E-text VI.2: The Land of Mojo

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Banazir the Jedi Hobbit

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Feb 18, 2002, 11:46:55 PM2/18/02
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I hope this was worth the wait. :-)

What can I say? I'm a genetic algorithmist. We study... crossover. ;-)

-Banazir

THE LAND OF MOJO
(or, Charissa Explains It All)

Sam had just wits enough left to seize the phaser from Gullible and
thrust it back into his breast. "Run, Gullible!" he cried. "No, not
that way! There's a sheer drop over the wall. Follow me!" Down the
road from the gate they fled. In fifty paces, with a swift bend round
a jutting bastion of the cliff, it took them out of the line of fire
from the Tower. They had escaped the hue and cry of the Balrog
servants for the moment. Cowering back against the rock they drew
breath, and then they clutched at their hearts. "Chin oop, Samwise
Gamgee! Ye hae come tae fer tae be broot doon bae a wee bit o' hairt
atteck noo..." muttered Sam. Perching now on the wall beside the
ruined gate a Nazdaq sent out its deadly aria. All the cliffs echoed.
In terror they stumbled on. Soon the road bent sharply eastward again
and exposed them for a dreadful moment to a search beam from the Tower.

A scintillating red point appeared on the back of Sam's head scant
milliseconds before Gullible staggered into him and they both tumbled
to the ground. A puff of dust several meters beyond heralded the
impact of thousands of steel flechettes hurled from a rifle mounted
at the top of one of the battlements. As they flitted across the
killing field they glanced back and saw a great chrome-steel shape
upon it, manlike in shape yet taller; then they plunged down between
high rock-walls in a cutting that fell steeply to join the
Morgul-road. They came to the way-meeting. There was still no sign
of orcs, nor of an answer to the song of the Nazdaq; but they knew
that the silence would not last long, in Mordor's places of high
culture. At any moment now the coherent photonic beam bombardment
would begin.

"This will nae do, Gullible," said Sam. "If we were real orcs, we
should be walking aroond in sweats, with backpacks on oor shoulders
and books under oor arms, not roonin' away as if being sniped at wi'
laser-sighted ordinance. The first enemy we meet'll ken we are nae
orcs. We must get oof this road somehoo." "But we can't," said
Gullible, "not without wingses, precious!"

Sam shuddered at the thought of Sauron's jet-propelled Balrogs
streaming forth from the tower and the six outbuildings he could
now make out: an ovoid structure that emitted a ghastly pale green
glow; a glittering crystal pyramid reminiscent of the Tombs of the
Kings at Armenelos that Sam had read about in Bilbo's history books;
a monstrosity of an obelisk that reared its defiance at the silent
sky; a small flat structure that appeared to be adorned with shadowy
wing-like appendages; a massive building covered with horrific-looking
buttresses, razor-sharp, that evoked the High Baroque period of
Mordorian architecture; and finally, in the far distance, a spherical
building that resembled a many faceted-gem resting on a jeweler's
stand. Sam realized that this was the Slipcast, or Spaceship Ea, the
last hurrah of Gondor (tm) in the days when Minas EPCoT was still
Minas Ethel (tm). As Sam gazed in apprehension at the barracks of
Sauron, he wondered that a being who could maintain such an arsenal
and twist children of the First Kindred into servitude to Mordred
could also build such a fine /bibliotheque/, tomb-like though it
appeared.

Even as he mused in dread, a tall Man appeared not twenty paces
distant. Sam and Gullible started and faced him in wonder, as they
hardly ever missed the onset of one of the big folk, however
stealthly. The man was dressed in very worn traveling leathers and
wore a distinctive-looking sword and a silvery guitar. For a moment
Sam feared that Maglor was back to cause more trouble, but then he
saw that the man had no ears. He must have grimaced in pity, for
the man chuckled and said, "Don't worry, they'll grow back. I've
lost my eyes before, so I know. Now let's get out of sight. Follow
me."

As Sam and Gullible trailed the man warily, the sky above began to
turn overcast rapidly. Shortly the sun peeked out from behind a
cloud... then another sun, then another. Sam whirled in amaze and
saw that the Tower had vanished and all of Sauron's buildings along
with it. "Who be ye, and where be ye takin' us?" he demanded.

"Good questions, though the full answer would take longer than we
are alloted, Master Samwise, or should I say `Lenindil'? That isn't
really your name, you know."

"How come ye tae noo my name, or, er, what isn't my name...?"
sputtered Sam.

"I know many things about you, for you have followed me into battle,
and fought for me, and against me, and died for me, and by my hand.
I will answer your first question and perhaps the rest will become
clearer. I go by many names, few of them yet known in Muddle-earth,
but someday at least a few of you shall have heard of Corbin of
Ember."

"Corbin of Ember? Well, who the he--" began Sam, but Corbin had
already begun to walk into the east. Sam and Gullible had to hurry
to catch up.

"I will tell you a little of what has befallen since your company
was broken. A shadow rises in the West, thanks to that no-good
wizard Aruman."

"Aruman? The traitor of Orthanc? Gandalf warned us of him."

Corbin burst into laughter. "Samwise, my naive young friend, the
titanically obese wizard you know as Gandalf is none other than
Aruman, Chief of the Wide Council. Why do you think it's CALLED
the Wide Council? You'll come to discover that he has had the
REAL Gandalf imprisoned at the pinnacle of Isengard for over eight
months now... if he hasn't already found a way to dispose of him
for good."

"But that's impossible! I saw him fight a Balrog! I saw him
fall into the abyss of Moira!"

"You saw a quarrel between two old gambling buddies that had
reached its natural conclusion for Maiar of that ilk. The real
Gandalf would have tried a tad harder to avoid Moira, I think.
At any rate, who among you has ever actually SEEN Gandalf?
Frodo and Bilbo, surely, but their perceptions are, shall we say,
a bit warped thanks to the Ring. Have you paid close attention
to Frodo when he's hallucinating under its influence? Typically a
mortal will see a glowing greenish tinge around Eldar and Emberites
(if you thought I looked a little Elvish, that's why), and even
friends and kindly old relatives will suddenly sprout fangs. What's
worse, the world starts to swirl like a dipped Toon, little white
vehicles appear in the distance, the voices of the Wise sound strange
and slurred, a strange fog permeates even the most beautiful rivers
and forests, and water-dwelling creatures start to take on a
certain... er, attractive quality."

Sam could find no argument to hold up against this onslaught of awful
truth. Gullible simply whimpered as if troubled by dire memories.

"Anyway, go and compare notes with El Rond and Galadriel, or even
Cordon, Elves who have met the REAL Gandalf. Even Denethor (tm),
Dr. Faramir (tm), and Boromir (tm) have met him briefly--"

"Boromir (tm)! The last time I saw him, he was busy getting killed!"

"Boromir (tm) is not likely to fall by the hand of Man or Vala in
this Shade. Unlike his "brother", he isn't even human, as you
may discover if you survive and get back to Gondor (tm). Besides,
not even a vat of /limpe/ would hurt him, as long as he's carrying
his Sword."

"What, that burred, crappy-looking thing that he filed on rocks?"

"No, not that one... do you see this?" Corbin drew his sword, a
meter-long affair that shone in the bright suns. It looked deadly
sharp and a faint design seemed to have been embedded by some magic
into the metal of the blade. A glyph on the hilt depicted a series
of concentric rings, and Sam wondered if the sword had any
connection to the Three named in the Ring-inscription.

"Hardly," muttered Corbin, as if he had read Sam's mind. "If the
Sword that Boromir (tm) wears still is one of the companions to
this one, bearing what is easily mistaken for a device of Aruman
on it, you'll find that he can't kill much with it except Nazdaq
and barrow wights. Try to strike him down while he's got it,
though, and you'll find that he just keeps coming back -
repeatedly."

"Now that you mention it, I did see him skewer Frodo with it."
Sam's accent was receding again as he waxed thoughtful. "Ah,
would that it had struck true."

"Oh, I think it did. Boromir (tm) doesn't understand that Sword
as well as I do. The Ruling Stewards haven't got a clue what it or
the other heirloom of their house, the Qing[1] Ming[2] Jian[4], are.
Take a close look at Denethor's (tm) blade if you ever get the
chance and you'll see that although it is very thin, it is
extremely deadly. It cleaves iron as if it were green wood. I
daresay nothing but a blade forged by Telemarcheter of Naugwood
- Endurit, or perhaps Clamdrink - could break it."

"How do you know so much about the Stewards and their arms?"

"Well, that's interesting - you see, it was my brother Boolean who
gave the Sword of the Heir and the sword of the Ruling Stewards
to his grandfather Ecchptuion (tm)."

"Your brother?"

"One of at least four surviving ones, unfortunately. I come from a
rather large family. My youngest brother Randy is now the King.
Some of my sisters are here in Muddle-earth, by the way. One of
them - Felona, the most dangerous - is masquerading as the Heir to
the throne of Gondor (tm). If there's anything more perilous than a
Emberite with aspirations to a crown, it's a good-looking redheaded
Emberite. Bah."

Sam and Gullible had heard nothing of the machinations that were
transpiring in Minas Tirith (tm) at this very moment, so the
gravity of this remark was lost upon them. "But they are not
here to trouble our Quest..." said Sam, knowing better than to
disclose his mission this time.

"Your Quest is absolutely doomed to failure if you continue on to
Mount Viagra in your current condition. Do you realize what lies
between here and the Swami Naur? The Shade of my brother Band alone
could derail your plan."

"How?"

"A while back he got hold of the Jewel of the Judge, which you fine
folks know as the Slipcast of Maglor and the Heart of the Ocean.
Some time soon after that Elvish bum threw it into the sea, it was
summoned into a neighboring Shade by this Ainu named Al-D^ur. A
few thousand years later it found its way into another Shade where
they gave it the original name of the Black Elvenstone... finally it
wound up in the hands of my grandfather Dorky, and the rest, as they
say, is history."

"I have no idea what you are talking about! Gullible, do you
have any idea what he's talking about?"

"No, saddam, we doesn't, SADDAM!"

"Well, here's the problem. Band - or rather, his Shade - used the
Jewel to hijack a t.a.r.d.i.S."

"What the trask is a T.A.R.D.I.S.?!" screamed Gullible and Sam in
unison.

"t.a.r.d.i.S.," corrected Corbin distractedly, "time and relative
dimension in Shade. It's basically a device that allows one to
search Shade quickly, like that supercomputer `Neithan Ghost 2002'
that my son Nerwen built, and move through it as one can with those
Shade devices that they call the Spigots."

"`Nerwen'?" mouthed Sam slowly. "Isn't that Elvish for--"

"Shut up, he's really sensitive about that. 'Twas his mother Darla
who named him, and you'll not find a more vindictive woman this
side of the WB. Anyway, Band has hooked up with this really nasty
sorceress - poisoner, necromancer, the works. Once, they abducted
thousands of newborn babies from a huge nursery in the Matrix and
brought them all to Muddle-earth and abandoned them at different
points in its history using the t.a.r.d.i.S."

Sam had to admit that, befuddled as he was by this rambling account,
he was growing intrigued at this point. "Why?" he asked timidly.

"Who knows? I think they were using this Shade as a training ground
for an attack on Ember. `The Game', they called it. The funny
thing is, humans from the Matrix Shade stop aging in this one if they
are ever struck down here, and are very hard to kill for good. It's
a really twisted plan."

"Did it work?"

"I wish I could tell you. I don't have a t.a.r.d.i.S. - it's a Mojo
device."

"Mojo?"

"The Mojo of Chaosius is set in eternal opposition to the Design of
Ember. Don't ask me what that means; I only even heard of the Mojo
after the Fall Design War when they had imprisoned me in one of those
Schroedinger's Balrog boxes. Anyway, the only way to hunt down Band
now is to follow him through time and Shade. I'm on my way to Draino
to recruit a law-orc, so that I can get the Court of Chaosius to
release the t.a.r.d.i.S. they impounded from Nerwen's step-brother
Yoghurt. I saw while passing through the Riddlemark that Band has
unleashed the Dalek-hai and the /r^akh/ of Mordor."

"Dalek-hai? Rock of Mordor? They sound nasty."

"That's /r^akh/ of Mordor, and yes, they are. Dalek-hai will as soon
disintegrate you as look at you, though they can't climb very well,
and /r^akh/ are real pieces of work, best left to your fey
imagination."

"So, is Band in league with that imperialist scum Sauron?" spat Sam
bitterly.

"Band is in league with no one but himself, Master Samwise," answered
Corbin simply. "He has indeed forged an alliance with the Dark Lord
of Mordor - and make no mistake, Sauron is a master of evil - but it
is bound to be temporary. When one is equipped with a t.a.r.d.i.S.,
it is easy to take a longer view."

"So, how do we defeat him?"

"We don't - or YOU don't, for now. The best thing you can do is to
get back to your Quest, once I've taken you out of Sauron's reach and
reunited you with Frodo."

At this Sam and Gullible raised their voices in vigorous protest.

"Trust me, he has an important part to play yet!" assured Corbin.
"Even the Wise cannot see all ends. Who knew that Shelob would
become the mother of a new race of peaceful giant spiders?"

"WHAT?!?" exploded Sam.

"Oh, that won't happen for millennia yet. Though I will say that
a hobbit of your company will be called to take her egg to the
stars. My friend the Doctor has seen it."

"Dr. Who?" queried Sam.

"Yes, precisely," answered Corbin cryptically.

"Your friend is a time-traveler?"

"Oh, my, yes. So is his wife, Tess - a wrinkled woman who talks as
slowly as you like, but as stout-hearted a soul as you'll find in
the cosmos. You know, I never thought he'd settle down, especially
with that old lady (heaven knows he traveled around with enough
attractive young women), but truth is stranger than fiction."

"So, why can't your friend help us... complete our Quest?" asked Sam
with great circumspection, eyeing Gullible out of the corner of his
eye.

"He's under a Temporal Prime Directive, though his people don't call
it that. In this Shade, it's only the Feds, except for Braxton and
some of the renegades, that observe it strictly, and the Bork and
Suleiman are known to violate it willy-nilly. That energy weapon
you're carrying? It was a Bork scout ship that planted a whole
cache of them in Don Guldur, trying to accelerate the arms race."

"You mean that someone is giving Sauron weapons from the future?"

"Sauron and Aruman both. First the Bork assimilated a Tailon vessel,
Protectors and all, and tried to smuggle it into the Armenelos
Experience (tm) pavilion on Atlantis (tm) while Sauron was an exhibit
guide there. I managed to blow it up although it, er, damaged the
White Tree (R) a bit. Much later, Aruman got a whole cadre of HKs
from the Suleiman, though the Ments wiped them out. Stripped the
flesh right off their endoskeletons and stomped them flat. All he has
left now are some blasters. Band even went into the Last Desert and
fed the Water of Life to some were-worms, trying to get Sauron started
in the spice industry, but Shai-Khulud does not come to the unfaithful,
as the Haradrim say. Then his girlfriend Charissa slipped some
/shrerama/ into El Rond's cordial. You have no idea how much havoc
that sutff can wreak on half-elves; it's how Aruman was able to bring
you all to the Council without El Rond realizing who he (or anyone
else) was. After El Rond was served one glass of mead, Charissa was
able to stride into the armory and walk the Whichblade right out of
Imladris."

"Which blade?"

"That's the one," said Corbin to Sam's growing consternation. "Band
obviously cannot wield it - none of US can - but Charissa used it to
enslave a whole coven of vampires."

"Whoa - that's a force to be reckoned with!"

"Tell me about it. There's really only one person in Muddle-earth
with the aptitude to deal with them, though she doesn't have the proper
weaponry at the moment. But hey, if YOU want to tell Arwen she's the
Slayer, be my guest."

Sam tried to take this all in. It was too much - by far. His mind
reeled as never before. He tried to grasp the concept of an enemy
from the future, one who could seed the innocent world of elder days
with the nightmare weapons of a darker time to come. He tried to
think of flechette rifles, Archangel-class starships, the /zh^er^at/,
mutagenic weapons, quantum torpedoes, jumpgates, planet-killing space
stations, lightsabers, cerebroenergetically-enchanced metaconcerts
with Third-Stage Lensmen and Second Foundationers at their focal
points... and found that he could not. In fact, he could not even
stay focused on a simple wheeled vehicle. Sam shook his head and
tried again to picture a battering ram mounted on the front of Farmer
Cotton's waggon. Somehow the image faded as quickly as he could
summon it. He strained. He hummed the banned Workers' Anthem of the
Shire. He tried to visualize just a single wheel. Suddenly a voice
rang out clear and cold in his mind:

"Stop that! Stop it, I say!"

Sam looked at Gullible to see whether the wretch was playing some
terrible ventriloquistic prank. Suddenly he realized where he had seen
a wheel before. A flaming wheel. Slowly crept up to Gullible. "The
Precious! It's on FIRE!" he screamed abruptly. "No! PRECIOUS!
/saddam, SADDAM/!" cried Gullible, drawing the chain from around his
wasted neck and throwing the Ring to the ground, then stamping on it.
Handily, Sam scooped up the chain and the prize it held, ignoring
Gullible's cries of outrage. He held the Ring before his eyes and
looked hard at it. "Stop! Quit staring at me! JUST STOP IT!"
shrieked the voice in his mind. The ring seemed to grow in Sam's
vision as he wrestled with it. "You're making me look fat! I'M GOING
TO CRY!!" Finally Sam relented and stuffed the Ring into his orcish
athletic jacket, smirking.

"So, what do we do now?" persisted Sam.

"I'll take you back to Mordor by an... indirect route. Sauron will
soon be sending his new apprentice, Darth Uranus, after you, but if
you can get to the base of the Mountain, you'll be beyond his grasp."

"Who is this Darth Uranus? We didn't see him in the tower."

"He's... new. A successor to the late, unlamented Leech-king, who
is meeting his end as we speak. The captain of Sauron's home guard
goes by many names, none of which he can remember without help:
Leerath, Geschlocken, Mordorlithe Flokarsbane, but you can call him
Jerry. No relation to my brother."

The sky, having cycled through shades of graphite and snow as well as
ruby, strawberry, tangerine, lime, sage, blueberry, indigo, and grape
hues, was now dim and unremarkably empty, a single westering yellow
sun hidden from view.

"And here we shall part ways. Here comes my assistant with your
`master' and that strange hobbit woman, Spiegel."

A hulk of a Man was herding a bedraggled and miserable-looking Frodo
and an even more miserable-looking Spiegel along. His clothing
was scant and he wore fur-lined boots and bore a gigantic two-handed
sword.

"What ho, Cimmerian?" cried Corbin. "What is best in life?"

"Crush da enemy, see dem driven before me, and listen to da
lamentations of dere women!" grinned the barbarian.

"How--? HOW did he get that - TRAITOR - out of Sauron's grip?"
shouted a flabbergasted Sam.

"Let us ask him," suggested Corbin amiably. "How did you rescue
them, my friend?"

"I had some... help," the huge man replied, his grin widening.

Suddenly, and with only a whisper of sound, a huge bronze dragon
materialized between the parties. Astride it sat a proud warrior,
only vaguely human-looking, with a silver hand. Behind him was
seated an albino personage of regal bearing and unreadable
countenance. His eyes held a chilling intelligence as he regarded
Sam and Gullible wryly. Strapped to the man's waist was a very
large black runesword that reminded Sam of Dagnabit, the incredibly
talkative blade of Turin that had driven him, ironically, to fall
upon it in order to smother its incessant babbling. The bronze
dragon belched flames unhurriedly and spat out a brownish,
sweet-smelling substance on the ground.

"Very good!" exclaimed Corbin enthusiastically. "That's better than
I thought. Did you complete the extraction without any hassles?"

"A little collateral damage," admitted the barbarian, nodding at
the first prince, who held up the dripping head of Gorbush. At
this Spiegel sniveled and burst into fresh tears. "Murderer, C'rum,
we hates it forever, /enron/, /enron/!" she wailed, distraught.

Corbin spoke decisively. "It would appear that we owe you a debt for
your, er, mate, there, miss. How would you like to come with me to a
place where there are many orcs, well-treated and free from the
domination of such a one as yon Sauron?"

At this Spiegel perked up. She mustered her dignity and looked at
Corbin levelly, no mean feat considering their difference in height.

"Come. We are needed. There is much that you can do."

Corbin bent low to Sam, Gullible, and Frodo, whom the Cimmerian
war chief had shoved into the reunited group. "Remember - trust no
one. The truth is... out there. And the next time you meet a
strange girl who escaped from some lab, don't be so surprised if she
can beat the crap out of you." Corbin winked conspiratorially and
stood. "It's time to go; we'll have to deal with the pretender
later," he called to the royal dragon-riders and the barbarian, who
followed a newly resolute-looking Spiegel as she strode alongside the
bronze. "To Britannica first, and thence... to Draino!" cried Corbin.
Together the party of six strode into the distance and vanished.

* * *

The eastern faces of the Ethel Duwap were sheer, falling in cliff and
precipice to the black trough that lay between them and the inner
ridge. A short way beyond the way-meeting, after another steep
incline, a flying bridge of rope leapt over the chasm into the
tumbled slopes and apartments of the Orc Quarter. With a desperate
spurt Sam and Gullible tiptoed along the bridge, hauling Frodo along
by main force; but they had hardly reached its further end when they
heard the blare of Sauron's public announcement system, alerting
listeners to the presence of intruders. Down in the dark trough, cut
off from the dying glare of Orodruin, Frodo and Sam could not see
ahead, but already they heard the whiz of bicycle tires, and upon
the road there sounded the soft shuffle of many sneakers.

"Quick, both of you! Over we go!" cried Sam. With cautious haste
he crouched and slipped his legs through a gap in the rope bridge,
eyeing both Frodo and Gullible suspiciously as he dangled
precariously. Fortunately there was no longer any dreadful drop
into the gulf, for the landscaping of the Morgai Apartments had
already risen almost to the level of the road; but it was too dark
for them to guess the depth of the fall.

"Well, here goes, ye scoundrels," said Sam. "See you in-- waaAAA!"

He let go. Gullible, then Frodo, followed. And even as they fell
they heard the rush of daredevil cyclists sweeping their mountain
bikes over the bridge and the rattle of orc-feet running up behind.
But Sam would have laughed, if he had dared. Half fearing a
breaking plunge down on to bone-smashing art nouveau, the trio
landed after a drop of no more than a dozen feet, thudding softly
into the last thing that they had expected: a bank of snow created
by one of Sauron's devices. When the sound of bike and foot had
passed, Sam slid to the bottom of the artificial drift with
alacrity. "Well, hit me with an avalanche and call me a mogul, but
I didn't know as any snow fell in Mordor! But if I had a-known,
this is just what I'd have looked for. This stuff is already
melting and soaking my orcish T-shirt. Wish I'd a-put that jacket
on!"

"Jackets don't keep magical snow out," said Frodo, hoping Sam
didn't notice how effectively the all-weather parka he had lifted
during his "liberation" was working.

"Now down we go, Gullible," Sam whispered. "Slide all the way
down into the valley quick, and then turn northward, as soon as
ever we can."

Day was coming again in the world outside, but here all was still
pitch dark. Frodo, Gullible, and Sam listened intently for gruesome
noises, imagined and real. The Mountain smouldered and its fires
flared through various hues like the skies under which the
self-styled Emberite prince had led them. The easterly wind that
had been blowing ever since they left Ethelien now seemed dead.
Using slats that had fallen out of the dilapidated bridge above
them, they snowboarded down in the blind shadows, down and down
until they could go no further.

At length they stopped, and sat side by side, their backs against a
boulder. All were sweating. Frodo tried to eat a few handfuls of
the artificial snow and realized that it had no effect on his
thirst. "If Sauron himself was to offer me a glass of water, I'd
shake his hand," he gasped.

"Don't say such things, ye traitor, or I'll cut ye throot!" snarled
Sam. Then he stretched himself out, dizzy and weary, and he spoke
no more for a while. At last with a struggle he got up again. As
he expected, Frodo was fast asleep. "Wake up, pig!" he said. "Come
on, ye soft slob! You've hardly walked in days."

Frodo scrambled to his feet. "Well I never!" he said. "I must have
dropped off. It's a long time, Sam, since I had a proper sleep,
and my eyes just closed down on their own."

Sam kicked Frodo in the ribs and elbowed Gullible for good measure,
though the latter was wide awake. "MOVE out, lazy asses, or I'll
kick ye all the way to the Mountain, and that's a fact! DOUBLE
TIME!" He now led the way, northward as near as he could guess,
among the stones and boulders lying thick at the bottom of the
great ravine.

