Part 75 – The End of an Era

Three Weddings – Three Nations – Three Hostages – Three Rulers


The Kings rotten head still adorned the audience chamber, a morbid trophy that Fendor kept upon display despite the odour. It was just past dawn, a cool dull light flooded the chamber as those of notoriety poured into the room to take their appointed seats. There was an air of anticipation throughout the court, speculation and rumour entertained the guests as they awaited the arrival of Fendor, self proclaimed ruler, having dispatched with the fierce-some Grave…

Black robed priests lead the way for Fendor and his closest aides who seated themselves along a heavy oaken table placed upon the chambers dais.

A silence fell over the audience…

“My People!” Fendor stood, his smile was radiant.

“The times of troubles is at an end, I have sealed a truce which will unite our lands and bring peace to our great nation!”

A triumphant roar echoed through the hall as nobles stood to applaud…

Alleia, seated by Kane’s side, felt sick, yet she clapped with as much enthusiasm she could fake. Her nerves were on edge, for seated to the left of Fendor was Roux, her eldest sister, the former Kings eldest child, had she been male, Roux would already have been coronated. She already ruled the Six Empires owned by the six siblings from behind her husband Bayron – News of his recent death had not been a surprise.

Fendor waited for the crowd to fall silent before continuing.

“Our own lands will be reunited with the Six Empires to the west, the whole family are in support of this union. We will make our Nation Great Again!” His voice rose as his ultimate plot was slowly revealed. The collected elite were riveted, they drank in his words, like they were a fine elixir. “We will be a force to be reckoned with. Treaties have been signed that will ensure peace with the Barbarian tribes in the wastelands!” More cheers followed his proud proclamation.

Upon a cue guards by the main door pulled both doors open simultaneously to reveal a figure stood beyond. A giant of a man, whose frame nearly fitted the doorway, clad in the traditional garb of a Barbarian Lord he stepped forth and stood before those gathered, awaiting his introduction.

“My people… I present to you Lord Darkfire, Brother of the late Grave and the new Lord of the whole tribes. Our Peace has been secured through marriage, the beloved Novana has accepted his proposal.” Murmurs of approval rippled throughout the crowd, and when Novana stepped into the room, clad beautifully in an exotic wedding dress, face alight with adoration, a slight blush flushed her cheeks as she stood by her Husband to be and took his arm, the hall once again erupted into great applaud…

Fendor drank in the triumph like a wolf savouring his kill…

“Further more… Further more…” He needed to call above the roar, Lord Darkfire and Novana took seats assigned for them at the head table, as the nobles settled, awaiting the next proclamation. “I have a second wedding to announce, my trusted Captain, Kane Stone, has assumed command over the Northern Clan Territories, having defeated Lord Pepe Montoto in combat. His marriage to the Princess Alleia secures yet another firm treaty between our lands. We are united! We are Strong! We shall be a Great Nation once again. Our lands are tied in Peace and we shall henceforth  celebrate this day as our ‘Nation Day’!” Fendor had the crowd on their feet once more…

These were all Lords and Ladies, Earls and Dukes… All the rich, the powerful, the elite… All those who gained to prospect from this treaty, widening trade routes, merging empires… This was a treaty forged on greed, on power, on lies…

“Finally!” Fendor smiled widely, “But by no means least… I am proud to announce a third wedding for this day. The noble Princess Roux has agreed to be my bride… Today shall be a day to remember! Three treaties, three nations, three weddings and our coronation!”

There it was… Alleia felt her heart sink… There was Fendor’s ultimate goal… To wed into the Royal Family, to Marry the eldest child and proclaim himself King and Roux Queen by his side… But where was Jago? Where were his children?

The applaud was deafening…





It really was a day to remember, the whole realm was in celebration, the three weddings were publicly observed and there were vast street parties throughout the land…

Happily Ever After settled across the nation… Built on betrayal, murder, kidnapping, black magic and a web of intricate lies. By the end of the day Fendor was King, Roux his Queen… They made a perfect couple…

Yet his bride had one stipulation and that obligation the new King burdened upon Kane… “I don’t care what you do with them, just make sure they are out of public sight… They can not be seen to be alive…” The King barked gruffly, having caught Kane shortly before his departure back to the Clans.

“Why not just kill them as planned?” Kane shrugged.

“Roux wants them alive, yet banished, so I’m banishing them to the Clan Territories with you. Out of this country at least, you only need hold them until she becomes bored with the idea and orders their deaths.” Fendor returned the shrug, dismissive…

“So I am now a babysitter for Royal Hostages?”

“Basically, Yes.” King Fendor said and turned and left.



(of this act)



Anne Harrison 12.05.17


Part 74

Whispers in the Night…


Alleia was initially disturbed from her slumber by the unannounced arrival of a sinister looking Priest, clad in robes, pungent with the stench of fresh blood, he had in his arms such a tiny wriggling babe, clad in a stained swaddling blanket, grizzling hungry. The Priest inexperienced with babies handed the child over with gruff instructions that she was required to nurse the girl until a wet nurse could be sought in the morning. With that he left abruptly, without waiting for any response from Alleia.

