In Defense of the Castle

The sun sets gently over the back yard of a small house on a back street in the quiet outer suburb of Preston.

Lord Robert surveys his small but vital domain; he knows that this land is central to the Kingdom of Princess Jacqueline and so it must be protected at all costs. Lord Robert pledged his undying loyalty to Princess Jacqueline on the day she rescued him from the Dungeon of Doom at the Lost Dogs Home. He had pledged on that day that he would lay down his life to protect his beloved mistress. Lord Robert is small in stature, somewhat stunted from the abuses of his youth, but big in heart and spirit.

Lying serenely on the grass in the middle of the lawn is the Lady Minh; Lord Robert’s beautiful wife. Even smaller in stature than Lord Robert, Lady Minh is the picture of grace and feminine beauty, capable of undying love for anyone, Minh is an affection specialist, a lover of loving, able to cuddle everyone in a room simply by being there. Lady Minh stretches sensuously, enjoying the last warmth from the setting sun.

Lady Minh’s daydream is broken yet again by the antics of Jasper, her and Lord Robert’s son and her most precious treasure. Jasper has the same beautiful looks as his mum, but with a bigger and stronger body than either of his parents. Jasper’s size sometimes makes him look like a clumsy fool, but when he  needs to, he is nimble, fleet of foot and stout of heart.

Jasper, too, plays a big part in protecting Princess Jacqueline’s kingdom, and many times he has stood shoulder to shoulder with his father to ward off the enemy. But always, deep inside, there has been a hidden desire to be the one, the leader, The Lord. Always he has wanted to take over and take control, because secretly he believes he can do a better job of protecting the Princess.

But, none of that matters now, as the darkness comes, as their friend the sun sets slowly; with the darkness THEY will come; THEY always come in the night!

Suddenly everyone’s attention is broken as a summons from Princess Jacqueline sends them all galloping back to the house at a full run. The bowls are out and they know what that means. After dinner there is time to relax and stretch out in the lounge for a while. But, even as they relax they listen, because they know that soon THEY will come.

Suddenly, ears prick up and turn in every direction. A small growling sound comes from deep within Lord Robert’s throat and is answered by Jasper. Heads rise attentively; THEY are coming.

Lord Robert bolts for the door with Jasper close at his heals. Princess Jacqueline throws the door open and small scurrying paws barely touch the ground.

The battle is entered: Lord Robert stands firm and proud in the knowledge that he and his companion Jasper are fighting off The Fruitbats From Hell. These hideous creatures come straight from the Gates of Hell via the Botanic Gardens with the single-minded intent of settling in the Holy Fig Tree Of Our Blessed Lady, and eating all of the fruit of the Gods. Valiantly Lord Robert dashes into the fray and darts erratically around under the holy tree barking loudly and menacingly at The Fruitbats From Hell. Lord Roberts’ assistant, Jasper, circles wide watching his boss’ back.

Dark wings black out the sky and glide quietly closer and closer to the ground. The hackles rise on Jasper’s neck. Are they after his beloved father and Lord? The need to defend is strong but at the same time a thrilling feeling of anticipation runs through him, for Jasper knows deep in his heart that if Lord Robert is taken it will be his turn to step to the fore and face the enemy of the night.

The dark wings glide menacingly closer. The reality of the danger strikes Jasper like a thunderbolt and like lightning he flies to the defense of his lord. The wings beat audibly harder and with cries plain to the ears of Lord Robert and Jasper, but beyond the hearing of mere humans, The Fruitbats From Hell beat a hasty retreat into the night.

Lord Robert and Jasper turn, content, and quietly return to the warmth and safety of the home and hearth comfortable in the knowledge that once again they have protected their beloved Princess Jacqueline  from marauding packs of The Fruitbats From Hell. As the victorious warriors reenter the door from which they had so recently flown when the first sonar whispers had heralded the imminent arrival of their sworn enemies they are welcomed in joyous elation by the beautiful Lady Minh.

After smelling them all over and licking them to satisfy herself that they are safe and well Lady Minh dashes back to the lounge to defend the bone she will protect throughout the evening. Even though both the other dogs are bigger and stronger than her, neither will dare to venture too close to her bone.

So ends another episode in the daily life of three small dogs in a big city.

BUT WAIT!! Is that the faint echo of a fruitbats call Lord Robert can hear? Deep in his heart he knows that THEY will come again, if not tonight then the next. But they will come again!!

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About a foolhardy florilegium

Nullius addictus iurare in verba magistri
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