"This Little Piggy"

OFF: Not my challenge, just setting things into motion for the sake of continuity.

ON:

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"So... You... Just left sir?" Lorde Tulde was in a hurry, steaming through the vastness of his manor in search of the Countess. At his side literally ran a man who could have doubled for a cricket; tall, slender, with stilts for legs that seemed to bend at all the wrong angles. That man was puffing hard with eyes wide as saucers as he kept pace with the ghost of a man that had been declared... Dead.

Tulde eyed the man sidelong, "Are you deaf? Yes. Yes, that's what I just said! I did what I had to so that she would lead us to the blasted stone and set things into motion that couldn't be stopped. It was do or die."

"But you died..."

"Yes... NO! No you fool... God have mercy. Anyway... I must find Vaanaras, have you seen her?" The piggish man asked, stopping to grab his butler by the shoulders. Any further, he was going to have an attack and without a clear cut direction by which to find the woman it was simply pointless to continue. He had to find her. Simply had to. “Time is of the essence, man! Have you seen her?!” He blathered sharply, torn between slapping the stupefied expression off the pale butler’s face and shaking him to death. Maybe he’d do both if the confounded idiot didn’t speak!

Michael, the butler, nodded, “Yes, Lordship, she’s in the stables.”

“THEN WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY SO?!” Tulde bellowed, grabbing the man by the collar and marching off as fast as his rotund backside could muster.

“Because it’s my sworn duty to protect the Lady Vatterott from all harm that could befall her and you were dead!” Michael blustered and sputtered, trying not to trip over his master’s heels.

“I AM NOT DEAD!”

“I can see that now, sir, but before…”

Tulde sighed sharply and hit the brakes. He was wheezing and her handkerchief was quick to come out and dab sweat from his brow. Exercise had never been his strong suit. "Are you in love with her?" He asked, eyeing the insect-man closely with his beady eyes a blaze.

"No. I rather think of her as a daughter, if anything."

"Well... That is different." Tulde waved off the comment, his ire subsiding. "I have heard that she was swept away by the impetuousness of true love when it came to the detective. She and I had never had anything like that, but from what I hear of what they had, it was all very romantic and passionate and intense. I've always credited the rashness of our marriage to my impulse, and we can surely agree that I am an especially impulsive man. We weren't in love and we certainly never promised to love one another forever. Now I can't help but wonder..." He paused, meeting Michael's gaze, "Why do I try so hard to keep her alive now? I'll tell you why, dear Michael," He continued on, cutting the butler off just as he was drawing breath to answer, "It's because she knows that we do not belong here! It's because she has an eye that tells us there is something greater for us waiting somewhere just beyond reach!"

At this point, Michael was nearly certain that the man was an all out lunatic, but there was no chance of warning the Countess. Tulde was back at full charge, raving as he crashed through the doors and bustled his massive form across the snowy drive until he reached the barn. “VAANARAS, SHOW YOURSELF!” He called as if summoning some great spirit through a seance.

And she appeared.

Stepping out from her gray mare’s stall, Vaanaras quickly found herself frozen in disbelief. A gloved hand flew to her mouth and before she could utter a scream, the world went dark for her and left her in a heap upon a mound of straw.

“Poor dear,” Tulde chuckled, “She must’ve seen a ghost. Load her in my carriage at once, Michael, and see to it she has extra blankets. I’ll not have her catching her death.” He patted the equally as startled and confused fellow on his shoulder on his way back out the barn doors.

“Where are you taking her, Lord?” Michael asked, looking at Tulde’s retreating form before rushing to Vaanaras’ side.

Tulde paused but once, and peered back over his shoulder, “Why to Stonehenge, of course.”

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