Castle Waiting (Issue #1, Bone Crossover)

Image result for castle waiting issue #1 book cover

 

I had said in a previous post how I was interested in reading more from this series, and it looks as if I now have the ability, the first issue having been included in the collection of Bone I have, ha ha! Success!

The story follows a princess, whom runs away from home and holes up in a desolate un-remembered castle. This story, called Solicitine Part One, opens with a goose-looking face-masked doctor ordering someone to be still, the person flinching with fear and getting hurt in the process. Then it’s shown the doctor was cutting a boy’s hair and apparently could not make it through the process without the doctor clipping his ears a bit, the doctor not taking the blame and saying the boy had unusually large ears to begin with. His mother attempts to support the boy by suggesting he do his best to stay still, another goose-fellow, Rackham noting how rainy it was, and Jain would now have to wait longer to get her new room, she complacent with this fact. Jain declares how wet days were perfect for haircut scheduling, and the boy, Pin had been requiring one, the two then discussing how similar he was to his father. Jain is then shocked by a woman whom she didn’t notice at first had facial hair, the bearded woman asking her if she planned on getting her haircut next, Jain having a double-take which the lady states how she’d get a kick out of the face she was pulling if she could see it. Jain recovers and laughs at herself, the woman declaring she must not know of the Solicitine nuns, Jain agreeing, having thought bearded women stuck with the circus crowd.

The woman states of having been with a circus, as well, Jain ready to hear a good story about it as the woman readied to get her hair cut, she agreeable to giving her background, and starting with her home village, in a town where the only pub being owned by her father, Tom Warren, she being christened Peaceful Hortense Elaine Warren, and helping him in the pub when she was learned to walk and could carry drinks. As she got older, she stuck with her idea of taking after her father and planned on running the pub, her mother certain she wouldn’t be allowed for eventually getting married and keeping house, Peaceful certain her husband could keep the house whilst she ran the pub. Her father would attempt to calm her mother down, he believing she was fine where she was and working at the pub would put her out there to potential mates, her mother not thinking her daughter’s plan was realistic. Peaceful certainly had plenty of men flocking to the place, and all of them were happy to socialize with her, the only problem was they spoke to her as a buddy of there girl problems, she helping them out with advice and gathering a loyal following of men who took her advice and found success. Then, one day, Peaceful noticed some fuzz on her face, and it would always grow back, her mother distraught of her fate now sealed on remaining single. Fortunately, the new addition to her looks didn’t stay a surprise to the men who came in, they quickly resuming their usual respects to her, until a couple travelers couldn’t get over seeing a bearded woman outside a circus.

Peaceful was shocked to learn bearded ladies worked in other forums, not having gone to a circus before, she attracted to the idea from this point forward, imagining how interesting it would be to travel elsewhere, she keeping it in mind until overhearing from some other travelers of a show setting up in a town not too far away, she taking advantage of the distance and leaving the same night. Jain is shocked how quickly Peaceful did what she’d wanted, the latter agreeing her resolve may have changed if she’d spoken with her father first, but she had visited since then and they were the same as they had been. When Peaceful gets to the circus and a friendly worker allows her to see a show of what bearded lady they had as their show-runner looked like, she views the woman in a Cleopatra get-up and would have been a hard act to over-run, she also being the owner’s wife. Peaceful realizes she didn’t have a chance, she then introducing herself when the worker asks, she inquiring whether there was other work she could get hired for, Reggie Aleman remembering how his wife had been after him to get a girl to help around with their tent, Peace realizing this could be a good situation for all involved. So, ironically she became a barmaid once more, in the circus, but she moving up quickly enough, the interesting side to her work being to check out the gaming tables, she having a good eye for the gamer’s sleight of hand, Reggie having her start training quite abruptly. Peace was quickly brought in to the fold of the close family relationship people had being in the circus, except for the owner Lint and his wife, she having to stay separated from everyone else on Lint’s orders.

