A Tale About Nothing
---The Ever Gazing Gaze of the Ever Blind---
Crimwell laid below the gaze of the Sightless Conefetch and thought about his upcoming Trial. Under the gaze of the Sightless Conefetch, his body was immobilized. His heart was still, his lungs drew none such kinds of life-giving air, yet he was still alive. The distressed pile of wrinkles that inhabited his skull was the only bit of flesh within him that actually functioned. Multiple times, his thoughts drew towards the possibility of torture. Being so immobilized, it would make for the perfect situation. He held not a bit of information that the Elder Lords wished to snatch from him so they had nothing to lose in wrenching the soul from his body. In fact, he wished they would slay him, such a bleak existence drew his thoughts into dark jungles of regret and sorrow. They had told him that he would be put forth to Trial so that his fate may be determined by the masses, yet he knew that the pious claws of the Elder Lords clasped upon the hearts of many of the people. The Elder Lords were truly the ones in control. Crimwell hadn't the slightest idea how long he had lain there festering beneath the Conefetch's gaze; Time was an unwelcome pilgrim that he refused to associate with anymore. He reflected upon the stream of situations that placed him here in the first place. If only he hadn't done some of the things he did, he would still be enjoying the respite of the comforting domain of the Shellmother that he held so dear to his now-still heart. If only...
---Something Amiss in Tool Town---
Crimwell Criggsin walked along the metal walkways of Tool Town, his thoughts flitting here and there. He had so much to do, so many to see, so many resources to gain, that he hadn't a vague idea where he was to begin. He broke the veil of thought and gazed at his surroundings, hoping they would kindly explain to him where he was to begin. The metal huts, the chug-chug-chugging of the myriad of machines, and the crick-crick-cricking of large gears spoke no such comfort to his weary eyes. He paused and took in the sights of the town into his gilded eye-spheres, pondering about what he saw. The smoke that billowed out from multiple structures floated up to join their brethren in the air above, creating a barrier that blocked the sky from beholding the doings of Tool Town. It was a bleak town set upon Mount Zidfost, a small spire of near-black rock rising up out of the ground in the middle of...well, nothing. The metal walkways were set above Nothing, the town itself resting upon a bottomless pit being held up by Nothing. So much was the presence of Nothing that Nothing seemed to be Something, yet as always, Nothing was always Nothing, as was required. Crimwell had to travel with the Shellmother to get here, it was daft to even consider traveling through the barren wastelands of Quertvarghast. People had long since abandoned any thoughts of travel throughout the wastelands for any who did never returned. As far as the eyes can behold, there was the Nothing gazing right back, endless horizons with Nothing Nothing Nothing, yet there was sometimes Something. Tool Town, for instance, existed, and many other towns, yet they were so far spaced and nobody really knew how to travel between them, relying instead upon the Shellmother, a large floating creature with a shell upon her back to transport them. People had built Mother-Marinas, large areas built to specifically inhabit the Shellmother where she could come to take any vagabonds that wished to travel. The shell held the comforts of everyday life, yet no windows with which to gaze out at the surroundings. The Shellmother knew where every settlement was, among other things she knew. She spoke very little if at all, consigning herself to floating endlessly back and forth across the great Quertvarghast in utter silence. She held great respect from everybody everywhere. Many a creature have tried to invent all types of gizmos, gadgets, and galooptagons to navigate the wastelands, to transport them through the wastelands, to turn the wastelands into water so that they may sail the wastelands, to catapult them across the wastelands, to fly above the wastelands, to dig under the wastelands, and many more. The navigation machines led to nowhere, the transportation machines led to nowhere, the water machine imploded, and the catapult, flight, and digging machines did exactly what they were built to do: catapult, fly, and dig. To nowhere. These and many other reasons have added to the great respect of Quertvarghast and taken away from the once-great curiosity of the Quertvarghast. People now accept that they must rely on the Shellmother and her alone.
Crimwell seemed to be traveling with the Shellmother frequently. His security laid within the halls of the Shellmother's mobile domain. In fact, he was more comfortable there than his own residence in the city of Gretch, home of the Elder Lord's palace and many whispers of deceit. Crimwell kept walking, greeting Nothing as he passed by it, hoping some welcome sign would catch his eye and draw him into some curiosity shop. He passed by many individuals as he walked, all of different design. Automatons, scientists (whether they were mad or sane was subject to whom you inquired of.), chemists, scholars, soothsayers, guards, and commoners passed by him, all with Something to do. A jet of steam broke him from his thoughtful reverie and screamed in his face. He turned to see where this antagonistic jet of steam originated and beheld a very curious shop. The steam came from the eyes of a small gizmo that held the appearance of a solemn man, seeming to contemplate his own Nothingness. Crimwell, quite intrigued at this device and imagining what more could be present within this abode, approached the tin door and attempted the doorknob. As his hand met the cool metal of the door, he felt it squirm and retreated his hand, carefully eyeing the doorknob only to discover it was eyeing him as well. "What business do you have here, meat?" The doorknob inquired.
"My thoughts require a place to reside; I considered this a likely residence."
The doorknob seemed to ponder this for a moment, then asked, "What are you called?"
"I am called Crimwell, good master. What are you called?"
"I've been called many things, none of which seem to be fitting for such as I. Where have you come from?"
"Gretch, good master."
The doorknob seemed to not like the taste of that morsel of information. "Nary has a good thing come from the dark underworlds of Gretch. Why should I let you in?"
Crimwell shook his head. "I am not part of that which you speak of. The Politiks take no place within me and my trust carries a list of people it doesn't associate with of which the Elder Lords have a place on. I merely reside there, that is all."
"Well, meat, anybody who isn't a part of the Elder Lord's trickery is welcome here. Sordad, I'm sure, can grant your desires and give your thoughts many a friend to frolic with."
The door opened and Crimwell stepped inside. It was a vast room of many objects, all of which Crimwell had never before laid eyes on. Upon tables rested many gadgets, machines, toys, automatons, devices, and everything in between. Some were new, some held the crippling touch of Time, and some just plain refused to be looked at and faded away. A voice beside him startled him and his heart yipped. "How may I help you, my boy?"
He turned his eye-spheres to meet a bearded individual standing beside him, not quite there, yet not quite anywhere else. Upon his head-appendage resided many types of tri-focals, some used to see those things that wished not to be seen, some used to penetrate even the thickest of imaginations. The man was standing upon two legs donned in plain trousers, the cream smock that he wore looked aged like fine cheese, and he seemed to have not cleansed his body since his birth. His eyes twinkled with playfulness, as if his mind itself was simply toying with existence because it was bored.
"Your doorknob spoke many a thing to me, one of which is that you hold the keys to unlocking my dire curiosity, ever-deepening wanderlust, and eagerness which I cannot abate."
The man smiled and Crimwell noticed the man's teeth were smiling too. "Ah, yes! Crazzgunk is quite the judge of character, that's why he's on the door in the first place! Found 'im in a large crack while I was looking for Drifting Peeners in Fettlesud Canyon, he seemed to be looking for the rest of himself. Come in, come in! My name is Sardod!"
The man wiped his hand on his smock before he extended it to Crimwell. As he shook it, he asked, "Crazzgunk told me your name was Sordad."
"Did he now? Well, I suppose that must be my name. I get it mixed up sometimes, that's why I wear this name badge!"
Sordad gestured to a crumpled piece of metal pinned on his shirt that had the words "Simper the Setter Sun" on it. Crimwell had a feeling he would enjoy being here, even if the bees couldn't hear. Sordad walked over to one of the tables and picked up a small device. "Come hither, my boy, and feast your eyes upon this fine craftsmanship!"
Crimwell strode over to Sordad and his eyes began feasting. "What does it do?"
"Why, it does Nothing, lad! Absolutely Nothing. That's the beauty of it! Just looking at this makes my soul long to travel above in the skies!"
Sordad cocked his head and seemed to listen to some sound only he could hear, and then shouted, "Duck and cover, lad!"
Crimwell followed Sordad to the ground as a portal opened near the ceiling and a massive robotic sphinx flew out of the portal and zoomed overhead, barely clearing the top of the tables as it flew into another portal that opened on the far end of the lab. Sordad stood up and watched as the portal closed, shaking his head. "That, me boy, is one mystery I am still working on unraveling. Mr. Casfi is a creation I created many moons ago in hopes to transfer mail between settlements. As we all know, Quertvarghast cannot be conquered by mere man feet alone, save the Messenger. Instead of conquering Quertvarghast, my brain told me a marvelous idea one night! Why not simply dodge the lonesome wasteland entirely? Why not build a sphinxie that can fly from portal to portal riding upon the winds of existence to each town? I began and succeeded, of course, but now Mr. Casfi seems to enjoy flying from portal to portal only, not even bothering to stop and ask how my day was."
Crimwell nodded his head. Jumping from portal to portal did seem like it could hold its merits. "Does he destroy any of your machines on his joyride through your domain?"
Sordad nodded in excitement. "Why, yes! He does! And it is splendid when he does! My, when he destroyed the Desgraboluup Inhibitor, it exploded into thousands of bits of colored shards that sang such a beautiful song, I wish I had thought to grab my Soundcatcher, such was my captivation. I look forward to each fly by, who knows what could happen?"
Crimwell didn't think he could handle having his own creations slain by careless haste, and he didn't think it to be a good idea to inquire how exactly Sordad knew the fly by was about to occur.
"I am looking for a mister Kasrim Fecklesuch, can you tell me of his whereabouts and disposition?"
Sordad licked his lips and scratched his head in deep thought. "Kasrim....Kasrim.....Kaaaaasrim Fecklesuch..... don't think I know the chap. Let's consult the Fairgrein Pot."
Sordad turned and led Crimwell across, under, above, and sometimes through the many tables and desks as they made their way to the other end of the lab. They approached a door at the far end of the lab and Sordad walked completely through it. Crimwell, not asking questions, followed Sordad's lead and walked through the door himself. "Don't mind the door. I created it a few weeks ago hoping it would keep out the Krabrats, but it can't decide if it wants to exist or not."
Sordad led him through long hallways with many paintings of far off lands, short hallways littered with the remains of many years' lunches and finally down a set of stone stairs tunneled into Mount Zidfost itself. The air became cool and damp as they progressed further and further underground. Crimwell enjoyed it much more than the stuffy Tool Town atmosphere; it refreshed his bodice and laced up his memories. "As you'll notice" Sordad began, "the air here is quite lovely. That is the reason I keep the Fairgrein Pot down here in the first place! The Krabrats don't like being down here, either, nasty vermin."
