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Disclaimer: the views expressed by the characters in these works may not necessarily represent the views of the author. Got that? Good.

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Thursday, 28 October 2010

#FridayFlash: The UCF Stories #26: An Unwelcome Guest


This episode is number 26 in my ongoing web serial, updated weekly as a part of #fridayflash. If you are new to The UCF Stories, you can read from the beginning here.
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Master Jamieson was halfway across the landing, on his way to discuss accommodation arrangements for the newly-arrived escapees, when the other front door opened and Swazzle stepped inside, the little wyrm at his heels. Jamieson took one look at the beast, let out a very Scottish sounding squeak and fled back into his Butler's Pantry, slamming the door behind him. Swazzle listened curiously to the lock being thrown, the door bolted, shrugged and headed for the stairs.

Botchett was in his kitchen and in a foul mood to boot when Swazzle arrived.

'There are times, Mother,' Botchett said to his wife, 'When I could cheerfully strangle that bloody witch, like.' He cast an angry glance towards the ceiling.

'Yes dear.' Mistress Botchett continued stirring the huge pot of pease pudding on the stove.

'I mean,' Botchett thundered, 'Is it my fault Lady Mandrake's the only person in these parts who could've supplied the amulet we needed? Well, is it?'

'No dear.'

'So Aveena owes her a favour, like. So what? It could have been a lot worse. She's had a few favours out of me over the years, and I'm still here, aren't I Mother?'

'Yes dear.'

'And will you stop saying “yes dear,” “no dear,” “three bags full dear.” This is serious, like'

'Yes de... Oh look, it's Captain Swazzle! How are you, bonny lad?'

Swazzle nodded to Mistress Botchett.

Botchett gave his wife's back a hard stare. 'Aye, well...' he muttered, trailing off as the little wyrm poked its snout around the leg of the kitchen table. Botchett's eyes widened and he leapt backwards off his chair. 'By the god's balls, bonny lad! What's that doing in here?'

'Hello, Master Botchett.' Swazzle indicated the little wyrm, which was now rubbing its head against the table leg. 'What, him? Followed me home from the fairy castle raid. Cute isn't he?'

Botchett had gone pale, sweat beading on his forehead and there was a definite tremor in his voice when he spoke. 'Do...do...do you know what that is, like?'

'Some sort of baby wyrm?' Swazzle shrugged.

'Bonny lad, that,' Botchett pointed shakily at the little wyrm, 'Is a young Welsh Draig.'

'Oh good,' beamed Swazzle, 'I'd hoped you might know what it was. I'm going to need a hand looking after it.'

'Looking after it?!' Botchett's eyebrows climbed into his hairline, his eyes now the size of saucers. 'Looking after it?! It's not stopping here, Captain. No way, like.'

'Why ever not?'

Botchett took a few deep breaths. 'You wouldn't happen to know what Draig's eat, would you, bonny lad?'

'No.' Swazzle skritched the Draig behind its ear. 'I was rather hoping you could enlighten me on that score.'

'Gnomes, bonny lad. Gnomes!' wailed Botchett. 'Pretty much anything else as well, but Gnomes is their favourite, like.'

Swazzle looked crestfallen. This could be a problem, he thought.

'And it's not just that,' Botchett ticked points off on his fingers. 'Draig's only understand Welsh. And need a fire to sleep in.'

Swazzle noticed the Draig eyeing Mistress Botchett's stove covetously.

'And they're totally untrainable,' Botchett continued. 'No, bonny lad, it'll have to go. Off back to Wales with it, and the sooner the better, like.'

'What about the Welsh Gnomes?' Swazzle asked, stalling. 'Won't they object?'

'Aren't none,' replied Botchett, 'Bloody Draigs ate 'em all, like.'

As if on cue, the Draig made a sudden break for the stove, growling and snapping at Botchett as it rounded the table. Mistress Botchett shrieked and fled into her husband's arms as the Draig leapt, squirming into the firebox until only the tip of its tail hung down the front of the stove like a limp, scaly bell-pull.

