Ragtag Daily Prompt: Corpse

Everyone was assembled, from the guards to the spectators to the judges. The defendant and her lawyers sat at one table facing the judges, while the prosecutors sat nearby at another table facing the same direction. (God forbid that they should face each other!) Tata Sous-sus, whose dumbfounded expression was the source of much merriment at Court, sat hunched over, refusing to make eye contact with anyone. Unobserved, Queen Pirouette sat in the gallery, veiled behind screens.

Only a few days earlier, Tata, the Queen’s closest living relative, had been found guilty of the murder of Lady Greenmeadow. All of these great personages were gathered to witness her obligatory sentence: DEATH. The presiding judge who sat under a large white wig with many curls, cleared his throat and struck his gavel. Behind him, a young valet, dressed in the Queen’s livery, held a curious-looking black cap over the judges head as he spoke.

“We are gathered here today for the sad business of sentencing this unfortunate woman, the lady commonly known as ‘Tata Sous-sus.’ Picking up a document and clearing his throat again, before he could speak, another valet bounded through a side door of the courtroom, ran up the stairs that led to the judges’ seats and thrust a piece of paper in front of him. An audible gasp rippled through the spectators.

“Wha- what’s this?” Stammered the judge, peering through his half-lensed reading spectacles at the note now resting in his hands.

“I’m afraid that I must call for a recess while I consult in chambers with my colleagues. Council for the prosecution and the defense will attend me there.”

As the judges retreated to their chambers, the rest of the courtroom rose to its feet. The room veritably exploded in people shouting into each others’ faces. Tata Sous-sus swooned, and it was only because two of her lawyers grabbed her that she didn’t fall right there on the floor. Looking skyward, Tata murmured, “Thank you, Lord. I thought I was already a corpse.”

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Compass

GarGar, le comte des Deux Chats, sat on his big white stallion. He’s paused because he and his men weren’t quite sure where they were; that is, where they were located. While his Aide de Camp wrestled with a map that seemed to have a thousand folds, GarGar decided to take a bit of refreshment. Reaching into the inner breast pocket of his jacket, le comte extracted a silver flask. Casually taking a long draught, he also trained his eyes on the Aide de Camp.

“You there!” Said GarGar. “How’s it going with that map? Here! Let me take a look at it!” With that, GarGar tucked his flask back into his pocket and simultaneously reached for the map. His Aide, a young man of about twenty years, looked at him as if he had two heads. “My lord!” Was all the poor fellow could think to say.

“Let’s see here,” said GarGar, tucking his chin into his chest, “The trail we are on started going East, then it went North-East. After a bit, it double-backed South-West, and then corrected itself due East, here!” He poked energetically at the map. “Here!”

The Aide shrugged his shoulders. His ability to read a map was hindered by a serious learning disability. In later years, he’d be labelled with words such as “poor impulse control,” “dyslexic,” and “Attention deficient syndrome.” Be that as it may, he did have the presence of mind to pull a compass from his trouser pocket and shove it in the direction of his leader.

“Yes!” Cried GarGar. “Maybe we can tell by what direction we are going now, it will tell us where we are on the map!”

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Celebration

It was the first anniversary of Queen Pirouette’s accession to the throne. Because this day fell so closely to Her Majesty’s birthday, all sorts of festivities were planned. Abigail Hoffenhoff, Pirouette’s First Lady of the Bedchamber, threw herself into the plannings at the sacrifice of both sleep and food. There was so much to do. Where to begin? First and foremost, locations had to be secured. There was the Great Cathedral, the public square, and even the Grand Ballroom of the palace had to be scrubbed clean and staffed with extra personnel. The Queen, whose time and energy were occupied with matters of state, didn’t bother to question any of Abigail’s decisions.

The first and most important event was the holy mass to be said at the beginning of the celebration. Of course, this would be held at the Great Cathedral, but who would be the celebrant? There were many candidates for the job, but the two most likely candidates were the Cardinal and the Queen’s Confessor. The two men, implacable enemies, tried every means in their disposal to convince Lady Abigail to choose them. Their methods diverged. While the Cardinal initiated a whispering campaign against Her Majesty’s Confessor, Pére Joachim, the Confessor himself chose to whisper in Her Majesty’s ear all of his qualifications for this important post.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Rainbow

Rainbow over Hollywood

In a life replete with disappointment, Tata Sous-sus could not recall ever feeling so hopeless. Because her hands had become so shaky, endeavors such as needlepoint seemed futile. Because of her poor eyesight, reading had become a headache-inducing chore. Curtailment of her activities had been loosened up a bit, so she was allowed to walk along the battlements of the North Tower where she was incarcerated. This was her sole relief from the tedium of incarceration.

On this particular day, she and her companion, a woman who simply went by the name Jeanne, had just stepped into the fresh air when Jeanne cried out, “Look! It’s a double rainbow! We don’t see very many of them, now do we?”

Tata felt her heart leap in her chest. To her own amazement, she remembered a verse from the bible: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.(Genesis 9:13)

Rainbow over Washington, DC

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Splendor

From the plaza below her, Queen Pirouette was clearly visible to all. Dressed in a white gown, with little pink ribbons that made a circle around her skirt and festooned her sleeves from shoulder to wrist, she exuded femininity and royalty. On her head, she wore a crown of gold which to the people below resembled a halo. She rose both her arms in greeting, smiling benignly. She was the Queen, in all her glory and splendor.

[Note: Americans spell splendor differently than other countries, just like the word color. We leave out the “u” after that last “o.”]

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Cryptic

Standing in the center of the large room, Tata Sous-sus could feel her entire body shaking. Bleacher seats had been erected against the walls to her left and right. Behind her stood a dozen palace guards. Before her sat three men with tall conical hats that covered their faces, revealing only their eyes and mouths through narrow slits. They sat at a dark wooden table and were elevated at least 5 meters above everybody else in the room. It was, in fact, a makeshift courtroom that had been built on the first floor of the dreaded North Tower, that she might be arraigned for murder charges in the death of the Baroness, Lady Greenmeadow.

The man in the center spot at the table began to speak. To Tata, his words were cryptic, peppered with Latin phrases and punctuated with the words, “whereas,” and “therefore.” Twice the judge asked her, “How do you plead?” But it seemed as if all powers of speech had left her. The third time, the judge fairly shouted, “Madame! How do you plead to these very serious charges?”

“I never hurt anyone in my entire life!” Croaked Tata Sous-sus. “Never! As God is my witness!”

The judge at Tata’s left spoke. Straining her ears, Tata thought she recognized the voice, “Innocent. Record her plea as innocent.”

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Wave

It seemed as if half of the entire court was packed into the room. Granted, it was a large room. Along the entire length of one wall was a bank of glass windows stretching from floor to ceiling, which gave the room an air of being even larger. Two of the windows in the center were actually French doors that opened to a balcony. The balcony itself looked down on a plaza that could hold thousands of people. Indeed, thousands were gathered for a glimpse of their Queen- Queen Pirouette.

In the center of the room stood Queen Pirouette and her soon-to-be husband, GarGar, le comte des Deux Chats. With arms interlocked, they moved slowly towards the balcony. The report of canons from a distant tower announced to the people that their Queen would soon be appearing to give them a wave. It was a ceremony that Pirouette relished because it gave her a true sense of connection with her subjects.

The couple paused before stepping onto the balcony. Their eyes locked. GarGar gave Pirouette a little wink of the eye and said, “Shall we, my dear?” In response, Pirouette kissed GarGar on the cheek. When they emerged, the crowd burst into thunderous applause and cheers. “God save the Queen!” They shouted.