One day though, as Peace was sweeping up outside, she’s approached by Lint’s wife, whom was happily surprised to see another bearded woman around, Peace shocked she spoke English because of her act being Egyptian, the woman stating Lint had made it up for her, she introducing herself as Mabel and confessing Peace was the first bearded lady she’d met, Peace saying the same, and then Mabel deciding they should be best friends, Peace agreeing. Lint then walks up, and acting all high and mighty, attempts to quash the friendship, but Mabel wasn’t going to give in quite so easily to this one, he backing off and instead stating she should get inside a half an hour before customers milled about. From then on, Peace and Mabel, whom she called Nessie, a nickname from her stage name, were thick as thieves, Peace now having a confidante, and when confiding to Nessie of how her work wasn’t as satisfying anymore, Nessie certain it’s because she didn’t have a husband, Peace getting an example how wrong she was when a man walked in asking for her advice. Peace wouldn’t have been opposed to a little courting, though, so when she’d seen Reggie turn away a young man whom had been interested in Nessie, Peace got a little hot over how he hadn’t thought to introduce her, Reggie taken aback for a moment, but then explaining how Nessie was a special sort, Peace noting this, as well.

Nessie soon shares the problem she was currently having with Lint, he having promised Nessie and her father his plan to settle down with her and begin a family, but now he wouldn’t even entertain the idea to speak of it with her, she not even getting a chance to talk with him when the circus closed, since they were occupying separate wagons. Peace convinces her she should insist speaking with him one night, Nessie empowered and planning to do so, but overhearing a conversation between Lint and a girl about his true feelings about her and she only being used for lucrative interests. Nessie, upset goes to Peace, whom was on duty, but directs Nessie to meet her in back, concerned by her pain, and was livid when Nessie confides what she’d heard, Peace declaring Nessie shouldn’t be doing her show, but would think of a solid plan, having Nessie pretend everything was fine until she did. Nessie now comforted, goes back to her wagon, a plan soon coming in the form of two men wanting to speak with Peace one night, they thinking she knew of the Abbess at St. Wilgeforte’s, the two explaining what the convent did. Peace brought this good news to a much elated Nessie, the former planning on they making their escape as the circus moved on, she feeling some guilt for planning to leave again without warning Reggie, like how she had with her father, but finishes helping pack up for Reggie on the day she scheduled them to run off. Peace then joins Nessie in her wagon, she having difficulty leaving her pretty dress, Peace lightening her mood so she’d let it go. Nessie pretends to be sick when Lint runs into her, successfully leaving without suspicion, unfortunately, Peace’s escape had been witnessed by Lint’s dumb girlfriend, but she not speaking up quickly, so they not getting any trouble until later on.

Not a bad beginning, especially upon realizing Castle Waiting follows the progression of a community for about three decades, like One Hundred Years of Solitude, except not as dark and obviously not so many years. This story is based on the Brother’s Grimm story, St. Solicitous. Then, the short of Bone’s and Castle Waiting is next!

The Bones are lost again, Phoney complaining about missing his cash, since all anyone ever used were eggs. Smiley then points out the sign with Castle Waiting on it, Phoney seeing the bright side of royalty of a castle definitely working with more than poultry for bartering. Phoney makes a racket as he insists on speaking with a king, a horse, Sir Chess, the Knight Destrier opening the door and not understanding what he was going on about. Phoney busts in and looks for someone kingly, he asking a beaked fellow, Rackham the Adjutant if he was the one they were looking for and requiring assistance. Rackham allows they could definitely help in some way, then offering tea and snacks, Fone politely grateful, but then getting tickled by polterspritz as Phoney asks for cash so they could return home. Rackham ponders their issue and eventually suggests they could do odd jobs until making enough to get back, Phoney making certain they paid in bills (not of the bird nature, HA! No pun intended), and became quite upset when discovering they also used eggs, since they were in the country. Phoney urges the other two off and running, Rackham wondering if they would have changed their minds if they’d known he was referring to gold eggs, Chess certain it wouldn’t have, they must not liking breakfast-related foods.

Not a bad side-story, at all! I’ll be looking forward to reading more, once finishing my other graphic novel needs. Now to continue with Rose.

