This is an in-character game thread from Changeling: In Love and War. (This page is not Creative Commons licenced.)
Ah, after such a long time on the road, it's going to be great to get
back to the civilised life of your own kitchen; your own home. Or
so you'd have thought.
Problem is, the castle's been more-or-less abandoned for two
years. The kitchens – your kitchens – have been used only by
soldiers since you left, and soldiers aren't known for their exquisite
culinary tastes. Or for their love of washing up.
The sight that greets you isn't a pleasant one. The larder is all
but bare, and the only thing vaguely organic in the whole place is
whatever it is that's growing in the sink. Probably wise not to
investigate too closely.
The kitchen staff pile into the room behind you, and look around the place as if mirroring your dismay.
Just as they are about to begin the long, slow process of restoring the
kitchen to an approximation of its former glory, a servant bustles in.
“Her highness demands a five-course banquet, in celebration of our return. For the whole castle. Tonight.”
For one brief instant, he could feel the panic creeping through the
back of his head. The sickening sensation that not only was he going to
fail, someone was going to be really really pissed off about it. And
then it was gone, swept away by the rush of adrenaline and the sheer
greatness of his wonderous glory.
He span to face the staff, flying hair framing his head for a moment in
a tangled halo of dirty brown. At the same time, he swept his hands up
into an almighty clap, drawing the attention of everyone in the room.
Then, the orders poured forth with the irresistable force of a raging
river, bursting its banks and flooding the room with a cacophany of
“The gaggle over in that corner! I want an inventory of all the
implements we've got that's still servicable and then I want them
sparkling! If I can't see my face in every single pot in the next hour,
the main dish will be Roast Fae!”
“You're the messenger. Run as fast as those silly skinny little legs of
yours'll take you, find the master of the hunt and politely – AND I
MEAN POLITELY – ask him if he could spare us a moment.”
“You three, over there! Grab a container and get as much of that green stuff you can scrape off the sink.”
“ChefHat! Grab the slightly squashy tomato, half-eaten jar of
mayonnaise and pair of smoked kippers from the back of the larder. I
don't care if it looks empty, they'll be there. They're always there.”
“As for the rest of you, the floor needs mopping, the ovens need
scrubbing, the tables need … well, burning from the look of it. But
you'll have to do the best you can with a cloth and elbow grease.”
“Well don't just stand there lollygagging, Get A Move On!!”
He watched for a moment, to make sure they all set to with the
efficiency, speed and blind terror of a properly motivated kitchen
staff and then murmered to himself.
“There'll be a banquet tonight, oh yes. Even if everything has to be done a la francais…”
The assistant chefs glance at each other, sharing an expression halfway between guilt and foreboding.
“A la Francais. Oh dear…”
True to form, though, the slightly squashy tomato, the half-eaten jar
of mayonnaise and the pair of smoked kippers are produced from the
cupboards. Actually, when one looks harder, there's a fair bit
more besides in there. Food normally so inedible that the
observer's eyes barely register their presence, but they're there.
Within a few minutes, the master of the hunt shows up, in full regalia
minus the horse. A whinny from the corridor suggests that the
only reason he is not currently mounted may be the height of the
kitchen door. Certainly his dogs are busying themselves worrying
the kitchen staff.
“What ho, Hugh!” the man booms. “What can I do you for?”
Dashing to the door, Hugh's features effervesce from his
motivating-the-underlings scowl to his far more amiable I-need-a-favour
“What ho! What ho! How's the old lady? Fine, splendid.
Listen old chap, I'm in a bit of a spot – the grand D. wants the full
five courses this evening and the cupboards are gaping. How much of the
dead animalflesh can you lay on in the next few hours?”
“I'm sure we can come up with something for you, good man! I'll
be back here with a hundred dead and dying deer faster than you can say
'awful alliteration'! Tally ho!”
With that the man leaves the room at speed, eager to get back to the hunts that he'd not been able to go on for so long.
“Awful alliter-” starts one of the servants with a wide grin on his
face as the huntsman disappears down the corridor, but his facetious
remark ends only in a scream. As soon as his outburst subsides,
he follows it up sharply with a “What the hell is that!?”
As you look across at him, you can see what looks remarkably like
a… A potato. Scampering across the kitchen floor.
On four tiny little legs.
“By gum! A wild haggis! Quick, fetch my haggis-net!”
Observing the speed at which the thing is retreating, Hugh grabs the mans arm.
“Scratch that, grab the long handled tongs and follow me!”
