The Further (Mis)Adventures of Princess Thumperhead started as a "post by email" that I wrote in college. When I moved away from school, the story widened and took on a different role for me, hence the Jester's Chronicles. Quite some time has past now and I find that I am returning to telling this weird little story, or The Trials. I suggest starting from the beginning. Some characters have been around that long...In April 2012, this story will turn 15. ....and Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Chronicles XIX: Pieces in Motion.

“Send for the fool, now!” The order ripped through the air like a bolt.  Saing’s minions scurried to find the Jester.  Saing continued to read through reports that a party had left the city by way of the Eastern Gates, among those in the party were the Royal Jester, Commander Goettch, and the Minstrel, Eepir Kahz.  Other reports indicated that the Jester had recently met with a gypsy, Sir Gregor, and Dar Benedict.  There was no information about what any of them had discussed.

On horseback, racing along highways that stretched into the Kingdom of Twisting Rain, the three men slowly disappeared into the budding sunrise.  They arrived at the Village Hall of Middletowne, and growing city on the crossroads that led into eastern Gothex.  There they saw a great festival already in progress.  Many people had come to the hall, some dressed as their favorite characters, to celebrate the great story told by the famous minstrel Lucuase.  Kahz, Goettch, and the Jester made their way into the hall and mingled with the locals.  The festival was the perfect place to discuss matters of state.  There were concerns about Saing’s rule and the role of Gothex as a border country between Twisting Rains and the Western Empire.  They lacked the military forces to prevent an all out war between the two giants.  If they ever went to war, Gothex would be crushed in the tidal wave of blood from their armies.  Between Goettch’s military expertise, Kahz’s street gossip, and what the Jester knew about the Royal family and the civil government, they could paint a fairly accurate picture of Gothex’s strengths and weaknesses.  Gothex had more than their share of weakness they all saw.
So they formed a new plan.  The three men took less than a day to develop and map out how to secure Gothex’s holdings.  The only thing missing, a few key players would have to make some unlikely decisions.

Back in Gothex, Lady de’ Gruse made arrangements for her father to be buried.  Sir Gregor and Lady Hee A’tor traveled far to the south to aid and comfort the noblewoman.  The ceremony was a somber one, the court was stunned to learn that de ‘Gruse’s father had actually been in Gothex when he passed.  Many well-wishers spoke quietly in the mourning daughter’s ear as the paid their respects.
In Springville, a letter is dispatched to the Jester in Gothex, it is signed by three men whom the Jester has known for years.  The messenger is instructed to ride until he finds the Jester and to personally hand deliver it.  He is reminded that his family will be well taken care of, should he perish.  Should he fail though….his family may never be seen again.  So much trouble for three words, the rider thought as he set off on his mission.

As the Jester’s carriage passed under the Eastern Gates, it was stopped by the roadwarden.
“Yer wanted.  Follow me to the Baron’s.”
“But of course.” The Jester replied.  He didn’t think it would have taken long for Saing to want to talk to him.

Passing through Saing’s guards, the Jester noticed Tintar leaving the Baron’s chamber.  The General was looking very tired and distressed.  He carried with him a stack of dispatches and maps.
As the Jester entered the Inner Sanctum, a violent looking dagger embedded itself in the edge of the door nearest the Jester’s head.  He stopped for a moment to collect himself when Saing spat “Explain yourself.”

“My Lord, I was verifying rumors of weaknesses in our Ministry of Intelligence.” The Jester eked out.  

“Myself and the others who traveled with me went to celebrate the Minstrel of Middletowne and quietly tell some unreliables a few small tales.  It was our intent to see if the information was picked up by Benedict’s agents.”

“Get out then.”
Not having to be told twice, the Jester turned and left, but not before noticing a map, drawn to show Gothex, not as a border country but as a small empire nestled between two giants.  The Jester caught his breath.

“Fool, do you have something to say?”

“No mi’lord.” And with that, he slipped out into the antechamber.

To a guard standing post the Jester queried, “Where is the General?”

“Always in the war room.” Came the reply.  As soon as the Jester turned the corner, another door opened and a man known only as the son of Lambare entered.

“Was that he?”

