There was much discussion in the camp that night of the pantheon of gods and heroes as the Cheshire_Ocelot walked into the camp. He was a then-infrequent visitor, a bard of the old style - not very old himself, but old enough that few now remembered his predecessors.
After sharing in the community pie, he lit a cigarette and listend a while to others' speculations on the pantheon. As the sun set, he took a deep breath and began to speak.
So. Magical Girls in days gone by
And their sidekicks too had courage and cuteness.
We have filked of those ladies' loveliness.
There was Mystic Meimi, klepto of cleavers,
Scourge of ugliness, lover of loving.
At daybreak she would struggle, until beside her
Appeared Eri, and the twain would adventure
From Osaka to Sendai, until the Land of the
Rising Sun rested. That was one magical girl.
Afterward a girl-child was born to Meimi,
A gift sent by God to be a comfort
To the East, and the name "Snow"
Would have fame and fear throughout
Both the physical and digital worlds.
While Snow was still growing, she inherited
Her goodly gifts, which would last until
Snow fell. Like Mystic Meimi, she too could
Pick a ninja's wallet and give it back to him.
To learn her skill, she received the company
Of a foreigner, the Great Teacher, whose deeds
Are recorded in the Laneid, and all the Net
Knows of his heroic campaigns against
The Zombies of America and the Ravers
Of Roppongi; how he annihilated every arcade
And wrecked every raver's den until his
Ph34rsome ph03s were def34ted, and
Both sides of the great whale-road wrote
Songs in praise of his knightly honour.
Beside her in her quests would stand many
Illustrious champions of love and cuteness.
There were Asako and Mami, who stood
With Snow from noon to nightfall, and whose
Wise words and bounding energy and ever-
Living loyalty are famous to this day.
Nor will men of honour ever forget the Queen Ping,
Who, allied with our ever-youthful heroine, brought
Snow-white purity to the Black Ravers of Edo,
Completing the Great Teacher's noble task.
Now, some say she still rules the Net alongside
The greatest of goddesses, blessed Lain-sama.
Hubris of the highest order and destined never to be finished but, meh. You gotta start somewhere and the beginning is as good a place as any.
Con, if this ruins my life and marriage you owe me big time, sista.
Forth there strode our hero Piro, forth upon the road to E3
searching for the greatest games and greatest gamers known to man.
In the hallowed halls he found the first of clues, the shadow lightly
lay upon his heart that day.
Striding with him, bold companion, Largo of the Iron Wrist
Power was his to reach and conquer all who came before him, boldly,
and he fought the whole day long - he slaughtered all, the fierce, the skillful:
did not think the dead too many.
Celebrations for his vict'ry: many ales and brews he quaffed
until unmanned by unaccustomed drink and labour he became
divested of his senses and his clothes and hanging from a light
great shame upon them both he wrought.
Fled the pair from friendly shores and literally took to flight,
their longest journey yet. And so a comrade on the way they aided:
A warrior bold, a knight of L33t yet sorely wounded - in his heart,
Stricken nigh unto death was he!
Fearlessly they succour offered, in his outlandish tongue they spoke.
Medicines they found for all that ailed him and his friendship won then:
Sage in counsel, canny in the ways of battle a true friend he was.
Together came they in to land.
Faced the keeper of the borders, no permission had they with them!
Largo faced the mighty ninja - locked in Mortal Kombat were they.
Threw he down the fearsome warrior - such defeat as never seen there!
On they journeyed to the city.
In the bars, bazaars and brothels sought our heroes far and widely,
treasure of the rarest kind and wrested it from those unworthy.
Wisdom of the ages, scrolls and prophecies they found and one orb:
which silver hue its purpose hid.
Till at last their strength expended, all recourse to money ended,
on a park bench they depended, efforts made to be befriended,
by a lack of power suspended, failure then they comprehended,
as the shadowed night lay on them.
--- Journey the first ends.
