Once upon a time, there was a kind and gracious Queen wandering the Endless Forest seeking a New Kingdom. She had left a prestigious Kingdom ruled with The Iron Fist of the Order of Black and White by the Mad King.
Now to be fair, he wasn’t mad as in wow what a nut job, he was just an angry guy all the time. His diatribes were legendary in all the land when things were not The Way They Were Supposed To Be. It was very exhausting and disheartening to be Queen in such a Kingdom.
So one day she packed her crown, her Mac and the two royal pups (Lord Murphy and Lady Molly) and crossed the drawbridge into the Endless Forest. They traveled great distances over the next year or so, seeking just the right place to start a New Kingdom and along the way she had somehow ended up with a small group that had each decided to travel with her and see what became of it all.
She had D’Oracle, the wise man, as her advisor of all things weird and incomprehensible. He taught her to see each situation they encountered in eight different ways simultaneously by randomly uttering odd and intriguing thoughts that turned her perceptions of any one thing into an endless loop of possibilities. He was much more helpful than her Magic 8 Ball which she had relied on heavily in the past.
The Duchess of K joined their journey about the same time. She felt it was her duty to instruct the Queen in curse words when appropriate, applicable rap songs for any situation, and how to find a good deal in the villages they passed through along the way. The only drawback was her determination to find the Queen a new King to rule by her side, which caused Her Royal Highness moments of abject dismay.
Then they acquired the Mother Superior; Mother Mac they called her. She gave sage advice whenever they were smart enough to ask, and when the Queen did something foolish like giving all her rubies to the thief she thought was a homeless guy, Mother Mac would get her rubies back and pray for her immortal soul. She never wavered from her endless task.
Lastly she adopted D’Bois the Bear Cub. He was as big as a man, with a heart like a lion. He would growl and flex and stand to a great height and every one would run away but the Queen. She would just smile and walk up to him, laying her head on his shoulder and he would hug her tight. It made her very happy. Hugs were going to be a big thing in her New Kingdom.
So there they were, wandering deeper and deeper into the forest when they came upon a magician holding a skull in one hand, and a jug of ale in the other. They found him fascinating for a time; his story-telling and dream-weaving. D’Bois the bear would sit at his feet as the magician wove one story into the next, his eyes laughing at the entertainment that most bears aren’t privy to.
The Duchess of K was at first mesmerized by the magician’s tales and Kingly potential. This soon gave way to a grave concern that HRH was being led down the garden path. She began chanting curse words and singing applicable rap song verses to distract the Queen from the musings of her overly soft heart. She wanted a Warrior for her Queen, not a trickster.
D’Oracle said only “If there be dragons, this be one”. No one questioned him.
Mother Mac began to pray as if a legion of demons were bringing all of hell upon them.
The Queen heard them not. She was not fooled, but she was foolish. She thought to save him from the smoke and mirrors he used to trick his way through life.
There is nothing more hopeless or horrifying than a woman (much less, a Queen) trying to save someone who does not want to be saved. It is a war with no winner. A battle with no armor, a pointless struggle with no end.
And thus was she defeated where she stood.
As she handed him her last ruby, he began to smoke as if aflame and drank heavily from the jug of ale and mocked them all for their stupidity before disappearing leaving nothing but a smear of sludge and a large gray stone.
D’Bois the bear cub butted against the stone roaring in fury, and the stone moved not at all. Duchess K cursed a blue streak sending sparks skipping all across its surface and damaged it not. Mother Mac crossed herself and threw holy water on it and it steamed and spit, etching letters into the surface that read ASINUS.
The Queen looked to D’Oracle with sorrow in her eyes.
D’Oracle said grimly, “It is the latin word for FOOL”.
They stood silently, fearfully looking to the Queen to see what would come of this.
She stepped forward and easily lifted the heavy stone in her two hands with the strength of her heart alone.
“This is the first stone of wisdom for our New Kingdom. Let us begin.”