Chapter 3, Scene 3 begins with Lucinda recounting her life story to her daughter, Anastasia. Much will become clearer about Anastasia's future role in our Quest, yet not all will be revealed. I hope you enjoy the tale.
"Long ago, when I was a young lass of but 13 years, I realized that I had a gift. If I gazed into a pool of water, I could see things yet to be, or sometimes things happening elsewhere, and at still other times things that happened in the past. After many weeks of wondering if I was daft, I decided to tell me own Ma about it. When I told her what was happening to me, she simply stood up, crossed the room, and returned with a large book. So old it looked."
"Ma then told me the truth. She shared the same gift, and that it be both blessing and curse. The book, she told me, had passed through our family, always to the first-born daughter, for untold generations. It contained recipes for the use of herbs, roots, various things; even strange words; that could be portioned to perform many purposes... maintain or restore youthful beauty, cure ailments, enchant men or even women, and even to kill. These 'spells,' as she called them, had been first discovered by the ancient druids, from whom we be descended. She told me I must study the book carefully, and that I would discover new powers to control the 4 earthly elements themselves...earth, wind, fire, water."
"I did study with great fascination. I learned to understand and control me visions. We had been abiding for seven years in the Land of Steelmen, under the bountiful rule of King Rooney. I knew me Ma worked in Three Rivers Castle, tho' I knew na what she did there. I never imagined it was me Ma that created the "Dynasty" of Pittsburgh."
"On the very day I reached the age of 16, Ma said she wanted to go fer a ride. To my astonishment, sitting in front of our home was a re-furbished Beer Monger's Wagon (BMW). We climbed up, and Ma handed me the reins. I was elated, of course and asked Ma how she came to afford such a wondrous gift. She explained that, for some time, she'd been using her powers in the service of King Rooney, whose forces had enjoyed much success through her 'help.' Some of the things she was able to do still today are remembered as miraculous, even "immaculate." The BMW was a token of the King's appreciation."
Film showing Some of Ma's Best Work
"Gadzooks, I had me own wheels. As we rode and chatted, a light snow began to fall. Beautiful it was as we rolled along the mountain roads of the Alleghenies. And then, we rounded a sharp turn, and standing in our path was a huge bear. The horses reared, then bolted, trying to avoid the angry beast. The wagon skidded, and fer what seemed an eternity, it was left with but the right side wheels on the ground, while the left side, Ma's side, hovered over a steep, deadly drop-off. Ma tried to grab the wagon's side, but it had become slick with snow, and her grip failed. As she fell, I heard her yell, "I love ye, Lucinda." The horses kept going, pulling the wagon back onto the road, and they continued at a full gallop fer over a mile. I knew me Ma was no more in this world."
"Now, Annie, I've since seen many terrible things, but ye should know I've ne'er known such sorrow as on that day. Arriving home, I packed all the provisions in my BMW and set out to follow the setting sun. During the long journey, I continued to work on me own skills, and indeed developed quite a proficiency, if I do say. Always following the path of the sun, I had many adventures, and more than a few misadventures. I sacrificed me virginity for food along that long dusty road, and at the time twas worth the price. I kept going until I could go no further, for the land gave way to the great Bay of Francisco. I cleaned meself up as best I could, put on me best dress, cast spells for beauty and enchantment, and entered the gates of Castle Candlestick. It didn't take long to gain an audience with King Debartolo, and even less time to earn his favor as a courtesan."
"The money was good, but I knew me true calling was to ply me other, more virtuous talents. I demonstrated to the King and his Lords me gift of sight, and easily convinced them I could bring glory to the Kingdom. I had foreseen greatness in battle for their armies, and knew exactly what I needed to do. At 3 o'clock in the morn, the witching hour, I stole into the room of Sir Joe the Cool. As he soundly slept, I whispered a spell of courage, humility, and righteousness in his ear, laid charms of fortune and fame about his bed, and spake aloud the final spell of victory. The spells were soundly cast, and all manner of glory did come to Sir Joe, as he led the soldiers of the King to many great victories and four Lombardi Grails."
I was held in high regard in the castle for many years, all me wants and desires provided. I won't lie to ye child, me own appetites ran in many directions, and I indulged them all freely. I was never a 'slut', though, giving meself to any and all who wanted me. Instead, t'was I who chose me partners judiciously, whether for purpose or mere attraction. If the King over-stepped his boundaries or didn't give me all I asked, I would withhold me services, and battles would be lost. But I was too proud. Word spread, soon reaching the ears of the treacherous King Allen, whose Raiders had left the nearby land of Oaks some 5 years hence, moving south to the Land of Angels. He was jealous of King Debartolo's great success."
"I never expected to fall in love, yet fall I did. A passing knight of great strength arrived fer a court celebration in the year MCMLXXXVI. He was tall, ruggedly handsome, and strangely, no one in the realm seemed to know who he was. He bested all competing knights in every event of the tournament, drank freely, and laughed heartily. He wove tales of wonder and adventure, such that all the Ladies and courtesans present fawned over him, as did a large number of the men... if you ever visit the Bay of Francisco, you'll understand this last part better. Yet, it was I who gained his favor, without a spell cast. We loved each other mercilessly throughout the week of celebration. Then, he just left, with no explanation or even a toodle-de-fuckin'-loo. I was sad, of course, but I somehow knew he was not a man to be held in captivity of any manner."