“Who?  The Fool?  Yes, that’s him.  He and the General are old friends.”

“Then you have done well.  Here is your reward.”  The man tossed a bag of coins to the guard who missed them.  As he bent over to pick up his earnings, he felt the hot point of a dagger penetrate his back to the left of his spine, burying its point in the rear of his heart.  “Not
that you’ll have the time to spend it.”  The assassin said.
Moving quickly, the wandering clown made it through the maze to the war room.  “My friend? Is it time?”

“The time is now.”

“I will pass along the word.  Go safely my friend.”
That night, as the Jester slept, he had terrible dreams.  He awoke with a fever and needed fresh air.  Crossing over to open the drapes of a window in his bedroom, he noticed wet footprints at the foot of his bed.  Instantly alert, the Jester squinted his eyes to better see into the shadows of his room.
He did not hear the assailant behind him.  It was too late; he felt the garrote go tight around his neck.  Reacting without thinking he slipped his fingers into the strangle hold to try and catch a breath.  At the same time he bent over forward, throwing the attacker off balance and crashing into a low table.  Before he was able to recover, the Fool was knocked to the ground, pinned on his back, under the weight of the killer.  Through the window, moonlight glinted off the killing device, a long thin handled dagger meant for the heart.  Holding the dagger above his head the assassin hissed, “You cannot stop P’jai’us!”

Then everything went wrong.

Lady de ‘Gruse, awakened by the struggle, saw her husband about to be murdered, threw the candlestick holder with inhuman force striking the knife wielder in the back of the head and hands.
As the blade went skating into a darkened corner, the now unarmed attacker fled out the open window, escaping into the damp night.

Twenty-three days later, the messenger fell from his horse in front of a small shop where the Jester was still buying gifts for his bride.

Half dead, he handed a scroll to a man he had never met, but would knew on sight.

The Jester took the parchment.

The three words had arrived.

Thursday, May 02, 2002

Chronicles XVIII: Arisen, from Ash and Dust.

It is nice to see that the Jester has returned...” as the words faded the Jester woke with a start.

It was going to be a bad day.

Shortly before dawn, a messenger arrived with dispatches form the front. The Jester lit some candles and leafed through them. Among them, one written in the tight military script of his brother-in-law, Sir Augustus, it read:


I feel I must write this letter and address it to you, because I fear that Forces of this land might confiscate a letter addressed directly to the Commander.

It has been near a month since my dispatch to protect the Western Border. My forces have held strong, with no real activity as of yet. I have recently given Sir Cristos his own command, in charge of Siege and Heavy Weapons, due to his extensive knowledge on the subject. With that in his hands, I have more time to concentrate on our strategy. I have also given him a battalion, in order to build and man his weapons.

I think it important to give you all of the information I have received in the short month I have been in command. In the first few days of my Occupation here, Sir Cristos and I have discovered two of the local militiamen, Richard of Seka, and Jean Michael the Dominant. Richard is a well-respected man with the locals, and is our spokesman to the townspeople. They call him "King", as he commands the respect of the locals. I have many times sought advice from him, as well as help with matters of the local villages.  Jean Michael is a close advisor to Richard, and is more known for his short stature, and his great strength. Many a times he was broken a man's arm for mistaking him for a dwarf. He is the man I think could lead these people to war, if needed.

Because of my dealings with these men, I have learned much about this land. I have learned of a vile Cult that dwells in the province of Chevans. They are commanded by Collen of Letics, a fierce warlord; who suffers from severe vainity. His second in command is a woman, if you can call her that, Sha' Tuk. Rumor has it that she is not completely human, but part ogre, and that she easily stands eight feet in height.

I have never seen this half beast, but pray that these are just legends.

Of course, not everyone in this land is corrupted by their proximity to the Cult. I have met an old man by the name of Gilbor. He is a wise man who lives in the Cave of Life, upon Mount Normal. Sir Cristos goes to him often for his advice. Some say he is a wizard, and his appearance does nothing to dispel it. Cristos has also found Gilbor's young apprentice, Geitra, to be his enchantress. Of course, he tells nothing of this to Gilbor or Geitra, for fear of the repercussions.

