Hearken and hear, O tremulous and wretched! Bend unworthy ear to my words and see in your paltry and ignoble minds a most awesome sight…
Lo! On the top of yonder barrow, seest thou he?
How tall he stands, the whole of Terra ‘neath his Reebok!
His legs as mighty red oak, his arms as long as Deepest Winter,
The Apotheosis of stride and stature!
Debase and despair, O mortal kine, his name is Warrior. Captain.
Lo! Midst radiance most fulgid, it’s very source and center, seest she?
Bind your eyes, for glory as this was ne’er meant for mortal sight!
Her smile as comely as Arcadia risen o’er by dimly Sol,
A heart whose metal proved greater than Fates design!
The Deathless. The Life-Giver. Mother of Daphneas Golden-mane.
“A moment!” cry ye, “Spare but a breath and a hearts beat, story-weaver!” Shall I? Shall my words be stilled as hallowed Styx? Wash the filthy blood from thine aurals and cease the braying of ass and squall of swine! Pearls have I! Am I not kind? Am I not generous and most benign to bless thy day and lowly lives with these words? Hearken on!…
Lo! ‘Pon gentlest wind and distant chime, set soul and whispered flame alight!
A scent of crimson blooded joy and boundless laughing, rending quest,
‘Tis the Traveler! She of the moving throne and lifeless steed, forged of sword and plowshare!
Flit she hither and yon, so speedily she goes, the voice of her mouth trails after;
A day, a month, a span shall pass when thy senses finally taste of her passing with naught but her name,
Lo! Tell and disclose, have mighty Atlas’ shackles rent? Hath Pangea torn asunder?
Where fell Atlantis at his coming? How met Ys and Dorado, yea the bannered Camaalot?
O Gaia, how have we offended that thou hast loosed the Master of Beasts? The ravenous his playthings,
The rabid his bairn! His mount shall crush under hoof our mighty places and rope of Nephalist hair
Bind your will, your hope, yea all our fates to his. Fear the Hammer. Forge Master. Scholar-King.
“Mercy! Spare the survivors, tail-spinner! Bard of Demi-Gods, Prophet of Doom! Speak no more of these GREAT ONES, our feeble minds cannot hold!” Peace, wretched children, peace. They do not come here. This pallid and wasted land cannot abide the glory and might of ones such as these. The field of their emergence is far hence. Beyond these borders it once lay. Mortals gathered in squirming mass, their fleshy bodies awash with sweat and ill-gotten pride in pursuit of victory. “A competition!” they cried as one, “For ancient Sparta we sport! let winners be crowned and man raised up!”
O folly. O hubris! The wind hears, the earth trembles and the giants come. Puny humans. Know you not thou has summoned thy betters? Thy true victors? The Lords of Challenge arise! Behold their power!
Mikel. Kym’ee. Kay’ehm. Sckotte. Thrice we hail! Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!
“Afternoon sir, find everything alright?”
“Uh, yeah, just about. ‘Cept this thing has no price on it.”
“Lets see that…yes, sure enough.”
“Oh! Right. Sorry. Just give me one sec to sort this out.”
“No problem. By the way, I’ll be paying by credit card, do you take Discover?”
“Oooh, sorry, no card machine here.”
“Well, how about a check? I finally updated my address and phone number, so it’s totally legit.”
“My apologies, a check is not on our list of ‘legit’ monetary units. Try another?”
“Let me check my pockets (shuffleshuffle) I’ve got 3 credits and a…half a Bison Dollar, that work?”
“Bison Dollars accepted only in 10,000 unit increments, are your credits Galactic Standard?”
“Negatory, but if we’re talkin’ space, I got 20 Space bucks in my right shoe and a couple Federation Credits in my left.”
“I don’t have the conversion figures for those.”
“What about Darseks? Or Latinum?”
“Gave ’em away, they just looked fake, you know? Like Monopoly money.”
“Oooh, do you have any of that?”
“Nope, vacuum took it all. Oh, wait, I’ve got some Simoleons in the car!”
“Bad luck, sir, they lost their value with us last expansion. What else do you have in the car? Any Bottle Caps or NCR Dollars perhaps?”
“Naw, bought a burger with my last Cap yesterday. I’ve got blue Rupee in my glove box though, might even have some Ludder left over.”