"If I may, what is the Fairgrein Pot exactly?"
"I haven't the slightest clue, but we're about to find out!"
Sordad turned a corner and they came to yet another door.
"I trust this door has a keen knowledge of its placement?"
"Yes, yes. I slathered a healthy amount of Drifting Peener droppings on this entryway. It knows quite well its place."
Sordad crawled under the door and Crimwell followed. They were now in a small round stone room, the only light coming from an ornate bronze pot in the center of the chamber, glowing with a calming green light. Crimwell immediately felt at peace with his life. All of his worries, cares and sorrows seemed to ooze out of his earholes as he gazed upon the Fairgrein Pot. "Isn't it marvelous?" Sordad marveled.
Crimwell could barely remember how to form words into speech. "Yes....it is quite lovely."
"Let's consult it."
Sordad approached the Fairgrein Pot and started to crawl inside the top of it. As he was about halfway in, he stopped and his legs started waving about. A muffled voice called out from within, "Can you lend me a help or two, me boy? I seem to have become wedged in this pretty pot's bosom."
Crimwell walked over and pushed down on Sordad's legs. His legs became engulfed by the pot and Crimwell looked inside. He beheld many colors, some of which he had never seen before, and it seemed as if the pot was filled with liquid. Crimwell followed Sordad, crawling into the Fairgrein Pot and immersing himself. He seemed to be falling quickly and rising at the same time through waves of inconsistency, loud silence, and feigned conspiracy.
After what seemed like a short time, his surroundings materialized and he found himself sitting in a small meadow. The grass was of a color he had never before seen, the trees swayed back and forth to a song only they could hear, and a soothing grace touched his soul. Sordad was sprawled across the grass, waving his arms around as if he were making a snow angel. "I do so love it in here. Never a place will you discover that contains such lovely flora. I come here to ponder the intricacies of mystery, science, and the apple cores of time. Some of my best ideas have come from within the Fairgrein Pot!" Crimwell silently agreed as he took in his surroundings. His mind began wandering into places never wandered. He knew that Kasrim Fecklesuch was in Tool Town, on the furthest end in a small shack of about this big. He also knew that Mr. Casfi was trying to escape the Ridimin-Ja, creating portals to elude their legendary grasp. Fast upon the fields of glory and splendor, laid out for all to witness yet none to see, was a brooch of such beauty that all who never beheld it cried in sorrow of such magnitude, the Mardimon Crucible itself wept tears that flooded nations. Crimwell, before his thoughts turned to complete and utter madness, spoke up, "I think I know where my destination lays, Sordad. My gratitude belongs to you, yet I find the time past that which I planned to take. Will you instruct me as to the exiting of this miraculous realm?"
"Why yes, me boy. Take a look above you when you're ready and all will be made clear. Take care of yourself, boy! Don't associate with the Horgibon Snitch, make sure to spray for Krabrats, and never look a Drifting Peener in the eye!"
"I'll make sure to inform Crazzgunk of your whereabouts."
Sordad looked confused. "Crazzgunk? Is that a new neighbor?"
"Crazzgunk the doorknob?"
"Doorknob? Is this new neighbor not too bright? S'pose I shouldn't bake him cupcookies then."
Crimwell gave up and shifted his gaze above him. Before he knew it, he was drifting through that mesmerizing void and cast upon the damp earth of Zidfost. He stood up, brushing himself off of the clinging dustlets that hung precariously upon the tides of his fabric. "Well, that was quite an experience." He made his way back to the lab and to the doorway out. When he shut the door, Crazzgunk asked, "Well, how was the experience, meat?"
"Quite enjoyable, thank you. I was enlightened on where I must depart to, yet I seem to have misplaced a small amount of my sanity in the process."
Crazzgunk chuckled. "Sordad has that effect upon the minds of your fellows. Don't go getting yourself killed now!"
---The Fickle Fecklesuch of Kasrim, Fecklesuch---
Crimwell continued onward towards Kasrim Fecklesuch's abode. Approaching the fickle shack, Crimwell acknowledged a Hootboy sitting on a withered tree to the right. He raised his fist to knock on the door. Just when his fist was bracing itself for the inevitable impact, the door flew wide open and Crimwell was assaulted by many smells, most of them stinging his nostrils, some of them laughing contently. "Fen wigger shopmunk cor biggafong reebsak!" A man screamed out from within. Crimwell was astonished. "Beg your pardon?"
"Oh, my apologies, fine sir. I was uncertain as to your identity. I was under the mild assumption that you were here under the Horgibon Snitch. Come, enter this, my palace."
The man gestured inward and Crimwell obliged his request. Crimwell began to observe his surroundings when he heard a most terrifying wail coming from within a cage hanging from the ceiling. The man turned his head towards the rancid sound and yelled, spittle coming forth from his mouth hole, "Crak simbofastt sun fegga Zambowich fagree! Keeopo fugg fuff!"
The man turned to Crimwell. "My apologies yet once more, young master, I have captured one who followed the Horgibon Snitch and she seems to take a fancy to lamenting her dreary fate. Goodness me, I have been so rude as to decline you my introduction. My name is Kasrim Fecklesuch, orator of Snitch, captive of my own desires, and a free willed, simplistic artist who bides his time lingering in the present. Might I ask your name?"
Crimwell shook his hand. "I am called Crimwell Criggsin, vagabond of Quertvarghast, an adept Lokemist, and much acquainted with Ms. Shellmother."
"Pleased to meet you, Crimwell. Please, come seat yourself and we shall exchange words."
Kasrim led him over to comfortable looking chairs arranged in a circular pattern upon a beautiful rug. Crimwell noticed sunlight shining down through an opening in the ceiling. Kasrim noticed the direction his eyes were casting themselves and said, "Admiring my work, eh? I would be hard-pressed to divulge the time it took me to convince the Sun to shine through here. Please, sit." Crimwell took his seat and noticed the chair he sat upon sighing deeply. Kasrim sat as well and asked, "What brings you here, friend? Are you here to learn the language of the Snitch?"
"Nay, my travels take me opposite directions. I come seeking the Necroxamix."
Kasrim looked frightened, surprised, and deathly ill all at once. He threw up all over the beautiful rug and the poor vomit slithered away before he spoke, "Speak not that name in my presence, lad. Such tones bode ill around most people. Why do you seek that legend, that myth, that being of such malevolence?"
Crimwell looked stern and spoke firmly, "I am training to be an Adept of Order. Select individuals of qualified status have informed me that the Ne-.....it...can help me achieve True Order."
Kasrim looked completely ill once more. "Lad, you dabble in things that ought not to be brought to light, much less darkness. The....it....is a legend. Do you not know the legend?"
Crimwell shook his head.
"Then I will let you partake of the bitter meat of legend." Kasrim reached over and plucked an amulet made of black stone from the table next to him and put it on. His entire image became transparent for a short time, and then he continued. "I can now speak the name Necroxamix safely. It is said, long ago, that the Necroxamix lived in a state of Nothing. Such Nothing was displeasing to him. He craved Order; he craved things to be in proper place, quite contrary to what things are now and what they should be. From deep within, he drew forth Matter and Void. They waged such a battle that it created lands, seas, forests, mountains, and sky, Matter singing loud her anthems and rhymes and Void praising Nothing with passion unbridled. It is said that they still battle even now, but that is quite another topic indeed. The Necroxamix was content with this side-creation. He enjoyed what was there. As he traveled throughout the new existence, he was met by something that the existence of, he hadn't even supposed."
"What was that?" Crimwell eagerly asked.
"The son of Matter and Void. Order. The Necroxamix and Order spoke for such a time, many things were changed while they were caught up in their speech. You see, Void was beginning to overpower Matter, as was good, and the daughter of the two, Chaos, was pulling the strings of the whole puppet show. She took his creations and beautifully warped them into what we live in now. The Necroxamix, after disengaging himself from the conversation and having been indoctrinated, beheld the vulgar landscape that now stood in his presence. The Necroxamix was furious. He sought out Chaos and Matter, seeking to destroy them for their 'crimes'. The Necroxamix, a being of such malevolence, found only Matter and spread its existence far and wide, creating more life, the ancestors of us. Order, thinking himself to be quite superior and know-it-all, sought to reform that which was marvelously created. Order wanted things to be in proper places, he wanted things to be 'neat'. He sought out what he called the 'finest denizens of this most unfortunate existence' and trained them in his terrible ways. Chaos, having hid herself from the Necroxamix, created the first Elder Lords, the most enlightened ones, those whom we now worship."
Crimwell was becoming slightly astonished that Politiks were creeping into this legend.
"The Necroxamix, the evil being he is, has been trying to kill the Elder Lords for ages, so legend goes. He will never overpower them."
"Are you saying the created are eluding the creator? The Necroxamix is an all-powerful being; shouldn't he be able to...well, do as he pleases?"
"Those are some blasphemous questions you're putting forth, lad. Watch your tongue."
Crimwell didn't need to watch his tongue, he was certain it wasn't going to flee from him quite yet.
"Now that I've divulged you the legend, why is it you want to achieve True Order? Do you not content yourself with the beauty of Nothing?"
Crimwell started to see the need of deceit in the air. He wasn't aware that Kasrim was a follower of the Elder Lords.
"No....I absolutely enjoy such Nothing. My soul laments every night out of joy."
Kasrim looked pleased. "Where are you from?"
"I come from Gretch."
Kasrim appeared excited. "The well-known abode of the Elder Lords! How splendid! Do you behold their parades weekly?"
"...Yes, I rather enjoy them."
"Do you soak yourself in the Pool of Dither?"
"I envy you, boy. I am but a poor creature consigned to exist within these walls of hope. I have but wished to behold the faces of the Elder Lords my entire existence, yet their presence eludes me and my time makes none of itself for the travel required to be present in Gretch. Will you, when you return back to your abode, deliver a letter of mine to the Appointed so that the Elder Lords may know of my request? It is but a humble request from a poor man."
Crimwell didn't think it would hurt to deliver a letter. It didn't require much effort on his part. "Yes, I will do such for you."
"My thanks be to you, young master. One moment while I fetch it."
