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Old 03-12-2004, 09:29 AM   #141
Spectre of Capitalism
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Battling evil bureaucrats at Zeta Aquilae
Posts: 982
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Upon arriving at the monsterous shopping dens of the GAP, Gateskeeper made his way to the food tents. He'd suddenly had a craving for some spicy balfrog wings, or perhaps some Watcher-Calamari. Merisu's cooking had given him some severe bloating. That was bad enough, but it was made worse by that inopportune moment in which he'd inadvertently passed gas whilst walking in front of Chrysophylax. Fortunately the nearby Kuruharan had had a fire extinguisher which Gatesy bought (at Kuruharan's scalper's price) in time to (mostly) save both robe and dignity. He had mended it as best he could, but the GAP provided an opportunity to replace rather than repair. After lunch he intended to find something more fireproof (and perhaps also a large bottle of Mogul-Enterprises' industrial-strength antacids).

After chowing down on something actually edible for a change, Gatesy wandered the great shopping dens looking for anything that might be of interest for furthering his aims. At Ŕăđĩǒ Ŝħąķķ he was accosted by a salesman trying to get him to upgrade his cell-antir plan, but was only succdessful in selling him some new baaterees for his staff. It was while he was casually perusing the discount racks at Sethamir's Livery Stable and Big-N-Tall Shoppe that he spied a familiar face. Behind the checkout was Nintendo The Blue, another of the lesser maia, and one with whom he had been in competition for awhile way back in the land of the Velour. In the days before Gateskeeper lost the vision of Eru for his creation, his station was Designated Overseer of Services (DOS). He wished to assist the peoples of Muddled-Mirth with *all* tasks both the mundane and the extraodinary, the burdensome and the recreational. Nintendo's program, on the other hand, was to provide only amusement and recreation, and leave the denizens of the world to fend for themselves in dealing with the everyday matters. And yet, as with his battles to control the areas around the Pea Sea, he could not defeat Nintendo at his own game, not even with Gateskeeper's fabled Ecks-boks, forced to a tense truce.

Gateskeeper could barely contain his glee at seeing Nintendo reduced to working for minimum wage. He picked out an outfit and sauntered over to the counter. "Nintendo!" he said with a swaggering smile, "long time no see. It looks like the years in Muddled-Mirth have not treated you well."

Nintendo looked up, and indeed he looked as though the years had drained him. "Gateskeeper," he said with a maniacal snort, "come to gloat over my discomfiture? You always were the vindictive type."

"Nay, friend, I have larger matters at hand, and I came only to replace this dragon-burnt robe. I'm working for Mogul Bildur now, and with his help, after I finish this silly quest, he's going to help me take over the Pea Sea."

"MOGUL BILDUR!!" Nintendo cried, his eyes wide but seeing only who-knows-what mental apparitions, his expression contorted like a camel's chiropractor. "Slo-o-o-o-wly I turned...step by step...INCH BY INCH..." It appeared that Nintendo had gone completely crackerdog. Gateskeeper shook him by the shoulders, screaming "Nintendo!! Center that joystick, you're going to re-boot!!" He added a couple of face-slaps for good measure, and Nintendo returned to himself. "I'm...I'm sorry Gateskeeper, it's just that Mogul has crushed my amusement and game business with that Plae-Station of his. That's why I'm here selling knock-off clothes, it was the only job he'd let me have after he took over. I didn't think you'd ally with him, after the Ecks-Boks debut."

Gatekeeper pondered this news as he paid for his new outfit. Mogul was as tricksy as ever, and it began to look as if he would undermine Gateskeeper's affairs in other areas, even if he did help him conquer the Pea Sea. He did not like the idea of being a puppet ruler under the smoky and insubstantial hand of Mogul. All of a sudden he felt the wearyness of evil settle upon him. He wondered if there might still be a chance for him to turn again and maybe actually fight for the good guys. He began to wish that he had not made that deal with Mogul, but even as the thought crossed his mind the burn mark of the Cloz'd Dheal throbbed under his one glove. Then he remembered the one thing that might turn the trick for him. In lore ancient beyond all reckoning there was a whisper of something more powerful yet than Mogul, something yet more powerful than even the beauty of Merisuwyniel herself, as improbable as that might be. The power of the deus ex machina, called by some the Plt Twĩŝt. But invoking that power would involve suffering in the extreme.

It was at that moment that Merisuwyniel and the rest of the Debacle-ship happened by looking for him, anxious to resume their journey. Gateskeeper begged a moment to change into his new clothes, and then rejoined the travelling band, his thoughts seething and simmering like a pot of Merisu's stews. He belched at the mere thought, and double checked his supply of antacids.
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