Twenty-Five Blackbirds, parts four and five.

First was Jenny darling, apple of all eyes.

On swift and careless wings did she fly to her demise.

Young Diego tripped and fell upon the ground,

Several hungry wolves made sure that he was never found.

It was many years since the Tin soldier last was spry.

He could not evade, so in his armor he did fry.

Everything one sister did, the other would then feel,

And so the fell together when the pike did prick their heels.

Mellow-pine and Melopayne, the Sisters of Bedlam. They are utterly, completely, and catastrophically boring. See, they have this idea in their heads that they can do everything in a different manner by performing the exact same routine. They weren’t even sisters originally. The trick was old when it was just Melopayne doing it. Then we got Mellow-pine, they decided that they had to be twins in temperament as well as name, so they became twins. For our part, we just sighed at having to deal with two of her.

They are the crazy village hedge-witches, always feuding over something. The gallants of the village come to one, asking for some boon. Crops, a child, an easy winter, simple concerns for mundane people. The one they go to will say the other is to blame for their woes, but they are willing to set them straight, in exchange for our prize. Naturally, they get all offended, and set off in a huff to see the other sister. The second sister will agree to lift her curse in exchange for some even more ridiculous prize. They despair, and go back to the first sister.

Thing is, they keep trying to increase the scale of their absurdity. They have gotten so outlandish with their demands over the years that most of their victims are more confused than despairing. There is no reason that a peasant would have any reason to know what a “distillation of reason and Ox-dreams” is, nor would they have any reason to seek such a thing.

When Melopayne was thinking on a smaller scale, it attracted a lot less attention. The two of them together have blown our cover more than once, and not in a good way. Oftimes we’ve ┬álost our prize before it could be claimed, and all because they got witch-hunters called down on the village. Nasty situation, that.

The sisters are more troublesome than dangerous. So, naturally, you can expect to underestimate them at the worst time and be sorely pressed for victory following.

Why would I tell you that? Because it’s just the way things work. No, you won’t take them seriously now that I’ve told you! If you were going to take them seriously, I wouldn’t have told you that you were going to underestimate them in the first place!

We’re getting nowhere talking in circles about things you cannot understand. Let’s continue instead.