Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Constellations

Today I stole the stars away.

-

There are three families of gods upon our world today. Each of them are led by a Matriarch and Patriarch; each possess incredible power; and each are engaged in a bitter rivalry with the other two families. From what they have told us, they are on this world to create it: though whether they were set to the purpose by some superior being or came to it of their own accord is a point which they refuse to clarify. The Creation is well begun, as the gods have shaped the land into continents, brought forth water in the form of rivers and seas, and even created all the creatures of air, land and sea - humans being the 'lucky' species shaped in their own image.

Sadly, though, their rivalry has done great damage to their cause. The earth, which was meant to be in one great mass (that all beings could co-exist easily upon it), was split into several continents and countless islands as the gods fought over pieces of land. The sea, meant to be fresh and drinkable, was spoiled in a fools contest which culminated in two gigantic ziggurats of salt dissolving into the ocean and forever spoiling it. But the worst sin of the gods' rivalry is not that they have corrupted what they have created, but that they have been distracted from their true purpose - to complete Creation. To lift the stars themselves into the pitch-black sky.

When the gods began the work of Creation, each family was apportioned a third of all the stars in the sky. Their task was simple: to take the stars from the bags in which they were kept, and to sprinkle them evenly across the sky. They were about to begin, each family eying the others, when (as the tale goes) Osea the Innocent had an idea. Brightly, he suggested, "There's no need for us to sprinkle the stars all at random! Why, we can make shapes out of them! Constellations, to celebrate the glory of Creation and, of course, the gods!"

At once, all the gods stopped. At Osea's suggestion, they all began to plan the skies together - to create a great painting of sorts, a masterpiece, worked in the very stars. But dissension, predictably, broke out immediately - each family wished to emphasize its own accomplishments and diminish the others. Paiara of the Thorny Rose exchanged blows with Westre the Passionate over their respective positions in the constellations; when Thol Peacemaker attempted to intervene, he was struck a blow that left marks upon the very ground he stood on, still easily seen today. And so the stars do not light our skies today.

-

My name is Isaac of Numia. I am known in the land of my birth as a warrior, and a leader of men. I have slain over eight hands of men in single combat, and nearly fourteen hands in pitched battle. I am a pragmatic man. But when I heard the tale I have just told you, from a storyteller in an inn, and looked at the black sky above, something within me was touched. I am not overly imaginative, but to think of the wealth of the very stars, wasted by squabbling gods, was more than even my heart could bear. By the morning following, I had a plan. Trading away one of my horses, I acquired a spade, a ball of cotton thread, and a piece of glass, which I wrapped carefully in cloth before traveling west, to the gods' realm.

It is well known that the gods reside in the hidden valley of Kavaria, somewhere from five to twenty days ride from the city of Numia, depending on who you ask. For my own part, it took just over a week to reach the valley, hidden behind thick aspens and guarded by the legendary Hydralisk: the horse-sized, snake-bodied, acid-tongued monstrosity that Ivar the Red created to deter unwanted guests. I approached it with some caution, camping just out of sight the night before I planned to enter Kavaria. To my surprise, however, I discovered that the scent of mutton roasted with sagebrush was enough to both attract and distract the Hydralisk, allowing me to enter Kavaria without fear.

On my first day's journey in Kavaria, I entered the home of the strongest family of the gods, led by the reclusive Ivar the Red. When the gods noticed my approach, they seemed ready to crush me without a word of introduction. To my great relief, Karlova, wife of Ivar, stopped her children from wreaking my destruction, speaking in an ordinary tone that could nonetheless be heard from a quarter-mile away: "Stop. I wish to hear what this man has to say."

When I arrived at the doorstep of Ivar, all of his three sons and two daughters had gathered to see what I had to say. Humbly, but without apparent fear, I bowed to each of the gods and explained my purpose: "I wish the stars, that I may use them against your enemies." The gods looked rather startled, and before they could grow angered, I continued, "To prove my good intent, I present you with this gift."

The gods remained startled. Ivar the Red knelt down to look, curiously taking the gift from my outstretched hand. "What's this? A... spade?" I could see anger begin to furrow his brows, and before he could unleash his mighty wrath upon me, I explained further. "This is no spade. This is a wedge - that which divides one thing from the next. If a man may take it in hand, he may cleave anything in two which his strength allows - a clump of dirt, a tree's roots, perhaps a foe's flesh. Does he apply himself, he can turn excavate great pits and build mighty hills within weeks. In the hands of one so mighty as you..." I trailed off.

Ivar looked thoughtful. It was not often he had visitors of any sort. He looked at me - rather intimidating, even for me, to be stared at with those great blue eyes. "So you say that you will use our stars against our foes?" inquired he carefully. I nodded. "Well... then let it be so. But if you betray us, then ten thousand vultures will devour your carcass!"

On the second day of my journey, I arrived at the home of the most beautiful family of the gods, led by Paiara of the Thorny Rose. Again, as I approached, the gods seemed ready to smite me without a word spoken - though even the sight of them in this most warlike setting set my heart to racing with exhilaration at their beauty. I was spared again, though, by the imperious word of Paiara - "Enough" - who, nonetheless, wore a scowl on her astoundingly beautiful face. As I dismounted from my horse, she growled at me, "Why do you approach us so openly - you, who have sworn to the family of Ivar to destroy us?"

I bowed humbly, careful not to offend. "Why, I would never seek to destroy you - as though I could destroy those of your physical perfection! I come here for a boon - for I seek your portion of stars, that I might destroy that family - I shall not name it - which is your enemy and Ivar's both." Paiara's fury seemed to have eased somewhat, but I was still somewhat afraid that she would launch a blow like that which she delivered unto Thol Peacemaker. I continued, "To prove my sincerity, I offer you a gift."

Paiara took it from my hand, consternation on her face. "What? A ball of cotton? A gift for the gods?"

I explained. "That is no ball of cotton. That is a substance - created with careful labour from a hundred different threads - that can bind together that which is divided, which can make whole that which is separate. It can lift great weights, clothe the naked, and bind the wicked. Its strength is known across all the world."

Paiara still seemed uncertain, but announced, "Very well. You shall have our portion of stars. But know well, mortal Isaac - should you betray us, your death shall last a thousand years!" The look on her face left no doubt as to her meaning.

On the third day of my journey, I arrived at the house of the most clever family of the gods, led by Jordan Surnameless. As soon as I came into sight of the house, I felt myself falling - dropped into a clever snare. For some time, all was dark - the next thing I knew, I was trussed up before the throne of Jordan, left with nothing but what I'd carried on my person. Jordan intoned majestically, "You who have testified before all gods but we of your conspiracy against us, what reason do you have that you should not be destroyed even at this moment for your insolence?"

Shaking somewhat (for this was not a situation I had anticipated), I kowtowed to Jordan. "Why, O wisest of the gods, I have never conspired against you, but rather ever sought to help you."

Jordan appeared unconvinced.

"When I spoke to both of the gods, I spoke merely as would convince them to allow me on to you - for surely you recognize that, had I professed a desire to aid you, I would have been slain at once."

Jordan nodded slowly.

"It is said, in the books of the philosophers, that actions are ever weighted heavier than words. Observe: I have taken from both your rivals the very stars themselves, and am now in a perfect position to aid you."

Westre the Passionate, ever too swift to speak, inquired "What, then, would you do against our foes that you dared not before?" I answered easily, now that it seemed that the greatest danger had passed. "Why, I will use the stars against them - while one third, or even two-thirds of all the stars might not have sufficed (even against your lesser nemeses), surely all the stars in creation will destroy your loathsome opponents. To prove my intent, I came into your person with a gift."

Jordan accepted the gift, careful with the edges. "Why, it is a piece of glass - ordinary glass, blown in Ilya, just east of Numia." I explained, "That is no glass. That is the sharpest substance known to man - it can slice through things of substance and those without, being between the states itself, having weight and feel but no colour nor visible shape. It slices through the terrestrial with its edges, sharp enough to wound even a god, and through the ethereal with its sides, which distort even vision when properly employed."

Jordan considered the matter for some time, rocking the shard of glass back and forth on its protective cloth. For how long I cannot say, but before the sun's setting, he looked at me and said, "Very well. I, wisest of the gods, shall allow you possession of all the stars that are, that you may destroy our foes with them. But let it be known. Should you betray us, your death shall be a tale known to every storyteller who will ever live."

-

So it is that I ride out of Kavaria in possession of all the skies of existence. The threats of the gods do not faze me - for Ivar promised me no lack of food for the rest of my life (that I might attract ten thousand vultures at my death), Paiaria a thousand years of life (for my death began the moment I was born), and Jordan, wisest of the gods, promised me truest immortality in song. And now, with the stars in my hands, I look up at the black sky, and can see only light.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Cats: A Public Service Announcement

Cats are everywhere. They are in your neighborhood; on your street; perhaps inside your very house. They are much-loved, lauded as scourges of pests and adorable companions. But have you considered the very real risks that cats present?

When you see a cat, it could be a cat: or a more deadly threat. Perhaps it's a very strange looking dog. Perhaps it's a cleverly designed robot, designed to love - or to kill. It may be a mutant, escaped from radioactive Chernobyl to consume the flesh of humans; or, equally dangerously, it could be a posthuman transmortuary vector, or, in the common parlance, a "cat-zombie." When the Neo-Unitarian-Shiites launch begin their campaign of biowarfare against suburban America, they will use specially engineered cats to carry payloads of ebola-2; embedded in their fur like the fleas that carried the Bubonic Plague. If you have a cat of your own, or are accustomed to seeing them about your place of residence, the time it takes you to realize the terrible truth could be enough for lethal exposure.



A compromised cat could attack at any moment, without warning.


