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___|___________|___ X-Edited by 'Orny' Liscomb
The Acquisition, Conclusion Roman Olynyk
Review: Soul of the City - TW8 Orny
Narret Chronicles, Book 2 Mari A. Paulsen
Narret Chronicles, Book 1 Mari A. Paulsen
Date: 012086 Dist: 091
Well, folks here it is, the end of volume 3! In this issue
conclude both Mari Paulsen's Narret Chronicles and Roman Olynyk's
Acquisition serials. Sandwiched in between is a short review of
another new Thieves' World book, "Soul of the City". In the next
issue, Volume 1, issue 1, the first of the Dargon writing project
stories will appear, and I'll go into that in more detail in the
editorial-cum-prologue in that issue.
I would encourage readers to send in their comments on either
Narret or the Acquisition, and they will be considered to printing
in issue 4-1. By the way, Mari is considering writing a sequel
series for Narret, and Roman is incorporating Banewood and Sod into
the Dargon writing project, so you can expect more from them, as
well as the other authors involved with Dargon. And, of course, I'll
plod on with news, reviews, and featured authors as time and
Thanks for reading, and thanks for sharing. I hope you all enjoy
the zine and the upcoming fruit of the writing project as much as I
have enjoyed writing for it. Catch you later...
Part Four: Conclusion
Banewood and Sod remained awake most of the long night and
occasionally fed more wood to the pyre. Only when they were sure
that nothing remained of Kathryn's carcass did they rest for the
waning hours before dawn. For breakfast, they ate a hasty meal of
dried meat and bread, and then they departed in the same direction
from which they arrived. Banewood managed to gather some of the
strange simples and root stocks from the ancient herb garden he had
passed on the way in. The path through the tangled thorn brush was
certainly no easier than it was on the way in. Nature did not go out
of her way to extend its thanks for a job well done.
When they passed out of the thorn thicket and reached the
forest, the two men found the same path they had traveled with the
Silvan Lord. Surprisingly, the path was actually straighter than
they thought when they travelled it a couple of nights earlier.
Lessy, no doubt disheartened, was not to be found on their return
trip, but Banewood and Sod were not dismayed, for now the dark
forest seemed more alive than before. Previously somber birds were
now joyfully singing, and occasional butterflies could be seen
flitting among the treetops. On their way back home, Banewood and
Sod found more to talk about. Banewood was excited about the book of
ancient secrets he had found in the hut of Baba Yaga. He felt that
this book could unlock the doors blocking his quest for knowledge of
the Shaman's arts. Already, Banewood was practicing strange, new
spells that he had translated from the book. His prowess was
increasing steadily. Sod spoke of his dream to break away from his
life as a plowman. He wished to sever his roots to the soil and
become a journeyman, a knight errant of this kingdom upon the
plains. He found that he now had the confidence to realize his dream.
When Banewood and Sod arrived once again at the Ludki village,
they were greeted by the entire population of little people. The
smiles were upon the round faces and bright and exotic feathers
dressed the tall caps worn by all. It was a state reception for the
two heroes. Banewood and Sod walked waist-deep through the cheering
crowd and stopped directly in front of Stickleburr.
"Hey Sod, hey Banewood! It seems that you've killed Kathryn, for
she can no longer be alive. The forest and plains are free again,
though they've hardly known any freedom. Congratulations, yes, most
certainly!" Spoke Stickleburr from atop his royal stump.
The little people all cheered and waved their hats. All around
the Ludki village stood cloth-covered tables layed out with fragrant
foods -- all of the delicacies that could be concocted. Kegs of mead
were everywhere in anticipation of a great feast in honor of the
slayers of the monster Kathryn.
"You've done an Immeasurable Service to all of The Ludki by Your
Slaying of the Great Wolk and Kathryn," said Stickleburr in his
finest rhetoric, adding: "Since your Service is Most Certainly not
Measurable to even a single Ludki, and Since It wasn't actually Your
Slaying of the Great Wolk and Kathryn because the Wolk wasn't all
that Great and Kathryn wasn't at all Kathryn."
Sod found it difficult, to say the least, to follow the
circuitous speech of Stickleburr, but he did manage to glean the
meaning: Kathryn was not really Kathryn. Did they kill the wrong
monster? Worse yet, was there actually another monster like Kathryn?
Stickleburr said: "I know what you're thinking, Sod, even if you
don't. There is no other monster, for there was only one; Kathryn
was really Baba Yaga because she was nothing else."
Once again all of the Ludki cheered loudly. The feast was on and
the music was struck. Flagons were filled with bubbly mead poured
from the aged kegs. This was the best of brews, for this was to be
the best of celebrations-- Kathryn was dead and Baba Yaga was no more.
