When I woke up, it only took me a moment to gather where I was. I sat up in bed, and the covers and pillows seemed to protest the lack of heat they were now getting. I rubbed my eyes and tried looking around for what woke me, and I found it in the flowers growing on the balcony of my window. I sighed as they continued to sing, not unlike birds. That was new. I hadn't been woken up this early in…years. I groaned and flopped back on the pillows, determined to fall back to sleep but I was stopped when the flowers pitch rose higher.
I groaned and pushed the covers away so that I could slam the double windows open and glare at the flowers. "What. Are. You. Doing." I ground out and the flowers seemed to come up short. I'm sure I didn't look my best but I didn't care.
"U-Um...It is a flower custom to sing on the morning of a battle. We are morning bells…" One of the larger flowers told me. I just wanted to pick its little petals off.
"Yes well, you better move to a different balcony because I don't wake up earlier then nine. So hold it in or I'll move you somewhere else." I slammed the doors back and flopped back onto the bed. But no matter how I moved or laid I couldn't get back to that perfect place that I had fallen asleep in. "I'm going to murder those flowers." I gripped as I threw back the covers again. So again I jumped out of the now cold bed but this time I opened the wardrobe. I opened it up and my eyes caught on the mirror and my long, loose hair.
The black strands looked like a hoard of rats lived inside of it. I turned back to the inside of the wardrobe and began pulling drawers open until I found a beautiful comb, which would work on my hair. I began brushing and brushing and brushing my long hair. It made me feel sort of like Rapunzel except my hair wasn't golden, or used to drag people into buildings with either. I smiled at my own lousy joke before replacing the comb in the correct drawer. (The third one down) Now I began stripping my clothes, and while I pulled the white shirt over my head I stopped. What was glittering in the light?
I pulled the white shirt back down and held my hand up and there was the ring. I grinned as the memory of last night flew back in my mind. I can't believe I forgot, even if I'm not a morning person I should have remembered something like that shouldn't I have? I twirled around again, happy. Well, I couldn't leave my hair down now can I? The married or engaged people have to wear their hair up, so that they don't attract other men. To keep it up I put my top hat on as well.
I started searching in my closet, trying to find something that would look nice on me. I huffed when I didn't find anything but then I found something awesome. It was armored enough that it would protect me if I slipped up with the Jabberwocky, but not bulky enough to embarrass me when I walked.
I began slipping it on, one piece at a time and when the brown leather and silk finally sat right I only had to move around a little, so as to make sure everything was right. When I had looked at every possible angle I looked to the sun outside, that had long since risen before sighing. We would have to gout soon but I just wanted a close look at the sunrise before every warrior or man with a weapon made their way to protect the castle. I jiggled the doors to the balcony back open and I winced as I saw the pretty flowers were no longer open but had retreated into their buds. It made me mad at myself for a moment before I let it pass.
I walked to the edge of the balcony and couldn't help but sigh at the beauty of it all. It really was quite a beautiful sight, the sun over these remarkable lands. "Aluna…" I heard. I jumped and swiveled around to see who said my name but I found nothing but air. "Up here, stupid girl." I heard again and I looked up and what I saw was Absolem there in a cocoon. I rolled my eyes at his grand entrance.
"So that is what you went off to do, become a butterfly?" I asked the caterpillar. He chuckled and continued to weave himself farther in to his little cocoon. I sighed and sat down on the bench, looking out as the people began to mass in the courtyard.
"Are you frightened?" Absolem asked me, as blunt and straight-forward as he always was with things.
"Of course, who wouldn't be?" I answered honestly. "It's almost like the kraken again, except…not." I muttered to myself, clutching the sword, Stern to me. Mirana must have known that I would come out here to the balcony because she had left it on the bench for me. Of course, I almost always used to come out here when I did wake up.
"Yes, you'll be fighting another monster for the sake of your loved ones…." Absolem answered. He must have been weaving like mad because his whole face was almost covered. I sighed.
"Yes, let's just hope this one ends better than the last time." I muttered, sighing as well when I could only see a little of his face. "I hope to see you in your next life." I told him.
"Fairfarren, Aluna." He bid me adieu before moving his face a little and suddenly the entire cocoon was still. I sighed and stood up so that I could touch the beautiful membrane.
