And so it came to pass that The Blonde One, taking counsel from his advisors and underlings – they being chiefly himself, and thus always able to assure him the correct course of action was that which lay in his own best interests – saw that the days of She Who Runs Through Wheatfields were surely numbered.
He would wait, chuckled The Blonde One, wait until such time as She Who Runs Through Wheatfields was so beset with enemies without and enemies within, so riven by doubts and fears – for he could see this in her tired and bloodshot eyes, read it in each new line on her face, hear it in every strangled word which crawled from her trembling mouth – that the keys of power would fall into his hands as easily as other men’s wives were wont to do in his youth, and he would stroll into the castle and take the throne he always knew had been his by right.
But then The Hapless Vizier, a man who walked (more or less) clueless, innocent, and ignorant along the castle corridors as plots and machinations swirled around him, The Hapless Vizier let it be known that he was departing the court of She Who Runs Through Wheatfields, and was taking himself and his retinue – to wit: one nodding dog (frayed), one gilt trophy (battered) commemorating his integral role in the Crack Killers Team Of Legend (squad member, unused, Unibond League South, 1973 season) – with him.
When he heard this, The Blonde One did gnash his teeth and tear his straw-like hair. He did curse most foully and scream spittle-flecked obscenities at the wine waiter, a man who was – through no fault of his own – a social inferior to The Blonde One, and who The Blonde One therefore knew did not count, although a person more attentive than The Blonde One might have taken notice of the hint of a smile on the wine waiter’s lips each time he left the room, and the faintest suggestion of urine in The Blonde One’s daily claret.
It was conceivable, thought The Blonde One as he sipped at his wine, that The Hapless Vizier was not, in fact, the bumbling simpleton he made himself out to be. It was possible he, too, had designs on the castle, saw himself holding the keys of power. Worse still, it was not out of the question that he was in league with The Blonde One’s nemesis: Lord Bespectacled Victorian, an outrageous caricature whose protestations of undying loyalty to She Who Runs Through Wheatfields were believed by no-one. And I should know, thought The Blonde One, whose own declarations of loyalty were widely understood to be as clear an indication of impending disloyalty as any living being could imagine.
The Blonde One pictured Lord Bespectacled Victorian ascending to power, and grimaced. He imagined She Who Runs Through Wheatfields hanging on to the castle keys against all odds and reason, and felt his faith in his advisors – they being chiefly himself, of course – sorely tested. He wondered whether he was being outwitted by The Hapless Vizier, and sighed. It was time to do something, or a future posting in the barren wastes of Stokotrentium surely awaited. He sighed again. He had enjoyed this job, though in the whole kingdom no-one could be found who could say with any certainty exactly what it was The Blonde One did, or what – if anything – he had achieved, but sometimes a chap must make a sacrifice for his greater good, what? Especially at a time when the keys to power looked so wonderfully, tantalisingly near.
The Blonde One picked up his pen. How to strike the right note? Of course.
“Dear Wheatie, I’m afraid recent developments leave me with no option…”