Kane and their own son were sound asleep, any earlier conflict between the couple had been resolved through mutual carnal desires, though Alleia hated his secrets and lies, she realised that her silence and obedience to Kane were keeping her alive. He appealed to her, not to ask any questions he could not answer. He begged her not to cause a scene, to remain quiet, to remain loyal. A dedicated mother, a devoted partner, whether this was an act or truth, the lines were blurred, yet she valued her life and vowed to protect her son at any cost.  Even if certain suggestions caused her to feel ill at ease.

Without choice and yet also without hesitation, Alleia took the precious tiny girl to her breast and made sure she fed. Then washed and dressed the babe in fresh warm clothes, over sized but cosy. By then the girl had drifted into a peaceful slumber, however, the magical qualities of newborn were obvious and Alleia could easily guess the true nature of the girl. She burped bubbles which popped into glittery butterflies, her eyes shone with an inner age, tiny flecks of light danced around her brow and Alleia could swear she heard gentle music, like the soft tinkling of unseen bells… The magical butterflies found her own son and danced around his cot, they buzzed and glowed, sensing an unseen connection between the two babies.


The second time Alleia was disturbed that night was when, not one or two, but three coaches arrived in the early hours, clattering along the cobblestones in the courtyard. Shortly afterwards Kane was summoned away by Barbarians, it was at that point she realised that a pair of guards had also been assigned to stand on duty at their quarters. She speculated that these were to guard the babe, yet she could not voice her concerns. Instead Alleia was left watching over the children, aware of the presence at the door and anxious with fear.

Kane was gone for several hours, it was near dawn when he returned, clad in a smart suit, his hair slicked back and tied in a neat ponytail. The clothes looked new or borrowed ill-fitting to his lanky frame, yet Alleia found his image appealing and smiles despite her tiredness. He approached her and drew her to her feet by her arms… “Remember I asked you to at least try to trust me, even if I’m unable to explain my actions?” Alleia nodded, holding his gaze, the door behind them was still open, his words were hushed, spoken softly for her ears alone. A maid entered the room following Kane, in her arms, a beautiful cream dress. “I’m asking you to trust me now, we’re leaving here, leaving the capital, returning to the clans, to our home.” He spoke swiftly, his words filled her with hope and still she feared the consequences what price that such a valuable promise might hold. The dress was a clue. “Fendor wants you dead, he thinks you have served your purpose and outlived your usefulness.” She saw the truth in his eyes at last. “I lied to him, I told him you were pregnant again to save you from execution. He’s paranoid, neurotic, he believes there could be more magic entwined. The lie may have pulled you from the axe-man’s grasp, yet it binds you to me.” He drew a deep breath then. “I have been given the Clan Nations to rule, in his name, I may take my leave upon the morrow, with my family. With my wife. Should you accept me?”

“Why do I get the feeling this appears too good to be true?” Alleia whispered.

“Ooh, there is more, there always is with Fendor and his insane schemes, but I can not tell you that until we are safe at home.”

“More secrets Kane? More lies?”

“I’m sorry.”

“No you’re not, I think you enjoy this game.” Alleia shrugged out of his grasp and approached the maid, taking the dress from her arms and holding it up against her body. It was beautiful and smelt vaguely of fresh jasmine.

“…But I accept…”


Anne Harrison 11.05.17

Part 73

A Fate Worse than Death…


Novana awoke, yet could not move nor speak. Her body, naked, still laid prone on the cold stone altar. Dried blood caked her skin, felt sticky against her thighs. Her womb was empty, yet the torn gash had healed, there was no pain. Just an empty shallow feeling that consumed her heart with grief, a loss for her girl she never held, the babes fate unknown to her.

She could not move her head, only stare upwards through parched eyes that she barely managed to will to blink to save her foggy sight. The ceiling above her was adorned with strange arcane symbols, painted in black blood, the stench of it mingled with heavy incense caused her to feel light headed.

Fendor returned, she hated him, rage filled her eyes as he leered over her prone body, she felt his hands, warm against her cold flesh. “I am glad you survived the rite.” He purred softly against her ear, tangling his fingers into her hair. “You are going to be a gift, sweet Princess, you are the prize for loyalty. But first we need your obedience.”

He drew a long sacrificial dagger from with the folds of his robes and started to carve an incantation into her chest, carefully, slowly, painfully, cutting each magical sigil that stole her free will and encased her mind into her animated body.

He ended the rite by smearing a cocktail of rancid goats blood, Kol’s blood, herbs and oils into the fresh scars, enclosing the spell and trapping Novana into her mind. She sank into herself, she could still see, could still think freely, yet her body was that of a puppet. Controlled by magic, she moved upon command, she spoke upon command and yet she was firmly caged in her swimming thoughts. Her only hope was that madness might save her from this fate… Yet her only current saving grace was to invent a series of vicious acts to avenge herself upon Fendor. This rage kept her sane, her fury and lust for revenge gave her mental strength to endure anything he could subject her body to.