Without prompting, the two heroes joined in the merriment. Food
and drink were both brought to the guests of honor. The large, round
eyes of the Ludki bulged in disbelief at the sight of Banewood and
Sod drinking their mead. Surely, the two strangers must have hollow
legs to hold so much drink. Banewood and Sod could very well have
had hollow legs, for they drank considerable amounts of mead even
for men. They had had a long and difficult ordeal, and this was a
welcome relief from the events of the past several weeks. And most
certainly, this mead was the best they had ever tasted!
While Banewood and Sod were enjoying themselves and filling
their bellies, the Ludki danced furiously, spinning and hopping and
clapping their little hands. The musicians were adept with their
instruments-- strange varieties of many-stringed wonders. Suddenly,
from some occult cue, the music and dancing and laughter all
stopped. A lone minstrel approached Banewood and Sod, bowed, and
began to pick his instrument. After several introductory bars, he
sang a song whose chorus was joined in by all:
"Tell a tale of Kathryn,
a tough old sow with tougher skin.
She razed the fields with flame and fire
now where did she go? Hey!
"They ground her up for sausage links.
They boiled her down for candle sticks.
They tanned her hide and sewed some shoes
so now she's hit the road. Hey!
Tell a tale of Shaman folk
who packs himself an awful smoke.
He smoked a bit with Kathryn
now where did she go? Hey!
Tell a tale of a man named Sod
who found himself a sharp old sword.
He smote a bit on Kathryn
now where did she go? Hey!"
Banewood and Sod were both deeply touched by this tribute. In
their dim age of little writing, great deeds were memorialized in an
oral tradition. The song of their deeds could very well outlive any
scrap of paper or even any memory of just who Sod and Banewood
Stickleburr once again mounted his royal stump. The thin-haired
and pot-bellied leader of the Ludki swayed slightly, for it was
apparent that he'd been sampling his share of the mead. He rubbed
his bulbous little nose to see if it was still there and then spoke
to the gathering in long-drawn syllables.
"My fellow Ludki. We are gathered here, for we aren't elsewhere,
to Honor these Two Humans whom we don't wish to do dishonor for
their Deeds. Hic. Since it wouldn't be Right to take them away, I'll
present these Medallions to Sod and Banewood for their uncowardly
Courage in defeating Kathryn-Who- Couldn't-Be-Defeated. These
Medallions make known that which is not unknown: Sod and Banewood
are forever Friends of the Ludki, for we cannot be your enemies even
for a short while."
Stickleburr paused to hang the medallions around their necks. He
hiccuped and continued: "I must tell you, for it wouldn't do to tell
another, that both of you will find Greatness, unless Greatness
cannot be found but rather achieved. Hic! Sod, it is not a
coincidence, though You may think it is, that You found Wolksmert.
Wolksmert found You. Wolksmert, the wolf-slayer, was crafted many
hundreds of years ago by the Ludki, for it could have been crafted
by none other. It seeks the hand which can guide it, unless that
hand can't be found, then it will evade the unsure hand, though an
unsure hand is more likely itself to evade the sword! Hic! Sod,
wield Your Sword wisely, for to do otherwise would be foolish. Hic! Hic!
"Banewood, you shall be a Powerful and a Good Sorcerer, though
You may not think You are either. In Your lifetime You will undo
much of the evil that has already been done by the Evil Sorceress,
for You can't undo that which hasn't already been done. Hic!"
Stickleburr was quite obviously reeling now and finding it
difficult to keep his balance. He continued to feel for his nose,
but he couldn't find it for the numbness.
"So let Me say, unless you say I can't say it, that You Two have
found Greatness that you never lost because you sought to acquire
it. Hic! It was there-- it wasn't anywhere else. Hic! I... I... I
must stop now, for I think I've had too much to drink, though if I
start on it, hic, I'd say it wasn't the drink that I drunk-- the
drink's not drunk, rather, I drank the drink, unless I drunk it. It
was already drunk, but now I'm the one who's drunk-- Hic!"
With that, Stickleburr spun off his stump, much to the relief of
the other Ludki, who had become almost as confused as Banewood and
Sod. While Stickleburr lay passed-out with a smile upon his numb
lips, the other Ludki-- those who weren't also passed-out--
endeavored to follow their leader. Banewood and Sod joined in the
twirling, leg-kicking dance of the Ludki and shouted "Hey!" The
dancing, music and magic lasted long into the night, and remained in
the memories of the two humans long after many things had passed.
