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March 13th, 2005, 08:52 PM
Introduction: Balae, of Mengu
The isle of Chimere is located off the coast of France. It is a forested island, with a ramshackle, wooden hut, and a lone, foggy beach. It has been known to save a fisherman from time to time, when the water surrounding the island grows impatient and greedy for wind. There is a firepit next to the hut, with streaks of ash and charred stones.

There is a saying among the fishermen: that if you catch too many fish in one day, you'll find yourself lost, on your way to the darkness of the sea. But if you plead to the god of the sea for protection, he'll grant you mercy and throw you to Chimere. And on Chimere, it is said, men die and are reborn. They dream the most fantastic dreams, and wake the next morning forgetting who they were, with no recollection of where they are, or what is which.

There is a story once of a fisherman named Balae of the family Mengu, who was discovered sleeping on the floor of a pub in Lorient, naked covered in mud. When the townspeople tried to wake him, he began to scream, claiming his time had not yet come. Some of the people there claimed he had no eyes, but he had tears of black water.

They called in for a priest who did what he could, attempting to exorcise whatever demon inside Balae, but it was no good. The priest was young, nearly a boy, and when he began to read from the holy book, Balae knocked the book out of his arms. He took to his feet, and fled, weeping and cursing as he drove through the village streets.

He was discovered the next morning by a local farmer, and had no recollection of the previous day. When he collected his wits, he marched to the man who had sold him his boat and demanded that he pay in full for the damages he had lost on the boat, due to shoddy worksmanship, for he remembered that his boat had sprung a leak, and he was forced to swim to the closest shore. He then went to the priest (for he had heard rumors) and apologized to him profusely, and told him he would give a quarter of every fish he sold to the church, if they would grant him leniancy to a place of better resting once he had passed. The priest accepted the apology, as well as the promise.

Balae remembered, much later, what happened to him on the island, and although he never did tell a living soul exactly what happened, he sold small tales to his children and his grandchildren, enough so that they could fall asleep at night, and dream of a better tomorrow.

Chapter One: The Sleeping Hero Resthouse
ONCE upon a time, my father told me a story. Well, it wasn't just a story. In fact, it wasn't only one story, but many stories. They were of a prince named Megoliath, who lived in a village by a very deep hole. In the hole lived a terrible creature, a Jupiter Wraith it was called, because it was as bright as Jupiter, burning like a flame, and it was a dark as a shadow, living in the depths of the hole like a buried candle.

The townspeople stayed away from the hole, as a general precaution, for it was known to suck people inside. Not the kind of place you'd take a picnic, really. If they even had picnics, which I'm not sure they did, but then, my father never really mentioned them. Whatever.

There was once a young man in the village who did all sorts of stupid, rebellious things. He once approached the hole, and well, disappeared. Like I said: stupid. He was never heard from again. His family mourned, of course, but there wasn't much they could do. After all - he had been warned, and even punished for thinking of doing the thing (as he had told his mother he was going to go, and like she always did before he went off and made a fool of himself - gave him a dirty lash across the back with a branch from their apple tree).

Then, another time, a little girl fell into the hole. Apparently she had been off colleting sticks or roses or some silly thing children at that age do. She also vanished. It's rather too bad, as she was the daughter of one of the village elders, and he was so disturbed by the turn of events, that he left the village in search of some sword that would forever slay the creature in the pit.

Numerous attempts were made to cure the village of its plague. Heroes came, and heroes went. The town became rather famous, actually. They even had a pub in town named The Sleeping Hero Resthouse, and all sorts of portraits were put up around the walls of fallen knights.

They weren't so heroic, though. Sort of dapper, in a rough, roguish, brute style. They used to come into town on these mangy steeds, grumble about the lack of excited fans awaiting them at the gate, and then grumble into the tavern, and continue doing until the day they would set off to defeat the monster. They always seemed happy on that day. It's funny, but not so funny, because that always meant extra work for the townspeople. The richest man in town was the carpenter.

