Notebook: a tale of four brothers
PART 2: Darmay
One eager, one curious and one just used to getting everything.
(click here for part 1)
He straightened his crown properly and launched forward. Immediately the coronet was beaten off his head and Robert was in hot pursuit through the air. His clothes jingled like a dozen tiny bells. He slammed on his back against his brothers.
“Robert, give it up!”
“Edward’s right, it’s no use. That thing is way too big for you.”
Robert crawled back up and brushed his clothes off. Hardly five minutes later, he was again flung through midair. The monster seemed all but impressed.
“Cut it out, already, you’re going to break something!”
“This isn’t helping.”
“We need a new strategy. No matter how much I try, I can’t get anywhere near its eye, he’s much too tall. Unless...”
George and Edward looked at each other and then him.
“I thought you’d never ask!”
Without another word, he scooped up Edward and took him on the shoulders.
“We’re higher this way.”
“No way, put me down! Robert?! Please don’t make me get near that thing, I’m scared!”
“Quit whining! George, we’ll distract him, you sneak up from behind and tackle it.”
“Sure, maybe it will take long enough to kill us for that... I’m gonna shit my pants Robert, I’m going to shit them right in your neck, if you don’t put me down RIGHT NOW!”
“Here we go...”
Edward covered his eyes.
“Will you work with me here, I can’t keep my balance with you leaning left and right!”
“I’m trying to dodge the punches, if you don’t mind, I’m not going to be your damn safety pillow!”
Robert staggered back and front, trying to keep them both upright. It was a very shaky constellation.
“I can’t get past if you don’t keep it busy!”
“Edward? Keep its attention. Watch the fists, idiot!”
“I can’t see anything but fists at the moment.”
“What?! I don’t wanna die...”
“Blow, damn it!”
Edward puffed into the sky, refusing to bend his neck even the slightest in the monster’s direction while its arms kept swinging away at them.
“Oh, for heaven’s sakes, you wouldn’t even blow out a candle that way, you sissy!”
“Would you rather be up here, if you’re so much better, your majesty?”
With a furious growl, the creature tripped over the outstretched leg of George, who hastily got far out of the way.
A sigh of relief ran through the trio.
“Now that was close.”
They made it across the bridge and continued their way undisturbed. For hours to come they would meet no one and see no trace of human civilization.
“It’s a bit funny though. It’s as if the land’s deserted.”
“Let’s hope not. I’d like to be nice and comfy and warm once it gets cold. If we don’t find some houses soon, we’re going to have to spend the night outside.”
“I hope we find a castle.”
“Yeah, I’m a prince aren’t I? That would make this my land. A prince without a castle, what kind of a ridiculous prince would that be?”
“I wouldn’t be too sure about that, Robert.”
“You’ll see, the first town we get to will welcome us like royalty.”
“If you say so...”
“I’m hungry.” Edward said whiney.
“We’re all hungry, Edward.” George replied annoyed. He could be such a child sometimes. As if their difference in height, despite being twins, was sufficiently telling for the parallel distinction in maturity.
“It couldn’t possibly take so long to the nearest town. Why would people take the trouble to build roads if they lead nowhere?” Robert wondered.
“Maybe this parallel world is empty, until the narrator invents something. Perhaps we should ask Michael for help.”
All three cried from the top of their lungs.
“Auch! That hurts my ears, stop screaming! I’m here, what is it?”
“We need somewhere to go, a town or something.”
“A city, make it a city! It better be big. I don’t want to rule anything small.”
“With a gigantic palace!” Edward exclaimed enthusiastically.
“And a market, we’ll need to get supplies.” George added in his matter-of-fact kind of way.
“I’ll see what I can whip up, hang on.”
The group left the path
and made their way
they reached Darmay.
“Hm, the prince of Darmay. It has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?”
“Okay, so we left the path, where is it?”
“We should have seen it already. You can’t miss a big city in a plain.”
“Don’t get your panties in a twist, I’m not done yet. It’s not easy to come up with something that actually rhymes too, you know. Where was I... Right, Darmay. Here goes:”
which in scorching desert lay
Immediately the landscape changed all around and they started to see a large shape looming up from the ground and getting clearer as Edward’s words echoed through the alternate universe.
around a fountain from which water sprung
as clear and light as day
that was said to keep you young
if you drink it may
“You just had to come up with a frigging desert?!”
“How about: thanks, narrator?”
“It sure as hell took you long enough!”
“Okay, okay, let’s just get moving.”
They enter the big wide-open wooden gates of Darmay. As soon as they were inside, the robust entrance was closed behind them. Like thunder, Michael’s voice again rung out.
This city of a thousand wonder,
home to witches and wizards,
every day went down and under
to shield itself from raging blizzards
Each traveller that reach it might
must wait to leave till it emerges
so he who Darmay searches
shall stay within a whole fortnight
“WHAT?! A fortnight? What the hell are we supposed to do for a whole fortnight? Where are we going to sleep? What are we going to eat?”
“I'm working on it! Jees, give me a break, will you? Just go inside, find someplace warm to sleep and I’ll figure something out to get you out of there in the morning.”
Someone knocked on the attic door. All four boys held their breath.
“What is that?”
“Someone’s here, I told you that would happen, Robert!”
“It’s mum, hold on and don’t say a word! I’ll be right back.”
“Boys, I’ve brought you some biscuits...”
“Oh, God, what should I tell her...”
The boy opened the door just a crack.
He reached his arm through the small opening for the plate of cookies. His mother tried to peer in past him. He blocked the way, laughing nervously.
“What are you guys doing in there?”
“You know your father doesn’t like for you to be up there. The floorboards are very old, it’s dangerous.”
“We’ll be careful.”
Michael shut the door and leaned against it in-and exhaling deeply. Close call...
In the other world, the three siblings found themselves stranded in the great capital of magic.