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Old 08-17-2005, 11:32 AM   #276
The Saucepan Man
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: A green and pleasant land
Posts: 8,467
The Saucepan Man has been trapped in the Barrow!
The Eye

The mighty Dragons had fallen, their pride fittingly swallowed, as it were. And at this, a great cheer had gone up from those who fought with the Embattled-ship. But many foes remained. And the most terrible of them were the metal beasts that trundled across the field of battle shrieking their harsh war cry.

Exterminate! Exterminate!

Like domed cones they were, roughly man-size, and knobbly were their armoured skirts. No arms had they, but two weapons, as like kitchen implements, extended before them. From one of these, as like a whisk, they fired rays of death which felled any who stood in their path. The purpose of the other, as like a sink plunger, was not entirely clear. Their domed heads sported single eyes on stalks and each was topped with a pair of flashing lamps. It might be said that they appeared rather dated, for they were conceived by Môgul in the days before he had developed the dark art of Sęejeeaď. Yet they were deadly.

Neither sword nor axe could breach their metal casing and no arrow could pierce their shell. Warrior after warrior fell to their cruel rays, and soon the order was given to withdraw. Vogonwë, Soregum and Orogarn found themselves caught up in the retreat, which before long became a rout. Blindly they ran and, though they fought against the tide, the harsh creatures mercilessly herded them into a barren gully, as like a quarry, from which there was seemingly no escape.

In desperation Orogarn scanned the cliffs that surrounded them, and soon he found what it was he sought.

“This way!” he cried, as he scrambled up a section of the cliff which permitted some purchase. His companions followed, climbing until they reached a narrow ledge high above the narrow gully.

“We should be safe here, for now,” said Orogarn. “It doesn’t look those things they are much good at climbing.”

“What in Muddled-Mirth are they?” said Soregum, panting to catch his breath.

“They are the Dar-lęks,” declared Vogonwë solemnly. “The dread metal beasts that Môgul Bildűr conceived to spearhead the assault on the swinging city of Gondola, once the jewel in Dairyland's crown.”

“Swinging city?” replied Soregum. “I guess that it was a pretty groovy place to live, huh?”

“Not at all,” replied Vogonwë. “It was suspended by great chains from two mountain peaks and swung in the air between them. The legends tell that living there was a rather nauseating experience. The motion sickness was quite hard to bear, you see.”

“So, anyway. How do we defeat these things?” spat Orogarn grimly.

“No Man, Dwarf or Elf could withstand them, save one alone,” continued Vogonwë. “The Elven Lord of Time, Dok-Dorhu was their nemesis. But he now dwells in Mantoes’ Halls and I fear that we can expect no help from him. I composed a poem about him once. Would you like to hear it?”

“As if we don’t have enough problems,” muttered Orogarn.

“Perchance it will serve to lift our spirits,” continued Vogonwë, oblivious to his companions’ objections.

Dok-Dorhu was an Elven-lord.
On him was praise loudly poured:
when he fought for Gondola swinging high
like a pendulum in the sky.

His scarf was long, his blade was sonic,
his companions’ love was purely platonic.
When Slangbad’s forces rudely attacked
many a Dar-lęk’s armour he cracked.

And while survivors took to the balloon,
He stood against the marauders aloone.
With a mighty stroke, the chains did fall
and down came Gondola, Dar-lęks and all.

“Er, if these Dar-lęk things cannot climb, how come they managed to attack a city suspended in the mountains?” enquired Soregum.

“Simple, my little fat friend,” said the Gateskeeper, suddenly appearing as if by magic. “In their later incarnations, they were able to hover.”

And sure enough, before the startled companions could respond, the Dar-lęks began, one by one, to lift from the ground and climb slowly through the air towards them.

“Well that’s just great!” groaned Soregum mournfully. “We are going to die then.”

“Not at all, my dentally challenged chum,” responded the Gateskeeper. “I really didn’t want to do this, but …”

He raised his staff and pointed it toward the ascending creatures. A bolt of lightning sprang from it and struck the lead Dar-lęk. It crackled and fizzed and dropped to the ground. The bolt leaped from one metal monster to the next and very soon they were naught but lumps of blackened scrap metal scattered across the gully.

“These level 3 spells can be really rather useful, you know,” said the Gateskeeper cheerfully. “Not really in keeping with the spirit of things, I know. The purists will have a field day, I fear. But desperate times call for desperate measures.”

Last edited by The Saucepan Man; 08-26-2005 at 07:57 PM.
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