What can you do to avoid any of these terrible threats? First, avoid unnecessary cat contact. Reduce your exposure to strays in your neighborhood - either delivering them to a shelter or the bottom of your car or cars' tires are considered effective for the purpose. Secondly, scan your cats! Just bring them to the local Center for Disease Control office, and we'll have your cat scanned for a $10 fee - certain to turn up any nasty cybernetic implants or subdermal anti-human lasers. Atomic vaporization of compromised cats is available free of charge.

Beware cats!

This has been a public service announcement from the Society for Proper Paranoia.

Duality (III/III)

Five years after Maximilian Green gained his master's degree in civil engineering, he again encountered Archibald Sharps. Archie had six years of experience as a political consultant, at this time, and was advising on a campaign to preserve the Hetch Hetchy Dam. Hetch Hetchy, in Yosemite National Park, was once a lush wooded valley; but it was converted into a reservoir in 1923 with the installation of the Hetch Hetchy Dam. The campaign on which Archie was advising sought to retain the dam against environmentalists who sought to restore Hetch Hetchy to its natural state; the preservationists arguing against the cost and feasibility of removing the dam. And thus Maxie met Archie again; testifying in Congressional hearings for the removal of Hetch Hetchy Dam.

Archie was furious at Maxie's seeming betrayal, and confronted him after the hearing adjourned. Archie launched into a tirade against Maxie's interference in Archie's campaign and Maxie, still angered by what he saw as Archie's mercenary pragmatism, shot right back with statements to the effect that Maxie had a "perfect right" to support what he believed in and that, furthermore, Archie was a "hypocritical snit" if he actually believed what he was spouting. The fight only degenerated further; hard words were said, that could not be unspoken. Ten minutes later, as Archie stalked out of the hallway, it was clear that their friendship was over; ended as it started, with an argument. Maxie's relationship with Artie was built on the few similarities they possessed, not the differences that spurred their perpetual debates. After time's passing eroded away those few points of agreement, all they had left was differences; and so they went to war.

Maxie returned to his hotel room and plotted furiously. A day later, he had his plan: alongside a few trusted friends, he would travel to Hetch Hetchy and blow up the dam; thus presenting a fait accompli to Archie, now his opponent. Archie had not idly wasted the intervening day; to the contrary, he had wired Maxie's hotel room, and, now equipped with a recording of Maxie's plan, concocted his own response: a redirection of the Tuolumne River, flowing out of Hetch Hetchy, such that the flooding caused by Maxie's plan would do horrific damage to Yosemite Park and, simultaneously, to Maxie's own cause. Neither Maxie nor Archie considered the absurdity of their respective plans; both were consumed by the hatred born of their failed friendship. By March Tenth, they had arrived in Hetch Hetchy.

On March Tenth, Matthew's thoughts were turned twenty days ahead, to the end of the third year of the sentient cats' contract with the National Park Service, as well as the contract itself. Matthew and Georgia, still partnered, were among the six remaining cat-human pairs; another, Anthony, having been hospitalized after a tree branch crushed his spine. Though none of the rangers involved in the experimental contract reported ill of it, it seemed likely that when the cats' contract expired, it would not be renewed. With the expense of feasibility studies on the removal of the Hetch Hetchy Dam, the cats' middling contributions did not serve to balance out their medical and logistical expenses in the minds of Accounting. The cats would be cast loose to find some other employment; and, while certain of them supported this, Georgia and Matthew could find no happiness in the thought that they should be so separated.

In this state, then, did Georgia first smell the spoor of unfamiliar humans somewhat south of the Hetch Hetchy Valley, an area closed to tourists. After Georgia informed Matthew (using the electronic voicebox strapped to her neck), the two hiked north to investigate, expecting to escort the trespassers north to the Dam. They were both quite surprised, then, to find not a few confused tourists, but rather four armed men, one of whom was at that moment setting explosive charges near the Tuolumne River.

Matthew didn't know what to do. He was armed with a hunting rifle, but wasn't certain that he could use it against the gunmen; certainly he was not skilled with it. He could call in help, but it would take half an hour to prep a helicopter and fly it over to Matthew's location, by which time the four men would have certainly escaped. Matthew's indecision was interrupted by a firm headbutt from Georgia, who through her voicebox whispered: "They're very nervous about this; if you draw your rifle on them, they'll back down. Just do it, and I'll cover your back." Matthew, extremely hesitant to expose himself before four gunmen, first radioed for help and then (sweating and reluctantly) raised his rifle towards the four as Georgia shouted out, voicebox at maximum volume, "You are under arrest for trespassing and other illegal activities. Put down your weapons and you won't be shot."

The first reaction of the gunmen was to jump to their feet and draw their weapons, looking for the source of the voice; both Matthew and Georgia being yet concealed in shrubbery. Matthew's warning shot, fired towards the closest man's feet, convinced three of the four men to drop their weapons; all three except Archie (for Archie was there, of course, leading the three mercenaries), who instead dropped to the ground and began firing wildly in the general direction from which the shot came. Matthew, now completely petrified, was on the brink of flight when (moments after Archie opened fire) Georgia sprang out of the bushes and leapt at Archie, knocking the pistol out of his hand and leaving several deep gouges in his hand. Archie, crying from unaccustomed pain, was entirely immobilized, and the three mercenaries remained immobile until the helicopter arrived, twenty-eight minutes later, to assist.

From the testimony the rangers aboard the helicopter were able to leech from Archie, Maxie's plot was made somewhat clear; though Archie avoided explaining his own plans or either of their motives. The rangers, including Matthew and Georgia, flew straightaway to Hetch Hetchy Dam, where they found Maxie and his friends; unlike Archie, they were unprepared for a fight, and were easily captured. Both of their plots were ended; and Matthew and Georgia basked in the praise of their fellow rangers for foiling the villains.

A day later, when the story was first publicized (though many of the details were at that time still unclear), the impact was immediate. The scandal imperiled politicians on both sides of the Hetch Hetchy debate, especially the senator for whom Archie was working, and Matthew and Georgia became minor celebrities: the heroic Cat and Boy who Saved the Day. The Park Service, concerned with the potential repercussions of letting their contract with the sentient cats expire in the midst of the publicity, offered to renew it; an offer which four of the remaining cats agreed to, most notably including Georgia.

Georgia and Matthew's friendship endured, even through the stressful arrests and the publicity that followed. Unlike Archie and Maxie, who based their friendship on similarity and fell apart when that was lost, Georgia and Matthew based their friendship on the differences between them. Georgia, a female cat; Matthew, a human boy; differences that would always define them, and make them as effective a team as they were.

And what of Archie and Maxie? Released on bail, both fled, bringing (so far as investigators were able to determine) little more than a change of clothes with them. It was never clear where they escaped to; and, though they are wanted in the United States to this day, their escapes are now listed as 'cold cases'.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Somewhat more is planned for Duality; it's not quite over yet.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Duality (II/III)

Archibald Sharps and Maximilian Green first met each-other in college; a small college, somewhere in the northeast. Archie was majoring in English; Maxie, in civic engineering. Roomed with each-other in Maxie's sophomore year (Archie having just entered the school), they were forced by proximity to interact sociably, if not by shared interests. In the first month, they had a dozen furious arguments, over such diverse topics as religion and dirty laundry; and, as time passed and they grew somewhat friendlier, these arguments did not diminish in number. To the contrary, they increased; and their subjects shifted, focusing on matters of government policy, ethics, the environment. Theirs were the youthful ideals of which the collegiate youth seems ever to possess; Archie and Maxie were ever certain of their rectitude. And yet, as the years passed (and, it should be noted, Archie switched his major into political science), they managed to find some common ground; a foundation upon which their debate-filled friendship might rest steady.

Archie and Maxie spent three years at the same college, until Maxie graduated and went on to grad school. A year later, Archie graduated with equal distinction, and was quickly hired as a political consultant in D.C.. They stayed in contact, but, as tends to happen with too many college friendships, their contact diminished over time, as friendship founded in shared circumstance and beliefs diminished equally with such. Maxie, from the tone of Archie's letters and his knowledge of Archie's employers, feared a corruption of Archie's principles; Archie, similarly, suspected that Maxie (in his engineering grad-school) had adopted a rigid, uncompromising attitude, utterly invalidating their arguments. The letter that Maxie received upon gaining his Masters was the last he would hear from Archie for five years.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Ja'va

Ja'va is a monster, in the swamp. Locally, the swamp is known as "Nikolas's Garden", after the failure of several attempts by the Ratte-Kinge to drain the swamp. Ja'va is largely responsible for these failures.

When the Ratte-Kinge first attempted to drain the swamp, he sent in three crews of workmen. Ja'va, previously dismissed as a folk tale, plucked out the workers' organs and smoked them in its lead organ pipe. This was considered to be a failure.

Next, the Ratte-Kinge sent in soldiers, to find and kill the monster which had so brutally murdered his workmen. Ja'va breathed coal dust on them (anthracite being a staple of its diet), and then set them on fire. Their organs burned excellently.

The Ratte-Kinge himself, infuriated at the monstrosity's atrocities, walked into the swamp to confront Ja'va. He vanished for three days and two nights; then, on the third day, he emerged again, smiling, if somewhat sooty. The Ratte-Kinge announced that he had met with Ja'va, and had tea-time with him. Henceforth, Nikolausse's Garden (as it was now known) would be a Ja'va preserve.

