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From the Waters of the West I Come

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by RedPiggy, Jul 9, 2012.

  1. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    *is stuck* Thank you for your patience. Haven't quite decided how I want the McMooch arc to end yet.
  2. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Hmm, I gots nothing... Except that I always wondered about the potential family connection when you had Marjory whisked to safety in Grouchland at the end of Comeback Saga's first arc. Perhaps that could serve as a third arc here, after the one with Candlewick? Maybe there can be something that happens to end the Moraine plague that leads to Wander's naming?
    Just some suggestions. Feel free to use or shoot them down. :busy:
  3. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    Chapter 9

    Mrs. McMooch sniffed at the lake and shook her head. “Ain’t from us, it ain’t.”

    “You are accusing fae?” asked Mizumi, who held the hem of her dress high, a scowl on her face.

    The toad nodded. “Superior folk don’t know nothin’ ‘bout the world, Princess. Evidence o’ that aplenty, you are.” She pointed to the castle. “All the most beautiful things wash into ugly. How you think you stay so pretty? You bathe, you go to the bathroom … all that ugly goes somewhere, Princess.

    Mizumi stared at the water. At the top of the waterfalls, high above them, the water was sparkling white. By the time the water washed over the boulders resting in the lake, there were definite grays and greens and such. “The water must be cleansed, then,” she noted solemnly. “I wonder … what kind of magic spell to use?”

    Mrs. McMooch scoffed. “You could move.”

    Mizumi glanced at her dryly. “The river feeds the lake, toad.”

    “And brings all the dirt from a thousand countrysides with it, Yer Majesty.”

    Mizumi chuckled and nodded once. “Indeed. Have you ideas? If we were to move, you’d have no economic partnership.”

    Mrs. McMooch smiled. “Indeed, Princess.” She glanced around. “Choke the water with plants, I think. Natural filters, they. Start at the top an’ go all th’ way down.”

    Mizumi nodded. “Agreed. Though the kingdom is surrounded by little else but grasses. Would that work?”

    The toad stroked her chin. “Hmmm.” She snapped her thin fingers. “I know just the place, Yer Highness. Far off into th’ distance, a land of magic and giant flowers an’ such. Unspoiled lands ripe for th’ takin’.”

    Mizumi smiled. “Together, then.” She snapped her fingers and a giant clam shell surrounded by writhing eels rose from the lake and slithered onto the land.
  4. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Hmm... Think I know where they're headed, but I want to wait to read it.
    Clever sneaking in a line from Dance Magic.
    Also, choke the water out... Taking advice from the Dodo now are you? ;) The next thing you'll need is... A lizard with a ladder.
    *Likes the image of the clamshell carriage with fitted writhing eels.

    Thanks for posting more of this interesting tale.
  5. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    Chapter 10

    Mizumi’s eyes grew heavier. “How far away is this beautiful, unspoiled land with plants to save the Kingdom of Moraine?” she asked drowsily.

    Mrs. McMooch leaned forward, her eyes glued to the far-off horizon. “Nobody knows, Princess. Just gotta go out and get there when you do.”

    Mizumi finally nodded off, the long trip taking its toll.

    Mizumi fancied herself a little girl, frolicking in waist-deep grasses near sparkling rivers with giant flowers blooming in a large meadow that would take nearly half a day to traverse in its entirety. She sang and danced and placed silvery ribbons on a large rocky pillar, noting with some curiosity a large hole at the bottom filled with rocks, as though a long-dried up river had deposited its wares down this hole and finally disappeared.

    “Ya gotta wake up, Majesty,” the croaking toad told her, jarring Mizumi awake.

    Mizumi’s eyes opened. Stretching, she yawned. “Are we there?”

    Mrs. McMooch nodded toward the front of the clam shell carriage. “Got problems, we do. Just look around,” she hissed, her eyes squinting.

    Mizumi scanned the area, only to find a throng of small green-skinned female creatures, their chubby faces half-hidden by short scraggly pale hair and their backs hunched over from years of hard toil.

    The Heir to the Cup frowned. “Goblins,” she whispered in irritation. Mizumi stopped the carriage and stood. “I am Mizumi, Future Cup to the Kingdom of Moraine. Begone, goblins.”

    One of the female goblins stepped forward, digging in the pockets of a worn brown robe. “Begone yerself,” she retorted, a dark glint in her eye. “Day in, day out, goblins scrape livings and have no home. Gotta carry all you got on yer back. Gotta keep faes and trolls an’ dragons from taking all you got on yer back. Everyone loathes goblins but no one helps goblins.”

    Another goblin piped up, raising an index finger, “Aside from that one, o’ course.”

    The first goblin nodded. “Yes, there is one ‘round here who gets business done, gives goblins good things to carry on yer backs. Collector, she is. Keeps goblins livin’ with only a golden leaf for payment.

    Mrs. McMooch’s eyes perked open. “Golden leaves?”

    The goblin nodded, showing them a rumpled golden leaf. It looked to be not simply yellow, as though autumn was present, but was literally golden. “Give her this an’ she gives you good things. We call ourselves the Junk Ladies, a group specializin’ in trade and good things. Gotta do somethin’ to pass the time when all you got is on yer back.”

