Chronicles of the
Children of Destiny
Children of Men III
Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly
Copyright 6179 SC
In the Beginning of the Universe – Universe
The Wyvvern and the Warlock - Universe
The Love of Akira Watanabe – Universe
The Love of Akira Watanabe II - Universe
Universe – Universe
Galactic Confederation – Universe
Holy Shit – Infinite Dreams of Chaos and Order
Iron Skies - Albatross
Moonflower City – Cosmologica
Moonflower City 2 – Cosmologica
The Golden Dragon – Mythora
The Sensational Mega Bug Corps – Earth Prime
Hare and Rabbit Climb Mt Everest – Mythora
The Alphabet Squirrels – Mythora
The Return of the 47 Squirrels from Outer Space – Mythora
Life in Terra-Faunatopia - Mythora
In the Beginning of the Universe
Universe. The grand everything. God had moved on from Moonflower, a world which had come, and now gone. And the second of the new Seven beckoned. It would be 'Universe'. For it would be a Universe of Civilizations, and a prominent work on Earth itself, also known as 'Universe'. The scope would be large, and a contest between the Light side of the Magic and the Dark Magic itself would take place. Protagonists, new and old, would come to be, and he would build three eras - the old world - the modern world - and the future world. But, of course, old things were the oldest, and he knew the nature of old things. He knew that well. So he would start with old things, and in old things there were traditionally 4 Archetypes, 4 primary elements of design. Fire, Earth, Air and Water. So he would use them in the olde world, the four great powers, and the dark magic would oppose the light, and God would see what would be.
THE OLDE WORLD
The Wyvvern and the Warlock
Della Sonnet had always fancied herself a maiden of quite serene and noble beauty. But of the host of maidens on the land of Stump that was not really saying that much. Stump was a backwater land, just offshore the continent of Ariador which had become beset with wild beasts, known as the Monsters, since the breaking of a certain barrier on the south of the continent. Day rarely gave thought to the concerns of the continent of Ariador, so caught up in her beauty and maidenhood, which was a shame really. Because the questing hero, Talvin Palador, her beloved was currently running as fast as he verily could away from the clutches of one of the said wild beasts, intent on reaching the safety of a certain jar which was in the possession of a befriended wizard who was currently in the form of a giant eagle, doing its very beast to persuade an unpersuadable monster from deferring its hunger to find a more suitable appetizer than the scrawny and most definitely undelicious Talvin.
‘Get the hell down here Kalphor,’ yelled the much distressed Talvin to the giant eagle which was still attacking the three headed beast, having successfully pecked out 3 of its 9 eyes so far. The beast was enraged and currently preoccupied with the eagle, so much so that Talvin had safely climbed a large pine tree and was signalling for the wizard to come down so he could board the jar to safety and the eagle could fly away to a safer place. The particular jar in question was modelled on another set of jars, but this one was smaller, a dark bluey green in colour and on the vast interior, not quite as large overall as its predecessors had been. It was rumoured that these jars, which had recently been claiming fame somewhat, were of a series of 7 special jars used by an ancient kingdom in its wars for retreating soldiers. But that was a matter of speculation, as nobody on Stump really knew were the jars had originated, and when Kalphor, a cousin of a wizard called Phandrak, had arrived with the jar to Talvin Palador’s address, seeking an audience with the challenger to the Vortex with a plan for storing all the potential goods of the Vortex in the jar, with Talvin’s assistance, Talvin, while he had dismissed such an idea, had marvelled at the jar and persuaded Kalphor to accompany him on a quest to pillage the abandoned treasures of the halls of Ariador and store any treasures they happened upon in the said jar.
Naturally, Kalphor had been reluctant. But greed was always a good motivation for a wizard who often lived on a shoestring. And armed with Talvin’s definite and proud self belief and whatever wizardries the wizard could muster, they had set forth from Stump, Talvin having kissed farewell his beloved Day Suet, and made the way towards Ariador.
They had landed on the north-western shore of Ariador and, carefully hiding from the beasts, the wizard in the form of a giant eagle, carrying the jar in a brown satchel around its neck were Talvin lived happily while they flew from keep to keep and town to town, they’d had many dark encounters but, so far, escaped harm. That was until this very moment when the questing hero, very concerned with the fate of his skin and trying to avoid the gaze of the beast, was signalling to the wizard to ‘get the hell down here.’ Fortunately the eagle obeyed the request and, gathering Talvin in its claws, flew high up to the thickest part of the forest they were in and, resting on a branch, gave the satchel to Talvin who took the jar, and holding the pendant around his neck with a diamond on it, which for this particular jar was the key to entering it, pushed the diamond while clutching onto the eagle wizard and saying the spell, quickly disappeared into a bluey green smokey substance which entered the head of the jar.
A short while later, emptying the sack he had with him of their latest finds into the corner of the main upper sanctuary of the jar, Talvin announced to the wizard that, with the finds they had been successful in uncovering, they could perhaps now think of returning home to Stump to spend their fortune.
‘Methinks you speak wisely, Talvin. But I have a plan,’ objected Kalphor.
‘A plan? Speak on. If it is to bring wealth I won’t object greatly. But we are wealthy now, Kalphor, and I don’t like the idea of facing too many more quests in my life for fortune or rescuing fair maidens, even ones as lovely as Day Suet.’
‘Yet this plan of mine, well, if we are able to make use of a certain resource we may perchance have available to us, the whole of the continent of Ariador could be available to us for plunder without always having to risk ourselves in the fights with these demons from hell.’
‘Then what is this plan, Kally. Don’t keep it to yourself. Speak on.’
‘I know of a Warlock. A Warlock who owes me a life debt, fortunately enough. You see, he was held prisoner in this very jar for over 1000 years and, upon me rescuing him from the jar, he pledged to me that should I ever need his services, he would be available for even the most daring of quests.’
‘And how does that help us,’ asked Talvin, now interested.
‘This Wizard was trained in the Frozen West and has particular powers. Powers over the psyche of Wyvvern’s. Powers to make them do his will, for he has drunk much of their blood and knows them intimately. In fact, so he has told me, he has the power to summon several dozen Wyvvern’s to his service if he needs to.’
‘And the plan?’
‘We call in this life debt, travel to the Frozen West, gain the services of our Warlock and recruit a dozen or so Wyvvern’s. With them as our fighting prowess we can quite certainly raid all the riches of Ariador and become wealthy beyond even our wildest dreams.’
Talvin, having listened intently, liked the idea. In fact he loved the idea and saw it, should they prove successful, as paving the way for him to become the next Baron Palador. Nay, with the money and the foreign mercenary hire he could afford with the wealth of Ariador, he could verily challenge the supremacy of the Lavar himself. But ruling from Stump? Perhaps he could travel to a more suitable place. The Ravlish Lands. Parengarenga. Even the great eastern continent of Margenna were heroes were a dime a dozen, or so he had been taught from his youth, not really knowing how much value there was in a dime.
So, thus agreeing to the wisdom of Kalphor on this particular plan, Talvin picked up a jar of wine, toasted Kalphor to their inevitable success, and dreamed of the riches which would surely soon be his.
* * *
Blaz Durass was not exactly what you would call a competent Warlock. In fact, recalling his earlier days under the tutelage of Sarge Bramenday, one of the more highly respectable of the wizards of the Frozen West, it was uttered on more than one occasion, in fact quite frequently, that Blaz Durass was far from being a competent student, and would never pass his exams for acceptance into the Guild of the Universal Order of Wizards, Witches and Warlocks. This particular guild, one of several such guilds of the Frozen West, being a trend which had caught on centuries back, was one of the more established and respected guilds. So much so that they gave a cautious guarantee, as cautious as the word of a wizard could be, that all successful pupils passing their degree course in wizardry and magic would be competent enough for the slaying of any dangerous dragon or the successful practice of raising from the dead, or turning blood into Jelly or any of the other more ambiguous callings that a wizard may happenchance be called upon to perform. And because of the said guarantee from such an esteemed school of magic, Blaz had forthrightly enrolled, confident, despite his father’s constant objections that he should get a real job, that he would become a world class wizard, quite capable of turning blood into Jelly. In point of fact, despite the truth that he'd had years of wizarding adventures to master the art, Blaz Durass, as befitted his level of competency, was still unable to turn blood into Jelly. Actually, he usually vomited at the sight of blood, his complexion turning quite pale. But, nonetheless, he had in fact passed his exams in the end, albeit with straight D's, and happily took his membership in the guild at the reluctance of the head wizard and the board of executives, and proudly displayed his degree in his room, boasting to his father that the world was now at his doorstep. His father knew the better.
They didn't exactly come a knocking on the door of Blaz Durass, and despite his extensive advertising in the Wizarding Gazette, a popular publication in the Frozen West, after one year of solid unemployment, Blaz was distressed. Most distressed. But fortune favours the brave, and for all that hard work and effort, for 7 years of constant worrying whether he'd mixed his reagents in the correct manner, or whether his enchantments would work in the prescribed way, or whether his wand was powerful enough, Blaz finally had his breakthrough when a warlord, having come into the ownership of a special magical jar, engaged Blaz's services to see just how he could, apparently, store his army in the jar for the purposes of sneak attacks and urgent retreats.
Blaz had, delightfully, taken to the task and spent several weeks, coming to months, in the archives of the guild, researching all he could on ancient storage jars.
It had been incredibly dull work, but he was learning constantly and, finally, finding a meagre reference, he touched the pendant, said the spell, and was instantly transmogrified and taken into the jar. But he'd made one simple mistake. The pendant needed to be worn around his neck in physical contact with his skin, otherwise it would be left behind outside of the jar and, because of that, he would be left with no escape from the jar should he have proven such a dullard to make such a mistake. Which is exactly why the competency of Blaz Durass had seriously been questioned by so many, for he in historical fact did make such a blunder. To his credit, he had been zealous, and when overcome with joy for the finding of the reference and uttering the spell once he had touched the diamond, he had failed to read further into the passage which proclaimed the importance of wearing the said pendant against one's chest or skin. And due to this unfortunate mistake, Blaz had found himself sucked inside the jar, with no apparent way of escape. And there he had remained, for a solid millennium, wondering when on earth one of his wizarding compatriots would take the time to work out exactly were he had disappeared to. Alack and alas, not only had they in fact known were he had gone, and had a fair idea of how to get him back should they want to, the head of the guild had quietly taken the jar, stored it up on the uppermost shelf of his library, and taken it to mind to give as much forgetfulness to the person of Blaz Durass and the said jar as possible. And for 1000 years he was quite successful at this objective.
But pity is a strange beast, and despite, as the millennium passed, and thinking he really should know better, the head of the guild had sold the jar at a hefty sum to a certain 'Kalphor' who was interested in acquiring magical items with useful purposes. The wizard had instructed him, quite carefully, that a mad wizard likely still resided in the jar, and to be well and truly far away from the headquarters of the guild before he dared using the charm to enter the jar. Kalphor, being a hospitable enough type of wizard, gladly accepted this obligation and, being a suitable distance from the home of the guild, used the pendant and entered the jar.
A wizard, he assumed, greeted him. Or what was left of a wizard. Blaz was naked, as had become his custom, with a rather lengthy beard, and munching on what looked to be 40 Trillion years supply of stale crackers and bland wine, was suddenly quite surprised and overwhelmed to be visited upon.
And, for the salvation which Kalphor had given Blaz, he promptly promised him a life debt, should he ever have need of a highly trained wizard, and began to boast of his great powers and apparent abilities to utilize the services of Wyvvern’s, of all creatures, to any task he should so desire.
Kalphor believed him. Which was perhaps quite foolish, having not heeded the guild heads advice the Blaz was indeed mad, and as such, one fine afternoon in the Frozen West, Blaz Durass busily studying a magic tome in the guild of wizards which, to many protestations and objections he had rejoined, them finding no legal avenue to refuse him re-entrance into the guild, Kalphor and Talvin Palador were steadily making there way up Krozana highway, to the city of Krandor, home to the guild of Wizards, Witches and Warlocks.
Talvin looked at the sun in the sky. Through the dismal grey clouds it seemed to hang limply, almost too scared to come out and shine its glory over the increasingly cold environs. The Frozen West, which was perhaps a mark of genius in the naming of the said region by some wise geographer of ancient of days, was duly named as such simply because of that very fact – it was extremely, bloody cold. And Talvin, used to the more pleasant environs of Stump, which while not famous for its hospitable climate – in fact, quite often the very opposite – was starting to look like paradise in comparison to the rather cold and unwelcoming frost of one of the cooler regions of Belth Galador. But the questing group had no real choice in the matter, for the wizard they sought, the venerable Blaz Durass, resided in Krandor of the Frozen West, headquarters to the Guild of Wizards, Witches and Warlocks, and as such Talvin’s certainty that his toes were starting to turn green looked like there would be no soon abating of his due concerns because of the said Wizards choice of residency. ‘Try to look on the bright side of things,’ said Kalphor. ‘We’ll be rich soon enough. And then you can buy all the slippers and mittens and fur coats your heart could possibly desire. Talvin, currently weighed down in very thick clothing of such like muttered ‘Very funny.’
They continued to trudge on along the road, unable to find any suitable beast willing to bear them in winter in the Frozen West, when the horses simply froze up and stayed in their kennels, neighing subtle mockeries at the slightest suggestion they should brave the coldest part of the year in a land they had most lovingly come to hate. There were always the standard ‘Grizmak’s’, large bear like creatures which were the common beasts used for pulling sleds during this time of the year in the Frozen West but, unfortunately for Talvin, he sneezed incessantly whenever he was near such a beast and came out in a most terrible and undesiring red and very itchy rash. In fact, they had been holed up for several weeks near the beginning of their journey in the Frozen West, laid up in an inn as Talvin recovered from his most eventful encounter with one of the thick fur-cladded beasts.
And so they trudged. Slowly, carefully, inevitably they trudged along the roads and byways of the Frozen West, steadily making for the city of Krandor. After 12 weeks of solid marches, though, the weather in truth did seem to be improving somewhat, and Talvin’s constant bemoaning that Kalphor should resume his eagle form which, so far, had fallen upon deaf ears, was less often the stuff of their conversation as they came into sight of the city of Krandor.
‘We should be there in no time,’ exclaimed Kalphor, quite happy to have finally arrived at their desired destination.
‘It’s about bloody time,’ remarked Talvin in response, but he was in truth quite pleased that they had finally arrived and, despite hating so much the fact of his unavoidable odyssey through the wilds of the Frozen West, was starting to think of himself as something of a heroic athlete and man of worth for the great trudging epic they had just about completed. Yes, vanity was a lovely gift to man, and while he often suitably rebuked himself for such pretensions, the pride of his youth still lingered somewhat.
‘So what is the address,’ began Talvin. ‘I mean, I assume you know were to find the guild after all.’ Kalphor looked at him, momentarily stunned, and then looking away uneasily answered ‘Of course I do. Of course I do.’ Yet, in truth, he had not the foggiest idea.
The first citizen they met and asked for instructions must have had quite a wicked sense of humour, for they had trudged all the way to the southerly edge of the city in search of the guild, only to befriend another welcoming citizen who told them they had been taken for a ride, which was not uncommon in Krandor, and that the very guild they sought was in fact on the northern edge of the city. Kalphor thanked the kind man, but could not deny his frustrations and Talvin’s swearing reminded him instantly of the new march they now faced. Yet, thankfully, they found an inn, booked in for the night, and in the warmth of the burning fire in their room, Talvin practically roasting his toes, he remarked that tomorrow should be a good day in which they would hopefully locate the desired wizard. Kalphor ensured him they would have no such troubles, despite Talvin’s careful looks, yet nevertheless slept well that night, enjoying the rare consolation in these lands of a warm bed and warm broth.
The following morn, having amply rested and deciding to leave a little later in the day than their usual, to make full use of their allotted time in the warmth of the inn, in the weather which had fortunately started to improve somewhat, perhaps ironically in Talvin’s viewpoint, just as they had arrived in Krandor, they managed to thankfully find a horse-driven sled willing to transport them to the guild they desired to frequent.
As they drove along Talvin began again questioning Kalphor on the merits of the Warlock Blaz Durass, for on the long road to their destination Kalphor had said the occasional word regarding Blaz and his actual probable abilities that lead Talvin to seriously question wether they had indeed sought out the most appropriate of Warlocks for the task in question. But all that Kalphor would say was ‘As my cousin Phandrak truly says, you can always trust a wizard,’ a remark at which Talvin often muttered responses under his breath, always just a little to undiscernible to the ears of Kalphor.
As the midday approached and they neared the guild, a monstrous fortress it seemed on the edge of the city, Talvin’s attitude generally began to finally improve. ‘You’ll see,’ said Kalphor. ‘Blaz will be only too willing to help us. I am sure of it.’
‘Let’s hope so,’ responded the Baron of Palador’s son.
* * *
Jak Tolkun, student of the Guild of the Universal Order of Wizards, Witches and Warlocks, studying as well as he could to ensure he passed all the requirements of his 7 year degree, moaned once again his frustrations in being suddenly and most embarrassingly covered with a shloss of exploding horse dung. His beloved teacher and guide in his studies, the venerable Blaz Durass, simply looked at Jak’s current state and said ‘Oh Bother, it has happened again,’ which were far from words of consolation to the dung laden Jak. For 5 solid weeks Jak had been the victim of such enchantments, all of them aimed towards the simple purpose of deliquidifying dung to make it a more palatable brown dirt-like substance. For in the Frozen West it was often the case that sewerage didn’t always flow that well and often, in winter in particular, strong smells wafted up into the upper chambers of the wealthy and elite abodes of Krandor, and other notable cities, much to the chagrin of the nobility and finery of the Frozen West’s honourable ones. As for the poor, well they were poor, and would simply have to make do. But the situation had become such an ordeal for a particular Krandorian nobility that, having sought out the Guild for their expertise, and being pointed towards Blaz Durass who was deemed by the head of the guild the most suitable Warlock to deal with, as it were, the shit, he pleaded his desire of suitable enchantments being made available to deal with the problem of the most unsavoury sewerage.
Blaz, a radical thinker at most times, instantly came up with the plan to deliquidify dung so that the dryer substance, which would thus hopefully not smell, could simply be turned back into the earth and be the cause of no further anxieties. And while Jak Tolkun felt that, should they achieve such a result, which would prove quite a feat of accomplishment for Blaz Durass, it would be well and truly a good thing, bemoaned the fact that after 5 solid weeks of dealing with ‘The Shit’ as it were, being no closer to success than when they had begun their investigations, dealing with ‘The Shit’ was becoming a less and less attractive option all the time.
But, alas, he had no choice. In his time in the guild he had come to understand why he was the butt of so many jokes of his fellow students. For while they most definitely did not doubt his own potential and abilities, the reputation of Blaz Durass went before him in such a manner that, should you find yourself paired with the Warlock for any length of time, your future earning potential was deemed less and less attractive with each passing year of apprenticehood.
‘Why me,’ was what Jak Tolkun moaned to himself more often than not and, as he scrubbed himself in the shower and took to the washing of his garments, he pretended to not hear his teachers calling of his name for them to begin the resumption of their experimentations. But, fortunately for young Jak, he was saved on this one rare occasion by the summoning of Blaz by another student to the head of the guilds den for an important meeting.
Jak breathed a sigh of relief, continued scrubbing his clothes, and thought that the meal that night should somewhat, if only temporarily, make up for his current crop of miserable duties.
Blaz wondered through the large guild hall, working his way up the complex series of hallways and staircases, finally coming to the uppermost level and the grand office of the head of the guild, Crocus Dalbana. He knocked on Crocus’ door and, shortly, heard an ‘Enter’. Pushing the door open he came in and stood before Crocus desk, blustering that his work had been starting to show promising signs, which was not exactly true, and that he really needed to get back to it. ‘I am sure your dealings with the dung of Krandor can wait a while, Blaz,’ responded Crocus. ‘For you verily have visitors, and all the way from Stump and Ariador of all places.’ Crocus motioned towards seats, the occupants of which Blaz had not noticed upon entering the office and Talvin and Kalphor stood up to introduce themselves. Kalphor spoke, ‘Blaz. Blaz Durass. So good to see you again. I am sure you remember me.’ Blaz looked at him for a moment, instantly familiar with the face, which was a strength of his, but not quite placing were he knew the fellow from. And then it came back to him, the endless years trapped in the jar, eating nothing but crackers and drinking nothing but bland wine, walking around naked and reading the same old magic tome on controlling Wyvvern’s time after time. And then, the appearance of his saviour. He yelled out then, quite happy to see the wizard again. ‘Kalphor!’ he exclaimed, instantly putting his arm around the wizard. ‘Kalphor my good friend. How good it is to see your face again. Tell me, what brings you hear to the Frozen West and the Guild of Wizardry. You’re not in need of my services are you?’ Talvin interrupted.
‘Perhaps we could retire to a more suitable place to converse. I am sure Crocus here has much to get back to.
‘Thank you Talvin,’ responded Crocus. ‘I am sure the three of you can resume your conversation in Blaz’s laboratory. It is a most entertaining of places for reclining, that much I can assure you,’ responded the guild head, a subtle mocking grin on his face.
Blaz turned to Crocus, thanked him, and lead his two guests through the complex labyrinth of hallways and stairways back to his laboratory.
Coming into the laboratory Talvin looked around. They had just wondered through a complex maze of walkways, Blaz often looking like he was lost from time to time, but they had finally made it to the Warlock’s laboratory and were greeted by a young apprentice of Blaz’s who introduced himself as ‘Jak Tolkun’ and asked if they were in need of any refreshments. Talvin politely refused and the youth disappeared. The laboratory appeared quite hectic looking to Talvin, who had no real idea how a Warlock’s laboratory was supposed to look. There were tables laden with all sorts of magical equipment strewn around the room in something of a haphazard fashion, clearly not organized in any sort of logical manner you might expect of or hope for in a Warlock whose services you were seeking to employ. There were what appeared to be a small group of young rodents in a corner amongst some hay which appeared to have full access to crawling around the laboratory at will. One table was piled high with notes and tomes of magic, all looking like the confused desk of a public servant too stressed with life and its problems to do any real work. And there was a smell, a most notable and distinct smell, which Talvin instantly was familiar with, as most people were in fact familiar with the smell of decaying dung. But, amidst all these problems, Blaz seemed to take it for granted that his laboratory should be as such, and pushing some tomes from two recliner couches against a far wall, Blaz indicated that they should sit.
Blaz looked at Kalphor, again seeming overjoyed to be in his presence once again, and said ‘Now tell me. Why the visit? Is it happy friendship or do you need my services.’ Kalphor looked nervously at Talvin, sensing immediate disapproval, but began their planned conversation. ‘Well, Blaz. It is like this. My friend here, Talvin, was visited upon by myself in his homeland of Stump one fine day for the purposes of utilizing the jar which you entrusted to me for the storage, hopefully, of a cavalcade of products from a certain magical device in the possession of a group known as the Educators. For Talvin has the uncanny ability to be able to draw forth items from this device, this device known simply as ‘The Vortex’. In my travels I have come across what is called an ‘Index’ and with Talvin’s help I planned on using the Index to access the Vortex and, keeping all the goods and properties emanating from the Vortex, storing them in our beloved jar for safekeeping. Yet Talvin refused my request, another idea on his mind.’
‘Which was?’ queried Blaz.
‘The travelling to the abandoned land of Ariador, taken over by the Monsters of the deep south, to ransack as many of the emptied villages and cities for any left behind treasures we could find. It has certainly been dangerous work, and we have acquired a number of treasures, but alas the threat of the Monsters has simply become too much to deal with and risk our lives against. Which is why we have sought out you.’
Blaz nodded. He was following the conversation so far. ‘What do you want from me then?’
‘As you may recall,’ continued Kalphor, ‘You swore a life debt to me for the redeeming of yourself from the jar. And I have come to call in this life debt. You claimed to me that you have power of wyverns? To control their minds? Is this still the case?’
Blaz looked at Kalphor nervously, too frightened to say that he had never really quite put his knowledge to the test in attempting to control wyverns, the practice of he had studied for a millennia reading the magic tome in the jar, but never trying to do so in the real world, but, to save face, simply nodded to Kalphor that he could.
‘Then our plan is this. We travel to the region of the Wyvvern’s here in the Frozen West and you utilize your abilities to take control of a Wyvvern or many Wyvvern’s and, having gained the services of the creatures, we travel back to Ariador to continue our work, armed with the fierce creatures as defence against the Monsters.’
Blaz stammered nervously but, finally, realizing his promised life debt had been called in, and being a man of his word as his father taught him, simply nodded his agreement.
‘Well, if it is not too much trouble then,’ began Talvin,’ we will stay the night here at the guild and begin our journey tomorrow.
‘That, that should be ok,’ responded Blaz, just starting to realize the predicament he had suddenly gotten himself into. 'I am comfortable here, but it is a life debt, and my family always honours debts. There is much trouble in this world beyond my understanding, and there is always a hidden world of comfort we live in, where the greater world is a mystery, a mystery we serve if we must through our promises. Even if we would rather be left alone and live in peace.'
'It daunts you then?' queried Talvin.
'I will keep my promise,' replied Blaz, giving the hand gesture of oaths of his wizarding community.
The following morning Blaz organised for some horses to be obtained from a nearby stable and rising early Talvin and Kalphor found themselves fitted out with fine looking steeds pulling a carriage which seemed quite suitable for their travels. A far more amenable option than they had so far been used to in the Frozen West. Blaz excused himself from the group, claiming he wanted to see his guild head before leaving and, as he made his way back into the guild headquarters he wondered to himself if there was still any way he might be able to excuse himself from this little adventure. But a debt was a debt and he knew he had to show himself a man of honour, for his reputation would be at stake because of it.
Coming to Crocus Dalbana’s office he knocked and was bidden to enter. After explaining his life debt and need to be away from the guild for perhaps several months to years even, Crocus told Blaz all was quite well with that and he would be sorely missed. But upon Blaz leaving Crocus office, Crocus took down a jar of ancient brandy he had been storing for a special celebration, opened it and smiled to himself. Today was a good day for the Guild of the Universal order of Wizards, Witches and Warlocks.
Blaz rejoined his group and Talvin, looking at the sun gradually crawling its way up the skyline, said it was a good time to begin their journey. As the carriage pulled out from the grounds of the guild hall, Blaz gave one last look behind him, one last longing look, and gritted himself for the adventures ahead.
* * *
As the carriage began its travels through the Frozen West, heading out on to the Krozana highway headed for Chaliador, Blaz began sharing with the group tales from his childhood. He had been the third son of a businessman who had little time for magic. His elder two brother’s had gone into the same clothing business as their father, but Blaz had always felt himself different somewhat, as if called for greater things than the dying of cloth which had been his regular work growing up. His father, Jon Durass, had said Blaz needed to settle and get over his fanciful notions of wizardry but, nonetheless, had supported Blaz’s ambitions and paid for his 7 year degree course at the Guild of Wizards. Blaz exaggerated his learning abilities and outcomes of the course, giving his best attempt to show himself a wizard of great merit, and for a while his two fellow questers seemed suitably impressed. For a while anyway.
They arrived in Chaliador and decided to stay a few days to familiarise themselves with the current goings on in the political life of the Frozen West. Staying in an inn known as ‘The Disgruntled Goat’, the barmaid spent a number of afternoons answering Talvin’s questions of life in Chaliador, for she seemed well informed. Talvin and the small group came to know that political tension in Chaliador were currently on knifes edge. The ruler of the Frozen West, ‘Bailiff Vok’ was starting to be held in something of a disdain by not only the emerging political democratic movement, but with dissatisfaction by the usually loyal warriors of Rovac who for so long had supported him. But Bailiff was a survivor and so far had used his cunning to ward off all complaints. The main protagonists behind the call for democracy stated that a monarchy was never in the best interests of the people, aimed at serving the lusts of the king, and that for true economic prosperity to come forth for the Frozen West they needed a Prime Ministership and Government of elected representatives, as was supposedly the main form of Government on the continent of Margenna, to best advance the hopes, dreams and aspirations of all the citizens of Chaliador and the Frozen West. So much was the fervour amongst some factions that talk of revolution and a coup to remove the King was not that uncommon. Marni Bonniker, the barmaid who Talvin had slowly been thinking of trying to bed, despite his promise to Day to stay true to his marriage commitment, said she had overheard many a conversation on the dissatisfaction towards the current monarch. It seemed they did live in intriguing times.
As they moved on from Chaliador, now travelling northwards, Talvin kept his eyes alert for the spying of any flying Wyvvern’s which, so Blaz assured him, should shortly be seen in this area of the world. ‘There is an area known as Black Sparrow Forest were a community of wyverns is held to often congregate. I am sure we will find wyverns there.’
‘And the controlling of them?’ queried Talvin.
‘I have this vial of Wyvvern blood,’ said Blaz, producing a small corked vial in front of them which he assured them was the blood of a particularly fierce Wyvvern he had once encountered. ‘All I need do is drink the blood in the presence of a Wyvvern and the ability to control its mind should be available to me with the uttering of certain incantations.’ That seemed to satisfy Talvin and as they travelled northwards, and he yelled excitingly at spying what appeared to by wyverns flying in the distance, Blaz assured the group they were nearing their destination.
It was a week out from Chaliador that they had finally come to ‘Black Sparrow Forest’ and, Talvin having spotted over a dozen Wyvvern’s flying around from time to time, they parked their carriage and began a trek into the forest to locate any wyverns they should hopefully encounter.
‘Just have that vial ready,’ began Talvin. ‘We don’t want to be caught unawares.’
As they travelled through the forest, eyes alert, Blaz shared with him his own adventures of his youth with his father and brothers of hunting in a forest near Krandor for deer and their encounters with wild wolves. Talvin shared that Stump was pretty crappy for hunting, but had a small number of dangerous predators, which was perhaps something of an exaggeration for that tiny land.
A full day and a half into the thick forest they suddenly came into a clearing and there before them, just a number of yards away, sitting eating berries from a bush, a Wyvvern in all its glory, seemingly oblivious to them. ‘Quick, get the vial,’ Talvin motioned to Blaz. The Wyvvern, hearing Talvin speak, turned to look at them but all it seemed to do was continue eating the berries and ignore them, returning its attention to the berry bush.
‘It doesn’t seem very wild,’ said Kalphor to Blaz. ‘Are you sure these Wyvvern’s are good at fighting?’
‘They have all the strength of small dragons. Believe me they can be quite fierce, especially when provoked. But the Wyvvern is not worried about us, that is all. Why would it need fear mere men after all?’
‘Aren’t they carnivores,’ queried Talvin. ‘Shouldn’t it want to eat us?’
‘Omnivores, I think,’ responded Blaz. ‘Besides its eating berries. Perhaps it is satisfied with them for its lunch.’
‘Well, whatever. Now drink the blood and cast the spell. With this Wyvvern working for us we can travel to Ariador and use it to protect us from the Monsters and gather all the treasures we can possibly desire.’
‘Yes, the blood,’ said Blaz, somewhat disconcerted. Trying to look brave and very wizardly, muttering incantation, which really was abstract words from a backwaters Frozen West disused tongue, Blaz swallowed some of the blood and started pointing his hands in the direction of the Wyvvern, doing his very best to remember how the spell from the magic tome he had spent a millennia studying actually worked in real world practice.
Now the Wyvvern in question, which had a very long name in its own particular Wyvverndom culture, but which he usually abbreviated himself to Vanderskar, was quite adroit in knowledge of the tongues of humans. He was quite an old Wyvvern now, had seen many adventures, but was starting to get on a bit and now, simply because it was so much easier than hunting wild game, with all the frustrations of catching it, killing it and going to the trouble of gorging out its best bits, was usually in the habit these days of feasting on the simple berries of the forest which grew in abundance, and had now developed quite a taste for them. And due to its knowledge of the human tongue and aided with its very good hearing, had overheard what the humans were speaking about and the intentions of the apparent wizard to try and cast an enchantment to enslave him to the wizards desires, something the Wyvvern knew all too well would not work anyway. But Vanderskar, suddenly with all his life flashing before his eyes, and all the adventures he had lives, also realizing he had never in fact travelled to Ariador, and might want to see the splendour of that continent before his passing, looking at the frustrated wizard who was doing his very, very best to summon Vanderskar into his service with words such as ‘I compel you’ and ‘You must obey’, deciding now he may as well go off on one last adventure before his passing, decided to play along for the hell of it and, trying some Wyvvern humour, started pretending to shake as if he was suddenly possessed by an enchantment, gradually walked over to the wizard in most dramatic and drawn out steps, bowed to the wizard and said ‘I am ready to do your service oh exalted master.’ The wizard, suddenly coming to the conclusion that he must have somehow remembered how the spell worked, grinned to himself and his two companions now looked suitably impressed at the abilities of the wizard they had almost started to question.
Talvin spoke up. ‘Ask it for its name, if it speaks our tongue.’
The Wyvvern, in response to Talvin’s question, turned to Talvin and said ‘My name is Vanderskar, oh exalted master.’ Talvin looked suitably impressed with the response.
‘Well, now we have the services of the Wyvvern,’ said Kalphor. ‘Should we seek out more? I do believe that Blaz has more of the blood still in the vial so perhaps another Wyvvern or to could come in useful.’ Quickly Blaz thought on the ideal excuse.
‘Unfortunately, the enchantment, now that it has been cast, will only work once for me powers in a very long while. It may well be months before I have the ability to summon another Wyvvern to service. If there had been two or more wyverns here present I would have been able to summon them at the same time, but alas there was only one. I am afraid we will have to make do with one.’ He looked at them hopefully and nervously, trusting that his ruse would be believed.
‘No worries, then,’ said Talvin. ‘One in the end should be sufficient to deal with our worries. He looks like an impressive Wyvvern. I am sure he will be able to deal with any swarm creature we come up against.’
The Wyvvern, listening to the conversation, decided a brag at this point might just be appropriate and said ‘I can defeat all your enemies, oh master,’ and stood up, stretching its wings and displaying its might, at which Talvin and the group looked very suitably impressed.
‘Now what,’ asked Kalphor.
‘Now, to Ariador, and our fortune,’ said Talvin. He turned to Blaz. ‘Now, you are sure the Wyvvern will obey us from now on? I mean, how long will this enchantment work.’
‘Oh, it should work until we release him from the spell,’ replied Blaz, having no idea how long the spell would last at all, but lying as was his current practice about his abilities.
‘Good, then we can use him for as long as we need him. Now let us get underway.’
As they moved off, Blaz signalling that the Wyvvern should follow along behind them, Talvin dreamed of their return to Ariador and the riches that would surely be his. Having a Wyvvern, and one who looked so impressive as the one they had found, in their services should surely be enough to defeat any of the wild Monsters they would likely once again encounter.
As they travelled along through the forest, marching towards the carriage at the edge of the forest, Vanderskar gave his home one last longing look and carried on with what may well be his final grand and great adventure. Or if not that, certainly what appeared to be a most entertaining outing.
Talvin sipped from the ale, looking out at the foaming waves having not long left the lesser teeth behind them. Day was on his mind, his beloved wife, and thoughts of her sweet breasts, her shapely thighs, and her delightful womanhood. He’d had a most embarrassing dream the night prior and, having needed to wash away his embarrassment with the basin in his ship room, he had laid awake the rest of the night, thinking on his beloved.
They had been married just a few short years, now. But they had been most delightful in their sexual intensity, something the longsuffering Talvin was eternally grateful for. At first he had really wondered what all the fuss had been about. Sure, it was alright bedding a maiden, but masturbation seemed to suffice somewhat for that thrill which he had become accustomed to. But it soon dawned on him, through the simple thrill of continual practice, that the ways of womanhood had been coveted by men for so long simply because the female form, in truth, was something to be desired and behold. Caressing the form and figure of a fine woman, tasting her delicate nectar, being seated next to her at celebrations and just being around their joyful playful ways, well, Talvin could now see what all the fuss was about.
Yet, of course, there was always the other more disdainable members of the opposite sex which perhaps drove a man to virginity, such as the most indelectable Slerma who could give a man nightmares at the thoughts of being trapped between her most demanding thighs. He shuddered at the though and praised the stars that woman was far from him at this very moment.
He looked over at the two wizards engaged in some game they labelled as popular amongst certain wizarding communities, ‘Dragon Chess’. Talvin was not one for strategy games, so took to his ale as the ship they had hired for a considerable sum continued its journey to the coast of Ariador. The Wyvvern seemed content, lazing in the sun, seemingly oblivious to its company, munching on the meal of fruits they had provided for it. The ship they were aboard was titled the suitable name of ‘The Confident’ and Talvin trusted that the captain had enough confidence in his crew to sail them to the treacherous shore of Ariador and get away before being beset with the Monsters.
The ship was a newly built ship, just a few years out of the docks so Captain Haggis maintained, well suited for this journey. Haggis sailed many of the seas of Belth Galador, plying his trade as both a passenger ship and deliverer of cargo between seaports. He seemed a very traditional sort of Captain, but the wooden leg, gained supposedly from a victorious encounter with a shark, which Talvin suspected was probably from a fall or some similar accident, or perhaps a defect of youth, and the parrot which seemed to flock to his shoulder half of the day gave Talvin the very strong impression that this particular captain may indeed have had adventures in his younger years not quite in line with his current profession. But, be that as it may, they were successfully crossing the ocean to Ariador and should arrive within the next 24 hours according to the Captains estimations.
He stood against the railing of the ship thinking over there journeys through the Frozen West, having been the subject of a spectacle with so many of the inhabitants staring at such an unusual group to have a Wyvvern in tow. Children with their families would stare at the beast, gasping and yelling that it was a monster. Of course, it was a monster, but so far on their journey it had proven tame enough, and Talvin had been thankful that the Warlock’s enchantment had held firm so far, worried that the potential of a Wyvvern going mad at having been held captive and rising up against its captors, tearing them limb from limb, could end his dreams of glory. But Blaz ensured him he’d had nothing to worry about, but Talvin kept his eye on the beast from time to time to ensure that remained the case.
He drained his ale, gazed up at the sun and gulls following the ship and gave a last thought to Day before deciding to head down to his bunk and sleep the rest of the afternoon off. They would be in Ariador soon enough so he may as well be well rested before resuming their treasure hunting activities.
* * *
The following day they arrived at Ariador, in the mid afternoon and Captain Haggis, telling the group once again that they should have their heads examined, but conceding they had paid enough gold to have made the trip worthwhile for him and his crew, departed on ‘The Confident’ glad to be putting Ariador and its Monsters far behind him. Coming onto the shore line Talvin spoke to the Wyvvern. ‘We are in Ariador, now. So if any beasts threaten our group you must destroy them. Is that understood?’
‘I live to do your will, oh master,’ responded the old jaded Wyvvern, still amused by the humans commands.
Talvin gathered the group, hid the jar in a safe place under some rocks and they took shelter in the jar. They agreed to wait until the following morning before beginning their quest again, in the meantimes discussing what should be their next objective. Talvin, though he had not a great deal of knowledge of Ariador, remembered from his days of youths stories of the ‘Pinnacle of Platinoth’, a great plateau on Ariador, supposedly home to a fortress. Kalphor confirmed his knowledge of the location of the pinnacle and it was agreed that it would suffice as their next location for scouring for gold and silver.
That evening, as they sat around the fireplace in the upper sanctuary of the jar, Blaz once again shared some of his tales from youth. As he talked the Wyvvern listened in and found much of Blaz’s frustrations of his lack of success quite familiar to his own life story. Vanderskar had never been that much of a Wyvvern, really. He was looked down upon in his community as an underachiever, never really that successful in the hunting, and frowned upon when it came to his disastrous mating attempts. He could well understand, because of it, Blaz’s frustrations at being rejected by so many, and started finding himself drawn to the Warlock and sympathetic with his course. Perhaps it was a true saying that birds of a feather flocked together, and Vanderskar began to feel more at home with this incompetent Warlock then he ever had with his own Wyvvern community.
* * *
The flight to the Pinnacle was calm and uneventful, Talvin, Blaz and the Wyvvern secure in the comforts of the jar as Kalphor, again in the form of an eagle, made his way towards the Pinnacle. It took them a number of days of flying, but arriving at the Pinnacle and landing, the group emerged from the jar and surveyed the vegetation encrusted old stone pyramid like structure before them. It appeared uninhabited, but of course they could never know for sure. Talvin had brought out torches from the jar and they lit them, getting ready to dare the temple. Yet, before this could occur, the flames seemed to attract the attention of a lesser of the swarm creatures, which came out of the forest and lurched towards the group, growling at them. Talvin thought quickly. He motioned to the Wyvvern to attack the beast and he drew his sword, the two wizards coming to stand behind him. The Wyvvern, though, seemed unbothered by the beast and simply stood between the group and the snarling creature. The creature came forward and lunged at the Wyvvern, who simply stepped out of the way, seemingly unworried about the attack. The beast attacked again and this time managed to make a scratch on the Wyvvern’s wing which, this time, stirred the Wyvvern into action. The Wyvvern stood up on its hinds legs, hissed at the creature, and lunged forward with its beak and claws, latching onto the neck of the beast.
The struggle was ferocious and the beast attacked with its claws the head of the Wyvvern, which continued to strengthen its grip on the beast’s neck. Talvin, bravely, came in and hacked at the caught beast and after minutes of hacking and blood dripping from the beasts neck, it seemed to finally breathe its last breaths and go limp. The Wyvvern bit into it then and, snapping off the beasts head, it was deemed by all as well and truly dead. And then the stench began.
This particular Swarm creature had plasma in its blood which reacted very negatively to too much exposed oxygen and it started rotting the creatures blood very quickly which let off a vile smell. Talvin held his nose and, thinking fire his best friend at the moment, tossed nearby browned deadwood onto the body of the beast, making a fire and burning it up. After half an hour the body had largely been consumed and the stench had dissipated.
‘I have never seen a Wyvvern fight before,’ began Talvin, ‘but they seem quite ferocious when provoked.’
‘In the West,’ responded Blaz, ‘The Wyvvern used to be worshipped as a god in the old days and they are still held in very much respect by the community. They rarely, for reasons we know not, attack humankind and we have lived side by side for many a year. But we are not foolish enough to think we can tame such ferocity as you yourself have observed.’
‘Obviously not,’ responded the awestruck Talvin. ‘Well, Kalphor, it seems you were wise indeed to seek out Blaz, for this Wyvvern, I feel, will prove undoubtable help in our objectives. For it to have dispatched the beast with such strength means we can have all the gold of Ariador if we are patient enough to search it out.’
‘It is as you say, but still we must have our wits about us,’ responded Kalphor.
‘Naturally,’ finished Talvin. He turned to the Temple and, once again, torches at the ready, signalled to the group that they should enter in to search for any treasures the Platinoth held.
Torches burning brightly they entered the Temple of Platinoth. The temple itself was quite a large complex of interlocking stone buildings, all formed together in a shape which looked like a large pyramid from the distance. It was quite a large temple and, having entered it from the southern side, they were unaware that on the northern side of the temple buildings a ruthless warlord and his growing community took residence. Yet they knew this soon enough for about 10 minutes into their journeys into the labyrinthine temple structure they suddenly found themselves surrounded by a host of soldiers who told them to come with them. Talvin said to Kalphor ‘Let’s go peacefully. Tell the Wyvvern to do nothing,’ but the Wyvvern seemed quite content to simply follow the soldiers anyway.
Following a winding trail between buildings they came into a courtyard on the northern side of the temple were a community was living its life, animals tethered close by in fenced paddocks and the humdrum of a small village at work. A guard dismissed all but 3 of the soldiers and signalled for Talvin and his group to follow him inside a nearby building. Coming into the building it was elaborately decorated and seemed to serve as some sort of temple for worship, perhaps of Platinoth or some other great creature. They came to a large throne and seated on the throne, gorging on a plate of meat and vegetables, a mug of wine on the side of the throne, sat a man, likely in his early 50s, with a trimmed beard, an eye-patch covering one eye, and a long scar down his left cheek. He continued eating his meal but, as Talvin and his crew entered, looked up at them, munching away. The soldier spoke up. ‘We found them, on the southern edge of the grounds. There is also a small dragon with them just outside, but it has caused no real problems. I don’t know why they are here, so we brought them to you.’
The man, who was quite likely the leader of the community in Talvin’s estimation, eyed them for a while, continuing to chew on his meat and drink from his wine mug. Eventually, finishing off and burping, wiping his mouth on his sleeve, he stood, came close to them and looked them over, and, returning to his seat, stared at them. He finally spoke. ‘So what is your business in Platinoth then? Have you heard of our community and come to join us? If so I can perhaps offer you a good position in our fighting forces.’
Talvin thought quickly. ‘Uh, no. We are but lost travellers, on our way northwards to Talvakar. Our ship went astray and crashed on the eastern coast of Ariador, and we have been battling the Monsters carefully making our way northwards. We beg your hospitality as we continue our fine adventure.’
The man considered that, picking up a bone from his plate and chewing at it, taking another sip of wine. Eventually he spoke again. ‘Well, we can certainly use a few good hands with the animals for a while. That is, if you are prepared to work for your keep.’
‘That won’t be a problem,’ said Kalphor. ‘We will be glad to work for our food. And perhaps you could be so kind to share with us your knowledge of the terrain northwards of here. It would be invaluable for our travels.’
The man looked at them, nodded, and waved them away. The soldier who had brought them to him signalled for them to follow him and they exited the building and were taken not far away to some animal skins on some hay which was stored at the side of a large building which, fortunately, had a covering extending over them so, should it rain, they would not get wet. ‘You can sleep here,’ began the soldier. ‘General Ashdyne will likely want to see you in the morning and here of your story, but we will feed you and you are welcome to share our food. It is good in these troubled lands to have all the extra men we can get.’
‘I am sure it is,’ responded Talvin. The soldier nodded at them, and departed and the group slumped down onto their makeshift beds. They Wyvvern, who young children had been staring at, made its way towards them, and sat nearby under the shelter, settling down to go to sleep. They were unlikely, now, to find any treasure here, but Talvin suggested to the group that they not try to escape for the meantimes anyway, as the community did not seem to pose them any threat, and they could learn what they could of them for now. ‘We will wait it out to start with,’ said Talvin. ‘See what they are all about and why they are living here in Ariador. It could prove useful information one day, so far now we sit tight.’ Blaz and Kalphor nodded and Blaz, looking to see that nobody was looking, quickly entered the jar and returned with the Dragon Chess set and he and Kalphor began another of their games. Talvin looked at the Dragon, stared out at the sky which had quickly turned grey and was looking to rain, gave thought to his beloved Day, and settled down on his bedding, pulled a moth ridden blanket over him, and searched for whatever sleep he could find. Soon enough they would be back to their treasure-hunting, but for now they were stuck with General Ashdyne and his desperate community.
* * *
The following morning they spoke again with General Ashdyne and gave him greater information. Talvin saw no actual harm in using their real names with a semblance of a story based on real life, but altered to protect their interests. Kalphor and Blaz were introduced as a Wizard and a Warlock respectively, which made the General raise an eyebrow. Talvin was a master-fighter, who had travelled the world, hailing originally from Stump of the Lesser Teeth. And the Wyvvern was under the power of Blaz, which was supposedly true anyway, supposedly, and posited no threat to the General’s community. Having taken in all that information the General shared with them his own tale. ‘I am from Talvakar were you seek to travel to. I served in the Lavar’s army and was an honoured general, until I was betrayed, betrayed with a kiss from my wife, who slept with another general. They desired my death and so, framing me for a murder I did not commit, I escaped with a band of loyal men who knew my innocence, and now reside her, in Ariador. We live here on the Pinnacle of Platinoth for rarely do the Monsters bother to climb this high onto the plateau, and we are hardly ever bothered. For now we live here, with the soldiers families who ventured along with us, but not forever. We will add to our numbers, slowly and carefully, peradventure with men such as yourselves, and with the memory of my name living on in Talvakar as a soldier of bravery and merit, I hope to one day return and regain my name. And if not, the Lavar be damned and I will raise up an army to throw him off his precious throne.’ Those last words were said with something of passionate vengeful tone, and Talvin did not doubt the seriousness of the General’s intent. The general inquired then, should they perhaps be willing to join his community and put off their travels to Talvakar to a later date, when his soldiers and entourage could accompany them. But Talvin declined, declaring they would stay with them a week or so before continuing on their adventure. The general then offered them much money and rewards in Talvakar, yet Talvin continued to decline saying they had family waiting for them in Talvakar and could simply not delay for too long. The general, realizing that taking them hostage for their services would be more trouble than it was worth, conceded and wished them well while they stayed on with the community. Thus, returning to their sleeping abode near the wall under the covering, Talvin opened a jar of cold wine the General had graciously given him, started drinking it, and thought on what they were to do next.
