The young Princess Mary approaches the mouldering gothic tower where He awaits.
She shivers. She shudders. She wouldn't be here but she must seize back the golden goblet. Last night, while in his cups, her wild brother Prince Terry gambled it away. If their father finds out, His Majesty King Kim finds out, it will be the absolute end. Not only will Prince Terry be disinherited, he will be thrown to the fearsome Dragon Deanna for her supper.
But Princess Mary is loyal. She has been likened to an angel. She creeps stealthily up the steep rocky stairs.
Above her head she hears the ravens and the vultures screeching and screaming. Oh shut up will you, she silently begs, you will have the tower dogs out on me. Chief Raven cackles and wheels through the sky, flying up then down, spinning in circles, then he divebombs at Mary. She ducks just in time and finds herself falling into a huge cobweb.
It is sticky. She is lying next to a bunch of dead flies. Ugh, she shudders. Hauls herself up and finds herself now wearing a silver-threaded cape over her white dress. In front of her a woven-silver-grey staircase spirals up through the dense cobweb. She shrugs, steps forwards and onto the stairs. And halts horrified as a wild wailing sound shrieks from under her feet. She takes another step and the wild shrieking starts again. What is that noise, she cries out. Well you'd shriek too, said a voice from under her silvery platformed shoes, if some one stomped through your hair.
Oh my great goodness me, exclaims Princess Mary (channelling Scarlett O'Hara from the sound of it). If it isn't my old mad witchy Nanny Iri. Get your shoes outta my hair, grumps Nanny Iri. Really, I thought I brought you up better than this. Well Nanny Iri, grumbles Scarlett, I mean Princess Mary, we might not be in this fix if you had spanked Prince Terry more.
He always was an evil little troll, says Nanny Iri. Remember when he set that lion onto your lovely wolf Ghouler. I really thought Ghouler was gunna be a goner that week but Ghouler just ate up that lion like he was a chubby little albatross. Yes, remembers Mary, but then Ghouler disappeared.
It was the Vampire of the Tower that got him, said Nanny Iri. Prince Terry swapped him for a bar of Wizards Chocolate. Oh, is there no end to his evilness, moaned Princess Mary. Last week he pulled all the wings off the window cleaners and I had to spend 7 nights sewing them all back on.
Prince Terry: Yes, I must have Wizards Chocolate. Even if I have to sew for it.
Witchy Nanny Iri: It was poor Mary doing the sewing.
Now if you would only get outta my hair, complained Nanny Iri to Princess Mary, I will help you to retrieve the golden goblet and Ghouler as well! Fine, snaps Mary, and she skydives down from the hair of Nanny Iri. And finds herself on top of the tower!
With Nanny Iri's magical 3 in 1 broom come wand come cone-shaped hat that doubles as an ice cream cone. Good, she says, and flies up to the ravens, you like ice cream, she asks, yesssss, screech the ravens, how about chocolate coated vampires she asks the vultures, yesssss scream the vultures, then come with me, she yells and opens the hatch and flies down the winding stairs, followed by a hundred ravens in a line, their wings beating time with the flap of the following vultures. The noise is horrific, it sounds like Hell has come to visit. Maybe it has.
Arrives at the double oaken door, entry to the vampirical dining room. Taps the door with Nanny Iri's wand and they swing open, hinges groaning in a very creepy fashion.
The huge round room is lined with stone. Flagstones and rich red carpets cover the floor. A long wooden table stretches across the room surrounded by a strange, eclectic mixture of chairs. The table is set, ready for dinner. The bowls are hollowed out skulls, the forks are the bones of the lower half of arms, hands and fingers. Spoons are similar except the fingers have been removed. Smaller rat skulls are cups or goblets. The servants are pouring tomato soup into the skull bowls, other servants fill the rat skull goblets wit red wine. At least, thinks Mary, I hope that is soup and wine. Then the vampire family come in. There is Countess Vanessa Vandervole, Count Vincszenzo Vandervole, and the twins, Violet and Vivian, and baby Vance being placed into his high chair and given some cooked hyena legs to chew on.
Sit down, sit down, booms the count. No, says Princess Mary, I have come for my father, the cantankerous King Kim's golden goblet! That goblet nevertheless did not belong to your father, screamed the countess, it was stolen from my brother, at the same time as his baby daughter was kidnapped.
Then suddenly comes a giant howl from the corner of the room (do round rooms have corners?) and Mary swings around just as the wolf Ghouler leaps to her throat! And licks and licks and licks her. Mary hugs him close, surely it is a hundred years since she has held Ghouler.
Meantime the vultures are sitting all over the shelves, scratching and pecking at themselves, hunting lice and fleas. The ravens who like bling are poking at the jewels encrusted on the walls and floors. Then one raven , the largest, blackest, shiniest raven espies the golden goblet; he flies over and hoovers up the blood-red wine, then grabs the goblet and flies into the air. Princess Mary waves the wand and the raven becomes a wild black stallion with red eyes and golden saddle and bridle. She leaps astride his back, laughing wildly because she has realised her name is not Mary after all. She was the babe kidnapped by cranky King Kim, the goblet is hers, and she has Ghouler back as well. She is Defiance Faliha, the Goddess of Wildness and Freedom and Lightning and Thunderstorms, Guardian of Ravens and Vultures.
And she doesn't have to put up with that Evil Brother Prince Terry anymore.