Sunday, June 8, 2008

Children and Visitors

[File Archive - One hundred and twelfth year of the Reign of Our Lady, Zesiro - 09:56 PM local time, Throne Room, Palace of the Sands, Ineb-Hedj]

A large creature enters slowly and cautiously through the front portal. It stands well above everybody else, and its maw and claws are dripping with blood. It seems serene for the moment.

Zesiro stands from her throne. "Your are beautiful, child." It cocks its head and surveys the room. Rising up, it is nearly twenty-five feet tall and more than thirty feet long. It merely glances at the priests and other chattel, including Ernst. Its gaze rests on Ogmundr. Black and red eyes take him in.

He was, indeed, most beautiful...stunning to behold.

Ogmundr stares back at it, holding his baton. "This came from your loins?" He doesn't take his eyes off of The Creature.

Ernst takes cover behind Ogmundr. "Oh shit."

"Only in that all of his kind are my children, as are the scorpions, and the toads, and all those who bear venom." Ogmundr laughs out loud at her statement.

Overall, the creature's movements are birdlike, its demeanor cold, and its expressions predatory. It sniffs the air. Lets its nose lead it to Zesiro. It walks up to her. The scorpion-men, for once, don't block him from approaching. Its bloody muzzle opens, revealing dozens of sharp teeth. He hisses. "I am Taxchan Choth."

Ernst whispers to Ogmundr, "If after every tempest come such calms, may the winds blow till they have waken'd death!"

"I am the Goddess Zesiro, and this is my home."

Ogmundr turns to Ernst: "Don't get me killed with your poetry."

"Where?" Taxchan cocks his head, like a parrot asking a question.

Ernst replies to Ogmundr, "Not mine."

Ogmundr turns to The Empress. "I guess you don't want me to stab it."

"No. Where? Is this? I'm not from here." Ogmundr smiles at the creature as it speaks, and it hisses back.

Ogmundr replies, "Neither am I. It's in th-... well, she explains better."

"This is the Palace of the Sands, upon the Floating Nile."

Taxchan steps up to the level of the throne, steps to Ogmundr's side, smells him. Ogmundr takes a few sniffs of the stranger, his right eye flashes and he waves his baton nearby. Taxchan looks around again."Okay."


Ogmundr turns around and mutters to Ernst: "If you need to run, I'll let you know and give you time." Ernst takes off for the nearest door.

Zesiro continues speaking with Taxchan, "What brings you to this world, Taxchan Choth?"

"Thank you -" Taxchan hops in front of Ernst. There's a thud. And a whoosh. Then a smaller one upon Ernst's face. Ernst screams as the big bird's breath hits him, then he faints. Brandishing his claws, Taxchan continues speaking to Zesiro. "Lady Zesiro. I am not from. This universe."

Ogmundr fires his hand off to pick up Ernst and bring him back, and Taxchan jumps back! "He," Ogmundr nods at Ernst, "is not food."

"Neither are we. This place is his, " she gestures towards Ernst, "home."

"Can you help me -" Taxchan's head snaps to Ogmundr "- Lady Zesiro? And -" he hops nearer to the throne again, "of course he's food."

"For now, he is my food. And I wish to play with him first."

Ogmundr's blade extends. "No, he's not." Several of the guards step towards Ogmundr, then retreat as he sheathes his blade again, looking at the Empress.

"What help do you need, child?"

Taxchan turns his attention back to Zesiro. "Then if you are offworlders -" attention on Ogmundr again "- do you not seek to return?" He hisses, while his tail whips slightly - it seems very stiff. He sits back when the sword is sheathed, and preens.

"I seek answers which lie in other universes."

Ogmundr laughs outloud, and Ernst speaks in the ensueing silence. "The Leviathan, the death serpent. Trump of putrification." Ogmundr looks towards him.

Zesiro continues, "And then to return."

"Extinction," Taxchan insists. "Answers? To what?"

Ogmundr speaks up then, "Why would I want to return to Wesselm? I already conquered that as a babe."

"Questions of our origins. And our ancesters." Taxchan hisses at her answers.

Ernst speaks again, "Zesiro, the Golem is attacking me."

She turns to him. "What?" Ogmundr sighs as his metal hand rubs his eyes, and his right hand again draws the baton, without extending the blade.

A crest of feathers rises on Taxchan's head. "Where?" He circles Ernst.

