Monday, June 12, 2006


Mythopoeic Recreationists

A late start and early finish today, due to that annoying life thing, so I only got five or so hours of work in, which means that the roughly 5K I did today is respectible, I suppose. But I'd still have been happier with more.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
20,284 / 90,000

In the following bit, RJ Stone is introduced to representatives of the Veda, a group of "mythopoeic recreationists." I'll let the rest speak for itself.


After a while the endless vistas of this new Earth all became a bit too overwhelming, and I suggested it might be nice to take a break. The escort directed me onto another series of slidewalks, and in short order the diamond house was hoving into view.

The crowd that formerly had jostled around the door had largely dissipated, but a small handful still milled about, waiting for my return. As I stepped off the slidewalk onto steady ground, the escort perched on my shoulder, a pair of them approached me. I’d glimpsed them near the back of the earlier crowd, another in the mix of odd hybrids and strange forms, but seeing them now, I found them very familiar.

The first was an elephant. An elephant with the body of a man, to be more precise. Or a man with the body of an elephant. It hardly mattered which. He loomed over me, easily two and three-quarters meters tall, his skin gray and wrinkled, his massive tusked tipped with gold ornaments. He was bare to the waist, with billowing yellow trousers, gold bangles on his wrists and ankles and a string of pearls worn over his shoulder like a sash.

At his side was a woman only a few centimeters taller than me, her skin a bright shade of blue, with an extra pair of arms emerging from her ribcage, two on each side. She wore a skirt of silver and gold, her chest bare, her bright orange areolas standing in stark contrast to the surrounding blue. Hair the shade of a setting sun hung like a nimbus around her head, and her eyes were flashing yellow.

For a moment, my mind reeled. Before me stood the form of Ganesh and a female Vishnu, as though they’d stepped off a temple painting from my childhood.

The ganesh began to speak, and I recognize it as an archaic form of Hindi. The syntax was strange, and much of the vocabulary escaped me, and so as the escort provided its translation I had dual meanings echoing in my ears.

“Sri Rama, your arrow returned at last to Earth, we bear greetings from those who have awaited you. I am Vinayaka, and this”—the ganesh indicated the blue-skinned woman at his side—“is Sarasvati. We represent the keepers of knowledge, the Veda.”
The elephant pressed massive hands together and the woman placed her hands in pairs, one above the other, and inclined their heads.

Namaste,” each of them said, as their voices echoed in English from the eagle’s mouth, “I bow to the light in you.”

I namasted in response, keeping my eyes on them, confused. “I think there might be some… misunderstanding,” I began, uneasily. “I’m not sure who you think I am…”

“You are Captain Ramachandra Jason Stone of the interstellar exploration vehicle Wayfarer One, correct?” the woman named Sarasvati asked.

“Yes, but…”

“It is well known to us,” the elephant-headed Vinayaka interrupted, “that Ramachandra is merely another name for Lord Rama, Prince of Ayodhya, an avatar of Vishnu the Preserver.”

I couldn’t help but chuckle, however a bit nervously.

“Ah. You see, my name is Ramachandra, but I’m afraid that’s more a function of my mother’s classical taste that anything else. My brother LJ—Lakshman Julian—got off slightly better than I did, I think, but it's not an accident that both of us ended up using our initials instead of our full names.”

“Lakshman was the brother of Lord Rama, no?” Sarasvati asked, raising a bright-red eyebrow suggestively.

“Yes, I suppose the mythological Lakshman was, but...”

“And is it not true,” Vinayaka asked, “that when the great rishi Parasurama presented him with the bow of Vishnu, Lord Rama shot an arrow that flamed into the darkness of the night sky, a shaft of infinite trajectory that arced through the heavens, until it would one day return, and its arrival would mean the end of the Earth? And in like manner did your spear-shaped craft not arrow through the heavens, returning to Earth only once the planet it had been was no more, and a new Earth hung in the firmament?”

As a poetic description of the fate of Wayfarer One, it wasn’t entirely unapt, and the ship was shaped somewhat like an arrow or spear, with a broad nose-faring to deflect dust, micrometeorites, and other particles. But that still didn’t earn me a place in any pantheon, nor suggest that I had any but mundane origins.

“Look,” I said firmly, chin raised, “I know that you mean well, but I’ve got to tell you…”

“Forgive our insouciance,” the blue-skinned woman said, interrupting, her gaze averted. “We have given offense, which was not our intention.”

“Your pardons, Sri Rama.” The ganesha’s eyes were on the ground, his trunk wrapping around his neck protectively. “So overjoyed are we by your return that we forget our manners.”

I tried to speak up, to let them know that I wasn’t offended, just that they had the wrong guy, but the woman cut in before I could get a word out.

“We were sent to inform you that a place has been prepared for you on the sacred wheel, Thousand-Petalled Lotus. Your people await you there, Sri Rama, whenever you choose to join us.”

The elephant-man Vinayaka glanced skyward, and a low sound thrummed from him, like a giant clearing his throat. In response, a twinkling light overhead suddenly began to move, growing larger, and in a matter of eyeblinks was revealed as a platform two meters in diameter, with an ornate and bejeweled railing, like a stylized chariot without a team of horses. Speeding towards us, as it neared it slowed, floating down as gracefully as a feather falling to Earth, finally stopping and hovering bare centimeters from the ground.

“Wait, I just want to…”

The blue-skinned woman raised one of her four hands, as the ganesha climbed aboard the chariot. “Please accept our apologies for the rudeness of our approach, Sri Rama.” She vaulted to the elephant-man’s side. “We return to Thousand-Petalled Lotus to prepare for your arrival.”

And then the chariot soared off into the blue sky, heading in the direction of Central Axis, and the strange pair were gone.
In the next section, naturally, RJ has a tete-a-tete with a martini-drinking, cigar-smoking chimpanzee...

"Respectable production" or not, you just blew my doors off. And I had a two-week head start.
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