25979OT (???) Wisdom-Teachings from the Amulet of Thorok
- Sep 30, 2013
I’m into collecting amulets. A lively “Peanuts” sequence from the 1970’s features Peppermint Patty boasting to Marcie about how much “into reading” she is. Marcie responds that, why, the more books Peppermint Patty reads, the less she’ll use stupid expressions like “I’m into reading”. Fortunately, she says that too softly for Peppermint to hear.
I guess the more amulets I collect, the less I’ll brag about my collection. I’ll simply treasure them. Chicago, by the way, has a large share of weekly sorcerer conventions. I go there afterwards, just to pick up the discarded amulets and other talismans of power.
Recently, as I was hunched over the sink at Victory’s Banner, I noticed Matherion, our new manager, looking a little downcast.
“What’s the matter, Matherion?” I asked him, wondering if there was anything I could do to lighten his mood.
“Oh, just life in general. Winter is coming, you know.”
Winter is coming. The words struck a chord in me. I reached deep into my great woolen tunic that I use to wash dishes and also to combat wargs and pulled out the precious amulet of Thorok, the Lord of Winter.
“Here, my liege, accept this as a token of my humble obeisance,” I said, handing over the ersatz trinket to my manager.
“The amulet of Thorok!” screamed Matherion in delight.
He ran into the mess hall where all the men (naturally) we’re dining and yelled, “I have in my hands the amulet of Thorok! All praises to Thorok, the Lord of Winter!”
All the men, clad in ring mail and fur jerkins rose at once and clashed flagons, some striking so hard that the chalices shattered, sending beer suds and glass everywhere.
As one the cheer rang out, “All hail to Thorok the Lord of Winter!”
After the last “hail Thorok”, and after the men whose mugs were still intact had kicked back a hearty draught of oak-aged red, red wine, a loud knock was heard at the front door. The merriment, laughter and rude jokes came to a halt. Silence reigned supreme.
“I am not expecting visitors this hour of the night,” Matherion wondered aloud, approaching the door.
“Who goes there?” he shouted.
“’Tis I, the bard of Lancaster, and supreme giver of amulets!”
Matherion opened the door a crack, and there stood a tall, skinny young man.
“I have come to sing of the glory of Lashaj, Goddess of the endless night, and also to send the youngest and most foolish of you on a foppish quest.”
“You must mean the dishwasher and warg-wrestler, Mahiruha!”
I stepped forward.
“All salutations to you, O gracious bard of Lancaster,” I said. “I wish to hear of your quest and also the sad tale of the hard life you must have lived, being born and brought up in the barren hills of Lancashire.”
“Oh, dearie me, my life was not half so hard as the Bard of Yorkshire, why he had to live in a paper bag in the middle of tire track-“
“Yes, yes, I have heard this tale of woe too often before…So tell me, wise bard, of your noble quest and my fixed part in this awful and fell scheme.”
“Tis not a scheme, but tis thou that must journey to the most fell fastness of the Stone Orcs and free the Weavers, a clan of dreamers and writers who would grace this Sri Chinmoy Inspiration Group were they not held in fast and awful bondage.”
I knelt and bowed to the noble sage. He placed his hand on my head and then kicked me like a foot ball. I ran over the hills, the woods, the fields, into the darkness, into the misty murk and mystery of unguessable time-
And after sundry adventures too bloody and awesome to recount here, arrived at the Castle of the Orcs.
“I’m HERE!!!” I screamed at the top of my lungs.
“Let me IN!!!” I yelled again when nobody opened the drawbridge.
Suddenly arrows and flaming pitch rained down upon me from above, and would have left me in a state of absolute ruin had I not been armed with my haikus.
“The bell stops ringing
But the sound keeps coming
Out of the flowers!”
The drawbridge shattered and I waltzed in, humming and hopping on one foot. There, inside, I saw all the great and talented writers of the Inspiration-Group sitting before a television monitor, watching an utterly absorbing game of cricket. Also, they were knitting cardigans.
“We need you back in our forum! The orcs are all gone!”
I got no response from them. I shouted their names, hoping to awaken some glimmer of recognition in them, but all I got were blank stares as their eyes shifted from the tv screen to their darning needles.
“Damn it!” I screamed.
I reached into my pocket and pulled out a ball of yarn that had been blessed by an ancient loch goddess. I threw the yarn over each and every writer and said, “Stop knitting cardigans and start weaving yarns! We need your yarns, we need your talent, we need your writing. Weave! Knit no more! Write! Write! WRITE!”
But, they remained silent, unresponsive, my efforts were fruitless. What would I tell the bard of Lancaster? I decided to return to Victory’s Banner to get my most potent amulet. On the way through the Haunted Forest, however, I remembered that I’ve always wanted to learn about the allure of cricket and decided to turn back again to join the other weavers when—
My eyes fluttered open.
I was lying on my bed, in my room, my roommates Erik and Fabian and Victor standing over me, Pradhan at my side checking my pulse.
“He’s awake! He’s ALIVE!” Pradhan shouted.
“Who am I? No, I know who I am,” I said, trying to lift my head up but too weak to do so.
“Oh, dear,” I said, still half in a torpor, “I dreamt I was in some alternate universe, where amulets ruled, and orcs kidnapped our beloved writers and kept them from making meaningful contributions to spiritual literature by having them watch cricket and knit sweaters, and I spoke with a British accent while treating with the crafty bard of Lancaster and, and, and…”
“Mahiruha,” Pradhan said seriously, “It was just a dream. You fell off your bike while delivering macaroni to the Lake Shore Renaissance Festival. You’ve been dreaming, and now you’re back with us, in the world of reality. Forget those visions.”
“But, tell us, Mahiruha” Victor asked me, “Why are your fists clenched?”
I unclenched my fists. In my right hand there was nothing. But in my left hand was-- the ruby-studded amulet of Thorok!!!
“All praises to Thorok!” I screamed, leaping up on my erstwhile deathbed, holding the amulet aloft. My companions sank to their knees before the splendor of the amulet and intoned with me, building to an inevitable crescendo:
“All praises to Thorok, the Lord of Winter!”
[May the Coconut of Quendor bless us all]