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Old 08-31-2005, 09:35 AM   #281
Bêthberry
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Shield

Stranger than if the director had yelled "Cut" was the sudden and rude interruption of the Brawlship's melee. What could account for such an unseemly seem in the flow of the narrative but the naughty tanglings and untanglings of the net itself?

In short, the over the loudspeaker came the announcement:

Quote:
Hark! There is no music that hath not its uttermost source in me. None shall alter the music in my despite, not even the dark discord of domain keepers. Hence, come yee together to rejoice in making a music even more wonderful despite the poor timing and bad melody of the last day.

Show me a vision of your words made wonderful of your own accord. Show me your minstelry Unforbidden. Let the deeds of the squatters of the Barrowfield aside the walls of Edoras be made famous in song.
"What the?" intoned Vogonwë. "Do I sense an intermission in this interminably long game? Are we to interminge with others? Dare we we foresake this interring of orc to intercede in another game, allowing an intercalary intervension in this interesting possibility?"

Whereupon other members of the IntercessorShip interjected words too interlocutory to be printed here.
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Old 09-29-2005, 08:00 AM   #282
Rimbaud
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Polarity of the neutron flow, eh, thought Hal glumly, as he hacked methodically at some regenerating orc pieces. Polarity. Neutron flow.

Nope. Still didn’t mean anything. He tried again. Enemies that come to life again after you have killed them. This was more like it. He could sink his teeth into this, although the problem was not a tasty morsel. And the infinitely regenerating Bad Guys are bent on destroying the Battle-ship, and more pertinently me. The mouthful of problem became somewhat more acidic, and he fancied not swallowing it.

Why are you staying? asked his mind, somewhat unhelpfully. You only joined the Whateveritis-ship for the most tenuous of reasons.

“Um, chaps?” enquired Hal, attempting nonchalance as he stabbed awkwardly down at the top half of an orc that was busy both reattaching itself to a nearby pair of legs that did not seem to be its own, and gnawing on Hal’s thigh. “Chaps?”

“What?” enquired Orogarn, tersely, as he deftly flicked his Daayv L’Roth haircut out of his latest victim.

“I was wondering…you know, just musing on…” said Hal, more uncertainly. “I was thinking perhaps I might, you know, slope off? Find a coffee, that sort of thing?”

Orogarn turned to face him, stony-faced, and Hal sheepishly returned to the slaughter or the not-so-much-lambs-as-evil-dudes. You can’t ask permission to leave heroic battles! sneered his mind, bitterly. You really are a poor excuse for a hero. True enough, mused another voice in his head. You’re doing a pathetic job of living up to your brother’s legacy.

“Who the hell are you?” stammered Hal in some confusion.

“Orogarn,” said he, for it was he, and he it was whom Hal had addressed. “We have been fighting together for several pages.”

“No, not you,” snapped Hal. “The voice inside my head.”

It sounded bad, and Orogarn threw him a suitably exasperated look so Hal tried to explain.

“Not the normal voice in my head,” he said, parrying a pike thrust with his fish-guard, and attempting a triple pike of his own to avoid a sword chop. “There’s a second voice, a different…”

it sounded worse and he tailed off. The battle split him from Orogarn then, and he wasn’t too sorry.

Then, something rather unexpected and horrible happened to Hal at the back of his head, and he fell to the ground as insensible as a weasel in a pickling barrel of brandy.

Last edited by Rimbaud; 09-29-2005 at 08:13 AM.
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Old 10-19-2005, 08:15 AM   #283
Mithadan
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The battle raged and ebbed, swaying back and forth, now favoring one side, then favoring another, back and forth, to and fro, until the oddsmakers, who had been observing quietly from a nearby hillside, became dizzy and sick and dropped their books, and many other things besides including their lunches, to the ground. Thus was a valuable record of these days lost, but not all suffered from this sad event, for some, such as Kuruharan and Orogarn II, had the presence of mind to snatch up as many receipts as they could from the ground (and the hands and pockets of the slain) so that, in after times, they cashed in to their great profit and in later days... but that is another tale.

The battle... yes! The battle... it raged on. But though the Itship and their allies had fought valiently, they slowly grew weary and their arms heavy and Pimpiowyn experienced a hunger such as she had never before known, having not ever skipped so many meals. Thus, the forces of Môgul pressed their advantage and the armies of the light, or at least a lighter shade of grey, were hard put to hold their ground. It looked dark indeed, unless you were Môgul to whom things seemed bright, proving at last that good and evil are but differences only in perception and the winner writes the history and the loser goes quietly into the night never to be heard from again until revisionist historians take up the tale and, through careful analysis of the notes, letters, books and records of the time learn, or think they learn, that all was not truly as was told or written and indeed things were different and not the same and all is only shades of grey... or blue, blue is a very nice color, don't you think?

Anyway, the battle raged on and things didn't look good for the Lightershadeofblueship, most can agree upon that. Then, suddenly, horns, horns, horns, echoing through the bright (or dark) air. The Velour had come at last! And all turned, elf, man, dwarf, orc, troll, loyer, vampire, werewolf and a small group of leprechauns who had wandered into the wrong tale, to look at a nearby ridge to see a line of figures dressed in white robes (or surfer jams, whatever...). And to the surprise of the Itship, each of the figures turned and drew up their robes, or drew down their jams and bent over, waving their, ummm you know, for all to see.

"Oh my EMU!" cried Pimpiowyn. "What are they doing?"

But Merisu stared in awe. "It is an ancient ritual challenge, named Dissil after the great light that rides the skies in the evening. I have never seen it done, but it is the ultimate display of disdain. The Velour are Dissing Môgul's troops!"

Indeed a great howl arose from the masses of Orcs and Trolls and other assorted nasties, and they gnashed their teeth and clashed their swords on their shields and some screamed, "We've been Dissed!"

"Yes!" cried Prada as she waved her... ummm, posterior before the might of Môgul. "You've been Dissed by the best! Waht are you going to do about it?"

"Yeah!" yelled Manuel. "You want a piece of this?"

The Velour began dancing and prancing with their robes held high and their jams held low, and the armies of Môgul could not be restrained. With screams of anger and cries of rage they poured across the plain and up the ridge and the Velour fled before them. Nigh unto half of Môgul's forces charged over the ridge and disappeared from sight as they pursued the Velour...and they were never seen again.

It is said, and after a few drinks you can't stop Mantoes from talking about it, that the Velour led the army of darkness on a merry chase across the lands of Valleyum, over hill and under hill, across streams and plains and forests and swamps and bogs and fens and across a golf course and many other places besides until they came into the Uttermost West and reached the Edges of the World. Here, Manuel called up the winds and clouds and TM Ulmo called up the waters until all was covered in fog and the armies of Môgul, aided by an occaisional well-aimed kick or shove, poured like lemmings over the edge... Perhaps someday we'll all hear a THUD and we'll smile and raise a glass, knowing what happened... until the revisionists research it, of course (there is a rumour that the Orcs, etc. were led to a giant nightclub with an open bar and are there even yet, and will stay there until the well runs dry, but that's also another tale... damned revisionists).
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Old 10-20-2005, 05:11 AM   #284
Rimbaud
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Silmaril

“Blargh,” said Hal, swinging his sword-arm, which fortunately for any prospective opponent was sans sword. “Bleurgh.”

The battle had taken its toll on Hal, and the back of his head was aflame with all the fires of a late night Chinese restaurant (Spring Garden Street, Philly, you know who you are) and on regaining consciousness, Hal had sadly not recovered his sight.

“Have at you,” he mumbled, his enervated fist finally contacting with something.

“Ooof,” replied Kuruharan casually, and flattened him with a well-judged trip.

Luckily for Hal, the impact of hitting the ground-cum-mound-of-indescribable-orcish-pieces was sufficient to restore him to full visual capacity, whereby this newly brilliant ocular talent informed him of the riotously good turn the battle had taken.

To whit: three-knock-kneed orcish companies stood before the ColourfulShip, with their knees predictably knocking. The ‘Ship stared back, somewhat startled by the rapid turn of events. The story really had been flying along. This situation remained in limbo for a few seconds (Pimpi won on account of her height advantage, but lithe Merisuwyniel won many plaudits) until the orcs realised that several hundred of them against a few knackered Heroes still suggested a good shot at victory.

They charged.

“Damn,” managed Hal, faintly. He was caught by a bevy of ‘Shipites, and restored to his footing just before the orcs swarmed over them. Which was why, luckily for readers reading his point-of-view, he was able to spot the giant Day Ussex Makkinna spiralling their way.

“The Eagles!” he gasped. “The Eagles are coming!”

And they were, green-jerseyed and white-helmeted, like a tidal wave of overweight humanity they stormed the field like an anachronistic half-time special, sweeping the comparatively underfed orcs from their feet and unceremoniously drop-kicking them into touch (over a small hedge nearby, whereby these particular orcs played little further part), thereby excusing Hal the extreme embarrassment of admitting he had no idea where his sword was, and that he had been flailing at imaginary opponents with his hand.

Dear Rim,
Eh?
Best regards
Whit.

Last edited by Rimbaud; 10-21-2005 at 07:28 AM.
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Old 10-31-2005, 04:39 PM   #285
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Unfortunately, the Eagles managed to take out only eleven of the still-overwhelming numbers of orcs before they trotted off the field doing odd dances in the manner of the Sorethighhim. Gateskeeper's nifty new white outfit was now so splattered with the black blood of his foes that he now resembled a bipedal dalmation, but he had no time to look up a good dry-cleaner between staff parries and sword thrusts. Slicing through a Geordian knot of massive orcs in metal VISORs, he attempted to survey the battlefield of never-say-die foes, but everything he saw was merely depressing to the point of desperation: unending seas of unending enemies who themselves were unending. The only hopeful spot was where Vogonwe and Pimpi stood alone in the center of a large roughly circular area which no enemy could penetrate, for verily all who came within the invisible boundary ventured within earshot of Vogonwe's shrill extemporaneous on-the-spot poetic account of the battle in progress. Pimpi wore earplugs and waved Hush at any who ventured too close. Vogonwe threw arrows aimed to maim rather than kill, so as to prevent them from dying and coming back at full strength.

"So many," Gatesy muttered to himself while trying to catch his breath, which had once more inconveniently scampered off into a nearby ravine. "So many...if only there was some way to cut the enemy numbers...reduce...compress...compress??...Compression!! Of course! Why didn't I think of it sooner!" he cliched. The weary wizard put on a grim smirk (which his grandmother had knitted for him many years prior) and turned to face a new set combatants. Thundering towards him were the three remaining waves of orcs upon which several Loyers were surfing, for indeed were they of the dread faction of the Kahli'phorr'nyah Loyers. Dressed in their gaudily-colored tropic-print shorts, they smelt of rancid coconut oil and bellowed their dread battle cry of "COWABUNGA, DUDE!!"

Gateskeeper responded to the improbable spectacle from atop his fashionable steed Fad-O-Slacks by swinging his staff in a wide arc over his head before bringing it crashing to the ground with a shout of "ZIPFILE.EXE!!" The effect was astounding: absolutely nothing happened. Well, not exactly nothing -- Gateskeeper got a nagware o-mail about not having completed the registration form for the use of the magical command. Whipping the staff up from the ground he quickly entered the required information and obtained a 30-day temporary trial period just in time to repeat the action before being pincushioned in the all-too-near barrage of poorly-forged-but-really-sharp-pointy-objects.

This time the effect was even more astounding: a brilliant bolt arced from the staff head and hopscotched lightning-like thru the nearest of the companies of warriors who were suddenly reduced in size to mere ripples -- the heavily armed, six-foot-three members of the You-Rock-High batallions loosed to deal with the spotted sorcerer and his companions were abruptly transformed into cockroach-sized stomping material...2-inch hors d'oeuvres for Chrysophylax...loyers were brought low...dragons were diminutized.** Peals of laughter arose from the momentarily-relieved Good Guys, for there is nothing more hilarious than hearing the battle cry of a Loyer in the voice of a chipmunk.

With merry hearts they began a dance of death that would surely have done St. Vitus proud. The newly minute minions, finding themselves facing seemingly oversized opponents turned and fled, but those who escaped the boots of the Forces of Good made it away only to be crunched under the iron footwear of the next battery of battling belligerents. Kuruharan, as was his usual modus operandi, quickly sold out of his supply of golf clubs which the Questians then used to "release the prisoners" -- that is, they rained down miniature heads upon the stunned full-sized troops further back in the column. The headless ham-handed hirelings were, of course, regenerated, but being still short-of-height they were only repeatedly lost (and crushed again) in the following flow of fierce full-sized fighters.

The merriment in the camp of the How-do-you-get-orc-blood-off-your-shoes-ship, though, was short-lived. The next horde of evil minions quickly overcame its apprehension and surged forward heedless of the Lilliputian casualties. But even as Gateskeeper prepared to downsize them a shadow fell over the confident conjurer, missing him by scant inches as it thudded into the blood-dampened earth. The air about the combatants suddenly began to whip up the dust surrounding them, and the advancing orcs stopped and staggered back as a custom black aerophaunt with a convertable top landed in the space before the thunderstruck thaumaturge. Its rider wore a robe so hideous in its utter blackness that it seemed to pull all light into itself, drawing every eye to its evil weave and leaving those who beheld it despairing of ever regaining hope of light and life again, much like the campaign platforms of the major modern political parties. A tense silence fell upon the battlefield, hitting the ground near the shadow which fell a few moments earlier and squashing a couple of mini-orcs in the process.

From atop the sporty late-model aerophaunt (which sported a rump-er sticker that proclaimed "Don't laugh, it's paid for.") the rider threw back his cowl, and lo, there came the unmistakable hiss and the impeccable white wig of none other than the Chief Counsel of Mogul and master of the Great Cloud of Litig-ai-shon, Greedhog (surely you didn't think he'd escaped the regenerative fiesta, did you?) Desperately trying to think of something threatening to say, Gateskeeper stood alone between the Dark Loyer and the rest of the Geez-We-Thought-Maybe-We-Were-Going-To-Finally-Win-Ship, but only for a moment. First Merisuwyniel, then Gravlox, then the entire Fellow-gallo-insert-gender-and-or-race-here-ship stood forward at Gateskeeper's side -- mostly his backside. Heartened by the support of his long-time comrades, he brandished his staff menacingly at the Lead Loyer and shouted "Go back to the abyss!"

Greedhog laughed, a sound as merry as the joyous wailing of the eternally damned. "Old fool," he wheezed from his perch. He drew from his briefcase a tall, thin stack of subpoenas, writs, petitions, restraining orders, and other papers upon which were inscribed many foul and cunning devices. Holding it high over his head, a sheath of flame ran dramatically from its base to its summit, shining with a vile and depressing light yet not comsuming them. He gestured with his free hand and Gateskeeper's staff burst asunder in his hands. "Wow," mused the Gateskeeper, "I thought my virus scanner was impregnable."

"Old fool," Greedhog repeated, advancing his aerophaunt slowly towards the cluster of heroes and heroines, "this is my hour! And besides, The Abyss was a crummy movie." The massive dark form moved within striking distance of the small knot of brave and/or foolhardy Questians, ignoring Vogonwe as he verbally composed the requiem that he thought no one would live to hear. Such was the discomposure engendered by Greedhog's fearsome presence that none thought to raise hand or sword in defense, but merely tried to maintain enough dignity so as not to soil their breeches before the end. But even as the loathsome loyer prepared to hurl his lethal load of lawsuits and end the quest for good and all, he hesitated but a moment. For in that moment a thin ray of sunshine shone across the gap between them, and as from very far away a sound of hope reached their ears, like unto a symphony of a thousand herald trumpets no two of which were tuned to the same pitch, like the lower Bronx at rush hour. Merisuwyniel cried out, "Horns!" And the rest of the Yet-Another-Improbable-Rescue-Ship took up the cry, "Horns, horns, horns!"

( ** Editor's note: a lone mini-dragon on the edge of the battle managed to escape the melee, and lives on to this day doing television commercials for an American car insurance company.)
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Old 11-01-2005, 02:56 AM   #286
Estelyn Telcontar
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Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Merisuwyniel listened closely, her brow slightly (yet fetchingly, of course) furrowed. “Hark!” she called out, and her companions harked obediently. “I hear…” she continued, interrupted by the voices of the others.

“Trumpets, trumpets, trumpets!” shouted Orogarn, who well knew the sounds of Gondor’s favourite instrument.

“Piccolos, piccolos, piccolos,” Pimpiowyn piped up shrilly.

“Tubas, tubas, tubas,” Kuruharan boomed.

“Stop!” Merisu commanded, “You sound like you’re filling out triplicate forms for some bürô-krát! You’re all right, of course – it is all those instruments and more.”

Suddenly a voice was heard, louder than the music, louder than the din of battle, yet its source was invisible to their eyes. All fighting ceased in confusion as the participants attempted to make sense of the words.


“Well, folks, it’s half-time, and here’s your host Pete Ship-ôlé to comment on the big show. Actually, I think we’re running a bit late – I certainly hope the battle won’t take as long after this as it did until now! I’d like to welcome my co-host Bill Furknee, who is joining me to comment this evening.”