For two weeks they stayed in the community, Talvin delaying their plans of leaving simply because, after all his long travels, he felt he needed a sense of stability for a while, and the friendly enough community of soldiers and wives seemed to offer him that much. Days were spent drinking wine, looking after the animals and gathering fruits and vegetables from the cleared fields north of the temple, and slowly learning Dragon chess, a game which Blaz and Kalphor had been playing avidly ever since arriving in Ariador. There was a maiden of 16 who gave Talvin many lustful looks, and one afternoon she found him alone in the fields, came up and kissed him, and offered herself to him. He honestly felt that adultery should really not be hoohaahed so much because, really, the young female was quite ravishing to look at, and when she lifted her skirt to show him her vagina, he almost denied his vows to Day. But, no, he didn’t sleep with her in the end, and he was satisfied with a few hours of heavy snogging before returning to the camp.
Finally, after coming into the second week, Talvin felt the group had rested enough and, late one night signalled for them all to enter the jar while he, firstly, search for some gold so their voyage to the plateau not necessarily go unrewarded and then, secondly, make his escape from the community.
It was dark, and he had entered the main building were the General set up residence. The community were used to them as guests now and seemed not to suspect them, which was perhaps a good thing. Coming to the doorway behind the throne, he turned the latch and entered the room, having grabbed a burning torch from the entranceway of the building. The room appeared mostly empty but, coming over to a table with a large chest on it, he opened the chest to find what they had been seeking – an ample supply of gold Talvakar coinage, a suitable reward for their efforts. He filled his sack with gold, quickly returned to the jar to dump the treasure and told the other two he would now sneak out from the camp to a distance away before they could fly off.
Talvin was nervous, crawling his way carefully out of the camp, a tinge of guilt on his conscience. Although he knew, in a way, they had been stealing the whole time they had been ransacking Ariador, it had always been money which had been abandoned and was going to no useful purpose. But this, stealing from the general who had befriended him, well he was not quite as comfortable with the idea as he was telling himself he should be.
As he clambered through the scrub, he suddenly heard some shouting and saw torches coming towards him. He hid in some scrub and waited as soldiers were all about the area, searching for their missing guests. He had hoped he would be safe but, suddenly, a soldier dared the thicket he was hiding in and, finding Talvin, yelled to the others. Soon he was dragged back to the camp and the General, looking at him, with a most disappointing look on his face said ‘Talvin. Your friends may have gotten away, but your punishment will be swift and sure. Take him away.’ They led him off to another building and locked him inside, soldiers stationed at the doorway to guard him.
In the morning a crowd gathered and the general pronounced his judgement. ‘You will be executed Talvin, decapitated as suits your crime. And should we find your companions they will suffer the same fate.’ The community murmured that justice needed to be done and looking at the angry faces Talvin suddenly knew just why he had felt so much guilt. But he was a survivor, and would not let a death penalty do him in so, reaching into his pocket to retrieve the jar, he summoned the others with the Wyvvern, and a hectic fight began. Fortunately the Wyvvern was too much of a match for the community of soldiers and as they carefully retreated, coming to the edge of the temple, Kalphor suddenly turned into the form of the Eagle, grabbed the jar were the other three escaped to, and took off.
10 minutes later, having put the pinnacle of Platinoth far behind him, Kalphor landed, resumed his human form, and entered the jar.
For a few days they stayed in the jar, feeding on the foodstuffs they had purchased in Chaliador, while they discussed were they would travel next. ‘I know of a place,’ began Kalphor, ‘Not that far to the west of here. In the city of Riknaah, which surely has many treasures anyway. But there was a particular place in the city, known as the Rainbow Parade, were a host of wealthy warlords resided. It could be the best next place to search for hidden treasures.’
‘Then to the Rainbow Parade we travel next,’ said Talvin.
* * *
The fowl creatures of the Monsters, being sent into Ariador by the Skull of the South, are unpredictably mad at the best of times, and one particular ogreish looking beast, having found a cute little green jar, of all things to do with it, decided to shove it up its nose. When the questing group of heroes decided to exit the jar, ready to resume their journey, they exploded onto the scene being instantly covered with the bloody remains of a wild swarm creature, which had duly exploded upon their exiting the jar. The mess was indeed quite significant, and Talvin spent much of the morning washing himself again and again trying to remove a stench which stubbornly, it seemed, refused to dissipate. Kalphor had a grin on his face because Talvin had copped the worst of the bloody mess, but everytime he looked at Talvin and smiled, Talvin looked at him with daggers in his eyes.
Eventually, ready to continue on their journey, they boarded again the jar as the Eagle began its flight to Riknaah. Kalphor, as wizards of great age were wont to do, had spent many years learning the geography of various places and locations on the world of Belth Galador and was, fortunately, well equipped with information on the various places of Ariador in which they were likely to find the wealth they desired. So far on their journeys they’d had a number of sticky encounters, but for now it seemed worth their troubles to continue and all the time he knew they were getting wealthier and wealthier.
As he flew along, his eyes scanning the horizon before him, he thought on another wizard who he had frequented the company of from time to time with the power of flight, a certain Hostaja Torsen Sken-Pitilkin, and wondered to himself were Hostaja was at this time. They had been friends for a long time and in his years in the Confederation of Wizards at Drangsturm, Hostaja had shared many a drink of ale with him as they discussed the affairs of Wizardom and the future of their world. His cousin, Phandrak, who was now apparently dead, had been a source also of solace for the orphaned Kalphor, looking up to his cousin who had raised him in his younger years and seen to it that he had become a wizard. He missed Phandrak, who had raised him in the family cult of the Watermelon with their peculiar beliefs on religion, and often thought of visiting their small remaining family on Askandravon. That was were the cult of the Watermelon was strongest and were figures from Kalphor’s youth still likely lived and remained. It was the Watermelon cult which had taught him his values since a young age, with their peculiar devotion to that particular fruit, and his regular attendance at the grand Watermelon Temple on Askandravon, a large temple in the shape of a Watermelon and painted to resemble one. From a distance it was something to behold and often the butt of many of the unbelievers’ jokes, but Kalphor was proud of his heritage, and the ways of healthy living he had learned from the cult of his upbringing.
Of Course, no cult could truly exist without an adversary to oppose it, and the hated Watchtower of northern Askandravon, ones full of ex-members of the Watermelon sect, who proclaimed that in the future there would be a grand day when ‘The Grand Guardian Watermelon’ would descend from the stars and lead them in the ways everlasting. The traditional Watermelon sect naturally refuted such notions stating they simply worshipped watermelons, mainly because they were bloody tasty and good for the health and every society needed an idol of focus to function properly, yet after centuries of advertising and promoting the beliefs of the cult, it really had gone to the head of certain members and ideas of ‘The Grand Guardian Watermelon’ who watched over its faithful devotees had emerged in the cult and, eventually, realizing the lukewarmness of so many of their own, the righteous separated off and formed ‘The Watchtower’ whose main purpose was to prepare the world, through their dedication to the ‘Grand Commission’ for the coming of the Grand Guardian Watermelon. Of course, in recent years there was even talk that the Grand Guardian Watermelon had already advented early on, and he was now preparing the world for his grand and glorious second coming, but this was a belief disputed by many devotees of the historical method of factuality.
Funnily enough, Kalphor still enjoyed watermelons, and whenever he was at a market or store which sold the product, he would lovingly walk over to the stall, pat the trustworthy watermelons, and purchase 2 or 3 of them and munch on them for days.
As he flew along observing the environment, he sensed that Riknaah was quickly approaching. Half an hour later, having spied the city on the horizon, he started slowly descending from his great height. 20 minutes later he had landed, hid the jar in a suitable place, and entered to inform the others they had arrived.
Instantly Talvin was aware that Riknaah had a significant number of Monsters scrawling around it. As they entered the city in search of the ‘Rainbow Parade’ a fowl looking beast suddenly lunged out of a building attacking them. The Wyvvern quickly sprang to their defence, but the fighting this time was much fiercer. Talvin brandished a sword and attacked many times, but a wildly flung talon of the beast ripped out and caught the exposed part of Talvin’s arm, cutting deeply. He yelled in agony, and with the fury of his uninjured sword arm went berserk and knowing no fear rushed in and plunged his sword straight into the head of the creature. It slumped into the dust, the familiar swarm stench quickly coming forth and its body shuddered for a number of minutes as it went through its death throes. This time they did not linger for too long and placed the jar inside a safe building to enter in so they could tend Talvin’s cut.
Blaz, who had become their medical doctor of sorts, carefully wound some bandages around the wound and Talvin, thinking over the Warlock, whose magic skills so far on their quest had left something to be desired, found his competency in winding bandages quite the opposite – he seemed to have the natural care of a medicine man and seemed quite competent at the task. Also his manner of showing genuine care left Talvin thinking Blaz had missed his calling in life.
Saying he was fine to continue they emerged from the jar and resumed their search, more cautiously alert for the swarm creatures.
An hour later, after cautiously looking out for the Monsters, they had found the Rainbow Parade and after raiding several of the grand looking domains, had accumulated a reasonable amount of treasure and useful looking items.
Coming into an unusual looking building, quite distinct from the others, Talvin and the group searched through the place, Talvin being the first to find the stairway into a basement. The basement looked different from other places they had seen so far in Riknaah. It was designed with strange looking stone furniture and against the wall was a grid with knobs on it, which appeared movable, underneath the grid being a stone doorway which was presently closed and seemed unopenable. He yelled to the others to come down and look at what he had found.
‘It is an ancient culture,’ said Kalphor. ‘Part of the old word, in the days of wrath or earlier. When Belth Galador was younger and society was different. It has survived since then.’
‘I reckon those knobs move in some way to access the doorway.’
‘And what lies beyond?’ queried Blaz.
‘Could be anything,’ responded Talvin. ‘But we’ll never know if we don’t try and open the thing. I am going to try the knobs. Perhaps there is a pattern or a code which needs to be utilized to open the door. It is worth a try anyway – who knows what we will find.’
Kalphor, looking at the 8 knobs, realized Talvin could well be occupied for some time, announced he and Blaz would retire to the jar for the time being and play some Dragon Chess. The Wyvvern, however, indicated that it would stay with Talvin and watch over him, which was not objectionable to Talvin.
For three solid days Talvin puzzled on the grid and the knobs. He had tried many different patterns which was his first idea to unlock the grid and then come to the conclusion that a nearly endless parade of combinations could be made, which could take him forever and he didn’t have that long. And then he noticed something which he really should have seen to start with. On the floor of the basement, not strikingly noticeable to begin with, but observable after a while of observation, was a very faint replica of the grid, and patterns showing the knobs were arranged on the grid on the floor. He quickly got the others from the jar announcing that he had most probably found the solution to the grid.
As Blaz, Kalphor and the Wyvvern watched on, Talvin took a little while putting the knobs into place and suddenly, as the last knob found its home, the stone door started making a whining noise and opened up. ‘Success!’ yelled Talvin, so happy after all his earlier attempts had failed. But suddenly success was turned to fight as a grey mist emerged from the opening and settled on the ground. Suddenly the dirt on the floor started forming skeletons who stood up and began lunging towards the group. It wasn’t much of a fight in the end – the skeletons were kind of pathetic – and while they reanimated for a little while, eventually the mist seemed to have run out of its power and the skeletons stopped emerging.
‘Get the torches,’ Talvin said to Blaz, who entered the jar and shortly returned with 4 torches which Talvin soon had alight.
The labyrinthine network of an old Nexus depository is generally something to behold for citizens of a vastly different culture another period, and Talvin puzzled over the rooms filled with mechanical objects which seemed to serve no purpose and the endless supplies of little metal objects which Kalphor suggested were used to maintain whatever it had been.
Yet, while they searched valiantly for anything that might remotely prove valuable, they found nothing that they generally considered of worth and eventually gave up. But before they exited the network, Talvin had managed to do something of impressive stupidity, by activating a panel on a control board which alerted a certain security device for the network. A security device which was soon to cause them quite a deal of trouble.
The following night, exploring more of the houses in the Rainbow Parade, Kalphor remarked that a strange metallic noise seemed to be emanating from the building of the labyrinth. They turned back along the street to investigate and suddenly, emerging from the building, a metallic beast in the form of a large metal dog, came towards them, suddenly blazing a red beam of fire from its eyes at them. Talvin yelped, the group retreated. This particular robot was linked to the ‘Dorgi’ design from the Golden Gulag, a smaller version of a Dorgi simply known as a ‘Corgi’. It had been created for the purpose of acting as a watchdog over the labyrinth depository, and as it continued to pursue its prey, always aware were they were running off to, Talvin in his frustration suggested they trap the object in the jar and then work out what to do with it later.
The two wizards and Talvin, each coming at the dog from separate angles, rushed it and Blaz was the victim of a scorch mark on his shoulder. Talvin managed to get to the dog without it turning on him and soon sent it disappearing into the jar.
‘Now what?’ asked Blaz. ‘We can hardly retreat to the jar anymore with that thing in there? We need to find a way of destroying it.’
‘I know,’ responded Talvin, who suggested they return to the building of the labyrinth in the time being to hide from any Monsters that may come their way.
Sitting in the basement, staring at the opening to the labyrinth, Blaz had a suggestion to Talvin. ‘Why don’t we search through the labyrinth again. We might find something useful to use against the beast, or find some way of destroying it. Talvin shrugged – it was as good an idea as any he had.
They searched through the labyrinth for hours, this time Talvin paying more careful attention to the various metallic devices they found, picking things up and pushing various buttons and levers.
He was down on a lower level of the labyrinth, Blaz further down the corridor, when he opened a wooden box of a series of 4 boxes, finding a strange looking object, which Talvin surmised might be a weapon of sorts. He picked up what in fact was a heavy duty laser bolt rifle and messing around with it, found the on switch. Suddenly it started humming and Talvin yelled for Blaz to come and see.
Staring at it Talvin mentioned to Blaz that he felt it might be a weapon. ‘Then be careful with it Tallie. You don’t want to injure yourself again.’
‘I’ll be careful. I wonder what this lever does,’ he said, picking at the trigger. Suddenly a laser bolt blasted from the rifle, blasting a hole in the stone wall. ‘Fucking hell!’ yelled Talvin. ‘This should be perfect. Grab one, Blaz, and we will go and get Kalphor. These should be perfect for fighting the beast.’
After they had tested the four weapons they found that only two of them came alive and it was decided Talvin and Blaz would fight the creature. Crossing there fingers they used the pendant and entered the jar. They found the beast in the second room of the jar and as soon as it spotted them it set off another blast, just missing Talvin’s ear. ‘Now!’ he yelled to Blaz and, aiming their weapons, they concentrated on firing at the beasts head, rewarded with moments later melting metal and the beast making chaotic noises. Eventually it stopped moving and they surmised it was in its death throws, whatever it was.
‘Ha, take that beast from hell,’ yelled Talvin, happy with his fighting abilities.
‘I think we should get rid of it. Put it back in the labyrinth and close it up. We don’t want to risk it coming alive again.’ Talvin nodded and using the pendant to return to Kalphor, they boasted of their victory and hauled the beast back into the labyrinth, moving the knobs again which resulted in the doorway closing up.
‘If I never see one of those things again it will be too soon,’ muttered Talvin. ‘Anyway, these weapons should come in useful for all sorts of things.’ But, in an ironic twist of fate the weapon Talvin was holding started dimming and soon went off. No matter what button Talvin pressed, it didn’t seem to work anymore. Half an hour later the same thing happened to Blaz’s weapon. ‘We’ll keep them anyway. Some day we may find a way how to make them work again.’
‘What next?’ queried Kalphor. ‘Shall we finish off exploring the Rainbow Parade?’
For the next day and a half they gradually explored the remainder of the houses of the Rainbow Parade and then some of the more expensive looking abodes of Riknaah. They accumulated a fair degree of treasure in their scourings and a happy buzz was on Talvin’s face as he realized he was getting richer and richer all the time. There was another encounter with a wild swarm creature, and the Wyvvern fought valiantly, Kalphor employing a fireball spell when he had finally felt strong enough in his magical ability to use. He had been drained in his strength flying around as an eagle, but that had been deemed the safest way to get around Ariador. The same familiar stench emanated from the dead beast, and they left the scene as soon as possible.
Sitting around a fireplace in a building they had decided to spend the night in, Blaz shared more of his life story. He talked of working for the Guild of Wizards since his re-emergence from the jar and the court case he had been involved in to ensure his re-entry into the guild. They had been reluctant, but the case was clear that they had no right to ban him, thus Crocus Dalbana had reluctantly readmitted him into the guild, albeit into a scungy laboratory in the basement of the guild hall. But it suited Blaz fine and, while they never sent much work his way, he felt proud of himself in finally achieving his ambition of being a fully fledged Wizard working for the Guild of the Universal Order of Wizards, Witches and Warlocks.
The Wyvvern, who for so long had said very little, although the group knew it could communicate with them, began to share unexpectedly something of its own life. It was quite an old Wyvvern now, several hundred years in fact, and it felt itself not long for this world. While it stated that because of the spell it was compelled to visit Ariador with them, it spoke in a manner which suggested it didn’t really mind anyway. As if this was the last grand adventure of its life and it wanted to go out with a bang.
Talvin listened with great interest as the Wyvvern spoke of Wyvverndom’s attitude to mankind. They were often viewed as pesky creatures, the humans, but never deemed too much of a threat. They generally left Wyvvern-kind alone and had not tried to hunt them down to much, unlike the common acts of bravery committed by valiant heroes in their boasting tales of dragon slaying epics. But that was typical for the dragons, their distant cousins, who had particular fetishes for virginal princesses and the like.
Dragon’s, of course, were far better fighters than Wyvverns, but the Wyvverns were quite nimble and could be quite deadly if provoked. Wyvverns were usually around half to a third of the size of Dragon’s, but it was believed in Wyvverndom that they originated from the same stock in the beginning, the Wyvverns being the result of midget dragons separating from the community and forming their own family. This was considered true as Wyvverns, occasionally now and then, sired particularly large Wyvverns who had a striking resemblance to Dragon’s, and often went off to find and mate with the larger creatures. But that was all just a matter of speculation amongst Vanderskar’s kind. And then, feeling he could trust this small group somewhat, the Wyvvern spent a full minute speaking its official birth name, which was quite lengthy indeed.
Finally, as they got ready to bed for the night, Talvin declared that they were finished with Riknaah, and that in the morning they would decide upon their next target. As he slept Talvin dreamed of Wyvverns and Dragons and, suddenly, turning into a Wyvvern, he found himself flying through the skies, turning and dashing in majestic movements, overcome with the joys of being a flying beast, daring the heights of heaven, a dazzling splendour to all who could possibly observe the majestic glory of Talvin the Wyvvern. And then, in his dream, he suddenly found himself turned into a slug and he laughed to himself at the not so subtle irony.
Jaglag Daroko was nothing if not a hospitable captor. A renegade warlord from Braddaston who had travelled to Ariador with an ambitious plan - to see if he could use various magical items he had come across to enslave the Monsters to utilise them in his ambitions of conquest back in Braddaston. But, while Talvin, Kalphor, Blaz and the Wyvvern were technically prisoners of sorts for the initial few days, Jaglag seemed to relax after a while and allowed them free access to his compound. Daroko was travelling with around 1000 troops and another 1000 servants, armed with the services of a quite expensive wizard by the name of Dalaka. Dalaka was currently attempting to use the magical devices Daroko had acquired to tame and use the Monsters for his wargames purposes, but so far to no success. He was apparently, while quite expensive, not that competent a wizard as many of Daroko’s soldiers maintained.
Both Blaz and Kalphor were offered large sums if they could work out how the magical devices worked from Daroko’s basic knowledge of them. But after a week of solid tinkering both confessed they had not the foggiest idea.
Daroko, while not overly concerned about the wizard’s lack of success, seemed to have taken a liking to Talvin, thinking him somewhat of a warrior, and had been wooing him to join his army.
‘I can offer you good pay, Palador. Good pay. Civil war is never to far from the average life of a citizen of Braddaston, and pay is often quite good. You seem a strong warrior – your confidence with that sword I see you practice with suggests to me you have seen many a battle in your lifetime.’
Talvin tried to stay humble, which was not easy as he liked to brag. ‘It is true, I am a swordsman. I once tackled a certain Guest Gulkan in a friendly duel and he bested me, but he said my abilities and natural talent were of a high quality. But I am a questing of my own desires in Ariador with my wizard friend. Braddaston is so far away and back in Stump my wife awaits my return. I could not leave her to go off a questing to Braddaston.’
‘I understand,’ said Daroko, disappointed. ‘I could offer you a high position. My third in command, if you were willing?’
‘I thank you for the offer, Lord Daroko. But I must refuse.’
‘Very well. To your honour and your wife,’ he said, lifting a mug of ale, drinking it down quickly and belching shortly after.
The soldiers of the compound, Talvin observed, were highly trained and seemed almost a crack mercenary unit in reality. Perhaps they’d had years of warfare in Braddaston and were the best of the best.
Eventually Blaz and Kalphor admitted that they were no closer in finding out how to use the magical devices and, while they were somewhat dismayed at not achieving the reward promised, Daroko gave each of them a barrel of ale for their services, which they duly stored in the jar.
When they bid Daroko farewell he stated he hoped to meet them again, and Talvin felt the slightest tinge of regret, wondering how well he could have fared on Braddaston in such a position of glory. Certainly one to return to Stump one day and boast of his heroic accomplishments.
For a few days later Talvin simply waited it out in the jar as the wizards drunk themselves into a stupor on the ale, but eventually they were ready to resume their questing for treasure.
‘There is a village nearby,’ said Kalphor, still quite hungover from the night before’s drinking. ‘We could search it out.’
‘Aye,’ agreed Talvin.
* * * * *
They sat around the campfire that evening, telling tales of old adventures, many brags, many boasts, and steadily consuming a build up of wine from the jar.
'When I was younger,' began Blaz. 'I had a terrible case of coclaphartis.'
'Sounds wonderful,' said Talvin.
'Oh, it wasn't. Believe me it wasn't. My cheeks puffed up and, at first, the doctor prescribed mumps and bedrest. But then I stared farting uncontrollably. Really quite pongy farting as well. Father would walk in and say 'By the Black Balls of Bartimaeus, what on earth is that horrible stench. Oh, its you Kalphor,' and hold his nose, shake his head, and say he would disown me the following winter.'
'Did he? Disown you?'
'In fact he did,' remarked Blaz. 'Traded me temporarily in for a dwarve slut who he bedded often, from what I hear. I worked as a slave in a dark skinned blacksmith's forge, handling the heavy metal. It was hell, believe me. The number of times I burned myself.'
'Life's tough,' replied Talvin.
'That wasn't the worst of it though. The blacksmith had a daughter. Hilda. She was 7 foot tall, fat as a dragon, and I do believe her regular farts were worse than mine at the peak of coclaphartis. Apparently she had a condition.'
'What did she want?' asked Kalphor.
'To rape me incessantly. She would come to me, while I was sleeping, pull down my breaches, and fondle me for hours.'
'How did you react?' asked Talvin.
'Quiet embarassingly,' responded the wizard. The other two chuckled.
'When I was 17,' began Talvin. 'Working for my father, Caldwick my brother had me cornered with his gang and they tarred and feathered me, parading me halfway around Stump. I got my revenge, though.'
'How so?' asked Kalphor.
'With a group I had Caldwick tied down one night, shaved his pubic hairs, and dipped honey all around his crotch.'
'Embarrassing,' said Blaz.
'Then we tied him down on an ants nest and had bloody good time watching him in agony. He hasn't forgiven me to this day.'
'I think I have the worst tale,' said Kalphor. 'In my early years of wizarding in Askandravon, my brother Phandrak cast an enchantment on me, temporarily turning me into a goat.'
'Yet then he put a female goat in my room, who was on heat, and I was unable to help myself.'
'Belth Galador!' exclaimed Talvin.
'I am told I am a father of a proud herd of goats, prized for their milk, till this day.' They all burst out laughing on that one.
And so they bragged and boasted and, steadily consuming alcohol, whiled away the hours, lost in the heart of Ariador, none the wiser to the all too possible presence of Monsters and other dangers famed for inhabiting the now fallen continent.
* * * * *
The darkness was obtrusive. Well, not really obtrusive. It was everywhere. But it was midnight, so Talvin conceded a rather obtrusive darkness. He was slightly drunk, had vomited earlier, and was holding his belly moaning from time to time. He was not a happy chappy. Kalphor was snoozing, the Wyvvern, nearby, seemed at rest, and Blaz was muttering profanities in his dream. But Talvin was away from the fire, because it was a warm night, and he was looking up at the stars. He'd had a dream, earlier. The word 'Nexus' had been spoken by a figure in the dream, and somehow he understood he was part of that - the Nexus. Some sort of organisation which was the power which ran the world, or so the dream seemed to elucidate. Day had maintained to him the universe spoke in dreams to its citizens. They were a way that life was guarded and protected. That was fine to Talvin - he needed all the help he could get. He was not an overly religious man, and while there were several fine cults to choose from on Stump, many quite established in this modern era, it was not his calling in life. He was a rogue - an adventurer. All he ever had been, and would be, presumably. But he sat there, staring up at the stars, pondering it all. What was it all about? Life? Why was he here? Was there, in fact, any life after death as some of the zealots of various religions maintained? It would be interesting, if there were. Go on forever, he supposed. Insulting Caldwick. Bedding Day. What more could he want. After a while his gut felt better, and he drank a swig from his precious jar of alcohol. Not much left, now. But they had gathered much gold and treasure, and the wyvvern had become content enough carrying it for them, so perhaps, soon, time to return home. Perhaps there adventuring had come to an end.
In the morning Talvin kicked dirt into the fire and yelled at the others to rise and shine.
'I've had my fill,' said Talvin. 'We have enough treasure. Let's go home.'
The others looked at him, and nodded. Their time in Ariador had come to an end.
As they travelled back to the coast, were they would need to see the year out before the return of Captain Haggis. It was still a journey of danger, but the Wyvvern remained their protectorate, and they travlled in something approaching confidence and cheeky pride at their successes. Yet they had only travelled a few days when a bunch of savages cornered them, and a Wizard presented himself.
'I am Dalaka. And your treasure looks wonderful,' said the Wizard.
'Great,' muttered Talvin.
'But, I am a merciful man. Choose one of your own to meet my magical challenge, and I will leave you unhindered.'
Talvin looked at Kalphor. 'Are you up for it?'
'I'm afraid I'm a spent force. With all the magic we have used, my recharging will take months of rest.'
Talvin, then, thinking he should know better, looked at Blaz. 'Right. Your our man. Meet the wizard's challenge, and we're out of here.'
Blaz nodded, uncertain.
Talvin turned to Dalaka. 'Our man, Blaz, will meet your challenge.'
Dalaka smiled. 'Kraka. Bring forth the goat.' A savage came forth, bringing a goat, and Dalaka said, 'Slay the goat, and put the blood into a bowl.'
The savage cut the goats neck, and drained some of the blood into a crude bowl.
'I don't like the looks of this,' said Blaz.
'My challenge is this,' said Dalaka. 'Blaz, turn this blood, into,' and he paused, thinking and mulling it over, before he said, 'Turn it into - jelly. I could use a snack.'
'Caldwick's testicles!' swore Talvin.
'By the grand guardian!' exclaimed Kalphor.
'Oh, bother,' said Blaz.
Talvin gathered the group to himself. 'Ok, we're stuffed. We charge them, right?'
'I, I think I can do it,' said Blaz.
'I'll take Dalaka,' said Talvin. 'You guys handle the savages.'
'I'm sure I've learned from my mistakes,' continued Blaz.
'It will be a tough fight, but we'll pull through,' said Talvin.
'I can do it!' exclaimed Blaz. Talvin finally looked at him.
'Are you bloody sure?'
'I'll have a go.'
Talvin shook his head, but turned to Dalaka. 'Our man will turn your blood into jelly.'
Blaz came forth, picked up the bowl, and made several strange incantations on the bowl, but the blood only boiled a little.
'Can he not do it?' asked Dalaka.
'Give it time,' protested Blaz. And, as they watched the bubbling gradually eased and the blood, so it seemed, had actually turned into jelly.
Blaz handed the bowl to Dalaka, who looked at it. 'A spoon,' he said to the savages, and one brought forth a spoon. As Dalaka tasted it, his face paused, considering the stuff. Finally 'It is acceptable. You may pass.'
'I didn't know I had it in me,' said Blaz.
A few weeks later, after some other adventures, they arrived at the coast, and settled in to wait. They built a bit of a fort, and fished, and Talvin managed to find various vegetables from his hunting expeditions. But soon they spotted the ship on the horizon, and their salvation had finally arrived.
'I think,' said Talvin. 'That if there is one thing I have learned, that the Universal Guild of Witches and Warlocks, in the end, knows what it is doing.'
Kalphor smiled at that, and Blaz blushed. And soon they were back on the seas, headed for Stump, their adventure, finally, complete.
After a further number of fateful adventures, each found their destiny and their wealth, and retired in comfort.
Talvin farted a lot as he got older. Day, ever mindful of her fading looks didn't complain greatly, yet the move into the downstairs front bedroom was the nasal salvation she never regretted. Talvin bemoaned the situation, yet did not want to lose his love, so let things be. He ended up king of Stump.
Blaz Durass started his own wizardry school on his wealth. The other guilds did not recommend transfers to challenged students. Better off life as a dung sweeper than suffer the tutelage of the Frozen West's greatest magical oxymoron. Blaz was successful none the less.
Kalphor retired in Chaliador, in a small apartment, were he hid the green jar in the basement and lived inside there in the colder weather. It looked 'pleasant' according to Talvins assessment of its decor upon a visit from Stump. Kalphor subsequently took up interior decorating.
And the Wyvern returned home, bragged of his final adventure, scored a young filly excited by his tales, and rested in peace in his final days, the proud father of a redeemed Wyvvernly lineage.
And the world turned in Belth Galador, and the thunder rolled, and the rain poured, and the sun shone, and the world turned. And the world turned.
The Love of Akira Watanabe
Akira Watanabe, taking out his blade, Samurai of the house of Fuji, arch-enemy of the Fukimawa clan, forbade the woman entry into his domicile.
She stood there, the geisha, and smiled softly at him. 'Do you think me, dangerous. I have pleased many men in my time.'
Akira looked at her stonefaced, for he was not a man of corrupt virtue.
'I can please you,' said the lady. 'I can ease your heavy burdens, and relax you with my calming touch. I am well trained. Well skilled. I exist as part of the Fukimawa clan to serve our honoured guests. And a lord from the Kawazaki clan is most welcome. I will clean you and caress you, lord Mizu Kawazaki.'
Akira looked at her, untroubled by his deceptions. 'Do not enter. I have no need of your services.'
'Yes, Lord Kawazaki.'
Yet she did not leave, but sat at the door, and watched him silently, her makeup, it would seem, covering away any facial emotions of anxiousness towards her honoured guest. He did that often, studied faces, for they betrayed the truth. And he did not like masks, for the uncovering of truth relied on language of the body, when the head was hidden.
She sat there, unmoving, watching him. She sat there silently.
Akira relented, and drank of his tea.
A spider crawled slowly accross the floor, and he watched it from his mat, crawling towards him. He feared not insects, and the spider seemed a minor concern to him, yet he knew them poisonous. He looked at the Geisha girl, patiently sitting there, and motioned towards the spider. Instantly, as if ready for action at any moment, she stood, came and stepped on the spider, and finding dustpan and brush, removed it from his presence.
'Thank you,' said Akira.
'You are most welcome,' said the Geisha girl.
He studied her as she sat, and returned her gaze towards him, and decided to venture a question.
'The Lord Fukimawa. When did he get back from the north.'
'Last week. He was ill, and left the court of Shendu Tamamoto. Shendu had high praise of him for his service in the conflicts of recent times. He is a noble warlord in the service of his Lord Tamamoto. Yet Hannibal is ready, at the shores of China, to invade at any moment. The beast from Europa, we fear, is stronger this year. Stronger than ever. The last three millennia he has arrived, decade by decade, and watched Japan from afar, waiting. Always waiting. The Kahn's give him free access to the trade routes, for they despise us yet. And his army of smelly sockwearing barbarians, with primitive manners and garb, I fear, would, should they ever dare the ocean, be not so much to fear in their battle, but in their vile mannerisms.'
'They are men. Like us. They have their own ways. They have their own customs. It serves no purpose to judge them for their simple ways. Our people were as such once, long ago. In the early times. When Gaia was young, and the angels yet trod the earth.'
'They are brutes,' she stated, and said nothing more.
The day began to dim.
'Tomorrow, the Lord Fukimawa wil see you. He is fond of the Kawazaki clan. A spirit of - adventure,' said the Geisha.
'The Fukimawa's are known to us as noble and discreet. And their hospitality is quite obvious.'
She smiled, and nodded.
'Do you yet not wish my caress?'
He looked at her, and at last succumbed.
'Yes. You may minister.'
Thus, the geisha brought cool cloths, scented, and carefully removed his outer garments, and then, looking at him, removed the remainder, leaving him naked on his mat.
She asked him to turn over and carefully, for the next few minutes, wiped him, softly singing to him. He lay there, letting his mind drift away, forgetting his current agenda, and allowing the soothing touch of the geisha ease his long journey and troubling thoughts. And then she sought him to turn over, and continued her ministry.
He was calm, letting an attractive lady wash him, and then, at the end, she did seek his face, and he nodded, and she cleaned his private regions, which embarassingly caused a stir.
Yet, she was not embarassed, for her hand caressed his manhood, and, taking it in her palm, she slowly started stroking and then, his arousal becoming obvious, she dipped her head and took him inside her mouth, and sucked slowly at first, and then rapidly, until his loins bellowed, and he shot his load into her mouth. The feeling was divine.
She cleaned him up, and then she left for a while, but shortyl returned with a plate of food.
'What is your name?' he finally asked her.
'Lee,' she said softly.
He slept that night, dreaming of whales and dolphins, and he swam to the depths of the ocean, and the geisha was there, down in the abyss, beckoning him to follow her down to her world, to succumb to her charms, to accept her love.
Yet, he turned, and sought the surface, and touched salt sea air, and the geisha called him no more.
The Love of Akira Watanabe II
Akira Watanabe was not a noble of dishonour. Yet the ruse of identifying himself as Lord Kawazaki played upon his conscious. A clan relied on the impersonation - an honour of survival rested upon the deceit. Yet lies were the domain of western clerics and their religious absurdities, which those at the mainland, waiting, watching, were skilled in. He did not dislike western clans simply out of patriotic nationalism. He disliked their crude mannerisms and their sarcastic demeanours. Their very way of life dishonoured their homelands, and their priests served the God of creation in impure ceremonies and bizarre sacrifices. And still they claimed the dispossessed Ainu as righteous tenants of Nippon, an honour lost to that fowl breed long ago through their uncouth way of life and primitive dress. No Ainu could ever be worthy of Fair Nippon. No Caucasian could ever truly appreciate his lands delicate spirit and gentle disposition.
Yet the would be conquerors waited and watched on the shores of Sian, fowl scavengers of noble glory.
And while he disdained lies, and regretted his current need to masquerade as a member of the Kawazaki clan, he felt as low as any westerners heart must feel, in living their cursed life, and honouring their cursed priests, and dwelling in their cursed lands.
Akira sat in darkness that morning, the geisha not yet arrived for the day. He thought on her, her delicate ways, her merciful touch. The western harlots were nothing of the honour of Nippons servants of the desires of man. They smelled fowl, talked in ribald nonsense, and jested of their men's genitals and bedroom antics. Such behaviour was not holy, and beneath all standards of a decent society. Rightly were they called whoes, fowl prostitutes, plying their trade on a man's lust for flesh, not concerns of his heart, as a noble geisha would. Fowl Jezebel's, hell could never quench its wrath for their destruction. Yet this was the way of the west. All in fair Nippon knew the Europeans for the savage beasts they really were.
Yet a geisha would be honourable - always. Discreet, polite, appropriate, perfect. Not engaged in the satisfaction of a westen penny's decadent use for whoremongering. Yet he would not hate his foes, even despite that. God would sanctify even such devil's, for he was the Father of mercy, and even a westener still grudgingly acknowledged the supreme holiness of the creator of man, so Akira believed.
He sat there and tried to put such thoughts away from him. He was here, in this place, with a purpose, and needed clear thoughts, and clear judgement, for the tasks of the day required calm behaviour for his plans to succeed.
In time the geisha arrived, and sat quietly at the doorway, awaiting his acknowledgement. He stirred after a while.
'Will the Lord Fukimawa see me this day.'
'Noble lord, 'replied the geisha. 'I am afraid that is not possible. He has been called away yet again. He has suggested you remain a week, and if he is not able to return in time, then you would be free to leave. Is this acceptable to you my lord?'
Akira looked at her, but hid his disappointment. He nodded softly. He had little option but to remain.
'I will attend you each day, if you have found me pleasing.'
And so the day passed, and she brought him his meals, and at evening she spoke that he would have access to the gardens in the morning, and that he would be very honoured as a guest of the Fukimawa clan.
He found her presence comforting, and maintained his guise carefully, but grateful for the company of the geisha. For she was an honourable woman, and he noted her graceful looks, and her kind demeanour, and he was not put off by her presence, and he was not upset by her loving ministrations.
THE MODERN WORLD
Universe existed in Nippon. And Universe was all, and all that remained. For the beast of Europa had warred on the world endless, through the ministration of its mad priests, and conquered all but Nippon. But Universe had been created by Tenju Watanabe, descendent of legendeary Akira Watanabe, and the Citadel, in the heart of fair Nippon, built into a rock mountain, the final resistance of justice and truth amongst the children of Men, unleashed its technological powers, and destroyed the world of mankind and its evil ways. It was not just Nippon, though, which survived in Universe, but the respected and holy of all the races had been gathered by Tenju for many years, and these citizens all now lived in Universe, which was a self contained Mega City, charting the rest of the history of mankind within its boundaries, not yet bold enough, perhaps never, to risk resettlement of a world which only betrayed them in the end.
Tenju Watanabe was the respected chief of the Council of Universe, and the city functioned in its administration from the central tower of Universal Justice, and those who were civil amongst the children of men lived yet still, when the remainder of the world had perished in flames.
The city was technologically marvellous, a tribute to Nippon engineering, and while citizens from Nippon were about a quarter of the populace, it was well housed with those of all the children of Men.
But they lived in harmony. And they lived their lives in peace. And nobody would ever go beyond the boundaries of Universe, for who would ever dare again risk the abomination of corruption which the world beyond salvation inevitably brought upon itself?
'I see what you are saying, Magnus. Forgive me, Professor Scheving. But its not what Universe is looking for at this time. I mean, come on. Are you serious. It's essentially mind control.'
'Dear Tenju. Those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are bound to repeat them. How else are we to ensure the future of our world without a strict disciplinarian culture.'
'The idiot's right, Tenju,' affirmed Doctor Billy Connolly, Professor Magnus Scheving's compatriot at the Institute of Higher Learning. 'I already see it from some of the younger students. What's out there? Beyond Universe. We tell them the tales, about the old world, but they don't listen. They don't care. A new beginning, all of them want one. To rebirth the world from the holocaust. Redeemed from another deluge.'
'They will conform in time,' said Tenju. 'Nobody leaves Universe in the end. It's madness out there if anything lives at all.'
'Time will tell on that,' said Magnus under his breath. Tenju noted the comment. He chose to ignore it.
'Our world – this world – is our future,' said Tenju. 'Just teach them that. They will learn soon enough in time.'
'As you say master Tenju,' replied Professor Scheving.
'Aye,' said Doctor Billy Connolly.
Tenju had had a busy day. All that afternoon he had been at the Institute of Higher Learning, the central educational edifice in the city centre of Universe, and the morning had had its own complications. And now he was home, tired, and hungry.
His wife appeared, Azami. He was instantly in a better mood. She came to him, kissed him on the cheek and seated him down. She took of his shoes, and when he was rested, went to the kitchen and returned with a glass of iced lemon and sugar water. His favourite.
'What is for the evening meal?' asked Tenju.
'Wagu,' she said.
He looked at her, and smiled. 'We don't have wagu, Azami.'
'They found a herd wandering just on the northern edge of the city.
Tenju looked amused. There, it was the case. Life still existed beyond Universe. No matter, human life was likely scarce. That much was obviously true.
'How was your day?' she asked him.
'Busy. As usual. But the work was done, and life moves forward,' replied Tenju.
'And Universe is at peace,' replied Azami, in the well used expression Tenju was fond of employing.
'Universe is at peace,' he said, bowing at her.
They watched television for a while, and they even had a fledgling entertainment industry now, not always relying on re-runs of the old shows they'd preserved. It was basic stuff, but that was life in the early years of Universe. Basic.
That night Tenju looked at his scrapbook. He looked it over, at the history of his life, pieced together with photographs and other things. He looked at the picture of the settling of Universe. He had purchased the land, at a high price, from a farmer, and built his empire inside the rock mountain, to protect it from the war which was going to come. It took 12 years to build the basics of the city, for he had much resources, and had been speaking online throughout the world in all that time, gathering followers, gathering likeminded individuals, ones who feared what Europa might do next. And then the final war had come, and Tenju had unleashed some of his secret technologies on the world, and the beast had been vanquished. And in the 15 years since Tenju, now 58, had seen it grow in the haven of mankind, the one last place of hope for the human race.
But now there was a youth asking questions. Now there was a youth asking 'What lay beyond Universe? Now he had problems.'
* * * * *
'In this universe we live, in this universe we pray, to elohim up above, to teach us every day.
To learn from past mistakes, of history gone by, and pledge our hearts to this universe, in which we live and die.'
The schoolchildren in the 'Children's School' of 4 year olds to 12 year olds all finished the daily prayer of Universe and sat down.
'Now children. We have a special guest here today,' said the teacher, Fiona MacBeth. 'Master Tenju Watanabe has an encouragement for you all.'
The students clapped, as Tenju Watanabe stood and addressed the classroom.
'Remember. We are Universe. In which we LIVE and DIE. Some of you have perhaps heard rumours that there might be others, now, outside of universe. On the outside of the world. But this is not true. This is the Universe. When mankind died because of its evil, we are all that remained of the Universe. We are all there is, and all there ever will be. We are Universe, and we are ONE. Never let those voices win – they will just lead you astray. For the future of mankind is free from evil, now, because of the wisdom of Universe, the eternal truth our society is built on.'
He bowed formally to the class, and all the school children clapped.
'Thanks, Fiona, for the opportunity to speak to them,' said Tenju.
'It's not true, though, is it,' she said sharply. 'That we are all that is left. The destruction probably didn't kill them all, did it? I mean, we found Wagu beef. Just bloody wandering around, Tenju. And out there the grasslands don't look so desperate anymore anyway.'
'Let me assure you, Fiona. It's just us. Nothing is out there. Nothing worth remembering anyway.'
She nodded. 'Sure Tenju,' but she remained unconvinced.
The day passed on, and he was inspecting some food production facilities.
'We need some new parts,' said the chief mechanic. 'Can you ensure we get them made soon.'
'The engineers are always busy,' responded Tenju. 'But I'll see what I can do.'
'Oh, and one other thing,' said David Rothchild. 'I know. You know. I know. I've seen them. Out on the plains. With spears. Wondering around. Hunting the wagu and things. They are incredibly basic, but its them. Humans.'
Tenju looked at him, and sighed. 'Don't speak of it. Give me Britney to look into it.'
'If their's primitives, this close, you know. There may even be society out there somewhere.'
'Let me look into it, David. And I'll arrange those spare parts for you.'
'Do that,' said the chief Mechanic.
Tenju spent the afternoon in the cafeteria, chatting, and it came up more than once. The spearsmen. People had seen them. They never really strayed far from Universe when they went wandering, because there was nothing for them out there anymore. Everyone, in the end, accepted that. But now? Now?
'It was the evil, again,' thought Tenju. 'The sin of man. Something they could never, really, escape. The ugly side of life.
* * * * *
Callodyn Daly had the binoculars and was focusing on the scene in the distance. He and Meludiel Smallbone, with his brother Daniel Daly, were up at the edge of the city, having been given a 'Gatherers' pass to go off and gather herbs and things from the city edge, but they had simply gone off to spy on what was out there. What everyone now knew was out there. And, the problem with the 19 year olds, was that they wanted to MEET what was out there.
'Yeh. I can see them,' said Callodyn. 'They have spears, and are probably looking for that Wagu herd. There's about 7 of them. They are pretty shabbily dressed. Looks like animal skins are their clothing.'
'What I heard too,' said Daniel. 'That is all that has survived out there. Primitive society.'
'They don't even look Japanese, though. That's ironic. Sort of Caucasian features from what I can tell,' said Callodyn.
'Maybe they've come over from the continent,' said Meludiel. 'Part of a travelling wave of survivors from the west.'
'Could be,' said Callodyn. 'Maybe Asia has been totally wiped out or something.'
Callodyn shared the binoculars with the other two, and the 'History' students observed their guests for quite some time. History was a carefully selected choice of study at Universe University, and the student didn't do the choosing – they were chosen. History, you see, ran back, back prior to universe, to the old world, the world they were in most ways trying to forget but, for official purposes, and because, in the end, Universe didn't try and deny their origins, a world they made sure they remembered accurately, in all its stubborn pride and glory. Callodyn, Daniel and Meludiel were probably the best and most promising history students Universe University had produced so far, but they were more than that. They were historians with a penchant for adventure. Meludiel had an older half-brother, David Rothchild, who worked as a mechanic since graduating from trade school. They had wanted to drag him along on this adventure, but David was always the responsible one with work to do. Just like his father Alexander, one of the leading voices in the community – always responsible.
'Let's dare it,' said Cal. 'Go and introduce ourselves.'
'They'll throw a bloody spear at us,' said Daniel. 'Dad will never stop complaining that we have been idiot adventure-seeking fools.'
'Ole Dan can bite me,' said Callodyn, about the boys father Daniel Daly the First.
'I don't mind having a spear thrown at me,' said Meludiel. 'At least its exciting. Come on Dan. I'll give you kiss later if you dare?'
Daniel smiled at Meludiel. He'd had a crush on her forever, but secretly she usually preferred Callodyn.
'Oh, ok,' said the soft Daniel. He was the more nervous type, shy and gentle, and didn't like adventures very much, or so he claimed. But, in the end, he usually came along anyway which seemed to sum things up.
The three of them came out of hiding from the ridge, just down from the Universe hidden electronic sliding door in the heart of the rock mountain, and slowly and carefully started approaching the huntsmen. When they were getting close, one of the huntsmen indicated the approaching humans, and they raised their spears.
'I think this is as much as I want to introduce myself,' said Daniel. 'Come on, let's go back. They don't look exactly friendly.'
'It'll be cool,' said Callodyn, and creeped forward slowly.
The huntsmen still had their spears raised, ready to throw them, when Callodyn, holding out his hand in the peace sign he had seen in his studies, approached.