Botchett glared over his wife's shoulder at Swazzle, who, hands raised in supplication, backed out of the kitchen intent on finding someone who could make him a stout cage with central heating.

* * *

When dawn broke, the wyrms broke off their attack against the fairy fortress and all uninjured personnel set themselves to the task of searching the rubble for survivors. Titania thundered into the courtyard just as Oberon tumbled unsteadily from a hole beneath a heap of stones.

'Seize him!' Titania bellowed, fairies from the nearest rescue party jumping to her command. Grabbing Oberon they dragged him unceremoniously to where Titania stood seething, the guard captain, shirtless and slicked with sweat, snapped a salute.

Titania sniffed Oberon's breath. 'Drunk. Again.' Oberon stared blearily back at her, belched, then grinned. 'Oh, I have had enough of this,' she sighed turning to the fairy guards, 'Hold him still.' This should have been done a long time ago, she thought.

'King Oberon, you have, and not for the first time, been found drunk when this kingdom needed you, when your people needed you. You have run from conflict, endangering your people and your Queen. The finding of this summary court is that you are guilty as charged. Our sentence is banishment.'

Oberon's legs gave way as sentence was passed, a dark stain spreading down the front of his hose. His eyes pleaded with Titania to give him just one more chance, his body sealing his fate by at that moment letting loose a stinking fart that made his guards gag.

Titania raised her wand, flicked her wrist, and Oberon vanished in a cloud of silver sparkles.

Turning to the guard captain, her eyes appraising the rippling muscles of his slick torso, Titania slung a languid arm round his shoulders.

'Captain...?'

'Plantain, my Queen,' he replied as Titania steered them toward her private apartments.

'Plantain, eh?' she purred, 'I'm not so sure I'm keen on that.' She thought for a moment. 'I know! I'll call you Oberon.'

If Titania had but looked she would have seen the dubious look in Captain Plantain's eyes.

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This week also marks the release of the ninth episode in The Great Chocolate Conspiracy multi-part story. You can find episode 9 over at Icy Sedgwick's blog Icy's Blunt Pencil. Don't forget to follow the #GtChocCo hashtag on Twitter for more updates on this project. For more information, and to read from the beginning, please go here.



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22 comments:

John Wiswell said...

A lot of disgruntled looks this week, people preoccupied with the Welsh Draig. I guess that would capture your attention. It's a new one to me. But they have no idea what's coming...

ganymeder said...

Okay, now *this* is my favorite installment yet! Baby Wyrms, drunken Oberon, and lechy Titania...What's not to love? Freakin' awesome.

Laurita said...

I love the character's voices. I get so caught up in these episodes, I'm dissappointed when the end of the story comes.

Josie said...

I reckon the Welsh Draig would find plenty to eat in Wrexham. Love the idea of a stout cage with central heating.

And that Titania is a bit of a hussy. Good for her. A fun episode :-)

Marisa Birns said...

"Swazzle looked crestfallen. This could be a problem, he thought."

Laughed at that understatement. And only understanding Welsh? Hah!

Another great episode, Sam. 'Captain Oberon, nee Plantain is a wonderful touch. I mean, who doesn't need someone who is the big banana in the group! ;D

Netta said...

Captain Plantain. BWAHAHAHAHA! Oh lordy, I gigglesnorted right out loud. So funny!

I'm hooked. :)

Deanna Schrayer said...

I was cracking up throughout Sam, but I believe my favorite laugh came from a "Scottish-sounding squeak". Now I'm wondering what that sounds like. :)

Love these characters, and I keep meaning to tell you - the names are perfect.

Jax said...

I love this story! "I'll call you Oberon!" I'm wondering how many Oberons there have been. Great chapter.

shannon said...

Just love the voices here! I guess it's more dangerous in their world to let strays follow you home..lol!

Eric J. Krause said...

Another excellent episode! These characters are a lot of fun to read.

Maria A. Kelly said...

I love the way you are developing these characters! Looking forward to learning more about the Welsh Draig. My dear grandmother's family were from Wales. ;)

estrella05azul said...

Interesting choice of name there :) Loved this part Sam, great installment! *can't wait for next week*

Pamila Payne said...

