Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Metroid pumpkin!

Inspired by this image, I set out to make my own Metroid pumpkin.


Of course, being me, I did this with power tools. Specifically, a dremel.


Pumpkin sprayed everywhere in a fine mist. Under the high temperatures of the dremel (which was cooled by an ice-pack between use), some of the pumpkin actually melted. (Observe the bottom edge of the dremel.)


Completed, it rests tamely in my hands. It doesn't really glow, sadly - the dremel carved insufficiently deeply, and the candle inside was too dim - but the point is made.


It lurks in the dark, ready to suck the life from passers-by. Hope you have an Ice Beam ready!

HALLOWOMONS

Lo, a David was lost in the forest, and the woods. And it was a dark night - lo, it was a mid-night! - on the witchiest night of the year. And he was much afraid.

Lo, did he hear the sound of voices, and did he approach them; and they were Womons. And he did cower, but they spoke to him in kind words and kind voices, and he was lured into their darkened home. And lo, they did shut the door behind him; and it did lock.

And lo, this David was much afeared; but the womons did soothe him with kind words and kind voices and gentle looks and gentle touches. And it was dark, and night; and he did lay himself down to rest.

And then came the vagina dentata; and never again was any word heard of young David Zhang.

War-Dancing!

The heroine stepped gracefully down the slope. It was covered in loose scree, and it would be all too easy for one pebble to start a rockslide. Her steps were light and precise, and not even one rock budged as she walked downward; but then she felt a blow as a rock hit her from above. She saw nothing; but, through her feet, she felt a rattling in the ground. Heedless now, she ran down the mountainside, careless of the stones that tumbled with her. The rattling grew stronger, and soon was audible: a rhythmic, fast-paced thumping, issuing from the earth itself.

At the bottom, the heroine stopped and waited, ignoring the rocks showering down on her. No boulders came near her. On a neighboring mountainside, where her gaze was fixed, a whirling metal shape appeared. It thumped and tromped as it neared the heroine, slowly gaining definition and shape: a cylinder of dull metal, cut in swirling patterns. Machinery whirred inside. It came to a stop before the heroine. A third its height and a hundredth its weight, she stared up at it fearlessly.


It kneeled down to look at her. "I am the War-Dancer. Why are you in my mountains?"

The heroine responded confidently, "I wanted to cross to the other side."

The War-Dancer laughed; a harsh, buzzing laugh. "Of course you did. And what would happen were I to ignore your trespass, and let you pass through unharmed?"

"Why, I should remember your ambush and murder of fellow travelers, and be forced to take revenge," the heroine said, somewhat smugly.

"Well, then," the War-Dancer said, and began to whirl, stomping with a distinctive, heart-pounding beat. The heroine found her foot tapping, and stopped herself, bracing for action. Flashing metal spat out of the War-Dancer's top, then spun away, whirling a humming counterpoint. The War-Dancer spun toward the heroine, raising a foot to crush her almost before she realized that she was under attack-

The heroine, slightly dusty, came to her feet as the War-Dancer finished its spin. It asked, politely, "Pardon - was there a bit of a gap there for you?"

"There always is," the heroine answered, watching the War-Dancer more carefully. Her smirk was gone. "It's my - talent. When I'm attacked, sentience lapses. I've trained myself so that my body will take over, evading attacks. But memory can't cover the gap."

"That makes no sense," the War-Dancer complained in its buzzing voice, shifting from side to side.

"It makes perfect sense," the heroine retorted.

Spitting out two more shards of metal from its top, the War-Dancer asked: "What happens if I do this?" The shards turned in midair and flew at the heroine, aiming for the heart -

Metal dust floated down to the ground, sparkling in the afternoon light.

"That's impossible," the War-Dancer stated flatly.

The heroine raised her hands palms-up. "Judging from the scrapes, I think I grabbed both of them and smashed them into each other over and over again. They cut themselves to pieces." She sounded - surprised - hurt. Blood dripped slowly from her lacerated hands.

The War-Dancer began to spin up again, massive metal feet stomping rocks into pieces. The heroine backed away, but the War-Dancer made no move to attack. Instead, it asked in its inhuman voice, "And what, impossible girl, happens if you are attacked by something that you cannot dodge?"

The heroine looked around, her eyes darting. Her reserved poise was entirely gone now. She heard a high, humming counterpoint to the War-Dancer's thumping beat - then she saw flashing metal. Spinning about quickly, she saw more; on all sides of her, approaching by the War-Dancer's summons. She froze-

The heroine smashed the glowing crystal against the War-Dancer's metal shell. It shattered, keening, and the metal shards fell to the ground. The War-Dancer was broken. From within its body, the heroine watched the War-Dancer come to a slow, stumbling halt, falling tilted onto the slope. It watched her; crystal lenses focusing on her from inside the shell. "You've killed me." it said, buzzing.

Saying nothing, the heroine tried to regain her bearings. Unsteadily, she stood up, and began climbing out of the War-Dancer.

It spoke again. "I - took precautions, this time. Not enough. But. I set a - recording - meme - to watch. To remember." A harsh, grating noise that might have been intended as a laugh issued from a set of mis-matched gears. The heroine snatched her hand back, and found another hand-hold, clambering upward.

"You - when you are - attacked. You are not the same - person. One body. Two minds." The lenses swiveled to watch the heroine as she reached the rim of the War-Dancer's body, and jumped off to the rocky slope below. She knew they were watching her still, through the slots in its body.

"My kin will be - warned," the War-Dancer said, its voice quieting with every pause. Gears slowed to a halt, pistons locked in place. "They will - know. You - impossible girl - one day, you will give up your body, and you will not get it back."

The heroine walked away, climbing the opposite slope. Her face was impassive. As the sun moved through the sky, she vanished over the ridgeline. The War-Dancer moved not at all.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Guide for those New to the Blog

The first thing that a new reader should know that this is a blog of friends. They post on it together, for their own reasons, telling fantastic tales of strange events that may occasionally parallel their own lives.

The second thing that a new reader should know is that there are some series on the blog - tales in some sequence, making little sense out of it. Some are long finished, or more recently. Others are ongoing. These may betray a person who were to read through the archives, at random. They would think to themselves: Oh ho! What is this? This story makes no sense! Arguably it might not even make sense in context, but there is context, and that is sort of important sometimes.

The third thing a new reader should know is that there are some posts, particularly early ones, which - gasp! - are not fiction. Some discuss the blog itself. Others speak of the League of Desmond Movie (an old project, long completed and posted on YouTube), or webcomics. The vast majority of the blog is purest fabrication, but exceptions exist, and should be noted.

That is all that is needed to understand (to some degree) the vast plethora of stories on this blog. To the new reader: Welcome, and enjoy!

Nicholas's Kingdom of Love

Nicholas quietly lived in the kingdom of foolishness, you can see,
First he went to the sea, then he went peacefully to town and where thus he
Found himself in a bazaar which had eighty-one droves with it droves of love,
Buzzing and pulsing and twinkling was the crowd, nothing came from above,

And then suddenly the large ballistæ
Came thund'ring out the back of the ware-house,
The crash resounded swiftly in their ears,
'Twixt cannon-ball and fire through the night,
He cried out in alar'm when strik'd was he,
Such that angels cried tears that fell to Earth,
And formed a pool of salve that so pure was,
That Nikolas wash'd in and strong return'd.

So Nicholas, through thoroughfare,
A battle red, and dying men,
Shot once again, the putrid air,
Lay paralysed, and in the fen.

The Paradox of an Avian Salivum

I can see a small bird in a tree
And the worm that it holds in its beak.
And I watch as it swallows it down
And regurgitates mush to its kin.
And I wonder why my (human) spit
Is not stored in the Registry for
Toxic Substances (also Disease)
.

Is it due to the fact that, in the absence of proper hydration, saliva takes on the same consistency as snot?

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Wake of Destruction

The wake of destruction is miles wide. Black glass pops and fizzles, smoking in the sunlight. The glare is blinding; jagged hummocks and crevasses of it are all that can be seen in any direction. A cleansing fire has scourged this land, leaving only ruin.

The mammoth-like beast stomps through the ruin. The air around it shimmers with extreme heat, and the ground melts and fuses beneath it, blackening from its fiery aura. It has eight legs and, nonsensically, fur. It's about fifty feet tall, twice that in length, and has a large transparent bubble on its back. Inside rests the Baron von Nikolaus, vile archvillain, amidst his machines and implements. He cackles as he goads the beast forward with the instrumentation locked away in the heat-proof bubble. "Bwahahahaha!" he laughs maniacally. "Those fools at the Institute will learn what a mistake they made! They'll learn when my mutated methapthoer crushes them into pulp!"

A high-pitched whistling drew the Baron von Nikolaus's attention to the sky. There, he saw a orange rocketship, plunging towards him at high speed. "Who dares?" he exclaimed in indignation before the rocketship hit his methapthoer. Bouncing off the fur, it fell to pieces. Most of it flew over the Baron's anti-heat-dome, melting as it went, but the cockpit detached as the mooring bolts liquified with heat and plunged straight into the dome. The Baron wondered who could have copied his anti-heat material; he soon had the answer.

Three figures climbed out of the rocketship's cockpit, standing on the pistoning machinery filling the Baron's dome. Each of them was clad in a skintight uniform of the same design but a different color. The first of them, wearing red, announced "We are the Galaxy Patrol, come to stop your evil! I am Mr. Suresh!" The man to his right, in an orange uniform and hefting an imposing looking handgun, announced "I am Mr. Chen!" To Mr. Suresh's left, a violet-clad woman followed this with, "I am Ms. Tchetchetkine! Surrender now, "Baron" von Nikolaus, and we will take you away peacefully!"