I tell this story not because it has a happy ending. For all I know, the town is still there, or whatever it really was, as my father tends to tell a lot of fabricated, decorated, and garnished lies. I tell it because this was the sort of thing my father used to read to me before I would go to bed, and I think some of his stories were rather brilliant, if totally untrue and would probably get me thrown into the ninth circle of hell, that is, if I wasn't telling the story to you, an amibiguous blob of people uncentralized, un-political, and mostly, un-religious. So I hope some of these tales enthrall you. They are strange, no doubt. Perhaps insane. And above all, not real. They aren't heroic, but are common. They aren't melodramatic (although the characters may be), and they aren't sentimental, romantic (as in, having to do with love), or didactic. They merely are. That was the way my father told things, and that's how I will tell things.

Please don't tell the priest though. I've got a nice spot saved on the sixth mountain of purgatory, near a nice little forest with lots of faeries.

March 14th, 2005, 12:54 PM
A story of Balae Mengu, who it was said lived a thousand lives, and died seven times at the hand of a blade:

Chapter Two: The Rise of the Prince Megoliath
Long, long ago, there was born a boy to a King. He was an ordinary boy, much to the chagrin of his parents, the King Urin and the Queen Finegan. They named him Kelnam, and he grew to be a fine, handsome boy, although by no means extraordinary. He fenced, flirted with the court ladies, and rode his steed out in the countryside in the afternoons. He was like most princes. Although he wasn't the most charming of princes, he did wish sometimes he were. He knew he would inherit the kingdom from his father, and so he wasn't too worried about his state of life.

When he turned fifteen, things started to get interesting. Some nasty rumors started in one of the village commons by a strange witch, who claimed that Kelnam was going to murder his father and overthrow the priesthood of the god Ha-Patro-Neam, the god of barley farmers. Unfourtenately, barley farming was pretty much a staple for the kingdom, and so the farmers grew restless. Being former slaves, they held much antogonism towards the royalty (although, they wonderfully seemed to have forgotten about their freedom, granted them by the king), and when they heard the Prince Kelnam was planning on overthrowing their priesthood, which would most likely cause all of their crops to die and, thus, the farmers be forced back into slavery, they rioted.

They carried pitchforks, burning torches, antique bladed weapons, and wore ceremonial masks to imitate the warriors of their god, Ha-Patro-Neam, and were very upset, to say the least. They burned down villages, and stormed villas, slaughtering noblemen and burning all of their belongings.

At the middle of this frenzy was the son of the witchwoman, a boy named Jeliann, who had renamed himself 'The Prophet of Time' (for Ha-Patro-Neam controlled the seasons and the passing of time, which of course, meant the harvest, and as barley was the main harvest, thus was the god aligned with the farmers).

The King led a good fight against the army of Jeliann, but by the time he had his soldiers ready to fight, Jeliann's army had reached the border of the King's province and had grown tenfold. They stormed the castle, and murdered both the King and the Queen in their bedchamber. The Prince Kelnam, however, escaped. He fled out of the castle from below, finding his way through a series of old tunnels.

He was found, though. In the first village he came to for rest, he was recognized and caught by some of the guard. By this time, Jeliann had comfortably taken his seat on the throne and renamed himself Ha-Jeliann, and taken the title of King.

Kelnam was brought before the King Ha-Jeliann, and was killed. His body was then thrown into a dark abyss.

Years came and passed. The castle crumbled, and the god Ha-Patro-Neam was forgetten. A village was rebuilt over the castle. Fifty-three years after the village had been founded, a shepherd fell into a pit. He was never heard from again. When the villagers traveled to examine where he had fallen, they found a horrible, dark pit, filled with shadows and fire. They fled immediately.

Over time, it was said a monster lived at the bottom of the pit, for no man who entered ever came out. The monster was named Megoliath, and it was said a long, long time ago, he once was a prince.

Or so the legends say.