"Fairfarren, Absolem." I muttered back before starting off on my journey back through the castle, and to the courtyard. The whole time I couldn't help but think of the battle to come. It was finally time to slay a jabberwocky. I'd never actually slayed the Kraken, I'd just taken that painful leap and it had all went downhill from there. Thankfully I was saved from Davy Jones' locker but I'll never forget those days I lost to the locker. I shiver now just thinking of the loneliness and how my mind had slowly bent towards insanity.
I clutched Stern closer as I finally made it to the courtyard. To my surprise, there waiting was everyone. Apparently I was late. I smiled as I stood beside my daughter but really my eyes were searching for that one person in the crowds that I refused to go into war without. Just as I thought that I wasn't in fact the last one to arrive I spotted the Hatter in all of his finery. His coat was a brilliant blue, his hat shining with love and care, matching his eyes as the fiery red depths locked with mine. I almost missed the kilt he was supporting around his legs. Well, he is slightly Scottish isn't he? It would only make since that his war gear is Scottish.
"Aluna…" He muttered when he reached me. I smiled and moved into his open arms, in front of every person, plant, and animal in the white kingdom. "So it wasn't a dream?" Tarrant smiled, I could feel it on my hair as he was pressing his face into it.
"It was a dream, I'm afraid I've joined you in it." I answered, moving my face from his muscled chest so that I could connect my red lips with his naturally pink ones. Oh, his kiss just took my breath away. I heard cheering in the background and someone announcing to the people that 'the high-queen has chosen a suitor at last!" but I paid them no mind as my Mad Hatter wrapped me in his arms tight. To my distaste we had to pull away from each other for that stupid thing called air that all biotic things need.
I chuckled and smashed my burning face back into the Hatter's chest for just a moment, so I could smell the pure Hatter smell once more. Then I stepped out of his arms and whistled. It took a moment, in which I'm sure many people were wondering what I was doing before there was a loud roar, followed by the Bandersnatch turning the corner. A few of the people moved back in surprise and fear but the mighty beast came to a halt right in front of me. I chuckled at it, and made sure to give it a good scratching before I pecked the Hatter's lips.
"Will you help me up?" I asked the Hatter whose eyes were still red. He nodded and nearly circled my waist in his hands. After only a moment of preparation he lifted me up and onto the rough fur of the Bandersnatch. I smiled down at Tarrant. "Thank you." I told him. He giggled and bowed, taking his hat off with a flourish to do so then putting it back on with the same amount of embellishment.
I watched as Mirana used a step latter to get up upon her own horse. It was taken away by two monkeys, not unlike the ones that my Iracebeth has been. I felt a small pain in my heart for my daughter. How had I let her go down such a path? No, I shouldn't think about it too much or I'll start blaming myself.
"Let us start off." The White Queen announced to her subjects that lined up to let us through first. I smiled at them as I rode on top of the Bandersnatch and I have to tell you the Bandersnatch was just as hard to ride as before. Alas, the appearance of my riding on this large beast had to put heart into the doubting people of the white castle.
I sighed as we started off on the long ride. There was very little talking as it turned out. We talked to each other a little at the beginning but the closer we got to the chessboard that I had seen from my balcony the tensions rose. Especially for me and my daughter I am sure. We were going to challenge our own dear relative. I couldn't believe that I was really going through this. I'd never had such a problem with one of my dear daughters. Iracebeth used to be a sweet little child, granted her head had been a little large. I'd loved her just as much as her twin (fraternal) and I still love her despite what she's done.
Before I knew it the pressure of the tense atmosphere hit a peek as the paw of the Bandersnatch hit the first piece of the chessboard. I didn't know how I was going to deal with the tension as everyone began to fall in line. The warriors behind us fell into place, just as if they were real chess pieces and Mirana, Tarrant, the March Hare, Bayard, and all of my friends were ahead of the warriors. Despite this all of our eyes were glued to the red armored cards ahead of us. I slide off of the Bandersnatch and stood next to Tarrant as the White and Red queen's meet in the middle.
The silence around the battle field was so silent that we could hear everything that came out of the two queen's mouths. "Hello, Iracebeth." Mirana greeted.
"Hello, Mirana." Iracebeth bit back not unlike a child would greet someone who told them no. I sighed at her tone though. My heart dropped a little at this. I really had wished, in my subconscious that they could work this out without fighting.
