The cell I sat in was cold and dark with only one window.
I must have been camping there for days, perhaps little more than a week. It’s hard to tell when there’s no sun or moon to light up the day and sparkle the night.
The people of the palace did feed me, but they only spared very little food. It was usually runny soup or dried nuts. I think they were walnuts, but I’m not sure.
Most of the time I watched the Stars in the sky. I reckon they must dance and sing up there because they’re always moving about. My two escorts were right though, the stars were tired and dying. I watched two of them fall from grace and into plunge to their deaths in the far off valleys while I was incarcerated.
The last night in the palace cell was the most amazing night I’d spent in Dobbingson, compared to all the rest.
That was the night the Communion arrived.
One minute the sky was dark and silent, like usual. And the next, booms of plundering noise were rippling through the air, the clouds, the stars and the land.
Quick as a flick, I jumped up to look out my one lonely window.
Outside was a wide white hole ripping through the darkness of the sky. From it, a gigantic shadow emerged. And then from the shadow, a light flew out and took residence alongside the stars. The whole world lit up and the giant shadow was revealed to be a monstrous whale that swam the air instead of water.
The light was the Sun of Dobbingson. I know because I watched all the stars drop in groans of relief.
The whale was something to do with the Communion.
I could hear cheers and clapping of applause ringing throughout the palace, outside the grounds, within the forests and far across the once forgotten villages. The Communion had returned! And the people of the World of Dobbingson had been saved! That much was clear.
I waited. Patiently. Keen to hear some kind of word from either the Headmaster of Dobbingson Palace, or the guards that usually ignored me and my conversation attempts. Something far more magical appeared before any whisper of a word, tho. Outside, I could see butterflies, approaching the castle I was locked within. But not any old butterflies. These butterflies were as big as houses. Their wings as wide as ship sails. And bodies as long and large as fallen tree logs. And on top of the butterflies’ backs were carriages for people to sit within!
Soon enough, the butterflies were upon the castle walls and landing in the forest clearing. I watched folk spill out from the carriages and down the butterfly tails (which act like a bridges to the ground.)
It seems that only five folk can sit in each butterfly carriage.
Soon enough, an ugly woman appeared at my cell door. She commanded the guard to open the cell. I was set free and requested to follow her out of the palace.
That was my first encounter with Gweyne Bee, the Ruling Heirophant for the World of Dobbingson. She has a slouched stubby body with antlers sticking out her back. Later I learned that the antlers were a birthing defect, but she always wears them like a crown of her own pride. She has dominantly white wrinkling skin, and her face houses a rather large nose. Her uniform is a half light green, half dark green robe with a silver snake embroidery stitched down the front of it.
After exiting palace, I realized, “I get to ride in the Butterfly Carriage?”
Gweyne, the Heirophant of Dobbingson, corrected me; “The butterflies with carriages on their backs are formally known as flutterbees.” And so I got to ride in the flutterbee.
Gweyne led me into the flutterbee with her head held high. She always walks with her head held high.
Inside the flutterbee carriage sat five short-stumpy stools for people to sit on. An open slit in the front wall of the carriage – that’s located above the flutterbee’s head – allows the creature’s passengers to spy outside when flying.
Outside, the flutterbee flyers sit on a plank of wood, (above the butterfly’s head) and control the whip, gently slashing the butterfly when orders are given to either fly, land, turn this way, or that way.
Only myself and the Heirophant rode in the same flutterbee that day.
After a quick order from Gweyne to the driver, we were off, scuttling hastily along the ground, and then whoosh… We were in the air, flying over the barricade of trees and high into the air, towards the great whale swimming in the sky.
Gweyne never closed the carriage door behind us, allowing me to witness the most gorgeous view of all the realm.
After reaching a certain distance she began to point out landmarks and historical locations throughout the world. She pointed out the Dobbingson Palace before telling me its brief history. She directed my view to the Forbidden Forest where the gate/portal to Earth is hidden. She then showed me the abandoned village of Bell that sat before a great and mighty swamp.