“No good since the queen disappeared and the towers fell. I’m so sorry sir, I just don’t think this sale is going to happen today.”
“Crap. My son would have just LOVED this. Can’t find one anywhere else and believe me, I’ve looked everywhere! Are you sure there’s nothing we can do?”
“I’m very sorry sir. Unless you, by some miracle, happen to have some unspent and unconverted Badges of Justice or even a Brewfest Prize Token, there just isn’t anything.”
“Well, I couldn’t afford the monthly so that’s out. Thanks anyway man. Maybe next time.”
“No problem sir, anytime!”
“Wait, what’s that on the ground? Is that a quarter?”
“Would you like paper or plastic sir?”
“It’s a board game.”
“Because when you make a game on a board and then put it in a box, it’s called a board game.”
“…eh, I don’t know.”
“Well I do. I know you’re gonna miss out on some epic Westros action my friend. Epic!”
“What did Dave want sweety?”
“It’s game night at his house and a bunch o’ guys are getting together to play some Game of Thrones thing. I mean, the show’s all right but I don’t know how it would translate to a game. Besides, it can’t be more interesting than these special features here. Did you know that the Russian pairs team in The Cutting Edge is actually from Canada? Amazing!”
Meanwhile across town…
David “Brogo” Baxley hung up the phone and tossed it on the couch. He hadn’t really thought the Forsaken One would join them, but Brogo believed everyone deserved a chance at glory. A chance to garner honor by the turn of a card and the whims of fickle Gods. The table was set and the warriors gathered, stoic of countenance and mighty of courage, they also brought with them vast hungers and the means with which to curb them. Justin the “Jogo” was bearer of Box-ed Westros and thus granted the first turn of this nights fate. He raised his voice high and with a cry of “Dothraki!” plunged headlong into Phase 1.
Turns played out as one would expect, Heidi “The Woman” played with the subtlety and treachery that was the hallmark of her gender, James the “Jannister” sought dominance from the start and the blood flowed richly, while Brennan “Bobert B” gathered his resources and stained his cards richly with the dust of the Cheeto.
As the night wore on and the blackness beyond the wall deepend, Jogo pled for pardons as his bladder was most thoroughly filled and threatened to o’er flow. Seizing this opportunity, Jannister reached for Jogo’s cards with treachery in his heart, but failed to watch his flanks. The Woman plunged an ivory spork into the back of Jannister’s hand, pinning it to the table. Jannister screamed a curse and rounded on The Woman with murder in his heart but stopped cold when he saw her face, her complete lack of expression, as one might have when weeding ones garden of…unwanted and useless things. Brogo laughed heartily and long, spilling his mug of vintage Dew and spraying the yellow nectar into the face of Bobert B who with great patience and long-suffering, wiped the offending fluid from his stony face.
“What progresses, my friends?” called Jogo from the privy.
“Naught but friendly banter and a little needlework from the wench!” guffawed the Brogo, who broke into a fresh round of laughter and table-pounding. “But perhaps you should ask Jannister, who I’m sure has much to say!”
“Nay, good Brogo”, stammered Jannister whilst trembling before The Woman, “We patiently await your return and have not sought to upset the delicate balance of this game.” Jannister looked to The Woman for approval, who nodded minutely and removed the implement from his flesh with a quick jerk, spraying blood across the field of mock-battle and into the face of the stony Bobert B.
Turns passed and the final battles drew near. Swaths of land were clustered with tokens of particular colors and all but two of our mighty warriors felt the approaching defeat. The breaks were smoked and the crisps were devoured, empty tins of strong drink littered the plush yet stained carpet, and nothing in this moment could shake the focus of the two great nations, the true powers of Westros who beyond the 9 phases of the past, came to this, the end of the path. What glory awaited which ruler? What alliances will be broken, whose hopes shattered? More importantly, who will earn the right to mock all his/her fellows incessantly?
Meanwhile across town…
“So that’s how D. B. Sweeny got the part! Hot dang, honey, did you know that? It’s too bad Dave wanted to play his little game, ‘cuz I’m sure he would gotten a hoot out of that!” The Forsaken one turned off his video machine and laid head to pillow, still chuckling over his paltry entertainments. As he descended deeper and deeper into slumber, he became aware of a certain chill in the air. Barely noticed. He could almost convince himself he imagined it. It couldn’t possibly get this cold in the middle of August, he thought drowsily. He slept.