Kasrim stood up, removed the amulet, and walked off to another room. Crimwell thought about all that entered his brain. This man obviously was a follower of the Elder Lords. The Elder Lords were an evil group of people dedicated to providing misery to those who wanted Order, as Crimwell did, and pampered those who contented themselves with Nothing. Order was a necessity. Crimwell always believed in Order since he was a young sprout, yet he didn't quite understand what it was. He revered the Necroxamix, a being that most citizens despised. He felt it within the very fabric of his existence that the Necroxamix was not a being of fury, hatred, and spite, as the denizens of the Land so put forth. He knew the Necroxamix to be a being of honor, pure and simple. He wanted to learn honor. He wanted to achieve True Order. The Elder Lords were utterly focused on destroying these ideals. To such, they employed the Ridimin-Ja, a small group of horrid enforcement agents. None who have seen them have lived for very long afterwards. The Ridimin-Ja are the embodiment of the Elder Lord's power, possessing great skill in battle-things and exuding such fear as to rid the mind of all reason. All in all, Crimwell didn't want to be any part of that. He pretended to be a believer in the Elder Lords when needed and showed his true devotion when called for. He was afraid he had said too much to Kasrim, but there was nothing Kasrim could do if he wished, seeing as he couldn't leave Tool Town for whatever purpose. Kasrim entered the room again, holding a small folded sheet of Peener-Parchment. "Apologies, Mr. Crimwell, the letter seemed to have hid itself from my grasp." Crimwell stood and took the letter, putting it into his nap-sack. "Is there anything more I can do for you, young master?"
"Nay but a thing, good sir, you have helped me indeed enough. I have traveled in search of that tale farther than the Quertvarghast spans, my thanks be to you."
Crimwell did the gratitude dance and Kasrim said, "All is welcome, young master. Will you be on your way?"
"Such as I will. Thank you for your Time."
Crimwell exited Kasrim's abode and made his way across Tool Town. Kasrim was not who he was looking for, he needed more information, but he knew not where to go. After he delivered the letter, he would search for Trusted Ones to obtain insight on where he was to bring his presence to next. He arrived at the Mother-Marina and took off his nap-sack. Spreading it on the ground, he entered the nap-sack and rested his head upon the soft pillow that folded out of it. Such a device was expensive, yes, but of much worth. He obtained it from a man not quite unlike Sordad. The nap-sack was actually larger inside, able to fit all sorts of things, including himself. He used it to store his belongings and drift upon slumber's calming waves when needed. His eyes slowly closed as he waited for the Shellmother to arrive.
---The Hooded One Appears, Dallying With Fatality---
The rather small poke of a much more rathery small finger awoke Crimwell from his nap. His eyes opened to behold a small one-eyed creature standing before him, its rathery finger still poking out at him as if in accusation of some misdeed not performed by Crimwell nor anybody else. "You wake now, Shellmother be here, leave soon." Crimwell rubbed his eyes with his not-so-rathery fingers and removed himself from his nap-sack. "My thanks to you, good sir, for waking me at this time of need. What is your name?"
The small creature jumped thrice, spit into the wind, and said, "Me Bendogonk. You be new man, not see new man before. You like chunk soup?" Bendogonk produced, seemingly out of nowhere, a small wooden bowl with a viscous material in it that bubbled in delight. Crimwell noticed a group of small creatures lavishly swimming in the soup. "No....I do not believe I have tried such an...interesting...dish. If I may, where-" Bendogonk opened his mouth, honked, opened Crimwell's mouth, and started shoveling the soup into his mouth quickly, as if Time herself was working against him. "Eat. Chunk. Eat. Soup!" Bendogonk said as he shoveled. When all was said, done, and eaten, Crimwell sat there in a daze, marveling at what just occurred. He opened his mouth and heard a small chorus of cheers, the creatures in the soup seemingly joyful as they were being digested by Crimwell's unforgiving body. "I...thank you...for sharing your chunk soup with me."
Bendogonk jumped and spun in a circle, spinning his rathery finger in the air as he yipped with glee. "Bendo, the Gonk of much all, loves to eat, not to fall, master Man ate soup and didn't trip on a loop!" Bendogonk skipped away as such, singing all the way. Crimwell stood, grabbed his nap-sack, and proceeded to the where he could board the Shellmother. He noticed her, floating above, hands and legs dangling below her as jets of porous smoke shot out of her palms and feet to keep her afloat. He stepped up the stairs and entered the dimly lit shell. There were rows of cushioned benches, many supporting different kinds of people and sacks of flesh from all over the Land. He walked over to the seat that was reserved solely for him and sat himself upon it, exhaling air from his mouth hole. Where was his next destination? Baby-Cradle could possibly help him, but he hadn't a clue as to the whereabouts of his domain. All in all, Crimwell needed to find the Necroxamix, although such a daunting task presented many drawbacks as most of the denizens of the Land sided with the Elder Lords and their nefariously noxious ideals. A thought presented itself to Crimwell to be examined. Crimwell had heard of a land called Wimbaxwith Wilds, a place that housed the domain of a rather seedy individual and the Nezrmeer Seer, a being that possessed such qualities as to house stores of knowledge and wealth, which are the same, in his cranium. Crimwell supposed that this was his next task at hand.
Crimwell then stopped existing for but a smidge of a moment, then looked to his leftward direction and saw two beady eyes thrusting themselves at his facial premise from within a dark hood which was attached to a dark brown robe. His face, much in aghast of this sudden event, twisted in shock. The eyes vanished from within the hood as the robed figure sat on a cushion about eighty-two hand spans away. Crimwell's feelings sat upon the throne of uneasiness when he gazed at the figure, so he simply didn't. In the moment of suddenly, the robed figure was sitting next to him and Crimwell's heart pumped ash. The figure gazed at him, the beady eyes returning seemingly from within the robe itself. A smooth voice spoke,
"I noticed you sitting there with much purpose, using your wrinkles very well. Might I be of assistance in anything you might require, acquire, or desire?"
"N...no, thank you. Nothing quite at the moment, good sir. My presence claims this position as I ponder whereupon I need to depart to next."
"What location captures the fancy of your desires?"
Crimwell hesitated before responding. "I....am not sure yet."
"What do you seek?"
Crimwell didn't want to reveal much to this strange newcomer. As if sensing his very thought processes, the stranger spoke, "In case your hesitation is based upon my affiliation with the Elder Lords, be at peace, for I dabble not in that filth."
Crimwell could feel the truth in the figure's words, so he spoke, "I am seeking the Necroxamix."
The figure seemed to be surprised at this response. "You seek the Necroxamix as well, eh? As do I, my new friend, as do I."
Crimwell's soul leaped in joy as he spoke with an eager enthusiasm, "You are? Can you tell me where I might start looking?"
"Looking? Good boy, you are looking for a being that cannot be found. The Necroxamix exists, yes, but he manifests himself only to those chosen of his whim."
Crimwell looked a bit crestfallen. "You're saying my labors fall short?"
The figure seemed to smile, even though there was nothing of a face within the dark hood. "No, lad, do not cast hope to the cannibals! Seeking the Necroxamix involves much more than merely looking. You must search for the places of Shunn, the places where the Necroxamix himself has made an abode."
"Made an abode?"
"Yes. The Necroxamix is in fact the most talented vagabond, yet he desired residences. A place to chain himself as he wanders."
"Where might I find these places of Shunn?"
The Shellmother decided then to take off, floating on to the next destination. The figure looked around, then looked back at Crimwell.
"I cannot tell you where they are. Truth be told, they cannot be spoken. You will know you are in a Shunn when you are there."
Crimwell's thoughts were running amok like a man set upon flames.
"I will help you when needed, though. I am found to have talents that not many beings possess. We can work together to find places of Shunn. I have been looking for these places for far too long. We can meet together here within the Shellmother, if your wishes agree."
"They do agree, good master, and with much vigor, I must say. Have you found any of these places of Shunn, perchance?"
The figure shook its hood. "I have not, nor have I gotten close. I wander the Land searching, for in the harbor of my soul, there rests a ship, a ship of hope. Hope that when I find a place of Shunn, the ship may set sail upon waters of peace, far away from any of this madness around us."
"What are you called, if I may ask?"
The figure seemed to think for a bit, then spoke up, "You may call me Xamgar."
Crimwell's brainsicles liked the taste that name spoke upon his tongue, and he bowed. "I am appreciative of your willingness to help. My quest brings me to the tides of Wimbaxwith Wilds to partake of the knowledge of the Nezrmeer Seer, is this course one worthy to embark on?"
Xamgar nodded his head and spoke, "Yes, the Nezrmeer Seer can tell you where you must bring your torso and all your other necessary appendages to. He will bring you enlightenment peradventure you may achieve where to locate a Shunn."
Out of a hole in the ceiling of the shell, a small bearded pixie flew out, spun in a circle which unleashed many bolts of dark flame, and announced, "Now approaching Gretch, then onward to the Ooze Fields of Terrel Mevnis, then onward to Shullifan Zimbob, then onward to Zorkrak Bog, then to...." The pixie continued until, after much Time was used, it spoke, "then onward to Nightingale, then back to Tool Town. Enjoy your ride, keep all belongings and extra heads near you, the Shellmother will not be responsible for lost heads." With that, the bearded pixie flew back up into the hole. Crimwell leaned back to the wall and spoke, "I suppose I must depart. I fancy myself a bit of a messenger, for I have a letter written by a lonesome wanderer aimed towards the Appointed in Gretch."
"Go with caution, young lad, for the cup of paranoia is always filled to the brim in that metropolis."
Crimwell stood up, grabbed his nap-sack, and offered his hand to be shaken. Xamgar removed Crimwell's hand and shook it vigorously. Crimwell, returning his hand to its proper place, said, "Thank you for setting my journey straight, friend Xamgar."
Xamgar bowed his head. "All the welcome be to you, good lad. Safe travels. May your sickle always gleam in the rising sun as it harvests the crops of fortune."
---Wretched Gretch of Beautiful Dominion---
Crimwell exited the Shellmother, stepping off of the Mother Marina to behold Gretch, the domain of the Elder Lords. It was a rather pointy city, the buildings more like spires rising up out of the ground and piercing the supple flesh of the ever darkened sky. The sky itself was black, the multi-colored stars playing their soothing symphonies to any eyes who may listen, and the city itself was lit up by many pale lights, some built into the spires, others in the streets. Crimwell thought the city was beautiful, yet the knowledge that the Elder Lords resided there was like unto a swimming amphibious creature of caution and doubt in the currents of the air. Crimwell walked along the black brick streets of Gretch, making his way to the Opal Syndicate: Marimongosa, the Great Spire in which the Elder Lords dressed their lies in pretty clothes and distributed them to the commoners who donned them graciously. Crimwell was soon stopped by one of his friends, Fletcher the Swift. Fletcher, a muscular, toned, bald man wearing none such clothes but a pair of trousers cut off at the knees, bowed to Crimwell who in return bowed. They clasped arms and Fletcher spoke, "It is good to stand before you once more, Master Crimwell. Whence have your travels returned you to this fair city for?"