Zesiro replies, "How does he attack you, Erst?"

"Its draining me somehow, I don't understand how. It spoke a word I cannot pronounce."

"Does he use your body?" Taxchan circles, looks down over Ernst's shoulder, rests a heavy claw on his back. "Is he? In you?"

Zesiro looks to her Priests. "Locate this creature."

"No, he's down there." Ernst points to the Earth.

Ogmundr's non-challant expression turns serious. "Where? We just conquered this pla-... er.. sorry, Erst."

"Lady. What answers?" Taxchan takes his claw off Ernst's back.

Ogmundr speaks to him, "Yeah, don't kill our native. He's useful."

"A visitor told me stories of our ancestors. I wish to see if they are true."

Ogmundr interjects, "How do you mean our?"

"Your ancestors?" Taxchan looks up. It snaps and shakes his head violently. "They are not in this world. They are alive." Hiss. "Or not in this world."

"According to Aimery, we are all of the same blood. All those who I term Visitors. And that our line comes from a city now destroyed. I wish to see if he words are I travel the pathways between worlds."

Ogmundr speaks to Ernst, "This Golem, if he's here, does not resemble your picture. According to Her Firstbornness's Scanners. And who's Aimery?"

"Another one who visited my world. The Knight."

Ernst laughs then remembers himself. "Even in outer space I can't escape my critics!" Ogmundr smiles.

Taxchan cries, "Picture!"

"This one," Zesiro points to Ernst, "has made paintings of us all...and others." Taxchan click his claws on the stone.

"Yes yes yes, of course." Ernst scrambles to his feet then begins unfurling several hastily wrapped canvases and Zesiro motions to her servants to assist him. The pictures appear to have been literally cut from their frames and rolled up.

Ogmundr speaks to her, "The Knight seems very unhelpful currently, your Empressness."

Taxchan asks again, "Golem?"

"The long-range sca-...The Senses of Egypt have not seen anything resembling your image or your shit-related description on this foreign world."

Ernst shuffles through a few paintings. They appear to be trumps in some sort of weird tarot deck. Taxchan hisses. He approaches the pile of pictures and gently unfolds them with its claws. Ernst briefly looks at the one labelled death, then sets it down, and eventually finds and unfurls one containing a picture of Golem. ogmundr looks at the death card and Taxchan, who speaks again. "Yes. My kin."

"I see, its all becoming clear to me now. Wait..."

"This." Taxchan coughs at the painting of the golem. "Could be him."

Ogmundr adds, "If you hold up the painting, I can scan the image to Egypts Senses."

"His meats change." Ogmundr snorts at Taxchan's reply.

Ernst sticks his hand deep down his throat and starts choking. Pancake bits and coffee splatter on the imperial floor. He trails his fingers through the partially digested bits. "There! Its in my home! Why the hell is it in my home?"

Ogmundr looks to Ernst, "Why the hell did you vomit on us?"

"With you, friend conqueror. With you."

"Then we will go there. Come!" Zesiro begins to walk out of the throne room.

Ogmundr turns to Ernst, "Give us Directions, Pure One, we shall follow Her Empress to a, uh, transport."

"Where? Now!" Taxchan cocks his head around rapidly, tail twitching. "Down? Now!" He, Ernst, and Ogmundr follow Zesiro out of the room.

[The screen goes dark.]

We took a transport down to the planet, where we encountered the Golem. It seems my child had encountered this being before, and was quite angry with him. He demanded to know the way back to his home, but the Golem could not answer him. Eventually, my dear even tore him to pieces, but this had no effect on the Golem, who merely reformed out of the concrete and asphalt around him. From what we were able to get from him, the Golem had been cursed after killing a Knight of the Pattern, and he could not die. He sought the devourer, that he might enlarge it, and force it to devour him as well, ending his existence. He threatened any who would stand in his path.

We considered confronting him, but decided against it, and returned to the ship to consider our next action. While there, we considered the curious paintings on Ernst. There was something about them, so I decided to try and infuse them with magic...see if that might activate them in some way. It did. It seems that they can be used somehow, to talk to people or to travel to places. The next day, I used one of them to speak with Aimery. My child and I also used one to travel to another world, but that is a story for another day.


