Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The Convocation of Professors on Grey Thursdays

Well. This fanfic is based on the Edge Chronicles series. The series takes place in a place called the Edge, a vast land that protrudes out and you can fall of the Edge. Anyway there is a giant Forest on one end called the Deepwoods and a floating rock tied to the Edge with a chain on the other. A city of spires was built on the rock. It is called Sanctaphrax. Another city was built beneath the rock called Undertown. In between the forest and the cities is a giant bog called the Mire. The Ege is home to thousands of weird speices of animal and plant. Many are intelligent. That's a pretty good introduction. Oh. Sanctaphrax is a city of learning but there was a schism between the Sky and Earth scholars. The Earth scholars were banished from Santcaphrax. Also fourthlings are basically the equivalent of humans. Finally the paragraph in italics is a quote from the first book 'The Curse of the Gloamglozer' and was the paragraph that inspired this whole story.


The Convocation of Professors on Grey Thursdays

The mobgnomes looked at one another and shrugged. One of them screwed his finger into his temple. ‘Sky-touched’, he muttered.
‘As crazy as a square circle’, another added.’ The quality of speakers you get on the Viaduct Steps these days is really going downhill.’
They turned as one and trooped off together, ignoring the cries of the academic. ‘Stop! Wait a minute!’ he called after them. ‘I haven’t yet told you about the scandal of the Moon Observatory, or how the disappearance of seven fogprobing apprentices was hushed up- or what really goes on at the Convocation of Professors on Grey Thursdays...’

‘Come back!’ the academic screamed at the distant backs of the bunch of mobgnomes. ‘Oh never mind.’ he sighed and turned to go. Suddenly he felt a tap on his shoulder and he turned to see a tall individual standing in front of him. He was dressed in ill-fitting academic’s robes. A silver nose-piece could be seen glinting from within the folds of his baggy hood. The sunlight gleamed upon the ancient ceremonial object with its ornate curlicues and fine filigree mesh, sending a dazzling silver light into the eyes of the academic.
‘I couldn’t help but overhear...’ the soft silky voice whispered. ‘But did you mention the Convocation of Professors on Grey Thursdays?’
The academic gulped. ‘I... I did yes.’
‘Do tell me your tale’ the sinuous voice hissed. ‘Oh... oh no... not here. Why don’t we go somewhere a little more... discreet?’
The academic shivered. He didn’t like the way the hooded figure had said the word discreet. He sounded so sinister. Yet this was Sanctaphrax, the spire city of subterfuge and intrigue, whispers and lies. And he did love a good gossip.
‘Very well. Do you have a place in mind?’
‘Oh yes. Oh yes indeed. I think you’ll find it quite... personal. A very personal place indeed!’ He smiled a small thin smile. ‘This way.’

Kal Pendrix sighed and then burst into a run. Today was Grey Thursday of all days and as a recently initiated professor she really couldn’t afford to be late for the convocation. Especially, she thought dreamily, as Ambros would be there. He was the most adorable little oakelf, with those enormous dark orbs for eyes and the long pointed ears. And he’d be wearing that hooded purple cloak too. Although he was currently the Sub Dean of the Institute of Ice and Snow, it was reckoned that he would be offered the position of Next Most High Academe, after the place became vacant. Kal shivered, she’d heard of the rumours that Linius Pallitax, the Most High Academe of Sanctaphrax, had upset the mistsifters and they were planning his murder.  Then the Professors of Light and Darkness would be anointed as Most High Academe leaving the position of Next Most High Academe open for Ambros. Kal furrowed her forehead as she tried to understand the complicated system of academics but gave it up almost instantly with the dismissive word ‘politics’. It was particularly unusual for a Deepwooder to have risen to the position of academic. Mostly the academics were fourthlings like her. The Deepwooder were seen as inferior and stupid, even worse than the earth librarians whose role it was to study them. And as she was musing on how Ambros had managed to become a sky scholar, she bumped into Seftus Leprix, the Sub Dean of Mistsifting and Head Professor of the Convocation on Grey Thursdays. His distinctive smell of wood camphor and tallow alerted her to his presence.
‘Professor! What are you doing in such a hurry? I thought the Convocation began in five minutes. Surely you’d be there already.’
‘I lost track of time. The Ostafan calibrators were displaying a rather unusual...’ he trailed off.
‘Anyway... Miss...’ he waited for her name.
‘Kal. Kal Pendrix.’
‘Miss Pendrix’, he continued. ‘I must be on my way. The Convocation, you know...’ he mumbled distractedly.
‘Of... of course’ Kal muttered puzzled.
 By this point they had reached the doors of the Loftus Observatory and they hurried inside, Kal taking a sumpwood bench near the back of the hall and Seftus making his way to the floating lectern.