"My thoughts return to my home, and to an errand I must attend to in the Opal Syndicate."
Fletcher grinned. "You are finally challenging the Elder Lords to bring them down and save this beautiful city from their claws?"
Crimwell chuckled. "Nay, my task is but a trifle, the delivering of a missive from afar, then onwards to my home where I may rest for a little season before returning to the life called Vagabond."
Fletcher shook his head. "You are as the Xamix, always wandering,
never staying in one place for too long, yet we reside upon common ground. It may please your bowels to find a mate, good to the eyes and fair to the light, to settle down with. Your bones need respite from their weary travels sometime, my friend. Not all can run as the Swift does."
"Indeed, I have considered that thought, yet I am inclined to continue my labors. I appreciate your good intentions though. Are you off then as well, Messenger?"
Fletcher nodded. "Aye, I am off to conquer the Quertvarghast again. Much needs to be delivered. I take my leave. Peace be with you, Crimwell Criggsin."
Fletcher left, walking along the path towards the great Quertvarghast. Unbeknownst to few, Fletcher, along with the Shellmother, had the ability to travel between settlements, his wrinkles containing the knowledge of the locations wherein each settlement lay. Some speculate that Fletcher was a creation of the Elder Lords, given the pure knowledge of geography, and some others wonder if the Necroxamix himself bestowed upon him his blessing. Whatever the reason, Fletcher traveled between towns, delivering mail and other sorts of things deliverable. He ran tirelessly, never stopping until his destination was reached. He charged nothing for his services, yet all inns, taverns, and places where drinkable liquids were served gave him draughts endlessly, without requiring payment, out of their gratitude holes. Crimwell had met Fletcher many a time in the inns he frequented on occasion, and they had exchanged much in the form of words and their souls were knit together in the same quilt of life. Crimwell continued walking, passing by many market stands, some selling goods to people willing to purchase, others being flee markets, causing people to run away with dark thoughts upon their brows. Crimwell wanted to deliver Kasrim's letter and rest within his able abode for a time before continuing. He approached the Opal Syndicate, taking in its awe-inspiring beauty. The glass doors slid to the side as he entered the spire and was approached by a headless man dressed in vivid blue and green finery who bowed before asking, "Wherefore takest thine actions this day, sojourner?"
"I am here to speak with the Appointed, sir."
"Then follow my course and I will guide thee thither."
The butler turned and strode a careful stride down a hallway to the right. Crimwell followed, admiring the work of the hallways. Paintings passed by, hung precariously on the wall by many pointy things. The paintings depicted many of the regions of The Land, he recognized the Mangrove Swamp, a head-shearing place of screaming trees, the Ooze Fields of Terrel Mevnis, and a marvelous depiction of Gretch painted with only the parts of a Drifting Peener, its frame woven from the fine bones of the Peener. A light blue haze languidly rested in the air of the halls, seeming to be content to lazily observe all who strode through it, swirling when any creature impaled it with their bodies. The butler stepped to the side of a door seemingly made of dried flesh and bowed, gesturing in. "Thy destination resides within."
Crimwell nodded. "Many jewels of thanks be encrusted into your soul's crown."
Crimwell knocked on the door, making a meaty put put put on the crest of the door. A voice called out from within, "Come in, yardemin."
He entered the door, squeezing through the dried flesh as he emerged through the other side into a large and spacious room with but one desk and a single filing cabinet. The desk looked to be made out of Pain Pine, its dark crimson wood making Crimwell's whole skin tingle with pain. The Appointed, the one who acted in the name of the Elder Lords and dealt with many of the denizen's problems, was a somber fellow with a single translucent jade spike out of his neck stump acting as his head. The Appointed spoke up, "May I help you, fardemelpoo?"
"Yes indeed, sir Appointed. I have a missive from one Kasrim Fecklesuch directed to you from Tool Town."
The Appointed looked upwards, the featureless spike glowing more intensely, and carefully set down his pen and put his hands in front of him. "Good ol' Fecklesuch, eh? It has been quite some time since we've heard from him. Bring hither the missive, zordefissive."
Crimwell strode forward, handing the letter to the Appointed who took it with gloved hands.
"I will acquire my leave now, many nights of festive psychoinconsistencies be upon you."
The Appointed nodded, waving his hand. "And upon you, sir, with much gusto cordemusto."
Crimwell turned to leave, forcing himself through the wonderfully berserk meat door as he once again entered the hallways. A very schlumpty man approached him, waving a quilted scepter at him, and barfed, "I was once like you, all of this is a mystery to be unraveled by my wife's crescent-shaped love crickets."
Crimwell walked onwards and exited the Spire, making his way to his house, which was dubbed Zingarfmeelodemusfrigzaffinsporandustookecklemustremeenzofporf. On the way home, he stopped by the Store for Things You Need and bought himself a suckbottle, his favorite beverage. The suckbottle was an interesting piece of equipment, it was a bottle that you simply sucked on very muchly and received into your kindly awaiting mouth cave a nectar smooth and gentle to the teeth. On the way to Zingarfmeelodemusfrigzaffinsporandustookecklemustremeenzofporf, a meat pixie sprung forth from a hole in the head of a dead Jinglebuff Puff on the side of the street and bellowed out, "Got meat for sale, worms, cretins, fiends and gentlemen! Come and buy your meats! Would you like a sack of fresh meat, my dear sweet charming boy?"
"No, thank you, my stomach lies in the chambers of filled fantasies, friend pixie. Maybe some other time I shall peruse your wares."
"Suit yourself, moron." The pixie said as it dove back into the Jinglebuff Puff. Meat pixies didn't usually harbor politeness in their mind griddles, but they carried the best meats available. Nobody knew where they got the meats, but it was probably safer to dwell in the chariots of ignorance in battles like those, Crimwell often supposed. Arriving at his house, Crimwell pulled out a golden card and opened his door, card in hand. He stepped into his able abode, drawing the essence of the familiar place into his nose tunnels. "Welcome home!" He heard a droopy voice call out. His pet Drifting Peener, Dogmart, gently floated around the corner and bonked into Crimwell, who drew it near to his bosom and caressed it. "I am glad to see you, my faithful friend. How have you fared since my presence has departed hence?"
"I have been quite lonesome without anyone but my tassels to converse with, yet I have fared well. The house has taken a bit of cleaning, the Fedge Hedges have received a trimming, and the windows have been rather windowy of late. All is well."
Crimwell decided it was time for the narrator to explain what the mysterious Drifting Peener looks like. The Peener is an interesting creature resembling a violet balloon with a face where any face would usually go and many tassels hanging from the bottom, those being used as appendages. Drifting Peeners are used for many different things of uses. The skin of a Peener is used as the recipient of marking tools, the purple lifeblood is used as ink, the dazzling but thin bones are used in jewelry and all manner of decoration, the tassels are used to bind the wicked, the eyes are used in stews, the stomach is used to make the most melodious cheeses, the droppings are used to inform multi-dimensional objects of their true placements (and to keep out the krabrats), and the air that Peeners are filled with is inhaled to cause the inhaler much joy. Crimwell had found Dogmart drifting a little too low to the ground in an alleyway in Gretch and took him into his abode where he fed and revitalized the famished and parched Peener. Turns out, the Zoong Grang Gang, poachers of Peeners, were pursuing Dogmart and his frail bones were weary from drifting away from the gang. He probably would have been apprehended and slaughtered if Crimwell hadn't taken him to board, and Dogmart had asked if he could reside with him the remainder of his days, to which Crimwell graciously assented. Dogmart always spewed forth gratitude out of his gratitude hole towards Crimwell and his inner workings. Dogmart was an industrious worker, cleaner, and up keeper, faithfully keeping his abode able and always providing Crimwell's weary soul with good company.
"I trust all is explained that needs to be?" Dogmart asked.
"Aye, these enigmatic dilemmas have been studiously resolved." The narrator spoke.
"Well then," Crimwell continued, "What Mail has been received, if any?"
Dogmart drifted off towards the Mail Room, returning with pouches full of parchment in his tassels. "I must admit, I find it a bit disconcerting to be wielding the flesh of my people, but I suppose I've come to the conclusion that our bodies are made to use, yet I resent the fact that we are needlessly killed for our parts." Dogmart lamented.
Crimwell took the mail. "Yes, it is quite unfortunate. It can't be prevented. Yet it can be stopped when found. I suppose wickedness always abounds, whether lawful or unlawful. Who is to tell the criminal not to perform a crime because it is against the law? Criminals will do evil whether Justiss is in place or not, that is their disposition."
Dogmart bobbed. "I am glad you have received me, nevertheless. The air within me stretches on the borders of life in thankfulness to have warm lodgings and fancy feastings available at will to me."
Crimwell walked over and sat down in his moon chair, reading the mail. Dogmart drifted over and rested on a small platform made for him near the moon chair. "What news of the yonder regions?"
"I traveled to Tool Town where I met a doorknob, a fine scientist called Sordad, a chap by the name of Kasrim Fecklesuch, and a small creature by the name of Bendogonk who possesses a rather rathery finger. I also came in contact with a gentleman who called himself Xamgar, who knew about the Necroxamix."
Dogmart bobbed up and down in gleeful glee. "Really? Jumping Jiminy, what did you find out?"
"That my next course lies at Wimbaxwith Wilds in the inverted tower of the Nezrmeer Seer."
"Will you take me to Wimbaxwith Wilds?" Dogmart asked.
Crimwell looked astonished. "You desire to depart Zingarfmeelodemusfrigzaffinsporandustookecklemustremeenzofporf?"
Dogmart bobbed up and down. "I have done much sorting of my brain documents as of late and have made the decision that I would like to depart this abode and conquer my fears of the Outside."
Crimwell smiled. "I would be glad to take you, Dogmart."
Dogmart flew and began drifting around the room, bobbing up and down like some demented child's balloon. "Yippee! Songs are in store for this marvelous occurrence!" Dogmart began to sing his eager songings.
"My mind, it guides the gentleman's flock
And things within me oftenly mock
Yet such as with
To sever and pith
This fear that ticked like treacherous clocks.
Horizons dawn bereft of the rain
For I shall here no longer remain
The winds shall blow
From to and to fro
And carry away the seeds of pain
The cradle of idleness seeks to succumb
Desire of travel, I make myself one
My eager bones
This fanciful home
My soul, it sings ta tum ta tum!