    Mrs. McMooch stood and held out her hand. “Give us this leaf. We want good things, too.”

    The goblin scoffed and turned her back on the toad. “Find a leaf yerself, ya warty toad. Get yer own good things!” With that, the throng turned and headed toward the horizon.

    Mrs. McMooch slumped back in her seat, crossing her arms and hunched over. “Blasted goblins, only thinkin’ o’ themselves. Got our own problems, but the flesh-eating sores o’ society can’t lift their grubby lil’ fingers.”

    Mizumi sighed and rubbed her temples. “Can you trust those creatures with anything?” She glanced at the toad and smiled, holding out her hand and gazing as mist rose from her hand and formed a pale yellow leaf.

    Mrs. McMooch smiled.
  6. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    Chapter 11

    Various gray boulders, covered in slime, formed a crude wall around a run-down shack made of mudbricks. A bright yellow furry creature with a black unibrow and a broad face dug his fingers through a pail of mush, with multitudes of worms of various colors writhing out onto the ground below.

    The creature’s large white eyes glanced over at the two visitors as they stood, gaping. “Away with ya,” a gravelly male voice grumbled.

    Mrs. McMooch hopped high atop the boulders and squatted down, grunting as she did so. “Hello yerself, ya filthy grouch,” she retorted.

    “Hmph, not nearly enough, mind you,” he groused. He picked at his fur. “Look at this bright yellow fur. Been hopin’ that one’d give me what I asked for, but all she cares about is her stupid nirvana collection.”

    Mizumi approached and bowed her head. “Would this collection involve golden leaves?”

    The grouch harrumphed. “I said she had a nirvana collection, didn’t I? Now – away with ya! Ya made me lose count!”

    Mizumi closed McMooch’s mouth before she could shoot back an angry and most likely vile reply. “Forgive our rude intrusion, but --.”

    But nothin’! Maybe you don’t hear so good! Away with ya!”

    McMooch threw aside Mizumi’s hand and in a flash she was on top of the bright yellow grouch, pushing him into the muck, his fur oozing with filth until he was a mottled brown. “Filthy enough now, ya fink! Take us ta this here girly with the pretty leaf collection or I fill my offspring full o’ fine young worms!”

    The grouch’s eyes grew wider as he spat out mud. “Alright, alright! Get yer slimy paws off me!” After the toad jumped off he stood, smiling as he inspected his mud-covered fur. “Heheh, maybe I shoulda gotten a toad instead o’ the dainty nuttin’.” He glanced at Mizumi and shrugged. “Ain’t nobody seen yer girl, no how.”

    Mrs. McMooch bristled. “Of all the low-down --.”

    “Don’t get yer robes in a bunch, ya fat frog,” the grouch replied, making sure to step between the toad and the large pile of writhing worms behind him. He glanced again at Mizumi. “You ain’t interested in that stuff anyhow.”

    Mizumi frowned. “We have heard it said she will not see anyone without this leaf.”

    “Oh, she’ll see ya, but she ain’t interested in keepin’ ya around if ya don’t,” he told her. “The stuff tends to be more trouble than it’s worth anyway. Only idiots with lots of time on their hands go for the nirvana leaves, ‘cause they make ya see things in a whole new point of view.” He chuckled. “Heard it caused a ruckus long ago in a nearby meadow, past the river that separates it from Fetid Swamp. A coupla humans apparently got their little primate hands on it and ain’t no human alive been allowed back there since.”

    “Is this the same garden with fruits of immortality?” Mizumi asked.

    The grouch shrugged. “Got those fruits everywhere, all across the world. Ain’t nuthin’ new. Got Greek an’ Chinese cousins alone who know a guy who knows a guy who sells the stuff.”

    Mizumi sighed and shook her head. “Is this female with the nirvana leaf collection your ruler? I am the Future Cup of Moraine and I request a diplomatic engagement.”

    The grouch chuckled. “Don’t think she goes that way, if ya don’t mind me sayin’, Yer Majesty.”

    Mrs. McMooch rolled up her sleeves. “Then how do we get to that special garden past the swamp? Don’t tell me I gotta get ya in the mud again.”

    The grouch grinned and grabbed her hands forcefully. “Don’t go gettin’ me all dirty unless ya missed a spot, darlin’,” he told her, kissing her on the cheek, forcing her to yank herself away, retchin. He chuckled and turned to Mizumi. “I’m just a poor worm farmer, Queenie. Ya ask yourself one thing: is it better to head on over to the depths of this trashy kingdom, or is it better to risk gettin’ squashed by giant hairy beasts past the swamp?”

    Mizumi frowned. “Now we contend with Gorgs? Is that it?”

    The grouch shrugged. “Maybe, maybe not. I’m just a poor worm farmer. Last I heard, a coupla o’ them stomped through that area ‘bout a hundred years or so ago, but no one’s heard from ‘em since. Keep to themselves, lately, Gorgs do. Been havin’ run-ins with warring humans out and about. Numbers are dwindlin’ something fierce. Only good thing about humans is the amount of trash they make.”