The hooded figure with the silver nose piece closed the door behind them. The academic looked around at the simple room, with two wooden chairs surrounding a small table covered with a crimson cloth and a small platter of sweets.
‘Sit down, sit down. Care for a sugared delberry bonbon?’ the hooded figure inquired in a welcoming tone.
‘Don’t mind if I do’
‘So you were saying? About the Convocation?’
‘Oh yes it’s a juicy story if I do say so!’
‘Sounds fascinating’
‘Now those professors are a scheming bunch. Always trying to get one up on all the others. They tell us that the convocation is to discuss recent weather patterns. They say that they discuss the cycles of the moon and their effect on a certain specimen of snowflake. They give us rubbish about biannual wind storms and Ostafan calibrations! But I have it on the highest authority that at the Convocation of Professors on Grey Thursdays they are scheming to devise a plan. A plot to murder the Most High Academe of Sanctaphrax!’
He paused dramatically but the effect was ruined by chewing noises as he reached for another sugared bonbon.
‘And here is how they plan to do it!’

‘See that giant hourglass?’ Ambros turned towards Kal as she shuffled along the sumpwood bench. ‘It has a lovely crimson colour. They filled it with powdered bloodoak amongst other things. Extremely difficult to obtain due to the fact that the bloodoak tree has a nasty habit of eating all that comes near it. But it makes for a lovely timepiece.’ He frowned. ‘Rather dangerous though. I’ve heard that powdered bloodoak is extremely volatile when it comes into contact with moisture. Especially when added to ground delberry leaves like they did with this. It makes you wonder, who would design such a thing? Any Deepwooder could tell you of the potential catastrophe just waiting to occur. Well the hourglass is firmly sealed.’
He turned back to face the floating lectern. ‘Now hush, the Sub Dean is about to speak!’
Kal poked him playfully. ‘But you’re the talkative one Ambros!’
‘I don’t know what you’re on about’, he mumbled red faced. ‘This is your first Convocation, if I recall. Generally they’re rather tedious. A little talking is required to make it bearable.’ He groaned. ‘Not another lecture on cloud formation again!’

‘And then they place the bloodoak mixture into the bottom of his daily glass of dandelion juice. When he pours the juice KABOOM! He dies.’ He cleared his throat. ‘And so obvious too! It’s in the very name. Grey Thursdays. Don’t you know of the significance of the first Grey Thursday?’
‘Do remind me’
‘Grey Thursday was the day that our first Most High Academe has that terrible accident with the woodwasp eggs! Somehow he ingested them. He was stung to death from the inside out!’
‘How very terrible!’ the hooded figure exclaimed. ‘Siphoning off valuable bloodoak from the hourglass! How will it measure time accurately now?’
‘And the Most High Academe will be dead!’
‘Yes that’s terrible too!’
The academic ran his finger round the empty bowl and licked the sugar from his fingers. ‘Those bonbons were really delicious!’
‘Glad you enjoyed them. Afraid I don’t have any more.’
‘I’m sorry, I don’t think I quite caught your name.’
‘Oh my name is Seftus. Seftus Leprix. Sub Dean of Mistsifting. And head... of the Convocation of Professors on Grey Thursdays’, he uttered nastily.
 The academic gulped.
‘I’m afraid I can’t have you going around spreading that story. It’s far too accurate a tale. I should know.’
The academic tried to rise from his chair. Yet his limbs would not obey him.
‘A little bit of paralysing venom in the sugar’. Seftus sneered.
‘I do hope you enjoyed your woodwasp eggs. You certainly ate so many!’
The academics eyes bulged.
‘Now I do hope you’ll excuse me. I have a special drink to prepare.’

