The Triumph of the Wicked Witch of the West
By Nathan M. DeHoff
Illustration by Eric Shanower
The King and Queen of the Winkies sat in their private drawing room, discussing the dangerous state of their country as of late.
“They say a milkman over in Goldsboro was found transformed into yogurt,” said King Willinos. “What ARE we to do about this, Nellie?”
“I cannot say I know,” replied Queen Neldra, as she nervously ran her hand through her blonde curls. “What a time to bring a child into the world!”
“Where is Peg, anyway?”
“Her nurse is giving her a bath.”
“Ah, I see. Oh, by the way, perhaps you already know this, but I sent Larnid to Veldaur, to try to obtain the Duke’s assistance in defending our castle. I feel that—”
At that moment, the door burst open, and a page announced that a wandering woman sought an audience with Their Majesties. “She came to the castle this morning, Your Majesty,” explained the page. “We let her in and offered her a drink of water and a hot bath, but she refused both. She did accept a meal, though.”
“Is it really a good idea to be inviting strangers in during these trying times?”
“But Will, the Ozian code of hospitality says that we should provide succor to travelers in need,” argued the Queen.
“Yes, I know,” replied Willinos, as he slid down slightly in his armchair. “It just worries me, my dear. Show the stranger in, Capsum.”
Capsum bowed, left the room, and soon returned with a woman dressed in scraggly clothes. Her hair was drawn into two stiff pigtails, and she had a patch over one eye. In the crook of her arm, she carried a large umbrella. Something about her struck the monarchs as not entirely honest. The page bowed and retired, leaving the rulers alone with the stranger.
“Your Majesties!” called out the woman, in a raspy voice. “I have come here to discuss a grave danger to your kingdom.”
“Oh, my! Another one?” questioned the King, in a somewhat sarcastic manner.
“I’m sure you’ve heard of this one before. A woman known as the Wicked Witch of the West.”
“Yes, we know about her, madam. Our spies are currently on the lookout for a woman who meets her description. Only one good eye, and…”
King Willinos trailed off as realization dawned. He and his wife immediately called for help, but none came. The Witch cackled and quickly cast a spell, which had no effect on either of the monarchs. After this failure, she stomped her feet and pulled hair from her pigtails. Just as Willinos decided that she looked rather frail and could probably be defeated with a physical attack, the Witch remembered a spell that she had recently learned from a desert sorcerer. A flash of bright light was the last thing that Their Majesties remember for some time. The Witch lost no time in taking control of the castle, but it would take some time and effort to consolidate her rule over the Winkies.
For Synopsis and Continuity notes, go here