This Chapter is mostly just an introduction to Stayne's situation and the relationships he has with other important characters. This is a pretty boring chapter, but it would help you better understand the story if you still read it.

Stave One: Iracabeth's Ghost

Chapter One

Stayne walked the hallowed halls of the White Queen's castle, alone. His armor was deathly black, the blackest thing in the castle for that matter. Anyone could spot him a mile away. His face was hard, unfeeling, and overall none too nice looking. The heart he used as an eye patch for his left eye was no longer in use, but had been replaced by an even more sinister patch. It, like the entirety of his clothing, was black. All it was, was a simple, typical eye patch shape, but the blackness of it made it look like the darkest, and deepest of abysses. Scars bled out from under it, giving some hint as to what lie under it – nothing.

He was on his way to the Queen's army training grounds, where he drilled his men harden than any Commander before him. For he was the White Queen's General, in charge of all her troops. He gave his men no mercy. He was despised by most all the soldiers, and everyone in Marmoreal for that matter. Though he had taken side with the White Queen, he was still viewed as the (former) Red Queen's Knave of Hearts. He totally ignored the rude comments that were constently being shot his way, not caring what others thought of him and his past deeds, and not caring a lick for them either.

As he walked down the corridor, he past by the Royal Sewing Room. He gave a wicked smile, and strode in. There, on the opposite side of the room, was the Hatter. He despised the pale man to no end. Just the way he looked made Stayne want to gag. And those dreadful hats he made! He could only find one word to describe them – hideous. Everything about the Hatter he found truly awful and wretched… except for the one possession of his he envied and coveted – his wife. The Hatter was married to Underland's Champion, Alice Kingsleigh… Hightopp. Why couldn't she be Alice Kingsleigh Stayne? How and why was this horrific man married to the most beautiful woman in all of Underland? And why did they have to rub it in his face even more by producing a brood of little Hatters? Five children ("If they could even be called children!" Stayne thought), all of them possessing the Hatter's dominate traits – all miniatures of him. It sickened Stayne to no end. If only just one of the girls looked exactly look her mother, then he might be able to make it work. But NOOO! They all had to either have his fiery hair, or his absurd, color-changing eyes, or something like that! Disgusting.

And now, here he was, striding boldly across the horrid Hatter's workroom. He was going to have some fun. He stood over him, a wicked smirk plastered on his mug.

"Good morning, Hatter." He said in a chipper tone (though this made it sound all the more dark).

"Wat do ye want, Knave?" The Hatter asked irritably in his deep, Scottish brogue. Stayne didn't flinch. This was the exact reaction he wanted. He just knew that under that top hat of his, his eyes were burning red-orange.

"What? Can't I say 'hello' to an old friend?"

"O' course ye kan. But yoo'd need tah have friends first." Stayne pretended to be deeply hurt by this remark.

"Why, I thought we were friends! After all, we have so much in common! We both can wield a broadsword with great skill, we both serve the White Queen with loyalty -" Hatter suddenly cut him off.

"I wouldn't say that." Stayne was unfazed.

"And we of course have the same taste in women." His voice was pure acid. At this the Hatter shot to his feet. With fists clenched, he stalked over to Stayne, who now wore a wry grin that rivaled even the Cheshire Cat.

"Lisen yoo! Don't ye dare bring Alice intoo 'dis! The lass chose meh, not yoo! Get ovar it!" Hatter's reaction only made Stayne's smile grow wider.

"True, true. But the only reason she even chose you was because she's to kind to break your heart. She knew she would if she refused you." If the Hatter's eyes hadn't been burning before, they were now. He roared in anger, and in his rage, he grabbed for the sword he always kept with him. He pulled it from its sheath, and held it to the Knave's throat.

"Take. It. BACK." Stayne hadn't meant for his game to go so far, but he kept his calm all the same. In a single, fluid movement, he had taken his sword from its sheath and knocked Hatter's away.

"I'd put that down if I were you, Hatter." He said evenly, but his voice was tinged with rage. The Hatter's sword dropped with a clatter.

And at that very moment, who should walk into the room, but Alice herself, the very source of the conflict.

"Tarrent, I -" She halted mid-sentence at the sight before her. There was her husband, the blade of Stayne's sword to his throat, ready to slit it at any moment. She ran over to the two men, and seized Hatter's sword from the floor. She held it up at Stayne, just as he was to the Hatter. "Leave him alone, Stayne!" She said in almost a snarl. Stayne knew that it was Time to get going, for the old adage says, "There is nothing worse than a woman's scorn". He withdrew his sword, and placed it back in its sheath. Alice did the same. Stayne gave the couple a hard stare, and silently left the room. He had more important business to attend to. Once he knew he was gone, Hatter pulled his wife into his embrace, and stroked her hair lovingly. He would never let her go – especially to the likes of Ilosovic Stayne.

So was it good? Was it really good? Was it really REALLY good? I'd love to know!