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  • Not A Granny
    WOSSNAME - FEBRUARY 2008 -- PART 4 OF 5 (continued) ... oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo ====Part 4 - THE RETURN OF WEIRD ALICE, CONTINUED
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 26, 2008
      WOSSNAME - FEBRUARY 2008 -- PART 4 OF 5 (continued)





      Going on the plan of get gig first, then find lute to gig with, I
      stopped at the first likely inn. It was called The Pride of
      Oolskunrahod, which also rang no bells with me - all I knew of
      Oolskunrahod was that it was some tiny place in the Hubland
      mountains, not too far from the foothills of Cori Celesti and
      neither remarkable in any way or known to possess anything to be
      proud of. The place was empty, even for that hour, and the landlord
      was waving a cloth unenthusiastically around the bar top. The
      conversation went something like this:

      Me: Looking for a gig. I play the lute and sing. All kinds of songs,
      especially comical ones.
      Him: Are you in the Trade, then? You don't look like you're in the
      Me: The Musicians' Guild? Of course. I'm a licenced Bard!
      Him (with shocked look): Shh! You know that word's forbidden! If
      you're in the Trade, where's your official robes and lightning bolt?
      Me (puzzled but getting worried about the uppercase T in Trade): Um,
      I left it in my other dress? I'm just looking for a little work to
      pay my passage to Ankh-Morpork...
      Him (with even more shocked and very suspicious look): Pourquoi? Why
      d'you want to go there? Nothing there for decent folk. Here, you're
      not one of them Porkians now, are you? The Watch is very interested

      I beat an even hastier retreat than I had from the Clacks office,
      and retired to a quiet park to think. Of course there's nothing in
      A-M for decent folk -- that's half its appeal -- but what were
      Porkians? And why did I need official robes and a lightning bolt
      (whatever that meant) to play music? And what was RPI? And where
      were all the tourists? After thinking for a while and getting
      nowhere much, I found the local library and spent the afternoon
      reading history books.

      That was when I started to get very, very worried. I'd never known
      Quirm as such, but this wasn't the Quirm I'd never known. In fact,
      this wasn't the *world* I knew! Everything looked and sounded pretty
      much the same, same flora and fauna, same sky, same bone-deep
      knowledge that this was my own world and that Great A'Tuin was
      swimming along cosmically somewhere far below us, but something was
      deeply, disturbingly different. I came to the horrible inescapable
      conclusion that some hole in the multiverse, deep in that gnarly
      ground, had opened up and thrown me into an alternate Disc. Here was
      the bad news, in short: the continent of my birth was under the yoke
      of a mad theocratic dictatorship that had never existed on *my*

      There, back in my own reality, Oolskunrahod was and still is an
      unregarded dot on our Mapps; here, it's the once-unregarded dot that
      gave birth to a warlike theocracy with grand dreams of empire that
      came true when the RPI, otherwise known as the Republic of the
      Provenance of Io, took its proximity to Dunmanifestin seriously and
      declared Ionism the One True Religion and came boiling out of the
      Hubland wastes with bad theology and bad food and fanatical armies
      that conquered pretty much everything they could reach. I was
      currently in the Satrapy of Quirm, and Ankh-Morpork wasn't the
      great, teeming, throbbing hub of international commerce and
      culture...no, it was mostly a smoking ruin, home to downtrodden
      peasantry (all right, not much change there, but the downtrodden
      peasantry of *my* A-M aren't living under armed guard and taken away
      to unspeakable prison camps for the least excuse) and not a lot else
      apart from a small and eternally endangered anti-RPI revolutionary
      movement known as the Porkians.

      I was a long way from home, in a foreign country in a foreign
      universe and barred from my normal means of making a living. And it
      was obvious that there was only one thing for me to do. I was going
      to have to contact the Underground.

      Memories are making me thirsty, so here endeth this post.


      Second Clog: "Going underground"

      It took me a long time to accept that what was happening was real
      and not a bad dream that I'd wake up from any time now (then?). Even
      many years later, in over-there time, I'd wake up sure I was in my
      own bed in Lost Wages after a good session at The Sore Loser, and
      then face the day with a quiet scream when I realised that Lost
      Wages *here* had long since been flattened by the RPI and replaced
      with Ionist temples and OolsTacky Fried Albatross franchises...

      Anyway, I got on with it and soon found a small circle of Porkian
      sympathisers who kitted me up with local money and identity papers
      (Allys ap Gwynwynllyth from the least populated part of Llamedos, a
      general drudge and not a Bard at alll) and got me a job in the
      kitchen of an inn where the owner was happy to look the other way
      every time certain small groups met in his cellar. And they also
      found me a sympathetic wizard. I'd long since realised that there
      was no point trying to use the Clacks because there was no-one to
      receive any messages apart from RPI Security Provosts, but
      Marquescal le Wizarde experimented on my behalf, tinkering with
      necromancy spells in the hope that I could somehow contact "my"
      young wizard in my own universe. We tried every week for years
      before I gave up. At least I know that a couple of messages got
      through! But since I knew of no way to get back, eventually I
      stopped trying to communicate.

      The world I was apparently going to have to spend the rest of my
      life in was a drearier place than my own familiar one, but it could
      have been worse. At least Other Quirm, as I thought of it, was
      mostly as boring as Real Quirm. The Dowager Duchess had given in to
      the invaders very politely and converted the country to Ionism, so
      there were almost none of the burnings and executions and
      destruction that marked the fall of most other nations. Quirmians,
      for the most part, took to all the new regulations with good grace.
      They never were much for travelling anyway, so they carried on with
      their winemaking and their cheesemaking and their other rural
      pursuits. They even accepted the dreadful Fried Albatross franchises
      without too much complaint -- OFA meals being compulsory by law
      after Octeday temple services -- although hardly anyone buys from
      there when they're not forced to.