She was dressed in finery, hair styled, face painted, corset and heels. The dress was stunning ans suited her slender figure elegantly. She felt like a bride…

… and she was …


Anne Harrison 11.05.17

Part 72

Ultimatums and Abdication.


Jago, the rightful heir and King to the nation, was broken when the dismembered leg of his beloved son was delivered by Barbarian Warriors with demands for his abdication, to relinquish any claim to the throne and to hand himself over as hostage to prevent any retaliation. Failure to comply would result in more of his Son’s body parts being delivered until Kol’s painful slow demise. Their threat to Indigo, was far sinister and too traumatic for a loving Father to comprehend.

The guards awaited Jago’s reply, having been strict instructions to wait a single hour only for his surrender. Giving the heir limited time for the painful decision between his birthright and the life of his children. In his mind there was no choice, he had never anticipated to rule and cared little for the politics and drama from his Mother (The King’s eldest Daughter) and her various bitter siblings… All female, their passion to rule denied from an outdated ‘Male Only’ policy regarding the throne.

“You are a fool and a coward if you dare to give yourself up for the sake of those twins!” His Mother roared in his face, her sympathy for her own Grandchildren non-existent. “You are supposed to be a King! A Ruler!” A ruler does not let parental emotions make them weak!” Her persistent verbal abuse was eating away at the precious time he had to save his children. “If only I had been male!” She spat…

“I will not sacrifice my children for a throne I have no desire to hold.” He replied, causing an astonished collective gasp from the ruling council, who had been watching the outburst with amusement.

“I shall disown and disinherit you, if you DARE to utter such words again.”

The sand in the timer flowed towards the end of time…

The council awaited the decision that could change the fate of their entire nation, His Mother, red faced and fuming, paced in clacking high heels, muttering more insults under her breath… Yet Jago appeared calm, he reached out and laid a hand upon the dismembered limb, still clad in ruined garments and boot. The flesh dead and cold to the touch, the concept that his son would be returned to him bit by bit sickened his very soul.

Without a word he stood and handed himself over to the Barbarian Guards, who bound him tightly to escort away from the council chambers, insults and jeers followed him as he was lead away, the most painful, the most bitter, from his own Mother. Yet he gave himself up to protect his children, allowed himself to be taken hostage.

The sands of time ran out, his reign was never meant to be…


Anne Harrison 08.05.17

Part 71

Ataraxia – The Child of Prophecy


Born brutally in an arcane ritual, presided over by her sinister Father, clad in robes, whispering chants. Torn from her mothers body weeks prior to her due date Ataraxia’s wails filled the incense heavy air, as she drew her first breaths of life. From the moment of her birth, the tiny babe instantly displayed magical qualities.

Every candle lit for the rite was subsequently extinguished by an unseen force, plunging the room into darkness. Delicate flecks of light danced around the baby, the gaping wound Fendor had inflicted upon Novana’s swollen tummy slowly healed, despite having been left bleeding profusely. Two crows appeared at the high window and called into the night and all Fendor’s dark priests at once complained of a headache.

This was just a taste of the power held within the child, a mere moments old and already instinctively exerting her magical abilities. Fendor held his daughter in his arms, cradled her gently, dismissing his inflicted Priests from the chamber. “You are going to bring me greatness.” He whispered, at that moment instantly loving, hating and fearing the babe he had sired.

Ataraxia gurgled, wriggling, the golden flecks dancing around her head like a halo. The crows had since left, though Fendor expected they had not gone far. Aware that his daughter would need to be cleaned and fed before too long, Fendor decided that maybe Alleia hadn’t quite lived out her usefulness just yet, considering the Princess to be a suitable wet nurse currently until something more permanent could be arranged.

He left Novana, still naked, still laid upon the stone alter, somewhere between life and death, having never held her own newborn. To be dealt with by his priests, once they had recovered. Her fate already decided months ago…


Anne Harrison 04.05.17


Part 62

Conflict of Interests


“Are you quite sure you are fit enough for this?” Indigo watched the hands of the clock inch closer to midday, before turning to regard the injuries which still healed slowly with concern. He sat with his head in his hands, he did not look up and did not reply. Indigo sighed, so tempted to provide magical strength, but could not. An instant disqualification would mean his execution.

Grave approached, narrowed his eyes with a stern jaw, he scrutinized the lash marks on Kane’s back, still angry, still sore. The barbarian thrust his own sword into the sand by Kane’s feet. “It’s heavy, but it will serve you well.” He said, slapping Kane on the shoulder as though there were no wounds. Kane did not flinch, but he looked up then and took the hilt in both bands.

“Thank you, I don’t know what happened to my sword.” He spoke rather quietly, calmly and reserved.