    “So this area is currently uninhabited,” Mizumi thought aloud.

    The grouch shrugged again. “Like I said, ya take your chances. No tellin’ what you find in a place where you’re not wanted.”

    “Apparently, I find grouches,” Mizumi retorted dryly.

    He chuckled. “Away with ya both ‘fore you upset my worms. Head towards sunset and past three days ya muck through Fetid Swamp. There’s a giant river there, crystal clear. That’s how ya know you got the place you want on the other side. Me? I wouldn’t bother. Ain’t got nothing you need no how.”

    “It has plants that can save my kingdom,” Mizumi told him.

    The grouch sighed and looked away wistfully. “You should just toss it, Princess.”

    “How dare you?”

    The grouch met her angry gaze with a determined glare of his own. “’Round here, anything tossed soon comes back, Princess. Lose somethin’ and it gets found. Only way to keep some things is to throw them clear away.” He shrugged. “Who knows? Might come back better’n how ya left it.”

    As Mizumi and Mrs. McMooch grumbled and headed back toward the carriage, a brown-robed figure towered over the grouch, making him shudder involuntarily. The grouch looked up and trembled, his black pupils shrinking to tiny points in his giant white eyes. “I – I swear, Yer Majesty – I didn’t tell them where she was! They ain’t got no nirvana leaves! She wouldn’t --.” He saw a rotten apple on the ground and instinctively picked it up and took a bite, the slimy yellow ooze running down his muddy chin. Stumbling backward, he fell on the pile of worms, his eyes rolling around haphazardly as he fell into a deep slumber, barely perceiving the robed figure disappearing in a flutter of feathers.
    dwmckim likes this.
  7. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    *Smirks widely contentedly with this. So apples were used before arriving on peaches huh? I hear pomegranates have a similar effect. Worm farming... Should we brake out the dipping sauce to go with Mike Nelson's electrifried nightcrawlers? That was some good interaction between Mrs. McMooch and the grouch ancestor. *Chuckles at comparing the Gorg's garden with that one that has the fruits of immortality.

    Thank you for posting, this made me smile.
    muppetfan24/7 and RedPiggy like this.
  8. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    Chapter 12

    The river gurgled past Mizumi and Mrs. McMooch, sparkling in the sunlight and frothing at the edges. It had taken them several days to go around Fetid Swamp, having chosen instead to go around it and find the river that was so pure and clean one could see the smallest pebbles in the bottom, even though it was the source of the swamp’s muckiness.

    Mizumi stared across the river. There were giant boulders that looked almost hewn to a rough rectangular shape, as though some living beings had attempted to build a large stone wall but abandoned it centuries ago. There was a large forest, with trees as big as castles, surrounding a meadow that appeared to be a couple of weeks’ walk if one took one’s time. They could just spot a tall rock pillar with a triangular boulder perched on top, with a pile of boulders resting at the bottom. Wildflowers had blossoms the size of dinner plates. Clusters of wild figs were as big as one’s head. The grass grew to knee-height, while bright red songbirds the size of eagles flew over the canopy near the horizon.

    Mrs. McMooch put a toe in and shuddered. “That carriage of yours float?”

    Mizumi smirked and glanced at the toad dryly. “My dearest McMooch, I am the future Cup of Moraine.” She held out her arm and the waters began to arch up and over and down before hitting the riverbed again. The princess felt her chest tremble with the effort, as she had never tried anything like that before, but was something she had seen her father do once. Pretty soon her arm was aching, the veins pulsing throughout, revealing a whitish-blue blood underneath her skin. “If you are so kind, please cross to the other side before I can hold the waters up no longer,” she told her travelling companion.

    Mrs. McMooch nodded and with ten large hops found herself on the other side, a bit misted though otherwise not terribly soaked.

    Mizumi sighed and grunted and the river came splashing down, inundating them both with water. Mizumi calmly walked atop the river surface to the other side, and began to wring out her dress.

    Mrs. McMooch took off several layers of clothing and shuddered. “Ya couldn’t let it down gently?” she groused. “Us cold-blooded creatures don’t like to be chilled.”

    Mizumi nodded. “I apologize. I appear to have the will but not yet the stamina. Forgive me.”

    “Hmph.”

    After drying themselves satisfactorily, Mizumi and McMooch crossed through a gap in the abandoned stone wall-like structure into the meadow. Both shuddered and gasped as a feeling of over-powering magic washed over them, leaving them dizzy and disoriented.

    Mrs. McMooch grunted. “What is this? What is happening to us?”

    Mizumi braced herself against a boulder, breathing heavily, her head swimming. “Primal magic … at … at work. Ages of untapped … untapped energies … so beautiful!”

    “So head-racking!” Mrs. McMooch complained, holding her head just above her knees.

    Mizumi’s eyes began to water as she cried from sheer joy. This was the purity of life, with no concerns, no troubles, no pain … it was unadulterated bliss. Her cries turned to laughter as she sat on the ground, looking up at the sky. How could her parents have not told her of such a profound place? She clenched the grass in her hands and arched her back, enjoying her newly found ecstasy.

