A Govanian Carol…
Sir David the Lamb Giver walked across the drawbridge at Castle Ibroke. He rapped three times on the door and cried forth in anger, “Where is my gatekeeper? Why do I find my great door barred before me?” As he struck the door for the third time a ghostly figure appeared before him. It was the spirit of the soothsayer, Philma Golly Wolly.
“Bah! Humbug!” replied Sir David the Lamb Giver and pushed inside the door.
As he made his way up the age-worn, crumbling stairs he heard the rattle of a thousand chains and the spine curdling cries of a thousand anguished voices. He stepped warily into his bed-chamber, donned his bed clothes and tried to dismiss the sounds from his ears.
Again the ghostly figure of Philma Golly Wolly appeared and cried aloud, “Woe to thee Govania. For thou hast chosen not to heed my warnings. Ye shall be visited by three terrible spectres. If thou shouldst not listen to their warnings, thou shall surely die! Expect the first spirit as the hour strikes twelve.” The vision slowly faded. “As the hour strikes twelve,” he heard a second time.
“Bah! Humbug!” cried Sir David the Lamb Giver again and settled into a restless sleep.
Sir David the Lamb Giver awoke to the sound of his great clock striking the hour of midnight. As the chimes rang out, he looked around the room and breathed a heavy sigh at the thought that this had all been a terrible dream. With the last chime slowly failing he looked around one last time and saw a dim light coming from the throne room. Having only flushed an hour or two since, he felt no need to visit the room once again. Suddenly the door to his bed-chamber flew open and he beheld the first spirit, an ugly distorted figure with terrible protruding eyes.
“I am the ghost of Ibroke’s past. Take my hand for I have much to show thee.”
Reluctantly, Sir David the Lamb Giver touched the hand of the ugly spirit and was instantly transported to the Ibroke tavern, filled with sad, depressed faces and much wailing. These poor creatures dressed in blue garbs were drowning their sorrows at the news from far off Lisboa. There the Celtan warriors had won great victory and honour, the mightiest warriors in all Europia. Never before had anyone in Administrania attained such accolades. As he recalled his own pain from that historic day he was conveyed to the arena itself where he beheld the Celtan knight, “Caesar”, holding aloft the Champions Goblet to the clear delight of the many thousands of Celtans there gathered.
“Why do you punish me so, O spirit? My heart is breaking. To have to endure this day once again is a pain beyond all bearing. Please take me from this scene and show me no more,” and the vision was gone. Sir David the Lamb Giver stood alone in his bed-chamber. He moved to his bed, pushed his head into his pillow and cried with no-one there to comfort him.
The room lit up as the second spirit came into sight, a man with great hands which grasped Sir David the Lamb Giver by the arm. When he opened his eyes he was looking down upon the scene of a terrible battle. As he looked on he saw a mighty sword sweeping through the air and pass clean through the neck of an unfortunate knight. The plume of feathers adorning the helmet of Banquo Scotus fluttered in the wind as it fell to the ground. Try as he might, Sir David the Lamb Giver could not turn his eyes from the scene and he cried aloud, “O great spirit, I cannot endure this terrible day which changed my life so. Please spare me for it is as a thousand knives piercing my heart.”
The scene changed once again. He now found himself standing in his private library inside Castle Ibroke. He looked around at the sound of a sleezy slime-ball of a man, whispering into his ear his elaborate plans of pipes, channels, traps and drains. He shuddered at the sound and wished, not for the last time, that he had never heard that voice. With his fingers thrust into his ears, once again Sir David the Lamb Giver found himself in his bed-chamber and sobbed the cry of a thousand regrets.
A knock at the door turned his head once more. He walked nervously to the door and shaking, turned the handle. Outside stood a man, in pin-striped suit, bowler hat and carrying a briefcase by his side. “Good evening sir,” he said as he doffed his hat and stepped inside.
“O please spare me, great spirit, for my heart has been torn asunder by this terrible nights visions. I wouldst that I should die rather than endure another.”
As Sir David the Lamb Giver spoke, the spirit gestured towards his bedside table.
“No! Please no!” pleaded Sir David with tear filled eyes but the spirit urged him firmly towards the table. Sir David the Lamb Giver’s hand shook as he lifted a parchment bearing news from the Govanian scribe, Jabba de Hutt. Just visible on the half opened page, he saw an image of a gravestone.
“Who’s death does this parchment record, O great and terrible spirit?”
The spirit indicated to Sir David to open the parchment fully. As he did so, Sir David beheld the words carved in stone, “Govania 1872 – 2012. RIP.” Sir David the Lamb Giver lifted the parchment and covered his face before dropping the tear stained page to the floor. For the fourth time that night he found himself alone in his bed-chamber.
As his tears slowly ebbed away, he heard another knock at the door. Who could this be? For the spirit of Philma Golly Wolly had foretold of only three spirits. The door opened slowly and there stood Sir Googly of Ayes with a single pound coin in his hand.
The rest, as they say, is history…
*Extract from Once Upon a Time in the Kingdom of Govania by CQN’s very own Mea Culpa with illustrations from Cartuja. Copies are available from www.cqnbookstore.com