Across the arena from him, Pepe paced in chain-mail, swinging a well balanced looking sword with rough chops through the air. He kept licking his top lip nervously, sweat causing his face to glisten.

At that point the clock struck twelve…


“I don’t want to watch them fight.” Alleia said softly to Kol. They both stood outside the arena, both painfully aware at what was at risk by this duel, far more than a love lost and broken marriage, the whole of The Northern Clan Territories and a significant force in any forthcoming conflict was being decided between two opponents.

“They do not know you are here.” Kol replied, having collected The Princess from Hera’s sanctuary on his sister’s request. His words were little comfort as she paced nervously in the sand, her son sound asleep in her arms.

“I only care for one.” She replied, clutching the old uniform jacket tighter around her bare shoulders, despite the heat of the noon day sun Alleia trembled with nerves.

Within the arena the tall clock tower struck twelve, indicating the start of the duel… Alleia flinched with each strike of the bell, squeezing her eyes shut, praying to her Gods for success…



Anne Harrison 05.04.17


Part 38

A pretty cage is still a cage

The room had been laid out nicely enough,  a small bed made up with warm blankets,  a table set with a jug and bowl for bathing. A stool, books, a selection of warm clothes and a hairbrush. All simple humble items, everything and nothing at all… The windows were barred and high up the wall, impossible to see any view from, yet the wind howled around the tall ceiling. At times crows would caw at the bars, dancing across the rafters, to fly free again with their mocking cry taunting the Princess prisoner curled up on the rickety bed, wrapped in a military jacket. Her tears had dried upon her cheeks and she felt like there were no more tears to shed. Alleia trembled, cold and afraid. Watching the crows with envy.

The bolt slid back upon the heavy iron door, Alleia flinched, sinking deeper into the jacket as two heavily armed barbarians bustled in with Pepe. “You have ten minutes.” The taller brute barked gruffly. Leaving Pepe alone with his wife, the two thugs waited beyond the door.

“Are you here to gloat?” Alleia sniffed.

Pepe sat on the bed with a creak, gone was his immaculate golden curls, his fine silks, exotic satins and lace he favored. His hair was clipped and styled more masculine, clad instead in a smart suit. “No Alleia, I’m not here to gloat.” He had dropped his former camp tone and sighed heavily. “Your have no idea how badly I desired you and how much it  pained me to learn about your affair.” He ran his fingers absently through her hair.

“Was our entire marriage a lie?”

“Yes, of course. A lie built on greed, a hunger for power, for land. Land your father wanted to control, my land. You were a sweet bargaining tool, nothing more and I had different plans for you, rest assured. Then you went and got yourself pregnant by a soldier,  a common guard.” Pepe spat.

“It wasn’t an affair.” Her words felt hollow.

Pepe grabbed her face by her chin. “Do not waste your breath on bitter lies.”

“You planned this all along?”

“No, Fendor planned this all along. When you got pregnant, I didn’t want you anymore, you were tainted, touched by another man… I had waited so long to possess you, to claim your body as my own, to drop the whole act, I was waiting for… hummmmm… I’ve said too much, you don’t need to know…” Pepe released her face and reached into his suit pocket to draw out a carefully folded document.

Alleia felt her baby kick.

“I can not save your life, precious, but I can save your unborn.”


“I have my reasons and I have no reason to explain myself to you.” Pepe handed her the document. “I need you to sign this.”

Alleia unfolded the parchment, reading through the legal document. It relinquished any rights the child might have to the throne and named Pepe as guardian.

“You expect me to sign this? To sign my child away as your property?” More tears fell then.

“Yes, Alleia.” He placed a fountain pen into her hand.

“Sign and I shall protect the baby. Refuse and you both die, the guards outside the door have orders to behead you should I leave this room with this paper unsigned. Therefore, if you have any passion for your child, you will sign.”

Alleia sobbed, the pen trembling in her hand. “I hate you.”

She signed her name, broken hearted and torn.


Anne Harrison 04.03.17

Part 33

The Day Everything Changed


Alleia had fallen asleep in the jacket in a dreamless sleep… A loud hammering on the door caused her to stir slowly, cold and blinky eyed, Pepe was still absent, the fire had died down and it was still dark beyond the window… The hammering reoccurred louder, more furious… She swung her legs round, the stone floor bitterly cold, beginning to get annoyed at being so rudely disturbed…

The door was blasted from its hinges, splinters blossomed into the air as the broken bolt clattered across the room. Alleia screamed as a host of burly men, dusty, clad in tatty garb bundled into her private quarters and roughly seized her. A calloused hand silenced her wild cries as she was dragged away, she stumbled, grazed her knee, tried to protect her swollen tummy… Panic seized her, waves of morning sickness merged with nerves threatened to make her vomit… Around the castle there were signs of chaos in the darkness, more dusty strangers, flagstones slick with blood, slumped soldiers, dead where they had stood on duty.