And it is said that, even unto the end of his reign, the Ratte-Kinge would occasionally walk into the swamp, to smoke human organs with Ja'va.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Duality (I/III)

Some time from now, geneticists made a remarkable discovery. While examining the DNA of the common housecat, a research team found a remarkable gene - a sort of 'switch' which, when activated, catapulted the cats' intellect to near-human levels. It was an ability, so far as scientists can determine, that developed in the time leading up to their encounter with humanity, but which withered, useless, as the Cat became domesticated. With no few qualms and objections from outside groups, a follow-up study modified the genes of a eight cats in utero, flipping the aforementioned gene 'on.'

One of the cats died in kittenhood, of a disease unknown to medicine; such being more commonly known in the veterinary practice than in the care of humans. The others survived and lived to feline adulthood, treated by their keepers in many ways as human children. (Government funding was, for the project, quite firmly secured.) Within five years, they were psychologically and physically adults; and the scientists were faced with a dilemma. What were they to do with these seven sentient beings, unsuited to life in human society? To keep them in the small research lab in which they'd spent most of the first five years of their lives was patently unacceptable.

Representatives of the National Park Service, who had been observing the experiment with interest, stepped forward to offer another solution. They suggested that the cats might be used to assist rangers - smelling things on the wind, such as warnings of fire or hostile animals, that human rangers could not. The cats, after consulting the scientists, agreed to a three-year test contract.

So it was that Matthew, a novice park ranger in his own right, and Georgia, the youngest of the seven cats, were partnered together. Their time together, while heartwarming, was largely uneventful; so we will not chronicle it here. Suffice it to say that, while inexperienced, the cat and the boy quickly created a strong friendship; until the end of their third year together, as the contract came to an end.

An Announcement

Over the next week, I will be here:










Therefore, I shall not blag.
Because I'm pretty sure it's illegal there.

Of the Great Oyster Empire

This is Major Desmond Q. Matthew, Commanding officer of the 5th company, 12th batallion, 7th Divison of the Royal Pure Bloodline Oyster Militant Defence Organisation. Division seven. Founded to destroy egg-squanderes and insurgents, communists, agitators. Led by Major General Nicholas Flyingberger. The sharp killing machine arm of the military. Today's mission: find and destroy a contingent of egg-unproductive oysters in the western quarters, section 239R. We brought out sheaths and our shields, but nothing was enought to stop the radicals. This is what happened.

ØØØØØØØØØØØØØ
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We shot, we rained metal and they rained flesh and blood. But they could never be stopped. They regenerated too quickly for us to destroy. Their lead hearts blocked futile bullets. We were down to our last gunners.

But they died too.

And now I sit here, in the shadows, in the storms of the sea, waiting. For something. Anything.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Chronicles of Desmond, Chapter 82: The Ratte-Kinge's Summer Palace

Yea, in tymes of olde, the Ratte-Kinge didde welckome manie commonores to go withe himme to hisse summere palace, and accompanie the royale familie of the Ratte-Kingedomme, yea, it wausse a muche-celebrated event, and one daye, I didde gou withe himme, and yea, this is thate storie.

And it came to passe that we didde embarke for the Ratte-Throne, at the capital citie, where he wausse indeed situated, and yea, the Royale Ratte-Familie wausse indeede there, and they didde provide manie amusinge conversatiounes in the parlour, and the drawinge-roome, and yea, when all wausse done and the trunkes were packed, we did adjourn to the Ratte-Charioute, and it wause indeede large, and cavernous, and mammouth, and grande, and bejeweled from the bow to the sterne, and yea, it wausse indeede wounderfulle, and yea, we werre seated in the greate chariout, and it didde move at a lightninge speede, and it passes manie wounderfulle thinges, and we were indeed vicktimised by capitalism, as we passed a "pryvate roade" on the waye, which was evile, didde collecte manie tolls against usse, and yea, it wause againste the teachinges of the Timmeracke, and it wausse goode.

In the grande charioute, alonge the waye, we didde listen to the Ratte-Kinge's brothere's concubines, and yea, they were unclothed, and yea, they didde performe manie various brandes of emotiounal musick for usse, and yea, they incurred the wrathe of the Ratte-Kinge, for he wausse notte incklined to this type of musick, and he didde execute them, and it wausse goode.

Then it came to pass, that, yea, we didde fynally arrive at the grande Summer Palace, yea, it wausse inddede grande, and lavishe, and splendifirous, and yea, we set up the Chariout in the grande Lot of the Parke, and yea, it wausse indeed sodomised, and it wausse goode.

We then entered the greate parke, and yea, we didde passe manie mosquitoe infested swampes alonge the waye, for the heate was greate there, and then we walked a narrowe pathe, and fynally, we didde enter the greate palace in the parke, and it wausse magnificent, and yea, we did meete more of the Royale Ratte-Familie, and yea, they admitted usse entrance to the Great Palace, and we didde entere upon it, and it wausse goode.

Yea, though the Ratte-Kinge wausse there, he wausse inddede in a foul and terrible moode, and yea, he ridiclued and derided the Parke withe greate vigour, and stinginge witte, and he dide feel quite thirstie, and yea, he didde acquire a greate drinke, aftere thate, we didde wander the greande palace, and gaze in awe of its infinite wonderes, and it wausse goode.

And then it came to pass, that there wausse a greate Walrusse cayve, and we were indeede compelled to entere upon itte, and yea, we didde thusly, and it wausse indeede fascinating, and it wausse goode.

Yea, then the alarmes were sounded, and we didde adjourne to the greate dining halle, where a greate and terrible croude had ammased, and yea they were viciously growinge, and thusly, we didde sneake arounde to the backe entrance, and we didde enjoye manie locale delicacies and specialities there, and yea, the desserte wausse indeed coole, and classie, and yea, we dined withe the Ratte-Family, and it wausse goode.

Then, after all the portraits hadde been komissioned and drawne, then we didde leave the greate dining halle, and then we didde acquire manie giftes for our friendes and falimies, and yea, we did thusly go back to the Lot, where the carres were sodomised, and yea, we didde enter the Royale chariout, and yea, there wausse indded a greate traffick, and it wausse goode.

And then, we didde go to a smalle shoppe in the middle, and we didde acquire manie beverages, and we didde drinke them, and yea, after all that was said and done, we didde returne to the greate capital citie, and we disembarked, and it wausse goode.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Murder

A. W. sat at the table, relaxed - or as relaxed as she ever was. She ate her noodles, her hand ever close to her gun. Across from her sat T. T., her client. He looked quite happy at the moment, eating his red-sauce-splattered noodles and grinning, but they both knew the tension that lay under the surface. After all, T. T. had come to her for protection just last night - he didn't say who he was afraid of, but A. W. was pretty certain that the yakuza were mixed up in it. And that was why they were here, in this cheap noodle joint, trying to avoid T. T.'s usual hangouts.

When T. T. jerked sideways and then slumped over to the accompaniment of gunshots, covering their noodles in blood, A. W. knew that she'd failed.

A. W. dashed outside, careless of the glass on the floor from the windows shattered by gunfire, but the yakuza (if that's what they were) were already driving away. A. W. hopped on her motorbike, revved the motor and sped off in pursuit. She may have lost her client, but she'd be damned if the murderers would get away with it. Not while A. Wong, Ace Investigator, was on the case.

A. W. trailed the gunmen's car for half an hour, following them unobtrusively even as they zigged and zagged to evade pursuit, before they finally stopped at some sort of office building - marked on the front with the sign of the peacock. Five people got out, concealed by dark trenchcoats, and hurried inside. A. W. followed them, noting the license plate of their car as she passed, and found herself in a darkened meeting room. Her senses tingled. Something wasn't right - she couldn't see the gunmen anywhere. She dove for cover just as the gunshots rang out, scoring her left earlobe. A. W. thought she might be able to take out five hit men - especially ones who weren't able to shake her after trying for half an hour - but she wasn't willing to take the chance, not while she was the only one who had any leads on the murder of T. T.. She fled towards the door, pursued by semiautomatic gunfire all the way, and sped off on her motorbike.

They scratched the paint.

Once she felt sure that none of the gunmen were following her, A. W. headed off to her base of operations, an abandoned bowling alley. There she was met by her two assistants - V. Y. and R. T.. They greeted one another affectionately, and then A. W. gave them their assignments. To R. T., A. W. gave the license number of the gunmen's car, ordering him to trace it. If the car was legal (not stolen), then it could be a valuable lead. V. Y. she ordered to investigate Yakuza activities in the area, hoping she could figure out which, if any, of the gangs were responsible. And then she went to her office, preparing her own investigation into the past of T. T..

Hours later, A. W. got a call from V. Y.. "Meet me at the old statue on Liberty and Prospect. Private - can't talk about it on the phone." Fifteen minutes later, she stood before him. V. Y. explained, "I've been talking to my contacts in the underground. Most of them couldn't say anything - or didn't dare to - but one, a Mssr. G., is willing to spill the beans on the yakuza hereabouts. I've arranged a meeting at the Haagen-Daaz, across the street. He'll meet us at the window seat furthest from the door."



Two fudge sorbets later, a large, bald man slid into the seat across from A. W. and V. Y.. "Look, I can't talk too long, but here's the skinny," he said quietly. "There are two main yakuza gangs with an arm around here - the Yakamoto and the Ishinaka. Now, the Yakamoto are mainly involved in dockside stuff, and the Ishinaka are mostly about the brothels and gambling dens, but they're always trying to muscle into each-other's turf."

The informant made to stand, but A. W. waved him down. "Is there any particular symbol that they use?"

He thought about it, and answered, "The Yakamoto, when they choose to use a symbol, generally use a colourful peacock's tail. Now, the Ishinaka... um..."

V.Y. shouted "Duck!" as a shadow fell over A. W., and glass sprayed over her as gunshots once more sprayed out. All three of them ducked under the table, V. Y. clutching her arm, and the informant clutching his belly - mortally wounded, A. W. quickly realized. "What is it? What is the Ishinaka symbol?", she urged him. With a look of confusion in his eyes, he answered "Don't... know..." and expired.

A. W. cautiously stood, looking out the window. In the distance, she could see the black car speeding off. As waitresses and other customers gathered around, A.W. and V.Y. pushed their way out the door and left for the office. On her return, A.W. was greeted by R. T. triumphantly waving a slip of paper in front of her. "I have it! This is the address of the gunmen's car's owner - a warehouse by the wharfs!"

They arrived at the warehouse forty minutes later, as dusk fell. The warehouse itself was locked and barred, but there was a ship moored just across from it. A. W. snuck onboard, as V. Y. and R.T. stayed behind to watch the car and cover her back.

The deck was deserted - whatever daylight activity occurred on the ship had ended, and the more clandestine transactions had not yet begun. A. W. found it easy to first jam the rear propeller with a mooring-line that she untethered (with V.Y.'s help), and then to hide as the night watch emerged. Unfortunately, she discovered that the Yakuza - including their leader, wearing a brightly-coloured peacock-tail ring - spoke Japanese, a language that R.T. understood, but that she did not. She attempted to go belowdecks, hoping to find evidence there, but jumped backwards and fled as she heard the leader shout as he spotted her - このやろ! Gunfire followed her as she dove off the deck, and as V.Y. and R.T. returned fire. She emerged on shore and, before joining the firefight (which grew as more yakuza joined the fight), made a quick call to 911.

When the first SWAT cars started arriving, the yakuza attempted to flee. The propellor was irreparably damaged, thanks to A. W.'s sabotage, and they made easy pickings as they dove into the water. They started surrendering soon after.

Around 3:00 in the morning, after police questioning, A.W., V.Y, and R.T. arrived once more in the bowling alley. A.W. sat down and, said, "I think I've figured it out."

"I was looking at T.T.'s case file - I'd been investigating him from the moment he came to me, looking for protection. I knew he'd been involved with something illegal, probably the mob. He'd worked as a dealer at several casino's - West, the Royal, a few others - but before that he worked at the docks - supposedly as a longshoreman, but I can't really see a body like his lifting any weights. No. Here's what I think happened. He was working for the Yakamoto, in whatever capacity - I don't know which, people are very reluctant to talk when that name comes up - but for whatever reason, he decided to switch sides and start working for the Ishinaka. Now, maybe he was spying for the Yakamoto at first, but if so he decided to double-cross the Yakamoto, because when he came to me looking for protection, he knew they were out for blood. I agreed to protect him - because I didn't realize just how shady his background was at the time - but he didn't tell me just how much they wanted him dead, and so I didn't realize that they'd send out a hit squad for him in broad daylight."

"Maybe he was hoping that the Ishinaka could protect him - he seemed nice enough, just in over his head - but he panicked and came to me when he realized that the Yakamoto were after him in earnest. I couldn't protect him, but his murderers are certainly going to jail now - along with the rest of that filthy bunch."

Smiling, A. Wong, Ace Investigator told V. Y. and R.T., "Tomorrow: the Ishinaka!"

Awakening: The Movie

BY NICHOLAS FEINBERG

(A dark room, with bed in corner, bare walls)
ROSHAN: Oh, where am I? Look, a space heater!
swings space heater, hitting his testicles in the process
crawls through the duct
REBECCA: oh hey it's you!

DAIMONE: hey let me come inside too
joins
applause

LATER:

ROSHAN: You freemasons! My kite will defeat you!
Kite transforms into fighting kite
and flies arond the room
and kills the king freemason

later, the DAIMON escapes and ravages the town

DAIMONE: ok
they do

THE END

Higashiōmi

It grows ever larger.

Higashiōmi is a city of man's nightmare. Once, when it was known as Yōkaichi City, it was a pleasant, tranquil place - a place in which children might play, and women and men might live happily together. But then the terrible grip of ambition reached out, and tore out Yōkaichi's heart. Mayor Ishikawa was rightfully elected to rule Yōkaichi - but he wanted more. He wanted more! In the name of simplicity, logic, divine right, he annexed town after town - Eigenji. Gokashō. Aitō. Kotō. And Yōkaichi, once a place united by common interests, became Higashiōmi, a city of division, split by assumptions unwarranted.

Resistance burgeoned. When Ishikawa reached further yet, he was stopped by the mayors of Notogawa and Gamō, who saw the darkness that had swept over Higashiōmi. They knew the demonic ambition that possessed Ishikawa's spirit. For two years, they held him off - but at last, on February 11th (the date of Japan's founding), Ishikawa took advantage of the festivities and slipped his agenda past the towns' guard. Notogawa and Gamō, too, fell within the burgeoning darkness.


The story still continues. Even now, the oni that possesses Ishikawa marshals his forces, preparing to expand Higashiōmi, most unrighteous of cities, further. Strike back! Protest the uncivilized expansion of Higashiōmi! Respectfully bring word to all appropriate authorities!

Only thus can the oni be stopped.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Our Lady of the Bicycle

Forever she bicycles, in the void without end. She pedals ever, clinging to her bicycle with long red hair streaming behind her, clad only in bravery and hope. But this is not where our tale begins.

Long ago, in the city of Avignon, the lady Amélie served in the household of the Pope - for in those times, the Popes lived not in Rome, but in Avignon. These were not Avignon's finest days, though, as the city grew corrupt under the weight of the wealth and power of the papal court. Amélie was a pure girl, untouched by the vice of Avignon. And she was revolted when an emissary of the Pope himself, touched by her beauty, demanded an assignation with her.

Amélie knew that in Avignon, there was nowhere that she could escape the Pope's demand. So she fled the city - first on foot, and then, fearing pursuit, on a bicycle given by a local shopkeeper entranced by her beauty.

Amélie fled Avignon, but she found that was not enough. Everywhere she bicycled, she was pursued by the crass and the venal, wishing Amélie to do rather improper things. And in the end, rather than sacrifice her innocence, Amélie bicycled straight off the world itself.

Now Amélie bicycles forever - in the void beyond the world, a place where time holds little meaning, she bicycles, waiting for a time when the world is pure enough to accept her. And in the meantime, we remember her - Our Lady of the Bicycle, the intercessor for any bicyclist of pure heart and good will. Forever clinging to her bicycle, in the endless screaming void.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Megazoomer

Oft-quoted from reluctant switchers is,
"I wish I could make Mac windows fullscreen."
Thankfully, in your Cocoa-based programs,
You can use Megazoomer for just that.
It hides the Menubar and blows each edge
Of frontmost windows up to hug the screen,
The Titlebar being above the view.
Combined with hiding your toolbars with View,
This lets you view Flash files in fullscreen.
Watch Strong Bad Emails like you watch TV!

Musical Outline

While listening to a particularly boring and repetitive lecture on CalTech's student life, a thought occurred to me - a musical! A mathematical musical! Swiftly, as the muse was upon me, I wrote and hummed and wrote. Alas, for the moment, my draft is vanished, lost from sight, but here is the outline, from memory.

Mathematics versus Mormonics - an epic musical in four songs and four scenes.

Scene/Song 1: Mathematics: Madness or Magnificence?
2: A Soul in Peril: Timmeraque vs. Moroni
3: I Threw Down my Enemy, and Smote His Ruin - Perhaps!
4: Reconciliation; or Even A Mormon (Mollusk?) Can Do It

Hot drinks are at the heart of the play, and David cameos frequently. The intended running time is <10 minutes.

The main problem with the whole affair is that I am not really a singer or a songwriter, and, as such, I'm not certain if the songs I write are really singable. (Though that's not a word.) So, when I recover my notes, I shall certainly have to consult among you to determine how exactly matters shall proceed, and notes shall be written.

I think that's all for the moment.

Wonders and Horrors

Truly, the end times cometh. In days past, my pater and I did venture into the Southern Void, an endless expanse of nothingness, through which thousands travel and none stay. Much was monotony and insignificance; but in this, emptiest of lands, fellow travelers were most often of note. Of these things, and more, do I speak - of these wonders and horrors, precursors to the end of things.

Was there a truck cab - such as might power the mightiest of eighteen-wheeled behemoths - that did, upon its back, carry other truck cabs, stacked one atop the other diagonally, like a half-dozen gigantic school chairs.

Was there a pond of tortoises beyond number, that did breed in the heart of California's Technology, and did aggress on our innocent selves.


Was there the Nixon, who did appear in the motel of our night's respite, and who was planted by the snake in the garden, my own father, who did deposit it in my unsuspecting book; was the Nixon, the trickiest of Dicks, fallen by error into the toilet, and then the trash; and was he born anew on the following day, traveling from his southern demesne even so far as my own home.

Was there another truck, an eighteen-wheeler in full, carrying a large van (or, possibly, a small truck) upon its own bed.

Of these things and more did we see - three-headed cows and five-legged dogs, a plague of locusts and a rain of blood - of these and more were in our path, but never did we fear, for the power of the Garage Door, handcrafted in the ways of old, was ever before us. And thus we needed not worry of any thing.

Friday, July 20, 2007

中文故事

你们要的
我就作的

浪漫是永远不会来到的目标。
我不知道怎么用电脑打这字。
所以这个要是点奇怪,那是
因为我的上次说中文是很多
年以前。昨夜,你们大家都
在Matthew的家的Desmond
说我应该给你们说点话,但
是我不知道说什么。所以现
在这就是我的话。完了。

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Proper Usage of a Mac Keyboard

(This post doesn't even mention Dvorak. CRAZY, HUH?)


Upon your first glance at a Mac keyboard,
You probably simply replaced Control
With Command, calling it Apple, without
Exploring all the things it lets you do.
If you experimented a whole lot,
You may now realize the scope of things,
But if you didn't, or you missed something,
Iambic Pentameter's here to help!

If you just made the switch to OS X,
You're probably wondering why the Mac
Needs five modifier keys, and how to
Remember what each of them does.
The key, pun unintentional, is found
Within each key's individual name.



The Command Key does one specific task.
The main one, it's self-explanatory.
It's represented by a Saint John's Arms,
Because common keys need to be pretty.

The Option Key gives you optional things;
Normally, this means special characters.
It's represented by a microswitch,
Because it switches an input's effect.

The Control Key is not used all that much.
It's used in tandem with clicking to give
A contextual menu. Control things!
It looks like an up arrowhead because
Violence is good means to gain control.

Function changes the function of some keys;
It simulates the number pad on 'Books,
And gives access to F1 through F12,
Preventing them from changing light and sound.
It's abbreviated in a nice font.

Shift makes something go the other way;
Shift-Space, for example, is like "Page Up",
Where Space, in web page contexts, is "Page Down".
It's represented by an up arrow,
To indicate the raising of the case.





You've probably seen many instances
Of 'Pokémon' being spelled improperly.
Many people, not knowing what to type
(That is, hold Alt, press 0233),
End up omitting Pokémon's accent
And from that, pronouncing it "Polkamon".

As a Mac user, you can help to stop
Such typos from tarnishing Nintendo!
Simply press Option-E followed by E,
And they'll all think you're a bigger nerd still.
For Spanish cuisine, Option-N's cool, too.

With all these Optional keyboard buttons,
Your emoticon library is huge!
Do not limit yourself to *pondering*
When hyphen-accent-underscore-accent-
Hyphen gets your point across much better: -`_´-
Bullet points, typable with Option-8,
Are also handy tools to get used to: ´•_•`

Mac OS X includes a fake keyboard
That you can use to find these fake buttons.
It's called Keyboard Viewer, and it is found
In the place you found Japanese input.
Add it to your Input Menu, and you
Can see a character before it's typed;
Hold Option, Shift, or both to see more keys!

Gaah! Once again, this post is way too long.

Vancelmar, King of Spirits (II)

Vancelmar, half-elven bastard and former student of magic, now led a vast army in a quest for ultimate power. Marching in from realms above the earth, in the exotic aether, they were as diverse as they were numerous: among Vancelmar's forces were ten battalions of Numinate darklings, five hundred heartshapers, a division of elementals (frost, fire, and cacophony), and the battered remnants of the elvish military; not to forget the miscellaneous minor demons with which Vancelmar had begun his rise to power. Marching under the strict control of Vancelmar and his lieutenants, the Shadow Lords, the army set its sights on Vancelmar's home of three and a half years: Kornan by the Waters.

The Lorn were recent arrivals to the land of Vancelmar's birth, having arrived from across the sea a mere thirty years ago. They established trade ties with their neighbors, exchanging technology and goods. By the time of Vancelmar's arrival, Kornan by the Waters (the centre of the Lorn presence on the continent) had become a bustling city, beginning to expand beyond the walls that had initially defined and protected it. Jerel Thriceslain, Vancelmar's former master, had been drawn to the city by its unique intermingling of lore foreign and local.

Kornan by the Waters was defended by a force of six hundred Lornish infantry and eighty cavalrymen. They died within hours of the attack, as Vancelmar's forces sacked the buildings outside the citadel and then swarmed over the walls without need of ladders or siege towers, overwhelming the unprepared defenders. As Vancelmar commanded from the rear of his force, his army slaughtered nearly every inhabitant of the prosperous city. Jerel Thriceslain was responsible for the escape of his students and a few other lucky survivors. As the city burned around him, he protected his charges from the chaos all around, and then held nearly two hundred darklings at bay while the refugee ships sailed to safety. Vancelmar arrived to find his mentor dead on the ground, surrounded by terrible carnage. He could have sent his elementals after the survivors, to finish the destruction: but some sense of justice stayed his hand. Vancelmar's desire was not to destroy, but to rule.

After the battle, he met with his officers in the soot-blackened throne room at the heart of the citadel, to discuss their conduct in future battles. Vancelmar explained that he wanted conquest, not destruction, and illustrated the point by executing one in ten of his officers.

The point was taken. Vancelmar's army moved south, sweeping like a wave of destruction and darkness through the tiny kingdoms and city-states that filled the continent. Their militaries, poorly organized and frequently hearing word of Vancelmar's coming only hours before the attack came, were slaughtered by the hundreds and the thousands. Civilian casualties, however, were light - Vancelmar's officers feared further punishment, and ordered the execution of any in their command indulging in wanton slaughter. Within five years, the continent which was once divided between no less than thirty-six independent nations (and, depending on whether certain dubious claims were believed, perhaps up to fifty) was now ruled by a single man: Vancelmar.

Vancelmar, for all the horror of his conquests, did not impose unduly on the lands he had conquered. He raised up governors for each territory from among the people of that land, carefully watched by incorruptible elemental guardians, and levied only a token tax - for after all, his army required no pay nor food. Bandits were destroyed with extreme prejudice, and it was only years after Vancelmar's great campaign begun, after the ambush at Riker's Pass, that he began to issue a levy of militia to supplement his somewhat diminished forces. Trade began to link the once-divided continent into a single whole, especially as Vancelmar's great conquest drew to a close. The unreal had become real.

At the end of the five years, when no opposition of note remained on the continent to challenge Vancelmar, he decided to climb once more into the upper aether, to ensure that his kingdom remained secure and to reinforce his otherworldly army, diminished by attrition. In his absence, he appointed the remaining eleven Shadow Lords (one slain by Vancelmar's hand after the debacle at Kornan by the Waters, two lost at Riker's Pass) to rule equally over the subjugated continent. Scarcely had Vancelmar begun his climb up the Fivefold Stairway, though, when Lorn troopships landed in the harbour of lifeless Kornan by the Waters. A force of sixteen thousand Lornish regulars marched on Vancelmar's kingdom in retribution for the atrocity now five years past - led by Jerel Thriceslain's apprentices, who Vancelmar had neglected to pursue in the name of mercy.

Their first battle was a defeat, as gibbering vindersnarks folded up the left flank of the Lornish army and forced retreat. The Shadow Lord commanding, however, failed to pursue the retreating Lornish force - afraid of another trap like the one that claimed the left side of its body three years before. The Lornish army used the respite wisely, devising an altogether new tactic - the placement of native flamethrowers, used normally as fixed defenses (ineffective against the fast-moving aetherical forces), on Lorn chariots. When next the Shadow Lord took the field against the Lorn expedition, it sent its troops swiftly toward the Lorn line, hoping to overwhelm them with speed and numbers; only to be hit from the rear by flame-spouting chariots. The militias broke and ran; the darklings and elementals fought to the death, surrounded and blasted by Thriceslain's apprentices.

Vancelmar's empire began to unravel even swifter than it was conquered. The southern Shadow Lords marched their garrisons north to fight the Lornish expedition, but before arriving were forced to march back again to quell a wave of insurrection. The central Shadow Lords each refused to bring troops north for one reason or another - disbelief that the Lorn force actually existed, unwillingness to act without approval from Vancelmar - leaving the northern Shadow Lords to fight - and lose - alone.

The Lorn knew from militia captives that Vancelmar would return, bringing reinforcements and his own not inconsiderable strength. No matter how many victories they won, time was running out. Thriceslain's apprentices concocted a daring plan - an ritual, at the spot that Vancelmar summoned the portals to bring his army to earth, that would banish the aetherical foes back to the heavens once more. For ten days the apprentices chanted a banishing spell of tremendous power, as the Lorn army dug in and repelled attacks from the Shadow Lords. At last, just as Vancelmar stepped through a portal into the centre of the apprentices' circle, the spell was completed. The Shadow Lords, the darklings, the elves and the heartshapers - all faded away as though they'd never been. A great barrier came into being, forever separating the aether from the earth. The first and last King of Spirits was no more.

And no more do the real and the unreal meet.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Nikolas-Tree

This story was inspired by Mr. Nicholas Feinberg, with whom I had an interesting internet conversation.

Young Desmond was walking home one day when he happened upon a strange tree which he had never before seen, and that bore a strange and exotic fruit. He gazed up, wondering about this giant fruit, covered in spikes, and almost a metre in diameter, which dangled precariously on its supple branch. Suddenly, seemingly by Zephyrus's intervention, the tree shook vigorously, swaying majestically in the breeze, until that most noble branch could not support the immense weight of the fruit any longer, severed its hinges and released its savage child to the awaiting earth below. The fruit soared, meteor-like, directly at Desmond's head. Hearing the wind tremble at the downward acceleration of the beast, his body instinctively darted out of the way. And thus there the Nikolas Tree no more stands swaying silently, the species' sole survivor burned to the ground by angry and terrified locals. Who knows? Perchance the fruits were edible. Perhaps they could have performed miracles.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Rain

Mia gasped in dismay as she looked up. The sky was full of rain-clouds! It was sure to pour soon. And little Mia had no rain-coat or umbrella to protect her! She hurried along the sidewalk, towards home.

As she hurried, she felt the first drop strike her head. It had started - and she was still two blocks away! The next drop hit her arm a moment later - but it felt odd. Sort of... tingly.

Curious, Mia paused and waited. Another drop struck her on the nose, which tingled gently. And sure enough, right in front of her eyes, a raindrop floated, unmoving!