Reports have just come in; a skirmish has just begun, I must return to the front, but I will send word soon, as I have more to tell you about the Western Front.

Until we speak again,

Sir Augustus

The Jester set down the correspondence. Interesting, he thought. Perhaps security was not as tight as once thought. Saing should be made aware of this. Or perhaps there are too many loose ends. The Jester put on his traveling cloak and headed for the seedier sections of Gothex.

Baron Saing sat in his wardroom with maps strewn about the table. There sat Gothex, surrounded by greedy nations looking to conquer the Port-City. As he moved some markers around on the map, a heavy rapping came from the anteroom.


“You summoned, my Liege?” came the reply from the door.

“Yes.” Saing rasped. “I see that young Augustus is doing well on the Western Border and that the Scorched Iron Brigade has smashed opposition north of our Border holdings. Tell Cristos to proceed and secure out to three days ride from our Border. If he needs more Outriders, send them. His heavy machines may be slow, but they demonstrate our power. As soon as he has erected fortifications, he shall return here, to begin making more war machines for Goettch and Gregor. He’ll have the summer, then I want Augustus and him to push further in to the Northern Wastes.”

“As you command, Mi’Lord.” Tintar continued, “As you know, the Eastern incursions are accelerating and Gregor’s time is more consumed with his Lady’s well-being then the tactics at hand. There are reports that an army may be moving close to the Lake in an attempt to overwhelm our defenses. Perhaps we should move another four divisions to the front to repel the attack?”

“Of course. What has Benedict to say for himself?”

Tintar moved opposite of Saing. Tapping the map, he said “He spends his time trying to determine a way to destroy the P’jai’us. Also, I have heard that he is renewing old ties.”

Saing’s gaze darkened, “I thought that nuisance girl had been destroyed? The fool told me as much himself.”

Tintar shifted uneasily, he too had heard the rumors of Princess Thumper Head’s fiery demise. Maybe they were a bit too optimistic. “I will look into it Mi’Lord. I am sure the fool will have some insight. He was quite good at such things. Before his parlor tricks, he once held the respect of many. Now he just makes the Nobles laugh.”

Tintar barely heard the words. They were not much louder than a hiss. He caught himself leaning in to better hear Saing. “Things are not all that they seem. Things may be changing, with the news of Count de’Gruse’s death.”

“When did the Count pass?”

“Some days ago. Lady de’Gruse is just finding out. The Jester left shortly after the clergy arrived to console the noble-lady.”

The Commander was intrigued and asked, “Where do you think he went?”

“Old ties are stronger than new bonds, sometimes. He may have gone to seek help. He may be a fool, but he rarely fails to notice things.”

On the Eastern Front.

“Captain, dispatch a runner! Tell the General the attack has begun! They are 20 fold stronger. Tell the Thunder Brigade to charge! Get those ballistas in place! Archers! Stand to! Prepare to fire.” Gregor steadied his warhorse and prepared for the worst.

He didn’t have to wait long. The horde of beasts ripped through the front lines, rending arms and legs off of soldiers. The archers fired into the ranks, felling dozens if not hundreds of creatures. And yet they surged forward. There seemed no end to the river of half beasts that streamed towards the highways that lead to Gothex.

The ranks looked as though they were about to collapse when a horn rang out above the din of battle. Everyone, man and beast, were stunned to a halt.

Gregor searched the field of battle for the source of the horn. The ground began to tremble, trees toppled, and the battlefield seemed to rise up. Monstrous sized creatures began to appear in the secondary ranks of the attacking horde, they also approched from the Lake. It took Gregor a full minute to recognize the shapes of giants as seaweed, roots and earth chunks of fell from their bodies. There were hundreds. They had buried themselves under the battlefield and hid in the shallows of the water.

It looked hopeless to Gregor.

They began their attack. They marched through the ranks of the horde, destroying whole companies of beasts with each footstep. Then they did a surprising thing. They wheeled about in a coordinated fashion and began to sweep lines of attackers aside as though they were insects. The horde saw this and began to break formations, afraid that they would be next to be destroyed. Gregor’s men stood in stunned silence, watching as their enemies were crushed, trampled, and swatted to death. They rallied around this and rushed forward to press the attack. Man and giant marched shoulder to kneecap to punish the invading army.