A warbler's song awoke Sod from his slumber. Rosy morning rays
penetrated the covering of trees and illuminated the Ludki village
with radiance. All around the beehive ovens and little houses and
strewn-about kegs lay the supine bodies of Ludki, some still wearing
their pointed hats and bright feathers. Sod's pre-breakfast mind
pondered over the many events that had recently come to pass. He'd
seen so many things that he'd never thought he'd see-- the Ludki and
the Silvan Lord and parts of the great countryside surrounding
Gorod. Things he'd wished he'd never seen-- the Great Wolk, Kathryn
and Baba Yaga's hut. Stories from his childhood had come to life,
and all he had to do was to brave seldom-travelled paths. How many
more wonders lay waiting to be seen? He didn't know, but now he
would endeavor to find them, for his curiosity had finally been aroused.
After they had both broken fast, the two journeymen washed away
the grime of the last few days and bid farewell to their friends,
the Ludki. Banewood and Sod promised to respect the privacy of the
little people; they would not divulge the existence and location of
the Ludki, who wished to maintain their distance from the human
race. As Stickleburr explained, once upon a time, many thousands of
years ago, the Ludki lived near humans. It was Ludki adroitness with
smithing that led humans to request from them weapons of iron --
weapons the Ludki had no wish to forge. The few weapons they did
make, the Ludki imbued with a magic that would not allow their use
without purpose or good intent. Wolksmert was one such weapon which
had survived that golden age of metal working.
By the time Banewood and Sod reached the center of Gorod, they
had acquired a persistent throng of followers eager to hear news of
their adventures. Most expressed murmured amazement that Banewood
and Sod returned alive, uninjured and not white with fright. If
anything, they even looked healthier than when they had originally
undertaken their quest. Banewood's Ludki-crafted arrows were hidden
away and both of their medallions lay hidden beneath their tunics.
Banewood and Sod only offered unembellished details of Kathryn's
final moments. They didn't mention Baba Yaga's hut or even the great
wolk. There was considerable rejoicing among the populace at the
news of Kathryn's death. Regardless of how little the two travelers
told, they were highly regarded by the folks of Gorod. They were heroes.
Inside the Antlers, Sod and even Banewood were offered seats of
honor and given drinks of crude tavern mead. As the days went by,
Banewood and Sod would often meet there to discuss their plans for
travel. This time they were going across the plain in search of
distant cities. Tales were told of men in the far away cities who
rode upon the backs of four-legged beasts, and Banewood and Sod both
agreed that they would like to explore more of their world. It was
now late autumn, and what little harvest there was that was spared
by Kathryn's harsh breath was stored away. The daily work routine
was slowing in pace. The time was ripe for travel.
A few large bottle flies were marauding about within the
Antlers, enjoying the late warmth and making a general nuisance of
themselves with the few customers. One daring fly kept alighting
near Sod, trying to divert the normally stolid plowman. The air
intermittently cracked with the resounding whack of Sod's large hand
upon the table. He couldn't kill the pesky fly.
"Yeauh, Sod," yelled the Miller from across the tiny room. "Why
don't you let Banewood give the fly some of his smoke. The little
critter'd get so dizzy it would burn itself into a hole! Harr! Harr!"
Banewood cast a glance at the bottle fly buzzing around their
heads and sent it to the great beyond with a tiny, explosive pop.
The Miller, who saw this, inhaled part of his mead and coughed.
Banewood and Sod laughed.
REVIEW: The Soul of the City
Thieves' World Book 8
When I first saw the new Thieves' World book on the shelf, I
thought to myself: Oh, boy, another TW book to drudge through and
review for FSFNet. Well, the seventh book (which also came out only
recently), "The Dead of Winter" was good, so I jumped in, even
though it takes too much time to read and go to school. Folks, if
you haven't read "the Dead of Winter" and the most recent book,
"Soul of the City", you're in for a TREAT!
After Aspirin's third or fourth book, I had lost interest, due
to a stagnation in the characters and events in Sanctuary. As if
reading my mind, these most recent books each seem to focus on one
aspect of the authors' writing styles that had been lacking. "The
Dead of Winter" contains superb characterization, and each character
portrayed leaves a lasting image on the reader. The book reads like
several short stories about Sanctuary's inhabitants.
The new book, "Soul of the City" is it. For all you people who
knew that it would eventually come down to war in the streets, here
it is: the resolution of all the conflicts of Ischade and Roxanne,
and everyone who's anyone is town, including the new Rankan emperor.
