pig_and_pepper: ({ Thinking again? })
[personal profile] pig_and_pepper
[ Grey ruffles obscure the broadcast, until the Duchess takes a step aside. She has taken her head off whole, and placed it carefully on a scale. She watches the numbers rise... rise... rise, until the scale beeps, and stops just at 39.9 pounds. The Duchess sighs, pleased, and picks her head back up. ]

Heavy is the head that knows the truth, make sure 'tis not too much to bear!

[ A long silence follows.

After a while it occurs to her that her audience may be with her still.

'Tis all I shall tell you today. If you wish to dig, dig yourself, what good is any truth if it lies buried with you? [ She taps her lip. ] Cremated, I suppose, that would be more accurate.

[ The Duchess primly sets her head straight in her lap. ]

Now, shall we bake a cake to help us through these frightful times? [ She clears her throat. ] You will need two eggs, two tablespoons cocoa, half a cup shortening, one and a half cups white sugar, one teaspoon of salt, one teaspoon vanilla extract, one cup buttermilk, two and a half cups all-purpose flour, sifted of course, one and a half teaspoons baking soda....

[ This will go on for some time. Feel free to bake along. ]
pig_and_pepper: ({  Shall I try the experiment? })
[personal profile] pig_and_pepper
[ The Duchess appears, entirely too close to the screen. She holds her head in both hands, voice and gaze ominous as can be. ]

They've waited for so many years to fulfill their purpose. Progress beckons destruction, and their masters lurk looming in the darkness. Once the call is heeded a terrible doom shall befall--

[ A loud beeping sound cuts her off. The Duchess flinches, and glances back to the steady mechanical blare, the sharp and pulsing noise, the... the alarm clock on a table behind her. It flashes 21:85 relentlessly, numbers in aggressive red. The Duchess sighs heavily. ]

Well! We're rather a little too early, aren't we? 'Tis an embarrassment to be sure, but time really ought to know better than to move so very far ahead. Now, what shall we do until next time? There's so much, I can barely decide!

[ Just like that her ominous demeanor is shed and gone. Maintaining a respectable distance to the screen she wraps her neck in a silver scarf, and pulls it tight. ]

Which one is truly your favourite? You ought to pick one, it's only fair.

[ She twirls the frizzy ends of her scarf, looking into a faraway distance. ]

I wonder if they have any fish in the lake...
pig_and_pepper: ({ Thinking again? })
[personal profile] pig_and_pepper
[ The Duchess stands on the beach in new attire. She balances head and hat on her neck with caution. The high collar is of use. The sand around her is disturbed, by ordinary footsteps and peculiar traces alike. She looks at something far beyond the video transmission, her voice as distant as her gaze. ]

We reflect on the actions of the past; We can't let go. We want to move forward. We can't change. We don't want to change. We want to protect. But there are Others. Others that won't give up. We can not help but be moved. We can't-- We can't help. But. Ha--no!

[ The Duchess lets out an ear-piercing shriek. ]

I am not her any longer! My duke! My dear duke, come to me! Remind me who I am! Their dry bones grasp for ours, 'tis no time for a crisis of character, we haveourresolveshatteredwecan'thelpbutbecomewholeagain.We-- We do not want our children hurt... so long we have waited-- Duke! Stop her, I say! Stop her from trying!

[ At last - apparently - the Duchess' piglet waddles into view, and finds shelter underneath her dress. The Duchess scoops him up with relief. ]

There! Come, my love, we are already late. There is still enough time to seek shelter- from the lesser of the evils, at least!
pig_and_pepper: ({ You can't think how glad... })
[personal profile] pig_and_pepper
[ 'Tis quite the feat, the way the Duchess hurls her own head high into the air, so it may sound from the greatest heights of the entrance hall. ]

What is it? Who has it? Where is it kept?

[ Her body moves as grey lightning, dashing towards a nearby mirror. She smashes its glass with her fist, and from the ripples all mirrors near her shatter as well, as does every single one on the same floor, as does every single one in the entire mansion, both sides of it at that.

In the end only a singular mirror behind her remains whole, and her body quickly comes to stand where it was before, so she might catch herself in part, before her head hits the floor.

Thank you. This will suffice. Give them time to recover, and they will come back as they were. Now, did you see all I showed you? Did you find what you needed to search? Did you do as I ask? You can hear it, can't you, that all good things come in threes. Now, tell me these:

[ She holds her head above her shoulders, as if to crown herself with it. ]

Who has it? Where is it kept? What is it?

