Here's a little treat for you, and ahead of schedule.Orlaith sat at her dressing table brushing her long golden hair while recalling recent events Fairyland. Her bright blue eyes looked sad, and although her gaze was fixed solidly on the mirror in front of her, she did not see her reflection. Sighing softly she laid down her hairbrush and moved over to her bed. Clambering in between the massive sheets she wished she could find a way round a particular problem as easily as she had the problem of Michael the leprechaun and his Megan.
‘Fairyland has to work within certain rules and regulations, or you may disrupt the possibilities of happy endings.’ Orlaith had lost count of the times her father had made it clear to her that sometimes you have to let events run their course or risk ruining the bigger picture. Switching on her light again she thought aloud.
“I wonder how my emissary to King Guralabab’s court is getting on.” She moved over to her mirror once more and sat down. So handy to have a magic mirror’s she though to herself. It saves so much bother. Then she took out her wand and waved it over her dressing table where a cup of hot chocolate and a small biscuit appeared. Slowly the mirror before her clouded over then cleared showing her a scene in King Guralabab’s throne room.
* * * * *
King Guralabab the seventh looked over the troll before him with a smile on his face. Chloe was an unusual choice for the position of court storyteller to say the least. She had been the nurse, governess and more recently the confidant of his daughter Elspeth. Her stature was not that of a troll, she was far too thin for a start. She had cut with the current trend of short hair, had grown hers long and was now wearing it platted down her back. Now that he came to think of it King Guralabab realised that she had always looked a bit different from the other trolls of his court.
It was not a fitting practice for the king of the trolls to notice the dress of his female subjects but nevertheless King Guralabab the Seventh was not a fool. He noticed almost everything that came before him. This skill had probably contributed to the way he had escaped assassination attempts for as many years as he had. Now he noticed for the first time something that he should have noticed years ago. Unlikely as it may seem Chloe wore a dress, and not just any one. A long flowing dress hung gracefully from her shoulders. Looking at her once more reminded him that she had always worn dresses. Just so unobtrusively that he had never really looked at her as an oddity.
She must be particularly brave to dare to ware such a garment. Female trolls had not worn clothes since the reign of his grandfather King Futhwrath the second, who was admittedly a little bit mad, had decreased that they should not. He thought about asking her about why she felt able to ignore a royal decree. Then he remembered that she was acknowledged as one of the oldest trolls in the kingdom. It might be possible that she had been granted a dispensation at some point in the past. He put the matter aside to ponder on another occasion then looked down at her once more.
“Just think of all the years practice I have had with your daughter your majesty” Chloe begged him her eyes looking directly in to his.
King Guralabab thought again. “My daughter decided that she would go and fall in love with a commoner from the lowlands of my kingdom. How can I be sure that you did not influence her decision in this matter?”
“Your majesty questioned me for days after her disappearance. You must be aware by now that I had nothing to do with her decision to go away with Robin.” At this Chloe’s eyes seemed to grow larger. “That is if she did decide to go away with Robin I still can’t imagine her leaving me with out a note or not contacting me all these years…”
Her voice trailed away though her eyes never broke contact with the Troll Kings.
“Well enough of that for now” he said abruptly “After her disappearance you were left jobless. I do not like having the unemployed scattered around the castle so I am prepared to give you a tryout. You will arrive in my bedchamber at nine o’clock this evening precisely and tell me a bed time story.”
King Guralabab waved his hand to dismiss her then turned to his court advisor and talked quietly with him for a moment.
Chloe left the room with a smile on her face. She walked along the stony corridors of the castle until she reached Elspeth’s room. Unlocking the door she walked inside. The mirror on the wardrobe door was brightly lit so she walked up to it and gently pressed her hand against the glass. Queen Orlaith’s face appeared at once.
They spoke quietly for a moment then the mirror went dark once more. Chloe sat on the bed and waited for the appointed hour to arrive. In no time at all it seemed to her, she was scurrying down the corridors once more towards King Guralabab’s bedchamber. On arrival she knocked on the door and without waiting for an answer, she opened it and went in. She chose a chair close to the head of the bed and sat down.
King Guralabab said nothing so Chloe began her tale.
“Anna Gables was a normal sort of a human girl. Those who knew her would have recognised her anywhere, and those who didn’t, would barely have noticed her in even the smallest of crowds. With brown hair and pigeon grey eyes, and a tendency to hide beneath some of the scruffiest clothes in existence, it was no wonder she was overlooked by so many. However once you had known her for a while you found yourself noticing her endless gracefulness in every situation.”
