Ragtag Daily Prompt: Halfway

The mayor of the capital sat at the far end of a long table in the guildhall of stonecutters. In his hand he held a brief communiqué from the prime minister. The message was brief. “Restore calm by any means necessary.” It was signed by the minister’s own hand, but bore the royal seal. The wax seal elevated the scrap of paper to the level of a royal edict.

While inside the guildhall, nobody spoke a word, outside the shouts of “GarGar! Pirouette!” were deafening. The demands of the populace were simple. They wanted the Crown Princess and le comte to marry and they wanted the prime minister to leave office immediately. Their mood promised to turn sour if they were forced to wait for any extended period of time.

“What are we to do?” whined one of the aldermen. “The mob is liable to tear us limb from limb if we don’t give them what they want.”

“The day we let criminal mobs run the country, is the day the entire kingdom sinks into oblivion,” replied another alderman.

“We will draw up a decree, in fact make several copies. One will be nailed on the door of the Great Cathedral. The others will be distributed around the city. It will say simply that the royal couple will wed this Sunday and that the prime minister has left the city.” The mayor looked around the table, waiting for a response. Silence prevailed. “Well, who wants to write it?”

“You do it!” Shouted the first alderman. “You seem to have all the answers. May I suggest we start ringing all the church bells in the city so that the people will know that an announcement is coming soon?”

“Good idea,” said the mayor. “If we can get the people to go back to business as usual, then we are halfway to resolving this crisis.”

The bronze doors to the guildhall had been barred shut with a large plank of wood. Suddenly there was an alarming surge in the volume of the shouts. Trumpets began to blare, and then, to the horror of the mayor and his aldermen, the wooden bolt snapped like a twig. The doors were flung open and in marched GarGar with hundreds of people at his back, holding his sword aloft, shouting, “Nobody is to be harmed! Treat these good men gently!”

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Free

Princess Pirouette straightened her back as she stood before the prime minister. Because she remained standing, he was obliged to stand also. Suffering from a bad back, he longed to sit in one of the chairs in her antechamber. The pain finally forced him to speak, “As long as Your Highness remains standing, I am required to stand also. I must say that I have a terrible backache.” He gestured at one of the chairs. “Would Your Highness care to sit.”

“Very well,” acquiesced Pirouette who didn’t have one malicious bone in her body. “How may I help you, my lord.”

The prime minister pulled up a chair and placed in directly in front of the Princess and sat, placing his hands firmly on his knees. “I’ve been wondering-” He paused, groping for the right words. “I am wondering if perhaps your engagement to le comte des Deux Chats is not premature?”

“What?” Pirouette could not conceal her surprise. “It was you who originally suggested the match! Why would you say such a thing?”

“Yes, but that was before his infidelity with my niece.” His words stung. She’d actively decided to forget GarGar’s brief encounter with Lady Greenmeadow.

“Quite frankly, my lord, I don’t think I will ever find someone who loves me as much as Monsieur le comte. I don’t feel free to say more, except that I do not appreciate that Lady Greenmeadow has returned to court. In what capacity is she here? Who’s idea was it to forgive and forget?”

“Oh, it was the King’s decision entirely. He’s always been fond of my niece.”

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Destiny

The prime minister entered Princess Pirouette’s antechamber, where she’d been waiting for him. She wore a pale green dress that highlighted her eyes. Green ribbons of a darker shade adorned the skirt, tied into delicate little bows. The only jewelry that she wore was her engagement ring, a large sapphire surrounded by diamonds. Her wig was a mass of white curls with green bows, some of which fell down her neck and shoulders. For one so young, she looked every inch a woman.

The prime minister bowed low, taking off his tricornered hat with a gallant sweep. “Thank you, Your Royal Highness for granting me this audience,” he said in his sonorous voice.

“Not at all,” replied Pirouette. “How may I be of service?”

Looking around the room, he made note of all the women present and said, “Would it be unbefitting to ask Your Highness if we may have some privacy?”

Pirouette laughed. “At court, there’s no such thing as privacy!” She waved a hand and said, “Please leave,” and no sooner said but the room emptied, except for Abigail Hoffenhoff, the Princess’ official dresser and confidant. “You too, Abby,” said Pirouette. “Scoot!”

After a moment, Pirouette looked at the prime minister warily (for she knew him not to be her friend). “Do go on, my lord,” she said quietly. Never before had she realized what a handsome man the prime minister was. In fact, his face looked as if it had been chiseled from stone, so smooth was his skin. With his strong jaw and sensuous lips, he was very handsome indeed, but there was a hint of cruelty in his eyes that Pirouette always found unsettling.

The prime minister cleared his throat and then spoke, “As the Crown Princess, I don’t need to tell you that you have a great destiny before you. Someday, perhaps sooner than we expect, you will be queen.”

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #147 : Gardens

I’ve always loved gardens. I like gardens that have little statues in them besides just flowers. Here are my contributions to Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #147: Gardens.

It’s a bit blurry, but I think the boy in the center, leaning against the log, is holding a squirrel.
A nice variety of begonias

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

There’s an older version of this nursery rhyme where the last line reads, “Sing cuckolds all in a row.”