The Cock in the Crown
|Series||Falcon's Flock by Garry Damrau|
|Previous||The Other Land|
|Next||The Last Prophet|
|← The Other Land||Chapter Chronology||The Last Prophet →|
Ladies Night Edit
The Other Land
During the Old Kingdom, people fled the hatred, the pain within Albion in their masses. Boats sped from the shores in every direction. And one group of emigrants pitched up in paradise. Warm seas, palm trees and coral sands beckoned. And the inhabitants welcomed the visitors with food, comfort and grace. But the people of Albion had headcolds and when they passed these onto the islanders, almost all of them died. And the Albion Settlers, not knowing how to farm the weird fruits, catch fish or hunt the wild pigs and chickens, died too. But the few islanders who survived buried the dead and rebuilt their paradise. With new, impenetrable beach defenses.
Thus began the book, that Raven Lionheart had recently discovered in the castle library. She pictured in her mind a land unspoiled by industry, with sights, smells and sounds she had never before imagined. How nice it would be to feel such freedom., she thought to herself.
Raven had spent the day preparing for a visit from her half-sister Dove. The two of them were as close as two half-sisters could be, and yet they were simply too different. Dove was quieter, friendlier, less outspoken and critical than Raven. She romanticized nature and loved nothing more than hiking and camping with friends. Raven was drawn to cabarets, taverns and cafes. Dove had done half a day's work while Raven still slept soundly in her bed. Yet Raven exerted a strong influence on Dove and never passed up a chance to tell her, with tongue in cheek; "You are a complete fool." They were planning to celebrate Dove's 21st birthday with a night on the town, at The Cock in the Crown, in Bowerstone Market. Her loyal attendant, Gemma, had laid out an outfit for her for the evening, as she would be representing her father and did not want to make a poor impression of the monarchy.
As she closed the book, Raven noticed her governess standing patiently nearby. "Should you not be a'gettin ready for the evening, m'lady?" said Gemma. "Oh, why thank you Gemma. I had lost all track of time." she replied. She hurried to her room to prepare for the evening. The dress that she had selected to wear was an exquisite, long flowing gown. It was regal purple and wisp white in colour. The gold trim accented the fine lines of the dress, as well as those of the wearer. Dove arrived just as Raven had finished dressing and putting her hair into a braided bun. "You did not need to get all fancied up on my behalf, big sister." said Dove, as she was escorted into the princess' dressing room. "Are you kidding?" said Raven, "Father would die of embarrassment if he learned that his little princess was dressed in anything that didn't scream royalty." "You're right." Dove replied.
The Cock in the Crown, the local bar, was more crowded than usual that evening. Many of the townsfolk had a good head start on their revelry for the evening. Raven and Dove walked towards the back of the bar and took a seat at a table as far out of the way as possible. Raven had always drawn the eyes of every eligible bachelor in town. Being from royalty kept all but the most bold or foolish men from any attempt at socializing with her. Across the bar from them sat a commoner, that would soon become entangled in the most unlikely of adventures with the two aristocratic ladies. Oddly enough her name was also of avian origin. This was not, as the three women would eventually learn, a coincidence. Her name was Cardinal, but she hated that name and preferred to be called 'Scarlet'.
The lone barmaid walked up to the table, where the two ladies were seated, and said, "Good evening fair ladies. My name is Betty and I'll be your waitress this evening. So, what you two 'avin t'night?" "I'll have a Yellow Fairy." said Raven, "What about you, Dove?" "I'd like to have a Hoptimus Prime, but I'm not sure if I have the coin for it." she replied. "Give my sister what she wants. It's her birthday and tonight is my treat." said Raven.
The two ladies were served their drinks and were chatting away when a strange man entered the pub. The man was dressed in a hooded robe. His face was concealed from view by the upraised hood. He looked around the pub as if searching for someone that he was to meet. He moved about as if he were floating on air. Finally the man spotted Raven and Dove and made a beeline for them. One of the patrons in the bar stumbled into him and made an insulting remark about how clumsy he was and another insult involving his assumed wife. The unruly sot drew his dagger and thrust its' lethal point towards the hooded stranger, who reacted without thought. Although his reactions were dulled by the passage of time, they were still faster than the chemically altered drunkard. A glint of silver flashed faster than the eye could follow. A hand clutching a dagger landed on the floor with a sickening thud. The man, who until that moment belonged to the hand, recoiled in horror. With another flash of silver, the sword was returned to its' scabbard.
"Get that man out of here." said the stranger. "I think he may live if he is taken directly to a doctor." A wide berth was given this man now as he approached the two ladies' table. Two outstretched hands extended towards Raven and Dove. "Take my hands." he said. Both of them complied... Both not sure why. All three were enveloped in a bright white burst of light and vanished from the bar. Even with eyes closed, the blinding flash of light took some time to recover from. As her vision returned, Raven began to make out a robed figure standing in front of her, slowly shifting its weight from side to side. The figure lowered the hood of its red and white robe to reveal the face of an elderly woman, her eyes covered by a well-worn bandage. She stood before the front door of a grand castle.