[Author’s Note: This is satire. Absurdity is the intent.]
When I looked around the large table, I saw the stunned faces of the Elders Council. They stared at each other as the news registered. After a few moments, I broke the silence. “Are you sure?”
“Yes, Charlie,” Professor Pedantic nodded. His bushy white eyebrows knit together. “My sources have confirmed that the dwarfs are en route to the castle.”
“En route?” Shivani Roy repeated. Despite the gravity of the situation, I tried not to grin. Conversations were always entertaining when Shivani was annoyed.
The school’s head mistress, Professor Serenity looked at Pedantic. Her tone was mildly disapproving. “Really, Robert? They aren’t dwarves. They are Small-Statured Bharatians.”
“I don’t care what they are,” Director Fussybottom replied grimly. He stood up and began pacing. Also grimly. “If they’re trying to enter the castle without a permit, then it’s a problem.”
“They need a permit to enter the castle?” Shivani asked. She looked at me. “Why don’t I have a permit?”
Professor Pedantic shot a withering glance in Shivani’s direction, before turning his attention to the director. His head bobbed up and down like a doll. “I agree with you, Director,” he nodded. “We need to think of the children.”
“Heavens! You’re right, Peddy. What about the children?” Mistress Prissy Pants clucked before waving her hands to fan herself. “I’m feeling a little faint.” She rifled around the large bag on her lap and pulled out her smelling salts.
“There, there, Prissy,” Director Fussybottom replied in a baritone voice that echoed through the room. “We’ll take care of the situation.”
Professor Pedantic pushed his chair back from the table and slowly stretched out to his full height. He waited for everyone’s eyes to fall on him. “I propose that we form a committee.”
“A committee?,” Shivani sputtered, as she stomped back to the table. Her golden eyes flashed, as she gestured towards the window. “Yes, that makes perfect sense. Let’s form a committee while the dwarves storm the castle.” She threw up her hands in disgust. “We need to do something about this, not just sit around talking.”
General Hawkthorn stared at Shivani in surprise. He nodded slowly. “I agree with the girl. We need to dispose of dwarves immediately.” He turned to a Warrior named Samuel. “How quickly can you assemble your men?”
Shivani shook her head. “No, that’s not what I meant.”
I glanced out of the window. The dwarfs still had to cross the moat and scale the castle wall to get into the school. Before Shivani called Professor Pedantic or General Hawkthorn a moron or some other insult, I interjected. “What type of committee?”
Shivani snapped her head at me and snarled. “Charlie, are you freaking kidding me?”
I flushed, rattled by her tone. I still didn’t understand all of her expressions, but it was obvious that she didn’t agree with me.
“Now, Miss Roy,” Director Fussybottom chided her. “Being under attack is no excuse for bypassing protocol. If you have a proposal, you must submit it to the committee.”
Shivani rolled her eyes and threw up her hands in disgust. “But there is no committee!”
“That’s why I proposed that we form one,” Professor Pedantic smirked at her and pointed to the stack of papers in front of him. “It’s in the handout. Would you like one?”
Shivani and I heard the shrieks at the same time. Both of us rushed to the window. There was a dwarf trying to swim across the moat. “This is ridiculous,” Shivani muttered. “The dwarfs will be here any minute.”
“That’s why I’ve been asking you to build a bigger wall,” Miss Prissy’s lower lip quivered. “But none of you listened to me. And now we’re going to be overrun with dwarves.” Her large brown eyes welled with tears.
“All the more reason to form the committee as soon as possible,” Director Fussybottom said mildly, as he handed her a tissue. “Please raise your hands if you support Pedantic’s proposal. All those in favor?”
Everyone except for Shivani raised a hand and said, “I.” I winced when she looked at my traitorous hand with disgust.
“Excellent,” Fussybottom said, bringing down his gavel with relish. “And who should lead this committee?”
“Oh, my God,” Shivani said, clenching her hands into fists. “What on Earth is the point of this committee?”
“This isn’t Earth, dear,” Professor Pedantic said gently. “You’re in Bharat. Poor thing. Do you need Miss Prissy’s smelling salts?”
Shivani scowled at Professor Pedantic. Before she could reply, we heard a loud cry. “AAAAAAAIIIIIIIEEEEEE!!!!!!!”
Shivani and I whirled around. We looked out the window just in time to see a dwarf flying through the air towards the castle. Both of us gasped as he slammed into the wall. Director Fussybottom quickly approached the window. We watched the dwarf slide down the wall into the moat.
