Let’s Play Confuse The Goat!

…if the goat gets pissed off, everybody loses

The Doclopedia #1,192

Bad Swords: Heartbreaker, The Sword That Destroys

Yung Ki was the greatest swordswoman of her time, perhaps one of the greatest ever. She had fought battles beyond counting, against both men and demons. She had saved lives, villages, cities and entire kingdoms over the last 35 years. If she had wanted it, she could have become Emperess.

But what he really wanted, she could never have, for the love of another was denied her. She was cursed by the very sword whose power had helped her attain her legendary status.

She had been a good, but not great student under Master Shen. He told her she had the heart and desire, but her reflexes and senses would always slow her down. He advised her to walk to a shrine high in the mountains and meditate upon her future as a warrior.

The road to the shrine had covered over a hundred miles and given her much time to think. By the time she was halfway back to her home town, she had decided that she would give up her dream of mastering the sword and instead study the way of the healer. But when she came to a flooded out bridge and had to take a little used detour, her life took another turn.

Walking through the forest, she came to a ruined village. Curious, she poked around for a few minutes, trying to discern what might have lead people to leave this place. She was looking into what had been a meeting hall when she saw a sword on the ground. It was very finely crafted and oddly free of tarnish, despite being here long enough for debris to cover much of it. When she picked it up, she felt a thrill run through her, along with the desire to test the sword out.

And test it she did. First back at school, where she quickly rose to the top of her class. He master was impressed with her and with the sword, which they learned was named the Heartbreaker, first used two centuries earlier by the swordsman Li Kung and later by General Zao. It had been lost for 50 years before Yung Ki had found it.

It was not long before she had left school and begun making a name for herself. It was only slightly longer that the sword began to show it’s curse. Although it took decades, she eventually realized just how bad the curse was.

The first had be Tsung, the handsome young archer that had won her heart with his kind ways, only to be driven away by her outbursts of rage fueled by jealousy that had no basis in fact.

Then had come Master Wu, he equal with a sword and a loving and virile match for her in all other ways. After three years, they had parted violently, she attacking him with both her sword and false accusations that he was with her only to ride on the coattails of her fame. He had run across a footbridge, then cut it loose, telling her that he would not kill her, for she was crazed.

Much later, there had been Ahn, the man who brought her some measure of peace before she began to untruthfully resent him taking her away from a life of battle. He had left one night after a bitter argument. The next morning, she found the letter he had left. It told how he had spent the last few months researching her sword and had learned that anyone owning it would forever be denied love or peace. He advised her to go to a very desolate place far to the west, near a ruined city, to learn more. She had laughed at that, until her servant brought her her breakfast and she drank her tea.

Upon drinking the tea, Yung Ki was filled with an inner peace, which allowed her to think more rationally now than she had in years. Yes, she would go to this place and learn more about Heartbreaker, despite a tiny voice inside her telling her not to. She got her pack ready and set out on horseback before noon.

She is here now, in an ancient place that the desert will cover within another human lifetime. The tiny voice has been kept tiny by the drugged tea she drinks, a gift from Ahn. Likewise, she has read his final gift, a second letter left here only hours before she arrived. It tells her that the sword will try to get her to kill herself somewhere in a civilized area, where it can later be found by a new owner, but if she dies out here, the sword will be lost for centuries, perhaps millennia. A small vial sits near her. Fighting the urge to take up the sword and leave, she drinks down the poison. As a warmth spreads through her, she pushes the sword into a crack in the ground and watches as it falls several feet. Smiling, she lies back and welcomes the peace of eternity.

Later, when the moon rises, I shall make a large fire to burn her body and the letter. In the morning, I will leave and let the desert claim her.

Not In This Issue: Squid Mating Rituals, Ham And Ireland

…sorry about no ham

 

The Doclopedia #1,191

Bad Swords: Rotseeker, The Sword That Infects

“That there sword, it calls out to you, don’t it? It wants somebody to pick it up and to use it. But that’s just the start of the curse, ya know? After you touch it and feel that cold steel warming to your touch, your time in Hell begins.

Now, the legend will tell you that it was originally enchanted and owned by Father Hendrik, the legendary slayer of undead things. Truth is, even the folks in the Church are not sure that’s true, but since Hendrik did use Rotseeker…yeah, that’s the name he gave it…to pretty damned great effect against the hordes of the undead, they let the legend stand as truth.

So old Hendrik, he takes up this sword at age 21…nobody knows where he actually got it…and he goes out and starts cutting through the First Rising like he’s a dragon and they’re kobolds. You know, they say that in one day, he finished off 300 creatures from the walking dead to a master vampire, then finished off with the destruction of a lich! A gods damned LICH!

See, that’s the power of Rotseeker. One hit, even a nick, and the undead start to just fall apart. That’s why you’ll find no intelligent undead anywhere near where the sword might be. Hendrik killed their lot for fifty years and by the time he was done, the corporeal dead were as scarce as hen’s teeth.

And that’s where the curse comes in. See, old Hendrik, now in his seventies, didn’t have much to do. Oh, he’d preach some, but with no undead around to actually fear, folks listened to him mostly out of courtesy. It must have really put a burr under his saddle, ya know? Then one day, he hears about an evil ghost that’s driving folks mad, so he goes and deals with it pretty quick. That sets him on the path that doomed him, ghost hunter.

A couple of years and several dozen evil ghosts later, he goes to this abandoned hamlet that he’s heard is just full of ghosts. Sure enough, it is and Hendrik just starts slaying them, no questions asked. Problem is, these ghosts weren’t evil. They were innocents slaughtered by some mad baron 200 years earlier. Hendrik should have been helping them cross over, but he was on a killing spree.

So he comes to the final ghost, see, and it’s the spirit of the town priest. Just before the sword gets him, the ghost, who you can figure is pretty well pissed off, curses Hendrik and the sword. For a thousand years, Hendrik’s soul will be trapped in Rotseeker, aware of his sins, but crazed to slay the undead.

Meanwhile, the poor overconfident bastard that seeks to follow in Hendrik’s footsteps will slowly become infected with undeath from using. Takes years, maybe decades, for the effects to really show, but once they do, the cursed person changes into a ghoul, compelled to feed on dead flesh. The sword lays where the drop it, which is always on sacred ground. Then somebody finds it and the process repeats.

Or it did repeat, until Friar Albertus figured things out 30 years ago. Now, after 375 years of cursing, the sword is right there, in that heavily blessed case in this cathedral. You and I are as close as anyone can get without being blasted by holy enchantments, high level magic and maybe a dozen traps set by a dozen master thieves. You cross that there line on the floor and your dead before you know it.

Will anybody ever pick it up again? Hell, your guess is as good as mine. That curse will be active for another 595 years! A lot can happen in that amount of time and sooner or later, the intelligent undead are going to hear that Rotseeker is locked away. What do you want to bet that if things get really dark, some cleric figures out a way to take it up?”

Mrs Wangdoodle Does A Threesome With Bucky & Squint

…my eyes! Sweet Dog, my eyes!

Behold! Two Doclopedia entries today! Huzzah!

The Doclopedia #1,189

Bad Swords: Drakeslayer, The Sword That Compels

The two handed sword known as “Drakeslayer” is arguably the most famous sword of all in a world where firedrakes, 40 foot long dragons that breath 2,000 degree fire, are constantly at war with humanity.

Completely fireproof, the sword grants the same power to the person chosen to wield it. Additionally, the sword slows the aging process by half and increases the body’s ability to heal from wounds and resist disease. It also tells the user when firedrakes are near.

All of the above means that the holder of Drakeslayer is held in great esteem wherever he or she might go. Even kings and queens show deference to the mighty warrior.

But all of this comes with a price. The person bound to the sword will not stop seeking out firedrakes until they are all dead. More importantly, they will actively seek out the hard to find nests of brood mothers, which is tantamount to suicide unless one plans very carefully and has a large force. Sadly, the curse often overcome those using the sword and they charge in blindly. While many firedrakes are slain and the brood mother is often among them, the warrior is usually ripped to shreds. Those that have survived would never fight again.

When it’s owner is killed or unable to wield it, Drakeslayer magically transports itself to the town center of Renisor, there to await the next person worthy of using it.

The Doclopedia #1,190

Bad Swords: Eversharp, The Sword That Maddens

To look at it, Eversharp would seem to be no different than hundreds of other broadswords. It is well crafted and has a sharp blade, but aside from that, there is nothing special to see.

But once you have picked it up, it feels very right in your hand. Trying it out, you seem to be more skilled than before. You feel powerful. And so you buy it.

Eversharp works a curse slowly on the user. Each time it draws blood, you feel a bit more excitement. Each night your dreams are a bit more bloody and violent. Other people start to seem worthless as anything besides prey for your blade.

Eventually, you become a full blown serial killer, preying upon a certain type of person. This could be men, women, children, rich or poor. They could be of any race or species. All they are to you is a chance to satisfy the voices in your head.

When the crazed killer is finally caught or killed, the sword gets lost. It will not turn up again for months. When it does, it will be hundreds or thousands of miles away, ready for the next person to use it.

Blue Moon Over Hot Jazz

… a painting by Lulu Cross

 

The Doclopedia #1,188

Even More Technobabble!: Genetically Engineered Symbiotic Cephalopod


If you are one of the countless sentient species who did not evolve opposable thumbs, fear not, help is on the way! Thanks to the genius of Low Dog Laboratories, now you can use tools and manipulate objects with precision using FOUR highly specialized tentacles! And, as an added bonus, you’ll find your brain power increased by up to 20%!

Yes, males & females, the Ottopus will change your lives. Developed by Dr. Sasha Jane Cross, this Genetically Engineered Symbiotic Cephalopod attaches to your back via the four super strong, yet gentle, tentacle that wrap around you like a harness. Then, after forming a psychic link with your mind, four remaining tentacles are yours to command. Each one of these tentacles has four smaller and fully opposable tentacles on the end, much like fingers, but far more flexible. Now you can climb, open jars, build things and carry up to 5 times your body weight!

Best of all, since the Ottopus uses such a small part of it’s brain, you get extra mind power and memory storage! Think deep thoughts and make long term plans! You’ve got brains to spare now!

The Ottopus comes in sizes from squirrel to blue whale and have the natural ability of octopi to mimic thousands of colors & textures. Click or call for a price quote today!

Handsome Joe Rides In A Canoe

…he’s a brave doggie

The Doclopedia #1,187

Even More Technobabble!: Portable Quantum Vibration Stabilizer

The main problem with traveling to other dimensions (and to a lesser extent, different time periods in your home dimension) is that your quanta vibrate at one frequency and that other dimension vibrates at another.

Now, this isn’t a huge problem when you go to the nearest realities, but to go to the really cool ones, you need vibration stabilization. Fortunately, this is a fairly easy problem to overcome.

Portable quantum vibration stabilizers are very small, often built into rings, belt buckles and other common items. Wearing one for as little as an hour can stabilize you for up to 16 hours, depending upon how far out in the multiverse you go.

In some cases, a PQVS will be built into a vehicle, thus stabilizing everything inside or even near it.

The Ham What Am Plus A Side Order Of Spam

…damn!

 

The Doclopedia #1,186

Even More Technobabble!: Regenerating Nanoskin

Let’s face it, normal skin works just fine for ordinary folks, but if you are a costumed hero without superpowers, regular skin takes a hell of a beating and scars pretty easily. What you need is a synthetic skin that’s WAY tougher.

That is why the folks at Wayne Industries Labs developed Regenerating Nanoskin. Made from molecular sized nanobots, this skin heals in seconds from most injuries, resists burning at temperatures up to 750 degrees and is completely caustic chemical proof. The skin can completely cover an adult human body in 15 seconds and can be made in any natural skin tone or over 100 other colors.

Please Don’t Feed The Kraken

…and for goodness sake, do NOT unleash him

 

Sasha Explains It All

You Are Not Alone, Or Even Unique

One of the things that makes humans and a whole bunch of other races interesting and also kind of delusional is this whole idea of you each being totally unique. This belief is a cherished one, especially by self help gurus and fashion designers. And pretty much every consumer product company. Oh, and advertisers. Can’t forget them.

Now, while is is ultimately true that each living thing is unique due to the influences of it’s own life path, outside effects & such, you humans are not so unique as you think. Not even close, really.

Before I go any further with my puncturing of your egos, let me just say that we dogs aren’t exactly bastions of uniqueness either. Just look at a bunch of black labs or bichons or scotties, for goodness sake. They really DO all look alike! Hell, even dogs with some variety of coat colors/patterns look pretty damned similar unless we’ve had some accident. We bassets all have the big snout, long ears, short legs, etc. Same for every breed, really, as well as cats, rabbits, etc.

Now, we DO have other things to help individualize ourselves, including smells, but we aren’t that much more unique than you guys.

So back to why you aren’t unique. In a word: multiverse. See, on average, most folks here on Earth have between 190 and 400 pretty damned near exact duplicates out there on other world’s. These are the ones who aren’t radically different from the Prime. Go out a few more quanta and you can easily quintuple that number and still not be in the really exotic realms.

As an example, let’s take a look at my Auntie Avis. Now, she is a sweet hearted lady who is single (long time divorced), a geek, level headed, over 60, pretty healthy and has worked at her job for over 20 years. She lives in a city in a New England state and has a cat named Leon.

I can show you at least 67 just like her on other worlds. Now, in some she works a different job and in some she has a dog named Leon and in some she was married longer or shorter lengths of time and in some she lives in another city in the same state but fundamentally, she is the same person each time. A great person, but not unique.

Now, there are worlds where Auntie Avis is WAY different, like the one where she is 6 inches taller, has tattoos and is part of a roller derby team when she isn’t working as a police officer. Or the world where she is, essentially, Batman. Or the world where she’s a zombie killing asskicking grandmother. But in the near quanta, she is the wonderful auntie who gives us dogs bellyrubs and sort of balances out Daddy in each universe.

So, like I said, you aren’t really unique. While that might kind of deflate and depress some of you, I think it ought to make you feel good. After all, you are not alone in the multiverse. There are plenty of you.

Except for my human dad. Now, there are tons of him out there, and in the near quanta they are pretty much ordinary guys. Farmers, game designers, writers, cooks, etc. Almost all of them live in California, except a couple who live in Hawaii and one who lives in Seattle. They are all married to some version of Mom, although she does sometimes have different hair color.

The problem is, there are none like the man sitting 15 feet from me right now humming the theme to The Wild Wild West while eating a pb&j and reading a web comic. None driving Magic Buses with mentally jumped up dogs & cats & robot dogs. None who can use a BilTokian gravity glove with ease, but not be able to tell you how and where he learned how to use it.

Maybe there are others like him in the outer quanta, but it’s still a mystery to me how he could be the Prime to so many ordinary dudes. And while I’m at it, there’s something subtly odd about Mom, too, but I’m damned if I can pin it down.

Anyhow, my parents aside, none of us are unique, so get over it.

Until my next rant,

Dr. Sasha Jane Cross, PhD