The Memoirs of Father Shiron

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Part 2 - The First Friend

T'was a light, warm, spring evening in Middle Earth, fragrant with a heady mix of the scent of new flowers and traffic exhaust, when the young Shiron again found himself in that small, dingy room in Marlborough Hall.  Present also were the author and the mysterious Mr. Hems along with, of course, THE BOOK.  Shiron had been summoned to hear of an important event.  Another 'birth' was imminent that very night and the author with Mr. Hems were to initiate it.  It was agreed that Shiron was now old enough and had sufficient knowledge of 'life, the universe and everything' to witness the event first hand.  Ever since his creation the process had remained a mystery to him.  It was one of life's great unknowns, rather like the logic behind Business Organization or the practical use of statistical perms and coms in the real world .  But this evening all would be revealed and Shiron would be a wiser man for it.
        He sat quietly on the bed and gazed thoughtfully at the many magazine cut out pictures of Linda Lusardi adorning the walls.  "Hmm," he mused quietly to no-one in particular. "It would be rather nice if they created one like her for me to be friends with, then maybe we could try the process ourselves one day."
        "Pay attention Shiron," replied the author. "We are about to begin."
        Shiron watched intently as the author and Mr. Hems sat at a little table and reverently opened THE BOOK.  A number of strange looking  dice were produced from a small bag.  They were 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 20 sided respectively but there were more than just one of each and in a range of multifarious colours.  To Shiron they seemed to be thrown about on the table top with gay abandon, the author diligently recording the numbers resulting.
        "Two 16s and a 12 so far," exclaimed Mr. Hems.  "This looks promising."  
        This continued for some time with occasional whoops of delight and groans of disappointment from the two creators. 
        The whole process seemed to revolve around throwing the various dice, recording the scores and then referring to THE BOOK for the hidden secrets.  It was at this point in time that the impressionable young cleric began to be disillusioned.  The process didn't look anywhere near as much fun as he had imagined and so his visions of 'creating' with Linda Lusardi vanished into thin air.
        And then the time was right for the 'birth'.
        "Prepare yourself Shiron," warned Mr. Hems.  "What you are about to see is a truly marvelous sight, one that only a privileged few can hope to behold."
        Shiron tensed.  Could this be it?
        Mr. Hems closed THE BOOK and both he and the author stood up and away from the table.  The atmosphere was building, the air thick with anticipation.  Shiron tensed yet again and visibly winced.  He leant forward, rubbing his left leg to relieve the cramp.
        The air seemed to take on a life of its own, vibrating around him and there was a pounding sensation in his ears.  The hairs on the back of his neck stiffened as a great noise built inexorably around him.  Blistering, searing, blindingly fast notes produced seemingly by the Devil himself and amplified in the ether, tore through the room making the very air itself hum.  Feedback screamed through his senses.  The noise built towards a crescendo.  Shiron put his hands over his ears.  It was all too much, his head would surely explode.  This was The Moment.
        Mr. Hems raised his arms above his head in a gesture of worship to some unseen god.  With his voice raised above the raging tumult around him he uttered in a  strange tongue the magic words that would bring forth fresh, new life from the pages of THE BOOK.  He spoke as if half to himself and half to the author.  Shiron removed his hands from his ears and strained to decipher speech over the noise for if he had any hope of performing the same act in the future, he must know the sacred words, the syllables of life, the final stage of the creation process.
        Shiron listened.  He heard.  But he did not understand.  At that very instant there was sudden and total silence.  Where but a moment ago the room was resonating with sound, now there was nothing.  To him the words sounded like -
        "Let There Be Rock is awesome.  Angus Young's solo is just unbelievable.  Turn the tape over, let's have some Back In Black."
        The author deftly changed the ACDC tape over in the machine.  Shiron had to admire the author's dexterity, his smooth almost graceful motion as the cassette was ejected, removed, reversed, replaced and loaded for play in one fluid movement.  The image was imprinted on Shiron's mind.  An image of perfect, artistic physical motion. Of style, grace and finesse.  Of a great strength so masterfully controlled, manipulated and held in check.  What power.  What serenity.  What panache.  What a complete load of utter drivel these 7 lines are!
        As Hell's Bells tolled and the noise again started to build, Shiron felt it again.  No, not the atmosphere of anticipation - the cramp in his leg.  Mr. Hems approached the book again and, with his head swinging wildly up and down in a nodding motion, opened it up.  Blinding light erupted from the pages and as Shiron stared in amazement and disbelief, out from the very pages of THE BOOK came forth a form, a human figure.  Young, tall, blonde, well developed.  Shiron peered hopefully through the glare.  Unfortunately it was male.  The figure emerged from THE BOOK, growing in stature as it climbed from the open pages, off the table and into the middle of the room.  Shiron stifled a grin as he saw the figure was dressed in a pair of green pyjamas with little white teddies all over them.
        "It is done," exhaled Mr. Hems, his shoulders and head slumping forward and remaining there as if he was completely spent.  "You have a new friend Shiron.  His name is ..... err .....um ....."  Mr. Hems seemed uncharacteristically indecisive, unsure.  Could it be that the great Hems Did Not Know?
        "His name is Falamir and he is to be a great fighter," exclaimed the author with surety and pride.
        "Falamir it is then," said Mr. Hems with obvious relief.
        "Greetings good sirs," offered Falamir.  "I am yet but a mere lad of 16 (yes Falamir was deprived of his childhood as well, sad isn't it?) but I will be a great warrior for I have a taste for adventure, for glory, for wealth and," he added demurely, "for Ferrero Rocher chocolates.  But I can't stand Marmite."
        And so it came to pass that Falamir the Unfortunate was born.  They found him some suitable clothing and then all went off to the pub for a quick one, and managed a couple of drinks as well.  Although this was a natural way to celebrate, there was an ulterior motive.
        Their theory was put to the test when the inn keeper asked if Falamir was over eighteen and without hesitation, Falamir immediately admitted he wasn't.  The author and Mr. Hems looked at each other.  "Told you so," grinned Mr. Hems in knowing amusement.  Shiron just rolled his eyes and muttered something under his breath.  So while the author enjoyed a pint of Carlsberg and Mr. Hems and Shiron opted for Trophy Bitter, the young Falamir had to settle for bitter lemon.
        "I don't understand it," puzzled Falamir.  "I really fancied a flagon of fine foaming ale but felt compelled to tell the truth about being under age.  It's as if I had no choice in the matter."
      The author and Mr. Hems exchanged a wink.  "That's because you have a lawful good alignment Falamir.  You must be law abiding and truthful at all times.  It is impossible for you to lie, wittingly or otherwise.  Sorry."
        "Bummer," groaned Falamir as Shiron chuckled into his pint.
        Shiron and Falamir grew to be firm friends.  So firm in fact that Falamir was far too polite to mention the small irregularity on Shiron's right ear, such a gentleman was he.
        Falamir was kitted out with all the equipment and accoutrements of a fighter and trained with Shiron, building a strong and formidable team.  Falamir realized, like Shiron before him, that his future lay not in the Sun horoscope but in a career in AD&D and so the two formed a business partnership.  They were both equal partners and each put in an identical amount of venture capital.  They both fully understood the relevant financial and legal implications of such a venture and willingly accepted both the chance to make an absolute fortune and the risk of unlimited liability should things not work out.  Falamir would do most of the fighting and protect Shiron.  In turn Shiron would ensure Falamir's continued physical and spiritual welfare by administering Cure Lights whenever needed, providing back up and letting him read his copy of 2000AD every week.

One balmy evening not long after Falamir's arrival the author and Mr. Hems summoned the two friends to the little room where it had all begun.  "We feel that you are both ready to embark on your first adventure," intoned Mr. Hems.  "How do you feel about it?"
        "Well I feel a bit peckish actually.  I'd rather have a bite to eat first if that's OK," replied Falamir.
        "You great pillock," chided Shiron, slapping him round the head with irritation.  He was obviously eager to get going.  "You can get something during the adventure.  There's bound to be a MacDonald's or something where we're going."
        "Well, what's it to be?" asked Mr. Hems, also showing slight signs of irritation.
        "Let's go," answered Shiron excitedly without waiting for Falamir to offer further protest.  Mr. Hems and the author exchanged a satisfied glance.
        "Excellent," said the author.  "Let's waste no more time.  Get your gear and we'll be off."
        "What do you mean 'We'?" asked Shiron.  "You're not coming as well are you?  You're not dressed for it."
        "No, not exactly," replied the author cryptically.  "Let's just say we'll be watching over you.  But you won't be alone.  Come, I shall introduce you to your traveling companions."
        The four left the small room with Mr. Hems leading, carrying THE BOOK, another book very much like it, the bag of dice and some other documents.  The author had a ring binder and his own container of multi- sided dice.  Both looked very new.  They wound their way down stairs and through the dark timbered labyrinthine hallways and corridors of Marlborough Hall.  Mr. Hems and the author exchanged brief greetings with other residents on the way but Shiron and Falamir got some very strange looks as they clanked and rattled by in all their armour, weapons and equipment.  Mr. Hems turned a final corner and led them into a much larger room full of expectant looking people.
        It was immediately apparent that the eight people in the room formed two distinct groups.  Half were dressed in adventuring type clothing similar to Shiron and Falamir and the others wore clothing more similar to the author and Mr. Hems.  Shiron realized that the author was also a stranger here as Mr. Hems introduced him to everybody present.  Shiron and Falamir were then introduced, but strangely, Shiron thought, only to the characters in adventuring garb.
        There was Dick De Danger, an experienced human campaigner and master swordsman.  A force to be reckoned with.  'Hey' Presto, another fighter type.  Neither Shiron or Falamir had ever met an Elf before but they instinctively recognized Presto for one.  He wasn't particularly experienced and apparently not very masterful either.  Erendil was also Elvish and yet another fighter class character.  He immediately came across as conceited with an over inflated ego but despite these drawbacks, overall a decent enough bloke.  Lastly there was Feanar who displayed both human and Elven characteristics.  He was a hybrid, a Half Elf.  Completely bereft of any visible armour or weaponry he was dressed in a simple, if very smart, traveling cloak.  He could have been nothing other than a Mage.
        The two groups talked amongst themselves for a while, getting to know each other a bit and planning the adventure.  They all listened intently as Mr. Hems caught their attention and preceded to outline their quest.  Some of the author's group made notes as names, places, events and details were given.  Some of them asked questions for clarification.  Some were answered by Mr. Hems and some, pointedly, were not.
        The adventurers had been hired by some villagers to investigate 'strange' (no elaboration was forthcoming) happenings and goings on.  A reward had been offered for successfully solving the mystery and bringing the perpetrators to justice.
        And so the scene was set, adventure beckoned.  So did the naked girl for the month of March on the wall calendar.  The six party members adjusted and fiddled with equipment, ready for the off.  The author sat patiently with the other group of people at the large table in the middle of the room.  It was strewn with papers, books, pencils, multi- sided dice in every conceivable colour, packets of crisps and bottles of Coke.  Also on the centre of the table stood six tiny painted figures.  Shiron peered closer to study them.  Somewhat disconcertedly he noticed that each little figure bore an uncanny likeness to himself and his fellow adventurers.
        Sitting at the head of the table with even more paraphernalia around him than anyone else, the great Mr. Hems called for silence and opened THE BOOK.  The party waited, anxious to get going.  Mr. Hems opened a thin, innocuous looking pamphlet entitled 'The Sunfire's Heart Pt1'.  Immediately the room wavered around them and then vanished into nothing.  For a brief moment there was void and then a new setting wavered in and materialized.  They saw a new environment take shape all around them, fusing into solid reality.  They felt a rush of fresh, warm, salty air and found themselves on a beach.  There were just the six of them, the other group and the room were nowhere to be seen.  They had arrived.....

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Here endeth Part 2.
Don't miss the next episode - 'Life's a Beach'
It's here now.  Click on Next.

 

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Copyright John Angus Walker 1986, 2003.  All right reserved.