Ragtag Daily Prompt: Oorie

As Lord High Admiral of Her Majesty’s Navy, it was GarGar’s duty to present worthy seamen with meddles, ribbons and sashes to display on their uniforms. These ornaments were visible testimony to the sailor’s meritorious conduct. A hardened cynic might arch a brow and scoff at such self-serving display, but to the recipient of such an award, it represented the culmination of years of struggle, untold days and nights of keeping watch, pulling rope, dragging fellow sailors from a briny death. That little medal pinned on one’s chest encapsulated a lifetime of back-breaking effort.

“Captain Grincheux! In recognition of your bravery in the field of battle, your commitment to the well-being of the men who served you and your devotion to your Queen and Country, I present you with the Gold Star of Meritorious Conduct,” intoned GarGar. With a purposeful step and a salute, the Captain presented himself to GarGar, his gaze focused on a point somewhere beyond his left shoulder.

GarGar pinned the medal on Captain Grincheux chest. After the obligatory kiss on each cheek, the solemn salute, the Captain clicked his heels and walked off of the podium. The band struck up a tune, and scattered applause rippled across the witnesses.

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Once the ceremony was completed, Captain Grincheux was conducted to the Queen’s sitting room. The first thing that caught his attention upon entering the room was the color pink. Little pink roses adorned the wallpaper. Fresh pink tulips were crowded into vases that sat on tables, cupboards and windowsills. The same rosettes danced on the upholstery of every chair, sofa and divan. The Queen herself sat at the end of a little table, dressed in white with little pink rose vines crawling over the fabric. Around her sleeves and collar, white lace undulated with her slightest gesture.

My Lord! Thought the Captain. Is this a woman, or a goddess?

With a deep bow from the waist, Captain Grincheux lost his footing for a moment. Pirouette jumped from her seat and grabbed one of his elbows. “My Lord Captain!” She exclaimed. “Are you not well?” Guiding him into a chair, she stood straight up, took a kerchief from her reticule and mopped the old sailor’s brow.

“Forgive me, Your August Majesty,” he began. “I daresay that I’ve never seen a vision of such pure beauty as I do now in you.”

“Nonsense,” laughed Pirouette. “You, who have circumnavigated the entire globe several times over, you have seen sights that would make me look very pale and inconsequential indeed.”

“Not so, Your Majesty,” replied the Captain. “Why, I’ve seen sights that would make your blood freeze with terror. In the icy mist, lost in the fog, I’ve seen oorie phantoms whose provenance could only be hell. And on the other hand, I’ve sailed into harbors crowded with beautiful people, baskets of every imaginable fruit, fragrant blossoms shifting in a gentle breeze. Of all these sights, you are the very ultimate. God bless you, my Queen! Long may you reign!”

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Song

Le comte des Deux Chats, GarGar extended his arm and snapped his fingers. His long suffering valet, Philippe rolled his eyes. “How may I serve you, my lord?” He asked.

“Hand me my damned lute!” Snapped GarGar. “This instance, Jacques!”

“Forgive me for contradicting you, my lord, but my name is Philippe.”

“Are you intentionally trying to drive me mad?” Said GarGar with exasperation. “The lute! Hurry! I feel a song!”

Philippe opened the chest that sat at the foot of GarGar’s bed and retrieved the lute. He placed it delicately into GarGar’s open arms. “Here, my lord.” He bowed and began to exit the room.

“Wait, Jacques! Er- I mean, Philippe! Don’t you want to hear me play?”

“Forgive me, my lord, but I don’t think my nerves could bear the heady pleasures of hearing you make music.” He paused, “In any case, there’s silver that needs polishing.”

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Broom

“But how?” Asked Queen Pirouette to Tata Sous-sus. “How did you know that Lady Greenmeadow was still alive? And who was that whose body was found? Will we ever know the answer to this mystery?”

Tata was gazing out the window in the antechamber to the Queen’s boudoir. A gentle rain was falling. Tata pushed the window open and took an expansive, deep breath. The smell of the air both energized and soothed her- an interesting mixture of feelings that she’d never experienced before. “All in good time,” replied Tata. “All in good time. For now, my dear, let me kiss you.” She moved over to Pirouette and kissed her forehead. “You were always such a sweet child.”

GarGar, luxuriating on a divan and sipping champagne, smiled at the touching reunion of the two kinswomen. “I’ve sent Lady Greenmeadow to my country estate,” he said and then belched into his gloved hand. “Excuse me.”

“That’s probably a good idea,” said Pirouette. “I never want to see that woman at court again. Don’t forget, Lady Abigail is my new chief lady of the bedchamber.”

“That’s right,” said the Queen. “And my dear Abby is a much better servant, if I must say so.”

Tata smiled as she poured herself a glass of the bubbly. “A new broom sweeps clean.”

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Insinuate

“I could never have killed Lady Greenmeadow,” said Tata Sous-sus calmly. She was standing before the tribunal that was trying her for the murder of said lady.

The judge, in his black rob and long, curly wig, frowned. “Why is that, madam?” He asked. “Are you trying to insinuate that someone else did it?”

“No, sir,” Tata smiled. “What I am saying is this.” She paused, and then in a loud, almost booming voice, she turned and pointed at the courtroom doors. “Lady Greenmeadow is alive!”