The day was over. Summer was ending. Winter is coming.
30 minutes-ish ago, I was sweating like a Nazi opening the Ark of the Covenant and beating my 10 y/o son about the head and legs and smiling while I did it. Hush up, don’t judge me. You don’t even know me. Ok, you probably do since you’re one of the 10 people on the planet who read this and most likely lent me money at some point (the check is in the mail, my hand to Ganesha). Before you think I enjoy beating my children*, you need to understand something key to the whole ‘sitch here. I used to be a licensed and registered self-defense instructor specializing in Kenpo Karate with elements of ground combat and Filipino Kamagong. Physical fitness wasn’t too much of an issue back then as I wasn’t smoking or morbidly obese at the time (things change when you become immune to logical thought). I taught for a few years then moved to my current location and took a better paying (actually paying) job.
I’m 20lbs overweight, out of shape, father of 5 and my two at-home kids are bored. Of course. What’s new.
To answer my rhetorical question, my wife’s new job has her learning submission techniques and she comes home bruised, aching and grinning like Fight Club started accepting female members. Which makes sense because by stating she doesn’t belong to a Fight Club, she is clearly obeying its first two rules. It all becomes clear.
(Google images results for “Aha!” are incredibly disappointing)
So here we are at home with our two direction-less yet hyper children and their mother is talking about these painful techniques she’s learning. Our children have this absolute passion for mutual annoyance and irritation that borders on clinical, so naturally they now want to learn everything that a sane set of parents would never divulge. Yeah, it’s us. Of course we did.
My sweet, loving wife is torquing my daughters wrist behind her back and pinning her to the floor while my son is denting his shins against mine and neither of them can get the Cheshire Cat grins off their faces. The energy of my legal dependants has me theorizing they must have some Arc Reactors hooked directly into their adrenal glands, while my pores are imitating a 14 y/o girl who finally understands Romeo and Juliet. Isn’t it great when you can engage in some cathartic violence and your victim just laughs like the Joker in interrogation? Ah, sweet moments of life!
We’ve now taught them basic parry’s, wrist locks, strikes and kicking elements which means that though they aren’t anywhere near a Bruce Lee or a Chuck Norris, they each equal half a Steven Seagal. That means that while my wife and I aren’t home, they might be able to fight the microwave popcorn out of the bag.
P.S. I’ve learned that my fitness level puts me squarely in the meat-sack rank of martial artists.
P.P.S. I’ve learned that my wife can+will clean, cook and eat an intruder, so there’s that 🙂
*Excepting cause, parental right or classy sense of humor
…which broke over his head, proving that wrapping-paper tubes weren’t the weapons male children the world over considered them to be. I sprinted down the hall toward the study. The twin ironwood doors burst off their hinges as I shouldered my way in at top velocity, my Egyptian silk shirt barely containing my heaving, ex-Olympian muscles.
There was only one way out of my current “situation” without resorting to firearms and explosives (I had just had my entire east wing renovated in endangered tropical woods and monastery marbles, so, you know). I reached the existentialism bookcase and shattered the bust of Kierkegaard with a vicious ridge-hand strike which revealed my panic button. I slammed it down with ex-Olympian force.
“Warning! Warning! All manor staff must now exit the building in accordance with evacuation plan Beirut ’75! Don’t forget to take the dog! Warning! Warning! All manor staff…”
Morgan Freeman’s recorded voice reverberated through the many halls of Le Manoir de Moi, and panicked footfalls joined the tumult. It wouldn’t do to have too many witnesses to the carnage that would follow, after all, it takes so long to find decent help these days and dismemberments often have a deleterious effect on the psyches of French maids. I pulled The Art of War from another bookcase and stepped back. The entire case recessed and slid aside, revealing the contents of my “Panic Room”.
“Now how best to instruct a man on the foibles of assaulting me. During the holidays. At my house.” I asked myself without an interrogative. I looked left as a thought took hold and I smiled. It had been far too long since I beat a Spetsnaz with a pair of…