Hey, not a bad watering hole this. Nice to have ale which tastes like before it’s been drunk and not afterwards…..
Now, back to the story.
Maleficent doesn’t see why she should go tracing around for the kid, I mean a curse is a curse right? She goes over a border, her sights on another of those widowed kings, I mean what do they do to their poor wives? Maleficent gets her hooks in and in a year he’s dead! Yep! NO doubt abut it, screwed him to death! Wadda way to go uh? But he’s got this teenage daughter, and like all of ‘em at that age she’s get spikey. Next thing you know she’s slipped the castle and shacked up with seven guys running an illegal mining operation. No wonder Maleficent tried to have the little monster put down! The story gets messy after that, some young noble getting involved, the kid nearly chokes on something…what I don’t care to know. But that was they’re problem.
Now there’s us. Fifteen years of putting down spinning wheel riots, hunting out Conspiracy Kooks who claim the kid is actually a boy half-elf and the king an’t his dad, and border patrol for smugglers AND the next door kingdom.
Next door? Yeh, well y’know how it goes, any instability and your neighbours are leaning over the fence. Kingdom to the east, that guy, he’s sharp. He’s heard things an’t so good back in Our royal boudoir, that the king is elsewhere looking for his royal happy-times. He knows he can’t take us on in a full-out invasion, so he nudges a bit. We’re on to him. He’s send these regular large patrols out, we ‘bump’ into them. And it always goes;
‘Hey you guys’ we say, ‘How ya doin?’
‘Ahhnn, not so bad. How’s yerselves?’
‘OK. Say, do ya know you’re on our side of the border?’
And they go, like
And the corporal…it was always the corporal, he says
‘See sarge. I toldya that map wuz out of date,’
And their sarge says to our sarge.
‘Gee sorry ‘bout that guys. Ah, we’ll be on our way. Some weather uh?’
Then we report back and they report back and the officers report up the line that they doin’ all that is necessary and everyone is happy. As the years rolled on and I stuck with it I moved up corporal to sergeant and we’d play the game back to them. When we sneak over to see what they were up to and encounters happened I’d open my arms an’ go.
‘Aww heck boys! I’m sorry. It’s our l’tenant. He’s the biggest asshole ever! I told him this way was the border, but he says in his squeaky voice ‘No sur-jent! I have the latest map! Now obey your orders.’ Do you see him here? I mean Honest-To-Stars! He could no more find his way around a map that he could a brothel!’
Yeh, you had to get some fun somewhere.
An’ let me tell you if we’d been patrolling that forest where the old biddies had kept the princess none of what I’m about to tell you would have happened. But that’s what you get when a king kits out a bunch of youngest sons of second-class nobles and call ‘em the LifeGuard. It was only a money-scheme anyway! Them having to pay for their outfits and ‘special’ training. Then wander about in groups of five making enough noise than even a deaf man could hear them! No surprise then, when next door nation gets into that forest. Led by none other than the heir to their throne himself. What was he doing there? Who knows? Maybe the kid was bored sitting at home, maybe he was running his own side-line in the smuggling racket? Maybe he’d got intel on who was in the forest. Anyways he finds her, she apparently being a girl who likes to sing, loudly.
And that’s just what we reckoned happened! Him being royal and young, just like a buck rabbit on aphrodisiacs! And she not knowing much about men. Dunno what it’s like up here, but down there, they got laws about girls under sixteen! Uh-uh. Must have been something to it because next thing we know she’s being scooted back to the palace, and an entire regiment put on guard around it. LifeGuard? Huh! They got theirs! Sent on patrol duty in one of the stinkest swamps you smelt, sewer outlet for a nearby town.
Now there’s a lot of toing and froing between kingdoms and a wedding is being put together pretty dam’ quickly, if you ask me. Some meeting between Aurora and her parents that must have been! Of course, we were up north at the time, chasing…yep you guessed it right…spinning wheel smugglers! Then check the irony, while we’re up there, the kid is nosing about the castle ‘cas it’s her first time, and wouldja believe it? She finds one dam wheel! Can you believe that after fifteen years of us poor dogs smashing and burning ‘em , some winner in the village-idiot contest five years running has left one in the castle. And, yeh the kid stuck her finger on the needle, ya saw that comin’ didn’t ya?