They headed to her Father’s regal antechamber, the very heart of the palace, she heard her brother crying out, but could not see him… Finally Alleia was dumped before the throne dais on her knees frightened and confused, as the hands released her she glanced up to see a mysterious woman seated upon the throne, at her feet the King’s headless corpse.

The Prince was forced to his knees by her side, he reached over and took her hand, though the lad was clearly trembling.

“The Queen is still missing.” The woman barked commands to her brutal warriors, who branched out searching passageways for the missing monarch. “Questions, I expect you royal brats have questions. She rested her feet upon the King’s bloody head. “If you have questions, if you can not understand our actions, if you really are so far removed from the corruption and rot that has destroyed society, if you dare to ask why. Then you do not deserve to draw breath.” She kicked the head away…

From behind the throne a lone figure stepped forth, clad in weathered leather armor and hard worn practical travelling clothes, looking vastly different from usual, his head shaved, his goatee shaved. Gone was his normal garb, the traitor stepped forth before the royal children and made himself known…


Anne Harrison 24.02.17


Part 32

Alone in the night…

Pepe was not there when Alleia returned to their lavish quarters, he had mentioned an evening engagement and she assumed it was with one of his male companions. Not that it bothered Alleia, she felt dreadfully hormonal and her little one was wriggling playfully. So she curled up, wearing Kane’s uniform,  unable to eat, unable to sleep,  restless and forlorn.

Absently she plunged her hands deep into the jacket pockets and found items forgotten therein.  Curious,  she sat up and pulled out the contents upon the sheets before her…

Discovering a tobacco pouch and tinderbox,  a few coins, a handful of scrap parchment and three new arrow heads wrapped in oiled leather…

Unfolding the parchment Alleia discovered basic child-like attempts of writing, scribbled practiced alphabet and short simple words – Cat – Dog – Rock – Man – Kane …  He had been trying to teach himself to write.

However,  turning the parchment over, she uncovered a collection of sketches,  charcoal and chalk. The hand drawn pictures were breathtaking, each one her portrait. They must have been drawn from memory,  yet each one was so finely detailed, a mole on her throat,  freckles, curved smile line,  single nose ring. All tiny features carefully recalled.

An older,  dog eared parchment was jumbled in with the rest,  yet this portrait was not of Alleia… She frowned, a lock of hair tumbled free, a shot of jealousy cut through her core… His pictures clearly indicated an unspoken affection,  yet her own reaction to the mysterious girl caused Alleia to question her own emotions…

It took a while to identify the last sketch and her jealousy subsidised as she realised the image as ‘The Child of Prophecy’… A gasp escaped her lips as she clutched the hair, realising that the blonde Curls must have once belonged to the most magical creature ever to have graced the land…  Deep within her own womb, her unborn fluttered and twitched…

“You cunning bastard Kane…”  Alleia mused to herself,  carefully tucking the hair and sketch away…
Anne Harrison 21.02.17

University Final Assignment


By A.M. Harrison

A Modern Prose Fairy Tale
Presented in Eight Acts

Act 1 ~ Islington

Once upon a time (for that really is the best way to start such a tale) there lived a little girl called Casey who lived in Islington. On a dark and gloomy night Casey fled the first floor flat where she lived with her parents and a dog called bingo. She wept as she tip-toed down old stairs, though her footfalls would not have been heard over the shouting

Rain fell in a slow lazy drizzle as she turned into Story Street past the Clockwork Pharmacy on the corner, where a fruit and veg stall stood during the day. Onto Caledonian Road right past the Library then on Bridgeman Road on through the grounds of St. Andrews Church to the gates of Barnsbury Wood. Casey passed not a single living soul in her flight and she paused by the noticeboard, old posters had decayed in their plastic wallets into a puddle of paper pulp, unreadable and neglected.

Barnsbury Wood was an urban nature reserve frequented by dog walkers and dog shit. Past a pile of discarded bricks, past old blue plastic sandbags Casey passed through the unlocked gates and into the darkness alone. This was where she came to hide from the eternal conflict between her parents, she knew the way to her favourite bench easily, but she had never ventured into the wood so late at night before and the trees emitted an eerie calm in the pale moonlight, which was just barely visible through the thick clouds.

It was the kind of fine drizzle that drenched clothes swiftly, her hair was plastered to the side of her face and her tears were lost in the rain. Casey buried her head in her hands and sobbed until her forehead hurt, by then the rain had ceased to fall, the clouds had parted revealing a bright round full moon, which illuminated the wood in delicate silver light. A puddle of mud captured her attention, it held within its murky surface a perfect reflection of the moon in all its splendour and Casey was enthralled by the image.

The haunting silver light was mesmerising and calming after her earlier distress, Casey stood soggy and trembling as a bitter breeze nipped at her ankles, as she approached, the puddle it appeared impossibly larger than the footpath, the shimmering moon calling to Casey enticing her to follow. Her toes touched the edge of the water yet no ripples spread out across the water’s surface to distort the reflection of the moon.