    McMooch slapped her. “We’re here to get some plants and hop back to the lake, Princess,” she reminded Mizumi forcefully. “You gotta snap out of it!”

    Mizumi’s cheeks began to chafe from so many tears. “Mother – I love you so much.”

    McMooch sighed, shook her head, and popped Mizumi in the face with her long tongue, leaving a large red mark.

    Mizumi snapped out of it and rubbed her cheeks, frowning. “What did you do?”

    McMooch squatted and put her hands angrily on her wide hips. “All this sweetness and joy stuff is making you stupid, Princess. Let’s get what we came for and get out before we die of the saccharine.”

    Mizumi struggled to her feet, still reeling from the torrent of power churning through her. They staggered toward the treeline at the southern edge of the meadow, where a giant tree, the trunk of which was several meters across, lay against the ground, its roots above the surface of the ground. Mizumi ran her fingers over the ancient bark, with traces of what looked like orange paint in spots. The branches were bare, scraggly things that looked like a gnarled hand reaching away from them.

    Suddenly Mizumi found herself violently tossed up into the air, her torso restricted as though being clenched with giant hands. Screaming as her torso continued to constrict, she dug her hands into what felt like a hand, feeling the mists twirl around her and enter her body. She found herself falling toward the ground, a sudden relief causing her to breathe heavily until she hit, when she cried out in pain.

    Looking around, Mizumi discovered she could not find Mrs. McMooch, who had apparently left her alone.

    Her mind relaxed, letting the mists she absorbed swirl around in her thoughts. She saw the meadow from a high perspective, perhaps two stories high, the sense of fear making her heart beat faster as memories of armed humans chased it through a swirling light. The meadow suddenly took on a more comfortable proportion, and the humans could not follow. Terror washed over her, though, as she discovered her body was transparent. She ran and ran but could not escape the nightmare.

    As she felt about ready to slump to the ground and cry, she opened her eyes as she felt heavy thudding on the ground, the sounds coming toward her. Mizumi sat up and looked high above her. The air betrayed nothing, but she felt a large presence approaching, a presence filled with apprehension.

    She winced as several large vines started springing up from the ground, thrashing about wildly. Cringing, she felt as water appeared and disappeared around her, as though trying to form a shield but being unable to do so.

    “Getcher veggies!” she could hear Mrs. McMooch scream.

    Mizumi opened her eyes, still battered by giant vines. Mrs. McMooch was throwing strange objects, red and white with tufts of green leaves. The objects bounced off some invisible creature but some disappeared entirely.

    The princess tried to stand, but several of the vines wrapped around her legs and yanked her back to the ground.

    Somebody help me!” she shrieked.

    With a loud pop, the vines burst into a shower of torn leaves, stems and green water. Mizumi coughed and looked around, noticing a black heron flying circles above her. It slowly landed and turned into the King of Moraine.

    “Father!” Mizumi exclaimed.

    Her father glared at her. “You are not to be here, Mizumi. Return to Moraine at once,” he told her sharply.

    Mizumi stood, her gown torn and her hair tangled in plant debris. “There is a monster. It is invisi--.”

    Her father clenched his teeth and glanced behind him, nodding, making Mizumi follow his gaze to find a large furry creature a couple of stories high with dark purple fur. The creature was dazed and sat down with a thud so profound it shook the ground. The King of Moraine shot a dark glance at his daughter. “This outcast creature fled humans who wished to see it dead. Initially petrified by the lack of form, he found himself eventually content to be the invisible hand of protection for this sacred place. You are a fae and confused this creature, who found himself terrified that humans may once again be pursuing him. We shall speak more outside this realm. You will follow, my daughter,” he ordered, snapping his fingers.

    At sunset they sat down by the river, the golden and reddened towns reflected in the churning waters.

    The King of Moraine grabbed Mizumi by her arm, her eyes wincing. “Our kingdom is in danger and you pursue Gorgs?”

    “That was a Gorg?” Mizumi asked.

    He threw her arm down in disgust and turned away, walking towards Mrs. McMooch, who trembled and shrank her proportions in fear. “How can you save the kingdom if you know nothing of it?” he asked, yanking the toad up and clenching her hair in his fist. “This toad’s passion is to destroy faes who live on what she considers her land.”

    “But her son is sick,” Mizumi protested.

    He scoffed. “A necessary sacrifice. See how she does not protest?” He smirked. “She is well aware she could just as easily kill off half her children and still promote her line easily. Meanwhile, we faes are not so prolific. Any loss is a travesty,” he continued, glancing at Mizumi.

    Mizumi sat down, her mouth agape. “This was an assassination?”

    “A nearly successful one,” her father complained. “Still, you are yet alive, and I shall remedy her strategy before the completion of sunset.” He lifted her off the ground and held her head close. “My dear, your sick child is hereby banished.”

    The toad chuckled defiantly. “Go on ahead, banish me. Banish my youngest son. I have hundreds of other children.”

    The King laughed. “I am the Black Heron, the river that gives life to the lake.” He paused, his lips curling. “I eat vermin with the ravenous appetite of a Gorg.” Tossing her aside, he continued, “the McMooch family is no more. Their lives shall forever be inside me. I shall have your parts dissected and left in the castle courtyard. Your son is banished to Fetid Swamp, a wanderer with no home and no prospects.” He turned to his daughter. “Name him, as per toad custom.”