‘At last. I was getting so bored’ Ambros mumbled.
Kal Pendrix was snoring softly. He nudged her.
‘Huuh? Whaaa?’ she mumbled. And then
‘Anvil low, anvil high, anvil wide, anvil rising’
‘So you were listening to the lecture then?’ Ambros teased. She shoved him playfully and then turned to look at the other professors. They were all making their way to a smaller chamber situated behind the floating lectern.
‘What’s going on?’
‘They seem to be holding the secondary meeting.’
‘What’s that?’
‘I don’t know. Fourthlings only.’
‘So you’ve never been?’
‘All the more reason for you to go. Find out what it’s all about.’
‘Okay.’ She beamed. ‘I’ve never been to a top secret meeting before!’
‘Well you have fun now’
‘Will do!’
And with that Kal Pendrix joined the throng of professors making their way to the secondary meeting.

The academics’ eyes snapped open. He was bathed in sweat, his skin dripping and his worn robes soaked right through. But he was cold. Bitterly cold. His fingers and toes were so frozen he could barely feel them, and yet inside, his belly was on fire, churning and convulsing. And then there was the pain...
He had never known anything like it. It wrenched and wracked his stomach, like a thousand red-hot needles that stabbed and slashed, twisting his guts into knots.
Woorgh!’ he groaned. ‘Aoouurgh...
Spasm after spasm of intense pain drove through him, folding him up double as it cramped and branded.
He groaned with utter misery. The pain grew more intense than ever. All at once, he doubled up violently again, his chin on his knees, as a fiery convulsion erupted inside him. The pain was so bad, it felt as if his belly was about to explode.
The searing pain inside him grew more and more intense. The academics’ vision clouded over. The fire surged up from his belly, into his throat...
Aaaargh!’ he screamed, twisting out of the chair and crumpling, open-mouthed, to the wooden floor like a gutted oozefish on a slab.
It took several moments before the convulsions ceased, the limbs stopped thrashing and the academic fell still. As a bright streak of blood trickled from the corner of his mouth, a low buzzing sound came up from his throat.
The next moment, a single dark striped insect appeared. It rested on the academic’s swollen protruding tongue for a few seconds, its feelers quivering as it tasted the air. Then the tiny creature spread its glistening wings and, with a rasping buzz, took flight.
Another insect appeared in its place... and another, and another- until there was a thick stream of them, spewing out from the academic’s gaping mouth. Soon the room was filled with the sound of angry buzzing as the swarm of newly-hatched woodwasps swirled round the room, while the academic’s lifeless eyes stared sightlessly at the ceiling.

Kal Pendrix knocked loudly on the door of Ambros’ dwelling, sobbing loudly as she did so. Ambros was quick to open the door.
‘Kal! What in Sky’s name is the matter?’
‘It’s... it was the secret meeting. I never want to go to another one ever again!’
She clasped Ambros tightly around his waist and buried her head in his wrinkly shoulder. He patted her gently on the back, muttering ‘there there’ at regular intervals. Gradually her noisy tears ceased, she sniffed loudly and started to speak.
‘They... they... the professors... want... want to... they want to murder the Most High Academe!’
Ambros strengthened his hold on her.
‘Dear Linius Pallitax. They can’t murder him. His daughter Maris would be so distraught. She’s such a good friend. It was Linius who got me a place as an academic. We have to save him!’
A steely glint came into her eye. Ambros recognized that glint. It was a glint that meant my mind is made up and just you try and stop me.
‘Of course we shall Kal. Of course we will’
He furrowed his brow in thought.
‘But how will a fourthlings and an old oakelf foil the scheme of the entire Convocation?

