First Count of the Sweeping Lands
SCRUMP & VillainTrue
The Do’s Series: Segment 3
© Grandpa Jim
Spreadeagled on the cave floor, the obsequious underling lifts his hooded head and prattles in a singsong voice: “Sir Count Royal Undenied Master Planner, I, your submissive WardBoss, FawnFizzle, grovel at your feet and dare to present the report from the Far Domains. May I be permitted to utter formal speech, My HighEss HighNess, Oh Honored One, Sir Richard Geoffrey Ingelger of Job, First Count of the Sweeping Lands?” The servant’s head drops quickly with a crack to the hard rock floor.
Backlit by bright sunlight, the tall figure gazes out over the dry plain below and speaks without turning: “It’s ‘Jobs’ with an ‘s’, FawnFizzle. Get it right, grovelgoat. ‘Sir Richard Geoffrey Ingelger of JobSssss.’” The First Count of the Sweeping Lands gives a deep shrug. “Jobs was probably the smartest of my worthy ancestors, the motley and ragtail crowd that they were.” The figure turns his head, the profile razor sharp, the black eyes sparkling with energy. “Up, up, my ingratiating sycophant. Here, WardBoss. Stand next to me and gaze from this cave to the world beyond. Observe the reach of the growing domains. These are the New Lands of the ReBirth. The Old Lands made new. My lands.”
FawnFizzle pushes himself up and moves quickly to stand beside his master. The broad shoulders of the WardBoss flex tightly as the hunchback brushes back his hood, thick greased red hair sticking up at odd angles. “I see them! I see your servants, Majesty. There and there. Your SCRUMPs at work. The Servants of the Count Running Up and Making Progress.”
“More floating and flowing than running. Beautiful dark clouds of nanoparticles doing and making what I command and direct. That acronym, SCRUMP, has a nice menacing sound to it. I don’t know about your defining of it, but the label seems to be catching on with the latenight storytellers. As every bad guy knows, it helps to scare the kiddies.”
The WardBoss exclaims excitedly: “Master, the SCRUMPS are tracing the wetlines. For the greenfields? Are they for the greenfields?”
“Yes, my spikeyhaired mumblejumbles. Those are the irrigation ditches. You are witness to the terraforming of terra, the bringing forth of greenlife to the dry and parched brownlands of oncewas Europe. I can see you don’t know the term. Your facial puzzlement reveals your spatial ignorance.”
“Thank you, Mighty. . . .”
“It was not a compliment, moronproof.” Lifting a long muscled arm, the Count sweeps the splay-fingered hand across the landscape. “All these wasted lands were once part of what was then called ‘Europe’.” Sir Richard Geoffrey Ingelger of Jobs closes his eyes and recites in a strong sure voice:
“Remember not the events of the past,
The things of long ago consider not.
See, I am doing something new!
In the wilderness, I make a way,
In the wasteland, rivers.
For I put water in the wilderness
And rivers in the wasteland
For my chosen people to drink,
The people I formed for myself,
That they might recount my praise.”
“SCRUMPs,” the WardBoss nods his head.
“Actually, Isaiah. For the origin of the verse. But your simple observation is takenwell. Yes, the SCRUMPs, those So Cleverly Remade Under My Powers, are my people.”
FawnFizzle laughs excitedly. “Sir Master, you make another ackyname!”
“’Acronym.’ Yet, you are right, my spellbad lookworse. I made them, I named them, they are mine, and they will change everything.” Sir Richard’s tone turns threatening. “Never forget, WardBoss, what a SCRUMP was and what a SCRUMP is now. Cache and Cloud. Shades and Shadows. They were those who opposed me. The spirits, personalities and strengths of the defeated are lifted into the Cache and stored, taken and transformed in the Cloud, and returned as Shades and Shadows. An army of individually massed nanoparticles to serve me and do my bidding. At no small pain to each, I might add, through the process and in the end result.” A wide smile lingers on dark noble’s thin lips. “Isn’t technology wonderful?”
“The girl thinks so.”
“What’s this? A thought? Can it be? What have you learned?”
“My report, Sir HighEss of . . ..” FawnFizzle pulls at his ear. “JobSsssss.”
“Not bad. A bit overdone. But not bad. You are learning. Perhaps I won’t cache your spirit in the cloud and make a shade and shadow of you.”
“No SCRUMP, Sir. Please, No!”
“Enough, enough. On with it. What have you learned?
“The girl . . ..”
“Stop. You mean the one who escaped you? Yes, do cringe. I have her family as my servants, but you let here go her ways. Maybe you should be my first new SCRUMP of the day?”
FawnFizzle hurries to speak. “We have found her, Majesty of Might! At the Dwarf HomeHouse. And we watched her dive for the UnderCity of the Guppies.”
“Fascinating. She recruits. This one has courage and brains. I can use both.”
“You hate her, Mighty Sir?”
“Nonsense, monkeyprattle. A true villain hates no one and no thing. Abhor? Yes. But not hate. And I certainly am a true villain.”
“Yes, Sir Ingelger, newnamed VillainTrue.”
“Thank you, bumpnose, for the new title. I like it. Villainy is so little understood these days. Pattern constrains creative thought and limits change. If you want to change things, FawnFizzle, we must follow no pattern and allow no limits, then I will change everything. Aren’t my thoughts amazing, sagginglips?”
“I know. You are confused. You see how it works. Now, I’m in control.”
“You are an astonishment, FawnFizzle. I wonder you don’t melt from the sweat of your own confusion. But, we have work to do. You have work to do, WardBoss. I want the girl.”
“Amazing. You are a worn phonograph needle scratching the vinyl to your own slow same bumping beat. GET ME THE GIRL. Find LoveJoy and bring her here. Do you understand?”
“Yes.” FawnFizzle bows, stops and looks up. “But she is only one girl?”
“I will overlook your growing familiarity, one last time, to let you in on a very big thought, which I know is safe in your mind. I do enjoy that dumbfounded expression. Your countenance confirms the security afforded by your cranial cavity. Here is the thought: Mercy Always Pierces Evil. I fear from my readings of Gollum, Hobbit and DarkLord, it has been and even now must be so. That leaves only one recourse: We must be smarter.”
“Then the girl?”
“Send the SCRUMPS with me, Master. We will take the Girl and end this Mercy!”
“Not yet. Their training is not done. The girl first. Mercy? Later or . . . not at all?” Richard of Jobs pauses, shakes himself from his reverie, and fixes the WardBoss in a glaring dark stare. “Get the girl, NOW!”
FawnFizzle jumps, spins, stumbles on his robe and rushes from the caveroom.
A smile lifts the dark brow framing the laughing face. “Why is it that buffoons are always necessary in these tales?” Sir Richard Geoffrey Ingelger rubs his chin and speaks again to the empty cave. “Why is it? I must search my Shakespeare on this.”