Smolderland

It's an ongoing spin-off of the original Alice in wonderland stories by Lewis Carol, although some of the characters have characteristics from Tim Burtons popular movie. In this story, Alice finds herself emerged in a Wonderland that is not what it used to be. Where a great plague has taken the land, and her friends have been forced into a maze-like system of tunnels, lying beneath the ground. Along with her old friends she must now take back Wonderland, before it is too late to save.

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6. A White Rose of Memory

The White Castle truly was a remarkable work of architecture, and Alice couldn't help but to stare every which way, as they made their way through the halls and corridors of the picturesque castle. It's main tower was in itself impressive, an incredibly tall spike of shining white marble, which, according to Hatter, was infused with a billion small crystals, too small to be seen, that made the tower refract and bend the light, bathing the city in rainbows of light. Unfolding around the tower was the castle, a beautiful marble creation, made of the same brilliant material as the tower. The whole thing was like taken out of dream, then again, Alice thought, so was most of Wonderlands scenery, at least before it was all ruined by the mysterious plague.

"Hurry up girl" The Red Queen hissed from the front of the group, Alice noted that she seemed to be stressed, although why that would be Alice couldn't figure out. She rushed to catch up with the Hatter, whom was striding alongside the Hare, the two seemed to be arguing with the Dormouse, which was poking its nose out over the brim of the Hare's breast pocket. "What are you talking about you confused mouse?" Hatter said, smiling at the little creature. "All I'm saying is that there is no reason for the plague" the rodent responded, it's little squeaky voice bouncing between the walls. "Of course not!" Hatter exclaimed "Yet how can you be sure?" The mouse looked confused "I can certainly tell you that I have done nothing to deserve this" it responded, and looked at the Hatter with an arrogant expression. The Hatter laughed at the little mouses words, and Alice smiled at the wonderful sound "maybe not my friend" he said "but someone surely has." "And who might that be?" Asked the Hare, whom had been silent, a bit grumpily. "How am I supposed to know?" Asked the Hatter "it might have been me, it might have been you, and who knows? It might even have been little Alice." He looked back at Alice as he talked, and sent her a little wink. The Hare didn't find his statement quite as funny "are you saying it was me?" He said, looking at the Hatter with a suspicious look on his face. "All I am saying" Hatter quickly defended "is that there is no was of knowing whom, or what, was offended. Nor is there any way for us to determine what offended it, it could be anything." The Hatter explained, but the Hare had nothing but a displeased snort for Hatters statement. The Hatter snickered and looked back at Alice "what do you think Alice?" He asked "what do you think upset this plague?" Alice though for a second or two, then she shrugged "I have no idea" she said "Neither do I" Hatter said delighted, and clapped his hands "we're so alike the two of us." he said, before he once again turned his attention to the hallway they were walking through. The Hare rolled his eyes and followed the Hatters example. Alice looked past Hatter, and scouted down the corridor. They were almost at a large set of white doors, and Alice could make out tiny silver patterns, criss-crossing the ivory surface, although she could only make out a few of the images, a happy child, a crying man, a woman kneeling, her arms stretched out in front of her, as though she was offering someone something. "What are those?" She asked, pointing at the silver images. "That's the story of how the Queen gave her soul to the kingdom." Hatter answered, without looking down. Alice looked back at it, the tiny threads of silver ran across the white surface, forming pictures with an incredible precision, Alice had to stop and marvel at the incredible detail. "Keep going Alice" the Hatter said, as he gently guided her through the decorative double doors. "Quiet now" he said, as they entered the Queens chamber.

The air in the room was cool, and the contrast from the heated summer air outside, hit Alice like a slap. The chamber was a large white, dome shaped cavity, with walls of solid ivory. and the only light was coming from a small hole in the ceiling. The walls were covered with engravings, and the floor had a complicated pattern spreading from the pedestal, which rose from the floor in the middle of the room, directly beneath the little circular skylight.

A single ray of light fell from the ceiling, and landed on the still face of the Queen, whom was lying on top of the pedestal, her eyes were closed, and her hands were lying still at her chest, clutching bouquet of white roses. She was dressed entirely in white, her slim frame covered in a long dress, that went down to her ankles, so her bare feet were barely visible beneath the soft fabric. Her white hair had been laid over her shoulders, and fell down to her chest framing her peaceful face. Her cheeks had a slight tint of red, although Alice suspected it to be fake, her eyelashes were black, and stood out in her white face, like droplet of ink in a glass of water. Regardless of the fact that Alice knew it was rather rude, she couldn't help but to stare at the beautiful Queen, as they made their way towards her altar. "Hard to tell she's anything but sleeping isn't it?" the Hatter asked, and looked at her. Alice nodded at him, then looked back at the Queen, her chest was rising and falling in a steady rhythm, her lips were slightly parted, so that she could breathe, and from time to time Alice swore she saw her eyes moving underneath her closed eyelids. "She's alive" she said, trying to sound reassuring, but it ended up sounding more like a question. The Hatter nodded "barely" he said, and his voice was tainted with sadness. Alice looked at her friends, they all bore faces of sadness, even the Red Queen, whom Alice didn't know to be very fond of the White Queen, was looking at the sleeping girl, a little tear silently escaping from the corner of her eye, and was quickly whisked away by the Queen. The hare was held his hands at his chest, as though he was praying, although Alice couldn't begin to imagine whom he was praying to. The Dormouse was nowhere to see, but little sobs were escaping from the Hare's chest pocket, and occasionally he would pat at, as though he was patting the mouse on the back.

