The rampart of the tower is patrolled by a platoon of female Japanese Kokeshi dolls who are also highly proficient paratroopers comprising thirty six in total. They started life as wooden skittles and were allegedly transfigured into the military personnel they are by the "The King of Kitsch" Vladimir Grigoryevich Tretchikoff, the highly successful self-taught modern painter who began life in Russia and ended up in South Africa with escapades in China, Singapore and Indonesia along the way. Following a series of harrowing chapters in Sumatra and Java during the Second World War ending with a spell in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in Serang, he was released and lived on parole in Batavia (now Jakarta). He hung out with a Japanese art teacher. Art equipment was scarce during the Second World War and the two men fortuitously stumbled upon a discarded wooden box filled with wooden skittles that was supposed to contain food rations, a suspected Oxfam relief muddle-up, but never verified. The artists transformed a sizeable collection, actually four sets of nine skittles into Kokeshi dolls while practising painting faces. Rumour has it this prepared Tretchikoff for the most famous face he ever painted called ‘Chinese Girl’ in 1950. It became one of the best-selling prints of the twentieth century. My late great Belgian grandmother, Elvira Maria had one hanging in pride of place in her farm house, back in the day. Traditionally Kokeshi dolls don't have arms or legs as such, but the two men were killing time waiting for the war to end, so they engaged in a part time hobby of making quite technical doll parts like movable arms and legs from shrapnel and expended bullet casings. These bionic type appendages were a complete was of time so they gave up that past time and went back to the more simple technique of wooden peg legs and arms. Being further bored and still waiting for the war to end, they patched up old holey silk underpants and crafted them into parachutes and attached them to the dolls and had parachuting competitions. This is how the dolls became such good paratroopers. Unfortunately, a very grouchy Japanese General spotted and recognized one parachute to be his missing pair of "lucky" underpants, a sentimental heirloom that belonged to his father who'd died an honourable hara kiri death and ever since no one had ever been able to touch let alone mend that noble under garment. Furiously he confiscated all thirty six Kokeshi dolls and threw them in a crate where they landed on top of some rickety "defunct" grenades and bombs and such and then he proceeded to chuck the works out to sea. Needless to say, the dolls ditched the harrowing weapons overboard ASAP.
Fortunately the crate was quite watertight and weather resistant enabling them to virtually sail around the world with various currents and breezes. They are probably the first dolls ever recorded to have circumnavigated the globe. Although it was a cramped existence, there was standing space for all and they spent most of their time developing and practicing acrobatic, gymnastic and drum majorette routines. They thought they would never see land again but fate was kind and coupled with their resourcefulness of using the parachutes they still possessed (all except the General’s knickers) as sails they managed to land ashore at Dunkirk in France about three years after the famous battle of 1940. When the crate was discovered with Japanese symbols still discernible on the weather beaten outside it was confiscated by the French military thinking it some sort of conspiracy and locked up at the closest base for further investigation. The investigation never happened and it was very tedious for the dolls but they reconnoitred everything they could and got a good grounding in army manoeuvring. After thirty years of self-tuition and mastery they and their crusty old crate were tossed out and buried in a secret military dumping ground. It was horrendous. They industriously started to dig a tunnel out and miraculously they hit a fox burrow pretty soon afterwards. It turned out this French fox was originally British. He had discovered the legendary Chunnel Burrow of fox lore, the subsea connection between England and France built before the human Chunnel was. Some human evidently copied their foxy idea. So this Anglo Franco fox had relocated but still had family in England, in particular a cousin who was well connected to the royal rampart.
The Anglo-Franco fox assisted the dolls by leading their platoon leopard crawling up and diving down fox burrows until they got to the port to sneak a ride on a ferry. He'd mislaid the map he'd made indicating the entrance to the Chunnel Burrow or else he would have directed them by that means across the Channel. The foxy friend then sent word via bird to his British cousin across the Channel instructing him to help the platoon when they landed in Kent to get to Royal Doll Town. Of course there was an important placement for the troop on the rampart of the tower town. They share watch duties with the King’s Guard and the Queen’s Guard (descriptions of which to follow). Each dawn and dusk they march the circumference of the tower once. Then they perform a fancy drill with flags followed by a choreographed marching sequence lasting twenty minutes. Next they assemble round the tower again each positioned every ten degrees of the circumference. There are special flag holders at these marks where the dolls store their flags and there is a special shackle from which each Kokeshi has an eight meter long spider-silk rope (spider silk is incredibly strong as you know). When each Kokeshi is stationed and ready, Lutine Bellringer, the Royal Town Crier rings the town bell and the dolls parachute off the edge of the tower for drill and a thrill. They methodically repack their parachutes and replace them on their backs and then they wall climb in synch back to their stations. Between dawn and dusk patrols they have breaks where they develop and practise their fantastic gymnastic, acrobatic and drum majorette sequences and on special occasions (which happen regularly) they showcase them to the citizines who receive them with much applause and enthusiasm. It would have been so ridiculously confusing for the Queen to assign each of these subjects a conventional Marchelinese name so she kept it regimented to the four squads of Ki, Kiki, Ko and Koko, with each doll being numbered per section, e.g Ki-One, Ki-Two, Ki-Three. They don’t mind having such catalogued names as it makes it much easier for them to organize their routines. For instance, shouting “Ko-One, Ko-Two, Ko-Three to the left, Ko-Four, Ko-Five, Ko-Six to the right!” is better than yelling “Claudine, Sabine I mean Etherine no Frederine actually Francine to the left and Maxine, Martine and whatine your name is, to the right?!” As Queen Marcheline can’t stomach nasty weaponry and bans horridities in her Queendom the Kokeshi’s opt to sport hair combs akin to the Japanese Kanzashi hair ornaments, in their hairdos, which can be used for defence like shurikens (ninja throwing star). They refer to themselves as the Sisterhood of the Pink Wafer, as their hair combs resemble pink wafer biscuits and look quite cute, the more treacherous part of the design being safely camouflaged in the bouncy locks of their chrysanthemum petal hair wigs.