Wednesday, April 30, 2008


"Why?" asked Qothas, mournfully.

"Why me?" asked Qelthar, petulantly.

"Why not?" asked Quondam, nihilistically.

Miniposts - The Second -

Last time, around this year, it was AP test week. I wrote miniposts then - I couldn't spare the time for larger ones.

I've been working very hard for the last few days on my 14-page English essay. (And being distracted by a few other things, mind, but mostly the essay.) My first final starts tomorrow. AP tests are week after next.

Posts will probably not be very long.

This matters to absolutely no-one, but I felt I should mention it.

Faith: Shadow of the Valley

(Part of a continuing series. Previous post here, last post here.)

Jared sighed, leaning over a map. He felt very weary. Some of it was physical; he'd spent much of the day on patrol with his men, many of whom were older than him, searching for Intaki survivors. Most of the time, he found nothing. Most of those remaining weren't warriors - just scattered noncombatants, left over from the destruction of the better part of their tribe in Thera's first victory.

The problem was that they were causing trouble - raiding for food, burning small buildings, poisoning wells. The small garrison sent to the valley had been unable to deal with them. So Jared was sent to command the post, in the hopes that his talents might be better applied to unconventional warfare than the pitched battles (and massacres) of the main Beckoner force.

Some of the soldiers grumbled about having a boy set over them- favored, they said, because he was Sworn years ago to Thera. Jared asked nothing of them that he would not do himself, though, and while he might be favoured by their commander, he did display a talent for tactics and arms. Within two weeks time, those under his command had largely ceased complaining - no more than most soldiers do, at any rate.

A rustling announced a visitor to Jared's hut. "Enter," he said, not looking up. He knew who it was.

"Your plan isn't working. Sir," said the visitor.

"You can't say that, Lar," Jared said. "I've only been trying it for a week. In that time, we've had two converts. That's more than anyone has gotten anywhere else."

"One of those converts has run for the hills since," Lar said dubiously, "And the other one doesn't look too steady on the faith. And while we tried to get converts with a show of food and declaration of mercy, we've lost a full pantry to thieves. And Jena got a wound to the shoulder that looks to be festering."

"I didn't know it had gone bad," Jared said.

There was a silence.

"Look-" Lar broke out.

"No." Jared told him. "We keep trying my plan. These people are starving. There are too many of them and very little food. If we control the food, we can control them. And once we have them, we can convert them to the true faith, and the problem will be solved without killing."

"I know your views on killing women and children," Lar sneered. "But how does that fit with your starving them to death? What if they die, Jared? What if they die?"

Jared grimaced. "I don't like it. But that'll... that'll be their choice. Not our fault."

"A mighty thin line," Lar said, following it with a tardy 'sir'. "Frankly, I say they've already made their choice," he continued. "They're not Beckoners now, they'll never be Beckoners... not really. Let's just kill 'em now, put 'em out of their suffering. It's the merciful thing to do. And you know how strongly I feel about mercy."

"I do," Jared agreed. "I've only known you since Thera sent you with me to guide me to the valley, and already I know your idea of 'mercy' far better than I ever want to. Get out of here," he gestured, momentarily animated. "Out! In the morning, we'll continue the patrols."

Jared rubbed his eyes; then he blew out the candle beside him and rolled over. "It's not that bad," he told himself. "Everything will look better by morning's light. And no matter what - I won't rely on Lar's mercy."


Qobert looked at his friend. "You know what time it is," he told Qoseph.

"That I do," Qoseph said mournfully. "Time to enter - that house."

He pointed.

"Well. Yes," Qobert said, somewhat taken aback. "I mean. That house."

"Did you need to point?" he inquired of Qoseph.

At this juncture, one hundred thousand steely knives descended upon the pair.

"No!" cried Qoseph, mortally wounded. "Mortal wounds! My only weakness!"

"Hah!" cried Qobert, defiant beside him. "Unlike my friend, whose passing I mourn, I am not weak to death! Hah!" he cried again. "I laugh at death!"

He looked down.

"Though it might be a bit uncomfortable to remove these fifty thousand knives that are pinning me to the wall," he admitted.

There was a house across the street.

"Just you wait," Qobert said, shaking his fist at the house. "Your time will come."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Snivelings: A Tale of Small People

The Snivelings live underneath the sidewalks, in tunnels beneath cities all over the world. They are a curious sort of creature: small, short-lived, yet so clever and quick-witted as to understand all of human science - for after all, nearly anything can be found out just by listening closely enough from beneath the sidewalk.

The Snivelings' lives are hard. Food is scarce, there are many dangers underground - like the deadly Blerthings, and the gnawing kvitterwart - and, surviving all this, a Sniveling will likely only live five or six years before expiring of old age. Yet still they strive - for they have a dream. A bit of paradise - their promised land - just out of reach. The Moon.

A few heretics think that Paradise is actually on Venus, but most Snivelings think they're sort of crazy and pay them no heed.

They build rocket-ships underground, in what time they can spare from their other labours. Some build them from parts scavenged or manufactured on their own. Others, less choosy, steal from humans. For generations of humans (and dozens of Sniveling generations) they have worked, to reach up to the stars.

But now - what's this? A prophet emerges among them, and delivers this pronouncement, rocking in oracular ecstasy: "Should you not complete your holy mission within one week's time, all shall be lost for-ever."

A frenzy! The Snivelings pass word along by clever communication networks, and soon all are working constantly, risking hunger or death by Blerthing in their frenzy. They work and work and eventually, after spending three days and three nights sequentially on their precious rocket-ships, in their caverns beneath sidewalks in cities all over the world... one by one, the Snivelings nod off, and when they awaken, they find the week has passed.

Forlornly, the Snivelings creep to their prophet. They ask him what will transpire, and he begins to rant at their failure, speaking words of doom: tunnels collapsed. Dead babies. Sidewalks - gone. The Snivelings slump, ashamed.

But then - a shock! As the prophet rocks back and forth, seemingly enraged at the Snivelings' failure, he begins to fall apart! His true identity revealed - a Blerthing, disguised as one of them, seeking to destroy them from within!

The crowd falls upon him.

And to this day - if you see a shooting star, not falling, but rising into the heavens - perhaps it is a Sniveling rocket-ship, assembled over years of labour, taking a hundred Snivelings upwards to paradise.

Feel free to wish upon it, still! They won't mind.

Nikolas and macigagea

ONE DAYE, in the late Springe, a man who was named Nikolousse, and who did decide, quite deterministically, to go and examinate him-self, through the most complex Beaureaucracie, and the manners of the affaire of the House, and the Senatus, he did sojourn to the Table of the "Registration", and whereupon he did have many interesting Discourses with the Fellowes of the Queue, whereupon he followed many bizzarre Adventures, and it is these Journeyes that shall be chronicled herre.

IN THE BEGINNING, behold, yea, in the time before any other thing occured, before the torment of humanity, the man named Nikoulasse did go and enqueue him-self, in the queue that was designated with the lettres which corresponded to the initials of his mono-gramme, thta is to say, "The Letter 'A' unto The Letter 'L'", whereupon he did wait, and he waited until the spring faded, and the summer made the fields gold and fallow, and rich with light and warmth, and the autumn blew chill gusts amongst the groves, such that their colours turned to a prismatic hue, and the winter came and frosted the window-panes of the cobbled streetes, and the sun rose and set higher and higher in the sky, until time itself unwound into a catyclysm, and nothingness over-took the world, and the skyes turned to dust, and red gold, and the universe imploded, and when he had waited enough, he did approach the front of the queue, and he did register with the bureaucrats, and they said, "Let there be a table and chairs", and there was a table, and there were chairs, and the man named Nikolous dequeued him-self, and seated himself upon the seates, and it was good. And they said, "Let there be a test", and there was a test, and the man named Nikolas did fill his informations upon it, pouring his mind into it, in the manner of a man writing down his life story, or his memoirs, and contained his entire livliehood into it, and it was good. However, the interesting discourses that Nikolas did partake of while he had enqueued him-self have been carelessly ommited, thusly, they shall be discussed henceforth.

