Rory, aka A Guy Called Bloke, has tagged me to tell a story about this image, which freaked me out this morning when I looked at it before my first cup of coffee. Afterwards, I will choose an image and tag 3 people to write a story based upon the image I’ve chosen. Kick back and relax, this one is a long one, but hopefully one you will enjoy.
Guidelines … Create your own Tell The Story around the image below, then select three bloggers of your own and add your own image to complete the tag.
King Joffrey of the Kingdom of Krull was known for many things by many people, and what those things were, and how much focus was given to them, was dependent on who the person was. Very few looked at the king as a patient, humane, or kind person. As he was a person of other traits such as impatience, impulsiveness, and with utilitarian narcissistic tendencies, he tended to draw two types of individuals to him: 1) those like him; and 2) those who could exploited by his tendencies.
King Joffrey’s youngest son, Prince Earl, had no choice in the matter. He was stuck with his father. Earl was a quiet baby who was raised by his kind-hearted nanny, Bonita, who came to the kingdom at age 10. She had been Earl’s nanny all of his 18 years on this earth. Her role had changed over time, but what didn’t change was the love she had for her “son” and he for his “mother”. Earl’s own mother, Queen Natasha, as a member of the ruling family as soon as she married King Joffrey, was also from another kingdom, but she had long ago forgotten the ways of her own people. She had little time to give to Earl, as matters of royalty, as well as the king’s demanding nature, left little. All things considered, it was probably for the better for young Earl.
Earl was given a first class education and was allowed, unlike his two older brothers, to stay at the palace rather than being sent away to boarding school. He learned other languages and matters of finance, as well as the arts of music, calligraphy, equestrian expertise, and swordsmanship. He was light to his family’s darkness, although he was bright enough not to let them see his good heart, as they would have feasted on it as surely as a starving dog worries a soup bone.
Earl was the sort that observed and learned. The only people he felt close to were Bonita and Bonita’s husband, Juan Carlos, the palace’s Stable Master. He spent many hours down at the stables, watching and learning from Juan Carlos, how to calm the horses when they became agitated and how to care for them after their grueling fox hunting escapades with the King and his cruel cronies. In the evenings, he often ate dinner with Juan Carlos and Bonita in the cottage they were provided on the grounds. It was the only time he felt like part of a real family instead of the offspring of royalty that was trotted out for official parties and other formal matters of the kingdom.
One evening, he knocked on the door of the cottage and waited longer than usual for Bonita to come to the door. When she finally opened it, her face was twisted in worry and puffy from tears. Earl asked what was wrong. Bonita explained that she had received a letter from her sister, Marta, saying that Krull, at the King’s command, had started a campaign to expand its reach and soldiers had overrun Marta and her family’s village, killed all of the males there, and systematically raped every female over the age of 10. In the raid, Bonita’s brother in-law and two nephews were murdered, and Marta was raped. Thankfully their 11 year-old niece was hidden well enough to avoid the rape. Juan Carlos traveled to their land and was bringing back the niece when they were caught just a few miles from the castle. Now the niece was being trained as a servant. Juan Carlos was in the dungeon, awaiting King Joffrey’s decision to have him beheaded the next morning.
Earl asked Bonita what to do. Bonita, who was one of the kindest people on the planet, now had to help the prince save her beloved husband and Earl’s surrogate father. She knew of an old woman who lived at the western edge of Morkwood, a dense, reported to be haunted, forest nearby. The old woman, Jadina, was known to have strong healing skills. Lesser discussed were her unbreakable spells to defeat evil. If anyone could save Juan Carlo and her niece, it was Jadina.
Earl and Bonita waited until dark, then traveled by horse, under the full moon’s gaze, to Jadina’s cottage. As they approached it, a large horned owl in the tree hanging over it hooted a deep hoot. Jadina opened the door and bid them enter. They sat near the toasty warm standing stone fireplace in the center of the room. Beyond their thank yous, they said nothing.
Jadina went to her rocker near the fire. Her black cat, with the brightest green eyes, jumped into her lap. Jadina’s eyes twinkled in her crinkly face as she said, “I know why you’re here.”
Earl and Bonita exchanged glances and a grim smile was on Bonita’s face as she asked, “Can you help?”
Stroking the cat, whose eyes had closed but who was purring as loud as a small engine, Jadina gave a small nod. She looked at the hearthstone, where some scraggly herbs laid in a basket. She said, “Take these herbs. First, make a strong tea and get it to Juan Carlos. It’s important that he drink it. With the remaining herbs, you must burn them in the king’s fireplace after he’s gone to bed and asleep. Once these two things are done, your worries will end.”
Bonita asked, “What is the price for your magic?”
“I wish to take your niece under my wing and show her my ways. My price is that your niece becomes my student.”
Bonita knew how valuable learning to be an Herbiadoras could be for her niece. This was an excellent opportunity and a world apart from what otherwise would be a life of servitude to, and possible rape by, the king. She knew Marta would understand and agree. “Yes, the price will be paid.”
Bonita and Earl took the herbs and followed the instructions. Earl was able to get the tea to Juan Carlos, as well as burning the herbs in his father’s room after he was asleep.
Earl lay awake afterwards, all nerved up, wondering how these simple herbs would save Juan Carlos. He stared out of his window at the moon. Suddenly a thick mist blanketed its light and a low grumbling sound came from the courtyard below. Earl looked out to see a large creature, shrouded by the mist, walking upright, maybe 7 feet tall, brown skin, long brown hair, pointed ears, and curling horns. It was headed towards the castle. A chill ran up Earl’s spine and he ran to his door and looked out through the keyhole. The creature paused outside of Earl’s door. Its yellow eyes looked directly into his staring orb. It nodded toward him then passed, heading towards his parents’, King Joffrey & Queen Natasha’s, room. Then all was silent.
In the morning, the servants found two piles of ash in the bed where the King & Queen’s body should have been. Earl’s brothers, who were leading the invasion of the other country, were being sent for. Earl was, by default, the King until his brothers returned. Earl ordered the immediate release of Juan Carlos and of the niece. Bonita took her niece to Jadina and was given permission to visit her niece anytime.
OK here is the image I want the people I tag to tell a story (or poem) about: