The League of Homunculi Book 4: The Sisterhood
The Legend: In the days of good King Arthur, the magician Merlin summoned to Britain a collection of the smallest individuals known to man. These he offered to the king as spies, a secret network of miniature heroes undertaking missions against the Round Table’s enemies. Merlin called this strange menagerie…the League of Homunculi.
Tom Thumb: Arthur’s court dwarf, an honorary Knight of the Round Table.
Thumbelina: The smallest woman in the world and Princess of the Flower-Faeries.
Issun-boshi: An inch-tall samurai from the distant East.
Thumbling: A tiny tailor seeking his fortune in a very big world.
Hop o’ My Thumb: A Gaulish rogue with a pair of mystic seven-league boots.
The League was facing a harsh and uncertain future. Their mentor Merlin was gone, trapped seemingly forever in oak by the deceitful priestess Nimue. Worse, they were left with the prophecy of the Day of Destiny – the fall of Camelot and everything they had fought to preserve. Nimue had accused Merlin of allowing this tragedy to happen through his indifference, and the magician’s visions seemed to confirm that it was approaching. What hope could five little thumb-sized misfits have of stopping it when even mighty wizards and sorceresses could not?
These morose thoughts consumed them as they stood assembled in their dollhouse headquarters on a table in the queen’s chambers. A week had passed since Merlin’s imprisonment by Nimue. But the League had not yet told the king what was at the heart of the former lovers’ quarrel.
“We should talk to him,” Thumbelina insisted. “Arthur deserves to know.”
“Know what, ‘Lina?” Tom cried angrily. “That this peaceful kingdom he’s fought so hard to create will all go to hell in a few years’ time? That his own son will fight and most likely kill him?”
“Could be less than a few years,” Thumbling offered unhelpfully. “Or more. Prophecies are vague like that.”
“Zat is so,” said Hop in his lilting Gaulish accent. “But if he knew what to expect, perhaps he might be able to avoid it, n’est pas?”
“He can’t avoid it,” Tom insisted. “You all heard Merlin. Time is a river. It flows to its predestined point and events happen as they are fated to. Those who can see the future can merely perceive it, they cannot change it.”
“Hogwash!” ‘Lina shot back. “You’re saying that everything’s already written and we’re just players acting out our parts? I refuse to accept that! All my life people have tried to tell me what to do, who to be, who to marry! But my life is my own and no one else’s! I don’t know about the rest of you but I don’t believe in fate. We make our own futures.”
Tom still protested. “But Merlin said—”
“Tom,” ‘Lina addressed their captain, placing a hand on his shoulder gently. “We know you loved Merlin like a father. His loss has hurt you more than any of us. So, don’t take this the wrong way, but…what if Merlin was wrong?”
“Merlin is never wrong,” the little knight whispered, turning away from her.
“He was only human,” argued ‘Lina.
“Half-human,” Tom said. “They say his father was an incubus.”
“Whatever!” the princess shrieked, her long red locks bobbing with a toss of her head. “You know what I mean! Just because he saw a possible future doesn’t mean it has to happen. Or that we must let it happen.”
“Oui,” said Hop. “I agree with Madame ‘Lina. What say you, Issun? You have been silent on zis matter.”
“Quiet as the grave as always,” Thumbling joked, rolling his eyes.
The little samurai, by far the smallest and most reserved of them, looked up at his companions. “I know only this. I follow the warrior’s code. And fate or no fate, a true warrior never stops fighting, no matter how bleak things seem.”
Tom clenched his jaw and stared off into space thoughtfully. “You’re right, of course. If there is even a chance to stop this, it is our duty as servants of the realm. We have delayed too long already. Let us go to the king at once.”
Scurrying down the rope ladder attached to the table, the League made for the throne room in all haste. They were decked in their finest, Tom and Hop sporting their feathered caps, Thumbelina in her shimmering green gown, and all of them bearing sewing needle swords and their official League accoutrements. They would show their best face for the king and hope that their news would not shake his resolve.
The League stayed close to the wall of the corridor, safe from the footfalls of knights and palace servants. A short time later, they arrived at the twin thrones of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere as they held court.
“Your majesties,” Tom began, “we wish to share information related to Merlin’s unfortunate imprisonme—”
He never got to finish for at that moment, the queen’s foot slid forward idly, nearly barreling the entire team over. The Leaguers leapt to each side to avoid being squashed by this monstrous appendage.
Guinevere looked down at last and her eyes opened wide. “Oh! Apologies, I did not see you there.”
“Er, no harm done, my lady,” ‘Lina stammered, as she and the others stood up and composed themselves. “But we have information that—”
“Your information will have to wait,” the queen informed them. “Another craves audience with us.”
The League turned around to see whom she was indicating. A short distance behind them was a massive pair of strangely familiar bare feet, just below a towering gown of forest green. The little thumblings craned their necks upward and recognized the dark-haired woman at once.
“Nimue!” they shouted in alarm. The League drew their tiny swords and prepared to launch an assault upon her. Perhaps a few of them could scurry up her legs and attack a vital spot before she crushed or annihilated them all.
