• Published 7th Sep 2013
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Glory Be - BlackRoseRaven

Luna and Scrivener struggle to set right all the wrongs from their past and save their family and friends. Tenth and final story in the Blooming Moon Chronicles/99 Worlds Saga.

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Prologue: The Mad and the Hatter

Prologue: The Mad and the Hatter

“This is the way the world ends; this is the way the world ends; this is the way the world ends; not with a bang, but a whimper.” says one of the Draconequus quietly, amongst the shifting madness of their chaotic home realm. The others look towards it; one smiles, one laughs, one does nothing at all.

Fish swim by and birds dance through the air; a tango or a waltz, depending on their moods. Buildings stand in thin air in defiance of gravity and zoning regulations and there are swirling formations of gemstone and minerals, perfect and beautiful and yet scattered in such a way that the gorgeous order of the crystalline latticework only makes the chaos of the world all the more apparent.

The Draconequus look at each other as one, floating upside down, sits back and asks curiously: “Will it be the Great Old Ones? Are the tethers coming loose? Is the great pizza falling down? Is our show getting canceled?”

Another Draconequus laughs, then covers his face and begins to sob. The remaining Draconequus share looks, shrugs, and then one says thoughtfully: “None of the above. All of the above. Either way, there'll be chaos before the end.”

“Yes, but it'll be like binge drinking. We'll all get really wasted together and then there'll just be silence, and nothing, and it'll all be still forever.” mutters another of the chimerical creatures of chaos, and all eyes turn to him meditatively. “Either the power's going to go out, or everything's going to be too bright to see.”

“We could warn the master, or the acolyte. I have a great long-distance plan.” points out another Draconequus as it pops up out of a hole in reality, holding up a small black phone. All eyes look at him for a moment, and then one of the Draconequus firmly steps on his head, knocking him back into the hole with a squawk.

“Cellphones cause cancer, and one of those was enough to deal with already.” retorts the Draconequus, pointing several times straight down, then he shakes his head before adding: “And you remember what the boss said before he left. Life or death, Helheim or Valhalla, we don't go telling anybody nothing.”

“So, what, we're actually going to follow the rules?” asks another Draconequus pessimistically as it flops onto its side, floating in midair and propping its head up with one claw. “Isn't that like, against our religion or something?”

Several other Draconequus look dryly at the speaker, and then one remarks: “Religion is the opiate of the masses, and a form of control. Control is against our religion. Our religion is not to have a religion at all. We're all agnostic here.”

“We could be pastafarian.” argues another, pointing at a large cheese grater on his head, and several other Draconequus give him mild looks.

“Hipster.” one of them finally proclaims, and then it turns its eyes back forwards, snapping its fingers. In front of it, chaos swirls into a window with blurred edges, through which a forest can be seen that had a small cottage cradled among its leafy boughs. “No, we could do anything we wanted, but we can't do anything we please. We're just watchers from the balcony, here to laugh at them and mock them but secretly, cheer them on and hope things turn out for the best. After all, we're all completely sure this is going to end badly. And when chaos is completely sure of anything, it's automatically dead wrong.”

“That's right, my friends and neighbors.” adds a friendly voice, and all the Draconequus turn with surprise towards the figure in the suit, who grins at them as he reaches up and adjusts its bow tie. “Move aside, I've got box seat tickets.”

The Draconequus all wince, and the creature strides through the chaos, eyes gleaming with delight as it rubs gloved hands together. “This is a tragedy in three acts and a comedy in five! The whole cast is present, living and the dead alike, and oh, I see the future, you know! There will be laughter and despair, suffering and joy, there will be a very definite beginning... and a very final end.”

The creature puts its gloved hands together as it bows its head forwards, misshapen top-hat almost falling over its eyes before one of the Draconequus asked uneasily: “Now we won't be talking about ravens and writing desks will we, Theophilius Carter? For there are no answers at all to that riddle due to how many have been made up by other authors.”

“Some better, some worse. Not the answers, of course, but the authors; all the answers are terrible because the riddle's real answer is that it has no answer, which in and of itself is the answer. Really, quite a serious answer to quite a few questions, my friends and neighbors.” replies Theophilius eloquently, and then the horse-headed entity smiles and claps its hands together. “And you will of course excuse the pun.”

“Only out of the respect we the Mad have for the Hatter.” remarks one of the Draconequus, and they trade looks before all eyes turn back towards the window in reality, as Theophilius leans intently forwards, licking his lips slowly. “We aren't quite like you, after all, just as you aren't quite like us, but all of us here in Ginnungagap move on a different wavelength from everything else; so I suppose that makes you much the same as us. At least as long as you're here: if you're ever there, you're not here at all, and that means you must be very much different from us indeed.”

“Good, my friends, good good. I promise you, there will be chaos, fear, and oh yes, for a time, the balance will be tipped to Order's folly; but I have a scheme of my own, a plan vast and great, friends in places up on high and low-down-below... and I promise you now, audience of Ginnungagap, entertainment like you've never seen before! Let the wild rumpus start!”

Theophilius throws his arms wide, a bright grin on his face as the Draconequus cheer, and laugh, and cry, and more of them pop out of holes in the fabric of chaos, surf down through the air, and leap up from below to cluster around the window in reality and watch the beginning of what could be the end of the everlasting tea party.

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