Prologue- The Old Wolf
“Now let me clear me throat…”
A rhinocerous of a Bailiff clears his throats and looks at the crowded Court Room.
“All rise.” He says in a metallic rasp. “All rise for the Honorable Judge Morgan.” The courtroom obliges, all save for a Character with a hood over his head, seated at the Defendant’s table. The Public Defender kicks the Character, who perks up and lifts his hands, both clasped in chains. The lawyer looks troubled and helps up the man.
“Quit monkeying around.” He whispers to the Character who replies.
“I can’t help but be me’self Guv’nor.” The Character replies.
“Quit the accent, we’re not in England, just because every great story and movie begins in England doesn’t mean we’re in England.”
“Oh, old Boy, you’re no fun in this incarnation. And not every great story begins in England, I can think of at least three out of six that began in space…” The character replies.
The lawyer brushes off the comment as a skinny, young woman with glasses,an attempt to betray her youth and years enters to a hush. It’s as though a cold air has entered with her and without being told, well, the plot thickens.
Dot. Dot. Dot.
“You may be seated.” The Bailiff announces.
“Now what do have we hear on the docket.” The Judge says with a flick of her hair.
“The Prosecution has come forth to bring a most egregious act before you, your Honor.” A flashy, toothy smile says amidst some gelled hair and a pinstripe suit.
“You see, what this Character has done,” he pulls a scroll out and unfurls it before the Judge and the Jury, “should be illegal in the past, present, and future, it’s an act that is unnatural, is unlawful, lewd, awful, grotesque…”
“Objection.” The Defender states.
“Sustained.” Judge Morgan snaps. “I like to hear all that the prosecution has to say in all of my cases. You may continue, Counselor.”
“Aw, yes, well, this Mr. Crimson Red…”
“Now hold on, Love, it’s one thing to listen to a laundry list of accusations and it’s quite another to call a man a name without seeing his face first, isn’t it?” The Character interrupts.
The Judge adjusts her glasses, as if only noticing for the first time, that the Character is wearing a hood over his head. She leans over to the Bailiff and whispers. “Why is his face covered?”
The Bailiff looks back, just as puzzled.
“Your Honor,” The Prosecutor continues. “Regardless of what his face may or may not look like, Crimson Red is a criminal of the most vile kind. As if being a Universally known writer…”
“Poet.” The Character says cheerily.
The Prosecutor looks at the hooded Character and turns his head in dismay that he was interrupted yet again. The Judge seems to be in a daze, still trying to figure out why a Character sits before her court in a hood.
“What did you say?” The Prosecutor asks.
The character stands up on his own accord this time. “You said Writer, sir, and me, well, I’m merely a Poet.”
“Oh bollocks!” The Prosecutor snaps.
“He’s definitely in a story that is stuck in England too!!!” The character lets our wildly to no one in particular.
“Order in my court room!” The Judge says, her gavel echoing through the courtroom. “Remove the hood, take off that mask, from this man’s head!” Her momentary state of being stunned ending in a power wielding fashion.
The Bailiff moves over to the Character and pulls the hood off to reveal a clean, shaven, ageless man, his long hair pulled back.
“There now that THE Poet has been seen, can we get back to business.” The Prosecutor blasts.
“Yes, let’s.” Red says with a smile and sits back down.
The Judge shakes her head and reviews the sheet in front of her and the Prosecutor glares at the Defendant.
“Now, now let me clear my throat uh, hum.”
“OH, that’s not how he told it the last time!” a grizzled wolf said interrupting the Storyteller.
The wolves were gathered around the fire below the giant waxing moon. When it was full, the grizzled and grey Old Wolf would leave again. Rare was it that he would return to tell the tales that he’d learned as the Pathfinder of the Pack, so there did they gathered when he did return.
“What’s that there, that One of you says?” The Old Wolf replied with a grin.
“Folly, Old Wolf.” The One who spoke challenged, rising up on all four paws and looking across the fire. The youngest of wolves who’d not been through the Circle before looked on in curiosity, the wolves who’d traveled once or twice and more kept their chuckles to themselves, for this. This show, the purpose of it All, this life was for the Children afterall…
“When we was wee ones.” The One walked around the fire to the Old Wolf, who was still seated. “You said that the Judge threw herself a bit of a fit and yelled:
‘THE AUDACITY!!! Off with his tail!’
The little wolves, the Children this Life was for, jumped at the mention of tails being chopped off. It’d been many Moons since the Children of Men had slaughtered all things in Nature, and to lose One’s tail was symbolic of losing the connection to Nature. The Universe still felt the echoes of such misunderstanding and the Nature of All understood more than any of the Children of Men, the Children of Wolves, the Children of All planes could consciously know.