(Note, as a rule it won't rhyme but the last stanza lent itself to the rhyme so aptly, words into my mind flowed, raptly I upon the page them gathered, ordered them and gently tethered to the plot that scarce existed, gazed upon my fingers blistered, cried "Enough of this damn rhyming!", found the clock was midnight chiming. Slowly I to bed then stumbled, as a poet hack now rumbled!)
Gah! Can't stop now. Help!!
Forth once more our heroes headed, to find companions for their quest.
Came they then to Gateway Country - Piro now his buddy IM'ed -
Largo, who was l33t yet seeking, all computer settings tweaked he.
Great the havoc that they wrought there!
Tsubasa their party joined now, led them t'ward a place of safety,
stalked upon their way by dragons, shaped as buses, Largo fought them!
Hewed and hacked them - harm he dealt them, injured, though he still fought fiercely.
Bandaged now he journeyed onward.
As they travelled great temptation led them to an exhibition,
wonders they had only dream't of, fallen heroes lay before them.
Largo spied a beauteous maiden, scarce could credit what he saw then:
testing her, she broke his good arm.
Bowing then to call of bodies, food they sought and ale a plenty!
Piro then his heart surrendered to the maiden who laboured there.
His regard was swift rewarded with coffee served into his face.
His sense he lost in every way!
Kimiko this maiden's name was, she buxom to the eye appeared
and yet deceit was all around for women's wiles she used to lure
poor and hungry helpless warriors! Sought they out her famous beauty
though she scorned them all as losers.
Pity then our helpless hero, lost amidst the tangled pathways:
love and life for him entwinèd - shelter now he sought, and swiftly!
To his home Tsubasa led them, a haven from the world beyond,
and sight that gladdened Piro's heart!
Food they ate now they had gathered on their journey, gladly feasting.
sleep they sought then: peaceful resting lay amidst the homely comforts
of magazines and droning fans. Sore their bodies craved for healing,
visions of their homes then dreaming.
Dark the night that them surrounded, journey's purpose yet confounded,
here in simple comfort grounded, faith upon each other founded
in their friendship, not yet sounded, all their future yet unbounded.
Love the shadow that lay on them.
--- Journey the second ends.
The bard Ocelot, after remarking on the craftsmanship of his colleague mistersaxon, was encouraged by the enthusiasm of Con.
"Deified?" Said the bard. "Most of the heroes of the Snowywulf are epic heroes, but if you want true deities, I'll tell you of the Apotheosis of Ping."
Ed had set his Killballs high, high
Enough to eclipse the Risen Sun,
His target was the Good Queen Ping,
To strike her down in beauty before
She was even crowned, a wolf
Devouring the newborn lamb.
However, the Great Teacher, having
Already defeated his longtime foe
In that Cave of Evil, thinking his
Quest then done, learned of
His former friend's wickedness,
And climbed after him to the pinnacle
Of the tallest tower in Tokyo. Once there,
They looked each other in the eye,
And the Great Teacher spoke.
"Ed, you 4gent of 3v1l and l4m3!
Stop this - for you have sold your s0ul
To the Devil's 3mpire, and he sh4ll
Be paid, and will s33 to his p4yment.
Stop n0w - return with me, r3turn now
To h0nour and l33tness!"
Not a smile of joy, for the devil's servants
Feel not any true joy. No, he smiled
Because in his stormy heart he knew
That he had defeated the Great Teacher.
He spoke boldly, and called the Teacher
By his name. "I shall never return with you,
For you have always been poor in your pursuit
Of the 'l33t,' but Sony, Lucifer's own favourite,
Provides me with such tools as this."
Then the Wandering Learner, never
Losing courage though far from home,
Pulled out his Coolest of Things, and
Spoke. "With this, you spiteful friend-turned-foe,
Your Killball will no longer hear your wicked commands.
Again the wicked one's lips curved, and
His eyes widened, and he too spoke
To that one more worthy than he.
"You will find little hope in that toy,
O 'Great Teacher.' I already replaced
Your Cool Thing with that fake!"