King Guralabab rolled his eyes upwards. “This isn’t going to be one of those boring, but oh so noble, tales about a human is it?”
He sighed “I don’t like humans at the best of times I certainly don’t want to here about some sappy girl just before I fall asleep.”
Chloe restrained herself from rolling her eyes in answer. “How about if I told you that it’s not all about a human girl but you need to hear a bit about her at the beginning for the story to make sense?”
King Guralabab rolled his eyes once more, but motioned for her to continue.
“Anna was adopted at the age of three by two kindly people, Tom and Caroline Gables. She was found above the shoreline on a remote beach of the south coast of England after an especially fierce storm. Tangled in some seaweed, Tom would never have noticed her small mewing cries above the sound of the seagulls circling above him. Indeed he almost stepped on her hand, but as he was lifting his size twelve green Wellington boot, he chanced to look up at the exact moment a seagull emptied its bladder. He lowered his boot once more and took a moment to pause from his brisk stroll along the sands to wipe his face with a clean handkerchief. He heard her cries and so Anna was rescued and came to live with the Gables family.
Along with her older brother Richard, she played and lived a normal and happy life for 6 years until Caroline became ill. The family decided that it would be a good idea to move somewhere a little quieter, somewhere where Caroline could live out her remaining days without so many stresses and strains. And so the Gables family moved to a small, remote village called Tumble-hill, on the west coast of Ireland.
Although Anna felt sad to loose the friends she had made over the last few years by the time she had climbed up to the top of Tumble Hill, stood looking down on the little whitewashed houses that peppered the hillside, and taken a swim in each of the grassy lakes on the top of the hill, she felt as if she had never lived anywhere else in her life and never wanted to either. The summers passed and Anna grew up playing with the deer and the rabbits that shared the hillside with her.
Slowly, and defying all predictions to the contrary, her adopted mother grew better, each passing year saw her grow in strength and blossom, until one Autumn the local doctor pronounced her to be as fit as a fiddle. The following spring her brother Richard whilst climbing a sandy cliff to rescue one of Anna’s shoes that had tumbled off the top of the overhanging ledge, lost his handhold and fell to his death into the sea below.
Wracked with guilt, Anna gradually found herself withdrawing from the word around her. After burying herself in her studies she left home to attend University in Galway two years ahead of her classmates. In her first term, tragedy struck her life once more. Faulty wiring in her parent’s washing machine caused a fire that spread quickly, through the piles of washing she had left nearby for them to wash that week and then into their house. Soon flames were licking up the side of the chimney, and by the time the fire brigade arrived precious little was left of the Gable’s happy home.
Anna once more found herself wondering if she was responsible for the deaths of this time not one but two family deaths. The will was read a few days later, and Anna found that although they had lived quite simply in Tumble-hill, her parents had left her quite well off. Deciding she could not face returning to University she decided to leave Tumble-hill and buy a ticket to go on a round the world cruise. She packed her bags and four days later her friend Amy took her all the way across the country to Dublin Port. The journey passed in a flash for Anna. Amy saw her to her room and then hugged her goodbye.
Two nights out, Anna stood on the deck, watching the waves in the moonlight. Overcome with feelings she was unable to deal with she climbed the rails and jumped in to the churning waters below. No one saw her jump, and officially that is the end of the short sad life of Anna Gables.
However,that is just where her story begins.”
King Guralabab snored loudly so Chloe stood up gathered her skirts about her and walked to the door.
“I take it that means I’ve got the job.” She muttered softly, under her breath.
On returning to her rooms she placed herself in front of her bathroom mirror. She placed her hand upon the surface and at once Orlaith’s face appeared.
“I was beginning to wonder what happened,” said Orlaith.
Chloe gave her report of how her story had been received by king Guralabab. Orlaith laughed with delight when she heard how deeply he had fallen asleep. Then with her face more serious she gave Chloe the news
“I will be visiting the human world for a time. You are going to be left with this mission, by yourself, for quite some time. It may sound silly, but the storeys you tell the king over the coming months are going to be very important. You must remember to tell him each of the stories as I’ve outlined in the order I have set out.”
Chloe nodded at this then smiled as Orlaith continued.
“He must learn to trust every word you say as true or this plan will never work.”
More to come in the weeks ahead. but for now Sleep well and don't let the bed bugs bite.