Then one night, many years later, the Grand Oyabun had another dream. This dream began as the first and the Oyabun passed effortlessly over the great Red Stone walled garden. But after his seventh pass he noticed that one of the small, colored paving stones of the garden upon which he had affixed his sigil, was tied to the back of a great lion which roamed the savanna outside the walls. The Grand Oyabun’s stomach felt a bit uneasy. How could the paving stone have gotten over the Red Stone wall?
Sigil atop stone: Stone atop lion: Lion atop ground: Ground atop Li serpent.
The Grand Oyabun saw the world of his dream in an epiphany for one moment. In this moment he felt the Chook below tilt away from him. In this moment his conscious mind balked. The lion was beyond his grasp. His mind could not open wide enough to comprehend it. He reached out to grasp it, but the lion bounded away from him.
The Grand Oyabun hastened after the lion but the beast fled. Down the writhing back of the great Li serpent the lion raced, but even as the Oyabun felt he might grasp it’s tail, the lion whipped around plunging into the grinning mouth of the Li serpent, and was gone from his sight.
When the Grand Oyabun awoke the dream troubled him for a long time. The longer he sat in reflection upon the portent of the dream, the more it seemed to him that the lion had not been fleeing him, but only hurrying toward it’s destination blind to the pursuit of the dreamer. It was this that troubled him most. The grin of the Li serpent remained with him for days.
Continue reading Chook: The Vort Conspiracy – Part 4
In the seventh year of the dragon since the coming of Chung Hort into Chook (by the Nigi Rigian calendar) the Grand Oyabun of Edo in The Floating Land had a vision, in this vision he saw himself seated in the sky along with the great Li serpent and the Prime minister of The Floating Land and while the Li serpent gazed eternally at the heavens and writhed in that great infinite way it was purported to by the temple priests of Nath, and the Prime Minister seemed to take great interest in his own Buddha-like belly, the Grand Oyabun of Edo (and indeed of all The Floating Land) found his own gaze sweeping out toward the Eastern horizon where a brilliant ruby gleamed in the light of the rising sun.
As he swept closer to the magnificent jewel it grew in size until The Oyabun found himself gliding high above a newly plowed field surrounded by an iridescent wall of Red Stone. And the dimensions of the wall were ten kilometers and ten kilometers and one kilometer, a square. And the width of the wall was .25 kilometer. Neither was there any gate in the wall so that none might enter and none might exit or invade the garden. Except the Oyabun who flew high above.
The Oyabun reached into the bag at his waist and pulling forth a handful of grain began to sew the garden as he passed overhead. And as he threw the last grain into the garden he began to drift away to the east and it seemed he would never see the fruit of his sewing, but even as the garden fell away beyond the western horizon it emerged shining again at the edge of the eastern horizon. And as it came into sight The Oyabun could see that his garden had indeed born fruit in great multitude, fields of rice and millet grew within, orchards of pears, apples, and mangos had sprung up over night. In the lands near by grazed animals of the savannas in numbers beyond count, plump for the taking.
In his dream the Oyabun passed over the garden seven times and tasted the bounty of it’s harvest growing more rich and savory each pass.
Continue reading Chook: The Vort Conspiracy – Part 3
In contrast to the gods (or the artsy gods of Chook at least) who do things in big strides, painting the universe in sweeping strokes; the mortals (or at least the more interesting mortals) of Chook work in ever more intricate and conspiratorial ways. Chung Hort is the prime example of this, a character whose ultimate starkness is like a bold Magnum Marker tag over the Monet-like watercolor canvas of these vague deities. He is the archetypal mortal. The standard by which all beings can be judged mortal or divine in this place, depending on how closely they resemble him (even if they only resemble him in principal).
Assuredly it is known that mortals lived in this place before Chung Hort’s arrival. Chook has always been there, but his entrance into this twilight land gives a sort of definition it could never have had before, even as a floodlight in the forest at night takes away the gray areas making all washed out light and darkest shadow. The shadows cast by Chung are nothing so important as good and evil, for in part Chung may encompass both of these spheres, but his is the grander role of dividing the finite from the sublime.
Into this sunset landscape enter one sunset warrior: Umika Dyson.
Continue reading Chook: The Vort Conspiracy – Part 2
Back between 1999 and 2001, while Chook Industries was still in full swing, I started writing a story based in the Chook universe. CHOOK, for those who don’t know, is an acronym for “Chung Hort Offed On the King”. I seem to recall one or two Chook stories Mike wrote prior to my publication of the Vort Conspiracy, apparently those revolved around the eponymously acronized main character and his colleague “The Toe”, though unfortunately I can’t seem to locate a copy of those at the moment. The Chook RPG also tied in to the Chook world mythos.
I’d posted the stories up on an old geocities webpage I started in college, but then managed to forget the link (this was back in the day when geocities pages were actually named after cities and subdivided into neighborhoods). For years it looked like those stories were lost to the sands of time, but within the last year I salvaged the hard drive from the ancient, moldering computer in my closet, and behold: There were the files!
Looking back at this story I find it interest to note how my writing style seems to have changed in the intervening years. For one thing I think I use more commas now and generally try to break thoughts into smaller sentences. Also my spelling seems to have improved, maybe just due to improvements in word processor spellchecking applications.
Unfortunately this work is still somewhat incomplete. For one thing the web pages contained secret messages, encoded using a sequence of letters throughout the text that were highlighted in a different color from the rest of the text. But since the website is gone and I have only RTF files to work from, those messages are no longer available. Probably no big loss though. I think they were all something to the extent of “Drink your Ovaltine“.
Also, I stopped writing at some point and never got past part 6 of the story. At this late date I’m not really sure how I was going to proceed from there. Readers are free to make up their own ending if they so choose, or wallow in the ambiguity of not knowing.
The story follows. Hope you enjoy.
Continue reading Chook: The Vort Conspiracy – Part 1