“Wo now, Young One, that there sounds like you’re mixing the stories up yourself…” The Old Wolf, stretched, gave the One who spoke a wink, then put his head down on his paws.
“Come on Mum, we’ll let these wee little ones listen to this nonsense the Old Wolf is spinning.” The Young One said as he trotted back to the Missus, who looked at the show around here from a different point-of-view than when she had first witnessed such an experience. The Old Wolf, and her Pups, all his Grand Pups, as he called them, just as he had called her and her partner when they were but in small wolf time themselves.
She stood up and looked at the pups. “No trouble to the Old Wolf you hear!” She commanded. “Just because your Father couldn’t mind his manners and hold his tongue, doesn’t mean you can interrupt.” She walked off and was followed by her husband, other parents also saying their good-byes to their pups.
“Be it wise for you to listen to feminine wisdom, Pups.” The Old Wolf commented as he watched the two and all the other pairs that he’d seen grow up before him, just as he’d seen their parents, and their grandparents before them. He often wondered what a Journey it’d have been to have such an existence, a bit simpler, a bit harder in different ways each, than his own. But with every Soul’s Journey, all the challenges provided were necessary and of equal value.
“Roles, we all play roles, eh.” He said half to himself and half gazing up at the moon.
The Wee Wolves and Small Wolves didn’t know what they witnessed. They didn’t realize it was all a play. They would know themselves when they themselves walked in their parents paws, but until they, they took it all in, some enjoying, some frightened of the Play dancing all around them.
“Now, where were we?” The Old Wolf said. “Hmmm, since there seems to be some debate. I shall tell you a tale that only those of you here and now will know and therefore, there can be no argument later about the details. It’s a tale that none before you have heard but all now, for I have never told it here or now.”
Those Wee and those Small leaned in closer, hanging on the words, the opportunity to hear a story their parents had not yet heard. For such is life that the stories that speak to different generations are unique and the same. The Old Wife smiled because he felt the dance before the music started.
“Why, all generations know about Crimson Red and his exploits, the Poet, who was more like a Pirate, to others. But do you know, that Crimson Red’s Soul rarely walked as one of the Children of Men?”
One of the smallest wolves amongst them, Malachi Wolfins, opened his eyes wide and his older sister, Kiani Wolfins spoke up. “What are you talking about Uncle Hot Dog?”
“Uncle Hot Dog!” Malachi said with a laugh and toothy grin.
The Old Wolf smiled as he’d been called that name amongst this pack of wolves, because to them, he was known to play with fire…
“Why, Crimson Red,” he continued, “was only a suit that the Soul that inhabited it wore. Crimson Red in this story is known by many names in others stories but today, I shall tell you quite a tale about the early part of his Soul’s Journey.”
The youth seem to draw nearer to the fire, the idea to hear something that even there parents had not heard pulling them in further and further. Each moment, each breath, still so brand new during small wolf time. The Old Wife grew up a little too fast, well at least he forced himself too, either a step ahead or a step behind for so many years. The Seeker of the Pack had to be but at least here, beneath the moon and by the fire, could he find respite. He relished the moment for it wouldn’t be much longer before the Free Spirit that resided within set him back along the Road that is the Soul’s Journey.
“This tale is captivating… It is a tale from before, needed for today. It was a tale told in different ways, on the many planes, and around circles like this. And one day your pups shall hear the same message, perhaps in a different tale, from a Voice just like their own because everyone needs a Mr. E. Now and again to remind of us a thing or two.”
“Uncle Hot Dog?” Kiani Wolfins interrupted.
“Yes, Little One.” He replied.
“You going to tell us the story or are you going to keep embellishing?” She asked.
The Old Wolf blinked, surprised at her knowledge of things like embellishment and looked at her intently for the first time in the moonlight. Though still young, she wasn’t the small pup she’d been so many moons ago and was moving into the age where the dreams of children, regardless of plane of existence, were lost and where one couldn’t grow up fast enough.
“Why yes, Not-So-Little One. I am getting there.” He said, is voice holding but the slightest hint of sadness. “Even more is this tale one that is truly Red E. Now, it is the story that Souls strive to remember but always… tend… to… Forget!” He emphasized the last word with a bit of snarl.
“Get on with it already!” Kiani Wolfins said again.
“Weekend Mama Wolf Den!” Malachi Wolfins piped up, following his sister’s lead, for no reason but excitement it would seem.
“Okay, okay, okay. Everyone’s a critic…” The Old Wolf muttered to himself. “I present to you children, the origin of Crimson Red, long before he was the infamous Mystic that we all know, the Poet that some love, the Pirate others hate. Why this is right here truly who, what, where, when and why we know Red E. Now. I give to you… The Tale of Mr. E. and the King.”