Startled, Mia jerked backwards, and the raindrop burst, vanishing. But now she was really curious. She held out an arm, and as the rain intensified, sure enough, a field of raindrops appeared, hovering just on top of Mia's skin. She carefully drew her arm back, and watched, entranced, as the raindrops hovered peacefully in midair - until a hurrying man brushed carelessly through them and ruined it. Mia's face fell - and then she smiled. She could play with the rain at home! She ran straight for home, smiling as the rain tingled on her skin.

Mia let herself in the front door and ran straight out to the back - she knew her parents wouldn't be home until dinner-time, so she had all the time she needed to play. She danced around the backyard, enjoying the tingling and the sight of the raindrops hitting her skin - and then she had an idea. As the rain intensified, becoming a torrential downfall, Mia cupped both hands. They quickly filled with rain, and when Mia lowered her hands, two little dishes of rain hovered there in midair! Mia clapped with glee. Carefully, she cupped both hands together and moved them slowly through the air, sketching the letter "M" in the air. Then she followed this with an "i" (with a bit of a blurry dot), then a rather indistinct "a." Still, Mia was understandably pleased.

Now Mia decided to move onto ever grander things. Holding both arms out straight into the rain, she began to 'sketch' a long cylinder. After a little bit, she satisfied herself with the size and carved little crenelations out of the top. She had a tower!

Then Mia noticed something. The rain seemed to make her less tingly now - and, looking at the "Mia" she had written, she noticed that it was slowly slipping towards the ground.

Mia decided to test. First, she held both arms out again, making a large sheet of water. Rain spilled off it like a roof, creating a tiny waterfall. But Mia noticed that her name - and the tower, too - were slipping down even faster.

Then Mia tucked both arms away inside her shirt. Nothing seemed to happen - her rain-sculptures continued to fall at the same rate.

Mia thought. Her newfound talent was vanishing! Should she try to preserve it? Or should she just have fun right now? She stood in her backyard, very solemn and completely soaked. She thought and thought.

By the time her parents got home, there was no sign that any of it had ever happened.

Circumstances

This was also Kelsey's idea.

Kelsey: LOL!

17:28 me: 着く次第ペ**のサンドを食べる
Kelsey: The sand of the circumstance p**** which arrives is eaten
17:29 You should write a story on that.
me: LオL
Kelsey: Then change 'p****' to 'Desmond' at the last minute.
me: 。。。
17:30 Kelsey: You know, for censorship.
Censorship is important.

One day, a brave adventurer packed up his knapsack and set off on his grand aeroplane to the desert, where he crash-landed...on his crotch. "Oh, man this circumstance sucks!" he exclaimed as he fell into a sand dune, whimpering in pain.

ケルシはいろんな町に住んでいました。貧乏な周囲に生まれたら、大体飛行機を飛ばしてはいけません。だけど、ケルシは勇気がありました。

Monday, July 16, 2007

ケルシの物語

ある日ケルシとインタネットで話す時、彼が「ごぜんななじさんじゅよんにニコラスがうちでちゃおたべます。」とびっくり言いました。ちょっと変だったので、悪く翻訳した文をちゃんと見ました。そして、「午前7:34ニコラスがうちでお茶を飲みました。」は意味だと思います。この後はケルシの物語。

相変わらす北に不気味な国にはその不思議な若者ニコラスがこの世界へ出かけました。祭りだった。変だった。ニコラスが死んだ。

The Kronnikles of Desmond (The Found Chronicles)

I discovered this in some school papers I was going through. I recall David at some point typing up some Chronicles of Desmond and bringing them to school. Somehow, I ended up with these. Enjoy. Who put "SEX" here?

The Kronnikles of Desmond

Preface
Desmond wasse bourne in Iselande, and he wasse Deade.

Chapter 1
In the towne of Kraoukosse, in the stonne~walled harbour of Kreofasfo, a young man was bourne to the neighbourhoode boot~cobblerer, and whene it wasse diskovered, thate he wasse a sinister lade, they became infurated with the Father, Mr. Gaspodfk, and they stoned him with stones, that he died. Ande it became so that younge Desmonde wasse raissed in a farme~housese, for that was the Livingsroom of his Grande~Jathere, who wasse a greate faurmer of Turnippes, and so happened to come a greatre Boon in the Season, for young Desmonde soued the seedes of Turnippes, which had been Enchantede, and thus were greate in its Meate, and Fleshe, and thus became his Legacy, as a Greate Trrnippe~Faurmerre.
And it came to pass, that the Archebishoppe, Turpin, whose favourite foode wasse Turnippes, visied the Faurme, for he had heard of the turnippes, which had growne of its Meate, and Fleshe, and had become quite savoury. And it came to pass, that the Archebishoppe, haveing Journeyed to Taste the Turnippes, had found Desmond, the Blessed Child, who had been enchamted withe Magicks, and thus was a Wissard, and he disided, that he be trainede, and it was good.
And so, Desmond came to be trained by the Archebishoppe, who had many times taught him the way of the Sworde, and so he had gotten the skille also of Magicks, and he had Spelles, to Caste, and he did skillfully, and it was good.

Chapter 2
In the mountain kaves, at Afoajsd, there lived a rat~manne, who was kinge, as welle, of the Rattes, and who was Knowned as Nikoulasse. The rat~man, who prossessed greate Skill and Staminae, and had Magick Powers, was not a cool man. He was to duel
adAL:sdjalsjdlasjdja;lsjdl;asjld;jas;ldj;alsdj;


to be continued...

In the Pits

Jordan was walking into a trap.

He had been sent into the caverns to uproot a particularly nasty cult: the Aum Shinrikyo, which had established a presence underground. They'd been ignored for decades, even after they successfully launched a deadly nerve gas attack, but when reliable intelligence reports suggested that they had developed a nuclear bomb, the government finally decided to act. They sent their best into the tunnels: Three power-armoured elites, extensively trained in stealth, unarmed combat, and marksmanship, and equipped with the best gear that the military possessed. Their mission: to find the bomb and activate it in the Aum Shinrikyo tunnels, neutralizing two threats at once.

The cultists were surprisingly well-armed, but they were no match for Jordan and his squadmates; their weapons fire bounced off power armour, and their communications (especially as the team penetrated deeper into the tunnels) were too poor to allow them to concentrate enough troops at any location to stop Jordan's squad before they were already past. After five hours of erratic fighting and searching, the elites found the bomb. Their tech expert, Yoshina, armed the bomb, set a timer and a few nasty traps for anyone who tried to tamper with it, and then the team left for the surface. Opposition had been relatively light on the way back up - it appeared that the cultists saw little purpose in attacking when the damage had been done, and some of their hired guns might have already started defecting. Now, though, Ryozo had noticed unusual vibration readings in his HUD; quickly confirmed by Jordan and Yoshina. Enemies were coming from all sides - and in numbers.

Jordan turned as he saw a flicker in the corner of his eye. Ambush begun appeared on top of his vision, and so Jordan was unsurprised as three quadrupedal, steel-plated biomods shot out of the tunnel mouth at high speed. The air around him filled with gunfire, quickly muffled by Jordan's armour compensating for the noise, as Jordan and his squadmates tore loose with every weapon in their considerable arsensal. Jordan himself was armed with two heavy chainguns (one mounted to each forearm), a chest-mounted rocket-propelled grenade launcher, and a silenced pistol; that last currently lying on the ground, as it lacked the power to even dent the biomods' armour. Jordan was driven backward several steps by his chainguns' recoil, forced back-to-back with his two squadmates.

Inhumanly accurate, his shots found the tiny seams between the biomods' armour plates, blasting them apart and ripping through their internal organs. The first of the biomods fell within moments under the punishment of Jordans' guns; the other two charged, knowing that their only chance was in melee. Jordan flicked the central switch in his helmet with his chin, and with a deep chunk, his RPG launcher fired, blasting another of the biomods back and stunning it for a split second, long enough for his chainguns to fix on its stationary, vulnerable seams and finish the job.

Two seconds had passed since the ambush began; enough time for the surviving biomod to cross the fifteen meters initially separating it from Jordan. Jordan threw up his right arm just in time to cushion the blow from the biomod's impact, which nonetheless drove him to his knees. With a sound like a whip cracking, Jordan's left arm shot out to throttle the biomod; but it met him with its own equally quickly. For a moment their eyes met. Each was a product of the pinnacle of human technology; the biomod a testament to genetic engineering and transhuman surgery, and Jordan himself encased in armour with strength, speed, and durability surpassing anything that came before.

Then, with an earthshaking roar (deafening even with the noise filtering Jordan's helmet provided), everything went dark. The biomod scurried off swiftly; seizing his chance to escape, as (Jordan noted) all of his comrades were dead. All of Jordan's electronics had gone offline: the radio that allowed him to communicate with his squadmates, the night-vision that let him see easily in the dimly-lit tunnels, and the servomotors that amplified his movements and made the suit feel as light as casual wear. Quietly, Ryozo asked, "You too?" Yoshina and Jordan replied, equally quietly, "Yes." Someone had tampered with the bomb; they'd managed to get past Yoshina's first safeguard, an electric shock, and had stumbled into her second: a trigger that detonated the nuke. Nothing else could explain the concussion a moment ago, or the electromagnetic pulse that had penetrated the thick EMP shielding around all of the team's electronics.

After a minute's pause - using hand signals not practiced since training camp to avoid being heard - the three elites started walking again, in what they could only hope was the right direction, lacking access to their onboard mini-maps. Twice, they encountered fleeing cultists, now moving faster than the encumbered team. The Aum Shinrikyo fled readily when Jordan opened fire on them, but most survived to cause problems for the forces guarding the known exits - or to escape through one that the military missed.