The Baron leapt to his feet, enraged. "Never!" he shouted. "Not when I'm so close to my final victory!" Pulling a lever by his feet, he said triumphantly, "You'll change your mind, now that you've been hit by my reverse-o-beam-o-ray-o-matic!"

The Galaxy Patrol staggered. They looked at each-other, hatred in their faces. "Our feelings have been reversed!" Mr. Chen shouted, leveling his handgun at Ms. Tchetchetkine. "And let me say that I was becoming rather fond of you!" Firing with a bestial grim of triumph, he hit Ms. Tchetchetkine with the ray - set to stun! She crumpled to the floor, and Mr. Chen fumbled with the settings. He aimed again - and this time the gun was set to KILL! The Baron looked on, a grin on his face. He cackled. None of them would try to harm him - because they hated him before, they loved him now!

Mr. Suresh tackled Mr. Chen, hands around his throat. He began to throttle his fellow Galaxy Patrolman - then stopped. "What am I doing?" he asked himself. "What about the power of love, and friendship? What about the loyalties that bind us together? The power of hope, and the human heart? Of smiles, and a child's innocence, and unicorns and rainbows and everything beautiful? How can I let the reverse-o-beam-o-ray-o-matic take that away from us?" Rising to his feet dramatically, Mr. Suresh picked up Mr. Chen's handgun and leveled it at the Baron von Nikolaus. "Now you'll face justice, fiend!"

"No!" Nikolaus wailed. "How can this be! I have no defense!" Scrabbling under his desk, he found a hidden switch and pressed it. A hammer extended from a nearby machine, smashed Mr. Suresh onto the floor, and retracted. "Except that, of course," the Baron said with a satisfied smirk. "Now, my other minion," the Baron said to Mr. Chen, "Strike your friend down, and join me in glory!"

Mr. Chen picked up his handgun, set it back to "stun", and fired it at the Baron von Nikolaus. The Baron, a stunned expression on his face, fell to the floor bonelessly.

Mr. Suresh got to his feet woozily. "You did it, Mr. Chen!" he exclaimed jubilantly. "You defeated the Baron, and found the power of love within you!" Mr. Chen seemed speechless at this. Mr. Suresh walked to the Baron and manacled him, then pulled the lever for the reverse-o-beam-o-ray-o-matic. "Ah!" he said. "Now everything should be back to normal."

"Er." said Mr. Chen. "I feel obliged to note that I did not in fact find 'the power of love' within me. In fact, I found that entire speech so horrible, cliched, and otherwise annoying that, under the reversing effect of the Baron's machine, I was able to overcome my hatred for you and attack the Baron."

Mr. Suresh turned slowly to face Mr. Chen. "Well... all's forgiven? All's well that ends well?" he asked hopefully.

Mr. Chen sighed. "I think we will have words once we get back to Galaxy Patrol HQ," he noted, "But I am led to understand that they frown on whipping, so there's nothing I can do right now." He looked at the methapthoer, trudging along the barren earth, melting everything into its path. "For now, we have to figure out how to get off this thing!"

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Fire Mushrooms

They cavort and dance in the lightless realms below the world. Some phosphoresce dimly; others shine nearly so brightly as suns. But they are all fire mushrooms; the light in the darkness, the hope in absence.

When I was but a youth, I ventured into those realms beneath the world. I prepared carefully, in accordance with all I had read, and all written by those doctors that hath passed the censure of the Church. I bought armament, of the appropriate sort for use in those lightless realms. I brought lanterns (electric and oil), torches, rope, rations, exactly one hundred daisy-chained razor blades, and a large pillow. Then I set out into the tunnels leading to the realms below the world.

In short order, all was lost. The armament, in a pitched battle against grunchkrits, was destroyed, forcing me into undignified flight. The rope and rations were eaten by the dreaded dire mole-rats, against whom I now had no defense. My lights, simultaneously and inexplicably, stopped working, except for the torches. Those I used, choking and coughing in the black smoke as I delved ever deeper, until I was assailed by a nocturnist. I attempted, in the proscribed manner, to use my razor blade chain against it. Upon my brandishing of it, every single blade rusted into fine particles; whereupon the nocturnist was free to make away with my torches, and leave me in darkness unrelieved.

I stumbled about, injuring myself and struggling to make any progress. My maps and notes were useless. After what I thought to be hours (though there was no way to tell), I sat down and wept, certain that I would never see the surface again.

Then I saw something.

I saw something - the faintest little prick of light!

That was all I needed. I forged on, running on a twisted ankle and bruised leg towards this near-hallucinatory light. Soon other lights appeared, in the distance, appearing like a cloud of stars.

I have written elsewhere of the wonders I found in the realms beneath the world. They are many and manifold, and I will spend the hours necessary to fully repeat myself here. But I will say this: the Fire Mushroom, the humble, silly little creature, saved me from madness and despair in my darkest hour; and for that, I will ever hold it close in my heart.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Of Egypt

Lo, it was the days of the Old Kingdom, and the New Kingdom; the Upper Kingdom, and the Lower Kingdom, and maybe also the Middle Kingdom. That one's not as interesting, but whatever, it can come too.

So, these kingdoms were; and it was good. And the gods looked upon it - Bast, and Set, and Loki, and the FSM, and they did say: "Lo, we should make some gamble for the fate of these kingdoms, and the mastery of their greatest treasures: their pharaohs, their arts and sciences, their bounty and their everlasting monuments, that they might honor US." And they did bid with the coin of epochs, striving even for the manipulation of fellow gods, that they might be acclaimed greatest of the pantheon, masters of Ancient Egypt.

However, it turned out that gambling with the coin of epochs was sort of boring. The FSM was falling asleep throughout the age, Bast and Loki got into a screaming match, and it was all sort of a bit of a waste of time.

The Ancient Egyptians continued in their lives and histories, unaware of the doom that so nearly smote them unto ruination.

David and the Manhole Cover

One day, David was walking down the street. He encountered a manhole cover. It was the most offensive manhole cover he’d ever seen! It was flaunting its manliness—its hard, polished steel, with strategically-placed ridges for stability. But while David could appreciate and respect the strength of another man(-), he took offense at the fact that it took advantage of a pun in such an undignified manner.

He approached it and accosted it, and demanded of it: “You wanna brawl?” The manhole cover replied in the affirmative, and they brawled. With a power level much higher than that of the manhole cover, he came out victorious!

He was left with a dilemma. however. A manhole lay agape, a gap in the middle of the road, and its plug lay disheveled, shriveled, bedraggled, a rag compared to its former self! Sixteen million tons’ worth of cars would pass over the same spot every day! He had to find a replacement!

Thankfully, he was a swordsmith’s son, and he inherited the family business, and he had all of his mother’s discipline and technique and patience and all the required traits needed to conform to Cumberland’s Swordsmithing Guidelines. He traveled all across the countryside, searching for fine materials, out of which he crafted sixteen swords—the noblest swords Cumberland had and has ever known! He arranged these swords into an irregular octacontagon, as round as any group of sixteen swords can be, and pounded them into an even surface, then watched all day as sixteen million tons’ worth of cars passed over it. It was pretty good.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Night-Time Romance

Sven came to her boudoir by night. "Dearest, darling Lilietia!" he breathed to her softly. "I come bearing flowers, though they smell not half so sweet as you do." All was hidden by darkness; with but a silver of moonlight to guide him, Sven could see no more than her outline beneath the bed-covers.

She woke from her uneasy sleep. Looking at Sven, his earnest face grinning readily, she smiled. "Thank you, Sven, my heart's delight!" Shifting beneath the bed-sheets, she said, "Come, the night is cold, and my room even colder. Surely you shouldn't waste this bed, which I've heated for you so nicely?"

-

Once, two girls, Jovia and Lilietia, were best of friends. They conspired in every matter, from thwarting the head-mistress of their preparatory school to teasing young men in the eternal game of meaningless flirtation. When they had grown to womanhood, they remained bosom friends, and frequented the night-clubs and opera-houses together.

Sven shattered their friendship the moment they both laid eyes upon him, then (long moments later) upon each-other. The two, so alike in most matters, were alike in their immediate affection for him. From his Scandinavian good looks to his earnest demeanor and unfailing courtesy, he was everything they had ever hoped for. Their hearts were instantly set upon him, and they resolved to court him. Flanking him, they tantalized him with flattery and flirtation. Sven was taken aback, and quite impressed by both of the women, though not half so infatuated as they were. Still, at the end of the night, he readily agreed to meet them in a week's time - together, Jovia and Liletia agreed, staring daggers at one another, while Sven smiled at them obliviously.

Over the next month, they met many times, and while both brought presents and tendered their affections to Sven in ways subtle as a passing glance and blatant as heart-sick love poetry, his own heart did not respond as equally. Slowly, but surely, Liletia won his heart over the month of courtship. Frustrated Jovia found herself an unwanted third party as the two chatted happily with one another, exchanging significant glasses.

After the last meeting, at which a midnight rendezvous was hinted at (while Jovia stood by as discreetly as she could), the two once-friends met behind the night-club. Next to the flowing river, they stared at the night sky, each reluctant to speak. The moon was new; they saw only by starlight.

Jovia was the first to speak. "Well, I suppose you've won," she admitted with a sigh.

Liletia nodded. She tried to be solemn, for her friends sake, but could not contain the joy in her voice as she thought of Sven. "I know you love him. But... he doesn't love you." She looked at Jovia apologetically. "I suppose we're just too alike in the end."