“Thanks, Pete! It’s been a great battle so far, but it’s time to lighten up a bit, and here to entertain you is the Minus Teeth Royal Marching Band. If you’re wondering why there are so many players, it’s because they too have been revived – deceased band members from many long years. As they say, sometimes the baton is mightier than the sword!”

“Indeed it is, Bill. Let’s take a look at the action now. First you see that there are seventy-six trombones leading the big parade, and what’s that behind them?”

“I may be wrong, Pete, but it looks like an estimated one hundred and ten cornets! They’re followed by rows and rows of the finest virtuosos – the cream of Gondor’s famous band!”

“Just look at the next players, will you, folks? More than a thousand reeds springing up like weeds! And you heard them right at the start of the show – horns, horns, horns, of every shape and kind.”

“Yes, and now we can see the next rows – there are copper bottom tympani in horse platoons, thundering, thundering all along the way! I can hardly hear my own voice! And it’s getting better all the time – now the double bell euphoniums and big bassoons are having their say.”

“Well, Bill, this is very impressive, very impressive indeed. Who’d have thought that they would get such a line-up together. But what’s that? It’s getting even louder now!”

“Yes, Pete, there are fifty mounted cannon in the battery, and they’re thundering, thundering louder than before. This is almost deafening! The crowd is cheering them on, but it can hardly be heard.”

“And it’s not all just noise, folks – these guys can really play! Just listen to those clarinets of every size…”

“Yes, and their trumpeters can improvise a full octave higher than the score!”

“Well, Bill, they’re on their way out of the stadium, and I must say, this was another great show! I’m afraid they trampled on some of those miniature warriors out there, but there seem to be enough of them that they won’t be missed much. This is Pete Ship-ôlé…”

“…And this is Bill Furknee, signing off for tonight. We hope you enjoy the rest of the battle – we’ll be back next week for more. Stay tuned for these important messages.”


Silence reigned on the battle field – yet not for long...

Last edited by Estelyn Telcontar; 11-01-2005 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 11-01-2005, 03:38 AM   #287
The Saucepan Man
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The Eye

Greedhog stood facing the Questors of the West, absent mindedly batting his unfeasibly large mace against the side of his unfeasibly regenerated leg. The Questors stood facing Greedhog, fully expecting to experience the uniquely fatal thwack of the forbidding mace at any moment.

“What’s he waiting for?” whispered Merisuwyniel to the Gateskeeper.

“Beats me,” replied the Wizard as he carefully gathered up the splinters of his staff and, holding them together, vainly attempted a re-boot.

“I fear that that is precisely what he intends to do,” pointed out Hal, their parlous state causing his formidable wit to desert him, leaving him with nothing but the obvious gag to fall back on.

But Greedhog did not attack. He merely stood there with the impatient but anticipatory air that he normally reserved for clients whose tardiness erred on the unfashionable side of late.

Soregum was situated some fifty yards behind the scene of the confrontation, ostensibly guarding the wagon containing the majority of the Entish Artefacts. But, as he cowered beneath it, his attention was caught by a sudden movement in a scorched copse some distance to his right. Turning his head, he spied a small con* of Loyers gathered among the blackened trees. They were all that remained of the cadre that had set out with Greedhog on his initial foray into the battle. And, for some strange reason that Soregum could not quite fathom, they seemed frantically to be waving at him. At that moment, he became vaguely aware that there was something that he had to do. He looked first one way and then the other and, seeing that all eyes were fixed on the confrontation with Greedhog, he beckoned them over.

Taking care not to be seen, the Loyers crept stealthily towards Soregum, their black cowled gowns providing the perfect camouflage against the blackened earth. When they reached the wagon, one of their number immediately slapped an official-looking scroll on it. Another, who went by the name of Dictum the Officious, turned to speak to Soregum.

“You are the one known as Halitosis?” he enquired.

“Er - yes,” replied Soregum, wincing at the code-name assigned to him by Môgul.

“We are here under the authority of the Dread Developer, Lord of Moredough, to seize possession of the fragments of rent Ent,” declared the Loyer. “We are given to understand that said fragments are contained within this vehicle. Is that correct?”

Soregum nodded.

“Pursuant to Article 38.2, clause 56, sub-clause mcxii of the Muddled-Mirth Civil Code, the parking of vehicles of any kind (including, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, carts, wagons, carriages, drays, buggies, curricles, tumbrels, rickshaws, wheelbarrows and the like, but excluding chariots) within two hundred yards of a confrontation between two opposing forces on the field of battle is expressly forbidden, save for the purpose of loading or unloading weaponry, armour, siege paraphernalia and the like. Sub-clause mcxiii further provides that, should either party in said battle be in contravention of sub-clause mcxii, the other party (being the party which did not previously have ownership, possession or control of said vehicle) shall be entitled to take possession of said vehicle and all items contained within it.” All this, Dictum recited seemingly without drawing breath. “In accordance with said law, we have therefore impounded this wagon and all that lies within it.”

“I see,” said Soregum. “But you should know that there is one more piece to the Ent.”

“The Entish Bow,” replied Dictum. “Yes, we are aware of said item.”

The Loyer turned towards where the Oblivious-ship stood before his Lord High Advocate and stretched out his arm. In the distance, Soregum was just able to discern a small notice fluttering through the air and attaching itself to the Entish Bow.

“I have imposed an ASBO** on the Bow,” Dictum explained. “It will now be unable to alert its mistress. Your job is to retrieve it.”

Soregum felt that he should protest but, to his great surprise, he dropped to the ground and began to crawl stealthily towards his erstwhile companions. Gradually he inched closer and closer to them, his rheumy eyes firmly fixed on the Bow-which-had-been-struck-dumb. But, when he was not ten yards from his objective, a sudden commotion broke out.

“U IZ AL LAMERZ!!!! LOL!!!!! WOT U STANDIN THER FOR???!!! GET A LIFF, SADDOS …”

Trolls are not known for their great patience (nor, indeed, their discipline) and a company of Greedhog’s Troll-Guard had eventually (and laboriously) come to the conclusion that all this standing about exchanging wary glances with the opposition was not really their cup of tea. What they really ought to be doing, they unanimously agreed, was playing a few rounds of conkers with their enemies’ heads. And, before anyone realised what was happening, they broke suddenly upon the opposing line like a storm, beating upon helms and heads, and arms and shields, as smiths hewing hot bending iron, with howls of derision, hammers of invective and tongs of flame.

In horror, Soregum saw that Pimpiowyn, having become separated from the group, had been stunned and overborne. Merisu and the others, being fully occupied fending off the Trolls’ abusive assault, had not seen her fall, and even Vogonwë was oblivious to her fate. The great Troll-Chief that smote her bent down over her, reaching a contumelious claw. At that moment, it seemed to Soregum that time slowed to a halt - rather conveniently as it happened, as it permitted him to pay full attention to the vision that now appeared before him. There, sitting on an old, worn leather armchair and puffing away on a ridiculously long pipe, was a grey-haired, wizened old Hobbit.

“Duffer Gummidge …!” exclaimed Soregum. “But how …?”

The insanely aged Hobbit’s face creased benignly and broke (almost literally) into a paternal smile, revealing a mouth virtually devoid of teeth.

“If you remember only one thing in your life, Windsor, my son,” the Duffer slobbered gummily. “It is always to look out for number one.”

And with that, he vanished. But fortunate it was that he had appeared at that moment, for Soregum’s contempt for his father’s advice knew no bounds and the Duffer’s words had the immediate effect of breaking Môgul Bildûr’s hold over him.

“Silly old coot!” thought Soregum to himself, as he sprang forward and sped towards where Pimpi lay under the shadow of the great Troll-Chief, reaching as he went for the blade which hung by his side. Happily, time had not quite got back into the swing of things, for Soregum’s dagger had rusted over through years of disuse and stubbornly refused to emerge from its scabbard. By the time that he reached Pimpi, however, he had somehow managed to wrench it free and, flinging himself on top of her prone body, he stabbed upwards. Then did the rusty blade of Moredough pierce through the thick-skin of the Troll and plunge deep into his vituperative vitals, and his icky black blood came gushing out. As Soregum heaved Pimpiowyn to one side with his free hand, the Troll toppled forward and came blundering down like a dropped clanger. Blackness and stench came upon Soregum and, although these were circumstances which would normally be reassuringly familiar to him, they were unfortunately accompanied by a crushing pain, and his mind fell away into a great darkness.

“It’s not fair! It can’t end like this,” his thought wailed, even as it was wrenched away, and it began to sob uncontrollably within him as he desperately fought to hang onto the doubts, cares and fears which, for all their bother, at least signified life. And then even as it was dragged struggling into oblivion it heard voices, and they seemed to be crying in some forgotten world far above.

“Yawanna is coming! Yawanna is coming!”
_____________________________________________

* Con n. The collective term for Loyers. One theory has it that it is an abbreviation of conference, but most hold that it is not short for anything and that it should simply be given its common meaning.

** ASBO abbr. Anti-Sentient Bow Order

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Old 11-10-2005, 01:50 PM   #288
Estelyn Telcontar
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Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Just as all seemed darkest on the battlefield, with clouds hiding even the faint light that the night had to offer, the sun rose, tinting the entire world (at least that part of it which was visible to the proponents of our story) the appropriately-named rose colour. This was fortunate for Vogonwë, who had been muttering, “The list of our synonyms grows thin!” as he frantically paged through his well-worn thesaurus in search of poetic equivalents to use for “black”. His epic poem was filled to redundancy with a multitude of “sable, coal, raven, ebony, jet, pitch, inky, sooty, burnt,” etc…

Alas, every time he stopped reciting new verses of his imaginative account of the battle, the foes drew nigh again, only to recede when his renewed effort drove them backwards, retching. The fresh colours that now flooded the fields of fighting inspired him, and his fanciful descriptions including but not limited to words like “cherry, orange, peachy, apricot, lemon…” would have made his beloved Pimpiowyn drool, had she been within earshot.

Merisuwyniel paused, resting her sword-arm (strong and muscular yet feminine and attractive) for a moment. Suddenly she recalled words she had heard long ago. A melodious voice chanted, “Look for me at the rising of the sun on the umpteenth morn.” A vision of green loveliness arose to her memory and she was aware of the voices of the Velour, crying out from wherever it was that they now were, “Yawanna is coming!”

And behold, the battlefield now glowed with a hue of emerald that no sunrise has ever produced. Vogonwë’s fruit basket lyrics had now reached “lime” and were rapidly proceeding toward “cucumber”. And lo! she came in her great majesty, clad all in dark green leather, polished to a gleaming sheen and laced to emphasize her breathtaking voluptuousness, and in stiletto boots of the same colour. Her emerald eyes flashed in their regal wrath, and her locks flowed behind her like unto green grasses waving in the wind. Unnumbered verdant vassals surrounded her, pausing by her side, at her feet, and behind her as she surveyed the charred and blackened battlefield. No living thing grew there; her lovely lips tightened wrathfully, then opened in song. And as she sang, she strode forward in time with the rhythm, slashing a whip of ivy to punctuate every word:


Al-ways look on the green side of life!
Al-ways look on the clean side of life!

Some guys in life are bad,
They can really make you mad;
Other dudes just make you swear and curse.
When you're stepping on life's thistle
Don't cry “Ouch!”, just give a whistle,
And I will help things turn out for the best.

And...always look on the green side of life,
Always look on the clean side of life.

If love seems jolly rotten
There's something you've forgotten,
And that's to plant and water, prune and weed.
When you're feeling awfully low
Come and watch the garden grow;
It’s amazing what becomes of one small seed.

And...always look on the green side of life,
Always look on the clean side of life.

For romance is quite absurd
And death's the final word;
You must always face your lover with a bow.
I won’t forget your sin, no matter how you grin;
Enjoy it - it's your last chance anyhow.

So always look on the green side of death
Just before you draw your terminal breath.

You’re a piece of sh**
When I look at it;
Love's a laugh and you're a joke, it's true.
You thought it was all show,
Kept on laughing – now you go;
Just remember that the last laugh is on you.

And... al-ways look on the green side of life!
Al-ways look on the Queen's side of life!



And lo! vines of ivy and grape-leaves reached out to fetter the orcs and trolls, and roots grew up to make balrogs and wargs stumble and falter. And so they were immobilized yet not killed, the most effective way of bringing their assault to a stillstand.

And even as Yawanna sang, the time-space continuum wavered, debating with itself like unto a computer on the brink of self-destruction when posed with its own illogical reasoning.
“Green – a political philosophy of ecological awareness, arising late in the 7th Age – too far in the future to be known at this time.
Song melody – composed during the 20th century AD – does not belong to this Age.
Clothing and mannerisms of Yawannatrix – do not compute with canonical source materials.”

Smoke began to emerge from the chinks of the continuum, glowing eerily green and covering the battlefield like some ghostly army. With a huge explosion, it vanished completely. Vines now strangled their victims; tree roots pulled others underground, burying them alive; and grains filled the air with pollen dust, choking those who were still breathing. Tendrils reached out to grasp stacks of legal papers and tear them to shreds.


And so it came that Mogûl, robbed of all of his vassals, slaves, and legal consultants, finally stood alone on the now lushly verdant battlefield, facing Yawanna and the Valiant-Ship.

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Old 11-13-2005, 08:59 AM   #289
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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.”

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Old 12-04-2005, 07:59 AM   #290
Estelyn Telcontar
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Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
“Don’t you ‘Darling’ me,” said Yawanna in a voice that could have frozen a whole army, had there been one left, “and keep your cheap gifts for those who are easier to dupe. You’ve explained quite enough already. I’ll do the explaining now.”

The Victorious-At-Last-Ship stood in breathless silence, hardly daring to believe that they had finally reached the goal of their long and arduous quest. Merisuwyniel’s eyes shone with green reflections in their violet depths as she watched her heroine’s triumphant appearance. Gravlox held her right hand in his firm and now shapely grasp, while her left hand lay on Pimpiowyn’s shoulder (yes, she too was revived now) companiably. Vogonwë, next to her, had stopped reciting his epic poem, thankful for once that he had lost the greater part of his audience. Kuruharan was leaning ever so slightly on Chrysophylax, for even the Dwarf had tired of fighting. The Dragon was content to lie on the ground, digesting the remnants of barbequed battle. The Gateskeeper had forgotten all of his technical paraphernalia, his hands hanging in unwonted restful pose at his side. Since the other females of the group were otherwise claimed, Hal and Orogarn (still Two, of course) had taken Leninia between them protectively – or was it possessively? Soregum was missing, though none of them actually noticed his absence.

Grasses and wild flowers gently caressed their ankles, and if some of the more daring plants found their way under the females’ skirts, who was to blame them? The Bow, freed from its antisEntient state, hummed with excitement once again, and the conglomeration of wooden artefacts on the cart that made up its entirety emitted a low harmonious buzzing. Obviously, Something was about to happen.

“Melvin,” Yawanna began, “from the very beginning you attempted to spoil everything that the rest of us sub-created. When we built lands, you destroyed them. When we delved valleys, you raised them up. When we carved mountains, you threw them down. And when we hollowed seas, you spilled them. But the very worst of all is, when we tried to give this History of Muddled-Mirth some kind of coherency, cohesion and continuity, you ruined it all with chaos and confusion! Well, that’s over – you’re not going to mess with us anymore!”

“But Honeypie, I’ll reform,” Mogûl answered. “You can save me, you’ll be the redeeming influence that makes a good Velour of me yet -”

ENOUGH!” her voice resounded over the plains. “You had your chance. Maybe you haven’t learned from your experience, but I have. Your heart is as black as your gothic raiment, and as hard, cold, and unyielding as your metal crown. Muddled-Mirth will have no peace nor beauty while you remain unfettered. Maybe my breth/sistren and I do not have the power to end your miserable existence, but at least we can prevent you from doing any further harm to our beloved world and its inhabitants. You will be bound and banished to the Pink Floyd, behind The Wall. You won’t heed no education; we don’t need your thought control; no dark chasm in creation: Mogûl, leave our world alone! All in all you’ll just be – talking to a brick wall!”

Suddenly Mogûl found his legs wrapped tightly with vines, growing at an alarming rate. Yet his arm was still long, longer than Yawanna or any of the Relaxed-Ship had realized. Quickly it reached out to Merisuwyniel and tore her from her beloved’s grasp, bringing both the Elven maiden and the Entish Bow into his power.

“Now we’ll see who laughs last!” he shouted triumphantly. “I have the most important piece of that pesky tree-cowboy in my hands, and as long as the Ent is rent, you have no might over me! Now hand over the rest of that firewood, or the She-Elf has seen her last Quest!”


(to be continued...)

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Old 12-15-2005, 03:28 PM   #291
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Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Far away, over the river and through the woods, on their way back home from wherever it was that the Velour had pursued the enemies, the Valleyum dudes and dudettes conversed excitedly, high on the unwonted triumph of having actually accomplished something useful.

“That was fun!” Prada laughed. “Let’s do it again!”

“Naw, let’s, like, have a party to celebrate!” Chanessa countered.

“But what about the rest of the foes?” Manuël objected, feeling responsible for a change.

“It’s, like, their problem – let them handle it,” Mantoes suggested. “Like, it’s not our fault – we’re not Rent-an-Ent, after all!”

“But we could at least go see what’s happening,” TMUlmo said.