In contrast to the style that "the Dead of Winter" was written in,
this book flows and has excellent continuity. It is an action-packed
novel, not a collection of short stories, and despite my schoolwork,
I had a very difficult time putting the book down. This book,
written entirely by Lynn Abbey, C.J. Cherryh, and Janet Morris, is
supposedly the lead-in to a forthcoming book by Abbey entitled
I encourage any Thieves' World fans out there,as well as fans
who have become disenchanted with the series, to pick up books 7 and
8. Each is in a different style, but both are well worth the time.
The Narret Chronicles
Book the Second
"The forum you requested is waiting Dr. Ht" said Colonel Roberts
as they escorted Samo to a waiting helicopter. "Both the president
and the premier are anxious to meet with you."
"They should be, I've come a long way to meet them." Samo
replied rather smugly.
"Ladies and gentlemen," Samo began, "I have been sent here by a
very costly effort on behalf of my people. By the words "my people"
I do not mean the people of my country, or even the people of my
planet, Amrif Arret. By those words I mean the people whose lives
you will destroy, those people whose advanced knowledge and advanced
technologies may never be shared with any of you in this room, or
with any human.
"Why? Not because there are no longer any humans to understand
us. Why? Not because we are unable to communicate with you, or to
bridge the gap of space between us. But simply because you would
rather collect a set of nuclear playtoys for winning childish
squabbles over masses of dirt to put your under-populated, over-fed,
fat human bodies on. And go about praising your documents of law,
your 'Declarations of Independence' your 'Constitution' and its
'Bill of Rights' with their claims of perfect unions, the
establishment of justice, and most of all the self-evidence of all
men being created equal. Those were noble thoughts. Thoughts, far
more they were than words, they were the Ideals upon which this
great country was founded. These thoughts, these ideals of peace,
equality, and justice came from men far nobler than those before me.
"Surely you may grow impatient with my gruffness, please hear me
out I implore you for your own sakes and the sakes of my people,
hear me out.
"I cannot understand how two adults can even think to begin
compiling the weapons you have compiled while there are thousands,
no, millions of your brethren dying throughout your world. How much
can these rights mean to you? How much does the equality of creation
mean, when you will tomorrow blow each other off of your precious
land masses and ruin your world for those who had nothing but hope
anyway, all for naught.
"All because you worried that you may not be free tomorrow to
have all your own little worries and troubles taken care of, that
tomorrow you may not be as comfortable as today. Soon, very soon, if
you continue this deadly and insane weapons compilation, there may
not be that tomorrow you're so desperately worried about today.
"If you were to continue, and had a last and final war, you
gentlemen should be congratulated. For you gentlemen would be
responsible for the ultimate extermination of entire solar systems
in not one, but two universes at the same time.
"You see, what you've failed to realize is that if you blow your
planet to the fifth physical dimension, you'll be blowing my people
up with you. And not only will the destruction of good old Terra
Firma have an effect on the Solar System, but it will have an
equally disastrous effect on the Losar System. Our entire planet
will merely "go out of existence" as you know it. In addition, my
people will have no say whatsoever in that event. Is that within
your concept of fairness equality, and justice? If so then how about
within your forefathers?
"Furthermore, who knows what may be said will happen at the
unbalancing of energies within this universe itself. How many other
life-forms' chances of survival will you destroy, in that solitary
instant of selfishness?
"I came here hoping to find some reasonable men. Men of a
knowledge of peace, and instead I found the ignorance that breeds
belligerence. I did find hope though, and that hope lies where I
knew it would, in the men of science. The hope lies in those who
were bright enough to create weapons of war, and it rests in those
men with talents to make the weapons of mankind's enemy, disease.
Your physicians are those within whom your hope lies now.
"Before I came here, I met with two of your physicians to better
the knowledge of mankind in defeat of Cancer. You will find, if you
take the time to decrease your stockpile of weaponry, that if you
give your doctors the insurance that their efforts will not be in
vain and the assurance that there will be a world full of people to
help tomorrow, they may just be able to find a cure. The hope of
peace, and of life itself lies in your hands. Why don't you give it
back to the men who deserve it most. The men in both your countries
who have been fighting for years for the same thing, the prolonging
not the extinguishing of life--your physicians."
-Mari A. Paulsen
The Narret Chronicles
Book the First
Samo stood there in silence as his last words echoed throughout
the auditorium. Then suddenly his ears were filled by the tremendous
sound of applause by third world countries while both the
president's, and the premier's eyes welled with tears as they looked
at each other realizing how right he was...
"Catabilizer--Load Future Analog tape running from last approach
to Terran planet number three." Samo replied to his onboard computer.
"Well, so it was..." Samo said to himself, wondering if he was
going to be as successful on this trip to Earth. He sat there
wondering, in the quiet of his spacecraft, rather dazed by the
immensity of it all, as a great light appeared in the heavens in
front of him. And at once he new he was late. Ignorance had won, and
greed had gone too far.
-Mari A. Paulsen