Previously titled, "Show No Cowardice." The theme of reclaiming identity and understanding a deeper meaning to an adventure you didn't know you would be plunged into. Alice Kingsley centered.
No ownership of mad-tea parties, to my dismay, or anything of the sort.
This was about so much more than slaying a Jabberwocky. When the time came to it, yes, she would slay the dragon by any means possible, for she agreed to it and Underland's future was in her hands. The armor fit, forming to her body like a perfectly tailored gown for a coronation of her own making. Even in Underland the ball was about her, and in this supposed dream-world of her imagination's devising, she knew this was about more than the current task at hand.
She had denied the existence of this world since the moment she fell into it. She doubted that any of it was true, that she had simply knocked her head on the trunk of a tree and was simply dreaming. One could dream about memories, but memories were never as elusive as dreams could be.
She had doubted her abilities and chose to run away once more when her bravery, when her voice and decision was essential to more than just herself. Fear crippled her into inaction, but memory was her saving grace. She had been here before; she had known that sapphire sky, the talking flowers, Absolem, the Hatter, the Tweedles, the Cheshire, and above all, that horrid Red Queen who had to be deposed at any cost.
What she revealed then surprised herself: a complete absence of cowardice.
That was before she saw the terrifying Jabberwocky of course, a creature that looked like he would have loved to have her for elevenses if given the chance. This was hardly the time to imagining such a grotesque looking dragon drinking out of a giant tea-cup, but it was worth a shot for a moment.
The Hatter told her then that impossibility had no meaning unless it was given one. Slaying a Jabberwocky was just the same as waking up in the morning, hardly a daunting task, easily accomplished given the proper amount of muchness and enthusiasm.
But then the dragon roared, curled talons scuttling on the monochrome battle-field, itching for spilled blood, for her demise. To hide the fact that she was shaking in her armor, she stepped forward, meeting the seemingly impossible foe alone, as the White Queen had said.
The dragon spoke, a slit tongue hissing words out of a fang-rimmed snout, eyes flashing for the desire to murder, to destroy for the sake of his master. Impossible was nothing she told herself, for if a Jabberwocky was capable of speaking a language her ears could decipher, and once more, make enemies with the sword in her hand, such a word meant less than nothing.
Yes, this was about so much more than this battle, this occurrence. Even as she blocked the heat of flames with her shield, she reminded herself of this important fact. This "dream" meant something, these faces she met had true meaning; it was just part of the equation after all, part of a puzzle she had to put completely together.
There were dragons in her waking world. There were people she had to face bravely each and every day, people who would have loved to capsize her family and have her senses scattered with rumors about her father's company, meant only to upset her mother. What could possibly come from a lady who wasn't wed? A burden to her mother, an old maid, and various colorful insults came to mind, phrases that she would have loved to disregard right then.
With every slash of her blade, she imagined that she was tearing words apart, words fashioned on pieces of parchment and vellum, slicing them again and again until they knew no more. The Jabberwocky dodged of course, but she was fighting him and putting an end to internal tirades against herself.
Contrary wise, there were people who would help her, a scant few whom she could impart trust on. There were people who hid behind the premise of power, using the resources of their disposal to make those around them miserable, and in the case of two-faced foes, fooled. Underland, in this instance was nothing more than an abstract mirror-image of the life above her, the life she accidentally left behind.
Everyone asked her who she was, to which she replied that she was Alice Kingsley. That didn't get her anywhere. "The" Alice, "Hardly" Alice, "Almost" Alice, a shameful tabulation trailed the name of a young lady who may or may not have fallen down the same rabbit-hole years previous. No one recognized her despite the fact that they had known her, once upon a time.
That was worrisome. If these creatures couldn't recognize her, creatures who she dreamed of every night for years, then how was she to recognize herself? Who was she? A young lady about to be forcibly wed for status, a lady who imagined impossible things and then spoke of them without muchness, mourning the death of her father at every turn of phrase?
No. No, that wasn't who she was. She was her father's daughter, a Kingsley, a young woman of vision who had just be-headed the most gruesome creature she had ever laid eyes on. If she could hold a sword, don armor at a queen's call, rescue a dear friend from a most wicked murder plot, find her way around Underland while she was the size of a stack of sugar cubes, then she would find her muchness.
It was in what she dared to reveal to the world that represented who she was: that she was Alice Kingsley, she had been to Underland twice, and she would not marry unless it was for love.
It was all linked she realized; the Jabberwocky only had a small part to play in this.
By blood she had come to this world; by blood she would escape, only to find herself again.
She had forgotten so much already; she vowed she wouldn't forget this dream that wasn't a dream, and most importantly, who she was ever again.