“You know what? I bet they’d totally appreciate some support,” Estë-Lynn exclaimed. “Let’s, like, give them some cheerleading!”

The female Velour whipped Pôm-Pôms and tiny skirts out of their miniature designer backpacks and started cartwheeling toward the battlefield. The males followed, trying to look dignified and masculine and lagging a bit to make it look like they weren’t really associated with the females. Suddenly Haulie’s steps lengthened noticably. Irritated, Manuël asked, “Hey, what’s with the hurry, dude?”

“I can feel something – Yawanna is in trouble,” he answered curtly.

“So what do you care?” Mantoes wondered. “Isn’t she Mel’s gal now?”

“The Ent is endangered too,” Haulie added. “They will have need of the wood,” he stated cryptically. He started running, and such was his strength and the speed of his legs that he soon reached the newly green battlefield.

° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° °

Yawanna and the fellows and gals of the Fellow/Galship had spent their strength in attempting to reach Merisuwyniel and wrest her from Mogûl’s grasp, but the might of his concentration had held them at bay, or at least at arm’s length, effortlessly.

“Haulie!” Yawanna exclaimed with a choke that could be interpreted as a sob of relief, or perhaps a cry for help, or perhaps something completely different or nothing at all.

Mogûl turned to see who approached and greeted him casually. “Howdy, Haulie! Wassup, dude?”

“You’re up, and to no good, as usual,” Haulie retorted. “You have something that belongs to my spouse, and you’d better give it back to her, or...”

“Or what? Will you send some Dwarfies to get it for you?” Mogûl mocked.

“I will create some good Loyers to fight you on your own terms!” Haulie answered.

“But good Loyers are Mith-ical!” Mogûl laughed. “They don’t exist, and if they did, they would be a contradiction in terms and therefore completely ineffective!”

Merisuwyniel gasped as his grip on her tightened. She was finding it difficult to maintain her usual poise under the circumstances. Orogarn Two, who felt the loss of his heroic power most keenly, made one last, desperate attempt, and lo! Mogûl’s concentration had loosened and he charged forward, waving his sword in a manner that was more foolhardy than brave. He managed to slash the Velour’s arm, startling him more than actually hurting him, but causing him to release his hold on the Elven maiden.

Mogûl turned to his aggressor with a snarl, lowered his head, and with a headbutt pierced him with the sharp points of his deadly crown. Orogarn slumped to the ground, mortally wounded, and with his last breath cried out to Merisu, “Take this, and check out my lucky nickel! It will help you in your hour of need!” He reached into a pocket of his well-worn (or Vínt-âge, as they were called) blue pants and took out his wallet, tossing it to the Elf, who caught it nimbly and gracefully (of course). Then he expired, and those who beheld him in his death saw the splendour of the expiration date which was printed on the sole of his shoes.

At that moment Haulie lifted his mighty hammer, raising it high, and smote the ground before Mogûl’s feet. “You – shall – not – sass!” he cried loudly, and the earth cracked. A quick-thinking vine lashed out, entwining itself about Mogûl’s ankles and pulling him into the crack, and another quickly caught Merisu before she could fall with him. With a terrible cry, Mogûl plunged down into the depths of Muddled-Mirth’s bowels. All that the Leftovership heard was his parting shout, “Spy, you mules!”, then they saw him no more. (No one understood what his last words meant, for which reason they were remembered for all times and thought to be particularly astute.)

Stunned by the monumental events they had just witnessed, the assembled company stood in shocked silence for a moment. Leninia burst into tears, remembering Orogarn Two’s strong embrace and mourning his loss, as they all did. But soon Yawanna threw her arms around Haulie in what looked to be the beginning of a reconciliation and reunion. Merisuwyniel was comforted tenderly by Gravlox, and Pimpiowyn kissed Vogonwë just because she felt like it. The others cleared their throats and bowed their heads before gently picking up the hero’s body and carrying it to the cart with the pieces of Ent upon it. It seemed fit to all that he should be borne in honour with the wooden artefacts. But where should they bring him, and what should they do next?

“We must carry on with our Quest and bring it to completion,” Merisuwyniel announced. “Orogarn (“Two”, someone whispered, just out of habit) would have wanted us to do that.” She turned to the Green Goddess questioningly.

Yawanna pointed to a white peak on the horizon. “We must go to the holy mountain of Tan-Quickly-Hill. There are the sun studios that are most holy to the Velour, and there shall the Ent be reunified. Follow me!”
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Old 12-18-2005, 01:16 PM   #292
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Kuruharan is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Kuruharan is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Boots

As everyone made their way to Tan-Quickly-Hill, all were satisfied that the Quest looked to be nearing completion…except one. Reaperneep plodded along all depressed and sad, his tail dragging the ground, his battered and bloody rapier still clutched in his paw. A few short posts ago he had been caught up in a Valhallian-like paradise that looked certain to last for the rest of eternity. What mouse could ask for more? And here he was, his hopes crushed. Peace and serenity were returning to Muddled mirth. What would become of him? He end up just like Orogarn Two…brought into the story for a plot diversion that nobody ever paid much attention to, only to be finally killed off when it became utterly useless to be kept around any longer.

As he dragged along in mournful reverie he tripped over something lying on the ground. It looked to be a bit hairy. Morose curiosity drove Reaperneep to roll the body over and see a glorious hero of blessed memory who had found a courageous death in the battle to end the world. Instead, it turned out to be a still living Soregum.

“Oh, it’s you,” said Reaperneep. “Pitooie…hayuch…” said Soregum as he spit dirt out of his mouth. “A lucky escape,” said Soregum when he’d found his breath. “If you say so,” said Reaperneep. Soregum stared at the mouse a little oddly. “But we just triumphed over impossible odds,” said Soregum.

“But what battles does that leave us to fight?!” demanded Reaperneep. “This is a most unfortunate illustration of the turn of Fortune’s Wheel.”

“What?”

“Fortune’s Wheel…” said Reaperneep in puzzlement. “Surely you’ve seen the show. Patt Sayjack and Vanawww Blanca…”

“Sorry,” interrupted Soregum. “We don’t have time for another pointless excursion into nonsense and anachronism.”

“Then will this whole post fall into anticlimax without even a proper punchline?” asked Reaperneep sadly.

“Looks that way,” said Soregum.
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Old 12-29-2005, 12:00 PM   #293
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Bêthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Bêthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Bêthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.
Pipe Where the Bilbo roams

Bilbo S. Thompson, gonzo translator of no small conceit, was coming out of a lembas daze. He realized he hadn’t contributed anything to the latest round of entish irreverence and he was appalled by his lack of bad taste. “I’m a whole different person when I’ve been upstaged,” he mused to himself as he wired some Longbottom Leaf to one of his outrageously oversized cigarette holders.

He began: How many more of these lame delays are we going to have to write off as 'regrettably necessary' holding actions? And how many more of these double-downer sideshows will we have to go through before we can get ourselves straight enough to put together an actual real climax to this action that will give at least the fellow contributors who tend to agree with each other a chance to consummate that old familiar choice between the lesser of two evils?

The gonzo translator put down his crayon. It wasn’t working. He couldn’t be irreverent enough, couldn’t be unpredictable enough, couldn’t be gonzo enough to out-hyperbole the other contributors. He would have to beat them, have to go from bad to worse to rotten, on other terms. So be it.

Bilbo S. Thompson picked up his glitter marker. He would shine. He would do what none of them had done yet. He would be … predictable. And so he produced entirely a history greater than The Great Sharkey Hunt on someone else’s terms. The guy was dead now anyway, he wouldn’t care, that Jöhn Lêndïn.

The Ballad of Yawanna and Mogûl

Standing in the stock of south Mirthdom
Covered in the vines of life’s dance
The man with the hack said, “You’ve got me back”
And you thought you didn’t have a chance.”

Tolkien, you know it ain’t easy,
You know how hard it can be,
The way things are going
They’re gonna parody thee.

Finally made the post of conclusion
Thinking nothing would be the same
Vogonwe called to say
You can make it okay
You can get resolved in a trilogy plain.

Tolkien you know it ain’t easy
You know how hard it can be,
The way things are going
They’re gonna parody thee.

Roved from Vallyum to the Barrow Downs quilt-in,
Talking to the wood for a week,
The orcs said, “Say what you’re doing with trees?”
MeriSue said, “We’re only trying to get us some piece.”

Tolkien you know it ain’t easy
You know how hard it can be,
The way things are going
They’re gonna parody thee.

Saving up your battles for the big play
Giving all your time to war mongery
Last night the Troll-Chief said
“Oh boy when you’re done,
You won’t know what to do not being dead.
Made a lightning trip to Minus Teeth
Eating lembas in a coney stew
The Deadbook said, “She’s a terrible thread,
She’ll drag your legend into dispute.”

Tolkien you know it ain’t easy,
You know how hard it can be,
The way things are going,
They’re gonna parody thee.

Caught the final thrill back up to the Hill,
All the ents together in a choir,
The men from Tan-Quick said we hope you’re now slick
It’s good to have all of it for hire.

Tolkien you know it ain’t easy,
You know how hard it can be.
The way things are going
They’re gonna parody thee.

The way things are going
They’re gonna parody thee.
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Old 01-10-2006, 09:13 AM   #294
Estelyn Telcontar
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“Go, Questers, go! Go, Entish Bow!” The spirited cries of the Velour cheerleaders were slightly belated, as the AreWeThereYetShip was already rapidly proceeding toward the holy mountain of Tan-Quickly-Hill. And such was the virtue of the hallowed lands of Valleyum that the usual trail of destruction and food wrappers that otherwise followed in their wake was conspicuously absent.

The Velour were lagging behind them, sorely missing the dune buggies with which they normally preferred to travel, but still feeling buoyantly virtuous. Since it looked like there was no further danger to them, nor any activity required of them, they could bask in the glow of seeming to participate without actually doing anything.

The Green Goddess was busy thinking of all that needed to be organized while she walked hand-in-hand with her spouse. She mentally composed an o-mail of condolence to Orogarn’s father:

Quote:
To the Honourable Lord Denimthor, Proctor of Grundor and Guardian of the Porcelain Throne of Minus Teeth, from Yawanna, greetings!

I have the sad task of informing you as his father that your noble and valiant son Orogarn Two has lost his life in the fulfillment of his duty as a hero of the Questship of the Entish Bow. We now bear his body in great honour; would you like to have it transported back to the city of his ancestors for burial? Please inform us of your wishes and we will provide for carriage worthy of his person and rank.
Unfortunately, the static caused a poor connection between the far Western lands of Valleyum and the kingdom of Grundor in Muddled-Mirth, so that only a truncated message reached the Proctor:

Quote:
Yawanna have your son’s body back?
Since Denimthor had seen a vision of Orogarn (Two, of course) lying pale beneath the skies of Valleyum, he was not surprised. However, the official news of the death of the Not-Prince, successor to the Not-Throne, caused much weeping and mourning in the city of his origin. Poems were made and sung that were equal at least to Vogonwë’s best efforts, the flags of Minus Teeth flew at half mast, and the elderly wore only the bottom half of their dentures in honour of his memory. The children strewed their toothbrushes with ashes, crying bitterly when they had to use them.

Denimthor wrote a return answer:

Quote:
No father should have to bury his child! Since he is no longer of use to our country, it matters not where he lies buried. Do as you think.
Alas, even this brief answer suffered from the static, so that Yawanna received the following reply:

Quote:
No!
Reaperneep considered himself the deceased hero’s guard of honour and walked beside the humble cart which bore his remains, holding his sword high and looking grim, though no one approached them.

Vogonwë had spent the first miles speechless, sucking on throat lozenges to soothe his weary vocal chords. Yet after awhile he could not resist the opportunity offered him by the somber, somewhat festive procession (which moreover provided him with a captive audience) and began chanting a dirge:

His head was higher than the helm of kings
with heathen crowns, his heart keener
and his soul clearer than swords of heroes
polished and proven; than plated gold
his worth was greater. From the world has passed
a prince peerless in peace and war,
just in judgement, generous-handed
as the golden lords of long ago.
He has gone to Emu glory seeking,
Orogarn Two beloved.



“Hush!” Pimpiowyn exclaimed suddenly. The others turned toward her in astonishment, wondering why she would object to Vogonwë’s poem. For he had spoken with authority and great skill, as if with the voice of one who was a master of words, and they would feign have listened longer.

“I’m sorry, darling, I don’t mean you!” she said contritely when she realized that he had taken her outcry personally. “I mean my sword Hush – it’s gone!”

“When do you last remember having it in your hands?” Merisuwyniel asked helpfully.

“Hmm, I don’t know – on the battlefield, I think,” the Half-Halfling answered.

All eyes were on Pimpi, or someone might have noticed that Soregum’s face turned pale, then flushed, and his hand went to his breast pocket. He hesitated, but soon realizing the extent of her distress, edged over alongside the cart. His hands moved with the skill of the Little People, faster than the eye, and then raised the sword triumphantly. “Here it is,” he called out. “It must have been in the cart all the while.”

“Oh, thank you!” she exclaimed, giving him a kiss on the cheek in reward. And though this history does not tell the tale, it is said that he never after did wash that cheek and became known as Soregum, the Black-Faced.

Watching the cart, Vogonwë continued:

Hey! rattle and bump over rut and boulder!
The roads are rough and rest is short...



but the mood had passed, the mountain was nigh, and his audience was distracted. Eager to reach their goal, they pressed forward. Gateskeeper even pressed fast forward, but nothing happened and he had to content himself with normal speed.
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Old 01-12-2006, 10:10 AM   #295
Estelyn Telcontar
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Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
'The Horse and Her Elf'

The Very Secret Diary of Falafel (Noble Steed, associated with yet not owned by Merisuwyniel)


Day Umpteenthousand-something-or-other – who really cares?! I don’t suppose anyone will ever read this anyway, because all of the history will come from the Red and Green and Yellow Books that are written from some Elven, Human, or Hobbit point-of-view.

We equine companions (and similar creatures) didn’t have much to do during that ridiculous and confusing battle. There were so many fighters popping up out of nowhere and disappearing again, turning miniature, and whatever (especially whatever!), that our DismountedShip never had time to ride. And where would they have gone if they had? Looks like we’re trapped in this far-away country; the flying vehicle that brought us here is shattered, and what ship would bear us ever back across so wide a Sea?

Anyway, we lounged around on the sidelines, counting the arrows that Vogonwë plucked out of thin air, betting who’d be the next coward to hide behind us, and mesmerized by the rise and fall of Merisuwyniel’s, um – breath. Unfortunately, the farther the battle progressed, the less food and drink were available to us. The grass withered, the flowers faded, because the tainted breath of Mogûl blew upon it, and water was no more.

When we realized that we too would be affected by the outcome of the battle, we finally roused ourselves to action. I wish someone would have taken note of the valiant deeds done by those of us they call animals; those two-legged “fighters” could have learned a thing or two! I put my hooves to very effective use, and the others followed my example. Without our help on the flanks, the Elves, Humans, Hobbits and all mixtures thereof couldn’t have held out long enough for Yawanna to win the day.

I’m not complaining, mind you – I’m just glad it’s over. Of course it’s sad that one of the Questers died at Mogûl’s hands – or head it was – but they were lucky not more lost their lives. I was afraid if the enemy didn’t get them, Chrysophylax’ fire would; he sure had himself a BBQ! But I guess his aim is better than I thought.

Here we are then, on our way upwards, judging from the terrain. Most of our companions are way behind; when I look back to see if they are still following, even my equine eyes cannot discern their faces nor recognize who is still moving. At the beginning my fellow beasts of burden made a show of pulling the cart in honour of Orogarn’s heroic death, but I’m the only one left now. ‘He ain’t heavy’ – hah! Either he is or the wooden artefacts are. Anyway, my mistress and the Green Goddess are walking hand in hand beside me; it’s just the three of us, with that mountain looming large ahead of us.

But though all others forsake Merisu, I will never leave her nor forsake her; whither she goeth I will go. And it may be that I will be her equine companion for many long years, for unto me has been given the lifespan of my foresire Felaróf, which exceeds that of normal horses by far. And it looks like Yawanna will stay with us too, at least as long as we are here in her country; I heard her say, “You’ll always have Paris!” That I didn’t understand, so I pricked my ears (different and less painful than piercing them!) and heard the echo say, “You’ll always have the pair of us!” She means me too! A very insightful goddess.

It looks like we’ve gotten wherever we’re going, at least for now; Yawanna has begun singing a song of worship, apparently. Let me see if I can hear the words; I’m sure the other horses will be jealous when I sing it to them!

Quote:
She’ll be coming around the mountain when she comes,
she’ll be coming around the mountain when she comes,
she’ll be coming around the mountain, she’ll be coming around the mountain,
she’ll be coming around the mountain when she comes.
later...

We stopped at the foot of the mountain, where there were a number of mounds covered with white flowers. Instinctively I knew that those were not for nibbling and kept to the grass a short distance away.

“Should we not wait for the others to join us for the burial?” Merisu asked.

“Nay,” Yawanna answered. (I would have given the same answer had she asked me!) “For who knoweth how long it will take them nor whether they shall even come to this place, here at the end of all subplots. Besides, my husband would think that he could do it better, and instead of a mound we’d have another chasm. And when it’s broke, who fixes it?!”

