomping his feet as the little chipmunk in armor chipmunked away and up a tree. From the safety up there, she pulled her tongue at him.

All the villainous villain could do was look up and shake his fists. That, and think. But he was not the thinking sort of villain. No, he brooded instead, crossing his arms and sulking.

For several moments, he burrowed in self pity.

Next, he went through all the stages of moping.

Then, he indulged in a little self-gratification, thinking that at least he’d gotten the chipmunk this far and why did he even bother? Pfah! Fairies and their honey-

Oh. Then it occurred to him that he already had the honey. Why bother and walk all the way to Denerspell when the chipmunk was already good and gone?

Ah ha ha ha ha!” he laughed most evilly – then whack! An acorn thudded onto his forehead.

Take that!” squeaked the very angry Adelaide. “And that!” she shook a branch, causing a small pelting of acorns to shower down.

Ouch! Ouch!” and the villain scampered away, chased by the angry chirpings of the chipmunk. Off he went to do villainous things. Like pruning his trees. He was very fond of that. And lurking, mostly lurking. He liked lurking.

Shadow, the prince of valiant hair and beautiful spirit (er, was that backwards? Nevermind, just keep reading) was dutifully charging on with his army sort of lagging behind just then. Unlike the hunter, they did not have magical boots to slip them across magical threads and thereby zip across the valley. For that was the secret to the villainous hunter’s caterpillar like strangeness yet snake-like speed. He followed special magical threads that ran through the valley and thereby sped him along like hot wind currents through the sky. That, dearest reader, is how he crossed so very far across the valley and into the woods while the prince was still galavanting after them.

Shadow, seeing with his keen eyes that the enemy was no longer visible, drew his horse to a halt.

Oh! his hair floated in the wind about him!

Oh! his armor shone magnificently!

Oh! How fabulously beautiful he was as he peered around in despondent love.

Commander!” he called in a melodious voice.

The commander reined to a halt next to him. And Oh!

How his hair was not floating in the wind!
Oh! How his armor was not shining magnificently!

Oh! How not quite beautiful he was as he stooped and panted atop his horse.

Yes, your majesty, your highness, and your gloriousness?” he panted as if it was he and not his horse who had been galloping across the fields.

The prince tossed his magnificent hair. “Prepare the hounds! We must chase down that vandal! He stole my princess!”

The commander gulped air. “Yes your majesty, your highness, your gulfiness-” and he gulped more air “it shall be done.” And then he let out more air with a ‘whoo!’ and gulped some more. The prince gave him a most disgruntled look.

Hurry up,” the prince snapped.

Yes your magnificence!” And then the commander wheeled his horse round to face the rest of the army (which was arriving in straggling bits behind them). “Prepare the hounds!” he bellowed in a definitely not melodious voice.

What – for what?” asked the houndsmaster. “Am I putting them in frills with bouquets on their heads?”

No you bladder-brains!” the commander barked. “For hunting! We must chase down that princess!”

No!” called out the prince, turning his horse around to face his army.

Oh! How the sun glowed like a halo ’round his head.

Oh! How his beautiful hair lifted majestically on the wind.

Oh! How earnest and beautiful he was as he addressed his troops with a hand upon his heart.

She is my beloved! My closest ally and dearest friend! We must not hunt her down! We must rescue her from the clutches of that horrid -”

And here even his beauty faltered a little as he considered what to call the hunter.

Baboon-caterpillar,” he finally declared.

And oh! How everyone was moved by this speech – to the point of tears!

Ah, true love,” whispered a very sentimental dolt. Sniffles went round. Everyone was so roused to rescue the princess …

Except the houndsmaster. “So what am I doing?” he asked daftly. “Bouquets or no?”

Someone clouted him on the back of the head, thankfully.

Prepare them for tracking down that horrid baboon-caterpillar!” called out the prince. “Ready your horses for speed, and prepare your swords for battle!”

Then, as an afterthought. “Why not some wildflower bouquets? Just to,” he waved his fingers “dress up the situation.” After all, he didn’t want the dogs to intimidate his beloved!