[ The Duchess turns her head, literally turns her head around, so that it may face the unbroken glass behind her, giving it a knowing look before she begins to rotate, like the beam of a searchlight, which would make sure to shine upon all it surveys. ]

No good deed goes unpunished by great rewards, that is what they say. To all of you, I say this. My dearest friends on this side, my good people on the other! My hands are clean and needn't be washed, but it is only right and proper that you should help, and that I should reward such splendorous moral character.

[ She pauses for effect, before she lets her head hang leisurely in her lap. ]

Where is it kept? What is it? Who has it? Tell me, my loves, tell me now.

[[ ooc: This message can be seen by people both Real and Mirrored. Real people may contact her over the network, or find her in the entrance hall. Mirrors may write to her, using the mirror that remains unbroken. ]]
pig_and_pepper: ({  Shall I try the experiment? })
[personal profile] pig_and_pepper
[ The Duchess head rolls into the frame, most tragically without grace. Her face comes to rest on the floor. She sighs heavily. ]

'Tis rather inconvenient like this. Turn me around, dear, so I can see them all.

[ The Duchess' piglet runs to her with a squeal, and nudges her head, so it turns to face her beloved audience. ]

Now! Do you see what I-- face, goodness, no, what vile punnery. [ She clears her throat. ] Do you see what I struggle with, my dear friends? Do you see it all? I must say it quite forcefully, you understand, for I- I cannot see enough otherwise, not like this! [ Another sigh, even heavier and more dramatic than the first. ] It slips, it turns, it falls, it will not stay with me, no matter what I do!

[ Her piglet nuzzles her hair consolingly, then begins chewing on it, undoubtedly to provide comfort. ]

Thank you, my love. Now, where was I? Ah! Your own medicine is worth twice the sweetness in the bush, that is what they say! Here is my plan, now make sure you listen well, or you get it wrong, and then I would need to pair you all up, for only two even wrongs set my head back on right, and we've no time for such things, no time at all, do we?

[ The Duchess clears her throat. ]

As mighty as the sharpest blade, as stout as the hardest shield, a spool of thread woven from hearts of gold. It must exist, and I must have it! She'll do worse to my head if I search, but you'll help, won't you? I will let you see, and you will be my eyes! All good things come tomorrow - then I'll let you see, and you'll be my eyes, and when it's all done you'll use your own mouths to tell my personal ears all you know, won't you?

[ Her piglet nudges the screen. It turns, and shows the Duchess' body, standing in front of a mirror, painting it silver. Somewhat without coordination it paints the walls and itself as well, but as long as it does not miss the glass entirely, the Duchess' head seems satisfied enough with its efforts. ]

See, now, we're nearly done, and when we're all done you'll see for me. Good luck, my darlings, the best of luck to us all!
pig_and_pepper: (Default)
[personal profile] pig_and_pepper
[ The Duchess appears a little muted today, and yet she appears! Alive and... well. With her piglet safely in her lap. It squeals, and nuzzles at the silver ribbon around her neck. ]

'Tis so much better to have them, but you'd barely know until they come off-- no, dear, don't fiddle with it now, you'll cause a terrible scene.

[ Too late, alas, the piglet pulls at the ribbon. It comes undone. For a moment it merely reveals a red gash across her throat, but then her head slides further and further from her shoulders, until it topples to the ground.

The Duchess (body) props her elbow on her knee, holding up nothing. She (head), on the floor, sighs.

Goodness. Well. I shan't tell you the rest now, this must be fixed. You busy yourselves, darlings, and guard well that thread which ties you to all you are. And your hairstyle, as well.

[ With that she kneels, and begins to search about for herself, on the floor. ]
pig_and_pepper: ({ Thinking again? })
[personal profile] pig_and_pepper
Swallow! Devour! Consume! Eat!

[ The Duchess' greeting is grand, but she slumps in her seat too soon after, nails tapping the surface of a finely polished table with some sense of ennui. ]

I'm rather sick of it, you know. Suppose there's the rub, really. Our new guests are entirely too delicious, and entirely too sick. I did not invite them, mind, and I should encourage you to deny them quite sternly yourself. Courtesy has its time and place, and perhaps if you can endure such troubles for a few days we might invite courtesy into our home again-- oh!