    Mizumi, trembling, glancing back and forth between her father and the treasonous toad. “Wander,” she whispered.

    Her father nodded, smiling. “Wander McMooch shall no know nothing but poverty and destruction.” He grabbed Mrs. McMooch and lifted her resigned form onto his shoulder. “Daughter, you shall walk to Moraine alone. I have neglected your tutoring. You had a simple task, to restore Moraine, but you chose instead to let your female instincts force a pity upon you that was unfounded. The kingdom is pure because the vermin are destroyed. Pity you had not the heart to do what was necessary. That will change.”
  9. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    Chapter 13

    Upon the toads’ last hops,
    The tale came to temporary stop,
    Though more would come to light.

    For now, though, Moraine,
    Risks losing what it gained,
    For crowns never glisten in the night.

    Mizumi trudged into the small plaza, brimming with activity as fae and other creatures bargained for knickknacks and necessities.

    “Wanna buy a new dress?” barked an elderly woman of hefty build, dressed in red with a black shawl draped over her wrinkled head. The woman stared at Mizumi from head to toe. “One hears stromping through the swamps can be murder on the silk.”

    Mizumi shook her head and waved the woman away, walking toward a waterfall so she could return, at last, home to the Castle of Moraine.

    The woman jumped ably over the counter of her small booth and leapt in front of the princess, glaring at the latter with bright yellow eyes. “Royalty gets you a discount, Princess. I’ve got everything you’ve ever wanted, from --.”

    “Your thoughts are appreciated, but unwelcome. Leave me,” Mizumi retorted quietly.

    The woman stared as Mizumi walked away, gritting her teeth. Letting the princess nearly slip away, she loudly proclaimed, “Kyvan knows the hearts of all! Come, my friends, for I seek to enthrall! Kings of the Universe, come and rejoice! Your position is quiet, but I give it voice!”

    Kyvan, the elderly woman, grinned with a sparkle in her yellow eyes as Mizumi stopped and turned, her face flushed.

    “You know of the King of the Universe?” Mizumi queried softly.

    Kyvan smiled, holding out her hand. “I assure you my thoughts are worth their weight in gold.”

    Mizumi frowned. “Gold is for simple creatures.”

    Shrugging, the woman replied, “Too true, but then again, we are all simple creatures in this complex universe.” She chuckled. “The night sky is but a black backdrop with some sparkles in it here and there, but, I assure you, fair Princess Mizumi – more goes on in that idyllic scenery than you can ever behold.” Sighing, the woman continued, “But as you are my first customer today, I shall be quite generous, and give you a sample. Your heart yearns for the King of the Universe, does it not?”

    Mizumi nodded. “Every child in Moraine grows tall under stories of the greatness of that King.”

    Kyvan nodded and placed her aged hand gently on Mizumi’s shoulder. “Indeed. Over ten thousand years ago, the Universe had a king, a marvelous king, who swept through the stars and gave it order and function, as was his right. He created it, that marvelous universe, and so all soon came to admire his raw abilities. They swarmed over him, begging for his power, and he freely gave, for that was what he wanted, to share in his kingdom.”

    Mizumi looked away wistfully. “He then rejected the crown, sending it far away, never to be seen again, though Gorg legend continues to suggest they inherited such awesome power.”

    Kyvan took her hand away, frowning. “An awful business, what children are taught these days. Profound lies spun by ancient members of the Universal Council. They tasted his strengths and desired them and attacked the king from all directions. Despite their numbers he gave as good as he got, but it was too much for him, all the same.” Her face began to redden, fumes almost visible from her ears as she clenched her fists in fury. “They hounded the king across the universe! They dared to call him unworthy!”

    “But the King hid from his pursuers, did he not?” Mizumi asked. “The Underground was formed when the King found a planet filled with violent and primitive creatures and so hid the powerful natives of the world, there and yet not there, like wind on a summer’s day.”

    Kyvan nodded and stood silently for several moments, pondering. Soon she remarked, “Indeed. A lot is owed to one who can crack open reality. Shattering what is allows us to be who we truly are.” She smiled, her eyes twinkling again. “Still, dear Princess of the Cup – the king is like that wind, there and yet not there, waiting for someone who can reveal his true nature.”

    “And what is that?”

    Kyvan laughed and turned away. “Such generosity goes so unnoticed, Princess.”

    Mizumi frowned and crossed her arms. “You expect payment for the rest of the tale?”

    Kyvan shrugged, continuing to look elsewhere with her back to the princess. “An impoverished storyteller feels the creative impulse drain away….”

    “Fine,” Mizumi retorted in a huff. She reached into a pocket. “What do you desire?”

    “Gold is for simple folk,” Kyvan noted with a smirk, turning slowly to meet Mizumi’s gaze.

    “A contract, then.”

    Kyvan raised a single eyebrow. “Ho-ho! An heir with no crown offers what she does not have!”

    Mizumi scoffed. “If you feel I am unworthy, then why did you bother giving me a sample of such pathetic wares?”

