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WOSSNAME -- NOVEMBER 2007 -- PART 4 OF 6

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  • Not A Granny
    WOSSNAME - NOVEMBER 2007 -- PART 4 OF 6 (continued) ... oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ====Part 4 - MORE ALICE 15) WEIRD ALICE, CONTINUED
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 28, 2007
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      WOSSNAME - NOVEMBER 2007 -- PART 4 OF 6 (continued)
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      oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

      ====Part 4 - MORE ALICE

      15) WEIRD ALICE, CONTINUED

      oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

      15) THE CLACKS LOG OF WEIRD ALICE LANCREVIC, continued

      Second Clog: "Wednesday on my mind..."

      It turns out that the McSweeneys aren't the only old and noble
      family with an unusual name by Agatean standards: there are also the
      Wednesdays.

      Back in the days of long-lost Ago when the ancient warlord Toijota
      ruled the Pelargic coast, a shipwrecked Morporkian sailor was
      rescued by Toijota's troops and rose to the highest rank in the
      warlord's service. This sailor's name was Adam Wednesday. He proved
      to be a valuable resource, not least because he brought actual news
      of the World Beyond the Walls and actual useful advice about sea-
      trading and Morporkian military history (read: "fighting dirty,
      without a crippling load of traditional rules"), and was given the
      sobriquet of Jinjin-san, which is Agatean for "foreign barbarian
      sailor who's done bloody well for himself". Wednesday served in the
      forecourt of Toijota, never again leaving Agatea to return to Ankh-
      Morpork; he became immensely rich, took a number of wives and
      concubines, and died old and happy within sight of the beached
      remains of his original ship. It's to Wednesday that Bes Pelargic
      owes its centuries-long history of being the only somewhat open port
      in the Agatean Empire, and its centuries-long willingness to
      entertain barbarian ways has subtly changed the local culture. If
      you wander around the Bes Peninsula, you can still find people with
      the surnames Wednesday and Jinjin; the original Mr Wednesday
      obviously had a *lot* of wives and concubines.

      We've had a stroke of luck -- we arrived in time for the Samizdat
      Festival. It's a yearly event peculiar to Bes P and only a few other
      locations, and it's where those who served in, or served, or say
      they served, or were standing nearby looking innocent during, the
      Glorious Revolution gather to remember the Days of Struggle. I'd say
      you can't move for parades of peasants in pyjamas, but it seems
      that's just the normal state of Agatean cities; however, parades of
      peasants in pyjamas don't usually march along shouting things like
      "Gradual Orderly Transfer of Power to the People!" and "Shun the
      Evil Imperialists Whilst Using Polite Mannerliness!" It's very
      enthusiastic and above all, very loud. Twoflower and his family
      always march at the head of the parade, and afterwards there are
      ceremonial Campfires of Remembrance where the festivalgoers huddle
      around eating stale rice and meagre portions of rotten fish and
      reminisce about the hardships they endured before the coming of the
      true Red Army. For the record, the rice and fish are deliberately
      served that way as a reminder; believe me, the real cuisine is to
      die for (and not because of poisons).

      During the campfire ceremony I was able to learn more about what
      happened in the years between Cohen's accession and the present day.
      Twoflower confirms that he did indeed serve as Cohen's Grand Vizier,
      and that they did make some sweeping legal and cultural changes
      together, but the old ways started creeping back as fast as changes
      were made and he didn't feel comfortable -- Twoflower, not Cohen,
      Cohen could feel comfortable anywhere he could hang his sword
      (preferably from the upper chest region of unrepentant court
      bureaucrats and nobles) -- with the constant tensions of court life.
      So when Cohen left, he resigned and came straight back home to open
      the restaurant. He says that there *are* changes being made deep in
      the Agatean culture, but that he hasn't got the necessary thousand
      or so years to spend hanging around waiting for them to blossom.
      Agatea is definitely a foreign country -- back around the Circle
      Sea, changes to culture take place as fast as the Clacks can carry
      them!

      Speaking of the Clacks, they still don't have much in the way of
      towers here. But that will soon change: someone's had the bright
      idea to put towers on ships plying the Quirm coast-Bes Pelargic
      trade route! Transmission depends on the weather at sea, but on a
      clear, calm day or night the messages fly back and forth much faster
      than any ship can sail. It's only a matter of time before strings of
      towers go up all across the mainland...

      ***

      We're going to Hunghung! With a native guide! V. excited. Always
      wanted to see the Forbidden City, and now it's...less forbidden.

      ***

      We packed our belongings -- so many belongings now, between all the
      gifts and all the shopping in Shu and all the scrolls ("...if you
      can just take this to First Sister's third cousin in Hunghung...")
      and ornamental sake bottles -- and headed out at sunrise. Everyone
      turned up to give us a rousing send-off. Even Sammy's band. It was
      rather sweet to hear Brindisian Rhapsody played on Agatean
      instruments. Also, Ox gave me a beautiful koto to remember him by. I
      can think of rather more robust reasons to remember him by,
      but...also, Breaking Dawn will be giving Cert something to remember
      *her* by in about eight months' time, or so we're told. Ah well,
      that solves my problems nicely, and he did say he wanted to work in
      the Agatean technomancy industry...but for now, we're back to
      friendly relations. Nurr, nurr, nurr.

