Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Rude Message


Friday, August 22, 2008

The Song of Sir James


This tale is of a far-away land,
near York-shire it is set,
of Brave Sir James and his five knights,
who into the forest rode.

Their swords were sharp and their lances gleamed,
and many a foe they slew,
'till a dread odor rose and an ill sound made them pause,
as the monster David unfroze.

With tooth he slew one knight and claw slew another,
one swipe killed five more knights and his breath felled four others.
Sir James charged and lopped off one arm,
foul David returned the favor,
and Sir James collapsed in shock and died of blood loss.
Then David ate him.


With his antics David the Pope offended,
excommunication was too good for him;
the Pope signed a bull and the orders were given,
the Fourth Crusade regally began.

A million men in armour and cloth marched across the continent,
their goal to slay a monster.
At their head rode a half-dozen kings,
set to slay the demon thing.
From every country their forces drew without any fee,
from Spain child-soldiers, from Saskatchewan, dentistry*.

The furthest of them marched five hundred miles,
to reach the forest where a David resided;
then internal conflict, disease, supply issues, and domestic turmoil destroyed the crusade before it accomplished more than wasting half the manpower in Europe for half a generation and all the food and other supplies that came with them.


Where armies had failed, one man set forth,
a hero who called himself DESMOND;
though he was a peasant, a man they called Kessler,
still he was certain of triumph.

Into the forest he travelled,
and there a David he met,
into the eyes of the monster
sulfiric acid was poured;
and he cried;
and he cried;
and he died.


*The phrase "urine pee" would make no sense here or, indeed, anywhere.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Gathering of Knights

For the first time in many years, the Horn of Ilthias was blown. Not once, but three times, did its echoing call resound down the hills and dales of the land of Saint Joseph's Land. And with its call came a great wind; and a crash of thunder; and for two hours' span, the sky turned a burnished red, crackling with lightning and stranger things. And so did the knight Nathan, sword at his side and iron on his hands, summon his brethren to the Third Moot of the Knightly Order.

They trickled in, one by one, to the great gathering. First came the knight Roland, his trusty steed thundering down the long road from the Imperial capital. Then came Ser Rotem, her cloak fluttering in the breeze; Ser David, whose helmet's plume stood proud and tall; Ser Ethan, youngest and boldest of them, who lived once as blood-brother with Ser Nathan. They met at the center of the Moot, and spoke; but their two remaining members, Ser Emilia and Ser Kevyn, did not come.

The knights spoke, and shared rumours heard on the road, and reached a conclusion: their comrade Ser Kevyn was in grave danger. One traveler had spoken of a knight, riding to face a dragon; another had seen it belching flame skyward in triumph, a battered figure prone at its feet. The knights agreed: all but Ser Nathan would travel to the dragon's lair, to face it down and slay it, either to rescue their brother or to avenge him. Ser Nathan would stay, and await the coming of Ser Emilia.

Days passed, and Ser Nathan saw no sign of man or beast approaching the blasted heath around the Moot. He took up knitting.

Then a cloud of dust formed in the distance; Ser Nathan looked up hopefully, for he thought it possible that Ser Emilia, of nobler lineage then any other one of the knights, might arrive with a retinue. But no; it was the other Knights, Roland and Rotem and David and Ethan - and Kevyn, for he had survived his captivity in the dragon's lair, whose largest tooth now hung at his belt. They met together, and cheered, and celebrated victory and success and life itself; and they traveled to a nearby town, where skilled chefs prepared them frosted yoghurt and other delicacies for the knights to delightedly consume.

Then the Knights returned to the Moot, and began their business at last. They assembled the materials, and began to plot; a war-game, their plan for the next five years, until they would Moot once more. They each took up the role of one of the great nations, and plotted and schemed against the others; though, they would confess, not without some amusement at great success or vile treachery perpetrated by their brothers. They engaged themselves thus for many hours, and saw what they might of the world's future; then they lapsed, and spoke of deeds past and plans future, and watched Kevyn in his occupations. One by one, they left, as they had come; first Roland, then Rotem, then David; but Ser Ethan decided not to leave, and to live once more with Ser Nathan, who he named brother closer than the others. Ser Kevyn was last to leave, as he had been last to arrive; he stayed 'till day turned to night, and starry night descended. But at last, he, too, was gone; and the Moot was empty once more. Still none among them knew what fate had befalled Ser Emilia, though some vowed to search; and of the consequences of the Moot, none could yet say.