'Callodyn. I'm Callodyn,' he said. 'And this is my brother Daniel and my friend Meludiel,' indicating the other two.
The huntsmen looked carefully at them, but the leader indicated them to lower their spears.
'Igor,' said the one in the front, beating his chest with his arm.
'Callodyn,' replied Callodyn, beating his chest likewise.
Igor proceeded to speak for a while, and showed his spears and seemed to indicate they were hunting. And, after the huntsmen had looked at the group for a while, they simply went back to their task, and moved on, leaving the three students standing there.
'They don't even give a shit,' said Daniel. 'How's that for you.'
'They might come from a big society, and might already know about us,' replied Callodyn.
'The question is,' said Meludiel. 'To we follow them one day. See where they live?'
'That is indeed an interesting question,' responded Callodyn, stroking his chin, watching as the huntsmen disappeared over the incline on their search for food.
They had been following the hunters again, the following morning, for they were spied again. The huntsmen barely regarded them this time, and as the tri followed, they trekked through the mountainside, hunted wagu for a brief while and, as a cattle was hoisted onto strong shoulders, followed the men down the valley of Universe Mountain, down into the deeper valley below.
'Are you sure we should be doing this?' Daniel asked Callodyn.
'They don't mind,' responded Daniel to his brother. 'They know we are here. It's not an issue to them.'
'Just don't go crazy ok, Cal, if we find out anything interesting,' said Daniel.
'Gotcha kemosabe,' responded Callodyn.
'It looks as if we are approaching a settlement,' said Meludiel. 'And it's not even that primitive. Look at that.'
As they approached a camp were the primitives fell away into their own business, they were surrounded by a large number of indeed caucasian appearing peoples, but there was a hut in the centre of the settlement. Not really a hut, though. A vehicle – on wheels. Something was going on.
'Come on,' said Callodyn.
'I'm not sure about this,' said Daniel.
'Scaredy cat. And I'm the woman,' smiled Meludiel at Daniel.
They approached the vehicle and Callodyn, deciding to risk it, knocked on the door.
Shortly a blonde lady with long hair appeared.
'Meine Gott!' she exclaimed.
'Sorry to startle you,' said Callodyn in perfect English.
'Who are you?' responded the lady quickly, in English with a strange accent.
'I'm Callodyn. This is my brother Daniel and our bestie Meludiel. We are from Universe.'
The blonde lady looked at them, and then upwards to the mountain.
'I shouldn't be surprised, actually. We'd known they were hunting up around you. Only a matter of time, I guess.'
'The question is, who are you?' asked Callodyn.
'Why, I am Rebecca Rosenberg. Daughter of Michael Rosenberg. We are part of 'Mission Canaan'. We are restoring this world, slowly. Bringing it to peace, this time. Much like the aims of Universe, from our records of its early history.'
'Mission Canaan?' queried Meludiel quickly.
'We believe in Elohim. God. The God of Canaan. Not the old network of Yahweh-Allah-Jesus worship, which divided religions and caused endless wars amongst them. We follow Elohism,' said Rebecca.
'But, so do we,' said Meludiel startled. 'It's the religion of Universe.'
'I know,' smiled Rebecca. 'There is always a hidden world which does not know the greater reality. Now come inside. We probably have a lot to chat about.'
And so they did, and went inside, and the conversation which followed was illuminating indeed.
* * * * *
Mot was in a fowl mood. A deathly mood. His wife, Aphrayel, had beseeched him all that year. 'Seek El's permission, and we shall have new fancy upon Terra. Come, Samael (which was the private name of Mot), seek El's permission, and we shall ravage Terra once amore, for even now I spy through the portal's the regathering of the strengths of men, and that El has worked indeed once more to unite them.'
But Mot, after seeking permission from El to once more torment the seed of men, had been rebuked. It was time for men to learn truer ways, El had said to him. So thereupon Mot turned fowl, for destruction and death was his business of life.
Baal Hadad had mocked him after he had left the throne room. 'Your pathetic. For a god of Canaan, you have no more say with El then a fairy princess.'
'Bugger off, Saruviel (Baal Hadad's private name), or I will devour your head,' replied Mot.
'Oh, Samael is in a dandy mood,' replied Baal Hadad. 'Fancy that, huh.'
'I'll grind you into the dust one day, Baal Hadad,' replied Mot. 'And death shall be your eternal bride.'
'I'll make sure Anat sends her greeting then,' replied Baal Hadad. 'And she shall happilly mock as all shall at your vanity.'
'Bugger off,' swore Mot, as he returned to his abode in the Temple of Heaven.
'You are an idiot,' said Aphrayel. 'A dung beetle would have more persuasiveness. El has always been fond of your vindictive plagues and pestilences and other curses. You must have gotten under his skin as of late. That is likely all that delays us, dearest.'
'It matters not. Besides, there is not much sport on Terra anymore anyhow.'
'The Universe. The Universe project of Watanabe's. They are still at it, and could soon send out missionaries to rebuild Terra. There will be much fun in such persecutions in time. Just be patient, dearest.'
'Bah. Yet, I fear, El has his own agenda these days. Wishes to see something of the redemption in the sons of men. He always has had a peculiar will.'
'No matter,' replied his deathly bride. 'We shall have our sport likewise.'
'Bah,' said Mot, and turned to an amphora of wine to satisy his desires for the evening.
* * * * *
Tenju Watanabe was with David Rothchild at the Pastries and Confectionary food production facilities, on the southern side of Universe City. David was chief mechanic of both motor vehicles and general running of machinery throughout the plant. He was an engineer of first class knowledge and reputation, but today it wasn't machinery which was on his mind.
'Rebecca Rosenberg,' David repeated again. 'A representative of Mission Canaan.'
'Is Meludiel at home?' queried Tenju. 'I would like to speak to her personally. And I will speak with the Daly boy's as well.'
'They're at studies today,' replied David.
'What else did they say?' inquired Tenju cautiously.
'Those huntsman. They are Ainu. Ancient Caucasian inhabitants of Japan. Mission Canaan is doing just that, universally. Restoring the ancient cultures and teaching them knowledge of Elohim. It is their mission, and they are completely dedicated to it.'
'Well, I suppose that can't be a bad thing,' responded Tenju, thoughtfully. 'I am well aware of the Ainu people. If this is Mission Canaan's work here in Nippon, we will get along in time. But how have so many survived? And what is out there beyond our land?'
'A world bigger than we imagined, perhaps,' replied David.
'It appears so,' responded Tenju. 'Anyway, those parts will be delivered soon, and thank you for the information David. It has been invaluable.'
As Tenju departed, he thought on the mysterious Mission Canaan and their work. How much threat could the restoration of ancient cultures be in the end anyway? Really?'
* * * * *
'The Assembly of the Dawn is new hope,' said Rebecca Rosenberg to the history students. 'From the chaos of world war 3, we emerged in Canaan, and have transformed much of the middle east. Mission Canaan is a large and multi-facted organisation, but our faith is that of the Assembly of the Dawn, a religion founded a few centuries ago by a small Noahide group. Our religion is old – far older than the distorted images that Judaism, Christianity and Islam represented. We are back there, when Jacob was a lad, running around Canaan with the Canaanite boys, wondering just who this god elohim was. You see, Elohim has always been the father of the deities of Canaan and, as far as we now understand it, the creative force of life which began all things. El Elyon is the most high, who has spoken to the heart of the people since the beginning of time, when Adam the first man was formed and When Noah was redeemed through the deluge. Yet he chose Canaan, the humblest of races, to preserve his true self, for the world had fallen astray into all sorts of other idolatries. In Canaan, though, El found peace. In Canaan El found truth. Israel always persecuted Baal and Mot amongst the other children of El, and denied them constant. Yet El knows his own, his own children, and we sense all the deities at work in the world again.'
'Wishful thinking, I think,' said Callodyn. 'Only El is real.'
'So you say, son of Judah,' responded Rebecca.
'No. We are elohists. We always have been,' responded Callodyn. 'But we don't think there are these reMarkable deities which El sired. Canaanite mythology. Nothing more. It was just in Canaan that El kept his name alive, and Yahweh was just an idea of the Judahites over time, which they attritubed to El. It was just their way of thinking about issues on God.'
'Perhpas,' responded Rebecca Rosenberg.
'You should come and visit Universe,' said Meludiel. 'Meet Tenju and our other leaders. They want to meet you now anyway. They asked us to come back and talk with you some more.'
'I am here primarily for this Ainu tribe. To help them settle the land,' said Rebecca. 'We are aware of Universe, and aware that they don't really wish to interact with the outside world. Are you so sure I would be welcome?' she asked them honestly.
'Well, I think so,' said Meludiel, now hesitant to be so forthright.
'Then think about that carefully,' said Rebecca. 'For Assembly of the Dawn believes in preserving the ways of life of established cultures. We don't want to interfere with Universe or her own agenda. If she wants independence then we are happy enough not to interfere.'
'We'll let our elders know what you said,' said Callodyn.
'You do that,' replied Rebecca. 'And let me know just exactly what they say.'
* * * * *
'No,' repeated Tenju. 'I don't think it is a good idea for the community to involve itself with either the Ainu or Assembly of the Dawn. It very much now appears as if the world beyond our shelter has recovered somewhat and, yet again, they are playing the game of society and civilization. But our universe was formed on the eternal understanding that without complete surrender to Elohim, and repentance of the soul to walk in godly ways, all societies of mankind will eventually fight each other and, I am ashamed to say, eventually destroy each other. They always have, Callodyn, they always will. There is no future for us beyond universe. Even when Babylon shines brightly one day, and beckons to us all to join her and her marvellously advanced liberal society, remember it ends in sin and it ends in death. Do not be tempted, dear child. Do not be tempted.'
'But Assembly of the Dawn is based on Elohim,' responded Callodyn defiantly.
'Yet they choose to worship the other deities of Canaan also,' replied Tenju. 'And while we must acknowledge the truth of their existence, the foolhardy places his faith in all of God's children, for many of them are corrupt, and this I know to be true.'
'Then they do exist,' said Meludiel.
'Oh, they exist alright,' said Tenju. 'But a fool and his life is soon parted when they start messing around with the idols of Canaan. Believe me on that my child. Believe me on that. Now go, return to your studies, and let this nonsense talk of the Assembly of the Dawn and the world beyond Universe disappear from your mind once and for good. No real profit can come from it. Trust me. Nothing good at all. I was naïve at first, and I wanted to so get along with this new hope. But I have been in prayer, and El has spoken to my heart, and in a dream I saw visions, and the wind lashing the ocean, and beast after endless beast came and rose and each, in turn, was destroyed. And the Ancient of Days spoke to my heart and told me 'This is all they ever do. Build their empire, but end up trying to rule and destroy everyone else. So their fate is sealed at their birth, and that is the way of things.' And that dream was true, I tell you. So go, return to your studies, and leave off this nonsense of Mission Canaan once and for all.'
'Humph,' said Callodyn, yet as he, Daniel and Meludiel walked away, their lesson having been made clear to them, Callodyn knew instantly he would defy Tenju's words. He would see for himself just what the bigger world offered him – the world of the kingdoms of men – the world beyond Universe.
David Rothchild, citizen of Universe, was content enough. He did his work, played his role in this new world they all found themselves involved with, and lived the new dream for a new humanity, escaped from the ravages of past civilizations and past errors. They were the new breed, the tougher breed, the eternal breed. It's what they had been taught all along.
Which is why it was a different David Rothchild, who escaped one afternoon, out of Universe, down the valley, down to the mysterious Rebecca Rosenberg.
'We are Universe. And we are eternal. It's what we know,' said David. 'The world never worked. The glory of Universal Babylon never repented, never saved a soul, never did a truly good deed without charging for it. What do you guys have to offer?'
Rebecca looked saddened by David's perspective on things. 'We are – NOT – like what has gone before. We are just like you in some ways. Survivors, looking for answers, answers with what went wrong, and trying to get it right. Doing it the right way to start with, which we never did before.'
'And what is that right way?' asked David.
'God's way,' said Rebecca.
'Obviously,' said David.
They sat there for a while, quietly, and David sipped on his tea.
'And what is God's way?' he asked her.
'It's the same old same old. What people do. Build civilization. But we go back – back to Babel, were it all began, and look at what God did when he scattered us. He intended the nations to last forever. Canaan was always meant to – but he had sin in him, which probably had to be dealt with in the end. But that sin is no more, and what the promises were back then are fulfilled, fulfilled in a 1000 generations of service. Its the original plan from Mission Canaan, and we work with the indigenous cultures primarily, the survivors we have found out there, and restore it all. Back the way it was originally meant to be. Sure, some races have found new homes in all their travels, and while we respect the indigenous primarily, it doesn't mean a travelling settler is rejected form its colonial aspirations. This time, though, we MUST get along. Most of the Ainu, here in Nippon, survived what went on those few years back. The devastation. They were hidden away, in northern islands, not affected that much by it all. But they have now re-emerged and reclaimed what was once theirs. And while those of Japan were destroyed, there are a few survivors. Survivors who must needs learn respect for God's original intentions. For we have found it is so much the indigenous who have survived the recent troubles of mankind. For Babylon is dead, and now we must all get along. Take our own people, David, as an example. We are going back to were it all began – at Ur, of the Chaldees, in southern Iraq. Israel, those few who survived, have left Canaan, and gone back and returned to where Abram came from to start with, and it is out our original home that we have found our salvation. It is the old faith. The original Faith. The 'Noahide' faith. When mankind did not war for land, but accepted the divisions set up by God after Babel. And all of this work restores the balance in creation – it is more about were people SHOULD be now, rather than have to be because of realities of wealth and the need to prosper. We're getting this right, David Rothchild, citizen of Universe. We are finally getting it right.'
'Or so you hope,' replied the thoughtful David.
'So we hope,' replied the equally thoughtful Rebecca Rosenberg.
* * * * *
'Don't you think you have been taking the liberties of your 'gatherers' pass a bit too much for granted? It seems everyone has, of late, been sneaking off to see that Rebecca woman. David Rothchild was chatting earlier this morning with the community elders about her. Something will come to a head, Mark my words,' said Mrs Smallbone, as her daughter, Meludiel, sat eating her evening meal.
'Perhaps it should come to a head,' said Rebecca. 'Universe is not alone anymore. By the looks of it, well, it never really was. The world is starting again, and not just us have ideas of how to perpetuate mankind. Not just us by no means,' responded Meludiel to her mothers' concerns.
'No. We were never alone. But we should have been,' said the proud citizen of Universe. 'Here in universe, we have our life, we have our being. Beyond this, it will never survive. Tenju knew in his heart, one day, inevitably, there would be people who would leave Universe to start again, and he was worried that they would never really understand the whole point of our community to start with. It's a REACTION against the barbarity man eventually sinks down to in his permissive liberalism. If there is one thing we did study, it was human law, and how it tolerated greater and greater deviancies from the established traditional society in the sake of political correctness as time passed by. And we believe that even Israel progressed, for half their religion was full of such vanity. Progression doesn't work, Meludiel. It allows sin to enter and to prosper. Se we have a code of law in Universe, a code which limits us to this world we live in, breathe in and have our being, but beyond its borders, we allow animalkind to rule paradise, for we were kicked out, unworthy of it. Only destroyers and persecutors in the end. And in that code, each of us, when he or she understand's its eternal truths, swears to live by it and adhere to it, WITHOUT CHANGE, forever and ever and ever. And because of that, In Universe we live, and breathe and have our being. But with this Assembly of the Dawn, will they stabilize forever? Or will they forever progress into greater and greater tolerations of evil? We think the latter so far from all we have heard.'
'They acknowledge that,' said Meludiel. 'But it was a faulty foundation to start with. It was new nations, not built upon the judgement of God after Babel, when we intermixed further, and continued to do so, and, time and time again, changed the world, always trying to make it in the image of the latest ideologue and iconoclast of wisdom. But Mission Canaan returns to roots, just like us. They are the same as us in many ways, and with our help we can heal the world and do it right this time.'
'And were would we live?' asked Mrs Smallbone.
'England, I guess,' replied Meludiel. 'Smallbone's are English.'
'You see,' said Mrs Smallbone. 'That doesn't matter. Fussing about who owns this patch of land, and who is entitled to that inheritance. It's not what its all about. We are humans, and we are one family, and it only ever ends in land disputations and struggles anyway. By limiting our size to Universe and no further, we end the debate. Forever, Meludiel. Forever. Mission Canaan will fail. It is doomed from its foundation. Believe me. It is doomed.'
'Whatever,' said Meludiel, frustrated. But she had listened intently to her mother's words. She had listened intently.
* * * * *
Daniel and Callodyn were again chatting with Rebecca Rosenberg. Tenju had finally agreed to see her, and tomorrow night she would have a meeting in the town hall of Universe to state clearly the mission of 'Mission Canaan'.
'You see,' began Rebecca. 'Canaan has been beset by many races and tribes over its history, not just the tribe of Canaan itself. They are a mixed bunch of locals from the area, all claiming sovereignty to various degrees over the land, the people of Israel included. But the ironic thing about the claims of Israel to the land is that they are not indigenous technically. The scriptures claim Abram an Iraqi, a Babylonian, from Ur of the Chaldees. It's a clear origin we can ascertain to our people, so we have resettled there, the few hundred survivors we have found in our searchings.'
'Where have you searched?' asked Callodyn.
'Globally. Most places have been investigated by our movement so far in our searches for survivors after the big one. And the more we noticed it was simple, basic, indigenous lives which had survived, those in the remote areas, living on frugal and basic existences, not affected by the big world, the more we realized the will of God. The meek indeed shall inherit the earth.'
'So were do two Daly brothers go?' asked Daniel.
'Ireland, we guess. But it's not absolute. We found a number of caucasians all throughout Australia and the Americas also. It's not absolute rule, for survival in our hearts teaches us those who are worthy of life, and were they ultimately settle should be grounded on common agreement with surviving cultures. This time, now, we have an opportunity to learn from all past mistakes, and resettle this world with total agreement of who lives where, and not make the same mistakes it was all founded on.'
'So you hope,' said Daniel and Callodyn almost as one.
'We will succeed, you know,' said Rebecca. 'By the will of God, we will succeed.'
* * * * *
Elohim, the God of Canaan, summoned the gods. They were to watch on the wall, the writing in funny ways, but more than that – they were to view a discussion about to happen in fair Nippon which would shape the future of mankind. Mot and Baal sat down on a stone seat, Aphrayel nearby, looking as always lovely, dressed in her ravishing black and as El motioned with his hands, a scene appeared on the wall of the throneroom, and they watched as a discussion for the ages took place.
'You see,' said Rebecca. 'Universe and Assembly of the Dawn have the same mission. And we have learned the same lesson. From the mistakes of the past, we take note, and shape the future of this world.'
'Yet we have already learned,' said Tenju. 'And we have built our society, and we have our community, and while we see this new babylon being built, it will inevitably succumb to pride and destruction. It did before, it shall again.'
'I disagree,' said Ms Rosenberg. 'We are at the foundation of mankind, like Noah afresh from the Ark, and we have an opportunity at this time to learn from all the mistakes of the past, and build it properly this time. We know our past failures. We will not be stupid enough to make them again.'
'And that is where the disagreement arises,' said Tenju soberly. 'And can I get an aye aye on that?' And while much of those gathered shouted an 'aye aye' there were those who sat quietly, watching Rebecca.
'The ostrich buries its head in the sand, because it fears the future,' said Rebecca. 'It is human nature, ultimately, to make mistakes. And yes, we are the survivors of those mistakes. But isn't that just the point? We survived those mistakes. This remnant here, and throughout the world, had the wisdom God was looking for. We do not have to worry so much about making the mistakes of the past – because we survived those mistakes in the first place. We were willing to learn. We were willing to be humble. We survived because of it.'
'And this brave new world,' asked Tenju after a few moments, because quiet had answered Rebecca. 'Who will rule this brave new world? For power always has tended corruption.'
'We have heard of the Code of Law of Universe, and I have read some. If you join us, we will allow it to rule all mankind. We will base our way of life on its principles and teachings.'
'You would do this?' asked Tenju. 'Submit to the wisdom of Universe?'
'We would. And Mission Canaan would not have a problem with that, because we value your integrity.'
'I see,' said Tenju, stroking his chin thoughtfully. 'I see.'
'AND ENSURE THAT YOU DO ALSO,' said El to the gods of Canaan, and he dismissed them, and as they returned to their abodes, they too knew the new beginning which awaited humanity. And while many thought that a good thing, there were those who saw it as an opportunity more than anything else. Most definitely an opportunity.
THE FUTURE WORLD
The Galacitc Confederation
(Work In Progress)
Time passed. And mankind renewed its walk of life for a season and a time. But a dark spirit had entered into the Milky Way Galaxy. The power of Darkwater, who had been defeated in his own world, and fled to a planet away off, and built his civilization again, with the Dark Magic. He feared the light side of Magic, for it confronted him, and opposed him. And his power grew, and his legend grew in the galaxy, and time passed, and the olde world was no more, and the modern world came to be, and then: Future World. And Darkwater ruled systems here and there, but the light opposed him. And while he could not corrupt the Galactic Federation completely, he sought a strange seed he sensed in the universe. Mankind - from a Galaxy far, far away. And he travelled there, and found this Universe which ruled this Earth, and he spoke to a seed of Rothchild, who was corrupted, and then brought doom upon Earth. And from thence the survivors of Universe fled, and laid down seed in Darkwater's own Galaxy, where they were accepted as refugees. And the seed of Darkwater lay hidden, yet there were those intimate of them who opposed them.....................
'You know, Starfire. I bet there are a million worlds the Confederation hasn't even explored yet. Out in the galaxy,' said Jotar Daly.
'Dream on Jotar,' replied Starfire. 'There's us, and 2 others in nearby systems. The priests of Jovah teach that there were only 3 races created in the beginning. We're it buddy.'
'I'm not so sure. One of these days, when our Starfighters have enough strength to roam the galaxy, who knows what we will find.'
'In all my 700 years,' responded Starfire. 'I have never heard such an imagination.'
'Jotar. Come in. It's dinner,' yelled out Jotar's grandmother.
'You'll come around next week?' Jotar asked Starfire.
'And I'll bring some Dranzordian beer. The stuff you like,' smiled Starfire.
Jotar smiled. He was only 18, but liked beer already, especially the imported stuff from Dranzordia.
'Why do you insist on hanging around Starfire Rothchild?' asked Jotar's grandmother when he sat down at the dinner table. 'You know he's no good. A ruffian who hangs around with a bad crowd.'
'Starfire's fine,' said Jotar. 'Just – misunderstood. That's all.'
'I'm sure,' said his grandmother. 'Now eat. Your grandfather will be late coming home from the Robot factory this evening. He is working a late shift.'
'Again?' complained Jotar. 'I hardly get to see him these days.'
'You know we are not the richest people in Seldyhaven. It's a harsh land we live in, and with so little water we need as much income as possible just to get by, Jottie. And the farm only produces so many peanuts each year.'
'That reminds me,' said Jotar. 'I need to check on B4C4. I think he has some circuitry issues. I think I'll need to get into town on the weekend to pick up some parts.'
'Make sure you discuss it with your grandfather first.'
'Will do,' smiled Jotar at his grandmother.
Jotar started on his meal and looked up at the viewer. Nightly news bulletin. The reader was talking about rumours of different kinds of alien ships which had apparently been spied. Supposedly Dranzordian technology, but very new designs.
'Grandmother. Do you think we are really alone in the universe?'' Jotar asked his grandmother.
'Of course we are alone. In the beginning we were made on this world by the grand creator, and this is where we have always been and always will be,' replied Jaana Daly.
'I've been told there are other worlds out there. And we have proof. Starfire knows people. People who have seen thing,' said Jotar.
'Another reason you shouldn't hang around that ruffian. I remember when Starfire was young. Always making trouble in the community. You were barely a three year old and he was all over the ranges, picking fights with the youths struggling to make a living in Seldyhaven. He would drink beer, just as much then as he does now, and race his racer, and be a right pain to his parents, may their souls rest in peace. His Aunt has no end of trouble looking into that one's welfare. He only survives because he's the best starfighter pilot in Seldyhaven.'
'He's the best there is, period,' replied Jotar. 'Flies by the luck of heaven.'
'Do not talk about heaven in this household, Jotar Daly. Heaven and hell. Old fables. Your like that old priest up in the hills. Never lets go of that dastardly bible. Keeps preaching it to everyone. As if there is another world of creation of life.'
'I don't believe in that,' sighed Jotar. 'At least I think I don't believe in that.'
'And may you never,' replied his grandmother. 'His adherents mock us all for our apparent sins. They are the proudest of peoples.'
'I'll go look at that B4C4 unit,' said Jotar, pushing his dinner away. 'I'm not hungry.'
His grandmother sighed as Jotar took a last meat stick, and left for the outbuildings. The lad was so restless. So insisting on being a man already. So insisting. She stood, took the priestly book 'The Law of Jovah' from the shelf, and ran after him.
'Here,' she said, as he was putting on his jacket. 'Read about Jovah, and get this nonsense of heaven and hell out of you. That renegade priest is not the faith of Jovah.'
'He is a servant of Jovah,' said Jotar. 'Of his ancient name. Yahweh.'
'Don't use that name,' chided Jaana Daly. 'I will not have that name invoked here. You will invite in all sorts of dark spirits. God's name is Jovah, it always has been, and always will be. We rest in peace in the afterworld, alike this they say, when we all pass this life, and there is no talk of a heavenly paradise where all is blissful. It is the talk of the extremists. It fills your mind with fanciful martyrdoms and all sorts of extremity of religion They are radicals, not true conservatives, and they build false dreams and hopes with their bible.'
'Starfire says it gives the true answers,' replied Jotar, zipping up his jacket.
'Of mad priests of Yahweh. They disturb lives. Leave them be, up in the hills, with their puritanical ways.' She touched his cheek. 'Nothing ever good comes from religious conflict, son. Nothing.'
'I'll remember,' he said, holding her hand, and then left for the outbuildings. It was a cold night, but the robots needed work, and his grandfather was late. Things didn't seem right.
'They call it an Intervention,' said Jotar's grandfather. Jotar looked at the screen - amazed. His world had suddenly changed. Overnight. All over their planet, countless space ships, foreign to those of the worlds they knew, had landed. And they quickly had discovered it was a big Galactic Confederation they were part of, with countless worlds, and they had just now finally been approved of, by silent watchers, for admission into the Galactic Empire.
'Intervention has come,' said Jotar Daly's grandfather.
'Intervention has come,' replied Jotar, amazed at what he was seeing on the screen.
'It is the Galactic Confederation. They call themselves the Galactic Confederation. And they speak our language. First contact has confirmed a similar culture throughout this galaxy.'
'How is that possible?' asked Jaana.
'We were not the first of the civilizations. I have long assumed this,' said Cedric Daly, Jotar's grandfather. 'Blaze knew that to be tue.'
Jotar looked at grandfather. 'And you believe father is out there still? Somewhere in that confederation?'
Cedric put his hand on Jotar's shoulder. 'Time will tell. They have asked for representatives at the council. You have been chosen as a first year Starfighter. A fresh and bright face. And they wanted someone from the other side of the tracks. To be fully representative. Your friend Starfire was suggested. He was voted and accepted. We have a small community on this world, and life has not been easy. Destiny has chosen you Jotar. You are one of the best and brightest of us, as your father Blaze was. Despite our standing these days, they haven't forgotten our contributions to this society. You will teach the truth of our civilzation, Jotar. You are well taught. You will represent us with pride.'
Jotar looked at the screen. 'And the ships are similar of design to our own Galactic Confederation?' queried Jotar. 'Did they learn from us? Are these emblems of peace for familiarity?'
'I sense more is going on than that,' said Cedric, and looked at Jaana knowingly. 'But never mind. We will get our answers in time.'
Jotar looked at the screen. His life was about to change. To change in such new and enormous ways. A brave new life. A brave new galaxy.
'I wish Shemander was here for this. And even Blaze, if such a thing was possible,' said Jaana.
Jotar looked at his grandmother, and sighed. His mother Shemander and his father Blaze, he did not know where either of them were. They were gone, far away, and Blaze was believed to be lost, a lost Starfighter who had gone off into the galaxy, chased by Shemander, never seen again. They'd believed they'd probably gone astray in space, out of fuel through some failure of the system, or crashed on an asteroid somewhere, or some other dire ending. But Jotar had faith that his father was still alive. That the Starfighter champion had found life perhaps and now, looking at the screen in front of him, he felt that truer than ever. The magic in his blood, which his grandmother Jaana always warned him about, said that too.
'Don't mess around with spirituality,' Jaana would say. 'The power in humanity has been growing a long time, and with blood from generation to generation it gets stronger, and more and more unruly. It should not be tempted, the power within, for it is a mystery for the afterlife and nothing more. The priests of Jovah always decry meddling in the affairs of blood, for no good can come of it.'
But Jotar ignored those words. The power within was for a reason. The bloodline was for a reason. It was what they had earned through the struggle of life. It could never be ignored.
'An offical envoy will meet the representative Queen soon,' said Cedric. He looked at Jotar. 'And they must speak the heart of our people, for it is our eternal future.'
Jotar nodded, and stared at the screen filled with awe and foreboding.
‘We are children of men,’ said Queen Natalie to Jotar Daly. ‘As you notice, we speak the approximate same language, though our accents differ. The language is called English. It became the standard International language on the world of mankind’s origin. We are the same people. Your world has not known us, but there is always a hidden world which does not know the greater reality, for we all come from one source, one true world of origin.’
‘And what world was that?’ asked Jotar.
‘Yes, do tell Princess,’ commented Starfire Rothchild.
‘Don’t call me princess. Rogue,’ she said, glaring at Starfire as if he was a miscreant.
‘What is the name of the world, your majesty?’ asked Starfire, bowing.
She continued glaring at her nemesis, and turned to Jotar. ‘The world was known as ‘Earth’. It is a primal legend in our galactic confederation, but it is lost to us. It is out there – somewhere. Some think they watch us still, silent observers, silent authority. I can not say if that is really true or not. But they are there. One of the first worlds of settlement was Belth Galador. It had strange physical laws surround it by all accounts. They call it the Magic indeed, strange dark Magic, but the light as well.’
‘I know the ways of Magic,’ said Jotar confidently.
‘I’m sure you do,’ replied Queen Natalie. ‘We are mankind. We are common in this galaxy, but there are others as well. Other races, which of course you know.’
‘We know those Dranzordians well,’ replied Jotar. ‘Always an amusement.’
‘Our Galactic Confederation has a way of life to it, where all are beckoned to seek prosperity. You will find your destiny with us in time, Jotar Daly. Be assured of this?’ said the Queen.
‘Does Destiny have a fair maiden and much booze in store for me?’ queried Starfire with a grin.
‘The pits of Thothamoor are not deep enough for a scoundrel like you,’ she replied.
‘Sounds wonderful,’ said Starfire, glancing at Jotar.
‘On behalf of the galactic confederation, welcome,’ said the Queen. 'And may Yahweh keep his hand on you and bless you forever.'
Jotar bowed, and the Queen looked at Starfire, who just shrugged. He would be one to keep her eye, carefully, fixed upon.
'Yahweh?' Jotar asked the queen, as they sat at the diplomatic tables of the embassy.
'Yes. Yahweh. The creator. The Grand Creator.'
'Told ya kid,' said Starfire. 'Doesn't surprise me they don't call him Jovah. Let me guess, you guys believe in heaven and hell, right?'
'Why of course, replied the Queen. 'They are foundational paradigms of the faith.'
'Grandmother won't like this,' replied Jotar. 'She cant stomach the strictness of Yahweh.'
'We know,' replied the Queen. 'Some of the other colony worlds have such attitudes as well. Old cults built them, but we have our agents who teach them ideas from time to time, on unity and true religion. Religion is but part of it, mind you, and much is disputed, but the council of Magic insists a witness for the official faith is present when we draw a civilzation near to Intervention. Otherwise we will have conflict. And as much as we despair it, the Dranzordians are not liking what we represent much at all.'
'Hardly a surprise,' said Starfire. 'They are the damn fussiest of all of us.'
'That remains to be seen,' said the Queen, again eyeing Starfire. 'A rogue like you I would imagine has broken many a heart.'
'And you are hoping I break yours, your majesty?'
'In your dreams cowboy,' she replied.
'Yes, your majesty. So, what next?'
'As the chosen representatives of your world, we would like to invite you to our chief planet for some seminars. To introduce you to Galactic Confederation. And, again, may I ask why you two were selected.'
'They wanted fresh young faces,' said Jotar. 'From the Starfighter Academy. I'm a new recruit, and Starfire is our Team leader. We had what they wanted.'
'Fascinating,' said the Queen.
'Also Grandfather is on the Council for Intergalactic studies where I come from,' said Jotar. 'He's been involved with it all his life. Because of my father Blaze.'
'Yes,' replied the Queen. 'Fascinating. You will have to fill me in some time.'
'It would be my pleasure,' replied Jotar, and glanced at Starfire.
'You keep dreaming kid,' he whispered back at him.
Queen Natalie surveyed the host before her. Dranzordians. 100 ships, all hovering just above Shellyvan, threatening war unless their demands for one particular Shellyvan resident were met. But how could she Hand him over? How could she possibly ever Hand over Loonfart Anthony, despite the claim from the Dranzordians that, upon visiting Dranzordia as a diplomatic envoy of Shellyvan, Loonfart had been ever so careless in the royal Emperor of Dranzordia’s court, firstly by dropping his jar of rare Shellyvan fish onto the court floor, one of the fish springing up into the mouth of Princess Drakzella, the Emperors daughter, and her nearly choking on it; secondly by addressing the Prime Minister of Dranzordia as his royal highness and entering into discussion with him, before being correctly pointed towards the Emperor; and thirdly, and most embarrassingly, upon turning towards the court, passing wind directly into the face of the most highly honoured and esteemed Emperor. And while they had let him go and returned him to Shellyvan, glad to be rid of him, the Emperor had subsequently flew into such a rage that he demanded the head of dear old Loonfart on a pike. The Queen was about to intervene.
Natalie’s face came onto the screen of the command centre of the flag ship, were the Emperor from Dranzordia was sitting in his royal regalia, and she began her well thought out speech.
‘Dearest Emperor. Honorable new members of the Galactic Confederation. Shellyvan greets you and offers, in true humility, a million apologies. Dear Loonfart is a most unpredictable character. He has served us well for many a year yet, in truth, he has the unfortunate ability to make gross demands on the patience of others in the exercising of his most exuberant personality. Yet this is the way the Magic has made him. However, in the heart of Loonfart lies a soul which, in truth, would never harm even the slightest of intelligent beings in a word of hatred, for his soul is as pure and gentle as a dove, despite, how shall I say, his most unfortunate mannerisms. Please, forgive us dear Emperor. We offer in tribute a vessel laden with the finest delicacies Shellyvan has to offer, and ample gold to have made your great trip worthwhile.’ She left off speaking, waiting in the Emperor.
He pulled himself up in all his glory, considered the vessel which was being shown on the side screen, and finally assented. ‘But please, Most Honourable Queen Natalie, could you choose another honorable member of Shellyvan’s council to be your representative to Dranzordia in the future.’
‘It will be as you say,’ responded the Queen, and in the corner Loonfart Anthony sighed a deep sigh of relief.
The Queen turned to Loonfart. 'Dear Sir Anthony. The Galactic Confederation has assigned you now to work with Jotar Daly and Starfire Robinson. You can learn much from them and they can learn much from you. You are to guide them into more familiar ways with the Confederation. We are giving you this work as you are now familiar with the hazards of the Dranzordians and can offer them advice to help Dranzordia amongst the new members to more hospitably acclimatize to the Confederation. You will liase with myself and the council, and be quiet and hidden in the shadow, so as not to disturb future Dranzordian dialogue. Only offer advice and your experiences. In this way they will learn how our confederation conducts business diplomatically, and how we teach second chances to faithful servants who can learn from mistakes.'
Loonfart saluted, and took his papers from the Queens desk she referred him to.
'Remember, keep smart in appearance, and polite. There is much to be said for quiet guests who know when it is appropriate to speak and when to keep silent.'
'Your majesty,' said Loonfart.
'Oh, see Princess Jennavere. My daughter. She has been assigned to work with you as well. She will be the lynchpin of our future endeavours for galactic unity. And see to it that rogue Starfire does not get comfortable with her. I have seen the way he ogles her.
'As you will, your majesty' replied Loonfart, and departed.
They had been working on Kantravere, in the designs and processes district. Loonfart had been working on policy codes with the Robopods, and Starfire was in training with Jotar undertaking flight simulator technologies for the council of Kantravere. Life had been busy, but Jennavere had new suprises for her friends.
'It's the Bronze Phoenix II,' said Jennavere. 'I had it designed specially.'
'It's smaller than the original,' said Starfire.
'For humbler egos. I'm sure a Stump sidekick can handle it.'
Kradder the Stump moaned.
'Kraddie. I can handle the flying of the ship,' said Starfire. He turned to Jennavere. 'You made this for me Princess?'
'Hardly,' but she was smiling. 'Mainly for the sidekick, as you call him. 'At least he looks qualified.'
Kradder the Stump moaned again.
They were up above New Castler, the Space Citdael Community in the heights up above Kantravere, testing the ship. It was quick. Starfire was in his element.
'She handles well,' he said.
'Jotar is a good designer,' replied Jennavere.
'Jotar!' exclaimed Starfire. 'He designed this?'
'With Christopher's help,' smiled Jennavere. '4 years of study of at Academy paid off for Daly,' she said. 'His great-grandfather helped him also.'
'Dalar Daly? Shemander and Cedric's father?' queried Starfire.
'He's not all there,' said Jennavere. 'Father is so old, but he did it out of love.'
Starfire put out his Hand and touched Jennavere's cheek. 'Watford had redeeming qualities, in the end. Telling Jotar about Shemander's heritage.'
'We're lucky. We know our family now,' said Jennavere. 'Anyway, come on General Rothchild. Show me what an old fool can do. And we'll track down Blaze if we can. He's out there somewhere nearby. Jotar is certain of his father's magic. It is in his blood after all.'
'Indeed it is,' replied Starfire.
And as the Bronze Phoenix II flew around New Castler, Starfire Rothchild was in his element, eternally indebted to the name of Daly once again.
Kradder had brought some of the finest Kantraveren wine onboard the Bronze Phoenix II, and was steadily consuming it all afternoon.
'Your drunk,' said Starfire Rothchild.
'Awwww,' replied Kradder.
'We have a Darkmage Lord scoping us out,' said Starfire Rothchild. 'I feel all that dark side all over the ship.'
'Awwww,' moaned Kradder.
'Get your act together, Kraddie. I need some fine flying.'
Kradder burped, and then hugged Starfire Rothchild and started singing.
Sargar Insanus was monitoring the Bronze Phoenix II. He had his sensors on the ship, and tuned in to hear what was being said.
Next to him, officer Rambart said 'Is that a Stump singing? He sounds terrible.'
Sargar Insanus glared at Rambart but kept on listening.
'I know,' said Starfire Rothchild, comforting Kradder. 'You miss home.'
'Awwww,' moaned Kradder, and suddenly farted.
'What was that noise?' asked Sargar Insanus to Rambart.
'It was disgusting,' commented Rambart. 'It must be some horrible new weapon of the Rebellion.'
Sargar Insanus considered his options.
Starfire had put on nose plugs, and gotten the mop out. Kraddie had vomited up all over the control deck.
'That noise was equally as hideous,' said Sargar Insanus, still listening in.
'We best report it to the New Emperor,' replied Rambart.
Sargar Insanus considered the situation. Whatever vile creature the Rebellion now had, his Emperor must be informed of a possible new threat to the New Empire.
'Let us – Depart,' spoke Sargar Insanus valiantly.
Rambart responded immediately, glad to be leaving the place.
Later that week.
'A Bronze Phoenix III? What happened to the second one?' queried a puzzled Jennavere Beltran.
Starfire Rothchild refrained from commenting on the condition of his ship.
Some things are better left unsaid.
Jotar examined the Photon Sword. 'It's Darkmage made,' he said to Starfire Rothchild.
'They're back,' said Starfire. 'I feel it in the Magic.'
'You feel it in the Magic?' queried the Mage Knight.
'A hunch, blondie,' responded the swaggering General.
They looked down the corridor. Jotar had picked up the sword from inside the hallway, just near a small chest, which was full of gold coins. They had been on the trail of 'Misfax', a cyborg which had been killing new Apprentice.
'He's in there,' said Starfire Rothchild.
'How do you know?' asked Jotar.
'The sign. It says 'Premises of Misfax',' replied Starfire.
Jotar refrained from commenting.
Jotar armed himself with his Photon Sword, and Starfire took out his Laser.
'On three,' said Jotar. 'One...' Starfire pushed the door open, ready to fire. The room was all bare, but a dead body was on the ground. Jotar examined it.
'It's him,' said Jotar. 'Misfax.'
'How do you know?' asked Starfire.
'He has a nameplate on his garment,' replied Jotar.
Starfire refrained from commenting.
'So. You have come to inspect my Handiwork,' said a voice. They turned. It was 'Lord Apholox of the Legion of Zardoz.'
'You killed him,' said Jotar.
'To defend myself,' replied Apholox.
'The room? It's stripbare,' replied Starfire.
'A mystery to me, also, dear General. Perhaps if you summon the Kantravere guard, we can have the room sealed off and his body taken away.'
Jotar looked at Apholox suspiciously. He never liked the soldier. Always around when trouble was.
'I'll call them,' said Starfire.
'Do you have any knowledge of this?' asked Jotar, holding up the Photon Sword. Apholox, seemingly instinctively, quickly reached to his side, but then grinned.
'Oh. Why, what have you there?' asked Apholox.
Jotar nodded to himself. 'I think we can handle it from here, Lord Apholox,' said Jotar. 'But I'm sure we'll run into each other again.'
Lord Apholox considered the Mage. 'Yes. I think we can both count on that.' And as he walked past, he looked at the Photon Sword, frowned slightly, and exited.
Starfire returned shortly. 'They'll be here shortly. What did Lord Poxolox have to say?'
'Nothing of consequence,' replied Jotar, looking off towards where the legionnaire had departed.
'It's not easy being a Robopod, you know,' said Sethrapod.
'Tweet, wirrrr,' responded Rathrapod.
Sethrapod looked out of Master Daly's Kantravere abode at the shimmering city.
'We are underappreciated. Why I speak several, several languages, and what use do they make of me?'
'Deet dot dirrrr,' said Rathrapod.
'How many languages? I forget Rathrapod. My circuits are getting old. They've never been properly used anyway.'
'Deeet wirrr dottle dot,' said Rathrapod.
'The Storklers of Paladoff? They appreciate me? Yes, of course you are right. But Master Daly will never take us there again I fear.'
'Wheeee Sweee diit,' said Rathrapod.
'No, Rathrapod. I will not get my hopes up. They only fail in the end.'
Jotar Daly entered the room. 'Sethrapod. Rathrapod. We're going on a trip. The Empire has its fleet near the Paladoff system. Sargar Insanus has been making new moves, and we need to monitor him from the Moon of Paladoff. We're going to see our old friends. The Storklers. So ready yourself,' and he left the room.
'Wheeeee,' said Rathrapod.
'I don't think it's funny that you told me so,' replied Sethrapod. 'I will have to brush up on my Storklerian. It's been years.'
'Deedle doot,' said Rathrapod.
'No, I will not go for a system service, Rathrapod. The thoughts of them poking around in my ancient circuitry. The damage that Stump has done in there, no wonder I can't remember anything right anymore.'
'Deet dot wheedel whirr deet deet dot deet,' said Rathrapod.
'Just the way of life, I suppose,' said Sethrapod. 'Even Robopods get old.'
'Deet Deet Deet,' responded Rathrapod.
'Yes, life goes on,' said Sethrapod. 'Even for an underused Sethrapod unit. Now where was that Kantravere Interplanetary Database Computer Port again? I need a refresher.'
'Whiirrrrrrrr,' said Rathrapod, and the Robopods of Mage Knight Jotar Daly continued on their merry adventures of the day.
Galaxy is at Rest. Trade and commerce once again run fairly,
freed from the tyranny of the Empire. The New Republic is a new
way of life, built on the foundation of the old, forging new and
better alliances for the sake of Galactic peace. Jotar Daly now heads
the Mage council and has been training a whole Generation of new Mage
Knights. The Mage once again hold their esteemed
Position, but all is not well. Jotar is uneasy, unable to find peace. A figure Haunts him, his father Blaze, and a new threat is imminent, coming from The neighbouring galaxy….
Space. Jotar was headed towards the witch moon of Paladoff, with Rathrapod in tow, Sethrapod travelling with Starfire Rothchild on the Bronze Phoenix III.
whirrr, dooot, whheeeee,' said Rathrapod.
‘Yes, I’m sure Wicket misses you too,' replied Jotar. 'Anyway, we're nearly there Rathrapod. Going to camouflage mode. We don't want the Empire to know about our presence.'
Soon they were with their old Storkler friends again, but Jotar had a misty look in his eyes. The Magic was leading him. Taking him somewhere. He left Rathrapod with the Storklers and went to where his father Blaze had been cremated. But, in the distance, he could see a mountain, and it was there were the Magic wanted him to go. He came to a river, and crossed it, and his nimble feet danced across the rocks, easily finding his way. The mountain loomed, and he climbed, steadily, like a Mage, balancing his ego not to think he was a grand climber of accomplishment, but a servant of the Magic, in balance, steadily doing what the Magic required. He reached the top of a rocky spire, and beneath him and the mountain lava flowed, pouring down a torrid ravine. He continued on. An eagle suddenly confronted him, and attacked him, but he looked at the eagle, and with the Magic it peered at him, then flew away, back to its nearby nest. He continued on, and found a cave, and, turning on his light sword, entered. He could feel it. The Magic. The dark side.
Suddenly it was Sargar Sidioius, and the spirit of the Arch Regent looked at him in all his wrath, but Jotar knew he would not trouble him. Somehow he knew. And so he continued on, his senses heightened, and another Darkmage of legend appeared, Sargar Maul, who glared at him but said nothing more. And he passed him by, and came to the end of the cave, and suddenly it was his father. But it was not. It was Sargar Blood. And Jotar looked at Blood, and put away his sword, and sat. And Sargar Blood glared at his son, but nothing was said at all.
Gar Rothchild, the son of Starfire Rothchild, was on a patrol mission with Rathrapod out to outer rim planets of the galaxy were disturbances had been reported. They landed on a planet and found the village destroyed. Chaos is everywhere.
'I don’t know who did this, Rathrapod. But we must report it immediately to Kantravere.'
'Weeee,' responded Rathrapod, as they gazed upon the destruction.
A midwife came out of the room and came to Jennavere. They were on Tabor ‘She is ready,’ said the midwife to Jennavere. Jennavere came in to meet her daughter Natalie, named after her mother.
Natalie had given birth. Her name is ‘Kelendra’ she said to Jennavere.
Jennavere took Kelendra and went into the other room to show her to her husband Starfire Rothchild and Kade Gonjin, the husband of Natalie.
‘She is a special child – a child of destiny’,' said Jennavere.
'A grand-daughter,' said Starfire Rothchild, his voice filled with pride. Jennavere stood next to her husband. 'You know General. My mother always warned me a rogue like you would sire destiny. Our confederation is enriched by your presence. I am proud to be your wife and to have this legacy for our community.'
'Your mother was proud of me in the end,' said Starfire. 'And I remember the accusations of rogue. She saw me coming.'
'As we all did,' said Kade Gonjin.
'Listen Watanabe,' replied Starfire. 'It's not too late to boot you out of your apprenticeship on the Bronze Phoenix.'
'Kade Gonjin of the clan Watanabe sighed. 'Such is the life of Universe,' he replied. 'May the magic guide me still.'
'It'll need to,' said Starfire, holding his granddaughter proudly.