      Agatea, for all its gold, is a simple and old-fashioned country with
      old-fashioned simple poverty. We passed through endless rice paddies
      and endless tiny villages that probably looked the same in the days
      of One Sun Mirror. But Red -- our guide, Seven Red Rice -- says
      there's a very important difference: most of the peasants in the
      fields no longer kowtow to mounted travellers. They also no longer
      need special papers to travel from village to village, but Red says
      most of them still stay put because old habits die hard. That's
      progress for you.

      ***

      Pork ear stew is...interesting.

      ***

      After a while, pork ear stew is...less interesting.

      ***

      Duck!

      ***

      After a while, duck tastes like pork ear stew...

      ***

      Today we were passed by an entire flock of carrier pigeons. Very
      orderly country, Agatea: they were flying in formation.

      ***

      Red pointed out the Dragon Mountains, off in the distance. He says
      that legend has it they're the exposed scales of the Earth Dragon,
      and that the position of cities relative to parts of the dragon are
      vitally important according to the dictates of Sheng Fooey. Most
      Agatean traditionalists, which is to say most Agateans, believe that
      Ankh-Morpork is built on top of the Earth Dragon's...well, never
      mind. Use your imagination.

      ***

      Nearly at the gates of Hunghung now. Time to sleep. Here endeth this
      post.

      ***

      Third Clog: "Down but not out in the Heavenly City"

      Right. Far, far too much to write about and no way to send it, so
      I'm dictating the short version in song to Gimpy and getting it
      carriered back to Twoflower's. He promised to post it on the next
      Clacks fleet...

      ONE NIGHT IN HUNGHUNG

      Hunghung...Auriental setting
      It's a city of gold full of bureaucrats fretting
      The cream of the nobles in their cute silk beanies
      Hyping every clan but McSweeney's

      Great Wall...doesn't seem a minute
      Since the famous Silver Horde stuck their broadswords in it
      Small change - don't you know a rhinu
      Buys a whole city? Well, that's something more than I knew!
      Buys Sto Lat...or Pseudopolis...or Morpork...
      Or...or someplace!

      One night in Hunghung and the world's your lobster
      Those golden temples are a sight to see
      You'll find a god in every dry ancestor
      And if you're lucky then the squishi's free
      I can feel a ninja sneaking up on me

      One coin's...very like another
      When your head's down counting your rhinu, brother
      Etiquette is a chore, it's very 'san' and 'sama'
      Though I'm getting to adore those peasants in pyjamas

      Gilded and clean -
      I've seen forbidden, enchanted, charming towns

      Cha, buns, sweet and sour
      Caffs as posh as the Emperor's bower
      - that's Cohen! You're talking 'bout a hero
      Whose 'civilised' index stands at zero
      - he got his kicks above the snowline, last time!

      One night in Hunghung makes your dwarf bread crumble
      No other empire has such history
      One night in Hunghung knocks you down like scumble
      With pretty geisha girls for company
      I can see an army made of pottery

      I am...gonna see the army
      It's the ultimate sight in a land this barmy
      It stuns me more than blowfish
      Unlike tsimo wrestling - that's too oafish
      Thank the Gods I'm only watching the Noh, not part of it!

      See old men play like lightning
      Their game's more slick than kung fu fighting
      I watch them play, and grind my molars -
      Shibo Yangcong-san's for real high rollers!
      So you better just stick with your tea, your haikus
      Your squishi vendors...

      One night in Hunghung and the world's your lobster
      Those silken eunuchs are a sight to see
      You'll find a god in every dry ancestor
      And from Dibhala's tray, some rancid tea
      I can feel a ninja sneaking up on me

      One night in Hunghung makes your stomach rumble
      To munch exotic snacks with jasmine tea
      And when their language makes me gasp and mumble
      I'll keep Twoflower close for company
      I can feel the vampire ghosts right next to me!

      ***

      Fourth Clog: "Eek!"

      One night in Hunghung is everything the song says, but four weeks in
      Hunghung is a bit too much for some. Which is to say, for me. It's
      so big! And so crowded! And so far from home! This is the first time
      I've actually felt homesick since I began my journey. Not that I
      want to go home yet, but there are so many more places to see and
      only so many sweet and sour dumplings a body can eat, and only so
      many frustrated bureaucrats a body can stand to be around, and not
      enough gigs to make the evenings interesting (although the Imperial
      State Gymnastic Orchestra was worth the journey all on its own). So
      I gathered up my ever-increasing pile of acquired stuff, gave it to
      Red to take back to Bes P for shipping back to Lost Wages, and went
      looking for Cert.

      I found him in the Hall of Curiosities in the Winter Palace, deep in
      conversation with a wizardy sort who must have been at least 150.
      Cert introduced him as Four Dread Teeth (and they are), a Doctor of
      Thaumology and one of the few old-school Agateans to have studied at
      Unseen University. Doctor Teeth was quite friendly, though his
      Morporkian is a bit rusty -- foreign languages officially did not
      exist in the days of the old Empire, especially in Hunghung. He and
      Cert have been updating each other (though in the case of Teeth, I
      suppose it's backdating) about developments in technomancy. They
      were babbling excitedly about something called Kwan T'um, which
      according to Doctor Teeth was discovered by his people 3,000 years
      ago but never explored on the grounds of its being inadvisable
      magic. It looks as though Cert will definitely have a job waiting
      for him after he gets his degree. Always good news for someone
      contemplating child support...

      ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

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      End of Part 4, continued on Part 5 of 6.
      If you did not get all six parts, write: interact@...
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      Copyright (c) 2007 by Klatchian Foreign Legion
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