Authors Rant: Let me get something off my chest real quick that some writers are doing that has been annoying the utter and complete hell out of me... Alice Kinsleigh and Alice Liddell are two entirely different people! I'm not even sure why they seem to think otherwise (for crying out loud, Carroll even stated that they weren't the same people, Alice Kinsleigh is a fabricated character!), maybe it's because they share the first name? Hell, they don't even have the same appearance, take a look at them, it's rather obvious, isn't it? If you want to use it as a story, that's fine, hell, I commend you for the ingenuity, but don't sit there and sound like a pompous illiterate and uninformed jackass while you argue others down! I won't mention names, but if you're the one who was arguing with your reader and you're reading this right now... KNOCK IT THE HELL OFF! Not only have you probably lost what was an actual knowledgeable fan that only stated the truth in a NICE way in order to help you grow, but you ticked others off while you did so, as well! I know I won't be going back to read anymore of your frivolous and ill-thought-out plot. I was going to leave a thoughtful review, too, and give points on how I felt you might improve your work, you jerk! You've no idea how insulted and disgusted you made me feel, if you're lucky, this rant will prevent me from PM'ing you, personally, to give you a piece of my mind.
In essence: She was trying to help you, you bloody inconsiderate prick! Don't do the work if you don't want someone to critique it. Without critiques then you can't possibly hope to get any better, could you? Ugh! Don't scream at people when they're offering you a glass of iced water in your hell of stupidity, thank them kindly and move on! You don't even have to listen to them, for crying out loud!
… Sorry, but I really needed to get that off my chest... Don't argue/debate stupidly, people, get the facts and rely on them instead of just rumors and hearsay; didn't your teachers actually teach you anything? Rawr an' junk! Apologies for the length of this rant, it's just that it was so unbelievably inconsiderate and insulting I just couldn't do anything but stew over it for days until it got like this.
Oh, and before I forget... DON'T FLAME REVIEWERS! (I remember a time when a reviewer PM'd me and said they were having a bad day and seriously re-considered leaving critique's because of something like this) Just because they give an honest and well thought out opinion, don't immediately take offense; feel free to flame the flamers, but leave the one's actually trying to help you out of it... Okay, I'm done. Those thoughts have been bugging the ever loving hell out of me and I really needed to write them down before I did something regrettable, like PM the jerks personally to chew their heads off. I couldn't even begin to think about flaming my wonderful reviewers, just want to cuddle the lot of them like plush dollies. Hahaha!
Disclaimer: The above rant is my personal opinion, in no way am I saying anyone connected to me in anyway share the same opinion (though many probably do... again, my opinion). The rant was directed solely to those who have flamed a review over their own ignorance, nobody else. The written fiction was originally created by Lewis Carroll and the adaptation that I've chosen to use is from Tim Burton, the plot is all mine though... It's juicy, like a well cooked stake... Yum.
Be Aware: It's better to hold your silence and appear to be stupid, rather then to open your mouth and prove it! … Oh, and: Don't assume to know until you know to assume.
Alice was awake, dressed, fed, and speaking before a large crowd of people before she'd even managed to realize she was no longer asleep. Tarrant was standing only half a step behind her as Thackery and Mallymkun stood at his side, none of the three appearing the be any more awake then she felt herself. The rebel group seemed to listen intently, and she felt terrible for not being able to gather more information then she had; though admittedly she hadn't been aware that she'd been doing any information gathering at all during her captivity.
However, what she did have, she freely gave; telling of the daily matters of the black queens court and the overly harsh punishments over insignificant and (more often then not, she felt) fabricated matters. None of it was all that important to anyone, she though, and only served as fuel for the hatred already burning in the rebel's hearts.
However, it was when they began asking questions, that she realized she had more information then she knew; "The queen always went to bed about fifteen minutes before I was sent to my cage, which was usually by eleven." she stated, after having been asked, "She'd generally take three of the guards with her and have the kitchen staff bring up a light snack and some tea."
"What about the guards, do you know where she'd post them?" a man, who's name was Stu, if she remembered correctly, asked urgently. He was missing a hand, and the stub was wrapped with clean dressing, leading Alice to believe it was a recent injury (perhaps even punishment) he'd gotten before he'd arrived at the base a week before she had.
