I’m still working on new ideas for the blog. In the meantime, I’m continuing the serialized story that I started last week, about a princess whose elf-staff is on strike. Enjoy!
Strike Breaker, Part 2
Mistress Periwinkle opened the heavy door. There stood Mitchell, the leader of the strike. He was dressed in the customary palace livery of blue and gold tunic and knickers, black boots.
His face held a smug grin. “I’ve come to see about a settlement,” he said. His grin widened as he took in the sight of Amadea in the scullery maid’s apron standing by the stacks of washed china.
Amadea held her head high. “What kind of settlement?” she asked.
“If I may come in . . . it’s so public out here on the step,” Mitchell said.
Amadea nodded to Periwinkle, who opened the door wider to admit Mitchell. She could hear the chants of the other elves on the picket line outside: “Unfair to Elves!” and “Up with small people!”
“Just what did you have in mind?” Amadea asked, when the door had been shut against the shouts outside.
“If I could but have a small drink,” Mitchell said. His eyes darted to the cellar where the wine was kept.
“Water for the union leader,” Amadea told Periwinkle, who bustled to pour it, muttering under her breath. Mitchell gave the drink a cross look before taking a few sips.
While he drank, she took off her apron and folded it, then drew herself up to her full height. At five feet six inches, she was a good foot taller than the elf, and she could tell he knew it.
“Now, what’s this about a settlement?” Amadea demanded.
“Well, your highness, my constituency has authorized me to –” His eyes darted around the kitchen again. “If I could but have a small something to nibble on –”
Amadea rolled her eyes and commanded Periwinkle to get out a little bread and a small chunk of cheese for the elf. He sniffed at it first, then gobbled it down.
Mitchell was not the Lead Elf in the palace, thankfully, only the leader of the elves union, and Amadea surmised he didn’t get much access to royal provisions in his customary job in the laundry. She had been disappointed this whole trouble had started. If only the old Master Elf Bernard were still alive, all this might not have happened. But he was dead, a month now. And she had no choice but to deal with this upstart Mitchell.
Amadea wrinkled her nose at the odor of musty livery that seemed to accompany Mitchell’s presence. She tried not to show her distaste. If she could get the strike settled, the elves could be back at their posts within thirty minutes, perhaps an hour . . . and everything would be back to normal, just in time for tonight’s banquet.
“You did mention a settlement?” she prompted the elf, when he had finished the bread and cheese.
“Ah, yes –” Mitchell cleared his throat. “I wouldn’t mind something stronger to drink, if you get my meaning –” (To be continued!)