‘KABOOM!’ A distant explosion came from the Palace of Shadows. Ambros sighed. ‘Linius has obviously made a mistake with one of his experiments again’. Secretly he thought that the plot to kill Linius was rather ingenious. A horrible one that had to be stopped but ingenious nonetheless. Linius was known for his playing about with the chemistry set he had recovered from the long lost Ancient Laboratory. Nobody batted an eyelid at the frequent explosions that were often heard from the direction of the Palace. It was easy enough to make people believe that the Most High Academe had died in a tragic accident- caught by the blast of a particularly large explosion. ‘If only he hadn’t decided to find out what it was that made bloodoak bark that particular shade of crimson’ they’d sigh.
Or more likely the reaction would be, ‘Stupid old fool playing around with those chemicals and whatnot. All his talk of equal rights and rubbish. Good riddance’
The academics of Sanctaphrax were a vicious backstabbing bunch. They didn’t approve of equality.
Ambros had a plan. Like all good plans it was simple, easy to follow and had a high probability of failure and probable death. Ambros chose not to think about that part. What they had decided to do was to apply for the position of cook and scullery maid. When the Most High Academe came down for his drink of dandelion juice, they’d switch the glass laid out by Seftus Leprix, who according to Kal, would smuggle in the bloodoak by disguising it as a new pick me up from the taverns of Undertown, with another glass filled with powdered cherry blossom. Then the deadly glass would be disposed of and the Most High Academe would be saved.
Kal groaned as she tugged at the frilly bonnet that Ambros insisted she wear. ‘You have to look the part you know?’ He himself was dressed in a tall chef hat and a fake moustache.
‘But I look ridiculous!’ she mumbled.
Linius answered the door. He was missing an eyebrow and his long beard was slightly singed.
‘How can I help you?’
‘We are the new cook and scullery maid you asked for.’ Ambros replied.
‘Oh excellent!’
‘I’ll let Thelma tell you the routine.’
‘The housekeeper.’
Ambros nodded.
‘Kitchen’s that way!’
Ambros and Kal followed the direction he pointed in and soon came to the door of the kitchen. They entered to see a short plump woodtroll, busy baking something or other.
‘Who on earth are you two?’ she inquired sternly.
‘The new cook and scullery maid’
‘But we didn’t apply for a cook and a maid’
‘Linius appointed us himself’
‘I’ll thank you to call him the Most High Academe. And you mustn’t listen to him, he’s far too busy with his work to really notice the domestic matters. I’m housekeeper and I can assure you I’d know if we needed a cook and a scullery maid’.
Ambros spied a glass with a red powder sitting in the bottom.
‘Um, what’s that?’
‘That? This is a gift from Seftus Leprix. Some new pick me up from Undertown. He sent it round this morning’. She looked at them.
‘The Most High Academe suffers from a lot of stress and exhaustion’
Kal winked slowly at Ambros who suddenly let out a screech of pain and started hopping up and down.
‘Are you quite alright?’
Ambros continued to hop, and added an arm flail or two.
Meanwhile Kal had crept up to the counter and was switching the two glasses around.
‘I’m sorry, I stubbed my toe on the table leg.’
‘Well if that’s the case I’m going to have to ask you two to leave. I have spiced scones to prepare.’
Kal froze and gestured to Ambros to distract her a little longer.
Ambros started coughing loudly.
‘Terribly... hemhem... sorry... awoof!... my asthma... is playing up.’
Kal slunk back to his side with a small smile on her face.
‘We do apologise for the inconvenience we’ve caused. We’ll be on our way immediately.’
And so speaking the two figures slunk out of the Palace of Shadows.

‘Seftus Leprix!’
‘It’s Ambros’
‘Yes yes of course.’
‘Would you like to pop in for a drink?’
‘I’m in a bit of a rush’
‘Oh just a quick one. I’ve just got this new cherry cordial.’
‘Oh I suppose I could pop in for a short while.’
‘Excellent. I live just over there.’
Ambros opened the door and pulled up a chair.
‘Do sit down. I’ll be back with the cordial’
He placed a glass in front of Seftus.
‘Just add water’
Seftus frowned. ‘What did you say this cordial was?’
‘Cherry’ Ambros called from the other room. He came back into the room a jug of water in hand.
‘As a matter of fact it’s bloodoak you horrid bitch!’ And with those eloquent words he threw the jug of water into Seftus’ face and ran to reach the cover of the dining room table- an ancient and more importantly solid piece of furniture.
KABOOM! The water landed in the glass and Ambros shook as the table was pelted with shards of wood, lumps of metal and the squishy remains of Seftus Leprix.