BEHOLD, the man named Nikolas did not confine himself to his own amusements, with his gyroscopes, he did entertain many interesting people, and younge girls, and it was goode. Yea, behold, he did celebrate the passing of his anniversarie, and that of a young lady, with whom the Nikolas was stood next to, for a period of time, and there was much partying, and loud musick, and drunkenness, and caviar, and wines, and breads with honey, and it was good. Then, the Nikolas, peace be upon him, did come unto the grand lobby, whereupon he discovered his soul-descendant, a small man of the subcontinent, and he was shocked at the primiitve learinings of his son, and he did take upon his knee, and he instructed him in the ways of the world, and the ways a good gentle-man should be educated, and he did instruct his son in the Chymistry, and the management of the Economy, and of Classical Literature, and the young man, enlightened, danced about in joy, and glee, and triumph, and he circled the seas in a boat he built with his own hands, and he did thwart pirates, and it was goode.

MEANWHILST, yea, the king, the Nikolas, lord of the Aegean Sea, prince of Peloponnesia, resumed his time, this time after having sat down at the magic table, now did discourse with many fine young ladies, such that they were a harem for him, a gift from his father, the king of Arabia, and he did make delicate gestures in his sliken clothes, as he lounged at that table, and it was good. However one of his concubines was indeed the soul-descendant of the ghost of his dead brother's dead wife, both of whom were slain at his own hand, and he did see a strong resemblance to her, and which filled him with such guilt and aversion, and fear, and disgust, and terror, he was forced to put his silken robe back on, and assume a decent position, and it was goode. And when he had done this, he inquired of the lady, who looked like his sister, in law, and whom he had slain:

"Känner jag dig?"

And to this she said:

"Jag har många småsyskon."

Then he asked:

"Har du en syster som heter Marie?"

To which she replied.

"Jag har tre broder men jag kan inte deras namn. Kanske Paul."

Then he apoligiesed profuseley.

FINALLY, after the Nikolas had finished, he did rerturn to the royale chariot, such that it rode around the Earth ten times before he returned to his home, and it was good.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Adventures in the land of San-Francisco.

Recently - on this past Sunday, in fact - I went to visit my grandparents.

With me came my good friend, Mr. Ballos.

He had gone there to visit a mutual acquaintance, Mssr. Xeno.

Xeno was quite well read...

...and appreciated the virtues of delicious fruit.

First, though, Mr. Ballos had to go to the bathroom.

He washed his hands afterwards, as any decent person would.

He stopped at a bookshelf, observing the contents. Can you identify the book on the bottom?

Then he lounged around for a little while with some relatives. I introduced him.

Finally, the dramatic occasion came: the meeting of the minds!

The tension was broken when Mssr. Xeno offered an apple to Mr. Ballos. They shook hands.

Then came time for the Passover dinner. Mr. Ballos read from the Haggadah, leading us in a recitation of the plagues...

...and ate some delicious matzah.

Afterwards, he was pressed into cleaning up.

Then he shared one last apple with Mssr. Xeno...

Took another trip to the bathroom...

..washing his hands afterwards - better safe than sorry! -

rolled toward the door

opened it

and left.

Goodbye, Mr. Ballos!

This house will miss you.


(I was given a camera with no listed objective. This was the logical result.)

Tholbom's Stand

The caravan from the Mountainhomes had come, carrying weapons and armour, as our broker had requested last fall. Now, as the merchants approached laden with valuable trade good, was the time when goblins and other vile creatures most often attacked, so our warriors were readied and patrols were sent out, hunting for ambushers. But the wagons rolled past the double moats and the half-built towers, finding our depot without difficulty. Cooks and carpenters alike set to work, hauling the famed goods of our master artisan, "Wealthmaker" Tekkud, to be traded to the dwarven merchants.

Then the goblins attacked - making no pretense at stealth. They appeared all along our borders, mounted on hideous beak dogs, carrying swords and axes and cross-bows. Three groups of ten they were, in all - two attacking from the west, one from the east - and at their head was the dread Mace-Lord Kuthnik Bonesmasher, armor decorated with bones.

Our leader gave the orders - raise the drawbridges! Call in the levies! Channel the goblin scum - let them be forced to march through every trap, let them march past our marksdwarves while bolts winnowed their ranks like hay! Let them fall! Newly recruited fishers and woodcutters ran to the armory to prepare themselves before battle began, while the old guard were sent to the bridges, to hold them until the recruits arrived. Gears creaked into motion, and bridges creaked upwards, sealing off the rear entrances to the fort. The front (western) bridge would be lifted as the goblins attacked - hopefully, splitting their forces and leaving the remainder to die.

It didn't work out that way.

The eastern group of goblins, armed one and all with axes, were crippled by cross-bow fire, unable to retaliate across the wide moat. Beak dogs screamed hideously as bolts pierced their flesh and goblins shouted shrill yells of defiance - to no avail. Marching to the north to reach the front entrance, half their number fell, and they were forced into retreat, broken.

But the battle to the west went far worse - for their stood both the crossbow goblins and their terrible leader Kuthnik Bonesmasher. The bridge rose, but too late - only after all of the sword-goblins had already crossed. Many of Kuthnik's followers died to traps, crushed by stones or chopped to pieces by hidden blades. Kuthnik himself was cast down by the death of his beak dog mount, and lay before the now-raised bridge, calling for our defenders to fight him.

They did - and there's the rub. For the crossbow goblins still lurked, just outside the moat, and now volleyed bolts at any man who dared cross the no-man's-land between safety and the still-living Kuthnik. Dwarf after dwarf rushed forward to face Kuthnik in single combat. Most were slain by bolts, and the remainder were slain by blows from Kuthnik himself, still terribly strong despite his deathly wounds. At last he fell - but still dwarves rushed out, seeking to aid the wounded, and themselves fell to join them. The crossbow goblins retreated in the end after depleting their quivers, leaving one wounded unfortunate behind (who was shortly skewered by some of the remaining old guard), but the carnage left behind was incredible. We could not call it a triumph.

In all, somewhat less than twenty goblins died - all of the sword goblins, one of the crossbow goblins, and most of the axe goblins. We lost twenty good dwarves - all of our fishers, hunters, and most of our carpenters and masons, among others - and recovered roughly a quarter of that number, to recover agonizingly slowly (if ever) over the next few years. Our fort's population dropped from eighty to sixty.

Our leader was deposed.

(due credit again)

Why is the blog so deadly quiet?

What has happened to this forlorn land?

Once, it was a place of grand towers and vast edifices. Mechanical titans strode from tower to tower, carrying men more advanced than we to whatever odd business they sought. In the sprawling lands around the towers, teams of clever automatons cultivated and shipped vast quantities of produce in a garden larger than cities, while ever-new varieties of crop and machine were devised and manufactured in the towers themselves. Other towers created new things of every sort, from furniture to computers to rocket-ships, the lands below them dominated by factoriums calibrated to suit the tower-dwellers' every need, with clever platforms above designed to support the striding machines' weight.

And the people themselves - oh, how they lived! Suspended miles above the earth in crystal spires, peering down on the land below through the clouds upon which they floated. Rockets lit the sky day and night, soaring upwards to the orbital factories (and beyond them - to the stars!) and back carrying exotic treasures. And between heaven and earth lived the people, enjoying the best part of each, their existence flawed only insofar as humanity must be flawed, by the squabbles and gripes and minor inconveniences that make us human.

What has become of us? Has the great Machine at Manchester, which broadcast tales from that time into our own, been destroyed - turned off - simply broken down, for a while? Have the people of that land tired of us - or plot against us, their own past, seeking to destroy us that they might be born? And most of all - is there anything we may do? How may the blag rise again, like a phoenix?

Reach upward!

To the stars.

Indie Games

Some things which caught my interest in recent times - and may amuse you!

Ancients' Tome
: A curious little game - very innovative in its menu and gameplay. I don't want to say too much - figuring it out was a lot of the fun for me. A few levels in, lack of control gave me annoyed me too much for me to continue, but I recommend giving it a quick shot nonetheless.

Armored Brigade: This is a sort-of-simple RTS - you select troops as either the US or the USSR, then try to take/hold objectives. It's pretty crude graphically but if you like tanks shooting things and don't mind doing a little tactical thinking then you may find this worth a shot. There's no base building or resource collection or other such silliness - it's clearly related to the old hex-based wargames, especially clear in the view when you zoom out.

Shotgun Ninja
: A platformer in the very old mold. Visually ancient, insanely hard, but quite amusing! To... me. And maybe you.

That's all I can think of at the moment, I may post a few more when I get home.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Events in the Absence of our Dear Comrade

He having deserted us, over the last time unit, and having now returned, it is befitting that we bless this near reunion with a recounting of the many adventures that have transpired in his absence.

LO - did we not, conspiring wildly via the etherical medium and working tirelessly in image-editing and physical manipulation, create an Isselandic Currency, that we might better exchange goods and services?

THEN - did we not, boldly, perhaps insanely, concoct a scheme, a plot, a plan, whereby we would travel, journey, break in - some might name it - to that place of education, and learning, to erect a great statue, a figure, twice life size, with paper towel rolls?

FURTHERMORE - did we not travel to our comrade's house, his dwelling, his residence, to deposit items within - deterred by propriety - hiding them, instead, cleverly, around the perimeter of his home, for later delighted discovery?

Did we not do all this, and more?

Indeed we did - and so it is good that he might return home, so that we could share it all with him, come the week's beginning.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Faith: Marching On

Jared, younger than Thera, had been too young to join her when she began her Genocide Campaigns, despite the oath he swore to her with the other children when her plan was first born. But over a year passed from her first campaign to the second, and the second to the third; and when he, eagerly, asked to join for the third campaign, filled with dreams of glory and religious righteousness (not unaffected by the case of idol-worship he had for Thera herself), his request was granted; and so, as a youth still, he joined the army of the Beckoners (smaller than when it began, but much more experienced and better equipped), and set out to war.

The Jhozhur were the allies of the Beckoners for this campaign, lured by treasure and promises of more, as the Isostats had been before them. They were larger in number than the Beckoners, but worse trained; still Jared noted that the Beckoners made no effort to rectify this, and rather stayed in their own camp, rarely mingling as they marched to the valley of the foe. The distance between them was somewhat created by choice, but also by the difference in dialect between the tribes; the Jhozhur lived far from the Beckoners, and they had never met before Thera's campaigns brought them in contact. Still Jared was young, and curious; so one night, after a long day's march, he walked the distance between the camps and tried to make conversation with the Jhozhur tribesmen.

Jared felt awkward, not sure how to communicate with these outsiders; but one boy, scarcely older than Jared himself, spotted the bread Jared had thoughtlessly taken with him from the Beckoner camp, and in asking Jared for it provided an opportunity for conversation. Jared broke bread with the boy, whose name (he learned) was Isaac, and talked eagerly about a dozen things: people, places, animals, where they were going, what war was like. Isaac was surprised to find that Jared had not yet fought, and asked him about what battles his people had been in before, about which the Jhozhur knew next to nothing. Jared, though, felt strangely reluctant to speak of it, and changed the subject. They talked for hours before they grew too tired and retired to prepare themselves for the next day's march; still they formed a good impression of one another, and met again in following nights to talk and joke.

On the fifth day after the armies joined together to march on the foe, Jared awoke to find the camp abuzz. Thera's sentries had found an enemy fortification, guarding the pass into their valley. Thera had considered the matter, then launched a night raid, burning the fort and slaughtering the defenders. As the combined armies marched into the valley, Jared saw the smoldering ruins of the fort to the left of the line of march; the heads of their defenders now adorned pikes. Jared shivered; then he consoled himself, thinking, This is not true war. I will see the real thing soon enough.

Battle was joined the next day.

The Beckoners took the right flank; the Jhozhur were in the left and centre. They charged, yelling, at the enemy ranks (alerted by the smoke from the burning fort). The Beckoners followed more leisurely, loosing bow- and javelin-shot as they went. The foe was broken, inevitably, as any enemy that faced Thera was. Seeing the results, the Jhozhur made no complaints of tactics, despite their casualties, over twice those of the Beckoners'.

Jared was exhilarated during the battle; alternately terrified and filled with the urge to charge forward and aid the Jhozhur. The more experienced Beckoner warriors at his side held him back; and indeed, he saw hard fighting soon enough, as the Beckoners hit the enemy's flank. Jared's training kept him alive, and foes fell to his blade, mostly fleeing as their forces disintegrated.

Still doubting, Jared calmed himself with religion.

Then came the slaughter of the remaining villagers; and though he'd heard of it, Jared was appalled. He rose his weapons; then dropped them, ignoring the shouts of the Beckoners beside him. He could not bring himself to kill unarmed children.

Thera herself called Jared to her tent. “You swore an oath to me,” she reminded him.

Jared looked down, ashamed. “I know,” he said. “I tried – but I can't. I just can't... butcher people like that.”

“How is it different from the battle earlier?” Thera asked. “In the end, they're all destined for Salvation. We're speeding them along the way.”

Tongue-tied, Jared shook his head. “I don't know,” he said, humiliated. “I don't know.”

Thera thought for a moment, her face expressionless. "Are you still committed to the Cause?" she asked, no particular curiosity audible in her voice.

Jared nodded emphatically. "I will always be," he swore.

"Then," Thera said, "There is another place that could use your talents."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Dwarven Madness

Anecdotes from a far-away land, fictionalized at my brother's request.


Urist Othilrigoth had quite a long way to walk between his bedroom and his work-place, the fortress smelter. His bed was in the centre of the fortress, deep within the canyon wall above the seething river below. The smelter was hundreds of yards away, accessible only by a narrow and dimly-lit tunnel. And it was perched a few feet over the top of an active volcano. (Thus its location - for the lava was used for heat, in place of ever-scarce coal fuel.)

By the time Urist arrived for work, he was quite out of breath. He hung his hat on the rack and turned to begin the day's smelting.

Before him stood a fire imp, its teeth gleaming, a fireball forming in its hand.

It must have crawled through the channel to the lava below, Urist realized; but this was far from the first thing on his mind. To the contrary, he was far more worried about the imp itself, which not only possessed (as a characteristic of its race) a conniving, vicious, and murderous mindset, not only teeth and claws as sharp as steel, but the capability to hurl deadly fire, which it evinced even now.

If he ran, Urist reasoned, he would surely die; he would be caught by a fireball and burn to an agonized death. And there was no way to reason with the creature. So, Urist decided, he must logically fight it.

On his person there was no weapon; the smelter provided none ready to hand. So Urist charged the fire imp, dodging the fireball as he crossed the few feet between them and tackled the creature to the ground. They wrestled furiously, Urist pummeling the imp's thin skin, the imp attempting to claw Urist's vitals out.

For a few moments all was in doubt; then Urist landed a solid blow on the imp's throat, crushing something vital. The imp convulsed, and Urist continued at a more leisurely pace, throwing punches until he was quite certain the creature was dead.

This done, he rose, fists covered in imp goo, and went outside to wash himself off.

When he came back, five minutes later, there was an eight-foot-long fire serpent waiting for him inside.

"Not again!" he cried and set to.

Perhaps it is a testament to Urist's bravery and strength, but the fire serpent proved no more a match for him than did the imp; but from that battle, a year and a day passed before any volcano-born creature would set its foot once more in Urist's smelter.


This story is set somewhat later, in the general area.


The elven caravan arrived early that year, traveling along the wide, wood-paved road so painstakingly constructed over the last few months. It was not for their benefit, of course, that the road was built, and the dwarves eyed the elven merchants with no little contempt as they led their goods-laden mules to the trade depot; but life was hard on the frontier, and food and liquor (most especially liquor) too often in short supply for the dwarves to reject any traders who came. The fortress began to hum to life, as dwarves awakened and answered the call to bring goods to the depot.

Besmar Stigazoddom was far from the fortress, near the end of the road, where all dwarven claims ended and uninterrupted wilderness stretched as far as the eye could see. He paused a moment to admire the lush greenery; then he hefted his axe and set to, cutting the lumber that would become dwarven beds, doors, and crossbow bolts.

A larch came crashing down, and Besmar stepped forward, examining his handiwork. The wood seemed intact, no noticeable splits in the trunk - then he paused, and listened. Strange, high-pitched voices came from behind him, speaking in a foreign tongue.

For a moment Besmar thought he was imagining it; but the voices continued, and he abandoned his work to turn and stare. It took him a moment to see them, but they were there, and coming toward him: five goblins, hidden green-on-green in the verdant forest, four of them carrying crossbows.

Besmar swore, a deep Dwarven curse, the sort that curdles milk and ignites wood. Then he hefted his horn and blew a long, deep note. Back at the fortress, dwarves froze or scattered, running for their equipment. The elves continued undisturbed, not knowing the meaning of the noise. And Besmar turned and ran, gambling that the goblin crossbowmen, alerted by the noise, didn't have the range to touch him.

They nearly didn't - but an errant shaft caught him in the calf and sent him tumbling downwards, just as he reached the road. Besmar fell, yelping in pain; then his head hit the hard road, and he fell, mercifully, into unconsciousness before the next volley came and ended his life.

Back at the fortress, Minkot Necikmeng was surrounded by his fellow dwarves, clamoring for orders. "The goblins have come!" they cried. "What shall we do? Do we protect the elves, or lock the doors and wait the world out?"

Minkot held his hand up for calm. "I am not the war leader," he told them, "but our Sheriff is injured, incapacitated from the last attack. So I order this: we will remain here. We will wait. And we will prepare."

"What of Besmar?" asked Dastot Torasmeng, the fortress's official marksdwarf, and unofficial firebrand. Though no expert by the standards of the Mountainhomes, he was the best the fortress could offer, and considered himself invincible, in the manner of all youth.

Minkot shook his head. "We will keep a lookout, and unlock the gates should he approach - but there are less than two dozen of us here, and I shall not risk any others hunting for him."

Dastot looked restive, but made no further complaint - yet.

He made his move an hour later, standing before the gates. "Five goblins stand beyond," he shouted dramatically. "Five! Goblins! We here number fifteen - not counting the others, those asleep, too weak to stay awake for the whole of the siege. It is best - for younger and stronger heads must carry the day. I call for a vote!" he cried. "Let us sally forth - not now, but as the goblins are distracted, firing upon the elves. A dozen dwarves will strike them as one, and they! Will! Perish!"

The motion carried, Minkot's being the lone vote against, and the dwarves readied themselves, standing behind the gates.

Then came the characteristic sound of crossbows firing. "Charge!" cried Dastot, and the dwarves rushed forward, Minkot somehow finding himself in the lead.

All was chaos - the goblins had cut down the defenseless elves faster than expected, and awaited the dwarves in their own trade depot, volleying deadly iron bolts at the unarmored dwarves. Minkot was first to die - and one after another, they fell, blood covering the road. Dastot fired bolt after bolt, shielded from hostile fire by the bodies of his swiftly-falling comrades, but his inexperience showed - he fired slowly, inaccurately, and as he faltered, the dwarves perished. With only two bolts remaining, he fled back within the doors, the remaining goblin crossbowmen following.

At the door, Edem Nirnil, weaver, lay bleeding on the ground. A goblin corpse lay beside her - the leader of the attackers, a hammer-wielding maniac, who'd slain the other dwarf guarding the door before falling to a well-aimed strike. Now, exhausted, Edem saw Dastot rush in, followed by goblin crossbowmen. "I die here," she concluded, and resigned herself.

It was to her surprise that she saw the crossbow-goblins rush by past her, away from the heart of the fortress and through the tunnel to the other side of the river.

"Perhaps they ran out of bolts?" she mused, and passed out.

After the battle, the fortress remained in chaos. Half the dwarves were dead, and a third of the remainder were bedridden with terrible wounds. Their diplomatic relations with the elves were threatened (not that this was a great concern), corpses rotted in their main hall, and the survivors were desperately unhappy, having seen their friends fall for little purpose.

But one thing guaranteed the dwarves' survival - the elven caravan had carried a wealth of food for trade, now spread out all over the trade depot, ready for storage in dwarven stockpiles. And Dastot had a plan for next time:

"Next time the goblins come," he told the fortress miner, who'd appeared (in full plate-mail) just after the goblins left, "We flood the main hall and drown 'em. Drown 'em all."

The miner grinned. This was his kind of thinking!

A few days later, a wall exploded inexplicably and sent the legendarily-skilled woodcutter/mason of the fortress to a painful death in the river half a mile down. No-one minded. That was usual, after all.

(Credit where credit is due!)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Faith: A Hymn to Battle

The better part of the Beckoner tribe traveled to battle that day; only the younger children, along with a very few men and women serving as guards, were left at the village. The Sindahar seemed to have done likewise; certainly their numbers were roughly equal to the Beckoners, if not slightly greater. They were a force of hundreds; and, as such, difficult to lead quietly. Thera, leading them to attack the Intaki, had not considered this previously; but even as she watched the dust rise from their massed numbers, she dismissed any concern she felt over it. Outnumbering the Intaki as they surely did, what concern need she have over stealth?

When the Beckoners and Sindahar arrived, Thera found she had been right. Only a scattering of Intaki stood between the attackers and the Intaki village; they fought bravely, but did little damage, and were easily defeated. Some died; the rest fled, and an hour later, as the Beckoner-Sindahar force arrived at the Intaki village, they found the entire Intaki tribe there, waving the peace flag.

The Sindahar ringed the village as the Beckoners approached it. The Intaki leaders looked fearfully at Thera as she approached with the rest of the Beckoners behind; one shouted, "What terms do you demand?"

Thera waited to respond until she was within comfortable speaking distance. Then she drew her sword and beheaded him. Her followers, taking this as their signal, drew weapons and slew the Intaki nearest them. Trapped, unarmed, the Intaki stood not the slightest chance. Those trapped in the village died to the last.

Once the slaughter was over, the Sindahar moved in, eager to claim their share of the treasure.

"It was a great battle!" the Sindahar chieftain told Thera, grinning broadly. "We should have trusted you from the first. As a gesture of our tribes' newfound friendship, I will grant you six goats from my own private stockpile upon our return."

Thera smiled thinly and returned to supervising her followers. The chieftain stared after her, miffed, then went looking for treasure for himself.

The tribes left the Intaki valley two days later, having looted and butchered to the point of satiation. Greasy smoke turned the grass black beneath their feet; corpse-fires burned below. The Beckoners whispered, finding it a good omen; if any among the Sindahar felt otherwise, Thera never heard.

Thera devoted the next two weeks to rest and reaccounting; a time that swelled into two months as one minor issue led into another, keeping Thera perpetually busy. At last, sick to death of administrative trivia - arguments over goat-grazing, coveted wives, and coveted goats - she appointed Rob, one of her sworn followers, to deal with all such inconsequential affairs, then retreated into her cabin. She stayed there for two full days, leaving only to deal with bodily functions. On her emergence, she called for a messenger. "Go to the Sindahar chieftain," she told the messenger. "Tell him it is time for war once more."

This time the target was to be the Rocza tribe, a larger tribe, led by exiled royalty from some forgotten kingdom of the outside world. They were better prepared than the Intaki had been; sentries on their borders saw the Beckoner-Sindahar force coming, and armed and armoured themselves before battle. Descended from royalty they might have been, but they had none of the formal training or doctrine of royal armies; they fought individually, with no formal structure, and the only sign of their heritage was the precious metal armour some of them wore. That and one other artefact - a horn, its tone deep and dread, which blew as the battle begun, sending the Rocza tribesmen forth.

The tribes collided in a great, bloody muddle. There were no defined lines of battle; each tribesman fought on his own, and many times a Sindahar or Beckoner struck at an ally, thinking them friends. Still their numbers told; the Rocza fell back, then fled. When the Sindahar-Beckoner force arrived at the Rocza village, they found the remaining tribesmen there, waving the peace flag.

Events thereafter proceeded much the same as with the Intaki.

The night after the battle, the victors held a great banquet, well outside the Rocza village. Alcohol was in great supply, and guards were stationed throughout the area in the anticipation of drunken brawling.

Thera ate little, drank less. She approached the Sindahar chieftain; spoke to him, politely; asked him when he would be ready for the battle.

He declined. "I'm speaking for all of his," the chieftain told Thera, "when I say we've had enough of battle. Our stocks are full to bursting, and our bellies likewise. I just don't see anything to be gained by fighting any more - though I can think of some other things I'd prefer." Drunkenly, he leered.

Thera left the chieftain, wandered throughout the banquet, whispered discreetly to the Beckoner guards as well as certain others among her tribesmen.

In the early hours of the morning, the banquet was drawing to a close. Many of the Sindahar had gone to sleep, some of them simply falling on the ground next to the table at which they ate and drank, others returning to their tents. Some of the Beckoners had done likewise - though, oddly, far fewer. They taunted the Sindahar for it, claiming greater stamina and virility.

All ears turned when the Rocza horn sounded - deep and dolorous, like a requiem. The still-standing Sindahar turned to one another, wondering, distracted. When the Beckoner guards set upon them - having first disposed of the Sindahar guards at their sides - the Sindahar were caught dreadfully unprepared. Most died quickly - standing, sleeping, together in tents. A very few, briefly, managed to protect themselves - seizing arms, grouping together - but Beckoner tribesmen rushed them, and they fell. The Sindahar chieftain was not among them - he died in his tent, killed by a knife from the woman he was with when the horn blew.

Thera allowed three days for the Beckoners to deal with the loot and the dead; then they marched, to the valley of the Sindahar. The pyres behind them burned with Sindahar and Rocza stacked indiscriminately, one atop another.

And, for a time, that is what need be said of Thera, savior of her people, who some - though not yet - would name "soulless".

That which follows is not hers.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

That Fateful Day

It is hard to tell the tale of that day; the day when Desmond returned from the exotic East, and Carson appeared from the mists, then vanished once more, and all and sundry rejoiced. (Because we, essentially, just played Brawl.)


No storyteller would balk - no matter the difficulty.

So I tell the tale yet -

in song!

Wait, no, I tried that and it didn't work.

In prose:

THE man Stephen, often swimmer, did arrive first; and there was banter.

THEN came the great hero Desmond; his arrival brought cheer, and the battles did begin, as they would continue for much of the day.

THEN Kessler, whose kingdom has been much diminished in the Desmond's absence, and David, invisible man, both of whom saw Desmond's presence and did jump and shout in joy at their reunion.

AND the battles raged, fast and furious; so were all surprised when came the next knock at the door, of the Carson, Liason to barbarians, who was greeted with surprise and glee. And itte wasse goode.

ALL did fight, and battle, and brawl; and there was much quibbling over rules, and items, and suchlike. But for all that, the game was good, for all did brawl, and fight, and skirmish in good faith, and none did desert it 'till the game was done, and even when good Carson had to leave - after one "brrrrrb" - all was good.

BUT at the noon-tide a break was called for; and the David was filled with inspiration; so, first one by one, then all at once, all did travel to the olden room, where interviews were taken from the great Cat-Tree, beneath the Cat-Fruit Fronds. And Stephen did make a mess on the floor, and he did call for paper towels.

SO, after this short adjournment, the good parties did travel to the dining table, wherein the game of the old-men (the "Munchkin") was played. And there was much theft of tokens, and betrayal, and backstabbing, and rules arguments, as is the way of the Munchkin; and when victory came, it was swift, and overwhelming; and it was good.

AND the Cow moved on.

THEN came more fighting; and more; and more. Ever did the fights continue, even as the combatants began to leave; first David, swallowing blood, in preparation for his long trip; then Desmond, recalled by his father, though not yet to the far East; then Stephen, first to arrive, yet not last to leave; for Kessler lingered yet.

KESSLER made a Nikolas-Stage; and here our tale ends, for he has not left yet.

Let the video come! And let this day linger in the memory of all, for all time.

Friday, April 11, 2008

st, nikolas, womon, stor

Yea, behold, there was a manne, of goode proportiounes, and good attyre, and manneres, of a gentel-mann, of the cities, and a jollyfulle dyspositione, and a good hearte, who did bless manie small schildren in the blessinge-fountaine, for he wase a prieste, and a mann of Gode, and he did do many good thinges for small schildren around the worlde, and it was goode. And the nayme of this mann was indeed Mr. Nikolousse, Jackobus, Carolus, Augustus, the blood kinge, born of hisse motheres wombe, of noubel bloode, and skillfulle at dansing. One day, when the Nikolause was on his grande toure, after the lyceeum, and the gymnasiulm, and the oratoricum, he did go and mingel with the common-folke, and one of them was, to him, though it might be contested by the Sages of Arthour, who lived in the caves at the Mountain, that she was hotte. And this yonge womane, to the Nokolous, was indeed nubile, and marriageable, and he did seek to know her, by laying with herre, and he did to take herre as hise wyfe, and to bear schildrens with her, and it was goode. And it came to pass, that one daye, when the whethere was hotte, and the cloudes sckattered frome the skye, and the Nikolus was clean, for he had not baythed in several mounthes, at Bath, and he did go uppe to her, and he did aproportion her, and she did lascerate him several tymes about the wriste, such as in the manner of emotionale gentel-men, and he did bleed, seven dry quartes of bloode, and he stormed out the cathedrale in a huff, and it was goode.

And when he retired he did weep, O, weep, he did, and his teaers formed a river that was ten miles wide, and it flowed throughe the liveing roome, and they did drown themselves in it, and it was goode.

Faith: Glory, Glory

(Part three of an ongoing series. Parts 1 and 2.)

But despite Thera's words, there were delays yet. There were many tribes in the valleys around them, and Thera's tribe, the Beckoners, were not the largest among them. Thera had thought, filled with vim and vigour, she might simply lead her people to victory.

"Let us go!" she told her sworn youth, the day after she gained leadership. "We have youth, strength, and the Right behind us. We will crush our foes!"

Her followers looked reluctant.

"We'll do it if you order us, Thera," Rob, older than Thera, said after a moment. "But there's a lot of world and a lot of people in it, and I don't think we can kill them all. That's why we used to send out missionaries."

Thera sighed. "Yes. And they all came back without their heads." She waved her hand, dismissing the others. "I'll tell you when I decide on our next move." Jared smiled reassuringly at her as he left, and Thera waved back before returning to the desk she'd taken from the War-Leader, staring at the maps on it as though she was going to kill their inhabitants with her mind alone.

"Missionaries," she said to herself.

After a silent minute, she continued, "But we never get missionaries from other tribes. Hardly anyone visits at all, in fact. The most we get are..."

She sat up straight, transfixed. Slowly, as though afraid to let the idea escape, she whispered, "Emissaries."

Two days later, she met with her coterie of sworn youth once more. "I want two volunteers," she told them. "Willing to fight. We'll be leaving the village for two days - maybe more. No-one must say why."

Most of Thera's sworn volunteered. She chose two: "Robert. Sera." They ran to get their belongings, and Thera, her voice filled with surety, told the others, "This is the beginning. Remember it. You were here."

The tribe of the Sindahar lived one valley away from the Beckoners, to the southeast. They'd been there for longer than anyone remembered; some thought they might be the original inhabitants. It was before their chieftain that Thera, with her two companions, now appeared.

"We would have alliance with you," Thera said formally. "The Intaki, to the west, are weak, and their lands are filled with food and treasure. Let us attack them together, make an end to their tribe, and together profit from their passing."

"And what guarantee have we that you will not betray us?" the Sindahar chieftain asked.

"You will have our oath," Thera told him, "And we will fight at your side."

The chieftain shook his head. "No. It would take more than that. Much more." He gave the gesture to dismiss her.

Thera refused to move. "I will give you more," she promised.

Surprised, the Chieftain asked, "As much as it takes?"

Thera nodded.

On her return to her tribe, Thera was called to an audience with the Great Council.

"This is unacceptable!" the Interpreter shouted. The others of the Great Council, five old men and women, scowled with him. "You have promised everything to these barbarians, these sacreligious apostates! Ten goats, five-hundred old coin, and half a dozen of our children as hostages! And for what? To plan a senseless and unjustified attack on one of our oldest neighbours!"

Thera twitched, but that was her only response to the outburst. "I promised only what was necessary," she told the religious elders calmly and coldly. "The Sindahar would have taken everything we have for this alliance; as it is, I have gained it for only a part of our treasure, and gained a half-dozen hostages from them besides. And for the matter of the attack - is it not my responsibility, our Sacred Duty, to do just that - not once, but again and again, until the work is done?"

"It is not your role to say!" an Interpreter shouted. "You are but a child - how can you claim the right to lead us, without any qualification?"

Thera spoke. "I am in the right."

"Have you nothing else to say in your defense?" she was asked.

Thera did not.

"The agreement is annulled," the Interpreters declared. "The hostages will be returned, and you will be dismissed as soon as we find a suitable replacement. By tomorrow, at the latest. Then, we will find a suitable punishment for your insolence!"

Calmly, Thera walked out of the temple. The children gathered around her, while the other tribesmen looked on from a distance. "What will you do?" they asked. "We could hear them shouting from outside!"

Thera smiled, unperturbed by events. "Meet me tonight," she told them, and would say nothing more.

Three of the Interpreters vanished from their homes. The other two reassembled in council the next morning, hastily annulling their decision to strip Thera of her rank and ordering the goods and hostages to be collected to seal the agreement with the Sindahar. Thera had already gained certain allies in the tribe; adults older than she who thought that she led them well - some, already, who believed in her. At her advice, the remaining Interpreters appointed three of these to fill the missing slots in the Great Council. If they were worse religiously versed than most of their predecessor, it was not so much as to invite open comment. Not around Thera, at least.