And so it was! Gentle reader, imagine the scene. All the horses were valiant and glossy as they tramped proudly on. All the soldiers were brave and dastardly (and not suffering from attacks of the honeycakes). At their head was the most beautiful prince with his hair billowing in the wind, the godly scent of his shampoo misting around him. Before him, the well-bred hounds struck up the scent, barking and nosing around as dogs do when on a hunt. Even the flower crowns upon the hounds’ heads somehow suited the occasion.

It was this touch that caused the fairies to nod their heads. “They are doing a farewell procession,” they said with arms crossed and chins nodding imperiously.

Oh look!” the bees said excitedly. “A procession!”

Ah,” said the good people of Farfadel, watching from their small houses in the valley. “A procession!”

And everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

They must have eaten their fill. Look at them go!”

And all the people, and the birds and the bees and the happy gnomes and trees, all of them began to wave and cheer. And because all of them were waving and cheering, everyone thought that indeed, this was a goodbye procession. The fairies applauded each other and patted the other upon the back.

Well done!” they said to each other.

The prince, on account of being blinded by love, did not exactly notice any of this. He was focused upon the hounds bobbing on ahead of him, and was worrying about his dearest Adelaide.

His soldiers, however, were glad to accept the last few honeycakes that the passerby’s gave to them…

Far away, evening descended upon Farfadel. The Frog King burped and demanded more food. The King and Queen moaned and wrung their hands, worried sick on account of their daughters. They alone were not celebrating the departure of the Denerspellian army as it had taken their beloved children away.

Oh, whatever shall we do?” moaned the King, wringing his hands as wealthy people are wont to do.

We must be stout! Stoic!” said the Queen, keeping her upper lip stiff. Then, clapping her fist into a palm she came up with a plan. “They must have taken our daughters as ransom for future goods! They probably want honeycakes for the winter!” A glimmer appeared in her eye. “We will secretly prepare honeycakes, hide them from the Frog King, and send them to Denerspell over the winter in exchange for our daughters!”

What a magnificent plan!” cried out the King.

Rubbit!” said the Frog King, blasting down the door.

What a magnificent plan!” jeered the dozens of (not so miniature any more) frogs.

Oh bother,” said the Queen.

Bugger,” said the King.

Rubbit!” said the Frog King.

And then he ate the King and Queen up.

Do not despair, gentle reader. This is a happy tale. No one dies.

The one who was despairing was the Hunter. Just as he thought that all that nonsense with the chipmunk was over and he was going to be able to restfully lurk in the comfort of his home – why! It was gone!

Or, more precisely, it was neither here nor there.

Bugger!” said the very buggered Hunter. For his home was on a patch of land that was not part of the moving marshes but rather was friends with the moving marshes. So it up and left whenever the fancy took it. Often that fancy would happen when he wasn’t around to scold it. This meant quite often he would leave home to do some proper villainous skulking and return home to a stinky patch of marsh that had traded place with his dear home.

Well! He had big words and small words and colorful words to describe the patch of land – but instead he whistled through his teeth.

A great mare burst out of the nearby trees (literally, the trees gentle reader, not the space between them) for it was a spirit of the woods.

It was a great black pawing beast. A noble creature of stalwart heart and battle-tried courage in times gone by when battles were a thing. It was bored in these last few centuries and had come to like the human who gave it apples on account of trotting him around to places that were more colorful than these dark woods. So they made a happy pair. The horse wanted apples and the human was sick of walking himself around.

Ho! Great beast of the forest! Nay, do not despair-”

And some rather bad poetry/monologuing ensued on the part of the hunter. Suffice to know that he often tried to impress the horse spirit with his speeches. The horse was half deaf and could not care less. It was happy to munch on the half of a carrot the hunter drew out of his pocket and offered to “the very great and verbolicious horse that lays her enemies flattened before her.”

Sufficiently flattered and bored, the horse allowed the hunter to mount atop her back. Then, she began to amble off in whichever direction she pleased.

For the hunter hadn’t the slightest idea where his home had gone off to. All he knew was that it was on the other side of the mountains, trading places and perhaps playing cards with some very talkative marshes. Which made him sad, really, for he hadn’t wanted to live on that side of the mountains.