Shaking her head she answered the negative, "I wasn't permitted inside Mirana's rooms during the day or night; the only thing I do know is that she changes her sleeping arrangements ever few days or so." she answered, then thought again, "However, if I remember correctly, I do think I over heard a guard complaining that he disliked his post because she disliked sleeping with the windows open; apparently he didn't like enclosed spaces."
"Do you know what time she wakes?" Stu asked again, leaning forward as the people around him nodded earnestly.
"She doesn't have a set time to wake up, though by ten she's always in the throne room." Alice said, frowning slightly, "Though there was this one time when she was rather late and wasn't on her throne until shortly after one, I think that was two weeks after she started her rule. " The crowd laughed nearly hysterically, "Did I miss something?"
"The children, actually, had sent her a present, once." A woman chuckled in answer, "We punished them for it, of course, but we didn't know it would cause such a stir... We'll have to give them as much cake as they want after we're done here."
Tilting her head she looked behind her back at Tarrant, who appeared to be nearly as lost as she was herself. Clearing her thought she decided to sate her curiosity, "What did the children do to warrant Mirana's tardiness?"
"They loaded a large cart up wit wood an set it on fire, then sent it down th; hill to th' armory." Theodore, a young man hardly the same age as Alice, answered; "Was caught by me mum runnin' back ta our camp; had ta move in a 'urry ta prevent from bein' found, we did! Mum tore up their backside's after we came across Chessur an' got us settled 'ere."
Tarrant's sudden burst of laughter was quickly followed by one of her own, "Well, if worse comes to worse, apparently the children have more then enough plans and inspiration to create havoc." Alice joked, and Tarrant quickly agreed, causing another hoot of laughter to come from the large group and Alice felt a large smile taking place as her giggles slowly ceased.
After a few more questions Tarrant took her place and began reporting what he had found out himself, which, Alice was surprised to realize, was a sight larger then what she had found out. Mirana had more then seven hundred trained elite soldiers, not including her personal guard (which consisted of nearly fifty men) and the lower ranking soldiers (most of which were rumored to be forced into service, he didn't know their numbers).
He seconded Mirana's need to change rooms every few days, but added on that she slept no lower then the third level and never any higher then the fifth of the seven floored castle. On top of that, though she took three guards into her room with her, there was always two stationed outside of her sleeping chambers at night that allowed no visitors to enter the room.
However, directly after he said this, he reported that even though no one entered though the door, there was sometimes men leaving. "If I'm right, that means that she's choosing rooms that have secret entrances, which is probably the reason to have three guards with her inside her rooms at night. That might also mean that she's not choosing the rooms she stays in randomly, but with the secret entrances in mind."
"If we can some how get to know where these rooms are then we've got a way to enter the castle; if anybody wants to volunteer to be posted at the palace we would appreciate it; but we're not going to force anyone." He paused, "This position would place the volunteer at a high risk, so if you want to take this role on, you have to ask yourself how much you would be able to take before you talk if you are caught."
"It's not a matter of holding your tongue forever," Mallymkun suddenly put in, jumping from Thackery's head to Tarrant's open palm, "Nobody expects a torture victim to keep silent forever, but you will be expected to give the base enough time to evacuate. We will try to rescue anyone captured, but it'll have to be after everyone else is safe."
After the morning meeting everyone separated and began work; the women sent the children to forage though the forest for berries, fruits, and vegetables while the younger women took to cleaning and minor repairs. The men began working outside, and Alice soon discovered they were building more housing units up in the trees, using tree bark and moss to camouflage the structures from prying eyes.
A small group of older men and women were sitting around a large table, papers and quills before them; and Alice soon discovered them to be blueprints for both the tree-houses and some odd looking contraptions. Not wanting to interrupt Alice went to help the other women in their daily tasks, only to be dragged away from that by Mallymkun.
"Chess is fixing to leave to check up on the village the Tweedles are in charge of;" She informed her when Alice had placed the small mouse onto her shoulder, scrunching her nose, "Though why they're in charge of anything I'll never know, two of the dullest-witted boy's anyone's ever known, I'd wager!" Alice had to agree; even if she found them to be amusing and pleasant enough, they weren't exactly known for their intelligence.