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The Little Sisters of Eluria (The Dark Tower 0.5)

Image result for little sisters of eluria book cover

A scorching day has Roland of Gilead approaching a town’s gate in the Desatoya Mountains. His horse was on his last legs and Roland noted decayed flowers attached to the gate, which signified a festival of some kind, and the quiet within erroneous. The few sounds heard coming from a bug which made a deep buzz, a rap on wood, and little bells. Roland dismounts the slowly dying horse, and respectfully grooms him a bit as he notes the sounds and enters through the gate, the only other defining mark being an odd looking cross, he having seen the typical style of this in other towns he’d seen in the ten months he’d been travelling, the norm being a large cross at the entrance, a smaller one upon exiting. He views the usual businesses within, two bars, a motel, a trade shop, town hall, and a metal-smith, he also viewing a church the further into town he got, the god of choice being Jesus, which wan’t a common deity in Mid-World, but still having a following. He then is pulled back into the only sounds described, he wary of the meaning of this involving death. As Roland led his horse through the gates, he saw a forgotten cob pipe in front of the trade shop, and the swinging doors of The Bustling Pig bar were in disrepair, one hanging open, the other leaning on the building, and what looked like blood on the door still attached. A fire had taken out a barn behind a stable, and as he gets ever closer to the church, he estimates the town’s current condition would’ve occurred possibly two weeks ago due to the flowers not being completely dead in front of the church.

Roland learns where the bells he heard came from, the cross on the church door having bells strung up, he then shouting out a greeting to the town, no reply being heard. He sensed he was being monitored though, he continuing his trek to the front of the Sheriff’s office, a billow of trapped heat consuming him upon opening the door. Roland sees a blood stain in the cell, flies getting a snack from the spatter, he discovering a notebook revealing the town’s name of Eluria. He then reads some of the entries, the last leaving him to suppose the criminal may have escaped. Roland continues toward the center of town, he identifying the wooden tapping to a lame dog chewing at the boot upon a dead body in a trough. When the dog notices him and doesn’t move along after Roland shoos him, he fires a warning shot which gets the dog limping away, and mournfully howling as he headed toward the back exit of the town. When he takes a look at the body, it’s of a teenager, he noticing a trinket around the boy’s neck, which he retrieves, the engraving including the name, James. Roland was pleased he’d gotten the necklace since he now could save it on the chance he met anyone knowing the boy, realizing ka could make the possibility more certain. He debated whether to bury the lad when his horse finally drops, he catching a glimpse of eight green-tinged people walking in his direction, their gender uncertain and approaching like zombies. The group carried wooden sticks off of furniture, one of them falling as they got closer.

Roland finally fires a warning shot after another pitches a stick at him, but not far enough, and his verbal warnings go unnoticed; the shot has the desired effect of pausing their progress. As he begins instructing them to keep still as he backs away, another of the green men shoots forward, making odd noises as he came (Roland beginning to identify their sexes as they got closer). Roland shoots him squarely, the man’s reaction being to step backwards at his same quick momentum, scratching at the bullet wound, he finally tripping and staying down. The dead(-er?) bodies reaction to the sun, bullet, or both, has Roland believing there wouldn’t be a corpse to think of an excuse for soon enough. The others stay put, until “Bowler Hat” takes another step after Roland had gotten behind the trough, he blasting a final warning shot, and sharing his plans of leaving unhindered, when another greenie is heard from behind him, this one hidden by a toppled wagon, the man-thing whacking Roland on the shoulder, and he missing his aim at the greenie, the gang he’d kept still, now speeding closer. The greenie whom hit him was a whopper of a fella with two heads, Roland putting him down with a head shot as he was readying to club him again, he now having to deal with the gang finally upon him, more club hits to contend with. Roland is able to send a few back, and hopes he’s able to get the buffer of the wagon so he could finish them off, he wanting to believe ka wouldn’t have his search end so early before locating the Dark Tower. Roland gets whacked hard enough to hit the wagon, he still working on escape, now aware of more greenies coming, perhaps thirty strong. As he’s losing consciousness, he still plans to shoot, but the gun is knocked away from him, he being consumed by darkness as the previously mentioned sounds, plus the dog’s barks, lull him into unconsciousness.