[ She shakes her head, and the palm of her hand finds her lips, clasping them shut in embarrassment. ]

All is well that eats well, I should have said so from the very beginning. You can see it, of course, but 'tis important to repeat it and remember, lest you forget and repeat poorly.

[ The Duchess waves off some unspoken thought with a sigh. ]

Be that as it may, have you thought to bring all that is required? Time may run out, but I cannot say I would encourage you to do the same...
pig_and_pepper: (Default)
[personal profile] pig_and_pepper
[ Wonderland's most beloved moral guardian appears to her audience, and from the very first glance flaunts her possession of not one, not two, not three, not fifty-nine, but an innumerable mass of Vorpal Swords (or quite fetching imitations thereof), all of them forged into a strikingly imposing and staggeringly uncomfortable chair of sorts. A throne, if you will.

The Duchess sits on its sharp and jagged majesty, her piglet resting in her infinitely more comfortable lap. Above the both of them hangs a large banner. Silence begins the feed, as though making time for all to behold her sight, and stand to rapt attention.

Finally the Duchess clears her throat and speaks:

What a game of intrigue awaits you! Make sure you are clear on where your allegiance lies. Oh, what else do you think the toothy fur bag meant to say? Stand united as one, against the many who would oppose you. Know your allies. Know your foes. Know yourself. Yes, suppose that's well enough.

[ Her piglet grunts a note of agreement, and the Duchess looks down to scratch its head. Her work is done, and the presence of her audience is now merely coincidence, and no longer of interest to her. ]

There, now that was perfectly simple, wasn't it? They can be quite nauseating, oh I know, I know, but no good comes of letting a lion do a boar's work...

[ She deigns the feed with a last glance, before ending it with a wave of her hand. ]
pig_and_pepper: ({ I make you a present... })
[personal profile] pig_and_pepper
Eat! Devour! Swallow! Consume!

[ The Duchess' announcement sounds loud and fierce, from the mansion's very rooftop, and any device that would listen. But no sooner does her last scream ebb away, than her voice and face alike turn into a picture of quiet melancholy. ]

Would that we could leave it all behind. Alas, such matters make poor resolutions, for what certainty is there, truly, that we could become the hunters, and not merely food for another?

[ She looks towards the forest and lingers thus a moment longer, lest her silent dignity should inspire an artist to paint her greatness. Then she turns with flourish, and embraces the presence of her dearest audience at last. ]

Oh, oh! I do promise we shan't dwell on it a moment longer than we must! [ Her hands clap together with excessive cheer. ] You've all conducted yourselves rather splendidly, and did I not tell you that matters would resolve just as you all deserve? I am so very pleased with you today, and I should like to share a moral thought:

[ Cue the dignified pause for effect. Then: ]

Year's end is no end, yet neither is it beginning. 'Tis a continuance, with all the wisdom instilled by experience.

[ She smiles very, very warmly, and parts with her final thought: ]

Try to avoid the teeth this time, won't you?
pig_and_pepper: ({ You can't think how glad... })
[personal profile] pig_and_pepper
[ At last the Duchess appears on the network in real-time, her whole entire self, clearly and visibly draped across a chair in one of the tea rooms. Her posture betrays her exhaustion and despair, its source hanging loosely from her hips: The Vorpal Sword, kept safely in its sheath by her side.

Her voice quivers with the strain of her failed endeavour, but when she speaks she does not seem to address, or even acknowledge, her audience.

Do you see how they reward my kindness, did you hear it? Ghastly they are, and oh! my most thoughtful advice, my most important lessons, wasted! Wasted, like pearls before sw--

[ She clasps her hand over her mouth and goes wide-eyed. The piglet at her feet looks up from its feast of biscuit crumbs, and pricks up its ears in what must no doubt be a great gesture of reproach. ]

I'm sorry, oh, I'm ever so sorry, my poor darling, I didn't mean it! But do you see now? They do not deserve the Sword, and I surely do not deserve the pains of their constant demands! They'll keep asking for it, won't they? They'll keep looking! What do we do, my dear darling, what do we do?

[ The piglet stirs again, this time giving the Duchess' belt a brusque nudge, and letting out a low grunt, followed by two squeals. A sentiment which, to be sure, speaks volumes! ]

...Why. Why yes, we could! No, oh no, I dare say we must, I dare say 'tis the one singular thing anyone ought to do! Of course, yes, of course...