When they reached the laughing cat Alice smiled; the creature was once again bothering Tarrant by taking his time in saying goodbye lovingly to the hatter's precious hat. It took a moment to divert the creatures attention towards herself, but when she did she was rewarded by the large, somewhat relieved smile, from Tarrant.
"Well, I'm off to see how Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dumber are fairing; though I already know they'd have either turned the poor town into slobbering nit-wits or confused the lot of them into forgetting even their own names." Chessur quipped.
"The boys are perfect for the job, they were born there, after all." Tarrant defended, though looked to be somewhat bothered, "I'm sure they'll have made some progress, after all, it's been nearly a fortnight since they arrived." Alice watched with a small chuckle as the mad man gave his shirt cuffs a quick tug, before patting his shoulder in comfort and offering a quick reassurance.
"Even if they haven't, then at least they should have gotten the point across that there are people ready to fight against the black-souled queen." Mallymkun insisted, at which Alice and Tarrant quickly agreed; "But if they haven't, then they'll be hearing from me!" the mouse snapped out, giving Chessur a hard glare, "And you can tell 'em I told you that!"
"Oh, I will." The cat agreed, already disappearing in his signature way, his eyes and mouth straying behind, "Then I'll wait to say hello until we meet again."
"Can't he just say goodbye like a normal person?" Mallymkun grumbled, jumping from Alice's shoulder to Tarrant's easily; a stern frown on her face as she glared at the spot the cat had disappeared from. "Always with a stupid remark or comment, dunno why we put up with him."
"Because he's a good friend who helps us when we need him to." Alice answered with a grin of her own before they turned around, "Imagine all the trouble we would find ourselves in without him."
"Just think of all the trouble we find ourselves in because of him!" Mallymkun snorted, "Blasted cat, always mucking about doing hardly anything while making it sound like he's been doing more then anyone!" Even as she said this, a look of worry took over the dark look the dormouse.
"He'll be fine, Mally." Alice offered comfortingly.
"'Course he'll be fine, if trouble happens he'll just evaporate away like he always does, won't he?" she snapped, though appeared to be somewhat calmed from the other woman's words. "Not like I'd worry for him, the ruddy cat's got more lives in him then even other Cheshire cat's can claim; an' he hadn't used a single one, yet!"
The evening meal had somehow managed to become yet another meeting, and the relaxation Alice had managed to attain since her arrival had obviously left her, even if Tarrant hadn't had the opportunity to get to know her, it would have been apparent. He couldn't blame her, the meetings almost seemed never ending; and the hard work between meetings were nearly always interrupted by conferences from either recruiters or town spies evaporating in to give information.
He couldn't blame her for her stressed appearance, the last few reports hadn't been his cup of tea, either; and he was surprised there were so few other towns that expressed any desire to defend themselves and their right to live in peace. Though he disliked the idea, he would have to travel to the towns personally to establish more allies, and bringing the petite blonde with him would give him an edge in gaining the people's attention.
The downside to his thoughts were that not only did he have very poor evaporating skills (he doubted being able to make the tips of his nails vanish would offer any help whatsoever), but Alice had absolutely none. They would have to travel around in the open in disguise so that the guards and the black queen's spies wouldn't realize who they were (another difficulty, as he knew of no one else with either of their colorings).
What he really, however, was dragging Alice around and placing her into more dangerous situations. He'd already promised himself to keep her safe until he was able to find a way to return her home, but the rebellion needed as many people as it could get. Should the people be able to visibly see Alice taking an active role within their ranks it might aid their decisions on joining.
Frowning down at his plate he thought harder; it wasn't impossible for him to make a couple of wigs for them to wear. If he changed his clothes and outer appearance as much as possible then he probably wouldn't even have to disguise his hat. The very thought of leaving it behind caused a viable shudder to take over his hands for a moment, causing Alice's eyes to fill with worry.
"Is everything alright, Tarrant?" She asked softly as the people around them continued whatever topic they'd been discussion, placing a hand on his arm, "Is it the tea? Thackery was complaining about it earlier, though I'm not to sure what he was saying..."
