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A Desperate and Despicable Dwarf: Section Seven

       Last updated: Tuesday, January 13, 2004 00:16 EST



CHAPTER VII. A Narrator's Tragic Descent Into Drug Addiction. The Unfortunate Forays Into Poesy Thereof. Fragments of Bizarre Epic Poetry Revealed, and What Small Truths May Be Gleaned Therefrom.


    Of the depraved scene which followed, nothing will be recounted in our narrative. This, for two reasons. First, it is unseemly. Secondly, it is impossible. For I regret to inform the gentle reader that my illustrious ancestor, Alfred the CCLIX, the narrator present at the scene, was at this point himself overcome by the effects of the noxious fumes. Not rendered unconscious, but incapable of continuing his task as narrator. Or rather, incapable of continuing his task in that dignified manner which is requisite of Alfredship. True, my ancestor continued to put quill to paper. But his words were unseemly gibberish, pure babble.

    In the event, as the gentle reader will soon discover, this was to be but the prelude to my ancestor's terrible fall from grace. For Alfred CCLIX soon became addicted to mind-altering substances, and began his rapid descent into madness. His moral degeneration was, of course, eventually detected by the elders of the Alfredae clan, who thereupon took sure and swift steps to set matters right. But, in the interim, severe damage was done by the drug fiend to the state of our narrative. For the wretch, now under the influence of hellish chemicals, abandoned the sober methods of the proper narrator and took it upon himself to relate the ensuing portion of our tale in the most unseemly manner. No longer satisfied with tried and true prose, the pitiable wretch fell into grotesque literary extravagance.

    To my lot did it fall, long after the event, to attempt to salvage what could be salvaged from the wreckage. In truth, there was not much. For the most part, the words penned by Alfred CCLIX were pure babble, the typical hallucinogenic ravings of addicts the world over. Entire episodes in our tale were lost to history, disappearing down the sinkhole of Alfred CCLIX's drug-induced stupor.


    In broad outline, the events which ensued are clear enough. Uncle Manya, through the immoral use of narcotics, persuaded the devil KKR, who, for his part, was soon in a drug-induced stupor, to intercede on their behalf with the CEO of Hell. A bizarre train of events was thus set underway. First, the CEO lost his temper and condemned his underling KKR to a megayear of excruciating torment. This predictable outcome, which should have put an end to the matter, unfortunately attracted the notice of a vagrant angel, whose attention was drawn by the indescribable ruckus emerging from the Pit of Damnation. Exhibiting the thoughtless nature of the female sex, even of the seraphic variety, this flighty and bubble-brained angel then proceeded to intercede on our heroes' behalf (which she had no authority to do, as the Old Geister made abundantly clear to her sometime later, when he condemned her to a gigayear of excruciating torment) by assigning a guide to lead our heroes safely through the perils of Hades to the very seat of the CEO of Hell himself, where they would be able to plead their case directly.

    This absurd state of affairs naturally led to nothing, since the CEO was no more willing to grant our heroes' request in person than he had earlier been by proxy. But, alas, the outré nature of the adventure seems to have been the final influence in effectuating my ancestor's plunge into lunacy.

    This said, let us press on. In the chapter which follows, I have pieced together the few salvageable fragments of my ancestor's narrative, the which bizarre poetical exercises I have accompanied with sufficient narrative sobriety to make intelligible. Stand fast, gentle reader, stand fast. Soon enough we will leave behind the poetical gibberish of Alfred CCLIX and enter the placid narrative stream of his eminent successor, Alfred CCLX.

    The first semi-coherent fragment of Alfred CCLIX's final scribblings begins with the entry of our heroes into the first circle of Hell, guided by a boy named Virge.

Fool of a mage,
There was no Joe. It is
All lies, lies and folly.
All there is was invented
By the Old Geister,
And by Him alone.

    Here Alfred CCLIX's scribblings become well-nigh unreadable. From what can be deciphered, it appears that a long dispute followed between the mage and the chief of hell, following which the archdevil brought forth an ancient scroll purporting to tell the true tale of the creation of all that exists. The reading of the scroll seems to have stimulated a feeble lucidity in the drug-addled brain of my ancestor, for he was able to copy down a large portion of the tale told therein, as follows:

In the beginning was the Old Geister.

His eyes saw the world, and lo, liked
not what it spied thereon;

And the Old Geister took pause, and
thought thereof; and the years He
thought were many and numbered as
the stars; but He knew whereof He

And the Old Geister returned and
went wide upon the world; and He saw
that the earth brought forth grass,
and the herb yielded seed.

And the moving creatures, yea, even
the beasts that moved in the fields
and the winged fowl multiplying after
his kind;

And the fish in the sea brought forth
abundantly by the moving waters, yea,
all were content and unconcerned by

Dour was the Old Geister, and sore
tried besides; vexed, also, and lo,
behold, he was wroth.

And the Old Geister took pause, and
thought thereof; and the years He
thought were many, for the Old Geister
is mighty but not swift.

So in his wisdom the Old Geister made
many things to fall the earth; ghouls,
ghosts, and goblins;
and bumps in the night.

Yea, and monsters of the land and sea,
and of the air also; and they did
inhabit the world and bring wickedness
upon the creatures therein.

And the Old Geister called this pain,
and that suffering; and the other, woe;
and also misery; and for a time
he paused and took thought.

Then made He madness, and lunacy, and the
plague, forgetting not ague; anger, and rage,
and lust, and villainy brought He forth;

And He caused them to grow,
that the world should know sin
and redemption, and He
rested, for He was weary.

So He created weariness, and toil,
forgetting not travail and drudgery.

    Of the remainder of Alfred CCLIX's jottings, little can be gleaned. Apparently, failing in their efforts to wrest the truth from the chief of hell, our heroes returned to the world above. Weary, they sought their rest. To his surprise, Shelyid found Polly in his chambers. The temptress seems to have plied the I dwarf with drink, judging from this final fragment of my ancestor's writings:

To the hero did she extend a cup
Filled with wine-dark wine, held in her
Rosy-fingered rosy fingers.

    It was at this very moment, in the midst of this particularly grotesque verse, that Alfred CCLIX was discovered by a clan elder with a needle in his forelimb. Alfred was seized and brought before the clan council. His pleas that the substance in the needle was merely a 6% solution were, of course, not considered a mitigating circumstance. His chief apprentice was elevated to the Inkwell and the former Alfred was condemned to dismemberment. Alas, the miscreant was able to effectuate his escape from custody. Long after the fact, it was determined that the drug fiend had, under cover of darkness, leapt onto the scalp of the heretic Alf, where he proceeded, in the years to come, to pen a series of bizarre tales concerning Alf's adventures in later life as a detective, tales which, I am mortified to relate, proved immensely popular with the unwashed masses despite their patent absurdity.

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