Ragtag Daily Prompt: Explain

Pirouette pulled the small piece of paper that was hidden in the strange envelope with a nervous hand. She’d set her candle on the floor, so she went down on her knees to hold the note closer to the dim light. It read:

Most Gracious and Noble Queen- Your servant in all things grieves, with the rest of the country, over your profound loss. Will you allow me to assist you in your search for Monsieur le comte? God, in His Mercy, has granted me certain powers that allow me to perceive the hidden and explain the most profound mysteries of the Universe. I shall await your Majesty’s most Royal response. Yours in Christ, Madam Blukovsky, Necromancer and Seer

Without giving it a second thought, Pirouette held a corner of the note to the candle flame and watched as it was consumed by the fire. She held it away from her person and let the ashes fall to the floor without even thinking of cleaning the black shreds. “I must remember to have this heretic arrested,” the Queen murmured.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Patterns

There was a quiet knock on Queen Pirouette’s bedroom door. “Your Majesty?” Queried Lady Abigail Hoffenhoff. “I’ve brought you some broth. We are all worried.”

In the darkness of her bedchamber, Abigail’s voice was like a trumpet blaring in Pirouette’s ear. She couldn’t find the motivation even to reply to her best friend and chief lady-in-waiting. While she appreciated her friend’s concern, she didn’t want any intrusion. All she wanted was GarGar, her lost love. Without word of his whereabouts, her mind was wandering into places that she never knew existed. Hellish scenarios played out in her imagination. Am I going mad? She asked herself.

“Your Majesty,” persisted Abigail. “I have a note here that might interest you. I shall slide it under your door.” With a single lit candle, Pirouette examined the envelope on her floor. It was embossed with strange patterns that were exotic, yet familiar.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Hunger

Never in all of her brief little life had Pirouette felt such grief. If her beloved GarGar were a hostage or prisoner of war, then she would know how to bring him home, safe and sound. On the other hand, if he was just a corpse, rotting in a field, providing food for crows and vultures, at least his caloric contribution to the ecosystem would be of some value.

For many days, Queen Pirouette had sequestered herself into her private chambers. Black curtains were draped on every window. It was the not knowing that was crushing the young Queen. How does someone simply vanish? Especially someone as well-known as le comte des Deux Chats? The only person granted entrance into the Queen’s bedchamber was her friend Abigail, whose rank as the Queen’s chief lady in waiting made her the second-most important person at court. She would gently knock on the door, just twice and then enter unannounced. Despite all attempts, Abigail was unable to to tempt Pirouette to eat. She consented to the occasional cup of tea, but besides that, Her Majesty was refusing all sustenance.

The last thing poor, young Pirouette felt was hunger, at least physical hunger. Her heart ached for news- any news- that might dispel the fears that her fertile imagination conjured up.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Zippy

Queen Pirouette had been in her office for several hours reading reports, dispatches, letters and proposed legislation. When she got the next document in the pile, she read it over twice and without a word, let it drop to the ground. Lady Abbigail Hoffenhoff, her chief lady in waiting and best friend, scooped it up and gave it a perusal. Her reaction was until the queen’s. She put a hand to her mouth and passed it to Lady Granville, the queen’s personal secretary. When Lady Granville read the contents, she suppressed a cry and passed the parchment on to the Prime Minister, always present, nearly always silent. The letter had been written by le comte des Deux Chat, GarGar’s aide de camp.

Glorious news Majesty, it read, the enemy was met today (that is, two days hence) and because of the ingenious military tactics of le comte des deux chats, victory was secured. Bravely he led the cavalry charge against the center of enemy lines. While it saddens me to report that there were heavy casualties on both sides, the enemy left the field in disarray. Thousands of enemy combatants were captured, as was all of their artillery. The joy of this victory; however, has been tempered by the fact the exact location of Lord GarGar, des deux Chats, is at present unknown. Every effort is being made to find out whether he is a captive of the enemy, or of he has fallen in the field of valour. As his aid de camp, I swear that I will spare no effort in order to locate him, and it is my sincere wish the his lordship will be found in good health and high spirits. Your devoted servant, Emile du Par.

Pirouette rose from her desk and calmly said, We wish to be alone. My lord, Prime Minister, give me that letter.” He bowed and extended a shaky hand holding the letter. Once the doors closed behind the Queen’s retinue, she could feel her body trembling uncontrollably. Before she could summon a thought, the door knocked and Zippy, the Queen’s fool, tumbled into the room and then outstretched his arms, “Ta-dah!” He said proudly. Grabbing a letter opener, she threw it at Zippy and shouted, “Get out! Get out before I have your head separated from your neck!”