Ta tum, ta tum, ta tiddelly tum
Po Piddily fum, ruf reery ree mum
Koolworry bo witch
Kraazfancy grancook dim weary too rum."
Crimwell clapped his hands and feet together. "Splendid performance, my musical mate, splendid! I must say, you have a talent that few claim in their bags of talents."
Dogmart bobbed down. "My thanks be to you, Crimwell. I intend to share my singing skills elsewhere as well. It brings joy to your joy receivers, so it must be to others, I hope."
Crimwell extended his legs and stood. "Your hope shall be well-founded, for many a minstrel would desire to listen to the inner workings of your musical being, perhaps gaining insight upon which they may add to their own musical foundations your creative singings."
Dogmart spun in a circle. "My excitement is paramount. When shall we depart?"
Crimwell consulted his wrinkles for but a moment, then spoke, "Let us depart in three days and twenty four hours."
Crimwell then began to relax his tired bones from all of his yumpty travels.
Brought forth yonder wise
Two Darngibble men lunged into the Chamber of the Conefetch, one with a frightening cinder on his skull and the other with unachieved dreams in his toes. One of them turned one hundred and eighty degrees and spoke to the other, "Turn away the gaze, Huppim."
"Right away, Shuppim!" Huppim said.
Huppim walked over to a basin made of beaten metal near the back of the room. There was a spinal cord emerging from a fissure in the wall and resting in the basin. Huppim snatched up a minuscule pick from a small table to the right and looked back at his partner. Shuppim nodded his shoulder decor grimly. Huppim reached into the basin and tenderly picked up the spine as if he were holding a small infant. After hesitating, he hit one of the spinal disks with the pick, drawing forth a small spurt of blood, and there was a loud screech. The hollow eyes of the Sightless Conefetch reared up, then gazed at Huppim who froze in place. Crimwell's air pouches drew in life-giving air for the first time in a long time. His eyes darted here and there, his arms straining against the shackles that his wrists unwillingly wore. "Don't try anything, heretic. Y'ain't got no friends to help ya and yer deep within the walls of the Ibncack."
Crimwell laid his head back and closed his eyes. Shuppim walked over and laid a small, rather fuzzy blanket on the ground. He then began dancing and singing.
"Hoot goot, holler and guff
I met myself yesterday in the Sniddlin Puff
Make this meat tender for ridin' n' stuff!"
The small blanket on the ground shivered, then slid under Crimwell and lifted him off the ground and into the sorrowful air. "It's time for yer Trial, heretic." Shuppim said as he walked out of the room, the blanket that was holding Crimwell following along. They emerged into an earthen hallway filled with many prison doors. There was a cacophony of wails, howls, laments, and all things dreary to the earies coming from the halls. Crimwell closed his eyes and tried to think about happier things. They began making their way down the hall, passing by many cells. Crimwell gazed into each cell as they slowly passed and eyed each prisoner. Some were young, others old, some coalesced into puddles of filthy mud. The Ibncack was the dark underground prison of the Elder Lords. Crimwell never thought he would end up here, yet his carelessness betrayed him. Cell after cell passed, each prisoner being a victim of the Elder Lord's, most likely in the same situation as he, except he was different. They only believed, he had acted. As cell after cell went by, Crimwell's eyes began to glaze over. There were so many captured, so many souls festering in Nothing that his hope leaned heavily on the cane of despair. Then, a sparkle caught his eyes and they focused on a very sound woman in a cell, wrapped in a coarse blanket. She looked up and met Crimwell's eyes, who introduced themselves. Her royal blue eyes twinkled with a royal blue light and everything slowed to a stop. Shuppim stopped, the howls stopped, and Time herself took her lunch break. They gazed at each other for many minutes, Crimwell not knowing the right words. Finally, a singsong voice resounded throughout Crimwell's wrinkles, "Fear not. We will meet once more."
"Who are you?" Crimwell whispered.
"They tell me my name is Mispereth."
A pause followed. Crimwell then asked, "Why are you here?"
Mispereth's answer was long in coming. "I suppose I have done something wrong, yet I do not know what. I have merely fulfilled the measure of my creation. Is it a crime for the machine to do what it was built for? Alas, my heart beats less and less joy than the previous beat, for I have been here for many breaths. The Elder Lords despise me, yet they cannot destroy me, so they do the next logical thing: erase my existence."
Crimwell's wrinkles were astonished at this regal newcomer. He spoke up with melancholy slathered upon his voice, "They take me away. I suppose they will slay me, for I have wrought misdeed in their eyes."
Mispereth looked pained. "Another victim of misplaced piety. You seem to hold Order on your brow. Will you sing with me?"
Crimwell blinked his eyes. "Sing?"
"My heart's horizon is filled with the thunderheads of sorrow, yet I will do my best to please your request."
Mispereth then began to sing a melodious tune.
"Though high in flight my thoughts do dwell,
I cannot hold dear my life
These days gone by, captivity torn
Made clear of toil and strife."
Crimwell then joined in, singing:
"Though low and dark my thoughts do dwell
I cannot predict my life
My days are gone, adventures been had
While balanced on destiny's knife."
"My fall, how great was the magnitude!
Prediction never did show
A victim of fear I found myself
Then banished to far below."
"My life torn out, my dreams appeared
To sever themselves from day
And take a plunge into the dark
To tremble with what they may."
Then, a marvelous thing occurred. Crimwell's thoughts seemed to be in tune with the melody of something he could not place. They both sang together,
"Yet even when paths are shrouded in fear
And there seems nowhere to be turned
There still shines hope, the faithful friend
To lead us to where we yearned."
Time clocked in once more and began her rote display, things returning to their proper order and such. Crimwell only caught a brief glimpse of Mispereth as he passed by on the airborne blanket of hollow dreams. His heart suddenly yearned to speak with her once more, yet he could not offer much in his current state, being so bound with the fetters of shame. They rounded a corner and beheld a large, succulent door made entirely of bone. Approaching the door, Shuppim cleared his throat, then announced, "The Heretic is presented."
The door shuddered as if it were struck by a large battering ram, then it opened, letting in blinding rays of light. Crimwell's eyes could not handle such punishment and they closed until further notice. He felt himself floating once more, then higher and higher until the blanket began to settle down onto what seemed to be a seat, the blanket righting Crimwell's posture into a seating position. When he felt as if it were done, he slowly opened his eyes.
All of Gretch sat in front of him in a large room of pews.
He sat up on a stand made of polished wood. He looked around at the white stone room and noticed three emblazoned men sitting upon thrones, muchly covered in the colors of whim. One of them spoke in a loud, deep, nocturnal voice, "Crimwell Criggsin is hereby brought before the people. His fate will be determined by the Jury of Floods. He has been charged of heresy of the highest degree."
The words he sung with Mispereth knocked on his mind's chamber door again and he let them in. He closed his eyes as the Trial began.
---To the Wild Wimbaxwith---
Dogmart drifted in through a hatch in the sealing, softly closing it with his tassels as he carried bags of groceries. Crimwell was sleeping in his moon chair, he had had a very trying day of planning their journey and eating things. He rather liked eating things. Dogmart had just returned from the Store for Things You Need, having purchased a plentiful amount of victuals for their coming travels. Dogmart drifted down and into the food preparation, storage, and consumption area to put things away until the next day where they would prepare their victuals and depart posthaste. As he was placing things in their proper places, he shifted his sight spheres to a picture on the wall. It was a picture of him and Crimwell laughing merrily at the Pool of Dither in Gretch. It was Dogmart's favorite picture, it depicted deep friendship, love, and joy as only two friends could experiences within the eager hospice of their lodgings. Crimwell was the most splendid being he had ever met, Dogmart was beyond ecstatic at the journey ahead. He drifted over to his chambers and bumped the hatch open. His room was meager, his joy didn't require much to be content. He did love pictures, though, and he possessed many of those. His walls were covered in stills of Crimwell and him, his other Peener friends, and one of his favorite meat pixies, Snourf. Dogmart floated over to the window and bumped it open, floating outwards and gently letting it close as he left. The chill night breeze played frosty orchestras on his flesh as he drifted above in the air. His friends, Cornfiffy and Yib, wanted to say goodbye to him before he departed hence to regions never traveled. The dark city of Gretch was beautiful, even if it was full of zealous ne'r-do-wells and the rigors of slop. The tall, twinkling spires that rose up spasmodically out of the ground seemed as a crowd trying to huddle together to view a lovely creature writhing in its death throes. Dogmart approached his goal, a tall brick chimney, and descended into the laughing spout. He emerged from the fireplace into a dimly lit room filled with people laughing, talking, whispering, plotting (You didn't hear that from me, though.), and otherwise being merry. A group of Peeners in the corner hailed Dogmart over and he drifted to meet the request. Cornfiffy, the female that captured his kraazfancy, spoke up, "Dogmart, my good Peener! We were just speaking your name in abundance with a feast of words. Come, join us."
He stopped between Cornfiffy and Zebediah, receiving muchly the mug of Zorbadoo Spider Cider that was handed to him. Zorbadoo Spider Cider was a rather interesting concoction made from the ichor of a Zorbadoo Spider. It was a favorite of Peeners all over because it extended their ability to drift further and higher and filled their tumblies with wroth luxury. Dogmart took a liking to it mainly because of its spiced feel and lingering aftermath of rambunctious tastings. Zebediah spoke up, "Dogmart, me mate, how do ye expect to keep your head and tassels about ye if ye haven't had the experience of the Quertvarghast?"
"So Dogmart, how are your preparations?" Cornfiffy asked.
"My preparations are inkling and tinkling with happiness unbound, dancing upon the merry waves of hither, thither, and corn fields."
"We're all going to miss your presence, Dogmart. You must bring yourself back to satisfy our Dogmart cravings when your presence wanes too thin." Yib cradled.
"I have nary a need to bereave your cravings of my Dogmartness, do not be afraid, I shall return with glory on my brow, for we are going to legendary places."
Yib glowed softly green, then pooped everywhere. A bunch of two-headed mice rushed out and began bathing themselves happily in the stuff.
"I would ask ye to take me on this venture of yours, but I am not prepared." Zebediah said. An invisible Jinglebuff Puff slapped him in the face to shut him up.
"Do you plan on following Mr. Criggsin all your days?" Yib asked.
"Indeed I am. I have counseled with my tassels and come to the conclusion that our destinies are entwined together."
"Dedication flows out of your dedication hole, Dogmart, much of this is to be envied and cherished. You are quite the strange, singsong, poetic yet gentle Peener. I am glad to know you."
