Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Lord of the Rings - The Evil One

Those of you who are reading this, don’t hope for an ending similar to the original. The real world (and Hemo’s world is very real indeed) is a bad place, and bad things happen in it. Which means that evil will not necessarily be defeated, and can conquer all and rule the World as a terrible monarch (something akin to the empire imagined by the creator of a logo which looked like a windmill with flared ends and which looked similar to a religious symbol of the east, albeit having undergone an angular transformation of forty-five degrees). If you are expecting the Evil One to be defeated, don’t be too hopeful. You have been warned!!

Where were we now? Ah yes… Hemo is lost in the ventilation factories. Plato is trying to find him. The story continues…

Plato wrapped the jacket Hemo had given him tightly around himself, and took another step up the steep precipice leading up to the entrance of the ventilation factories. These factories, a byproduct of human ingenuity, enabled the entire population of the land to breathe pure air. And they also served as an awesome training ground for astronauts, for the natural air currents kept one afloat for as long as one wanted. All you had to do to come back to the surface was activate the Gravi-kit fitted to your safety belt, provided by ACME (Acme’s the Certified Master of Everything). Now this ACME corporation was founded pretty long ago to cater to cartoon characters in need, and it delivered the goods instantly. It also spawned a rival company, LACME (Like ACME), which later branched off into a specific type of products. But to get back to Plato, well, he opened his ACME catalog (obtained by putting his hand behind his back) and selected the Gravi-kit. And lo, the kit appeared in his hand. He put it on, and walked peacefully through the factories, searching for Hemo. And where was Hemo all this while? He was floating around the factories, almost unconscious, incapable of any physical movement, his body broken after the torture the wraiths had inflicted on it. It was in this state that Plato espied him, and switching off his kit, tried to catch him. This was by no means an easy task, for the air blasts in the ventilation factories constituted both the most random processes anywhere in the land, and the toughest thesis topic in chaos theory at the university. But after drifting aimlessly for quite some time, Plato finally caught Hemo, and they exited the factories without any further mishap.

Plato now used his powers of healing to revive Hemo, and they then discussed their future plans. The Ring was missing, and their mission was a failure. In desperation, they decided to have a bite to eat, and Hemo told Plato to get out the bar of chocolate he had inside his jacket pocket. Plato fished in the pocket, and retrieved a shapeless blob of brown matter, which they realized was chocolate melted from the heat while they were traveling. Hemo bit into it, and swallowed a whole chuck of it (an action which would have earned him two hours in the corner if he was Dennis the Menace). The next minute, he choked and spat the whole thing out (five hours in the corner), and lo and behold!! The ring was there!! Thrilled with this discovery, and completely revived by Plato thumping his back to cure his coughing spree, Hemo now recommenced his mission (followed by Plato munching on the blob).

The duo made steady progress along the Dico Tar highway, which led straight to the headquarters of the White Council, their destination. And filled with joy at the sight of the topmost spire of the White city of the Council, they broke into a run. But the Dark Lord was not going to give up so easily. Sensing danger, he came now himself into the path of the two heroes, challenging them to a duel.

Hideous he had become, this creature spawned from the infamous sucking tubes of the winged hordes. A foul stench emanated from his body, and his eyes blazed with a bright red glow.

Lord: Scum!! You are doomed now.

Hemo: Why, you planning to lift up your armpit and kill me?

Lord: Fool, learn to respect power. I am the greatest.

Hemo: Greatest stinker, eh?

Lord: (getting irritated) So sure of yourself, eh? We’ll soon see… Come on now, let’s fight.

Hemo: Not a chance. I need nose filters first.

Lord: You @*%#. I’ll show you…

And he advanced menacingly on Hemo. But he was stopped by Plato, who started shooting jelly at him (nothing serious, especially not for the Lord, but jelly in the ears itches like mad). The Dark Lord was now furious, and he summoned all his forces to slay our heroes. Plato now opened his ACME catalog, and selected a mystery product (kept secret to maintain the suspense).

The next moment, the army of the White Council poured out of the gates of the city and devoured all they saw. They showed no mercy, and slaughtered their enemies in no time. Hemo and Plato took cover (under dead bodies), and were saved from the carnage. The Dark Lord was vanquished by the white clad soldiers, for they were armed with the unique brand of acid designed to harm the Dark Lord.