[File Archive - One hundred and twelfth year of the Reign of Our Lady, Zesiro - 08:17 PM local time, War Room, Palace of the Sands, Ineb-Hedj]

Ogmundr enters the war room, carrying collection of bottles in one hand, and a collection of records in the other. "Your Empress, the player for these discs still lays in the ship. These artifacts are very delicate, thus I didn't risk their destruction. I can say the same for our native. I have figured out our plans, all operations are a go."

Zesiro replies, "Your plans are prepared."

"This is not the best test of our mettle, but it will be interesting. I suspected the discover of the atom was but decades ahead of these savages. Perhaps our hordes should not use their poisons, to make things close to even?"

"It will showcase what you have taught them more fully."

Ogmundr checks the sword-baton hidden in his fore-arm, replaces it, then tests the one strapped to his thigh, smiling. "Then a test for speed! The orders might have changed such." He places orders as he points to places on the map. "New Strike Points: Berlin, Moscow, New York, Los Angeles...Ready flight ships for major strike points. Once objectives have been achieved, return to your ships."

"Lead on, Grand Warlord. I will observe."

Ogmundr dons some leather armor, well fitted to his body and nods at The Empress. "Do not blink, you will miss something," he says with a smile as he boards his dropship. The panther dives after him.
[Zesiro speaks over the activity of the war room. Priests are running to and fro, delivering orders. Something of interest is shown to Zesiro on one of the view screens.] Shortly after he left, we began to receive reports of an explosion nearby. From the wreckage, a moon was headed towards the planet below. At that time, I had no idea what it would contain, but I would soon find out.

Ogmunder soon reappears in the war room, scratching his chin. "I know Erst's planet is not worthy. I'm only suspecting the new one might. Shall we switch targets and change plans, Empress?" He walks over to The Big Table and starts re-arranging pieces. Zesiro is lounging in a chair. She seems preoccupied, and does not respond. "Well, then, send all long-range scanners to the new target, retreat all ships from the old world. I have no idea what Her- My Mates (snorts) Diplomatic Relations is like, but she'd better if she not leave it to me."

I had sensed an intelligence on the other planet. One of my children, yet he thought as we did. This was something I had never encountered before. While I love them dearly, never has one of my children been able to speak with me in such a way.

Ogmundr continues to issue orders, "Ten Percent of our ships to invade the new lands. The remaining, go according to plans, but at a 1.13 factor. The Artist's planet will not be that hard. That is, unless Her Mostborn-ness wants to try the diplomatic approach?" He looks over to Zesiro, who is still non-responsive. "Hell, hold on. 100 percent back to invasion watery planet. What missiles we got against this newcomer?" He looks around at a bunch of slavering snakes. "WHAT MISSILES DO WE HAVE?"

Suddenly, Zesiro speaks, "Stop the attack on the new planet. One of my children is on it."

Ogmundr nods. "New crazy idea, Empress. We called it Ramming Speed in my worlds, very destructive to both. Not on the new planet, of course."

"And not with this ship."

He frowns, "Aw."

[Zesiro speaks as the footage speeds forward.] The invasion was more than successful, and soon the objectives were taken. We were analyzing the reports when Ernst finally awoke.

[The footage goes back to normal speed.] Ernst speaks, "Are you acquainted with the man of the elements? He's here, down there."

Zesiro replies, "The man of elements?"

Ogmundr turns to The Firstborn, "So, status report on interloper? Or shall we just... I don't know." He looks at the looted bottles, then at Ernst. "Which one's this Absinthe you speak of?"

"Yes, the Golem. The living microposopus. He's down there."

Zesiro answers Ogmundr, "I am awaiting his reply. Waiting for him to come to us."

"Wait, I'll show you!" Ernst runs to his possessions, unties a rolled up canvas, and shows off a somewhat similar picture.

Ogmundr speaks, "The Golem," and draws his baton strapped to his leg, tossing it around in his hand.

Zesiro stands. "Send a shuttle to the moon, and fetch back my child. And what is this, of one on the planet below?"

"Its watching us." Ernst looks to those around the room. "Uhm, I'm kind of hungry and I still can't figure out how to work the conch shells. Can I go get something to eat?"

Ogmundr goes to one of the guards and orders a 5 course meal for Ernst. "I will not get the Slaw of Cole here, will I?" The guard shakes his head, somewhat bewildered, then goes off. "Golem. Your child. Did you name it?"

"What does this 'golem' have to do with my child?"