Act 2 ~ The Moon Pool

            Curious Casey took another step closer, suddenly finding herself ankle deep in what she initially thought was a shallow puddle, instead a pool now stretched out wide before her, right across the path and vanishing into the shadows of low hanging shrubberies. Another step took her up to her knees, though by now she no longer felt the cold and was still drawn to the still image of the mirrored moon. Casey walked deeper into the water, without looking back, until compelled to lift her feet from the ground and plunge into the vivid reflection of the beautiful bright full moon.

Coming up for breath Casey laughed to herself at the utter ridiculousness of the whole experience, it felt good to laugh and Casey simply concluded that this was nothing more than a humble dream. Stepping out of the water at the far side of the moon pool her clothes were warm and dry. Casey felt an odd sort of contentment, an unfamiliar sensation for the lonely little girl, she decided this was her happy safe place and had no desire to wake up just yet.

Kicking off her old trainers, Casey walked barefoot through the thick carpet of blue tipped grass, crickets sang in the undergrowth and somewhere hiding in low hanging branches an owl hooted, his call sounding just a little like her name ‘CASEOOOOOOOOOOOO… CASEOOOOOOOOOOOO’… and just a little Scottish. Casey giggled again, amused at the thought of an owl with a Scottish accent.

This really was a most peaceful realm, yet oddly surreal, there was no moon in the sky, only in the moon pool behind her and colours were muted and mixed up, like the blue grass and purple apples. A family of hedgehogs crossed her path, these were black and white, like zebras, they marched in a uniform line, a tiny one fell behind and Casey watched as one of the adult Zebhogs scurried back to usher the last one along. “Thank You kind little girl.” The Zebhog said politely once all the tiny babies had plopped off the grassy path and into the thick undergrowth. What a pleasant place this is indeed, Casey smiled, wondering deeper into her safe little world.


Act 3 ~ Bun-Nips and Broc

The next creatures Casey encountered were a flock of pastel coloured bunnies with shimmering wings, which appeared far too delicate to support their rounded fluffy bodies; they fluttered together chattering and gossiping like old ladies.

“Excuse me?” Casey felt amused by addressing bunnies. “But I appear to be lost and don’t know the way.” A rather plump little yellow bunny landed near Casey and stood up on the hind legs to regard the little girl.

“Well, where are you going?” The Bun-Nip asked.

“I don’t know? I mean I don’t even know where I am?” Casey replied, scratching her head. The Bun-Nips hovered around her, all mute shades of beautiful pale colours, leaving twinkling glittery trails in their wake.

“No wonder you are lost!”

“What is it?”

“A lost little girl.”


“Does not know where she is.”

“Lost girl, lost girl.”

The Bun-Nips chattered between themselves hopping and flying.

“She should ask Broc.”

“Yes Broc!”

“Broc would know.”


“Yes Broc, Broc is a rock.”

“He lives under a signpost.”

“Yes Broc.”

“Broc the rock lives under the signpost for Yonder Mountain.”

“Ask Broc the rock the way to go!”

“Okay…” Casey followed their directions as the Bun-Nips scattered and flutter-hopped away. This was most unlike any dream she had had before and all her tears were forgotten. Arriving at the crossroads Casey found the signpost which only pointed in one direction, however, there were many rocks at the base of the post and Casey did not know how to tell which rock was Broc.

“Hello Rocks?” Casey called out in a chirpy tone, not exactly sure what to expect. The rocks jiggled and rolled around with a chorus of greetings.

“Which rock is Broc?” Casey knelt upon the grass watching the stones dance and chatter, then a single rock wobbled forth.

“How can Broc help a human child?” he asked, though he had no mouth.

“The Bun-Nips sent me to ask you…” Casey paused “Ohhh!” Suddenly they were plunged into a chilly shadow as a great blimp blocked out the dawn sun, the roar of its steam churning pistons drowned out their conversation as a lone figure descended upon a rope ladder.


Act 4 ~ Marshall James Bentley

“Marshall James Bentley, at your service young lady.” The airship captain bowed low in a formal greeting, whipping his hat from his head in an exaggerated gesture.

Casey blinked in started wonderment at the curious character that greeted her.

Broc cleared his throat *ahem*

“Ohh… Casey Jones, Sir, Captain, um, Marshall?” Casey made her very best attempt to curtsey.

“It is a pleasure to meet you Casey Jones.” Marshall replied and lightly kissed the back of her hand. His nose was cold, his whiskers tickled her wrist.

Broc chuckled at Casey’s bewilderment. For stood before her, clad in a mix match of costumes Casey found herself face to face with a human sized fox. That is, Marshall appeared to be human with a foxes head. However, Casey also noted a very bushy fox’s tail, which wagged lazily.

“Young Casey is lost.” Broc interjected on her behalf as Casey was still at a loss for words.