This is such a rich fantasy world you've created. I always enjoy this series. Your character voices are the best. And there are so many witty nuggets scattered throughout that make me chuckle. Just great.

Icy Sedgwick said...

You've got the baby wyrm, Botchett AND Titania into one instalment - epic WIN! I'm really enjoying this series.

Sam said...

John - Thanks for reading. Draig is, to the best of my knowledge, the Welsh word for dragon, though in the UCF universe it refers to a particular species of dragon inspired by the old UK kids' cartoon series, "Ivor the Engine." You're right though, they have no idea of the problems having a Draig about the place will cause.

ganymeder - Thank you so much, I'm so pleased you enjoyed this episode.

Laurita - Thanks for those kind words. I am contemplating writing a longer story based on these characters, I'm just waiting for inspiration to strike.

Josie - Thanks and I'm pleased you enjoyed it. Wrexham, eh? ;)

Marisa and Netta - I suspect you two may be writing your own jokes here...oh...wait a minute...*sound of the penny dropping*...Oh my! *blushes* The plantain I had in mind when naming this character is this one: Plantain There again, there are some similarities with the other type of Plantain, aren't there? ;)

Deanna - Thanks, Deanna. Finding the right names for these characters can be a bit tricky, though once I've got the right ones, the character's personality just seems to flow. I'm glad you like them. :)

Jax - Thanks, and welcome to The UCF Stories! Oh, great comment, and you're right, there has been more than one Oberon. There's a clue to that in Episode 13: Wyrm Hunting Can't say more, spoilers! ;)

shannon - Thanks for reading, and for those kind words. Yes, much mischief may befall anyone who let's something from the Magical realm follow them home.

Eric - Thanks for reading, I'm glad you're still enjoying the series.

Maria - Thanks! That's handy, I may have to pick your brains for Welsh language tips as I've rather written myself into a corner with this one!

Estrella - Thanks for reading. I hope you next week's installment too.

Pamila - Thank you so much! So many great things in your comment, I really do appreciate the encouragement. :)

Icy - Hehe, I thought you might enjoy this episode. Thanks for your support and encouragement, it means a lot to me. :)

Sam said...

Just a quick note or two...

Marisa and Netta, in my reply to your comments, the word "Plantain" is a link, even though it doesn't show up too well. Likewise...

Jax - The words "Episode 13: Wyrm Hunting" is also a link.

I apologise for my pitiful html skills. There's got to be a way to make those links *look* like links. Anybody?

Carrie said...

Vanished in a cloud of silver sparkles? Too cute. A stout cage with central heating? Hey, can I have one too? ;)

Sam said...

Carrie - Ah, but wait till you see where he's ended up, it's certainly not cute. Oops, almost a spoiler there! ;)

If Swazzle finds someone to build him a cage I'll get him to ask about one for you. What sort of dimensions would you be wanting?

Alan W. Davidson said...

The part about the Draig squirming into the firebox was cute. And I thought a greyhound was a tough pet. I always enjoy your mastery of the dialogue with these stories, Sam.

Rachel Blackbirdsong said...

I love this installment. I think what really grabbed me was the characters voices throughout, and of course Baby Wyrms. So cute with the little snouts....awww

Sam said...

Alan - Thanks for reading, and for those kind words. A old drama teacher of mine once said I had an ear for dialogue, I don't know where it comes from, I just hear the voices in my head (no, not THOSE voices!) and write the words down.

Rachel - Thanks. Like I said to Alan, I don't know how I do it, I just sorta, can. I'm pleased you like how the characters' voices come through in this piece, and that you like the baby wyrm. He seems to be a firm favourite with readers, I may have to give him a bigger part.

Gracie said...

Well, late to the party again, but you're a fine host. Neverending goodies abound!

So little puddin's a Welsh draig? No wonder I love him. My dad's family is of Welsh heritage. And like Tom Jones, he's a hot ticket. :D

And my gutter mind made me laugh out loud at Captain Plantain, too. Seems Titania's priorities for choosing are clear...

Love, love, love this episode, Sam. Everything about it is excellent.

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