Thera urging them ever onward, the Beckoners prepared themselves for battle. Old weapons were brought out of storage, new ones were quickly forged. Fathers taught their sons, mothers their daughters, how to hold a spear or fire a bow. Then, within a week's time, all was in readiness. The Sindhar and Beckoner armies met atop a ridge; they marched together to strike the Intaki. And Thera, not the old Sindhar chieftain, was at their head.

Faith: Revelations

In the house of her parents, Thera dreamed silently, motionless. Then she twitched; her eyes opened, and she bolted upright. "I have it!" she whispered fiercely. After a moment, she looked out the window, saw the darkness outside, and settled slowly back to sleep.

But she did not forget.

The next day found Thera circled by other children. She spoke passionately and quickly: "It has come time for the world to end. Everyone must die." The other youths nodded, and Thera continued without pausing. "They do not believe this; so we must convert who we can, kill the rest, and then kill ourselves to end it all." The children nodded again, this was nothing new to them. "Do you have anything new to say?" jeered one of the older boys, Rob, looking bored. "I wanna get back to the tackleball."

A muttering rose in the crowd, and Thera instinctively knew that she was losing them; but another boy, Jared, younger than Thera, called out "Aw, Rob, don't be a half-bake. Let her finish. You know she's smarter than the rest of us."

The children's attention turned back to Thera, whose cheeks had coloured at the compliment. She smiled at Jared with thanks and resumed her speech with an even greater intensity. "So we've gotta kill everyone else. Yes, great, absolutely. But think about what'll happen then? We'll be all alone, the whole world all to ourselves. Who says we couldn't continue a little longer, then? All the nastiness comes from the other guys - the blind and the faithless who deny the Truth. Once we're the only ones left, things will be great - like Heaven, really! And once we're tired of things, we can just kill ourselves - there won't be any hurry."

Now she had their attention. Some of the children didn't understand, but most did, and those leaned in closer, fascinated by the notion. Thera clenched her fists in satisfaction.

Then another girl, less excited than the rest, asked skeptically, "But what's it matter anyway? We aren't ever really going to kill anyone. We're just living in this valley, and the most fighting any of us will ever do is in some sheep-raid gone wrong."

Thera scowled. "No! We will do it. I'll talk to the War-Leader, I'll show her what we have to do."

A boy laughed. "Like old Fussy-Warts would ever go more'n half a mile from her house, for fear her little baby would stub his toe."

Thera shook her head emphatically. "It doesn't matter! If she won't fight, then I'll take her post, and do the fighting myself. But I want you all - all of you - to promise me that when the time comes, you'll fight and help our triumph, just like the Writ says - that you'll support me against everyone."

For a moment, no-one did anything; then Jared raised his arm, shouting "You can count on me, Thera!" Rob's hand went up next; then the others. Thera was filled with satisfaction. Against even her own expectation, she'd pulled it off.

The next few weeks were quiet; Thera went about her errands and chores dutifully, thinking about what to do next. Some of the children sworn to her asked when she would make her move; she shoved them off, thinking. The only excitement in all that time was one of the Elders, who visited Thera's house, saying that he'd had rumors of heresy. Thera stared him down, sending him away with nothing; then she hunted down the tattler, pummeling him with the other children. From that point on she would have no dissension.

Finally, one turn of the moon later, Thera felt satisfied enough to approach the War-Leader. She was older, older even than Thera's parents, and scarred; still she was fit, though not so much as Thera thought she might have been in her prime. Thera implored her, using all her passion and speaking skill: Attack! Strike the infidel! End the world!

But the War-Leader refused. Shaking her head, she told Thera that she would have no such thing. The time was not yet; not in her generation, not even in the next, perhaps. The time would come, the War-Leader said with certainty; but their people were too few and too weak to attempt any such thing. "But," the War-Leader said smiling, "With such passion as yours, I'm sure you'll be a strong candidate for the position when I step down - and won't that be fun?"

"To hell with that," Thera said. "I challenge you now."

The War-Leader's expression froze; then she nodded, and took the ritual weapons down from their racks. Two staves made of hardwood, they could stun if used with restraint, mangle or kill if swung with force behind them.

The War-Leader took one; she gave Thera the other. They faced each-other outside the War-Leader's cabin, a small crowd quickly gathering around them. Jared was among them; Thera smiled at him, then lost the smile as she turned to the War-Leader. Her grip on the staff was strong.

The fight began. Thera was younger, stronger, faster. The War-Leader had the advantage of skill; but it had been years since there was any serious battle. The only reason she was still War-Leader was that no-one else wanted the position.

Thera fought viciously, and what experience the War-Leader had sufficed to keep her in the fight for less than a minute. Falling, she swung at Thera's unprotected chest; but paused first, for an instant, unwilling to really hurt the girl.

Thera showed no such reluctance. Her staff snapped out, blocked the blow just short of her body, then swiveled around the center, slamming into the War-Leader's head, leaving her limp and bleeding on the ground.

"Damn 'the next generation'; I am the War-Leader now," Thera declared. "And there will be no more delay."

Her parents looked on anxiously, arriving late to the scene; too late. For Thera was War-Leader now - beyond their control.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Faith: prologue

This is a story of a world that is not ours. There, as in our world, there are many faiths; but a few have more sway than most. And the greatest of them all, ruling most of the world in one form or another, says this: that the world will end in fire and death, and all of mankind will perish. And in their deaths, they will ascend unto heaven.

In what one might call the centre of this world (and certainly its inhabitants do), there are a cluster of high mountains and steep-walled valleys. There the refugees of civilization live: strange cults, weird peoples, driven out from their homelands and settled in a place far isolated from the rest of the world. Many of them die out there, lasting years or generations. Others have lasted for centuries, forgetting their origins. And a few - a very few - burst outwards from their sanctuary, entering once more onto the stage of the world.

Deep in the mountains, there is a cult, which holds in large part to the beliefs of the majority religion. But they fled because of one adjunct - the idea that the time has come for the world to end, and it is their role to end it by killing every living human. They found a rugged, but habitable valley, deep within the mountains, and have lived there for nearly eighty years, forgotten by the outside world, but still dedicated to their mission. Their faith is unwavering - yet their religious elders still sit, interpreting and reinterpreting their holy writ, and their war-leader sits pat, idly drafting plans for the Invoking of the Endtimes, repelling half-hearted raids from neighboring valleys. They are, in other words, nearly harmless, and seem unlikely to be of any importance whatsoever.

It won't last.


Once, in a far-away land, there were born the one thousand creature of the earth, the small things which wriggle and crawl; and they were born of Woman. And they turned to their mother and asked, "What will you have of us? - for we owe you a great debt."

And she was afraid, for she had not forseen this, and she told them, "Let thou go unto the lands beyond, and become great, and do good for the people there; for I am not of your kind, and may not be of your company." And the beetles and spiders and dragon-flies, all the creatures born then, agreed, and travelled to far lands.

And in their exile, they split into many groups; for they found that together they would starve, for their number was too great to support. And some of these groups became great, learning to climb, to fly, to build; and other helped Man, in ways subtle and overt, from fertilizing crops to killing deadly predators to providing sweet honeys for his consumption. But one group became curious; for they wondered, "Is not Man also of the kind of Woman - for if we ought associate with them, why ought we not associate with Woman?" And they slew a man, and took his skin, and travelled back to Woman.

Now, Woman was lonely, as was her lot in those days, and so she greeted their arrival with great joy. And she spoke with them, telling them one and a hundred things, and in her excitement she even told them of the birth of insectkind, saying, "Oh, I was afraid, for they were fearsome, and loathesome, and a dozen other noxious things besides! So I told them a lie and sent them away, for I greatly feared that they might remain ever with me otherwise."

And at this the insects were much enraged, and they did shed their skin, crying out, "Betrayer, betrayer, you have lied to us!"

Woman was afraid, and she cried out, "Spare me, do not kill me, your own mother, and I shall serve you for a year and a day!"

A year passed in this way, and Woman was glad, for her service was nearly over. But the insects conferred with each-other, saying, "Still I am wroth with her, though she has served us well and thinks she has more than apologized for her lie. Are there any that would not have us kill her when her service is done - thus earning pleasure when she would have no more to do with us?" All were agreed, and their plot was born.