Cornfiffy gathered some of his tassels in hers and Dogmart smiled.
"I am found to possess a rather gentle and loving group of friends such as yourselves. Shall we enjoy one last drink?"
"Aye!" Zebediah roared as he slammed his mug on the table, to which nobody paid any attention to.
"Indeed!" They all spoke in unison, after Zebediah filthed the air. They drank and spoke of happy days filled with creameries ran by Underbumph Trees.
Fletcher bounded throughout the great Quertvarghast, his leg muscles rippling with use. Another Weebaligee Monster sprung out of the ground and Fletcher jumped, front flipping in mid-air straight through the arch of one of its legs. The Weebaligee Monster, much in aghast, got slightly more than a lot angry and breathed molten Dither at Fletcher, but he was long far past as he continued running. The Quertvarghast wasn't really empty, but full of creatures waiting under the sand. They are the Weebaligee Monsters, great centipede-like creatures that burrow under the sand very hastily. When they smell fresh meat, they arise from their dirty tunnels and attempt to place the fresh meat into their mouth cavities rather forcefully. The Weebaligee Monsters have many legs, yet they are in the shape of you who read this tale, long, stringy, with many buds at the ends used for balance and such, yet the Weebaligee Monster uses them for other usings. Its head is in the shape of a normal head, yet it is cut off at the middle section. The teeth contained within the mouth cavity have been sharpened to exact points. Fletcher turned his path to the right, taking the other way around a mound of sand. The sand quivered and a long tongue with an infant's head on the end shot out at Fletcher. He jumped and did a cartwheel in the air, throwing a satchel of Ipsipod Candies into the infant's mouth. The infant cooed in joy as it crunched down on the sweet candy, cracks forming in its skull as the candy did its job. Fletcher landed and jumped again, one of the Weebaligee Monster's feet passing harmfully under the empty space below him. He continued running. That was eighty two Weebaligee Monsters following him now. Normally, he only averaged about 45, but they must be getting restless now. Fletcher wondered what thing could cause the Weebaligee race to become restless. Maybe the Xamix was trying him, forcing him to tax himself even more as to strengthen his sinews. Suddenly, like a plague showing its nasty head, his goal met his eyes. Mount Zidfost rose on the horizon, a black mark on the tides of Quertvarghast. Fletcher jumped and caught an explosive projective aimed at him and threw it back, causing a loud wumph as it exploded one of the Weebaligee Monsters. Down to eighty one. His legs pumped tirelessly, his Satchel of Comm strapped close to his back. Suddenly, a massive creature rose up out of the ground some distance away from him and he marveled. The creature reared up its head and roared a reverse sound. All the color around Fletcher inverted and his face turned grimaceful. He had never before seen such a creature in all of his travels. He pulled out his Gaffstaff and made ready to fight his way through. The creature was massive, almost the size of Mount Zidfost itself. Its icky body had many plates of armor stickied to it of different dull colors, it had many appendages which carried the bones of its adversaries, and its head was long and sinewy. Inverted flames shot out of holes in the armor and Fletcher swung his Gaffstaff, creating a whirlwind of blue sand that shot out to hug the flames, killing their hopes and dreams. He drew even closer to the massive creature, not slowing down at all. The creature swung a large appendage at Fletcher, a roaring sound heralding it. He twisted his Gaffstaff and swung at the appendage. The staff and the appendage met very unceremoniously and a deafening boom resounded, turning the colors back to normal. Fletcher ducked under the appendage's meager hopes and continued running. Mount Zidfost was drawing nearer, he only had to step foot into the great spires to be safe from anything of the Quertvarghast. Raising his hand up high, he began chanting ancient chantings passed down from weird men who sit upon thrones of whispers. Wispy creatures surrounded his legs and began jabbing them with syringes filled with Speed Nectar. His legs began working faster, his speed rising to dangerous levels. Mount Zidfost was only a few seconds away so he ran and jumped, barely dodging another appendage as he landed on the black earth of Zidfost. His bones rolled around a bit, lamenting at this horrid treatment it was receiving as his momentum began to wander away. He stopped finally, looking up to view the large creature roaring in disgust as it pittered away in defeat. Fletcher whispered, "I dub thee the name Zweigost." Colorful sparks flew all around him as the name of the creature never before laid eyes upon was received by Nothing. He stood up and brushed himself off of the clinging dustlets. Many old rope bridges spanned up, down, left, and right in this dark part of Kumberlump Canyon, eventually leading to Tool Town, his destination. He strode a careful stride over to the first bridge and began his ascent, his bare feet gripping the old wooden planks. Each plank swore nasty words at him as he stepped on them and he told them to shush. After a lingering trial of negative comments about his trousers and the way he styled his non-existent hair, he arrived in Tool Town and began looking for a house of about this big. Finding the house, he handed the letter to the man who answered and continued his route, giving people slips of Peener Parchment and parcels. One of the parcels he handed out unfolded into a large disc that beheaded the recipient. Fletcher thought it was quite rude that someone would send such a parcel like that. He finished his mail route and entered the Inn of the Last Blood. Sitting down on a tin chair, he was amazed when a barbarous onslaught of thanks, cheers, welcomes, and vomit cascaded all around him. The Inn's owner, Grumbal Seegrack, slapped his palm against his bare back and shouted chalantly, "Fletcher, my friend! The Lokemists informed me that you arrived in Tool Town quite tired, so I assume you need some Gringint Juice!"
A mug with the likeness of a somber man was placed on the table, filled with Gringint Juice, his favorite elixir. "My thanks be to you, good sir. I am sore athirst for my travels have been rather wearisome of late." Fletcher picked up the mug and drained the Juice, the mug's eyes spewing out steam. He began talking to the inhabitants hearing their tales and accepting more mail. Another mug of Juice sidled next to his empty one and he sipped it without thinking, being very thirsty. He kept talking until the Inn was nigh unto closing. He gave Grumbal his farewells and headed for Fettlesud Canyon, departing to his next destination. He was traveling to Dive Rock, a massive stone that thrust out of the side of Zidfost that allowed him to get a large head start on his journey. He took his Time strolling through Fettlesud Canyon, enjoying the flowing stone and the echoing life of Zidfost. He turned a nice corner and beheld the Runway, a large stretch where he gathered his speed and set sail upon the winds of Quertvarghast. He gathered his strength and began running, his legs trundling along. Fletcher realized that his legs shouldn't be trundling but rippling with use. He worked harder, running along but slowing down as he neared the edge of the rock. His body was shutting down, he had no clue what was happening. His momentum drove him over the edge and he found himself free falling through the air. As he fell the great distance, not being able to use his appendages, he considered the cause of this unfortunate disaster. Before he and the ground shared an unwelcome reunion, his mind clicked the pieces together. "The Juice..."
"Are you ready, my drifting friend?" Crimwell put forth.
"Ready as I'll ever be!" Dogmart agreed.
"Then let us sally forth!"
Crimwell and Dogmart exited Zingarfmeelodemusfrigzaffinsporandustookecklemustremeenzofporf and traveled along down the black brick walkway of Gretch headed towards the Mother Marina. They had their victuals, they had their songs, they were off. As they were sallying forth, Crimwell heard a group of shouts and looked towards the disturbance. He saw a man sauntering quickly past an alleyway waving a quilted scepter as he was being chased by the Constababels. The man was yelling, "Ask for the right to strike the fly soil where peaceful development is, but the focus of international attention in silent films enlarged my body. Well there is no interest in little change, magazines are a mystery!" Crimwell and Dogmart continued onward and boarded the Shellmother, taking their reserved place. Crimwell sighed in relief, eager to reside again within his favorite residing. "This creature, the Shellmother, is quite intriguing, I must say. She drifts like my people yet holds a somber beauty about her." Dogmart said,
"Long and far are the days that the Peener has boarded my shell." A somber, feminine voice called out.
"Great gravy, it spoke!" One man said as he rushed out of the shell, screaming bloody homicide.
"I bow myself and my tassels converse hymns of gratitude towards your gracious services, Mother of the Shell." Dogmart browned.
"Your kindness melts the ice around my heart, thank you."
It was a couple increments of Time before she lifted off and the bearded pixie flew out and began his rote display once more. "So do you think Xamgar will bestow his presence again?" Dogmart inquired.
"Perhaps. I know not where his travels take him."
A brown robe fell down from the ceiling and gathered on the ground. The robe twisted up and formed into a figure with beady eyes rising out of the hood. "You summoned me?" Xamgar spoke.
"Xamgar, your presence takes a fancy to frightening my frail frame."
Xamgar bowed his hood. "My apologies."
Crimwell shook his head. "Nay, do not offer your apologies, for they are not called for. It adds savor to your presence. Do you reside here within the Shellmother?"
"Nay, this meeting is bathed in the meats of chance. Where do your travels carry you forth now?"
"I and my loyal friend Dogmart are making our journeys to Wimbaxwith Wilds to approach the Nezrmeer Seer."
"By the hopefulness in your voice, I wager your wrinkles are free from the knowledge of what heralds Wimbaxwith?"
Crimwell raised the skin above one of his eyes. "What heralds Wimbaxwith?"
Xamgar eviscerated a slumbering man sitting next to Crimwell and took the previously occupied seat. "You are ill prepared to travel forth without that knowledge. You must bitterbanter throughout The Ooze Fields of Terrel Mevnis before coming upon the Wimbaxwith."
Crimwell looked frightened. "The Ooze Fields of Terrel Mevnis?"
Xamgar nodded his hood. "Aye. The Ooze Fields. They are a terrifying place for those of you who inhabit vessels of flesh. The fields are large, the fields are oozy, and the fields are ferocious. There is an inseparable haze that sits upon the Fields, prohibiting the sight spheres from beholding far distances. The ooze is not just silly ooze that pulls you into dark places, this ooze holds sentience and hunger as well. The ooze actively hunts for any morsel of flesh and devours it. You have quite a bit of flesh upon you, so your presence would be a grand prize. Your friend," Xamgar gestured to Dogmart, "Will be free of these fiends. They will not be able to catch him if he keeps his drifting high. The only two allies you have on your side in Terrel Mevnis are the fact that the ooze moves slowly and the Fain Ones. If you keep aloof and hold dear your resources, you will not be eaten, but the path through is constantly changing because the ooze is always oozing. The Fain Ones are men who hang, swaying in the wind of their own free will. You must make your way to each of the Fain Ones and they will show unto you the best path throughout the Fields."
"How am I to find the first Fain One?"