The first I can remember of the dream is that I am in a classroom. Desks and chairs are arranged in a simple U-pattern, with a (male) teacher at the front of the classroom. A specific girl of my real-life acquaintance sits to my left. Let us call her, in lieu of her real name, "Ophelia."

Beginning a lecture, the teacher asks, "What is the first age of civilization?" I, as well as most of the class, am rather confused by the question. Guessing, I raise my hand to offer the suggestion of the "Ancient" age. (Though I don't realize it in the dream, this is taken from the Civilization series of electro-video-games; my next suggestion would have been the "Classical" age.)

The teacher, to my surprise, agrees with the suggestion, and begins talking about Hong Kong, and its rich and ancient history. (This makes no sense.) A number of other students begin bristling at this, offended by a perceived or real untruth; I have some vague thought that they are Chinese. I lend half an ear to the lecture, instead turning to speak to "Ophelia", who sits a seat away. I don't recall what we speak about, but after a minute or two, she laughingly notes that I cannot keep my eyes off her.

She is correct. Though I had never (in real life) felt romantic feelings toward Ophelia, there is a feeling within me that suggests such has changed. I look down, offer her a very bad compliment that takes me a very long moment to formulate; "There nothing better around you to look at," something like that. She rejects the flattery.

In a moment of daring, I ask Ophelia out on a date. She seems to agree, and asks me when would be a good time.

I wake up, lying abed. For a moment, I think: "All was a dream." I chide myself for believing that such could be real, noting the obvious bipolarities and inconsistencies.

Then I notice my laptop next to me. (At the time I had this dream, I did not own a laptop.) I realize that at least part of the conversation is real, because a chat client is up. It stores chat logs, so I should be able to find what part of the dream-conversation was real. I begin looking.

(At this point, things begin making somewhat less sense than they did before. This is partially because I've forgotten some linking sections; for instance, there was another occasion shortly thereafter at which I 'woke up' and then realized that the dream WAS NOT A DREAM, but I don't remember when or why. Follow along as best you can.)

For some reason, I have trouble finding the chat log. This may be because the laptop is now a DS, and the conversation was held over some more sophisticated, text-focused variant of Pictochat. I try to look for it - there's a big button on screen, "Press B to refresh chat logs", something like that - but I'm having difficulties. People (and the logs of my conversations with them) are represented by crayon-drawn avatars, drawings of their heads, and I'm having trouble finding Ophelia's head in the mess.

Luckily, two other people are here. (I'm standing in front of my desk, still in my bedroom). A teenage boy and girl - one of them is, I think, the boy named Trevor Criddle, though I am uncertain. The girl's name I have never known. They offer to help, and look for a moment. Reluctantly, I offer them a few descriptor's of Ophelia's appearance; I am reluctant to let them know of who exactly I was speaking with, so I try to leave some ambiguity.

Trevor and the girl scroll through the list of avatars, as I watch over their shoulders. They look at a number of girls, skimming past the boys, dismissing each in turn. The girl notes one - the avatar has black hair, tinted at the front with red. Suspicious, she yanks out some hair from the front, revealing the roots - a startling yellow! She yanks out more, turning the entirety of the avatar-girl's head a close-cropped yellow. I object, but the girl refuses to stop - she's just an avatar, after all! Now three dimensional, and possibly existing in real life in some way, the avatar confesses that, yes, she dyed her hair - perhaps there was a reason? (She's not the person represented by the avatar, she's just a representation, so she's rather more forthcoming about these things.)

And blessedly, at this point, the dream stops. I expect that, should it have continued, I would have eventually found the chat log (with Trevor's help or otherwise), would have found that I did give 'Ophelia' the terrible compliment but had not asked her out, and would have had to make a decision about how to proceed from there. (There was some concern about time constraints, as I recall - would she be awake at 8:00 in the morning? Could I call her?)

All in all, it was a really weird dream - not the strangest I've had, but my faithful readers know that's quite something. I hope you enjoyed it, even in its somewhat fragmented form.