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Old 11-13-2005, 08:59 AM   #289
The Saucepan Man
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Location: A green and pleasant land
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The Saucepan Man has been trapped in the Barrow!
The Eye

A muted pop. A plaintiff cry of "Not again!" And then darkness.

Slowly, Môgul became aware of a comforting glow. In the dim, flickering light he could make out the back of a worn leather armchair. Beyond it, a hearty fire roared in a fireplace. The scene seemed strangely familiar to him. He felt warm and safe and secure. The cares and worries of the Pages past fell away from him and he was as a youth once more. It was a most unpleasant sensation.

"Hello Melvin," said a voice from the armchair, a gentle though slightly reproachful voice which he recognised instantly.

"Hello Father," Melvin replied.

"Come here, my lad so I can see how you have grown."

And Melvin found himself before the armchair. The old man regarded him, his kindly eyes tinged with mild disapproval.

"So, the prodigal son returns. Tsk tsk, what have you been up to, my boy?"

"Er, I have been ..." Melvin paused, not sure at first how to reply. "I have been caring for your creation, Father," he continued.

"Ah, Melvin," the old man sighed. "But you have not been caring for it, have you? You have sought to control it, to master it for your own ends."

"No I haven't. Well. Maybe just a little bit. But it needed someone to take it in hand. To bring some order to the chaos. At least I didn't just ignore it, like Manuel and the others did. They couldn't care less about it"

"Perhaps, Melvin," came the patient reply. "But they have not tried to take dominion of it, as you have. They may have been neglectful, but you're just plain bad."

"I only did what I thought was best, Father."

"Of course you did, Melvin. That is because I gave you free will. You and your breth/sist-ren. And each one of you has chosen his - or her - own path. Yet you shall see, Melvin, that there is nothing that any of you can do that does not have its uttermost source in me. Nor can you hope to alter my design against my will. For he - or she - that attempts this shall prove but my instrument in the creation of things more mirthful, which he - or she - him - or her - self has not imagined."

Melvin thought about this for a moment.

"So it's your fault that I am bad then, Father. You made me this way."

"Eh?" The old man suddenly seemed troubled. "No. It's not like that at all. I did not intend that you should behave in this way."

"But, if you gave us all free will, you must have contemplated the possibility, indeed the likelihood, that some of us would turn out bad."

"But it was your choice..."

"... in which case, the existence of evil is an inherent aspect of your design."

"Er ..."

"You said it yourself. Everything that I have done has its uttermost source in you."

"But ..."

"Which means that there must be a part of you that is bad too."

"No, that's not ..."

"And, what's more, it seems that we don't have free will at all. Because, as you said, whatever we do, we will only be furthering your plan."

"But ..."

"Which must necessarily have required us to be bad in order to further it as you planned."

"No, I ... I .. er ..."

And with this, Emu Ilovetar, for it was He, disappeared in a puff of logic.

The scene dissolved and Môgul once more found himself surrounded by darkness; a thick, black smog which obscured his sight in every direction. Yet he could sense that another was there with him in the inky blackness.

"Colin, is that you?" he called out.

"Yes," said a thin, shrill voice. "I am sorry, Lord Môgul. It was too much for me. The logical improbability of the narrative placed an excessive strain on the time-space continuum. I could'nae hold it."

"So what happened?"

"We were both atomised in the implosion."

"Ah, that explains a lot."

It was now clear to Môgul that he could not penetrate the thick black smoke because he was in fact the thick black smoke.

"Well, don't just float there in a particulate state," he said sternly to Colin. "Pull yourself together, man."

"I can't," wailed Colin. "I flunked materialisation at college."

"Oh. Too bad. Goodbye then, Colin."

"Nooooo! Don't ...!" The thin, incoporeal cry faded out as the little control that Colin, otherwise known as the Wizard Sauerkraut, retained over the remains of his earthly phwoar slipped from his feeble grasp and his phïzz departed Muddled-Mirth for the second and final time.

Môgul, however, was a dab hand at materialisation and though it took some effort, for the implosion of the time-space continuum had dealt him a grievous blow, he soon stood once more on the field of battle. Brushing a thin layer of Sauerkraut from his cloak, he surveyed the scene. And swiftly he came to the conclusion that, while things could have been worse, there was little in it. For it appeared that his entire army had disappeared without trace.

“Greedhog …?” he called, only to spot his former Advocate-General’s great boots set upright where the Senior Loyer himself had stood only moments before, empty but for a pair of fine sunflowers sprouting from each. Nearby lay the remnants of Greedhog's Troll-Guard, now reduced to scattered boulders, cracked and split by tendrils of ivy and shrouded in a patchwork quilt of moss and lichen. And a bed of bluebells lay around the Wagon of the Entish Parts where formerly his cadre of elite Loyers had skulked.

Finally, Môgul’s eyes settled on the green (and rather fetching) figure of Yawanna, standing proudly amidst the swiftly flourishing field. Selecting his most swoon-inducing form, he sauntered nonchanlantly over to her, producing as he went an bouquet of twelve red roses. Then, upon further consideration, he substituted the bouquet with a luxury box of chocolate-covered lembas. Which he then exchanged for a fine emerald necklace and matching earrings. Then, just for good measure, he produced all of them at once.

“Darling,” he said contritely, proffering the roses, chocolates and jewellery. “I can explain.”

Last edited by The Saucepan Man; 12-01-2005 at 09:04 PM.
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