Suddenly the white rabbit blew the trumpet of battle and started proclaiming the official words. "On this, the Frabjous Day, the Queens Red and White shall send forth their champions in the last attempt to for the crown. The champions shall battle on the half of the queens and shall the best for Underland win!" The rabbit preached. I sighed and I felt my dear Tarrant's hand grasp mine in comfort. I squeezed his hand and it squeezed mine right back.
"Oh, Racie…we don't have to fight." My dear Mirana tried once again to end this peacefully. I smiled softly at this and I squeezed the hand in mine and the Hatter turned to smile at me, and I smiled at him as well.
"I know what you're doing." The Red queen said, and I sighed. She must have gotten my sense of paranoia because that sounds like something that I would assume when anyone talks to me and sure enough when she spoke again I could see it there. "You think you can blink those pretty little eyes and I'll melt, just like Mummy and Daddy did." She snarled and her glaring eyes turned to me. I didn't flinch merely stared at her silently. It was not my battle to wage.
"Please." Mirana tried again, desperate and she held her hand in hopes that her sister would understand and I hoped that she would take it.
"No!" She suddenly screamed and stamped her foot like a little child. "It is my crown! I am the eldest!" She argued and Mirana pulled her hand back and I could almost see the disappointment and sadness on her face. Iracebeth turned from Mirana and shouted out. "Jabberwocky!" She screamed at the top of her large lungs. There was a great shifting in the red armored cards before they moved out of the way for the Jabberwocky.
Mirana and the Red queen moved back from each other, never taking their eyes off of the other. I waited and watched to see my adversary. I swear I almost started running when what I thought was a rock began to crack and wings started unfurlying from the rock it was sleeping on. As the wings jerked away from the rock so did the large, mean head with large teeth, red eyes, and a bony figure. I shuttered just seeing it from this far. It gave a large roar and I winced, causing Tarrant to place an arm around me in comfort.
"I think I'm going to cry." I muttered. "It's impossible to slay that thing." I groaned as it began shaking its tail lose from where it was coiled around the rock.
"Only if you believe it is." Tarrant whispered to me but his eyes stayed on the large predator before us. Suddenly the Jabberwocky jumped from its rock perch and onto the ground making it a great distance to the chessboard in that one leap. I watched as it used both its hind legs, and its wings to walk to the chessboard. Its eyes met mine and I tried not to show my fear.
"Sometimes I believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast." I told the mad hatter beside me. He tightened his grip on my hand before answering me.
"That is an excellent practice." He answered and as the Jabberwocky seemed to gain its footing the Hatter's voice turned into its burr. "However, just at the moment, you really might want to focus on the Jabberwocky." He answered. I shivered again at the burr and took my eyes away from the Jabberwocky just long enough to catch the yellowish green eyes of Tarrant that was still locked onto the Jabberwocky.
The Jabberwocky rashly pushed trees out of its way to come to the chessboard and I weakly chuckled at Tarrant's answer. "Where's your champion, Sister?" The Red Queen asked as the Jabberwocky made a large roar behind her. The red armored cards couldn't seem to get out of the beasts way fast enough. I grimaced before releasing my fiancée's hand to walk forward with my usually swagger.
"That would be me." I announced, with my head held high. Iracebeth's breath seemed to shorten.
"Mother?" She asked, her eyes widening and I felt the pain in my heart again at her expression. I felt so bad for doing this to her.
"You've gotten out of hand, Iracebeth. This isn't how I raised you and if I have to fight a big bad monster to punish you then so be it." I told her strongly. I had to remind myself that I did not need to forgive her no matter how wide her big black eyes got.
Even the Red queen and the nasty, vile, disgusting knave moved out of the way for the clumsy Jabberwocky. I moved forward to meet it. "Hello, jabberwocky." I growled at it.
"Hello, bearer of the Vorpal one." He growled back. I shuttered as its large tongue stuck out. With a snap I started the battle, slicing the tongue from its mouth. It shrieked loudly and I heard the multiple gasps but I groaned when the tail pushed around and knocked me down. I grimaced and turned back over, so that the foot it aimed at me. The claw just brushed me but I rolled up onto my knees so I could slice at the visible ribs. It moved back before the blow could sink in though.
I swerved around again, just to miss a purple lightening that the dragon like Jabberwocky belched out at me. I thanked God that the bolt did not hit me because just from two feet away I could feel the plasma coming off of the bolt. I took a large breath before stabbing forth again, ducking a claw and ducking under the Jabberwocky's crusty body making it turn around, just to allow me slice off some of the long pieces on the back of its head.