"On a nice, early spring day I decided to go riding, accompanied by two lady friends. As we enjoyed a splendid picnic meal, we were quite suddenly set upon by three ruffians, apparently knights as they wore armor of silver with a black plume from the helm. I was immediately gagged, preventing my use of defensive incantations. It was horrible as we were ravaged with drunken abandon. And when they had sated themselves, the cowards drew their swords. With the tip of a sword at me throat, I was warned not to scream or use any 'witchery,' and my gag was removed. I told them if they were going to dispatch us, they should at least be honorable enough to show their faces. The leader, the one standing over me, nodded to the others, and their helms were removed. I knew not the faces of the two others, but I knew well the face of the foul King that had taken me:
He ordered his men to kill my friends, but told me I would be taken back to his kingdom to serve him. I vomited, then spat in his face. Then we heard the sounds of horses approaching. Looking over, I saw three Knights of King Debartolo, led by the great Sir Joe the Cool, followed closely by Sir Lott and Sir Dwight. King Allen ordered his men to fight, but the King himself jumped on his horse and fled like the coward he was."
"Having quickly dispatched the two Raiders, we were safely returned to the Castle, where our wounds were treated. Yet I bore a burning wound that would never heal, and I swore to have me vengeance on King Allen, no matter how long it may take."
"Two weeks later, when me monthly curse ne'er arrived, I realized I was with child. I knew the father could be any of four men, ranging from the the hideous King Allen to the mysterious nameless Knight. Yet, my joy never waivered under this uncertainty, for I knew the seed mattered little. And before year's end, out ye sprang, me own darling baby Annie. in the days, months, and years after yer birth, I devoted myself to ye wholely, putting me self-indulgent ways aside. Except, I could not put aside me need for vengeance. So, four years ago, with the King's blessing and a right bountiful remuneration for services rendered, I disguised meself and we stole quietly from Castle Candlestick and headed south to the land of angels. There I purchased our modest home, here in Trojanville, and began plotting."
"In the three years hence, while SwineKing Allen's Raiders have tasted success, I've managed to prevent them from playing in the Super Bowl. I could na get close to the King himself, but I did manage to create a great rift with his best knight, Sir Marcus, who has been a thorn in the king's side. And this year, his armies have struggled in mediocrity, needing to win this very day to reach the Tournament. I knew it was not to be, for leading King Lamar's Chiefs of KC this day was none other than Sir Joe the Cool.
The Raiders were easily beaten 19 - 9. Word came back that DungKing Allen had fled the field along with his forces, deciding to return to the Land of Oaks. Me 'sight' was unclear as to exactly what the day might hold, Sensing danger, I sent ye away this morning to walk in yer beloved forest."
Unbeknownst to me, the RatKing had discovered me identity, and he did tell the villagers that today's defeat was the fault of the 'evil witch Lucinda,' and should be burned alive forthwith. As they dragged me out to the town square, I felt a rage boiling up in me that I canna even begin to describe. As they stripped me and tied me to that bloody pole, poking and jabbing with their crude farm tools, the rage in me continued to rise.
And when the torches were lit, it all came out in a blood-curdling banshee scream. Even as I continued screaming, I prayed to the fire goddess to turn their fires back upon them and the whole village, saving only our home. I saw a huge flash, and then I lost consciousness, only to wake when I heard ye crying. I be still in shock, child, fer what I brought forth today is a great sin, wrought of vengeance. It will be me undoing."
Annie: "Mother, ye have seen so many things, good and evil. Will me own life be so as well? And, what will happen to us now."
Lucinda: "I know not child, I know not. First things first, you must rest, and I must shower; and pray."
Annie lay down on the sofa and in an instant, she was fast asleep. Lucinda proceeded to the lavatory, where she undressed and stepped into the hot shower, hoping against hope that the events of this day could be washed away. Yet King Allen had a contingency plan. Silently, the rear window opened, and ...
... The Hired Assassin silently enters their home. Hearing noises coming from lavatory, he makes his move, pausing briefly as he passes Lucinda's closet. MMMM...that dress is lovely (he slips it on. MMMMmm... I must have that wig, as well. He/she/it proceeds ...
Annie awakens to her mother's screams.
Annie: "QUEEN, HURRY!!!"
Queen bursts through the door and grabs the assassin in her powerful jaws.
Assassin: "Ouch. That hurts! Hey, who's that little girl?
Queen clamps her jaws closed, and the Assassin's strange shaped head rolls toward Annie. Instinctively, she kicks it, and it sails out the door, perfectly splitting the upright gables of the house across the street.
Queen: "Don't come in here, Anastasia. Lucinda lives no more."
Annie (crying): Oh, Queen. Why would anyone do this? And what's to become of me now?
Queen: "Poor dear. We must leave this place. I know it to be your destiny to travel east, to the city of my birth. There you will be well cared for in the realm of King Richardson."
Annie: "How could ye know this, Queen?"
Queen: "We shall more time to talk during our journey. We should leave this place of death immediately. Climb on my back."
Annie: "One moment... there are some precious things I must bring."
Annie goes to the hidden safe, opens it, and removes a backpack: "These things belonged to my Mother. They're important."
Pausing briefly to add a photo of Lucinda to the bag's contents, Anastasia climbs on Queen's back, and the great beast speeds toward the forest.
So ends Chapter 3. In our next Chapter, we return to present day for more Quest Knight adventures, Draft stories, and the State of King Richardson's kingdom.