Last Updated on Friday, 15 April 2011 17:25
I know it annoys ya, so here's chapter 1 of The Magnificent Six and a Half
DIRECT DOWNLOAD HERE:
Text if yer so inclined:
A small village, left in peace for centuries, now finds itself an object of desire. A strategic nexus point. Whether military, trader, or pirate, your fortunes now balance on the control of Gonadistan.
The residents of Gonadistan, merchants and farmers, are suddenly beset from all sides by ruthless forces. Forces willing to escalate hostilities until one emerges victorious. That said hostilities seem to invariably injure the non-participating villagers causes no concern among the warring parties.
Finally, desperate, but dirt cheap, the villagers send an emissary in search of a hero. Any hero.
General Scrotum of the Miramar Imperial Legions
Thinlip, the Pirate
Nuggetnose, Grand Vizier of the Known World Free Trade Organization
Moe, the Barbarian.
Headpinch, the Viking
Cleftskull, the Berserker
Popi, the Blind Archer
Fistfullofknuckles, the ancient Kungjitsu master
Benttoenail the Wizard
and Kaboom, the Dwarve
Hack, the Traveling Bard of Boozantium
Can a gang of lonely, past-their-prime, creaky-kneed, weak bladdered, tooth decayed geezer-heros pull off one last epic victory? Find out in The Magnificent Six and a Half
Two wagons sat outside the gates of a mighty city. A tall, gangly man dressed in the gaudy robes of a Court Jester, strummed a strange instrument and harangued a growing crowd of the curious. “Come one, come all! Gather round the alewagon.” He cried. “Our ale is the finest in the land. Come buy a draught and hear a tale.”
The wagons were festooned with bright, gleeful colors. One wagon, a huge conveyance loaded with wooden kegs, announced along its sides in flowing script, The Traveling Bard of Boozantium. Lovely lasses, displaying an ample reserve of bosom, drew frothy gourds of Ale for an endless line of customers.
“What story do you bring today,” a loud lout called out. The bard strummed his instrument which sent forth a somehow both dreadful and melodious twang. The strumming increased in speed until the jester’s fingers were little more than a blur along the instrument’s neck, until with a final drawn out note, he stopped. The crowd grew silent.
Today I tell a story of injustice sad but true,
Acts of evil acts of courage and epic battles too.
It concerns a tiny village whose reach exceeds its grasp
Beset by demons, plagues and pirates til near its final gasp.
They send forth an aged messenger, who slips out in dark of night
in search of a fabled hero who might save them from their plight.
But cheap they were and stingy, ungenerous to the core,
the coin they offered miniscule, they should have tendered more.
For each hero did refuse them, to pleas they did not listen,
the messenger now rightly feared, he’d failed all in this mission.
But one name yet remained, at the very bottom of the list,
a name regarded everywhere as the worst hero to ever exist.
In battle he was mighty, a demon with a sword,
he’d stand alone and slaughter an angry, raging horde.
His courage not in question, but everything he slew
friend or foe no matter, he’d forget and kill you too.
His band was not much better, though skillful to a man,
they somehow always managed to snatch defeat from victory’s hand.
So drink and sit and listen as the tale winds down the path
A tale about some bunglers, the Magnificent Six-and-One-Half.
The bard strummed a few notes and downed a mug of beer. The foam on his beard glistened and he smiled at the audience before launching into the story.
Atlantis Placed On Automatic
Twas a great shining city, afloat in the sea
where many ships came to barter, with spices and tea
Then the earth it did tremble, the great city did rise,
then sink beneath the water, right before my eyes.
Some thought it was a good thing, while others thought it bad,
I cried because they served, the best ale I’d ever had.
This part concerns a village, aptly named Gonadistan,
Where simple people jumped, from the fire to the frying pan.
—— Hack, the Traveling Bard of Boozantium
Mella, a maiden from the village of Gonadistan, was gathering sassafras roots for the Summer solstice when she felt the earth heave beneath her feet. The woven basket fell from her hands, and unbalanced, she followed the basket to the ground. Frightened, she could do no more than endure the violent shaking of that upon which she relied on every day of her life—the very ground she trod upon. Surely, she thought, this was the end of the world. The Gods had tired of the humans and with little more than a gesture, would now wipe them away.
“Fear not, Mella,” urged the elder mage of their village who leaned against his tall staff. “It is naught but the divine destruction of that evil island, Atlantis. Rise and take hold of my staff. Together we shall bear witness to its demise.”
“Uncle Mushroom, why do you call it evil?” Mella asked, standing shakily as the ground continued to shudder and rumble..
“Because it was evil! Always sending forth some newfangled contraption. Flint lighters! Bah! Everyone knows you use magic to make fire.” To emphasize his point the magician snapped his fingers and a flame appeared. “Wheels! What nonsense. You wish to get somewhere, you conjure a traveling spell. Writing! Pah. Who needs it. That city was a pox on the land. We are well rid of it.”
“But Uncle, only you know this magic,” Mella said.
“Aye, and I charge a fair and tiny fee for its practice,” he said, cackling.