With a charming wave of her emerald hands, she beckoned to the vines, bushes, and herbs that surrounded us, and they pushed clear a level space. Then they reached up to the cart and gently lifted Orogarn Two (yes, respect requires the suffix) ’s body and laid it there. His noble sword they placed at his side. Afterwards they piled the earth high above his remains, and within the shortest time flowers were growing on it. Amidst them the green leaves were shaped like unto a funny penguin, though some took the form of a ghastly green something-or-other.

Suddenly I heard Merisuwyniel’s voice begin to sing; I would have recognized its lovely tones anywhere, beautiful enough to melt the hearts of good and evil races, even to touch Mantoes’ compassion on behalf of her beloved, as had been the case long ago. But the words she sang were wonderfully fashioned, more than any of hers had ever been, and I surmised that the creative spirit that pervaded this holy place had suffused her.


Quote:
Build high the barrow his bones to keep!
For here shall be hid both mouse and keyboard;
and to the ground be given blû dením Djeens,
and green Tê-Shirt with sword gleaming,
wealth unbegrudged for the well-beloved;
of forum admins the first and noblest,
to his moderators help unfailing,
to his members the fairest founder of websites.
Glory loved he; now glory earning
his grave shall be green, while forum or mainsite,
while post or thread in the internet lasteth.
Strange and otherworldly did those words sound to me, as echoes of another age perhaps, and I pondered them without finding meaning. Whether my mistress understood what she sang or not, it was a beautiful and touching moment. Yet our trip up the high mountain of Tan-Quickly-Hill had only begun.

Last edited by Estelyn Telcontar; 01-16-2006 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 01-16-2006, 09:20 PM   #296
Kuruharan
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Kuruharan is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Kuruharan is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Boots

At the sight of Tan-Quickly-Hill, a thought burst into Kuruharan’s brain.

“Wow! Nice digs. This would be an excellent site for a casino!! Surely these Maya and Velour need some way to blow off steam!!”

With that thought echoing in his brain, the enterprising dwarf strolled up to Manuël.

Bowing in the proper dwarven fashion, Kuruharan said, “Please allow me to felicitate Your Majesty on your most recent victory. A triumph of this magnitude will surely awe and keep Muddled-mirth in its place for eons to come.”

“Wha…aaa…” intoned Manuël.

“May it please Your High Majesty,” continued Kuruharan, “to commemorate this splendid occasion, I have come to beg leave to establish a casi…err…erect a memorial…monument, I meant monument (sorry) on Tan-Quickly-Hill, to show forth the glory of your victory for all eternity.”

Manuël stared at the dwarf a moment. “HAAAUUUULLIIIËËËË!!!!”

“Dude?” replied Haulië

“Your creature used big words to me,” said Manuël. “Translate.”

Kuruharan repeated his request. As the dwarf spoke, a thought burst into Haulië’s brain.

“Duuuuuude! This would be an eeexcellent place for a casino!!”

What he said out loud was, “Uhhh…sorry dude! Like, uhh, zoning codes. Yeah, that’s it! The zoning codes don’t allow the building of casinos on Tan-Quickly-Hill.”

“Zoning codes?” said Kuruharan.

“Recently passed,” said Haulië hastily. “We are planning a few renewal projects and all construction has to be…uhhh, like, umm…approved by the Board! Yeah, approved by the Board. Unfortunately, the Board is pretty slow. It generally takes two Ages to process all the paperwork. You’ll probably be long dead before your request came up for review.”

“Curses,” snarled Kuruharan inwardly. Out loud he said, “Please it Your Not Quite As High But Still Pretty Up There Majesty, if I could then present another request?”

“Errr…” said Haulië.

“If Your Majesty would be willing to grant a small license concession to your humble servant, I’d be much obliged,” said Kuruharan.

“What sort of license?” asked Haulië.

“Please it Your Majesty, a gaming and foundation license,” replied Kuruharan. “The sort of license, since Your Majesty is the creator of our race, that King Gaín Lotsamoola would be unable to contest even in his own court. It wouldn’t need to be much of a thing. All it would really need to say is something about how I can have leave to establish my own franchise and not give the king a cut of the take.”

“Sorry, dude,” said Haulië. “I really don’t think…”

“If Your Majesty were able to accommodate your servant in this matter, I would be unable to say anything when I got back about how your wife almost left you (ahem),” said Kuruharan.

“On second thought,” said Haulië abruptly, “in view of your services to, like, the cosmic order, and some junk, I grant your request.”

“My gratitude is inexpressible,” said Kuruharan with another deep bow (in proper dwarven fashion).

“What’s the hold up?” asked Yawanna.

“Huh…hold up,” said Merisuwyniel.

Sure enough, everybody else was at least a quarter mile behind them. Everyone seemed to be watching some sort of discussion taking place between Kuruharan and the Velour.

“Now what’s he doing?” groaned Merisuwyniel. “Can’t I even have my moment of triumph in peace?!”

Last edited by Kuruharan; 01-17-2006 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 02-12-2006, 05:04 PM   #297
Estelyn Telcontar
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Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Merisuwyniel, Yawanna, and Falafel had reached the top of Mount Tan-Quickly-Hill with the cart full of Entish pieces. They were alone, for the others of their company had lingered at the base of the mountain with the Velour, held up not only by Kuruharan’s bartering but by the fact that they had found a place of great interest – ‘Sethamir’s Stable, Sun Studio, and Surf Stuff’. There could be found sunglasses of high fashion, colourful apparel suited for water sports, and the boards which were so essential to the Velour for their ritual ceremonies. The LandLubberShip gazed at the various objects in wonder and would feign have been tempted to buy them but for their lack of local currency.

“Hey, doesn’t Merisu have Orogarn’s wallet?” Pimpi asked. “Perhaps we could use his credit card.” That was all the motivation they needed. They proceeded to follow their leader up the steep path with newly revived enthusiasm. In fact, they, unhampered by the cart, arrived at the summit in time to hear Yawanna’s clear voice ringing out with words of great import:

“Ent-That-Was-Broken, why have you come?”

And a voice, nay, several voices were heard, sounding strangely wooden and saying: “To be reunited and have no more pieces!”

Then Yawanna said: “The hour is come at last. You have besought my aid upon Tan-Quickly-Hill in the land of Valleyum, and I am the Maker of this, one of my children. I alone can remake him, that he can again fulfil the purpose for which he was created. Bring forth the Entish pieces!”


And she began to sing a song of great beauty and power:


Dat Wood, Dat Wood, Dat Dry Wood,
Dat Wood, Dat Wood, Dat Dry Wood,
Dat Wood, Dat Wood, Dat Dry Wood,
Now hear the word of Yawanna!

Oh, the leaf wood’s connected to the twig wood,
And the twig wood’s connected to the branch wood,
And the branch wood’s connected to the limb wood,
And the limb wood’s connected to the trunk wood,
And the trunk wood’s connected to the root wood,
Dat Wood is gonna live.

Yawanna connected Dat Dry Wood,
Yawanna connected Dat Dry Wood,
Yawanna connected Dat Dry Wood,
Dat Wood is gonna live!



And lo! as she sang the members of the Fellow/Galship of the Entish Bow came forward, bearing the pieces of Ent that they had brought with them from the long labours of their Quest.

Merisuwyniel laid the Entish Bow down at Yawanna’s feet, then furtively slipped the wooden foot that she had still kept in her pocket to Gravlox, so that he could proffer it as his own.

Kuruharan was so elated over the possibilities of future business in Valleyum that he silently brought forward the Great Foozle (“a shortish, longish, roundish, squareish, thinish, fattish, shapely, shapeless piece of wood”, it had been described) which he had found, not even considering asking for remuneration.

Leninia blinked back tears as she stroked the strings of the Entish Guitar one last time, yet she had learned to think of others instead of herself on this long journey, and gave up her erstwhile musical companion for the greater cause.

Vogonwë, Halfemption, Gateskeeper, and Sueim (the wraith formerly known as Grrralph) valiantly hoisted the Thighs of Soreham, laying (or rather dropping) them on top of the other pieces. There were cries of “Ouch!”, “Watch it, stupid!”, and “Aren’t there enough pieces already?!” from the Rent-Ent, but all was soon forgotten as they were lifted into place by Yawanna’s might.

Pimpiowyn donated the breadbox, since that was the piece nearest and dearest to her heart. And at the very last, Reeperneep came forward, having shouldered the Entish broom like a sword. Bowing down reverently, he gave it to Yawanna, and she smiled upon this small but proud creature, touching his shoulders lightly with the broom in knighthood as it were, before adding it the the assembled pieces.

Then she spoke in great majesty, asking: “Can this wood live?”

And Merisuwyniel answered for them all: “O Yawanna, thou knowest.”

Then the Green Goddess spoke to the wooden pieces, “Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. And I will lay vines upon you, and will cause leaves to grow upon your branches, and cover you with bark, and put breath in you, and you shall live.”

And lo! the pieces of wood arose, and were joined to each other like unto a huge tree-shaped Man, and a trembling passed through the branches. And all who were assembled there held their breath in expectancy. Yet nothing happened.

“Can someone fetch water?” the goddess asked.

Soregum, who had kept to the background, still feeling out of sorts and out of place, hurried to the brook which was conveniently located nearby. He doffed his hat and filled it with the clear water (well, it was clear until it was carried in that hat of his). At Yawanna’s command he then poured it on the earth round the Rent-Ent. She then again raised her hands in invocation, but still nothing happened.

Yawanna was troubled in spirit, for she could not imagine what had gone wrong. She ran her lovely green hands over the Ent-That-Was-Still-Broken, gently probing for a crack or some other sign that something was amiss.

“But – a piece is missing!” she cried out in anguish. “The Ent cannot be reunited if even a tiny bit is lacking!”

Merisuwyniel and her companions looked at each other and whispered desperately. ”Have we forgotten a piece somewhere? Can it have gotten lost in one of the continuity gaps? Did the long time of our journey cause us to forget a part? Is our whole Quest in vain?”

Suddenly, in the hour of their greatest need, Merisuwyniel remembered the last words of their valiant companion, Orogarn Two:

“Take this, and check out my lucky nickel! It will help you in your hour of need!”

Hurriedly, she rummaged through the pockets of her divided skirt (which were filled with a good many handy and necessary things, though they were never lumpy nor made her look fat). Finally she found Orogarn’s wallet, bequeathed to her as his last gift. She tossed out various IDs, receipts, and calling cards, including the Gold Tooth Card of Grundor (which Kuruharan helpfully picked up, “forgetting” to give it to her, upon which it mysteriously found its way into his pocket), before discovering some loose change. Puzzled, she searched for a nickel.

“There’s one!” she exclaimed. But it felt much too light for the usual metal coin. And the carving was not right somehow.

“Why, it’s wooden!” she cried out, astonished. She held it to her ear, motioning to her companions for silence, and heard a soft humming sound. “It must be Entish!”

Quickly she gave it to Yawanna, who inserted it into a tiny space, like unto a slot. And it came to pass that the Ent began to stir its branches and limber its limbs. The FinishedAtLastShip watched in amazement as eyes appeared among the leaves, and a mouth that opened to speak.
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Old 02-21-2006, 10:37 AM   #298
Diamond18
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"Did you hear something?" Pimpi asked.

"Hear what?" Vogonwë replied.

"I'm not sure, it sounded like a little voice, far off, saying something."

"I didn't hear anything. Look, the Ent is coming to life."

"Yes, but--"

"Love, if you don't mind, I'm trying to pay attention."

"Well, fine, I just thought it might be Mogul coming back to life."

"Don't be absurd. Like that's ever going to happen."

"It might."

"Not in our lifetime. Now be quiet, the Ent is about to speak." They both fell silent, waiting expectantly.

For a very long time.

At length, Vogonwë added, "Or not."

Pimpi took that opportunity to speak upon the matter she had been stewing over; "You're telling me to be quiet? Oh, that's rich!"

"Pimpi--"

"Oh, look, a biscuit in my pocket...."

With that, she fell to munching quietly, and Vogonwë returned his attention to the fascinating thing that was happening. Or was about to happen. Or may happen somewhere in the near future. Okay, distant future. It might not happen at all, but in case it did, he returned his attention to it. Soon he fell asleep, and Pimpi finished her biscuit. Growing bored, she cut his hair with Hush and wove the shorn locks into a vest-coat the size of which could fit a small dog.

SOMEWHERE IN HAVANA

The night was sultry. An old gringo sat nursing a cup of hot chocolate spiked with cinnamon rum and a slice of lemon. A little dog, no heavier than a bread box, came scampering up and piddled on his shin -- he just grunted and took a sip of sweet, chocolaty lemon goodness.

"Oy," said the little dog. "Can I 'ave some o' that?"

"Get lost," grunted the gringo. "Can’t ye see I’m old and grumpy, wee little pooch?"

The little dog whined and pranced till the old man relented and poured a little puddle of chocolate out on the patio. The little dog lapped it up with its quick pink tongue. It looked up and said, "'At was right good, it 'twas. Now I only wish I 'ad a vest-coat of Elvish hair."

"What would ye want that for?" the gringo asked.

"Why, it's lucky, they say. If ye wear a vest-coat of Elvish hair, ye can fly."

At that moment, the finest vest-coat of soft brown Elvish hair fell from the sky and landed in the old gringo's cup of hot chocolate spiced with cinnamon rum (and a silce of lemon).

"Oy," said the little dog. "Can I 'ave that?"

"What makes ye think ye can 'ave it?" the gringo retorted. "Maybe I want to fly!"

"It won't fit ye! It's exactly the size of a small dog," the dog pointed its paw impatiently.

The gringo nodded, reluctance in his old eyes. "So it 'tis, so it 'tis. 'Ere ye go then, little one." He slipped it over the dog's wee little head, and buttoned the vest up good and proper. Before his wondering eyes, the little dog levitated from the ground, spun around three times, and spat up some pea soup, hot chocolate, two granola bars, a banana, and a twist of lime. Then it flew off into the night, never to be seen in those parts again.

MEANWHILE, BACK IN VALLEYUM

Pimpi awoke with a start and wiped drool from the corner of her mouth. "I had the strangest dream," she remarked, but it fell on deaf ears, for Vogonwë had progressed to snoring.

The Ent was still blinking (as it takes a terribly long time to blink in old Entish) and there was no sign of a certain incredibly hard to kill big baddy anywhere, so she cut off more of Vogonwë's hair and with it made macramé potholders for her trousseau.

Last edited by Diamond18; 03-01-2006 at 11:25 PM. Reason: I got bored
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Old 03-02-2006, 04:18 AM   #299
The Saucepan Man
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The Saucepan Man has been trapped in the Barrow!
The Eye

And still the Ent stood motionless, its mouth open, as if to speak. But the no voice issued forth from it. Instead, it emitted a peculiar gurgling, rattling, wheezing sound.

“Behold! The Ent that was Rent but now fully Extent lives!” cried Yawanna in joy.

“Are you sure, babe?” enquired Manuël Santana. “It doesn’t, like, sound too hot to me.”

“Well, it is bound to experience some shock after all this time,” replied the Green Goddess. “It’s only …”

But as she spoke, the Ent began to shudder and convulse, and the strange sound originating from it grew in intensity. And, just as the noise reached a crescendo, an object the size and shape of a large cucumber, a putrid, glistening pinkish-greenish ochre in colour, emerged from the Ent’s mouth and dropped to the ground, where it lay writhing blindly.

“Ew! Gross!” exclaimed Prada.

“Dude!” cried Mantoes and Tickle-me Ulmo in concert, high-fiving. “Uber-gross, man! Way to reuninfy!”

“Er, is that supposed to happen?” asked Howlie.

But Yawanna did not answer. Instead, maniacal laughter filled the air as, at a point some twenty feet above the stricken Ent, a patch of thick black smog appeared and slowly resolved itself into a recognisable, albeit rather twisted, form.

“You!” uttered Yawanna in disbelief.

“Yes, me,” replied Môgul Bildûr. For it was he.

It is fair to say that defeat on the field of battle had not done the Dread Developer any favours, aesthetically speaking. No longer was he able to assume the drop-dead gorgeous form of a roguish rock star. Rather, his face was misshapen, his eyes dark and sunken and what skin he had left was ashen grey and peeling prodigiously from his skeletal form. He floated there in mid-air, as though seated upon an invisible throne, the mangy white furry - er - thing, Heslob, perched on his bony knee.

“You look awful,” said Yawanna, stating the obvious.

“It is of no concern,” cackled Môgul insanely. “My power is not diminished.”

“But you have lost!” declared Merisuwyniel defiantly. “The Ent has become whole. And according to the ancient tale, you should, by all rights, now be kissing goodbye to your soul.”

“Ah, yes. You refer of course to my little brother’s little rhyming curse. Not one of his best, it has to be said.”

“Hey, dude, cut me a bit of a slack,” muttered an abashed Mantoes. “I was just starting out on the doom pronouncing gig back in those days.”

“No matter. The pertinent point is that the Ent is not whole. For it is unable yet to live and breathe. There are a number of – ah – obstructions within …”

“What do you mean?” ventured Yawanna weakly.

And, of course, Môgul, being the super-villain that he was, could not resist the opportunity to explain his fiendishly cunning scheme.