When Roland ascends to wakefulness, which he hadn’t experienced before, he believes he was no longer living, but as his sight came back slowly, he no longer thought he was dead, the singing he heard changing his mind, similar buzzing bugs being heard, he opening his eyes again and being tested whether he was actually living, noting he was hovering in a white, majestic place, thinking he was inside a cloud at first, hearing the buzzing and bells. Then, upon an attempt to turn, he felt straps holding him in place, feeling a hurt sensation climb up his back, another more terrible one in one of his legs. He realizes these pains came from the club with the nails in it, his head feeling terrible, as well. When he tries to call out, he’s having trouble convincing himself he was hearing his own voice, which sounded crow-like. He believed he imagined hearing the dog bark again, and then felt a hand on his face, comforting him at first, before thinking it could be a greenie, but then she spoke, attempting to keep him quiet so he could rest longer, he thinking of how he must be hanging above a bed, too wounded to be lain prostrate.

Roland, soon after this thought, falls into unconsciousness, only this time not as deeply as before. Some time later, he hears the girl angrily protesting to someone seeming to want to acquire something he had. When he awakes again, the “white beauty” place still charmed him, he recognizing it was a long, high, narrow space, he estimating it was about two hundred yards in length, he feeling it was a bit like being inside a large tent, silk above him giving the impression of being inside a cloud, from each section of silk having a rope with little bells attached, wind making them sound pleasantly. Roland saw two rows of forty beds, and two more were in use next to him, one Roland was suspicious in believing was truly the boy in the trough, now alive and sleeping, the necklace Roland had taken from him, on the neck of this one, supporting his disbelieved notion. The other man he saw was further away from the two, and much older, hanging above his bed, and Roland thinking his eyes were tricking him when he viewed the unconscious man’s multiple fractured legs in motion, dark impressions surrounding them, as well as one on his cheek; his back feeling the same, he attempting to ignore his curiosity to learn why. He then notices a cotton cloth on his chest, he recognizing he was wearing the same gown as the old man, and when grabbing and inspecting a chain he wore, realized he had the dead boy’s chain still. When he took a last look at the old man, the black line on the man’s cheek was gone, a wound still healing there, Roland confused by this, but able to fall asleep with the bells chiming and the bugs buzzing.

Roland next wakes and believes he must be having a night terror, seeing the first witch he’d ever met as more than a single woman, but five, and they were dressed in uniform, their faces heavily lined, small bells on the silk upon their heads. When Roland saw the sign of the Dark Tower on the front of their habits, he realized he was actually awake, then they noticing he is conscious, and when they approach, the age of their faces become a bit younger. When he inquires who they are, the one whom had spoken to him first introduces them as the Little Sisters of Eluria, and she was called Sister Mary, she revealing the others as Sister Louise, Sister Michela, and Sister Coquina, the final one sharing her name was Sister Tamra, her face changing quickly into quite an old crone’s, the group moving closer to him, and he bringing pain when cringing away, they curious by his pain, and as Michela readies to touch him, Mary warns of not doing so, Roland thinking it had to do with the medallion which had fallen out. A sixth, Jenna also bids them to go away, the Sisters teasing her of having fallen for him, she ignoring them and insisting they move along so Roland could rest, Jenna easing her tone with Mary’s sober reply of they not ever kidding around, after stating this, she deciding they’d visit the other needy souls.

Jenna attempts to soothe him with the fact of they not wanting to hurt him, but Roland knows this wasn’t the case. He then asks whether they followed Jesus, she amusedly denying this, which prompts him to inquire where the doctors were, Jenna debating sharing and finally warning him not to yell in panic with the boy right next to him, to which he agrees. So, she moves to where the old man hung, Jenna ringing the bells on her head as she leaned over him, the bugs he heard buzzing, going down his legs, Roland realizing this was what he was feeling on his back, securing his wounds. Roland definitely felt the urge to shriek as the bugs jumped off the man on to the floor. When Jenna rejoins him, she informs him how he was discovered, he grateful to her and sharing his name as requested, he sensing she wasn’t being truthful when she shares of not knowing where his weapons were, but didn’t hold this against her, believing she could be declaring this dishonesty for being scared. When she’s called by Sister Mary, she has him promise not to make known she’d shown him the doctors, and before going, has him stick to the story of he being James, the young man next to him his brother, otherwise she’d be in great danger. Roland considers the reason Jenna had moved the medallion to encircle his neck, thinking the Little Sisters may murder Jenna if they learned of this, Roland then drifting to sleep.