Xamgar sat, not speaking for many heartbeats. "You must wander until you have found one."
Crimwell sat in aghast. Wandering aimlessly through fields of famished ooze without being able to see very far nibbled away at his motivation to travel there.
"Do not fret, young Crimwell! You will have resources. You will find out what those are when they present themselves. You will be protected by the Necroxamix as you go forth, if you truly wish to find him."
At the mention of the Necroxamix, Crimwell's wrinkles came again upon their true purpose in these travels and his wrinkles soaked in the bathes of comfort. If he really wanted True Order, he'd find it. Xamgar stood and offered his hand for shaking. Crimwell, grinning, removed Xamgar's hand and shook it vigorously before handing it back to him. "I must depart; I am being called by a friend in distress. Continue on your way and turn not aside."
With that, Xamgar's robe gathered together in the air and disappeared. The Shellmother made a stop and the tunnel opened, a few denizens walking in. The last denizen walked in, looking very different from all others. He was a man, wearing a suit of all black with very shiny shoes. He wore a top hat, a monocle contained one of his eyes and he carried a suitcase as well. His face donned well-trimmed facial hair and he seemed very regal. The man walked over and sat down next to Crimwell. Crimwell thought this was one of the queerest men he had ever seen. His eyes couldn't help but latch onto the man's form. The Shellmother took off then, floating on to her next destination. The man looked over at Crimwell and saw him gawking. The man smiled and Crimwell became aware that he had been caught doing something rather rude. "Might I introduce myself, young sir. My name is Zine Dubbinsdollow." He extended his hand.
"I am Crimwell Criggsin, good master."
Crimwell pulled on his hand and noticed it did not remove, so he shook it normally. Zine noticed Crimwell struggling for words on how to proceed next. He smiled and half turned to Crimwell. "You are in awe of such a different character that is presented before you, are you not? I must say, I am different than others" he waved his gloved hand nonchalantly, "but I am similar as well. I was once where you are. Where are you traveling to?"
"I am going to Wimbaxwith Wilds."
"What is your goal there?"
Crimwell hesitated. This man could be an agent of the Elder Lords, so caution was necessary. "I am traveling to visit a relative."
"Relative? How long has it been since you've been there?"
"I have not been there quite yet."
"My boy, there are none in Wimbaxwith Wilds, save the seedy one. I can see it in your eyes. You seek the Necroxamix, don't you?"
Crimwell stammered, his words catching on little hooks near his mouth. Zine patted Crimwell's hand. "Keep on your path, you are on the correct one. True Order will come."
Zine stood up and walked away, rounding a corner in the shell to one of the personal chambers. Crimwell sat there, almost frozen, the gears in his wrinkles turning quickly. He most definitely was the queerest man he had ever met. He talked different, moved different, and dressed different. Was he from some other town unknown to him? And he knew what True Order was, not many people knew that terminology. "Are you well, master?" Dogmart asked, worry slithering out of his pores. "Yes....quite alright, my friend. My brain has had the overload button pressed and I sit here, thinking."
"I do not enjoy that man's presence." Dogmart commented.
Crimwell didn't respond, but looked off to where Zine had gone, thinking. Contrary to that statement, Crimwell felt rather right being in that man's presence. He sat silently throughout the trip until the bearded pixie flew out of the hole and announced the approach of The Ooze Fields. Crimwell exited with the same far-off glaze in his eye-spheres.
---Some oozes, many oozes, not all are but an ooze.---
Crimwell and Dogmart slithered off of the Mother Marina, stepping onto damp, cramped soil. Crimwell looked around at the whole lot of Nothing. The thick haze was there as Xamgar had spoken, betraying not his words. Crimwell heard thick noises in the distance, sounding like viscous bubbles popping in their appointed ways. A small, beaten down shack stood a few paces away, seemingly placed there to catch much interest. Crimwell walked over and noticed many different creatures hanging from meat hooks with holes all over them. Crimwell perused the corpses closely. Suddenly, pixies sprung forth from the holes and began telling about their wares and dancing all about.
"I love this meat, won't you buy from my feet?"
"Cinder blocks have Nothing on my wares!"
"Will we be slain together?"
Dogmart drifted forward and spoke, "Snourf! My fun person! How are you?"
A meat pixie with a little battered hat flew forward and bowed to Dogmart.
"The Mart of Dog, I am beheld of your presence with much joy. What do you all require? Meat, perhaps?"
"We do not quite know what we require, Snourf, what is it we need?"
A pixie flew over to Crimwell and opened his mouth, screaming in. "I told them they need meat for the Fields!"
Crimwell swatted the pixie away and Snourf nodded his head. "What the little buttlebumphmutch said was true, you need meat to distract the hungry ones in the Fields! I can sell you my meats for cheapy cheapy cheapy!"
Crimwell took off his nap-sack and rummaged through it. He pulled out a few lanterns. "What amount of meat do you recommend for our venture throughout the ooze?"
Snourf waved a wand of bone and the dirt rose up into the air and formed numbers, prices, and deals. Snourf then slashed his wand diagonally and the numbers and prices lowered. "It isn't Bargain Wednesday, but for you, friend Dogmart, every day is Bargain."
The same pixie flew over and whispered into Crimwell's ear. "Did you hear that? Every. Day."
Crimwell swatted the pixie away again as he looked at the prices. "How about the Vagabond's Pick?"
Snourf dove his slinky hand into his meat pouch and drew forth a small brown sack that was dripping with a pale yellow liquid. "Great is the meat in the Vagabond's Pick, for this meat is fresh, free from mildew and gives much sustenance. Two lanterns worth."
Crimwell held out two lanterns, to which Snourf plucked out of his phalanges and gave the sack to Crimwell. "My thanks be to you, for with this, eight oozes shall pester us and be no more." Nobody said.
"Thank you muchly, Snourf, for our situation was dire, but now is nice." Dogmart bloated.
The meat pixies all saluted and dove very medemarthly into their respective holes, singing all the way.
"Well, Dogmart, shall we try our luck, courage, and diligence through this trial of ooze?"
Dogmart lifted his tassels high and undulated them as he drifted in a circle.
"We're going on a field trip, we're going on a field trip!"
They walked into the haze, Crimwell keeping the sack of meat handy. They walked and walked and walked more than twice more times and still kept walking throughout the haze that you could slice open nicely with a sharp blade and suck out the sweet juice therein. Dogmart looked around. "There doesn't seem to be much of anything out here at all. Are we in the right place? Did we go the right direction?"
Crimwell wrinkled his mouth. "I am not sure. I suppose we had better keep walking."
So they did. They kept walking. As they were walking, they caught sight of a large lump in the distance. Dogmart pointed one of his tassels. "Look, master Crimwell, a petty landmark!"
"So it seems! Let us depart hence thither yonder."
They piddled towards the grand lump, walking some, drifting some. They approached the lump and found it was approaching them as well and Crimwell's heart warned him of danger. "Dogmart, turn aside, that is an ooze!" They turned and beheld that they were surrounded by oozes that were closing in on their position. Crimwell opened the sack and when he did, the oozes stopped and seemed to be smelling with noses they neither possessed nor knew how to spell. Crimwell pulled out a hunk of fresh meat and threw it yonder direction, causing the oozes to sprint after the meat. Well, they thought they were sprinting, but they were really just oozing along very slowly. It opened a path and Crimwell jumped through Nothing, Dogmart drifting along. They kept traveling, the presence of the oozes abiding all around them, sometimes forcing them to take other routes, sometimes galumphing around like some disastrous milkshake. They wandered for much Time, sporadically pulling out more meat to throw to the eager munchkins which they rushed to gobble up. Finally, they beheld a large dead tree in the distance to which they proceeded to. A pale man was hanging by his neck from the tree, eyes closed. Crimwell walked up to him and right when he was about to present inquisition, the man lifted his frail arm and slowly raised his bony finger, showing them the direction. "This bodes ill, Crimwell."
"Indeed it does, yet, as the Tale of the Madness Abound goes, 'When two men collide, the one with the knowledge seeks out the fain of the fortunate.'"
"Master, I haven't the slightest clue what the connection between that and this is."
"Not many do, Dogmart. I am not part of that not-many either, so let us pretend we both agreed on a fair course of action, that course being the only one presented before us at the moment."
Crimwell bowed to the hanging man and they left, traveling through the ooze fields again until they met the next Fain One and the next and the next until suddenly, they found themselves exiting the haze. Crimwell was astonished beyond measure at what lay before them. It was a lush jungle of trees, tall, thin, wide, narrow, black, blue, red, green, and all sorts of colors. "Master Crimwell, are all places like this manifestation of luxurious flora?"
"Nay, my friend, all is but a waste until one beholds this landscape. Let us travel forth. Sadly, I know not where the Inverted Tower lies. Perhaps we shall inquire from one of the residents?"
"Do you not remember what the Fancy One spoke upon our brains? He said there was none but one here, I'm afraid."
Crimwell pondered that. "Yes, you're right, that slipped my wrinkles."
He supposed to walk around, hoping to eventually find the Inverted Tower of the Nezrmeer Seer. Things had a habit of showing up when needed. They entered the wall of trees before them, breathing in damp, muggy air. A few Ipsipods scuttled by, dropping their luggage in fright which Crimwell leaned down to pick up. He dearly loved Ipsipod Candies, their sober, sweet taste was like a welcome friend. He popped one in his mouth as they traveled through the forest, his brain jiggling in delight. He gave one to Dogmart who placed it in his food entryway. "Thank you, master. It is not often that my mouth crevice frequents the solace of the castles of the Ipsipod Candy. Have you figured out what you will inquire of the Nezrmeer Seer about?"
"Well, I must ask him where to find a place of Shunn. Hopefully he can tell me, but then if not, I suppose I need to ask him where I can go to make the knowledge of the location of a Shunn close to my wrinkles. Is there something you wish to ask?"
Dogmart thought for a moment. "I would like to know where the Omnimbus of the Ridimin-Ja lays."
Crimwell looked over at Dogmart in surprise. "Does it even exist?"
"I believe so, yes. I have inquired of many a folk who know it exists...yet know not where it resides. It is said to contain the most prime pieces of literature and poetry ever created, I would be enlightened most graciously if I were to study the Omnimbus for but a few moments."
"That is a fair goal. It is said the Nezrmeer Seer awards knowledge quite liberally as his domain is not easy to steal into, I would wager he would eagerly give that knowledge to you."
"I do hope so, master Crimwell. I do hope so."