Jovia nodded, sadly. Her face was unreadable. "You'd do the same thing, in my position."

The splash was muffled by the many layers of skirt. Those same layers encumbered her to the point of immobility; stunned for precious moments by the cold water, there was nothing she could do. And in the darkness of the moonless night, no-one noticed Liletia's body before it reached the sea.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This was originally intended to be a story of 'romance.' I realized early on that this was not. Alas; perhaps I am just not cut out for the romance author's life.

Doug, Slayer of Dragons

There was once a man named Doug. Now, Doug was clever, and witty, and pretty, and fond of the sound of bells. But one day he got into a great deal of trouble. He was walking by the village chapel - wanting to hear the bells ring, of course - when he saw a dragon! It flew right up to the village, knocked through the chapel's roof, ate the chaplain, and then flew away!

Doug was rather alarmed. He ran around town shouting. "A dragon ate our chaplain!" But no-one would listen. "Foolish Doug," they'd say, "It's a dragon! There's nothing we can do but set out dragon repellent for future."

Doug was still upset. He ran all the way to Reykjavik! "Good King Kessler," he said, "A dragon ate our chaplain!" But King Kessler couldn't help. "Sorry, old chap, but there's a Galgamoth ravaging the countryside right now! There's nothing I can do." It was true! Doug could see him out the picture window, ravaging busily, burninating the countryside. The dragon would have to wait.

So Doug ran all the way back home and thought. "What shall I do about this priest-eating dragon?" he thought. "Hmm! Perhaps I can talk him out of it!" So he ran toward where he'd seen the dragon flying. He found a village. They said, "The dragon went that way!" So Doug ran that way. Then he saw a volcano! He thought, "Of course!" and ran straight up it. The dragon was inside!

Doug spoke to the dragon. "Please, sir, will you give us back our chaplain? We have rather more need of him than you do."


The dragon burped, and spit up a skull onto the ledge where it sat.

Doug was very annoyed. "You digested our chaplain!" he said. "Also, you are breathing fire at me, and trying to eat me, even though by all rights you should be full!" (It's true, he was.) So Doug ran away, like a good Doug. And he ran around the dragon, and around, and around! The fire was always behind him, but Doug ran just a bit faster. And Doug ran faster and faster until the ledge the dragon was on just crumbled right away! It fell into the magma looking rather displeased.

Doug turned to face the camera and grinned. "That's the last we'll see of that dragon!" he said, puffing out his chest. His teeth glinted.

Behind him, a scaly head poked up over the rim of the volcano, smoking slightly.

Cut to commercials!

Nicholas the Pomegranate

One day, in the garden, in the great city, in the fields, in space, and time, in a place, a golden light emerged from out the seedier neighbourhoods, where a flash and a bang started the most violent reactionary forced and light cavalry charge that was pre-empted by the man, the King of the Phoenicians, the river that flowed, the flower of death, etc., etc. Thusly, it was accorded, to the merchants of Siam, and the outposts of the Silk Road, and the dancing men along the way, and that Nicholas the Pomegranate was duly born. Elsewhere, the men who had conspired to kill him earlier had fallen suddenly ill to a draught of Spanish flu, and lay in their cots, but did not have the staves necessary to balance their humours.

In accordance with the great Laws of the Land, Nicholas was perfectly formed, with a lust'ry coat, and smooth, slippery red peel, and exactly 888 seeds within his hull, the paragon of a pomegranate. And so it began, the most jolly and excruciating journey of their lives, to pluck the pomegranate from the great Tree, and to use the magic power to reawaken the great Nosferatu, the Lord Protectorate of the Realm, Defender of the Faith, and the men, who undertook this great yearning, did latch their knapsacks, and their burlap sacks, and marched out of the peanut fields, and tore their boots.

And in the end, they found Nicholas, the great One, who was dangling from the Tree, wings almost sprouted, and could not find it in themselves to dispatch of him, and instead retired to a public house, and baked tea and cookies for the gentry, and established many laboratories, and discovered many chemicals, and did live a happy life, with Lavoisier, and others, and it was good.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Planet of the Space Squid.

It's not the sort of planet you or I would live on. They're squid, so that's to be expected. The fact that they live in space only make it more true. It's a gas planet - but not a gas giant, no sir. It's quite moderate in size. The squid don't need anything bigger. Look, they're squid.


A Space Squid.

We visited the planet of the space squid, once, the League. Of course, it was a bit different then. Carson was still alive. Devin hadn't taken those crippling wounds in the boar-planet affair. (I do rather regret that.) And Kelsey didn't believe in monkeys. But it hardly made any difference back then. Carson suggested the trip: "Let's hop in our bathysphere, old chaps, and go to the Planet of the Space Squid!" were his exact words. So we did!

It was a little cramped, but we behaved as gentlemen, and so managed to arrive with no injury more serious than a gunshot to the chest. (Devin and I were somewhat inflamed over the matter of the coarser toiletries - do you recall? Perhaps it's better forgotten.) This was quickly patched up, and so we ventured out to meet the squid.

Squid are a friendly enough breed, but the Space Squid is a different sort. An Italianate sort of cephalopod, he takes all his passions to the fullest. At first they were glad to see us, and we were wrapped in rather uncomfortable embraces. Matthew, rashly panicking, fired several shots off into the air. The squid took this poorly, and the embraces grew somewhat rougher. Kelsey kept his wits about him, and launched the firecrackers that he kept perpetually on his person in that time. (Come to think of it - Kelsey, why did you have those?) The squid were frightened away, in any case, and we withdrew to the bathysphere.

David and I believed that the situation was beyond salvaging and that, defeated, we ought return to the blue orb Terra, but the rest of you thought otherwise. We went along with your plan, and went with you to visit the High Council of the Space Squid.

At first they squidded at us viciously, launching ink and laser-bolts, but we made our intentions clear. Even to this day, I've never seen better Morse jumping-jacks in a combat situation. The squid calmed down and escorted us to their leaders, who regarded us balefully, a monocle on every head.

It was at this point that I noticed the gold quite amply adorning every Space Squid head. Overcome with avarice, I conspired with David while the others sought to placate the solemn space squid senators. Withdrawing from their high pedestals, the squid senators personally met with Devin, won over by his diplomacy and eager to shake his hand. As they rendered themselves thus vulnerable, David and I calmly shot every one and fled with their bullion.

You may criticize me for my callousness, but I will point out three things before this tale is done:
- That bullion paid for the better part of the luxuries our beloved League is known for - the rest was won in the canals of Mars, of course, but that's a tale for another day, and of lesser account in any case.
- The squid planet is a long way away, and it is unlikely that we would have visited again in any case. David agreed (and still agrees, I think) that it was a bridge best burnt when we came to it.
- Unlike gold, squid senators are a renewable resource.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Revelations from a Matthew

Here I present the most noble and wise sayings of the Matthias, from whom I learned the truth, and the good, and the light, yea, hitherfore, I hath translated these sayings from the Reformed Egyptian, from the Golden Plates given to me by the Angel Matthias over the holy Inter-wobbes, and who doth come unto me in the most holy form of a lamb, or a man, or a warm light, and who did not teach anything that ought doth vary from the teachings of the apostles, or other doctors approved by the church's censure, and received from the infinite splendour of his brain, yea, I do present them here, and it was good.


ok
so Nickoulasse liked a womon
but he was afraid to tell this womon
for a pretty obvoius reason
the reason
that womon was his teacher
ah, such a young and inteligent teacher, though
much to Nickoulasse's liking
and many of the other students, though they would not admit it or persue it
and though Nickoulasse would not admit it
he decided he might just persue it
like, that one teacher maybe who teaches lit and everyone thinks is hot and has kind of abig nose or is jewish, I can't remember which (maybe both?)
let's say it's her, because she might be jewish
I odn't think she is, but oh well
so Nicklousse
it might not even be lit
you know
the one teacher
why can't I think of her name?
hold on, lemme get a yearbook
ok, so Nicklousse subtly suggested to this teacher that she should be a Chaperone that night
and so the teacher thought about it
and decided to do it
and so Nicklousse had won his first battle
Ms Kakes, I think?
so Nicklousse
he went to the winter formal
and saw the teacher
he didn't go with anyone (seeing as he couldn't really ask his true love)
so he went up to her
and said "hi"
she said "hi Ratte-Kingge. How's it going?"
and Nicklousse said "fine, and you?"
and she said "fine. I just finished planning my vacation"
"for this summer"
"oh" said Nicklousse. "where at?"
and so they conversed for the whole of the night.
and, though miss Cakes forgot her chapperoning duties, she had a very good time
and miss cakes, being a teacher, wanted to save on gas, so she carpooled over
with Mr. Timmeraque
and so Miss Cakes
was like
acutally, no
Nicklousse was like "Miss Cakes, can I offer you a ride home?"
And miss cakes said, "oh but Nicklousse! The dance is only half-way over!"
and Nicklousse said, "then shall we dance?"
and she said "I would love to!"
and the other students who thought miss cakes was hawt looked on with envy as the two got their things on
and so went the dance
and then, Nicklousse offered a ride again
and miss cakes said "oh, but nicklousse, it has only been 20 minutes! The dance is still far from over!"
And miss cakes
man, I'm still in my Subway uniform
sorry
And Nicklousse said "ah, but do you not grow weary of this dance, as I do? And I have the most wonderful steed for us to ride. He is white, and strong, and not a slushbox, but in fact a real live steed!"
and
ok, seriously, why the frick am I doing this?
and so, Nicklousse asked a third time
"Can I offer you a ride?"
but this time, he did not say where to
and Miss Cakes could not resist such an offer
and Nicklousse's Yewish charms.
and so she went
and they rode Nicklousse's stalion.
to a lake
and they sat by the lake
and listened to each other breathe
and Nicklousse said
man, this is really freaking creepy
that was me, not Nicklousse
Nicklousse said
wouldst thou offer unto me thine hand in marriage?
and miss cakes looked hesitant
and Nicklousse said, "before you answer, let us mount the steed once more, for I have something to show you"
and Nicklousse took Miss Cakes on the steed
and they rode to france
to the Eifle Tower
and Nicklousse said, look upon the beauty of this tower
and then he took her to the Pyramids of Egypt
and Yugi, and Yami, and LittleKuriboh were there
and he said, look upon the beauty of these pyramids
and he did the same for many of the graet wonders of the world
(all 9 of them)
and he said, I can use my Yewish powers and money to buy all of these for you for your dowry
and she gasped
and said, "OH YES NICKOULASSE!!! I WILL MARRY YEW!!!!"
And Nicklousse was pleased
and miss cakes was pleased
and on Monday, Miss Cakes found that she was fired for shirking her Chaperoning deuties
but she did not care
for she had money
for she was also Yewish
and her fiance had even more money
for he was even more yewish
and he bought the 9 wonders of the world
and gave them to Miss Cakes
And they were married in the best of Jewish weddings
*Yewish
and they had many Yewish children
which they sold
for more money
and it wasse goode