Gregor saw one giant head towards his command tent atop the ridge. Gregor urged his mount forward to meet the enormous man. “I am Sir Gregor, Knight of the War Torne Tower. To whom do I owe a great deed of thanks?”

The giant replied, “You know of the wandering Fool? Tell him that Tah’Pal of Xplihor repays his kindness. My tribe will take care of these things for your men. You will send word to the Fool before nightfall, I wish not to be late on our wager.”

With that, Tah’Pal turned and headed off after the retreating battle scene.

Sir Gregor did not wait a second. A dispatch left his hands for Gothex immediately.

In the slums of Gothex.

An urchin bumped into a wandering pilgrim. No one noticed the exchange nor would anyone have cared if they had seen it.

Seated in the back of a dark tavern, the Jester pulled out the scrolls from his pilgrim’s robe and by candlelight read the three messages.

The first from Gregor, described the battle that had taken place 3 days ago with the sudden appearance of the Wolk tribe of Giants and the route that ensued. It was careful to include the exact message from the Chieftain.

The Jester almost laughed.

The next was two pages long and chronicled the reported death and resurrection of two people from the Jester’s past. The first was of a girl named Lynn de’Hor who seemed to be the missing Princess from Edwardoland. The report includes details of her new husband who out of the kindness of his heart married a commoner and recently made her Queen. This did in fact make the Jester chuckle. So, she became a Queen anyway! Life’s little irony. The second page listed the rumors of a Gypsy, who could come and go with the wind. There were more than two dozen sightings listed on the page. This is not a good sign, thought the Jester.

The third scroll was another dispatch from Augustus:


I once again write of news of this land.
Before the hot sun of summer rises in this land, Richard of Seka will be leaving. He must return to his land of Seka, far to the South of here, in order to tend to his aging family. He will be a great loss, as he has guided me much in my dealings with the townspeople. While he is still here, I will be sure to learn everything I can from him.

Another blow will be dealt to my forces when Jean Michael the Dominant
leaves town to join the village protection faction, which calls itself the Elite Troopers. I will still keep in contact with him, but I will not have his services to myself.

As you may or may not know, we have been living in tents and other temporary shelters whilst staying on the front. I have just commissioned for a more permanent barracks to be built by summers end, which I will name The Spear House. I have also decided that Sir Cristos and myself must return for the summer months in order to build support and raise funds. I know from my experiences here that the Forces here will be nearly dormant during the hot months, and will cause no major problems for the men I will leave to remain on the border. I will leave many high-ranking officers to do my bidding, as well as give partial control to the Elite Troopers, and Jean Michael the Dominant. I have charged Jean Michael to write me letters, when time comes, in order to keep up on what is going on. However, that is many weeks away, and I will keep you updated on the developments.

With Sir Cristos closer to the border of Chevans, he has started to write me letters telling me the events on the border. Even more surprising is that he decided to write them himself, rather than a muse. I have informed him not to write directly to you, but to write to me, and I would relay anything important. While on the border, he has discovered a new town, with a peoples who call themselves the Cabinos. I have included this letter with mine, so that I will not have to reproduce it.

I do not know when the next letter I write will be, but hopefully soon.

Until we speak again,

Sir Augustus

Sir Augustus:

I must first apologize. I am not accustomed to writing correspondences and this letter may not be of my best. With the newly appointed position I find myself in need of writing you.
I am writing you to give you an update of our present position here. We are camped just outside of Chevans with many new weapons at our disposal. The trebuchet was proven affective against the forces in Chevans and it seems that they have retreated for the spring. We have taken heavy casualties on our main wagon. Earlier some of the horses used to pull it were ill. Luckily they have since healed. Also it seems that one of our axels has taken heavy damage and I fear it will not be able to support the wagon for much longer. I am working closely with locals to help rebuild the axel.