The Speaker of L33t then realised that
This prince of liars had spoken truthfully.
He questioned, "Where is the true one, then?"
Ed went to reach in his case, but found nothing.
Meanwhile, in that store of MegaGamers,
Sitting in the attic was the Good Maid Yuki
She sat in wonder, "Why did I take this
Metal ball? I know not what it is, except
That it feels cool and seemed important
When the Dark Agent passed me by.
Maybe Dear Ping could tell me, if only
She were awake! Alas, not since the
First battle in that Cave of Evil has she
Awoken, and now Sony's Servant plans
To destroy her outright! Oh, poor Ping!"
The Good Maid then wept, pained by the love
She felt for all, but most for unfortunate friend.
She noticed then, though, a cord had extended
From the Cool Thing, and Princess Ping's
Earblade glowed a soft green colour, as if
Beckoning. The Girl of Snow moved slowly,
Plugged that Coolest of Things into her ear,
And immediately loving Ping's eyes opened!
The Cool Thing transformed, closed over her ear.
Yet little Snowy could not rejoice, for the
Doll's ears were red, and she bounded
Out the room without a word, and within
A minute nearly reached the Great Teacher
And his hateful adversary atop the tower.
However, that agent of Wickedness saw her coming,
And though he still lacked the Cool Thing fired
His latest Killball - and hit the Princess Ping directly.
The Wandering Teacher feared the loss of the doll,
And was filled with righteous rage at the destruction
Of the innocent young accessory by this man's hate.
As he was about to move, though, the two were joined -
By the Warrior Ping! Her dress was frayed, her hairs
Flew about wildly as a wheatfield in time of drought,
With a mighty yell and one movement of her hand
She crushed the Killball, as a Nordic strongman would
A chestnut on his chin, and turned straight then to Ed,
Who looked about, but had nowhere to hide from Judgement.
As Ping placed her hands on Ed's head, she heard
A voice from behind, begging her to cease, and then
Felt two arms clasp about her in a warm embrace -
A warm embrace from Snowy, whose love for all,
Even for the doers of great wrongs, soaked into
Raging Ping's Processors, and she released her grasp
And closed her eyes, her earblades glowing softly.
When she opened them again, she found herself
On a deserted street, and standing before her a
Schoolgirl - the revered Goddess of the Wired!
The great Lain-sama smiled a smile of friendship,
And greeted the new doll Ping as one nearly equal.
She spoke, "Oh dear Ping, why do you feel such rage?
You were made to love, to be an ambassador between
Men and their technology, and thereby bring men
Closer in friendship to each other - why hurt them?"
The Princess Ping answered, speaking hesitantly,
"I know not why, I know only that men have hurt
And abandoned me always. My first owner left
Me alone, to seek a human girl out where the
Sun settles, and my second ignored me, never
Played a game, never asked for a date, and the
Girl I thought a friend I lost from the Great Teacher's
Righteous campaign, and I know not what happened
To her, but I sense we will never again play together."
The most high of goddesses took the blooming doll's hand,
And the twain walked down the road, seeing not a soul.
At last, the Goddess spoke, "You were not made for this
Sadness, Rueful Ping. No, you have something greater -
But before you can be the ambassador and fulfill your
Destiny, you must first fulfill yourself. What, then, will
You do when you return to the physical world?"
The loving Ping paused, then spoke in answer, "I will,
I will go far and far into the West, to find my former
Master, and use my power to unite him with his love!"
The Goddess of the Wired smiled, a small smile,
Yet full of joy, then spoke, "Yes, go and do just
As you have said! Then, when you return, I know
That you will surely be ready for the purpose I have
Planned. Your magical friend's power of love has
Given you the power to extend love through your
Influence in the Wired, and so you shall become
Its Queen. Go now peacefully, loveliest of dolls!"
The Cool Thing then transformed again, now into
A glorious crown for the honourable Queen Ping.
She returned to the physical world,
And did as she had said.