And, demonstrating quite a burst of acceleration, he sets one hoof in
front of the other and pursues the potato, around the ovens, kicking
the great buckets of water and soap that are too bulky to get out of
the way quickly all over the floor. The potato seems to have realise
it's being chased and starts taking evasive action, weaving from side
to side and then making a break under one of the large tables currently
being used as a holding place for the inroads being made into the
Without pause, Hugh vaults up, sending crockery flying to all corners
of the room as he thumps across the table, landing on the other side
just behind the potato. Whereupon the kitchen hands who'd neatly
positioned themselves for just this oppurtunity throw themselves down
in an attempt to subdue the starchy savage. Which is, of course, far
too nimble for them. Jumping up on their prone bodies, pausing only to
deliver a few hefty kicks, it hurls itself across onto the marble
preparation surfaces and, little legs flailing on the smooth newly
polished surface, dives straight into the sinkfull of washing up.
Followed, a moment later, by Hugh shouting “Chocks Away!” at the top of
his voice, sending a great spray of grey water, foamy suds and
half-cleaned pots over the staff unfortunate enough to be standing
nearby. The remainder of the contents of the sink soon follow as Hugh
turfs them out in an attempt to find the wayward 'tater, all the while
demanding his net. Eventually, one of the kitchen staff develops enough
bravery to point out that the potato was clinging to the giant iron Wok
that vigorously knocked out poor Ecclestone and is currently making its
way out of the kitchen door.
Whereupon Hugh, long hair clumped into thick wet pseudodreadlocks, deep
emerald shirt turned a vile swamp green, blinking the dishwater from
his eyes charged from the room with a yell.
With Hugh's yell, the huntsman's bugle call and a resounding cry of
“follow that vegetable!” from the kitchen staff, the charge begins.
The potato twists and turned through corridor after corridor, bouncing
between the floor and the walls is its skinny legs misjudge the turns
and kicking up dust from the as yet uncleaned castle floors.
As it descends the stairs towards the back of the castle, tripping up
two servants on the way, it takes a sharp right turn and dashes through
the extensive laundry room. The Charge of the Chef Brigade
follows hot on its tail, and even hotter now they race through a room
full almost entirely of steam.
Almost entirely. As they burst out of the door on the other side
of the landry, it's not just steam that they are accompanied by – Hugh
now seems to be sporting some kind of silk robe on his head, the
huntsman has somehow acquired a nightgown, and no less than three
kitchen servants appear to be entangled in a pair of the Duchess'
Still the charge continues, with optional Benny Hill theme tune, until
the potato leaps for a drainpipe in the wall. The huntsman leaps
after it, but unused to wearing a nightgown he slips and collides
head-on with the wall.
The clanking noises from the drainpipe disappear up into the roof.
“You there,” Hugh exclaims to attract a servant's attention. “Where does that pipe go?”
“Upstairs, he replies. One of the storage rooms I think! Follow me!”
And with that, the charge is moving once more.
Up the stairs, through what felt like several miles of gaily decorated
corridors and then straight through the ball room, picking up all the
more easily distracted nobility (which'd be all of it) on the way, then
up the next set of stairs, down more miles of even brighter decorations
and then into the myriad corridors that lead to the various storage
After a brief attempt at organisation, foiled again and again by the
giggling nobles, Hugh simply starts picking doors at random, wrenching
them open and searching the rooms beyond.
As Hugh, leading the now army-like mob of faerie nobles and servants,
bursts though the door to one particular bedroom in the north-western
tower, his eyes light up. There it is! Got you n…
The potato has somehow affixed the other end of the rope that it holds
in its hand onto the top of the tower, and as the mob watches it winks
Hugh rushes to the window in time to see the potato arc through the air
and jump from its rope to land inside a window on the tower
opposite. As soon as it disappears, to more potatoes appear from
that window, and point and aim what look an awful lot like potato-sized
Well! If it was a war they wanted, no man, mouse nor tubery vegetable would find a Fearnley-Whittingstall wanting.
He turned to the mob and bellowed for silence until all that could be
heard was the pepper of tiny crossbow-bolts on the stonework outside.
Then, with a cold hard look at his “troops”, he has another go at
organising them. Picking the noble of greatest … stature, he declares
him captain of the Official Kitchen Archery platoon, assigns a bunch of
random kitchen staff to him and tells them to keep a constant withering
He then turns to the rest of the men.
“All right men, I won't lie to you. The potatos have the high ground and superior weaponry. But we have grit, guts and … “
Seizing the net from the poor out of breath kitchenhand he brandishes it.
“The fabled potato net of Eeee!
And setting deed to word, he hurled himself out of the room, back down
the stairs and outside, heading at great speed for the tower.