But presently they stopped again. "It's no good, Sam," whined
Frodo. "I can't manage it. This pack, I mean. It must weigh 15
pounds if it's an ounce. Even my mithril-coat seemed heavy when I
was tired. This is far heavier. And what's the use of it? We
shan't need these books where you're taking us."

"But we may have some need of tinder," said Sam. "And there's
the student body of UNM that we may yet have to blend into.
I don't like to think of us with naught but your leather brain
between us and a quiz in the dark."

"Look here, Sam," said Frodo: "I am tired, weary, I haven't a hope
left. But I have to go on trying to get to the Mountain, as
long as I can follow you and the thrice-accursed Ring. This extra
weight is killing me. It must go. But don't think I'll ever forget
to effort it must have taken for you to bring it along."

"Quit your bitching, Mr. Frodo. You'd ask me to carry you on my
back, if you could. Let it go then! See if I care!"

Frodo laid aside his parka and took off the orcish backpack and
flung it away. He shivered a little. "What I really need is
something warm," he said. "It's gone cold, or else I've caught a
chill."

"O no you don't! I've heard THAT one before...
It didn't work for Dame Lobelia and it won't work for you!"

"As if!" snorted Frodo. "But if you want the parka, I'll trade
it to you for your lighter jacket."

"I don't want naything of yours, capitalist pig!" snapped an
indignant Samwise. He unslung his pack and took out the
elven-cloak. "Just stuff this inside the orcish T-shirt. Never
mind the stupid convention of wearing cloaks outside your armor
and T-shirts inside. It don't look quite orc-fashion, but
it'll keep you from freezing your fool self to death, and I
daresay it'll keep you from harm better than any other gear.
It has the Lady's Warranty on it." He turned over a flap of fabric
sewn into the seam between the hood and collar of the elven cloak.
"MADE IN LORIEN - 100% polyester" it read. "D'oh!" he sputtered.

Frodo took the cloak and fastened the brooch. "That's better!" he
said. "I feel much lighter. I can go on now. But this campus
is really depressing. As I read theory in Sauron's library, Sam,
I tried to remember the Brandywine Bar, Woody's End, and The Water
- any of the fine pubs in Hobbiton. But I can't see them now."

"It's you that's talking of water this time - shut up!" cried Sam.
"If only the Lady could see us or hear us, I'd say to her: `You
imperialist oppressor, all we want is light and water: just clean
water and plain flashlights, not this bottled phosphorescent ooze
that's probably irradiating us all.'" He hauled the Phial, now
glowing with its own faint green light, out of its lead-lined bag
and shook it at a cringing Gullible and Frodo. "But it's a long
way to Lorien and that crazy--" Sam sighed and gesticulated
wildly towards the heights of the Ethel Duwap, now only to be
guessed as a deeper blackness against the black sky.

They started off again, hiking into the campus proper. At length
they came to the Lower Quad and Frodo paused. "There's a
mathematician about to pass us by," he said. "You can tell by
the way he's dressed. Keep still for a while and he won't notice."

Crouched under a metallic statue that looked simultaneously like
a wrench and the hands of Sauron choking the last breath from a
dying pigeon, they sat facing back westward and did not speak for
some time. Then Frodo breathed a sigh of relief. "He's passed,"
he said. They stood up, and then they all stared in wonder. Away
to their left, southward, against a sky that was turning grey, the
peaks and high ridges of the great range began to appear dark and
black, visible shapes. Light was growing behind them. Slowly it
crept towards the North. There was battle far above in the high
spaces of the air. The sky above Mordor was divided into a rotating
daylit region in the shape of a whale and a night region covering
its complement, perpetually chasing each other.

"Look at it, Mr. Frodo!" said Sam. "Look at it! It reminds me of
the Mojo and Design that that strange Man was rambling about.
Something's happening. He's not having it all his own way. I
wish I could figure out what is going on!"

It was the morning of the fifteenth of March, which was the
eleventh of February according to some lunar calendars of the
Easterlings, and over the Vale of Anduin the Sun was rising above
the eastern shadow, and the south-west wind was blowing. HeyHoDen
lay dying on the Pelennor Fields, oblivious to all of these details.

As Frodo, Sam, and Gullible stood and gazed, the rim of light spread
all along the line of the Ethel Duwap, and then they saw two shapes,
moving at a great speed out of the West, at first only a pair of
specks against the glimmering strip above the mountain-tops, but
growing, until they plunged like a bolt into the dark canopy and
passed high above them. As they zipped along, bobbing in the
breeze, the disembodied voice of a Nazdaq sent out a song in a
long, reverberating baritone; but this tune no longer held any
terror for them: it was the song of the washed-up, ill tidings
for the Dark Tower. The Leech-king had met Ms. Eowynifred of
Edoras City, Edoras, and her significant /ohtar/.

Finally the two tiny shapes disappeared into a cupola of the Dark
Tower. Scant second later, an amorphous ectoplasmic mass began
to ooze slowly out from a window of the cupola. The trio heard
the strange, faint sound of the bluish blob squeezing through the
window with great effort, followed by a sigh of relief, then
silence. The shape floated down and out of sight.

"What did I tell you? Something's happening!" cried Sam. "The
war's going well," said that jingoistic Gorbush; but Lugnardo he
wasn't so sure. And he was right there too. Things are looking
up, Mr. Frodo. Haven't you got some hope now?"

"Kindasorta... well okay, no, not really. That's away beyond the
mountains. We're going east not west. And I'm so tired. And I
begin to see the Ring in my mind all the time, like a great wheel
of fire."

Sam's quick spirits sank again at once. Even nestled in his
pocket, the burden of the Ring felt like an awful weight strapped
to his waist - like the millstone of Sandyman's oppression! He
looked at Frodo suspiciously, wondering if he realized the effect
his words were having. Making a quick decision, he hauled Frodo
aside, out of Gullible's view, surreptitiously slipping the ring
from its chain and holding it at the base of his thumb. "You look
pale, Mr. Frodo," he observed with mock concern. "I've got one
thing I wanted: a phaser. Enough to help us, though I guess it's
dangerous too. Try a bit further, and then have a rest. But take
a morsel to eat now, a bit of the Elves' food; it may hearten you."
Pulling a /twinkie/ from his pack and unfolding the /forlorn/ leaf
from it, he jammed his thumb into it quickly, then divided it into
three pieces and handed one each to Gullible and Frodo. Swallowing
the sweet, spongy cake as best they could with their parched
mouths, they plodded on as Sam strode with a smug grin that neither
of the others noticed.

The light, though no more than a grey dusk, was now enough for them
to see that they were deep in the valley between the mountains. It
sloped up gently northward, and at its bottom went the bed of a now
dry and withered stream. Beyond its stony course they saw a beaten
path that wound its way under the feet of the westward cliffs. Had
they known, they could have reached it quicker, for it was a
shortcut across the UNM campus that left the twin curving stairs of
the tourist route at the Googol Quad and went up through a narrow
stair to the Upper Quad. It was used by campus security orcs or by
students on their way to the snack bar, between Cirith Googol and
the narrows of Orthancmouth, pinched by the iron nose of Carach
Malden.

It was perilous for the hobbits to use such a path, but they needed
speed, and Frodo felt (as usual) that he could not face the toil of
scrambling across the north campus or across the perilous death
lanes around it. And he judged that northward was, maybe, the way
that Darth Uranus would least expect them to take. The road east
to the plain, or the pass back westward through the dorms, those he
would first search most thoroughly. Only when they were well north
of the Tower did he mean to turn and seek for some way to take them
east, east on the last desperate stage of his journey. So now they
crossed the stony bed and passed in front of the student union on
the way to the orc-path, and for some time they marched along it.
A glass pavilion shadowed the cliff at their left and obscured
their passage to watchers from above; but the path made many
bends, and at each bend they gripped their sword-hilts and went
forward cautiously.

The light grew no stronger, for Mount Viagra was still belching
forth a tremendous blue fume that, beaten upwards by the opposing
airs, mounted higher and higher, until it reached a region above
the wind and spread in an immeasurable roof, whose central pillar
rose out of the shadows beyond their view. They had trudged for
more than an hour when they heard a sound that brought them to a
halt. Unbelievable, but unmistakable. Water trickling. Out of
a little gully on the left, so sharp and narrow that it looked as
if the ground had been cloven by some huge axe, water came dripping
down: the last remains, maybe, of some sweet rain gathered from
far distant seas, but ill-fated to fall at last upon the walls of
the Black Land and wander fruitless through the UNM campus. Here
it came out of the rock in a little silver creek, and flowed across
the path, and turning south ran away swiftly to be lost among the
dead stones.

Sam sprang towards the banks eagerly. "If ever I see the Lady
again, I will tell her!" he cried. "THIS is potable water, not
that two-in-one watch dial paint she gave us!" Then he stopped.
"You drink first, Mr. Frodo," he said.

"All right, but there's room enough for two."

"I didn't mean that," said Sam. "I mean: if it's poisonous, or
something that will show its badness quick, well, Master Bilbo
was always going on about /noblesse oblige/, if you understand
me."

"I do, you worthless scum. But I think we'll trust our luck
together, Sam; or our blessing. Still, be careful now, if it's
very cold!" Frodo's tongue was still numb from the touch of the
magical sparkling snow.

The water was cool but not icy, and it had an unpleasant taste,
like that of carbonated water laced with caffeine and brominated
vegetable oil, or so they would have said at home. Here it seemed
beyond all praise, and beyond fear or prudence. They drank their
fill, and Sam replenished his water-bottle. After that Frodo felt
easier, and they went on for several blocks, until the broadening
of the road and the beginnings of a rough wall along its edge
warned them that they were drawing near to another campus building.

"This is where we turn aside, Sam," said Frodo. "And according to
the folding map that came with the Deed, we must turn east." He
sighed as he looked at the gloomy ridges across the valley. "I
have just about enough strength left to get up to the College of
Law there. And then I've got to get some sleep."

The river-bed was now some way below the path. They scrambled down
to it, and began to cross the lanes for bikers and joggers. To
their surprise they came upon dark pools fed by threads of water
trickling down from some source higher up the valley. Upon its
outer marges under the westward mountains Mordor was a dying land,
but it was not yet dead. And here in the heart of UNM things still
grew, harsh, twisted, bitter, struggling for life. In the glens of
the Morgai Apartment Complex on the other side of the valley, low
scrubby trees lurked among the cheap landscaping rocks and
half-buried sculptures that looked like giant cubes of granite and
obsidian horses shaped by some decadent Edorassian. Everywhere
great carniferns sporting writhing, tangled brambles sprawled.
Some had long stabbing thorns, some hooked barbs that threatened to
disembowel, some had cybernetic prostheses that looked like blender
attachments, and a few were able to launch small projectiles that
evoked the creature that had stalked Sam and Gullible during their
flight. Large flies with dingy coloring but marked with a stylized
red eye, a symbol that resembled the (R) in Numenor (R), and the
words "Patent Pending" buzzed and stung until a Varda flytrap the
size of Aragon snapped them up. Frodo narrowly avoided having his
already-bloodied hand taken off by it as well.

"Orc-gear's no good," said Sam, waving his arms at the midges that
were too small for the flytrap. "I wish I'd got an orc's ichor!"

Before long, Frodo could go no further. They had climbed up a narrow
shelving ravine behind one of the lecture halls in the UNM College of
Law, but they still had a long way to go before they could even come
in sight of the last campus outbuilding. "I must rest now, Sam, and
sleep if I can." said Frodo. He looked about, but there seemed
nowhere even for a lawyer to hide in this dismal country. At length,
tired out, they slunk between a hedge and curtain of ivy on the
building's dark face.

There they sat and made such a meal as they could. Keeping back the
precious /twinkies/ for the evil days ahead, they ate the half of
what remained in Sam's duffel bag: some dried fruit they had
purchased at Durin's Last Stand, and some cups of instant ramen they
had accepted from Dr. Faramir - which they now regretted packing,
having very little water and nothing with which to build a fire.
They had drunk again from the pools in the valley, but the dehydrated,
MSG-ridden noodles made them very thirsty again. When Sam thought of
water even his fanatic spirit quailed. Beyond the Morgai there was
the dreadful plain of the Upper Quad to cross.

"Now you go to sleep first, Mr. Frodo," he said. "It's getting dark
again. I reckon this day is nearly over." Frodo was, of course,
asleep before the words were fully spoken. Sam struggled with his
own weariness, expecting Frodo to attack him for the Ring, but not
daring to reveal his subterfuge; and there he sat silent till
deep night fell. Then at last, to keep himself awake, he crawled
from the hiding-place and looked out. The land seemed full of legal
briefs being shuffled and books being unshelved and sly noises,
but there was no other sound.

Far above the Ethel Duwap in the West the night-sky was still dim and
pale. There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up
in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty
of it touched his revolutionary heart, as he looked up out of the
forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like the bullets of the
firing squad, the thoughts pierced him that in the end the Shadow was
only a small and passing thing: the light of class struggle was for
ever beyond its reach. His desperate flight from the Tower had been
defiance rather than hope; for then he was thinking of himself. Now,
for a moment, his own fate, and even that of the Ring, ceased to
trouble him. A red glory would bathe the Shire yet. He crawled back
into the brambles and laid himself between Frodo and Gullible, and
putting away all fear he cast himself into a deep untroubled sleep.

They woke together, hand in hand in hand. All withdrew their hands in
shock and looked at each other warily. Sam was almost fresh, ready for
another day; but Frodo sighed. His sleep had been uneasy, filled with
dreams of being impaled upon a Tree of Pain by an aristocratic-looking
fellow whom everyone called "Count", and waking brought him no comfort.
Still his sleep had not been without all healing virtue: he was
stronger, more able to stagger along through the huge campus.
Strangely enough, there was no mass transit here, though Lithlad
Station had been a hotbed of activity. They did not know the time,
nor how long they had slept; but after a little wandering and search
they found a covered walkway that took them partway across the Upper
Quad.

Exiting the walkway before they reached the strange halls of the
Psychology Department, they took a morsel of food and a sip of water
and went on across the Quad, until it ended in yet another barren
lot adorned by a strange helical chrome sculpture. Here the last
living things gave up their struggle; the lot outside the Library
was grassless, bare, jagged, barren as a slate. Circling around it,
they found themselves on the very edge of the last fence of Mordor.
Before them, at the bottom of a fall of some fifteen hundred feet,
lay the inner plain stretching away into a formless gloom beyond
their sight. The wind of the world blew now from the West, and the
great clouds were lifted high, floating away eastward; but still only
a grey light came to the dreary Mall of Gorgoroth proper. There
smokers trailed on the ground and lurked in hollows, and steam leaked
from an underground geothermal complex that Sauron had built.

Still far away, forty miles at least, they saw Mount Viagra, its feet
founded in ashen ruin, its huge cone rising to an artificially-
maintained height, where its caldera was swathed in cloud. Its fires
were now dimmed, and it stood in smouldering slumber, as threatening
and dangerous as a hobbit's appetite between lunch and tea. Behind it
there hung a vast shadow, ominous as a thunder-cloud, the veils of
Barad-dur that was reared far way upon a long spur of the Ashen
Mountains thrust down from the North. The Dark Power had returned to
this stronghold and was now deep in thought, and the Eye turned
inward, pondering a high-resolution videoteleconferencing system: a
bright sword, and a still-overweight but now dignified face it saw,
and for a while it gave little thought to other things; and all its
great campus, gate on gate, and building on building, was wrapped in
a brooding gloom.

Sam, Frodo, an Gullible gazed out in mingled loathing and wonder on
this hateful land. Between them and the smoking mountain, and about
it north and south, all seemed ruinous and dead, a desert burned and
choked. They wondered how the Lord of this realm maintained and fed
his research and teaching assistants. Yet students he had. As far
as their eyes could reach, along the skirts of the Morgai and away
southward, there were camps of brightly-colored tents, some ordered
like small towns. One of the largest of these was right below them.
Barely a mile out into the plain it clustered like some huge nest of
insects, with straight dreary streets of huts and long low drab
buildings. At the western margin, a roundish green one made from
Elvish-looking canvas read "PUHJAFOONI/TELEFON". About it the ground
was busy with folk going to and fro with a strange spring in their
steps; a wide road ran from it south-west to join the
Morgul-way, and along it many lines of small black shapes were
hurrying.

"I don't like the look of things at all," said Sam. "Pretty hopeless,
I call it, saving that where there's such a lot of folk there must be
wells or water, not to mention food. And these are Men, not Orcs, or
my eyes are all wrong... wait, is that a BALROG down there singing?"

Truth to tell, Sam and Frodo could see the camp teeming with Men,
Elves, dragons, and even a few Ents and Hobbits. Neither he nor Frodo
knew anything of the great slave-worked fields away south in this wide
realm, beyond the fumes of the Mountain by the dark sad waters of Lake
Nurnenshire nor of the great roads that ran away east and south to
tributary lands, from which the soldiers of the Tower brought long
waggon-trains of chocolate and booty and new dwellers in the camp.
Here in the northward regions were the mines and forges, and the
musterings of a long-planned conspiracy; and here the Dark Power,
moving its armies like pieces on the board, was gathering them
together. Its first moves, the first feelers of its strength, had
been checked upon its western line, southward and northward. For
the moment it withdrew them, and brought up new forces, massing them
about Cirith Goofy for an avenging stroke. And if it had also been
its purpose to defend the Mountain against all approach, it could
scarcely have done more.

"Well!" Sam went on. "Whatever they have to eat and drink, we can't
get it. There's no way down that I can see. And we couldn't cross
all that open country crawling with enemies, even if we did get down."

"I feared it was so," replied Frodo predictably. "Still we shall have
to try, though I never hoped to get across. I can't see any hope of it
now. But I've still got to do the best I can. At present that is to
avoid being captured as long as possible. So we must still go
northwards, I think, and see what it is like where the open plain is
narrower."

"I guess what it'll be like," said Sam. "Where it's narrower the Orcs
and Men will just be packed closer. You'll see, Mr. Frodo."

"I dare say I shall, if we ever get that far," said Frodo and turned
away. They soon found that it was impossible to make their way along
the high border of the Upper Quad, pathless as it was and patrolled
by donut-wielding security officers. In the end, they were forced to
go back down through through the undergraduate huts to seek for an
alternate exit. It was rough going, for they dared not cross over to
the path on the westward side. After while they saw, at the end of a
starlit hall, the library that they had guessed was near at hand: a
wall and a cluster of old desks set about a dark lobby. There was no
movement to be seen except at a few tables in the reading room, but
the hobbits crept by cautiously, keeping as much as they could to the
stacks that were crowded close at this point along both sides of the
hall.

They went down a long, winding stair to a basement level, leaving the
undergraduate library behind them; but they had hardly begun to
breathe more freely again when harsh and loud they heard orc-voices.
Quickly they slunk out of sight behind a brown and stunted bush. The
voices drew nearer. Presently five orcs came into view. Four were
clad in all-weather parkas of the kind Frodo had just thrown away;
they were small, slack jawed and sharp-eyed, with wide nostrils at
which they picked with the hands that were not holding their short
bows: evidently trackers of some kind. The other was a large bearded
orc, like those of Lugnardo's company, bearing the token of the Eye
upon a great white apron. He wore a tall, bouffant hat and carried
a short blade in one hand and a pronged weapon in his other. As
usual they were quarrelling, and being of different nationalities
they used the Common Speech instead of the tongues of their old
countries or the cant of their respective character classes.

Hardly twenty paces from where the hobbits lurked the small orcs
stopped. "Screw you guys!" the plumpest one snarled. "I'm going
home." It pointed across the valley to the orc-hold. "I'm not gonna
wear my nose out on stones any more. There's not a trace left, man.
I've lost the scent thanks to your body odors. They went up into the
hills, not along the valley, I tell you."

"Not much use are you, big fat ass?" said one of the other trackers,
wearing a blue and red helmet adorned with the Lidless Eye. "Yeah,
snot-nose!" chimed another, wearing a light greenish leather helm.
The last of the trackers, zipped tightly into his hooded orange
parka, mumbled an unintelligible phrase that Sam suspected was
obscene.

"Oh, yah?" snarled the first tracker. "Up yours! You don't even
know what we're looking for!"

"It's not our fault we got bad information!" shouted the second
tracker. "Yeah, you heard the Nazdaq! He said there were eight
people and a dragon we were after: two dragon-riders; a barbarian;
four halflings, one woman and three men; and an Emberite. What a
load of BS!" concluded the third. "Yeah, those guys are on crack!"
agreed the second.

"You idiots!" said the first tracker. "YOU'RE on crack! The
Emberite probably isn't even IN this shade anymore, and I've seen
only three sets of tracks, so he probably took the dragon and four
of the people with him!"

"What do YOU know, big fat ass?!" shouted the second tracker.
"Yeah," added the third. "Maybe the dragon took to the air and
is carrying the rest." At this the fourth tracked mumbled his
assent.

"Respect my authoritah, or ah'm gonna report you!"

"Who to? Not to your precious Gorbush! He's the first one
those dragon-riders chopped up on their way in to get the
halflings!" laughed the third tracker. "Whassa matter, fat
ass, can't take the heat?" mocked the second.

The other halted, and his voice was full of fear and rage.
"Ah... hate you gahs... SO MUCH..." he choked as he drew his
bow. Suddenly he pointed it at the other three and released.
The first two dodged swiftly, but the arrow struck the last
tracker squarely in the torso. Black blood began to stain
his parka as he slumped soundlessly to the ground.

"Lord of Darkness! He killed Snaga!" cried the second orc.

"You bastard!" shouted the third.

"Kids, kids!" cried the big orc. "It's all right... you know,
hunting the forces of light reminds me of a song that HE
taught us to sing, all the way back in the First Age..."


You say you serve the Master...
But who's the boss of you?
Not just any old bastard
Vampire or Balrog, fool!
You gotta know who owns your soul
And if you done forget his name
He'll throw you in a bottomless hole
'Cause baby, he's the King of PAAAAAAAAIIIIN!

Tell me who's your Dark Lord, baaaaaby?
Don't give me no ifs, buts, or maaaybes!
He'll show you why hate is fun
'Cause he's the King of the Night
Drown Manwe, Varda and the sun!
And he's sexy like a barrow wiiiiight!
Now don't he look smooth like an evil god...
Time to make sweet looooove and a little pod!


"Oops, sorry, children," muttered the singer abstractedly.

At this, Frodo, Sam, and Gullible snapped out of their trancelike
stupor. For a while, they had sat in silence, listening with a
mixture of wonderment, shock, disgust, and bemusement, unable to
turn away. Now, Sam stirred. "Pods! Who would have thought it?
At any rate, if this nice friendliness would spread about in
Mordor, half our trouble would be over."

But the large orc was not finished. "Ladies and gentleorcs, Mr.
Elton John!" he cried, still oblivious to any onlookers except
the trackers.

"Quickly, Sam," Frodo whispered. "There may be others about!"
The hobbits took their leave while the leaving was good.

As they trudged on, Frodo continued: "We have evidently had a very
narrow escape, and the hunt was hotter on our tracks than we
guessed. I feared it was so. But that is the spirit of Mordor,
Sam; and it has spread to every corner of it. Orcs have always
behaved like that, or so all the sterotypes say, when they are on
their own. But you can't get much hope out of it. They hate our
quaint agrarian and semi-pastoral culture far more than they love
their strange mix of high- and low-brow entertainment. If those
five had seen us, they would have dropped all their quarrel until
we were back in Sauron's grip. This is what I came to understand
at Sauron's retreat."

There was another long silence. Sam broke it again, but with a
whisper this time. "Did you hear what they said about `three male
halflings'? But that means..." and they both turned in unison to
look at Gullible - to find that he was gone!

"I feared it was so," said Sam uncharacteristically, "I tell you,
when I think of that Stinker I get so hot I could disintegrate
him right on the spot!"

Now the hobbits sat under the cover of the thorny bush, while the
drear light of Mordor faded slowly into a deep and starless night;
and Sam tried to embarrass Frodo with true boasts of his exploits
since the flight from the tower. When he had finished repeating
Corbin's incredible tale, Frodo said nothing but put his hand on
Sam's forehead and felt it. At length he shook his head and sighed.
Incensed, Sam sputtered, then smiled inwardly as he realized that
the skeptical Frodo would receive his comeuppance soon enough.

"Well, I suppose we must be going on again," Sam said, rising.
"I wonder how long it will be before we really are caught and all
the toiling and the slinking will be over, and in vain." He stood
up. "It's dark, and we cannot use the Lady's glass. Why don't you
hold it for a while? I've had more dosage than I can safely take
in a Long Year of the Sun, probably enough for me to start glowing
in the dark myself. But I'll hold on to Sting and this phaser.
Here's an orc-blade, though I doubt it will be your part to strike
any blow again." Against his earlier expectation, Sam hoped that
Frodo would survive until they could get back to Hobbiton - who
there would believe that Frodo had willingly signed over Bag End
to him?