Marshall appeared for all intents and purpose to resemble a pirate-musketeer-pilot in dress, with red velvet trousers and high boots, a dress jacket, braided and buttoned down the chest, his hat was huge, wide brimmed with exotic feathers and a pair of aviator goggles hung around his neck.

“Well then.” Marshall knelt to Casey’s height. “The best way not to be lost is to find out where you are going and go there, then you have found where you need to be and hence no longer lost.”

He smiled, his whiskers twitched. Casey wondered if he was furry all over.

“How do I know where I want to be?” She asked.

“Well this sign points towards Yonder Mountain and at the foot of Yonder Mountain is the hamlet of Kirktop heights.”

“I’m from Islington.”

“North Longon?


“Ahhhhhh… You came through the Moon Pool, we will need to see the Kings Mage, Hubert. She knows Longon!”

“London.” Casey chuckled.

“Now we have someone to meet and somewhere to go and something to do. Do you feel less lost now we have a purpose?”

“Yes very much so.

“Then we should go, fulfil our purpose and continue our adventure!”

Casey knelt and planted a soft kiss upon Broc’s smooth surface.

“Thank you for helping me Broc the rock.” Broc rolled

around and uttered *Shucks* if a rock could blush he did.

“Which way Sir? Captain? Marshall?”

“Why up of course young Casey!” He held one arm out for her, his other hand gripped the rope ladder which dangled from the airship. Casey stepped into his grip and with a strong tug the ladder was hoisted up with them both to where The Golden Raven airship waited.


Act 5 ~ A Royal Mission

The airship sailed noisily spewing steam  through a green tinged sky, with caramel clouds, smoke pooled forth in their wake creating little rainbow puffs as they travelled towards a singular monstrous mountain.

“That is Yonder Mountain…” Marshall gestured. “…And there at the base, Kirktop Heights.” He pointed out the city at the foot of the mountain. King Aston Darkfire rules here and it is King’s Mage, Hubert, which we need to see about the Moon Pool.”

Marshall James Bentley brought his airship The Golden Raven to a soft bumpy landing and a splutter of soot, in a meadow of multi-coloured flowers and a lone scarecrow, who waved and hopped merrily on his pole leg.

A short stroll from the meadow brought them to Kirktop Heights. A ramshackle sprawling city of twisting path ways and crooked houses which arched over the narrow streets, near touching at the rafters, the buildings were brightly coloured and beautiful. As they approached the whole place felt alive and buzzing with excitement, as though every resident had taken to the streets and were all full of nervous anticipation. Casey watched wide eyed as she passed a vast array of bizarre and unique creatures. Men with horse’s heads, ladybugs the size of cats and a street vendor made up from a Russian doll, who popped within herself and split apart again to serve numerous customers after the coloured silks woven from spiders webs. Casey clung to Marshall’s paw as they headed deeper into the crowd.

“Something is amiss.” He said, whiskers twitching.

“Ohh!” A round faced rag doll stepped into their path.

“A HUMAN! A HUMAN!” The doll shouted, drawing the attention of those nearby and a couple of sharp witted city guards.

“A human girl, she can help us, yes she can, yes she can!” The doll chipped excitedly as the guards surrounded the pair.

“What is going on?” Marshall drew Casey closer into his arms, protecting her, Casey felt her heart beating wildly, frightened and nervous.

“Our Queen is missing.” A pit-bull headed guard said with such sadness in his voice that Casey’s fear dissolved. She placed a hand upon the guards paw.

“Is she lost in my world?” Her tone was gentle.

He nodded “Will you help? The King is beside himself with panic.”

Casey looked up at Marshall, who offered her a slight nod of his head in approval.

“Of course I will help!” Casey smiled and the rag doll clasped her hands in glee.

They were given a royal escort to the palace, which was stunning, carved from a single giant shell. Yet the usual hustle and bustle was silenced in hushed concern, rumours of a human child had spread through Kirktop heights swiftly and the King himself forged all formal traditions and engaged Casey in the courtyard upon her arrival.

“My dear child. Is it true?” He breathed. “Will you help me find my beloved wife?”

Casey looked up at the distraught King, he cradled a stag beetle as a parent would nurse a babe, and his eyes were full of sorrow.

“Help me and I shall grant you anything you wish within my power!” He vowed, the beetle gurgled and grizzled.

Casey curtsied, again badly, and nodded. “Yes, I will help you Sire.”


Act 6 ~ The Queen in the Industrial Estate        

Hubert, the Kings Mage. A fearsome some looking woman with an impressive yellow beard, wearing a tiger patterned onesie. Had given Casey a magical light bulb, which would glow when it was held towards the direction of the lost Queen. Somewhere in Islington was a lost Fae Queen and only Casey held the magic light bulb, for only Casey knew Islington and had been through the moon pool. “We can take The Golden Raven.” Marshall offered, “She is swift for an airship and could be mistaken for a balloon if we are spotted. Casey nodded, watching the light bulb closely for any glimmer of light. Somehow it felt more surreal to be floating above the rooftops of Islington than it did walking through the streets of Kirktop Heights. Casey felt more lost for being at home but felt safer on board the airship with Marshall than she would have upon the ground. They glided silently over the Barnsbury Wood and Casey turned very slowly staring at the light bulb intensely for any inner shimmer. As they sailed low towards the railway track, near Roman Way Industrial estate, the light bulb flickered into life and glowed brightly.