Hugh and his lynch mob hurtle out of the room, Hugh and his potato net
now firmly in the lead. For some inexplicable reason, many of the
rest of the mob aren't quite so keen on leading the charge against an
enemy with crossbows.
Down three flights of stairs, across a courtyard, around or in some
cases over a pond and through the stables, the group arive at the base
of the tower that the potato was last seen disappearing into.
It seems locked, and has a message scrawled in chalk on the door:
“HAAAAAAALT! Regroup men!”
“… and ladies.”
There they stand at the bottom of the tower for a moment, waiting for
their artillery support to begin. Precisely one and a half polite
comments about the weather later, a head sticks itself out of the
upstairs storeroom they'd come from and bellows down at the courtyard
in perfect geordie.
“D'ye like, want us to start shelling now?”
“Fire at will!”
A barrage of small white-brown objects arcs up and out from the window,
fired from small makeshift catapults. They seem to hang in the air for
a moment and then drop. Directly on top of the army, which scatter
efficiently across the courtyard, diving for whateve cover they can
find. The objects smash onto the hard cobbles, breaking and covering
the ground in raw egg.
“Yee sackless fools! Aim fre the winda or you'll be eaten dandruff salad the neet, dyer knaa what Ah mean liek?”
The army pulls itself back together as another volley of eggs flies
over the courtyard to smash against the tower window as Hugh sorts out
the next stage of the plan.
“You, you, you and … look here, this is just ridiculous. I can't just
go around calling everyone 'you' all the time, it's impolite. Does
anyone have any nametags?”
The universal law of army politick, which had been quietly trimming its
toenails in a bathtub somewhere in Wiltshire sprang into action and
spawned one of the annoying officious little oiks that inhabit
Requisitons in the quartermasters department in all military
organisations who immediately begins jumping up and down, waving a roll
of sticky labels and a black marker pen. Given the go-ahead and a
promotion to Lance Corporal (to make up for the expense), he zips
through the crowd like a dose of hot salts, slapping name tags on
everyone with little regard for calligraphy, accuracy or (as his
glowing red face attests) decency. Finally, he slaps a “Hair
Commandment” on Hugh and a “L.C. Kieth” on himself.
And Hugh gets down to business!
“Right, private Laurel is it? And you, sergeant Hardy, I want you two
to find a ladder long enough to reach that window from somewhere.”
“'Ere, 'ow comes I'm a private and you're a sergeant? T'ain't fair!”
“It'll probably be heavy, Corporal Chaplin, you'd best help them carry it. Now, the rest of you…”
“Clearly it's my superior bearing Stanley.”
“… we're going to need three barrels of lye, a feather duster, the collected works of Wordsworth … No, better make that …”
“Well, I'm not saluting you!”
“Thomas Hardy, a pack of cub scouts and a well-plucked grouse. Then, what we'll do is…”
Hugh outlines his plan to the army, still oblivious to the whispered
argument. Meanwhile, a short squat figure with “Sergeant” written all
over his face (Kieth got carried away) takes a small squad of men,
grabs a decorative statue from the corner of the courtyard and, while
eggs continue to rain down on and around the window, proceeds to start
battering the door down.
“Brace!” came the urgent cry from inside the tower, and almost
immediately hundreds of tiny thuds echoed out from the other side of
the door. Commands continued to be shouted, but became more and
more muffled over time – as did the thumps.
Eventually all sounds seemed to stop. The door wouldn't budge an
inch. No more potatoes were visible though the windows either,
and slowly the sulphurous artillery barrage ceased.
There was a pause of a few seconds where everyone was silent.
And then, with a grating noise of stone against stone, the top floor of
the tower started inexorably to… open. The thick stone walls
peeled outwards like banana skins, until at last they came to rest
pointing downwards and slightly out. The top floor of the tower
now stood open to the sky, and everyone below could see what the room
contained. Not that anyone knew what the hell it was, anyway.
It looked oddly like a flagpole was hula dancing, with undertones of weird gribbliness and overtones of very, very weird…
As one the fairies look up at the revolving device, then each other.
Minds racing, they all reach the same conclusion simultaneously.
And it's every fae for themself. The courtyard empties in a flurry of
panicked scrambling, furious elbowing and, as Laurel and Hardy had just
managed to track down a ladder, stop-motion slapstick.
Hugh, rubbing his head, finds a random regimental sergeant major and
sends them up to the artillery division with instructions to throw
everything they have at the strange wobbly thing on top of the tower.
He scampers back after a short wait to relay the message “Reet yee are
sir, Aa've just the thing.”
And then, what appears from the ground to be a large ostrich egg with
small mdf fins is launched from the window, flying straight and true to
smash onto the device, coating it in a thick layer of ostrich-goo.