"Since you've got the map - have you any notion how far there is
still to go?" asked Sam.

"Uh, see, it's like this," Frodo answered. "You know how Sauron
kept sending me to those World Cultures and Geopolitics lectures?"

"Yes, and--?"

"Well, they kept impressing upon us how the political boundaries
of Mordor, internal and external, were changing all the time,
and the geography was in upheaval, too, what with it straddling
the thrust fault zone that Mount V--"

"You threw away the map, DIDN'T YOU! AAAAAARGH!" In a fit of
rage Sam tackled to Frodo the ground and raised his fist to pummel
the hapless hobbit to a bloody pulp. Before his hand descended,
however, it occurred to Sam that killing Frodo would not help
him recover any information. Instead he yanked the Phial of
Galadriel out of Frodo's jacket again and pressed it to Frodo's
forehead. A cold sweat beaded across it instantly as Frodo squirmed
to get away from the highly radioactive solution of radium and
phosphorus isotopes. Within moments he stopped writhing and begging
and became lucid.

"All right, here's what I remember from El Rond's maps in
Rivendell - bear in mind, this was made when Sauron was still in
Don Guldur and subject to change, and the elevation is still not
as accurate as lat-long, but it's better than the propagandistic
maps on the Deed and the jammed GPS surveys that J^ivz showed me.
I remember clearest that there was a place in the north where the
western range and the northern range send out spurs that nearly
meet. That must be over sixty miles from the bridge back by the
Tower. It might be a good point at which to cross. But of
course, if we get there, we shall be further than we were from
the Mountain, about the same distance as from the bridge I should
think. I guess that we have gone about thirty miles north from
the bridge now, twenty-five to the outskirts of campus and eighty
or so blocks cross-town through campus itself and over the high
street before the tents. Even if all goes well, we could hardly
reach the Mountain in a week. I am afraid, Sam, that the burden
will get very heavy, and you shall go still slower as we get
nearer."

"You let me worry about that," answered Sam, withdrawing the Phial
and carefully replacing it in the lead-lined pouch. He'd have to
remember the Phial as a way of making people talk; perhaps the
Lady had done him a favor after all. "Well, to say nothing of
water, we've got to eat less, or else move a bit quicker, at any
rate while we're still in this valley. One more bite and all the
food's ended, save the Elves' breakfast cakes."

"I'll try and be a bit quicker, Sam," said Frodo, still supine,
drawing a deep breath and shuddering in relief. "Come on then!
Let's start another march!"

It was not yet quite dark again. They plodded along, on into the
night. The hours passed in a weary stumbling trudge with a few brief
halts as Frodo complained of a burning sensation on his temples.
Sam looked at the "burns" and concluded that Frodo's hypochondria was
getting the best of him. At the first hint of grey light under the
skirts of the canopy of shadow they hid themselves again in a dark
hollow under an overhanging stone.

Slowly the light grew, until it was clearer than it yet had been.
A strong wind from the West was now driving the fumes of Mordor from
the upper airs. Before long the hobbits could make out the shape of
the land for some miles about them. The trough between the
mountains and the Morgai had steadily dwindled as it climbed
upwards, and the inner ridge was now no more than a shelf in the
steep faces of the Ethel Duwap; but to the east it fell as sheerly
as ever down into the south parking lot of the Mall. Ahead the
water-course came to an end in broken steps of rock; for out from
the main range there sprang a high barren spur, thrusting eastward
like a wall. To meet it there stretched out from the grey and misty
northern range of Ered Lithography a long jutting mass of stone
shaped like a giant beak: Carach Malden. Between the ends there was
a narrow gap: the Orthancmouthe, beyond which lay the deep dale of
Ufat. In that dale behind the Morononn were the tunnels and deep
armouries that the servants of Mordor had made for the defence of the
Black Gate of their land; and there now their Lord was gathering in
haste great forces to meet the onslaught of the Captains of the West
(tm). Upon the out-thrust spurs forts and towers were built, and
watch-fires burned; and all across the gap an earth-wall had been
raised, and a deep trench delved that could be crossed only by a
single bridge.

A few miles north, high up in the angle where the western spur
branched away from the main range, Frodo and Sam quaked at the
sign of doom that stood before them: the old castle of
Wolfenstein (tm), now one of the many orc-holds that clustered
about the dale of Ufat. A road, already visible in the growing
light, came winding down from it, until only a mile or two from
where the hobbits lay it turned east and ran along a shelf cut
in the side of the spur, and so went down into the plain, and on
to the Orthancmouthe.

To the hobbits as they looked out it seemed that all their journey
north had been for nothing. The plain to their right was filled
with flames, and they could see there neither camps nor troops
moving; but all that region was under the vigilance of the forts
of Carach Malden.

"We have come to a dead end, Sam," said Frodo. "If we go on, we
shall only come up to that orc-castle, but the only road to take is
that road that comes down from it - unless we fight our way
through, level by level. I was never any good at those 3-D
first-person shooters."

"Then we must take the road, Mr. Frodo," said Sam. "We must take
it and chance our luck, if there is any luck in Mordor. We might
as well go back to studying at Sauron's academy if we wander
about any more, or try to go back. Our food won't last. We've
got to make a dash for it!"

"All right, Sam," said Frodo. "Lead me! As long as you've got
any hope left. Mine is gone. But I can't dash, Sam. I'll just
plod along after you."

"Before you start any more plodding, I'm sure you're going to
whine some more about the Wheel of Fire, so why don't we get
sleep and food out of the way first?"

He gave Frodo water and an additional /twinkie/, and he made a
pillow of his jacket to squelch Frodo's incessant claims of
a splitting headache. Sam did not bother to tell Frodo that he
had drunk the last drop of their water, and eaten Sam's share of
the food as well as his own. He expected as much gratitude from
his former master as he did from Gandalf - who was really Aruman,
according to Corbin. When Frodo was asleep Sam bent over him and
listened to his breathing and scanned his face. With surprise he
noted that Frodo's thick hair had begun to fall out in clumps,
and that even the light fuzz on the back of his feet was thinning.
"Well, if he croaked, it would serve him right!" Sam muttered to
himself. "But I'll not have it on my head. Water we must have,
or he'll die of thirst before anything else does him in."

Sam crept out wearily, and flitting from stone to stone with more
than hobbit-care, he went down to the water-course, and then
followed it for some way as it climbed north, until he came to
the rock-steps where long ago, no doubt, its spring had come
gushing down in a little waterfall. All now seemed dry and
silent; but not wanting to go back and listen to more of Frodo's
complaints Sam stooped and listened, and to his relief he caught
the sound of trickling. Clambering a few steps up he found a
tiny stream of dark water that came out from the hill-side and
filled a little bare pool, from which again it spilled, and
vanished then under the barren stones.

Sam tasted the water, and it seemed good enough. Then he drank
deeply, refilled the bottle, and turned to go back. At that
moment he caught a glimpse of a black form or shadow flitting
among the rocks away near Frodo's hiding-place. Exasperated, he
leapt down from the spring and ran, jumping from stone to stone.
It was a wary creature, difficult to see, but Sam had little doubt
about it: he had to get it back under his control for his plan to
succeed. But it heard him coming and slipped quickly away. Sam
thought he saw a last fleeting glimpse of it, peering back over
the edge of the eastward precipice, before it ducked and
disappeared.

"Well, luck did not let me down," muttered Sam, "but that was a near
thing! Isn't it enough to have orcs by the thousand without that
idiot hovering about? If I catch him again, I'll have to kill him
myself, or he'll give us away, or worse!" He sat down by Frodo and
did not rouse him, for fear that he'd have to listen to the
all-night bleating, griping, whimpering, so-you-can't-sleep
moan-fest. But he did not dare to go to sleep himself. At last,
when he felt his eyes closing and knew that his struggle to keep
awake could not go on much longer, he wakened Frodo, cringing.

"That Gullible's back again, I'm afraid, Mr. Frodo," he said.
"Leastways, if it wasn't him, then there's two of him (which is not
as implausible as you might think). I went away to find some water
and spied him nosing round just as I turned back. I reckon it isn't
safe for us both to be asleep at the same time, but I can't hold up
my lids much longer."

"What?! You mean he was here? But he could have killed me, Sam!"
cried Frodo. "Why didn't you track him down and stun him with the
phaser? He could have given our position to the orcs! Your own
master, you'll threaten with the Phial, but a murdering sneak thief,
noooo, those are your kind of people, or should I say your ILK--"
Frodo spat. Sam was tempted to stun Frodo and continue the watch
on his own, but instead he handed Frodo the water bottle and it
seemed to mollify him. With that Sam plunged into sleep.

Light was fading when he woke. Frodo sat propped against the rock
behind, but he had fallen asleep. The water-bottle was empty.
There was no sign of Gullible. Sam jumped up with alarm and began
to curse, then thought better of it.

Mordor-dark had returned, and the watch-fires on the heights burned
fierce and red, when the hobbits set out again on the most foolhardy
stage of all their journey. They went first to the little spring,
and then climbing warily up they came to the road at the point where
it swung east towards the Orthancmouthe twenty miles away. It was
not a broad road, and it had no wall or parapet along the edge; like
the innermost walls of Minas Tirith (tm) and Disgiliath (tm), as it
ran on the sheer drop from its brink became deeper and deeper.
The hobbits could hear no movements, and after listening for a while
they set off eastward at a steady pace.

After doing some twelve miles, they halted. A short way back the
road had bent a little northward and the stretch that they had
passed over was now screened from sight. This proved disastrous.
They rested for some minutes and then went on; but they had not
taken many steps when suddenly in the stillness of the night they
heard the sound that all along they had secretly dreaded: the noise
of singing. It was still some way behind them, but looking back
they could see the twinkle of torches coming round the bend
less than a mile away, and they were moving fast: too fast for
Frodo to escape by flight along the road ahead.

"I feared it, Sam," said Frodo, receiving a dirty look in return.
"We've trusted to luck, and it has failed us. We're trapped." He
looked wildly up at the frowning wall, where the road-builders of
old had cut the rock sheer for many fathoms above their heads. He
ran to the other side and looked over the brink into a dark pit of
gloom. "We're trapped at last!" he said. He sank to the ground
beneath the wall of rock and bowed his head.

"Seems so," said Sam. "Well, we can but wait and see." And with
that he sat down beside Frodo under the shadow of the cliff.

They did not have to wait long. The orcs were going at a great
pace. This group, short and squat, seemed to have skin with a
light blue tinge and the maws of the soldiers gaped to an
impossible size. Those in the foremost files bore torches. On
they came, red flames in the dark, swiftly growing. Now Sam too
bowed his head and covered their feet with shields, hoping that
it would hide their appearance when the torches reached them; but
at length he realized that it was impossible to blend into this
crowd.

"If only they are in a hurry and will let a couple of tired
soldiers alone and pass on!" he thought.

And so it seemed that they would. The leading orcs came loping
along, panting, holding their heads down. They were a gang of
the smaller half-Toon breeds being driven unwilling to their
Dark Lord's wars; all they cared for was to get the march over
and be able to stop singing.


We don't want to look like Toons today
But the Anim'e Lords say "Nay, nay, nay!"
We're gonna sing all day, all day, all day!
Where there's some Dip there's a way!


Beside them, hovering up and down the line, went two of the large
fierce /daleks/, flicking wet brushes at the feet of the orcs
and muttering "DIS-IN-TE-GRATE!". File after file passed, and the
tell-tale torchlight was already some way ahead. Sam held his breath.
Now more than half the line had gone by. Then suddenly one of the
slave-drivers spied the two figures by the road-side. He flicked a
whip at them and yelled: "GET-UP!" They did not answer, and
with a monotonic whistle he halted the whole company.

"REBELS OF MORDOR, THIS IS YOUR LAST OFFER - OUR FINAL WARNING.
LEAVE YOUR RESTING PLACE. JOIN THE WAR-MARCH. YOU WILL BE FED AND
WATERED. WORK IS NEEDED FROM YOU - BUT THE DALEK-HAI OFFER YOU
LIFE. DESERT YOUR POST AND THE DALEK-HAI WILL DIP YOU AND
OBLITERATE YOUR INKS COMPLETELY. YOU WILL DIE. TRACKERS,
SOLDIERS, PODS. THE DALEK-HAI OFFER YOU LIFE!!!"

Feeling a strange animosity in response to the use of all-caps and
multiple exclamation points, they struggled to their feet, and
keeping bent, limping like footsore soldiers, they shuffled back
towards the rear of the line. "NO-NO, NOT-AT-THE-REAR!!" the
slave-driver shouted. "RANK-THREE, FILE-TWO-AND-THREE!" He sent
his long Dip-impregnated brush whistling over their heads and they
feigned fear; then with another long tone he started the company off
again at a brisk trot.

It was hard enough for poor Sam, tired as he was; but for Frodo it
was a torment, and soon a nightmare. He set his teeth and tried to
stop his mind from thinking, and he struggled on. The stench of
both inks and solvent dripping from the singing orcs about him was
stifling, and he began to gasp and feel dizzy. On, on they went,
and he bent all his will to draw his breath and to make his legs
keep going; and yet to what evil end he toiled and endured he did
not dare to think. There was no hope of falling out unseen: Now
and again the orc-driver fell back and beeped at them.

"DIS-IN-TE-GRATE!" he jeered, flicking the brush at their legs.
"KEEP-SINGING! WHERE THERE'S SOME DIP THERE'S A WAY!" The voice
of the /dalek/ held nearly no modulation.

They had gone some miles, and the road was at last running down a long
slope into the plain, when Frodo's strength began to give out and his
will wavered. He lurched and stumbled. Desperately, Sam tried to help
him and hold him up, though he felt that he could himself hardly stay
the pace much longer. At any moment now he knew that the end would
come: the weakling would faint or fall, and all would be discovered,
and their bitter efforts be in vain. "I'll have that big slave-driving
monstrosity with this phaser, anyway," he thought.

Then just as he was putting his hand to the handle of the phase
pistol, there came an unexpected relief. They were out on the plain
now and drawing near the entrance to Ufat. Some way in front of it,
before the gate at the bridge-end, the road from the west converged
with others coming from the south, and from Barad-dur. Along all the
roads troops were moving; for the Captains of the West (tm) were
advancing and the Dark Lord was speeding his forces north. So it
chanced that several companies - Toons, half-Toons, and full-blooded
orcs - came together at the road-meeting, in the dark beyond the
light of the watch-fires on the wall. At once there was great
jostling and cursing as each troop tried to get first to the gate
and the ending of their songs. Though the drivers yelled and plied
their dips (or whips), scuffles broke out and some gun arms were
deployed. A troop of heavily-studded /daleks/ from Barad-dur charged
into the Durthang line and threw them into confusion.

Dazed as he was with the awful mind-numbing singing, Sam woke up,
grasped quickly at his chance, and threw himself to the ground,
dragging Frodo down with him. As they fell, one of the toon orcs
behind them was blasted by an enemy /dalek/ gun and went spinning
into oblivion. Slowly on hand and knee the hobbits crawled away out
of the escalating melee, until at last unnoticed they dropped over
the further edge of the road. It had a magnetized guardrail by
which even the headless troop-leaders could guide themselves, and
it was banked up some feet above the level of the open land.

They lay still for a while. It was too dark to seek for cover, if
indeed there was any to find; but Sam felt that they ought at least to
get further away from the highways and out of the range of /dalek/
biosensors.

"Come on, Mr. Frodo!" he whispered. "One more crawl, and then you can
lie still."

With a last despairing effort Frodo raised himself on his hands, and
struggled on for maybe twenty yards. Then he pitched down into a
shallow pit that opened unexpectedly before them, and there he lay
like a dead thing.

===

Notes:

Corbin remarks that Boromir (tm), unlike Dr. Faramir (tm), isn't
human. This isn't an offering to Tyope - the implications are
exactly what I intended. Following Raven's lead, I've kept
Boromir (tm) a Toon, but Dr. Faramir (tm) is actually the only true
heir of Denethor (tm). Aruman did indeed pull an "Uther Pendragon"
on Denethor (tm) back in the days of Aragon's youth, practicing for
the day when he would impersonate Gandalf for good, but whether this
resulted in Boromir (tm) - making Aruman himself a Toon - or not,
neither he nor Gandalf is Dr. Faramir's (tm) dad. Meanwhile, behind
the scenes, is long-lost "sister", as I've implied above, is
actually at the heart of the brainwashing, having only lately
arrived in Muddle-earth. Will he be healed in time to stop her
nefarious plot? Whew, this is rapidly turning into Melrose Place.

Frodo THINKS he avoided impalement on Boromir's (tm) sword, but
just as Aragon carried an ordinary sword during the years when
Endurit was still in 2d4 pieces, Boromir (tm) prefers not to haul
out his best Sword unless forced to. Clearly he was starting to
lose his mind (like the villain in _Who Framed Roger Rabbit?_) by
the time he ran Frodo through in IV.2.

The way is open for Gandalf (the real one, whom I believe really
was murdered... by Aruman... at Isengard... with the Whip of Many
Thongs) to return to Muddle-earth courtesy of the Munve Express.

A question of the hour is whether the Swami Naur is filled with
molten lava or Dip, which the Elves call /limpe/ (and apparently
drink with gusto).

I originally devised Darth Uranus as a spoof of Darth Tyrannus, but
his secret identity as the Mouth of Sauron turned out to have too
serendipitous an interpretation. As for whether the Mouth was
sincere or just talking-- well, you know: I think watching Episode
II will answer this better than I can. Will you-know-who weigh in
on the side of Palpatine? Will he sway Bail Organa towards unwitting
cooperation with Darth Sidious or oppose him in the Senate Chamber?
Stay tuned...

=======================================================
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http://ringil.cis.ksu.edu/Tolkien/Humor
Home to the Red Songbook of Westmarch
http://ringil.cis.ksu.edu/Tolkien/Humor/RedSOW
=======================================================

Count Tildanor the Balrog

unread,
Feb 21, 2002, 7:23:49 PM2/21/02
to
hs...@hotmail.com (Banazir the Jedi Hobbit) wrote in message news:<91a1d472.02021...@posting.google.com>...

> I hope this was worth the wait. :-)
>

Deinitely. Very sinteresting ... EAnjoyed it much more the second
time, when I read it as a printout. Very ... well, teuncy!

<first of many snips>

> breath, and then they clutched at their hearts. "Chin oop, Samwise
> Gamgee! Ye hae come tae fer tae be broot doon bae a wee bit o' hairt
> atteck noo..." muttered Sam. Perching now on the wall beside the

Lolo at Sam's accent ...

<lollo at the movie refs I accidentally sneeped; effects of Ring>

We can relate ...:-] :-] :-]

<lol at Telemarcheter>

<wlokaz, what are r^akh? as chronicler of Mordor, I need to know ...>

> of Mordor - and make no mistake, Sauron is a master of evil - but it
> is bound to be temporary. When one is equipped with a t.a.r.d.i.S.,
> it is easy to take a longer view."
>

Bha, pro-Elf, pro-Dúnedain genocidal propaganda!;-]


> "So, how do we defeat him?"
>
> "We don't - or YOU don't, for now. The best thing you can do is to
> get back to your Quest, once I've taken you out of Sauron's reach and
> reunited you with Frodo."
>

Ah, but what is the Quest at this stage? Several chapters ahve
indicated, or at least implied that putting the ring inthe Cracks of
Doom is NOT a goond nidea ...


> At this Sam and Gullible raised their voices in vigorous protest.
>
> "Trust me, he has an important part to play yet!" assured Corbin.
> "Even the Wise cannot see all ends. Who knew that Shelob would
> become the mother of a new race of peaceful giant spiders?"
>

/me takes note of this ...

> "WHAT?!?" exploded Sam.
>
> "Oh, that won't happen for millennia yet. Though I will say that
> a hobbit of your company will be called to take her egg to the
> stars. My friend the Doctor has seen it."
>
> "Dr. Who?" queried Sam.
>

Oh, no .... <snirg>

> "Sauron and Aruman both. First the Bork assimilated a Tailon vessel,
> Protectors and all, and tried to smuggle it into the Armenelos
> Experience (tm) pavilion on Atlantis (tm) while Sauron was an exhibit
> guide there. I managed to blow it up although it, er, damaged the
> White Tree (R) a bit. Much later, Aruman got a whole cadre of HKs
> from the Suleiman, though the Ments wiped them out. Stripped the
> flesh right off their endoskeletons and stomped them flat. All he has
> left now are some blasters. Band even went into the Last Desert and
> fed the Water of Life to some were-worms, trying to get Sauron started
> in the spice industry, but Shai-Khulud does not come to the unfaithful,
> as the Haradrim say. Then his girlfriend Charissa slipped some
> /shrerama/ into El Rond's cordial. You have no idea how much havoc
> that sutff can wreak on half-elves; it's how Aruman was able to bring
> you all to the Council without El Rond realizing who he (or anyone
> else) was. After El Rond was served one glass of mead, Charissa was
> able to stride into the armory and walk the Whichblade right out of
> Imladris."

Who? Whta? Where? When? Why? How?


> Shire. He tried to visualize just a single wheel. Suddenly a voice
> rang out clear and cold in his mind:
>
> "Stop that! Stop it, I say!"
>
> Sam looked at Gullible to see whether the wretch was playing some
> terrible ventriloquistic prank. Suddenly he realized where he had seen
> a wheel before. A flaming wheel. Slowly crept up to Gullible. "The
> Precious! It's on FIRE!" he screamed abruptly. "No! PRECIOUS!
> /saddam, SADDAM/!" cried Gullible, drawing the chain from around his
> wasted neck and throwing the Ring to the ground, then stamping on it.
> Handily, Sam scooped up the chain and the prize it held, ignoring
> Gullible's cries of outrage. He held the Ring before his eyes and
> looked hard at it. "Stop! Quit staring at me! JUST STOP IT!"
> shrieked the voice in his mind. The ring seemed to grow in Sam's
> vision as he wrestled with it. "You're making me look fat! I'M GOING
> TO CRY!!" Finally Sam relented and stuffed the Ring into his orcish
> athletic jacket, smirking.

So the poor Ring DOES pseak, fater lal ...

> "A little collateral damage," admitted the barbarian, nodding at
> the first prince, who held up the dripping head of Gorbush. At
> this Spiegel sniveled and burst into fresh tears. "Murderer, C'rum,
> we hates it forever, /enron/, /enron/!" she wailed, distraught.


I see. And these are supposed to be the goondguys? How charming!
Gandalf wodul be pleased, for did he not saz, "Screw that pity crud,
nazwaz, Fro! Jsut kill the loser!" (Not that I mind killing Gorbush,
so much; but I think whoever killed him has a lot of nerve calling
Sauron master of evil, etc.)

> They started off again, hiking into the campus proper. At length
> they came to the Lower Quad and Frodo paused. "There's a
> mathematician about to pass us by," he said. "You can tell by
> the way he's dressed. Keep still for a while and he won't notice."

This maz well be the scariest moment in t he entire e-text.

> It was the morning of the fifteenth of March, which was the
> eleventh of February according to some lunar calendars of the
> Easterlings, and over the Vale of Anduin the Sun was rising above
> the eastern shadow, and the south-west wind was blowing. HeyHoDen
> lay dying on the Pelennor Fields, oblivious to all of these details.

Catually, FWIW, in my cahpter it's laready the 17th. I added a couple
of dazs to fit in the extra cahpters in Boonk IV. Not that it much
matters ... (Sauron's Diary is governed by the "Mucked Up" calendar
favored in Mordor.)

> "I didn't mean that," said Sam. "I mean: if it's poisonous, or
> something that will show its badness quick, well, Master Bilbo
> was always going on about /noblesse oblige/, if you understand
> me."

Lollo; Sam hasn't losdt his edge ...


> trickling down from some source higher up the valley. Upon its
> outer marges under the westward mountains Mordor was a dying land,
> but it was not yet dead. And here in the heart of UNM things still

My chapter refers to vegetation and even, IIRC, parks. Mordor was far
from dead.


> Far above the Ethel Duwap in the West the night-sky was still dim and
> pale. There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up
> in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty
> of it touched his revolutionary heart, as he looked up out of the
> forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like the bullets of the
> firing squad, the thoughts pierced him that in the end the Shadow was
> only a small and passing thing: the light of class struggle was for
> ever beyond its reach. His desperate flight from the Tower had been
> defiance rather than hope; for then he was thinking of himself. Now,

He actually DID sing a song of defiance in the tower, too ...