Cannon On The Hills

It was a beautiful day. The sun shone off the river far below, making it shimmer red-gold, reflecting the setting sun. The hills were lit in similar hues, trees and grass mixing into harvest brown. And on the hills, long steel barrels glinted in the colors of the sunset.

There were four of them. They were cannon, of a sort, but they were to field cannon what the hummingbird is to the mythical roc. Each of them stretched half a mile, along the hillside, tunneling through or raised above the hill, straighter than an arrow. They fired only once every hour, on the hour - booming out in a rippling thunder, but men bustled around them constantly, cleaning them, loading in another of the five-foot shells, calibrating the barrels minutely to adjust for wind, target distance, the curvature of the Earth. The shells were works of art, designed to follow the spin of the rifling in the immense cannon as they were sped to several thousand mph by consecutive, precisely placed charges, and then to ignite steering rockets on their bases to land precisely on the target from a hundred miles away. Men rushed to deliver the last shells, firing as the sun set over the horizon. A rolling boom ushered it over, and twilight fell as the noise settled and the shells fell whistling through the sky.

Seven minutes and twenty-four seconds later, four shells screamed across the sky, rockets burning. They crashed into a fortress with five-foot-thick concrete walls, noses compressing and buckling as they crashed through. Jolting to a spinning stop, the shells blew three more, thinner walls before finally coming to a tumbling stop. The rockets ran out of fuel, and, slowly, the shells cracked open. Four men stepped out.

Their leader was dressed in full combat armor: Aluminium plate, reinforced with steel and ceramics, just like the rest of his men. A pistol hung at his hip, and he unsheathed a longsword from the baldric on his back as he unfolded himself from the cramped confines of the shell. His hair was black and greased, perfectly ordered. He called out to his men (where their shells had landed, feet or yards away) "All right! In and out, just like the nunnery in Vienna!" Lieutenant Commander Edward A. Zhang was in his element, and it was good.

The fortress was in utter disarray in the wake of the attack. Men ran everywhere, seeming to have no idea of what they should be doing. Some pointed at Zhang's men, but none took any action to stop them. They trotted onward in their shining aluminium plate, ignoring office mess and armories alike. After they'd climbed three stories by the stairways distributed unevenly across the fortress, someone had managed to coordinate well enough to try to stop them: a barricade of office furniture closed off the fourth floor stairway, manned by panicked looking soldiers. Edward's men approached them without concern, swords in hand. Some of the soldiers tried to stop them; lightning blasts crackled through the air, absorbed and grounded easily by the aluminum plate. Not one hair on Lieutenant Zhang's head was out of place as he vaulted the barricade and ran up the stairs three at a time.

Their objective was on the fifth floor. They burst into an office, ignoring the indignant secretary (who seemed not to realize that they were on the other side of the war) and, to the resident general's shock, lifted up his entire desk and carried it out of the room. Two of them jogged, still traveling upwards, carrying the massive desk - the other two, Lieutenant Zhang included, now held a sword in each hand.

Robots attacked, and were chopped to bits without difficulty.

On the roof, a large aircraft sat waiting, squatting on four piston-like legs. Zhang's team jogged in, still carrying the general's desk laden with papers. Zhang turned to look out the cargo hatch as he entered, posed dramatically in the evening light, armor gleaming magnificently; then he closed it with a swift gesture, and was lost to sight. The craft tensed, legs withdrawing, then leapt into the air as jets fired bursts of white-hot flame. Wings extended from the sides, and the troopship bellied out low over the outer wall, shooting a foot over the heads of the soldiers stationed there and then off into the gathering night.

It was increasingly clear, from the perspective of Edward A. Zhang's enemies, that something would have to be done about the cannons.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: It is actually utterly impossible to transport humans in such a manner. But it sounds just cool enough for me to write a story about it.

Nicholas and his Horrid Affair

Nicholas scowled at the womon at the other side of the room. How dare she enter this restaurant, his restaurant, after their horrid affair? He devised a plan. A plan which could be described in a manner which used "devised" in a pun, to replace words of similar spelling. "Devilish" came to mind! He chuckled to himself. The womon would not return to his restaurant any time soon.

Ten days later, Nicholas looked again at that same spot. The womon had come in every day, seemingly just to spite him. But he had a plan, which he would set in motion! Right now! His appointed waiter moved over to the womon's table.

"The chef would like to congratulate you on your birthday!" he said.

And with that, he handed her a cake! It was so devious! By offering the hand of friendship, she would either have to accept it, or be rejected by the general populace as a loser who can't appreciate a birthday cake!

But something went wrong. So terribly wrong! Rather than becoming a loser, as Nicholas expected, she accepted the cake! She asked the waiter to thank the chef for his kind gift! And it was at that moment that Nicholas saw the flaw in his plan. The womon perceived him to be the cause of their horrid affair! She accepted his gift, the gift she assumed was of an apologetic nature!

Nicholas thought fast. His mind raced with the possibilities and probabilities of this misunderstanding, as well as a general wondering as to when "fast" became an adverb.

He leaped out of the shadows, and did what Nicholases do best!

"Ha! Fool!" he bejested her. "You have fallen for my evil cake~plan. After thirty minutes, your spleen will do the exact opposite of what spleens are supposed to do! The same effect will befall a number of other vital organs! You have no choice but to—"

Just then, a pre-planned helicopter burst through the front of the restaurant, causing such a ruckus that the second half of his sentence was left unpronounced! Or so he would later claim. In truth, he had no clue what choices the womon could have in such a situation. He thanked himself for carrying, in his emergency dentures, the remote control for his helicopter. The helicopter which he now boarded! As he flew away, leaving the womon very confused and even more doubtful as to the veracity of his claims, he chuckled to himself. Then he chuckled again, because he found amusing the fact that he had the last laugh.

The Turret-Beast


a pronged-winged-turreted-beast
A-WOO
he has horns
of
bone
and
instead
of calcium
it is composed
of
magnesium
he is able
to "jump" to "higher places"
and "fall down"
to release "energy"
that he shoots
in a giant laser beam
from his turret
he was created
by the ionisation of helium
its purpose is to find out errant knights
and singe then
in the haunches
there are five errant knights
once it finds them all
it can unlock the magic door
to find
some
treasures
and then it
goes up to a degenerate orbital
and like"dude how are you"
i will fill you with protons
one at a time
for lowest energy
and then it be all like
hey
it is the thing and go to fighte desmond
and then galgamoth shows up
with his womon
and they are all over each other and he says
"duyde go get a roome"
and then they do
and have many children
then the beaste goes in the night
and he sends photons
at metals
and harveste the electrons that are released
the end

A Happy Man

The door burst open and he walked in: poised, confident, strides even and steady. He wore a business suit, and there was a smile on his face.

Inside, the three women froze. Each of them were holding pistols, and were shoveling money into a briefcase; three others lay beside them. The smiling man looked at them calmly. "You really shouldn't have done this," he said. "The Party doesn't look kindly on embezzlement."



Panicking, the thieves opened fire on the smiling man. Poise unbroken, he held out his hands, blocking the bullets. One of the thieves threw her gun at the smiling man (which he ignored) and charged him; he tripped her and left her sprawled on the floor, kicking her gun away.

The other two turned and ran for the far end of the room. They stopped as the smiling man advanced, inexorably; then one of them turned and smashed the window, jumping out. The other froze, looked both ways repeatedly, then (as the smiling man came closer) jumped out the second story window.

Outside, ten more men waited - completely identical in suit, tie, and face to the smiling man inside. They looked at the thieves, smiling, and closed in.

-

In the back of an unmarked white van, the three thieves were handcuffed to chairs next to the briefcases of cash. A smiling man looked at them kindly. He took off his face, like a mask. Beneath it was a nearly identical face.

Frowning, he said to the thieves: "Now, the Party will have its due."

Monday, October 22, 2007

Jason Jones In Flight

Jason Jones croaked out "Yes." His throat was sore from cold and dehydration. The old man from Canada, heavily armored and armed, began to cut away at the hardened slime encasing Jason's body with a small axe. As he cut, Jason asked, "Who are you?"

