From, Oh Little town of Brothelingham: Book IV of the Mining of Lif fantasy series.
A post apocalyptic earth sees humans eventually doing all those things they were so good at the first time around, most notably war and religion, and history does like to repeat itself.
After throwing off the shackles of the despotic Church of the One God, the country of Judysear, now ruled by a Queen called Lizbeth, is facing its biggest crisis yet: the queen’s cousin is apparently being held hostage by the evil railway baron, Infidel Castrol and his dastardly nephew, Shane Guava.
Furthermore….news has just arrived of the birth of a supposedly magical kid, born in a saloon in the wild west-like town of Brothelingham: the same town Infidel Castrol is planning on running his railway line through.
Queen Lizbeth has to mount a rescue. Time is running out (cue desperate music) and the train is coming…
Extract from the current Judysear dictionary: Unexpurgated version.
A Royally appointed legislative body.
From old Frinch- Parleymenthe Parley (to talk) Menthe (mint)
The Parleymenthe: An herb with small, light green oval-shaped leaves said to induce hallucinogenic effects when chewed, causing an outpouring of verbose diatribe, often rendering the speaker unintelligible.
Richard Little quietly closed the door as he backpedaled from the room, bowing and scraping.
The queen smoothed out the folds of her frilly dress, and looked down the long table at the array of serious-looking faces.
She sighed and shook her head.
‘What is to be done? she said, adding, ‘When will that woman ever learn?’
‘Not right; women getting involved with the affairs of men. Saving your presence, Marm,’ said the person sitting to the queen’s right.
‘In my experience, Sir Hapenny, it is mostly women who are involved with the affairs of men. And usually at the most intimate level,’ the queen replied.
This caused several brows to knit in consternation as the ‘knitters’ attempted to negotiate the irony. A few cases of cheek- reddening suggested one or two members had caught on.
Sir Hapenny cleared his throat of a non-existent blockage.
‘Sorry, Marm. I meant…’ he began but was interrupted.
‘I know what you meant, Sir Hapenny,’ the queen’s tone was weary. ‘But the question remains: what is to be done?’
There were a few moments introspection and when nobody offered anything meaningful to the problem of how to go about rescuing her cousin from the evil clutches of the railroad company, Queen Lizbeth sighed and changed tack. She had already decided what she was going to do in any case and this tiresome meeting was merely for the sake of form.
‘How is the mood of the people, Sir Protest?’
‘According to the missus, restless, Marm. Very restless,’ replied Sir Walter Protest, a former *plorer who, on one of his adventures, had discovered, and brought back the chip.
‘So why are the people restless, Sir Protest? They’re not hungry again, are they? The kitchen-staff flatly refuse to bake any more cake. I hope this doesn’t turn into a revolt,’ the queen said.
‘No, Marm. I don’t think the people are revolting.’ He paused and thought about this for a moment. ‘Well… No, it’s nothing like that. It’s about the news from overseas, Marm. Concerns some kid. S’possed t’ be a saviour, according to the missus.’
‘Save yer? Save yer what?’
‘Begging your pardon, Marm. That’s sav-i-our,’ Protest explained, enunciating the syllables.
‘Aaah, I see,’ Lizbeth nodded. ‘Silly me,’ she laughed. ‘And what is this child supposedly the saviour of?’
‘Don’t rightly know, Marm. More’n likely he’ll turn out to be another minor deity, like all the rest.’
‘Really? I did not realise all foreign gods were children.’
‘No, Marm. I mean lesser. It’s probably the god of soiled nappies or something.’
Although not a mother, Lizbeth had changed plenty of nappies in her pre-queening days. She came from a large family and had lots of younger siblings.
‘Sounds like a sensible god to me. Better if the child was god of disposable nappies though.’
Protest smiled. Yes, that would be a good god to have around. He’d had a few tries at changing nappies on his own children when they were babies but never got the hang of the pins. His first-born occasionally looked as if he had undergone acupuncture.
‘Something else the foreigners can add to their pantheon,’ Protest explained wearily.
*plorer – and adventurer who returned home; whereas an ex-plorer did not. Obvious really.
Copyright© Douglas Pearce 2013