>
> They woke together, hand in hand in hand. All withdrew their hands in
> shock and looked at each other warily. Sam was almost fresh, ready for
> another day; but Frodo sighed. His sleep had been uneasy, filled with
> dreams of being impaled upon a Tree of Pain by an aristocratic-looking
> fellow whom everyone called "Count", and waking brought him no comfort.

Vlad the Impaler?

> like small towns. One of the largest of these was right below them.
> Barely a mile out into the plain it clustered like some huge nest of
> insects, with straight dreary streets of huts and long low drab
> buildings. At the western margin, a roundish green one made from
> Elvish-looking canvas read "PUHJAFOONI/TELEFON". About it the ground
> was busy with folk going to and fro with a strange spring in their
> steps; a wide road ran from it south-west to join the
> Morgul-way, and along it many lines of small black shapes were
> hurrying.
>
> "I don't like the look of things at all," said Sam. "Pretty hopeless,
> I call it, saving that where there's such a lot of folk there must be
> wells or water, not to mention food. And these are Men, not Orcs, or
> my eyes are all wrong... wait, is that a BALROG down there singing?"
>
> Truth to tell, Sam and Frodo could see the camp teeming with Men,
> Elves, dragons, and even a few Ents and Hobbits. Neither he nor Frodo

LOL! Aha! But how, in themidst of Sauron's alleged eviol, was this
gret and terrible beauty born? (And ho will get it? As if I should
talk ...)

> knew anything of the great slave-worked fields away south in this wide

The Sauron Foundation denies it!


> "Kids, kids!" cried the big orc. "It's all right... you know,
> hunting the forces of light reminds me of a song that HE
> taught us to sing, all the way back in the First Age..."

So thyew *are* immortal!

<sneep inspiratoional song>

> But the large orc was not finished. "Ladies and gentleorcs, Mr.
> Elton John!" he cried, still oblivious to any onlookers except
> the trackers.

What would Prembone think?

>
> "Quickly, Sam," Frodo whispered. "There may be others about!"
> The hobbits took their leave while the leaving was good.
>
> As they trudged on, Frodo continued: "We have evidently had a very
> narrow escape, and the hunt was hotter on our tracks than we
> guessed. I feared it was so. But that is the spirit of Mordor,
> Sam; and it has spread to every corner of it. Orcs have always
> behaved like that, or so all the sterotypes say, when they are on
> their own. But you can't get much hope out of it. They hate our
> quaint agrarian and semi-pastoral culture far more than they love
> their strange mix of high- and low-brow entertainment. If those
> five had seen us, they would have dropped all their quarrel until
> we were back in Sauron's grip. This is what I came to understand
> at Sauron's retreat."
>
> There was another long silence. Sam broke it again, but with a
> whisper this time. "Did you hear what they said about `three male
> halflings'? But that means..." and they both turned in unison to
> look at Gullible - to find that he was gone!
>
> "I feared it was so," said Sam uncharacteristically, "I tell you,
> when I think of that Stinker I get so hot I could disintegrate
> him right on the spot!"
>

Why is Sam now hostile to Gullible? And why has Frodo apparently
shifted allegiance? You've been reading too much Tolkien!:-] This
here the e-text!

> "What?! You mean he was here? But he could have killed me, Sam!"
> cried Frodo. "Why didn't you track him down and stun him with the
> phaser? He could have given our position to the orcs! Your own
> master, you'll threaten with the Phial, but a murdering sneak thief,
> noooo, those are your kind of people, or should I say your ILK--"
> Frodo spat. Sam was tempted to stun Frodo and continue the watch
> on his own, but instead he handed Frodo the water bottle and it
> seemed to mollify him. With that Sam plunged into sleep.

LOL ...


> Beside them, hovering up and down the line, went two of the large
> fierce /daleks/, flicking wet brushes at the feet of the orcs
> and muttering "DIS-IN-TE-GRATE!". File after file passed, and the
> tell-tale torchlight was already some way ahead. Sam held his breath.
> Now more than half the line had gone by. Then suddenly one of the
> slave-drivers spied the two figures by the road-side. He flicked a
> whip at them and yelled: "GET-UP!" They did not answer, and
> with a monotonic whistle he halted the whole company.
>
> "REBELS OF MORDOR, THIS IS YOUR LAST OFFER - OUR FINAL WARNING.
> LEAVE YOUR RESTING PLACE. JOIN THE WAR-MARCH. YOU WILL BE FED AND
> WATERED. WORK IS NEEDED FROM YOU - BUT THE DALEK-HAI OFFER YOU
> LIFE. DESERT YOUR POST AND THE DALEK-HAI WILL DIP YOU AND
> OBLITERATE YOUR INKS COMPLETELY. YOU WILL DIE. TRACKERS,
> SOLDIERS, PODS. THE DALEK-HAI OFFER YOU LIFE!!!"

The Dr.-Who-ization of Mordor ...

> Notes:
>
> Corbin remarks that Boromir (tm), unlike Dr. Faramir (tm), isn't
> human. This isn't an offering to Tyope - the implications are
> exactly what I intended. Following Raven's lead, I've kept
> Boromir (tm) a Toon, but Dr. Faramir (tm) is actually the only true
> heir of Denethor (tm). Aruman did indeed pull an "Uther Pendragon"
> on Denethor (tm) back in the days of Aragon's youth, practicing for
> the day when he would impersonate Gandalf for good, but whether this
> resulted in Boromir (tm) - making Aruman himself a Toon - or not,
> neither he nor Gandalf is Dr. Faramir's (tm) dad. Meanwhile, behind
> the scenes, is long-lost "sister", as I've implied above, is
> actually at the heart of the brainwashing, having only lately
> arrived in Muddle-earth. Will he be healed in time to stop her
> nefarious plot? Whew, this is rapidly turning into Melrose Place.

Ah, but ... several chapters say otherwise, that Dr. F. is indeed
Gandalf's (or Aruman's?) son (Not thta I particualry care, and indeed
I'm all for bringing bax Dr. F., but I thunk his parentage was pretty
well established.

Func hapter, thoiuhg ...

William H. Hsu

unread,
Feb 22, 2002, 12:51:51 AM2/22/02
to
conteop...@gmx.net (Count Tildanor the Balrog) writes:

>hs...@hotmail.com (Banazir the Jedi Hobbit) wrote in message news:<91a1d472.02021...@posting.google.com>...
>> I hope this was worth the wait. :-)

>Deinitely. Very sinteresting ... EAnjoyed it much more the second
>time, when I read it as a printout. Very ... well, teuncy!

Why, thanky muchly!

(Though fro some reason, your psot didn't make it to Google.)

><first of many snips>

>> breath, and then they clutched at their hearts. "Chin oop, Samwise
>> Gamgee! Ye hae come tae fer tae be broot doon bae a wee bit o' hairt
>> atteck noo..." muttered Sam. Perching now on the wall beside the

>Lolo at Sam's accent ...

It's from the Iorritant School of Unidentifiable Sterotypical Accents.
Note that Sam only develops the accent when stressed (e.g., by fear of
running water, being shot, etc.). It fades as he calms down and it's
completely gone when he is cool and collected, even if he APPEARS to be
in a murderous mood. Interestingly, I'm not the first to have
illustrated this trait; it can be seen as far back as II.10.

><lollo at the movie refs I accidentally sneeped; effects of Ring>

You can explain away naything with that, I tell you...

>> [Emberites Felona/Arielle and Band]

>> "How?"
>>
>> "A while back he got hold of the Jewel of the Judge, which you fine
>> folks know as the Slipcast of Maglor and the Heart of the Ocean.
>> Some time soon after that Elvish bum threw it into the sea, it was
>> summoned into a neighboring Shade by this Ainu named Al-D^ur. A
>> few thousand years later it found its way into another Shade where
>> they gave it the original name of the Black Elvenstone... finally it
>> wound up in the hands of my grandfather Dorky, and the rest, as they
>> say, is history."
>>
>> "I have no idea what you are talking about! Gullible, do you
>> have any idea what he's talking about?"
>>
>> "No, saddam, we doesn't, SADDAM!"

>We can relate ...:-] :-] :-]

My "homage" (kindasorta) to Messrs. Eddings and Brooks.

I walays thought the Orb of Al-Dur resembled a Silmaril a bit too
much, and now we know why...

http://www.ozcomedy.com/fantasy.htm

(Brooks is a master of the "Rusk Montana" School of Randomly-Generated
Fantasy Names - witness "Elb Foraker", "Morgan Leah", "Uhl Belk", and
"Wren Ohmsford". He also manages to squeeze in reams of theosophical
dialogue while eople are running for their lives, something I was
embarrassed to discover that I aslo do, until I realized it would fit
in quite naturally in the E-Text. :-))

><lol at Telemarcheter>

I'm getting a lot of calls from Naugwood these days.
Perhaps I'll try to sell THEM some Telemarcheter paraphernalia - you
know, shoulder rests for phone handsets, or those microphone headsets
from Hawo Direct...

><wlokaz, what are r^akh? as chronicler of Mordor, I need to know ...>

Rakh (n., sing. or plu.) - a member of the native species of the planet
Erna, setting of C. S. Friedman's Coldfire Trilogy (_Black Sun Rising_,
_When True Night Falls_, _Crown of Shadows_), mutated and elevated to
sentience by the interaction of Erna's geomagical currents, called
/fae/, with the subconscious thoughts of its human settlers

(Hence "rakh are real pieces of WORK, best left to your FEY imagination")

So, think of your average Toon-Orc, except that it lives on a planet
where your most fervent fears are reified (overnight) through the
phenology of the indigenous fauna. Don't DARE fall asleep, etc.

The Coldfire series is EXCELLENT, BTW. I highly recommend it.

>> of Mordor - and make no mistake, Sauron is a master of evil - but it
>> is bound to be temporary. When one is equipped with a t.a.r.d.i.S.,
>> it is easy to take a longer view."

>Bha, pro-Elf, pro-Dunedain genocidal propaganda!;-]

The incidental killing of one orc (not even an innocent bystander but
a fully complicit jailor) does not constitute genocide.

Though I suppose C'rum (rider of bronze Math), El Rik, and Konan have
it coming when they get to Draino - wrongful trask city!

>> "So, how do we defeat him?"
>>
>> "We don't - or YOU don't, for now. The best thing you can do is to
>> get back to your Quest, once I've taken you out of Sauron's reach and
>> reunited you with Frodo."

>Ah, but what is the Quest at this stage? Several chapters ahve
>indicated, or at least implied that putting the ring inthe Cracks of
>Doom is NOT a goond nidea ...

Did I say that the Quest was to put the Ring in the Cracks of Doom?
When did I say that?

So far, all we know is that Sam and Frodo are headed for the Swami Naur,
Gullible is stalking them and probably still loyal to Arumandalf, and
one of them has eaten the One Ring along with a segment of /twinkie/.

>> At this Sam and Gullible raised their voices in vigorous protest.
>>
>> "Trust me, he has an important part to play yet!" assured Corbin.
>> "Even the Wise cannot see all ends. Who knew that Shelob would
>> become the mother of a new race of peaceful giant spiders?"

>/me takes note of this ...

Planning on writing _Shrieker for The Deead_?

>> "WHAT?!?" exploded Sam.
>>
>> "Oh, that won't happen for millennia yet. Though I will say that
>> a hobbit of your company will be called to take her egg to the
>> stars. My friend the Doctor has seen it."
>>
>> "Dr. Who?" queried Sam.

>Oh, no .... <snirg>

I'm rather proud of the Mrs. Who bit right after that (apologies to
Madeleine L'Engle).

>> "Sauron and Aruman both. First the Bork assimilated a Tailon vessel,
>> Protectors and all, and tried to smuggle it into the Armenelos
>> Experience (tm) pavilion on Atlantis (tm) while Sauron was an exhibit
>> guide there.

This part was for Ermanna's benefit.

Armenelos Experience (tm) == American Experience
(the _Showcase of Nations_ pavilion for the USA
at Walt Disney World's EPCoT Center)

>> I managed to blow it up although it, er, damaged the
>> White Tree (R) a bit. Much later, Aruman got a whole cadre of HKs
>> from the Suleiman, though the Ments wiped them out.
>> Stripped the flesh right off their endoskeletons and stomped them flat.

Suleiman == Suliban from the new ST series, _Enterprise_.
HKs == the Terminator endoskeletons in the fututre M-e of 2029

>> All he has left now are some blasters.

This is probably where Arumandalf got the blaster he is seen to be
brandishing in V.10 (now THAT is genocide).

>> Band even went into the Last
>> Desert and fed the Water of Life to some were-worms, trying to get
>> Sauron started in the spice industry, but Shai-Khulud does not come
>> to the unfaithful, as the Haradrim say.

Continuing the _Chapterhouse: Shire_ conceit, were-worms are "little
makers" in this scenario. It's easy enough to drown one of them in
the Sea of Rhoon.

>> Then his girlfriend Charissa slipped some /shrerama/ into El Rond's
>> cordial. You have no idea how much havoc
>> that sutff can wreak on half-elves; it's how Aruman was able to bring
>> you all to the Council without El Rond realizing who he (or anyone
>> else) was. After El Rond was served one glass of mead, Charissa was
>> able to stride into the armory and walk the Whichblade right out of
>> Imladris."

Charissa == the Blue Witch from Katherine Kurtz's _Deryni Rising_
/shrerama/ = /merasha/ (we know it in its carbonated form as lutefizz)

Witchblade == comic book series and now a TNT Original TV Series

> Who? Whta? Where? When? Why? How?

Well, I worked "who" and "which" into it, but Abbott and Costello
can only take you so far in SF...

>> Shire. He tried to visualize just a single wheel. Suddenly a voice
>> rang out clear and cold in his mind:
>>
>> "Stop that! Stop it, I say!"

With appreciation to Orson Scott Card, whose Oversoul (_Homecoming:
Harmony_) inspired this.

> So the poor Ring DOES pseak, fater lal ...

Sauron got in touch with his feminine side, but he managed to sutff
most of it into the Ring (along with his insecurities, it seems).

>> "A little collateral damage," admitted the barbarian, nodding at
>> the first prince, who held up the dripping head of Gorbush. At
>> this Spiegel sniveled and burst into fresh tears. "Murderer, C'rum,
>> we hates it forever, /enron/, /enron/!" she wailed, distraught.

>I see. And these are supposed to be the goondguys? How charming!
>Gandalf wodul be pleased, for did he not saz, "Screw that pity crud,
>nazwaz, Fro! Jsut kill the loser!" (Not that I mind killing Gorbush,
>so much; but I think whoever killed him has a lot of nerve calling
>Sauron master of evil, etc.)

I think C'rum and El Rik wouldn't bother to agrue that p6int.
I recall a scene in _Strombringer_ when El Rik is facing down the
Chaos Drols and they mock him fro knot being eViol enough naymore.

Corbin seemed genuinely sympathetic to Spiegel's plight, at nay rate.

>> They started off again, hiking into the campus proper. At length
>> they came to the Lower Quad and Frodo paused. "There's a
>> mathematician about to pass us by," he said. "You can tell by
>> the way he's dressed. Keep still for a while and he won't notice."

>This maz well be the scariest moment in t he entire e-text.

Mm-hmm!

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wagh'nagl fhtagn.

*ecchptuion*

Sorry, didn't mean to talk with my mouth full of /twinkies/.

"Bother!" said Pooh. "We're surrounded by dark young of Shub-Niggurath."

>> It was the morning of the fifteenth of March, which was the
>> eleventh of February according to some lunar calendars

>Catually, FWIW, in my cahpter it's laready the 17th. I added a couple


>of dazs to fit in the extra cahpters in Boonk IV. Not that it much
>matters ... (Sauron's Diary is governed by the "Mucked Up" calendar
>favored in Mordor.)

Sharp-Fuzi and Mr. Jensen, feel free to correct my boviously skewed
calendrical reference.

>> "I didn't mean that," said Sam. "I mean: if it's poisonous, or
>> something that will show its badness quick, well, Master Bilbo
>> was always going on about /noblesse oblige/, if you understand
>> me."

>Lollo; Sam hasn't losdt his edge ...

That one called out to me, being so easy to effect by just a one-word
tweak of Tolkien's original text.

>> trickling down from some source higher up the valley. Upon its
>> outer marges under the westward mountains Mordor was a dying land,
>> but it was not yet dead. And here in the heart of UNM things still

>My chapter refers to vegetation and even, IIRC, parks. Mordor was far
>from dead.

OUTER MARGES, see?
Mais, Sauron wasted millions of Melkor Industries endowments on his
campus beautification project.

And what did it get him?

Pokemon statues of a horse, a wrench, and Qix.
(With apologies to The Johns Hopkins University.
Those of you who pass through Gilman and in front of MSEL, Levering,
and the Glass Pavilion regularly may now gape with horror at the works
of the Dark Power.)

>> Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty
>> of it touched his revolutionary heart, as he looked up out of the
>> forsaken land, and hope returned to him.

>He actually DID sing a song of defiance in the tower, too ...

Yes, I memember. The funny things is that Sauron names him "Lenindil"
in mockery and xxet Sam has adopted the moniker in earnest.

As fro being the heir of Isildur, I'd like to know who in the E-t CAN'T
find a claim to that title! #-)

>> They woke together, hand in hand in hand. All withdrew their hands in
>> shock and looked at each other warily. Sam was almost fresh, ready for
>> another day; but Frodo sighed. His sleep had been uneasy, filled with
>> dreams of being impaled upon a Tree of Pain by an aristocratic-looking
>> fellow whom everyone called "Count", and waking brought him no comfort.

>Vlad the Impaler?

Perhaps, though to be honest it had not occurred to me.
I was thinking of a Count Tildanor whose acquaintance I made some months
ago...

>> [Balrog Cuttings amidst the Parking Lot of Gorgoroth]


>>
>> And these are Men, not Orcs, or
>> my eyes are all wrong... wait, is that a BALROG down there singing?"
>>
>> Truth to tell, Sam and Frodo could see the camp teeming with Men,
>> Elves, dragons, and even a few Ents and Hobbits. Neither he nor Frodo

>LOL! Aha! But how, in themidst of Sauron's alleged eviol, was this
>gret and terrible beauty born? (And ho will get it? As if I should
>talk ...)

You mean Balrog Cuttings *isn't* famous the multiverse over?

>> knew anything of the great slave-worked fields away south in this wide

>The Sauron Foundation denies it!

And what is the Sauron Foundation but a house of revisinoists who
refute the very /Quenta Slipcastillion/, whose reams of propaganda
litter the floor amid the tabloids, where /paparazzi/ drink in the
reek?

>> "Kids, kids!" cried the big orc. "It's all right... you know,
>> hunting the forces of light reminds me of a song that HE
>> taught us to sing, all the way back in the First Age..."

>So thyew *are* immortal!

Ch^ef, at least, would seem to be.

><sneep inspiratoional song>

>> But the large orc was not finished. "Ladies and gentleorcs, Mr.
>> Elton John!" he cried, still oblivious to any onlookers except
>> the trackers.

>What would Prembone think?

I dunno; let's ask her. Prembone?

>> "Did you hear what they said about `three male
>> halflings'? But that means..." and they both turned in unison to
>> look at Gullible - to find that he was gone!
>>
>> "I feared it was so," said Sam uncharacteristically, "I tell you,
>> when I think of that Stinker I get so hot I could disintegrate
>> him right on the spot!"

>Why is Sam now hostile to Gullible? And why has Frodo apparently
>shifted allegiance? You've been reading too much Tolkien!:-] This
>here the e-text!

Frodo's change of heart may be due to:

1. The One Ring settling into his stomach
2. Something that happened during Konan, C'rum, and El Rik's rescue
that was not mentioned in the departure scene
3. His despairing of ever winning his estate
4. His realization that his life is really in serious jeopardy,
whether he is a Toon or no

Sam's change of heart may be due to:

1. The One Ring settling into his stomach
2. A ruse, knowing that he fed the One Ring to Frodo
3. A ruse, knowing that he fed the One Ring to Gullible

>> Frodo spat. Sam was tempted to stun Frodo and continue the watch
>> on his own, but instead he handed Frodo the water bottle and it
>> seemed to mollify him. With that Sam plunged into sleep.

>LOL ...

Whoever actually ate the Ring will get INCREASINGLY thirsty as they
get close to the Swami Naur. Yernow, we don't know that it's filled
with molten lava. (Of curse, if it is, we can get one more song out
of Ch^ef.)

>> Beside them, hovering up and down the line, went two of the large
>> fierce /daleks/, flicking wet brushes at the feet of the orcs
>> and muttering "DIS-IN-TE-GRATE!".

>The Dr.-Who-ization of Mordor ...

Perhaps Sauron is acksherly Davros, hrm?
Or perhaps *Arumandalf* is... Eru knows he's big enough to hide a
deranged scientist.

>> Notes:
>>
>> Corbin remarks that Boromir (tm), unlike Dr. Faramir (tm), isn't
>> human. This isn't an offering to Tyope - the implications are
>> exactly what I intended. Following Raven's lead, I've kept
>> Boromir (tm) a Toon, but Dr. Faramir (tm) is actually the only true
>> heir of Denethor (tm). Aruman did indeed pull an "Uther Pendragon"
>> on Denethor (tm) back in the days of Aragon's youth, practicing for
>> the day when he would impersonate Gandalf for good, but whether this
>> resulted in Boromir (tm) - making Aruman himself a Toon - or not,
>> neither he nor Gandalf is Dr. Faramir's (tm) dad. Meanwhile, behind
>> the scenes, is long-lost "sister", as I've implied above, is
>> actually at the heart of the brainwashing, having only lately
>> arrived in Muddle-earth. Will he be healed in time to stop her
>> nefarious plot? Whew, this is rapidly turning into Melrose Place.

>Ah, but ... several chapters say otherwise, that Dr. F. is indeed
>Gandalf's (or Aruman's?) son (Not thta I particualry care, and indeed
>I'm all for bringing bax Dr. F., but I thunk his parentage was pretty
>well established.

Perhaps, perhaps.
If he lives, we may hear the truth from his own lips.

Apparently, Aragon is Eowynn's father but knot Eonerd's (so they are
half-sibs only), while HeyHoDen though all along that he was father
of HeyHoDred AND Eowynn (which would have made THEM half-sibs).

Boromir (tm) is half-toon child of an unknown father - who MAY be
Denethor (tm) fater lal, if the rumors about Mardil (tm) The Good
Steward are true. The transition from Numenorean (tm) to Toon, via
some unnameable Dreamworks, is hazy at best. Arielle (tm) is an
pretender to the throne and prolly neither Toon nor Gondorian (tm)
at all, but an Emberite sorceress who applied a lille cosmetic
mageic and some of the explosive rouge from Kevin Knight's _Guns
of Revlon_ E-t. Apparently she managed to brainwash everyone in
Gondor (tm) to believe that she has been living in Minas Tirith (tm)
all along. Not since Shiwan Khan (ironically, the villain of _The
Shadow_) has such a feat of mass hypnosis been pulled off.

Alas for poor Denethor!

>Func hapter, thoiuhg ...

Thnaks! Now we know who the voice was that called to Pipsqueak at
the beginning of V.9 - the REAL Gandalf, long imprisoned at Orthanc,
at the top of Isengard. My guess is that Arumandalf really did
kill him by dragging him down with his trademark whip, but as
reported in the Red Book, he is sent back (naked) for a time, until
his task is done.

--
Banazir

Count Tildanor the Balrog

unread,
Feb 22, 2002, 8:00:28 PM2/22/02
to
bh...@ringil.cis.ksu.edu (William H. Hsu) wrote in message news:<a54m9n$die$1...@ringil.cis.ksu.edu>...

> conteop...@gmx.net (Count Tildanor the Balrog) writes:
>
> >hs...@hotmail.com (Banazir the Jedi Hobbit) wrote in message news:<91a1d472.02021...@posting.google.com>...

> It's from the Iorritant School of Unidentifiable Sterotypical Accents.


> Note that Sam only develops the accent when stressed (e.g., by fear of
> running water, being shot, etc.). It fades as he calms down and it's
> completely gone when he is cool and collected, even if he APPEARS to be
> in a murderous mood. Interestingly, I'm not the first to have
> illustrated this trait; it can be seen as far back as II.10.

It laos cahnges from cahpter to cahpoter; mazbe he was kindasorta
telling the truth in IV.1 when he said he was a Thespian ...

/me remebers O. Sharp's comment about Sam's dialect in IV.5: Sam's
dialect is a product of Rent-aidalect. This dialect not recommended
for use in residential areas ...