They arrived at a small gathering of stone houses set around a black fire, the houses seeming to be huddled around its shady castings. "I thought there weren't any residents?" Crimwell asked.
"Perhaps a family moved in recently?" Dogmart put forth.
Crimwell entered the entryways of each stone abode, looking around. "Hello? We come from afar and are sorely weary. Might we rest a bit?"
Dogmart floated to the ground next to the fire and rested. "I think that there are none but us here, master."
Crimwell sighed. He strode over and sat down next to Dogmart, taking off his nap-sack. "I suppose that if there's nobody to claim these houses, we may reside here for the night. Do you agree?"
"I agree muchly. Harm shouldn't be incurred from residing here for the night. We are weary, and these provide the antidote for weariness."
Crimwell pulled out their portioned victuals and gnawed on some dried meat. Dogmart popped Sipperfust crackers into his mouth and he drank Zorbadoo Spider Cider. Night soon fell upon their weary bones as the dark fire spread its eerie white light across the walls of the stone buildings, casting long, dark shadows that danced to the tribal tune of the dead. Dogmart rose from the ground. "My tassels grow weary, let us delve into an abode."
They chose one of the larger ones, giving them plenty of room to sleep. They entered the doorway and discovered many pieces of furniture made of the different color of wood from the trees of the forest. There were pitchers, plates, and other wooden knick-knacks set about, as if someone had just recently left. "It seems that these tables and chairs are prepared for us. There are even fresh candies in this jar!" Dogmart said as he pulled his tassels out of a green wooden jar, presenting to Crimwell a white and purple spotted Ipsipod candy. Crimwell plucked the candy out of his tassels and threw it into his mouth, sucking on the frightfully hard candy. "Miraculous find, my drifting friend. Nothing beats an Ipsipod candy right before slumber."
Dogmart mumbled his assent as he stuffed his mouth full of the candies. Crimwell walked into a separate room and discovered sleeping chambers, multi-colored wooden beds holding woven mattresses beckoning Crimwell's spine. He walked over and threw his nap-sack on the ground, spreading himself on the bed. It received his bones warmly, giving comfort and peace to his weary body. After a few calming minutes, Dogmart slowly drifted in, looking utterly blissful. He took a bed of his own and sighed long and deep. "I have never ingested so many candies, I could swear to you by my twenty second tassel that the jar replenished its supply whilst I was enjoying the candies. Slumber raps on the chamber doors of my weary mind, as the Poeman inspires. I must answer quickly. Goodnight, master."
"Goodnight, Dogmart. Sleep soundly, safely, and slumberly."
Crimwell pulled over the covers of his bed and drifted away into sleep.
Fiddle the Piddling Feet Towards the Space Beneath
Crimwell and Dogmart awoke to many sensations bombarding them at once. First, they both had hair on their heads, long flowing locks of brain-fibers cascading down their brain cases. Second, the air that inhabited the room they were in smelled of rotten flesh and Crimwell closed the entryways to his nose with his hand sausages. "By the beard, Dogmart, do you perceive that horrid stench?"
Dogmart appeared rather sheepish. "My bowels, when coming in contact with the luggage of the Ipsipod, fight a savage war within me and the aroma of their fallen armies wafts out to torment those unlucky enough to be within the vicinity. I apologize for not warning you sooner."
Crimwell got up out of his bed and reached into his nap-sack, pulling out an Aquizombo Muttercup. He licked a petal of the Muttercup and it began muttering a tune in the language of the daft, creating pleasant aromas that filled the Parthenon of Crimwell and Dogmart's nasal caves with delight. When the air was pure again, Crimwell placed the Muttercup back into the nap-sack and crumbled over to the kitchen where he began sifting through the cupboards, looking for scrumptiousness. Dogmart drifted in front of a basin of water and looked at himself. "Master Crimwell, I rather like the fibers that have sprung forth from my skull, they add much spice to my life cake."
Crimwell closed the last cupboard with a sigh. "Nay but a thing here related to food. Man cannot live on Ipsipod Candy alone, so I suppose we must delve once again into our victuals."
They ate a meager meal once more, this time enjoying the respite of the table. When they were finished, Crimwell pulled a Jumrazor out of his nap-sack and gave the sprouts on his head a taste of the blades of the fallen. As soon as the strands of hair hit the ground, they began inching away with cries of lamentation. Crimwell finished and placed everything in proper order as he headed for the outside. The First Sun, Engedi, greeting his arrival with warming radiation. He drew the lush air into his breathing pouches as Dogmart floated beside him. "Where to now, master?"
Crimwell thought for a moment. "It might be favorable to inspect each of these abodes as to any clue of the location of where we are to depart to next. Let us split ourselves and search."
Dogmart drifted away as Crimwell's flesh tore off of him, his bones heading one way and his flesh heading another. They searched the houses and found records of a people once alive, yet they were written in a language unknown. Crimwell's flesh placed the records in the nap-sack, deciding they might be useful later, and Dogmart discovered more Ipsipod Candies which he laboriously suctioned his mouth onto. Crimwell's bones were sifting through the sand in the floor when they found a strange wooden chest, a black symbol painted on it. The symbol resembled the shape of an eye with four triangular pupils pointed in the cardinal directions, the sides coming to a curved point. "Do we search, find, and seek out the treasures within?" Crimwell's femur inquired.
"I do not understand the workings of the lock this chest protects its contents with." His tibia lamented.
"Somebody wake up Zingo and ask him what he thinks." The fourth rib said.
The femur jostled itself violently and the pelvic bone jolted. "Ah! What be it now, mongrels? I was dreamin' of the shores of the Listrel Seas and their tainted turnips. What business do you have in awakening me?"
"Do you know the inner workings of the lock mechanisms of chests like these?" The tibia asked.
"Let me take a look see."
Crimwell's bones knelt down and the pelvic bone examined the lock.
"Aye, this is slightly more than a trifle, yet within my boundaries of expertise. Corgob, jump down there, will ya?"
One of the finger bones detached itself and plopped down into the soft sand.
"That's it, now, stick yourself in there and tell me what you see."
Corgob hopped over and peeked into the lock hole.
"Crust zib mungo bunch fantsy."
"How many?" Zingo asked.
"Fittle futtle meeseomas pup."
"Alright, that's not too bad. Press down the first one and tell me what happens."
Corgob pressed the first one and yelped loudly as the sound of electrocution rung out in the air.
"I suppose that was the wrong choice." The fourth rib pointed out.
"I knew that would happen, don't doubt me you prisoner's cage! Now, Corgob, press the fourth one, then the first."
They proceeded as such, trying different combinations, proclaiming pain to Crimwell's poor finger bone. "Crimwell won't enjoy the treatment Corgob has received..." His shoulder blade commented.
"It'll be fine, ya whining pack mule. We've almost got it."
Corgob was utterly ransacked by the traps set by the lock before it clicked open. His bony bits were shredded into fine shreddings, his will to live almost nonexistent. Never in his succulent life had he ever been subject to such treatment.
"There, see? I told you naysayers Corgob could do it. All it takes is a little faith and some sunshine powder. Get back up here, Corgob, let's see what you sacrificed yourself for!"
Corgob jumped up and attached himself to Crimwell's frame, once again becoming whole. With eager hands, the chest was opened and what lay inside frightened nobody.
"Why, it's just a bundle of cloth!" Zingo exclaimed.
"Lamentations can be heard within such cloth, brethren, we must proceed with caution, for what lies swaddled like a babe in this cloth precedes the age of anything created, perhaps even the Necroxamix himself." The fifth rib enigmatically spoke.
"Well I'll be." Zingo said. "Targaden spoke. Ain't heard him speak since...well, ever. Let's take this back to Crimwell's flesh, rejoin, and see what he thinks."
The bones shifted with glee as they pittered of unto the realms of the outside. Clutched in the tendrils of bone, the colored cloth swayed in the breath of the earth. "Flesh be one, flesh be all, once I dug a pit and filled it with gall!" The skull exclaimed loudly. A put put put put could be heard as Crimwell's flesh came sprinting from around the corner, a fanciful goblet clutched in one of the hands. The flesh jumped and they rejoined once more with a sound that would make even the great Gattle Buntsmurry choke in disgust. After they completed their dastardly rejoining, they became him and Crimwell examined what he now held. "By the Misimir, this is the most glorious sipping device I have ever laid eyes upon! And this...what is this cloth?" He drew its scent into his nose tunnels. It smelled of cut daisies and the rear end of Sordad. "This cloth seems important....I rather enjoy the opal color it gives unto my awaiting eye cones." Crimwell wrapped the cloth around his shoulders, feeling that this find would do just nicely. "This could come in handy when the storm clouds send forth their mighty torrents. Dogmart, my fellow wanderer, where have you departed to?"
Crimwell shifted his eye-spheres around, looking for his floaty friend. He began peering into houses, quite feeling like they peered back at him. He didn't like that feeling, it sent waves upon the shores of his peaceful mind beach. He smelled an awful smell, not quite unlike the soot of the feet, and followed the wispy trail of scent he couldn't see. He entered a nondescript stone house, the corners of the roof jutting out like the teeth of a lump. He could see Dogmart laying on one of the tables, facing the other way and moaning lamentations. "Is that you, Crimwell?"
"It is I, bloated one."
Dogmart shifted around and gave him a feeble grin. "I have a weakness that pertains to the Ipsipod Candy, I cannot resist. This will be my downfall one day as it is this day. My apologies."
"No apologies warranted, friend. Let us depart down the path of the forest, I cannot recall finding anything of value, have you?"
"Value is subjective, Crimwell. I found much of value. To you, the Ipsipod Candy is a fleeting dream of tastings and silly rainbows dancing. To me, the lust of my bowels overwhelms me and I cannot resist. I found nothing telling us where the Nezrmeer Seer might be lurking."
Crimwell smiled. It was much like his old friend to gorge himself on the candies. "Maybe we shall discover the source of the candies, perhaps the King of the Ipsipods sequesters himself within the nether regions of the earth beneath. Let us sally forth, we have much to see, much to feel, and a bit of trumpling around in the mud"
Crimwell strode forward and picked up Dogmart, releasing a belch from the depths of the Peener's stomach. They walked outside and continued on the way, the myriad of colored trees presenting themselves to be gazed upon in passing. Birds chirped their gurgling tunes as the leaves shook from the poetic wisps of the sky, the smell of the warm wood enlightening the mind and driving away the doubt that tagged along behind the two wanderers. If wickedness was amiss in these, the trees of the Wimbaxwith, it was far away, sleeping in a mud hole dreaming of clowns and silly little turnips.