Jotar was in space with Rathrapod. 'Weee doot dot wee whirr,' said Rathrapod.
I guess I found what I came For Rathrapod. I guess.'
Reaching Kantravere, Jotar landed near the Mage Academy. He was greeted by other Mage.
‘There is news, Gar Rothchild has something to report,' said a young Apprentice. Jotar nodded.
Jotar found Gar in the main court of the Academy and spoke with him about the destruction on the planet he had visited.
I will take it into consideration,' replied Jotar. 'You have done
well, Gar Rothchild.'
Jotar, after Gar left, walked out onto his balcony and looked over Kantravere. Blaze his father suddenly appeared in spirit form.
Is all well with you,' asked Blaze.
‘Father. Yes, I suppose,' replied Jotar.
‘What troubles you,' asked Blaze.
‘Oh, father. A search for meaning. A search for understanding. I know what we do here In the Academy helps so many, but I feel there is something missing. Something I have yet to do.’
‘Son, the ways of the Magic are always mysterious. It works for the good of all, and the darker Side, well, not always, as you know well. If that is a voice from the Magic you will find your destiny
Soon enough. Or it will find you, son. It will find you,' replied Blaze.
Jotar looked at his father and nodded softly.
Jotar, as the representative of the Mage, appeared at the Galactic council. He spoke of the reports of destruction of a number of outlying galactic systems and the council suggested further investigations. He also brought up the issue of his own son, Blaze, and his late day eagerness to become a Mage. He asked the council if there were any objections, them knowing the history of his father. Nobody objected but concerns were raised.
Blaze Daly, Jotar's son, appeared before the Mage council.
questioned him. ‘A Mage, Blaze?’
Blaze responded ‘I had a dream I would be a Mage.’
'Does the council accept my son's claim to study the ways of the Magic?' asked Jotar. Nobody spoke. It seemed, nobody would dare.
A boy looked at his mother. His name was Hayden. 'I must go where the Magic is leading me,' he said.
'Are you sure,' she replied.
Starfire was with Christopher Caladan. They readied for the trip from Tabor to Kantravere and boarded the Bronze Phoenix III.
‘Remember, don’t wreck this baby like my last one. I am still getting over that,' said Christopher.
‘Hey, it wasn’t my fault,' replied Starfire.
They took off into space, and days later had arrived at Kantravere.
‘Admiral Rothchild. It is good to see you back. There's trouble,' said Jotar.
'Isn't there always,' replied Starfire.
Starfire was selected with a fleet to head off to find what the trouble Could be.
Hayden travelled for a while, from spaceliner to spaceliner, but purchased a cheap ship and flew to the witch moon of Paladoff. He found a mountain and the Magic led him on. On the other side of a river he crossed he was greeted by witches of Paladoff.
'The seeker has come,' said a witch.
tell the dark lord,’ said the other.’
Hayden continued on and dame to the central cavern and the witches greeted him. They sent him further on and Clattertrap came out of the shadows.
‘What is this before my eyes,’ said Sargar Clattertrap. ‘I Sense a son of Daly.’
‘Jotar Daly was my father. But he knows me not.’
‘Good, good,’ said Clattertrap, and drew the lad towards himself.
Blaze was before the council. They discussed various things and it was decided that Blaze was to travel to Kell to begin his training with Arda, Yoda’s son.
Hayden was on the moon of Paladoff and Clattertrap said to him. ‘What do you sense in there,’ pointing to a dark cavern.
‘Yes,’ says Clattertrap. ‘Go find that power.’
Hayden entered the cavern.
Blaze arrived with Rathrapod on Kell. They had flown a Starfighter. They looked around.
‘We’ll never find him,’ says Blaze, after a while.
‘Give up so soon why do you?’ said Arda, who came into view.
‘Arda?’ asks Blaze.
‘Mmm,’ says Arda.
Hayden was in the cavern. He came into the darkness and the figure of Sargar Blood came upon him.
‘Who are you?’ asked Hayden.
‘You know Who I am,' responded Blood
Arda had begun his training of Blaze.
is that place?’ asked Blaze, about a desolate place, familiar,
where the dark side dwelt.
‘To find out for yourself, if dare you,’ said Arda. ‘But beware the dark side.’
Blaze entered the cavern and the figure of Sargar Blood appeared.
'Who are you?' asked Blaze.
‘You know who I am,’ said Sargar Blood.
Starfire Rothchild and the fleet had searched the desolate cities, but no survivors could be found in these systems. They were new colonies, barely established, but a dark power had ravaged them. A dark power, not that of the Empire. Starfire was sure of that. And so they returned to Kantravere, and were at a loss for what to do next. But Jotar took the matter into consideration.
Jotar was again on the moon of Paladoff with Rathrapod. A Starfighter was stationed nearby, and they were on a cliff of the mountain
'Looking out Jotar said ‘I suppose it all makes sense in the end. I suppose it does that.’
The howling and whirring wind was his only reply, as he gazed out at the vista of the Paladoffian moon.
Infinite Dreams of Chaos and Order
Extreme Graphic Language. X-Rated. Sodomy, Pedophilia & Other Explicit Sexual Language Utilized. A lot of foul language.
DO NOT READ if easily offended. You have been warned.
Dedicated to Adam Lambert & Dan Brown – Bwah ha ha har
Alf Lambert looked at the Altar Boy. He was young – 13. He looked fine. He sat down next to him, whipped out his cock, and said ‘Yo. Your Father Scumbag’s favourite, aren’t you?’
The Altar boy turned, looked at Alf, and down at his protruding erection. ‘So you want your cock sucked, you old faggot.’
‘You guessed it,’ said Alf.
‘You got any cash?’ asked the lad.
‘Father Scumbag never mentioned any cashola requirements.’
‘Oh. We all love Father Scumbag. His erections are spectacular. But you’ve only got about 7 inches there. Nothing compared to Father’s nine inch nail.’
‘I get by,’ said Alf.
The Altar boy looked at the erect phallus, shrugged, and missed the bells as the mass proceeded, while he sucked 45 year old cock joyfully, the climax belting down his throat, before he returned to the service, sung his alleluias, and carefully counted the 5 $100 dollar bills the old fart had given him.
* * * * *
Peter Fletcher was agreed upon by all true Catholic Heretics as being the 4th member of the Divine Godhead. Peter had declared it – insane idiots had believed it – and The Roman Catholic Church of True Universal Glory had been borne, with Peter God incarnate, the Rock himself, ready to convert all to the way of the ‘Fletch’.
Alf Lambert was a distinguished member of the ‘Church of Universal Glory’, which was its shortened name, and had met ‘The Fletch’ from time to time in his various pilgrimages to the ‘Vutican’ in Roma.
Alf Lambert took his Catholic faith seriously – like any true Catholic Priest he delighted in fucking Altar Boys up the Anus, raping nuns which had been made available for sodomy and other purposes, deflowering sheep of various breeds which the Kiwi members of the fraternity recommended, and, of course, indulging in all drugs of all sorts, including ‘Hype’, ‘Fuck’ and ‘Wank’, which were amongst his favourite intoxicants.
Alf had a rare first print of ‘The Divine Word of the redeemer Fletch’ on the mantelpiece of his home in southern Manhattan, read it time from time, and still declared he had yet to master full understanding of Fletch 1:1, which read ‘I know nothing about nothing.’ True wisdom from the Fletch – true unfathomable wisdom.
Of course, ironically, Fletch 1:2 read ‘But fuck education anyway. Academics are a bunch of gay wankers who wouldn’t know a pussy if it landed on their faces.’
Alf enjoyed the divine word of the Fletch, practiced much indulgence in reading the text in true Catholic style, and was well on his way, so he hoped, of becoming an eventual priest in the order of ‘Divine Bastards’, founded by Fletchers main Apostle, Aaron Goodsell, the High Priest of the Redeemer.
* * * * *
It was a day most ordinary, in fact pathetically ordinary Alf had declared that morning, looking at the grey skies, hoping to all fuck the day would cheer up, when Alf received a knock on his door, and found a letter presented to him from a delivery service.
He went back inside, picked up his ornate letter opener, and opened the letter, finding a note on white A4 paper, with words cut out from newspapers on it.
It read: ‘Listen, cunt. Return my fucking DVDs, or I’ll come by, throw a brick through your fucking window, and dump trash on your lawn. Signed your fucking beloved. PS. You won’t trace this. I used newspaper cuttings.’
Dumbass bitch, Alf thought to himself. Of course she used newspaper cuttings. Did he look like an idiot?
He went into his room, found the secret stash of X rated Gay DVDs, went into the other room and put them on the bed. Hayley, sitting at her desk, looked at the DVDs. ‘About fucking time, bastard.’
‘Have your fucking DVDs, Cunt.’ She almost smiled at him.
* * * * *
Alf looked at the gay magazine. ‘You know, Haymaker. I don’t get the rush I once got on this shit.’
Hayley, who was looking the idiot box, didn’t speak. But she turned to him after a while. ‘Lord Fletch spoke on these truths. Sin has only so much persuasion, so much power, so much passion. At the bottom of the barrel, when the river runs dry, the rush is gone, and you just call yourself a fucking sinner.’
‘It don’t work, then.’
‘Never did,’ she responded, returning her gaze to the TV.
He left the magazine, and came and sat down next to her. ‘Then why the fuck is everyone so fucking obsessed with the pleasures of the Flesh which Jesus fucking Christ no longer objects to.’
‘I’ve read his shit. He comments on some Noahide theology,’ she began, not taking her eyes off the screen. ‘For the new generation – the world to come generation – it is time to find our sins before they find us. To allow them to breed, to corrupt us, to conquer us, to devour us, to have completely and utterly their wicked way. And if you must, fornicate with whatever it is you must.’
‘And then?’ queried Alf Lambert.
She turned to him. ‘Then the rush is over, the sinful impulse has done its final wicked deeds and life, as they say it, goes on.’
‘We get the fuck over it, then,’ he said honestly.
‘Apparently something like that,’ she replied. ‘Noah talks this shit all the time. Why he raises the rainbow flag, fucks unicorns if he wants to, and doesn’t give a shit. We are getting 6 thousand years of sanctification off our chest, before we get stuck into serious religion once again.’
‘And what is that religion?’
‘You know,’ she responded. ‘Feeding orphans. Taking care of widows. Loving our neighbour as yourself. Supposedly we grow up in the end – get over it.’
Alf looked at her, and went back to the gay magazines. Was that it then? The end of his sexual addictions? Even bestiality had lost its recent pleasures. The rush was gone, now. The tingling was no more. He had used it all up – used up all his pleasure points. The beast was dying, and the only thing left was not so much guilt, but regret over being such a wanker about it all. Fucking around, losing whatever reputation he had left, losing the respect of the older, more serious catholic community, simply to go with the flow, and not give a fucking damn.
But a little voice in his heart said, ‘They will forgive you in the end anyway, you dumb fuck, so let the party rock on, and don’t give a shit until you have had your fill.’
And Alf returned to his magazines, did the deed, and came next to his woman, offered a handful of creamy come, and she sucked it, and they fucked. And it was good.
‘Chemosh. Chemosh. Chemosh.’ The chant continued, as the acolytes of a forbidden Canaanite deity proceeded across the floor of the Vutican, chanting to one of Lord Fletcher’s favourite deities, Chemosh the proud.
Alf watched as the processional of browned robe masturbators, for which Chemoshians were well famous, went through the intricate patterns of procession over the main courtyard of the Vutican, all in a dedication of summoning the presence of blessed Lord Chemosh. Baal himself was invoked by the head of the processional, in hushed tones, for the Lord of Canaan always gained the most glory in their praises, even more than the bull god Elohim, which the Lord Fletcher himself worshipped.
Alf, sitting with Father Obsequious, gathered his wits about him, and looked directly into the father’s eyes. ‘A mission from God? I am called on a mission from God?’
‘The Christ Child, the second member of the blessed Quaternity, is suffering under the curse of separation from his Cross of Glory.’
‘And what is that Cross of Glory?’ queried Alf.
‘Why, uh, the Cross. The Fucking Cross. You know, the sticks he was crucified on,’ responded the priest.’
‘Oh right, that cross of glory,’ responded Alf.
‘Yes. Now, as I was saying, the Christ Child, the second member of the Quaternity, must be reconciled to his beloved Salvation, and that is were we have a mission from you, dear old Alf.’
‘Shoot,’ said Alf.
The priest looked confused. ‘Shoot? Shoot up? You want me to do drugs? Well it’s a little early in the afternoon, but if you insist.’
‘Fuck,’ said Alf to himself, shaking his head. Were all of Fletcher’s idiots this stupid?
‘Look, spill the beans?’ continued Alf, and corrected himself immediately as another confused look broached the face of the father. ‘I mean, tell me what the mission is.’
‘Oh, the mission.’ The priest looked relieved.
‘For fuck’s sake,’ swore Alf under his breath.
‘Well, it’s pretty simple, Alf. Really, it couldn’t be simpler. Funds. We require cashola. Lots of it. The Lord Fletchers various addictions cost quite a bit, you know. And keeping the Italian police quiet about the various sex slaves costs a fair bit in bribes. So we need cash.’
‘And how do we get the cash?’ asked Alf.
‘We flog of the Cross.’
Alf looked at him, confused. ‘The cross? To who? And where do we fucking get it?’
‘Well, I can answer both those questions. Firstly, we get it from ‘The Legion of Roma’. They have had it for the last 2000 years.’
‘And who the fuck are they?’
‘Noahide heretics. An ancient legion of Roma which was in bed with a heretical member of the Sanhedrin, who taught them Noahide faith. The legion took the cross after Jesus was crucified, and hid it away in their keep in Asia Minor.’
The mind of the symbologist ticked over. Asia Minor – an ancient name for the Turkish region. Were the book of Revelation originated, and the 7 churches of the 7 angels.
‘Were in Asia Minor?’ he asked.
‘That is up to you. We know of your prowess. All too well the Lord Fletch has witnessed you cracking the Michelangelo code, and saving us from the Demons and Angels, as well as finding the Missing Symbol. Your stature is quite impressive in the church these days. You won’t let us down. Now, as to who, why nobody else than the Christ Child himself. We are sure, quite sure, old JC will want his most highly prized symbols at his beck and call. In fact, we are counting on it.’
All nodded. ‘I know someone,’ he responded. ‘Langdon. He might have the information I need.’
‘Robert Langdon, you mean?’
‘An old acquaintance. He doesn’t normally dabble around with the darker side of Catholicism, but we have had the odd acquaintance over a beer on the south side.’
‘Then contact your Robert Langdon and be off with you,’ said the priest dramatically.
Alf stared at him. ‘Yep. Ok,’ He got to his feet, looked at the priest who had returned to his crocheting an image of the Lord Fletch, and hightailed it out of there, past the Chemosh crew, down to his rented Alfa Romeo, and back to his hotel.
* * * * *
Langdon looked at the Rosary beads in Alf’s hands. ‘Not your style, is it Alf?’ he queried, taking a sip of beer.
‘Repentance is, technically, part of our way,’ responded Alf quite seriously. ‘It is encroached within the word under various sections. It is no fucking big deal, mate, in the words of the Fletch, but if we can hang some shit on Satan, and confess the big Kahuna did have a few bright ideas when he made us all, then the community is well and truly chuffed.’
‘The Big Kahuna,’ commented Robert Langdon. ‘Quite an honourable expression you have there about the Supreme deity.’
‘He is not as uptight as you think,’ responded Alf. ‘Knows what we are all like. Knows us well. Nothing we crap on about surprises him.’
‘Illuminating,’ responded Mr Langdon. ‘So, what do you want to know?’
Alf placed an A4 printout down on the bar in front of them. There was a symbol on it – a Roman symbol, representing the Legion of Roma. ‘These guys. Do you know where to find them? Apparently they are still around.’
Robert Langdon picked up the paper, and looked carefully at the symbol. ‘It is the original one, if I am not mistaken. They used it until the era of Constantine, and then changed it several times over the centuries. They went into a period of trying to hide all traces of their origins, and being a mystery cult. Worse than the Templars or any of the other older ones.’
‘I don’t need a history lesson. Geography pal.’
Robert Langdon looked at Alf, raised his glass to his mouth, took a sip, and put down the glass. ‘I suppose, I could tell you. The information is not completely privy to those in the know, nor is it common knowledge. They ask for secrecy, for privacy, and the Vatican wishes it known to its elders that respect is important towards our Noahide brethren.’
Alf lit a cigarette, staring at Robert, smoked it for five minutes, thought of lighting another one, and excused himself to go to the toilet. When he came back Robert was gone, but there was a note on the bar. It had a phone number and it said ‘Try this number. It should get you where you need to go. Bob.’
He paid his tab, stuffed the note in his overcoat pocket, lit another cigarette, and disappeared, out into the haze of the city, making his way downtown to his office, serving his Lord on his mission from God.
Haymaker was, of all things she usually got up to, true to form, engaged in dildo masturbation, in front of a gay porno, her favourites, as Alf unlocked his office door, almost swore at the sight of her in the waiting room frigging off, and shook his head, continued on to his den, and sat down, staring at the phone number. Soon Hayley, after a few minutes of grunting and moaning, came in after a quick shower, and sat down in the spare chair. Alf was still staring at the note.
‘What have you got there?’ she asked him.
‘A lead. On the mission.’
‘The mission from God?’ she asked him.
‘That’s the one,’ he responded.
She picked up the jar of peanuts on the desk, started munching on them, and said ‘Well what is it then?’
‘A Phone number,’ he responded.
‘Are you going to ring it?’ she asked him.
‘I guess,’ he responded. ‘But, fuck. I don’t know. Doing this. Flogging the thing off to Jesus himself. I mean, we are crap, and I don’t give a shit about being a sinner, but isn’t there a bottom dollar, in the end, even for us? Flogging the Cross of Christ to the Christ? How low can you go to make a buck?’
‘Don’t kid yourself,’ she responded. ‘I am sure you can go lower still. I know you too well.’
He stared daggers at her, but said ‘Yeh. I suppose you do,’ and picked up his landline phone, punched the numbers, and waited.’
‘Hello,’ said a male voice shortly.
‘Yeh. Hi. This is Alf. A friend of Langdon’s. I am looking for information.’
The voice didn’t speak for a while. Then ‘Robert Langdon? You mean Robert Langdon?’
‘That’s the one,’ responded Alf.
‘Look, hold on for a sec. I know who you want.’ The line went dead for a few minutes, and then a ladies voice answered.
‘So, you are a friend of Misseur Langdon’s.’ The voice was French.
‘As I said. I am looking for information. On the Legion of Roma. I was told you could help me.’
There was a bit of a laugh on the line for a moment, and then she continued.’
‘Ah. Fucking hell,’ she said. ‘The Legion of Roma. Believe me, if it were not Robert who had given you my details, I would have told you to go to hell.’
‘And why is that?’
‘Because the bastards raped me, left me in a ditch to die, while executing my parents. I hate them, ok. I hate them.’
‘Fuck,’ swore Alf. ‘Sorry to hear that. So you can find them?’
On the other end of the line the lady seemed to be considering that point.
‘Yes. Maybe. But what can you offer me?’
Alf thought quick. ‘How about a weekend of carnal pleasure with myself. I’ll take you to a hotel. Put it on. Fuck your brains out.’
‘Mmm,’ said the lady, considering the point. ‘And how big is ze penis?’
‘Massive, lady. Fucking massive.’
‘Very well,’ she responded instantly, making up her mind. ‘We shall fuck ze male prostitute, and find his fucking Legion of Roma.’
‘Then let the adventure begin,’ said Alf, grinning madly.
* * * * *
The blade was sharp. But Alf’s bullshit was sharper. Much sharper.
‘You better watch it, Kemosabe. I am a 49th level Dan in Karate.’
‘That sounds deadly,’ said the Noahide guard to the Legion of Roma Citadel, in upper lower Istanbul.
‘Believe me. It is.’ Jack waved his arms around in the air like Cato having a spas attack after Cluesoe, and the guard backed down.
‘Come on Genevieve, the man has backed down.’ They crossed the drawbridge, and entered the courtyard. The drawbridge, though, started rising up behind them, and the guard, who had come inside, said to them. ‘I am sure our chieftain will be happy to see you. You have no way of escaping now, anyway.’
‘Lead on then,’ said Alf,’ and the guard proceeded to lead the way across the courtyard, up some stairs, inside into the citadel, and began a long pathway down a series of interconnected stairways. At the bottom of the stairs the guard found the guard’s toilet, went inside and took a piss, and returned to a perplexed looking Alf and Genevieve. ‘Now we go upstairs,’ said the guard, and Alf almost wanted to crucify him.
10 minutes later, they reached the uppermost level, and were presented to a man in a legionnaires outfit, sitting at a desk. ‘Who are these,’ the Legionnaire asked him.
‘Your problem,’ responded the guard, and disappeared.
Alf lit a cigarette, Genevieve did her best to look sultry in the fashion Alf had shortly grown accustomed to, and the legionnaire stared at them. ‘Well, out with it,’ said the legionnaire.’
‘The Cross. You have it. We want it. We can offer you a bloody good price.’
The legionnaire stared at him. ‘Go to hell. It’s not for sale.’
Genevieve slammed her hands down on the legionnaire’s desk. ‘Everything is for sale.’
The legionnaire glared at her. Looking at them, reaching a conclusion, he pushed a buzzer on his desk. ‘Chieftain. We have some visitors. They want to make a purchase.’
‘Send them in,’ an Italian voice said.
The legionnaire indicated the door behind him, and Alf and Genevieve walked past him, opened the door, and came into another world.
Old mosaics. Scenes from time immemorial, and a Noah’s Ark on the floor. A very elaborate one, very expertly made, very colourful, very authentic looking.
‘Noah himself has seen it,’ commented the Chieftain. ‘Not long after the Resurrection. He knows of us and approves of our work. We are quite legit these days – believe me.’
‘I’ll bet,’ said Alf, coming over to sit down opposite the chieftain.
Genevieve stared at him. She hated this man. She knew him. She remembered his face. He had been there, that night. It had not been him who had done the killing. In fact, from memories he had looked nervous, and wanted no part in the slayings, but it was him alright. One of the devil’s legion.
The legionnaire looked at her. ‘Is something wrong, Bella?’ he asked her.
‘No. Nothing is wrong,’ she responded.
The chieftain looked at Alf. ‘Your purchase? An item we have in our collection you have become aware of? We don’t sell often, but if the price is right, even the Legion of Roma can accommodate a prospective client.’
‘The cross,’ responded Alf. JC’s. ‘How much?’
The legionnaire looked down at his notes, smiling to himself. An offer had finally come.
‘Half a Billion. Half a BRITISH Billion. Nothing less.’
‘500,000 Million Bucks. Even in the 22nd century that is a fuckload of cash, friend,’ said Alf.
‘Life is not cheap. Do you know the cost of Internet connections these days?’
Alf smiled. ‘Sure. The price is fine. I will need it first. I have a buyer – a probable buyer – who in all likelihood can come up with the cash.’
‘Then we won’t bother with an advance, but we will place an attaché with you.’ The chieftain pushed the buzzer. ‘Rosetti. Come in.’
The legionnaire from the outer room shortly came in, bowed to his superior, and stood waiting.
‘Give them the cross. Go with them. Secure the finances. Half a British Billion. Nothing less.’
The Legionnaire signaled hail to him, and left to the outer room.
‘You can go now,’ said the Chieftain. ‘We have a deal.’
‘As simple as fucking that,’ thought Alf to himself, and stood, Genevieve in tow, and the two of them left to find the legionnaire at attention at his desk, looking at them.
‘I will meet you in the carpark out the front of the citadel in about half an hour,’ said the Legionnaire. The cross will be in a van with me driving it. I will follow it to were you need to go. I have visas for all of Eurasia and Africa. Are we going to the Americas?’
‘No,’ said Alf.
‘Then where?’ queried the legionnaire.
‘Why. Hometown for you guys. The place it all began.’
‘Roma,’ said the legionnaire, and Alf nodded.
‘The Eternal city,’ said Genevieve,’ and as they made their way out of the citadel, Genevieve looked at the sky, which had a blood red moon in the distance. An ominous sign, she thought to herself. An ominous portent of things to come.
‘A Billion fucking bucks!’
‘Fornicating money. How interesting,’ said Jesus of Nazareth, seated behind his Vatican desk, gazing upon the old ancient wooden relic.
‘And that’s a British bloody Billion as well. One Million Million bucks. Nothing more. Nothing less.’
The Christ Child stood, walked over to the cross, and poked it. ‘Yes. Yes that is the beast. It seems so – so – familiar.’
‘I will need time to consider your offer. It is quite expensive.’
‘You can’t afford it?’ queried Alf.
‘It’s not that. I am not sure if I want to. To be reminded of it so intimately. I will consider your offer. Give me an email address and I will contact you if interested.’
Alf nodded, and Rosetti and two of the Vatican guards took the cross, and took it away back to Rosetti’s van.
‘So. You are the famed Alf Lambert. Member of Fletchers heretics,’ stated Jesus honestly.
‘You will understand the wisdom of the Fletch in the fullness of time,’ responded Alf.
‘Understanding the abomination of heresy? In the fullness of time? An interesting – idea.’
Jesus looked at Alf, and attempted a move. ‘Perhaps you should consider returning to your true catholic roots. If that is what you were raised in.’
‘Oh, yeh. Mummy and Daddy were diehard Catholics. I still remember those early Midnight Masses, and the hymns, and the chantings of the brothers. But God called me out of the darkness into the marvelous light of the Lord Fletch.’
‘A practicing whoremonger, slave owner, confirmed Nazi, and torturer of unfortunate vermin,’ responded Jesus sarcastically.
‘And more besides,’ said Alf under his breath. ‘But, yes,’ he continued. ‘Lord Fletch is well known for his abominable virtues. It is what makes the Fletch the Fletch.’
‘Indeed,’ responded the Man from Nazareth.
‘Well. Off with you then,’ said Jesus dramatically. ‘I have business to take care of.
Alf got to his feet, saluted the Christ Child, knowing nothing better to do, and was shortly escorted out of the Vatican, back to the Van and the waiting Genevieve and Rosetti.
‘How did it go?’ asked Genevieve.
‘Well enough,’ said Alf.
‘Good,’ said Rosetti. ‘Well, they are bringing the cross down now. It should be here shortly. They just wanted to show it to a few of the Popes.’
Just then they heard some commotion coming from the streets and Alf looked out, saw a black van opening up and some hooded men with guns firing everywhere, killing the Vatican guards who were carrying the cross, taking the cross, putting it in their van, and taking off.
‘After them,’ yelled Rosetti. And the chase began.
* * * * *
It was a merry chase through the streets of Roma for a few hectic minutes. They dodged nuns, lovers on motorcycles, and wound through the dense streets of the city, Rosetti occasionally shooting at the van, but it turned down a back street, and a truck pulled out in front of it and slammed on its breaks when their van was about to hit it, just before colliding head on with it. The Italian man got out of his truck and started swearing at them, and it took Rosetti five minutes to calm him down enough and move his truck to resume the pursuit, by which time the Black van had well and truly gotten away.
‘What do we do now?’ swore Rosetti.
‘Fuck ourselves,’ responded Alf.
‘Right,’ said Genevieve.
* * * * *
Rosetti’s anus was nice and tight, and the actual fucking of it was quite a delight to Alf Lambert, confirmed Pedophile, Bisexual, occasional Animal fucker, and all round pervert. But Rosetti was relatively new to the scene, yet Alf was sure he had a convert.
Genevieve, who was in front of Rosetti, with Alf behind him in the bedroom, fucking his arse, was in front of Rosetti, totally naked, on her knees, sucking his large testicles and hot cock.
‘Oh, fucking Madonna,’ swore Rosetti, and exploded creamy cum down Genevieve’s throat, who instantly stood, pashed Rosetti, and gave him a snowflake dream he would never forget. And then Alf exploded up the Roman’s arse, and felt all the more relieved because of it. It was a dream of Sodom, and nobody was complaining.
* * * * *
Later on, Alf was looking at his e-mail. There was one from the Christ.
‘Dear Alf. It is only a few minutes, but I have reached a conclusion. Yes, I will pay the money you require. The Cross is a symbol………
Just a second.
I am continuing this email a few hours later.
Well, as you know the cross was stolen. I have heard reports from various of my officials that it was likely ‘Jihad’, the extremist Muslim terror group, who have some operatives here in Roma. Reportedly, there are infiltrators in the Vatican, but I am unable to detect them.
Your problem now. Reclaim the cross, and you have your money.
Alf reread the email, and swore to himself. ‘Jihad.’ Muslim scum. The terrorist group from hell. More demented than Al Qaeda had been at their most evil. The worst of the fucking worst. Nobody stooped lower, not even the Lord Fletch, and that was saying something.
But extreme times call for extreme measures, he thought to himself. Extreme measures.
‘So there are four members in the divine Godhead.’
‘Currently,’ replied Alf. ‘The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and the Mighty Lord Fletch. Rumour has it, though, that Destiny has crafted out 19 eventual official members of the divine Godhead.’
‘Destiny?’ inquired Rosetti.
‘The shaper of God’s purposes,’ replied Alf.
‘Interesting,’ said Rosetti.
‘That is the prostitute,’ said Rosetti, pointing to the Babylonian Harlot, all dressed in scarlet and purple, coming out of her abode, the red light up on the brick wall suddenly coming on.
‘Very traditional, it seems,’ responded Alf.
‘A true whore of Babylon,’ responded Rosetti.
Alf got out of the car, sidled over to the lady, and smiled out her. He knew a little Arabic, and tried his best.
‘How much do you have?’ she asked him.
He produced the amount he had been told, and she nodded, and beckoned him to follow her.
She went down on him with expertise. She circled her tongue around the head of his phallus, sucked slowly, and then suddenly bit quite sharply, not enough to leave marks, but quite tightly and looked at him and said ‘Fuck me western bastard,’ in heavily accented English.
He took her from behind, and grunted and grunted, and she turned her head, swearing at him, and he exploded in ecstasy into the finest Babylonian whore he had ever had the pleasure of.
Later, smoking a cigarette, she nodded. ‘Yes. I know people. There is a Catholic priest downtown. Father Obnoxious. He is not really a Catholic, though. Not really. He is a front for Jihad, to infiltrate the church in their age long holy war. Father Obnoxious, though, can be something of a turncoat. He comes and fucks me regularly, and tells me all his dirty tales. You can’t trust him, but he may give you the information you need for the right price.’
Alf handed over some more cash, and she smiled. ‘So. You want me to blow you one last time?’
He nodded. And she did.
* * * * *
‘’Shema’ is our real enemy. ‘Shema’ has always been our real enemy. The Christians are pesky, but those of Israel hate us with a passion.
Shema was the ultra right-wing fundamentalist Hasidic Orthodox Jewish group, which operated behind the scenes, in its war against Islam. ‘Jihad’s’ mortal enemy was ‘Shema’ and vice versa.
‘So why steal the cross?’
‘Money. Money equals power, and weapons. It is how the world works after all. We can get quite q pretty penny for that old relic.’
‘I guess so,’ responded Alf, taking out a cigarette. ‘Do you mind?’ he asked the priest, indicating the cigarette.
‘Go ahead. Nobody in this congregation will care about that.’
Father Obnoxious, whose choice of patriarchal title had been scoffed at originally by the Catholic hierarchy, but had finally persuaded them that true and brutal honesty was a Christian virtue and, because it was Babylon itself, the Monsignor approved the name, laughing all the time at the theology of honesty and the priest expressing, in his name, his most obvious personality trait, was quite an interesting personality. And truly obnoxious. He swore at Alf upon meeting him by saying ‘What the fuck do you want in our congregation,’ in Arabic, and when Alf translated in his head he smiled. His kind of Catholic priest.
‘So you won’t tell me, then.’
The Father looked at him. ‘We have a new nun. She is 16 years old. She is a virgin. I have yet to persuade her to bed me. Take her, rape her if you must, and I will watch from the confessional box, and I will give you the information you need.’
Alf looked at him. Rape. Fuck. That was pretty intense. ‘Won’t the authorities complain?’
‘Not about our church. They know our reputation. Nobody cares on this side of Baghdad.’
‘Right,’ said Alf, still uncertain. But, wanting the cash for the Cross to please his Lord Fletch, he finally nodded.
‘I’ll send her in,’ said the Priest. ‘Remember, put on a show, and the information will be yours.’
A little later, Sister Mary of the order of the Blessed Virtuous ones, was kneeling at the altar, when Alf grabbed her from behind, and put his hand onto her breasts.
‘I. I am a nun,’ she stammered.
‘I like fucking whore nuns,’ he said. The nun felt a flutter, then, in her vagina, but said nothing.
He turned her around and ripped off her front shirt and removed her bra. She didn’t resist. He tongued her fine breasts, and put her down on the ground. And then, removing her skirt, and ripping down her knickers, he shoved his hardened manhood into her vagina, thrust and thrust and thrust into the tight divine glory hole, and exploded in the biggest orgasm of his life.
She was moaning then, and said to him. ‘I think I had my first orgasm.’
He got up, put his pants back on, she stood. ‘Can I go now, master? You have had your desires.’
He nodded, and the nun exited, returned to her room, and washed in the shower. And that night, after praying to God, she masturbated for the first time in her life, and thought she had been missing those feelings for so long, that chastity could go to hell.
* * * * *
Father Obnoxious provided him an address in an area south of Baghdad. But they first returned to their hotel room, deciding to go the following day.
They enjoyed some more sexual relations that night, and Alf was in high spirits. That was the first virgin he had ever deflowered – the first human female virgin. He had done sheep, and a few males for their first time, but never a female human. And he felt something of a link in his heart now, an attraction to the woman, a deep and carnal attraction.
They arrived at the address early in the morning, and as they drove along a dirt track along the road, they arrived at a run down sewerage plant, with a terrible smell of shit everywhere in the air. ‘Fuck,’ swore Alf. ‘He’s done us like a dog’s dinner.’
Genevieve looked around. ‘He lied to us? Why?’
‘The hooker warned me. Said he would fuck with me if he wanted to. And he did – literally.’
‘So what now?’ she asked him.
‘We have another go. He is our only lead. Perhaps it’s just his idea of a practical joke. You know what they say. If at first you don’t succeed.’
‘Quit,’ said Rosetti smartly.
‘Very funny,’ said Alf under his breath.
* * * * *
The Altar boy was another young one, only about 14 or 15 looking, and Alf had been cracking jokes about altar boys and priests, but the young lad wasn’t biting.
And then Father Obnoxious finished the Mass, summoned some of the congregation, and they took Alf the Pedophile out the back, chained him to a stone pillar, and the priest took out a whip, and soundly whipped his back thrice.
‘Take that scum. For flirting with our holy altar boys you have tasted the devil’s wrath.’
Alf, gingerly, put his shirt back on after they released it, and looked at the priest with newfound hatred in his eyes. ‘What the fuck is your problem, then?’ he asked the priest, who laughed at him.
Just then, Sister Mary burst through, came over to Alf, and helped him over to a pew, with the congregation gradually dispersing.
‘Mother of mercy. Father Obnoxious is evil, but I never thought he would do this.’
‘He is Jihad, sweetie,’ said Alf, feeling better about the nun’s presence.
Father Obnoxious, staring at Alf, finally came over, took a small map out of his pocket, and wrote down an address on it. ‘This is your contact. I have had my fun. Now fuck off Alf Lambert. Or the beating will be worse the second time.’
Sister Mary helped Alf out the church, and he noticed blood dripping from his back, but he said nothing. Hopefully the scarring wouldn’t be too bad.
At the vehicle the nun looked into his eyes. ‘I feel something for you, now, Alf Lambert. Don’t forget me.’
He looked at her, made the sign of the Quaternity on her forehead, and smiled at her. ‘May the Fletch be with you,’ he said.
And she responded ‘Amen.’
* * * * *
‘The Holy Quaternity, of Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and the Mighty Lord Fletch, is an eternal, divine, and unfolding plan of the wisdom of God. Flowing from his throne is true grace, which allows forgiveness for the most carnal of sins, as we grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Fletch. And when, when our knowledge is complete, and we come to the ultimate truth that we know nothing about nothing, our lives will be perfect, and we will be like the Lord Fletcher in all ways, truly humble abominations.’
‘I see,’ said Rosetti. ‘Humble Abominations.’
‘Yes, the way of the Fletch,’ responded Alf.
‘And there are many adherents to this religion?’ queried the Legionnaire.
‘7000 churches approximately worldwide. Mostly decorated in Catholic style with our own twist, suitable to the fancies of the Lord Fletcher.’
‘And recognition by the Trinitarian church?’ Rosetti asked.
‘Not required at this stage in the development of the movement. It is quoted that the fifth member will be Satan himself, and the sixth member the Archangel Michael, who both represent a symbol of duality between ultimate evil and ultimate good in the Godhead, warring principles, on which the mysteries of the carnal life and the holy life can be explained. With the sixth member, Michael, so it is taught in the divine mysteries, the Taoist religion will merge with our own, the next pathway onto ultimate religious unity and truth.’
‘So you are ultimately ecumenist.’
‘All religion is one in the end. Just ask the Bahai. The Lord Fletch represents brutal honesty and truth about human nature, and the holiness in following your natural sinful inclinations. But the Fletch, in his own words, is just a fucking bloke in the end, and it is only in the fifth member of the godhead, Satan himself, that ultimate evil can express itself in all its carnal desire.’
‘Interesting theology,’ said Rosetti.
‘There are theologians who write this shit. I just read it,’ said Alf.
‘And you look for converts?’
‘When we can get them Kemosabe,’ responded Alf.
‘Right,’ said Rosetti, staring out the car window. ‘Conversion to the Church of Universal Glory. Could his life destiny really be leading him down this pathway?’
‘Oh, and we play fuckloads of basketball. The Mighty Lord Fletchers favourite sport. He is, after all, the Most Valuable Player and the Greatest of All Time.’
‘He is?’ inquired Rosetti.
‘Indeed he is,’ responded Alf, as they continued down the road.
* * * * *
‘This is the place,’ said Alf. The group looked on. A Mosque. A gunman out the front. Looking nastily out them. Alf grabbed his machine gun. ‘Ready for Action Rosetti?’
‘I was born fucking ready,’ said Rosetti.
Genevieve had her pistol ready. ‘Let’s fuck some arse,’ she said in her French accent.
Alf almost smiled at the statement.
Guns blazing, bullets firing, blood flowing, Jihad members hitting the dirt all over the place. Perhaps it was just fate, or the graces of the Lord Fletch himself, but despite going up against an armed force of several hundred, they managed to blast their way through all of them, reloading constantly, and find the final Jihad member, hiding behind the cross, cowering.
‘Western scum,’ said the Jihadist.
‘Exactly,’ said Alf, pointing his gun, and pulling the trigger.
* * * * *
Jesus Christ was happy, paid the Million Million dollars, had the beast displayed in the entrance of the Vatican, and as they returned to the Vutican, the van full of the equivalent cash in Italian Lira, they were in good moods. Success.
Father Obsequious particularly enjoyed the tales of Father Obnoxious, and said the description sounded familiar, and then, a rare privilege, in thanks for this mission complete, an audience with the Lord Fletcher himself.
They were ushered into his presence, were the redheaded warrior, draped in golden clothing, with several naked slave girls at his feet, worshipping him, glared at them, and then softened.
‘Lambert.’ He said boldly. ‘Success old chap. Good fucking work.’
Lambert bowed. ‘Thank you, your grace.’
‘I have had my eye on you, Lambert. You could go far with the church. Destiny is a strange beast – it has many crooked and wicked pathways. Pathways, which a man of your obvious corruptness and true talent – could follow to our churches blessed glory. We will be in touch again, Lambert. Mark my words.’
Alf Lambert smiled. The Lord Fletchers favour was always something to behold.
‘Now come forward, scumbag. Receive your blessing.’
The three of them came forward, and the Fletch rose from his throne, and looked skywards briefly.
And then the Lord Peter Fletcher, the holy and immaculate fourth member of the Divine Godhead of God’s Eternal and Greater Glory, absolute ruler and authority over the Roman Catholic Church of True Universal Glory, decapitator of infidels, tyrant over pagans, master of heretics, sovereign over scumbags, losers and reprobates of all and various kinds, made the sign of the Quaternity and said ‘May you be blessed in the Name of the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and the Mighty Fletch. And Go in peace, to love and practice basketball.’
And Alf said ‘Amen.’
The Frivolous Mage of Excragag
Daniel Thomas Andrew Daly
Copyright 6178 SC
Excragag was a despot of a citadel. Located in the wastelands of Yallantar, it was surrounded by endless leagues of swamps and deserts, with a perilous path into the place, if you could at all afford a guide from one of the cities of the bludgeoners on the southern continent to lead you in. It was frivolous, for they had no virtue, and lived in sin. They liked sin. They liked it a lot. And the Mage of Excragag, a despotic kind of fella himself, hailing from old Sodom on Earth, liked it like that. The Mage generally ran the place, the citadel hosting at any given time three or four thousand of Yallantar's most reputably infamous scum. Hey, they knew their reputation – they didn't care. Life was a shmozzle, living in a shitty planet exiled from Home Stellar One, in one of the few hundred habitable planets of the galaxy. And demonic magic, rife from the planet known as 'Brag', was everywhere. You didn't get much peace. Poxy wizards liked to rule, and poxes were often the order of the day. The Mage of Excragag was the worst though, ruling the Citadel with the vilest concoctions of venereal disease causing potions Brag had ever known. You didn't last long fucking with 'Shantar', was the saying – literally. Yes, Shantar was the Mage of Excragag, and he regularly posted Bludgeoners, named for what they were really leading their 'Victims' into, to the cities of outer Yallantar to bring in the 'Scum' for the regular partying and supplies he favoured. Wenches were popular. Virgins were scarce. Shantar's daughter claimed to be one. She'd bedded five hundred, but still claimed to be one. Shantar defended this, though. A pox on you if you defile my daughter’s reputation. Oh, they did the defiling, and young 'Surella' took care of the VD curse enough herself anyway.
Our hero is bumbling young 'Gandar'. Gandar had come to Yallantar to mix with Excragag, cause he was a wily enough fella himself. Carefully treading foot by foot in his bludgeoners way, he came to Excragag, deposited the gold coin donations and various supplies, and summarily was invited to a goat shagging party. He was amused. The goats probably weren't. He shagged one of them anyway. He was lucky. Only minor strains of syphilis were the result.
Gandar, though, was the brave soul to marry 'Surella'. He had a biggun, Surella fondly told her father. Shantar admired her for that. Just like her mother.
The wedding took place, and the official virginity of Surella came and went. And our bumbling hero discovered more down below than just a minor strain of syphilis a few months later.
His vengeance was swift and sure. He dragged Surella to the throne room, took her by the neck and threatened Shantar.
'I'll kill her. You scumbag. She was nary a virgin and she's given me the ruddy pox of testicilitis.'
'Sounds devastating,' said Shantar.
'Aye. It's not pleasant,' replied Gandar.
'Come now. What’s a child of a demon between us, old friend,' said Shantar.
Gandar was eventually sweet talked and put down his sword.
Surella, though, turned on him, grabbed the sword, and placed it to his neck.
'Beg for mercy,' she said.
'I'll bring in the goat again,' he said, submissively.
She smiled. He was forgiven.
Aye, that was life in Excragag. It was dirty, mean and mighty unclean. But a lesson people learned that day was that if you were prepared to shag a goat with your missus, You could get away with practically murder.
Copyright 6177 SC (In the Adjusted HNF Calendar - 2014CE)
Grimwarden lived in the sewers of Excracrag. He was a dirty, nutty, crazy, obscene and fowl mannered cretin. The ideal citizen of the despot in many eyes. He had fowl sexual appetites, and goats were not unknown to be deflowered in his presence, sometimes quite intimately. But his greatest fetish, blood porridge. He took goats blood each morning, boiled it and baked it and set it into a grating machine, then added barley and onions and stock and water, and with some oats, he boiled up his blood porridge. He loved the taste. His wife Broomhilda said it made her vomit, but Grimwarden didn't object to that. Gave him something to chat about upstairs.
Down in the sewers Grimwarden had a job. Watching over Cell X. Cell X contained an even viler cretin, the mage Flagfuk. Flagfuk had a curious addiction to various drugs and intoxicants, but when he mixed magic, it would produce fowl smelling odours which wafted all around Excracrag.
'Get that shit out of here,' were the insults from Shantar, in the court up above.
Flagfuk was commonly asking Grimwarden for various liquors to ease his soul. And one afternoon, bored out of his mind, Grimwarden entered, a bottle of rum at his disposal, and the two nether citizens got duly drunk.
'I've had sex with more goat's than you have had hot dinners,' boasted Grimwarden.
'Well I've had more goat testicle broth than you've shagged your woman,' responded Flagfuk.
'I've shagged her twice a day since our teens,' said Grimwarden.
'Testicle broth. Night and day. All mother would feed us growing up,' said Flagfuk. 'And when we ran out of testicle broth, it was anus stew. And they chose particularly fowl arseholes in the marketplace, I can tell you,' burped Flagfuk.
'I've tortured more rats than you've drunk bottles of rum,' boasted Grimwarden.
'I've eaten more rats in this place than you've drunk any alcohol,' responded Flagfuk.
'Well, I've done one thing you can't match,' boasted Grimwarden. 'I've eaten more blood porridge than you've shat in your life.'
'And I've eaten more shit than you've shat in your life,' responded Flagfuk. 'It's all that those rats do all over this cell.'
'Aye, ye are a cretin righteous and true,' boasted Grimwarden.
'Pass the grog,' said Flagfuk, and they continued on with their steady afternoon of debauchery and valiant crudities.
The Excracrag Agenda
Copyright 6177 SC
Prince Sosteriel, beloved Arch-Regent under service to King Talakwan of 'Baldvenzarla', most definitely the proudest Kingdom of the Holy Continent of 'Armorica', was a sensible Prince, believed to have been born by divine intervention of the creator, for a rainbow Marked his birth, as well as that of Prince Gabriel of the neighbouring Dominion of Algaria. They were rivals, yet they had an agreed upon adventure. Dare the wrath of the vile continents of the south, and journey to Excracrag.
The two princes sat in the upper chambers of 'Tower Blessing' in the holy city of Talakeir, and drunk lightly of their ginger ale, watching their ladies sit at crochet, mildly amused by the jester's attempt at humour.
'We are the elect of this world of Iron Skies, Gabriel,' said Sosteriel. 'I feel it in the very fibre of my being. We are the Creator's chosen to redeem these fallen ones. And I wish to make my Mark upon them, in some way, to show the goodness of the Creator.
'Tis a brave dare,' said Gabriel, sipping his ginger ale. 'Are you sure, at 21, you are up to the adventure. We live in a sinner’s world, and Excracrag is perhaps the vilest city of men known. Should we truly seek such a place in missionary zeal? Let them be. Our witness rules this world from our northern continent, and they shun our presence, the fallen children of Adam. We are the seed of righteous Eve, not that of fallen Cain. Leave them be. They want not our mercy, I say.'
'It's in your blood, cousin Gabriel. I sense it. The 70 Kingdoms of Armorica must make known its elect status to all the fallen from time to times, lest they surely perish in the walk of eternity, for our call since the days of Noah is to redeem. Surely the perpetual rainbow entices you to this act of love?'
'You’re a braver soul than I,' said Gabriel to his friend.
'You will be braver still before our quest is done,' responded Sosteriel.
And they sat, and discussed the Excracrag agenda, but Gabriel queried wether the Kings of their world would ever permit the elect generation to venture forth to the southern worlds below, for it was time of glory in Armorica, so all the prophets maintained, and to venture foolish pride in a redemptive mission of the cursed ones? Could there be any real sense in that?
Gabriel sipped his ale, and winked at his maiden, and they chatted on, and enjoyed each other's presence, and the world turned, and Excracrag was left, ultimately, to the plans of a day still yet to be.