>
> ><lollo at the movie refs I accidentally sneeped; effects of Ring>
>
> You can explain away naything with that, I tell you...
>

Including lla the plot inconsistencies. "This Ring alters the
narraitve coursde of events and even makes its characters experience
sudden, unexplained shifts in motivation," said Gandalf. (That's not
a comment on your chapter, particualrly, but on the e-t. as a hwole.)


> >> [Emberites Felona/Arielle and Band]
>
> >> "How?"
> >>
> >> "A while back he got hold of the Jewel of the Judge, which you fine
> >> folks know as the Slipcast of Maglor and the Heart of the Ocean.
> >> Some time soon after that Elvish bum threw it into the sea, it was
> >> summoned into a neighboring Shade by this Ainu named Al-D^ur. A
> >> few thousand years later it found its way into another Shade where
> >> they gave it the original name of the Black Elvenstone... finally it
> >> wound up in the hands of my grandfather Dorky, and the rest, as they
> >> say, is history."
> >>
> >> "I have no idea what you are talking about! Gullible, do you
> >> have any idea what he's talking about?"
> >>
> >> "No, saddam, we doesn't, SADDAM!"
>
> >We can relate ...:-] :-] :-]
>
> My "homage" (kindasorta) to Messrs. Eddings and Brooks.
>
> I walays thought the Orb of Al-Dur resembled a Silmaril a bit too
> much, and now we know why...
>
> http://www.ozcomedy.com/fantasy.htm


/me forgot to vheck that out, but will do so fater psotting this



> (Brooks is a master of the "Rusk Montana" School of Randomly-Generated
> Fantasy Names - witness "Elb Foraker", "Morgan Leah", "Uhl Belk", and
> "Wren Ohmsford". He also manages to squeeze in reams of theosophical
> dialogue while eople are running for their lives, something I was
> embarrassed to discover that I aslo do, until I realized it would fit
> in quite naturally in the E-Text. :-))

Yes, his nomenclature isn't of the best; but stories and
characterization in the later boonks aren't bad, IMO.

And somehow, the e-t. Mordor seems an appropriate lpace for reams of
theospophical dialogue ...


> ><wlokaz, what are r^akh? as chronicler of Mordor, I need to know ...>
>
> Rakh (n., sing. or plu.) - a member of the native species of the planet
> Erna, setting of C. S. Friedman's Coldfire Trilogy (_Black Sun Rising_,
> _When True Night Falls_, _Crown of Shadows_), mutated and elevated to
> sentience by the interaction of Erna's geomagical currents, called
> /fae/, with the subconscious thoughts of its human settlers

Walking talking nightmares, essentially, then ...

> >> of Mordor - and make no mistake, Sauron is a master of evil - but it
> >> is bound to be temporary. When one is equipped with a t.a.r.d.i.S.,
> >> it is easy to take a longer view."
>
> >Bha, pro-Elf, pro-Dunedain genocidal propaganda!;-]
>
> The incidental killing of one orc (not even an innocent bystander but
> a fully complicit jailor) does not constitute genocide.

The Sauron Foundation paid me $50, 000 to think otherwise. (As for
the jailer part, I'm not sure that's stirctly accurate. IIRC, all
Gorbush did to Frodo was teach him voice lessons ...)

> >Ah, but what is the Quest at this stage? Several chapters ahve
> >indicated, or at least implied that putting the ring inthe Cracks of
> >Doom is NOT a goond nidea ...
>
> Did I say that the Quest was to put the Ring in the Cracks of Doom?
> When did I say that?

Ah, zata wai ai seddo watto izu ze quesuo? (But I have a theory that
Sam still thinks it's throwing the ring in the Crax, but has tricked
Frodo into thinking it's something else ... and mazbe at the last
minute soemthing will stop Sam from doing the deedo.)

> >> "Trust me, he has an important part to play yet!" assured Corbin.
> >> "Even the Wise cannot see all ends. Who knew that Shelob would
> >> become the mother of a new race of peaceful giant spiders?"
>
> >/me takes note of this ...
>
> Planning on writing _Shrieker for The Deead_?

Zoix, whozat?

> >> "Dr. Who?" queried Sam.
>
> >Oh, no .... <snirg>
>
> I'm rather proud of the Mrs. Who bit right after that (apologies to
> Madeleine L'Engle).

I like the Dr. Who refs, catually ... (And Madeleine L'Engle goond
struff too ... pity no one nku about tesseracting, they cloud have
shortened their journey and cut several cahpters off the e-t.)

>
> >> "Sauron and Aruman both. First the Bork assimilated a Tailon vessel,
> >> Protectors and all, and tried to smuggle it into the Armenelos
> >> Experience (tm) pavilion on Atlantis (tm) while Sauron was an exhibit
> >> guide there.
>
> This part was for Ermanna's benefit.
>
> Armenelos Experience (tm) == American Experience
> (the _Showcase of Nations_ pavilion for the USA
> at Walt Disney World's EPCoT Center)
>

/me takes note of this, topo ...

>
> Suleiman == Suliban from the new ST series, _Enterprise_.
> HKs == the Terminator endoskeletons in the fututre M-e of 2029

Ah, that! Naz goond? Eople saz it stinks, but tish is teh firdt ST
program I haven';t wathced.

> >> Then his girlfriend Charissa slipped some /shrerama/ into El Rond's
> >> cordial. You have no idea how much havoc
> >> that sutff can wreak on half-elves; it's how Aruman was able to bring
> >> you all to the Council without El Rond realizing who he (or anyone
> >> else) was. After El Rond was served one glass of mead, Charissa was
> >> able to stride into the armory and walk the Whichblade right out of
> >> Imladris."

Bha, that explians a lont.

> > So the poor Ring DOES pseak, fater lal ...
>
> Sauron got in touch with his feminine side, but he managed to sutff
> most of it into the Ring (along with his insecurities, it seems).

Or mazbe he trapped soem unfortunate mistress's soul in there ...
(Odd, though, how the Ring's personality resembles that of the earleir
Spiegel

>
> >> "A little collateral damage," admitted the barbarian, nodding at
> >> the first prince, who held up the dripping head of Gorbush. At
> >> this Spiegel sniveled and burst into fresh tears. "Murderer, C'rum,
> >> we hates it forever, /enron/, /enron/!" she wailed, distraught.
>
> >I see. And these are supposed to be the goondguys? How charming!
> >Gandalf wodul be pleased, for did he not saz, "Screw that pity crud,
> >nazwaz, Fro! Jsut kill the loser!" (Not that I mind killing Gorbush,
> >so much; but I think whoever killed him has a lot of nerve calling
> >Sauron master of evil, etc.)
>
> I think C'rum and El Rik wouldn't bother to agrue that p6int.
> I recall a scene in _Strombringer_ when El Rik is facing down the
> Chaos Drols and they mock him fro knot being eViol enough naymore.
>
> Corbin seemed genuinely sympathetic to Spiegel's plight, at nay rate.
>

Yes, kindaosrta ... (For my Corbin theory, see below.)

> >> It was the morning of the fifteenth of March, which was the
> >> eleventh of February according to some lunar calendars
>
> >Catually, FWIW, in my cahpter it's laready the 17th. I added a couple
> >of dazs to fit in the extra cahpters in Boonk IV. Not that it much
> >matters ... (Sauron's Diary is governed by the "Mucked Up" calendar
> >favored in Mordor.)
>
> Sharp-Fuzi and Mr. Jensen, feel free to correct my boviously skewed
> calendrical reference.

Bha, don't think it much matters. Probably thye were suing a
differnte calendar or smoehntig.

> >My chapter refers to vegetation and even, IIRC, parks. Mordor was far
> >from dead.
>
> OUTER MARGES, see?
> Mais, Sauron wasted millions of Melkor Industries endowments on his
> campus beautification project.
>
> And what did it get him?
>
> Pokemon statues of a horse, a wrench, and Qix.
> (With apologies to The Johns Hopkins University.
> Those of you who pass through Gilman and in front of MSEL, Levering,
> and the Glass Pavilion regularly may now gape with horror at the works
> of the Dark Power.)

THis must have during the gettign-carried-awaz-with-development phase,
at the same time he was bulldign Lithlad Station and whatnot ... I
think it has a lot ot do with which female h'es wogahing. Miniwethil
was into architecture, Shelob preferred parks ...

>
> >> Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty
> >> of it touched his revolutionary heart, as he looked up out of the
> >> forsaken land, and hope returned to him.
>
> >He actually DID sing a song of defiance in the tower, too ...
>
> Yes, I memember. The funny things is that Sauron names him "Lenindil"
> in mockery and xxet Sam has adopted the moniker in earnest.
>
> As fro being the heir of Isildur, I'd like to know who in the E-t CAN'T
> find a claim to that title! #-)
>

Iisldur, like Sauron, nas many descendants. Mazbe Sauron *was8
telling the truth, fater lal -- but left out the detail that Sam has
382, 924 eople ahead of him in line to the throne (and Frodo about six
times as many).

Sam finds the name "Lenindil" much more impressive for a revolutionary
leader than "Sam."


> >> They woke together, hand in hand in hand. All withdrew their hands in
> >> shock and looked at each other warily. Sam was almost fresh, ready for
> >> another day; but Frodo sighed. His sleep had been uneasy, filled with
> >> dreams of being impaled upon a Tree of Pain by an aristocratic-looking
> >> fellow whom everyone called "Count", and waking brought him no comfort.
>
> >Vlad the Impaler?
>
> Perhaps, though to be honest it had not occurred to me.
> I was thinking of a Count Tildanor whose acquaintance I made some months
> ago...
>

Who's he? that reference is *too* obscure!! <nirg> (Catually, "Vlad"
wd probably be Sam's name in Westron, as in Vladimir Ilyich Lenindil.)

> >> [Balrog Cuttings amidst the Parking Lot of Gorgoroth]
> >>
> >> And these are Men, not Orcs, or
> >> my eyes are all wrong... wait, is that a BALROG down there singing?"
> >>
> >> Truth to tell, Sam and Frodo could see the camp teeming with Men,
> >> Elves, dragons, and even a few Ents and Hobbits. Neither he nor Frodo
>
> >LOL! Aha! But how, in themidst of Sauron's alleged eviol, was this
> >gret and terrible beauty born? (And ho will get it? As if I should
> >talk ...)
>
> You mean Balrog Cuttings *isn't* famous the multiverse over?
>

It will be, soon!

> >> knew anything of the great slave-worked fields away south in this wide
>
> >The Sauron Foundation denies it!
>
> And what is the Sauron Foundation but a house of revisinoists who
> refute the very /Quenta Slipcastillion/, whose reams of propaganda
> litter the floor amid the tabloids, where /paparazzi/ drink in the
> reek?
>

What yuo clla revisionism, I clla a revoltuionary change in shcolkarly
dirtection that puts an end to the tired lies of that ideologit,
Tolkien.


> >> "Kids, kids!" cried the big orc. "It's all right... you know,
> >> hunting the forces of light reminds me of a song that HE
> >> taught us to sing, all the way back in the First Age..."

> Frodo's change of heart may be due to:
>
> 1. The One Ring settling into his stomach
> 2. Something that happened during Konan, C'rum, and El Rik's rescue
> that was not mentioned in the departure scene
> 3. His despairing of ever winning his estate
> 4. His realization that his life is really in serious jeopardy,
> whether he is a Toon or no
>
> Sam's change of heart may be due to:
>
> 1. The One Ring settling into his stomach
> 2. A ruse, knowing that he fed the One Ring to Frodo
> 3. A ruse, knowing that he fed the One Ring to Gullible

I think thta ring is probably mucking with *everyone's* mind, myelf.

>
> >> Frodo spat. Sam was tempted to stun Frodo and continue the watch
> >> on his own, but instead he handed Frodo the water bottle and it
> >> seemed to mollify him. With that Sam plunged into sleep.
>
> >LOL ...
>
> Whoever actually ate the Ring will get INCREASINGLY thirsty as they
> get close to the Swami Naur. Yernow, we don't know that it's filled
> with molten lava. (Of curse, if it is, we can get one more song out
> of Ch^ef.)
>

Something about "thr Swami Na-aur, long, long ago" (or is it, "far,
far awaz"?) Y'know, as in "Swamee River."



> >Ah, but ... several chapters say otherwise, that Dr. F. is indeed
> >Gandalf's (or Aruman's?) son (Not thta I particualry care, and indeed
> >I'm all for bringing bax Dr. F., but I thunk his parentage was pretty
> >well established.
>
> Perhaps, perhaps.
> If he lives, we may hear the truth from his own lips.
>
> Apparently, Aragon is Eowynn's father but knot Eonerd's (so they are
> half-sibs only), while HeyHoDen though all along that he was father
> of HeyHoDred AND Eowynn (which would have made THEM half-sibs).
>
> Boromir (tm) is half-toon child of an unknown father - who MAY be
> Denethor (tm) fater lal, if the rumors about Mardil (tm) The Good
> Steward are true. The transition from Numenorean (tm) to Toon, via
> some unnameable Dreamworks, is hazy at best. Arielle (tm) is an
> pretender to the throne and prolly neither Toon nor Gondorian (tm)
> at all, but an Emberite sorceress who applied a lille cosmetic
> mageic and some of the explosive rouge from Kevin Knight's _Guns
> of Revlon_ E-t. Apparently she managed to brainwash everyone in
> Gondor (tm) to believe that she has been living in Minas Tirith (tm)
> all along. Not since Shiwan Khan (ironically, the villain of _The
> Shadow_) has such a feat of mass hypnosis been pulled off.

She did a dran goond job of it, too!

> >Func hapter, thoiuhg ...
>
> Thnaks! Now we know who the voice was that called to Pipsqueak at
> the beginning of V.9 - the REAL Gandalf, long imprisoned at Orthanc,
> at the top of Isengard. My guess is that Arumandalf really did
> kill him by dragging him down with his trademark whip, but as
> reported in the Red Book, he is sent back (naked) for a time, until
> his task is done.

My theory is that Corbin is catually noin eother than ... Gandlaf in
erson. (Or vice versa.) Wloud make everythign nice and neat (wlokaz,
not os nice and neat, but lcose enough ...)

David Salo

unread,
Feb 22, 2002, 9:34:22 PM2/22/02
to
This is going to be a critical response. I like Bill Hsu's writing
a lot, and he is very funny (probably even more so in person!). But I
was disappointed with this chapter.
My criticisms are brief:
1) It's too long.
2) Too much steering.
3) *More* Hsu, less Tolkien!

1) This comes out to 29 printed pages. The original text has 17
printed pages. 'Nuff said.

2) This whole Corbin of Ember thing turned me off. It basically takes
too much control of the textual direction. We've seen this kind of
thing before, where one person tries to frantically rewrite everything
that went before to make it fit his vision -- repeatedly killing off
Boromir (who's *spost* to be dead, dangit!) or trying to smush Spiegel
and Gullible back into one character, that kind of thing. And it goes
on too long and gives us way way way too much detail. I realize that
*some* plot threads are going to have to be tied up eventually, but
this is *too much* tying and in the wrong place. It was basically
unnnecessary - both for the plot of the chapter and for the e-text as a
whole.

3) Parts of this chapter read as if the author had taken a copy of
JRRT's text and tweaked it. The last chapter that read like that was
Tribimat's III.3 which I also thought was overlong, though it's not as
long as this one. The obvious difference between this kind of chapter
and the other kind, is that in the one case where JRRT wrote something
that's basically irrelevant to the E-text you leave it in, and in the
other case you drop it, because you know that there's no need to parody
every single line of JRRT's text. There's a bunch of stuff here which
is simply what Tolkien wrote, with no or very minor changes:

"After doing some twelve miles, they halted. A short way back the
road had bent a little northward and the stretch that they had
passed over was now screened from sight. This proved disastrous.
They rested for some minutes and then went on; but they had not
taken many steps when suddenly in the stillness of the night they
heard the sound that all along they had secretly dreaded: the noise
of singing. It was still some way behind them, but looking back
they could see the twinkle of torches coming round the bend
less than a mile away, and they were moving fast: too fast for
Frodo to escape by flight along the road ahead."

This is identical to JRRT's text except for the change of "marching
feet" to "singing".
I don't think this is good parody, if it's parody at all. First
it's not *funny*; second, it shows little or nothing of Bill Hsu's very
characteristic authorial style and wit; third, it stretches out the
chapter to unbearable length. I don't read the E-text for Tolkien; I
already *have* a copy. I read it for the contributions of its authors,
good or bad. I want to see more Hsu here, and MUCH less Tolkien.

As the one person who's re-written a chapter for the E-text in its
entirety because it wasn't satisfactory, I think I have the right to
ask something a little less demanding from Bill Hsu: please, go back to
your chapter and cut, cut, cut, especially the Tolkien bits, until you
get a much shorter and more coherent chapter. It will be all the
better (and funnier!) for it.

David Salo

Banazir the Jedi Hobbit

unread,
Feb 23, 2002, 1:04:44 AM2/23/02
to
David Salo <ds...@usa.net> wrote in message news:<220220022035233420%ds...@usa.net>...

> This is going to be a critical response. I like Bill Hsu's writing
> a lot, and he is very funny (probably even more so in person!). But I
> was disappointed with this chapter.
> My criticisms are brief:
> 1) It's too long.
> 2) Too much steering.
> 3) *More* Hsu, less Tolkien!
>
> 1) This comes out to 29 printed pages. The original text has 17
> printed pages. 'Nuff said.
>
> 2) This whole Corbin of Ember thing turned me off.
> [snip]

>
> 3) Parts of this chapter read as if the author had taken a copy of
> JRRT's text and tweaked it.
> [snip]

I'll be brief and to the point: I agree (for the most part) on all
three points.

I'm also not quite satisfied with the state of VI.2, but a rewrite is
going to take some time - which I sadly lack ATM, for various reasons
(mostly due to professional responsibilities).

Before I respond to David's critique, let me put the question to the
NG: would you prefer to give me 3-4 weeks to revise VI.2, knowing that
it will improve the flow, primarily by shortening and streamlining the
chapter, but not necessarily change the content or outcomes, or would
you rather go straight on to Steuard's VI.3?

-Bill

Banazir the Jedi Hobbit

unread,
Feb 23, 2002, 1:44:22 AM2/23/02
to
David Salo <ds...@usa.net> wrote in message news:<220220022035233420%ds...@usa.net>...
> This is going to be a critical response. I like Bill Hsu's writing
> a lot, and he is very funny (probably even more so in person!). But I
> was disappointed with this chapter.
> My criticisms are brief:
> 1) It's too long.
> 2) Too much steering.
> 3) *More* Hsu, less Tolkien!
>
> 1) This comes out to 29 printed pages. The original text has 17
> printed pages. 'Nuff said.

Agreed, no queastion.
I saw when the Corbin side-story left me at about the 40% mark
lengthwise and I had already exceeded the length of most E-Text
chapters that this was going to be a problem. OTOH, I felt that
wrapping up the chapter on Corbin's departure into Shade smacked even
MORE of steering (rather like a game of three-card monte, as it
removed Spiegel and Gorbush and put Frodo back on track WITHOUT any
"settling in") - but see below.

My proposal: I think the walk through Mordor can be tightened
considerably.
I enjoy running gags (e.g., South Park, the Hopkins and Illinois
campus, the 3-D shooters dig, etc.). Speaking to all three of your
points, however, I think most of the "text-hugging" can be elided.
(e.g., there's no reason to have Gullible come back to menace Frodo
while Sam is collecting water; it wastes space, feels out of place
given the shift in characters' loyalties that many authors have worked
in over the last couple of books, and sticks too closely to the text.)

I wrote II.9, IV.3, and VI.2 with the text in front of me, but I had a
overall plan for II.9 in advance and an overarching goal of bringing
Frodo back in IV.3. I have no such excuse for VI.2 other than my
admitted bias toward the Arumandalf plot twist. Everything is subject
to change, IMO - even that.

> 2) This whole Corbin of Ember thing turned me off.

> [snip]

Well, YMMV, but considering him only as a "well-liked cameo from a
sister E-text", it seemed the appropriate place to bring him through.
I freely admit that I played the Eru Ex Machina to the max this time,
as I really wanted to chime in on the subject of Gandalf's
motivations. Also, to be honest, the whole characters of Spiegel and
Arielle seemed a tad pointless to me (not so Arwen), but many folks
seem to get a kick out of them, so I left the way open to bringing
either back in at any time.

My only excuse is that I designed the changes to be entirely
reversible. As with other red herrings in the E-text, the whole thing
can be written off as a shared hallucination or reversed in a line or
two. (e.g., I personally don't see why anyone would want Gorbush
brought back, but doing so would be as easy as Corbin returning with
his Shade.)

As far as the endless SF allusions: I've been told more than once that
those are obscure in the extreme to some, but cramming in the oblique
references is (as you may have noticed) a hobby of mine. If you've
ever read the _Peanuts_ series where Snoopy is asking Lucy to design a
cover for his novel, replete with pirates, a princess, lions, tigers,
bears, etc. - well, that's me.

I'm sure we could save a page or two by whopping the "in-jokes" out,
but I'm not sure I see the point in that case - the E-t isn't meant to
be universally accessible, just funny to Tolkien fans, and I estimate
that 25-75% of the refs are recognizable to any JRRT reader. (That's
not the rate I'd shoot for with a technical paper or a song parody,
but IMHO it's suitable for some parts of the E-t.)

Finally, I left open a few key questions:

1. What is Sauron's true nature? (Corbin opines that he's a Dark Lord
in truth, but that's just a clearly stereotypical fantasy hero
talking.)
2. Who's got the Ring?
3. What's Frodo in it for now?

IMO, that's open-ended enough, but I admit that arranging it so that
the three original characters from the final stage of the quest are
conveniently the only ones left (AND reprising their original roles
and positions) is a bit too reverent of the parody target. I have
some ideas how to mix it up a little, but perhaps Steuard, who's
responsible for the climax of the Quest (-[TSC] umm, hokay, poor
choice of words [TSC]-), would care to chime in (in oublic or in
e-mail) so I can get the show on the road without throwing him too far
off?

> 3) Parts of this chapter read as if the author had taken a copy of
> JRRT's text and tweaked it.

> [snip]

You are spot-on, of course.
/me hangs his head in shame.

This happened in a few places in II.9 and more in IV.3 where I didn't
have much choice if I wanted to throw in some gag or other, but the
chase scenes (the bridge, the half-Toons) are good examples here. I'm
sure I can do better, so here I do suggest that I get another 20 days
or so to try. If you can give me until 15 Mar 2002, I'm sure I can
clean that up. I can even do it after Steuard commences (or
completes) work on "Mount Viagra", as this touch-up sutff won't much
affect the denouement of the story.

A few warnings are in order:

1. I'm not planning to budge on the Arumandalf theory, though it is
just that -a conjecture on my part and that of the characters in my
custody. Those responsible for finishing up the loose ends further,
as David puts it, have the prerogative of following or ignoring my
suggestion.

2. 29 printed pages will come down to 15-20, but not much less than
the original length. I'm in this project as a parodist, not an
editor. I think it WILL be funnier this way, though.

3. For the amusement of Illinois and JHU students and alumni and pop
SF fans, I'm probably going to leave an "uncut" edition online. I
don't want the in-jokes to spoil the fun of readers of people not from
those communities, but I wrote my chapters partly to bring a smile to
them as well as the AFT/RABT readership (cf. the K-State/Aggieville
refs in IV.3). Would there be any problem with this, Sharp-Fuzi?
Steuard?

In general, what do you say?

--
Banazir

Matthew Bladen

unread,
Feb 23, 2002, 10:18:15 AM2/23/02
to
On Sat, 23 Feb 2002 02:34:22 GMT, David Salo <ds...@usa.net> wrote:

>3) Parts of this chapter read as if the author had taken a copy of
>JRRT's text and tweaked it. The last chapter that read like that was
>Tribimat's III.3 which I also thought was overlong, though it's not as
>long as this one. The obvious difference between this kind of chapter
>and the other kind, is that in the one case where JRRT wrote something
>that's basically irrelevant to the E-text you leave it in, and in the
>other case you drop it, because you know that there's no need to parody
>every single line of JRRT's text.