"No, no, I'm fine." Tarrant quickly shook his head, offering the woman a large smile, but when she smiled back, one fine eyebrow arched in query, he relented; "Well, I was thinking about the trouble we've been having getting more people to join our cause."
When Alice nodded he continued, "Suppose you and I go about rounding them up?" he asked, "I'm sure it will be difficult, however if we're both there together we might be able to bring them around." Tapping her fingers agitatedly against the table he considered her thoughtful face; "Of course, you don't have to, and if you feel it safer to stay here then you're more then welcome. Would hate for you to feel pressured into this after having gone though so much for Underland's sake, anyhow. I'm sure one of the tree-houses will be ready soon, I don't think anyone would mind allowing you to have one for yourself."
"In that case, I'll be going, too!" Mallymkun's voice interrupted the private conversation and drew both his and Alice's eyes to her as she stood before Tarrant's plate, "Can't have you two running about on your own, neither of you are much good at anything by yourselves." the decision made (at least in Mallymkun's eyes: which basically meant the decision was made period) the small dormouse gave it the announcement she thought it deserved.
"'Atter, Alice, an' I are going to get more people soon; you all better mind yourselves and stay out of thought and sight till we return." wagging her finger in warning she turned to Alice, "We best get ready, best not to put this off for to long, otherwise we're giving Mirana time to step in and get them before we do."
Three days later the trio left, Thackery giving his blessing by a well aimed wooden stirring spoon connecting wondrously against Tarrant's hat, and the brief argument was ended almost before it had even begun. Alice found her 'disguise' rather comfortable save for the binding that the women had painstakingly wrapped about her chest to cover the fact that Alice was actually a woman. Her long blonde hair had been braided about her head so that the wig (that was only slightly longer then Tarrant's own red hair and a great deal more dark blue) could be pinned into place to prevent slipping.
Mallymkun, for her part, took her mortification without batting an eye (though she had pricked and slashed); and the soft purple dress was utterly adorable on her. Alice found herself trying not to compliment the poor creature, though, when a matching bow was brought out and tied around one of her ears. "It's for the cause." Alice tried comforting, only receiving a steady look in return that almost screamed, 'Another word and you'll be missing a tongue'.
Tarrant had fashioned himself a longish black-haired wig and put himself in rather plain clothes, and though he disliked it, allowed Alice to cover his face with make-up so that his white skin wouldn't show. Someone had brought a pair of sunglasses to cover his oddly colored eyes; and by the time the trio had finished they found themselves staring unabashedly.
As they rode away from the base Tarrant had begun talking about the first town they would try to recruit. Apparently they were willing enough to sell goods to the rebels, however were to frightened to do anything else. "It's a justifiable fear, to be honest; as it is, if they're discovered supplying us with anything it would be considered an act of treason."
"If the Tweedles were worth even a quarter of their weight then they would have already convinced them of the physical support we'd give them." Mally stated waspishly from her spot atop the brim of the hatter's hat, her black eyes frowning with disapproval.
"Come now, Mally, I'm sure the boys are trying their hardest."
Alice, Tarrant, and Mallymkun stood outside of the newly erected walls around the town in a state of horrified disbelief; dumbly staring at a chubby little severed leg that had been crudely nailed into the finely polished dark wood. The stripped blood stained stocking clung tightly to the appendage as a small piece of black fabric clung to a tiny black shoe, still tied nicely on the nearly-to-small foot.
"Oh, lord, I hope not." Alice cut Tarrant off before he could voice what the other two were dreading and repressed the ill sensation in the pit of her stomach.
Mally collapsed on her knees, shaking her head; "It looks to have been torn off." her voice wavered slightly, her hand still weakly pointing to the leg from when she'd first brought notice to it, and when the black fabric fell from the foot she began to shake her head denial.
Tarrant gritted his teeth and clenched his eyes shut, refusing his eyes to watch the black cloth fall pathetically to the ground. The last report had not mentioned a wall being constructed, nor had it mentioned any of the guards taking it upon themselves to deliver excessive punishment to the people living within the town limits.