"We're rescuing you," the old man said, and continued to cut.

After half a minute of chopping, enough of the slime was gone for Jason to stand and move his limbs about more or less unencumbered. He rose to his feet, noticing sounds previously muffled by the slime over his ears: gunshots and explosions. They were coming closer. The old man gestured Jason Jones to the door, where he saw a half-dozen other people armored similarly to the old man. Each suit of armor was colored differently, and unlike the old man, they all bore a sword on their backs as well as carrying a harpoon-gun. Jason Jones, weak from captivity, walked with them through the Maker's lair. He wondered briefly if they were some trick of the Maker's, but dismissed the idea with the sounds of fighting so clearly audible.

Then the fighting came to Jason. What looked rather like a large, flying eel shot around a corner and at Jason's escort, followed by several others. Jason froze, but his companions did not fire at the eel-things, but rather settled into crouches and aimed their weapons toward the corner. A eye-creature appeared around the corner; one of the escorts fired on it, his harpoon disintegrating in mid-flight into a shower of fast moving metal shards, but the eye-creature ducked back too quickly. Then several creatures burst out from the ground all around Jason's rescuers, spitting out seven-armed monsters armed with rifles before sinking back into the earth.

The rescuers burst into action, firing their harpoon-guns before dropping them in favor of the swords on their backs. The armbeasts fought well - dodging harpoon-shot (though two of them dropped and most were injured), firing two rifles simultaneously at the rescuers as they charged and then grappling with them. (Astonishingly, most of the bullets fired at Jason's rescuers glanced off their armor.)

Jason looked about, trying to figure out what to do. He didn't feel his usual bloodlust - just confusion and an urgent need to do something. Two armbeasts fell to the ground, their cores mutilated by sword-blows, while a green-armored rescuer dropped to the ground, pinned in a seven-arm-lock by the Maker's creature. Eyebeasts scuttled all around on three legs, watching the battle. Jason picked up a fallen harpoon-gun and opened fire on the eyebeasts, hoping to blind the Maker. They ran for cover, and when Jason found the harpoon-gun clicking empty, he looked around and realized that the battle was over. The green-armored figure was dead; his neck lolled at an unnatural angle. Two of the others were carrying him, and the old man gestured for Jason to follow. He hurried to comply.

The tunnel in which Jason walked was filled with corpses. Butchered armbeasts (weapons lying at their sides), splattered eyebeasts, a dead floating eel (shot repeatedly), a four-foot-tall armored spider-thing... As they walked to what Jason hoped was the entrance (and indeed, the vines were thinning overhead - some of them apparently thinned by gunfire and explosives), Jason asked the old man, "Is this all of you?" He gestured to the party of brightly-colored warriors. The old man shook his head. "No. But the others are elsewhere, trying to cover our escape, or attacking the Maker himself." Jason guessed that he was referring to the flying eels, conspicuously absent after heading in the direction of the Maker's lair.

Then more enemies walked out of a branching tunnel - an envoy, accompanied by four spiked-ball monsters, six armbeasts (one of them armed with a harpoon gun), and a large number of eyebeasts, which spread out quickly. The envoy held his arm high, and the creatures stood motionless and unnaggressive. Looking at Jason, he asked, "Why are you following them? My enemies have nothing to offer to you but danger and pain in their suicidal cause." He looked toward the escorts. "And you. I have never understood why you spent so much effort resisting reality. Why do you wish to return me whence I came, when there is so much opportunity here?"

The armored rescuers waited politely for the envoy to finish speaking. One of them said, "You decieve," in perfect unaccented English, then opened fire. The rest followed suit. The envoy's escorting armbeasts dodged and returned fire, but the seven-foot tall spiked balls were shredded by shrapnel. The envoy collapsed like a puppet with its strings cut, its purpose served.

Jason Jones picked up a fallen rifle and charged, firing as he went. (This was not very accurate.) The armbeasts paused and began firing on him; and, weakened from captivity, poor nutrition, and a few other factors, Jason Jones tripped and fell as two bullets hit him. (Also, his leg still hurt like the dickens from his last bullet wound.) The distraction helped his escorts hit a few more times - several armbeasts fell, shredded by harpoon-shrapnel. The rest retreated, and Jason gained his feet again wearily, limping as he walked.

The envoy looked up as Jason as he passed, animation returning. "Consider your actions. The choice is yours, for the next thirty days."

One of Jason's escorts drew his sword and embedded it in the envoy's chest. Bleeding, it continued: "Do not accept the superficial." Then the lights went out behind its eyes.

They were nearly at the exit when the Maker attacked again. Birds burst through the vines in a flock, flying directly through Jason's escorts. Jason felt something moist, and looked down to find worms, horribly, covering his flesh. He scraped them off frantically, their bites burning like acid. Gunfire broke out - he looked up to see more armbeasts, firing on the distracted party. Jason dove to the floor, still killing the horrible little worms. He heard little harpoon-fire, and feared for the worst.

Then someone cried out, "Duck!" and a ball of something blindingly bright shot over Jason's head. It hit the end of the corridor with explosive effect, annihlating most of the attackers and leaving a scorch mark ten feet wide. Jason got to his feet and ran, stumbling, to the end of the corridor. A man stood there, covered in very heavy clothing, dismantling a very big gun mounted on a tripod. Behind him a large force was firing into the tunnel and elsewhere, apparently fighting armbeasts and other of the Maker's creations. They were quite diverse - not so much in race as in species - but Jason had no time to examine them. Three trucks were waiting for them, engines running and steaming in the cold air. As Jason arrived, the other pulled back, making a fighting retreat into the trucks. Several fell, dead or dying, into the snow - the other jumped into the trucks, which began to move before the last of them were fully in.

Flocks of birds swept upward from the Maker's lair as the trucks fled. They were pursued briefly by arm-creatures, who exchanged fire with the rescuers before falling too far behind and disappearing from view. Snow fell on Jason's head, on his untreated wounds and the ichor and hardened slime still covering on him. Looking at the old man, in this moment of quiet, Jason Jones asked: "What do you want from me?"

"We want to go home," the old man replied.

Avaria in Exile

Avaria sat in her lounging chair. It was blue and soft, with a carpet-like texture. There were tears on the side, where the cat had gotten to it, and the seat was worn down by long use. Avaria remembered where they'd bought it, years ago, back in the ghetto. They'd been poor, even then, but Avaria had insisted on this chair - so soft and comfortable - and her parents reluctantly bought it. It had been hers, ever since, and she'd taken it with her... even in exile.

"But that's quite enough of that," Avaria said decisively. She rose to her feet. "If I am to be exiled, even for such stupid, inane reasons as those given, then I shall make the most of it."

She stopped and considered.

"What shall I make of it?"

She sat back into her chair to think.

"Revolution is quite the wrong idea. Counterproductive. Sedition, much the same. Knitting - a poor habit, too sedentary by far. I want a good omen, something transitory but pleasing -"

Avaria stood again as she had a realization. Pointing her finger toward the low ceiling, she declared: "I shall make cake!"

She began gathering ingredients at once. Flour, here. Baking powder. Icing, sugar - no coloring? This cake needs no coloring! - some lemon, a bit of cocoa - where? ah! There! - and she was ready to begin. Here, a platter, suitable for cake. Leavening and flour - lots of flour - sugar and lemon and cocoa all mixed in, and a fly - whoops, scoop out that bit - set to bake, and now to wait. Done - now the final firming and shaping, the icing and such on top, and done! A cake!

To her great surprise, Avalia saw words in her cake, natural striations of cocoa-and-lemon flavoring. "The Cake Is a Lie", it told her in cursive, flowing script.

Avalia was fairly certain that she hadn't done that.

Post-Script: She ate it anyway.

Post-Post-Script: It was tasty!

Post-Post-Post-Script: Perhaps images later.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Lightning Strikes!

The heroine looked about. She had heard the thunder, but not seen the lightning. There was another boom, and this time she looked swiftly enough to see as the next stroke hit - a flash of light from the ground to the sky and back, a thousand feet away. It's getting closer, she thought.

The next one was right on top of her.

She rolled upright, smoking slightly from the near hit. "Come down, then!" she shouted to the stormy heavens. Unsurprising to her (but rather startling to her audience), a large bearded man fell into the smoking mark left by the last lightning strike. He carried a large hammer, taller than he was - which is saying something. He nodded to her, once, tersely. "Shall we dance, then?" he asked in a deep voice unschooled by the civilities of the West. She shrugged, and the man brought his hammer up and around in an arc faster than seemed possible.

The heroine stood, strands of hair drifting down from the close hit. The hammer hit the ground with a boom like a thunderclap. Its wielder looked at the heroine, evaluating her - then, muscles bulging, ripped his hammer out of the ground and leapt at the heroine, swinging his hammer in an unstoppable vertical arc.

Behind the hammer wielder, the heroine stood up. She poked him with one finger as the ground trembled from the impact of the last strike. He brought himself about once more, spinning the haft of the hammer at where the heroine stood.

She jumped off a nearby boulder, locks of hair fluttering in the wind. She stepped over the hammer's haft, seemingly unconcerned, and stood before the lightning-bringer. "Will that be all?" she asked. He brought the hammer up.

She jumped off a nearby boulder, locks of hair fluttering in the wind. She stepped over the hammer's haft, seemingly unconcerned, and stood before the lightning-bringer. "Will that be all?" she asked. He sighed and shrugged, bringing the hammer to his shoulders in one mighty motion. "You cheat," he said in a deep, tired voice.