The Hatter cleared his throat, and Alice looked at him. He was smiling at her, as he withdrew a white rose from his jacket. "The white roses of this city are the most beautiful in the world" he said, and handed the flower to her. "What do I do with it?" Alice asked, and immediately realized how dumb she sounded. "You give it to her of course" the Red Queen exclaimed, and she sounded slightly irritated with the fact that Alice was being so unobservant. The Hatter looked at her like she had just yelled profanity during a preaching. "You tie a happy memory to it" he explained to Alice "And you give it to her, so she has something to look upon during this long sleep." Alice looked at the little white flower, it petals looked like the purest ivory, and the stalk was as green as any emerald. "Won't it wither away?" she asked, sad at the thought of the beautiful plant loosing it's petals 'No" the Hatter answered "these are the white roses of memory, and they live as long as the memory in them does." Alice smiled, it was a nice thought. She walked towards the altar, trying to choose a memory that would stay alice forever. She had so many happy memories from here, choosing one was going to be near impossible. She remembered the first time she met the rabbit, in her garden at her sisters wedding. When she met the Mocking Turtle, and him and the gryphon had sung weird songs, and danced strange dances. When she had played with the animals in the strange tunnel. She remembered sitting in the Rabbits house, when she had been so large she filled the entire house. She had had so many wondrous adventures here, which one to choose was an awfully hard choice. Then she came to think of one, on that she had always held dear, when she had first met the Hatter, the Hare and the Dormouse, in their lush garden where they were drinking tea at the long table, which had been full of cracker crumbs and broken tea cups. She had been so confused at the time, and they hadn't helped one bit, but she had made some unlikely friends, that she doubted she would ever forget. "How do do it?" She asked, again thinking she felt like she sounded like an idiot. "You just think and give it to her, not overly complicated." The Red Queen was once again schooling Alice, and she felt her cheeks going red, she quickly turned around, and walked up the little step that led to the Queen's side, and gently tugged the little white flower in with the rest of them. As she did her hand briefly touched the Queens, they were cold and Alice felt the cool feeling spread up through her arm, up her neck until it reached the back of her head, and sat there for a second or two.

"Alice" Alice jumped, the voice was a woman's, and it certainly wasn't the brisk voice of the Red Queen, who was standing a few meters behind her. "Alice can you hear me?" And Alice couldn't think of anything but to nod slightly. "Brilliant, I truly apologize for the intrusion, but I am out of options." Alice had no idea how to talk to voices in your head, but she had to try the obvious. "Who are you?" She thought, as loud as the could, although thinking loud wasn't the easiest of things, especially because you couldn't really hear it yourself. "I am right here before you, and yet you still ask who I am? You must've gotten a bit dull over the years little Alice." Alice frowned, she wasn't accustomed to being made fun of by her own head. "The only thing before me is the Queen, so whomever you ar-" Alice train of thought came to a crashing halt, when it finally dawned on her, whom she was talking, or thinking, to. "Queen, is that you I hear?" She thought, trying to keep her mind from flying in all sorts of directions, in case it would confuse the woman in head. "Of course you silly child" She answered, and Alice could finally recognize her bright falsetto voice, she almost cried. "Listen to me Alice, I need a favor of you, one quite great I'm afraid." The Queen continued, and Alice focused. "I need you to rid Wonderland of this grave curse that has fallen upon it." Alice was stumped by the Queens request, she made it sound like it was easy, although Alice was quite convinced that that was not the case. "I would love to" she thought "but I have not the slightest idea where to begin." Alice heard a long sad sigh flow through her mind "I'm afraid I can help you on your way, it just so happens that I have a great deal of knowledge on the matter." Even though Alice though of that as good news, the Queens voice were riddled with sadness. "You sound so sad Queen" Alice responded "But surely the fact that you can help is a good thing." She continued, hoping that she had mistaken the tone in the Queens voice. "I'm afraid it isn't all that simple" The Queen said "You see, I alone am the reason for this terrible plague." Alice was dumbstruck "Surely not!" She yelled, although not out loud. "Im afraid so." The Queen sighed "Many years ago, before you ever ventured in Wonderland, a man lived here in my kingdom, he was a powerful magician. He worked at the court as the royal advisor, and he was one of the brightest souls I've ever met. Certainly I have never met a man quite so gentle and helpful as him." She told, and Alice could imagine the man, he reminded her of the Hatter, helpful and nice. "How can this cause a plague?" She asked "Hush child, I have not yet finished my tale" The Queen said "One day I went to consult with him, but found his study empty, so I decided to stay and wait for him to return. While I waited I looked around, he had all sorts of glasses and pots stocked on shelfs, all full of weird looking substances, crystals in all colors, murky liquids and funny smelling objects. It was truly amazing. But as I looked around I must've stepped on special tile of sorts, for a door opened behind a shelf, with stairs leading down into a corridor full of shadows. At the end there was a room, in which the magician was standing in front of a magical looking door, which was glowing with a strange light. With him in the room was a creature, the likes of which I had never seen before. They were talking of conquering Wonderland, and burning my city to the ground. I left in a hurry, and the next day I banished him to the farthest outskirts of Wonderland, The Grey Mountains, which lay far from everything you know." As the Queen finished her tale, Alice started piecing it together in her head. "Are you saying that he is the one responsible for this plague?" She asked. "I'm afraid so" the Queen said "You must go to the mountains, and save Wonderland once again Alice" She said, sounding apologetic, as though she felt bad for asking. Alice nodded, and almost opened her mouth to agree, then she remembered, that that would do her no good "Of course" she thought, and turned to run. "Alice" the Queen said "You must hurry, keeping this plague at bay is tearing on me, if you don't hurry, I'm afraid I wont be here when you come back." Alice frowned "What do you mean by that?" she asked, and the Queens sighed the saddest sigh Alice had ever heard "Alice dear, if you don't stop it, this plague will end up devouring my soul."

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