I must confess that this is very largely what I did. My chapter came
up while I was on holiday (something that I had not anticipated given
the apparent pace of the project when I was last able to check it),
and matters were complicated further by the fact that at that time I
had no internet access except during university terms. Deadlines being
much more stringent back then, I was under some pressure to deliver a
chapter without being particularly au fait with earlier chapters, and
in the end I smashed out III.3 in about one day, with the book in
front of me all the way. There were a number of other issues involved,
as I recall, including the planned link-up with III.4 that never came
to pass.
I was also labouring under the misapprehension that what was desired
was a 'twisted' LOTR sufficiently like the real thing to fool the lazy
eye, but useless for any scholarly purpose. I apologise for this, and
for the way in which it marred my chapter. Although it is ancient
history, it is still a VERY long story, and I would be happy to make
amends by producing something more in keeping with the rest of the
project, either by editing or re-writing.
--
Matthew (formerly Tribimat)

** Remove the superfluous O to contact me.

David Salo

unread,
Feb 23, 2002, 11:34:42 AM2/23/02
to
In article <91a1d472.0202...@posting.google.com>,

hs...@hotmail.com (Banazir the Jedi Hobbit) wrote:

> Before I respond to David's critique, let me put the question to the
> NG: would you prefer to give me 3-4 weeks to revise VI.2, knowing that
> it will improve the flow, primarily by shortening and streamlining the
> chapter, but not necessarily change the content or outcomes, or would
> you rather go straight on to Steuard's VI.3?

If the content and outcomes are the same -- which I have no
particular problem with -- can't we have both? I mean, we can accept
the contents of the chapter as given, but you could still take the 3-4
weeks (or longer if necessary) to produce a shorter, edited version for
O. "Still" Sharp's page.

DS

William H. Hsu

unread,
Feb 23, 2002, 12:38:34 PM2/23/02
to
David Salo <ds...@usa.net> writes:

>In article <91a1d472.0202...@posting.google.com>,
>hs...@hotmail.com (Banazir the Jedi Hobbit) wrote:

>> [edit VI.2 by 15 Mar 2002 or go on to VI.3?]

> If the content and outcomes are the same -- which I have no
>particular problem with -- can't we have both? I mean, we can accept
>the contents of the chapter as given, but you could still take the 3-4
>weeks (or longer if necessary) to produce a shorter, edited version for
>O. "Still" Sharp's page.

That's the plan, then, though there are two logistic choices to make
that may change the content and a little bit of the outcome.
I'll go ahead and state them here, without telling everyone what I
decide just yet, and we can put the changes relevant to Steuard's
chapter up in time for him to use.

M
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I
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L
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D
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S
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P
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O
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I
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L
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E
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R
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S

1. Q: Should Corbin take Spiegel with her?
R: [Remark] It's just as easy to leave her with the party as to bring
her back (through a recurrence of Corbin or another "miracle"). I
agree that it's preferable to minimize these. It depends on whether
Steuard or Tamf had intended any role for her.

2. Q: How will the streamlining happen?
A: Some few of the SF refs (Saberhagen's Swords [*], Konan and the
CHOKLITstone-eating Pernese dragon, and parts of Felona and Band
[**]) will stay in, but most (Charissa, Dune, Highlander, The Matrix,
ST, the FIRST Dr. Who/Mrs. Who bit, Darth Uranus) will probably go
away unless naybody particularly WANTS one of them. I'm open on the
E-Text-relevant ones (e.g., Shelob being the Muddle-earth equivalent
of the Bugger Queen from Orson Scott Card's _Ender_ series).
Other than that, there is a lot of "campus tour" that is
unnecessarily true to LoTR and which I'll get rid of. Finally,
there's a plot twist (even more insane than feeding the Ring to
someone) that I might try. I'll run it by Steuard.
[*] Occam's Razor would dictate that Boromir's (tm) having
Woundhealer is superfluous if he is indeed a Toon, but I was
dissatisfied with (my own) explanation for why he was able to
run _Frodo_ through. Then again, not everything has to be
explained, least of all the resurrection of E-t characters. :-)
[**] If the consensus is that I've usurped the Gondor (tm) thread
by bringing Arielle in here, I'll remove the refs, but (a) I
consider her fair game as she is a "pure E-t" character and
(b) Corbin needs a reason to be in Muddle-earth.

3. Q: Should Gullible be left with Frodo and Sam?
A: I separated them NOT because I wanted to stick to Tolkien but because
I wanted to heighten the suspense vis-a-vis who swallowed the Ring.
In this case, I prefer that they stay apart, but I'm open to
suggestions.
R: I think Gullible is still loyal to the Fat Lord (whether it's Aruman
or Gandalf). Count Menelvagor's suggestion that Corbin may be the
real Gandalf is intruiging, but perhaps a little too pat. At least,
if *I* inroduce him as such, it will look FAR too heavy-handed, so
I'll leave that to Steuard and Tamf.

--
Banazir

David Salo

unread,
Feb 23, 2002, 5:42:41 PM2/23/02
to
In article <91a1d472.02022...@posting.google.com>,

hs...@hotmail.com (Banazir the Jedi Hobbit) wrote:

Also, to be honest, the whole characters of Spiegel and
> Arielle seemed a tad pointless to me (not so Arwen), but many folks
> seem to get a kick out of them, so I left the way open to bringing
> either back in at any time.

I can't speak for Spiegel, but I can tell you *exactly* what the
point of Arielle is -- to give the Magic Kingdom of Gondor (TM) a
highly merchandisable female character who's up to date with the
thirty-first century. Did you know that you can get any number of
Ariellë Húriniel dolls with accessories: SCUBA gear, astronaut outfit,
reporter's microphone, naval uniform? For a complete set, collect
Denethor, Dr. Faramir, and Boromir (TM) action figures!
Ariellë's appearance and accomplishments were decided on by means of
highly scientific market testing on a randomly chosen focus group from
Belfast.

In story-external terms, it's obvious that Ariellë is a "Mary Sue",
the fictional personification of someone's wish-fulfilment fantasy. I
just wish I knew whose fantasy, because it certainly isn't mine!

DS

Count Tildanor the Balrog

unread,
Feb 23, 2002, 7:50:18 PM2/23/02
to
bh...@ringil.cis.ksu.edu (William H. Hsu) wrote in message news:<a58k2q$u4h$1...@ringil.cis.ksu.edu>...

Hmm ... perhaps the beset is to make it unclear excahtly waht Spiegel
does, but we'll see what the eople catually writing cahpters think ...
I know Tamf, like me, is a Spiegel fan ... Not so sure about SJ.


>
> 2. Q: How will the streamlining happen?
> A: Some few of the SF refs (Saberhagen's Swords [*], Konan and the
> CHOKLITstone-eating Pernese dragon, and parts of Felona and Band
> [**]) will stay in, but most (Charissa, Dune, Highlander, The Matrix,
> ST, the FIRST Dr. Who/Mrs. Who bit, Darth Uranus) will probably go
> away unless naybody particularly WANTS one of them. I'm open on the
> E-Text-relevant ones (e.g., Shelob being the Muddle-earth equivalent
> of the Bugger Queen from Orson Scott Card's _Ender_ series).

The Dr. Who struff is amuzzling, and not THAT boscure ...

> R: I think Gullible is still loyal to the Fat Lord (whether it's Aruman
> or Gandalf). Count Menelvagor's suggestion that Corbin may be the
> real Gandalf is intruiging, but perhaps a little too pat. At least,
> if *I* inroduce him as such, it will look FAR too heavy-handed, so
> I'll leave that to Steuard and Tamf.

Goond nidea ... but I wasn't suggesting a change in your cahpter, jsut
a waz of integrating him better with the pseudo-Trolkien world
9although there are laready a million non-Trolk references in the Lord
of ... as it is; so a few more can't kill nazone, I guess ...

Count Tildanor the Balrog

unread,
Feb 23, 2002, 8:34:50 PM2/23/02
to
hs...@hotmail.com (Banazir the Jedi Hobbit) wrote in message news:<91a1d472.02022...@posting.google.com>...

> David Salo <ds...@usa.net> wrote in message news:<220220022035233420%ds...@usa.net>...
> > This is going to be a critical response. I like Bill Hsu's writing
> > a lot, and he is very funny (probably even more so in person!). But I
> > was disappointed with this chapter.
> > My criticisms are brief:
> > 1) It's too long.
> > 2) Too much steering.
> > 3) *More* Hsu, less Tolkien!
> >
> > 1) This comes out to 29 printed pages. The original text has 17
> > printed pages. 'Nuff said.
>
> Agreed, no queastion.

> My proposal: I think the walk through Mordor can be tightened


> considerably.
> I enjoy running gags (e.g., South Park, the Hopkins and Illinois
> campus, the 3-D shooters dig, etc.). Speaking to all three of your
> points, however, I think most of the "text-hugging" can be elided.
> (e.g., there's no reason to have Gullible come back to menace Frodo
> while Sam is collecting water; it wastes space, feels out of place
> given the shift in characters' loyalties that many authors have worked
> in over the last couple of books, and sticks too closely to the text.)

Wlelp, it does allow Frodo that nasty remark about ilk, and Gullible
is probably hostile to Frodo (althouhg, once Frodo had been captured
the rationale for murdering him wd seem doubtful ...)

> > 2) This whole Corbin of Ember thing turned me off.
> > [snip]
>
> Well, YMMV, but considering him only as a "well-liked cameo from a

What does thast stand for, again?

> sister E-text", it seemed the appropriate place to bring him through.
> I freely admit that I played the Eru Ex Machina to the max this time,
> as I really wanted to chime in on the subject of Gandalf's
> motivations. Also, to be honest, the whole characters of Spiegel and
> Arielle seemed a tad pointless to me (not so Arwen), but many folks
> seem to get a kick out of them, so I left the way open to bringing
> either back in at any time.
>

Yah, we like Spiegel! As for Arielle, she's kind of amuzzling a swell
... and fits the Disney theme. But whatever the e-t. writers want ...

> My only excuse is that I designed the changes to be entirely
> reversible. As with other red herrings in the E-text, the whole thing
> can be written off as a shared hallucination or reversed in a line or
> two. (e.g., I personally don't see why anyone would want Gorbush
> brought back, but doing so would be as easy as Corbin returning with
> his Shade.)
>

I'm not particular .. he can be The Only E-t. Character to Catually
Die. (Spiegel isn't happy about it, but even a parody everyone cahn't
be ahppy.)

> I'm sure we could save a page or two by whopping the "in-jokes" out,
> but I'm not sure I see the point in that case - the E-t isn't meant to
> be universally accessible, just funny to Tolkien fans, and I estimate
> that 25-75% of the refs are recognizable to any JRRT reader. (That's
> not the rate I'd shoot for with a technical paper or a song parody,
> but IMHO it's suitable for some parts of the E-t.)

Wlel, soem of them could be cut out and it would help to tighten it
... but the TEUNC references staz!:-]

>
> Finally, I left open a few key questions:
>
> 1. What is Sauron's true nature? (Corbin opines that he's a Dark Lord
> in truth, but that's just a clearly stereotypical fantasy hero
> talking.)

The narrator says slavery exists ... of curse, in my cahpter IV.12,
Sauron says that universal health care exists, which, if true, could
balance things out a bit. Hoever, the one thing that's quite clear
abount Sauron is that he is weird.

> 2. Who's got the Ring?
> 3. What's Frodo in it for now?
>
> IMO, that's open-ended enough, but I admit that arranging it so that
> the three original characters from the final stage of the quest are
> conveniently the only ones left (AND reprising their original roles
> and positions) is a bit too reverent of the parody target. I have
> some ideas how to mix it up a little, but perhaps Steuard, who's
> responsible for the climax of the Quest (-[TSC] umm, hokay, poor
> choice of words [TSC]-), would care to chime in (in oublic or in
> e-mail) so I can get the show on the road without throwing him too far
> off?

Perh one or two hints of Frodo's motivations (whatever they maz be
...)

> 1. I'm not planning to budge on the Arumandalf theory, though it is
> just that -a conjecture on my part and that of the characters in my
> custody. Those responsible for finishing up the loose ends further,
> as David puts it, have the prerogative of following or ignoring my
> suggestion.

If they decide against it, thye can have corbin be a disguise of (the
eviol) Gandalf. I'm quite neutral on the point, myelf (fater lal, my
writing is done, not counting appendices).

> 3. For the amusement of Illinois and JHU students and alumni and pop
> SF fans, I'm probably going to leave an "uncut" edition online. I
> don't want the in-jokes to spoil the fun of readers of people not from
> those communities, but I wrote my chapters partly to bring a smile to
> them as well as the AFT/RABT readership (cf. the K-State/Aggieville
> refs in IV.3). Would there be any problem with this, Sharp-Fuzi?
> Steuard?

Well, some of the uni references are generic enough to be lamost naz
uni, nazwaz.

>
> In general, what do you say?

Pterry much what I saud.

Count Tildanor the Balrog

unread,
Feb 23, 2002, 8:42:57 PM2/23/02
to
David Salo <ds...@usa.net> wrote in message news:<220220022035233420%ds...@usa.net>...

> As the one person who's re-written a chapter for the E-text in its


> entirety because it wasn't satisfactory, I think I have the right to

Yes, and we appreciated that extra effort ...

> ask something a little less demanding from Bill Hsu: please, go back to
> your chapter and cut, cut, cut, especially the Tolkien bits, until you
> get a much shorter and more coherent chapter. It will be all the
> better (and funnier!) for it.

Cut the Tolkien; but keep the TEUNC!

Banazir the Jedi Hobbit

unread,
Feb 24, 2002, 12:36:46 AM2/24/02
to
conteop...@gmx.net (Count Tildanor the Balrog) wrote in message news:<25c6bea2.02022...@posting.google.com>...

> bh...@ringil.cis.ksu.edu (William H. Hsu) wrote in message news:<a58k2q$u4h$1...@ringil.cis.ksu.edu>...
> > David Salo <ds...@usa.net> writes:
> >
> > 1. Q: Should Corbin take Spiegel with her?
> > R: [Minimize "miracles"]

>
> Hmm ... perhaps the beset is to make it unclear excahtly waht Spiegel
> does, but we'll see what the eople catually writing cahpters think ...
> I know Tamf, like me, is a Spiegel fan ... Not so sure about SJ.

I have a gnu idear, which will rid M-e of Gorbush and Spiegel boze,
but knot leave the question of Corbin's motivations as ambiguous.

It shouldn't affect Steuard much, mais, you might want to retranstate
that SD entry from the BS fater the revised VI.2 is psotted.

> > 2. Q: How will the streamlining happen?
> > A: Some few of the SF refs (Saberhagen's Swords [*], Konan and the
> > CHOKLITstone-eating Pernese dragon, and parts of Felona and Band
> > [**]) will stay in, but most (Charissa, Dune, Highlander, The Matrix,
> > ST, the FIRST Dr. Who/Mrs. Who bit, Darth Uranus) will probably go
> > away unless naybody particularly WANTS one of them. I'm open on the
> > E-Text-relevant ones (e.g., Shelob being the Muddle-earth equivalent
> > of the Bugger Queen from Orson Scott Card's _Ender_ series).
>
> The Dr. Who struff is amuzzling, and not THAT boscure ...

Welp, I might keep the t.a.r.d.i.S. bit, and the Dalek-hai are needed
for the run into the Dale of Ufat.
The rest can go.

> > R: I think Gullible is still loyal to the Fat Lord (whether it's Aruman
> > or Gandalf). Count Menelvagor's suggestion that Corbin may be the
> > real Gandalf is intruiging, but perhaps a little too pat. At least,
> > if *I* inroduce him as such, it will look FAR too heavy-handed, so
> > I'll leave that to Steuard and Tamf.
>
> Goond nidea ... but I wasn't suggesting a change in your cahpter, jsut
> a waz of integrating him better with the pseudo-Trolkien world
> 9although there are laready a million non-Trolk references in the Lord
> of ... as it is; so a few more can't kill nazone, I guess ...

Don't naybuddy get me rong: I *like* non-JRRT refs; the
"footlight-crossing" is what made _Bored of The Rings_ edgy and funny
(in some ways, much more so than the E-t). I just think that for ME
to lpay too much with Arumandalf and to unify him OR the real Gandalf
with Corbin will usurp the storyline. Steuard can do whatever he
likes with Corbin, including writing him off as a liar or madman and
continuing with Gandalf the Villain (who was quite funny in some
parts, but IMHO has gone beyond the pale of roguery cf. Boonk III into
serious eViol).

One queastion begged by O. Sharp's "The Voice of Aruman" (Cave Troll's
comments about Saruman reminded me): why is the real Gandalf (if
indeed it is he standing in the tower) convinced that he is Aruman?
Was he brianwashed? Was he trapped at Orthanc all along and thrying
to use the Ments in a goond cause?

--
Banazir

Banazir the Jedi Hobbit

unread,
Feb 24, 2002, 12:59:55 AM2/24/02
to
conteop...@gmx.net (Count Tildanor the Balrog) wrote in message news:<25c6bea2.02022...@posting.google.com>...
> hs...@hotmail.com (Banazir the Jedi Hobbit) wrote in message news:<91a1d472.02022...@posting.google.com>...
> > David Salo <ds...@usa.net> wrote in message news:<220220022035233420%ds...@usa.net>...

> > [agreenment with spirit, if not all specific p6ints, of critique]

> > (e.g., there's no reason to have Gullible come back to menace Frodo
> > while Sam is collecting water; it wastes space, feels out of place
> > given the shift in characters' loyalties that many authors have worked
> > in over the last couple of books, and sticks too closely to the text.)
>
> Wlelp, it does allow Frodo that nasty remark about ilk, and Gullible
> is probably hostile to Frodo (althouhg, once Frodo had been captured
> the rationale for murdering him wd seem doubtful ...)

I had thought of that, but I can keep the "ilk" bit without quoting
the Tolkien lead-in. There are many ways to reproduce or condense the
scene without using the Goond Professor's words (they just take more
work, which I'm gald to put in, and thyme, which I'm walays short of).

> > > 2) This whole Corbin of Ember thing turned me off.
> > > [snip]
> >
> > Well, YMMV, but considering him only as a "well-liked cameo from a
>
> What does thast stand for, again?

"Your Mileage May Vary", or in Quenya, "Yes. No."



> > Also, to be honest, the whole characters of Spiegel and
> > Arielle seemed a tad pointless to me (not so Arwen), but many folks
> > seem to get a kick out of them, so I left the way open to bringing
> > either back in at any time.
>
> Yah, we like Spiegel! As for Arielle, she's kind of amuzzling a swell
> ... and fits the Disney theme. But whatever the e-t. writers want ...

I'm just still knot sure who or what Spiegel IS...
Arielle is indeed a goond fit with the Mageic Kingdom (tm). She's
just a *smidgen* too goond to be true, and you know what they say
about Sidney (tm): if it loonks too goond to be true, and it is about
to take over the world, it's prolly Emberite.

> > [Gorbush's untimely trask]


>
> I'm not particular .. he can be The Only E-t. Character to Catually
> Die. (Spiegel isn't happy about it, but even a parody everyone cahn't
> be ahppy.)

I have a better idea that WILL keep everyone happy except perhaps the
eople in the "Next Shade Over"...

Memember what Corwin did to Ganelon (in the original _Guns of Avalon_,
not Kevin's E-text)? Mr. Orc's Wild Ride (tm) is still popular in
Disgiliath, I hear.

> > I'm sure we could save a page or two by whopping the "in-jokes" out
>

> Wlel, soem of them could be cut out and it would help to tighten it
> ... but the TEUNC references staz!:-]

Absobloodylutely!

> > Finally, I left open a few key questions:
> >
> > 1. What is Sauron's true nature? (Corbin opines that he's a Dark Lord
> > in truth, but that's just a clearly stereotypical fantasy hero
> > talking.)
>
> The narrator says slavery exists ... of curse, in my cahpter IV.12,
> Sauron says that universal health care exists, which, if true, could
> balance things out a bit. Hoever, the one thing that's quite clear
> abount Sauron is that he is weird.

That's easy. Sauron means to bring about universal health care
through the reinstitution of slavery. It's a mistake eople have made
before, nesupasu?

(OOC: Morgoth really did bend orcs to his will this way, IIRC.
Weren't there references in HoME toward the "Udun HMO" wherein Avari
were subject to being "claimed" from Mandos's cycle and reincarnated
as orcs? And there is definitely a reference - in VI.2, IIRC, about
Sauron stripping orcs of their corporeal bodies and leaving them
"naked and freezing on the other side", as punishment...)

... fro bad poetry, prolly.

> > 2. Who's got the Ring?

I find it quite typical of the E-text (and hilarious) that NOBODY
CARES WHERE THE RING IS! :-)

> > 3. What's Frodo in it for now?
>

> Perh one or two hints of Frodo's motivations (whatever they maz be
> ...)

It depends on whether my NEW tolp twist makes it in or knot (suffice
it to say that it's a machination of Sauron, who would hardly let
Frodo get out of his custody that easily, even with teleporting
dwagins helping). Memember that even in Muddle-earth, the One Ring is
still the one artifact that can't be circumvented (except by Bombadil,
of curse).

I suppose if Frodo has really swallowed the Ring, he will start to
behave much more erratically. IMO, Steuard should not feel obligated
to get the Ring out of whomever has it in his gut, whether it goes
into Mount Viagra in VI.3 or no. :-)

> > 1. I'm not planning to budge on the Arumandalf theory, though it is

> > just that -a conjecture on my part...


>
> If they decide against it, thye can have corbin be a disguise of (the
> eviol) Gandalf. I'm quite neutral on the point, myelf (fater lal, my
> writing is done, not counting appendices).

Goond idea there, as well.



> > 3. For the amusement of Illinois and JHU students and alumni and pop
> > SF fans, I'm probably going to leave an "uncut" edition online.
>

> Well, some of the uni references are generic enough to be lamost naz
> uni, nazwaz.

I am going to do the following, in order:

1. Before Steuard's cahpter (say 15 Mar 2002): implement relevant plot
changes
2. After Steuard's cahpter: shorten by about a third

So the "DVD" version of VI.2 will still have the changes to the STORY.

--
Banazir

Banazir the Jedi Hobbit

unread,
Feb 24, 2002, 1:16:19 AM2/24/02
to
David Salo <ds...@usa.net> wrote in message news:<230220021643390907%ds...@usa.net>...

> In article <91a1d472.02022...@posting.google.com>,
> hs...@hotmail.com (Banazir the Jedi Hobbit) wrote:
>
> > Also, to be honest, the whole characters of Spiegel and
> > Arielle seemed a tad pointless to me (not so Arwen), but many folks
> > seem to get a kick out of them, so I left the way open to bringing
> > either back in at any time.
>
> I can't speak for Spiegel

Welp (looking bax at the E-t) AFAICT, Prembone introduced Spiegel,
so...
Perhaps she serves the same purpose as Ariellë, only fro a different
constituency?

> but I can tell you *exactly* what the
> point of Arielle is -- to give the Magic Kingdom of Gondor (TM) a
> highly merchandisable female character who's up to date with the
> thirty-first century. Did you know that you can get any number of
> Ariellë Húriniel dolls with accessories: SCUBA gear, astronaut outfit,
> reporter's microphone, naval uniform?

*psaaaag* Nobuddy is getting my Ariellë Húriniel action fogure with
Throne-Ascending Action!

Okay, okay, I admit it... WHAT? #-)

*mumble mumble* heroine addict *mumble*

*WHAT*?!

> For a complete set, collect Denethor, Dr. Faramir, and Boromir (TM)
> action figures!

Does the Boromir (tm) action fogure heal itself in cold water?
Or is it just made of gumby material?

> Ariellë's appearance and accomplishments were decided on by means of
> highly scientific market testing on a randomly chosen focus group from
> Belfast.

Randomly chosen from among self-selected eaters of Belfast cereal (aka
mooslie), you mean!

> In story-external terms, it's obvious that Ariellë is a "Mary Sue",
> the fictional personification of someone's wish-fulfilment fantasy. I
> just wish I knew whose fantasy, because it certainly isn't mine!

Umm... just a guess... Preince Eric of Ember?
(Sorry, had to ask.)

All the same, I think Húriniel has an eViol Plot brewing...

--
Banazir
(poor unfortunate soles)

Count Tildanor the Balrog

unread,
Feb 24, 2002, 6:09:19 PM2/24/02
to
hs...@hotmail.com (Banazir the Jedi Hobbit) wrote in message news:<91a1d472.0202...@posting.google.com>...

> conteop...@gmx.net (Count Tildanor the Balrog) wrote in message news:<25c6bea2.02022...@posting.google.com>...
> > bh...@ringil.cis.ksu.edu (William H. Hsu) wrote in message news:<a58k2q$u4h$1...@ringil.cis.ksu.edu>...
> > > David Salo <ds...@usa.net> writes:

> It shouldn't affect Steuard much, mais, you might want to retranstate
> that SD entry from the BS fater the revised VI.2 is psotted.