"And you don't?" she asked, looking at his immense muscles, glistening with black sweat, and his even larger hammer.

The hammer-wielder sighed and jumped upward disappearing into the black storm clouds above. He sent his hammer spinning down as he leapt, blasting the air right in front of the heroine with one last strike.

She flinched, then laughed at herself, and turned away. There was a long way yet to go, she knew, and the day had just begun.

Above her, the black clouds faded slowly away.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Sandwich Maker 1: Mexican Technology

Preface:

The stories from this series are based on actual sex events that happened to me while working at Subway.

Chapter 1:

It was at Subway that I first noticed this thing that I now know is called "Mexican Technology." During my first week at work, I discovered my Mexican coworkers could do...things. Things that to this day, I still only dream of doing.

These...things. They seem like simple enough things. Cleaning the bathroom, restocking the chips, sweeping, moping. It is not the tasks themselves that amaze me so. It's the way these tasks are accomplished.I can't quite explain it. It seems as though the techniques would be easy enough to imitate, but they're not. These ordinary household chores are completed with such speed and violence I am sure the very depths of the underworld are shaken by their sweeping.

Take restocking chips for example. I started by carefully pulling each box of chips off the shelf and carrying it over to the chip rack. My Mexican co-worker stopped me, and then ripped all twelve boxes off of the shelf and hurled them in a stack on the floor. She then proceeded to kick this pile of boxes clear over to the chip rack.

The next day, I decided I had better at least try to do it the proper way so as not to have to be repeatedly corrected.

Lord Balthazar

Balthazar paced in the cramped room. His two attendants waited patiently at the door. Balthazar ranted: "Damn them! They have taken Acre, now? Bah! It will serve them ill when they rot in Hell's deepest pits! I will reclaim my throne! I have allies, I know I do. They will come when I call. And then we will see who has lost this little war!"

Balthazar ends his pacing at the far end of the short room, facing a wall. He mumbles intensely. One of his two attendants pulls a dagger from his vest and lunges; the other, surprised, reacts too slowly. The assassin sinks his dagger up to the hilt into Lord Balthazar, last of the lords of the Kingdom of Ascalon.

Lord Balthazar turns slowly. He shows only slight discomfort at the wound. He grasps the assassin's hand and pulls the dagger out of his body by main force, shattering the blade. Drawing his sword, he pushes the assassin onto the floor and beheads him. Then he looks at the broken dagger in hand. "A neat souvenir," he notes. "Perhaps I will mount a new blade onto it and use it to kill my greatest enemy, the Sultan of Egypt and Syria."

His wound bled not at all.

-

Lord Balthazar sat atop his high horse, amid the rest of the Crusader cavalry. Their armor is fine and shining, cleaned regularly to keep off dust and sand. Banners flap wildly in the wind. They are opposed by the forces of the jihad: thirty thousand men, ragged in rank and file. They are exhausted, and ill-prepared for a pitched battle. Behind them, Lord Balthazar can see the banner of his enemy. He cries out to his men, "Charge!"



With a roar, the Crusaders charged. The Muslim cavalry set to meet them. In a rush, Balthazar was upon them. His lance was lost almost immediately, and he set to with sword and (when that was lost) a mace. His arm ran red with blood. "Hah ha!" he shouted gleefully, looking into the distance. The banner of the Sultan was nearly in reach - then, with a lurch, it began to recede.

The Muslim army was dissolving. Fleeing men were everywhere. Lord Balthazar could make no headway under the press. Reining in his horse, he shook his fist at the Sultan's banner, shouting "Coward! Coward!"

His armor was pierced in a half-dozen places, and an arrow was embedded in his shoulder. He didn't seem to notice.

-

He marched now (disgruntledly) with King Richard - "The Lion." Balthazar wished that his erstwhile ally did not take that lion's pride so much to heart. He himself had been relocated to a secondary role in the Siege of Jerusalem - the last step on the long road to freeing the Holy City, and Balthazar's capitol. He sat impatiently, watching the trebuchets hurl rocks and flaming pitch at the defenders, and the Sultan's banner flutter above the walls.

Then a section of the wall crumbled away entirely as a well-flung trebuchet shot hit. Balthazar, all too eager for battle, waved his men forward to the gap. King Richard raised his hand for a moment, then lowered it slowly. His troops made no motion to pursue.

Balthazar laughed. "Cowards. He is no lion at all - he has the heart of a mouse! Well, we will see who reaps the glory!" His men ran with him toward the opening. Arrows rained down on them, and men dropped like flies. Balthazar ignored it. He saw the face of his enemy, the great sultan, milling about in the midst of the waiting Muslim troops. "I will have my revenge, infidel!" he shouted, and raised the assassin's dagger high.

A trebuchet shot aimed for the wall fell upon Lord Balthazar then. Of Lord Balthazar, last of the lords of the Kingdom of Ascalon, no more need be said.

Note: This post plays rather 'fast and loose' with history. Trust no facts it presents! They may not be such - but, rather, fiction.

Roland the Inventor

(Following this post.)

Roland was a very clever inventor! He invented the electric ear-trumpet and the flying gyrosquid by the age of twelve, and at thirteen created a greater invention yet - the Motor-Cat, elevated by engineering from cripple to physical paragon. For Roland's formative years, his Motor-Cat was his closest companion. But when Roland turned twenty-four, his cat died!

Roland was disconsolate. But he was an engineer, and he thought like one, even in his grief. "What if my cat did not die of natural causes, but was poisoned?" he wondered. So he began to search. First he checked the food and water with various solutions and chemicals, finding them clear of arsenic, lead and other toxins. Then he tested the air. There was no chlorine, nor bromine - but on his third test, he found cyanide gas in the air!

At his shout of "ah-ha!", a dark figure sprang out of the eaves. "You! Roland!" he shouted. "I had hoped to kill you slowly - but I see that this cannot be the case! We must duel!"

Both of them drew rapiers and closed. Roland attacked furiously, incensed at the murder of his cat and the attempted murder of himself. His opponent fenced more cautiously, with a half-dozen parries employed for every riposte attempted. Roland scored twice - on the arm, and then the leg - but his third lunge left him overextended, and his opponent drew back his sword for the kill. Roland, fallen to the floor, heard only a slight thunk, and then heard the pitter-patter of light footsteps on the roof. There was a double thump, and then Roland looked up - but by this time the room was empty.

His opponent was dead. An arrow was in his back, wrapped in paper. Roland unwrapped it. Written on it, in English (which, as a well-read young man, Roland knew, as well as French, Latin and Greek), was the cryptic message "The cake is a lie." A crude drawing of a slice of cake filled the rest of the paper, covered by a circle with a line through it.

Roland set to work at once. He searched his assailant's body for clues, but found nothing other than the clothes he was wearing and the sword he carried - not even a money-purse. He found the source of the arsenic gas, and disabled it. Then he set to investigating all these things: his opponent's effects and equipment were taken in turn to Paris in hopes of finding the maker. This was to no avail. Roland searched the paper, seeking hidden messages and ciphers, but found only a single word, impressed onto the paper even after it was written over: "Help."

This was not very helpful.


After six months of vain effort, Roland resigned himself to defeat on the matter of the assassin, and set his mind to new pursuits. "This tragic affair has much damaged my reputation - making me seem quite the odd-ball," he thought, "and while I would not act otherwise after my beloved motor-cat died, I should still make some effort to repair the damage. The World Fair comes soon to France - and I must win it!"

Roland considered various plans. The mobile windmill/jousting dummy was rejected shortly; the flying palace, to Roland's own sadness, was also unsuitable. Roland even went so far as to draw up schematics for the winged hatbox (with included women's choir), but was insufficiently musically inclined to finish the design on his own - as he was determined to, filled with youthful pride. In a burst of inspiration while lying abed one night, he conceived the perfect idea, and at once set to build it. From his rapidly dwindling funds, he hired workmen and acquired parts, himself taking part in the construction. The hull took shape quickly - wooden-bottomed and steel on the top, for the necessary strength. The drill took longer to build (and cost the most of any part of the invention), but was fixed to the front in good time. A funnel connected front to back. Instruments were installed hastily (rendering them somewhat less reliable than was desirable), and the steam engine was emplaced last, nearly collapsing the hull with its weight. It was done.


When the day came for the World's Fair, Roland's assigned lot lay empty. Spectators and judges gathered, wondering what had become of the prodigy. Speculation ran wild: some suggested that he had failed to create a suitable device. Others thought him dead. One particularly popular theory was that he had been assassinated by jealous Germans. But, at precisely the strike of noon on the first day, a great rumbling arose. With a crash, Roland's Landsub burst through the surface of the earth in his assigned lot, virtually leaping into the air like a whale, front-mounted drill throwing clods of dirt in all directions.

And, it was generally agreed among spectators and judges alike: It was goode.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Abyss of Heaven

It splits the clouds apart. We stand above them, walking on their hills and valleys. And as far as the eye can see, it divides the clouds into two: the Abyss of Heaven.

We live on one side. We eat of cloud-stuff and drink rain-water, and live in towers - they are held up by pontoons on cloud-stuff, and rise above the clouds and through them to see the Earth far below. It is a happy life, on the whole: there is little want, and no starvation or disease. But our people are plagued by that worst of curses: curiosity. What is on the other side of the great gap, we wonder. We tried to look across - but a curtain wall was raised up, to prevent us from seeing. We built up our towers higher and higher, filling our streets with butresses and arches to support them, but the curtain wall was built higher and higher. We created birds - the first birds, for we are the designers of waterfowl and carrion-eaters and birds of prey and scavengers all - to look for us; but as soon as they rose above the wall, they abandoned us and flew down to Earth, neglecting their purpose.

