Waking Nightmares

This is the last legend of Cronotyde, a vast country that disappeared before time as we know it truly began... WOAH WOAH WOAH. Woah. Don't you think that's a bit too serious? This is the story of three beings, their miserable lives wrapped up through no fault of their own. A whiney little princess, a poltergeist obsessed with explosions and a sassy necromancer who is the local undertakers daughter. They have this creepy as heck, one-handed freakshow that's been following them and trying to get rid of the ghost guy! And a dumb spiritual festival brings them together. Come join us in the 'Waking Nightmare', if you really want to.


7. Chessboard-Queen





I sighed. "Check, again!"




With a snap of my fingers, the corpse became ashes, blowing away in the midnight wind. I sighed, and jumped off the tombstone, "Owww..." I moaned, forgetting how an icy cold tombstone could reduce my butt to pure ashes.

The silver whistle had fallen out of my pocket onto the grass. I smiled at it. "I wonder...." I wiped it on my sleeve and blew into it. It's crisp, clear sound broke the nightly silence in the cemetery. For a while, nothing happened until...

"AHOOBWAHAGADA!" The most interesting spectacle was before me. Sparky was standing with his back to me. He had a long, rainbow apron on and a large pot with a wooden spoon sticking out of it. He turned slowly to me, a mesmerising yet terrifying smile set on his lips. "Ooooh... If it isn't my little girl saviour..." He started furiously battering the brown sticky mixture in the pot, "I DO NOT SEE ANY DANGER!" He hissed, pulling up close to me.

Ok, by this point I was officially terrified. One to do what I do best. I side stepped and threw my arms out to the side, gesturing to the chessboard balanced on a grave, with two headstones on either side. I smiled innocently. "Care for a game? My last partner wasn't very... Enthusiastic, to say the least."

Sparky eyed the chessboard, then me, then it again. He laughed, or cackled, whatever. "Why, I haven't played chess in a thousand odd years. I'd love to, girl!" He cooed. He gently folded his apron, laid the pot on top of it and threw a bomb at it. They both disappeared. "I'll finish my unicorn poop surprise later!"

We laid out the board again and played. He was frighteningly good. It was dawn before we stopped playing. He won three games, I won one. Then, as soon as he came, he left. I traipsed back to the manor, contemplating how all my friends left me. I caught a glimpse of myself in the pond.

I'm somewhat tall, with long blood red hair, straight as a narrow to my waist. The whole blood-red-hair thing is a mystery. People think I dye it that way, but I don't, I swear. Maybe it's an omen, singling me out as an evil women. My eyes are green. Emerald green, my mother says, but I think it's more like summer grass. My pale skin is criss-crossed in scars, from hunting gone wrong to duels with drunks. My signature green gown, the exact colour of my eyes, albeit a bit faded, comes down to the ground, where it is torn and muddy. My ebony now and quiver of arrows are like my eyebrows. They're a part of me. Not bad for a seventeen year old girl. Not bad for an undertakers daughter.

Mother was sitting alone at the giant dark wood banqueting table, her various accounts and purses strewn across six different chair-lengths. It was only dawn, but she was fully dressed in her usual getup; heavy black and white makeup and her long and thick black hair elegantly pinned upon her head. The ultimate goth, if you include her black ball gown. "Celaenya," she said, not even looking up. Polite. "We are entertaining an important guest from Darkhill tonight. And dot think for one iota of a second you'll be wearing that dress. Here," she threw a purse laden with coins at me. "Take Shadowmere to Darkhill at once!" I sighed, and simply turned on my heel and left the way I came.


I arrived at Darkhill at mid-morning. It's a mining town, so the streets were dusty and empty, but the market was alive with women and young children, not old enough to work. As I navigated around the vast market to the tailors shop, I noticed people were gaping in my direction, shepherding their children away. Did I have dirt on my face. Nope. One of my undead creations following me about? For the first time, no. I just decided I was a new face in town and carried on to the tailors. The tailors, Meridine & Daughters, was a small bit expensive shop, not for beggars or farmers. I gasped at the stunning dress in the window.

It was one dark, midnight blue, short dress, but had three more skirts overlapping each other until it rested just above the ground. The second skirt was a paler blue, the third paler again, then the last skirt was a dramatic change to pure white, like a summers day cloud. It came with dark blue heels. I needed this outfit.

After an hour of haggling, it still cost all 50 Eurks. But it was worth it, to come out of Meridines with such a beautiful outfit. But even as I made my way to Shadowmere, people were still staring! Hadn't they heard of manners?! I guess not. It was only when I mounted Shadowmere, then lent over to put my package in the saddlebag did I notice why.

A man was behind me, clearly the source of all the staring. He was huge, with a black, sleeveless trench coat down to his ankles, his right hand missing, a yellow cross on the same arm. He was watching me. I swallowed, and in my most casual voice asked; "Sir, c-can I help you?" He smirked and shook his head. I kicked Shadowmere into action and galloped off down the road, home.


It was late afternoon when I got home, and I was praying the guest hadn't come yet. I hitched Shadowmere and dashed through a side door into my chambers, complete with bedroom, washroom, dressing room and music room. I ran a bath, and soaked in it for a while, before scrubbing myself clean. I washed my hair, then rewashed it, to be sure. I thoroughly towelled myself dry, towelled my hair then, trembling, put on the gown.

It fitted perfectly. And it was so smooth, like wearing still water. It rested at my ankles. And showed off the dark blue shoes. I looked stunning. I towelled my hair again, combed it, then applied some cheek-dust, to give myself some colour. I felt like that girl I was always hearing about in Darkhill, Jayde, the Mhapeah of weather and the spoilt, pretty daughter of Wygrasea, the ruler of Cronotyde and the Mhaepah of time.I bet even she didn't look as breathtaking as me right now. I slowly walked out of my room, down the stairs and into the hallway. I could hear voices, laughing and toasting wine glasses. I braced myself, then entered.

Father and Doctor Savage were in their grey finery, and mother was wearing the same clothes. The guest, however, was shoddily dressed. Then my jaw dropped when I realised just who the "important" guest was.

It was the one armed man in the sleeveless black trench coat.

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