“Heavens,” exclaimed Mistress Prissy Pants, placing one pudgy hand on her ample bosom. “What was that?”
“The dwarves have some sort of contraption,” Director Fussybottom muttered, as he stared out the window. Swarms of dwarfs were pushing a large wooden platform with wheels on it. A small dwarf scrambled into something that looked like a scoop.
Shivani expelled a snort of disgust. “It’s a catapult. Don’t you people know anything?”
“Catapult?” I said, bracing myself for her reply. Shivani always tossed out these strange terms from her realm. Sometimes, I had a feeling that she thought we were stupid for not understanding them.
“That poor little dwarf,” Shivani muttered, leaning halfway out the window. “I hope he’s okay.”
Three dwarves jumped into the moat and dragged the unconscious one onto land. One large dwarf scowled up at us from the other side of the moat. When he saw us watching him from the tower window, he shook his fist and yelled something at us. But we couldn’t hear what he was saying.
“A dwarf hit the wall,” Professor Pedantic repeated. His ruddy cheeks turned pale as exchanged glances with Director Fussybottom. “You know what this means, right?”
“Oh, no,” Mistress Prissy Pants whispered. Her eyes widened. “The prophecy?”
“Prophecy?” Shivani repeated, as she returned to the table. She crossed her arms and snickered. “Well, this should be good.”
“What prophecy?” I asked with trepidation. My body tensed. Prophecies always meant trouble for heroes like myself.
“No,” Director Fussybottom shook his head. “It can’t be.”
“But it makes sense,” Professor Serenity replied. Her face suddenly looked weary. “I hate to admit it, but Pedantic may be right.”
The walls of the tower shook as another dwarf slammed into the castle wall. Their aim was getting better.
“Oh, dear,” Miss Prissy wailed. Her lower lip began to quiver again. “Loud noises wreak havoc on my nerves. I may have to lie down if this doesn’t stop soon.”
“Will someone please tell me what’s going on? What prophecy?” Shivani demanded.
Director Fussybottom sighed and walked over to his large desk at the opposite end of the room. He opened the top drawer and pulled out something before walking back to us at the table. As we stood up and gathered around him, he unrolled a scroll. A very old, faded, dusty scroll of yellow parchment paper. He read the words out loud:
Roses are red
Violets are blue
This is a prophecy
So it must be true
There were murmurs of agreement. This prophecy was filled with wisdom. I didn’t want to miss a single word, so I focused all of my attention on the crumpled piece of paper as Fussybottom continued.
Beware of the dwarf
When it first hits the wall
It’s a sign of life changes
For one and for all
“Heavens,” Miss Prissy gasped, reaching for her smelling salts. She opened her mouth to say something, but Director Fussybottom held up his hand. She remained silent as he continued.
A Warrior, A Weaver
A Seer and More
Must follow the call
And walk out the door
Some will live
Some will die
Some will smile
Some will cry
What more can I say
To those in this room
Go on this quest
Or perish in doom
The Elders all stared at each other in horror as the words of the prophecy registered. My mind whirled as I tried to make sense of it.
“Let me see this,” Shivani said, snatching up the parchment to study it closely.
“But what does this mean?” Miss Prissy whimpered, reaching into her bag. She pulled out a large handkerchief and dabbed at her eyes. “Are we all going to die?”
“Wait a second. It mentioned something about a weaver,” I said, frowning. My stomach started to churn as I realized something profound. “My name is Charlie Weaver. Am I the weaver in this prophecy?”
“Oh, for goodness sakes,” Shivani said, waving the prophecy at us. “Have any of you really looked at this? Whoever wrote it has really bad handwriting.” She rolled her golden eyes. “And it’s written in crayon. How am I supposed to take this seriously?”
I could tell that Shivani wasn’t taking this prophecy very seriously. “Shivani, this isn’t funny. You’re a warrior and I’m a weaver. We need to go on this quest.”
“Well done, Charlie,” Professor Pedantic nodded with approval. I admit that I glowed under his compliment. “I think you’ve interpreted one part of the prophecy.”
“What quest?” Shivani started laughing. Tears streamed out of her eyes. “The whole thing is ridiculous. Where are we supposed to go? What are we looking for? The whole thing is a complete joke.” She plopped down on a chair, laughing hysterically.
The Elders all stared at Shivani, some with open disapproval. Professor Pedantic shook his head. “These are matters for the committee to evaluate,” he said, which sent Shivani into another fit of laughter.
“You may think this is a joke, Miss Roy, but we take our prophecies very seriously in Bharat,” Director Fussybottom said sternly.