"I'm not sure. We should ask The Pure One when he's not eating."

Ernst looks up. "I don't really understand it, and I don't think the Golem is the Empress's child. It's something else."

"Oh. Well." Ogmundr keeps toying with his baton,

"The golem is not my child. My child is on the moon."

Ernst turns to the guard who brought the food, "So... uhm, Ibis head. Does your advanced civilization have pancakes and syrup? Because that sounds pretty good right now. Helps with the whole annihilation of everything I held dear thing." The guard shakes his head.

"Come with me to the throne room, to meet him." Zesiro gets up and leaves.

"I'll be ready to skewer whatever it is, let me be informed if it's an enemy. Pan-cakes... the breaded wheat made of flat pans? That does sound good."

"Yes, the same. There's an entire universe in those doughy swirls."

Ogmundr shrugs, "Yes, my apologies," and leaves, yelling over his shoulder to Ernst. "You might want to come watch the spectacle, Pure One. You can bring your pancakes."

Plans of War

[File Archive - One hundred and twelfth year of the Reign of Our Lady, Zesiro - 02:35 PM local time, War Room, Palace of the Sands, Ineb-Hedj]

The War Room is a sharp contrast to the public rooms in the Palace of the Sands. The golden walls are lined with keyboards and displays, and the center of the room is dominated by a 3D holographic map, with various markers held suspended in mid-air. Priests man the consoles in the room, and occasionally move one of the battle markers on the map. Standing against the walls of the room, watching the proceedings with little interest, are Zesiro's four scorpion headed guards. Zesiro stands with Ogmundr and several generals, conferring in front of the map. Ogmundr is a striking contrast to the rest of the room, clothed in just a loincloth and belt, with leather boots and bracers. His light skin stands out against the dark skin and hair of the others present. Another anomaly is Ernst, dressed now in the clothes of one of Zesiro's servants, but obviously not a native to this place.

[Zesiro's voice starts.] After my visit to Erst's home world, I told Ogmundr that I had a mission for him. I wanted to see how the new soldiers he had trained would perform, and I still had not gotten my music, so I told him I wanted him to take over the planet.

Zesiro speaks, "If you need more intelligence, ask The Artist."

Ogmundr replies, "What does your planet call The Artist?"

"I believe he said his name was Erst. He paints pictures of Visitors...such as yourself, and I."

"You are just a visitor to this land?"

"It is a term I use to refer to those such as opposed to the others in this land. Aimery says that we are all descendants of the same line."

"Who's Aimery and what do you mean such as us?"

"I don't know that I believe him, but there is something that sets us apart."

Ogmundr blinks and grimaces as he looks over at the robed man who spoke.

Ernst, obviously not used to people cowling him, recoils like a sissy. "I mean... yes, I'm here to help I suppose."

Ogmundr looks back at The Empress. "Yeah, yeah, we're all magical gods that cross worlds... is this your Erst that has knowledge of the lands we usurp?"

"I'll kindly shut up now. Please don't kill me..."

"No, go on..." He stares at Ernst, his right eye flaring, then smiles. "A pure one!"

Zesiro walks over to Ernst, gently caressing his head. "Ssh. You have nothing to be afraid of long as you please me."

Ogmundr turns his head before he laughs.

Ernst smiles awkwardly.

"Don't scare the Pure One, Ze-... er... Your Firstborn-ness"

"Tell him of your world, Erst." After issuing her order, Zesiro goes back to studying the map.

Ogmundr smiles at Ernst as he begins speaking, "My world? Where do I even begin?"

"Erst, I know this sounds weird. Just help us take over. If you have loved ones, give me their names and I'll make sure they're spared. Give me names of enemies and I'll flay them any way you wish."

"Wait... are you invading my world?!" Ogmundr smiles and looks back at The Empress as Ernst continues, "No, its okay. I've seen the portents. dada dada dada."

"I'll let you watch and help flay your enemies if you-Um..." Ogmundr's face turns serious.

"Are you serious?"

"Alright, she's the patient one of us, which, well." Ogmundr's right eye flares.

Zesiro turns back to them, "What?"

Ernst trembles. "Well, it's just that..."

Ogmundr blinks for a moment, "...Yes?"

"We just had a big war. A great war to end all wars. Seems kind of unfair to kick a world while she's down, you know? Might it wait?"