Gilbor has heard wind though of possible movement of the Chevans into their partner province of Statotios sometime soon. I fear that with the mammoth stature of the worriers of this province, my forces may take great casualties. Gilbor is currently working on a spell to make my forces appear invisible to the forces of Statotios thus eliminating any involvement of my forces.
For our successful defense against Collen of Letics, the local people here have decided to have festivals in our honor. They have not given us many details but do assure us that there will be live music by the local townsmen all day with plenty to eat and drink all day. These events are scheduled to last for the next few weeks. The locals, known as the Cabinos, have expressed their concern that the dark forces will make another uprising. I have assured them that myself and my men, while we will be enjoying the festivals, will be ready to fight at a moments notice.
I must warn you though, my forces are anxious to fight. My men have grown restless without the immediate threat of Chevans. While I hope to enjoy the feast, I, as well as my men, are hoping for a small skirmish.
The Cabinos have also expressed their thanks to you for allowing us to stay in our present position. They have said that any of your forces and yourself will be their honored guests. I am anxious for our meeting again in the next few days and will be looking forward to the festival in Ottoin.
Until then I must return to the duties of repairing the siege weapons.

Until we see each other in this world or in the next,
Sir Cristos

The Jester was almost finished reading the letter from Cristos when his candle failed. As he reached to relight it, he caught sight of someone sitting across from him at the table.

“I was wondering when you would appear.” The Jester said.

“I’ve been around, times are changing. Things are not as they once were.” the visitor replied.

“I know. Saing is looking for me, and I fear the war will not go well with spies within our ranks.” the Jester whispered.

“You know what needs to happen. It has always been your destiny” the shadowy figured said.

“I see that you are in good health. Anything else I should be aware of?” the Jester queried.

“The news of my death is greatly exaggerated. You may want your nefarious Dar Benedict take on an Ambassadorial role. I recall the he knows the Queen of De kat-hor. She goes by, Queen duClarque now, but I think you’d recognize her as Princess Thumper Head. Her realm may become important soon.”

The fool, not taken aback by any of this simply stated, “I will advise Saing of that. Thank you Mistress.”

The Mistress of Shadows said as she rose, “My return is not by accident. Loyalties and friendships will weather the coming war. I must return to my work. You know how to reach me or Kindle if we are needed. Be warned though, the good witch is more then busy these days. But she may spare a moment or two to impart wisdom to you and yours. Take care, wandering fool.” And in an instant she was gone.

The Jester rose from his table extinguished his candle, pulled up his hood and headed for the door. There is much to do he thought, oh so much to do.

Monday, March 04, 2002

Chronicles XVII: Darkness Creeping from the East…

There was a hint, just a taste, of something foul on the air. The kind of air, that rises out of the sewers. The kind you find lurking near cemeteries. There was an underlying nervousness in Gothex. Nothing overt, but something slipping just under the skin. The markets were full, but eyes searched left and right.  Feet shifted uneasily as peasants bought breads, meats, and fruits.
A half of a year had passed since Gothex had been happy. The wedding of Lady de’Gruse to the Royal Jester had seen the streets lined with pretty colors and rejoicing faces. The air had been fresh, the sun warm, and the spirits had flown freely at every pub and tavern. But those days were now just a fond memory. A growing darkness was approaching and the people did not want to spend too much time out of doors.

The first reports began to come in, even before the Jester has left on his honeymoon. Dark things were lingering too long on the Eastern Front. Outriders skirmished with creatures that were beyond the intelligence of normal beasts. Dar Benedict and Brand sat in counsel for many hours, debating when to bring this to Saing’s attention. They agreed that shortly after the festivities to report to the War-Lord.
The fireworks had scarcely stopped and eight men entered into private chambers to confer. The man at the head of the table wore blackened ceremonial armor, with a helmet that was both horrifying and beautiful at the same time. He has a black goatee and looked to be so gaunt that he could not possibly wear so heavy a protective layer. To his right sat a much larger man, also goateed, but his armor was well polished, more functional and the silver and purple seemed to be woven in intricate patterns across the breastplate. Embossed in the center, just above the Sword and Shied of the State, was the Royal Crest, awarded to the most loyal of warriors.

“Commander, where are we on this Eastern incursion?” Saing asked.