"Tarrant?" Alice's voice whispered, a slight tremble betraying her emotion, "We have to go in and find out what's going on. The leg's still bleeding, it couldn't have happened that long ago; so even if... Well... There is a chance to rescue the victim." Opening his eyes he immediately found Alice's gaze and nodded, not daring himself to speak until the sight before them was firmly to their backs.
Gathering what courage he still had, he turned and walked around the dark wall, keeping a fair distance out of both disgust and fear. Try as he might, the knowledge that there had only been ever two people in Underland at that height with that style; two very unique and amusing childish twins. "It isn't-"
"It had better not be." Mallymkun near snapped, her voice dark and powerful despite the slight squeak, her face stretching into a fierce snarl as her eyes glinted with promise.
Feeling Alice's fingers touch the back of his wrist when an iron gate came into view he paused briefly, nodding his head in acceptance of her small form of comfort and taking a deep breath. "First we need to get in unharmed and unnoticed, try not to look to disturbed, don't worry if you show a bit of fear; I believe that's the purpose the leg."
Alice felt his statement easier said then done, the difficulty of trying to smile at the murderous black armored guards while trying to fight back the furious scream that threatened to rip out of her throat was nearly to much for her to curb. Instead, she steadily stared into the masked face of the loathsome bastard and bared her teeth while Tarrant introduced them as Fredric and Roderick Upton. Already forgetting which one she was to have been she kept her mouth shut and nodded to the two guards as evenly as she could.
"What's your business in Qweston?" Guard one snapped, and Alice could feel his gaze burning into her with wiry curiosity. Knowing he expected her to as she quickly pointed to her mouth and shook her head.
"I'm afraid Fredric isn't capable of speech, poor fellow, lost it when we were children." Tarrant explained, patting her shoulder; "He understands it, though, and can answer yes and no questions quite easily! As for why we're here," he brought out a large map and opened it, revealing the recent additions the real Fredric and Roderick had made. "just a brief pause in our explorations as we update some of the Outerland area's, they just keep changing about, you know."
"You're cartographers, then?" The second guard asked, taking the map and inspecting it, "Have you seen any odd camps out there or anything?"
Her blood froze for a moment, a worried frown crossing her face, "Camps?" Tarrant asked, looking at Alice as though she'd asked the question, "I haven't noticed anything like that, have you, Freddy?" Alice fought the urge to quickly deny any knowledge and frowned a bit more, trying to appear to think harder, answered the negative with a shake of the head, coupling it with a quick shrug.
The guards handed the map back to Tarrant and stepped aside, "Well keep your eyes open and report to the closest town if you do, otherwise you'll be considered tried and sentenced the same as a traitor." chuckling darkly he leaned down as they passed, "Stay out of trouble, or you'll be seeing us again."
Trying to remain unaffected Alice nodded her head in understanding and followed Tarrant, turning quickly into the small marketplace. It was an intriguing little place, with odd signs and even odder shop-keeps, and Alice found herself biting her tongue to keep from asking Tarrant and Mallymkun (who currently hid within one of the hatter's pockets) anything. While she was sure it had (at one time) been a cute little village, it seemed as though one of the towns in the Western novels she sometimes enjoyed reading had spilled from the pages and onto the hard, cracking dirt they walked upon.
"Hard to believe that a short bit ago there was grass here." Tarrant laughed, though she failed to hear any ounce of humor in his voice, "Ah, and there seems to be a shortage of people as well, how odd."
Looking at Tarrant worriedly she spotted a slight orange hue rising into his green eyes and coughed sharply, gaining his attention. "Not to worry, Freddy, we'll stop somewhere to get you a bit of water after we do a bit of sight-seeing."
Authors Note: Sorry for being late! Due to some REALLY FRIGGEN IRRATATING information I received, I was seriously set back in all of my chapters. This little writer had her credit card stolen, took me a while to even get over it enough to sit down and think about anything else. So... Yeah... Not really all that happy right now.
More suspense in the future, hope you're looking forward to it as much as I am! Promise the next chapter will have 80% less ranting and 80% better; was kind of thrown off a bit; the stuff I had written was terrible enough to have to be re-written. Thank you all for your patience! My other stories will be updated next week, swear it!