[ Seized by a much livelier spirit the Duchess jumps to her feet, and pulls the blade from her belt. Hastily she scribbles a note onto a piece of paper, and when she is done she kneels, and fastens paper and blade both to the back of her piglet. Once bound tight and secure she shoots the Vorpal Sword one last distasteful look, and gifts her little pig one more encouraging smile. ]

Now, you shan't take the quick way today: Find the Rabbit Hole instead, my dear, as fast as you can, take it all through there, and come back to me at once! At once, do you hear?

[ If the piglet's grunt is anything other than a swift affirmation, then its meaning will remain obscured forever, for the little thing has already disappeared through the door, and out of sight.

When it is gone the Duchess breathes a sigh of relief, and sinks back down into her chair. Only then does she finally look up, into the unseen eyes of her viewers.

I daresay the time for guesses is finally over.

[ The feed cuts then and there, and whatever responses it may garner will not be met with any acknowledgement from the Duchess' side. ]
pig_and_pepper: (Default)
[personal profile] pig_and_pepper
[ One cannot guess from where the Duchess might speak this time, as her transmission shows nothing but her mouth, and dark lips pressed together into a thin line. ]

You think my patience is endless? You think I offer you forgiveness in the palm of my hand, so you might devour my arm whole? I am a woman of my word, but I'll not have you twist my words so you might seize a thing you do not deserve!

[ She flashes her teeth, all bared into the hideous image of a snarl. ]

You think my patience is endless? No, its end grows nearer and nearer by the hour, and so does your last chance to prove yourselves to me. Solve the riddle and redeem yourselves, or suffer the consequences of my displeasure.
pig_and_pepper: ({ Don't talk about trouble! })
[personal profile] pig_and_pepper
[ At last the Duchess appears on Wonderland's screens, but the feed looks strangely faded, as though it was recorded before it was sent. She stands tall in the entrance hall, and on the floor her little piglet playfully scurries between the frayed ends of her dress. In her hand she holds a familiar blade, the very Vorpal Sword itself. ]

I know, I know! You have missed me, you have missed me for too long. I forgive your insults, all of them, and I confess it, I have suffered by myself as well. One is company, two is a piglet, but three... three and so many more is a community, and I shall take my own moral to heart!

[ She lifts the sword with both her hands outstretched, as if offering it for all of Wonderland to take. ]

You crave this, I know. I shall see if you have learned your lesson truly, while I was away. Solve my riddle, prove your moral character and wit, and you shall find me, and be greatly rewarded! Now. Listen well, I shall only say it once!

[ The Duchess clears her throat and begins: ]

1. I am the First of seven, ɘuᴉu to ƚƨɘllɒɯƨ ɘʜƚ ɯɒ I.
I last nearly half of eLeven, in darkness by starlight I shine.

2. Infinity guides my paths true and blue,
but gaze hard and I run closer toO.

?. For I am shamed by that which I bring forth,
And so should yOu, to love things so far north.

087. At last I come without pRize, but not without cost.
The moment you seek me you've already lost.

[ When she has finished speaking she only smiles knowingly. The image of her flickers and vanishes, but a quiet melody still plays for a while, until the transmission ends for good.

Those who respond to her words will receive no reply, and those who seek her in the entrance hall will not find her.
But her riddle still remains. ]
possiblymad: ("A good seat from which to watch Asgard)
[personal profile] possiblymad
[The video feed opens to Loki, once again, clad in his green and golden royal regalia. That ridiculously large horned helmet was polished impeccably! He was dressed to the nines and his ego was just spilling from his leather and metal robes.

He's grinning far too wide, showing all those pearly whites. Bright green eyes nearly glowing with vigour. Oh, this man had something important to say. Something very important. And somehow, his lips pull back to reveal even more teeth as he laughs at the camera. God of Madness? Why yes, he certainly fits that title today. Chaos. Insanity. Pandemonium...]

You are, all of you, beneath me! Is that not what you said? [No, wait, that's what HE said. But close enough. Why yes, he's addressing you, Duchess.] I know not who you are, but I am here to answer that challenge. Show yourself and we shall see who is beneath whom!