Later that afternoon, just as the sun was beginning to descend, Ambros knocked on the door of Kal Pendrix’s abode.
‘If it isn’t too much bother, my house was destroyed in an explosion, cause unconfirmed. Do you think I could live with you?’
‘Oh Ambros!’ Kal beamed. ‘I thought you’d never ask!’
‘Is that a yes?’
‘Of course it is you adorable silly thing.’
‘Of course it is’ he repeated to himself quietly.
And then he repeated it again this time with a smile.
‘Of course it is.’ 

All The World's A Stage

Yes! A new poem at long last. Thank you to William Shakespeare for the title and inspiration of this poem. Please enjoy!

All The World’s A Stage

If all the world’s a stage
And all the men and women merely players
What type of play is it?
And who are they performing for?

Seven billion roles in a play titled ‘Life’
Some would call it the greatest of tragedies
As at sometime or other everybody dies
The scenes are filled with endless war
Disease, despair and abject misery
The human race- racing towards annihilation
Cutting down the forests, polluting the air
Slowly but surely destroying their stage

Yet others call it an epic saga
For life is such an adventure
Exploring the most hostile places
Requiring such courage, determination, strength of will
To climb the highest mountain,
Cross the vastest desert
Delve to the deepest depths of the ocean
Even landing on the moon
Whilst always dreaming of the stars

Yet I chose to call it a masterpiece
For we are capable of such love
Able to imagine the most impossible things
And then inspire others to make them a reality
The beautiful little things,
The laugh of a child
A lover’s first kiss
Watching the sunrise
Sweet dreams

And how could any audience
Not be moved?
By the wonder and beauty
Of it all.
For though the audience, if any
Is unknown
At least, they are not unknowable

And a thought makes me smile
Not that
The world isn’t over ‘til the fat lady sings
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything
But sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste sans everything
The fat lady is able to sing at all.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

A Convivial Christmas

Ok. So Mar-Chu I am your Secret Santa! I made a whole blog thing and then never did anything with it because I was in Poland for a lot of the time. Didn't really think it through. But I wrote you this short Christmas story. Again sorry it isn't longer but I didn't have much time. I hope you enjoy it anyway :)