Just then, the doors swung open and standing there, in her customary green dress stood Lady Greenmeadow in the flesh. The courtroom erupted in gasps. The spectators began to shout at one another. The judge beat his gavel. It was into a madhouse that Lady Greenmeadow entered with a purposeful stride.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Finale

Sitting in a straight-backed chair, Tata Sous-sus, remembering her breeding, kept her own back ramrod straight and her hands neatly folded in her lap. Training her eyes on some imaginary, distant point, she succeeded in making her interrogators uncomfortable. It was as if she were staring right through them, as if they weren’t even there.

“Your Ladyship,” intoned the judge of the high court. “You have been accused of high crimes and misdemeanors against God and country.

So often in her life, Tata had been accused of having a loud, abrasive voice, but now she answered at a low volume, with a dignified, measured tone. “I am innocent.”

Shaking his head, the judge said, “You must plead “guilty” or “not guilty.” Those are your only options.

“As God is my witness, I am innocent as a newborn babe!” Forgetting herself, she allowed her voice to become strident, almost shrill.

From the public gallery, two of Queen Pirouette’s ladies sat side by side. Lady Abigail Hoffenhoff took the hand of her colleague, Lady Sharpsweet. Leaning into Sharpsweet’s ear, Abigail said, “At last, Auntie Finale is going to get her comeuppance.”

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Zap

With the exception of her parakoimomenos, Queen Pirouette was alone in her bedchamber. It was there in her bed with the curtains drawn that she felt comfortable enough to weep. There were no heart-rendering sobs, or exclamations of sorrow. No, they were quiet, gentle tears that rolled down her cheeks. In many ways, she was still a girl, but the realities of life were squeezing that out of her, leaving behind a woman that might be hard and flinty. Intuitively, she knew this and that added to her sadness. Dear God, she silently prayed. Give me strength.

Outside her door, she heard a commotion. Voices, angry voices, shook her from her revelry. “I must speak to the Queen!” It was GarGar, le comte des Deux Chats. “Get out of my way!” He was yelling at the guards who stood right outside.

Suddenly, the doors flew open. There was GarGar, sword drawn. The Queen’s ladies, at least three of them were clinging to him, trying to pull him away by his jacket, by his hair, even by his leg. Behind them, Pirouette could perceive the crumpled bodies of two palace guards.

“Are you mad!” Shouted Lady Abigail. “What are you doing?”

“Let him go!” Shouted Pirouette. “Let him go, I command you!”

With that, GarGar strode into her bedchamber and threw himself into Pirouette’s arms. The second he touched her, an electrical zap shot through her entire body. It was like being struck with lightening. Gasping for air, she managed to whispers into his ear, “My love! What is it?”

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Twist

A Royal Wedding?

The capital was rife with rumors. The queen was pregnant. To spare herself the embarrassment of having an illegitimate child, she’d secretly married le comte des Deux Chats. How these stories got started was a mystery. Who could possibly profit from spreading these lies? Pirouette had an idea, but as she had no evidence to prove her suspicions, she had to keep quiet, show herself to the people, let them see for themselves that she was not with child.

“This is precisely why we must hurry and have a big, public wedding,” urged GarGar, for once at a loss for an amusing quip that would put things into perspective.

“Ah, but there’s the twist,” said the Prime Minister gravely. “If you rush into a public wedding at this point, it will only serve to confirm these scandalous rumors.” He frowned. “In the eyes of the people.” He added.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Wrapped

GarGar and Pirouette! GarGar and Pirouette! GarGar and Pirouette! GarGar and Pirouette! The people sang. Crowds of people from every walk of life poured into the courtyard of the palace. Intoxicated with joy over the official announcement, they popped open champagne, which they drank directly from the bottle. They hugged and kissed one another. Normally these people would be strangers to one another, but tonight, they were all of one family. Their young and beautiful queen was going to marry the man of her dreams. Hurray! They shouted. Hurrah! They shouted. Long live the Queen! Long live GarGar!

When the happy couple finally appeared on the balcony to wave and acknowledge the patriotism of the crowd, the crowd in turn hushed. It was as if some spell had been cast upon them. They stared up at their Queen and her fiancé as though they were in a trance. The very moment that GarGar wrapped his arms around Pirouette and gave her a kiss- right on her very mouth- they erupted into applause. The men tossed their hats into the air. The women waved their scarves. It was absolute pandemonium.

GarGar whispered into Pirouette’s ear, “How many people do you think are going to be trampled tonight?”

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Scintillate

“Oh, my God!” Exclaimed GarGar. “This soup is atrocious!” He wiped his mouth with a cloth napkin, thereby, smearing his makeup.

Queen Pirouette took a dainty sip from her spoon. Not one to lose her composure, her reaction to the concoction was written all over her face. She suppressed the urge to gag. “For once, my dear,” she said, “You are right. Even a vulture wouldn’t eat this!” Twisting to one side in her chair, she motioned to her chamberlain. “Send the royal cook to me at once!”

When the hapless man arrived, he pulled his chef’s hat from his head and bowed very low from the waist. “Your Majesty! How may I serve you?”

“You can begin by explaining how you allowed something this vile to leave your kitchen!” Pirouette waved her hand over the bowl. “Here!” She handed him her spoon. “Try it!” She commanded. Hesitatingly, he took a sip. He instantly put his hand over his mouth, as if to keep from spitting out the noxious liquid. “Tell me, sir. Are you trying to poison us?” In a rare moment of pique, Pirouette raised her voice loudly enough to cause GarGar to start in his chair.

Never one to miss a beat, GarGar’s eyes began to scintillate. “Only the pure of heart can make a good soup,” he said, quoting the great composer.