"Yeah, well, yeah. Deciding when to war isn't my job. Neither is deciding where. Deciding how and with what is."

Zesiro speak up, "I still wish my 'jazz.'"

Ogmundr shrugs, "So it is spoken."

Ernst starts. "Oh!"

"Go on."

"You don't want that. Trust me, its slave music made by people revolting against people like you. Its deliberately plays on deviations of our more classical music, which really is much more suited to aristocratic tastes. But if you insist we can pick up a few musicians. I know just the place."

"I liked what I heard."

Ogmundr puts his two cents in, "Sounds foreign even in your own world, where did it come from?"

I was quickly growing impatient.

"I wish for this music, and I wish to see my soldiers tested. Do *not* deny my wishes."

"Well, though I cannot facilitate your musical tastes, this world is a mere speck in comparisons for a test. It's like asking a bear to defeat a goldfish. Or, uh... snake... defeat, uh, whatever snakes normally eat."

"Do you have a better target for the test?"

Ernst chimes in, "How about the tendrils that whisper madness?"

"I do not. But this will not be a display of our Hordes power. Not even the best of their shields will defy the weakest of our weapons." Ogmundr blinks. "Well, if your world has that, then maybe it is a true test." Zesiro looks over with interest as well.

"Oh, er... sorry. I meant in my dreams. I dreamt of the Empress and she appeared in my world. If she exists then perhaps the tendrils exist too? They whisper of hidden places and secrets between spaces."

Ogmundr blinks once, then twice, then turns to The Empress, "So where shall we lead the invasion?"

"Just get me my jazz. And some of this Absinthe. And find a place for the test."

"Fine, we will get your Jazz and your Absinthe..." He turns to one of the Priests. "Display a holosphere of this globe, we'll chose a location at random."

Ernst speaks up again, "I can get the Jazz if you have a way to get to my world. No need to kill anybody. I can't really help with the test though."

"Last time I sent you to get it, you ran from me."

"Your Firstbornness, if I may please." He nods to Ernst.


"I would like a moment to speak with the... native of this world to help us. I'm sure he would like to end this without conflict."

"As you wish."

Ogmundr walks over to a corner of the room, orders those there to clear, and beckons Ernst to follow. The camera continues to pick up their conversation.

Ogmundr's voice takes a more friendly tone. "Hey, I call you Pure One because you remind me of my family back home. I don't want this to end in blood. Just tell us where were can get The Mad One," he nods to Zesiro, "her Jazz and Absinthe, then we're good to go."

"We're not too farm from Stockholm. Its a capital city, we should be able to find what we need there."

Ogmundr's eye flares. "I don't want to make this weird, but I can tell when someone speaks the truth or not. I won't tell Her Majesty, just find a place to get us some bottles and some music samples and we can replicate the rest. I've... uh.." Ogmundr hunkers down, and Ernst joins him. "I'll deal with the testing-army thing. No offense to your world, it's very nice, but it's not...Well...Like you've said, still recovering." He blinks a few times.

"Ah! I understand your confusion. And mine. Audio recordings were only very recently invented in my world. I'm guessing that the Empress doesn't record music on metal disks?"

Ogmundr nods, "I'm sure it might not be similar, but it is something we can reproduce."

"Its rare and pretty expensive, we'll have to go to a big city. That engineer guy over there said he could get us to Sweden. Stockholm's the closest place we've got. How does this work? Is the big pyramid ship taking us there? That might freak people out. Serves them right!"

"Well, if we wish, then yes. As it is now, you're lucky and you have caught Her on a good day. She just gave me permission to find another world as a testing grounds. Only on the stipulation of finding your Jazz and Absinthe. Do they call these recordings Laser Discs?"

"No. Look, I don't even know what that means. But I know what we need so if we could just go to one of the big cities we can solve this whole mess."

"Yes. Tell me the city, the place for one of your musical recordings, your Absinthe, and the device that displays your musical recordings."

"Oh, thats easy. Lets go to Berlin, in the Weimar Republic."


"Is there a place you know, or should we just land in a random place?"

"Lets land NOT on building and people."

Now, unbeknown to Ernst, Ogmundr had been talking to me this whole time via the on board comms. He had already designated the targets, and given me his plans, to be instituted as soon as they had obtained my spoils. They soon left the ship, and headed to Ernst's home city, known as "Berlin."