But it was not to be, for in this time, a year and more past the birth of the insects, the others had grown curious as well, and returned, in a vast swarm, to the place of their birth. There they found their long-lost comrades - poised to strike - and heard their story. Then they cried out, saying, "No, she is our mother, and any anger we might bear her is long past!"

So they cast out the murders, for they worked the bane of Man and Woman alike, in the antithesis of nature. And so, alongside the honey-bee and lady-bug and silkworm which each serve us in their way, we have also the mosquito and wasp and cockroach, which plague us yet. And that is the story of the birth of the insects.

Monday, April 07, 2008


so like on the off chance anyone that i actually know find this i will refer to womons as: 1, 2, 3, 4.

One day
in desmondland(read: chol)
i was in a place with a person
and the person left
and then i was left with a guy and 2 womons: 1, and 3
because i was exceited and i was not of cleare mind and then i was like
actually functioning in a social group to an extent like
i was less invisible than i usually am
in this setting because usually people ignore me a lot
in these places, and i was talking amounsgt them
however the womons made many poeints that refuted
and counfounded and bemused me
and made sever al poeints to exclude me from a cool things
and a womon said that she go home but she was walk alone it was lame
this was 3 womon who live clase to me
and then i said that i was goin same way
and the womon 1 was gone off to go her house wchch not on the way
but then she was all like no ill get a ride
and the guy gave her a ride and i was like dude can i go too
and he was like k
and then on the way to the lot of
another womon joined us
this womon 2
and then
we all rided in the carre of the dyde
and it was pretty cool
and i think that womon might actually not hate me
or i could be imagining it
so then after i got home i cheecked the recordes
and it turns out a womon 4
was on the internets
like hour before i got home

Greater Invisibility

This is the story.

Once, a man with long hair and a long beard and a long skinny face lived in a small town. But he dreamed! Oh, how he dreamed of the stories he was told - the men who rose, who ascended into greatness, into better things! And so he, in preparation for this, decided to go to the university, that he might be educated, and able to rise into the heavens, along with his beard.

But when the time came, he found he was admitted to many colleges. Many, many colleges! They hooted and clamoured, demanding his attendance. He mused and pondered, stroking his ten-foot beard. Which college should he go to, he wondered? Which?

Then came the word. In the grim darkness of the night-time, there would be a gathering of like-minded fellows, that they might be educated about the colleges to which they might go, and make the correct decision; for along with this long-bearded boy there were many others with the same dream, their thoughts and aspirations as alike as to be stamped out by a machine. So together they went to the gathering, and they named it the Party.

The party was fairly cool; chilled and dark. Many people were about, and hooting and cheering abounded, turning the atmosphere loud and boisterous. The long-bearded boy was pleased, for he learned many things. But then he became alarmed - for there appeared an old man, who did accost and harass our hero, standing closer than those boundaries which the society does decree, and the long-bearded boy was aroused to terror and flight.

Elsewhere, his fear abated, and he observed his surroundings, and did note the presence of Women about, which did soothe him, as though he were a small child or animal, soothed by rythmic cooing. And so he did stay, and learn, until the end of the Party, at which time he got a T-Shirt, which was cool, upon his departure.

The night was dark outside, and cold, and the long-bearded boy was frightened. The tolling of a bell rang through the streets, smoke rose into the sky and fire lit the horizon. And along the street came the clopping of hooves, as Ras the Destroyer, once Ras the Exhorter (but no longer) arrived. He was clad in Ethiopian dress, with a lion-skin cloak, leather shield and long spear, and he did charge at the long-bearded boy, who was greatly afraid. But the boy did raise up his leather briefcase, which he carried with him always, and held all of his past, and he did block the spear, and both were lodged together and ruined. And the boy did flee.

And it was good.

(Because of the t-shirt.)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Probability, part three of three

The room is dark, large, with a vaulting ceiling, but incomplete; catwalks fill the space overhead, thin gratings (or nothing at all) cover the holes in the unfinished floor. The only light comes from a great window in the rear of the room, through which the stars gleam, even as warships fight and burn in the endless night.

Before the window is a throne, upon which sits a wizened, hideous figure, robed in black. Drool trickles down the corners of his mouth as he cackles. He doesn't seem to notice. "Fight!" he urges, his voice twisted and vile. "Fight!"

The young man, apprentice no longer, faces the Dark Lord. Both hold weapons in their hands. The young man grimaces, believes that the Dark Lord will, improbably, drop dead. The Dark Lord disbelieves it. There is a pause; then the apprentice gives up the effort. His grimace remains. Spitting, he shouts, "You should have joined me when I gave you the chance - back on the City in the Clouds. We could have forged a new era - but you preferred the company of this thing," gesturing to the enthroned Emperor, "and I won't give you another chance. You didn't really believe me when I promised otherwise, did you?" he taunts.

The Dark Lord is impossible to read. He is motionless. Any emotion he has is locked away, beneath his mask.

The apprentice, as he was taught, focuses his will. A chance electron moves, a switch fuses, wires hiss out (thinner and faster than the eye can see) and a plasma field envelopes them, seeming to be formed from the air itself before the weapon the apprentice holds. He swings, his face twisted with hate, and the Dark Lord's weapon extends its own wires, by some trick of chance. Magnetic fields collide, vibrate against one another, sending burning sparks flying.

The Emperor on his throne cackles with glee. "More!" he shouts, drool dripping onto the floor. "More!"

The combatants battle across the darkened room, bouncing between catwalks, plasma blades clashing constantly. They are seemingly evenly matched; then the young man, in an error caused by inexperience, leaves himself open. The Dark Lord, machine-like, takes the opening; his blade comes down, and the young man's left hand flies off. It hisses as it falls; gears spin and twist inside, then cease.

"Twice, you bastard!" cries the young man, red with rage. "Twice!" and in a moment of uncontrolled fury (for which the Dark Lord is unprepared) the young man believes and every particle of the Dark Lord's helm disintegrates - moving inwards - stopped just before the flesh.

Bits of alloy remain, embedded in the skin - for a generation he wore that helm, the hope of the old order, turned against them in a day of mutual betrayal. Not in all the time since, in the years that saw him commit the atrocities and destruction of the old order, has any man seen his face.

He looks into the eyes of his son, and sees himself reflected in his younger, hate-maddened eyes.

He looks down. The wires of his weapon retract; the plasma dissipates, leaving a burned scent to cover the sweat-filled air.

The Dark Lord's son is confused. He advances, swinging his weapon flashily, leaving arcs in the air. "Giving up?" he taunts uncertainly. "It's about time. Now I'll take my rightful place - Lord of the stars."

His father looks up again. There is something lost and despairing in his eyes. He makes no move to fight.

"I'll do whatever it takes!" the young man shouts, raising his weapon high.

For a moment - just a moment - the old, scarred man has disappointment in his eyes. Then he lowers his head, presenting his neck to the descending blade.

An electron jumps, and the wires retract, just before they would have struck flesh.

The young man bows down, finding in the end that there was a boundary he would not overstep for power; and his father rises, weapon glowing to life as he faces the Emperor, sitting on his throne. He begins to advance.

"No, no, no!" the inhuman creature curses, spraying spittle as it whines. It raises its hands, points them at its advancing servant. Electron clouds focus, forming (improbably) a circuit from hands to metal, and blue lightning arcs out, covering the black-metal armor. Burns cover the old man's face, and it contorts into a rictus of agony; but he neither cries out nor pauses, covering the last few steps up the dias at a run. He sweeps up the Emperor, lightning still arcing madly, and in a last burst of strength kicks aside a grate and hurls the Emperor down, fallen from his seat of power and consumed by his greatest creation.

The black cloak of the Dark Lord was struck in a dozen places by the lightning; now, as he sagged to the ground, it bursts into flames, reduced nearly instantly to ash.

Minutes later, the Dark Lord's son sets his father down upon the ground, in a brightly-lit corridor near a hangar bay. "You're not going to make it, are you?" he asks.

His father nods.

"There isn't much time left," the young man tells him. "I'm going to make a run for it. I'm - sorry. But it's not a matter of odds - I can't save you."

His father nods.

"Just - answer this," his son asks. "Why did you give it all up - the second-most-powerful man in the galaxy?"

Lying on the floor, his face burned and scarred, the man who had been the Dark Lord tells his son, "I realized - years ago - too late - that power that cannot be set down - makes you its pawn - not it - yours. And - now -"

He hacks and coughs, his son watching anxiously, filled with a new sense of responsibility. He concentrates, and the pain diminishes. Croaking, he speaks:

"I couldn't let it happen - to - another generation - to - my son."