“Mwahaha!” he gurgled, by way of introduction. “You know, when you are forced to spend some of your time in beetle form, you get to make all kinds of interesting acquaintances. May I introduce you to a friend of mine?"

The ground began to shake and a low rumble, deep within the earth, could be heard. Rather disappointingly for Môgul, no one seemed unduly perturbed by this, as it was a common occurrence when he was around. But what happened next was altogether more disconcerting. Gradually, a pair of enormous, chitinous legs broke the surface of the ground, in front of where the Ent stood. As the shiny black limbs pushed the soil aside, they were followed by a grotesque head bearing a pair of evil-looking mandibles. Then a thorax, followed by a great dark brown abdomen and two more pairs of spindly legs. Eventually, the vile creature had heaved herself out from her tunnel and squatted menacingly before them, regarding the assembled company through two large compound eyes, antennae twitching malevolently.

“Behold Exfoliant!” exclaimed Môgul triumphantly.

None knew whence she had originally come, but some have said that in pages long before she had descended from the vagueness that lay around and about this thread, when Melvin had first dwelt in idle contentment with his breth/sist-ren in Valleyum, and that she had taken rather a shine to him. But he had rejected her, and she had removed herself to the great forests of southern Valleyum. Deep in the gloom she had made her lair, and taken shape as a deathwatch beetle of monstrous form. There she had chewed up all the trees and bushes and plants that lay about her, until the forests were no more and she was famished. And so it was that Môgul had sought her out when first he had escaped from the void. And he had tempted her ravenous hunger with stories of the great woodlands of Muddled-Mirth, and so enlisted her aid in his efforts to destroy the Ent to which his fate was tied.

Môgul turned his attention the Entish Questors.

“My persistent friends, you may be surprised to learn that there is a traitor among you. One who has been travelling with you, but who is in fact an agent in my service.”

The companions stared from one to the other in disbelief - save for one, who was desperately wishing that he was somewhere else entirely, preferably a nice Hobbit hole in the Mire, with a plate of hot crumpets and a pipeful of Mireboro Light.

“Step forward, Windsor Gummidge!” commanded the Dread Developer.

“Who?” enquired the majority of the Gallowship in unison.

“Perhaps he is better known to you as Soregum,” the Dread Developer continued.

“Who?” they all said again.

“Small fellow, so high, bad teeth, enormous belly, smells.”

“Oh him.”

“Soregum, how could you?” said Pimpiowyn, addressing him in a voice which was to him as an arrow through his heart.

“I always knew that he was up to no good,” declared Vogonwë, self-righteously.

Soregum, meanwhile, had turned quite the brightest shade of red that even he had managed yet to achieve and stood, frozen to the spot, overburdened with shame and quite unable to speak.

“You will have noticed that he has quite a fondness for the Halfling leaf,” continued Môgul. “In fact, he cannot do without the foul stuff. So I took the precaution of keeping him fully supplied with stock from Moredough. And I believe that he has been using your charming wagon within which to store it. What a pity that the weed was contaminated with the spawn of my dear friend, Exfoliant. And, of course, when the grubs ran out of pipeweed to feed upon, they moved on to the Entish pieces. They do so love wood, you know.”

All stood dumbfounded, staring at the poor Hobbit, their eyes piercing him like sharp blades.

“And so the accursed Ent is riddled with the writhing spawn of Exfoliant. They lurk within it now, awaiting her command. Just one word from me, and the Ent will be no more.”

“Yawanna!” cried Merisu. “What can we do?”

“Nothing. He has won,” she said bleakly. Then, turning to Môgul, she continued,” Then why not give the word? What is it that you want from us?”

“Simple, my dear. All I require is kingship over the lands of Muddled-Mirth. Valleyum I am content to grant to you, my breth/sistren, as a fiefdom, subject to a suitable tribute payable annually. Oh and I almost forgot. Mantoes must, of course, renounce the doom which he pronounced upon me. If you give me your agreement on this, the Ent will be returned to you, hale and healthy. If you do not, he is maggot fodder.”

There was a moment of silence. And then Manuël Santana, King of the Velour, stepped forth with an air of determination.

“Sounds good to me, man,” he grinned. “I’d say we have a deal.”

“Yeah, it’d, like, avoid a lot of fuss and nastiness,” agreed Prada.

“Melvin’s right, dude. The curse stinks,” said T-M Ulmo to Mantoes.

“Dude!” said Mantoes, high-fiving T-M Ulmo. “That’s harsh, man. But fair. It was, like, pretty lame. I suppose I could cancel it.”

“And you would get to keep the Ent, dear,” ventured Howlie.

“Then we are agreed,” said the Dread Developer smugly.

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Old 03-11-2006, 07:20 AM   #300
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Merisuwyniel’s lovely violet eyes filled with tears - very becomingly so, of course. Not for the first time did she wonder if all she had done, all her planning and effort on behalf of the Entish Bow, had been in vain. “It cannot be!” she cried out passionately.

“Hush, my dear,” Yawanna reproached her, causing Pimpiowyn to look up in puzzlement until she realized that, as her knife was not sentient, it could therefore not be the recipient of those words. “The Children should not interrupt when grown-up Velour are speaking among themselves.”

Merisu’s full crimson lips trembled most fetchingly at those harsh-sounding words. How could the Green Goddess turn her back on them? Of course, she cared about the Ent, and it looked like it was to achieve the whole life it had so long desired. But what of Muddled-Mirth? What good was it to save one Ent when all Nature would suffer under the cruel rule of the Dread Developer? “There must be some way to stop him!” she exclaimed.

Mantoes, who had been paging through his battered notebook, looking for the old curse in order to erase it, sighed. Even in speaking, the Elven maiden’s voice could not fail to charm him. He could only hope that she wouldn’t start singing, or he would melt as wax in her shapely hands. “Here it is,” he said to the others. “But – ”

“What’s wrong, dude?” Manuël asked.

“It’s indelible!” Mantoes gasped. “I can’t erase it! You wouldn’t think it now, but I was so brash and arrogant in my youthful days that I wrote everything in ink – crosswords, sudokus, dooms: once they were on paper, there was no turning back.”

“Can’t you cut the page out of your book? I can give you my nail scissors,” Chanessa offered helpfully.

“But there’s something really important on the back side of it,” Mantoes moaned. “My handy-dandy All Ages Chart of the Tides.”

The others nodded sympathetically, recognizing vital information when they heard of it. Môgul tensed, though it went unnoticed, as all were looking at Mantoes.

“Well,” said the ever pragmatic Vairsacë, “you could copy that chart onto a new page, then cut out the old one.”

This brilliant proposal was vigorously approved by the Velour. Estë-Lynn found a pen in her totebag, and Mantoes sat down to begin the task at hand.


Merisu could take it no longer. “What are you all thinking?” she accused. “You can’t give up like that! And even if you do, I won’t let it happen. Môgul must get what he deserves.” With those words, she unsheathed her sword and approached the ghastly figure valiantly. She managed to slash an “M” into his skin before Exfoliant turned to defend him. Before her comrades could come to her aid, she was pinned to the ground by huge mandibles. She gasped in pain as she felt them pierce her delicate skin. Then, as suddenly as the creature had assailed her, it withdrew again.

Yawanna stood there, holding a glowing green gem in her hand. Its rays were directed into the beetle’s eyes, and the foul creature writhed in pain.

“You are not ruler yet, Melvin,” she exclaimed, “and not here! Call your pet back until your time comes.”

Reluctantly, Môgul waved a skeletal hand to motion Exfoliant to his side.

“She looks hungry,” Yawanna mused. “I have a very special pipeweed stashed away here, on the holy mountain – for medicinal purposes only, of course. Perhaps she would like to try some?” She held out several leaves, almost hand-shaped, with long points, to the beetle. Greedily, it grasped the greens and stuffed them into its mouth.


In the meantime, Gravlox had hurried to his beloved’s side. He looked into her anguished eyes and saw the blood drops flowing from the sides of her head. Fortunately he was now in the habit of carrying clean handkerchiefs in his pockets, and he pressed one to each wound. “Your ears, your beautiful pointed Elven ears have been pierced,” he mourned. “Will those wounds ever heal?”


Exfoliant swayed from side to side, a blissfully vacuous look on her face, if insect expression could be interpreted correctly. A strange humming noise emanated from her bloated body, and those listening heard strange words with no context to make them intelligible. “Yellow submarine... four beetles... my friends... must go there...” She turned about as if searching for something, then tumbled down the mountain, into the sea, and was never seen again on the shores of Valleyum nor in Muddled-Mirth.


Yawanna looked at Môgul triumphantly. “That is what happens to those who destroy my children wantonly,” she said.

“Oh, but there are more of them in your wooden corpse,” he sneered. “You cannot rid the world of evil forever.”

“Perhaps not, but I can do more than you think,” she retorted. Leaning down to touch Merisuwyniel’s wounds and stop their bleeding, she picked up one of the improvised, blood-drenched bandages. She waved it at the still motionless Ent, and the wood began to vibrate. Yet alas, it was not a sign of life, but the movement of the foul spawn of Exfoliant. Hosts of beetles emerged from every crack in the wood, drawn by the scent of blood, and began to swarm toward the Paralyzed-in-Terror-Ship.

Yet they were stopped, for Yawanna stood before them, a flashing green gem in each hand. The rays blinded them and seared their flesh; soon they dropped to the ground, lifeless. Môgul watched aghast as he was bereft of the last of his allies. He gathered up the dark mists that surrounded him in an attempt to disappear. Yet the Green Goddess held him fast with the two rays, like unto a tractor beam. She motioned to Merisuwyniel, who arose and came to her side.

“Hold these jewels and make sure he doesn’t get away,” she admonished.

“But am I strong enough?” the Elven maiden hesitated.

“You now bear the marks of the sting of Exfoliant,” Yawanna informed her. “He can no longer harm you. But first, you must give back to me that artefact of mine which you hold in your possession.”

Puzzled, Merisu’s brow furrowed – becomingly, as always. “What on earth do you mean? I have nothing of yours.”

“Remember the white tower on the shores of Muddled-Mirth, and the globe which you took away ere it fell?” the goddess prompted her gently.

The Elven maiden blushed in shame. “Oh, that...” she murmured, rummaging through her pockets till she found the desired object.

Yawanna smiled. “Do not fear, for you did right to bring it here. This is the occasion for which it was created, and its purpose shall be fulfilled this day.”

She raised the glass orb in both hands, and the sun shone on it until it glowed with a fiery warmth in its depths. Mantoes, who had finally finished copying his chart, with many comments from his breth/sistren, ambled over to report, yet they were all stricken with silence as they perceived the import of what was happening. The Hopeful-At-Last-Ship watched with bated breath.

A clear, pulsating light shone from the globe, and as Yawanna turned toward the Ent-That-Was-Reunited-But-Not-Yet-Alive, its gleam seemed to reflect on the wood. Yet it was rather shining into the wood, into every crack that had been defiled by the vile creatures of evil, until all was purified and warmed by its light and its very sinews were knitted together again. A gentle breeze arose from whence none could tell, but it was whispered ever after that it must have been sent by Emu himself, for it caused the branches to shiver and and buds to awaken on its twigs.

With a gasp and a cough, the Ent began to breathe. Its eyes opened to reveal pools of green and golden depths, shining with ages of memory and long, slow, steady thinking, yet their surface was sparkling with the present. It felt as if something that grew in the ground had suddenly waked up. “Hrum, Hoom,” its voice murmured, a deep voice like a very deep woodwind instrument. “That was not hasty, and it was almost not hasty enough for me.”

The animated skeleton amidst the dark mists above their heads rose slowly to a great height like smoke from a fire. For a moment it wavered, then crumbled into a pile o’ bones and faded into a haunting spirit. Drawn inexorably by the force of the glowing globe, the Dread Developer ceased his earthly exploitations and was pulled inside the glass orb.

The holy mountain of Tan-Quickly-Hill trembled and quaked at this monumental event, and its peak did open to reveal fiery depths. In measured steps, the goddess walked to its very brink, holding the globe, then she dropped it into the bottomless chasm. It sank with a series of bubbles and was gone.

“Now, where were we?” Yawanna said brightly.

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Old 03-13-2006, 07:27 AM   #301
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Merisuwyniel gazed upwards at the tall Ent looming before her. She felt shy in his presence, as if he were a complete stranger. This was no longer the familiar Bow she had carried so long, but a huge, tree-like personage with a history that reached back into the depths of time, long before her birth. The sonorous voice was so different from the wooden sound which she had often heard, or the flow of thoughts to which she was accustomed. And yet, in the depths of his eyes she saw a spark of recognition, and his mouth opened to speak to her.

“Come here, Little One!” he boomed. “Reach out and feel my bark – I do not bite!”

She stretched her hand out slowly, and was suddenly lifted high into the air by two strong branches. There she perched, close to the Ent’s face. She touched his rough cheek gently, and his thoughts flooded her mind. It was her Ent, different, larger, as if he had grown since she had last been with him, yet they knew each other well. She basked in the knowledge of his friendship and deep gratitude for all she had ventured for him. Yes, it had been a difficult, dangerous, and long path that she and her companions had taken, but it was well worth every effort.

Tears of joy flowed down her lovely face, and her shapely lips opened in laughter. And lo, the FinishedAtLastShip laughed with her, and all the Velour joined in just for the fun of it. Then in the midst of their merriment and tears the clear voice of the minstrel rose like silver and gold (well, not quite, as it was only Vogonwë, but at that moment everything sounded good to them!), and Pimpiowyn waved Hush. And their hearts, wounded with sweet words, overflowed, and their joy was like swords, and they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness.

Then Merisu and --- *, for that was the Ent’s short name, for the use of mere mortals and other time-pressed creatures, having communed with one another, strode to the place where Yawanna stood and bowed deeply before her.

“Truly,” Merisuwyniel said, “you have proven yourself worthy of praise, for you have conquered our foe and helped us in our greet need.” Thus she raised her voice and began to sing, and all others who were present joined in with her:

“Long live the Green Goddess! ** Praise her with great praise!
Praise her, for she has conquered the Dread Developer!
Praise her, for she has reunified the Ent That Was Rent!
Praise her with great praise!”


And they bowed down in reverence, the representatives of the Free Peoples of Muddled-Mirth – all races and combinations thereof. And the Velour bowed down in shame, for they realized that she alone had dared to accomplish what they had neglected, whether out of laziness, or selfishness, or mere thoughtlessness.

And lo! Yawanna blushed a deep and most becoming shade of green. She took Merisu’s hand and bade her rise, reminding all with words too wondrous to tell of the Elven maiden’s faithfulness, loyalty, and endurance.

“You have been wounded,” she said, “and even I have not the power to heal wounds afflicted by that base and foul creature, Exfoliant. But I will adorn your wounds, so that they will be honoured for all time.” With those words, she took her beautiful emerald earrings and held them out to Merisuwyniel.

Merisu also blushed, though her cheeks turned rosy, not green. She hesitated, not only to accept such a generous gift and great honour, but also because she realized that she wasn’t sure if she could wear emeralds. After all, green was not the colour most prevalent in her wardrobe.

Yawanna smiled, for she knew the maiden’s thoughts. “Fear not,” she said. “These gems were created by my spouse Howlie, and though they shine green when I hold them, he captured the rainbow in them, and their colour will always match your own lovely eyes and the raiment you wear.” She fastened them in the holes Exfoliant had pierced in the Elf’s graceful ears, and they glowed amethyst, a shade which perfectly enhanced the colour of her beautiful eyes without detracting from them.

And all of the PraiseShip and the Velour sang out,

“Praise Merisuwyniel with great praise!”

Since the praise continued, with each member of the MutualAdmirationShip being lauded for the deeds he or she had done, and the Velour finding something to praise in themselves as well, we need not pay close attention to this scene, dear reader, but can tiptoe away in relief that the story is almost finished....



*The name of the Ent will be added as soon as inspiration strikes – or lightning, whichever comes first.

**Of course we know that the Velour are immortal, so wishing one of them a long life is redundant, but the traditional formulas aren’t meant to be taken literally anyway.

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Old 03-13-2006, 07:41 AM   #302
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Across Muddled-Mirth, the forces of Môgul Bildûr tumbled in the wake of his final defeat. At the Mines of Trebor, the Orcish interlopers staggered about blindly in their confusion, leaderless and without direction, falling easy prey to the returning Dwarven host. In Topfloorien, the Deeds of Sale and Leaseback granted in favour of the Dread Developer lapsed and the Elves reclaimed the malls of the Salad Realm once more for themselves. In Grundor, where General Gzzmmmphllgg stood ready to launch a final, decisive assault on Minus Teeth while the Proctor neglected its defences to mourn the loss of his heir, the sun broke through the dark clouds that hung over the Wight City and scattered the host of Moredough to the four winds. In the Land of Dodgy Dealings itself, the Thingwraiths’ rehearsal of the musical number that they had planned to mark their Master’s victorious return was hastily cancelled, as the Tower Block of Barát-Höm crumbled to dust, the Red Nostril atop it twitching and sneezing as it fell.

Back in Valleyum, the Eagles of Manuël Santana soared over the Hotel Valleyfornia and on to Mount Tan-Quickly-Hill, bringing tidings of the liquidation of Môgul Enterprises LLC and the collapse of its dominant position in Muddled-Mirth. And so the celebrations were redoubled and great praise was heaped once more on the Rather-Pleased-With-Themselves-Ship.