    The woman jabbed an angry finger in the air. “Take care, Princess! I am a simple business woman but I am not to be trifled with!”

    Mizumi walked up to the woman and held her by the throat, gradually tightening her grip. “I offer you the air you breathe, cretin!” she hissed. “Obtain the King for me and I give you sustenance for all eternity. Deny my request, humble as it is, and I shall take from you what little you have until the universe forgets you were ever there.”

    Kyvan gasped as she broke free of Mizumi’s grip, rubbing her throat and smiling. “Is this how you defeated the toadess? Do you send chills when you do not get your way?” Laughing, she slapped her knee. “Why, Princess! The Black Heron has taught you well!” Sighing, she continued in a more serious tone. “Princess Mizumi of Moraine, the terms delight, the future’s bright, thus a deal be struck this very night!” Kyvan reached behind her and somehow brought forth a little red book with gold lettering.

    “What is that?”

    “A gift, nothing more,” replied the woman with a smile. “But if you open it, and read it, you’ll find a path open out to you, connecting you to your heart’s desire.”

    Mizumi took the book and skimmed through it. However, she suddenly grabbed the woman’s sleeve. “There is nothing here. The pages are blank!”

    Kyvan nodded. “How quickly you find your precious King of the Universe depends highly on how determined you are to find him!”

    Mizumi backed away and stared at the cover. “An enchanted book….”

    The woman nodded and turned, heading back to her booth. “This one teases you not, like books which give you what can never be, Princess. It is one of three books: the first offers you false futures, the second is a chronicle of the past, and the third, this very book, offers you your heart’s true path. Mind it well, future ruler of the Kingdom of Moraine, for in its pages is thy one and only destiny.”
  10. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Oh... So that little red book's a companion to Moulin's and a third that chronicles the past events. For a moment, I was afraid that it came with a mammoto (SP?) and she'd be bound to the ongoing tournament.

    Glad that the second arc's started... Is excited to read wherever you shoall lead.
  11. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    I've really started to get the hang of my Hensonian theology, LOL. While all the real world religions exist in this world (according to humans), on the flipside, such as the Underground, they have their own traditions and explanations of things. I think I've come up with a nifty Hensonian trinity of sorts with the King of the Universe (how he fits in with the Boss who also exists in my ficverse is something I haven't really delved into yet). As such, the little red book from the movie Labyrinth was turned into part of a trilogy, though we've only seen two of them so far. It's bugged me for years that Sarah enters the Labyrinth and gets surprised so often, yet she's been reading that playbook ad nauseum in the real world and memorized 99% of the lines and she really doesn't understand how this works? That's like being a hardcore Trekkie and not knowing the bridge positions of the Enterprise when you find yourself there. Grrrrr .... LOL.

    The second and final arc is going to be a lot easier to write now that I know how I want Mizumi's quest for the King to play out. Kyvan is a hint of things to come ....
  12. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Hah... No, Sarah's surprise is, and now that I think of it very much like Alice's. At the beginning, when she's daydreaming while one of her sisters (unsure if it's Lorainne Charlotte or Mathilda) is reading her the book without pictures, she starts going off on all the explanations of how her dream world works. And then when she follows the White Rabbit down into the rabbithole she's like "What?!" and "That's nonsense" and "I'm not myself you see."

    Second arc huh. Is this the one with Candlewick?
    Dunno if I said it, but I kind of thought another branch for your fic could be what exactly the family is Marjory has that whisked her to Grouchland/Trash Kingdom at the end of Comeback, Act 1.
  13. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    No, Candlewic and the reason for his story will be in another story altogether. This second arc, the first one being how the McMooch family was exiled to the swamps, deals with Mizumi having to take her place as Queen of Moraine while searching for the King of the Universe.

    I realize that Comeback can rely a lot on implications, but my idea was that the Queen of Trash, who makes trash come alive, is technically Marjory's mother. I think she had an uncle too in one of her songs, but I'm not sure. In essence, the Queen of Trash is the mother and all sentient trash creatures in the kingdom are her family. :)
  14. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Oh, okay, that makes sense in a creator parent figure sort of way.

    Yes, Marjory refered to her Uncle Maqximillian.
    Philo: Maximillian doesn't have a Q in it.
    Marjory: He spelled it with a Q.
    Oddly enough, she thought it was a crossword answer.
  15. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    Chapter 14

    Mizumi sat in the clam-shaped carriage as it rose through the waterfall, flipping through the pages of the book she had been given. Frowning, she tossed it aside. Upon reaching the top of the waterfall, the rotund form of her mother, resting in an ice throne carried by light blue dragons whose nostrils spewed out frosty mist, appeared.

    Mizumi exited the carriage, not forgetting to take the book, and bowed. “The McMooch family --.”

    “Spare me your tales of woe,” retorted her mother curtly. Turning her back on her daughter, she continued, “Follow me and speak only when spoken to.”

    Mizumi nodded sullenly and followed a few steps behind her mother.