The people there were far more stalwart than the Farfadelians, and he’d have to lurk, prune, and sulk harder in order to impress them. Which all around was just more work. Bugger!

Now, one might think that Adelaide and the prince Shadow were on a collision course. Nothing could be further from the truth. For Adelaide, spirited and determined Adelaide, was destined to return home. And her prince was destined to get horrifically lost.

For you see, the flowers that were placed upon the hounds’ heads were very strongly scented. “Ah, what beautiful aromas!” the houndsmaster had gullibly said while placing them upon the hounds’ heads.

Now, as the giddy fates who guard Farfadel would have it, those very same flowers were the ones that the fairies used to brew the sweetest meads and beers. They were, magically, filled with a gentle and sweet alcohol that misted into their scent.

The dogs, at first, noticed a chipmunk (not Adelaide) and strayed a little from their path. They then strayed back towards the path and overlooked it. Then they noticed a stream and pinholed for it, thirsty from the sweetness of the flowers. Then… then bugger it all, the dogs just wanted to lay down.

The houndsmaster was confused by the slightly wobbly appearance of his dogs. Yet he was a proud houndsmaster and did not want to let on that he did not know what he was doing. Truth be told, he knew quite a lot about dogs – but he had learned all that by watching how nobles behaved. He knew little about dogs in and of themselves. More so, he knew little of what could cause a dog to abruptly start wobbling and swerving and laying down on the scent.

So the houndsmaster did what most nobles do when in a bind. He improvised.

The princess must have drank from this stream,” he said as his dogs thirstily lapped at the gushing and gurgling waters.

Then, “The princess must have rested here,” he said as his dogs lay down and heaved drunken sighs.

But it all came to an abrupt end when the moon hung heavy like cheese in the sky and the velvety darkness coated the sky. The stars sparkled the way as best they could and the moonlight glinted gently off the forms of the trees and bushes and the very thick brambles that the Denerspellians were wading through.

The hounds had had enough. Drunk enough to start giggling and throwing jokes at each other, they shook off the flower crowns for good and flopped down. One instantly began to snore.

Ah, this must be where they rested-” invented the houndsmaster quite lamely, nudging his dogs with a toe.

Oh bugger it all!” shouted the prince. “You haven’t the slightest idea what you’re doing!”

The houndsmaster hung his head and mumbled a faint apology. The prince dismounted. His glorious hair caught the moonlight and glinted like a silky curtain down his back. He combed it from his face and half the forest swooned. Even the crickets began to sing love songs.

It is this love for the prince, they say, that kept them safe from all real trials and tribulations that the dark forest could hold for lost travelers.

For the prince had them lay down their blankets and sleep for the night. He ordered some troops to stand watch while the other rested, and so on and so forth during the night. This would have been little help had the buggerbears or the waspbits attacked them. Yet the forest was entranced. The trees sighed and swooned, weaving their branches into a canopy above the prince and whispering gentle words about him into the winds.

The rest of his army, to put it quaintly, was attacked by the honeycakes. All night, one by one, they tiptoed past their own guards and rushed into bushes and brambles to battle with their bowels. Ah, the forest was not so pleased of them. It put thorns in their side and tripped them on their way back to bed.

But overall, it was a pleasant night. When the dew settled and the stars gave way to the sun, many a soldier rose well rested. The prince, of course, rose as if he had had the gentlest of beauty sleeps. It is hard to reminisce properly about how beautiful he would have looked right then, for all the magic of the forest had poured itself into him in the most restful and beautiful of ways.

Suffice to imagine that he had the most shining of hair, the thickest and darkest of lashes (which he blinked slowly as he roused), the softest of skin, and as he sat up, gentle reader, imagine a shower of rose petals all about him. The prince was just that beautiful.

And so he tossed his luxurious and stupendously beautiful hair over his shoulder and demanded that the day begin. The forest swooned, sighed, and shed a dew-drop tear of good-bye. For by the next day, the prince ought to have left the forest and strayed across the moutains into the marshes that talked incessantly.

