Following the success of my last post where I talked through the inspiration behind Zak and Jen, I thought it might be nice to share a prequel to the story.
From the images we have released so far, you may have picked up on the fact that Zak and Jen seem to travel through space with the help of a rather special umbrella, but how exactly did this situation come about? Allow me to share Zak’s story…
The Dollmaker’s Apprentice and the Moon Empress
The dollmaker was tired, it had been a long day filled with customers and she was ready for bed.
“You will take that apart tonight,” she said to her apprentice as she picked up a handful of silk and dropped it into a box.
“Could I not keep him this time?” the young girl answered, holding the doll close to her chest.
“He took me three days to make.”
“No!” the dollmaker snapped. “We can re-use the thread and cloth. Your stitching is still terrible and I don’t want you wasting my stock. You will take him apart and start again in the morning.”
“Yes, Madame,” the girl replied. As she looked down at the doll in her hands she felt a tear roll down her cheek and land on the face of the boy. His eyes seemed to stare back at her, full of kindness, and she hugged him tightly.
“Hurry up Celeste!” Madame Reynard shouted.
“You still have the floor to sweep and the counter to clean. Oh and when you are done, you are going to help me do the books this evening.”
Celeste hastily left the doll on the work shelf facing the open window and picked up the broom.
The hours ticked by, the workroom became dark and still the doll sat on the shelf.
As the evening drew in, the moon’s soft glow lit up the workroom, causing shadows to dance on the walls around the doll. Unknown to him, someone else was watching.
The light in the workroom grew brighter and brighter until a small figure appeared on the counter. She was no bigger than a pepper pot, with long silver hair and a fitted white suit that sparkled when she moved. She looked around the room with interest.
“Well, this one’s nice and tidy at least,” she said, bending down and running her finger across the counter.
As she looked up, she saw the doll, propped up on the work shelf.
“Ahh, there you are.”
Taking a small pouch from around her neck, she poured sparkling white powder into her tiny hands and blew it in the direction of the doll.
As the powder touched him the doll glowed and slowly he began to move.
“Good evening,” the girl in white said, smiling up at the doll on the shelf.
“Fancy coming down here to join me?”
Silently, the doll looked around and slid off the shelf, tumbling on to the counter in a mass of arms and legs.
“Oh dear,” the girl exclaimed, helping him up.
“Who are you?” the doll asked.
“I’m the Moon Empress,” the girl replied, smoothing her sparkling suit. “My name, is Dalia.”
“Am I alive?” the doll asked, staring around the room.
“Yes,” replied Dalia, “I’ve been watching you, but when I saw the dollmaker’s apprentice was going to take you apart, I decided I couldn’t let that happen. Do you have a name?”
The doll stared at his feet. “The apprentice, she would call me Zak, after her brother. Do you live on the moon?” he asked the girl.
Dalia nodded, “I have a castle there, but it’s very lonely. I’ve always wanted friends.”
“I’ve always wanted to travel and learn about the stars,” said Zak.
“Really?” Dalia looked thoughtful. “Perhaps, there’s a way I can give you what you want, but only on one condition.”
Zak nodded excitedly.
“I will give you the ability to travel the stars, see whatever you want, go wherever you want. But in 50 years, you must come and live on the moon with me, forever.”
“So, would I be your prisoner?” Zak asked cautiously.
“No! You would be my friend, just think of all the adventures we would have together!” Dalia said, giggling.
Zak stayed quiet.
“Of course,” Dalia went on, “you could always stay here, and then tomorrow you will be taken apart and used for other dolls.”
“Ok, I agree!” Zak said, smiling.
“But, how will I get into space and travel amongst the stars?”
Dalia looked around her, and then ran across the counter to a large wooden box. She waved her hand, the lid popped open and in less than a second she had disappeared inside.
Zak waited patiently for Dalia to return and before long, he spotted her silver hair sticking up inside the box.
“What are those?” he asked as she came running back to him with something in her arms.
“Umbrella’s,” she replied grinning. “I’ve put a spell on them and now they will take you wherever you want to go.”
“Why are there two?” Zak asked. “Is one for you?”
Dalia laughed, “No! Silly doll! I don’t need an umbrella to fly, but you might need a spare, just in case. All you need to do is open it and run, then off you go!”
Zak grinned and gripped the umbrella as he opened it.
“Thank you so much!” he said
“You’re welcome, and don’t forget, in 50 years you must come to the moon,” she replied.
“I won’t forget! Goodbye!”
Zak ran across the counter and floated out of the open window into the night sky under his umbrella.
“Enjoy your adventures Zak!” Dalia called after him. “I will see you soon, perhaps sooner than you think..”
And for those that weren’t aware, our little Zak has been off having a few new adventures and meeting some interesting people. Keep an eye on our FB page and Twitter feed (@Zak_and_Jen) to see pictures of what he’s been up to, you never know what / who you might see!