Yet there was one who did not join in the celebrations and upon whom no praise was bestowed. His humiliation complete, Soregum sat glumly apart from the company reflecting on the ruin of his miserable life. And at that moment, just as he thought that things could get no worse, Manuël Santana addressed the assembled throng.

“My breth/sistr-en, noble Entish Questors and fellow victors,” he said, subtly yet shamelessly seizing a share in the credit for Môgul’s defeat. “There is one matter that remains unresolved. And that is the question of what to do with the Dread Developer’s accomplice and partner in crime. I speak of the Hobbit dude, Windsor Gummidge.”

“Perhaps, if we just like totally ignore him, he’ll go away,” suggested Estë-Lynn.

“But it’s like totally the law that any loose ends must be tied up when a big evil boss dude is defeated” explained Prada.

“My business partner will be only too delighted to tie up this particular loose end - for a modest fee,” piped up Kuruharan, as Chrysophylax hungrily eyed the quaking Hobbit.

“Or we could just throw him off the side of the mountain,” added Vogonwë uncharitably.

“The law decrees,” intoned Mantoes, adopting the grave tone reserved for his formal declarations, “that accomplices of Dark Lords and the like must meet their end either at the hands of their Master or in unwittingly bringing about their Master’s defeat. And it is further decreed that, if neither such circumstance prevails, then said accomplice will spontaneously expire at the very moment their Master is defeated.”

“If I may make a small observation,” said Sueim, stepping forward and dusting down his gown. “None of those events has occurred. The Dread Developer is well and truly defeated, yet Soregum remains intact. Would that not suggest that a degree of clemency may be appropriate in this case?”

“Er, like, I dunno man,” replied Mantoes. “It’s never happened before. Is there anyone present who will speak on the Halfling‘s behalf?”

“Yes,” declared an Elvish voice, yet tinged with a hint of Orcishness. “I will.”

All eyes turned to Gravlox, for it was he who had spoken.

“I stand as living proof,” continued Gravlox, “that redemption is possible, however evil a life one has led previously. There are many here who have followed the wrong path, but have since seen the error of their ways. Leninia once lured lost travellers to her Marrow Bones pad, there to feast upon their souls. But she has been accepted willingly into our company and proved her worth. The Gateskeeper too was previously an agent of Môgul, yet renounced the sign of the Cloz'd-Dheal and has served the Questors well. Sueim, the Loyer formerly known as Grrralph, was once a Thingwraith in the service of evil, yet I would have been lost without his advocacy. And Kuruharan – er – um – well, perhaps not. Still, my point stands.”

“I dig your vibes man, but the Halfling dude almost brought about a calamity of like mega proportions,” observed T-M Ulmo.

“He’s like totally gross, too,” added Chanessa. “The world would be a better place without little, fat, ugly dudes like him around.”

“And what exactly has he done to make him worthy of redemption?” enquired Hornme.

“He saved the life of Pimpiowyn,” ventured Merisuwyniel, joining her beloved in his stand. “When the Troll Chief was sure to crush the life from her.”

“He did?” exclaimed Pimpi in surpise. “Vogie, why didn’t you tell me?”

“Um, I forgot, my dear,” mumbled an abashed Vogonwë.

“Cool! That works,” declared Mantoes. “One more thing, though. Someone will need to stand as surety, to guarantee his future good behaviour.”

“I will,” replied Gravlox. “He shall serve as my squire, if that’s acceptable to you, my love.”

“Of course,” said Merisu.

“OK, I hereby declare the Hobbit dude, Windsor Gummidge, formally redeemed for a probationary period of five years,” said Mantoes. “Subject to good behaviour during that period, said redemption shall become permanent.”

And, as Mantoes spoke, Soregum began to undergo a remarkable transformation. The years of misery and shame in the service of the Dark Lord of Moredough fell away from him. His hair softened and turned a warm shade of chestnut brown. The creases on his face were erased and his cheeks acquired a healthy glow. In place of his yellowed teeth and blackened gums, there appeared a magnificent white dental array. And his pot belly contracted to the merest bulge. He was a young Hobbit once more. Not for nothing was Mantoes renowned throughout Valleyum for his profitable sideline in cosmetic enhancement.

Soregum no longer, Windsor Gummidge bowed to the Velour and then knelt before Gravlox, planting his short sword, now gleaming, in the ground.

“Sire, I thank you for the service that you have done me,” he said, “and pledge to serve you and Mistress Merisuwyniel to the best of my abilities.

And as he spoke, the last traces of Orcishness drained from Gravlox, the mercy and nobility that he had shown completing his own redemption and rehabilitation.

It was a touching and beautiful scene, marred only slightly by the sound of a nauseous Kuruharan retching in the background.

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Old 03-14-2006, 02:38 PM   #303
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Silmaril

And so then began the joyous celebration phase of the soaring climax. This required much feasting, dancing, feasting, singing, feasting, charades, feasting, and an all night Parcheesi tournament. The Velour and the MotleyCrewShip mingled freely for a time in the euphoria that comes from partaking of a Doubly Delectable Death by Chocolate Pudding Cake, and all were really deliriously happy.

Manuël himself was so giddy with the success of the rockin’ party that he got out his guitar and treated his fellow sentient beings to a jam session. Those who were not too dignified or jaded to do so danced and cheered as he got his groove on, and by the end he was feeling so exceedingly grooved that he made this noble proclamation:

“Like, dudes! And dudettes! It’s been a really non-bogus night, and I hope you’re all having an excellent time! This most excellent party couldn’t have happened without the help of you, our little friends from Muddled-mirth! And so, I, Manuël Santana, like, do hereby grant you all one wish, except for the hobbit-dude who already got more favors than he deserved!”

(This was well and good, since Windsor would probably have wished that an unfortunate accident befall Vogonwë in such a manner that Pimpi might be left in need of comfort, and Manuël, honoring his most non-heinous proclamation, would have rather heinously pushed Vogy off a cliff.)

Anyway, there was much cheering in the face of this proclamation. Unfortunately, since everyone was a bit punch drunk with the festivities, many of the Itship made silly and frivolous wishes. Leninia asked for a pair of shoes like Prada wore. The Gateskeeper yearned after a pair of rhinestone studded horn-rimmed glasses. Gravlox asked for a mirror. Reeperneep desired that another battle await him in the future. Halfempton hoped that he might have more face time if another battle should await him in the future. Kuruharan asked for many gullible and rich people to come his way. Chrysopholax wished that those people be fat and young. Sueim wished that certain people who insisted on calling him Grralph would just stop.

Merisu, alone did not make a wish, for she had everything she could hope to wish for right here: her beloved, better-than-the-last-model Gravlox, and her unrent Ent. Also it made her exceedingly happy to see all her friends exceedingly happy, so she could not think of anything to make it better. Yes, she is really quite cute and selfless, isn’t she?

Pimpiowyn of all Itshippers had enough presence of mind to remember that she and Vogonwë had come to Valleyum for more than just opportunities for epic poems and shieldmaidenry. In a piece of ridiculously good luck, it just so happened that they had come with a request for Manuël (which in all the hoo-fla-fla surrounding Mogûl and the Ent, had been put on the back burner. Waaaaaay on the back burner.)

“Manuël, sir, or dude,” she said respectfully, “my fiancé and I have a wish for you.”

“Yes, I would like to write the best poe--”

“Not that,” Pimpi hissed, silencing her true love with a well placed elbow. “Vogonwë here is half-elven, and would like to request you grant him permanently the immortality of an Elf.”

“Actually, I think I would rather write the best poe--”

“AND I, as his fiancée, would like to request that we both be allowed to stay in Valleyum, he as an Elf and me as an Elf-friend.”

“Done and, like, done!” declared Manuël jovially.

“Oooh, is there going to be, like, a wedding?” Prada gushed. “I just love weddings! Do you need a wedding planner? I love planning weddings! We could have another party celebrating the wedding!”

“Another party? Dudette! Rock ooooon!” Manuël said, and played an enthusiastic riff on his guitar.

And lo! throughout the Velour the news traveled that tomorrow would see another gratuitous celebration, and as each heard the news each gave each other high fives and exclaimed, “Dude/tte! Excellent! Party on!”

*

Morning dawned to find the Itshippers and Velour alike sadder and wiser, except for Pimpi and Chrysopholax, who were both ready for a healthy breakfast. Luckily for Pimpi there was enough food on hand to satisfy the most voracious of Dragons and Half-Halfthing things alike, though were it came from exactly and who prepared it was a mystery left unsolved due to apathy.

While Vogonwë moaned and worried what vast quantities of Doubly Delectable Death by Chocolate Pudding Cake would do to his pristine Elvish complexion, Pimpi set about the important task of Planning the Wedding. She wrote out invitations for every last Itshipper, even the ones who had died or were otherwise absent. Getting the invitations to these lost members proved rather difficult, as they were dead or otherwise absent. But, resourceful little holbytla that she was, she did not let this stop her.

She went out early that morning to Tan-Quickly-Hill, armed with a pair of invitations, a brandy tumbler, and a bottle of spirits. She ceremoniously filled the tumbler with brandy and dipped an invitation to Earnur Etceteron therein, then set it on top of Orogarn Two’s tombstone, pinning his invitation underneath lest the wandering wind blow it away. Then, the insane little half-halfing nodded in satisfaction of an utterly pointless and morbid job well done.

The tumbler sat on Orogarn Two’s tombstone for many years, until one day some hapless Elf came along and drank from it. Soon after he died in paroxysms of gut-wrenching pain, because everyone knows that to drink brandy off the tombstone of a Hero is in bad taste, and therefore cursed.

Pimpi, not knowing the fate that would befall this poor unnamed lout because of her symbolic actions, whistled happily as she went and delivered the invitations to the rest of the Itship.

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Old 03-17-2006, 04:45 AM   #304
Estelyn Telcontar
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So lively had been the celebrating during the evening that none noticed the gradual withdrawal of two persons. Merisuwyniel and Gravlox conversed in low tones, for though they had seen each other in the fray of battle and during the tempestuous events that followed, they had not had opportunity to speak with one another privately. There was much to relate, for each wanted to know what the other had experienced during their separation, yet they felt a bit hesitant after such a long time. Had their love survived despite all that had happened?

Merisu gazed at Gravlox shyly; after she had seen his orcish face for so long in her memory and her dreams, it was strange to behold the handsome Elf that stood before her. Not that she objected, of course, but she felt some slight uncertainty when they were alone. He smiled at her, and his eyes reassured her with their familiar warmth. Then he moved closer to her and gathered her into his arms, reassuring her that he was truly risen from the dead. His hands caressed the soft material of her sleeves reassuringly (yes, she was wearing her beautiful Topfloorien gown, the one with the blue diaphanous material, embroidered as with stars), then moved to warm her back, which was covered with too little fabric to ward off the evening chill.

After a time, it seemed to be a good idea to find a more comfortable position for further, umm, reassuring words. Then words ceased and the curtain of darkness covered their own personal version of reunification.

Much, much later Merisu murmured, “Darling, do you think we should make that a double wedding tomorrow?”

“Not necessary,” Gravlox answered. “I had time to take a course in ‘Elven customs and laws’ while staying at Mantoes’ halls, and we Elves marry by simply, well, consummating our union. So we’ve actually been married a long time.”

“But what about your first marriage?” she asked, puzzled by the legal complications of his changed identity.

“Well, she divOrced me, so I was single again, then died, so I was a widower. Then we were together before I died, so I think that would constitute a marriage,” he went on.

“Then I was a widow all this time?” Merisu gasped. “Why, I should have been wearing mourning!”

“I’m sure black would have looked fetching on you, my dear,” he answered gallantly, “but it would be a shame to see you so somber. You look loveliest the way you are right now.”

She blushed, for her attire was rather scant at that moment. Or perhaps the rose that tinted her cheeks so becomingly was due to the rising of the sun.

“At any rate,” Gravlox chuckled, “there’s no doubt of our Elven marital status after this night! Now we should consider whether we wish to have a family.”

Merisu blushed again. “Not necessary,” she whispered. “We already are...”

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Old 03-17-2006, 11:28 PM   #305
Kuruharan
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Kuruharan is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Kuruharan is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Boots

Kuruharan simply couldn’t take anymore of this. He’d already regurgitated everything he’d had to eat for the past three months. If Merisuwyniel’s hushed confession turned out to be what he was afraid it might be…he’d probably have a bout so severe as to cause him to retroactively starve to death. (Of course, he wouldn’t have been in this position if he hadn’t followed them in the first place in hopes that he might overhear something worthy of blackmail, or at least get some good pictures with a strange picture-box he’d bought in the Seventh Age…)

Suppressing his gorge, he tramped into the idyllic silvan glen and confronted the startled lovers.

”EEEEEEKKKKK!!!!”

Kuruharan affected to ignore their…ahem…state and looked down the mountain and toward the sea.

“Magnificent view,” he said to the world in general.

Merisuwyniel ran up and tried to slap him, but he leapt aside.

“For some reason,” said Kuruharan, “I’m having the most curious sense of déjà-vu. I believe we’ve done this scene before."

The irritation in Merisuwyniel’s heart suddenly dissipated into sadness and solemnity. She knew what the dwarf was about now. Annoying as he could be, she had a sinking feeling that life might prove just a shade…duller without the dwarf and his dragon.

There was another long moment of staring out to sea.

“It’s odd how things work out,” observed Kuruharan. “The last time Earnur was with you and Gravlox was…ahhh…quite dead. Now Earnur is dead and Gravlox is with you.”

“What are you implying?” said Merisuwyniel.

“Some people might think that you are bad luc…I mean, that Gravlox is a lucky, lucky orc…elf!!!” said Kuruharan hurriedly.

“You’re not even going to stay for Pimpi’s and Vogonwë’s wedding?” asked Merisuwyniel.

“Ummm…I’ve suddenly had my fill of elven wedding customs,” said Kuruharan. "I’m not sure I really want to. Besides, I’ve got this whole dramatic flying off into the sunrise thing planned and I’d really hate to miss it.”

There was a flurry of activity as Kuruharan made his announcement to the rest of the Gallowship. The news that the Gallowship were to see the first successful live escapee…uhhh…survivor…no…departure filled them with sadness. To further the melancholy, Reeperneep announced that he too would be accompanying the dwarf on his further adventures. When asked what those would be the glorious mouse only said that it had something to do with club bouncing…or was it a bouncing club…or something like that.

When all was loaded (including some of the watchers), Reeperneep took his station perched between Chrysophylax’s horns. He wore an expression of keen anticipation. He’d known that seeking the end of the world in the west would prove to be utter nonsense! Now they were heading in the right direction!! Eastward HO!!!

Kuruharan stood next to the dragon. He looked exactly the way he had the first time they had seen him. He still had neatly brushed light brown hair and beard, and twinkling blue-gray eyes. His clothes were still (somehow) very sharp. He still wore his cloak of the deepest crimson with silver fringe. Under that he still wore a full length coat of dark blue with gold embroidery along the edge. His tunic was still spotless and as red as a cherry, with more gold embroidery. He wore a gold belt with an axe thrust into it, and his boots were impeccably polished. On a gold chain around his neck he still wore a large golden dragon pendent. He either hadn’t aged a day or somebody had gone back to the original thread and cut and paste the same exact text and plopped it down here!

If the Gallowship hadn’t known any better, they’d have thought everything that had happened had been a dream and that he’d just landed back in the Hidden Farm…oh, how long ago was it…? It looked exactly the same…well, except for the fact that they were on a different continent, the fact that a fair portion of the individuals who had been present at that original introduction were dead through the ravages of war or the heroic over-consumption of alcohol, the fact that there were a number of odd new additions to the group (not the least of which was the mouse perched on the dragon’s horns), the fact that most of the surviving members of the Gallowship had married each other, the fact that they were surrounded by Velour…oh yes, and the fact that the Ent-That-Was-Broken was Broken no more! Other than all that (and maybe a few other things I’ve forgotten), everything was exactly the same!

There was another long pause.

“Well,” said Kuruharan, figuring there was nothing else for it, “here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sea…”

“We’re not on the seashore,” interrupted Pimpi.

“brahum…” sputtered Kuruharan. “Here at last, dear friends, on the sides of the Mountain comes the end of our Gallowship in Muddled-mirth…”

“We’re not in Muddled-mirth,” interrupted Vogonwë.

“Ugh!” snapped Kuruharan. “Here at last, on the sides of the Mountain comes the end of our Gallowship in Valleyum!! There happy now?!! I would say ‘do not weep’ but I know that you just won’t be able to help it!”

With those words of benediction, the dwarf climbed onto the dragon and they were aloft.

There was much waving of hands and wishing of farewell as dwarf, dragon, and mouse rose to the clouds and set off.

Merisuwyniel just couldn’t resist getting in the last shot.

“Muddled-mirth is in the other direction, you IDIOT!!!”

After a sudden course correction from west to east, some embarrassed staring off in the other direction, and pretending he’d meant to do that…there was a last round of waving ta-ta as the Gallowship watched the trio soar through the skies until all sight of them was lost in the sunrise.

I suppose you probably want to know what happened to them after they got back.