“My Lord, as you know the Ministry of Intelligence has interrogated some of the beasts captured. Their reports are a bit startling. More information is necessary before action can be taken. As you know the Eastern Brigade stands ready to march at your command.” Tintar replied.

“Excellent. General, do you have anything to add?”
Dar Benedict stopped writing as soon as the question had started and looked around the table. ‘Were these men, these hard fighting men, ready for what he was about to tell them?’ He looked around the table, what he saw told him that they were ready to die if need be. Four men sat in hardened armor, trained soldiers dedicated to the sword. The eldest was from the Southern Plains, a former monk named Sir Goettch who sat across from Tintar, with whom he had done battle against the Eastern Empire. To his left sat Sir Azon, the Unbreakable, who, it was said, had the lives of a cat. Across from him sat his contemporary, Sir Gregor, a Paladin who currently commanded the Western Brigade. To his right, sat one of his captains, Sir Augustus, a young man who seemed to be, by all accounts, a brilliant strategist. Brand slid the most recent reports in front of him.

“Leige, the most troubling is that these beasts appear to have a collective intelligence. If we interrogate one, the others seem to know what was asked. As though their minds are linked.” the Dar responded.

“Their minds are linked?”

“Mi’Lord, as you are versed in some magics, you are aware of the power of P’jai’us? We believe that these things are from It.”

Saing crushed his goblet and hissed, “This does not bode well for Gothex.”

“Baron,” Gregor spoke up. “We must reinforce the Eastern Front, as you know Lord Decker never paid much attention there.”

“Well put. Then do it, you have a fortnight. You leave in two days.” Saing adjusted his gaze, “Augustus you will survey the Western Border and dispatch troops four days hence. I do not want our borders weakened. Welcome to command. Try not to die.”
Gregor, Azon, Goettch lept to their feet and left for their respective commands. Their aides-de-camp were immediately at their sides, taking orders and readying mounts. Augustus, recently promoted, sent word for Sir Cristos, his soon to be aide-de-camp.

Meanwhile, south of the Kingdom of Twisting Rain, the Jester received a scroll, delivered by messenger.  It had the seal of Boones on it. It read:


I have always enjoyed the tales of your travels, again congratulations on your wedding. I wish I could have been in better spirits for the event, alas, a malady hid my joy for the happy couple. I fear that this has once again weakened our alliance. I would sacrifice many a head of heard, if it would once again strengthen our bond. Forever we are sacred. As soon as I rebuild my estates and regain power in my lands, I will begin to repay my debts to you. It is to be soon, my aide, JerRand, tells me.I have heard that you are celebrating the Feast of the All Saints; it is my hope that you send well wishes to all that attend. It is also my hope to once again return to favor with the Court of Gothex.

Peace to you my brother and hope for more good word soon,

The Jester took quill and ink and penned a quick note to Errien. He left it to set and dry, while he returned to his new bride and the lovely lake by which she sunbathed.
Upon the Jester’s return, he was summoned to meet at Eeipr Kahz’s abode. When he arrived; drink, games of chance, and good friends set him upon. Kahz had organized a game of chance and many were there to partake. Tintar and Brand made toasts of good fortune to the Jester’s return. They played cards till all hours and discussed, many things, including the affairs of state, personal lives, and the comraderie of men. It was agreed, that such meetings should occur every fortnight; as much was accomplished and the politics of court could be left aside. Even Saing made an appearance, once. Thoughts of war were distanced by thoughts of friends and cards.
These to only be soured, when news arrived, Brand was to be dispatched, to Springville, south of Gothex, to maintain a vigilant eye on southern movements.
And then there was the errant comment, one night, made by a man-at-arms.

“Those damnable gypsies, every time me mates and me go for a pint, we trip over one. Thieving scoundrels. Met one, week back or so, claimed to be a ‘Lady’. ‘A lady in bed’ I said. She thought she’d tell me ‘I know many a lady-in-waiting, I once held the favor of Kings and Fools alike.’ Would’ve showed her my kings and fools, but she disappeared, just like that! Right before my bleedin’ eyes.”

“That’s de’Guile for you. Just when you think she’s gone, she reappears, as if from the Mists.” the Jester murmured.