The young man watches anxiously, still uncertain. He opens his mouth to ask another question - then he hears boots from around the corner, and his hand forced by circumstance, turns and runs. All around him, the citadel of the Emperor falls to ruin.

And if this is not how you heard the story heard, then you must ask: why?

Friday, April 04, 2008

Of Nikolas Village, Part III

And so, in the myddle of the nighte, the nikolas went to the house of the womon, under the veil of the nighte, which at the tyme was alreadie dissapearinge, and vanisshing into the sun rise, and the sun beams gmilerd alongst the pavementes, and collbbled streetes, and the boulevardes, and stumbling over a drunkarde, he did beg hisse pardone, however, the dunkard, in a wrathe, for being expelled frome the publick house, and without liquour, or spirites, or wyne, or beere, or meade, or grogge, or liqueur, or alchoholle, and the drunkarde, he did take out hisse blade, and hie didde give Nikoalsu two quiche swipes ackrose the cheeke, such that they made an 'X' shappe in the fleshe, and the bloode was waarme, and it dripped down into the street, and the drunkard, his mind beckoming cleareere with the sunne, and the lighte of daye, realisd the gravituie of his acktiones, and he fled, like a greate white beirde into the cobbled roades, and Nikolas, still wounded, and dased, from the attack, and shell-shocked from the experience, then notissed the bloode, and the paine in hiise fayce seared in his fleshe, and he applied his hand kerchieffe, and he continued on the waye to the womon house, his sensse of response abilitie nevere fayding,

And then he did come upon the house of the womon, and he did see the granidoise steppes, and the marbled tyles, and it was goode. And he ascended the steppes, and he did greete the buttleres and the scullery maides, and he did see a younge servante boy cleaninge the florres, and approaciong the Nikolas, he said hisse name was Kesler and it was very nyce to meete himme, and the laydie of the house was comming downe soon, and to waite in the parlour. And then Nikoolus turned around to the parlour, byt the Kessler did see his opportunute to crete a cruel pranke, and he did snappe the coulottes of the nikoulas vigourouslie, and it was goode. Mr. nikolous, having reckovered from the dreadfulle assaullte, by the drunkarde, and the boy bothe, now recklined in a lagre shaire in the roome, and smoked a cigarre, and had a glasse of whiskey, and applied some to hisse fayce, as a precautione, againste the wounde, and it was goode.

And a few minutes latere, the womon descende into the drawing roome, to greete the gueste, whereupon she had disckovered the Nikolasu, and in her impudence, she would have almost driven himme oute of the house, and indeed was aboutt to do just that thinge, whereupon she disckovered the redde stayned hand kerchief, and the distorted facial conditiones of the Nikolous, and wondeerd if he was all right.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Of Nikolas Village, Part II

And as M. Nikoolus made hissre preparrations for the departurre, in the haste of the nighte, when the windes were blowinge, and Zephyrus was in his wanton wayes, like a trolle in a foreste, and lanterens alighted the streettoppes, than in a poorerr quatrere of towne, on the other syde of the bridge that conneckted the northeern fieldes with the artisannes, then a young boy was crawilinge upon the streetes, and was wont for foode, for he was a poore, and he had no hoouse, or income, or any substicence, and he did scavenge in the dusteebinnes, and the wastebasckests, and the seweres, and the ratte-holes, and the cobblestonnes, and the alleywayes, and the oceanes, and the sykes, and it was goode. And he did looke up at the sky, and it being a colde night, and cleare, for the stares were vissible from the position of the schild, M. Kessler, he did looke uppe at them, and aske for guidanse, and it was given to him, and he reveiced the blessinges of the Winde, and he did go and decide to steale foodes from the wealthie citesenes, and itt was goode.

And so, undere the covere of black-ness, M. Kessler did go and approache the manour of the country baronne, in a most stealthie apprehensione, and the neervoues in his gutte did twiste and turne in a most foul waye, for he was feeling not only feare of being accosted and arraigned, but he was also expereienceing a profounde disquietude on his actiones, and a lack of celare direcktive, and he was troubled as the propoerre pathe. For he questioneed whethere the fate that the stares did dicktate to himme was indeed the righte pathe form him to tayke, whether to accept the judgementes of the outsideres, to crawle blinlie alongst the slumme-wayes, or to create a meaning unto himme-selfe, and to determine his owne destinie. However, a passinge beaste of the nighte startled himme as he was thynking thisse, and he dismissed the thoughtes.

And, like a panthere, in the swifteness, he ascended the steppes that leade to the backe-doore, and he entered like a visitataion from a nother realme, and he did become sylent as a beare, in the wintere time, for on the streetes he had learned to be such, and he did go to the larder, and the kitchene, and the celler, and the pantrie, and the casemente, and the vine-yarde, and he did steale unto himmeselfe a greate deal of foode, such that it would sustaine himme for a numbere of weekes, had it not been for his disckoverie, as he befell upon a rat-trap, and clambouring in haste, he did awaken the manservante, and he was accosted by the ladie of the house, who happened to be the womon that came to the Nikolaus in the horse-house, and it was goode.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Of Nikolas Village, Part I

There is a smalle countrie in the nourthe-easte, off the coaste of aegean sea, whereupon in this countrie, there is a village, by the lake, where there are fishes, and birdes, it is called nikolas village, and in the small towne, where there are many trades-men, and black-smithes, and horse-men, is it where the Nikolaus and the kessler did do many thinges.

One of the thynges that theye dide was on the nighte of st. mouumoeuthe, nikolas the apprentisse to a greate horse-man inhisse stabeles, and outside was a womon, and she was hotte, and coole, and warme, and colde, because it was wintere, and nikolaus, seeing him beeing a gentele man, did offere his great coate to herre, and she did take it upon her bodie, and she did thank himme, and it was goode. And the nikolaus asked her what she was doing outsie the sables, and she said unto him: because I wanted to become the greatest horse-man that ever rode a house, and shoote arrowes from a crosse-bowe on toppe of itte. And the nikolas, muche shoched, said unto her: but madam a womon such as yourselfe should not intereferre in the affaries of warre, and battele, and the man-domaines, and staye in the domeciles. And the womon upon hearinge thisse, did become much upsette, and embittered, and ragefulle, and spittefulle, and hattefulle, and disdainfulle, and soure, and dyspleased, and it was goode. And she left the premisses, because she was upsette with the attitiude of the nikolaus, whom she thought was a not nice personne, in mannere, and she retunned to her domicille. However, what mr nikoalsu did not know was that she wasse the doutter of a riche-man, who was an influentialle politicker in the village, and who owned muche lande, and knowed baronnes, and dukkes, and earlles, and counttes, and it wase gode.

And then the nikolasu came to his house, in a poorer quarter of the vilage, where his house was lighted by kerrosene lampes, and gassoline, and finishing his worke, he ate his simple supper, and he prayed, and he slept in the nightte. And in the morninge, after he had stimulated himselffe, and he could refleckt on his paste actions, he was much agreieved at his behaviour to the womon, and he did realise that his greate coate was missinge, and he did set about to simoltanesouely disckover the womon and identrite, and to retrieve his cote, and to perphaps to rememd affaires with the womon.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The End of the Blog


as you may have noticed, the blogs post count has been steadily diminishing Unfortunately, this has been due to a sudden illness of a mr Nikolus, a primary contributor to the blog, who was struck down with vehement boils, and bruises and blood issuing from his orifices It is indeed a miracle that he managed to produce these final posts. However, due to unforeseen consequentness, and a lack of medical care in the town of nikolous, it is with heavy heart that I must inform you that the aforementioned author has passed away last night in the darkness. His final words were "live on in the hopes that you will spring forth new blogs, to serve the people of all nations". Mr nikolous was a great man who loved to bring happyness to many peoples. His favourite foods were yams He liked to eat them from the street, with butter. He liked also chitterlings, and hog maws, and he liked to make fun of his professors Some would call him "invisible" because he did not seen by people, but he touched all with blogs late in life. His family wishes me to express this message: "I knew this blog was a waste of time and now look where he's ended up". He also was a good chiristian, who believed in the holyness of the faiths, and he was a good and kind man.

This heretofore shall be the last post on the blog, a commemoration of his death, and may we honour his spirit for the years to come and have sunshiny days on every day because mr nikolasu dyed with fufilled life

the staff

(april fools)