Roland is sleepily imagining a bug which could be one of the doctors, irritatingly bumping his face and chuckling whilst he uncoordinatedly attempted to swat it away. When the nightmare turns to a large greenie sneaking up on him, he jolts to consciousness to see Coquina had been happily tapping his face with a wooden spoon, and made her drop the bowl she had been holding with his sudden movement. Roland snatches the bowl before it drops out of reach, which impresses Coquina, he then gesturing for the spoon which she gives him, but he soon realizes isn’t necessary, drinking from the bowl directly, whilst warning Coquina to remember his agility. The two then get into discussing the pull each had on the other: if Roland mentioned Coquina’s teasing to Mary, and she making Jenna’s life difficult if he did. The two agree to stay silent about their exchange, Coquina confiding Jenna was currently on a ‘time out’, she then inquiring if he knew the no-longer-sleeping boy, he watching them, Roland not missing a beat to claim him as his brother, the boy supplying his own name to Coquina and Tamra, whom walked up, John also referring to Roland as Jimmy.

After the two Sisters leave, they speak of James’ fate, Jenna’s uniqueness, the non-mortal state of the nurses, and how John had gotten there, he deducing why James hadn’t been saved. As they spoke, Roland isn’t aware the soup he’d drank had been spiked, he becoming tired, John describing how many beds had been occupied before he’d gotten there, and how they didn’t return when healed, and as Roland became more deeply affected by the drug, John confesses what had happened to Roland to make him feel sluggish, the boy also questioning Roland’s thoughts on his presence when he was pretty much healed now, and his belief neither of them would see daylight again. When Roland wakes up in the night to laughter, he struggles to turn his head to see all of the Sisters except Jenna surrounding the old man, Mary speaking words he didn’t understand. When the room is thrown into pitch black, Roland hears the sounds of slurping, and when they’re done, he moves his head the other way. As they get closer to him and speak of their wanting to kiss him, but the medallion keeping them away, this doesn’t stop one of them from grabbing his boner until he quickly finds release, he seeing two faces bewhiskered with blood, and Roland’s assurance of not ever sleeping again. (Liar.)

When next Roland woke, it is brightly day, John asleep, and the old man removed, Sister Mary soon arrives with Louise, she speaking of not being grateful to him and revealing his ways had brought about Jenna’s revolt, she demanding he show his hand, the bowl of soup they’d brought with them making his stomach growl, Mary annoyed with how well he stuck to his story of being Jim, even after threatening Jenna, Roland stating of ending her if Jenna was harmed. Then, after refusing the soup unless given to him by Jenna, Mary informs whilst she had been released from time-out, she was bound to extra meditation, Roland having no choice, but to acquiesce, Mary’s threat of whipping Jenna keeping him trapped. When he sleeps once more, he believes he’s visited by Jenna, whom advises him to check beneath his pillow later, and when he’s finally able to, sees six stems of reed heads with instructions, and once finishing reading, realizes the importance of following the words carefully. The last time Roland speaks with John, they regret the circumstances they’d met, John unable to move well, and next heard from him, being a shriek. Michela comes with his soup next, along with bread, her words of his leaving soon giving him the impression of this being otherwise, what with her wolfish looks of hunger.