Wlel, I've been taken in by forgeries before; and there's walazs
scriabal variants, etc., etc.


> Don't naybuddy get me rong: I *like* non-JRRT refs; the
> "footlight-crossing" is what made _Bored of The Rings_ edgy and funny
> (in some ways, much more so than the E-t). I just think that for ME
> to lpay too much with Arumandalf and to unify him OR the real Gandalf
> with Corbin will usurp the storyline. Steuard can do whatever he
> likes with Corbin, including writing him off as a liar or madman and
> continuing with Gandalf the Villain (who was quite funny in some
> parts, but IMHO has gone beyond the pale of roguery cf. Boonk III into
> serious eViol).

Wlel, V.10 makes him wreally nasty ...

>
> One queastion begged

[posed, raised; sorry, I'm a stickler on that P6int:-)]

>by O. Sharp's "The Voice of Aruman" (Cave Troll's
> comments about Saruman reminded me): why is the real Gandalf (if
> indeed it is he standing in the tower) convinced that he is Aruman?
> Was he brianwashed? Was he trapped at Orthanc all along and thrying
> to use the Ments in a goond cause?

Mazbe the wreal Aruman hypnotized him or somthing, mazbe he IS Aruman,
as he should have been ... Mazbe "Aruman" the goong guy is both the
real Aruman AND the wreal Gndalf (I have mnaz names, and lla that
...), and the other comes form the mirror universe or smoehtnig ...

Count Tildanor the Balrog

unread,
Feb 24, 2002, 6:29:47 PM2/24/02
to
hs...@hotmail.com (Banazir the Jedi Hobbit) wrote in message news:<91a1d472.02022...@posting.google.com>...
> conteop...@gmx.net (Count Tildanor the Balrog) wrote in message news:<25c6bea2.02022...@posting.google.com>...
> > hs...@hotmail.com (Banazir the Jedi Hobbit) wrote in message news:<91a1d472.02022...@posting.google.com>...
> > > David Salo <ds...@usa.net> wrote in message news:<220220022035233420%ds...@usa.net>...

> > Wlelp, it does allow Frodo that nasty remark about ilk, and Gullible


> > is probably hostile to Frodo (althouhg, once Frodo had been captured
> > the rationale for murdering him wd seem doubtful ...)
>
> I had thought of that, but I can keep the "ilk" bit without quoting
> the Tolkien lead-in. There are many ways to reproduce or condense the
> scene without using the Goond Professor's words (they just take more
> work, which I'm gald to put in, and thyme, which I'm walays short of).

Pascal once wrote to a friend that his letter would have shorter if
he'd had more time.:-]

> > Yah, we like Spiegel! As for Arielle, she's kind of amuzzling a swell
> > ... and fits the Disney theme. But whatever the e-t. writers want ...
>
> I'm just still knot sure who or what Spiegel IS...

Wlel, as you obverve, she was brought into the thing by Prembone. She
corresponded to Sméagol in the orignal. Only problem was that
Gul[l]ible was already established as a he in Boonk II; so SJ
established that it's a question of different characters. Granted
this plot element (it's also in your IV.3 a swell as Raven's IV.2),
Morgil and I (as well as Aris K, Öje, Gimlet, and Tamf) simply
developed the character we'd been given. She ended up as a kind of
quasi-pacifist, "We Are the World" Orc-loving idelaist, with a touch
(or perhaps more than a touch) of the neurotic -- givign her a kind of
unique perspective.

As for her role in the rest of the e-t., she's out of my hands now
(just so long as she isn't killed or nazthing) ...

> Arielle is indeed a goond fit with the Mageic Kingdom (tm). She's
> just a *smidgen* too goond to be true, and you know what they say
> about Sidney (tm): if it loonks too goond to be true, and it is about
> to take over the world, it's prolly Emberite.
>

But just thiunk of all the products she'll sell!

/me LOLs at Mr. Salo's explanation of the point of Ariellë ...

> Memember what Corwin did to Ganelon (in the original _Guns of Avalon_,
> not Kevin's E-text)? Mr. Orc's Wild Ride (tm) is still popular in
> Disgiliath, I hear.

(Ganelon for me is a guy in the Chanosn de Roland .. but can imagine
what the wild ride thingie might be ...)

> > ... but the TEUNC references staz!:-]
>
> Absobloodylutely!

:-]

>
> > > Finally, I left open a few key questions:
> > >
> > > 1. What is Sauron's true nature? (Corbin opines that he's a Dark Lord
> > > in truth, but that's just a clearly stereotypical fantasy hero
> > > talking.)
> >
> > The narrator says slavery exists ... of curse, in my cahpter IV.12,
> > Sauron says that universal health care exists, which, if true, could
> > balance things out a bit. Hoever, the one thing that's quite clear
> > abount Sauron is that he is weird.
>
> That's easy. Sauron means to bring about universal health care
> through the reinstitution of slavery. It's a mistake eople have made
> before, nesupasu?
>

Somethign to be said for that ...

> > > 2. Who's got the Ring?
>
> I find it quite typical of the E-text (and hilarious) that NOBODY
> CARES WHERE THE RING IS! :-)

Yah, so what! Frodo, Gullible, Talking Fox, the Bork ... whadever! :-]

>
> > > 3. What's Frodo in it for now?
> >
> > Perh one or two hints of Frodo's motivations (whatever they maz be
> > ...)
>
> It depends on whether my NEW tolp twist makes it in or knot (suffice
> it to say that it's a machination of Sauron, who would hardly let
> Frodo get out of his custody that easily, even with teleporting
> dwagins helping). Memember that even in Muddle-earth, the One Ring is
> still the one artifact that can't be circumvented (except by Bombadil,
> of curse).
>

Thgat soudns goond to me ...

> I suppose if Frodo has really swallowed the Ring, he will start to
> behave much more erratically. IMO, Steuard should not feel obligated
> to get the Ring out of whomever has it in his gut, whether it goes
> into Mount Viagra in VI.3 or no. :-)
>

The psosibilities are endless ...

Steuard Jensen

unread,
Feb 24, 2002, 6:46:01 PM2/24/02
to
I'm responding here rather than to the original chapter largely
because responding to the original would make me feel obligated to do
a point-by-point commentary... and I don't have that kind of time! :)

As it turns out, I _have_ spent too much time on this already, and
this article is rather long; I'm sorry about that. For the sake of
the time impaired, I'll summarize here: I'm honestly not sure how to
handle my upcoming chapter, because some of the elements in Bill's
rendition of VI.2 are very difficult for me to deal with in a writing
style that I enjoy. I'd love to hear advice or thoughts from others
on the issue!

Quoth David Salo <ds...@usa.net> in article
<220220022035233420%ds...@usa.net>:

> This is going to be a critical response. I like Bill Hsu's
> writing a lot, and he is very funny (probably even more so in
> person!). But I was disappointed with this chapter.
> My criticisms are brief:
> 1) It's too long.
> 2) Too much steering.
> 3) *More* Hsu, less Tolkien!

Those were very much my impressions as well, on all three counts. (I
just finished reading VI.2 this afternoon). I'll say more about them
below, along with some related comments.

> 1) This comes out to 29 printed pages. The original text has 17
> printed pages. 'Nuff said.

The length (and the massive additional confusion of the chapter)
actually seems to have led me to miss some of the few major plot
elements in it, based on other comments in this thread. In my
struggle to finish reading, I managed to miss the scene that people
have mentioned where someone eats the Ring. No, I don't know how, but
I do know that I felt awfully weary after I finished reading. Now I'm
worried about what else I may have missed... but I honestly don't have
time between real-life responsibilities to reread this whole chapter
in the immediate future. (Any hints as to what fraction of the way
through the Ring-eating scene is?)

> 2) This whole Corbin of Ember thing turned me off. It basically takes
> too much control of the textual direction.

I strongly agree. In fact, in writing my last couple chapters, I've
felt like at least half of my time has been spent trying to reconcile
the zillion variant explanations for events and characters in the
story instead of actually coming up with humor. (Sure, I've managed
to pull some decent humor out of the synthesis, but I wish it hadn't
been _as_ much work.)

I know that there's a wide range of E-text philosophies, and I know
that it's unfair of me to try to judge one over another. This chapter
(like large parts of Books IV and V) seems to belong squarely in the
"More Confusion Means More Laughs" camp, which does seem to be quite
popular. Unfortunately for me, I find the E-text funniest when it's
at least fairly coherent. (To illustrate some of my taste in humor,
I'm a Douglas Adams fan: his books are crazy, but they honestly do
have their own internal consistency, and for me that's actually the
source of much of their humor.)

For me, a lot of the fun in writing the E-text comes in figuring out
what to do with what previous contributors have left for you, but
working _within_ that framework rather than finding new and creative
ways to undo it. It's awfully hard to develop ongoing jokes or to
parody broader themes if half of what each person writes just gets
rejected by the next author as a drug-induced haze. Again, I know
that this is just my personal style, and that other people really get
a kick out of an ever-shifting story where you never quite know what
details you can trust.

I have to acknowledge, too, that a combination of the "heedless
mayhem" style and the "consistent building" style can lead to good
results: the more random chapters can inspire new and interesting plot
twists that can then be fleshed out in more structured chapters. I
felt like I did quite well dealing with the male/female Gul(l)ible
issue when I split the characters in Book IV (and added some good
opportunities for humor, too). I also really appreciated the
revelation that Boromir(TM), as a Toon, was almost impossible to kill:
that actually made me much happier with all the confusion about him
earlier in the story.

The trouble with this chapter (VI.2) in particular is that it's almost
impossible for someone with my preferred style to follow it. As far
as I can tell, it essentially rejects an enormous number of pretty
well established "facts" from elsewhere in the book, some of which had
already taken many authors a _lot_ of effort to shape into a stable
form. By the end of Book V, I felt like most (if not all) of the
proliferating random plot threads were at least vaguely in hand, and
that we had _finally_ settled on something resembling a stable picture
of the main characters in the story: I was getting back into the fun
of the project. Now, suddenly, this Corbin character waltzes in and
explains that nothing is as it seems, and essentially tosses out
whatever stability we had tortuously produced by the end of Book V.

This puts me, as the next author, in a rather nasty situation. I've
explained my E-text philosophy above: I want to produce a (funny)
synthesis of everything that's come before, while adding in my own
humor as well. However, VI.2 flat-out contradicts a lot of the
chapters that preceeded it, and in many substantial ways. I can't get
out of this one by just splitting one character into two! I _could_
be literally consistent with all the previous chapters by just
accepting Corbin's explanations, but I'm not willing to do that: it
feels wrong to me to throw away story elements that previous authors
obviously invested a lot of time in developing. On the other hand, I
_could_ produce a fairly consistent story by just claiming that Corbin
was insane, but then I'm joining the "throw it away if it doesn't suit
you" school of E-text writing, and I honestly don't enjoy that very
much.

In other words, I don't know what exactly to do at this point. All my
philosophical musings are _substantially_ complicated by the fact that
I'm parodying "Mount Doom", which is the point in the original story
where all (well, most) of the divergent plot threads finally come
together to hang on the edge of doom. I can't parody "Mount Doom" in
a way that I'll enjoy without doing something similar myself... but
Corbin has just given me a single chapter in which to distill an
entirely new multi-verse of twists and turns. It's going to look like
I'm throwing away Bill's chapter even if I try to remain entirely
consistent with it!

The worst part is that right now, my feelings about writing my final
chapter in the E-text are closer to dismay than to excitement. I'm
not quite sure what to do about that.

> 3) Parts of this chapter read as if the author had taken a copy of
> JRRT's text and tweaked it.

I found that frustrating, too... and I'm quite certain that it
contributed a lot to the chapter's length. More Hsu, less Tolkien! :)


A couple of other points. First of all, the radioactive Phial of
Galadriel was funny! The trouble is, this is the first appearance in
the E-text of a phial at all. Galadriel gave our Frodo a jewel, which
Maglor decided (correctly or not) was a _slipcast_ or at least derived
from one, and which I actually have plans for in my rendition of
"Mount Doom". I don't know how easy it might or might not be to turn
a pure white gemstone into a threatening radioactive torture device,
but I've got too much invested in that jewel to turn it into a bottle
of plutonium at this point. :)

Second, on thinking through the issues a bit, I don't feel that it's
very fair for a chapter from the "Mordor branch" of the story to do
too much in the direction of reinterpreting characters and events in
its "Gondor branch". Making cross-references and tying the two
branches closer together is generally a good thing, but making major
changes in the other branch without a basis for doing so in Tolkien's
LotR seems a bit out of line. I'm fine with authors pushing those who
come after them to go in a particular direction, but only when they do
so in a way that's intrinsically a part of their own storyline. Much
of Corbin's time in this chapter exists _only_ to force a
reinterpretation of Book V, and I don't think that I'll feel happy
going along with that. I don't know how I'll do it, but I'm fairly
determined to retain the state of the "Gondor branch" as it was at the
end of Book V. If that means making Corbin a madman and explaining
away related events as a drug-induced hallucination, I won't be happy
about it, but I'll do it.

Third, I have some reasonably good (if vague) plans for Spiegel, too.
I'm happy to find some way to bring her back from a parallel universe,
but I've gotten fairly tired of resurrections from the dead. If she
gets killed off in a rewrite of VI.2, I'll be disappointed, but I
think she'll stay dead.

So, er, I don't know where exactly that leaves us in terms of
rewriting VI.2 or writing VI.3. I'd like to hear responses to this
lengthy thing before making any real decisions.

Steuard Jensen

David Salo

unread,
Feb 24, 2002, 7:52:03 PM2/24/02
to
In article <ZWee8.25$Q4....@news.uchicago.edu>,

sbje...@midway.uchicago.edu (Steuard Jensen) wrote:
> I managed to miss the scene that people
> have mentioned where someone eats the Ring. No, I don't know how, but
> I do know that I felt awfully weary after I finished reading. Now I'm
> worried about what else I may have missed... but I honestly don't have
> time between real-life responsibilities to reread this whole chapter
> in the immediate future. (Any hints as to what fraction of the way
> through the Ring-eating scene is?)

It's very brief, so I'll just reproduce it here:

David Salo

unread,
Feb 24, 2002, 8:11:23 PM2/24/02
to
I'm going to try to summarize the "Corbin of Ember" stuff, mostly
for my own benefit, as I can't make head nor tail of it otherwise.

I. "Gandalf" is really Aruman. The real Gandalf is either imprisoned
in Orthanc or is dead.
II. Boromir is a Toon (we knew that) and his sword, like Denethor's, is
some kind of undead-slayer, protects you from being killed, and is very
sharp.
III. Corbin is the brother of Randy, Felona, and Band. Felona =
Arielle.
IV. Band has Maglor's slimaril/slipcast. He has somehow hijacked a
tardiS with it. He and a sorceress Charissa have left a lot of human
babies from something called a Matrix Shade in various places in
Muddle-earth. If these people are killed they become immortal, it
seems.
V. This stuff is all about a battle between Mojo and Design.
VI. Corbin wants a law-orc from Draino to help him get an impounded
tardiS back from the Courts of Chaosium.
VII. Various agents are trying to import hi-tech weaponry into
Muddle-earth. The Bork have imported phasers, the Suleiman "HKs"
(whatever they are) and blasters.
VIII. Band has tried to provide Sauron with were-worms.
IX. Charissa stole the Whichblade from Imladris and has used it to
enslave a coven of vampires.
X. Arwen is a vampire-slayer.
XI. Sauron has a new apprentice, Darth Uranus. (Hey! I thought
_Frodo_ was Sauron's new apprentice!)

I *think* those are the major points. Nothing about flying műmakil.
:(

DS

Steuard Jensen

unread,
Feb 24, 2002, 10:46:27 PM2/24/02
to
I forgot one other thing that I meant to mention in my last
all-too-long commentary. This isn't really as much a serious critique
as a statement of personal preference in case Mr. Hsu decides to
rewrite VI.2. I liked the "role shift" that started late in Book IV:
Sam taking the place of Tolkien's Frodo, Gulible taking the place of
Sam, and Frodo taking the place of Gollum. (I appreciated VI.1 for
giving Gulible an outside motive for following along.)

Now, I wouldn't complain if Bill decided to keep his chapter the way
it is (with the eventual return of the Frodo-Sam pairing and Gulible
sneaking along behind), although I would probably appreciate a little
more explanation of why the situation shifted (and of why Frodo was
the one getting so worn down as the journey continued, actually).
However, I'd probably be even happier if Bill found a way to work that
existing theme into his master plan instead of changing it. :) (Even
if all three of them traveled together for a while, ate the Ring,
or whatever, the general shifting of roles could still be maintained.)

Just a thought, and Bill, feel free to ignore me if you want to. :) My
apologies, too, if my response to your chapter has come across as a
personal attack on you in any way. I'm just awfully busy in real life
at the moment, and the prospect of an arduous process of reconciling
variant story lines seems a bit much for me at the moment. :P

Steuard Jensen

Steuard Jensen

unread,
Feb 24, 2002, 10:52:48 PM2/24/02
to
Quoth David Salo <ds...@usa.net> in article
<240220021853022982%ds...@usa.net>:
> sbje...@midway.uchicago.edu (Steuard Jensen) wrote:
> > I managed to miss the scene that people have mentioned where
> > someone eats the Ring.

> It's very brief, so I'll just reproduce it here:

[snip]

Thanks! I _did_ read that scene, and I knew from the description that
Sam had clearly done something sneaky, but I didn't manage to pick up
on what that something had actually been!

Steuard Jensen

Steuard Jensen

unread,
Feb 24, 2002, 11:22:29 PM2/24/02
to
Quoth bh...@ringil.cis.ksu.edu (William H. Hsu) in article
<a58k2q$u4h$1...@ringil.cis.ksu.edu>:
"
S
.
P
.
O
.
I
.
L
.
E
.
R
.
S
"

> 1. Q: Should Corbin take Spiegel with her?
> R: [Remark] It's just as easy to leave her with the party as to bring
> her back (through a recurrence of Corbin or another "miracle"). I
> agree that it's preferable to minimize these. It depends on whether
> Steuard or Tamf had intended any role for her.

As I've mentioned elsewhere, I did have something of an idea for her,
and I do like her character. Having said that, the role I had in mind
for her was a good one, but it _was_ an "exit role", so to
speak... I'm trying to parody Tolkien's original, after all. :)
Because of that, I suppose I can't complain too terribly much if
someone else finds a good home for her first. (Still, I'd need to
dig to find a new source of emotion for my climactic scene... I'd
probably be happier if she were still available somehow.)

> [*] Occam's Razor would dictate that Boromir's (tm) having
> Woundhealer is superfluous if he is indeed a Toon, but I was
> dissatisfied with (my own) explanation for why he was able to
> run _Frodo_ through. Then again, not everything has to be
> explained, least of all the resurrection of E-t characters. :-)

I felt the Toon explanation to be a very good one indeed, but as I
didn't actually know the "Woundhealer" reference, I didn't see it as
superfluous. :) I figure that Frodo's survival has already been either
accepted or swept under the rug, though, so I don't think any extra
explanation is necessary. :)

> [**] If the consensus is that I've usurped the Gondor (tm) thread
> by bringing Arielle in here, I'll remove the refs, but (a) I
> consider her fair game as she is a "pure E-t" character and
> (b) Corbin needs a reason to be in Muddle-earth.

As I said elsewhere, I did feel a bit funny about the degree to which
your Corbin section "usurped" the Gondor(TM) thread (good word :) ),
not just regarding Arielle, but Gandalf as well. (And what about all
the reappearances of Aruman's ghost late in Book V?) I think I just
feel that by Book VI, the plot should be sharpening to a knife edge
rather than continuing to spiral wider and wider, and that undermining
the traces of stability that came out of Book V wasn't a good way to
reach that goal. :/ At the very least, I know that I'm going to try
to bring Chapter 3 to a final moment of clarity before Doom falls, and
that will be a _lot_ easier if I can just leave Book V as it stands.

> 3. Q: Should Gullible be left with Frodo and Sam?
> A: I separated them NOT because I wanted to stick to Tolkien but because
> I wanted to heighten the suspense vis-a-vis who swallowed the Ring.
> In this case, I prefer that they stay apart, but I'm open to
> suggestions.

As I said in a different message, my favorite resolution would be for
Frodo to be the sneaking follower rather than Gul(l)ible. I've
enjoyed that play on Tolkien's original in the last couple of
chapters. If you do separate them as in the current VI.2, I'd
appreciate a bit more motivation for all of the characters' apparent
reversals of behavior (okay, a _lot_ more). :)

Steuard Jensen

Count Tildanor the Balrog

unread,
Feb 25, 2002, 6:32:33 PM2/25/02
to
sbje...@midway.uchicago.edu (Steuard Jensen) wrote in message news:<ZWee8.25$Q4....@news.uchicago.edu>...

> I know that there's a wide range of E-text philosophies, and I know
> that it's unfair of me to try to judge one over another. This chapter
> (like large parts of Books IV and V) seems to belong squarely in the
> "More Confusion Means More Laughs" camp, which does seem to be quite
> popular. Unfortunately for me, I find the E-text funniest when it's
> at least fairly coherent. (To illustrate some of my taste in humor,
> I'm a Douglas Adams fan: his books are crazy, but they honestly do
> have their own internal consistency, and for me that's actually the
> source of much of their humor.)

I agree that confusion *in itself* isn't funny (as soemoen else
pointed long ago ...), though it can sometimes give rise to amusing
twists ... but shouldn't involve a lot of reversing other eople's
struff. (I think *most* of Book IV was relatively conssitent, except
the killing of Frodo and the rape chapter, which apart from its
guliness radically altered the characters of Sam and Dr. Faramir, and
I like characters' motivations more or less consistent.:-]

> A couple of other points. First of all, the radioactive Phial of
> Galadriel was funny! The trouble is, this is the first appearance in
> the E-text of a phial at all. Galadriel gave our Frodo a jewel, which
> Maglor decided (correctly or not) was a _slipcast_ or at least derived
> from one, and which I actually have plans for in my rendition of
> "Mount Doom". I don't know how easy it might or might not be to turn
> a pure white gemstone into a threatening radioactive torture device,
> but I've got too much invested in that jewel to turn it into a bottle
> of plutonium at this point. :)


Ummm, er, I fear this may be my fault. In IV.5 (the chapter by Morgil
and me), it's called both a stone AND a phial, and this inconsistency
is also in my lamented IV.12 ... Getting Tolkien and Trolkien
confused, I fear. Have no objection to changing it back to a stone,
myself ... (In the same chapters, it's implied that the Stone/Phial
has weird psychological side-effects ...) IV.10, BTW, calls it the
Shiny Thing of Galadriel.

> Third, I have some reasonably good (if vague) plans for Spiegel, too.
> I'm happy to find some way to bring her back from a parallel universe,
> but I've gotten fairly tired of resurrections from the dead. If she
> gets killed off in a rewrite of VI.2, I'll be disappointed, but I
> think she'll stay dead.

Ah, I hope these plans come to pass ...

Raven

unread,
Feb 25, 2002, 7:08:28 PM2/25/02
to
"Count Tildanor the Balrog" <conteop...@gmx.net> skrev i en
meddelelse news:25c6bea2.02022...@posting.google.com...

> > Gandalf the Villain (who was quite funny in some parts,
> > but IMHO has gone beyond the pale of roguery cf. Boonk III into
> > serious eViol).
> Wlel, V.10 makes him wreally nasty ...

No.pe. He murdered Denethor (tm) and all his council, remember?
Slit their throats or otherwise knifed them, one by one, IIRC. That was
well before my chapter. He tried to murder Pipsqueak. He was plenty
evil before I got my hands on him. I refrained from making him less
nasty again.
You could explain his mounting evil as the effect of the Vala dust
found on the slopes of Charadhras. I think that I have established
narcotics as sinister at best, very dangerous at worst, in the etext.

Eware.


Celaeno

unread,
Feb 25, 2002, 7:26:56 PM2/25/02
to
You will not evade me, David Salo <ds...@usa.net>:

> I'm going to try to summarize the "Corbin of Ember" stuff, mostly
>for my own benefit, as I can't make head nor tail of it otherwise.

>X. Arwen is a vampire-slayer.

I think that's the only big new plot development I *really* liked.
Whatever happens with this chapter (and I would like a rewrite),
please keep this :)

> I *think* those are the major points. Nothing about flying műmakil.
>:(

Flying műmakil would have been fun. Especially if they needed to 'go'
while airborne...