“Peace, little ones!” the priestess said, hopping backward away from their slashing needles. The ground rumbled with her jump, causing a few of the League to lose their balance and fall once again. “I wish to explain myself!”
“Aye,” said a man’s voice overhead. “Hear her out.” The homunculi turned once again and saw a handsome armor-clad knight standing beside Nimue, his hand reaching out to find hers. It was Sir Pelleas, the warrior who had wandered off with the priestess the night of Merlin’s defeat and not been seen since.
“Traitor!” Tom barked at him. “Siding with this witch? You shame the Table, Pelleas!”
“Enough!” Arthur bellowed from the dais. “Let them speak!”
“Thank you, High King,” Nimue said. “You all have good reason to hate me. I have done you a great wrong. When I trapped Myrddin Emrys with his own enchantments, I thought I acted in the best interests of Britain.” She paused and bowed her head.
“I was deceived. I know now that all I did was to carry out a vendetta of Avalon’s priestesses. They believed the Merlin was leading this land to disaster and away from the worship of the Children of Dôn. I believed this too, though I see now that it is not so simple. The Merlin’s actions have done as much good as harm. And if the old ways of Avalon are indeed fading…”
She paused, struggling to find the words.
“…then that is something my order will have to accept. It is the people’s will. We cannot force men to believe.”
“Regardless of this,” Nimue proceeded, “in my blindness, I have robbed you of your greatest counselor. This is inexcusable. If…if you can forgive me, I offer my own services in his place. I shall try my best to carry on in the Merlin’s absence.”
“Mon Dieu!” Hop exclaimed.
“Lord Arthur, you cannot believe her?” Tom said, looking up at the king.
The monarch gravely stroked his beard in thought. “Sir Pelleas, do you vouch that the lady’s desire for redemption is genuine?”
Pelleas stepped forward solemnly, head high. “I do, my liege. Nimue and I have become…close these past days. And I have seen the good in her heart. She wishes only to redress her sins. Forget not that the Lady of the Lake hand-picked Nimue as her successor. However misguided her actions, she loves this land as much as you do, my lord, and has acted only towards its preservation.”
Arthur was silent for a long time, considering this. He looked at the young priestess who had been his friend and advisor. Her head was still bowed and tears were beginning to form at the corners of her eyes. “Very well,” he said at last. “Lady Nimue is readmitted to the court. But on probationary status. For the time being, she will be outfitted with iron bracelets that curtail her magic.”
“But Arthur—” Tom began.
“It is done, Sir Tom,” the king said. “My judgment is passed. This is a civilized age and we will not wantonly execute our friends, especially if they come before us begging forgiveness.”
“That said,” Arthur continued. “The loss of Merlin is not something I take lightly. If Nimue’s intentions are other than they seem, there will be serious consequences. She will have to prove to us that she can be trusted.”
The priestess looked up and managed a weak smile at this. “You are a wise and compassionate leader, Arthur. I hope to prove worthy of your faith in me. As to regaining trust…there is another matter that brought us back to court.”
“Indeed,” Sir Pelleas added. “We bring word from the Summer Country. Morgan le Fay has resurfaced.”
At this, the king bristled. “You know this how?”
“She travels here and there disguised,” Nimue said. “But I would know her aura anywhere. Morgan was one of the strongest adepts to come from Avalon’s halls. I believe she is hiding somewhere near Glastonbury. And, Arthur…I do not think she works alone.”
“Then, we shall find her and any who aid her,” Arthur declared. “God willing, my sister may yet seek redemption as well.”
Guinevere shifted nervously in her seat, clearly distressed by this news.
“I know, my love,” Arthur told his queen. “As ever, you think that Morgan should be slain.”
“No, I…I understand your hope, Arthur,” Guinevere said. “Life was never peaceful between my own sister and me. I was Father’s chosen heir. My half-sister has always resented me for it. I…have sometimes wished that things were different. If Morgan can be saved, you must try.”
“So be it,” said Arthur. “I shall fetch my finest knights and make haste for the Summer Country.”
Just then, something stirred beneath the fabric of Nimue’s bodice. All assembled watched in astonishment as Thumbling emerged from the top of her dress. He attempted to clamber up the slope of her generous chest, sword drawn. The tiny tailor had apparently succeeded in scaling her during the League’s aborted attack.
“Ha ha! Die, foul sorceress!” he cried, swinging his needle-sword. A moment later, he lost his footing, slipped, and landed awkwardly halfway in her cleavage.
“Stand down, ‘Ling!” Tom called from the floor. “A truce has been called!”
“Now you tell me,” Thumbling grumbled.
To be continued...
Here's the start of a new adventure for my team of tiny heroes. Writing this series has been the most fun I've had as a writer lately, as I get to blend lots of things I love (giantess fetish, fantasy, myth, literature, etc.). Due to those sources, this is a work of fantasy as much as (if not more so than) one of fetish. There will be sexy stuff but this is not purely a wank-fest. If the latter's what you're looking for, you've been warned.
All characters are, to the best of my knowledge, public domain. If not, bear in mind that no money was gained in the creation of this story.
The League of Homunculi Book 4: The Sisterhood