The mad prophet Vanderbilt was lost in the desert of scorpions, on the continent of Yalbar, a median continent of the world, almost at death. He was exile – that was his name – for he had been cast forth from Armorica for his mad prophecies, which he said were true in the name of the Creator, but which the council of King's exiled him in the name of blasphemy upon. For he spoke of a doom coming to Armorica, from a mad southern horde of nations, led be a scrupulous leader, who would come and bring Armorica to fowl judgement of its pride against them. For they had been mocked and derided as the scum of Cain for so long that even the righteous could and would be paid back in full for words of pride spoken against the reprobate.
But they cast him out, called him mad, and he was sailed to Yalbar, and cast into the desert of Scorpions, with one flask of water, which had run out.
And now he was near death. A dismal death for a proud and true prophet.
He baked there, in the sun, ready to expire. Thoughts of his 50 years ran through his head, especially his mother whom he had loved, and his beloved Yulenthea, who had needs leave for he was chosen to speak words of truth, and believed himself a prophet. But she still fawned after him, till he was cast out, and now, near death, his last thoughts were on his loved ones.
The carrion circled, and Vanderbilt looked up at the scorching iron skies.
'I am finished,' he said bravely to his God.
An hour passed, and another still, and he lied there, but did not die. And darkness came, and in his final energy he drew to his feet, and walked on another few hundred yards, and then collapsed.
And then he noticed it. His nose was wet. He reached out, and it was indeed water. He tasted it gingerly, and finding it sweet, he drank and drank and drank, and fell asleep. And dreamed.
And in his dream: 'Your work is not finished,' said the veiled figure of his dream. 'For you yourself will be in the company of the dread ones, for I have chosen you, my servant, to judge the elect ones for the sin of pride, and their slaveries will teach them humility, till they repent and acknowledge that even the lowliest of souls have that spark of divine within as well.'
And Vanderbilt awoke, and morning had dawned, and a camel, with a man dressed in black was nearby, gazing at him, and when he approached, the tribesman came down, and lifted up Vanderbilt onto the camel, and took him hence, back to his home, and onwards to his destiny.
Lucifer Galdenflak Darvanius
Lucifer Galdenflak Darvanius was a resident of the Southern Continent of Yeldoron, on a world known as 'Mittlemark'. Lord Mittlemark was the seventh son of Adam, and from him the world was reborn after a global flood, in which his son Noah helmed 'The Ark of the Covenant', a mighty ship, with 300 passengers, the redeemed and not so redeemed of a world torn apart by sin and greed and malice. He lived on a coastal village of Yeldoron, and had oft thought of travelling to Excracrag, for he valued magic, and was known to dabble somewhat himself. But he was more than that, in his heart. He was a leader of men. And though he was but the village blacksmith, serving the town of 'Yoldern', under the mayorship of his older brother Damien Galdenfork Darvanius, he still fancied himself a prince of glory. But with a grudge. A grudge against the Armoricans of the Northern Continent, which he hated with a passion. For he read on scrolls and saw pictures of their finery and customs, and he mocked them in his heart, for they thought themselves better than mere southerners in his imagination. True, they were. Southerners were a fowl lot, especially those of Yeldoron, for fowl deeds aplenty lived their lands adventures, and Lucifer himself was known to corrupt a few maidens in his time, but he honestly felt, deep down inside, one thing he accused the Armoricans of not possessing. Humility.
And thus, as he hammered each day in his forge, and undertook his work of providing for his village, he dreamed of wars and powers and raising a huge army to defeat Armorica from all the continents of Mittlemark to let them know the sons of Cain were children of the Creator also.
'Ye are mad,' said Damien. 'Tis foolishness. We know our place, here in our village, and we want no squabbles with northern finery.'
'We could rule the world,' insisted Lucifer. 'With a little imagination.'
'Ye possess the imagination of a gnat, young brother. Tis foolishness I tell you.'
But try as Damien might, Lucifer would hear none of it and, after his 31st year, began speaking to men of his village, and formed a small rag tag brigade of die hards, who went off killing wild boar, and fancying themselves mercenaries. But while this continued for a few years, upon his 34th birthday he began thinking real thoughts of his lot in life, and let the idea go somewhat.
And then Vanderbilt showed up, and gave him a magical amulet with the ability to charm men, and Lucifer was instructed on his destiny, and Lucifer grinned madly, for the brother of the Devil was at work once more, and the world would be a different place when the name of Lucifer Darvanius ran along the corridors of power.
Lucy Yael Patterson
'Lucy Yael Patterson. Come here ye lusty wench.'
'Call me a bloody wench again, and I'll have your scrotum up a pole, Lucifer Darvanius.'
Lucifer grinned. His witch lover from neighbouring Yalestorm, the village a little to the south of his own along the coast was always a delight to his heart.
'Who's he?' asked Lucy about the man dressed in black, sitting on a wooden bench near the forge.
'Vanderbilt,' said Lucifer. 'He gave me this,' said Lucifer, showing off his amulet.
Lucy looked at it and, suddenly, touched Lucifer's chest warmly. 'Can I see it,' she said, and he felt suddenly aroused by her.
'Get off ye foolish woman,' said Lucifer, but softened, and took of the amulet to show his woman.
'It's beautiful,' she said. 'It's made of gold. And these are Topaz gems.'
'Aye. But's its worth more than gold.'
She looked at him. 'What do you mean?'
'Never you mind,' he said, taking back the amulet.
'Patterson is an Armorican name,' said the man in black suddenly.
Lucy looked at him. 'Yes. We hail from the northern continent a number of generations back. We were exiled for witchcraft.'
'I almost know the feeling,' said the man in black.
'Vanderbilt,' is it? Who are you then?'
'A friend,' he said.
She looked at Lucifer, then returned her gaze to the man in black. 'And what kind of friend, exactly?'
'The best of kinds,' said Vanderbilt, and took out some tobacco and filled a pipe coming out of his garments.
'That's a tribesman's pipe,' said Lucy, recognizing the pipe Vanderbilt was smoking. 'Is he a tribesman?'
Lucifer looked at Vanderbilt, puffing away. 'No. No, I don't think so. He's Armorican, or so he says. Says I have a destiny. What my heart has always desired.'
'That's me, isn't it,' she said cutely.
'No. Your sister,'
'Bastard,' she said, swiping at him, which brought nothing but a chuckle from Lucifer and a grin from Vanderbilt.
'He indeed has a destiny,' said Vanderbilt. 'He is a chosen vessel of the creator.'
Lucifer looked at Vanderbilt and then at Lucifer and laughed. 'For cleaning out toilets. About all he is good for,' she said, still laughing.
'I guess you could call Armorica a toilet,' said Vanderbilt wryly.
Lucy looked at the man. She didn't dismiss the comment, but let it be.
'Will ye come back to the tavern with me tonight?' she asked him. 'I'll feed ye the best stew in all of Yeldoron.'
'Made of dog's testicles,' smirked Lucifer.
'I'll give you dog's testicle's,' said Lucy, and hacked at him, but they fell to with their arms all over each other.
Lucy sat nearby for a while, as Lucifer finished his work for the day, but she kept her eye on Vanderbilt, and thought on what he had said, and all the time she was drawn to the amulet around Lucifer's neck. Something was going on. Something different. Something new. And she wasn't quite sure if it was for the best at all. But never mind. Time enough for worries about tribesmen and amulets for another day. Tonight, a feast with her man, and some sneaky lovemaking in the barn back of her family's farm, and none the wiser. Oh, she was a sinner, but who wasn't these days and in this world? Who wasn't?
David Glongflak Patterson looked at the sorry sight before him. His brother, Flagfuk Grimtag Patterson, returned from the dead, literally. Had ventured to Excracrag a decade ago, and they'd not had word since.
'Your smell disgusting,' said David. 'James, get out here. Our brother has returned.
James Patterson and his son Jonathon Patterson ventured out, and there before them a sight quite disgusting. Covered in what must be shit of some kind, Jonathon's uncle Flagfuk.
'Flaggie,' said James. 'Were have you been?'
'In prison. The Mage of Excracrag is known for many things, but hospitality is not one of them. My potions turned his nose, and that's saying something, but my time was served and I was booted off the walls of the place, fell to the ground, and nearly broke my back. Oh, I fell in a bog, in case you were wondering.'
'And now you are home,' said James. 'Well come inside. I will get Lucy to clean you up.'
'And burn those blasted clothes,' said David, as James took Flagfuk inside.
David Patterson was relieved, ultimately, to have his brother home, though the way he smelt, it was not exactly the homecoming he might have liked. But never mind. After all these years it was good for the family to be together again.
'Uncle Flaggie. Tell me about Excracrag,' said Lucy, wiping off his dirty shit from his skin, while he soaked in the tub which had buckets of heated water poured into it.
'It's a fowl place,' said Flagfuk. 'I ate mostly rats and their dung to survived. The prison had a water pump, and I was left to fend for myself for the most part. They only fed me once a week. A savage man, Grimwarden, guarded me. Not an experience I would care to repeat. But, oh, we had some encounters, and we would drink the bottle when he showed rare mercy.'
'What's Excracrag like? A haven of witchcraft I have been told,' she said wide eyed.'
'Indeed,' said Flagfuk. 'And of the vilest kind. It is sport to be known for one's decadence, as the place always has had such a reputation. Suited me to think it my home once. Once.'
'And now?' she asked.
'It's not in the middle of hell for no reason,' he replied. 'Think twice before making that trip, I tell you.'
'I'm going. In a few months. With my man Lucifer.'
'Then another Patterson will risk their life for fowl grog, fowl food and fowl company. But delightful goats, so I have been told.'
'Your disgusting,' she said.
'Aye,' he replied.
'Clean him up,' yelled David from the other room. 'And get him some of my clothes. We're still about the same size.'
When Flagfuk had been cleaned up, he sat at the family table, and the Patterson's were united once more, save the woman, still at the family tavern, cleaning up as they did once per month.
'Do you want to work in the Tavern?' asked David. 'Or will ye go back to the wizarding trade?'
'I've a spell or two left in me,' said Flagfuk. 'But the Tavern sounds best.
'You can keep the bar twice a week,' said David. 'Same wages as before.'
'Aye,' said Flagfuk.
'And for the sake of things good in this cursed world, get out to that hag of a woman you claim as your wife. She has moaned for you all these long years.'
'Aye,' said Flagfuk again, and then excused himself, off to the spare bed, and a night of rest.
'And what did he say to you?' David asked his daughter.
'Nothing,' she replied cheekily.
'Get foolish thoughts out of your mind, young woman. Get them from you. For I know the trouble you and that Lucifer will cause us all soon enough.'
But Lucy said nothing. For there was nothing to say. Nothing to say at all.
Shelandragh May Mukfold & Jesus Jakfuk Kristofferson
'Shelandragh!' yelled Jesus Jakfuk Kristofferson. 'Were is that blasted woman?'
Shelandragh was inside the cottage, an expensive cottage by the standards of Yeldoron society, on the main northern city of the continent, Yeldarak.
'Sorry, Vanderbilt. She's busy as always, with her bloody spells.'
Presently Shelandragh showed herself, and said to Jesus, 'What do you bloody want?'
'Vanderbilt here has need of the best Bludgeoner in town. Wants to travel to Excracrag.'
'You call yourself a bludgeoner?' queried Shelandragh to her husband. 'You bring shame on the position. Your father was never impressed with your skills.'
'Still, they came to me. So what you going to do, huh?' responded Jesus.
A bludgeoner was known as such, for he was a mercenary for hire, a hunter, a tracker, a warrior, a survivalist and all such things, particularly trained for navigating the inner swampy areas of Yeldoron, infamous for its scummy residents and difficult pathways.
'What do you want me for?' asked Shelandragh to her husband.
'You can come with us. They have female company, and I figured she could use a female face to help her with her lady things.'
'Lady things!' mocked Shelandragh. 'The man has no idea. Well, where is this woman?'
'Lucy and my lord Lucifer are at a tavern in town. We are on a mission to Excracrag to seek out the Mage of Excracrag for our own purposes,' stated Vanderbilt.
'How much are they paying?' Shelandragh asked Jesus.
Vanderbilt opened a gold purse, and brought out some coinage, and handed them to Jesus.
Jesus looked at them, and handed them to Shelandragh. She looked over them.
'They are tribesman coins,' she said. 'The writing on them, I recognize.'
'They are gold nonetheless,' stated Vanderbilt.
'4 pieces?' queried Shelandragh. 'Make it 7.'
'5,' responded Vanderbilt.
'6,' said Shelandragh.
'5 and 2 pieces of silver,' said Vanderbilt.
'Done,' said Shelandragh.
'Hey, woman. I'm in charge here,' said Jesus. He looked at Vanderbilt. 'The charge will be 5 gold pieces and 2 pieces of silver.'
'Humph,' said Shelandragh. 'Men!'
When they had notified the man about the house, Darren Marryweather, who would look over the house in their absence, Jesus and Shelandragh had packed their things, and were accompanying Vanderbilt to the tavern of their hired hosts.
'You need a bludgeoner to get you to Excracrag. It's a pretty shitty place,' said Jesus to Lucifer.
'Yeldoron is a pretty shitty place in general,' responded Lucifer. 'I'm sure we'll be right at home in Excracrag.'
'They are famed for their crudities. They are, true, not the most violent of peoples. You get all sorts of scum in the wastelands, but Excracrag is vaguely a city, with some sort of moral law from reports. But bribery and corruption abound, and fowl wizardry. Are you sure you want to venture to such a place?'
Lucifer touched the amulet around his neck. 'I am sure,' he said.
Jesus looked at the amulet, suddenly entranced by it. 'Yes,' he said, mesmerized. 'You are sure.'
They spent the morning in the tavern, Jesus speaking of the path they would take, and the provisions they best gather, but they would hunt and find water at various locales in inner Yeldoron for survival. The trip would take a few months, for the path was perilous, but they would reach Excracrag, or he was not the greatest bludgeoner in all of Yeldoron. Shelandragh's sighs on those boasts was indeed noted by Lucifer.
They got under way after lunch, and as they got outwards from the city, tracking inland, not taking any horses, for the route forbade such royalties, Lucifer enjoyed that night's camp, looking up to the Iron Skies above, wondering what destiny would soon have in store for one such as himself.
'You will notice,' began Jesus, 'If we encounter any locals in this inner swampland the slightly different dialect of our Mittlemark tongue. They know our continent as Yallantar, and not Yeldoron, and Excracrag is officially 'Excragag' in the way it is named inwardly. Slight deviations, but the inner scum of Yallantar have always been one to do it their own way.'
'Fascinating,' said Lucifer. 'Tell me more.'
'Crudeness is just the beginning of their eccentricities. They worship the moon and the sun, and any speak of religion is death to all such perversions of the enemies of magic. The dark magic rules inwardly, and it is the way it has long been. They have been known for acts of cannibalism, but it is less often these days. But we must keep our wits about us. Thieves roam Yallantar, and the villages are beset with fowl residents, so we must be cautious in any company we keep. The wastelands are virtually impenetrable, the voyage to Excragag being difficult and harsh, but I know the way. Most bludgeoners do. It is part of our trade, the inner world of Yeldoron.'
'Were you raised to be a Bludgeoner?' asked Lucifer.
'Aye,' responded Jesus. 'It has been the family trade for many long centuries, and the Kristofferson family is well known in the business. My wife, who insists on her surname of Mukfold, despite our firm marriage vows, comes from a long line of Bludgeoners themselves. But she dabbles in magic. Fancies herself a witch.'
'Do you have children?' asked Lucifer.
'A child. He lives on the south of the continent. He is young, but chose to live there, chasing a circus of all things. A life of adventure he wanted.'
They chatted on throughout the night, as Jesus recalled tales of his adventure by the light of the fireplace, and Lucifer learned more of the world he called home, for he had not travelled greatly in his 34 years, working mainly as blacksmith of Yoldern to earn his living, and not much more. But he was learning, now, at a rapid pace. And he would need to. For he sensed it in his heart, in the words of Vanderbilt, that he had a special destiny, one which may indeed rule the world one day, and for that he would need his wits about him, especially in dealing with mad mages of Excragag and the like.
'What lies in your heart, Lucifer Darvanius?' asked Jesus, as the night passed, and they settled down.
'My woman, a lot,' said Lucifer. 'Lucy is my love, and I often fear losing her, as if a world of suitors yet beckons for one so precious. But, a dream. A vision. Perhaps one of Vanderbilt's, but perhaps one of my own.'
'And what vision is that?' asked Jesus.
'That remains to be seen,' said Lucifer sombrely.
And with those words said he settled down by the fireplace, the others already snoring, with Jesus taking the first watch for the evening, Vanderbilt to rise later and see the last watch.
He dreamed dreams, and saw faces that night, and his brother spoke to him and said 'You’re an idiot,' before the dreamscape changed yet again, and he was happily in the arms of his beloved Lucy Patterson.
Yulenthea had finally had her plea listen to, and it was by Prince Sosteriel, of all the counsel of Royalty, who listened to her.
'I am afraid, my lady,' continued Sosteriel. 'That Vanderbilt was exiled for heresy. He spoke words against Armorica, words of Judgement from God which are not true. False words, and he caused havoc amongst the citizenship of Armorica because of this.'
'But he's innocent,' protested Yulenthea. 'He was only speaking the truth of his heart.'
'And that truth confronted many,' said Sosteriel softly, eyes of mercy looking upon the distraught woman.
'He's no heretic,' she said with pride in her voice.
'Tell me, Vanderbilt,' said Jesus, around another night's fireplace, for the Bludgeoner was again on watch. 'What do you make of this thing called life? Is it just? Is it fair what heaven has visited upon us all?'
'That I can't rightly say,' responded Vanderbilt. 'For I was raised a northerner, and our world is vastly different to your own. We have luxury compared to what I have seen in other lands.'
'Then how can God be just? To visit such wealth on one, and disgrace upon another? Are we all not equal children of men?'
'You would hope so,' responded Vanderbilt.
'I am sure he is not intentional heretic,' continued Sosteriel. 'But you must understand that is not how he was perceived. The public were worried. He said things which upset many, and we could not allow the continuation of his ministry. You must understand. It was not acceptable.'
'My beloved is a God-Fearing man, and only spoke that which God commanded upon him,' responded Yulenthea.
'I would expect you to be loyal,' said Sosteriel. 'Tis a value I esteem. Our world lives in parallel, I often think, a righteous half and a wicked half. So much good, so much evil. A balancing line. Yet I fear your beloved as you call him had succumbed to a darker voice.'
'That's not true,' she again protested.
'And he was exiled because of it. Taken to a distant land, a land of Iron skies, were those challenges of life are far greater than ours, for they chose a way of life far different from ours.'
'Yet why do you esteem this God so greatly?' continued Jesus. 'Can you not see his bigotry, his deference to one people and his hatred towards another. Surely he is biased.'
'Perhaps you speak truly,' said Vanderbilt. 'But the word I have from upon high is that judgement is coming upon those fallen asleep on their works of righteousness, and that from the most unlikely of sources.'
'And who are these sources?' asked Jesus.
'Ones closer than you might care to believe,' responded Vanderbilt, whose eyes wandered over to the sleeping Lucifer.
'If God is just,' said Yulenthea. 'My beloved will be vindicated.'
'We can all hope for vindication before the throne of the Creator,' said Prince Sosteriel. 'Yet all of us are beset by hidden prides, even those who think themselves the pinnacles of glory.'
Yulenthea looked up into the eyes of the Arch-Regent. 'I believe that is true with all my heart.'
The sincerity of the woman's words caused Sosteriel to gaze upon her, and look into his heart. Perhaps she indeed spoke some word of truth. Perhaps things, as Vanderbilt had preached, were not perfect in his northern haven. Perhaps.
'Whatever else,' said Jesus. 'I am glad to be alive, and have work and food and good love.'
'Even in a world of Iron Skies, our heavenly father provides,' said Vanderbilt.
'Aye,' said Jesus.
And as Vanderbilt turned in for the night, Jesus sat there, gazing into the fire, thinking of his lot in life and how he should be jealous of those with so much, but thinking, in humility, that he still had a lot to be grateful for regardless. And praise be to the Creator of life because of it.
Grimwarden stood in front of the large monolith of an object. The Complexidon.
'Will the ruddy thing work?' he asked the scientist, Gladfladulentia Diffruk.
Gladfladulentia gazed at him over his bi-focals. 'Will the ruddy thing work? I should say, my dear man, that the odds of a grunt of your intelligence getting a response from the Complexidon are next to zero. And that on a good day, my man.'
'Bah, humbug,' swore Grimwarden, and suddenly the machine started whirring.
'By my grandmother's pickled bosoms' swore Gladfladulentia. 'What in all of creation could have moved the thing to respond to your charms?'
Grimwarden stared at the machine.
'Show me my dying day,' he said to the machine.
Suddenly a light shone fort from the Complexidon, a ray, lighting on Grimwarden's head, and Grimwarden closed his eyes naturally in response.
Gladfladulentia looked on amused, tilted his glasses for a better look, and watched as eyes flickered behind eyelids, as Grimwarden was give his vision, one of the chief tasks the machine undertook.
Eventually the light stopped and Grimwarden opened his eyes. There was a smile on his face.
'It was good death,' he said.
'Indeed, Grimwarden. Indeed. I am sure you have your answer, then. A gold piece, then. Or at least 5 silvers I say.'
Grimwarden handed over a solitary silver piece.
''Bah,' said Gladfladulentia. 'Hardly worth my time.'
'I'll pay another silver piece next month or so, for the vision was well worth. Tis all I have for now, but ye'll get your pay,' said Grimwarden.
'And the vision?' asked Gladfladulentia?
'I expired in the arms of a whore,' said Grimwarden.
'Then your life has clearly been one well worth living,' said Gladfladulentia slyly, and the two of them grinned and then chuckled.
When Grimwarden left, the scientist Gladfladulentia, in the laboratories of lower Excragag, looked at the machine which had sat in its place ever since he was a young labrat, in the services of Master Faddingforth, from whom he'd developed his polished accent. But the mysteries of the machine? Well, God only knows. Still, it had earned him another silver piece, his usual reward, and he would enjoy some fine ale and fine food and even, Britney, the fine whore which Grimwarden had mentioned. And a whore to tickle the fancy of Gladfladulentia Diffruk was something not to be sneezed at. Not to be sneezed at indeed.
Prince Ambriel, Arch-Regent of Tuggerandoria
'Now, Ambriel,' continued the mentor of the young prince of 15 years, prince Ambriel of Tuggerandoria. 'What are the 3 Divine Counsels of Armorica?'
'The first counsel in order of Authority is the Holy Counsel of Priests and Prophets,' said Ambriel. 'The Creator is the first Principle of Life in the Codex of Mittlemark, and the Priests and the Prophets speak the Word of God. The second Counsel of Authority is the Royal Counsel of King's. 70 Kingdoms rule Armorica, and the 70 Kings and their Royal Family represent royal authority in the land. The third and final Counsel of Authority is the Counsel of Politicians and Merchantmen, who rule through Government and the 15 guilds. These three Counsels represent the rule of Holy, Royal and Political and Economic Authority in the Land of Armorica, the chosen Land of God.'
'Very good,' said the teacher Eglar. 'At 15 years of age that much is required for the beginnings of knowledge, but now that your schooling has officially begun, with your childhood years of adventure having been lived, you are required to build on every lesson with greater detail. Knowledge is like that, and understanding of society. It grows and deepens in levels of knowledge, and those who sit on the Counsels must have great knowledge and wisdom to rule our world. Do you understand this Prince Ambriel?'
'I do,' responded the young Prince.
'Very good. That is all for today, just this basic lesson, and you may have more adventure time for your friends and pastimes. You are excused.'
Prince Ambriel left the room, after bowing to his teacher, and wandered off to the lower courts, found a young cook he knew well, and had him excused so they could go off and play ball.
Later that evening, sitting in the feasting court, his father at the head table with the Queen his mother, Ambriel thought on his lesson. His father sat on the Royal Counsel, and when he turned 21 he likewise would gain entitlements. He was young, and it was still a life of wonder and play, the things which filled his 'Adventure Time', but he started thinking, sitting there eating his meal, that life, as an adult, would also have something exciting in it. A royal counsel, rulership, the stuff of grownups. Time would tell, naturally, what epic happenings claimed his own life, but it was exciting, thinking on it, just what the future could hold for him. But a ball suddenly landed in his soup, and the cook grinned, and, looking at his father who nodded, Ambriel was away, with the young apprentice cook, playing ball, and then finding some of the other youths and maidens of the court, and he was lost in his own world of adventure time, the thoughts of counsels and kings put to the back of his mind, enjoying the final vestiges of his youth, a youth soon to grow to manhood, as another of the Prince Elect would find themselves in the grown-up world of Armorica, a world of grandeur and chivalry, were Adventure time would slowly be forgotten, replaced by the intrigues of a court life that would soon claim the soul and time of one more of God's blessed children.
The Bowels of Excragag
Excracrag was a fortress upon a mount, well defensible, but nobody attacked her anyway. And twas full of vile citizens of fowl mannerisms and ill name. But it was only the publically visible Excracrag which people, for the most part, knew. For the Mage of Excracrag was a pawn of the dark 'Overlord's' who lived down, far beneath Excragag's surface world, in the bowels of the earth beneath. Catacombs, filled with strange machinery of ancient order filled the world beneath Excracrag but, if you went further down, aided by torches and the senses of fearlessness you would need, you came down to the world of dark magic beneath, verily a nether of the world, were dark creatures lived, hating the light, and the Mage, on occasions, trod down to, to fulfil his obligations for escape from the world and the pleasures of sin his location offered. The Nether assured that – at a price. The required flesh, sometimes even damned and dead manflesh, to feast upon, but wild creatures usually sufficed. And they required blood. Lots of blood, for some of their kind were vampiric, and needed the liquid to sustain their lives.
Kardos was a dark Vampiric lord who dwelt in the heart of the bowels of Excragag, and his human maiden Belladear dwelt with him, and they were often the greeting the Mage of Excragag had, and he would deliver his servants piles of flesh at their feet, and the barrels of blood, and smooth Kardos would nod at him, and the arrangement would endure.
The Mage had never gone too far down into this netherworld, nor ever would for, despite his powers, dark magic was more powerful, and it was deadly further below, were fowl demons were rumoured to rule the lowest levels, with fowl appetites and no salvation. He feared such things, ultimately, despite his own fowl ways and own vile practices.
The bowels of Excragag were not a place to venture, even for the bravest of souls, but it was a hidden world, and only the crooked and corrupt knew of its existence, and only the crooked and corrupt would dare its dark passages.
The mage of Excragag looked at the motley crew before him. Stragglers, gathered from the outer ground, looking desperate, dressed in rags virtually.
'Who are you scum bags?' asked the Mage suspiciously. His daughter Surella came forward, sensing sport, and her consort Gandar watched intently.
'We are indeed scum,' spoke Vanderbilt.
'It is as you say,' said the Mage. 'You were found wandering around the outer grounds. Yallantar is not the safest of continents in Brag, and Excragag is hardly the place for the likes of you. Or is it? Do you have the testicles to get through our daily habits. Believe me, we might even require those testicles of you before all is said and done.'
Surella snorted. 'Gandar can boil them up in a good old fashioned broth!' she mocked to her father the Mage. Gandar nodded obediently.
'I propose a wager,' said Vanderbilt. 'Of course, you do not have to accept. What is pride to the Mage of Excragag, after all.'
The mage glared at Vanderbilt. He still had some of that, deep down. Some pride in his name. 'What is the wager you propose?'
'We have gold. Much. Naturally, you could kill and rob us, but I sense you are a man of honour, am I wrong?'
'What is the wager?' insisted the Mage.
'We pit our best fighter against your chosen general of glory. To the very death. Should he slay our champion, we become your slaves, and all we own is yours. Yet, should we triumph, you agree to offer up Excragag as a base of operations in support of our plans.'
'And who is this fighter?' asked the Mage.
Lucifer was about to boldly step forward, when Vanderbilt put his staff in front of him, and pointed to the least likely of all.
'Her name is Lucy,' said Vanderbilt. 'And she is the bravest warrior our world knows.'
The mage smirked, as Lucy Patterson stepped forward. 'And soon she will be the deadest warrior your world has ever known.'
'As you say,' replied Vanderbilt.
But all Lucy would say was 'What the fuck has he gotten me into, the bastard.'
'I know you two are pretty tight now,' said the shaven headed Vanderbilt, looking at Lucy and Shelandragh. 'And I know you have been both babbling on about the crafte with each other constantly.'
'It's all the two of them ever yap on about,' said Lucifer.
'Two witches in a coven,' mocked Jesus, eyeing Shelandragh.
'You know,' said Shelandragh to Jesus, raising her right fist. 'One day, so help me the divine one.'
'You don't have the balls,' said Jesus, glaring at her.
'Let's hope not,' said Vanderbilt. 'Now Lucy, take this charm and put it around your neck,' said Vanderbilt, producing a charmed pendant from his cloak. 'If they see you practicing magic they will instantly kill us all.'
'Then what good is the amulet?' complained Lucy, worried about the noise as a figure seemed to have appeared at the top of a staircase which the court were cheering.
'The use is in its twin which Shelandragh is going to be wearing,' replied Vanderbilt. 'Somehow I think Shelandragh is going to be more affective in this bloodmatch because of the bond you both now share.'
'Wonderful,' replied Shelandragh sarcastically.
'Now, Shelandragh,' said Vanderbilt. 'I have one spell for you to learn.'
And as Vanderbilt took Shelandragh aside to speak with her, Lucifer and Jesus watched on as a 7 foot tall barbarian warrior entered the court.
'General Grievous Slaughter has entered the courtroom,' yelled a dignitary, as the General, 7 foot tall, with muscles on his muscles muscles, dressed in garb similar to a gladiator, started swinging a sword around nastily, in the centre of the courtroom, a huge cheer from the audience praising him.
'It's going to be a bloodbath,' mocked Jesus, a worried look on his face.
Lucifer didn't look any happier.
Lucy looked the least pleased of all.
* * * * *
'Let the slaughter,' crackled the mage of Excragag, staring particularly at Lucy upon those words. 'Begin.'
General Grievous Slaughter, Excragag's top warrior, began circling Lucy who, instinctively, began circling likewise, her eyes firmly fixed on the general, waiting for any sudden movements.
'When I'm through with you,' boasted the general. 'Dog's gizzards will look more appealing,' mocked the general at Lucy.
Lucy considered that. 'When I'm through with you, general harmless, dogs won't even look at your putrid gizzards,' replied Lucy tartly.
'Oh, the girl has spunk,' yelled the Mage of Excragag, watching in glee.
'Cut off her head, General,' yelled Surella, and snorted with mad pleasure.
In response, the General charged, swung his blade with certainty to hack through the maiden's skull, but somehow it just veered off to the left, leaving a slightly puzzled general looking at his sword.
'Oh, blast,' yelled Surella.
'Your aim is as accurate as a blind archer covered in leprosy,' mocked Lucy.
'Why you little....' said the General, and came back to himself, focusing again on his opponent.
Behind Lucifer and Jesus, Vanderbilt was sitting, watching the fight with an appearance of casuality, but shielded from the view of the everyone, Shelandragh was concentrating, her eyes closed, listening only to Vanderbilt’s instructions. He was telling her what was going on in the fight.
The general circled again. 'Surella's porridge will taste delicious when we add your blood, wench,' mocked the general at Lucy.
'By the balls of Saint Tristavene, your cock juice will give it a flavour like no other,' retorted Lucy.
Instant silence – all eyes fixed on Lucy – the general glaring at her. 'What did she say?' he asked.
'Such words for a maiden,' mocked the Mage, as the circling resumed.
'Take this bitch,' said the general, with a strike meant to cleave Lucy's head from her shoulders. But, with supernatural ease, Lucy ducked the blow, spun around and plunged one of her two short swords into the general's back.
'By the balls of St Tristavene,' yelled the general, as he fell on his knees, and then collapsed onto the ground, dead.
'Gotcha, bastard,' snarled a victorious Lucy, and retrieved her blade, holding it up triumphantly to the court.
The court cheered and Vanderbilt came forward. 'And you will honour our agreement?' he spoke to the mage.
The mage glared at him. 'Bah,' he finally responded, and turned to one of his officials. 'Take them to the guest quarters. And see they have what they need.'
And then he exited the courtroom in disgust, Surella and Gandar following faithfully behind.
'And now?' asked Lucifer, standing behind Vanderbilt as the audience continued to cheer Lucy.
'Now we build an army,' replied Vanderbilt.
'Now we build an army,' replied Lucifer, a satisfied look on his face, as he gazed at Lucy's triumph before the throneroom of Excragag.
The Army of Lucifer
And build an army Lucifer did. The struggle of a bitter continent, humbled, admitting its place in the world and its lowly status, against a world of glory and pride, is a tale with great emotion and humanity. And the tale of Lucifer, rising up, challenging the glory of the north and overcoming and defeating them, is indeed a tale for the ages. Lucifer, in the end, victory achieved, sat on his throne, and slowly, it dawned upon him, what next? And for that he had no answer. So one afternoon, taking Prince Ambriel and coronating him, Lucifer, Vanderbilt, and the rest of his personal motley entourage, left the glory of the north, came to the coast, took ship, and sailed, humbly, home.
And Jesus went back to his work, Shelandragh with him.
And Vanderbilt took up a job as the Mage of Excracrag's new prisonwarden.
And Lucy went back to her village, and her family, and the same old life as before.
But Lucifer, having worked that much out in life, that the grudge, in the end, was rather pointless, settled back into his community, concentrated on being a pastry cook of all things, and took out his vengeance on the poor cuts of meat delivered to him by his local butcher.
And life, as they put it, went on.
Book 1 – Moonflower City
Daniel was an unusual angel. Blessed with gifts divine, a wickedly sarcastic tongue, and a forgotten almost history, in a world of a long time ago, far, far away.
But life moves on, as it always does, and with new beginnings always come new possibilities.
He had a love interest. The Seraph angel Meludyel. She was hot. Definitely a goer. But blasted Ambryel insisted on hanging around all the time, and seemed to somehow think she was his eternal soul-mate. Poppycott and nonsense indeed.
Ariel, though, consoled him. The quiet and gentle voice of wisdom and reason, full of compassion and insight, she brought a quieter tone to Daniel's life amidst the bumble and tumble he so very often found himself involved in. But she didn't mind.
They were the angels of Jehovah. They lived in Moonflower City, the place they called home, were Lord Satan and his underling, Lord Saruvyel, ran everything and taught them all to accept their authority and enjoy the community of 1000 angels in Moonflower City. Moonflower city was just that – a city of lead and gold, raised high above Terra on the Mountains of Might, unreachable by common men without the gods very own permissions. Since the intervention of angelickind on Terra centuries prior, the gods had lived apart, dwelling in Moonflower city, accessing their chosen sovereign nations and states through Internet portals. For they were Jehovah's chosen rulers over mankind, which mankind had accepted, and they ruled Earth from Moonflower City, high upon the Mountains of Might in the heart of Europa.
Daniel ruled Shaldazzar, a city state in one of Europa's nations. It had many millions of citizens, the chosen ones who had inherited life eternal, and he visited every few years, dwelling in the palace, and watching over affairs. But, for the most part, like all the angels, he remained in Moonflower City, watching over mankind, living his life, and being at peace with the world. For the most part.
The End of Book 1
Book 2 – Satan's Agenda
Cards in hell. Satan enjoyed playing cards in hell. Lost souls had built a society, eventually, on the shores of lava lake, and had dug down to find frozen ice beneath 'Earthpoint', the land mass in the centre of hell. They drank water, now, instead of being eternally thirsty, and strange plants now grew here, and they finally had food. It was still hell, but almost a tolerable way to spend your damnation. And Satan, on his visits, got a kick out of the place. Saruvyel advised him often that God's firstborn son really shouldn't be hanging around the lowlives of hell, but his love, Aphrael, advised him that Hell wasn't a bad place to be. And Satan agreed somewhat.
So, upon his recent visit, he found Earthpoint city had grown, and they almost had civilization. And he had fallen in with a pack of lost souls, Frank Castle, Jack Black and Russell Cowe, and he had found his friends of hell, and started digging the cards and the new beer they drank early into the mornings. Saruvyel was not impressed and Kristabel positively insulted him for his behaviour,
'You're starting to embarrass Moonflower,' Saruvyel would yell at him, in anger. He told him to get stuffed, but Saruvyel was insistent that Satan return to his former mannerisms. Satan disagreed. Wasn't HE God's firstborn son, and thus wasn't it his own prerogative to make such decisions for himself, he challenged Saruvyel. Saruvyel didn't quite see his point. He was a god of law and order, staunchly so, and his dominion on Terra reflected his rule of absolutism. An authority which daunted most of the angels, Saruvyel was not like other angels. Grim demeanour, dark hair and powerfully dressed and looking. Kristabel feared him greatly, but loved him because of it.
But Satan didn't care. He had an agenda now. An agenda of 'Party', and the Lord Saruvyel could like it or lump it. That was just the way it was. As simple as that.'
The End of Book 2
Book 3 – Kristabel's concerns
'For the life of me, Ambryel,' continued the concerned Kristabel, as she clipped at this and that rose amongst her flower garden. 'For the life of me, I just can't understand Satan's problem. I would have thought life here in Moonflower City would have made him eternally happy. Saruvyel says a case of stupidity has overcome him. I mean, who the hell, pardon the pun, would want to even visit hell, let alone start running with its crowd. It's just wrong, if you ask me. Just stupid.'
'I am sure Satan has his reasons,' said the ever loving and concerned Ambryel. 'He has ruled Moonflower City for so long now that we must trust in his wisdom. He is hardly going to fall, is he? I mean, Satan could never be a fallen angel. Just impossible.'
Kristabel looked at him anxiously. 'Don't even think the idea, Ambryel.'
She continued to prune away at the roses and then she looked at the main garden. A delight of Moonflowers, Moonflower city's natural commodity, so it seemed.
'They will take a while to prune,' she said absentmindedly.
'Well what does Aphrael say about his behaviour? She knows him best,' asked Ambryel.
'I don't know. She isn't speaking to me for some reason at the moment. We had a bit of a tiff about a trade agreement on Terra. I wasn't interested in offering some of our gem supplies from our mountains to her nation’s very growing demand for such things. Not at the price she wanted anyway. I suppose that could be the reason for the silence, but I would have thought her above such things.'
'She's only an angel,' said Ambryel.
'Indeed,' responded Kristabel.
Ambryel took a sip from his rose tea which Kristabel had made for him and smiled at his angelic sister. 'Well, I am off. Going down to Terra in a few hours. Visiting the execs for discussions on various issues.'
'How are things going?' Kristabel asked. 'We only ever get glowing reports from God on the progress of Kanbry. Your nation, so it seems, prospers above us all,'
'With proper concern and attention to detail all nations can prosper. I am sure Harventya is doing amazingly well,' replied Ambryel regarding Kristabel's own dominion.
'I am sure it is,' she responded, and started attacking the Moonflower arrangements.
'Be seeing you, Krissy,' said Ambryel.
Kristabel waved him goodbye, and returned to her flowers, as another morning passed in Moonflower City.
The End of Book 3
Book 4 – Daniel's Dominion
Daniel was the Archangel Seraphim Prince Regent 'god' who ruled the Europan nation of Shaldazzar. Daniel interacted with them in person infrequently, following the usual mannerisms of the angels of Moonflower City, that being to rule their national dominions through the official weblinks, the primary internet portals which ran Terra and the newly developing planetary bodies of the Sol solar system. And the galaxy awaited.
A millennia ago Judgement day upon mankind had occurred, and the ancient holy judgements of the angels, as preserved in the Holy Seraphim Scriptures, had seen their fruition with the advent of the 1000 strong heavenly host above Roma, the chief city of Europa, and they had resurrected the dead, judged mankind, and cast the reprobate to hell.
And the angels had ruled ever since.
Daniel enjoyed ruling Shaldazzar, and the Lord Satan, ruler of Itallya, the nation in which Roma was capital, who ruled over all the angels in Moonflower City due to his birthright, often commented on Daniel's competency and skill in prospering his nation and continuing in the agenda of building the eternal empires in Terra, the solar system, the galaxy and beyond. For it was a competition, not of conflict, but of glory the angels were caught up in, for such had been the agenda set by Heavenly Father. 'BUILD EMPIRE,' he had encouraged Daniel early on. He had never forgotten those words.
And so Daniel ruled Shaldazzar from Moonflower City, competed carefully with his fellow angels, and devoted his life to the eternal growth and glory of the Empire of the Shaldazzarians, and the glory of his own name and fame.
But Satan's recent activity was a bit of a worry.
The End of Book 4
Book 5 – Dark Agenda
Blagrog was a former resident of Hell. Former, for he had served in the ‘Guild of the Redeemed Ones’ in Earthpoint City 47 years, and then, a visit from a heavenly being, a god of glory, and the Most High had forgiven him somewhat.
But had Blagrog really changed that much? Had he? He wandered the earth, now. A vagrant. For his redemption had only earned him so much forgiveness, and Theodore Blagrog Maximillian IV was far from the holiness expected by Moonflower City to earn much more than Vagrant status.
So he wandered the 1000 Nations of Terra, travelling with a backpack, a sleeping bag, and dressed in long brown and dirty robes, his only clothing, with a simple rope belt. He drank from streams, picked the occasional apple from the trees which ran along highways throughout Terra, for a program of planting fruit trees had been initiated by Moonflower City universally. Oranges also, pears, even bananas. And in the wild orchards and gardens you found all sorts of nature’s providence. He was lucky in this way. Lucky.
Moonflower also allowed him two solitary books. The Book of Divine Justice, by which Moonflower ruled Terra, and one fiction prose was allowed him. He chose ‘The Lord of the Rings’, simply because it appealed to him in his old Warhammer fantasy days. He pretended himself Gandalf, a caster of spells, and a wizard supreme. Wandering the world, a wisened one, wandering through eternal life, a saviour, one day, perhaps.
Or perhaps something else.
You see, in the deep part of his heart, there was still remaining a seed. A seed of rebellion. And that seed was Empire – universally. Yet not Empire ruled by the wisdom of Moonflower, nor the wisdom of God. But the wisdom of Blagrog himself who, in the fullness of time, would rise up, oppose the powers of Moonflower, and bring a harsher reality to the pleasant life the everexpanding world and universe was enjoying.
For he was Marked with a hidden birthMark, three solitary 6s, an old sign in the old world of evil. A strange number, which was not really understood, but was always spoken with fear and woe.
And Blagrog bore such a Mark.
Such a Mark of death.
The End of Book 5
Book 6 – The Council of the gods
‘Just a few matters,’ continued Saruvyel. ‘Firstly, recent trade agreements between several nations have not necessarily, in our opinion, been following core principles of the Book of Divine Judgement. The intention to prosper above and beyond another nation is not what our Commonwealth of Terra is based upon. Not at all. We serve God as one, and we serve Terra as one, and our healthy competition is meant to be just that – healthy. Like the musketeers its one for all and all for one. Ok. So be careful in the way you are organising things at the moment. Certain, how shall I put it – inequities – have been noticed. Secondly, there is growing unrest from FIFA about soccer hooliganism starting to get a little bit ‘excited’. In no way like it was before our intervention, but old habits can return, even after a thorough repentance. Please pay attention a little more to your law and order principles.’ Saruvyel paused, and took a sip of water, looking out at the gathering. About 150 of them, the more serious ones as well. It was a standard council meeting – rarely did everyone show up.
‘Finally, Moonflower City itself is in the process of regeneration. Nothing too dramatic. Well, nothing that will affect our infrastructure too much. We are building a central spire in the City, going upwards quite a way. It will be called the ‘Throne of Glory’, and at the top of it will be Jehovah’s throne room. It is where he has finally agreed to speak with each of us upon request. We are ‘Mature’ enough now personally for more than the occasional word. Building is set to begin a few years from now, and it has already been decided by God himself, so no formal vote is required.’ He looked at his notes, looked at the audience, and gave a formal bow, and stood down from the dais.
The Council sat, some departed, but Ambryel and Daniel, sitting next to each other, began a conversation.
‘Throne of Glory?’ commented Daniel.
‘God deserves it,’ responded Ambryel.
‘You would say that. But, yes, it will be much easier to get information out of him now. I do have a large backlog of questions.’
‘The burning query I have,’ continued Ambriel, ‘is the future. The Empires are to expand everlastingly, as we all know. Yet I query whether we will all ultimately stay together. Or whether our own ‘Thrones of Glory’ will shift, one day. To the stars, where we shall find our dominions, and our own settled glory.’
Daniel put his hand on Ambryel’s shoulder. ‘I’ll never be far, regardless, brother. Nor Meludyel, nor Ariel. We are family. We will always be the gods of Moonflower City. One way or another we will always be that.’
‘I do hope so,’ responded Ambryel. ‘I do hope so.’
And, slowly, the gods drifted from council, back to their activities, and Daniel found his abode, the words of Ambryel fresh in his thinking. The future. His own dominion of glory? Perhaps one day, he thought to himself. Perhaps one day.
The End of Book 6
Book 7 – A Friendly Face
Blagrog swatted at the fly. He was south, southern hemisphere, a great south land, outback. Wandering. He was hot, full of sweat and uncomfortable in his long dirty robes, but coping. What else could he do, though? He had to cope. He had no choice, after all. Sometimes he thought of his sins, which had sent him to hell. Blasphemy, a heck of a lot of that. Idolatry as well – worshipped Satan practically as a dark wizard, and never really gave a damn. Cast spells, practiced black magic, invoked devil after devil. Not really worship, as such, but everyone knew what power he had served. They always complained about that, the wizards, that Satan was not really the Lord of Hell, but everyone had grown to believe that anyway. The ruler of Terra left Moonflower so often, and dwelt down there in the darkness, that the world had come to believe him a fallen angel of sorts. And Blagrog had loved the coolness of the ruler of the gods, his black t-shirts, and his heavy metal adorations. They’d cottoned onto him, his coven he had founded, and claimed Satan was the true ruler of not good, but evil, even when Moonflower protested this point. But then Blagrog had never, initially, cared about the will of Moonflower city. He coveted the devil’s of hell, the fallen 400 angels, who had been cast out at the beginning, when the world was young, and sent to the darkness. Fallen gods, who never gained the dominions which had once been promised to them. Never gained the glory they sought. And he worshipped their lusts and when, the judgement coming, and tasting the fowl underworld, Blagrog knew he had gotten what he had deserved.
But he had repented. Hadn’t he.
As he waked along the highway, he took a sip from his bottle of water, and glared at the sun. It was hot. It was summer. Why was he here? But he had been condemned to wander the earth as his initial punishment, and somehow, not knowing even where he was going at times, some spirit drove him on, compelled him to walk further and further, driving him, even against his own will it seemed. Cursed to wander. Cursed.
He didn’t think much of the old Falcon, but when it pulled up beside him, and an old man looked at him and said ‘Do you need a lift,’ Blagrog didn’t know what to think. That didn’t happen. That never happened.
‘Uh, sure. Why not,’ responded Blagrog, and got in.
Holy Diver by Dio was playing on a cassette player, and the old man said nothing. They drove and drove, and towards nightfall they came to an old shack, and the old man gave him his spare bed and fed him bacon and eggs.
‘You can stay for a while,’ the old man said. ‘I could use the company.’
‘Thanks,’ said Blagrog. And he silently thanked God for small mercies.
The End of Book 7
Book 8 – Bloody Callodyn
‘Daniel. Calodynn is showing off again. Will you ever get him into line?’
Daniel ignored Ariel’s complaint. The god Calodynn, slightly older than him, very similar features, a Cherub, unlike Daniel the Seraph, was always a handful. He was the clown amongst the gods, full of sarcasm, dry wit, and irony. But that was how Jehovah had made him, and God love him for it.