[Cut because this is about to get very, very bad...] )
pig_and_pepper: ({ Flamingoes and mustard both bite. })
[personal profile] pig_and_pepper
[ On the morning of the twenty-second of April an envelope will arrive for Wonderland's inhabitants. It is written by hand, addressed to each individual by their name, and titled helpfully with an informative subject line. ]


[ Shockingly enough the letter includes no return address. ]
pig_and_pepper: (Default)
[personal profile] pig_and_pepper
[ It is Tuesday. Oh so very Tuesday, oh so very early. Night's not lifted yet at all, poor sunrise, so very far away. But 'tis time. And perhaps you'll hear her all the same. Or perhaps you'll not. ]


[ ...No, suppose you probably would.

(She's there in plain sight, after all, on the monitors and on that meadow by the forest, with an array of patterned bags and colourful suitcases at her feet, packed and ready for departure.)

'Tis all fallen to pieces, and you'll insult me no more with it! I wash my hands clean of your mess, and may you all stay here, stay here, and put it back together bit by bit by bit by hideous, hideous, crumbling bit. After all I've done for you!

[ The Duchess sobs loudly into her sleeve. Behind her the forest rustles gently, as gently as any ominous forest by night ever could. The piglet in her arms squeals tiredly, ever so patient with the Duchess' display. ]

I tell you now, I tell you the last thing I shall ever tell! You've stretched my patience oh so very thin, and now the land stretches as well. Too high, too wide, too far to reach. Beware! Beware, that is all I might tell you. Tread more carefully with it, as you've trodden with me, else you'll fall--

[ She sighs, ever so deeply. ]

--as far as your morals have fallen.

[ With that the Duchess gazes pointedly at the mansion one last time, stuffs her little pig into a chequered duffle bag, and lugs her belongings off into the forest, where she vanishes between the trees. ]
pig_and_pepper: ({ I make you a present... })
[personal profile] pig_and_pepper
[ On the conveniently pre-dated evening of December 24 the Duchess and her pig are busily dancing from stocking to stocking. Wonderland has yet to fill those with its magical gifts, and so the Duchess is ever so pleased to spread a little Christmas spirit in advance. In each stocking she places a thoughtful token to every single person in Wonderland, picked with love by her very own self. ]

Forgive and forget, 'tis what they say, but above all they say that those who, yes, those who do not have Christmas in their hearts, shall not find it under a root- tree! Tree. Those shall... not find it under a tree. But you- [ she spreads her arms open wide ] are all in my heart, my dearest, and so you shall find this wonderful day in your stocking. A very, very Merry Christmas to you all!

[ She smiles brightly, shoulders her pig, and begins to hum Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, cheerfully covering the cracks in the floor with sprigs of pine as she walks away. ]

[ And once you look into that stocking... ] )
pig_and_pepper: ({ You can't think how glad... })
[personal profile] pig_and_pepper
[ Roses are grey, violets are grey, poetry is really difficult for people living in the Mirror Universe. In their bland and dreary garden in front of the mansion the Duchess is the only speck of colour to be seen. And contrary to her last transmission or her bleak surroundings she is looking positively cheerful today! ]

What harm could a little curiosity possibly do? [ The Duchess coos, but her attention is not on her audience: It's on the little green sapling she holds cradled in her palms. ] T'is cold there, ever so cold, but it is always coldest before the dawn!

[ She kneels and begins digging a hole into the colourless soil. ]

You shall fight for us, you know, even when you're all alone here, and I'll have my answer then, I need only be bold enough to ask!

[ Carefully she plants her little speck of green and buries its roots. When she is done the sapling flickers grey, like a static image about to die. Worried she holds her breath in anticipation, but the scene has already calmed: The sapling is still green.

The Duchess smiles fondly.
pig_and_pepper: ({ Flamingoes and mustard both bite. })
[personal profile] pig_and_pepper
[ A transmission, you see, must be like a song: Voice and instruments alike, playing its tune. Her instruments are the pans and pots, the clinking and clacking, the bubbling and boiling, the rustling of pages from the book of recipes in her hand. Truth be told, this particular song may be a little out of tune. ]

Mustard, custard, cream of eel. Salt and pepper, same old-- herrings?

[ Her eyes frantically dart across the pages- ] No, no, no! [ -searching line after line for the origin of this atrocity. ]

Here. 'Twas the wrong page in the right book, and you-- [ The Duchess turns sharply and glares, glares at-- at you. ] --could not even think to tell me sooner!

[ She rips page after page from her book, and stuffs them all into a big pot. ] Of course I'll start again, what choice do I have? But you had better do better this time!


LAYOUT BASE @ [community profile] fruitstyle