They got back. Kuruharan used his gaming license to re-establish the great kingdom of Hazard-boom. He expanded the resorts and casinos until they exceeded in size and gaudiness even those of the Ancient Days. He also made King Gain Lotsamoola an offer he couldn’t refuse and got a hefty share of the take from the Trebor Resort and Casino. Reeperneep signed on as Kuruharan’s hired muscle and enjoyed a life of continually getting into brawls, battles, and total wars. However, he was always agitating that they hadn’t “gone far enough east!!” Chrysophylax received a franchise and set up his own shop in the Wight Mountains above Minus Teeth and preyed upon the hapless Grundorians who were still devastated at the destruction of their fair city. He also got into an unseemly brawl with Lord Dimli of the Glitzy Caverns Resort and Casino…but litigation is still pending in that case and the judge has placed a gag order.

However, from time to time, these three would occasionally get bored and go rampaging about the landscape again looking for adventure…so you just never know when they might turn up again…likely as not, they probably found some of their old friends someplace or maybe they’ll turn up in your story sometime!

Last edited by Kuruharan; 05-11-2006 at 06:56 AM.
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Old 03-22-2006, 04:33 PM   #306
Diamond18
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“Oh well,” said Pimpi, crossing three names off the guest list, “more food for the rest of us, I suppose. Vogy, have you given any thought to who you want as your best man?”

“My best what?”

“Best man. Or elf, I suppose. It’s a human custom, don’t you know anything about that half of your heritage?"

“Er. I have learned a little from you, my dear, and the likes of Orogarn Two and Lord Etceteron, but I’ve never attended a human wedding.”

“Oh for pity’s sake. Well, the bride and groom each have a friend stand up with them. I’m going to ask Merisu to be my maid of honor. Or matron of honor. I’m a little confused about that. But anyway, you need a best male-of-the-species to stand up for you.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s the custom.”

“Well...” Vogonwë seemed unduly adverse to the idea, and suggested, “what about hobbit wedding customs? Can’t we follow those instead?”

“Unless you want to do the Pumpkin Shoe Dance, no.”

“Well, I’m half-elven. We could just do it the Elvish way... you don’t even need witnesses for that....”

“No! We’re having a proper wedding!” Pimpi insisted. “One that’s followed by a big feast. Now go ask someone to be your best man. Maybe Gravlox will do it.”

“Are you insane? I killed Gravlox, and I let the dragon eat his pet bunny.”

“But it’s a new day and all is forgiven.”

“Look, maybe he’s not out for revenge, but you just don’t ask someone you killed to be your best man. Er, best orc.” He took a long look at Gravlox, who was canoodling with Merisu across the glen, and said, “Or maybe best elf. Whatever it is that he is nowadays.”

“But--”

“I’m not asking Goldilox over there to stand up in my wedding, and that’s final!”

“Fine. Windsor then.”

“No!”

“Why not? He saved my life, after all.”

“Yeah, yeah, he’s a big hero. I don’t want that short little twerp as my best man.”

“Best hobbit,” Pimpi correctly haughtily. “And need a remind you that I too was once short, before I ate the magic beans?”

“Never that short,” Vogonwë insisted petulantly.

“You have something against short people?”

“I have nothing against short people. ‘Twerp’ was, I believe the operative word in that declaration.”

“Fine. Be that way. I’m not going to argue with you anymore. Pick someone to be your best man, I’ll be over there asking Merisu to be my maid of honor.” With that, Pimpi flounced off.

Vogonwë pouted for a few minutes, and then wrote sullen poetry for the next half hour, while Pimpi and Merisu, giggling like schoolgirls, went off to find a wedding gown for the bride.

He was working on a bitter haiku when Halfemption ambled up and read over his shoulder:

If Kuru was here
I could just pay him to stand
Up as my best dwarf


“Very bitter,” Hal remarked. “Nice.”

“Hey, Hal!” said Vogy, brightening. “I forgot you were here. What are you, exactly?”

“That’s a good question,” answered Hal. “Hold on a moment while I go find out.”

He walked away and was gone for several minutes, digging into his genealogical information, and presently returned, declaring decisively, “I am a half-half-elf, or quarter-elf, if you will.”

“That’s great. Would you like to stand up in my wedding as the best-half-half-or-quarter-elf?”

A small tear glistened in the corner of Hal’s eye, and he said, “How kind of you to ask. What an honor. Best-half-half-or-quarter-elf? Me? But, surely you jest.”

“I have never been more serious in my life.”

“I’ll do it,” Halfemption said, and gave Vogy’s hand a hearty shake. “Shall I also make a toast at the reception?”

Vogonwë gave it a moment’s thought and asked, “Is that the custom?”

“Um, yes.”

“Then I think you’d better.”

“Splendid, I shall go work on that right now,” said Hal, and went off happy in the knowledge that he was currently a valued member of the Itship. Several years on an island can do that to a person.

*

Pimpi and Merisu, meanwhile, were digging through their trunks in search of Pimpi’s favorite gown.

“Pimpiowyn,” Merisu asked thoughtfully after a moment, elbow deep in taffeta. “Are you quite happy with your situation?”

“Eh?” asked Pimpi, untangling an old pair of socks. “What do you mean?”

“Well, I just noticed that you and Vogy were fighting over something before. And it worried me,” replied Merisu with sweet concern. “You see, Gravlox and I never fight, or have disagreements, or elbow each other in the ribs. Ours is a romantic, lovey-dovey sort of relationship, and I cannot imagine being truly happy unless I were completely smack-faced in love with my intended.”

“Well that’s easy to explain. You’re an elf. I’m half hobbit. We’re the pragmatic sort.”

“Yes, I suppose. I just want to know that you are completely happy.”

“I am. This is my pragmatic hobbit version of being smack-faced in love. And besides, I’ve gotten so used to Vogy’s annoying bits -- the poetry, the insufferable elven haughtiness, the petulance, the.... er, what was I saying?”

“You’ve gotten used to all that.”

“Yes, I’ve gotten so accustomed to it that even his annoying bits are a like a comfortable old shoe. If I wore shoes. But anyway, if we should part I would miss even the worst of his poems. That, and if I found someone new I’d have to get used to all his annoying bits too.”

“Well. That’s... inspiring.”

“Isn’t it?” Pimpi smiled. “Oh! And look, here’s my dress!”

With a flourish she pulled out her favorite gown. It was the gorgeous gown that Lord Celery had bought her, oh so many years ago, in Topfloorien. A dress of black velvet, cut low at the neck, adorned with ribbons of golden embroidery, with flowing, gauzy, fluid, filmy, flimsy, diaphanous, gossamer, sheer, tiffany, ethereal, preternaturally gosh darn beautiful red sleeves falling gracefully to the ground and of a width and length that made any practical action of the wearer nearly impossible.

And this description is in no way cut and pasted from any previous post of any kind. Honestly!

*

The time finally came for the wedding, and Manuël Santana got out his Ever Lovin’ Guitar Strap for them to swear their vows by. It was a magnificent piece of leather, decorated with seashells, and all present gasped as one to behold its magnificence.

“Like, dude/ttes! Now the bride and groom will, like, exchange the totally groovy vows they both have written.”

Vogonwë, in an extreme fit of nervousness, forgot his vows and was forced to sheepishly dig through his pockets to find the scrap of paper he’d composed them on. He unfolded the crinkled paper, now damp from his sweaty palms (really, some days it just does not pay to be half-human) and cleared his voice.

“Oh I'm a lucky fella,
I'm a lucky boy,
I've got a new umbrella,
And it's me pride and joy!”


“What the...?” Pimpi said indignantly.

“Eep,” eeped Vogy. “Wrong scrap of paper. That’s, um, a children’s rhyme I was working on. Hold on a moment.”

He rifled through his pockets some more, but when he could not find his vows, he succumbed to a panic attack and fainted rather ignobly. Halfemption, fulfilling his duties as best-half-half-or-quarter-elf quite admirably, caught him in time to prevent him from cracking open his noggin on the ground.

“Smelling salts!” Pimpi cried, and an unknown personage helpfully provided her with some. She waved it under the groom’s nose, and he sputtered to life.

“Maybe we should, like, dispense with the personalized vows and just go with the usual,” suggested Manuël, and Pimpi agreed.

“Groovy. So, dude, repeat after me. ‘I, Vogonwë Brownbark, Son of Geppetuil, Elven-party-king and third cousin of Thranduil, thrice removed, do take Pimpiowyn Took, daughter of Éohorse Son of Needahorse, a Valiant Man of the Mike, to be my lawfully wedded wife, and I do solemnly swear by the ever lovin’ guitar strap of Manuël Santana, that I will love and cherish her for as long as we both shall live.’”

“Mama?” croaked Vogonwë. “Why are you sleeping in the dishwater? Mama? Can you hear me?”

Pimpi looked at the smelling salts dubiously.

“Duuuuude, just say ‘I do’,” Manuël said with a sad shake of his head.

“I do.”

“Groovy. Do you, Pimpiowyn Took, take this pathetic heap of half-elvenness to be your lawfully wedded husband, etc. etc.?”

“I do,” said Pimpi.

“Excellent! I now pronounce you, like, totally hitched!” Manuël played a riff on his guitar, and the deal was sealed. “Now, let’s paaaaaaaaaaaaaaar-tay!”

Last edited by Diamond18; 03-22-2006 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 03-24-2006, 05:06 AM   #307
Rimbaud
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The toast of the best man is burning, and we have no marmalde

And now, indeed, after an exceptionally lengthy guitar solo and a couple of impromptu line-dances, it was Hal’s turn to stand and make a brief speechlet.

Sadly, he failed in this endeavour, and produced a speech so mind-blowingly dull, long-winded and only tenuously connected with the nuptials at hand that it lulled the assembled into a stupefied silence. Here I will provide brief excerpts from this turgid tumescence of language; the most edifying and indeed edible selections of his pun-strewn prose.

“Pimpiowyn Took and Vogonwë,” he started promisingly, but it sank faster than a Pop Idol runners-up career after that. “Pimpi and Vogy. Pimps, and if you’ll allow me, the Voganator.” Here he paused, as if to let these mellifluous introductions float like scum on top of the placid, village pond of proceedings.

“So, yes,” he restarted. “Quite. Marriage. Getting hitched. The big knot-tying-thang. Yeah. Well, we all have to say after the ceremony that we’ve all just…enjoyed, that the two of them are distinctly more married than they were before. Definitely moving up the scale of being-marriedness. Hic!”

The audience began to shift, restlessly. It is, as many authors have failed to point out, rather difficult to shift in your seat without an attitude approaching restlessness, but still. Or, not still.

“Very suited to each other these two,” went on Hal, relentlessly. “Pimpi is strong, ambitious and loves a challenge – and Vogonwe is that challenge!” he looked up expectantly. Not a titter.

Hal launched into a couple of anecdotes about his late brother, and also some about the deceased Halfullion. His other brother arrived just in time to hear the end of these. Nobody seemed remotely interested.

“Knock Knock?” he cried.

“Who’s there?” replied one person in the audience, flatly.

“Control freak. Now you say control freak who!” cried Hal triumphantly. “Hahahahahahaha! Woo! Hic! Um, sorry. So, what is it with Seinfeld? There are all these clips where someone starts off with 'so what is it about...?'" And so on.

Eventually, Pimpi threw a particularly well-baked scone with such hobbit-power that Hal stopped talking and the party got into full-swing again.

However, sadly for all concerned, Hal awoke shortly after, to complete his toast.

“And I’d just like to say,” he slurred. “That of all the people I’ve seen get married, these are two that I really consider myself to have…met.”

There was some small smattering of applause, and Hal lurched over to latch on to one of the horror-struck bridesmaids for the rest of the evening.

Last edited by Rimbaud; 04-04-2006 at 02:36 AM. Reason: One Bill Hicks joke too far, methinks
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Old 04-03-2006, 06:12 PM   #308
Thenamir
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Gateskeeper, his robes re-whitened by the gracious Yawanna (who graciously forgave him for the unfortunate accident so long ago), watched the matrimonial proceedings with a joy he’d seldom experienced as a second-rate bad-guy. It was a novel experience to be part of a team in which you did not need to watch your teammates with as much acuity as your opposition -- in which advancement was based on accomplishment and not assassination. It was a bit like being exiled from the cast of Dawson’s Creek. But such thoughts occupied the minds of no one except the poor slob transcribing this history. Especially when it’s time to PAR-TAY!!

And you can only imagine the party that can be thrown by almost-all-powerful semi-demigods. The food was all that Pimpiowyn could have ever hoped for, in quality and quantity, and yet as in her Mogul-induced fantasy she gained not a pound. Vogonwe composed and recited poem after poem, but the wines that Yawanna provided not only gave him tolerable talent but gave everyone else the ability to ignore him at will – and best of all, there were no hangovers! Leninia even tried to compose some music to accompany him, but without the Entish Guitar, her heart wasn’t really in it, and she wandered off to a corner table to introspect. Halfemption had to be carried off when he tripped over the light fantastic and sprained an ankle. The Reunified-And-Very-Grateful Ent even took a turn on the dance floor with Merisu, but he had two left roots, and afterwards it was all she could do to hide her limp so as not to make the Ent feel too badly.

As for Gateskeeper, Hal’s toast had given him a marvelous opportunity to catch up on some badly-needed rest. However, once everyone came out of their stupor and the party hit the dance floor, Gateskeeper, remembering the unfortunate accident with Yawanna in ancient times and thus anxious to avoid dancing at all costs, volunteered to deejay with his staff-mounted sound-khaard. Mantoes graciously gave him the gift of unlimited royalty-free access to the complete music vaults of the Lords of Khopy-wight, and thus the hot tunes flowed until the wee hours of the morning – which Manuel was gracious enough to stave off for a few extra hours so that all could party until they dropped. Manuel was a bit unclear, though, on until what dropped, and the sun rather unexpectedly rose when a platter of sushi rolls slipped from Pimpi’s fingers to the dance floor.

But all good things must come to an end, and as the remaining members of the Dance-dance-revolution-ship tottered off for a nap (and the newlyweds for for their nuptuals) Gateskeeper had some time to give thought to his future. Thus the rising sun found Gateskeeper sitting alone on the beach, though why it was looking for him remained a mystery. He was having a difficult time with his own inner conversation, since the second voice which had tormented him for so long was finally gone. It was a pity that Kuruharan had left so early – he had considered recruiting the capsulized capitalist and his fiery friend for the wars against the Eunuchs of the Pea Sea. But being a reformed bad-guy means not only having to say you’re sorry, but rethinking things like absolute power and might-makes-right.

The wars would have to cease, there was no question. The soft wares he created would have to become friendlier to those who used them. But, loathe to give up his high-spending lifestyle, he had to contemplate whether there was a souce of profit that could be as successful as the threatening and extortion with which he had hawked his Great Window. It was time to do a 360 and find new vistas, though he found taking advantage of the hype odd without those impy three players with whom he once associated back at the Networkgaard of Dorktank. But he’d severed all connections with the jobs and the buffets of days gone by, and there was no way to reset his way thru the tangled net of the ether of his past. He would have to shift, to escape, to enter a new line and rid himself of the numb lock that prevented him scrolling to a new page. In short, he would have to delete his past and find the key to getting himself home in CTRL of a new destiny. And then it came to him like a politician to a fundraiser – he could make people happy and make money at the same time by offering music on demand from Mantoes’ gift!

And so, The Gateskeeper was awaiting the assembling adventurous associates, now awakened and arisen from lying awhile abed. Having rid himself of oversupply of the letter ‘a’, the transformed thaumaturge was eager to begin his new life of profiting from good. The new Mr. and Mrs. Gravlox stepped into the new day, and the light of their magnificent coifs rivaled the light of the late-arriving sun. Truly they belonged together. “To the happy couples,” Gateskeeper effused. “I know I’ve not been officially reformed for long, but I’d be honored if you’d accept a token of my gratitude.” He then produced a small, thin box for each of them. “It contains a memento of our adventures together – with a press of this button you will be able to listen to all the songs which we composed, encountered, or mangled in our travels. Unfortunately, it does nothing to improve vocal quality, but perhaps I can do something about that in a later release.” Merisu smiled as she took the musical gift, then leaned in and gave him a quick and perfectly platonic kiss on his boyish cheek. Gravlox shook his hand warmly, thanking him for the gift and for his help in making sure that Merisu accomplished the quest. “And besides,” Gravlox continued, “this will give me some inkling of the things that happened on your noble way. Is there anything that we can do for you to express our gratitude?”

“I could use a ride back to Muddled-Mirth when you go,” Gateskeeper proffered, “and if you could, you know, talk up those little boxes, and let people know where you got them...”

Merisu and Gravlox both rolled their eyes, thinking in unison that the more things change, the more they stay the same. It had indeed been a long and very strange road, but home was awaiting. And who was to say that there were no more adventures to be had…
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Old 04-09-2006, 09:52 AM   #309
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As the celebration stretched on, Sueim happened upon a group of Velour congregating about a punch bowl made of pure mithril. The punch steamed golden vapours as they dipped their mugs into the concoction over and over again. This they had to do because the ladle had been lost and the bowl was too shallow to fill their mugs fully. Thus, as they were half in their cups, they spoke to Sueim.