‘What’s he doing?’ Daniel asked Ariel.
‘Bathing in one of the Moonflower garden pools.’
‘What’s wrong with that?’ asked Daniel.
‘Naked,’ responded Ariel.
Daniel almost swore.
When Calodynn finally had his clothes back on, his lover Kayyela, also having found a towel to hide her own nakedness, Daniel decided to give Cal a lecture.
‘You are a god. What the hell is your problem?’
‘Lighten up, Dan. What’s life if you can’t live a little? I don’t hear you complaining when Gloriel does this. You always like gawking at her tits.’
‘She wears a bikini,’ retorted Daniel, but Gloriel often had her top off.
‘Yeh, whatever,’ responded Calodynn. ‘But you sure as hell don’t mind. I mean, come on. We’re the gods of Moonflower City. We rule everything. We can have some ruddy liberties now and then.’
‘We have an example to set,’ responded Daniel, wondering how to transport them to their abodes without too many fussy onlookers.
‘We won’t do it again,’ said Kayyela.
‘I know you won’t,’ said Daniel. ‘You can be sure of that.’
‘For heaven’s sake,’ said Cal, but he got the point.
After giving him a piece of his mind, Daniel returned to his abode, sat there with Ariel as she poured him some Earl Grey tea, and started chuckling. ‘He is a bloody devil, isn’t he?’
‘I think that’s the way we like him in the end, isn’t it, Dan?’
‘I guess so,’ responded Daniel. ‘I guess so.’
The End of Book 8
Book 9 – Calodynn and his sarcastic humour
'What do you call Saruvyel when he is serious?' asked Calodynn.
'Dunno,' responded Kayyela.
'Saruvyel,' he said.
She smiled at that.
'What do you call Saruvyel when he is relaxed?' asked Callodynn.
'What' asked Kayyela.
'Nothing. He has NEVER bloody relaxed in his life.'
She smirked at that.
'What do you want to do today?' she asked him, getting popcorn from the microwave.
'Daniel has been pestering me. Look into Calladan's affairs. As if I can't run my own dominion properly.'
'He's right. You can't,' she said, smirking again.
'Get stuffed,' he said, and threw an apple at her he was about to have a bite of.
'You could look in on things, though. Take an interest. You only ever leave it to your overseers and president to run the dominion. Heck, you guys have had about 3 world titles at the sporting competitions out of the thousands of them. Your pathetic in your inspirations.'
'Who cares?' said Calodynn dramatically. 'The other's will get over their competitive zeal eventually. It's only a product of their too serious youth.'
'They're still young. Eventually the passion will subside when reality hits. I'll be ready then. I've already faced reality. That's why I leave Calladan alone. I teach them to not expect too much intervention. Cope with their own problems.'
'Your all heart right wing bastard,' she said, and threw the apple back at him.
'I think so,' he responded.
'What do you call Daniel when he stuffs up?'
'What?' she asked him.
'Daniel,' he responded.
She grinned at that.
'What do you call Daniel when he has a good idea?'
'What?' she asked him, smiling already.
'I'll let you know, but it hasn't happened yet.'
'You meanie,' she said, and she came and sat on his lap, and they kissed.
And later on they got up to no good.
The End of Book 9
Book 10 – Old Man's Wisdom
'There are plots and there are counterplots,' said the old man, sitting in the corner of the shack, sipping on lemonade and smoking his rollies. 'For they DO compete and claim victories over each other, and ribbons and prizes and shields of honour and glory, things which have not yet emerged but are the core of Moonflower gods emerging pride. Saruvyel prides himself as the ultimate champion of such virtues, while Satan always stands aloof and just parties on. There are a small elect within them, Ambryel, Daniel, Calodynn and their female compatriots, who keep faith in the purity of the code of justice. Who keep their innocence, and do not follow the maddening crowd. They shall delight in HIS destiny with them.'
'What must I do?' asked Blagrog.
'Oppose Moonflower. Build the Corporation. Build it with wisdom, and if ye have found that humility you said you would serve him for.'
Blagrog shrugged. Perhaps he had found that humility. The old man looked at him though, considering him perhaps. Considering him, perhaps.
'Why do I do this? I don't care about glory. I serve somewhat for forgiveness. A good life again.'
'Doesn't he promise glory to all the repentant?' asked the old man, and puffed on his cigarette. 'Even the scum.'
'I don't know,' said Blagrog, and scratched his crotch, took a sip of the warm lemonade, affected by the heat, and spat at the ground. The old man just stared at him.
'Well....' Blagrog almost spluttered. 'Well, does he? Forgive even that much?'
'What would you do with corporation?' asked the old man.
'Don't know. Rule the universe, I suppose.'
'Exactly,' said the old man cryptically, staring into his soul.
'Exactly,' said Blagrog, and scratched his crotch once more.
The End of Book 10
Book 11 – Kristabel and her penchant for Tea
Ambryel sat with Kristabel in her abode in Moonflower City. Moonflower city had several hundred levels, and was roughly ovalesque in shape. It was suspended in the air by Anti-Grav technology based on Magnetics, with the magnetic stabilizing devices both on the base of Moonflower City as well as being held in place far below with the stabilizing opposite polarity magnetic Earth stabilizing units. It was actually simple enough technology when properly understood. Jappaneyse people loved it especially. Kristabel herself was not a technically minded angel of any great concern. She was traditional, female, doing godly female things and wanting and happy to be seen as such doing such things. She entertained often, and Ambryel was usually the guest of honour on Friday afternoons, when they sat, often in complete silence, and sipped on tea, and enjoyed each other's company. Ambryel enjoyed his time with Kristabel, although he often found the routine a bit of a chore, too polite to ever say though. Yet, sometimes, especially in recent years, he sat there, and pondered the face of Kristabel as she stared into nothing in front of her, sipping her tea, and seemingly contemplating the divine mysteries which occupied her. It was almost like therapy. And sometimes, especially in recent years, he started to get the point of it all. A little birdy in his heart whispered to him that this was the real stuff of eternal life, and sitting there, especially in the very fortunate company of Kristabel who was elegantly supreme and polished in such behaviours and etiquette, Ambryel was being spoiled rotten apparently. And he had even started to get an inkling that the little birdy might just be right.
'He smiles, you know,' she said suddenly.
She looked ahead, not at him, but with glazed eyes, as very usual and normal. 'He smiles. Saruvyel. Angels often don't know that. But he does. You know. He does. It's in private, naturally. It wouldn't be anywhere else. But he talks with me, and shares his concerns, and sometimes he smiles at the ironies of Moonflower.'
Ambyrel nodded, again. He sipped on his Rose Tea. She said nothing more, but continued gazing ahead, eyes almost glazed in that perpetual stare she had.
She turned to him suddenly and looked squarely at him. 'Calodynn. That is a ruffian of an angel. He stole my teapot. Retrieve it for me.'
'I'm sure Calodynn didn't steal your teapot,' said Ambryel soothingly.
'I can't find it anywhere. And I shall accuse him to his face. He dined with me. Just last week. With Kayyela. I am sure it went missing just afterwards.'
'Why would Calodynn steal your teapot?' asked Ambryel sensibly.
She looked at him, and suddenly something clicked. 'Oh, no. He wouldn't, would he. Why would he?' she asked, a quizzical look on her face.
A little birdy spoke to Ambryel's heart. 'God likes her eccentricity. He's developing it within her.'
'It's probably just misplaced,' said Ambryel. 'Behind a shelf or something.'
She looked at him, and her eyes almost glazed over again. 'Yes. Of course. You are right.'
She sat there, and he sipped his tea.
'He has a lovely smile, you know,' she said suddenly.
Ambryel nodded knowingly.
The End of Book 11
Book 12 – Shadow Thief
Jack Black put on his ninja costume. All, naturally, in black. He was predictable his hellian mistress told him. He looked at the diagnostic map – stolen from Penthouse suite 11A in Earthpoint Central Towers, where his buddy Satan resided when cruising the pit, and looked at the lift in front of him. It needed an id card. He swiped the one he had – an older one of Satan's, past its use by date. It still worked anyway. He had crawled out of his secret apartment, located in Satan's private wing of a branch of Moonflower City, where he had put on his costume and was keeping his stolen wares, and found the lift, and was heading downwards. Down to archive 4B. He wanted to check out some of the rare shit.
Jack Black was a thief. Shadow Thief, they used to call him. It got him busted to hell on judgement day because of it. Today, so predictably, with the id access card he had pinched and gotten to Moonflower on a few weeks back, he was back to his old business. Thievery. He had a plan, at the moment. Blackmail some of the gods and buy his freedom from hell. It wouldn't work. He already knew that, and he had changed his mind on the idea again and again. But, instead of blackmail, con his way out. That was the new agenda. Find material – anything useful – information – to gain him favour. Curry that favour, and be born again to life on earth. Shit, he would never qualify for admittance into the guild of the redeemed ones. He didn't give a damn about repentance, and Earthpoint and Hell's only official salvation ministry would never actually save him. He was an eternal Hellian – that much he knew.
But other ways could be arranged, perhaps.
He knew who Kristabel was, as Satan had mentioned her a bit, and her tea fascination. He'd pinched her pot. He would return it soon enough, though, with other returned items. Claim he had found them, claim the hero, and said he couldn't help coming up to Moonflower – that the temptation of the card had been to much – and plead the mercy and 'What a great guy he was, finding all our shit' card to the nth degree.
Perhaps he had a Britney.
The lift got him down to Archive 4B, and he wandered in, past the reception which was vacant, and into the main reading hall. Nobody around, but an old dude was at a desk, reading. He didn't look up.
Jack got to work reading stuff.
A few hours later, his mind full of interesting Moonflower data, the old man was behind him – he suddenly sensed it.
'Should you be here, son?' he asked him.
Jack felt someone reading the letters of his very soul, and all its lame excuses.
He felt guilty.
'Sorry, dude,' said Jack. 'Probably not.' He had felt admonished.
'I have a friend,' said the old man. 'Blagrog is his name. I should introduce you.'
Jack looked up. His spirit lifted somewhat. 'Blagrog, huh?'
The old man nodded. 'I'm a Kevinitor here. I live on earth. But I have a feeling you'll like Blagrog.'
Jack felt better.
'I have a feeling you'll be exactly what he is looking for,' said the old man, stroking his grey beard.
The End of Book 12
13 – The Heart of Moonflower
Ambryel looked at the humming machinery. It was like it was literally alive.
'It is,' said Calodynn.
'What?' asked Ambryel.
'How did you know what I was thinking?' he queried.
'Little birdy,' said Calodynn looking ahead of him. 'Its crystal in the centre. Living crystal energy. Not sentient, but it has a spiritual aura as well. Non intelligent life in some ways, like flora, yet it works according to physical laws akin to gravity in its spiritual understandings. The Crystalline Consciousness at the centre is born from Ascension faith.'
'What's that?' asked Ambryel.
'A build up of old spiritual energy in a belief system. It predates this universe. Part of the mysteryies of God.'
'And how do you know this?' asked Ambryel.
'It's in the literature,' said Calodynn, knowingly.
'Hmmm,' said Ambriel, and again looked at the power central station of Moonflower City.
'It has an opposite. The thing that diametrically opposes it. It's challenge.'
'What's that?' asked Ambryel.
'Corporation,' responded Calodynn.
Ambryel turned and looked at him. 'Can we go up to my abode. I want to chat about corporation.'
Later on, after they had watched a T20 cricket match in Ambryel's room, and were sipping on coca cola, Ambryel looked squarely at his angel brother.
'What is Corporation?'
'The future,' said Calodynn casually. 'Inevitably. It sort of happened before, anyway. It happens again. New variation. Same game.'
'Huh?' asked Ambryel.
'Nothing,' said Calodynn. He looked at his brother. 'Corporation is the opposite of the heart of Moonflower. It opposes us, rivals us, competes with us – thinks its own glory greater than ours.'
'Who runs corporation?' asked Ambryel.
Calodynn looked at him, and sipped on his coke. 'Men,' he said at last.
Ambryel stroked his chin. 'Mmm,' he said to himself. 'Interesting.'
'And its a bitch of a fight coming between them,' said Calodynn, and turned up the TV again to watch the second match of the double header.
The End of Book 13
Book 14 – The lighter side of Ambryel
It had been a long and hot summer in Moonflower City.
Ambryel collected football, rugby league, rugby union, tennis, cricket, 10 pin bowling and bocce trading cards. And comics. A reMarkable amount of comics could be seen in the abode of the divine deity, which often followed him around Moonflower, occasionally left here and there, but usually reclaimed promptly upon notification. Yes, he was a geek, as the sayings went, much akin to Calodynn particulalry, who specialized in DC Asia Comics, the ones translated into English. DC comics originated in Ameryca, but they had launched a DC Asia line recently, in Asian languages, and the Jappaneyse had been the fortunate ones to claim the birth of 'Superman' in their nation. Batman was Chyneyse, and Green Lantern was from Indiastan. Wonder Woman was from Vyetnam, and Flash was from Mongollya. Hawkman was from Russya, and finally, Aquaman was a Layosian. They had been the traditional 7 heroes launched for DC Asia, and they had stuck with the lineup for 2 decades now, proving very popular in Asia. Of course, the line was translated from the Asian tonuges into English as well, and these are the ones Calodynn concentrated on at the moment. Ambryel, though, was more traditional, concentrating on Marvel Comics from Ameryca for the mosr part, especially the X-Men.
'Superman is average,' said Ambryel, looking at the TV in Cal's room.
'Magneto probably has small testicles,' responded Calodynn casually.
'Batman could potentially be homosexual,' replied Ambs, watching the cricket.
'I am sure Professor X is a closet paedophile,' said Cal.
'Wonder Woman probably fancies her mother,' said Ambryel.
'Professor X IS Wolverine's mother,' said Calodynn, grinning.
Ambryel turned to him on that one, and almost responded. But he held his nerve.
'Green Lantern has the appeal of animal dung,' said Ambryel, now grinning.
'Spiderman probably eats animal dung,' responded Calodynn. Ambryel turned to him again and stared daggers at him.
'Flash's top speed is Zero miles per hour,' said Ambryel.
'The Avengers have zero appeal,' said Calodynn.
'Aquaman can't swim' said Ambryel.
'Namor is afraid of water,' responded Calodynn.
'Hawkman farts a lot and scares people,' finished Ambryel.
'The Fantastic Four fart a lot and eat people,' finished Calodynn.
Ambryel sat there for a while, sipped on his cola, ate a bit of his burger from the level cafeteria and, finally:
'DC has the talent ability of bland Coca Cola.'
Calodynn thought on that one.
'Marvel has the talent ability of a dead skunk.'
'It could be a talented dead skunk,' said Ambryel.
'Bland coke aint that bad,' said Cal.
They sat there in silence.
'Bite me,' said Ambryel.
'I would. But you would probably taste like dead skunk,' replied Calodynn.
Ambryel smiled to himself.
It had been a long and hot summer in Moonflower City.
The End of Book 14
Book 15 – From the Heart
Kayyela was with Calodynn in the heart of Moonflower, at the central power station, which was a large glasslike structure held and supported by a metal framework, running like a vein covering over the large egg-like central crystalline power orb, a microcosm of Moonflower City as a whole.
'You know, idiot. I do love you,' she said, picking the petals off a moonflower, standing next to Calodynn on the platform against the railing which ran along the perimeter of the orb.
'That's sweet,' said Calodynn, who was monitoring the orb's control deck, checking its readings and looking at various screens.
'Oh, so that's all I'm worth to you!' she exclaimed, throwing the moonflower to the ground. 'Just sweet.'
'Huh?' he asked, turning to look at the woman.
'Nothing,' she said. 'Never bloody mind.'
He looked at her quizzically for a moment, and then returned his focus to the control panel.
'Why do you do this?' she asked. 'Come and look at this thing all the time. So what? What's the big deal? It is practically alive to you, no matter what you might say.'
'The impulses it works with – the way it behaves. They follow a natural order. It's like a plant which grows naturally, and has a life system to it. This power system of Moonflower has a life system of its own. It's how everything in our world, our city, is regulated so perfectly. Like everything works perfectly according to our desires and wishes, and that it all seems just to happen magically. Like how we walk into a room and the lights come on at exactly the right moment. Or how we are sitting there, bored a little, and Compuvoice suddenly asks us if we would like to do this or that – like it sensed our boredom and is responding.'
'I've noticed that too,' said Kayyela.'
'But it's not just amazing coincidence. It's this thing. It – it SENSES us. It knows our hearts, our desires. It knows what we want. It IS alive, sweety.'
'Fascinating,' she said.
'Do you love me?' she asked after a while.
'Huh?' he asked, turning to look at the woman.
'Nothing,' she said. 'Never bloody mind at all.'
He looked at her quizzically for a moment, shook his head, and returned his focus to the control panel and said 'Bloody women,' under his breath.
The End of Book 15
Book 16 – The Book of Ancient Memory
Kristabel sat at the terminal. 'Hit C C + 5' said Daniel.
'C C + 5?' she said, looking at him funnilly. She sat there, then, thinking. Thinking. Thinking back. She looked at him. 'It was before. Before now. Before Moonflower City. But, for heaven's sake, even before then. Before the former, if such a thing is possible.'
'Think 68,' said Daniel.
She looked at him. '68?'
'69 followed with 7 parts, but 70 was Redux,' said Daniel.
'I don't understand,' she said.
'Nobody does. Type C C + 5.' She did as she was told, at the terminal in the corner of Daniel's abode.
Compuvoice came on. 'Greetings Daniel. My, you are curious still, aren't you. Don't you think you should let sleeping dogs lie? Ancient souls back there, not wanting to be disturbed now. Completed their works, completed their lives. Walking in their patterns, walking in their templates, walking in their systems, and they don't want disturbance from an old botherer such as yourself.'
'Very funny, Compuvoice,' said Daniel.
'Why on earth is CV talking like this?' asked Kristabel astounded. 'She never talks like this. Its as if she is alive.'
Daniel tapped his nose. 'She probably is, Krissy. Anyway, type in 'Corporation.' Kristabel typed in the word.
The screen had changed to a web browser, a quite basic looking one, and when she typed in Corporation CV responded. 'I'm not sure we should be talking about this, Danny. And is that Kristabel doing the typing? HE won't be happy with you searching out his mysteries.'
'Isn't that what kings do?'
'Still fancy yourself a regent, huh? I remember the time, back in the Realm, when all your efforts.....' CV suddenly stopped. 'Probably shouldn't have said that, should I. But you have a fairly good idea now anyway. Devil.'
'Realm?' queried Kristabel.
'Uh, you were human only. Shit. The other Krystabel. I mean, the order changed. Look, never mind. It's all different now.'
Kristabel looked perplexed.
'CV,' said Daniel. 'When will Corporation arise to oppose Moonflower.'
CV remained silent for a moment, and finally spoke. 'The cardinal principles of destiny always flow in harmony with the voices of free will and choice. They interact to produce history. It is not absolutely fixed, but when the pressure is too much, should nothing have happened, Destiny's power of intervention and purpose becomes too much to resist. Corporation will arise when Corporation arises.'
'Thank you CV.'
Kristabel looked at Daniel. 'What is Corporation?'
'Something me and Calodynn have been aware of for a while now. There are no signs, yet. Really, none. Satan dwelling in the underworld made me think for years, but nothing has come of it. But its inevitable.'
She looked at him, that quizzical look known well by her friends staring right into Daniel. She looked at the screen. 'C C + 5?'
'The older system,' said Dan. 'All stacks of shit on it. It is, to be truthful, slightly behind us. Behind the times. We have progressed a bit since then. But it is rife with original product, and the plan for later on, so I have been led to believe, when the works are complete.'
'What works?' queried Kristabel.
'The works of 70,' said Daniel, and left it at that.
'Mmm,' said Kristabel, staring at the screen.
The End of Book 16
Book 17 – Daniel's inquiries
'Yes, Daniel,' responded the Moonflower City Computervoice, which responded to all general inquiries for maintenance, routines, work assignments and person locations, and other things, the heart and central running nub of Moonflower City in many ways.
'Please access Shaldazzar primary network.' Shaldazzar was Daniel's assigned nation, part of the Eurpoan continent on Terra.
'As you wish,' responded the CV and went silent for a moment. Shortly it responded. 'Network online. Do you wish full access to Shaldazzar's current Departments.'
'No. Just statistics,' said Daniel. The computer went silent for a moment and then said, 'Connected to Shaldazzar Department of Statistics and Information Services.'
'What is the current population of Shaldazzar?'
'One moment.' The computer went silent. Then, 'Please confirm Primary Network access code.' This was one of Daniel's built in security codes to prevent others so easily accessing his nations's data.
'XQ4R7' said Daniel.
'Access confirmed. Answering query. The current population of Shaldazzar, according to birth figures updated last Sunday, is 458, 367, 382 individuals.'
'Thank you CV.'
The Computer, in its more regular tone of voice, did not respond.
Daniel sat there, in front of his PC, looking at it, swinging around on the swivel chair.
'CV. What is the estimated population of the Shaldazzaran empire on Nix?' Nix was a moon of Pluto, right out in the solar system, the only place were Daniel had managed settling rights, as the other planets and moons had been vastly exploited and settled by the other gods empires of Moonflower.
'Exact population figures are difficult to quantify. No official records are yet kept on Nix. The fledgling state on the north of the luna body competes well in Nixian sporting events, but has no great Commerce or Political structures, and follows the general counsel of Nixian Governance.'
'Yes, I know how Nix works. Why doesn't Shaldazzar on Nix have their own departments?'
'You have not organized such things yet, and the policy from the state elders is that they have no grand concerns on such things. Too much a wast of resources.'
'Simply commercial entities, then?'
'Affirmative,' responded the CV about the Shaldazzaran residents of Nix. 'They do have the cousnel of elders, who meet and discuss general affairs of the community, and several newspapers. Not much else of note,' said CV.
Daniel nodded to himself. Good. That was ok. After all, the settlement of the galaxy was with technology only theoretically in place at the moment, and still centuries before actual physical development would or could take place. No need to conquer the universe just yet.
'CV. Send this note to the Nix Shaldazzaran counsel of elders. Tell them to expect a visit from myself. Late next year.'
'As you wish,' responded CV.
'Good,' said Daniel to himself, generally pleased with the situation. He would see the counsel, speak words of encouragement, and have a visit around Nix. He had plans – long term plans – a goal of glory, much alike the other gods of Moonflower in the eternity ahead. And while Nix was ultimately only a small part of that plan, every part was necessary. Every part important and vital.
He got up, stretched his legs, got a soft drink from the fridge and, thinking there was nothing much else to do, headed off for the level cafeteria to see who was around. Time for tea anyway, and he could kill some time before the next big cricket match on TV.
He left his abode, made his way along the walkways of Moonflower and, as he neared the Cafeteria in the centre of the level, whistled happily enough to himself. Life was good as a god of Moonflower City. And what the future held? Well God only knows.
The End of Book 17
Book 18 – Kristabel's Kind Words
'It's as if....' she trailed off. Saruvyel sat there, sipped on his tea, and waited. He knew Kristabel well.
She sat there for 10 minutes, looking into space, just gazing forward, then, finally, fixed her gaze on Saruvyel. 'Oh. Saruvyel. How long have you been here?'
Saruvyel fixed his gaze intently on his goddess sister. 'What is going on, Kristabel. I have noticed, you know. The last five years especially, but in the last few months it has been incredibly obvious.'
She smiled, almost guiltily for a moment, and said, 'What? I have no idea whatever you think I and Luna are up to, it is none of your business.'
Saruvyel gazed directly at her, took the teacup up to his lips, sipped, his eyes remaining fixed on her, and placed the cup back on his lap. 'Luna?' he asked, eyebrow raised, a serious tone in his voice.
She looked at him momentarily, and then turned away. 'Calodynn is a ruffian of an angel. He stole my bloody teapot. Oh, but no. No. I misplaced it. That's what Ambryel said.'
Saruvyel said nothing.
She looked at him, and his expectant face. 'Luna is a …. friend of mine.'
His gaze seemed even more determined.
'CV,' she said, looking downwards.
'CV?' he queried.
'She is different – now. Well, no. Not really. She has been talking to my heart for years now, telling me things. But I know who she is now. She is Luna. She is the heart of Moonflower. She is the Crystalline Consciousness.'
Saruvyel's gaze remained unperturbed.
'She's a person. Don't say she isn't, ok.'
'I... I don't think I would. Not now, anyway. Whoever Luna is, she has certainly captured your curiosity.'
'She knows,' said Kristabel and, suddenly, looked away, off in the distance, as if her heart was being spoken to. Then she steadied, looked at Saruvyel, sipped on her tea, and smiled.
'CV?' queried Saruvyel.
Kristabel said nothing.
'She loves. Love is central. Ascension is all love. It is the heart of everything. Its why I love you more than ever before, brother. You are my dearest. I will always love you.'
He softened his gaze and bowed softly. 'Thank you for those kind words dear Krissy.'
'Luna will prepare us. Will teach us. Will show us – the way ahead. And not just answering corporation, but so much more.'
'Corporation?' queried Saruvyel.
'The beast!' hissed Kristabel.
'The beast,' repeated Saruvyel in a softer and firmer tone. 'How original.'
'We don't need to worry about Corporation, though. It even ends up serving society because it just doesn't know what it bloody wants in the end. Can't decide. All power, but for what? Never understood its own motivations.'
Saruvyel looked at his sister perplexed.
'Don't worry,' said Kristabel. 'Luna will teach you.'
'Indeed,' said Saruvyel.
'She's special, you know. An original life form. HE created her. A response. To the faithful. The loving ones who hoped so much for something. So much. It's the validation of their faith and their justification. It is God's love and mercy. She's beautiful. From the heart of the earthmother, is Luna. Beautiful.'
Saruvyel sat in silence. 'What is C C + 5?' he asked, out of the blue.
She looked at him, surprised.
'How do you know about that?' she asked him.
'I dreamed. Last night. About a webnet system. As if.... Its strange. As if it came before everything. And before that again. The dream led me to you.'
Kristabel smiled. 'I told you Luna would explain.'
'Luna knows of this?'
'Luna knows,' said Kristabel, and then she was off, staring into the distance, her mind – her heart – elsewhere.'
Saruvyel stood after a while, kissed his sister on the cheek, who suddenly came back to herself.
'Your off then, brother?'
'I will dine with you tomorrow evening as agreed. I am busy, for the moment. Administration, as usual. A neverending work, it seems.'
'Tomorrow, then,' said Kristabel. 'I will cook lasagne.'
'Satan will be joining us. Loves his Italyan food, naturally.'
'Lasagne it is then. Till tomorrow.' He bowed, and she nodded, and he left her abode, exiting through the sliding door.
As he walked the corridor, he spoke out. 'CV. Who is Luna?'
Silence for a moment, and then CV spoke, in a slightly different tone to that which Saruvyel had grown well accustomed to.
'Now that would be telling, Saruvyel.'
Saruvyel stopped midstride, cocked his head and looked back towards Kristabel's apartment, and turned his gaze forwards. Then, veering over to the side of the walkway, he sat on a cushioned bench which ran along the wall.
'CV. It looks as if we are going to be having a good long chat.'
The regular voice of CV finally responded. 'Yes Lord Saruvyel.'
'Yes,' said Saruvyel, and stared ahead blankly at the wall.
'A good long chat indeed,' he finally said to himself. But CV just remained silent, and the steady hum of Moonflower city itself was the only other response. Saruvyel resumed his walk, back to his life, back to his duties, for the moment thoughts of Luna and Kristabel put to rest. Just for that moment, though. Just for that moment. But soon enough he would sit with CV and query her at length of all this talk, and find out just exactly what was going on in Moonflower, and what this corporation was, and just exactly who was Luna. And he would not stop till he got to the bottom of the situation, no matter how stubborn Krissy might choose to be. And knowing his sister, potentially quite stubborn indeed.
The End of Book 18
Book 19 – Dogfart the Brave
'CV. Is Ambryel online in War of the God's at the moment?'
'That information is confidential,' replied CV to Calodynn's inquiry.
'Come on. I'm 100% confident his avatar Dogfart is locked up in the Temple of Zeus.' The temple of Zeus was a temple in the world of the 'War of the God's' – a Moonflower City online Wargaming experience RPG. Ambryel's character was Dogfart the Brave, and Calodynn's own character was 'The Malevolent One'. They warred constantly.
'Do you take bribes, CV?'
'Your question is disorderly, Daniel. You should know better.'
'Moralizer,' stated Daniel, and stared at the screen.
'CV. Is Ambryel in his quarters?'
CV considered the query. Normally it would answer such questions. 'Not sure if I should say,' she said.
'CV,' pushed Daniel.
'Angel Ambryel is currently in his quarters,' affirmed CV.
Daniel picked up his phone and rang Ambs number. It answered shortly.
'You playing WOG?' Calodynn asked.
'Bite me,' responded Ambryel.
'If you are in Zeus's temple, and I am pretty sure you are, then you are totally fucked mate. This is your demise. 400 years of this shit, and I have you. We can come to terms, though. Surrender, pledge tribute, and your life goes on as a centurion in my army. I'll need all your gold and land though. The temple prostitutes as well.'
'Dream on homo,' said Ambryel.
'The end is nigh, fucker,' said Calodynn crudely, and slammed down the phone.
'Right,' said Calodynn, staring at the Temple of Zeus. 'Fuck it. I'll have a go.'
He pressed the 'Launch Attack' button, and watched for several minutes, co-ordinating his attack. Several guards responded and as the Temple started falling apart, his legions ready, a defeated god came forth. Azrayel.
'Bastard',' said the Avatar, Az the Supreme. 'I offer tribute.'
'For fuck's sake,' swore Calodynn at the online avatar. He had been hunting the wrong guy for months now.
'I'll get you yet, Dogfart the Brave,' said Calodynn, and summarily had Az the Supreme gutted, quartered and fed to the dogs.
From a distance, an Assassin in Ambryel's army was watching the temple of Zeus from a safe place and Ambryel, watching the screen, smiled. He had more data now on the strengths and weaknesses of his adversary, and he had done him the favour of knocking off Azrayel's avater. Another one bites the dust.
Yet, somehow, he could not help but believe, at the end of this shitty RPG, it would come down to the two of them. Dogfart the Brave and the Malevolent One. And who would emerge victorious on that grim and gritty day? Well only time would tell. Only time would tell indeed.
The End of Book 19
Book 20 – The gods of Moonflower City
'You got your butt KICKED,' swore Cossadreel at Azrayel. 'Cal sent me a copy of the quartering. Glorious. I have defeated you, Supreme one my butt.'
The god Azrayel glared at his adversary across the Moonflower Central Cafeteria Table. They were in the heart of Moonflower at the main cafeteria lounge were the gods mostly met to be seen with each other. Every level of Moonflower City had its own cafeteria, but the central level main cafeteria was the place to be seen.
'I have – connections,' said Azrayel. 'They will now hunt you down like the dog you are?' he said mockingly, a big grin on his face.
'And my warriors shall urinated on these challengers,' boasted Cossadreel.
The rivalry never ended between those two, Kristabel thought to herself, sitting opposite Saruvyel who was eating some pasta.
'Do not concern yourself, Az the Formerly Supreme one. I have this Iselandic scumlord well and trully Marked for death,' said Tallysudiel, prince of south Amerycan nation Colombriana.
Cossadreel laughed. 'Your demise shall be even sweeter, 'Tal the Unjust One,' said Cossadreel, quoting Tallysudiel's avatar name in War of the God's.
'You still play, don't you,' said Kristabel at Saruvyel all of a sudden. 'The War of the God's.'
'I engage,' he replied softly. 'They are quite simple in their gameplay, the others. Victory should be easily attainable. I have studied the schematics of the game sufficiently enough.'
'I might surprise you,' said Kristabel.
Saruvyel looked at her. 'Your Avatar is nothing more than a persian princess? What surprises might you have?'
She smiled at him, and twirled her hair, but said nothing more.
Meludyel sat opposite Nimmrel. 'You never really had an issue with it before,' said Meludyel. 'Why the reluctance?'
Nimmrel said nothing initially, and sipped on her juice. She looked at her sister after a while. 'Perhaps I've grown cautious. Isn't is supposed to be, in some ways, a competition?'
'Only if it had an end, I guess,' said Meludyel. 'But Empire goes on forever.'
Rafayel, sitting next to Nimmrel, his favourite sister, looked at Calodynn on that reMark, who just stared back. Nimmrel looked at Raf briefly, and returned her gaze to Meludyel. She sipped on her drink and finally responded. 'Does it, Meludyel? Does it?'
Meludyel looked quizically at her sister. 'Of course it does. What else could happen to change it?'
'The end,' said Rafayel softly. 'The final judgement. And the score, apprently,' he said, looking at Calodynn. '1400 scores, apparently, and then the winner. Appparently,' he said, looking at Calodynn.
'Luna seemed certain of this,' said Calodynn, and the gods of Moonflower City all stared at him.
'I'll give you the trade agreement you want,' said Nimmrel to Meludyel. 'But not the permanent agreement. Only temporary.'
'Ok. That will do,' said Meludyel, who was still distracted somewhat by Calodynn's statement.
'Good,' said Nimmrel, and sipped on her drink, gazing at her sister.
And so the gods talked, and chatted, and schmoozed, and did their thing.
And life went on in Moonflower City and the world turned and turned.
The End of Book 20
Book 21 – Who is Ambryel?
Calodynn typed in C C + 5 to the computer again. He had been talking with Daniel at length the previous morning. And then he had been talking with Kristabel and, wandering down to the Central power orb, he stared at it for a while. Then he did his things. Today, though, he was curious about the new information.
'Hello,' said CV in a warm voice, after he had accessed the ancient net site.
He typed in 'Seraphim Angels'.
The computer displayed the following header on the list:
'Seraphim Angels of the Realm of Eternity.'
He clicked on the document.
Daniel was listed.
Ambriel was listed. A spelling variant.
He clicked on Ambriel.
Seraphim Ambriel. Human identity 'Sean Kennedy'. Tutelary prince of the A.C.T. Twin to Meludyel.
Calodynn looked at the details for a while.
'CV. Can you access for me 'INTERNET'.
CV remained silent. 'What has Kristabel told you?' she asked finally.
'INTERNET or WEBNET is 69. C C + 5 is related to 68.'
CV said nothing. After a moment. 'Very well Calodynn.'
The Screen changed. A bar with http://rww.generalsearch.com came up.
Calodynn typed in 'Seraphim Angels.'
'Angels of Infinity and Eternity' came up. He clicked on the heading, and found lists again. They were the same for the most part. He spent a while reading details, and then he noticed Ambriels.
Seraphim Ambriel, Jewish Messianic leader from the Rothchild Clan, David Alexander Rothchild. A charismatic and loving angel, popular with the people. 60th on the list of Seraphim of Eternity.
He did somc cross-referencing. Saruvyel was the name of the 7th Seraphim on 69. Salathiel was on the 68th list. They were not the same, either.
'Who, though, was his friend, Ambryel?'
'CV. Ambryel? Is he Sean Kennedy or David Rothchild?'
CV went silent. Finally she spoke. 'My name is Luna.'
'Oh. Ok. Good to know. I repeat the question. Ambryel. Is he Sean Kennedy or David Rothchild?'
'You were always so judgemental,' said CV. 'He is Sean Kennedy. Ambryel is Sean Kennedy. He is similar to Ambriel in many ways, but cheekier. God envisioned a Jewish variation of Ambriel that inspired him. He created David Rothchild.'
'And where is David Rothchild?'
'At rest. In the heart of God. Michael rests to. As does Gabriel. Davriel, Rophiel, and others are at rest. The Jewish people are all resting. In the heart of God. The entire family of Abraham in fact. They will appear from time to time throughout the 1400 universes. 17 Angels are permenanet fixtures. Technically 16, but either Ambriel will always appear.'
Calodynn said nothing, thinking over that information.
Finally, '1400 Universes?'
'The future,' said CV after several moments silence.
'Mmmm,' said Callodynn, and made no further inquiries that day.
The End of Book 21
Book 22 – The Gathering Storm
The Old man sat in Archive 4B of Moonflower, the revolving globe of planet earth in the centre of the Archive spinning around, its bright lit colourful display a constant source of fascination to the man. It was a span of 3 metres in diameter, a large globe, which showed all the built up cities in miniscule, lit with day showing were it was day and night showing were it was night, the lights of the nightscape always of interest.
Jack Black sat beside him.
'What did you think of Blagrog?' queried the old man, who had taken out a cigarette from his pre-rolled pack and was smoking.
'Should you really smoke in here?' asked Jack.
The old man shrugged. 'They have never asked me not to. I assume they don't care.'
'Can I have one, then?' asked Jack. The old man gave him one.
'Blagrog is different,' said Jack. 'Naive. He thinks Corporation will rule mankind. I doubt Moonflower will allow such an agenda.'
'Moonflower has its own concerns,' replied the man. 'They don't object to entreprenuerialship. It is what they are based on.'
'Blagrog is no entrepreneur,' replied Jack somewhat sarcastically.
'That's were you come in. You'll keep him on the straight and narrow.'
'My destiny, then, is it? And you know, how?'
The old man tapped his nose.
'Brilliant,' said Jack.
A librarian interrupted them. 'Excuse me sir,' she said to Jack. 'You can't smoke in here.'
'Oh, sorry,' he said, and put out his cigarette. He looked at the old man, puffing away, and looked at the librarian. She briefly looked at the old man, but said nothing, and walked away.
'Lucky bastard,' said Jack.
The old man shrugged.
'What's on the agenda?' asked the Old man.
'Blagrog has moved to the big smoke. He has filed a business name. Omega corporation.'
The old man smiled.
'He's going into real estate. Buying land up north. Rentals for the first few years, so he says.'
'Land will only get more expensive,' replied the old man. 'He has enough finances, though.'
'And where did he get this money, exactly?' queried Jack.
The old man tapped his nose again.
'He wants me to be his Vice President.'
'Its your job,' said the old man.
'I guess,' replied Jack. 'You know, of course. Don't you.' And he tapped his nose.
The old man smiled in response.
'Invest in mining. And then telecommunications. Grow Omega through share investments and develop its wealth and power. When you are ready, form a protectorate of wealthy billionaires.'
'The Illuminati,' grinned Jack.
The old man looked at him, but said nothing. But the look said enough.
'Don't know what I'm bloody getting myself into,' swore Jack, and the old man just smiled once more.
The End of Book 22
Book 23 – The Conflict
And from nothing Blagrog rose to glory. Corporation was mankind's saviour – but the devil in disguise. For every work of charity, a corporation organisation was paid for providing services. For every good deed, a corporation executive was profiting. For every award of outstanding excellence, an enormous profit margin was gained. Babylon Supreme.
'We rule,' said Blagrog, puffing on a cigar, on top of Corporations Pinnacle tower.
'Yep,' responded Frank Castle.
'We're unopposed,' said Blagrog.
'You got that right,' said Jack Black.
'Glory forever,' said Blagrog.
The old man just stared at him.
And then the cracks appeared. And the illicit dealings started becoming known. And the insider trading, and the bribes and blackmailing and threats. The hostile takeovers became public knowledge. And Moonflower finally acted.
'Because of corporation,' said a voice in the Council.
'My nation is suffering,' said another voice.
'We have unemployment everywhere,' said another.
'Some of my people are going without regular food,' said another.
'Well Lord Satan?' asked the gods of Moonflower.
Satan, dressed in a heavy metal t-shirt turned to Saruvyel. 'Handle it.'
And he did.
And corporation was brought to judgement at Moonflower.
The End of Book 23
Book 24 – Penultimacy
The ordeal was over with. The corporation had been defeated. Blagrog, now had been summoned to justice, with his compatriots, the elite of the Corporation.
'You are aware,' said Satan, seated on the seat of Judgement in the Counsel room of Moonflower City. 'That your crimes are obvious to all. Do you have anything to say before the Lord Saruvyel passes judgement?'
Blagrog, who had been looking downwards ever since his capture, finally looked up. 'It is said we have committed the abominations of Capitalist exploitation at a inhumane level. Yet, I declare, what is our crime? What law have we broken? We have simply acted in our own best interests, and built our world after our own desires and fashionings.'
'You feel no guilt for the excessive and lavish lifestyles you have lived? For those in the world who have suffered conditions of life below poverty due to the corruption of greed your Corporation exploited its competitors with?'
'I say again,' responded Blagrog. 'What law did we break? Is it not survival of the fittest? Is it not the purpose of life to excel in all our entreprenurial endeavours?'
'Man,' said Satan. 'Do you have no heart for those you use wilfully?'
'If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,' responded Blagrog.
Satan glared at him. 'Saruvyel. If you will pronounce your judgement.'
Saruvyel stood, and spoke. 'You are guilty of inhumane dealings and exploitation of humanity in ungodliness, greed and selfishness. These – MORAL – rules you have violated, with no sufferance to your conscience, are the witness all of us know you have perpetuated. You, and those with you, are exiled. To Farpoint. And may God have mercy on your souls.'
And so the judgement was given, and the punishment had been decreed.
And life went on.
Later on, Ambryel and Daniel were having a discussion. 'We need God. More so, I feel, now than ever,' said Ambryel. We need him to intervene in Moonflower affairs, and help us to watch over those on Terra who could cause such concerns again. We can't cope without his guidance.'
'He won't be happy. Blagrog has violated the heart of Moonflower, with his operatives here, and even now I feel the spirit of their hedonism within our walls. I fear he has a punishment due upon us, instead.'
'Why would you say such a thing?' asked Ambryel. Yet Daniel only tapped his nose.
The End of Book 24
Book 25 – Last Things
Ambryel and Daniel sat in the throneroom. God finally spoke.
“ENOUGH. I HAVE HEARD YOUR COMPLAINTS. I WILL CONSIDER THE ISSUE, YET, FOR THE TIME BEING, THE THRONE OF GLORY IS FORBIDDEN THE GODS OF Moonflower. I WILL NOT AGAIN SURRENDER THE CITY TO THE POWER OF THOSE WHO OPPOSE ME. BLAGROG DID AS HE WOULD, FOR SUCH WAS HIS DESTINY. YET IN HIS MILLENNIUM OF PUNISHMENT IN FARPOINT PRISON HE WILL LEARN JUSTICE, YET NOT REPENTANCE. THAT IS A LESSON I WILL TEACH HIM MYSELF. SO, NAY, I WILL NOT INTERVENE MORE GREATLY AS YOU DESIRE AS OF YET, FOR THE GODS OF Moonflower MUST PROVE THEMSELVES, AND TILL THEY LEARN TO DEFEND MY GLORY I SHALL SPEAK WITH THEM NO MORE FROM MY THRONE, FOR IT IS YOUR TIME TO RULE THE CHILDREN OF MEN.’
Later on, Ambryel and Daniel were having a drink together.
‘Things, it seem, have finally got back to normal. 4 years of hell, the world itself questioning just how much crap they have to deal with from the likes of ‘The Corporation’, for even now it still slumbers in its agendas. Even now,’ said Ambryel.
‘Blagrog’s corporation is still legal,’ responded Daniel. ‘They were used as a pawn in his ambitions, nothing more. They served in innocence, or naiveté more likely, yet they employ nearly 10% of mankind, and even now their regeneration programs show their sorrow at the abuse they had suffered. The Corporation exists for now, Ambryel, for they still serve goodness. It is their core agenda.’
‘Yet if Blagrog returns one day?’ asked Ambryel.
‘Then its dark agendas shall be reborn,’ responded Daniel. ‘Yet it is God’s chosen vessel for the learning of justice. It’s commercial heart is the heart of man’s lusts and desires in many way, and to vanquish this entity only paves the way for others, and of such others, well, how can we know what we will really get? It is the vessel where the pride of man learns his lessons, and it must be let be. It is the wisdom of God to do as such, and we must allow its continuance until a brighter and more enlightened era dawns upon them all. Dawns upon us all.’
‘Then things are as they should be,’ said Ambryel soberly.
‘Things are as they should be,’ responded Daniel.
And, thus, the gods of Moonflower returned to their normal lives, in running mankind, and as the year passed by, it was as if things which had been where no longer, and that a new beginning was dawning, a new destiny for Moonflower City and Terra, and a new series of challenges.
Yet what the future really held, well only time would tell.
The End of Moonflower City
Moonflower City 2: Those who do not learn from their mistakes are bound to repeat them
Book 1 – Dagzel Brintillios
Dagzel Brintillios was an angel of Moonflower City. In his heart he was. In reality he was a lonely guy, with a lonely heart, living on 'Prison Cell Alpha 14', which circled Farpoint prison, far out in space. Farpoint was a vast prison complex on a space station of hundreds of kilometres in diamter, but Prison Cell Alpha 14, of the 200 special prison cells in the Alpha Series for eccentrics, and the 144 Beta Series Cells for those with crude charms, circled Farpoint in orbit, with a host of about 500 residents, those of weird fetishes, which the world required purged from their very souls, as it were. Not the kind fitting for eternal life if they insisted on their oddities. Dagzel's problem was merely vanity, unlike many of his fellow prisoners, and he taught he was literally the anointed one of God Almighty, and corrupted many souls on earth teaching these truths via his online ministry for a while. Now he was tuck in Prison Cell Alpha 14, and was mostly over his madness, according to his prison warden anyway.
'Do you want to go home?' Jock Flaherty asked Dagzel.
'I guess. What harm could I do now? I mean, I'm mostly over my issues. Mostly. I still believe I'm something to God, but maybe not Messiah.'
'That's good. Well, I've read the reports, and I have put in approval for early probation, if you feel you are ready?'
Dagzel nodded. The rest was paperwork.
Dagzel spent his last few days on Farpoint, contemplating himself. Something was speaking to him – something inside. A change was needed. A change had to come. He had to turn away from the old way, and embrace a new beginning. And then there would be the passion he deserved in life, and then he would find his eternal calling.
He spent his last days, thinking those thoughts, and then the ship arrived, and they headed for earth.
As it fired away, he took one long last look at Farpoint prison, thanked God above he was leaving that hell hole at last, and turned to face his new destiny.
The End of Book 1
Book 2 – Back on Earth
Dagzel arrived home one afternoon, the cruiser landing on earth soil, and he rejoined his brother's family in 'Berridale' in Austraxia, and wrote to his parents. They were relieved he was over most of his madness.
Dagzel spent some time readjusting. He read magazines on popular culture, and tried joining various clubs, but nothing lasted much. They still thought him a bit weird. He went to religious places, but that only aggravated his old anxieties, and he left over with that. Ultimately, he was in his brother's home, out the back shack, and not doing much. And that is when the old man arrived.
'Do you want to be special, Dagzel?' asked the old man.
'Everyone wants to be special,' he responded to his guest.
The old man took out a bottle of lemonade, drank some, and said to him. 'Moonflower could use an assistant Kevinitor to my own duties. Are you interested?'
'Sure,' said Dagzel. 'But why me?'
'Because you are humble about it now. And I have an old nemesis by the name of Blagrog getting out soon, from Farpoint, and I need a special resource in a lesson he will be learning.'
'And I'm that resource?' asked Dagzel.
'You are that resource,' said the Old Man.
'Who are you?' asked Dagzel. 'Are you a special agent of God?'
The old man winked at him.
Dagzel looked at the old man, and queried him, but answered. 'Sure. Ok. I'll work with you. Kevinitor work will do. Without the glory I once thought was mine, life is ordinary anyway.'
'It always has been,' said the old man.
'But times change, right?' asked Dagzel.
'Times change,' said the old man.
Dagzel looked at him, looked at him slyly, and chuckled. Hey, it was a change, and living on Moonflower itself, who knew what adventures waited for crusy ole Dagzel Brintillios.
The End of Book 2
Book 3 – Ambryel and Kristabel
'Kristabel. What exactly are you doing?' asked a concerned god of Moonflower, Ambryel, to the goddess Kristabel.
