"For the young lass's sake, ah'll talk of the Carnivals first and then ah'll move on to
yer' map -old man" Mucklebones said in a low voice. The moon was out fully now
and the dark-blue sky chased the last rays of the setting sun westwards.
Tibbs nodded and remained quiet, the tale was rare from such an ancient traveller
and the Vithian relished it to fill in some of the gaps that he hadn't discovered.
"When we got to the planet yer' know as Earth, it's true that Gnarly's ancestors..."
Muckles vaguely waved a finger at the huge being sitting with the dog "... were already
"The 'Giants' -as you call 'em or The Carnivals -as known across the universe, were livin'
underground and some of us thought that they had been meddlin' in the U-man's genetics"
The Crone smiled like a barracuda and waited for Y to interupt, but Silo's bar-friend
remained silent, but his eyes told the old Gray to tread carefully.
"You Vithian's came later, we saw yer' come in from the Beta Pictoris region and by then,
we had guessed there was a fourth onlooker... that cursed Dark Lord and his cronies" the
last words dripped with poison from the bedraggled Gray in the dark-green poncho.
"The Carnivals stayed to make sure all would go well, but after a firefight in the desert area
called New Mexico..." Muckles raised a lined-skinny hand to stop Tibbs asking the question
and explained further.
"Of course, it was just another chunk of Earth then, but we were interested in that part of the
planet... strange 'things' seem to happen there" The storyteller looked up and out into the
darkness, she sensed the Neo was close... she could feel his aura.
"... Anyway, they fled from The Light Flayers and 'injected' themselves into the U-man
species and as the centuries passed, some took on the looks and ways of 'em"
Tibbs reached for the satchel and for a second, Mucklebones wondered if the bearded
dwarf was going to grab a blanket, a cool breeze had slipped in from the ocean.
"Have you heard of the Vantine Kel Puldria, Ma'am?" Tibbs asked and his tone was a little
too haughty than he wanted it.
"Aye... 'ah've read from it, I have. But did yer' read it's sister-book?" The Witch of The
Barren Wastes scanned the time-traveller's face and saw the puzzlement behind the
Nenothtu loomed out of the night with the long-fringed Boy In A Dress and paused
for a second to see if they'd trespassed on some sensitive talk, Silo smiled at the tall
GunMan and the Man/girl and said softly " Come, sit and listen about your world"
The Vandal's face was stone as he parked himself on the wooden crate and the following
hermaphrodite sat down beside L’wren and Y.
Tibbs was ruffled by the interruption and the information that a second tome existed,
he rubbed the lenses of his glasses impatiently as everyone settled down again.
"Yer' didn't see it -dwarf?..." a low cackle lay in the old Gray's throat "... they were never
meant to be apart!" The flames of the campfire leaned eastward as the breeze danced
around the Mine area and Silo shivered slightly. Y took the sack he had used to carry the
meal in and placed it on her shoulders "thank you" Silo whispered and smiled slightly.
"We'll talk later about the Cuspar True -Vithian" the Crone said and wiped her hands
on her old garment.
Tibbs made fists with his small hands and breathed in deeply.
"So -my gun-toting Neo, this is the part that may interest you..." and Nenothtu looked
up at Mucklebones from his musings in the flames. "... you too, yer' Devil" she tossed
at the kneeling Man/girl.
Y and L'wren looked wide-eyed at BIAD as if his appearance hadn't bothered them, but
the word 'devil' did.
"Yer Carnival folks tried to keep their ways secret and some of 'em began a belief system
that yer'll might 'member" Mucklebones lifted her poncho slightly to warm her private
parts and then realised it wouldn't be proper, the hem of the cloth went back over her
" Do yer' recall the name 'Asgaya Gigagei' Neo?" she said without looking at the man
to her left and again, the breeze shook the flames.
Nenothu leaned into the firelight and said "I don't hold with yer' mystic ways, woman
and no, I ain't heard of the guy"
The Gray who had flown through the skies with the use of those 'mystic ways' seemed
to look sorrowfully at the killer beside her, Tibbs wished she would go on.
"Yer partner there... should, that was what they called him in Vandalia" Muckles hissed.
Stars twinkled above and all was still for a full thirty-seconds before the Hag went on.
"Aye, he... or she, we were never sure... 'fixed' things and could heal the sick. Yer' eyeless
chum over there -has some of that power" Mucklebones tossed the piece of rack that Neno
had been tied to earlier -onto the fire.
Boy In A Dress looked at the others with him and shrugged his shoulders, his dress-strap
slipped onto his arm, but BIAD let it stay there. "I'm sorry Missy.." the Man/girl apologised
"... I have no idea what you're talking about, I have no such powers"
Tibbs patted BIAD on the shoulder and placed the strap back "You will have soon, Mr. Devil"
he said fondly.
Muckles snorted and went on with her story.
"There were others that surfaced through the years... their ways tied in with U-Man ways
and even the name became part of yer' vocabulary. The U-mans celebrated 'em -although
they never really knew why, but it did give yer race spiritual power" Muckles looked at Y
as she spoke these words "... The Green Man was part of yer pagan ways, weren't it?"
Tibbs sat up at the name and snapped "you mean they used the amulet known as 'The
Green Man'?" and saw the the Witch's face crease in doubt.
"Naw fella, ah' mean the Wild Man of the Woods... these dumb buggers worshipped a
Carnival that lived in the forests!" Mucklebones broke out in a ear-stinging laugh that
sounded like copper tubing being rubbed down a sheet of Trinter-glass.
"You mean the Rootak?" Y said calmly -yet menacingly and the hunched lump in the dark-
green poncho slowed her guffawing. "Aye lad, ah' mean yer Rootak" she said in a hushed
voice and fell into a musing again.
"If yer' had read the other book -Tibbs, there's a verse that always reveals the Carnival
folk... they cannot resist it" the Witch said and looked up as if to recall the words.
" I am the face" said Muckles "... that peers through the leaves" answered Y and L'wren
together, Mucklebones went on.
"I am the fear" -Muckles "... in a child' s mind" -Y/L'wren as one.
"I am the demon" - Muckles "... on the roof-boss" -Y/L'wren
"I am killed in October"- Muckles "... and laid on church altars" the brother and sister
ended and looked at each other in shock.
The group of six around the campfire waited for the seventh to explain and again, the
dramatic pause sat with them.
"Ye've been seen carved on churches and yer've been celebrated on village greens
for centuries and before that, U-mans knew of the Man/girl in red hangin' around their
tipi's in their winter-times" Muckles seemed to enjoy the revelation -as if it was a dirty
Y and L'wren looked at each other and Boy In A Dress looked out into the darkness.
It wasn't him, yet somehow... it was.
"Don't feel too bad -Devil..." Mucklebones crooned "... they used to call me Oonawieh Unggi
... in means 'the oldest wind' and emphasised the sentence with a low-sounding fart.
The screech of her laughter flew across the night, just like she had centuries before.
Neno ended the awful noise with the butt of his handgun and Mucklebones of the Canyon
slumped to the dusty ground and lay still.
"Nuff said" he growled and slipped the weapon back into it's holster.
edit on 24-5-2011 by A boy in a dress because: Left that 'other' book in