Ragtag Daily Prompt: Jocularity

It was apparent to all, except perhaps to Pirouette herself, that the Princess was weakening against GarGar’s winning ways. Renowned for his kindness, humility and jocularity, even the most hardened cynic would eventually give way to le comte des Deux Chats. As Princess Pirouette was neither hard nor cynical, it was inevitable that the iciness in her heart would begin to melt. When he wasn’t staging impromptu concerts beneath her bedroom window, he was sending her little gifts and love notes, scented with jasmine, her favorite scent. He even went so far as to induce Abigail Hoffenhoff to purloin one of her shoes, which he then returned filled with candy and a diamond bracelet.

The final love blow came during a masquerade ball at the palace. One of Pirouette’s many admirers had the effrontery to pull her mask from her face and attempt to kiss her. GarGar, le comte des Deux Chats, saw this and was outraged. He immediately pulled a glove from his hand and slapped the offender in the face with it. “Sir!” He said loudly enough to silence the orchestra. “I challenge you to a duel! My aide-de-camp, François will act as my second. Pick your second and we shall meet at dawn in the place of your choosing, with the weapons of your choice!” The poor offender fled the ball, which recommenced as if nothing had occurred. The next day, the entire court was shocked to learn that GarGar’s intended opponent had fled the Capital and gone into hiding.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Parched

It was noon on a cloudless day and the men had been marching all day. Lucky to be on a mount, GarGar, le comte des Deux Chat was still parched. Reaching out to his aide-de-camp who was riding beside him, he said, “Wine, if you please, François.” “Yes, my lord,” replied François, handing le comte a bursting wineskin. Popping the cork with his teeth, GarGar drank deeply until the red liquid ran down his chin.

“Perhaps we should stop to water the horses-” GarGar paused. “And the men.”

“Halt!” Shouted François, while GarGar raised his arm to indicate that the order was coming directly from him, rather than the speaker. A trumpet sounded the command as well. A collective sigh of relief could be heard up and down the line. “At least it ain’t rainin'” GarGar heard one of his foot soldiers say. “Indeed!” Replied GarGar. “Here, my good man, have some wine.” He handed the wineskin to the soldier’s eager, trembling hands. “Pass that along to your comrades, if you would be so kind.”

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Tired

Poor old King rose from his bed every morning at seven sharp. His chief gentleman of the bedchamber would pull the curtain aside on his bedside and say, “Your Majesty, it is time!” Poor old King who could never sleep more than a few hours at a time would groan and thank his gentleman. Next came the royal dressers who would pull his nightshirt over his head and begin dressing him from head to toe. With half a dozen hands to help him, it still took His Majesty nearly an hour to dress fully from his wig to his shoes. The gentleman of the mirror would drag the full-length mirror to his bedside so that His Majesty could inspect the work. At this point in his life, he barely gave it a glance. “Thank you, all,” he would intone and with a wave of his hand, the royal dressers would leave.

As his chamberlain would lead him to the chapel to hear mass, the poor old King would look wistfully at his bed and then, leaning heavily on the chamberlain’s arm and with the assistance of a cane, he would proceed to hear mass. Sometimes, he would be so tired that he would sleep through the entire ceremony. After Princess Pirouette entered the court, nobody dared disturb the old King while he snored through the Agnus dei. One stern glance from the Princess would belay any would be beadle from nudging the King.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Plume

GarGar was always a gentleman famous for his bonhomie and cheerful demeanor. Sounds of music and laughter usually came from his room in an endless stream. Recently however, that stream had run dry. Even for one as optimistic as GarGar, the future looked dark and dismal. Now that Princess Pirouette was barely even talking to him and the King was looking askance at him, his situation was beginning to look hopeless. Usually visitors to his suite in the palace tore in and out endlessly, but that river of humanity seemed endless. Now it had dwindled into a mere dribble. Those who did come to visit appeared to do so merely out of curiosity. That is, they wanted to be there when the le comte des Deux Chats finally surrendered to fate and gave up his pursuit of Princess Pirouette.

GarGar’s ill-advised decision to wear white to court had been a bad one. He’d hoped to prove to his enemies that his position in court was unassailable. The fact that the King didn’t just throw him into the dungeon, surprised many, so it was possible that he was fairly unassailable by most everybody at court, except the old King. What he needed was another plume in his hat, like another victory against enemy armies. He was certain that another victory of this sort would put him back in a high place in the Princess’ esteem. A nice victory parade through the heart of the city would put things aright, all things aright.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Contest

When GarGar entered the old King’s private boudoir, he made certain to bow low. The King, who was sitting in an overstuffed chair with his foot resting on an ottoman, didn’t see GarGar. “Tell me, Monsieur le comte, please do tell me what you when you came to my court thus attired?”

“I’m not sure I understand, Your Majesty,” replied GarGar.

When the King twisted in his chair to get a better look, pressing an eyepiece to his eye, he saw that GarGar was wearing an emerald green surcoat embroidered with silver stitching that depicted various wildflowers. He satin trousers were a lighter shade of green. His white powdered wig was obscured somewhat by a plain tricornered hat with a single feather protruding from the band. What kind of feather is that? Mused the King, who suddenly realized that GarGar was not dressed in white as he had been told. “What is the meaning of this!” He shouted. “I was told you came to court dressed entirely in white from head to toe!”