A Convivial Christmas

March Pathway screamed with delight as she walked into the room. A giant Christmas tree stood in the corner, festooned with streams of tinsel, brightly coloured baubles, and had a little statuette of a mad axe wielding murder on the top. On closer inspection she also found half of a stuffed owl (at least she hoped it was stuffed) hidden behind a cluster of baubles. Which were all gold or red and painted with faces with horrible tortured expressions.
“I’m never letting Mir decorate the tree ever again!” March exclaimed.
Outside the sky was full of snowflakes spiralling gently down, blown hither and thither in the strong breeze. The walls were decked with holly and a bunch of mistletoe hung innocently above the door. March eyed it warily and then quickly backed away telling herself that “it was infested with Nargles”. Most probably.
As March waited for her friends Thalia and Mir to come downstairs she decided to have a quick look at the many presents and packages that had been placed under the tree. One of them in particular caught her eye. It was huge to begin with, a giant box covered in brightly coloured wrapping paper. It also seemed to be moving slightly and March swore that every now and then the box would snort impatiently. And it was addressed to her with love from Mir. 
“What’s taking them so long?” March thought. “It’s already three o’clock in the morning!”
Several excited shrieks could be heard from behind the door which suddenly burst open and two blurs zoomed into the room, flailing arms and screaming “MERRY CHRISTMAS!”
The blurs slowed down enough for March to make out some faces. It was of course, Thalia and Mir.
Mir was jumping up and down and babbling something that March couldn’t quite hear.
“Mar! Mar! Mar! Can we open the presents already! And then can we get something to eat? I’m staaaarving!”
“Oh and also open my present first! I just know you’ll love it!”
The present gave out a particularly angry snort and Thalia back away cautiously.
“Umm... this present. It isn’t dangerous is it?”
Mir shook her head and tried to smile angelically. Instead she managed a smile that would have made even the little mad axe wielding murder statue want to run as far away as possible.
March slowly approached the box. The box backed away slowly until it hit the wall.
“Oww!” cried the box.
March pulled off the wrapping paper and opened the box. Her jaw dropped.
Mir smiled her crazy smile.
Thalia held her hands over her eyes.
“Do you like it? Its Skulduggery’s long lost brother! A half unicorn that can do elemental and adept magic! And he’s called Clarabelle!”
Indeed the half unicorn did have a collar around his neck with a little metal tag saying “My name is Clarabelle! If lost please DO NOT return me to my owner/brother Skulduggery. I am an incredible pain to be with and he’s tried to get rid of me for years. Yes I may look cute but I really am very annoying!”
March was speechless.
Mir started prancing around the room asking “Do you like him? Do you like him? Do you? Well? Well?”
 “Is it safe for me to take my hands off my eyes yet? And I’m wondering. You said he was half unicorn. So what exactly is the other half?
March tore her gaze away from the creature’s sparkly pink hind legs and long silky tail and gulped.
“It appears that is half cannon too.”
Clarabelle swivelled his turret around and snorted again. A few sparks were emitted.
Thalia groaned and peeked at him.
“This is supposed to be cute?”
Mir grinned and nodded.
“You just have to ignore the top half and voila! Cute!”
“But... but it’s monstrous! No wonder Skulduggery never mentioned him. He must be ashamed to have something like that in the family!”
Clarabelle spoke suddenly. “Hey hey hey enough of the insults! I may not be the most aesthetically pleasing view but I am a cancorn! The last of a great and noble race! I still have feelings!
“You can talk?” March wondered. “But how? You don’t even have a mouth!”
“Adept magic remember?” said Mir
“Any other things I should know about it?”
“Oh I nearly forgot!” Mir shouted. “He can SING!”
March slumped.
“Oh please no. Tell me he doesn’t sing. Tell me it’s not true.” she whispered in a haunted voice. “I dread to think what the sound of a cannon singing would be like.”
“Oh it’s dreadful! Absolutely appalling!” Mir whispered back gleefully.
Right on cue Clarabelle burst into song.
“ Siiilent niiight! Hooollllyyyy niiiiiight!” The sound was indescribable. The voice wobbled up and down, cheerfully disregarding such minor things as tune or key. It sounded like the screech of metal against metal, or perhaps the noise of a donkey in a blender.
March covered her ears and yelled above the horrendous racket.
Mir ran out of the room laughing hysterically, March hot on her heels.
Thalia sighed and muttered to herself.
“I wish that this wasn’t a normal Christmas.”

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Years and Years Ago There Were These People Called The Macabees!

Well said Ross, well said.

Anyway. Tonight is the first night of Chanukah. And so I decided to make a Chanukah post. Just to let you all know what I'll be doing these next eight days. Plus the videos are also really funny.

Firstly let's start with an educational video. Yes ELMO!

It's prounced Chhhanukah. Hanukkah? No Chhhanuka! Hanukkah? Actually both ways are right! (Although really it's actually Chanukah. Just saying.) Secondly dreidel game. Nun, Gimel, Hey and Shin. Stands for each word of the Hebrew phrase Ness Gadol Hayah Sham which means A great miracle happened there. If you live in Israel you say Poh instead of Sham (here instead of there). And as explained in the video Nun- you get nothing, Gimel you win everything. But if you land on  Hey you get half of whatever you play with and if you land on shin then you have to add one object from your pile into the central pile.

Yes I know this video has no Elmo in it but it explains the story really well. And the second song, first time is in Hebrew, second time in Yiddish and third time in English. (Although as far as I can tell the English version isn't actually a translation of the Hebrew verse but a song in its own right).

This video is hilarious. Well I get all the jokes. What's your favourite part of Chanukah?


Thursday, 15 December 2011

Derek T Shirt

Hehe. Here is the first design of the T-shirt. Two problems. One it costs about £60 from the site I used. Two can some one with actual artisitc talent make a better T-shirt/

Friday, 2 December 2011

The Last Three Days

Well it's been an interesting few days. Firstly I've been ill with a really bad cold/headache. Yesterday I went to see the school play. It was really excellent. And then this morning.

Well. The school caught fire. It was certainly an interesting form time. It was lucky that no one got hurt. And we didn't evacuate mainly because it was the evacuation point that had caught fire. The building was quite remote from the rest of the school. We were all fine.

The fire brigade arrived shortly after.

Hopefully this will explain why I haven't been around lately. And in 6 days I'm going to Poland for a week so I'll be absent then too.