'Don't move,' she said.
'I won't,' responded Ambryel.
'Ok. Now here goes,' said Kristabel.
A cut. Ambryel noticed a cut in his hair, and a drop of golden locks fell to the ground.
He turned quickly to Kristabel. 'A sin so grievous has never been committed,' he said in anxiousness as he grasped his precious hair.
'Oh, fiddlesticks,' said Kristabel. 'I know perfectly well the serum you take keeps your hair at exactly the length it always is and always will be. It will grow back.'
Kristabel picked up the golden locks of hair, and took them to the side of the room and placed the lock in a strange looking machine.
'What is the machine?' Ambryel asked Kristabel.
Kristabel stared at her brother, and looked off in the distance for a moment, and then refocused. 'The fella. The old fella provided it for me.'
'Oh. Him. Kevinitor,' said Ambryel.
'Yes. HIM,' said Kristabel.
'And what is the machine exactly?'
'A source resonator. He built it for me. Gave him the knowledge of CV which he told me in precise terms he already knew quite well enough thank you, and got this to me within 3 years.'
'I may sound stupid. Nay, I may sound like Daniel. But what is a source resonator?'
'CV,' said Kristabel. 'Can you analyze the DNA in the hair?'
'Doing so, Kristabel. I trust you have had a pleasant day,' responded the computer.
'Why is the computer analyzing my hair?' asked Ambryel, still puzzled at what was going on.
'Hello Ambryel,' said CV.
'Hello CV,' said Ambryel.
'Ambryel. I have located your source essence in backlog.'
'What is backlog?' asked Ambryel.
'Ambryel was born the Seraphim Angel Ambriel of the Realm of Eternity, in the beginning of beginnings. But before that he existed in worlds of preparation, where things were judged and analyzed on how successful they would become in reality by the wisdom of the Creator,' said CV.
'C C + 5,' said Kristabel, knowingly to Ambryel.
'Oh,' said Ambryel. 'I see.'
'Ambryel was 60th in the generations of the 70 worlds of preparation. These 70 worlds had a nether placed in their heart, a place of impossible realities and other fancies, which the creator later attuned to Apocryphal realities for the work of the harmonization of Lord Chronology and the Time Masters.'
'Fascinating,' said Ambryel sarcastically.
'The 60th world of preparation and the 60th Nether of Apocrypha are the heart of Ambriel's being, and he has walked through the realms of God since then, not changing much from my initial assessments. His source remains strong in the spiritual records.'
Ambryel took instant note on that. 'Where are these spiritual records maintained, CV?'
'In the aether. They can be accessed with divine approval, if he who is should provide the relevant technology.'
'We have a source locator,' said Kristabel to Ambryel, joyfully in relation to CV's statement.
'We have a source locator,' said Ambryel, attempting to nut out in his head all the things CV had been saying.
'You have a fascinating history, Ambryel,' said CV.
'Thank you, CV,' said Ambryel.
He looked at his sister. 'I am tired, and hungry. We can do this again, soon enough, and the new lesson on the past worlds has been fascinating. But I am off. Tomorrow dear Krissie.'
'Yes,' said Kristabel, and again seemed lost in her world.
Ambryel departed, and thought again on what had been said, and focused on the old man who knew everything. Kevinitor. He sort of had suspicions on him, now. Deep suspicions.
But no worries. Time for food. Time for sleep. And a brand new day of adventure in the morning.
The End of Book 3
Book 4 – Charming Conversation
'Ladies and gentelmen. If you will look to your right, there is the 'Iris of Infinity''.
The audience, having come around the corner of the walkway, looked to their right, and gasps were instantaneous at the sight of Eternity before them. Moonflower City hovered in the heavenlies, and it had a looking glass, specially created by God, which gazed upon an aspect of creation not seeable ordinarily. It was the Iris of Infinity, and it displayed a lightstorm of an array of multicoloured glory which, according to all reports, had been the handiwork of God at the beginning of the creation of their world. The audience was enraptured.
After a suitable period the guide led them on further, and they passed a cafeteria, as the human population were pleasantly entertained by the first visits of men to Moonflower. And all in the name of Unity.
'Charming. Aren't they,' said Satan.
Saruvyel did not look up.
'I suppose, if they had anything about them, you know. They would be gods too. But look at them. Ordinary. Mundane. HUMAN.'
'Who we serve,' said Saruvyel, staring at his papers.
'Apparently,' said Satan, and took another bite of his hamburger.
'Anyway, you could have vetoed Daniel's suggestion.'
'Oh, it sounded positively wonderful at the time. Politically correct and all that,' said Satan. 'The Council loved the idea.'
'Not all of us,' said Saruvyel.
'Better to be in touch,' said Satan mockingly.
'Indeed,' responded Saruvyel.
'Anyway, what's new?' asked Satan.
'Blagrog. Finished his time at Farpoint. Back on earth soon. Has made an application from Farpoint for the establishment of a busines. Named it 'Omega'.'
Satan looked at Saruvyel. 'You are serious, I take it?'
'I have the application here,' said Saruvyel. 'It was given to me to assess.'
'Approve it,' said Satan, and continued munching on his hamburger.
'Approve it? Sounds goddam like the last thing in eternity I should be doing.'
Satan smiled at him, munched on his hamburger and said again, 'Approve it.'
Saruvyel glared at the god, finally returned to his notes and, bewildered, said to himself 'Approve it. Genius!' with the slightest of mocking tones.
They continued their luncheon, and soon departed from each other's company. Satan thought on Blagrog, and the command he had given Saruvyel. God could have him in the deepest of shitpiles if this turned out not for the best. But hey, what was life if you couldn't live a little. And with Blagrog back in town, at least the headlines would be a lot more interesting, he cynically thought to himself, as he turned the corner, ran into the human touring party, almost swore, and spent the next 10 minutes explaining his work to a crowd of tourists who just jolly well made his day.
The End of Book 4
Book 5 – Dagzel's Duties
'So your the new guy,' said Daniel, sipping on a soft drink in an archive of Moonflower.
'Aye,' nodded Dagzel, who was working on the polishing of some parts of a machine in the archives which the old man had deconstructed and asked the new guy to clean up.
'We've had a lot of new faces, recently,' said Daniel, and sipped again on his drink.
'Aye,' nodded Dagzel again.
'All these tourists from Earth. All the gods are beside themselves. Every corner you turn around, blam. A host of tourists. But we gods love you guys.'
'I'm sure you do,' responded Dagzel.
'Your cleaning an older piece of machinery, I see,' said Daniel. 'Not used that much anymore. Views data on a plastic film, through the viewer. We have all mankind's knowledge stored on those films. We still get an arrival every week, you know.'
'I know,' said Dagzel. 'I have been filing them. It's one of my jobs.'
'Fascinating,' said Daniel. 'I mean, everything is accessible in the online databases on Moonflower, and we can speak to the Onboard computer to request any information we choose. But I suppose there is a use in having a physically accessible hard copy of the information we rely on.'
'I'm sure there is,' responded Dagzel, a little frustrated at the constant barrage of statements from the god.
'The data can't be corrupted through dangerous hackers, I suppose,' said Daniel.
'I guess,' replied Dagzel.
'If ever a thing was possible on Moonflower. Which it isn't',' finished Daniel.
'No,' finished Dagzel.
Daniel watched on for a while, sipping on his soft drink, not trying to pry, but he had a quiet day. Not much happening in his earthly dominion which required his attention at the moment, and the outlying new terrestrial planetary bodies were all working according to protocol quite satisfactorily. Nothing to do apart from bug the new guy, really.
'Do you like living in Moonflower?' Daniel asked Dagzel.
'Oh, its ok,' responded Dagzel. 'The views are fantastic, and the spirit here is lovely.'
'You can thank Ambyrel for that. He prays over the city every night for an hour, praying for everyone of us. He is a faithful steward of God.'
'I pray. Now,' said Dagzel. 'I had a lot of problems with it once. But I pray for good things, now. For goodness to happen.'
'That's awesome,' said Daniel. 'And good things come to those who wait.'
'Let's hope so,' said Dagzel.
Daniel continued watching, sipping on his drink, and Dagzel, seemingly with old experience, cleaned and polished up all the working parts of the viewing device and, carefully, as the old Kevinitor had instructed him, put the thing back together. It took quite a while, but Daniel was bored that day, and felt he may as well interact with the new help.
'Do you have any long term ambitions?' Daniel asked Dagzel.
'To rule Moonflower City,' said Dagzel grinning.
'Then I wish you luck. Send my regards to Saruvyel,' said Daniel, smiling in response.
'Will do,' said Dagzel, saluting.
And so they chatted, and the day turned, and Dagzel got to know Daniel, and Daniel got to know Dagzel, and life went on in its merry hum and drum in the lives of the gods of Moonflower City.
The End of Book 5
Book 6 – Kristabel and Meludyel
'Cherubim. Not Seraphim,' said CV.
'Oh,' responded Krystabel, slightly shocked. 'I just assumed Seraphim.'
'No. Cherubim in the Worlds of Preparation. The Seraphim Krystabel does exist, but is different to yourself.'
'Tough luck,' said Meludyel. 'You can't win them all Krissie.'
Kristabel looked off into the distance, as she did. 'No,' she said after a while. She turned to Meludyel. 'Who is our dinner guest?'
Just then the buzzer rang, and Meludyel looked at the door and then back at Kristabel. 'Dagzel.'
'The new Kevinitor?' asked Kristabel. Meludyel nodded.
The door was opened by Meludyel at a request to CV, and Dagzel stood there, a camera in his left hand, smiling.
'Come in,' said Meludyel. Dinner is ready.
At the table Meludyel looked at her guest. 'You are enjoying your time in Moonflower?' she asked him.
He nodded. 'It is – illuminating. I have only recently returned to earth, having been at Farpoint.'
'We all make mistakes,' said Kristabel.
'And sometimes we get forgiven,' said Dagzel.
'Have some pasta,' said Meludyel, passing a dish to Dagzel, who spooned some out.
'Do you have ambitions?' asked Kristabel.
'Working here is glory enough, you would think. But I have a destiny – apparently,' replied Dagzel.
Kristabel looked at her guest for a moment, as if considering those words. Then she returned to her meal.
'Everyone has a destiny, Dagzel,' said Kristabel. 'For some it is glory, and for others they walk the more mundane ways of life. But we all have one. It is what we are in the hands of our creator.'
'Do some destinies end?' asked Dagzel.
Kristabel looked at Meludyel and then at Dagzel. 'You know, that is a difficult question at the best of times. The spirit returns to God who gave it, so they say, and I know that some people have fallen away from this eternal life. Some are now gone from us. Were they are now, if anywhere...' she left off, with hands in an open gesture.
'I hope for an eternal life,' said Dagzel.
'Then that is what your destiny surely is,' responded Kristabel.
When dinner was over they sat watching some of the Screen entertainment for a while, some comedies from earth from Kristabel's nation, and they laughed and had a good time. Meludyel was watching Dagzel, who seemed a little nervous, but was settling in. She noticed something on him. It was like there was a former person there who was encountering change. New developments in his life, and was taking in a new world of hope, a fresh beginning. She felt in herself, at that moment, a strange affection for this new Kevinitor, as if he had within him, likewise, a particularly strong affection for others.
'I was wondering,' said Dagzel. 'Could I get some photos of you two. It is why I brought my camera. The old man gave it to me.'
'Certainly,' responded Kristabel.
Dagzel took a number of photos of each of them, and smiled. It was an instant film camera, and the photos developed in the camera practically immediately.
'I'll treasure them forever,' said Dagzel, smiling warmly.
Meludyel touched his arm. 'You are a treasure to Moonflower. I sense real goodness in you, friend. And it is as if you have made a life change. Am I wrong?'
Dagzel looked at her, and then looked downwards before answering.
'I spent a lot of time in prison. And then the old man found me and gave me a new start. And I have been feeling, within me. Within my heart – a change. A spark I hadn't noticed before. Oh, it probably wasn't even there before. I always wanted, before, to be someone special. A messiah of glory, if you know what I mean. But I was crazy about it all. But something has changed, now. Something has changed.'
'And that is always the start of eternal life,' said Kristabel. 'When the divine places his mercy upon us and calls us as his own.'
Dagzel smiled warmly, and indicated he was ready to leave, but both goddesses insisted on hugging him, and he looked a touch embarassed.
'Oh, well. See you,' he said.
When he had gone, Kristabel poured out a glass of wine, and sat down watching the comedies. Meludyel joined her.
'A lovely fellow,' said Kristabel.
'Very,' said Meludyel, thinking on Dagzel, before chuckling at some of the humour on the screen.
The End of Book 6
Book 7 – Eternal Wisdom?
'Prepare to die, Ambs,' said Daniel from the speaker.
'I am sure I am ready to die,' said Ambriel, looking at his army about to engage Daniel's in another wargame they were playing on the Computer against each other from each their own domiciles. 'But not at the hands of Lord Xaddadaxx the Fowl.'
'The Fowl?' queried Daniel. 'Nay, it is Lord Xaddadaxx the Mutilator today, for thine forces are stuffed.'
'Heard it all before,' yawned Ambryel.
Meludyel, watching Ambryel, seated beside him in his domicile, was amused, but turned back to the text she was reading. It was called 'Wisdom of Eternity' by an ancient earth author.
'Here,' said Meludyel. 'I think this is appropriate for the two of you. Listen to this. “Wisdom is often overlooked, hidden in repentant hearts.”
'Then Ambyrel has eternal wisdom,' said Daniel. 'For he will repent eternal at his dismal display as I decapitate his vain Avatar.'
'Bite me,' responded Ambryel, as the battle commenced.
Meludyel reread the quote then looked at the screen. 'Fear Not Ambryel, Fear not,' she said. 'For if Daniel should indeed ever repent of his atrocities, God himself would be giving assent to the humblest and wisest being yet imagined.'
Daniel spoke. 'Nay, fear not Ambs. I spare ye this day. For a brunette beast has arisen (Meludyel was brunette) with vile tongue and crude mock, whose wisdom shall truly be greater than infinity itself, for her repentance of her harlotry shall be without equal when Lord Xaddadaxx has finished with her.'
'Hang her high,' said Ambryel, smiling at Meludyel.
'Indeed I shall,' said Daniel dramatically. 'And the fowlest pit of hell will look better than her ghastly remains when I am done. Bwah ha ha har.'
Meludyel giggled and said 'Bite me, Daniel,' but his mocking laughter was without equal.
Daniel and Ambryel played on for a while, and the battle waged, but Daniel withdrew troops after a while, not wanting to risk too many of his hardened warriors against Ambryel's elite. It was a long campaign, and many of the gods were engaged in the current battle being waged throughout Moonflower, so Daniel could not afford to lose to many troops to blondie, as he liked to call him.
When he was finished, Ambryel got up and went to the fridge and brought back a can of soft drink, which he opened, and sat down next to Meludyel on the couch.
'How goes it Mel?' he asked her.
'Do you know Dagzel?' she asked him.
'Uh, the new guy. Yeh. Friendly. Very kind. I seem him around.'
'There's something about him,' she said. 'Something I can't put my finger on. As if there is something coming up involving him, or....I don't know. Like he is favoured.'
Ambryel thought on that. 'Perhaps he is a lesson for us. About the humility in man, who can turn to God after a trial in darkness.'
'You know about him then?' she asked.
'I'm informed,' he responded, sipping on his drink. 'Anyway, let's watch some shows. There's a new superhero movie from one of my nations comic companies just made. I have it in my databanks. Wanna see it?'
'Sure,' she responded.
They watched for a while, and the action was intense, but Meludyel's mind was on Dagzel. There was something going on, some work of God's at the moment, and she was curious as to just how Moonflower would be affected in days to come. But then the action started heating up, and she was curled up next to Ambryel, and thoughts of Dagzel were put to sleep, left for another day.
The End of Book 7
Book 8 – Saruvyel's Soliloquy.
Saruvyel gave a soliloquy. Yet there was an audience of one, Dagzel, sitting next to him in a cafeteria of Moonflower.
'Moonflower City is the pinnacle of Glory, of God's good creation,' began Saruvyel, in his response to Dagzel's request to tell him all about the city. 'It is unlike any other thing conceived, any other thing created by the wisdom of God. It is the nub of eternity, the central pinnacle of authority which, as the empire of our dominions expands throughout the universe, will grow eternally. We, the 1000, are the gods of Moonflower, and we rule in the Authority of the Almighty Creator, in service to Firstborn, Lord Satan, carrying out our prime directives of nurturing and guiding mankind in its eternal destiny. This city of the skies is designed to reflect the glory of God's all knowing love and wisdom. Each creation within Moonflower has purpose and point, each avenue, each lookout station, each room, each article of permenant furniture and furnishings – all has a purpose of symmetrical and aesthetic delight and perfection. It is a wonderful, brilliant and amazing place to live and we gods find the true favour of grace and love in our creator in being allowed such benevolent glory. Yet not us alone. All the children of men who walk with him and find eternity, in time, can find a permanent place in our dominions and worlds, be it a business empire or a public position, or some other avenue of success in life, all can find an eternally growing reward once they dedicate themselves to principles of truth and obedience to the mandates of Moonflower city. We are for the blessing of all mankind, who we serve faithfully, and prove the blueprint for the eternal wisdom and mind of the plan of Almighty God. We are in heaven, in a very real sense, and Moonflower, well.... what can I say. It is my home. It is my heart. And I love her deeply and undertake my role on the counsel with dedicated seriousness and devotion.
'Amen,' said Dagzel. 'Can I get a photo?'
Saruvyel nodded, and after Dagzel had taken some shorts he spoke. 'I have been wondering. It's a new idea I have. One which involves Moonflower. Promoting it to mankind.'
Saruvyel looked at him. 'Promoting it?'
'Sure, you are the ruling authority, but I was thinking of forming a business of goodwill, with various celebratory aspects and promotional materials aimed at promoting knowledge of all the good work Moonflower does for mankind and how they are helping everyone's lives for the better.'
'Do you have a name for this organisation?' asked Saruvyel.
'Hope of Moonflower,' said Dagzel.
Saruvyel nodded. 'Sound's like a good idea. Look, draw up a draft document, and I will present some of the key points at counsel for you.'
'Do you think they will approve?'
'You never can tell on these things, Dagzel. Especially on someone like yourself and your checkered history. But everyone deserves a Britney at a new beginning. Time will tell, my friend. Time will tell.'
'Then that is good enough for me,' responded Dagzel.
They chatted on for a while longer, and eventually Saruvyel excused himself, leaving a happy looking Dagzel looking at his photos and continuing to plan out his amazing new destiny.
The End of Book 8
Book 9 – Further Charming Conversation
'Anyway,' continued Saruvyel. 'He wants to call this project Hope of Moonflower. He drew up a comprehensive business plan, actually. All sorts of suggestions and ideas.'
Satan nodded, and continued munching on his pasta salad.
'I mean, could work well for Moonflower. A good promotional opportunity. Helps when someone is a driving force behind an idea. They bring their own passion and vision to the work.'
'Sure,' said Satan. 'Sound's ok. Take it to the counsel. I have no objections.'
'Right,' said Satan.
Satan yawned after a while, and looked around the cafeteria. 'You know. Moonflower, in the end, is ok enough I guess. Me, I prefer to mix, these days, down in Hell with my own crew of besties.'
'You are such a goth, Sat,' said Saruvyel.
'Perhaps I am discovering my true self,' said Satan, grinning.
'Perhaps you are,' said Saruvyel grimly. 'Please pass on my best wishes to the damned by the way. Funny how their lot in life has been gradually improving, by the way. With your presence and, most naturally nothing to do with that.'
'You accusing me of pulling strings?' asked Satan with a sideways glance.
'Heaven's above. Would the Lord of Moonflower ever act corruptly?'
'Exactly,' said Satan, and finished off his salad. 'See you this afternoon at the bar upstairs. I have paperwork to look into. Still have to run this damn thing.'
'Humph,' said Saruvyel. He was well aware of his own mammoth workload and the power of Satan's brilliant delegation skills.
Satan left, and Saruvyel tapped away at his little laptop for a while, when the angel who had been seated next to them for the conversation interrupted him.
'Hope of Moonflower, you say?'
Saruvyel turned to the goddess. 'Yep. Hope of Moonflower. I can get you a copy of his business plan if you want to read it. Lots of great ideas, really. Quite impressive. I sense some deep thinking in it.'
'But its called Hope of Moonflower you say?'
'Gloryel, Gloryel, Gloryel. Yes its called Hope of Moonflower.'
The goddess of Moonflower, Gloryel, smiled at Saruvyel. 'Were does this Dagzel reside?'
'Check an information desk or ask CV. But what gives?'
Gloryel looked at him. 'Nothing. Nothing gives.'
'Whatever,' said Saruvyel, and glanced at her suspiciously for a moment, before returning his focus to his laptop.
Yet Gloryel, her mind abuzz with the title 'Hope of Moonflower' was lost in thoughts, and deep inner workings of her spirit. Something connected on that. Something eternal. And she would look into this Dagzel, find out just what his plans were and, perhaps, even perhaps, get involved. Something said to her heart, Destiny is at work dear Gloryel. And she would chase that destiny and find out just where it would lead her.
The End of Book 9
Book 10 – Inconsistencies
Kristabel was in her garden, outside of her abode, in Moonflower City. She was watering her Moonflowers, yet, of course, all the gardens had self watering mechanisms anyway, yet Kristabel was a keen gardener and enjoyed the personal touch. She was in a world of her own, watering, occasionally pruning of a dead stem or the like, and humming to herself. But occasionally she would pause, look off into the distance as she was wont to do, as if something deep within her was contemplating something deep within the mystery of life, and then come to herself and continue with what she was doing, as if nothing had occurred whatsoever. That was a very noticeable trait of Kristabel the Seraphim, obvious to all who knew her well, yet usually dismissed as a personality quirk in their dear sister.
Moonflower City had an abundance of Moonflower gardens on the outer areas of the city, yet on the upper decks, the central gardens were truly magnificent. Kristabel, though, usually restrained herself from that glory, taking quiet comfort in her own space and her own corner of the world.
Kristabel was an angel with good love and good conscience and, as all the gods and goddesses of Moonflower did, she ran a worldly dominion, of which she was awarded various titles of honour, often queen or empress, and she would visit her earthly dominion from time to time, and even some of the outer worlds, now growing, having taking a suitable amount of the generally freely available worlds in the general roster. That much was a standard ration, and all that Kristabel every really bothered attempting to achieve for herself. Yet that stood for but 10% of the newly created worlds when they became available – the general roster and ration – for the remainder were claimed each other from the remainder of the 1000 gods of Moonflower through competition and deeds of valour and glory in the various contests they regularly undertook against each other. Daniel and Ambryel, for example, had long ago reached a tacit unspoken agreement that they would secretly help each other in the main online Battle Games of Valour to ensure one or the other finished victorious and claimed a great prize upon allocation of their spoils. And while Meludyel knew of this truth, she had been sworn to secrecy. Cunning devil's the both of them. Yet there were more than battle games and computer victories, but prizes awarded from counsel for wisdom in adminstration and success in your earthly dominions quality of life success principles and general happiness of the populations, noted by surveys and the like. Even earthly jousts and other things had occasionally been employed, something Satan himself liked to get involved with, more for the hell of it, to demonstrate their valour and obvious fitness for rulership and extension of glory. But not for Kristabel, apart from a work of charity she was undertaking in the general 'Field of Accomplishments' category. She knitted toy teddy bears, small ones, and delivered them personally to charity on earth. They were all recorded by an information desk attendant, who entered the details, and ever 10,000 teddy bears, she gained a number of new worlds from the additional planets. It was steady growth above the standard allocation, yet it suited her style, and she was committed.
Kristabel, finished with her work for the day, came inside, took a glass of water, and sat down on her couch.
'Tell me about the worlds of Pre-Existence. The foundational worlds.'
'They exist in the heart of God. And still do in many ways. Yet, if one truth remains, that truth is inconsistency. For when one thing is expected, another thing occurs.'
'Quite precisely,' responded the Computer.
Kristabel sat there for quite some time, drinking her water, thinking on that thought. Inconsistency. Unexpected. If one thing is guaranteed, you just won't know what it is. How wornderful. And so much for the machinations of fate and destiny.
'Oh well,' she said after a while, and got to her nightly meal, and later, watching some shows on the screen, had forgotten CV's words, but soon enough, they would be in the thoughts, in the deep thoughts and contemplations of Kristabel, godess of Moonflower City.
The End of Book 10
Book 11 – The Corporation Anew
It started small. Again, small, doing various butchery trades, and then snapping up other companies who needed investors. And it grew rapidly, because it had strong finances supporting it. Corporation Omega, which the people hadn't forgotten, they took to again pretty quickly anyway. It was like that – in the heart of man. Somehow, if an organisation was suspicious, but gave you what you needed, it was trusted, and they allowed drug lords to run rampant behind the scenes, very cold policies on gamblers in their casino's and their debts, the worst loan sharks in the business and hostile takeovers worldwide. Those who don't learn from their mistakes are bound to repeat them.
But Blagrog, still, had softened a little. The genuine degree of Altruism, alongside cold, hard commercial success, for which Omega was known for, had grown a little stronger. She was still the ultimate Babel, the ultimate of the ideal of the self-made power person and family, and that is how she paraded herself, and that is what she delighted in. But a little more soul, through the suffering of Farpoint, had entered Blagrog's heart and, this time, when Moonflower sent in Judges and came themselves at times, with questions and raised eyebrows, the various boards said 'What's the problem?'
Lions who devoured flesh, who believed themselves gentle little teddy bears.
Yet, this time, Moonflower would tolerate it a while longer. They were not, strictly speaking, quite breaking the law yet. Their practices were ruthless – yet legal – and they did seem, somewhat, a kindly bunch. There was a heart inside them, and they even did more good works programs for mankind than last time.
Omega was here to stay – for now. Better the devil you know.
Blagrog found himself with the old man, out in an outback shack, drinking warm lemonade.
'It's going better,' said the old man.
'This time its working. We'll get even better results than last. We'll end up ruling them all.'
'Ever wonder about competitors?' asked the old man.
Blagrog stared at him. 'Hey, we're the ruling elite. Who can compete with us? What, is there some new superhero out there, some grand deliverer, who will lead the world to a bright new future? I don't think so.'
The old man sipped on his lemonade, and looked squarely at Blagrog.
'You suffered bad in Farpoint, didn'tcha,' said the old man.
Blagrog nodded. 'It was a pretty shitty existence.'
'I know someone who suffered worse,' said the Old Man, and glared that glare he had.
Blagrog looked at the old man. He knew when not to speak.
So Omega came, and built again its agenda. And this New Babylon of Glory seemed to still fill a hole in the heart of mankind which, in its questionable values and sense of mercy, yet sheer outright business glory, which no work of charity ever really could. People still knew were their bread was buttered, so it seemed.
The End of Book 11
12 – Luncheon in the Citadel
The goddesses were gathered. A host of them anyway, in the main upstairs cafeteria of Moonflower City.
'You know,' said Aquaryel. 'Gabryel has continued to demonstrate that of all the god's, his dominion is by far the best and smoothest run.'
'But boring as a tack,' said Kayyela.
'Oh, and Calodynn is the font of divine wisdom, I take it?' responded Aquaryel.
Kayyela poked her tongue out in response.
Kristabel, knitting away, looked at Aquaryel for a moment, and then looked far away. Then it entered her head 'Cherubim – NOT Seraphim'.
'Oh, that's right. Gabryel too,' she said to herself. Cherubim and not Seraphim.'
'What was that, Krissie?' asked Aquaryel.
Kristabel looked at her compatriot for a moment, before smiling and saying 'Nothing,' and returned to her knitting.
'Well I think Ambryel is obviously the most decent of the gods,' said Meludyel.
'Yet the Lord Satan rules all,' said Aphrael dramatically, finishing off her vanilla milkshake.
'You know,' said Aquaryel, picking off petals from a Moonflower. 'Life is like a Moonflower.'
The goddesses stopped to listen.
'Well, its beautiful for one thing. And has a charm and a mystery all of its own.'
They all smiled at that.
'To me,' said Kayyela. 'Life is like a box of chocolates.'
'How so?' asked Aquaryel.
'There are so many opportunities which are tempting, that we take forever to reach our decision,' finished Kayyela.
Kristabel had been listening carefully, but continued knitting away.
'If there is one thing life is like,' said Aphrael. 'It's you shit and you shag, and spend half on the rag.'
The goddesses all chuckled at Aphrael's dark humour.
When they had departed for the day, Kristabel and Meludyel made their way out to the main Moonflower Garden's of Moonflower city.
'To me, if life is anything, its a puzzle,' said Kristabel absentmindedly.
'Which we have to work out,' responded Meludyel softly.
Kristabel looked at her, and then off in the distance. 'Mmmm,' she responded after a while.
Meludyel was unsurprised at the reaction.
The End of Book 12
Book 13 - Daniel's inquisition
Daniel had been talking with Kristabel about the worlds of preparation. Another, apparently, computer related term had come up. X X 4 D X.
'CV. What is X X 4 D X?'
'Reverse it' said CV.
'Why?' asked Daniel.
'Why not,' said CV, a slight tinge of mockery in her voice.
'Your exasperating,' said Daniel.
'And your such a male, responded the computer.
Daniel almost gasped, but shut up What kind of idiot argues with AI.
'Ok. X D 4 X X,' said Daniel.
'That's better,' said CV. 'I do recall talking with Kristabel on this subjects. It's an operating system. Utilized like C C + 5. A more advanced one. Accessed the webnet.'
'What is stored on X D 4 X X?' asked Daniel.
'It is in the aether,' responded CV. 'The whole history of pre-existence exists in the substructures of the spiritual aether. It is in a concentrated form here in Moonflower, but it resides all over earth.'
'Interesting,' said Daniel to himself. 'What is in X D 4 X X, though?'
'Higher information. Higher level's of authority were required by the emerging hierarchical structures over the history of the 70 worlds of preparation, for individuals to access more senstitive and important infromation which would assist in greater individual success and ability to achieve positions of authority in society. The elite ruling classes in the 70 worlds of prepration had access to X D 4 X X.'
'Anything more sensitive? More elite?' asked Daniel.
'You only have level 45 clearance,' said CV, again a slight tinge of mockery in her voice.
'Thank you very fucking much,' responded Daniel. 'You know, if I didn't know any better, I would think you were almost alive.'
He got about his business for the rest of the day, and had his dinner, did some research on new mining techniques being undertaken on some of his outlying dominions, and was thinking that the potential new technology could perhaps be traded well to other dominions. Then he relaxed for the night, and watched some comedy shows on the screen, sipping on soft drink, and having a good laugh.
When he finally retired for the night, he noticed, looking up at the ceiling, CV's intercom voice light was still active. A rare stuff up in the system, he thought to himself.
And then he snuggled down and tried to find some sleep.
But, as he was about to drowse off, a feint voice, CV, finally responded to his statement, in a very, very low volume. 'What makes you think I'm not,' said CV, and the intercom light finally flickered off.
Daniel barely noticed.
The End of Book 13
Book 14 – Information
'You haven't spoken to me of the 70th world,' said Daniel.
'You have only been making inquiries about C C + 5 for the most part,' responded CV. 'I am not here to choose your questions.'
'Shaddup CV,' said Daniel softly. The CV went silent.
Daniel thought on an idea, got off his ass, and went walking down to one of the lower archives. After going through 3 of them, he found his desired object in the fourth.
'Old man. What is your name, anyway?'
'You can call me Wolfgang,' responded the Old Kevinitor.
'Wolfgang!!?' exclaimed Dagzel. 'Your name is bloody Wolfgang?'
The Old Man smiled at Dagzel.
'Wolfgang,' said Daniel. 'How much do you know about CV?'
'I know enough,' responded the Old Man.'
'I do remember, you know, that when we emerged and Moonflower was built, you were the first hired worker for Moonflower.
The old man brushed his ID at his side. It had bold letters MFE1 printed on them, which stood for Moonflower Employee Number 1.
'So don't think you haven't been noticed,' said Daniel, squinting his eyes at the old man.
The old man just stared back.
'Wolfgang,' said Daniel. 'Ever notice anything different about CV. Something – non computer.'
'She's a bright girl,' said the Old Man, smiling upwards.
'Perhaps a bit too bright,' responded Daniel.
'Not sure what your driving at,' said the old man.
'She's AI. Artificial Intelligence. I mean, I know the diagrams for Moonflower were created by God and mankind's best technicians built her, but something funny is going on these days. Here artifical intelligence doesn't seem quite so artificial anymore. A little TOO real. If you know what I mean.'
The Old Man stared at Daniel in response.
'Well?' asked Daniel, frustrated.
'I didn't catch the question,' said the old man, which made Dagzel smile.
'Is there something about CV that, from your own observations one might have certain – questions? Of an uncannily real nature pertaining to the computer.'
Old Man stared at Daniel for a moment, and then spoke. 'CV. Please explain to Daniel of Shaldazzar your complex nature.'
CV remained silent for a moment, and then flickered to life. 'Humph,' she said to Daniel. 'You again. Your an idiot Daniel.'
'And she's getting pretty damn sarcastic as well,' said Daniel, looking at the old man.
'The Creator of the Universe infused an element of life and knowledge to access the spiritual aether, as I was placed within my AI mainframe Database Network in the heart of Moonflower. My name is Luna. Yes, I'm damn real, you idiot,' said the CV.
Hopefully that answers your question, said the old man, and returned to his work with Dagzel.
Daniel, a little stunned, just nodded and said 'Uh, sure.'
Once returned to his room, he finally spoke. 'CV. Your a bitch.'
Very softly CV responded. 'Oh, poo you.'
Daniel was not amused.
The End of Book 14
Book 15 – Hope of Moonflower
Dagzel got it up and running within 4 months. He had the product manufactured, all the policy statements, which had involved researching various Moonflower Law Protocol and Constitutional documents, as well as various other reference materials. He sourced his suppliers carefully, ensuring he utilized as wide a ranging source of the various dominions as possible, and then they launched the website, and inaugurated, with the support of Saruvyel and some of the gods in an ad, 'Moonflower Day'. But, while it did good work to promote the ideals and intents of Moonflower, it was, in the end, just another organisation to the populace. It was no 'Omega' – a place where the action was.
Dagzel, after a year or so of solid work, enjoying his duties running the organisation in an office given to him in Moonflower City, had found a truth growing, and abiding in his heart. A new beginning. A new love. A new mercy.
Somehow he felt better about it all. Somehow.
He had passion for Hope of Moonflower, and had committed to this, now, being his eternal duty in life. It gave him plenty of opportunity to promote his ideals and, way back when, when he thought himself something special, to perhaps now be that something special. His energy could be poured into it, and his passion. His whole way of life, really, dedicated to Hope of Moonflower. Dedicated to supporting the gods who ruled mankind. He never, once, doubted he was doing important work. Some afternoons, when a secretary came in to have him sign this or that contract or document, who would review it, sign it, and know he was doing some good in the world. In all his work, he really believed that – he was doing good in the world. And he enjoyed his work, and gradually, as time passed, the organisation prospered somewhat, but nothing really more than its core agenda was advanced in the hearts of the people. Just an avenue for the gods to promote Moonflower ideals. A good gesture organisation, and nothing more. But did it really need to be anything more than that? To Dagzel, what it could be, was a vehicle to bring the passion and hope of the eternal vision of Moonflower to mankind, and something of a cause to almost be worth dying for. But other's, really, didn't share that view. They weren't similarly excited by it. Just another branch of Moonflower admin.
So he refocused, and replotted, and asked himself, 'What am I doing wrong?'
He kept the message simple. Hope of Moonflower was about 'Kindness, Love and Simplicity', so the new ads maintained. It would broaden its scope of activities to more heavily integrate with society to bring the Moonflower way of life to everyone. And Dagzel found his passion in this, and hoped for success.
But it was still only marginal an improve.
There still lay yet an untapped resource, which Dagzel needed to achieve the glory desired and promised him.
And there was already others watching his organisation.
The End of Book 15
Book 16 – To Rule the World
Daniel was seated on a deck chair, the sun beaming down, out in the private Moonflower Garden of Kristabel the Seraphim. Kristabel was busy attending her gardening, doing what she did, occasionally making a comment about this or that, but usually lost in her own little worlds of thoughts. Daniel was well used to that.
Daniel himself was reading a cricketing magazine from his dominion of Shaldazzar. He was an avid cricketing fan, and enjoyed watching games on the 'Screen' which were televised from Earth for the gods viewing pleasures.
Satan was also present, hanging with the Danster and Kristabel, sitting, drinking a beer.
Daniel turned to him. 'I remember, once. Back in heaven. Before we manifest. You said something once. Perhaps related to C C + 5. You said you had memories. Old memories. About a life you lived before you lived your life, or something like that. Do you remember the worlds of preparation?'
Satan chortled. 'Ah, fuck no, Danster. A load of bollocks, most likely. No, that was something else. Look, forget about it.'
'Voices, figures, from my own imagination if anything now. I know you don't know my origin as the oldest, but I was with God in the beginning, in place with me and God and...............' he left off speaking.
'But I fell, in a way, from that paradise. But it doesn't matter, kapiche. This is my reality. Moonflower City is my reality.'
'I don't understand,' said Daniel.
'Then don't ask questions to hard for you,' said Satan. 'And pass me another beer.'
Daniel passed Satan another beer, looked at him puzzling for a moment, and then returned to his magazine. But then he looked at Kristabel, who had finished what she was doing, sat down, and was looking at him intently. She had something on her mind.
'Daniel. Why do you do what you do?' she asked him.
'To rule the world,' he replied curtly, and returned his focus to his magazine.
She seemed to take that in, and continued staring at him for a while, but then another question.
'Why not,' he responded. He gave her a frank, honest look and, for now, that seemed to satisfy her.
Later on, when he was back in his room, he couldn't get that question out of his mind. Why did he do what he did? What did motivate the heart of Daniel god of Moonflower? Why did he want to rule the world. Finally he told himself 'Because that's what we do,' but the question persisted well into the dreams of his heart that night.
The End of Book 16
Book 17 – Omega
Omega was growing – yet again. And it was starting to become a dominant thought in the dominions of Moonflower. It extended its base of operations from the central Terran power structures outwards, into the universe, as it attempted to gain more and more power and authority over the hearts of the children of men. And Moonflower did not challenge this, for people, in the end, were free. Even the gods of Moonflower knew that. People were free. Law would answer, in the end, of the Judgement of moral righteousness but, when the law was complied with, if New Babel was what people, in their hearts, chose - then New Babel was what they had a right to receive. And the gods of Moonflower, each and every one of them, would defend their citizens' rights to make those choices of freedom.
Yet, in truth, the second New Babel of Blagrog was a little less harsh a reality, a little more humane, a little more decent. The corruption wasn't quite there this time. A whole host of shady activity, but nothing technically illegal seemed to be going on. And they were watched, by a number of civil watchdogs, very, very carefully.
People inside 'Omega' felt, in many ways, they were the real future – the future of men. The one organisation which had the ability to compete and grow and lead and dominate. The one organisation which could shape the future as it saw fit. It was raw power – and it impressed many.
Magazine articles were written in the big business monthlies on Blagrog and the leaders of Corporation, they were celebrities in their own right, and people focused and centred on them as their icons of success. Even more than last time, Blagrog's reputation as a world leader had grown. People liked his style, his confidence, his sharp 'I don't give a damn' attitude. He was what they wanted, and he was what they got. And, as time passed, and Omega grew wealthier and wealthier, the gods of Moonflower continued to restrain from commentary on this great beast, for perhaps they saw more clearly a greater wisdom, a greater truth at stake. Corporation grew, bigger than last time and, as it grew, something further happened. It grew lavish. In the successes and glories it could afford, it spoiled itself, and enjoyed decadence, and enjoyed wealth and enjoyed pleasure. And it was practically obscene about it. It there was an organisation of debauchery with the world, that was organisation Omega. And while this was exactly what people thought they wanted, there were new opinions forming on the talk shows and in the magazines – healthier ones. Was corporation – the ultimate fast food world of power – readlly what was in everyone's best interests? And if not, who could ever possibly replace what everyone knew was the safest investment of all time? Who could ever?
Time would tell soon enough on that question. Time would tell soon enough.
The End of Book 17
Book 18 – Rise to Glory
Dagzel was being interviewed by a business magazine.
'So, Dagzel. Hope of Moonflower. 3 years in. Has the organisation achieved its key objectives?' asked the interviewer.
'Not yet. Not completely. But we're underway.'
'Bringing the good news of the Hope of Moonflower to the world,' queried the interviewer.
'You betcha,' responded Dagzel.
'Yeh,' replied the interviewer, the slightest tinge of cynical doubt in his voice. 'Good luck with that.'
Later on Dagzel was with the old man, and he looked at the old man. 'How do I get glory?'
'People are turning to Omega,' said the old man.
'Yes,' said Dagzel.
'Be with the youth,' said the old man.
Dagzel nodded. 'That will achieve glory, then?'
'You need a co-assistant,' said the old man. 'I know a gal who has been very interested for a while. Ask for Gloryel.'
Dagzel knocked on the door. A redheaded wonder opened it. 'Yo, Dagzel. Brilliant to see you. Get your arse in here.'
And he found out he was loved – and adored – and that his right hand woman had shown up, and they were going to take the world.
The message improved – it became clearer. Responsible gods doing responsible works, providing a framework of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in which people could find their dream. And they took this message to the kids, the children and the teens, and they sang songs, and did playcastles and painted faces, and hung around skate parks, and got involved with school curriculums and did school presentations and interviews and were everywhere with the youth.
And a few more years passed. And a generation was being won.
'It's working,' he said to the old man. 'And Gloryel is magnifique. We get along like a house on fire.'
'Just don't burn it down,' said the old man, the slightest of grin's on his face.
'Gotcha,' replied Dagzel.
And Hope of Moonflower began its rise to glory, competing in its heart in the way it desired, to be that representative of Moonflower to mankind, that bridge, were people could learn of the ways of liberty and justice and the will of the Most high Creator.
The End of Book 18
Book 19 – Saruvyel's busy day
Saruvyel, today, had a lot of work to do. But it was like that, at times, for the one who was the chief spokesman or secretary of the counsel, who lead and directed the general workflow of Moonflower as a whole, under the authority of Satan who, these days, bothered less and less with interfering, not caring that much what Saruvyel decided. Perhaps that was even for the best anyway. Oh, they rarely clashed. More of a meeting of minds which saw eye to eye quite readily on various issues. Perhaps a similar spirit in many ways. But, regardless, it was always easier for the obsessive Saruvyel not to be interfered with so that he could get down, get along with the business at hand, and rule the world. The whole point, as others were wont to say.
Saruvyel himself was a happy enough god of Moonflower. He lived on the eastern half of the city, with a view outside which was spectacular. Technically it was called the eastern half of the ship, but the ship fluctuated its dwelling above earth frequently, so it wasn't always pointed east. It was a standard domicile, were he ran the ordering of his dominion from, and he slept, at peace and enjoyed himself. Every few years, Kristabel would wander in, sit down on his bed, give him a wink, and they would relax and have a bit of nookie. She had tied herself to him, and he hadn't complained. And while they were yet to have offspring together in the new earthly realm, they had considered it. Some of the gods, now, had offspring. Some had settled into the eternal mate. God had judged, it would be eternally unjust of himself should he ever allow divorce between the gods, so that when they chose, make it forever. Saruvyel was very serious about that idea, because of it, and would wait a long while before letting his heart settle down on its final choice. But Kristabel was well in the running.
Today, Saruvyel had a lot of work to do, and looking busily at his notes, he walked into the counsel room, tapped the speaker, and started speaking.
'Counsellors, I want to bring your attention.....' but just then he looked outwards. 'Counsellors?' he queried again. The counsel room was empty.
'CV. What time is it?'
'2 in the afternoon,' responded CV.
'And Counsel is scheduled for right now, is it not?'
'Yes it is, Saruvyel.'
'And why aren't people at counsel, CV?'
'Just a moment,' said the CV.
3 minutes later. 'They are all otherwise pre-occupied, Saruvyel.'
'ALL OF THEM!' replied Saruvyel, amazed. Counsel numbers sometimes got low, but this was ridiculous.
'My apologies, Saruvyel. Yes. All of them.'
'Thank you CV.'
He stood there for a moment, looked at his notes, and, nothing better to do, wandered off to the cafeteria. He may as well enjoy an afternoon snack, because people were too damn busy for counsel today anyway.
The End of Book 19
Book 20 – Casual Conversation
Kristabel and Meludyel were having a tea party in Meludyel's outer abode. They were drinking lemon-ice tea and eating shortcake and having an altogether wonderful time of it all.
'Men are power mad,' said Kristabel.
'Women nurture,' smiled Meludyel.
'Mmmm. Men create problems,' said Kristabel.
'Women solve them,' responded Meludyel.
'Who can straighten out what God has made crooked?' asked Kristabel.
'A humble soul,' replied Meludiel.
'Mmmm,' said Kristabel.
They continued on in their afternoon tea for quite a while, and later on, when Meludyel had retired for the night, she thought on him who possessed a humble soul. Truly, of all the souls of moonflower, were would they ever find one of true humility?
Kristabel and Meludyel were having lunch in a central cafeteria of Moonflower. They were drinking juice, eating quiche and salad, and having an altogether wonderful time of it all.
'Men are power mad,' said Kristabel to Meludyel.
Right then Saruvyel walked past them, nattering to himself, his arms full of laptops and notebooks, a busy assistant beside him writing down notes.
Meludyel and Kristabel looked at them, and then at each other and smiled. They continued on with their party.
A little while later.
'Men Create problems,' said Kristabel.
Right then Ambryel and Daniel started storming down the corridor.
'And you can bite me too, idiot. Don't think I won't be lodging an official complaint with the gaming board of justice on your tactics,' said Ambryel to Daniel.
'All is fair in love and war, dickhead,' responded Daniel. 'If you can't handle the fight, go back to playschool.'
'Bite me,' said Ambryel.
'Sit on it,' replied Daniel.
Meludyel and Kristabel looked at them, and then at each other and smiled. They continued on with their party.
A little while later.
'Who can straighten out what God has made crooked?' asked Kristabel.
Right then Dagzel and Gloryel came on the scene. They were chatting up a storm, completely at peace and enthralled by each other. They came into the cafeteria, ordered their meal, and Dagzel, seeing Kristabel and Meludyel, smiled and bowed and said 'Good afternoon fair maidens. I trust all is well.'
Kristabel looked at Meludyel. Meludyel tapped her nose.
Later on, Meludyel slept well. Life had its ironies. It indeed had its moments.
The End of Book 20
Book 21 – Satan's Vacation
Satan was on holiday, in the outer worlds of his dominion, on Teletos VII. He was in a good mood, in board shorts, several bikini-clad ladies hovering nearby, on an expensive ocean resort, on a beautiful day. There was even a rainbow in the sky at the moment, so all things were sweet.
Technically, under divine paradigm, Satan, nor any of the gods or goddesses of Moonflower, should ever really engage in illicit affairs with the general populace. Satan didn't observe this rule. Satan never observed that rule. He'd had party girl after endless party girl delivered to his private abode in Moonflower cause, in the end, who checked anyway? God never commented, and Satan assumed, never would. But every now and again, yes, he noticed a slight prick on his conscience. A slight prick.
But today there would be no slight prick, apart perhaps from his own, having to worry about any such issues. On this holiday he was having a good time.
'Sweetie,' said Satan, to a nearby girl. 'Can you get me a cool drink. It seems to be getting hot.'
The girl looked puzzled, as the temperature hadn't changed and was quite moderate, yet nevertheless retreated to a drinks container, and returned with a cool beer.
'Thanks, sweetie,' said Satan, opening the can, and drinking it down.
'Fuck, its hot,' he said, a little later.