“Forgive me, Your Majesty, but it is true. Fortunately I always carry a spare suit of clothes with me wherever I go, so it was with little difficulty that I changed my garments as soon as the Chamberlain told me that I had broken a serious rule of court etiquette.”

The King let the eyepiece fall into his lap. He harrumphed and couple of times and then snapped his finger. “Sir Edward! Come quickly! My wine glass is empty. Fill one for Monsieur le comte as well.” Sir Edward nearly jumped out of his skin as he sprang into action, bringing a bottle of wine for the King, producing a second glass for GarGar to drink from, bowing copiously as he did so.

“I tell you, GarGar, that if you are playing some kind of game with me, then you are sure to lose. Life at court is a contest of wills. My will is the strongest. All I have to do his move a hand over a piece of paper, and anyone that I chose will be incarcerated in a dark, dank dungeon until I say he can leave. That is power, my boy. Shall I be required to move my hand over a piece of paper with your name on it?”

CFFC: Old versus New, May 11, 2021

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge is a doozy this week: old versus new.

Old is on the left and new is on the right.

Garçon on the left is less than two years old, while Maxwell on the right is sixteen. It think cats age better than humans.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Hypoxic

“He wore what!” Shouted the old King.

“He wore white, Your Majesty,” answered the Chamberlain.

“What color was his surcoat?”

“It was white.”

“What color his waistcoat? His shirt? His wig?”

“They were all white, Your Majesty.”

The old King began to sputter. “The effrontery! The gall! Only princes of the blood may wear white at court! How dare he?” The rose from his chair and wandered over to the fireplace in his bedroom. “I suppose his shoes were white too!”

“No, Your Majesty, they were black- black patent leather with gold buckles. Uhm, his hose was white too.”

“Gold buckles on his shoes? The buttons on his surcoat were cold as well, I suppose.”‘

“Yes, Your Majesty, le comte des Deux Chats had diamonds embedded in the buttons. And the lace from his sleeves was the finest I’ve ever seen. They must have been imported, after you decreed several years ago the imported lace was forbidden at court, wisely so, I might add.” The chamberlain took a handkerchief made of domestic lace and blew his nose.

The old King’s apoplectic anger was leading to a hypoxic condition. He became light-headed. “I swear le comte des Deux Chats is trying to kill me. I fear it is so,” said His Majesty in a pathetic voice. “Help me back to my daybed, somebody, quickly. Quickly, I say, I feel faint!”

“I supposed, Your Majesty, that he feels like a prince of the blood since his betrothal to Princess Pirouette.”

“Enough of that,” snapped the King. “Bring him to me this instant!”

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Chipper

GarGar, le comte des Deux Chats, felt as though he must be the happiest man alive. Like a well captained ship, his life seemed to be going on a course of unmitigated success. First there had been his knighthood. Then there had been his appointment as commander of the old king’s armies. After that came his seat on the king’s Privy Council. All that alone would make any man feel like a success, but his betrothal to Princess Pirouette, the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen and heir to the throne left him feeling unbelievably blessed.

There was one factor that made GarGar feel less than chipper. That was Pirouette’s lack of enthusiasm for their upcoming nuptials. Ever the optimist, he felt certain that as long as he continued to shower the Princess with compliments, flowers and little presents, that she would eventually come around. Le comte des Deux Chats had always been successful when it came to wooing the opposite sex, so he couldn’t understand why Princess Pirouette should rebuff his every gesture of love and affection. He’s questioned members of Her Royal Highness’ suite, but the were uniform in their loyalty to the Princess and refused to answer any questions he might pose, no matter how innocuous.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Arboreal

Princess Pirouette, normally cheerful and buoyant, was feeling more depressed than she’d ever felt before in her life. After surviving a childhood of abuse at the hands of Tata Sous-sus, her informal nanny, the deaths of her parents and an enforced removal from her childhood home, she thought that she had survived the worst that fate could deal her. She was wrong. Now she was looking at an enforced marriage to a man for whom she felt nothing, neither love nor contempt.

Ever victorious in the field of battle, his success in the boudoir was also greatly renowned. Of course there were many women of the court who would have sacrificed anything to be in her position, but the Princess, heir to the throne, felt only one thing- entrapped. How she wished that she were a bird, living an arboreal lifestyle, nesting in the highest tree in the kingdom, safe from the attentions of le comte des Deux Chats.

Knowing GarGar, le comte des Deux Chats to be an ambitious man, Pirouette felt that all his compliments were mere flattery, his gifts of flowers, jewelry, perfume, what-have-you were mere investments on his future. She knew that to him, she was merely a tool to be used to become king. In fact she knew from a reliable source that the prime minister had a medal struck that portrayed her and GarGar as King and Queen. As his queen, she would automatically be in an inferior position. That, more than anything, she found unbearable, intolerable. It was against her nature to scheme or plot, but she would have to do something to prevent the marriage from happening. Baring that, she would have to find a way to keep GarGar in the inferior position.