I screamed as suddenly one of his slices hit home and I was smashed far away against ruins that had at once been some kind of temple but my head shook too much for me to remember. I coughed loudly and tried to get up, stumbling a little at first and the Jabberwocky was quickly approaching. I grew dizzy as it got closer but suddenly I heard "Aluna!" Before the Jabberwocky reared its head and turned around.
"The Hatter's interfering! Off with his head!" Iracebeth screamed. I saw the masses of warriors begin to merge together to fight but I needed to pay attention to the Jabberwocky which now turned back to me. I took off up the stairs of the ruins and tried to think of a way to kill it. I needed to just get to its head, which would make it easier to kill that way, as I can't find a way to its heart. I huffed and huffed, trying to hopelessly outrun this monstrosity. I ran into problems with stairs that had been torn down but I jumped over them.
I groaned as I stumbled again as I almost missed the stairs as the Jabberwocky shock the stairs with its weight. I made it to the first floor with a lot of columns and I tried to hide behind one. I couldn't hear or see the Jabberwocky anymore, only the cries and groans of battle. I just glimpsed the Hatter fighting with Stayne but I looked away so I could try and find the Jabberwocky. I glanced around, trying to find it, and I just noticed a pair of stairs before I suddenly heard the Jabberwocky screech behind me. I turned away from the column just in time as its claw wrenched the column away from the floor.
I screamed and hid at the bottom of another column, gasping for breath. At the same time a lightning bolt belch shot off except this time he moved it along through the floor. I squeezed my eyes shut as the bolt slammed into my column. Thankfully the column held up. I used this moment to open my eyes and run past the Jabberwockies back to the stairs I saw before. It quickly saw me, and swished around, taking me down with the spikes on its tail. I groaned on the floor but got right back up despite the pain in my back.
I climbed up the stairs, dodging pieces of columns that were being thrown at me. I ran and ran up in a twist on the stairs, slowing down as my stamina lessened. I tried to push myself farther and farther. The jabberwocky made it a head of me and slammed into the stairs. I almost screamed again but I didn't have the breath to as its jaws came down to try and bite me again. I ducked under its jaws and through the gap in the boney legs.
I gasped and fell to a stop as the stairs abruptly ended. I climbed back up wheezing for air but there was nowhere to go. The jabberwocky roared, and rose above me and it raised its jaws open as if gagging how my head would fit in its jaws. It ducked its heads again but I dived out of the way as many times as I could and its legs shifted, making it have to take a moment for it to rebalance.
I took this moment to jump on its long coarse, leathery neck. I grasped some of the old leather skin in my hand as it bucked under the sudden weight. It climbed the entire tower and I screamed and groaned as it bucked its head up and down to try and kill me. Suddenly, when I thought it was ready I let go and it swung me high up in the air. I moved Stern up and pointed the blade down.
"Off with your head!" I screamed giggling on the way down. As I slammed down to the top of the tower, by miracle winds, my blade moved without stopping straight through the neck of the jabberwocky. I grasped the ground as I watched the body slide off of the tower and slowly the head rolled down the tower's stairs. I raised myself up into a standing formation and wiped the sweat away from my forehead. Clouds I hadn't even known were in the sky parted as the jabberwockies head rolled to a stop.
At almost the same time as the head stopped so did the battle. I was still wheezing but it didn't help with the regaining my breath. I started down the stairs, slower this time but not too slow. I made it almost all the way down and leant against the side of the wall with one hand on the wall and the other on my knee.
"K-Kill her!" My own daughter screamed. I snorted as none of her little armory even took a step near my direction. Actually I think some of them took multiple steps back as I stumbled down the stairs.
"We follow you no more, Bloody Big Head." One of the cards said, with a 7 on his shoulders. He threw down his spear and I sat down on the stairs in attempt to regain my breath.
"How dare you? Off with his head!" She screamed and pointed at him but all of the armored cards began to through down their spears in shock. I saw Tarrant move out of the crowds and I leaped to my feet to run to him. I moved his clothes around trying to see if he had been hurt anywhere.
"I'm fine." He lisped to me and I smiled at his wide grin at my concern. He kissed me, and there was not a bit of passion hidden behind it. The passion was all in our mouths, tongue, and teeth. But we had to break it off as many people gasped at us. I laughed loudly before growing sober. I moved away from Tarrant so that I could point at the crown on Iracebeth's head and move it to Mirana's head, making sure to turn it to match her white theme.