All was over. The land had been saved (well, I didn’t say evil would win, now did I??). As they climbed out of the pile of bodies, Hemo noticed that Plato’s finger still pointed to the mystery item in the catalog. It said, “Instant Quinine dose. Finish off malaria, dengue et al in seconds.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Lord of the Rings - The Long Journey

I remember ending my last post saying the next one would be up soon, but I never thought it would be after more than one cycle of the moon. I’ve been really loaded with work, hence the absence of new posts. Hopefully, things will change soon. So here goes…

The council of the free peoples had chosen eight companions to go with Hemo, and this number was supposedly decided because the chairman was inspired by a famous fantasy novel. However, volunteers were lacking, and finally Hemo set out alone in frustration, accompanied only by his trusty assistant (or sidekick, which sounds better and gives Hemo the hero type of feel, which in fact he is), Plato (not to be confused with the chap normally connected with the submerged city discovered by an Indian prince in a submarine). Now this Plato had the power to heal wounds. At the mere sight of a cut, he would emit his own copyrighted brand of instant solidifying jelly, which would wrap itself around the wound and act as an insulator, preventing anything from passing through. Hemo on the other hand had the gift of granting life, for whatever dead or decaying thing he touched would be instantly revived, and start growing again.

So Hemo set out with the ring in his jacket pocket and a bag of provisions on his shoulders, and Plato trudged along behind. They proceeded along a small side road to avoid the wraiths, but after squeezing through several narrow lanes and cursing the size of each other’s bellies, they switched to the main road, flanked by the massive Rumef monolith. The whole world seemed to be at peace as they walked, but little did they know that they were being watched. The enemy ruled the skies, and he ruled the minds of his followers. The workers of the muscle factories had been affected by the plague the Lord had unleashed, and they unwittingly told the Dark Lord of Hemo’s whereabouts by merely watching him pass by and thinking of him.

Soon they had gone past the monolith and reached the Laner region, famous for its intricately designed sewage system which kept the entire land clean. Passing by the site of the famous time capsule, installed by the archers and containing a selection of the foulest impurities ever known along with their antidotes (to be passed to future generations, ensuring that the secret of decontamination is never lost), they walked on through the day, finally reaching the great Inn of Bilewater just ere the day ended. Here they had a little too much to drink, and ended up speaking a little too much of their mission. Of course, as gossip travels faster than the speed of light, the Wraiths soon learnt their location and dashed off to the Inn to recover the ring. So savagely did they attack the Inn that tremors were felt throughout the land, and huge fountains of molten lava spurted out from the ground where they smote it with their clubs. Luckily, thanks to the unique qualities our lead pair had, they managed to escape, supporting each other and barely managing to escape the mayhem. However, the dermal coverings of their canines were burnt in the heat, giving rise to the popular phrase, “To escape by the skin of your teeth.”

So far so good. Now Hemo and Plato arrived at the entrance of the sinister Acid tunnel (dull name but to the point), the great underground cavern carved out by acid flows long ago in the forgotten past, dark as the negative of a photograph of Nicole Kidman, filled with unknown horrors, and stretching out before them in umpteen mazes and hidden paths. Their hearts quailed, but the task had to be completed. They walked into the dark, moving gradually uphill as they went, feeling their way along in the everlasting night. Ever they thought of the nameless horror, the thing of fire which occasionally crept up into the path and devoured whoever it saw, spitting out the entrails down the path. Thus they proceeded for several days, slowly but surely moving in the right direction, making no noise at all. A cold wind blew in their face, and Hemo gave his jacket to Plato to wear. Finally they saw the end of the tunnel, a huge arc of light, and they shouted in glee. Big mistake!! The thing of fire arose and began chasing them, roaring loudly and scaring the life out of them. Bu they managed to escape into the open, and then Plato let out the smelliest, loudest, most toxic f**t ever in history. The thing of fire stopped dead in its tracks, made a face like sour cream, and fell with a thud to the ground.

More walking, this time through an open field with a huge river gushing its way down beside them. Still going uphill. Plato spotted some birds high above, which turned out to be wraiths with wings, which swooped suddenly down on them. They started running, and they ran and they ran till they could run no more, and then they realized that the wraiths were gone. They relaxed. Just then a wraith (who had been crawling behind them and had not been seen) snatched Hemo, and soared up into the sky, heading back to the lair of his Lord. Plato shrieked in grief, but could do nothing (for the time being, at least).

Now Plato thought of a plan to save Hemo, and he had an idea. His race had another unique gift, that of telepathy between any two of their own kind. And he used it now to ascertain the location of Hemo. He discovered that Hemo had been taken to the ventilation factories and would be dropped into the Mega-pump, instantly draining him of life. He implored his people to attack the Wraith, and this they did, shooting jets of jelly at them, causing them to solidify into statues. But Hemo was lost in the attack, and was blown deep into the ventilation factories by an exhaust blast. Plato set out to search for him.

Will Plato find Hemo? Has the ring already been recovered by the Wraiths? Has the quest failed, or is there still hope? To know more, catch the next post The Lord of the Rings – The Evil One, which will be coming up soon (and this time I mean it).