Teenagers will sometimes walk down in tunnels, beneath the wall. They will ooh and aah at the eternal sunset-glow of the gap beneath the wall, being very careful of their step. And they will dare each-other to try to cross to the other side. Some will teeter on the edge, just barely staying on their side of the gap. And some will cross over, by mistake or daring - and they are never seen again.

For naught which crosses may return to us. People and sight and thought alike are lost to us once they pass over the gap, for in our idyllic world, we may not even imagine what lies beyond the Abyss of Heaven.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Jason Jones Doesn't Know This

But perhaps you might want to. (Though it's a bit wordier than I intended it to be.) Following are various of the Maker's recollections of its origins.

The Maker was born (or spawned, as you will) on another world. Its creator, another of the same species, had recently gained a great deal of territory through the destruction of a rival, and (to control it) created the Maker as a subordinate. On that world, the Maker's species (subsequently referred to as the Vat-Children) is utterly alone across the entire continent on which it exists. Wisened by its experience on Earth, the Maker suspects that there may be other continents unconquered by the Vat-Children, but this is a thought foreign to the Vat-Children; only become truly sentient in the past ten thousand years, they focus the vast majority of their thought and effort to competition with one-another, ignoring the coast save for the creation of a few, outlying power-vines on it.

On their native world, the Vat-Children's society (such as it is) is a lesson in the economics of scarcity. Every source of renewable energy is exploited; blue vines are a complete canopy over the continent, save for the mountains and larger lakes - those presenting too much effort to colonize for a race with little concept of cooperation and enemies on every side. Their destruction, in a society utterly dependent on them, is the act of the desperate or the insane. Roots reach deep within the earth, harvesting geothermal energy near natural faults and hot springs. The soil is completely devoid of nutrients; the corpses of dead Vat-Children and their creations are absorbed by their conquerors long before any bacteria could decompose them into the soil. The Vat-Children themselves are pitted against one another in constant rivalry - every Vat-Child will gladly attack another if it sees potential territorial (and thus energy) gain for itself in doing so. Battle is done with creatures spawned for the purpose, whose design and maintenance takes up the vast majority of the Vat-Children's time. Their numbers and size are a balance between ever-scarce energy and mass and the desperate necessity of victory in combat.

New Vat-Children are only created when another is defeated, and the conqueror has insufficient range to control the new territory. (They control their creations via ULF radio signals.) This, as with so much else, is a trade-off: their effective range (and potential territory size) is greatly expanded, but the new Vat Child consumes a great deal of biomass and energy in its own right. Worst of all, if a parent's control grows weak enough and it presents a weak front (perhaps while fighting a war with another Vat Child), its children will betray it in hopes of absorbing its territory and gaining their freedom to boot. This is the main reason that the continent has not been united under a single rule.

The Maker, in its time on its native world, survived seven minor wars and innumerable skirmishes. It helped kill its own parent, with the aid of two other siblings (who he attacked even as the corpses cooled) and a neighbor, but gained little from it territorially due to a poorly-timed ambush, and resolved to be more careful henceforth. It won two wars, lost one, and came off with more-or-less a draw from the other four, gaining or losing territory accordingly, and growing in skill with each. It was close to victory in another war, using a variant of the slicers that it used in Iowa (very dumb creatures, sent out with very specific instructions), when it was brought to Earth. Or so it recalls. The Maker doesn't fully trust its own memory on events before its arrival.

When the Maker arrived on Earth, it had never before seen any creature of another species than its own. The discovery of other sentient beings, other species, completely changed the way that it thought about life. The very idea gave the Maker grand concepts and goals previously unthinkable; and those goals guided it from the moment of contact even up to the present moment, as Jason Jones awakens in the meat-filled pit.

Nikolas and a Womon Part II

One day:
Nikolas was a terribly silly man,
From Silla,
Where some small flowers bloomed, and he smelled them occasionally.
But one day while he was strolling and frolicking in the fields and meadows,
He got terribly lost, and lost his way from his waypoint and could not point the way home the good way in terribly homely homesick woods with his lost wood stick which would stick and point the same way home all the time.
And on this intrepid adventure he ventured a peek across the borders,
Where the Kingdom of Baekje stood
Sentinel,
And senile.


He saw things there, he saw ferocious cats and hawks, he saw street hawkers with strange meat meet him on the street and accost him, for meat cost much money in those times,
And most of all he saw
A woman,
Of the royal court, frolicking in the highways and byways
Of the Land,
And they danced,
And he loved her,
But she was from Baekje and he was from Silla, and
It could never
Fruitify.

And when he had had his fun in the sun and had had his meat and met Matthew, the man of the meat-grills, he slowly
Sinked back,
Through the woods,
And he went
Back, with his back to Baekje,
But wait! Matthew the meat-griller was in trouble!


Nikolas could never let a good man in danger,
For he was a ranger,
Trained and true,
To help a man in blue.
So back he went to Baekje,
Crossing the palace walls, the forest floor, the canopy, the banana-boats which bobbed and Floated ethereally in the warm summer winds,
And while the flowers bloomed,
And the petals scattered,
Young Matthew, purveyor of fine meats, was meeting his match,
Against a wonderfully strong lion.

But Nikolas was strong too, for he was trained in the ways of Tae-Kwon-Do,
And he savaged the lion,
With his hoops of steel,
And the lion was slain.
And so he saved Matthew and his Meat,
And the town rejoiced,

And the woman saw this,
And she could not help her heart,
And she ran away to him,
And followed him forever,

And he loved her,
And it was good.

The Abyss of Heaven

the abyss of heaven
was a small town
where everybody knew each other
and the only industry was a small waterfowl design company
and people would come up on the street
and say
"howdy"
and then one day
they came
the storms
that would not stop
for 99 nights
and days
rain and hail
and lightning
blighted that small town
but they were strong
they built waterfowl
with
superpowers
and used them
to fight
the wrath
of the angry gods
and the final battle
the trumpet-swan
white as snow
did soar into the air
and beat its wings
with the vigour
unparalled
and he blew away the storms
for he had the strength of hope in the people
the folks
they believed in him
and gave him strength
and his wings sparkled
and the flapped
and then one day
the sun came
for the first time
in months
and then
they celebrated
for life was good
also they had cake
the end

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Dread DeMorgan

DeMorgan was famed in his day - more often infamous than the alternative. He started his career as a privateer for the Spanish against their enemies. When they realized that DeMorgan had a habit of preying on Spanish cargo as often as English, DeMorgan defected to the Dutch before they could exact retribution. When the Dutch realized the same, he fled to the English; but they had some idea of his perfidiousness, and rather than sending out a polite note of complaint when DeMorgan took an English ship, they sent three ships of the King after his head. DeMorgan - now known as the Dread DeMorgan, for the dozens of ships he had taken in his long and profitable career - fled one step ahead of the English, making for the neutral port of Tripoli. There, he set up operations in his own name, pirating even more aggressively than before. But that is not the central theme of this narrative. No, today we are here to tell you of DeMorgan's legacy.

Three days out of the small port of Tobruk, DeMorgan encountered a convoy of merchant ships. "There!" the lookout shouted. "Three ships - a barque, a galleon, and a caravel!" DeMorgan chuckled evilly. "Don't fire on the barque or the caravel - hit the galleon!" he said.


But his gunners were confused. They shot at the caravel and the galleon! DeMorgan was furious. He told them angrily, "I said, don't hit the barque or the caravel! That's the same as saying, don't fire at the barque, and don't fire at the caravel! Fools!" Then they boarded the galleon and killed most of its crew and stole all the cargo.

Next, DeMorgan gave orders to attack the rest of the convoy. "Don't fire on the barque and the caravel!" he roared. "Concentrate fire!"

But his gunners were confused. They didn't fire at all! DeMorgan was even more infuriated. "I said, don't fire at the barque and the caravel! That means that you shouldn't fire at the barque, or that you shouldn't fire at the caravel! Idiots!" Then they boarded the caravel while the barque sailed away. They'd been too slow!


And that's where DeMorgan's Laws came from!

The Boy

Once upon a time, a boy dreamed of adventure. He was brave and strong and good, and always wondered what lay over the horizon. And one day, as his mother (watching him anxiously) always knew he would, this boy set off with knap-sack and wooden sword, to see the world beyond.

The boy traveled, and grew. At the age of twelve, he arrived at the town of Waysend. He made friends there, and had a half-dozen little adventures (destroying a rat-cellar, retrieving a lost cat), but in the end found it too tame, and left with fond farewells. Shortly before he turned thirteen, the boy drove off a knot of slime-monsters, and rescued their intended victim, an eleven-year-old girl, who was to become his companion for a time. The boy, with a great deal of help from his new friend, cleared the miasma from the Lower Negevin, stopped a rockslide from crushing the villages of the Upper Negevin, and made the canals of the West River locks safe once more by pacifying the monsters that filled it. At the age of fourteen, impelled by feelings he did not fully understand, he propositioned his companion. She refused.