Cel
TEUNC Triumvirate

Banazir the Jedi Hobbit

unread,
Feb 25, 2002, 10:23:56 PM2/25/02
to
sbje...@midway.uchicago.edu (Steuard Jensen) wrote in message news:<ZWee8.25$Q4....@news.uchicago.edu>...
> I'm responding here rather than to the original chapter largely
> because responding to the original would make me feel obligated to do
> a point-by-point commentary... and I don't have that kind of time! :)

You and me both!
I am eyebrow-deep in crises ATM, so this reply is going to have to be
brief.

> As it turns out, I _have_ spent too much time on this already, and
> this article is rather long; I'm sorry about that. For the sake of
> the time impaired, I'll summarize here: I'm honestly not sure how to
> handle my upcoming chapter, because some of the elements in Bill's
> rendition of VI.2 are very difficult for me to deal with in a writing
> style that I enjoy. I'd love to hear advice or thoughts from others
> on the issue!

Well, as I see it, the E-text has just one mission: to be fun for both
readers and authors. I'd rather succeed at that than at cramming in
every last bell, whistle, and kitchen sink (this was meant as a
meta-parody of the SF, anime, and Disney crossovers we have already
worked in over the last 5 books). So, I'll rewrite, but some parts
will only be cursorily touched up, some will be summarily axed, and a
FEW plot twists shall be streamlined.

> Quoth David Salo <ds...@usa.net> in article
> <220220022035233420%ds...@usa.net>:

> > 1) It's too long.


> > 2) Too much steering.
> > 3) *More* Hsu, less Tolkien!
>
> Those were very much my impressions as well, on all three counts. (I
> just finished reading VI.2 this afternoon). I'll say more about them
> below, along with some related comments.
>
> > 1) This comes out to 29 printed pages. The original text has 17
> > printed pages. 'Nuff said.
>
> The length (and the massive additional confusion of the chapter)
> actually seems to have led me to miss some of the few major plot

> elements in it...

Although a little confusion is probably a good thing, missing major
plot twists due to the sheer length and/or ennui of the chapter is
probably a sign that I have taken Rule #7 ("Make It Long") too far:

http://www.ozcomedy.com/fantasy.htm

> (Any hints as to what fraction of the way through the Ring-eating scene is?)

Grep for "jammed his thumb". I saw that David quoted the paragraph,
which upon re-reading looks a little subtle, but I tried to give a few
hints of it in Sam's behavior.



> > 2) This whole Corbin of Ember thing turned me off. It basically takes
> > too much control of the textual direction.
>
> I strongly agree. In fact, in writing my last couple chapters, I've
> felt like at least half of my time has been spent trying to reconcile
> the zillion variant explanations for events and characters in the
> story instead of actually coming up with humor. (Sure, I've managed
> to pull some decent humor out of the synthesis, but I wish it hadn't
> been _as_ much work.)

Well, that's what I thought *I* was doing, but it's one of the
artifacts of group storytelling: the "wrestling" effect. It's when
the reader has to do a lot of reconciling (and re-reconciling) that it
can get wearisome.

> I know that there's a wide range of E-text philosophies, and I know
> that it's unfair of me to try to judge one over another. This chapter
> (like large parts of Books IV and V) seems to belong squarely in the
> "More Confusion Means More Laughs" camp, which does seem to be quite
> popular.

Actually, I was going for the Kitchen Sink effect to heighten the
"E-text" irony. e.g., search for "Quake", "DOOM", and "Wolfenstein"
in my VI.2. A couple of months from now, after Google crawls the
page, there will be some funny hits on that chapter... at least, that
was the idea.

A secondary agenda of mine, I must admit, was to get rid of Spiegel
(who had, I must admit, driven me nuts through much of IV and V and
whom I personally didn't find funny in a lot of places). Don't get me
wrong; I agree that it's better - for the most part - to paint with
the palette one is given, but in Spiegel's case I found myself unable
to write anything but an implausible caricature of a female character.
(That's probably because she IS one, but to each his teunce. :-))

Third and finally, I wanted to find SOME semblance of an explanation
for Evil Gandalf other than the obvious one that he really is the bad
guy of the piece.

These are, of course, just my opinion, but the great thing about the
E-t is that we take turns at it. :-)

> Unfortunately for me, I find the E-text funniest when it's
> at least fairly coherent. (To illustrate some of my taste in humor,
> I'm a Douglas Adams fan: his books are crazy, but they honestly do
> have their own internal consistency, and for me that's actually the
> source of much of their humor.)

Absolutely.

> For me, a lot of the fun in writing the E-text comes in figuring out
> what to do with what previous contributors have left for you, but
> working _within_ that framework rather than finding new and creative
> ways to undo it. It's awfully hard to develop ongoing jokes or to
> parody broader themes if half of what each person writes just gets
> rejected by the next author as a drug-induced haze. Again, I know
> that this is just my personal style, and that other people really get
> a kick out of an ever-shifting story where you never quite know what
> details you can trust.

This is true, though I think I've kept to the spirit (if not the
letter) of where Raven and Menelvagor were going. The biggie, of
course, is the Arumandalf twist, but I'm perfectly OK with that being
subject to summary veto (by you OR authors who follow you).

Now, that's not to say that we should all make the plot oscillate
wildly from chapter to chapter, and if you all feel I've undone too
much of what went before, I'd be glad to rewrite any particular plot
point. I actually tried to minimize the residual effect ("Corbin's
wake", as it were). My intention was to leave everything in position
to APPARENTLY be resolved in "Mount Viagra" as in "Mount Doom", but be
volatile as a thrown pot.

If you feel I've pushed too hard to get things into position, I
reiterate my willingness to go with the "consensus" on this. I aim to
give you (Steuard et al) something you can make use of in the rest of
VI, whether that's what I wrote already or something new. Personally,
I think I can manage with most of the Corbin incident intact.

> I have to acknowledge, too, that a combination of the "heedless
> mayhem" style and the "consistent building" style can lead to good
> results: the more random chapters can inspire new and interesting plot
> twists that can then be fleshed out in more structured chapters. I
> felt like I did quite well dealing with the male/female Gul(l)ible
> issue when I split the characters in Book IV (and added some good
> opportunities for humor, too).

For me, it took some getting used to, and the "party of five" (IIRC,
Maglor was in IV.4) was completely .

> I also really appreciated the revelation that Boromir(TM), as a Toon, was
> almost impossible to kill: that actually made me much happier with all the
> confusion about him earlier in the story.

I stuck with that, but it didn't explain why he could kill Frodo (and
unlike some or perhaps all of you, I was completely unsatisfied with
my OWN explanation of how Frodo survived). Hence I gave Boromir (tm)
the Sword Woundhealer (from Saberhagen's series) - it'll safeguard him
even against Dip.

> The trouble with this chapter (VI.2) in particular is that it's almost
> impossible for someone with my preferred style to follow it. As far
> as I can tell, it essentially rejects an enormous number of pretty
> well established "facts" from elsewhere in the book, some of which had
> already taken many authors a _lot_ of effort to shape into a stable
> form.

Hrm... yes and no.
I, too, had very little time to read the E-t, but this happened around
February through mid-June and mid-July through December for me.
Suffice it to say that I must have missed some of these facts - no
kidding.

David's already given us his synopsis of Arielle, the only besides
Gandalf that I put a twist on (and the only one besides Gandalf and
Sam that I actually followed).

Would someone take a crack at giving a synopsis of the facts?
(I'm not being facetious here; I think it would really help!)

> By the end of Book V, I felt like most (if not all) of the
> proliferating random plot threads were at least vaguely in hand, and
> that we had _finally_ settled on something resembling a stable picture
> of the main characters in the story: I was getting back into the fun
> of the project.

Well, that's probably thanks to the death of HeyHoDen! :-)

> Now, suddenly, this Corbin character waltzes in and
> explains that nothing is as it seems, and essentially tosses out
> whatever stability we had tortuously produced by the end of Book V.

Now, here I have to disagree.
Call the E-text boring, juvenile, silly, chaotic, worthless, anything
you want, but STABLE?!
Bite your tongue, sir! #-)

> This puts me, as the next author, in a rather nasty situation. I've
> explained my E-text philosophy above: I want to produce a (funny)
> synthesis of everything that's come before, while adding in my own
> humor as well. However, VI.2 flat-out contradicts a lot of the
> chapters that preceeded it, and in many substantial ways. I can't get
> out of this one by just splitting one character into two!

<PHOTOELECTRIC_EFFECT>
I thought physicists could get out of most anything by splitting
things
in two!
</PHOTOELECTRIC_EFFECT>

> I _could_ be literally consistent with all the previous chapters by
> just accepting Corbin's explanations, but I'm not willing to do that:
> it feels wrong to me to throw away story elements that previous authors
> obviously invested a lot of time in developing. On the other hand, I
> _could_ produce a fairly consistent story by just claiming that Corbin
> was insane, but then I'm joining the "throw it away if it doesn't suit
> you" school of E-text writing, and I honestly don't enjoy that very
> much.

Well, you have my blessing to do it to me, but that's because I freely
admit my guilt. :-)

But, rather than force you to amend it, let me offer instead to, er,
destroy the work of my presumption. Really. #-)

If this were TEUNC I'd start a Yahoo! Groups poll to see which plot
twists people did and didn't want.

> In other words, I don't know what exactly to do at this point. All my
> philosophical musings are _substantially_ complicated by the fact that
> I'm parodying "Mount Doom", which is the point in the original story
> where all (well, most) of the divergent plot threads finally come
> together to hang on the edge of doom.

You're the author - write it that way if you WANT to, but please don't
feel any pressure just because it's "that time of the book"!
Heck, feel free to postpone the denouement until after The Grey
Havens.
(Of the Quest - the denouement of the story really DOES come in the
appendices, of course.)

> I can't parody "Mount Doom" in
> a way that I'll enjoy without doing something similar myself... but
> Corbin has just given me a single chapter in which to distill an
> entirely new multi-verse of twists and turns. It's going to look like
> I'm throwing away Bill's chapter even if I try to remain entirely
> consistent with it!

LOL - to be frank, that's what I was going for.
You know, when I read Zelazny's Second Chronicles of Amber, all I
could
think through the first three volumes (6-8 of 10) was how unnecessary
all the plot twists were. Then I thought: this is a mediocre Amber
series, but it's a fantastic parody! >-)

> The worst part is that right now, my feelings about writing my final
> chapter in the E-text are closer to dismay than to excitement. I'm
> not quite sure what to do about that.

Well, first, let's establish whether it really all comes down to
Corbin
(because everything else is easy enough to "fix") and whether it
really
comes down to Arumandalf - which is the only thing I feel strongly
about!

In any case, far be it from me to bring dismay on any of the E-text
authors, least of all one who's brought so many laughs to the table.
I say, keep the funny, lose the rest.

> > 3) Parts of this chapter read as if the author had taken a copy of
> > JRRT's text and tweaked it.
>
> I found that frustrating, too... and I'm quite certain that it
> contributed a lot to the chapter's length. More Hsu, less Tolkien! :)

Well, I'm not sure whether that's a vote of confidence or
no-confidence,
but that's EASY (it's the one thing I can promise you in spades, given
enough time).



> A couple of other points. First of all, the radioactive Phial of
> Galadriel was funny! The trouble is, this is the first appearance in
> the E-text of a phial at all. Galadriel gave our Frodo a jewel, which
> Maglor decided (correctly or not) was a _slipcast_ or at least derived
> from one, and which I actually have plans for in my rendition of
> "Mount Doom". I don't know how easy it might or might not be to turn
> a pure white gemstone into a threatening radioactive torture device,
> but I've got too much invested in that jewel to turn it into a bottle
> of plutonium at this point. :)

Oh, that. Frodo still HAS that, see!
Sam's the one with the Phial.
(I agree that splitting PEOPLE is problematic, but I don't share the
same qualms with splitting artifacts.)

> Second, on thinking through the issues a bit, I don't feel that it's
> very fair for a chapter from the "Mordor branch" of the story to do
> too much in the direction of reinterpreting characters and events in
> its "Gondor branch". Making cross-references and tying the two
> branches closer together is generally a good thing, but making major
> changes in the other branch without a basis for doing so in Tolkien's
> LotR seems a bit out of line.

With all due respect, I can't say as I agree entirely that there IS
such a thing as a "Gondor branch". (JRRT's original) IV.3 and VI.2
really do tie in hints of action from "back east" (Gandalf's thoughts
on Frodo and Sam in IV.3; the death of the Witch-king and Aragorn's
revelation in the Palantir in VI.2).

But I see your point and am willing to relinquish editorial control of
plotlines limited strictly to the goings-on in Minas Tirith. e.g., I
don't have my heart set on having Arielle turn out to be related to
Corbin. Similarly, events such as Lego-lass and Giggly's affair,
Eowynn being Aragon's daughter, etc. are clearly beyond the ken of Sam
and Frodo.

Having said that... I am determined to air my SUGGESTION (and it is
just that) on the subject of Arumandalf. I do NOT think it's set in
stone that the Gandalf that we've seen since Book III of the E-t bears
any relation to Gandalf the White, and I don't see any point in
ridding M-e of the good wizard entirely! (If you have big plans,
Steuard, Tamf, Prembone, Oje, anyone: feel free to send me spoilers.)

> I'm fine with authors pushing those who
> come after them to go in a particular direction, but only when they do
> so in a way that's intrinsically a part of their own storyline. Much
> of Corbin's time in this chapter exists _only_ to force a
> reinterpretation of Book V, and I don't think that I'll feel happy
> going along with that.

Well, I agree that I turned a few too many levers and knobs vis-a-vis
Book V, but the INTENDED impact was minimal. I must disavow actually
having an agenda re: V, simply because I (a) didn't read V THAT
closely; (b) don't feel that strongly about V. e.g., regarding who
gets crowned the King, Queen, General of the Revolution, or
President-for-Life of Gondor (tm): your guess is as good as mine!

As for IV and VI.1: it had not occurred to me that anyone planned to
use Spiegel again, but see above.

> I don't know how I'll do it, but I'm fairly
> determined to retain the state of the "Gondor branch" as it was at the
> end of Book V. If that means making Corbin a madman and explaining
> away related events as a drug-induced hallucination, I won't be happy
> about it, but I'll do it.

You'll have to enlighten me, as I confess that (like most E-t authors)
I don't hold any plot elements of LoTR sacred for purposes of LoTW.
For me, however, this means that I don't hold any plot elements of
_LoTW_ sacred either! (You see, having to bring Frodo back from the
dead inured me to the "tug of war" somewhat.)

But I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I'm flexible.
What parts do you feel should stay put? I'll take them under
consideration and take care not to tread on too many toes (Elf, Ent,
or Hobbit).

> Third, I have some reasonably good (if vague) plans for Spiegel, too.
> I'm happy to find some way to bring her back from a parallel universe,
> but I've gotten fairly tired of resurrections from the dead. If she
> gets killed off in a rewrite of VI.2, I'll be disappointed, but I
> think she'll stay dead.

I had no such plans; rather, I was planning on figuring a way for
Corbin to take Gorbush with him instead. I was going to have Spiegel
go along, but I'll leave her in M-e (though I still plan to split F&S
off) if it makes things easier for you.

> So, er, I don't know where exactly that leaves us in terms of
> rewriting VI.2 or writing VI.3. I'd like to hear responses to this
> lengthy thing before making any real decisions.

Well, thanks for asking.
You'll hear from me again around 06 Mar 2002 after a few of my RL
deadlines are, well, dead.

-Bill

Banazir the Jedi Hobbit

unread,
Feb 25, 2002, 10:29:01 PM2/25/02
to
sbje...@midway.uchicago.edu (Steuard Jensen) wrote in message news:<kyie8.35$Q4....@news.uchicago.edu>...

I vote to keep that one in, as it requires no miracles whatsoever to
undo... just, er, let nature take its course.. IF the Quest lasts that
long. (The humor wasn't meant to be scatological, though - rather,
it's a chance for someone as-yet-undetermined to take a fit-induced
dive, trip and fall, or be bodily shoved into Mount Viagra.)

-Bill

Banazir the Jedi Hobbit

unread,
Feb 25, 2002, 10:56:07 PM2/25/02
to
David Salo <ds...@usa.net> wrote in message news:<240220021912222764%ds...@usa.net>...

> I'm going to try to summarize the "Corbin of Ember" stuff, mostly
> for my own benefit, as I can't make head nor tail of it otherwise.
>
> I. "Gandalf" is really Aruman. The real Gandalf is either imprisoned
> in Orthanc or is dead.

This is Corbin's claim, though he has been known to be wrong on
occasion.

> II. Boromir is a Toon (we knew that) and his sword, like Denethor's, is
> some kind of undead-slayer, protects you from being killed, and is very
> sharp.

Boromir is a Toon who inherited Woundhealer, a Sword that doesn't
properly belong in Muddle-earth but made its way here under mysterious
circumstances. Woundhealer strikes down the unliving, but protects
those who still draw breath (Toons included) from bodily harm and
HEALS those it is thrust into.

> III. Corbin is the brother of Randy, Felona, and Band. Felona =
> Arielle.

I'm having second thoughts about this, but you all can work it out and
tell me if it's a red(head) herring. If the consensus OR majority is
against it, I'll just take out the remark.

> IV. Band has Maglor's slimaril/slipcast.

MAYBE: in fact, there is a paradox in Corbin's story. The primality
of the Jewel of The Judge (which created Shade) vs. the Slipcast of
Maglor implies that (if Corbin's account is true and accurate) M-e is
either a Shade that predated the founding of Ember or not a Shade at
all. We know Earth is a Shade, so if Muddle-earth is still == Earth,
it may mean that the Jewel is some other piece of /slima/ and nothing
of Feenamint's. If not, maybe the founding of Ember happened after
the fall of Atlantis (R), when Arda was removed from the Circles of
the World - that would at least explain the paradox. Your guess is as
good as mine.

NOTE: The journey of the /slipcasts/ through Shade figures prominently
in my personal legendarium. (Take that away and I'm forced to believe
that Eddings and Brooks are mere copycats! :-))

Frodo's stone is not the /slipcast/ of Maglor, anyhow, so rest easy,
Steuard.

> He has somehow hijacked a tardiS with it.

Yes.

> He and a sorceress Charissa have left a lot of human babies from something
> called a Matrix Shade in various places in Muddle-earth. If these people
> are killed they become immortal, it seems.

Band and the sorceress Charissa (the Blue Witch from Katherine Kurtz's
_Deryni Rising_) have been traveling around the multiverse trying to
foment various plots, foster Dark Lords (cf. Aruman), or help out Dark
Lords who are already well established (cf. Sauron). One such plot
involved going to the "Earth" of the late 22nd century depicted in
_The Matrix_. The babies in those growth chambers are dropped off in
Muddle-earth and grow up to become the "foundling" immortals of
_Highlander_, according to this cockamamie scheme.

> V. This stuff is all about a battle between Mojo and Design.

Heck NO!
Corbin's brother Band wanders through Shade looking for Dark Lords
whose treasuries he can skim a little off the top of, but Sauron, like
Band himself, is in it for Number One (himself, that is, not Will
Riker).

> VI. Corbin wants a law-orc from Draino to help him get an impounded
> tardiS back from the Courts of Chaosium.

Chaosius. :-)

I read _Copyright Infringement Lawyers of Earthsea_, didn't you? #-)

> VII. Various agents are trying to import hi-tech weaponry into
> Muddle-earth. The Bork have imported phasers, the Suleiman "HKs"
> (whatever they are) and blasters.

HKs: big skeleton-looking guys at the beginning of _Terminator 2:
Judgement Day_.

> VIII. Band has tried to provide Sauron with were-worms.

Which are the sandworms of _Dune_, or so it would seem.

> IX. Charissa stole the Whichblade from Imladris and has used it to
> enslave a coven of vampires.
> X. Arwen is a vampire-slayer.

Uh-huh.

> XI. Sauron has a new apprentice, Darth Uranus. (Hey! I thought
> _Frodo_ was Sauron's new apprentice!)

Darth Uranus is the Mouth of Sauron.
(The intended joke was that he was made to "forget" his name because
the introduction "I am Uranus, the Mouth of Sauron" was embarrassing
to Mr. Lidless Red-Eye.)

> I *think* those are the major points. Nothing about flying műmakil.
> :(
>
> DS

He's with the Talking Fox.

YOU WANT THE FOX?! #-)

-Bill

Banazir the Jedi Hobbit

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Feb 25, 2002, 11:13:01 PM2/25/02
to
sbje...@midway.uchicago.edu (Steuard Jensen) wrote in message news:<nsie8.34$Q4....@news.uchicago.edu>...

> I forgot one other thing that I meant to mention in my last
> all-too-long commentary. This isn't really as much a serious critique
> as a statement of personal preference in case Mr. Hsu decides to
> rewrite VI.2. I liked the "role shift" that started late in Book IV:
> Sam taking the place of Tolkien's Frodo, Gulible taking the place of
> Sam, and Frodo taking the place of Gollum. (I appreciated VI.1 for
> giving Gulible an outside motive for following along.)

Hey, I like this role shift, too, but I just hadn't really seen it
this way until now. As I read it:

- Frodo had become more and more a minion of Sauron, but enslaved to
the Deed more than the Ring
- Sam's heroism was inspired more by dreams of "gloriously" violent
revolution than purity of heart (though both could be arguably termed
"patriotic love of the Shire")
- Gullible was Gollum "as he should have been", for lack of a better
term

> Now, I wouldn't complain if Bill decided to keep his chapter the way
> it is (with the eventual return of the Frodo-Sam pairing and Gulible
> sneaking along behind), although I would probably appreciate a little
> more explanation of why the situation shifted (and of why Frodo was
> the one getting so worn down as the journey continued, actually).

I thought it was clear that that was radiation poisoning.
(Assuming Frodo wasn't the one who ate the Ring, but a plausible
explanation even if he was.)

Either way, there's now a good reason for Frodo to sail west (for
chemotherapy), though it still may or may not happen.

> However, I'd probably be even happier if Bill found a way to work that
> existing theme into his master plan instead of changing it. :)

Sounds good to me - I just never got the script for the
Sam/Gullible/Frodo shift. I agree that Gullible is unecessarily
hostile and threatening at the end of VI.2 and will change that first.

Meanwhile, I would still like to lobby for the rehabilitation (or
rather, supplanting) of Evil Gandalf. Arumandalf is just an idea I
thought would be clever (and have been lobbying for quietly since
around IV.3), but it's your call.

> (Even if all three of them traveled together for a while, ate the Ring,
> or whatever, the general shifting of roles could still be maintained.)

Agreed. I suggest, then, that you hold VI.3 for another 15 days or
so, when I'll have the gist of a new VI.2 (sans low-level redaction
and truncation) for you.

> Just a thought, and Bill, feel free to ignore me if you want to. :) My
> apologies, too, if my response to your chapter has come across as a
> personal attack on you in any way.

No offense taken, and I apologize in kind for any perceived
overstepping of my privileges or usurpation of the storyline (esp.
Gondor themes from Book V).

> I'm just awfully busy in real life at the moment, and the prospect of an
> arduous process of reconciling variant story lines seems a bit much for me
> at the moment. :P

You and me both! I was pressed for time even before I STARTED VI.2.

And that, friends, is the last you'll hear from me for a little while,
as the Eldar count it. I'm trasking deadlines for the next 2 weeks at
least.

Regards,
Bill

Steuard Jensen

unread,
Feb 26, 2002, 10:12:41 AM2/26/02
to
Quoth hs...@hotmail.com (Banazir the Jedi Hobbit) in article
<91a1d472.02022...@posting.google.com>:
> > > sbje...@midway.uchicago.edu (Steuard Jensen) wrote:
> > > > I managed to miss the scene that people have mentioned where
> > > > someone eats the Ring.

> (The humor wasn't meant to be scatological, though - rather, it's a


> chance for someone as-yet-undetermined to take a fit-induced dive,
> trip and fall, or be bodily shoved into Mount Viagra.)

Oh, I agree on all counts. It changes my original plans somewhat, but
I've actually just come up with an excellent way of using it in my
coming chapter. (And no, it's not scatological.) :) Thanks for the
good set-up. :)

Steuard Jensen

Count Tildanor the Balrog

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Feb 26, 2002, 7:30:24 PM2/26/02
to
David Salo <ds...@usa.net> wrote in message news:<240220021912222764%ds...@usa.net>...

> I *think* those are the major points. Nothing about flying műmakil.
> :(

There i, however, a reference in IV.12 to disputes between Gondor and
Mordor over Dumbar, Land of the Flying Mumaks (and isn't there a
reference to one somewhere in Boonk II?)

Count Tildanor the Balrog

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Feb 26, 2002, 7:34:31 PM2/26/02