Welcome to today’s entry to the Countdown to Fables #100, where on Tuesday and Friday I recap a story told within the pages of Fables. This happens every Tuesday and Friday up until issue #100 is released on November 24th. Today’s story is titled “Sons of Empire.” In this story, the Adversary/Emperor discusses how they are going to respond to Bigby’s attack. The identity of the Adversary/Emperor does appear in the recap, which is after the break.
Art by Mark Buckingham
After the fire that was started by Bigby in the Sacred Grove, Geppetto and Pinocchio try to find some remaining artifacts from the cabin. Pinocchio tries to talk his father out of doing anything drastic to retaliate, but Geppetto tells Pinocchio that he will support any course of action he decides to do. Muddlecock, a lowly cleric, has been summoned to a sight near the Sacred Grove to take the minutes of an important meeting that is going on. He has his first encounter with a wooden soldier, where he’s informed that he is inferior to them. The secret meeting is attended by Geppetto (whom all know as a woodcarver/creator of the wooden soldiers and not as the person behind the Emperor), Lumi the Snow Queen, Pinocchio, Nome King the ruler of Oz, Bright Day’s head, Hansel, Rodney, and Muddlecock. The Snow Queen suggests that they should put on hold their conquering of the Arabian Fablelands, and focus on taking Fabletown and the mundy world. In Fabletown, Red Riding Hood asks one of the Crow Brothers to take her into the mundy world to get her hair cut, and do some shopping. She returns to show Flycatcher, whom she calls Ambrose. Fly looks at her, says oh my, then runs down to the magic mirror. He yells at the mirror, saying he’s not a cheater, that the mirror should have helped more, and turns into a frog.
The Snow Queen delivers her war plans in four phases. The first stage is a pestilence. Warlocks will be retrained and sent to infiltrate the mundy world. At a set time, they will release six diseases upon the world, causing great illnesses. The diseases will be allowed to fester for three years. The second stage is a plague of fire. Dragons will be used to burn the larger cities until air forces are able to counter-attack. Then fire imps will be used to burn smaller cities until they run out of fuel. The third stage is a plague of winter. The Snow Queen will cause there to be a never-ending plague for three years. As a result of the previous three stages, the fourth stage, a famine will occur. This will make the world unlivable. The Snow Queen then suggests turning the mundy world into a prison land. While they break for lunch and to think about the plan, she talks with Geppetto about how he thinks the others are thinking about the plan. Pinocchio and Rodney hate it. Nome King and Bright Day love it. Hansel was not at the meeting where she discussed her plans because Geppetto has another mission for him. Geppetto informs Hansel that he is to travel to Fabletown under the guise of wanting to sign a treaty. His real mission is to try to retrieve the wooden heads and Baba Yaga. In Fabletown, Beauty, Bufkin, Beast, Prince Charming, and Grimble try to figure out what to do with the now transformed Flycatcher. On the Farm, Bigby stops a couple of wolves, Brer Wolf and Isengrim, from catching and eating Peter Cottontail. Bigby then asks Cottontail if he will help his cubs learn to hunt, promising that they won’t kill him.
Prince Charming is woken up in the middle of the night to find that Hansel has arrived and is sitting in the office. Hansel informs him, along with Beauty and Beast, that he is the ambassador from the Emperor. He’ll be setting up offices, and in three days will be ready to begin negotiating. After Hansel leaves, Prince Charming demands to know why Beauty and Beast were calling Hansel a killer and a traitor. Frau Totenkinder comes in to tell the tale. Hansel and his sister Gretel were left to die in the woods, and she had lured them to her cottage to feed on them to gain power. They got the best of her, and burned her. Hansel wanted to watch her burn, and thus began his obsession with killing witches. Eventually they were able to make it to the new world, but found that Frau Totenkinder had survived and moved to Fabletown as well. Hansel left Fabletown, and participated in the execution of witches in Europe. He returned to the new world around the time of the Salem witch trials. He stopped by Fabletown to try to convince his sister to leave, but found that she had been training with Frau Totenkinder. This outrages Hansel, and he breaks her neck. Snow White wanted to investigate, but Ichibod Crane believed the story about it being an accident. Gretel’s death did get Hansel stricken from the Fabeltown compact. It was suspected, now confirmed, that he had returned to the Homelands. Prince Charming asks if they can use this against him, but Beauty informs him that they can’t, and this is likely why he was sent. Prince Charming says to let everyone to kill Hansel with kindness, and that he is not to go anywhere unescorted.
Pinocchio gives the counter-point to the Snow Queen’s war plans. He informs everyone to look up, because the rebels control the cloud kingdoms. They’ll lead attacks from the sky. If a plague were to be artificially started, the mundys would realize that they were under a biological attack. The Fabletown residents would know that it was coming from them, and would come out to the mundys and instruct them on what to do. After infiltrating the Fablelands from the cloud kingdoms, the mundys would be able to use their technology to decimate the Emperor’s forces. Pinocchio continues to tell them that an attack would likely unite all of the mundy nations because they will have new lands they can control, and will not need to continue fighting each other. The participants of the meeting know that Pinocchio is telling the truth, because he’s unable to lie to his father now. So, they abandon their plans. In his tent, Muddlecok is killed by a wooden soldier, after he assures him that he has all of his notes. Privately, Geppetto tells the Snow Queen to modify her plans so that the Fables are taken out first, and are unable to help the mundys. In Fabletown, Prince Charming and Beast discuss the action of Hansel and his men, and how they are learning their way around the city. On the Farm, Boy Blue is talking to Rose Red about how he’s getting homesick, and misses Red Riding Hood because she’s talking to him less now, but she was never the girl he fell in love with. Rose Red reassures him that he’ll find some girl, and kisses him on the cheek.
If you hadn’t noticed, Geppetto really hates the residents of Fabletown. But that hatred has grown so much that he doesn’t merely want to regain control of the Fables that have escaped him, he wants to destroy them and their new home. We’ve also learned that Geppetto isn’t the only beloved Fable that is evil. Hansel is also a murdering psychopath. Non-Adversary/Emperor related, Fly has turned into a frog, and Boy Blue is feeling a bit lonely on the Farm, but is developing a friendship with Rose Red.
Up next Jiminy Christmas