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Conflate

When battle was joined, it went exactly as GarGar had planned. The diversionary assault on the enemies left flank drew all the fire power the enemy had at its disposal. The center of GarGar’s line retreated slowly, and in orderly fashion. When the enemy paused to reload their canons, he let let loose a barrage that wiped out their artillery. It worked like a charm. As the cream of the crop of his cavalry charged the center, he basically split the enemy ranks into two. His infantry simply sorted the left from the right, accepted their surrender in gentlemanly fashion.

To add to his joy, the casualty rate was quite low. Out of thousands of combatants, the number of individuals killed or injured was obscenely low. A few hundred of the enemy died or were injured. Of his forces less than a hundred lost their lives and a few hundred were treated in the field hospital. Of course, the Prime Minister and his allies accused GarGar of conflating the casualty figures, but when his victorious army marched back in parade fashion, everyone could see that he spoke the truth.

Waiting for her beloved at the steps of the Great Cathedral, Queen Pirouette presented le Comte des Deux Chats with a meddle of exemplary valor, a gold coin with his likeness in profile on two ribbons that were yellow and light blue. As he knelt before her, she placed it around his neck and gave him a little tickle as she did so.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Create

GarGar looked at the enemy’s position with his field glasses. Stifling a sigh, he could see their cannons arranged on a distant ridge with the infantry and calvary lined up in orderly fashion. To charge into their ranks would cost many lives, especially on his side. The only recourse was to wait. Wait and see.

Soon the sun would be in the enemy’s eyes. That would be the best time to strike. Of course, he could also wait until the wee hours of the morning, in the dark of night to attack, but that was an old strategy that the Imperial generals had incorporated into their planning. Perhaps he could create a diversion, send a few regiments at one side of their ranks and then throw the full force of his army at the very center of their position. The one thing he knew he must do was neutralize those cannons.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Create

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Lilac

Feeling more than a little glum and overwhelmed, Queen Pirouette sat at her work desk, reviewing memorandum and reports from the field of battle against the loathsome Empire. From the very moment she’d assumed the throne, it seemed as if a band of enemies had surrounded her and bombarded her with canon fire. The young Queen had taken to carrying little balls of opium to take in the event she were captured so that she might take her own life rather than be caged like an animal for display in a zoo.

It was while she was in this terrible state of mind when her fiancé, GarGar le comte des Deux Chats knocked on her door and let himself into her inner sanctum. He held something behind his back. “Greetings! My beloved queen!” He said cheerfully. “I’ve brought you a little surprise.”

To her discredit, Pirouette didn’t even look up from the mountain of paperwork before her. “Very well, Monsieur,” she sighed. “Just leave it on the desk. As you can see, I’m quite busy. I don’t have time for one of your silly games.”

Not to be dissuaded, GarGar cleared his throat. “That’s fine, my love; however, I must insist that you take a look at what I’ve brought you. It’s just a small token of my esteem.” He said this without a hint of rancor in his voice. Pirouette sighed and looked up from the paperwork that was the cause of her ill humor. To her surprise, GarGar held a bouquet made entirely of lilac. “These are for you.”

“Oh, my love!” Cried Pirouette, grabbing the charming little bouquet and holding it close to her face. “It smells divine!” In an instance, all the gloom and despair that had wracked her from head to toe were dispelled to be replaced with joy and contentment. How lucky am I to have such a kind and attentive lover! She thought to herself.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Beam

Once the Ambassador took the seat of honor at Queen Pirouette’s right hand, there was a flourish of trumpets, drums, fifes and tambourines. The Ambassador, thinking that all of this musical display was in his honor, rose to his feet, his face suitably red with embarrassment and pride, suddenly realized that all eyes were fixed on a doorway to the right of the Queen’s seat. GarGar, le comte des Deux Chats had entered the room from a hidden doorway behind the Queen’s seat of honor. Monsieur le comte, dressed in white britches that appeared to be studded with diamonds, seemed to emanate an unearthly beam. Quietly taking his seat, he joined the other guests in their rapturous applause for the Queen’s husband-to-be.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Faces

Of all the faces Monsignor von Thornbird had seen in his life, Queen Pirouette’s was beyond dispute the most beautiful. Now he understood all of the rapturous reports that had come from all quarters. Without exception, every story of the young Queen began and ended with details of her legendary beauty. This beauty extended beyond physical description. Her poise, her gracefulness, her smile, all of these attributes and more set this woman apart from all others.

Where is le comte GarGar des Deux Chats? The Monsignor asked himself. From all he had heard, the queen’s fiancé never left her side, except when he was on a military campaign. Scion of one of the Kingdom’s oldest families with a devil-may-care attitude, his disinterest in politics made him most suitable as a future consort for Her Majesty. Dare I inquire?