Well the curse kicks in and it is a doozey!
Not only does she fall asleep but so do the whole dam’ castle staff and her folks. Not just that but a big mess of thorns grow up around the place, scattering that regiment all over the place, them that were awake that is!
King Next Door makes his move! Says everyone needs to be rescued and over the border he comes with troops to help us, naturally his son is there, all noble and upright to save his bride! For solidarity show we get called back and we all trudge off the scene of the crime.
Man! And those were no regular thorn bushes like the ones veterans throw bare-naked recruits into to harden them up. These were like branch thick and castle high with thorns that would double as swords. The lad must have really had the hots for the girl, for he’s off his horse and calling for us all to join him in hacking his way through. And us and his troops are looking at each other and sharing ‘What’s with this lad! Do we look like we’re combat engineers? Do you see any siege weaponry here?’. No use trying to complain to royalty though… Yeh you got that right!…And we had to hack and dig. Chop and cut. Seven days and half the army down with sprains, cuts and hay fever and only five feet in. Someone has a bright idea and has sent for some of those new-fangled cannons to blast our way through.
With the curse going off, it’s bound to attract Maleficent. Must have got fed up of that step-daughter and the eight-in-a-bed scandal. She flies in smooth as a hawk and stand all haughty and grand demanding everyone to back off, because a curse is a curse! Us lot, it’s not the kind of thing we’re paid for right? Even the officers are a bit leery. Sonny, though he notices his father looking Maleficent up and down. The lad must have brains, no doubt reckons with her as step-mother his chances of getting hitched to Aurora and his own throne are slim no thing! The boy ups at her with his fancy sword and get this! She turns into a dragon! Wings, fire! The whole deal!
The king. He’s backing off, hiding up and half his army ready to protect him. You got it! There’s always some ready to get back to the rear area out of the front line. MY squad and me, we get stuck at the front, and we’re ducking, dodging and diving, flames, flying thorns, you name it! The lad and some of his buddies go for the dragon, y’ know what nobles are like. No surprise, a few get barbecued. The lad is carrying some good hardware though, his shield is beating off the flames. Right then up rolls one of those cannons, while the witch an’t looking, the crew get a shot off and..pow! Right where we’d be looking if she were a woman and down she goes. Of course, the lad gets his sword in her neck so as he can claim credit and since he’s about that business a lot of us pile in with our own steel and hack off a few souvenirs to impress the yokels.
Since she’s dead the curse goes and all the thorns fall away. Off goes the prince, up the castle steps, finds Aurora gives her a magic kiss or something and she wakes up, then so does everyone else. If you ask me the lad knew too much about the business!
With all the fuss dying down and everyone active again and the girl past her sixteenth there’s a wedding. In just about nine months, there’s a little Aurora! Yeh! We reckoned we wuz right all along. The kicker is though, her old man. He dies in a riding accident, or so it’s said. And his widow swift to be consoled by her daughter’s father-in-law and they are wed and the two kingdoms joined! An’t that neat?
The three old biddies? There was scandal about security and upbringing, the Church got involved and they had to flee the kingdom. Spinning wheels were allowed again, and suddenly there’s no need for so many soldiers they say, peace and happiness ever after, they say. And no severance pay, only some crappy bits of land and a few skinny hogs! I ask ya!
So here I am? Whadda ya reckon sarge? Sign on sure! What’s the deal around here? Uh-uh. Security sweep, hunt and search. Yeh-yeh. Your prince is looking for one girl. Don’t they all. He met her at a ball…..Oh that kinda ball! She was wearing glass shoes, then lost one? And last seen riding off on a…pumpkin? You did do a narcotics sweep of the guests did you??….Just the usual sunk-drunk…Hmm…..
I tell ya what there sarge. You tell your officers we gotta look out for three old biddies…they’ll have the dope of this for sure!
Sleeping Beauty. One Foot Soldier’s Account (A Tale in II Parts)