Throughout the fights, Jordan felt that he was being watched, and signaled such to Yoshina and Ryozo. Moments later, Jordan was smashed to the ground, pinned by a biomod who was ripping at Jordan's shoulder joint with incredible speed and strength, undeterred by the chaingun fire from Jordan's squadmates. With a terrible screech, the joint in Jordan's armour came apart, and the biomod had already begun to reach in (presumably to tear out Jordan's throat) when he was knocked back by a blast that left Jordan's ears ringing. One of Jordan's squadmates had managed to manually fire an RPG. The biomod looked at the three of them for a moment, then vanished in the tunnel beyond. Presumably, it didn't like its chances without the advantage of surprise, even with their electronics clearly disabled.

Yoshina and Ryozo helped Jordan to his feet with no little difficulty. The grenade had left his ears ringing, and he suspected that there was shrapnel in the wound - not to mention possible internal injuries from the explosion. Clumsily, he signaled Up first. The other two nodded, their helmets making it impossible to tell any expression. They walked up the sloping tunnel, two looking forward, the other looking back, keeping a careful watch.

A half-hour later, they found a familiar area - in pitch darkness, near to the surface enough to be fortified and unlit, it was nonetheless recognizable for the wooden support beams spaced three meters apart - a contrast to the better finished inner tunnels. Jordan found himself frequently stepping on corpses as he walked. He tried not to notice. They were close to the exit now.

A voice came from the darkness - impossible to tell where. "I would like to talk with you, as civilized people do." It spoke the language perfectly. "If I attack you now, maybe you will die, maybe I will die. Someone will get injured, whatever happens, and that will make no-one happy. I was hired to assist the Aum Shinrikyo, along with my siblings, but they have clearly lost now. I am not stupid. I do not wish to die. If you will agree to provide me with protection, once you leave the tunnels, I will not attack you. Just lower your weapons, and I will approach to talk about details."

After a pause, Yoshina shouted out, "Agreed." The team pointed their chainguns toward the floor and waited. Jordan knew that unregistered biomods were illegal - standing orders were to kill any found, to discourage their spreading use. They were, after all, easier to clone and cheaper to maintain than power-armoured warriors, and nearly as effective - and thus a destabilizing force, if their proliferation continued. But perhaps this mercenary biomod didn't know of the standing orders - or perhaps he thought that something could be worked out.

Then, as Yoshina and Ryoko fell backwards together and the biomod smashed Jordan, lifting his chainguns all too slowly, back to the ground, Jordan realized: Perhaps not.

But, even as the surface patrol, securing the tunnels now that the better part of the Aum Shinrikyo's forces were annihilated by the nuclear blast and the collapses that followed, tore the biomod apart with computer-aimed chaingun fire, Jordan felt a twinge of pity.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Brian in the Wilderness

There was once a large beetle, named Brian. Brian lived in the thriving city of Bangkok. He preyed on smaller beetles on the many heaps of trash throughout Bangkok. Brian was a very happy beetle!

One day, though, Brian did a very bad thing. On a great holiday, celebrating Thailand's independence, the patron deity of the city, Vishnu, walked the streets. He was very pleased with what he saw, and blessed the city in the spirit of the day. Then suddenly Vishnu felt a pain in his ankle! He looked down, and saw Brian there, biting him viciously. Silly Brian! Deities aren't food!

Vishnu was very angry. This wasn't in the spirit of the day at all! To Brian, he said, "For ruining the celebration, I curse you. You will be killed, staked up, and embalmed in a small case for all of time. This shall be your punishment." Then Vishnu left in a very bad mood!

Brian was not very happy! What was to become of him now? Fearfully, he hid in a corner. But a souvenir vendor found him! He was killed, staked up, and embalmed in a small case. Then he was sold to an American tourist and shipped across the Pacific, where he rested in the same place, in the corner of a dimly-lit room, for many, many years.

Moral: Don't destroy the spirit of Thai Independence Day!

Post-Script: He's kind of smelly, actually. It's the preservatives.

Of Nikolas Manor

this post was typed entirely in dvorak, lol

In the beginning, there was a great Nikolas upon the land, just sprawled out on the ground. Then, the local townsfolk came and declared it to be a national landmark. But the Nikolas was very displeased with it. Therefore, they burned it down to the ground. Now, the spirit of the Nikolas still haunts the manor. And they say, that today, on the anniversary of the great burning, Nikolas comes out and laughs at you. HAHAHAHAH!

Kelsey was a small boy who lived in the woods. Not the deep woods, mind you, but on the outskirts. One day, he was attacked by the wood elves.

Friday, July 13, 2007

これはニコラス、大天自由国会議最高神紙竜鼠人民王国大丈夫神天侯国大人小人社長部長酒王人高校大学人大時代無理料理年上楓葉楓木枝大気天地星空山川峰谷雲霧室苔悲厳叙事詩, or, Nikolas, King of Spirits

大天自由国会議最高神紙竜鼠人民王国大丈夫神天侯国大人小人社長部長酒王人高校大学人大時代無理料理年上楓葉楓木枝大気天地星空山川峰谷雲霧室苔悲厳叙事詩,

汚くて小さかった町には未来の一番お酒を売る人のニコラスがそろそろ生まれました。ああ!ニコラスはあそこでいます。ニコラスさんは、お酒を作る人になりたがりました。だけど、大体ちょっと下手だったから、決して大成功ではありませんでした。そして、悲しそうでした。魔法を作っている狐が来て、ニコラスにお酒の作る方を教えてあげました。ニコラスはたくさん練習しました。久しぶり、とても上手になりました。それから、うれしくなりました。でも、不思議な物の何かが出ました。

終わり

Thursday, July 12, 2007

ケルシのミニパーティ

火曜日フィシャさんに会ったり、ゲームをしたりするために、私たちはケルシの家に行きました。最初、私は一番着いたが、その後でニコラスとロランドも自転車の上に見られました。3人が一緒に部屋を入りました。そして、ケルシの小さすぎたテレビでいろいろなゲームをたくさん楽しみました。デビンさんも来ました。フィシャとメイプルクエスト遊びました。ケルシのお母さんは私たちにピザを焼いていただきたがったのに、家に帰らなければならないので、ケルシの家族に「さようなら」と言って、帰りました。何だか、そのままで。

終わり

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Afloat

Afloat is implemented with a hack,
But all the Mac-tweakers agree it's safe.
It lets you use windows in three new ways.
You can adjust their transparency, keep
Windows always on the top layer, and
Use a window as a tracing image
By rendering impossible to click.
This helps if you want to keep chatting with
Some frood while switching applications, or
You want to look at something behind the
Current window by fading it to naught.

Vancelmar, King of Spirits

In older times, the separation between the real and unreal was less sharp than it is today. Creatures of the upper aether commonly wandered our lowly earth, and students of the occult found the power to climb into the very heavens, therein to commune with unearthly creatures and powers.

One such student was the half-elven Vancelmar. He was born from a joining of the material and the ethereal, an encounter fleeting by nature. Vancelmar grew up longing to see his father, and hoping that he would one day visit Vancelmar's mother again. But he never did, and Vancelmar became increasingly convinced that he would need to gain the knowledge necessary to escape the earth's clutches and visit his father on his own accord.

Thus Vancelmar sought out a teacher, a hedge wizard of middling skill, studying with him for two years and abandoning him once he had learned everything the man had to teach. Again Vancelmar traveled in search of a suitable master, once nearly losing his life to bandits who numbered an occultist of their own. Spared by chance alone, Vancelmar emerged from the encounter sans most of his possessions, and came to the Lorn citadel of Kornan by the Waters barefoot and hungry. He was taken in by Jerel Thriceslain, widely considered the greatest wizard of the age, who trained Vancelmar in exchange for fealty and service. Vancelmar studied the arts under Jerel for three years more before he was deemed worthy to first climb into the upper aether.

Underneath the light of three full moons, Vancelmar conjured the Fivefold Stairway, and began the long ascent. He climbed for a time both interminable and fleeting; the nature of reality being worse-defined then, it is true both to say that he climbed for ninety and nine days, or that same sum of minutes. He neither tired nor hungered nor thirsted. Wonders and horrors presented themselves to him on all sides, just beyond reach from the stairway: lush gardens and abyssal chasms. Vancelmar's heart was set on his goal: to finally meet his father. And it was said that in the realms of the unreal, one's power was limited only by will and knowledge. By virtue of both, Vancelmar ended his climb exactly where he wished to arrive: at the gates of Sain-Kentailoth, realm of the aetherial elves.

Vancelmar wandered Sin-Kentailoth, finding it deserted, save for small pests defeated with ease. At length, he found a missive left on the grass, explaining that Vancelmar was the result of a casual dalliance. The elves (not excluding, the note noted, Vancelmar's father), being of a superior race, did not care to waste their time dealing with Vancelmar, and therefore did choose to show themselves to him. They would not have left this note, Vandelmar read on with increasing indignation, but the sight of him offended their stomachs somewhat.

Vancelmar was enraged by the elves' offhand spurning of Vancelmar's lifelong ambition. Deciding not to return to the earth below (where his master still expected Vancelmar's return), he set a new goal for himself: he would dominate the aether itself, gaining power until even the haughty elves declared him their master.

Setting out at once, Vancelmar began hunting down minor creatures of the aether, pressing them into his service. Those he could not co-opt, he destroyed, sucking their souls into himself and augmenting his already formidable talents thereby. The aetherial realms, in those days, were enmeshed in perpetual chaos, rendered disorganized by the ever-shifting aether; and thus Vancelmar was able to mount his campaign with scant resistance. Forcing his will upon the very aether, Vancelmar created a stable Kingdom for himself, which he ruled with an iron hand. He launched relentless campaigns, crushing the Numinate with a horde of were-goblins, annihilating the Realm of Twilight and thereby co-opting the Shadow Lords to his service, and (after two disastrous campaigns) placing even Sain-Kentailoth under his iron heel. Vancelmar's own father knelt to give him homage, surrounded by Vancelmar's honor guard of Shadow Lords and Elementals.

