Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Remora the Remorseless: Chapter One

Once upon a time, in a city not very far away at all, lived a public servant called Steppy.

She worked in a big anonymous castle, along with a lot of other servants. Steppy was an industrious worker and was well liked by her fellow servants. For some years, her life was a happy and fulfilling one.

One day, Steppy was busily working away in the great hall of the Castle when she felt something pulling at her skirts. Startled, she looked up and realised that it was another servant trying to attract her attention.

This other servant was unusual, because she was from a land far FAR away. Steppy had seen her working around the Castle, but had conversed with her only occasionally. She was not even sure what her name was. But now, this other servant brought her face close to Steppy's, and with a toothless grin held tightly onto her hand.

"Hello!" said the toothless one. "My name is Remora. I have decided that you are to be my special friend! Come with me to the kitchens and we will eat our lunch all by ourselves, well away from anyone else. Come! Come!!"

Thus began the strange friendship of Steppy and Remora. The other servants spoke often among themselves about the ill-assorted pair, and occasionally one would be brave enough to mention to Steppy how Remora never left her side, and that Remora glued herself to Steppy like a parasitic sucker fish.

But Steppy prided herself on her loyalty.
So when people said these things to Steppy, she did not listen.

Yet occasionally Steppy wondered how it was that she knew so little about Remora. How her entire picture of this friend was based upon the merest snippets which fell from Remora's lips, rather like the crumbs the mice chased around Anonymous Castle's floors..

Crumbs like these:

- that she had to leave her country of origin for "political reasons"
- that she had once been married but now "wasn't"
- that one of her two "sons" was not her biological child
- that she once worked for a foreign government as a secret agent

But every time Steppy tried to grasp one of these crumbs and study it closely, Remora would turn pale and wan, and look behind her as if a malevolent magic was waiting to swallow her up. And Remora would say "I don't want to talk about it" and "I can't speak about it any longer" and "it's not safe for me to say more".

And Steppy would believe her.

But Steppy was an open, trusting soul, who saw no reason to hide things about herself from a friend. So Steppy told Remora many things, such as why Steppy did not allow wine to pass her lips, and unexpurgated stories of Steppy's wild and dissolute past (for yes! in her youth, Steppy had been a raving drunkard....)

Then one day, Remora took Steppy by the hand and led her to a mirror on the wall. And Remora said "Oh Steppy, you are very so fair! And you are so very wise!! I need your advice. I think I need to change something about myself. Do you think I should dye my locks? Should I dye them as black as the raven's wing?"

And Steppy said "may I be very very blunt? I think you should get your terrible teeth fixed. And if you like, I will personally seek out the most splendid tooth magician in all this land, and I will go with you to meet him, and I will support you on this adventure, and walk closely by your side as each day of it unfoldeth..."

So began another chapter in the story of Steppy and Remora.

A story which - I am sorry to say dear Reader - Does Not End Well.....

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