As it touched her hair the hair blew back and her eyes closed in pleasure. She turned to smile at me and then to Iracebeth with no longer a sad expression but with a cold, distrusting gaze.
"Iracebeth of Crims, your crimes against Underland are worthy of death." She told her before raising her hands again just as before. "However," She rephrased and I walked to stand by her to show my support of her vow. "that is against my vows," She was delicate about it and I felt Tarrant stand right behind me in support as well. "Therefore, you are banished to the Outlands." She sentenced fiercely. "No one is to show you any kindness, or ever speak a word to you. You will not have a friend in the world." She whispered the last part.
I saw Iracebeth close her eyes, hiding her emotions from us. Then, the nasty, disgusting pig that ruined my rescue of the man I loved. "Majesty," He bowed to her. "I hope you bear me no ill will." He said. I burned with anger. Mirana turned to me again and bowed to me, showing that she still understood that I was the high-queen.
"You, Illosovic Stayne, are a cruel, slippery, disgusting, nasty, vile, greasy, revolting, dreadful, worthless,-" I started, practically feeling my eyes cross.
"Mom!" Mirana whispered, but Tarrant also said, "Aluna…" He muttered to me. I winced once before continuing.
"You, are to join Iracebeth in banishment from this day until the end of Underland." I sentenced and as I spoke the red cards slapped a pair of handcuffs onto their wrists. The Red Queen seemed to have a small amount of hope on her face when she looked up into the eyes of the knave.
"At least we have each other." She said sweetly, obviously in love with him. However Stayne didn't look so happy. The large man looked as if we'd told him we were going to kill him instead. He paniced, and pulled a knife from a hidden sheath on his waist to stab at my daughter. I moved to help her but the Hatter had seen it coming and he threw-…a needle? At the greasy hand holding the Knaves knife and he let out a roar as it dropped. I turned to let out a breath at the hatter who took this as encouragement and placed his arm around me, cautious at first, of it.
"Your majesties! Please! Just kill me! Please!" He begged to both the white and high queen's. Mirana's gaze had turned even colder if it was possible and I touched her shoulder briefly to give her comfort. I knew she loved her sister even though they fought constantly. I let my hand drop away as the red cards pulled him into submission.
"But I don't owe you any kindness." I told him sweetly. Of course, it was mostly because I didn't want Iracebeth alone as much as I was mad with her.
"Take of my head!" The Knave begged as the red cards started to drag them both off to the Otherlands, a dreadful lonely place.
"He tried to kill me." The Red Queen said her eyes wide with despair and disbelief.
"Majesty! Please, please!" He continued to beg.
"He tried to kill me." Iracebeth stated again as if she was in shock and couldn't believe it at all. I felt Tarrant move away but I was concentrating on the chaotic couple being dragged from us. I sighed but then I heard Tarrant's voice and I turned to see him standing just in the free space near the ruins that I had painstakingly climbed both up and down.
"Oh, the Frabjous Day! Callou! Callay!" Tarrant shouted his clothes bright and lively and his face and hair matching. I watched at the front of the group, right next to my daughter as Tarrant took his hat off and music began to play from somewhere as Tarrant began futterwacken, vigorously. I laughed along with the others as Tarrant's body began to swivel and turn in all kinds of wild and unbelievable directions. I laughed and clapped as his arms turned and his legs as he bent. I glanced beside me where Chess appeared bobbing his whole body with the beat of the music.
I laughed as he did amazing flips to me and then I was surprised when his hand was offered to me. I heard the voices of everyone cheering me on and I rolled my eyes while laughing again. I took his offered hand and Tarrant pulled me out with him to dance with him. It was easy for me to Futterwacken and it was much simpler then the dances of humans so I let my body run away with me and Tarrant as we turned around each other, sometimes even switching body parts, which seemed impossible and it was. When we both stopped Tarrant was bowing with his hat off but we were pressed together and holding them up in the air while we stared straight at each other.
I breathed in, finally. It seemed that it took a lot out of me to futterwacken. I giggled when the Hatter leaned in and took my lips with his. I squealed into his mouth as he lifted me up off the ground. I clutched onto the top hat in my hand but used my other hand to tangle it in the fiery red hair.
"Long live the High-Queen Destiny!" I heard Mirana cheer and the others followed in her cheer. I broke from the sweet lips so that I could smile at my friends, my family, and even my love.
I loved these crazy, mad people.