THE HOUSE OF REDby Mary Anne Gruen

Disclaimer: This is fanfiction, made just for fun for the fans of The 10th Kingdom. None of the characters from the original movie belongs to me. All the rest belong either to me, the Brothers Grimm, or to Mythology.


The Uprising and Exodus

Outside the palace of Queen Red Riding Hood the Third the crowds had gathered once again. And once again, the Queen tried to ignore them. Her attention was centered on several documents of state that her private secretary had brought for her to sign. The first time the crowd sang their song, she was able to block it out. But the second time, their voices seemed to shake the very rocks of the castle itself. They sang,

"Good King Wendell raised his hand,

And brought freedom to the land.

Said he in a voice so bold,

I will end this wrong of old.

"Write these words so all can see,

In the wolf is loyalty.

To his hearth and home and friend,

A wolf is loyal to the end.

"Proclaim his pardon far and near,

In this hero have no fear,

Write these words so all can see,

Give the wolf his liberty!"

"Give the wolf his liberty!" they sang again. This last line of the song was sung especially loud.

Queen Riding Hood clapped her hands to her ears, completely unconcerned with whether or not her red ringlets would be mussed. That goes to show you how upset she was, for she was a very vain woman. Today she was wearing a red velvet gown with a matching red velvet cap perched in the center of her red ringlets.

A growl of fury escaped her perfectly painted lips as she threw down her red feathered quill. She pushed back her ornate chair without noticing the rude noise it made as it scraped against the floor and strode to the partially open window. The crowd below was made up of humans, wolves and half-wolves, peasants all. No royalty would have dared mingled with such a crowd. They knew how angry it would have made their great monarch.

The Queen's face twisted in anger and she cursed under her breath. It was totally unladylike behavior for one who was always so aware of her position. But no one else was present just then. Besides, if the truth had been told, Red Riding Hood the Third wasn't always the most perfect of ladies, especially when she was angry.

"Who do they think they are?" she demanded to herself.

"Good King Wendell raised his hand," the crowd began again, "and brought freedom to the land."

The Queen slammed the stained glass window of her study closed, but still the sound invaded her room.

"Ichabod!" the Queen yelled, "I C H A B O D!"

The man who belonged to the name came rushing into the room. He was as tall and thin as a broomstick, with angular twig-like arms and legs. His nose was long with spectacles balanced precariously at the end of it. Ichabod was the Queen's private secretary. He'd joined her just after her coronation some twenty years before and over that time her impatient temper had made him rather a nervous man.

"Yes, your Majesty!" Ichabod said, bobbing his head up and down in multiple bows. "What can I do for you, your Majesty? Is something wrong?" He kept his face down as he rushed to her side. It wasn't uncommon for her to fling the occasional document or small object at him when she didn't find things to her liking. She wasn't a violent woman, mind you. Just spoiled and determined to have her own way. When things weren't perfect, she tended toward temper tantrums.

"What is that riff raff doing outside my castle?"

"Riff raff. You mean the um…wolves. Well, you told us to ignore them. That they'd get tired and go away in a couple of days."

"But they HAVEN'T!"

"No. They don't seem to have gone, your Majesty." Ichabod started bobbing up and down again. Moving targets were harder to hit.

"Well, I want them gone. NOW. Call out the guards and the soldiers. I want every last one of them jailed."

"But there's quite a crowd out there, your Majesty. I'm not sure the palace jail can hold all of them."

"Then find some other place to put them. I don't care where. And jail anyone else who dares to congregate on my parade grounds."

"Yes, your Majesty."

Queen Riding Hood pushed past her secretary, the rush of her long heavy skirts sending him into a slight spin. "And take a proclamation," she ordered.

Ichabod had pen and paper at the ready. The Queen was always dictating letters and had even just recently started on her autobiography, "Queen Riding Hood the Third, the SIXTH Great Woman of History." Already there were several chapters in it about wolves. "How to Keep Them in Their Proper Place of Subservience; Their History as Savages; and The Detestable Trend of Miscegenation or The Half-Wolf Phenomenon and its Lessening of the Human Race."

"Ready, your Majesty," Ichabod said.

"King Wendell isn't the only one who can make proclamations, you know."

"Of course not, your Majesty."

"How could he? Honoring two humans and a dog is one thing. But honoring a wolf is quite another."

"Indeed it is, your Majesty."

"Insolent pup. Didn't he know he was setting a precedent? Honor one wolf, and before long they'll all think they're worthy of it. They'll start thinking they're equal."

"Oh, your Majesty." Ichabod tried his best to look disgusted. "Equal?"

"Well, not in my kingdom. The Second Kingdom will NOT allow itself to be sullied. Issue a proclamation. To all my subjects, 1 - The curfew for wolves is to be expanded to ALL the hours from dusk till dawn. Any wolves found outside after that hour will be jailed immediately. 2 - Any group of wolves larger than three will be subject to immediate questioning and possible jail time. 3 - Wolf Permits are to be carried at all times and surrendered upon asking. 4 - Troops of Nightriders will be on hand to keep the peace. 5 - ALL wolves will be subject to these rules, purebred and otherwise."

"I have it, your Majesty."

"Good. Put it up as soon as you can. And get those dirty wolves out of my yard."

"Yes, your Majesty."

The reaction to Queen Red Riding Hood's proclamation was almost immediate. Her troops started cracking down hard on all the wolves in the Second Kingdom, checking permits extra closely, harassing families, and placing an unusually large number of wolves under arrest with very little reason. The wolves were tired of such persecution, especially when one of their own had just been named a hero. Through him respect was being given to all of them in many of the Nine Kingdoms.

And so the wolves started to fight back, which in turn created greater ire in the Queen. If the wolves hadn't turned their attention from revolution to exodus when they did, the Second Kingdom might very well have descended into a bloody civil war. But cooler heads prevailed.

"Let's go to the Fourth Kingdom, to King Wendell and Wolf the hero," the wolves said to one another. "We'll make a new home there."

Queen Riding Hood saw their caravans heading for the border and she shook her proud head of red hair. It was wound up the day they left in a silken snood decorated with diamond crystals. "Good!" she said to her secretary Ichabod. "Let them go. We don't need them. The Second Kingdom will be better off without them."

But if she'd had any sense, she would have called the wolves back and tried to make peace with them. If they'd stayed in her kingdom, most of what happened afterward would never have taken place.