      I stayed out of trouble; being in another reality was trouble
      enough. I never stopped writing songs though, and I would practise
      and play on a borrowed contraband lute down in the cellars of the
      inn. Then after a few years, new Porkian agitators started to arrive
      under cover of night, and trouble found me anyway.


      I'd like to say that the next fifty or so years passed quickly, but
      they didn't. I'm not going to give you a blow-by-blow description
      here though, not least because I've got a life to live over again
      and I want to get back to it! So here's the short form:

      There was a rebellion. I was part of it. It took over twenty years,
      but we won. Somewhere, in a faraway universe, I'm a Hero of the
      Revolution. Isn't that nice?

      And the slightly less short form:

      One thing led to another, and I became a protest singer. And slogan
      writer. And sometime agitator. And sometime field operative. And
      ended up on the run, hiding in haystacks, travelling by night,
      living off the land and on what we could scrounge from sympathetic
      farmers...which was mostly cheese.Don't talk to me about cheese! It
      will be a while before I can look a Lancre Runny in the face again,
      and as for Quirmian cheeses...let's just not go there. There's only
      so much cheese one person can bear, and I've had a lifetime's worth.

      When the Famous Five (don't ask) went on their suicide mission to
      the Hub to assassinate the mad Priest-President of the Republic of
      the Provenance of Io, my songs were on their lips. I got a medal for
      that -- one of the first struck in the rebuilt foundries of New

      Protest songs being big among the Porkian cadres, I'm proud to say
      that some of mine became quietly famous during my years there.
      Here's one of their favourites. I based it on a well-known and well-
      hated Music with Rocks In song from my own world. The lyrics are a
      kind of code: when you sing them backwards, they contain dangerous
      revolutionary messages. Yay me.


      There's a lady who's sure all that Dwarfs love is gold
      And she's buying a small farm in Hergen
      And when she gets there she knows
      That some bits are no-go
      Like the Wyrmberg and fabled Chimeria

      Oh oh oh oh oh
      And she's buying a small farm in Hergen

      There's a sign on the wall but she's not very tall
      And she knows Quirmish thrives on misreadings
      On a skull by a book there's a bird with black wings
      Sometimes all Deaths of Rats need a raven

      Woohhh oh oh oh
      And she's trying a cafe in Hergen

      There's a feeling of skank when you walk on the Ankh
      And your sinuses cry out for freedom
      In my thoughts I have seen shades of pure octarine
      And the vices of Nanny Ogg's cooking

      Woe woe, oh oh ohh
      And she's frying a moray in Hergen

      And it's whispered that soon
      (Say, in Ick, Grune or Spune)
      That the rat-piper plays until Hogswatch
      And a new day brings crones, and shy standing-stones
      And the forest will echo with small gods

      And they make some blunders
      Oh, and they'll make some blunders

      If there's a scuffle in your hedgerow
      Don't call the Watch, now
      It's just a wizard on a spring-clean
      Yes, there are two paths you can go by
      But take the long one:
      You'll avoid uncharted unicorns

      And you won't get sundered
      Oh, and you won't get sundered

      Your head is thumping and it might blow
      In case you don't know -
      That's what you get for scumble-bingeing
      Weird Lords and Ladies love the cold snow
      And you should know:
      Don't *think* of kissing the Wintersmith!

      Oh oh, cold snow...

      And as you wind on down the track
      Procrastinator on your back
      There walks a Duck Man, going 'quack'
      Who begs all night and wants to know
      Why mud's still tastier than gold
      And if you lie still, patiently
      Tooth Fairy comes with 50p
      When all are Dwarfs, and you've got hole
      "To be a rock" means you're a Troll...

      ...and she's buying a small claim in Hergen...


      Pubs are open! Back soon.


      Third Clog: "Bringing it all back home"

      Right, this will be even shorter, because I'm getting emotional.
      Also tired and emotional. Fifty years is a lot of living, and it's
      going to take me a long, long time to write it all down. It's fading
      anyhow, becoming more like a dream, and perhaps that's as it should

      After the assassination, things started to get more normal, for my
      own version of normal at any rate. I settled down, married a fellow
      revolutionary, and yes, we did buy that farm in Hergen. I went back
      to working as a Bard, in between having our daughters and mucking
      out our pigs, and I never ate cheese again. And that was that. No
      more excitement, no more travel to distant lands. I could have gone
      back to Lancre but it wouldn't have felt right, and that had never
      been my own Lancre. Some people can go home again, despite what they
      say, but I wasn't one of them.

      And now I have my life back. In the body I left. Which is the same
      age as it was when I left it. Strangely enough, I'm not sure if I
      want to go home -- now that I have a home to go to again -- or
      continue on my Grand Sneer. Cert's being very good and very patient
      with me, and he says that he's happy with whatever I decide, though
      he'd like to visit *his* child in Bes Pelargic some day.

      We're going to toss a coin. I won't be dedicating the toss to Io.

      Here endeth this post, too.


      So, how did I get back after all that? Simple. I died.

      No, I don't understand it either.

      It's good to be back.

      -- Alice

      Note for Roundworlders: the original lyrics for Stairway to Heaven
      can be found at:


      ...not that they make any more sense than Alice's...


      End of Part 4, continued on Part 5 of 5.
      If you did not get all five parts, write: interact@...
      Copyright (c) 2008 by Klatchian Foreign Legion
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