“You look nervous Casey.” Marshall frowned with concern.

“I don’t like the industrial estate, bad things happened there, it was in the news, some girls got hurt. My mum always told me to keep clear of the place, that it wasn’t safe.” Casey felt tears well up as she spoke about her mother, it felt like a whole lifetime ago since she had left home that gloomy night. The light bulb suddenly flashed brightly, alerting them both.

“You don’t have to go.” Marshall placed a paw upon her shoulder, his nose wrinkled as he caught the scent of something in the air. “Not if it’s a bad place, you can stay here on board The Golden Raven. You know you will be safe here.”

The light bulb blinked, Marshall turned in the same direction, his keen fox like senses catching something Casey could not discern.

“What is it?” She asked, holding his paw, feeling safer, braver…

“I can sense my kin.” Marshall replied and turned to face the frightened little girl. “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to, I’m not forcing you to come with me.”

Casey smiled and kissed the end of his pointed nose, causing his whiskers to twitch. “It’s ok, I’m ok, I have you with me don’t I? And we have a Queen to rescue!”


Act 7 ~ The Return to the moon Pool

 Although they did not see anyone upon their travels both Marshall and Casey held a daunting feeling of foreboding as The Golden Raven glided silently, for a change, over the Roman Way industrial estate.

The magic light bulb blinked and sparked as they grew nearer to the lost Queen, but it’s inner flame was starting to fade and Casey feared for the welfare of the Queen they sought the personification of innocence a purity to her people at Kirktop Heights, where an anxious King awaited her return. Casey held her chin high in brave resolve determined to succeed in her royal mission.

Suddenly the light bulb flared into life, a strong golden light! “There!” Casey pointed towards a pile of broken pallets near a rusty yellow skip. Marshall brought The Golden Raven in low over the jumble and lowered the rope ladder, Casey carefully climbed down and trapped between the skip and a damp brick wall was a small delicate figure sobbing forlornly. Casey squeezed into the little gap to comfort the frail creature, in ruined finery, tousled hair and grimy face, she looked up.

“I’m Casey Jones, I’m here to rescue you.” She held a hand out. The Queen blinked wide eyed, too nervous to move. “I’m here to take you home.” Casey spoke softly .Gingerly the lost timid Queen crept forwards and reached out to grasp Casey’s hand. The flood of relief with emanated from the Fae nearly crippled Casey with tears, but the little girl remained brave and cradled the tiny lady in her arms returning to Marshall.

“Let’s get her home.” Marshall carried them both to the deck of The Golden Raven and sailed away from the wretched place.

The King was overwhelmed to be reunited with his wife, holding her lovingly in his arms. The city folk of Kirktop Heights were already celebrating the safe return of their beautiful Queen. Casey and Marshall were heroes throughout the tiny nation, though neither of them accepted any reward. By now Casey was tired and emotional by the whole adventure and even though the partying and rejoicing flowed late into the night. Casey quietly took herself away from the hustle and bustle to admire the golden clouds of the moonless sky.

The absence of the moon served to remind her of the journey into this weird and wonderful land, through the moon pool.

“Would you like to go home?” Marshall stepped up to her side, his tail wagging happily as he greeted his friend, Casey simply nodded. So hand in paw Marshall guided her back to the mysterious moon pool and the path that would lead her home, back to Barnsbury Wood, back to Islington, back home.

“Don’t you want to leave?” Marshall asked as Casey paused at the edge of the water.


Act 8 ~ Hobnobs and Hot Chocolate

            “Mrs Jones?” The Doctor approached the anxious couple, yet only addressed the mother.

“I’m afraid your daughter is totally unresponsive, her physical injuries are healing slowly, however the mental trauma has…”

“That’s enough please.” Mrs Jones swallowed hard. She had refused to read the police report and leaned heavily against her husband.

“May I see her?” She asked, without looking at either men.

“Yes, yes of cause, maybe if you spoke to her, your voice could reach her, help her recover.”

Mrs Jones nodded and approached the side room just off from the main ward, the men continued their conversation in the hallway, but she wasn’t listening. Her husband had read the police report, she had never seen him sob so deeply.

Pulling up a chair, Mrs Jones sat by her daughter and carefully cradled a hand in hers.

“I hope you can hear me Casey.” She tried to keep her voice from breaking. “I promise, we shall never fight again, never drive you away again. I love you, we love you.”

She cried. It was a lame promise, too little too late.

“Please wake up Casey, I promise to make you your favorite treat each night. Hobnobs and Hot Chocolate.”

…and they all lived happily ever after?