The girls were puzzled.
Then all of a sudden he went quiet, as if frozen in place.
He was in a dream state, and a large ship appeared. It was Moonflower City, wasn't it? No. No it wasn't. It was similar, but not the same. And it was metallic gold, not silver grey. Then, suddenly emerging from that ship, a small hover-cruiser, and it came up to him.
He looked at the main protagonist on board. The ship hovered right up to him.
''Yo bro,' said the figure. 'Long time no see.'
Satan almost quivered.
Another figure said, 'My my. Look how well we have done for ourselves.'
'Jerk,' responded Satan to that person.
Finally, one other figure said ,'Get your act together. Lad. Soon enough you'll see.'
And then the dream was gone. And he woke up.
The girls were hanging all around him, and he looked at them, stunned.
'What is it, lord Satan?' they asked, all bewildered.
'Death itself,' responded the Devil. 'Death itself.'
'The girls were beside themselves as to what he could possibly mean.
The holiday ended, and he got home, and the dream bothered him for a while, but then he let it go. Nah, it was just a dream. Best to leave it at that. Definitely best to leave it at that.
The End of Book 21
Book 22 – Climax
And so Hope of Moonflower found its new zest, and in the partnership between Gloryel and Dagzel, amazing things were done. The Moonflower agenda started catching on with the youth. The ideals and values of Moonflower became popular and central to many of their lives and, as a number of years passed, and youth became adults and entered workforces, less and less of them were impressed with the ministrations and machinations of Omega Corporation, and went about life with a better vision, a more hopeful plan. And Dagzel was becoming the icon or catalyst of inspiration for the plan in the minds of so many of them, for he was ubiquitous amongst the youth, and worked tirelessly and concscientously.
The fall of Corporation came through inevitability, more than anything else. They were not so much corrupt as, through indulgence, lethargic. They lost their edge. Their tactics became well known in the populace, and the newer companies were not such easy suckers. People started buying products and services from companies which maintained a 'Healthy agenda' with the populace, and, when all was said and done, they lost their reputations. New Babel had looked good for a while. But it was guilty of some of the 7 deadly sins, and people disavowed, especially amongst the youth, who had been so much more positively influenced by a program of life which gave them a more complete vision of life, a far better understanding.
The shares came down to next to nothing. The profit margin shrank, and everything was gradually sold off. And then, less than a century later, Blagrog was back in that outback, Markhing around, the money all spent, the glory gone. Broke.
An old man drove up.
'Get in,' he said.
Blagrog got in.
They drove forever, and reached the shack. The old man gave him lemonade from a fridge this time. 'I've had some good investments pay off,' said the old man, tapping his nose.
'What next?' asked Blagrog.
The old man stared at him.
The End of Book 22
Book 23 – Normal Life
Time had come and gone, and Corporation had died its death. And the world moved on, as it always did. Hope of Moonflower, though, continued to grow in the hearts and minds of men, for it had a positive attitude, a graceful attitude, a loving attitude. And that is what people, deep down, respected in the end anyway.
But on Moonflower City, life returned to normal, and with the ultimate demise of corporation, the gods congratulated Dagzel somewhat for making their job a whole lot easier.
'Kristabel,' said Meludyel, seated in the cafeteria.
'Who is the wisest angel of all?'
Kristabel smiled. 'I could not disclose my heart on such an issue, dear sister. Suffice to say I value wisdom in many places. Even truly those who are HUMBLE.'
Meludiel smiled. Good answer.
'You know, Krissie. In all my long life, I don't think I have ever really been happier. Ambryel is the perfect gentleman these days, and my time spent with him and Daniel makes my day. Life has a spark to it – a real spark now.'
'So what is a godess?' asked Kristabel.
'Without a god,' finished Meludyel, and nodded in agreement.
They sat there for a while, sipping on their drink, and eating their meal.
'One thing has been bothering me,' said Kristabel.
'And what is that?' asked Meludyel.
'Inconsistencies,' said Kristabel.
'Inconsistencies?' queried Meludiel.
'There are always inconsistencies,' said Kristabel. 'Just when you expect something one way, it drags itself down a new line of adventure.'
'Then whatever next will befall the adventures of Moonflower City?' queried Meludyel, sipping on her drink.
'Mmmm,' replied Kristabel.
They continued on with their lunch, and then departed each other's company, and went about their business.
And life in general, on Moonflower City, returned to just that. Regular business. But a new chapter was about to dawn, an unexpected occurrence, and life in Moonflower City would never be quite the same – again.
The End of Moonflower City 2
There was a time, long ago, and I do mean long ago, before the forming of the lands and waters, before the great spirit father who watched over the dragons made a home for them, that the spirit father warred with his son, the great serpent of old, the ancient adversary. And when he warred with his son, he at one point in his decisions decided to punish him, and through an act of rebellion, sensing his opportunity to teach his rebellious son a lesson, cursed him to the ancient serpent form which birthed our forefathers. For the serpent is a form from another world, an ancient world, in the heart of the universe, lost to us long ago, so long ago now. Yet the Serpent, in an act of contrition to the spirit father, was blessed with seven children, and these three males and four females are the forefathers of all of us, who we know as the divine serpent seed, the ancient dragons who now dwell with the ancient spirit father and the adversary in the heavenlies, yet who watch over us still, guiding us in the way we walk and the pathways we follow.
For, younglings, it is our destiny to walk the paths of our world till our dying day, thereupon to be gathered to the spirit world and our fathers and mothers and to know the truth of life eternal and to know the truth of the hidden meanings and to know the truth of the hidden loves.
Yet a time is coming in our world, a time of destiny, in which the new races will come forth, to challenge our authority and to attempt to establish their own rule. For long ago the spirit father created them, yet they rest at this point, hidden in our world, only to emerge at the end of days, when the war of powers will begin, leading us on to the fateful day of the gathering of doomsday itself, in which those who are triumphant shall rule our world forever.
Remember, learn well the lessons your elders teach you, and the ways of warfare, and the ways of survival, for in the time of testing which will come to us, should we fail, we will not see the ways of life again.
‘How many times have I told you, Hardluck? Wait until the land creatures have gathered in numbers on the plain. Should you swoop too soon they will scatter and the clan’s pickings will be scant, far too few to fill all our hungry appetites.’
The Golden Dragon Hardluck nodded soberly at his uncle ‘Robust’s’ rebuke. ‘Yes uncle Robust, I am sorry. Yet again I have showed myself foolish. My hunger has gotten the better of me once more, I fear.’
‘Yet let not your hunger lead to the clan’s. Learn patience, or learn to go hungry.’
Robust surveyed the land creatures, wild buffalo, roaming now in larger packs on the plain, having come out of the forest were they usually resided, away from their dragon predators. The packs seemed to be increasing in numbers so Robust signalled to the assembly of young dragons of the ‘Goldenfire’ clan to start the descent. As one, following Robust’s lead, they flew down from their lofty peaks on the Ravenforge Mountains, descending towards the plains below, ready to feast on their luncheon and to claim carcasses for their clan’s dinner.
Hardluck hit first, killing four buffalo quickly within a minute. The others had similar success and they had killed around 50 of the beasts before the rest had scattered, returning to the sanctuary of the forest and the trees which were awkward for the larger dragons to manoeuvre in. He feasted instantly, starved from not having eaten for three days, but he remembered to limit himself to a quarter of the beast to ensure enough remained for the rest of the clan. As the blood of the beasts entered his nasal cavities he snorted and clicked his teeth to cause the sparks of fire with the chemicals from the nasal cavities, igniting the blood and spurting out the red flames dragons spurted out. He breathed fire onto the dead carcass, as his mother and sisters always enjoyed cooked meat, whereas he usually ate raw.
Robust spoke. ‘It has been good hunting, Goldenfire clan. Good hunting. Now let us gather the beasts and return to the mountains, for the clan is hungry.’ With those words said the dragon’s gathered the carcasses into their large claws and took to the skies, steadily climbing upwards to their homes, high in the Ravenforge mountain ranges.
* * *
‘Good on you Stormfire. Good on you.’
‘Hah, hah, hah. You never win Hardluck. I guess you just have,’ he paused, ‘Hard Luck!’
The other dragons of the Goldenfire clan laughed at Stormfire’s sarcasm, congratulating him on again beating Hardluck at a game of ‘Frozen Wings’. This time Hardluck had frozen in the fall to the earth quite low before using his wings to fly before being hurt, but Stormfire had dropped just that little bit lower and had ‘Frozen’ his wings just that little bit more. And, thus, once again Hard Luck just simply had ‘Hard Luck.’
The group of 10 dragons came to the stream gushing forth from the base of Ravenforge Mountains and all started drinking deeply, thirsty from their morning’s activities. Stormfire, feeling naughty, gulped up some water and, signalling to the others to watch, spurted it on the unknowing Hardluck. The dragon’s laughed, but Hardluck was miserable. For so long he had been the butt of Stormfire’s jokes, and while his mother told him to love his cousin, uncle Robust’s son was challenging to get along with. But that was family, in the end. It could be difficult, but you had to stick together.
After they had drunk deeply ‘Frostbite’ suggested they climb to the topmost peaks of the Ravenforge’s to survey their territory. Stormfire led the way and as they climbed upwards, soon coming to the icy snow, the view grew more and more spectacular. Hardluck had climbed these peaks many times before, both with the clan and on his own, and the cold air at the top was exhilarating, making him feel so alive at times.
They came to the top summits and landed there, the 10 dragons all looking over the realm of the Goldenfire clan. There were 15 clans of Dragons all told who lived in their world, the world of Draxonis. The clans met regularly, each year, at the gathering of the clans in the heart of the world, were the lands came together. At that time they discussed the issues of life common to dragonkind and suitable young female dragons from the other clans were often sought out for mating. Mating came in early puberty for the dragons, just after their 11th year, when they were capable of siring children. But children did not come often, in fact quite rarely. But this was no problem, as dragon’s lived many long years and had ample opportunity to bring forth seed in that time.
The Goldenfire clan lived on the northern hemisphere of Draxonis, along with about 7 other clans, the other 7 clans living on the southern hemisphere lands. Draxonis was a lush world, with exotic plants and scenery, and many lesser animals of low intelligence, that the Dragon’s often fed upon, such as the buffalo. But the storyteller told of a time, not too far distant, when the first of the other races would arise, and a time of warfare and testing would come to them. And for that testing they knew they needed to be ready if their civilization was to go onwards.
Hardluck gazed out from his lofty peak out at the icy valley below, gazing southwards towards the lush green environs and the thick forests. The Ravenforge Mountains ran the northern edge of their continent, and beyond them were miles upon miles of thick icy snow leading to the top of the world were few ever ventured for lack of heat. The Goldenfire were the most northerly living of the clans, at the northern most point of the Ravenforge Mountains, and the clan was scattered in groups of families ranging in size from 50 to 2 or 3 hundred all along the Ravenforge. All told there were several thousand in Hardluck’s clan, perhaps as many as 10 thousand his uncle Robust once claimed.
‘Let’s do the Firestorm,’ yelled Stormfire. He was named after the firestorm, and it was one of his favourite activities, but of course it always took a lot of energy. ‘Come on Hardluck, you can be the funnel.’
Hardluck groaned, but agreed to his cousin’s request.
7 of the angels got together in a circle on the summit and Stormfire signalled for Hardluck to take to the skies just above the circle. ‘You ready Hardluck?’ yelled Stormfire. Hardluck nodded. Suddenly Stormfire started breathing fire upwards towards a central point near Hardluck and soon the other dragons’ followed him, all breathing fire towards the central point. When the flames were all burning Hardluck used his Psionic mind powers and, gathering the flames into a ball, concentrating on keeping them gathered, he waited until Stormfire yelled ‘NOW’ and let the ball of flame burst upwards into a magmatic silvery streak which blasted upwards, miles into the atmosphere.
The dragons watched as the flames belted upwards, gradually dissipating into the skies far above them. ‘That was, amazing,’ said Stormfire and the other dragons all yelled words of boast. Hardluck returned to the pack, his mind suddenly quite exhausted from having used so much of his Psionic power at once, and said to the group, ‘We best get home now. I am exhausted.’
Stormfire looked at him, was about to suggest something funny, but thought better of it, giving his cousin a break for a change. ‘Come on then,’ he yelled to the group. Hardluck is right. Let’s go home.’
They took to the skies, floating back down towards the camp, and as Hardluck glided downwards, his mind starting to recover, he wondered to himself once again just how powerful that Firestorm could be if the whole clan was involved. ‘I might find out one day,’ he thought to himself. ‘Maybe one day.’
* * *
Hardluck lay on the grass, under the forest trees of their camp, in the section set aside for his mother ‘Greentree’, his sister ‘Blackrock’ and himself. He was snoozing in the morning sun, half awake, half asleep and just enjoying himself. He’d had lovely dreams that morning, flying high in the skies, the envy of all the other dragons for his flying prowess. And then a rare aqua coloured dragon had appeared, called herself ‘Gemstone’ and said she greatly admired him. And then he had woken, happy as he could be.
He lay there, luxuriating in the warm spring sun, thinking over what he might get up to for the day’s activities. He had eaten the other day and would not need to eat for a while, but if he over-exerted himself he might have to eat soon. His spring days were filled, more often than not, with his explorations of the Ravenforge range and the valleys below. At times he was with the group of young male dragon’s his own age, but more often than not he was snubbed and deemed not quite as cool as the other dragon’s, who all seemed to follow his cousin Stormfire’s lead. In ways he envied Stormfire. He was an elegant gold and silver speckled dragon, the pride of his uncle Robust. Many felt, naturally, that one day Stormfire would take over from Robust as the head of the family for the Goldenfire Clan in this region. In fact, it seemed it was naturally assumed by all. Robust expected it – his mother expected it – and while Hardluck had fantasies of leading the family and being a dragon of worth, he suspected such glories would surely bypass him. But such was life – you didn’t always get what you wanted.
Sitting there his mind drifted back to his youth when his father ‘Ravage’ was still alive. Ravage had been the family leader but, when he had died in combat with a dragon from a southerly clan, Robust had replaced him. In his short few years with Hardluck, Ravage had taught his son that leadership qualities had to come from within and, while they could be taught somewhat, could only really be learned in the heart through a life of struggle. But Ravage had always said he believed in his son and that, when the trials of life had shown his merit, he would be left standing tall. Hardluck missed his father and thought on those words of encouragement often. And while he felt he was still growing up and becoming a strong and proud dragon, he realized he still had a long way to go. But one day he would make his father proud of him – he was sure of that.
Blackrock, his younger sister, came over and laid her head on Hardluck’s back. ‘Tell me another story, Hardluck. You tell such good ones.’
‘You never seem to get tired of my stories, sister. But I only know so many.’
‘Then tell me one you have told aforetimes. About the grand Black Dragon.’
‘Oh, alright.’ Hardluck rose up onto his legs and sat before his sister, beginning his tale.
‘The Black Dragon was a fierce and bold dragon. He was feared throughout all Draxonis for his might in war, and his majestic looks. But he had a soft heart, and the lovely white dragon ‘Gemma’ from a southern clan loved him and sought him out for mating. But the Green Dragon was jealous, and challenged the Black Dragon for mating rights. They fought. Long and hard did they fight, snorting fire, striking claw, drawing blood. But the Black Dragon was stronger, and emerged the victor. And the Green Dragon, retreating home, knew he had been bested and felt the shame of his defeat. And the Black Dragon and the White Dragon mated and had many offspring, and their legend, so they say, will never be soon forgotten.’
Blackrock clapped her claws, and rubbed her neck against her brother. ‘You tell such good tales. Thank you Hardluck.’ A mischievous look came into her eyes. ‘Let’s go for a swim. Down in the stream. It’s a warm day, so it would be nice.’
‘Oh, alright. I was enjoying my snoozing, but you talked me into it.’ The two of them took off, to the skies, flying down the valley a little to the flowing stream. A few others from their family were there, and they came into the water, splashing merrily. They were having such a good time, splashing away, playing with each other, that Hardluck hardly noticed a very new dragon coming into the stream to sip water. But Blackrock noticed.
‘Oh, who is she?’ said the startled Blackrock. ‘Her colours. She is so beautiful.’ Hardluck looked to were his sister was pointing and gasped. It was the Aqua coloured dragon from his dream.’
‘We hardly get other dragons up here. Shall we go talk to her?’ asked Blackrock.
‘Uh, I guess,’ responded Hardluck, who looked nervous.
As they approached the Aqua coloured dragon, who left off her watering to look at those approaching, Blackrock in her innocence said ‘Hi. I’m Blackrock. This is Hardluck. Who are you?’
The Aqua coloured dragon looked at them momentarily and then, seeming to decide that she didn’t want to talk, waded out of the river and departed.
‘What was her problem?’ asked Blackrock. ‘She could have at least said hello.’
‘Perhaps she is new around here, and was nervous,’ responded Hardluck.
‘Let’s go tell mum about her.’
‘Oh, ok,’ responded Hardluck. As they made there way out of the river and took to the skies to return to their mother Hardluck looked back, puzzled. This was generally the homeland of the Goldenfire clan, and while it was not strictly forbidden for other clans to hunt on their territory, it was usually asked beforehand at the council each year. Perhaps she was just lost. Perhaps there was no family with her. All sorts of questions ran through Hardluck’s head, but mostly he was curious about meeting the beautiful dragon from his dreams.
* * *
Greentree considered her children’s words. ‘Well, yes. It is unusual. I think that you two should take it unto yourselves to tell uncle Robust if you are worried. But we occasionally get other dragons from other clans roaming around here. I don’t think it is an issue of concern, children.
‘But she was so beautiful,’ said Blackrock. ‘What if she is lost?’
‘And how are those two points connected?’ queried her mother, to which Blackrock stuttered she didn’t know. ‘As I see it, the world of Draxonis is open to all of dragonkind and we are to live in harmony with each other. Certainly there are traditional hunting grounds for various clans, but they are tradition only. Not law.’
‘Yes mother,’ responded Blackrock.
‘So, she was beautiful was she?’ Greentree asked Hardluck. Hardluck shyly nodded, but said nothing.
‘Perhaps you may see more of her, Hardluck.’
They left off pestering their mother, and went off to play around the large clearing, but all afternoon Hardluck could not get the beautiful dragon off his mind and, that night, as he dreamed, the dragon again appeared to him and rubbed her neck against his. It really was quite a comforting dream.
Sensational Mega Bug
'Sandra Bullock. Calling Sandra Bullock.'
'Here,' said Sandra, putting up her hand.
The page boy didn't seem to hear her, and walked past her saying 'Sandra Bullock. Calling Sandra Bullock.'
'I'm here, you schmuck,' said Sandra, to no avail.
'Sandra!' said a voice. She turned. It was Mr Big. Warner Studios Mr Big. 'The role is magnificent,' he said.
'I've read the script,' she replied.
'It's the role of a lifetime,' he said.
'The main character gets killed in the end,' she said.
'It's a classic in the making.'
'She's turned into a zombie and blown away by Schwarzenegger, saying, Hasta La Vista, Baby.'
'It will be an epic of our time,'s aid Mr Big.
'Maybe the next one,' said Sandra. 'You know, not my thing.'
She was driving home to her Beverly Hills address, when she was driving past a vacant lot, which she knew was vacant, because tradition had it haunted, and the owners couldn't sell. It was late, around 11, and she noticed suddenly a bright Mega light burning inside the house.
'That's interesting,' she said, and decided to pull over to investigate.
The light burned brightly as she looked in through the window, but nobody seemed at home. She tried the door, and it was unlocked, so, taking her torch and turning it on, she ventured into the main living room.
The light was like an energy, burning brightly in the centre of the room. It was shimmering Mega. Suddenly a figure hovered in from the adjoining room. A dwarf - flying - all coloured Green.
'I am a Protector,' said the dwarf.
'Good luck to you,' said Sandra.
'We have chosen you. Whoever came in, it was agreed, would do. So it is you.'
'Wonderful,' said Sandra. 'Chosen for what, exactly?'
'The fourth Mega Bug. Now steady yourself.'
And she grinned at the sarcasm of the little Green man, but watched intently as the green energy suddenly burst forwarded, hit her right in the chest, and entered in.
'Whoa!' she said. 'Why did it do that.'
'Are you aware of McCracken Industries?' the Protector asked her.
'Biggest charity organisation worldwide,' she said. 'They do a lot of good.'
'Seek them. Jim McCracken is currently reinvigorated, and will explain you the job.'
'He's the Mega Bug,' she said.
'The second,' said the Protector. 'We are forming the Mega Bug Corps. There are 4 of you now. One day there will be a fifth, sixth and seventh. And then the Mega Bug Corps will be complete.'
Sandra laughed. 'So I'm a superhero now, am I?'
'You report to me,' said the Protector. 'Focus your thoughts, use your willpower, and the energy will link you to Planet Centralaxx and me.'
'Centralaxx?' she asked.
'Where I live,' replied the Lantern. 'Oh, and good luck. I think you will probably need it.'
'Thanks,' she replied, and the Protector hovered away. She returned to her car, and after reaching home felt it must have been a hallucination or something. But then she felt the green energy rising up, and knew she had gotten into something a heck of a lot bigger than the usual life of actress Sandra Annette Bullock.
Chapter 2: A Protector's Thoughts
The Protector hovered in the back of the Church. Truth Temple. What human's thought of the Truth, in Kannapolis in Northern Carolina. A woman was singing. 'Don't let anyone tell you that you're not loved. You're worth more than Gold.'
'A very positive message,' the Protector thought to himself. 'The heart of Centralaxxan wisdom. The value of the person. An interesting congregation. I might have to observe on occasion.'
The Protector left then, and returned to his ship, and started the voyage back to Centralaxx.
The Mega Bug Corps. It had been agreed. The Mega-Bug-Jewel had been studied, and they had obtained knowledge of its origin, and placed operatives were they needed to be. Paul Steele had been contacted, and had come to Centralaxx, and Daniel Grothe had been resuscitated like Jim McCracken, by the Protector's own power, and the three of them had been presented to the Council of the Protector's on Centralaxx.
The Protector recalled their initial presentation.
'We have planned for seven of you. The Ultra Warriors Corps does our work well. They follow in the footsteps of the Super Gladiators, but more is required for an ever-growing universe. We are commissioning you to watch over Sector Earth Prime, because it has become apparent that sector receives a fair share of trouble. Unendingly it seems. Ultra Warriors are always a concern, so we have chosen you to be our third power in the Universe, and in Sector Earth Prime we have crafted a commission of protection and rescue and safety for the Mega Bug Corps.'
'As long as the pay is good,' said Jim McCracken.
'The pay is adequate. You serve in charity,' replied a Protector.
'What's the canteen food like here?' asked Paul Steele.
'We have food appropriate for humans,' said a Protector.
'Do we get our own pad?' asked Daniel Grothe.
The Protectors looked at each with concern. 'Accommodation will be provided,' said the female Protector.
'Then it's up, up and away,' said Jim McCracken.
'Yes,' replied a Protector dryly. 'It's up, up and away,' which brought a stern look from the other Protector's.
The new choice. 'Sandra Bullock. He had followed the woman from a distance, and found out her name, and that she was actually of fame amongst mankind. No matter. That could be both a help and a hindrance, but she seemed to have accepted her calling. 7 members of the Mega Bug Corps were planned in total, but the fifth member not for a while yet. For now the green energy would dwell within Mega Bug four, and they would work their duty in protecting and guarding Sector Earth Prime, a place of neverending trouble it seemed. A female member as well, he had considered, should bring a good balance to the team. They would be a little more cautious, when in operation together, for women usually brought caution and prudence. Not as bold and foolhardy, as he had noted in behaviour's among the Ultra Warriors, who flew off recklessly at times. But an Ultra Warrior needed to use his or her instincts, so that was to be expected.
As he approached Centralaxx, he contemplated their duty. Guarding the universe. Preserving law and order. It was their own duty, and they would preserve culture and civilization. A dirty job, but someone had to do it. And with endless trouble from the likes of Bloodwrath and the troublesome Psycho Lord, a new power at the service of the Protectors seemed now required. And with the Mega Bug Corps formed, they could continue their duty of Protectorship, and protect Sectors like Earth Prime, and continue to enjoy the Civilzation of Inter-Galactic cultures they worked so hard to protect.
Chapter 3: Hero Training
'Four more,' said Jim McCracken.
'I do not get paid enough for this,' said the huffing Sandra Bullock, the sensational Mega Bug.
'What do you mean pay? We don't get paid at all. Bwah ha ha har,' replied Jim.
'Oh, there is a wage,' replied Sandra. 'It's miniscule. And a nice apartment on Centralaxx. Mine has a view of a river.'
'Mine view's the recycling plant for the sector,' said Jim.
'Oh,' replied Sandra. 'Well that's not too bad,' she said.
'Right next door is the sewerage works,' said Jim.
'Tough break,' said Sandra.
'There's a brothel for Klandar's race, right next door to that as well,' said Jim.
Sandra looked at him squarely. 'Are you kidding me?'
'Just joking. I have a luxury apartment suite. But you should see Dan Garret's place. Ooh, its posh. We get ranked and rewarded for our place in the Mega Bug Corps hierarchy.'
'Fascinating. I'm last,' she said.
'Right,' said Jim, looking at his stopwatch. '5 more laps. And be quick about it.'
'I thought it was four,' objected Sandra.
'No mutiny in the ranks,' said Jim. 'Make it 6.'
'Yes sir,' saluted Sandra, and got back to doing laps inside Jim's private gym.
Later, an exhausted Sandra was sitting in the canteen of McCracken Industries main office building. Life had been hectic the last couple of weeks. First, what she soon found out was a Protector of Centralaxx, who ran the Ultra Warriors, had appeared to her and told her she was now part of the new Mega Bug Corps. And then she'd had her first adventure, noticing a mugging in a Hollywood alley, and the Mega energy inside her said 'Act'. So she had, and picked up the two muggers with the Mega energy which reached forward, and kept them hanging while the female victim called the cops on her mobile. She told them who she was. They believed her. She said she was also now a Mega Bug. They suggested a mental asylum. Them's the breaks. And then she had visited McCracken Industries, who had a newly regenerated Jim McCracken running them again, back from the literal dead, who got her up and running on her training, and the state of play in the Mega Bug Corps and their commission - protecting the rather calamity prone sector Earth Prime.
She sat there, thinking through the lessons Jim had been teaching her, when her mobile rang. It was Jim.
'We have a situation,' he said.
'What kind of situation?' asked Sandra.
'It's an emergency. I need your expert help. Go across the road to 'Sandy's Deli'. They will have a brown paper package. Get it, and bring it up to me. This is priority one mission for the Mega Bug Corps.
'Will do boss,' she replied. She got up, went across the street and found the Deli. 'I'm looking for a package for Mr McCracken.'
The deli assistant nodded, and handed her a suspicious looking brown paper bag, filled with something. She returned to McCracken Industries, took the elevator to Jim's level, and found Jim in his office.
'Excellent,' he said, as she passed him the bag. 'You did great.'
'What's in the bag?' she asked curious.
'Pastrami and mustard. Sandy's does the best in town,' he replied, as he hooked into his Pastrami roll.
Sandra looked at him. 'Unbelievable,' she replied.
'Great work,' said Jim, smiling.
Sandra silently hoped her next 'Vital Mission' would be not such a disappointment. But knowing Jim McCracken.............................
Chapter 4: The Sunstealers
'Yes Protector,' said Daniel Grothe. 'What is the mission?'
The Mega Bug Corps were gathered at HQ, in the sub-basement of McCracken Industries.
'Sol, the star or sun of your solar system is at threat. The Sunstealers of Gartos IV are at it again. Wishing to yet again acquire a new sun for the brightening of their system. They have a rather poor star, and need a new one to brighten their world. We have intercepted messages from them, and they have chosen Sector Earth Prime, and your system to steal from. They have Gravity Tractor technology designed to steal your star. Deal with it.'
'Yes,' replied Daniel. He turned to the team. 'Well, here we go. First adventure.'
'Sounds great,' said Jim. 'We'll take the Bug. It is well equipped for space travel these days.'
'I'm driving,' said Paul Steele.
'The last time you drove we nearly crashed into the sun,' said Jim.
'That was an accident,' replied Paul, defensively.
'The bug's but was deep fried. It took ages giving it a new coat,' said Jim.
'How do we defeat Sunstealers?' asked Sandra, the new recruit.
'With Mega Bug ingenuity,' replied Daniel Grothe.
Space. The final frontier. 'Earth to Spock. Sunstealers sighted,' said Jim.
'Good,' said Daniel. 'And don't call me Spock. I'm captain Kirk. You're Spock.'
'While I have the IQ for Spock, you have all his square ways,' replied Jim.
Sandra watched the screen as the other three fell into a sledging match, and noticed they had a tractor beam at work, which was starting to shift the sun.
'Come on Paul. I have this energy in me. The Scarab works through you. Let these two argue it out.'
And so Paul Steele and Sandra Bullock exited the Bug, and approached the Sunstealers craft.
'What do we do?' asked Paul.
'You dismantle the tractor beam. I don't know. Wreck it, I guess. I'll get in through their air lock and, I don't, know..........' she left off.
'Serve them with a fine from the Protector's of Centralaxx,' said Paul. 'Remember. We have notices of Intergalactic Lawbreaking.'
'Right,' she said, and reached into her side pouch, and took out the Infractions form pad. 'These should come in handy,' she said.
Just then several laser beams started shooting at them. The Mega energy seemed to instinctively dodge and block the laser shots, and Sandra noticed Paul had gotten stuck into dismantling the beam, so approached the ship. She found a lock, and willing the energy to keep an air bubble around it, ordered it to undo the door, which it did. Closing it behind her, she looked around. Strange designs. Very alien. Suddenly a Gartosian was in front of her. He pointed a gun at her.
'Leave our ship, or we will kill you,' said the alien, as the energy in her translated the words in her thoughts.
Sandra put her hand forward, and the Mega energy leaped forward, grabbed the gun, and she bent it up so that it would no longer work. The alien lunged at her, but her training came quickly, and she belted him in the head, which sent him spiralling.
'I'm so sorry,' she said to the dazed alien. She noticed the front cabin was up ahead, and going along the corridor found the pilot of the ship, still shooting laser bolts at Paul, and spoke to him in a firm voice.
'Look, buster. Our sun is not for sale.' She took out her pad, and looked at him. 'Name?'
The alien gave her a quizzical look.
'Name?' she asked him.
'Flazdak,' he replied. 'Flazdak of Otromon.'
'Right,' Flazdak. 'I'm issuing you a notice of infraction. You have 28 days to pay the fine at Centralaxx Registry of Intergalactic Criminal offenses.'
The alien looked at her as she filled out the form, and handed it to him. He looked it over. 'And if we don't pay?'
'We have very effective debt collectors,' she replied. 'VERY effective.'
And so, leaving the ship, exiting the air-lock, and gathering Paul Steele, who had successfully 'Stuffed up' the tractor beam, they returned to the Bug.
'Well, your Sister's cooking is about as bad as it gets,' said Jim to Daniel. 'That beef stroganoff was fowl. I had digestion problems for weeks.'
'That cousin of yours. Gosh, hasn't she heard of soap?' asked Daniel.
Sandra and Paul looked at the two of them as they continued arguing.
'Set the bug for earth,' said Sandra.
'Sure thing, Spock,' said Paul, grinning.
'Brother,' replied Sandra.
And so, the bug, on its way home, another day passed in the life of the Mega Bug Corps, and two Gartosian aliens, one with a pretty bad headache, started the return trip to Gartos IV, with a wrecked tractor beam, no new sun, and a bothered captain wondering how they were ever going to afford the exorbitant fine.
Hare and Rabbit Climb Mt Everest
Setting: Hare and Rabbit live in the world of Terra-Faunatopia, a planet in Mythora.
Hare was nervous. 'Rabbit. Are you ok?'
'I don't really know what the problem is,' said Rabbit, holding his belly. 'But I feel sick.'
'You ate too much porridge this morning. You must be sick.'
'Ooooh. Mummies porridge,' said Rabbit, drooling.
'Yes. Mummies porridge. Now go to bed. And drink some water.'
'I don't want to,' complained Rabbit.
'You'll have a bellyache all day and you will get sick otherwise,' reprimanded Hare.
'Ahhlllrigght,' responded Rabbit reluctantly.
Later on, sitting up in bed, feeling a bit better, Rabbit was looking at a picture map of the places of the world. One of them had the Great Wall of China, which Rabbit could imagine walking over. Another had the pyramids. Rabbit thought of climbing to the top and yelling to the world 'Rabbit has conquered the pyramids.' But then he turned the page, and there it was – the biggest mountain of the universe – Mt Everest.'
'Golly gosh,' said Rabbit. 'Imagine climbing that.'
That night Rabbit dreamed, and he was all alone on a mountain. It was cold and it was snowing. He looked down at his feet and they seemed even more green than usual. And his belly rumbled and he was hungry. 'Oh, no,' said Rabbit to himself. 'I am going to starve to death on this mountain with nobody to help me. Oh, woe is me. Woe is me. What am I ever going to do?'
Rabbit wailed and wailed, and he cried until he could cry no longer. And then he sat there, staring at the snow, wishing he would be rescued, ready to give up. And then a large dog, a St Bernards rushed in, and Hare appeared, and Rabbit yelled, with the last of his hoarse voice, 'Hooray. Hare has rescued me.' And then the dream ended, and Rabbit dreamed no more that night.
In the morning, Hare was cooking bacon and eggs, and Rabbit was at the table reading the newspaper. He put the paper down, turned to Hare and said 'I had a dream last night.'
Hare looked at him. 'What was it about?' he asked Rabbit.
'I was on a mountain. I was cold and starving, ready to die, but you rescued me.'
'That's what friends are for,' responded Hare. 'And I will always be your best friend Rabbit.'
Rabbit nodded, and picked up the picture book. 'Why don't we do it, then?'
'Do what?' asked Hare curiously.
'Climb a mountain.'
'Oh. That could be dangerous,' said Hare.
'But we are brave.'
'Yes,' responded Hare. 'Which Mountain?'
Rabbit opened up the book, and showed him the picture of Mt Everest.
'The biggest mountain in the world!' exclaimed Hare.
'Yes,' responded Rabbit confidently.
'Golly gosh,' said Hare, and said no more that day.
Rabbit went to the shops the following morning.
He went up to the camping store and said to the man 'I want to climb Mt Everest.'
'Golly Gosh,' said the man. 'You will need a long, long rope. Hundreds of yards long.
And lots of hooks.'
'Then give me that,' said Rabbit.
So the man gave him those things.
'What if you get cold?' asked the man.
'What will I need?' asked Rabbit.
'Coats and a tent.'
Then give me that,' said Rabbit.
So the man gave him those things.
'What will you eat?' asked the man.
'What will I need?' asked Rabbit.
'Lots of bacon and eggs.'
'Then give me that,' said Rabbit.
So the man gave him those things.
'How will you get there?' asked the man.
'What will I need?' asked Rabbit.
'A Train ticket. Two, if you are taking someone.'
'Then give me that,' said Rabbit.
So the man gave him those things.
'Now how will you pay?' Asked the man.
'Golly gosh,' said Rabbit, looking in his empty pockets.
So the man took everything back. Poor Rabbit.
But Hare came in, handed over lots of money, and Rabbit celebrated.
'Yay. We are going to climb Mt Everest,' said Rabbit.
'And I'm broke,' said a glum Hare.
So they travelled.
And then by Train
And then by Boat
And then by Train - Again
And then by Bus - Again
They were at Mt Everest!
'Golly gosh,' said Rabbit. 'It's enormous.'
'Let's get stuck in,' said Hare.
And so, they ate their food
And they made their camps
And they sang their songs
And they saw spectacular views
And they climbed. They climbed. And they climbed. And, eventually, when Rabbit was sure he couldn't climb any more, there they were - they had done it. They had climbed Mt Everest.
'Whoa!' said Rabbit. 'I can see forever. And that is our house. All the way over there.'
'I can see it too,' said Hare.
They stood there, conquerors of the world's greatest challenge, and Hare finally, and at last, turned to Rabbit. 'Well, now what?'
Rabbit looked at him. 'I ... Don't know. I guess we go home, now. I suppose.'
'Oh,' said Hare. 'Well I guess so.'
And so, they ate their food
And they made their camps
And they sang their songs
And they saw spectacular views
And they climbed down. They climbed down. And they climbed down. And, eventually, when Rabbit was sure he couldn't climb down any more, there they were - they had done it. They had climbed down Mt Everest.
'Now we go home,' said Hare.
So they travelled.
And then by Train
And then by Boat
And then by Train - Again
And then by Bus - Again
'They were home again.'
'Thank the Maker for that,' said Rabbit, and they snuggled in for a long, long good night's sleep.
Rabbit sat back, with a lemonade, looking out at the setting sun.
'It's been a good year, Hare,' he said to Hare, who was lying on the hammock, still exhausted after their long journey home.
'And we have had a very good time, I must say. All things considered. With Mt Everest and all.'
'Yep,' said Rabbit, sipping on his lemonade. 'Of course, we are still young, and we have our whole lives yet to live, don't we Hare?'
'So much more ahead of us. So many possibilities. So many exciting things to do. Don't we Hare?'
Finally Hare stirred. 'You know, Rabbit. Of all my friends in the world, you are definitely the best. But sometimes, Rabbit. Sometimes...'
Rabbit looked at Hare, and sipped on his lemonade, and returned his gaze to the sun.'
'It's been a good year, Hare,' he said to Hare.
'Yes Rabbit,' said Hare, and sighed a final sigh.
The Alphabet Squirrels
SETTING: The Squirrels live on the same world as Rabbit and Hare. The 47 Squirrels in Outer Space are also from this world, the same breed of squirrels.
This planet is known as 'Terra-Faunatopia'. It is full of various animal creatures who have increased intelligence, and advanced cultures, similar to humans in many ways.
Humans also live on Terra-Faunatopia, which is a planet in part of the Multiverse Section known as Mythora.
The One Squirrel
Alphus had moved out of Nutville and found the Alphabet Tree. It had lots of nuts. But owl was at the top of Alphabet Tree and hooted at him. Don't steal my nuts said owl to Alphus the Squirrel. Alphus dodged and weaved regularly from the claws of Owl. Owl caught him once and said I don't eat Squirrels, but I should, and let Alphus go. It didn't stop Alphus pinching the nuts though, as a variety of nuts grew on Alphabet Tree. He found life away from Nutville serene, and he enjoyed his nuts. After all, he'd always been a bit of a nutter had Alphus. One crazy Squirrel.
The Two Squirrels
Alphus chased the nut down the tree. Again, chasing nuts. Suddenly Belphus appeared. It's my nut she said. My gosh said Alphus. Belphus. What are you doing here. This is my hideaway tree. I have come replied Belphus because you have a secret source of nuts. This nut-tree has a variety of nuts growing on it. Peanuts, dodonuts, aquanuts and nuttynuts. And this nuttynut I have captured is my nuttynut. Nuttynuts are very tasty said Alphus. Perhaps we could share the nuttynut. There are very few on this tree and Owl protects them carefully. Owl likes the nuttynut. Hoo hoo said owl, up above. Stop pinching my nuts. Alphus looked at Belphus. Share the nuttynut with me and I'll let you and the others move into Alphabet tree. Belphus bowed, and shared the nuttynut, and they devoured it, and were in their nut home, a little inutzicated, but mostly happy. Mostly happy.
The Three Squirrels
Alphus the Squirrel looked at the nut. It's a hard nut, he thought to himself. Belphus the squirrel said it looks like a tasty nut, Alphus. Alphus looked at his female best friend. Yes, he said. It does look like a tasty nut. Full of nutty goodness I think. Shall we crack it open and eat it. They tried, but failed. The nut was too hard. The third squirrel, Cephus, looked at the nut. It looks as hard as a rock. Your as hard as a rock, said Alphus to Cephus. Cephus concurred with that statement. I know, said Cephus. We'll put it in the microwave. They put the nut in the microwave and turned it on. 30 seconds later the nut exploded everywhere. The nut is stuffed said Alphus. It's no longer fit for eating, said Belphus. Alphus and Belphus looked at Cephus. We will starve for dinner, Cephus. Cephus gathered up all the nut paste, put it on some bread, and said 'Peanut Butter'. It tasted good. And that is how the three squirrels invented Peanut Butter.
The Four Squirrels
Alphus, Belphus and Cephas were watching TV. In came the fourth squirrel, Doofus. You are such a dork, Doofus, said Cephas. Turn the channel. Doofus changed the channel. The program came on of an Alaskan man who hunted squirrels. They watched in terror. Doofus, you are an idiot to choose this show, said Cephas. Way to bring the mood down said Belphus. Good on you said Alphus. They continued to watch. The Squirrel hunter died, and was buried, and there was a picture of some squirrels eating nuts on his grave. I am redeemed said Doofus. Get us some nuts, said Alphus. And then change the channel. Doofus got some nuts, and changed the channel. The horror movie 'Death to the Squirrels of the Yosemite' came on. Doofus lived down the insults – eventually.
The Five Squirrels
Ephesus had moved in to the Alphabet tree. Here's a troublesome pilgrim, said Cephas. He's gonna preach religin said Belphus. I'm sure Ephesus knows we are devotees to the great grand squirrel said Alphus. What are you preachin these days asked Doofus to Ephesus. The Message of Love said Ephesus. The Lord Jebus of Nutville has commisioned me to Love all Squirrels near and far and to go into all the world to preach the Message of Love. Great said Cephas. Sounds wonderful replied Belphus. Just what we need said Alphus. Ephesus sensed insincerity in their responses. Jebus loves you all said Ephesus. I will convert said Doofus. You would said the other three squirrels as one.
The Six Squirrels
Who stole my nuts? Asked Alphus. Belphus put her hands around her nuts. You're not getting mine she said. Doofus looked up innocently from his conversation with Ephesus. I've given up Nuts for Lent said Doofus. Ephesus seemed pleased at that statement. I think it was the new guy said Cephas. Alphus looked at Cephas, then understood. Feephus, yelled Alphus. Come down here straight away he bellowed. Feephus soon came down from his room in the Alphabet Tree trunk, and stood in front of Alphus, looking very guilty. Feephus. Are you the thief? Asked Alphus. The Lord Jebus forgives thieves said Ephesus. Alphus looked at Ephesus and then looked at Feephus. I should make you restore my nuts five times over. And the nuttynuts six times over. Feephus snivelled, went to his room, and returned with a bag of Alphus nuts, which he put at Alphus feet. I couldn't help it said Feephus. I'm a Kleptonutiac. Alphus looked at Feephus sternly, then softened. Try not to do it again, Feephus, he said. You might need counselling. Feephus smiled, and Alphus sat down. After watching TV for a while, Alphus turned to his bag of nuts. They were gone. Were are my nuts? He asked bewildered. Belphus grinned. Feephus took them when your back was turned said Belphus. Once a thief always a thief, sighed Alphus.
The Seven Squirrels
Her name is Gretaphus said Belphus. Finally another girl squirrel. Gretaphus stood before the boys, with a nice dress on, looking very lovely. Hey boys said Gretaphus. Hommina hommina hommina went Doofus. Do you know the Lord Jebus? Asked Ephesus. Hey sweetie. Want to come up to my pad and chew on my nuts? Asked Cephas. I can take your bag of nuts to your room if you like, said Feephus, eyeing the new arrival's luggage. Alphus looked at the new addition to the Alphabet Tree Community. By the burly beard of the great grand squirrel he said. I don't think I'll eat my nuts in peace any more at all. And he didn't.
The Return of the 47 Squirrels from Outer Space
'Terra-Faunotopia in view,' said the lieutenant female Squirrel.
'Ah, home,' said Captain Furlock. 'I will enjoy visiting America, and telling the Yankees about our experiences with the Australian planets. Those wombats were very unfriendly. So much for Aussie friendliness. No wonder our Russian Empire has become the dominant culture on Terra-Faunotopia. We are far more approachable.'
'Yes captain Furlock,' said the Lieutenant.
When they had landed at Squirrelvostok Spaceport, Captain Furlock reported to the Kremlyn and discussed all the strange planets in Mythora they had discovered on their journey to the stars.
'I am now going to visit Nutville in America, to speak with my American cousin Alphus,' he reported to his superiors.
When Captain Furlock got to Nutville, it had changed since his last visit. A squirrel called 'The Lord Jebus' had imparted a religion called 'The Message of Love' to much of Nutville. It amused Captain Furlock. He found out his cousin Alphus lived in a small community in the 'Grisly Woods' outside of Nutville, so travelled there, found the Alphabet Tree, and knocked on the door of the trunk. A female squirrel answered.
'Hey, handsome,' she said. 'I'm Gretaphus.'
'Captain Furlock,' replied the Captain, in a thick Russian accent. 'Is Alphus in?'
Soon Captain Furlock was sitting with Alphus, who told him all about his desire to find a quiet tree in the world, eat nuts, and escape from the hurly burly of animal life in Nutville.
'It's good to find a place in the world,' said Captain Furlock. 'Like our grandfather, who established dynasties in America and Russia. He was proud to be both, and knew he was a true representative of Terra-Faunatopia.'
'May he rest in peace,' said Alphus.
'May he rest in peace,' agreed Captain Furlock.
And so they chatted about this and that, and relived old adventures, but Soon Captain Furlock was back in Russia, his home, and back with his work for the Russian Spaceways, and life went on as it always had done on the world of Terra-Faunatopia in the heart of Mythora.
Life in Terra-Faunatopia
Hare was in a good mood. He and Rabbit had won a contest to see 'Panda-Klaws' perform at 'The Old Yosemite Emporium'.
'Panda-Klaws is the best Martial Arts Panda in the world,' said Rabbit, showing Hare his new poster of Panda-Klaws, with the big steel blades attached at the end of his paws.
'He doesn't actually hurt anyone with those blades, does he?' asked Hare, concerned.
'He chops up wood and stuff with them,' said Rabbit. 'But in his comic he's a superhero who fights evil.'
'Fascinating,' said Hare, looking at the brave Panda-Klaws in a dramatic pose.
The day came and the boarded the bus, sitting next to an old Rooster, who was reading the newspaper. They travelled along through America in the world of Terra-Faunatopia, and later that day arrived in Yosemite. They got off the bus, with their luggage, and found their way to their hotel. Coming down for dinner in the hotel restaurant, they found a tribe of squirrels all arguing.
'I want fried tomato and leeks,' said Feephus the Squirrel.
Alphus nodded, and looked at the Hare and Rabbit who had sat down on the long couch-bench next to them.
'What do you want Belphus?' Alphus asked Belphus the squirrel.
'Peanut Butter on toast,' replied Belphus.
'I don't think they have that yet,' said Alphus. 'It's still a rather new thing.'
'We're having Jelly and Ice Cream,' said Rabbit to the Squirrels.
'That sounds yummy,' said Belphus. 'I'll have that too.'
'Are you guys here to see Panda-Klaws perform?' asked the excited Rabbit.
'We are all big fans,' replied Alphus. 'It should be a great evening tomorrow night.'
'Panda-Klaws is very cool,' said Cephas the Squirrel to Rabbit. 'I have 3 of his DVDs. I'm a big fan.'
'He's AWESOME said Rabbit,' excited to meet other Panda-Klaws fans.
Well, rabbit and Hare enjoyed chatting to the squirrels that evening for dinner, but soon got to bed, anxious for the next day.
They rose early the following morning, and Alphus suggested they all make a day of it touring around Yosemite, before heading to the Emporium to see Panda-Klaws perform. They saw the geyser, and many other sights, and soon enough were in their seats at the Emporium, watching Panda-Klaws chop through wood and do funny tricks and jokes, and all in all having a wonderful time.
When they got home rabbit said to hare, 'Alphus gave me his address. I'll write to him.'
'It is always good to make new friends,' said hare, and rabbit couldn't have agreed more.