    As they traveled, Mizumi’s mother sighed. “Take us to Ydro,” she told the dragons, who bowed accordingly. Peeking behind her, she explained to Mizumi, “You have made the Keeper of the River of Time quite irritable.” Chuckling, she continued, “I have never seen her so upset. Well, there was that one time ….”

    “Mother --.”

    Her mother snapped her fingers and the dragons stopped abruptly, hissing and growling. “Was I not explicit? Your mouth does not open until I give it leave to do so, daughter. You seek the King of the Universe, as does every female from here to Oz, but you are messing with magicks you do not understand. The galaxies quake at his mention.” She shot her daughter a dirty look. “Hand me the text the peddler gave you.” Mizumi did so silently and her mother briefly skimmed it. “I see. How far have you gotten in the text?”

    “There is no text, Mother. The pages are blank.”

    Her mother’s face fell suddenly. There was a long pause and Mizumi grew very uncomfortable. Snapping her fingers, the dragons continued their walk throughout the kingdom.

    At long last they both arrived and entered the room where Ydro was napping. Instantly awakening when the visitors arrived, Ydro coughed and trembled, bowing her head. “Your Majesties.”

    The queen threw the book at Ydro. “Darkness threatens. Our great kingdom is in danger. Provide for me your gentle words of encouragement.”

    Ydro sighed. “I would if words would suffice, dear Queen, but I fear,” she continued, glancing nervously at Mizumi, “the River of Time provides little comfort, for darkness comes from the past, present, and the future.”

    The Queen huffed angrily, snorting. “And who is to blame for such things?”

    Ydro bowed, trembling. “The daughter of Moraine.”

    Mizumi gasped and averted her eyes, her pale cheeks blushing.

    The Queen glared at her daughter. “It is this business of finding the King, isn’t it?”

    Ydro interjected, “The ramfications of the universe’s ablation --.”

    The Queen gasped and jerked her head to face Ydro. “Ablation? What ablation?” she asked in a panic.

    Ydro trembled, whether from fear or age they could not ascertain. “Your Highness, her quest for what she cannot have split the universe asunder.” She lifted a knotty index finger. “However, deep into the mouth of the River of Time, I see an attempt at healing, though it is all for naught, as the waters are swirling into chaos.”

    Mizumi stepped forward, her voice growling. “I have done none of this!”

    Ydro grit her teeth and glared at the princess. “I see you in distant past, in distant future, and in the present – and in all cases, you are the focal point of the swirling waters that threaten to drown the universe.”

    The Queen sighed, shaking her head. “Really, Mizumi – is this king worth so much trouble? Can you not enjoy a simple cup of tea like normal folk?” Tears started welling up in her eyes. “How is it Mizumi cast ablations anyway? Such magic is known only to --.”

    “What is an ablation?” Mizumi blurted out.

    Ydro stood and conjured a sphere of water, which then split into halves and reformed into two separate but identical spheres. “An ablation is a separation, usually of a single characteristic. It is a function long held to be the most dangerous of all powers and the reason the King of the Universe fled from his reign.”

    Mizumi sighed and sat down, rocking gently. “So many tales of the King, but which are true?”

    The Queen sat next to Mizumi, huffing and grunting. “Why seek the King, Heir to the Throne?” she asked in a quiet, almost uncharacteristically compassionate tone. “How can he compare to you?”

    Mizumi stood and turned her back on her mother. “I desire nothing less than everything, Mother. I have been restricted from my potential and I can only experience my totality under his gentle wing.”

    The Queen sighed and stared at the floor. “And yet his wing is not so gentle,” she said, glancing up at Ydro, who nodded.

    Ydro twirled her arms slowly and a watery screen developed in the air between them, with images surfacing as she narrated:

    Deep into the blackness of the earliest skies, amidst the stars barely visible, a group of Ancients, tasked with managing the Universe as created by a singular power of enormous creative potential, searched the stars for those who could take the task of keeping the peace.

    They found simple creatures and bred them until there came about one who was made King of the Universe, as he was the most powerful of all creations. However, as he tried to manage such disparate creatures as Delvians and UrSkeks, he found himself torn amongst the conflicting wishes. Piercing his heart, he created three beings: Humility, Hunger, and Hubris. The universe filled with those who feared this power, realizing such a creature could threaten all of existence. However, Hunger preyed upon the Universe and fear turned against those who held it. Millions suffered and died as a result. For thousands of years terror reigned. Yet Humility and Hubris wanted no part of it and fled across the universe, ending up combining what remained of their powers to fashion a door that split a part of the universe and hid it within the larger picture, which is what we now call the Underground, so that the natives of the world and the citizens of the universe could not find them, for if all three are killed the universe dies. And so it remains to this day. The King of the Universe means nothing but ruin for all.

    Mizumi stared at the images, the color draining from her face and tears flowing from her eyes. “I am to believe I am the cornerstone of all this tragedy?” she whispered.

    The Queen struggled to stand, her face drooping in sadness. “You cannot stay the hand of destiny, but like any river, its banks can be … altered … to suit oneself.” She sighed and looked at the swirling river image flowing around the room. “I was like you, Mizumi. I craved the security of tasting such infinite power.” She glanced at the floor, her lip quivering. “I regret my desires and hope forever I can at least restrain the damage my wishes wrought. I clearly fail in so necessary a task.” She glanced at her daughter pleadingly. “I beg you, my dear Mizumi – forget about the King. Go back to your studies. Command your servants and subjects. Do not seek the weapon already wrenching its way into your heart.”