Yet – the winds had whispered far. The winds had whispered wide. And now and entire tribe of dark elves were suspicious of this person who had so entranced their forest.

As the army began to collect themselves and shake off the sleep from the night, an army of eyes watched from nearby.

Well,” said a very sensible elf. “They do not look ready for trouble.”

It is time!” called out the prince. “We must ride to rescue my beloved! We will not stop until we find her!”

Oh,” said a not so sensible elf. “But he is handsome.”

All elven eyes, glowing golden and purple and all the strange colors of the night, turned to the elf prince.

Oh bugger,” muttered the more sensible elves. For they knew, without a doubt, that their prince was shallow and vain. But above all he was selfish and rather spoiled by his gentle hearted parents.

He can ride in my lands,” purred the elf as the prince tossed his gorgeous hair over his shoulder and prepared to mount his horse.

The elves collectively rolled their eyes. The prince was too naive to notice this was directed at him. For he was not unkind. He was simply shallow. And so, without any malice in his heart, he came up with a plan.

Direct him to my lands,” he said cheekily. “And we shall see for how long he can remember his beloved for.”

Again, the elves rolled their eyes. But they did as they were told.

The prince, unwitting and unprepared for any of this, mounted his horse and set off after the hounds.

Adelaide, for her part, was having a somewhat better time of it all. For she was a stalwart and sturdy chipmunk, and had wandered around these parts quite often upon her voyages to meet her beloved prince Shadow. After a night of napping atop a tree, she roused herself at the first scraps of dawn. Instantly she shook the dew drops from herself, scrubbed her face, and began the long journey home.

Due to her size, it was a very long voyage. But thanks to her being small, she went unnoticed by most of the forest. Once, a hawk spied her and thought she might make a tasty morsel. Upon closer inspection, it noticed that she was wearing armor. Not sure what to do with a chipmunk in armor, it soared away to find easier things to roast.

By the end of that first fateful day, Adelaide was barely reaching the edge of the forest. Night had settled and the stars shone when she climbed the last tree. There, she looked out across her home. Finally, she could see it.

Finally, she thought, all will be right again!

And, rest assured, all would be. But just not quite as quickly as she had hoped it would be.

For that day, that fateful and fate-filled and fate-touched and fate-ilicious day, the Frog King assumed his power upon Farfadel.

And the clouds grew thick and cast deep shadows across the lands. The cows grew ill and ceased to give milk. Wheat rotted on the stalk and corn fell unripened to the ground. Even the crows sought out shelter, cawing to each other that a storm was coming.

For the magic of the land had grown upset. Farfadel’s magic was not made to be reigned over by a half-witted magical creature. It was meant to be ruled over by partly-witted and rather endearing folk of the human nature. It was the good nature of gentle humans that gave Farfadel its charm and glory. Greed and slovenliness was never meant to rule here, as either a virtue or a pride, yet now it did.

And that upset everything.

Farfadel

Farfa-What? Farfadel, ladies and gentlemen. It is a land of wondrous beauty, a land of happiness and joy. It is a place that, in the depths of my own despair, I concocted up.

Yep, a few years ago I was in the worst stretch of my mental health. Determined to keep writing, I concocted Farfadel. A happy, fearless, and harmless world where nothing bad happens and shenanigans abound. It was meant to be readable for all, a gentle balm for those suffering from anxiety and depression, for I was at the point that I couldn’t read anymore because the anxiety was so bad.

So what about it? Well, like so many good creative things, it has become an addiction of sorts. One novel spawned another, and another, and another. Two are finished, and many, many, more unfinished. I love writing Farfadel, I love the harmlessness of it, the joy and freedom for silliness.

But what does this have to do with you? Well, dear readers, I need your input. You see, I lose motivation swiftly. I feel like none of this matters to anyone but myself. So I would love if you would read some of my stories and share your thoughts with me. I will share as much as I can for FREEEEE (I love free stuff), and will sell others. For the moment though, I would really just love input and feedback. What do you like? What made you laugh? Did I misspell something? Share with me!

For now, the novel will be published on this website, under the heading ‘Of Adelaide and Shadow (A Tentative Title)’, or you can follow this link HERE to find it.