Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Fane of the Northlings

"Defilement!" the High Northling Priest cried, aghast. "Our most sacred treasures - stolen! Our most secret, sacred sanctum - desecrated!"

"Ha ha!" cried a voice from somewhere high above, hiding in the darkness of the rafters. "And I'll do it again, too!"

The Northlings rent their clothes and tore at their hair. "Whatever are we to do?" they asked pitifully. "Whatever are we to do?"

"It is I!" cried Mr. Hataki, suddenly present. "I will solve your problems!"

"We don't have any money for you," the High Northling Priest told him.

"Oh," said Mr. Hataki. He vanished.

Then a young Northling acolyte - the youngest of the acolytes - nervously raised her voice. "I think I can fix it," she said. "I think I can find the sacred treasures."

Everyone was quite surprised. The High Northling Priest stalked over to where the young Acolyte was sitting, doubt clear upon his face. "What makes you think that you can succeed where the wisest minds of this congregation have failed, young lady?"

"I'll try real hard," the young acolyte said.

The Northlings were instantly convinced!

"Very well, then," the High Northling Priest said. "The worst damage was done to our Holiest of Holies, the Bi-Circular Non-Wind-Powered Material and Personnel Transport Device (Single-User). Three pieces were taken from it: the Gear-Array of Magnificent Workmanship, the Supporting Cushion-Device of Softness, and the Primary Frame Array of Durability. Find these three pieces, and we will be able to deal with the rest."

The young acolyte thought about it.

"Well," she said after due consideration, "The gears are right behind you, on the floor."

Everyone looked around and gasped. "By Jove, they are!" the High Northling priest exclaimed. "What a cunning thief - to hide it in plain sight! We would have never suspected!"

"What of the Supporting Cushion-Device?" a lesser priest asked.

The young acolyte thought again.

"Venerated High Priest, would you please turn around for a moment?" she requested.

The High Northling Priest did so - and behold, there was the part desired, cunningly affixed to his back!

"Even if I had wanted to look there - I could not have!" the High Northling Priest said excitedly. "This thief is the most conniving of tricksters!"

"But - what of the frame?" another acolyte asked.

The youngest acolyte, immediately, pointed. "It's right there," she said. "Next to the gears."

The High Priest of the Northlings. When he turned back, his face was pale with horror.

"You don't mean," he asked, "The pile of metal shards and assorted debris?"

The other priests uttered a simultanous moan of despair.

"Um, yes, that," the young acolyte replied. "But it's okay. I can whip up a replacement in a jiffy."

Then she did!

"The holiest of holies - it's repaired!" the Northling priests said, awed. They bowed down to the acolyte, putting their foreheads to the floor of the Fane. "No longer are you an acolyte," the High Northling Priest proclaimed - "From now on, you shall be known as our Prophet!"

The Prophet rode the Fane a few times on her newly-repaired bicycle.

"Curses!" muttered the thief, still watching from the rafters high above. "Just you wait, 'Prophet' - you haven't seen the end of this!"



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