“Maybe we should move further away,” Mella offered, as she watched great chunks of the earth break away to fall in a boiling froth of water.
“It will stop soon,” Mushroom the Magician said, peering as the cliffs continued to collapse and the rift moved closer. “Perhaps you are right,” he admitted, folding his hands and muttering some long incantation in a strange tongue. A bracelet on his wrist glowed dimly, and the two appeared in the center of their small village.
Unfortunately, they appeared dead-center in the middle of the mud-hole that served as a road through the town’s business district. A horse-drawn cart bounced by narrowly missing them both and covering them with mud in the wake of its passing. Mushroom uttered a curse and thought to send a plume of fire at the madman who sat astride the cart screaming, “It’s the end of the world. Head for the hills!” Then he sighed and lowered his hands while muttering about wheels.
The towns residents were all outside, standing around, eyes fearfully wide, mouths agape, as the ground continued to shake. They spotted Mushroom’s sudden appearance and rushed to howl questions at the old magician. They were all yammering at once and Mushroom tried, in vain, to remember the spell for silence. Finally he tired of the cacophony of the frightened village equivalent of nobles.
“Quiet, fools! When you all gibber at once it is a chorus of stupidity. Let one speak for all so that you may express focused stupidity.” Mushroom laughed inwardly at his own wit.
“What is happening, Mage?” asked Tartar, Gonadistan’s plump Mayor and owner of the Gonadistan GoOnInn Gruel and Grape Alehouse.
“Atlantis has fallen beneath the sea,” Mushroom answered. “It’s consumption has caused a bout of earthly indigestion. This is naught but a burp.”
The shaking grew more violent and everyone could clearly see the disappearance of what used to be sheer cliffs beyond the town’s outskirts. Suddenly, Gonadistan, once a tiny village nestled in a deep valley, was fronted by a lovely mile-long view of the sea. It was now highly-prized beach-front property, with a convenient deep-harbor port at the southern end. As the shuddering settled, Mushroom was the first to realize the implications of this new development.
“Fellow villagers, it is my studied opinion that you should squeeze every gold nugget out of the traders who will soon swarm into this village. Wring them of even the tiniest copper, sell-out, then run as fast as possible to somewhere already settled and civilized.” Mushroom saw the sparkle of greed alight within the eyes of the assembled merchants and realized with absolute certainty, his warnings would go unheeded.
Meanwhile, beneath the sea, two technicians made final adjustments for the city’s autonomous operation.
"How did the terraforming work out?” Asked one technician.
“Perfect. They now have what will become the busiest port for a thousand miles in any direction.”
“Good. The villagers were always kind and fair in their trading. Well, except for that cranky old bastard magician. I’ll never understand how the computer picked that asshole for a tech-feed. That one girl had the eye for you. Always dropping by with those freshly-baked pies. She’s a beauty.”
“Quiet! Don’t even mention that. I mean, don’t think I didn’t consider it. But the command will scour our memories during the debriefing. They even suspect I was breeding with the locals... I don’t want to think about it. Probably eject me and you through the airlock and into space. Leave us two-hours of air so we can die of panic before we get a chance to asphyxiate.”
“Did you remember to replace that bleed-off power damper?”
“I rebuilt it.”
“Rebuilt it! Why didn’t you replace it?”
“Couldn’t find the part. I looked where it was supposed to be, it wasn’t there. Not my problem, besides these people are shiftless. No chance of any dangerous build-up of unused,” here the tech held up two fingers of each hand in the universal sign of the quotation mark, “Magic. They refuse to perform even the simplest tasks, choosing instead to ‘magic’ them. What a bunch of rubes.”
“What happens when no one remembers how to do the magic? We tech-fed enough wizards and magicians so each village could have one. But they do not share their knowledge, opting instead to hoard it thus increasing their own importance. I predict within two generations only a handful will remember even the basic commands. As the old ones die off they’ll bury them with the bracelet. You know what happens when too much unused power builds up. That valves been hinky for years.”
“We’ve scattered clues everywhere explaining how to locate and activate the bracelets.”
“They’ll forget. Entropy, nature, war, all will conspire to destroy the clues.”
“The more enterprising among them can access the libraries.”
“And what if the libraries are burned?”
“Not even these dolts are stupid enough to destroy libraries.”
“I don’t like it.”
“We’ll check back in a couple hundred years. Right now I just want to get off this planet and back home.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right. I mean, how bad can they screw things up? It will be nice to get home. Let’s go.”
A tiny ship thrust out of the water and roared, unseen, into the heavens.
Here There Be Swindlers
The glitter of gold is tempting, few can resist its charm.
Gather enough and surely, you will never come to harm..
At least that is the opinion of many a greedy soul.
Right up to that moment, when they’re lowered into a hole
The banker cries ‘It’s business! The Merchant chants ‘It’s fair!’
The swindler says ‘Just trust me’ then strips your coinpurse bare.
Gonadistan’s rank amateurs, schemed and dreamed of riches
Unaware the approaching horde of professional sonsabitches
—— Hack, the Traveling Bard of Boozantium
‘Port Gonad Shipping Hub of the Known World’