Moved to a frustration he was too young to deal with, the boy left his companion at the town of Prudence and charged onward. Now substantially better armed and skilled than when he began, the boy annihilated a band of brigands near Forbearance, bringing him to the attention of the Prince of that city. The Prince informed him of a dread evil long fortified near Forbearance, vulnerable only to weapons composed of certain rare metals, and even then a great threat indeed. The boy sought the metals far and wide, and in his fifteenth year returned to Forbearance with the metals forged into a mighty lance, slaying the evil thereby. On his return to Forbearance, he was ambushed in the dead of night outside the city by the Prince's men, who (intimidated with his popularity) stripped him of his weapons and locked him in the darkest dungeons of the Prince's palace. The boy, ever ingenious, slipped by his guards and assassinated the Prince, claiming his throne for injustices done him. There he ruled with great severity, punishing the unjust and rewarding the righteous as he saw fit. He associated with the Prince's mistress in this time.

Older and wiser, the boy left Forbearance at the age of seventeen, appointing his seneschal as steward until he should return. He wandered the roads in brown robes and cockle-hat (sword and shield concealed beneath), and learned thus of the ways of the common people of that land - the poor, the artisans, the merchants. He walked thus for a time, resolving disputes and negotiating as best he could, trying to make the world he saw better as he journeyed. He walked far from Forbearance, and (quite by accident) met his old traveling companion at an open-air market. Neither recognized the other, and only a keep-sake the boy wound around his staff (a scarf the girl had given him in gratitude for her rescue) identified him to her. The girl greeted the boy with cries of delight, which the boy (once recognizing her) returned in kind, all dispute long forgot. They traveled together again, both now more mature and accepting of the other. They saw strange lands and sought to help stranger people, and (in so doing) earned the thanks of a god of sorts. Appearing to the boy, he made his gratitude known, and offered one wish to him. The boy thought a while, then said this:

"I have seen many ills in this world. Some may be slain with courage; others crushed with raw power; others placated with wisdom. It is much on my mind that I might return to Forbearance and turn that place into a bastion of the good, making of it the heart of a kingdom. For this I will need courage, power, and wisdom all; which I have acquired in fair measure, over my six years of adventuring. But if my kingdom is to stand, once it is built, there must be others. This, then, is my wish: That after I am dead, others will be born with courage, power, and wisdom in my kingdom, that it should ever be a bastion of light against the dark."

The god vanished; and the boy never did know whether his wish was granted. He traveled home with his companion, and on their return to Forbearance (on his eighteenth birthday), the boy named himself King, and his old companion Queen. In honor of the new age he saw dawning, the King renamed Forbearance (a poor sentiment for the times) to High Rule, kingdom and city and palace all; and they ruled justly and fairly (all in all) for all their years.

And the god did grant the boy's wish after all... in his way.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Nikolas and a womion

nikolas stared silenty into the abyss
abyssinian lagoon
and he wondered what it really meant
to love a womon

then he took her in the room
where people no longer live
or learn the ways
of the customs
and the
æ

and he romanced a womon
and he stole a heart

she loved him

and it was good

VLAD THE IMPALER versus COUNT DRACULA

They face off on a cold winter's night in Wallachia. Count Dracula is deadly pale, dressed in a gentleman's clothes and armed with an aristocrat's foil. His opponent, Prince Vlad "the Impaler" Dracula, is armored in light chain-mail and armed with a morningstar. He has several hundred soldiers behind him.

"I have the power to turn into mist, summon creatures of the night, and also influence others' minds," the Count comments off-handedly. "Also, I can only be killed by a stake through the heart."

"I command the nation of Wallachia," the Prince replies. "And I have a habit of impaling defeated enemies on wooden stakes - slowly, so that they don't die of shock."

"I don't suppose that would go through the heart?" Dracula asks.

"I rather think it would," Dracula responds.

"Then I'd best avoid that!" Count Dracula shouts, and transforms into mist. Vlad charges him, swinging his morningstar, but little comes of it. His soldiers charge, brandishing holy symbols; they are ambushed by creatures of the night (wolves nipping at the flanks, bats flying into their faces to blind and demoralize) and turned against one another by subtle manipulations. In the chaos, Vlad whips out a two-foot lead cross and thrusts it at the Count. Hissing, the count transforms back into a human, bending away from the cross. Vlad swings his morningstar, and (with inhuman strength) the Count parries with his foil. They stand there a moment, locked together. It is a tense standoff!

Then, out of nowhere, Vlad Taltos (occasional assassin) swoops in! His jhereg companion (a sort of carrion-eating, lizardy flying creature) drives Vlad the Impaler back. Vlad Taltos attacks Count Dracula with a Morganti (soul-sucking) dagger. The Count is very nervous! He is undead but a touch from a Morganti blade will kill anything! He shifts at the edges, growing hair as he considers transforming into a wolf and shrinking slightly as he thinks of becoming a bat. But Vlad Taltos keeps him too busy to do anything!

The soldiers are still fighting, and are too busy to be any help to anyone. Vlad backs off, and his jhereg circles around and joins him. The three (Dracula, Vlad Dracula, and Vlad) eye one another, waiting to see which one will flinch first. The Morganti dagger emits a nearly-inaudibly keening, which just makes the whole thing worse.

Then Chuck Norris roundhouse kicks his way though the crust of the earth and right into the center of the fight! And there's not a thing any of them can do. The end!

Water-Rats

Water-rats are pretty creatures. They live in the water, but they are not of the water! Disconcerting. They're like amphibians! Except that they're just mammals. Also, they don't like pike, and they fear owls. Here's one now!


Let me tell you a story of this little water-rat. He was wandering down a grassy bank, one day, when a big mean mole came up to him. "Little rat," the mole said, "I don't like you, and I don't think you like me. But I have something to tell you. You've made a big mistake coming here - and I mean a BIG mistake. And I'm the one who has to deal with it!"

Actually this was the beginning of a big quest line! But the little rat flew away on his tiny wings so he did not get to start it. He was scared of the big mean mole! So he flew and flew, and when his arms got tired he crawled into the river and paddled downstream.

Eventually he came to a waterfall! "What's over the waterfall?" the water-rat wondered, and fell over. At the bottom he saw this!


He immediately fell over dead. It was too much for him! Poor little water-rat. He was too pretty for this world.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Worldbreaker Spoon

In times long past, the snakes - then far greater than now - crafted artefacts upon the world. The world was new then, humanity had not spread upon it. There was space for things bigger than could be made today. So they built marvels and wonders, these snakes: Hammers that could crush mountains. Shovels that could build mountains. And one of them, more creative than most, crafted a great spoon - a worldbreaker spoon, capable of cracking any thing into three parts - one for Belial, one for Enki, and one for Jehovah. It was this spoon that broke Gilgamesh, before he was reborn - but that came much later.

When they made these artefacts, the snakes made sacrifice, that their creations might be born free of taint and sin. Legs and arms, wings and shells and fire-breathing maws, all lost in their desire to make a better world - and still they do not regret it, for while they lasted, the snakes' artefacts were things of wonder. But the spoon was greater than any of them - and its maker sacrificed no more. Thus it was born tainted with sin and darkness - a void unfilled, a debt unpaid. All the snakes felt its presence, and trembled, and told its maker, "You! You have done an evil thing! You must undo this evil!"

But this one snake was far too much in love with his creation to destroy it. He sacrificed more - his manifold eyes (all but two), his legs, his arms, even his hover-jets - but it was not enough. The spoon hungered, and the debt was unfulfilled. So he made the ultimate sacrifice - himself. He pulled out his soul and filled the hole thereby - but left himself empty. His spoon was the greatest creation of the Snake Age, all agreed; but its maker had lost his heart and soul in its making. He wandered the world for eons, long after the other snakes were become deaf and dumb in the First Fall, carrying the great spoon, searching for purpose. Ages came and passed: the time of the land-whales, the thunder-lizards, the lords of the fiery swords, all struggled to greatness and, in time, fell from grace. And the snake, granted a false immortality, wandered on.

After the lords of the fiery swords fell into the darkness, the world was empty of sentience for a time. But another approached it: man, the naked ape, had the potential for greatness. The snake saw an opportunity here that he had missed three times before. When the land-whales and thunder-lizards and lords of the fiery swords had risen, the snake had been absent; elsewhere in the world. But in the heartland of man's beginning, the snake saw his chance. He journeyed to the last garden of the fiery lords, guarded by their sole survivor - for it is the way of things, that the passing of ages should leave some remnant. All things younger than him the lord could bar with his sword that turned each way - and the snake, crippled by sacrifice, was too weak to make any stronger argument against it - but he let pass the humans, moved by pity, and in their wake the snake crept in unnoticed.

The humans wandered the great garden, marveling at the ordered rows and the strictly sorted plants. They were careful to touch nothing, for this was not their place, they knew well - last of the fiery lords' domains, and theirs still. The snake was discontent with this. Leaning on the worldbreaker spoon, clean of sin but yet his burden, he hissed to the humans: "This place is yours by rights! The time of the lords of the fiery swords has passed!" And they looked about, and saw the abundance all about, rotting on the branch and the ground, and considered how they might feed their families with this wonder. And one of them, quite deliberately, plucked an apple off a branch and bit down hard.

Thus did man find the secrets of agriculture, basis of civilization. But the soulless snake was discontent. He hissed again, "Look, the fiery lord still stands guard, hoarding this treasure for his long-gone people! Kill him, that he might no longer bar you!" And the men took the worldbreaker spoon from the snake and smote the fiery lord with it, breaking him into three parts: one for Belial, one for Enki, and one for Jehovah. Thus were born the many demons and spirits and angels of the Age of Man. And in the taking of the spoon, the weight of the soulless snake's sin was lifted from him; and he died at last. His sin was passed on to man - such that all his works of destruction are cursed, and lead never to the good. So it is that violence leads so rarely to the good, and we must instead learn to create - to leave our legacy for another age.