"Duuude!" cried Manuel. "Good job out there taking on Mogul and his Loyers!"

"Yes", added Mantoes. "You swamped him like a rogue wave."

"Thank you," replied Sueim.

"So, what are you going to do now, dude?" asked Manuel.

"Well," responded Sueim with a grin. "I'd rather hoped that you would take me back as general counsel now that my stint in Muddled Mirth is done."

"No way!" cried Manuel. "Now that Mogul's toast, we don't need no stinkin' Loyers. Actually, we're thinking about banning them in Vallyum."

"Alright then," said Sueim with a hint of a grin. "But you like the work that I did on behalf of Valleyum, right?"

"Yes," answered Manuel. "You were smooth, like the bay on a flat-top morning."

"Them I guess all that's left is to settle up my bill," said Sueim. With that, he produced a weighty scroll which he handed to Manuel. And Velour though he was, Manuel could barely hold the great scroll. "It's itemized," said Sueim. "It covers three ages of work."

Mantoes took the scroll from Manuel and unrolled it. This took some time, and it was nearly morning when he reached the end of the parchment. "One hundred twenty five million gold pieces?" sputtered Mantoes.

"That includes a ten percent courtesy discount," Sueim replied with an even broader grin.

"We don't have that kind of bread," cried Manuel.

"Unfortunate..." said Sueim with a frown. "I suppose I could sue. Maybe get a judgment and execute upon, say the southern half of Valleyum."

"We're all reasonable dudes," whimpered Mantoes. "Maybe we can reach some accomodation. You know. Cut a deal..."

Sueim's grin grew even larger.

*********************************

In later times, the legend of how Chief Justice Sueim received his appointment to preside over the High Court of Muddled Mirth was memorialized in a mighty lay that went as follows:

Mogul went down to Valleyum,
He was looking for an Ent to steal.
He was in a bind
'Cause he was way behind,
And he was willing to make a deal.

He came upon a Loyer
with a legal pad and Mont Blanc,
So Mogul jumped up to the podium
and said "Boy let me tell you what."

"I bet you didn't know it,
but I've got Loyers too.
And if you care to take a dare
I'll make a bet with you."

"Now you're a pretty good Loyer,
But give the Mogul his due.
I'll bet an Orc with hair of gold
Against that Entish soul,
'Cause I think we're better than you."

The Loyer said "My name's Sueim,
And it may be a sin,
But I'll take your bet and you're going to regret,
'Cause I'm the best that's ever been."

Round the Mountain, run Elves run!
Mogul's in the House of Valleyum.
Loyers in the courthouse,
Making lots of dough,
Ready if you are now,
Litigate, go!

So Mogul opened up his case,
and said "I'll start this show."
And Loyers crowded around as he sized up his foe.
Then the Loyers opened their briefcases and it made an evil hiss.
And a band of paralegals joined in and it sounded something like this:

Ipsi dixit, quid pro quo!
Habeas corpus, do si do!*

The Mogul bowed his head because he knew that he'd been beat,
And he laid himself on the ground at the Ent's wooden feet.
Sueim said "Mogul just come on back if you ever want to try again!
I told you once you son of a gun, I'm the best that's ever been!"


*The meaning of this last weighty legal term has been lost in the mists of time. Some say it means "Justice shall be done." Others say it means "Pay up, Suckah!"

In still later days, the legend of Chief Justice Sueim grew. Until one day he decided a dispute between some Dwarves and an Elvish King over the damage caused by a dragon after the Elves failed to pay a casino bill. Among the Elves, it is said that Sueim retired under a cloud of scandal after he awarded Dairyland to the Dwarves. But among the Dwarves, he is praised and it is said that he went into the East and and there still, waiting for his next big case... and bill.

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Old 04-11-2006, 04:20 AM   #310
Estelyn Telcontar
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Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Leninia sat at a corner table alone, morosely downing one glass of the excellent wine after another. She had only nipped at the delicious food and all in all, found little reason to rejoice despite the so festive occasion. Sure, a marriage was something wonderful, she supposed, but gazing at one newlywed couple, to say nothing of the other happy twosome (which acted even more the part, though there had been no official ceremony of any kind) only made her feel more lonely than ever – when she wasn’t feeling nauseous.

It was all good and well to have accomplished the Quest, and they were sitting in the most paradisiacal location she had ever seen, but what good was it to have romantic surroundings without someone to share them with her? A longing stirred within her heart, a feeling she had never before known. She wanted to feel a hand in hers, perhaps strong and calloused, perhaps small and grimy – or better yet, both, she thought. She wanted to knit a baby sweater, to cook a stew, to bake bread, to grow vegetables – and when she discovered what was going through her mind, she shrank back in horror.

What thoughts were these?! She wasn’t a housewife, she was a rock star! She couldn’t be tied down to a home, she had to go on tour! She needed the spotlights, the applause, the admiring groupies, the ...

Suddenly she realized the import of the Quest’s success – she no longer had her guitar! The Entish Guitar, that had been her constant companion, that had accompanied both her singing and her travels, was no longer. She had no one with whom she could carry on those endless, bickering conversations, no background music for her singing, and no inspiration for new lyrics and tunes.

Her head sank onto the table and for the first time in her self-determined life, she wept helpessly and hopelessly. Where should she go now? The Marrow-Bones studios would have no use for her anymore. Her fans had probably already forgotten all about her and voted for new idols and superstars. There was no one who cared whether she came back to Muddled-Mirth or not.

A gentle hand touched her on the shoulder. She wiped her eyes and blew her nose defiantly before donning a professional smile to face – Chanessa and Vairsacë. They smiled back, tactfully ignoring the blurred mascara and smeared lipstick.

“We don’t normally, like, do business talk at parties,” Chanessa said, “but it looks like some of your friends are heading home already, and we wanted to be sure we could talk to you before you decide to go.”

Leninia raised a finely-chiseled, questioning eyebrow.

The demi-goddess continued. “We have a groovy proposition for you; of course you can refuse it, but perhaps you will at least consider what we have to say.”

“You see,” Vairsacë explained, “our life isn’t just partying, surfing, tanning and all that; our husbands are often gone on their own business, so we wanted something to give our life purpose and meaning. I’m into fabrics, designing and weaving beautiful material, and then making gorgeous fashions of it. And Chanessa is a wonderful model; she does the catwalk presentation and choreography and selling part of it.”

“Yeah,” Chanessa added, “it’s just the two of us, ‘cause Prada’s so busy with her star promotion agency, and Yawanna with her landscaping business – and Estë-Lynn is way too restful for a competitive business like fashion. She does some therapeutic artsy-craftsy stuff, but there’s really no money in it, at least not the kind we want to make.”

“Anyway,” she went on, “we have some boutiques here in Valleyum, and they do pretty well, but we’ve been thinking about expanding to Muddled-Mirth. You see, there aren’t a lot of new customers here, except for those who go to Vair’s husband’s halls, and it takes awhile before they have a body and want some new clothes again.”

Vairsacë nodded. “We noticed that you have a good fashion sense and a great figure – bit short, perhaps, but definitely thin enough – and wondered if you’d stay here for a bit, learn the business, and then set up some chain stores in Muddled-Mirth for us. You see, we’re not allowed to go into business there ourselves, so we need a franchise taker. What do you think?”

Leninia’s sharp mind worked at top speed, and she realized what was offered her even before they spoke. Yet she was acute enough not to sell herself too easily, and so hesitated strategically.

“I don’t know,” she said slowly, “I’ve been thinking about the possibility of a more permanent relationship, maybe even a family sometime...” Her voice trailed off with a well-calculated touch of yearning.

Now Chanessa’s eyebrow raised. She looked around at the wedding guests and asked, “I don’t suppose you have someone specific in mind?”

Leninia was constrained to shake her head regretfully. As always, the only good ones, if there were any, were taken.

“That’s no problem,” Vairsacë contributed. “After all, we have husbands. The modern female can have both, her wedding cake and business too. How about letting us show you our boutiques and deciding then?”

Leninia’s spirits lifted. Perhaps her future did not look so bleak after all. Who knew what might come later? At any rate, she had something to do and someplace to go now. She waved a pale, languid hand in the direction of anyone who might take notice, and left the festivities.
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Old 05-10-2006, 02:07 AM   #311
Estelyn Telcontar
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Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
The morning after the wedding dawned, as mornings are wont to do. Had the festivities taken place at any other location than the Blessed Lands of Valleyum, the site would have been wreaked with havoc. But either Manuël had waved his pipe over the scene and removed all signs of debauchery, or whatever was in that pipe caused the sight of those present to blur – and if they did see any mess, they no longer cared.

The list of guests had grown thin – the Velour, who were immune to any aftereffects of carousing, had put on their water attire, shouldered their sürfbôrds, and gone to enjoy a fine day at the beach. The newlyweds were nowhere to be seen, and it must be assumed that they were out checking the real estate possibilities for a nice cottage in Valleyum’s suburbs.

Merisuwyniel and Gravlox had packed their belongings for the journey back to Muddled-Mirth, and Squire Windsor was attempting, more eagerly than skilfully, to assist them. Now the Elven couple stood before Yawanna, conversing earnestly with the Green Goddess.

“It’s not quite a luxury liner,” she said, “but it will get you back to the Eastern lands safely enough. Are you sure you wouldn’t rather stay here? You alone, my dear Merisuwyniel, uttered no wish, and I would gladly fulfil one if you so desire.”

The Elf shook her golden locks most becomingly. “I thank you,” she replied, “but my desire is to return to the lands of my people. I do have one wish though.” She hesitated, then, encouraged by Yawanna’s friendly smile, continued: “I have grown accustomed to leading others on this quest. I would like to have a realm of my own to rule, so that I can go on telling others what to do more conveniently. Of course it would be for their own good...” Her voice trailed off.

“Naturally!” the goddess exclaimed. “That would be just the thing for you! And it’s no problem to arrange – you see, Saladriel and Celery have no heir, and as the daughter of her sister, you are the next of kin to them. Are you willing to aid her in this task?” she asked, turning to Gravlox.

He stood tall and erect, his weapons gleaming at his side. “I will strengthen the defenses of Topfloorien with my military experience. Together, we shall see the Hidden Realm prosper and its malls expand. Our combined wisdom will make it a refuge for those who love the finer things of life.”

“There will be another task for you to fulfill,” Yawanna added. “For lo! the kingdom of Grundor lacks a king, and the only heir to the Lord Denimthor, Proctor of Grundor and Guardian of the Porcelain Throne of Minus Teeth, has perished in this most perilous quest. Denimthor is old, and when he is no longer, the people will be lost as sheep without a shepherd. And yet it is known to the Velour that the line of the kings of Grundor has not yet completely failed, and there is one who has the right to claim the throne.”

“Who is he?” Merisu exclaimed. “I would love to meet him.”

“Oh, you already have – he’s here,” the goddess replied.

Merisu and Gravlox both looked in the direction she showed them, but they could not see a potential king, only Hal, still stupored after the night’s carousing. Puzzled, they looked to Yawanna for explanation.

“All that is cold does not shiver,
Not all those who squander are posh.
One arrow is left in the quiver,
One garment returns from the wash.

From the gutter a king shall be woken,
The blight of his shadow shall flee,
Renewed shall be denture once broken,
and white crowns restored all shall be.”


Merisu and Gravlox were even more puzzled by those cryptic clues. “But what does that mean?” the Elf asked.

“The language is archaic and his character barbaric,” Yawanna said, “but there can be no doubt – that ancient poem promises the return of the king to the Wight City. And Halfemption is the last in the line of Noodleorian kings of old.”

Merisu gasped. “But he looks – well, not so fair as his brother looked, though he feels more...”

“But darling,” Gravlox rebuked her gently, “remember that I looked very foul when we first met, and yet you preferred me to the handsome Halfullion.”

“He does not yet appear kingly,” Yawanna admitted, “but that is where you come in. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to aid him – as a matter of fact, your first hurdle will be to get him back to Muddled-Mirth safely and soberly, then to train him for his task until you can find a way to introduce him to his people so that they will be willing to accept his kingship.”

Merisu’s beautiful violet eyes lit up with the religious fervour of a woman who is about to reform a prodigal. “We shall help him to rebuild the city of Minus Teeth,” she proclaimed, conveniently forgetting that its destruction was the work of the Shambles-Ship.
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Old 05-11-2006, 06:20 AM   #312
Estelyn Telcontar
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Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Estelyn Telcontar is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
“What of you, my child?” Yawanna asked the Reunited Ent, who was standing nearby in unaccustomed silence. “Now that you have been restored to life and health, what is your desire – to accompany your friends back to Muddled-Mirth or to remain in these lands, undying and immortal, or at least as close to that as you can get?”

“Hoom, hrum!” the Ent answered, typically but not particularly informatively. “Long have I pondered this question, but my answer depends on your response to my deepest wish.”

“Name it,” the goddess replied. “If it is within my power and within reason, it shall be granted.”

“Though I am now whole, I still feel that part of me is missing,” the Ent continued, “for I lost my Entwife long ago. I wish to see her again, and perhaps we shall at last find somewhere a land where we can live together and both be content. Whether that be here or in Muddled-Mirth, I do not know, but can you tell me where to search?”

Yawanna pondered for a moment before replying. “This is a difficult matter,” she said slowly, “and will require thought and time. Remain here for awhile, and I shall take counsel with my breth/sistren to do what we can. Whether we succeed or fail, I cannot yet say, but when we have attempted, you may still go back to the Eastern Lands if you wish.”

° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° ° °

And so it came that Merisuwyniel, Gravlox, Windsor, Halfemption, and Gateskeeper, along with their various accoutrements and equine companions, boarded a vessel that looked foul yet felt fairly seaworthy for their return journey. Painted on its side were the letters “Sethamir’s Stable Boats and Shipping Services”, which might or might not have referred to the vessel’s stability but seemed reassuring at any rate.

None witnessed the last meeting between Merisuwyniel and the Ent, for they went apart and spoke long together, but hopeful was their parting, and they looked to the future with the expectation of meeting again.

Thus they sailed into the sunrise, and as they departed, the names of their now absent comrades, the friends they had made in the course of their adventures, and the foes they had vanquished passed before their minds’ eyes. From afar they heard Yawanna’s voice singing across the water, and for a time they could see her, beckoning to them from the white shore: her emerald hair was flying loose, and as it caught the sun it shone and shimmered. A light like the glint of water on dewy grass flashed from under her feet as she danced.

With a wave of her hand she bade them look round, and they gazed down from the ship’s deck over lands under the morning. Those were now as clear and far-seen as they had been veiled and misty when they had stood on the shore of Valleyum. The Blessed Lands were soon no more than a guess of blue and a remote white glimmer blending with the hem of the sky which spoke to them, out of memory and old tales, of its high and distant mountains. They took a deep draught of the sea air, and felt that a very short journey would bear them to their destination.

“Speed now, fair guests!” Yawanna’s voice called out to them. “And hold to your purpose! East with the wind in your sails and a blessing upon the waves! Make haste while the breeze blows! Farewell, Elves and Elf-friends, it was a merry meeting!” One last time they saw her, small and slender as a green reed against the shores, then she vanished and only her song accompanied them on their way back home.


Raise up
Your fair and noble head;
Day is dawning,
No time to stay in bed.
Wake now
And see what lies before;
Life is calling,
It’s knocking at your door.

Now you can laugh,
I see a smile upon your face.
Perils are past;
Wonderful future’s on its way.
Safe in his arms,
You’re dreaming.

What can you see
On the horizon?
Why does adventure call?
Across the sea
The bright sun rises;
The ship has come to carry you home.

And all is seen
As through a glass,
An image yet fleeting
Comes to pass.

Hope blooms
In the bright light of day;
The shadow’s fading
And only memories stay.
Say now: “Our quest has just begun.”
Green shores are waiting;
You sail into the sun.

And you’ll be there in his arms,
Just ruling.

What can you see
On the horizon?
Why does adventure call?
Across the sea
The bright sun rises;
The ship has come to carry you home.

And all is written,
Finished at last;
A story so lengthy -
Finally past:
This is

THE END

Last edited by Estelyn Telcontar; 05-13-2006 at 03:27 AM.
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Old 07-26-2006, 07:02 AM   #313
The Saucepan Man
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The Saucepan Man has been trapped in the Barrow!
The Eye Postcript

“Blast!”

“Melvin? Is that you?”

“Hello Colin.”

“Wow, it is you! That’s great, dude. I was getting kinda lonely in here all on my own.”

“Yes, it’s me … *cough* … Blast!

“You OK, man?”

“They sprayed Raid under the Door of Doom.”

“Oh well. Never mind. You’ve got me to keep you company.”

“Whoopee do.”

“Yeah, isn’t it great? You and me, stuck here in the Void together for eternity with no one to talk to but each other. Man, there’s so much to catch up on, I don’t know where to start. Incidentally, have you noticed that the darkness over there is slightly less intense than the darkness back here. I was wondering why that is. It got me thinking about the physical properties of the Void. Do you want to hear my theory? Yes, I’m sure that you do. Well, the way I see it …”

“Aaaaaiiiii!”
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Old 02-09-2011, 01:29 PM   #314
piosenniel
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piosenniel is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
For the time being, this game will be stashed safely in Elvenhome.

It may be resurrected upon request.

~*~ Pio
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