    Mizumi turned from her mother and faced Ydro. “Why can I trust your assessment of the past?”

    Ydro snarled. “Dare you insinuate my powers of hydromancy are insufficient?” She held out a book. “The past speaks to me in words that stay, Future Cup of Moraine,” she continued with a sneer. “With all three books, what’s left unsaid shall soon be said.”
  16. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    This was a very interesting chapter.

    We get more of a glimpse into the character of Mizumi's mother, how the ice queen became so frosty and how she's not so different from her daughter in some respects.
    Chuckled at the line of how Mizumi fawns over wanting to meet the king of the universe, just like every other female from Moraine to Oz.
    Caught the references to the other "fantasy" races and the creation of the underground realm.
    Hubris is clearly Jareth, despite what Pearl may say... I kind of deduce that means Humility would be Hoggle. So I take it that would that leave Maldiz as Hunger. Which brings us to Ydro's comments of seeing Mizumi as the source of chaos in all three facets of the River of Time's roiling rapids, if those of us reading will remember all the things that have happened in your ficverse.

    Thanks for posting, I enjoy your writings. Now go slay some pyramids. :scary:
  17. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    Yes, I wanted to make Mizumi's mother more interesting, and there's a reason she's so cold and loves her tea, but that's for a later chapter, LOL.

    I really like the ancient histories found in Farscape and I realized I could merge that history rather well. Basically, my concept is that faes or other supernatural human-looking creatures on Earth or in the Underground are basically "rough drafts" of the genetic experiments used by the Eidelons in Farscape around 30,000 years ago. This is why they have powers that appear to be magic to the rest of us. However, eventually the Eidelons decided against such super-powered creatures and wanted something more controllable, and developed the Sebacean race, known later as Peacekeepers.

    I decided I didn't really want to keep the merged universe at the end of Maybe It's Not Too Late After All. However, by preventing that solution, I'm going to be really frustrated trying to fix all the ramifications. Fortunately, the ablation concept can help me, but we'll have to see how well I can make that work.
  18. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    I deeply apologize for the inconvenice of not posting. My keyboard was spouting jibberish so it had to take a trip to Staples. I've been borrowing my mom's computer to post, but since a single chapter can take hours, I haven't felt comfortable doing that to Mom. I think I can get it back tomorrow. *crosses fingers*
  19. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    *Hopes Kelly's keyboard is able to make a full recovery before it can be released from the Staples Hospital.

    Don't worry, we'll still be here to read when you're able to post such wonderful stuff.
  20. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    Chapter 15

    Esker sat near the banks of the lake as the sun rose gently over the horizon, eating frozen fish. A shadow appeared and he smiled, turning and looking up.

    “Milady,” he said.

    Mizumi calmly and sadly sat beside him and leaned against him, catching him off guard and making him choke.

    “Milady?”

    Mizumi sighed. “My father finds me naïve and my mother finds me the cause of the destruction of the universe.”

    He chuckled. “I would take care to listen to your mother.”

    Mizumi shot up, gritting her teeth, her eyes widened and her face flushed. “Were you not listening?”

    Esker stood, tossing the remainder of the fish aside. “Princess, though the news be grim, at least your mother acknowledges your potential.”

    Pacing angrily, clenching her fists, Mizumi ranted, “How can I believe either of them? No matter how hard I studied, no matter how my power grows, I can never be rid of their constant ridicule!”

    “The world of politics, dear Princess,” he retorted, shrugging. “It can be so tiring and petty.”

    Mizumi screamed and took a swing at the air. Further enraged by the ineffectiveness of her own actions, she thrust out her arm and the lake heaved and lurched away from the shore, revealing glistening mud and smooth stones of multiple hues. It took several minutes for the water to rush back into place. Grunting in frustration, she squatted down and sobbed.

    Esker sat beside her, hesitating to drape his arm around her shivering shoulders, but he did. “Milady,” he began softly, “how may I be of service to you? It pains me to see you so frightfully unwell.”

    Mizumi sniffled and laughed, burying her head in her knees. “Can you bestill the universe’s wrath against me?”

    Esker shook his head slowly. “Milady, I cannot stop the universe, but I shall take care to see you survive it.”

    “How?” she uttered bitterly.

    Esker smiled. For several long moments he merely sat there, silent, letting his presence infuse her with his strength. For a brief second, he felt as though perhaps it was literally happening. Caressing her cheek, he nodded. “Milady, you require the strength to face your fears and the knowledge of fear to resist it further,” he continued, trying to hide a frown from his face as he turned away.

    “What does that even mean?” Mizumi asked wearily.

    Esker sighed and held her hand. “You must see with new eyes, my lovely Princess. Take my strength. Take … take,” he stammered, releasing his hold and walking a few paces away, “take your … your mother’s knowledge of fear.”

    Mizumi gasped and stared at Esker in bone-chilling silence.


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