Vancelmar had achieved all he dreamed of and more; yet his ambition, fueled by his power-hungry lieutenants, knew no limits. Summoning a half-dozen swirling portals to the surface he had left (subjective) years ago, Vancelmar, King of Spirits, led his legions onto the vulnerable earth below on a campaign of total subjugation; the greatest army the world has ever seen, before or since.

The fate of Vancelmar, his followers, and his foes is a tale for another day.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

more fanfiction

AWAKINGING XVI by NICHOLAS FEINBERG

I, Roshan, having been born of goodly parents, yea, I do go out and killed the daimone. I go into the hospital. The Other Roshan Because he is in the wrong time. No wait, he just got sent to his time through a magic portal. I hope he is happy there. Now time to do the womon.

I am recovered. Everything is back to normal. I go into the Chop-bar and get a burrito. Womon is next to me. *removed for mormonic sensibilites*

What now?



Monday, July 09, 2007

Awakening XV

The daimone charges toward me at high speed, chips of asphalt flying up behind its spiked feet. I shout to Roshan, "Distract it - I need time!", and he nods. I remember the giant's words, only hours past: "With horrific sacrifice, they bound it tightly..." I don't have any innocents to sacrifice - nor would I - so I must find something that will serve in its stead. Hoping that the syntax isn't too rigid, I begin: "Foul daimone, by my words and deeds you are here bound."

A shadow falls over me, and I look up. The daimone towers above me, staring malevolently. In that ever-so-sultry voice, it informs me, "You've run out of time, littl-" Roshan rudely interrupts it with a thick steel rebar he picked up when I wasn't looking, knocking the daimone several feet to the side. It snarls and turns toward him, saying "Two of you?"

I continue the ritual. Picking up a piece of glass on the flame-lit street, I intone, "With blood I bind you, blood for the blood you have spilled." I slice it across my chest; compared to the pain of my... stump, I hardly notice. Blood wells up, spilling onto the ground. Roshan shoots past my view, crashing into a pile of rubble. I hear snapping, and wince. The daimone stalks toward him.

Looking toward the other side of the street, where victims lay sprawled like toys, a tear trickles down my cheek. I carefully scoop it up with a finger and press it into the pool of blood growing beneath me. "With tears I bind you, tears for the anguish you have caused." As the daimone plucks Roshan up from the rubble, hands coming toward him to rip him apart, a shot rings out, jerking the daimone sideways. Dropping Roshan instantly (who is in no shape to attack again), it whirls and charges.

I reach into the car and pull out, with no little disgust, my roughly-severed arm. Holding it before me, I say, "And with loss I bind you, a sacrifice for that which you force on your victims!" The daimone blurs across my vision, charging Rebecca, clearly no longer in a mood to toy with us. I drop the arm, my last hope to resume the life I'd lived before, falling into the pool of blood and tears. It hits the surface just as the daimone's outstretched hand touches Rebecca's throat. I cry out, "Stop!", but there's no need - the daimone is frozen in place.

It curses me as I approach, saying, "Do you think you can bind me with such pitiful sacrifices? Those you emulate sacrificed thirty innocent souls to me to gain mastery over me - and see how that served them! You cannot hope to hold me for long. Surrender now, and your death will be... quick."

I look at it. I'm weak from blood loss, missing an arm, and somewhat sleep deprived. I turn to Rebecca and tell her, "Shoot it in the brain and the heart until it dies." She walks up to it and feels its blood-spattered chest for a pulse. Finding one, she levels her pistol inches away and fires.

She fires: once. Twice. Thrice. She alternates, switching from the head to the heart with every shot. The wounds are surprisingly clean. Its healing still operates, and the edges of the wounds begin to close up within seconds, but its agility was its greatest armor. After the seventh shot, it slowly topples over, forcing Rebecca to back up quickly to avoid being crushed. She walks to where it has fallen and continues firing: eight, nine, ten. Cautious, but hardly unwarranted. After the eleventh shot, the daimone stops twitching. After the twelfth, Rebecca runs out of ammo.

Roshan and I walk over to Rebecca. I don't know how he can walk. He's clearly broken bones, and from the fall he's taken, he might have some internal trauma as well. Then again... he could say the same for me. Wordlessly, we lean on Rebecca, lacking the strength to stand any longer on our own.

Eventually, I realize that sirens are blaring behind me. I turn and look. Sure enough, police cars, fire engines, ambulances: the lot. All behind us. I don't know how long they've been there. I wave weakly, and shout, "Could you get us to the hospital? I'm not feeling my best."

The Freemasons lived in a dream - a dream where power and wealth justified anything. A dream where their vile sacrifices to fuel the Heart could produce some good result. A dream wherein, even while summoning daimones and committing mass murder, they could do no wrong. It was a dream they took with them to their deaths, but a dream which, with the release of the daimone they summoned, could have lived on beyond them.

For me, this has all been one long nightmare, of terror and pain and loss. And only now am I finally awakening.

The Rise of King Kessler Act III: Draft Submission

The Rise of King Kessler: A Short Play by Nicholas Feinberg

ACT III


SCENE I

Setting: In the deep woods, midday.

Cast: TOWNSMAN 1, TOWNSMAN 2, PINK SLIME, TOWNSFOLK EXTRAS

(TOWNSMAN 1 and TOWNSMAN 2 lead TOWNSFOLK EXTRAS into the forest. They hold all manner of weapons, potions, and enchanted nets. PINK SLIME opposite.)

TOWNSMAN 1: Ready the nets, men! It approaches!

TOWNSMAN 2: Yea, in all the tales told, none could say of a thing so hideous!

(TOWNSFOLK EXTRAS charge with the nets, while TOWNSMAN 1 and TOWNSMAN 2 attack and throw potions at PINK SLIME.)

(The battle rages.)


SCENE II

Setting: In the deep woods, at nighttime.

Cast: TOWNSMAN 1, TOWNSMAN 2, PINK SLIME, BEAR-WEASEL, PINK-SLIME-BEAR-WEASEL, TOWNSFOLK EXTRAS

(TOWNSFOLK EXTRAS hold the pink slime in enchanted nets. TOWNSMAN 1 and TOWNSMAN 2 lead the party. BEAR-WEASEL on the opposite side, vicious.)

TOWNSMAN 2: We got it, Captain! We got the Pink Slime! Ready for launch!

TOWNSMAN 1: Launch it! Do it quick now and launch the bloody thing!

(PINK SLIME hurls at incredible speed towards BEAR-WEASEL. They combine into one entity.)

(PINK-SLIME-BEAR-WEASEL is formed. Resembles BEAR-WEASEL, but pink, and much more ferocious. Drips slime from tendrils occasionally.)

PINK-SLIME-BEAR-WEASEL: Groooooah! Yea, the powers that hath now infuseth throughout my body granteth to me unimaginable powers! For this I shall grant upon thee a request of your choice.

TOWNSMAN 1: We have only one possible want: for you to attack the Ratte-Kingdom at its heart!

PINK-SLIME-BEAR-WEASEL: Very well. It shall be done! Groooooah!

(Runs off. Loud attacking noised can be heard. Clamour throughout.)

TOWNSMAN 1: Yes! Haha! It worked perfectly! Even now the Ratte-Armie is retreating over to assist their capital! With them gone it shall be simple for Kessler’s troops to take Isse-Lande!

(All rejoice. Then run off and take Isse-Lande.)


SCENE III

Setting: In Isse-Lande. The new rebel-held capital at League of Desmond City. The City is scarred with battle, but fighting has subsided.

Cast: KESSLER, WOOD-ELF, TOWNSMAN 1, TOWNSFOLK EXTRAS

(Crowd cheers. Isse-Landic Flags are waved about. Kessler speaks from platform.)

KESSLER: Yea, the Ratte-Kinge and his evil forces have now totally withdrawn from Isse-Lande. We are now free!

(Crowd cheers.)

TOWNSMAN 1: You have led us through out toughest battles, and rallied our troops on to victory. The General Assembly cannot find a more capable king for our new nation. Will you accept this position we bestow upon you?

KESSLER: Yea. I humbly accept the Kingdom of Isse-Lande, and pledge to be ever just, and fair, and benevolent to our peaceful citizenry.

(Crowd cheers.)

KESSLER: (Nervously.) And yea, there is one last point to address...in the time of being King, there is yet a great position left unfulfilled. Indeed, you have comforted me in times of great distress, brought me guidance, and great compassion, yea, in all veracity, I do pledge my love to you...will you honour me by becoming my Queen?

WOOD-ELF: (Surprised.) Why...Yes! Of course! Ha!

(They continue talking, inaudible to camera.)

(Crowd Cheers.)


SCENE IV

Setting: In the background of Kessler’s speech.

Cast: CHILD DESMOND, CHILD MATTHIAS

(CHILD DESMOND and CHILD MATTHIAS are seen talking in the background.)

CHILD DESMOND: Hey! Matthias! The Ratte-Kingdom is evil in its ways. I’m so afraid they might try to retake Isse-Lande eventually...

CHILD MATTHIAS: Oh, do not be absurd! We are free!

CHILD DESMOND: (Playfully.) Hmm...I’m gonna train extra hard to defend Isse-Lande!

CHILD MATTHIAS: (Skeptically.) Yea, who knows, you might be a great hero someday...

(Freeze frame.)

(Text appears on screen, “AND IT WAUSSE GOODE.”)

(Fade out.)

(Credits.)

TO BE CONTINUED...BACKWARDS...