Roland eats another reed upon waking after his dose of soup, believing he’d overdone it with feeling ill, and having to stay still as all the Sisters, except Jenna had another person with them to obtain his and John’s necklaces. When Roland sees Mary with one of his guns, he vows she’ll regret having been so bold. The Sisters bribed Bowler Hat to relieve the two of their protection, he giving the impression he was about to obey their orders with John first, but then taunting them with leaving it on, he knowing their threats didn’t hold much water, other than the firearm, which after another threat from Mary, gives him pause. When he does finally go through with his task, he does a bit extra by killing John quickly after. The Sisters properly preoccupied, Bowler Hat escapes, the Sisters feeding, and when they’d gone, Roland taken over by the soup drug again, a nightmare hitting for the first time since his arrival, it foreboding the spread of the Sisters to surrounding towns, Bowler Hat’s presence in his dream waking him, he seeing John’s bed now empty, Roland being the last man swinging. He had some of the reed before Mary came with porridge, her youthful image strong due to her feast. Roland mentions his idea they’d been drugging him, but Mary denies this gleefully, she then turning to his lie about John being his brother when he asks after him, he then attempting to bribe the truth he kept by seeing Jenna, Mary angered and threatening his willingness to confess would come regardless.

 It ended up being quite a drawn out day, he fitfully napping and maintaining optimism of being able to survive this due to Jenna’s aid. He then bides his time with reminiscences of the past, he periodically chewing some reed, and noting they seemed to be overpowering the Sisters’ drug, and when evening came, Sister Tamra delivers his supper of soup, as well as a desert lily from Jenna, which Tamra asks of the topic being promised to Roland, he making up she’d told him they’d speak again, Tamra getting a kick out of this and sharing how Mary had chosen to deny this possibility already, she then asking why he didn’t take his necklace off, pointing out how John had, and when her words to convince him to do the same fail, she leaves, indifferent. Roland then plans on getting both necklaces to the Norman brothers’ family, as he chews another reed and feels actual endurance in him, he then drowsing easily, he awaking at true nightfall, and hearing the loud bugs, he chewing a reed. He hears a voice which turns out to be Coquina, she revealing herself, then Jenna walks toward them to confess she’d supplied the reeds to Roland, he thrusting the medallion toward Coquina to keep her away from him, Jenna having brought Roland’s firearms as he thought she would, but he still caught in the slings after attempting to break loose.

Jenna then uses the bells around her head to call the bugs, they swarming, and Jenna getting Roland loose, the two walking out of the tent, which is when Roland realizes he’d forgotten John’s necklace with regret, but Jenna revealing she’d picked it up, requesting he take it quickly because it was burning her. Then, three of the four Sisters approach, teasing Jenna as they get closer, she responding by speaking of leaving with Roland, the three surprised into silence, they warning her of what would occur if she tried, but Jenna stating how none of them truly knew whether there were consequences, she then threatening the bugs on them if they didn’t let she and Roland pass, but they standing aside willingly, Jenna leading Roland up a road, away from Eluria, not liking how Mary hadn’t shown herself, yet. They discuss how they were both in agreement in keeping each other company when Mary interrupts, she looking properly death-like. Jenna attempting and failing to summon the bugs, and Mary coming closer, Roland deciding he’d try choking her out, her flesh disgusting to the touch, and she thrusting him away with her power. Jenna then tries her bells again, this time getting a dog to answer the call, it going after Mary with gusto, as Roland pulls Jenna along.

When they stop to catch their breath, Roland considers why the dog had been immune to the Sisters’ powers when Jenna senses he must know something about it, which he responds by relating his theory, and then suggests they cover some ground before daylight. They cover a few miles, but not too many because of Roland still flushing out the Sisters’ drug, they locating a decent spot to spend the day, the two sharing a kiss before he passes out, dreaming of the dog discovering the Dark Tower, he then hearing bells and a scream which doesn’t fade with his dream, he waking to see he was alone, detecting Jenna’s clothes and then hearing the bugs, he ringing the dropped bells and the bugs making a sign which seemed to confirm his thoughts, Roland then tracking Walter once more, he troubled with the imagined ringing bells as he traveled on by himself. I liked this story, but I’m also annoyed I won’t be getting my hands on the comics any time soon, alas. At least I’ll be on to the next soon enough though, which isn’t actually soon enough.