Saturday, November 13, 2010

Symbol War or Lioning around in Witch Wardrobe is Narnia?

by Roger Bourke White Jr.

“Come. Sit. Learn.”
Wu Doggie, the young newcomer, sat in the meadow grass next to Alstor, the gray-bearded man with the staff. In the valley below them a small army of fifty men stood arrayed for battle. Behind the army stood an unnaturally beautiful lady. Advancing towards them was a man dressed in shimmering robes with a large suitcase in hand.
As the man drew closer the beautiful woman, Cyreenik, shouted a command and the army began to maneuver. They looked good. Their uniforms were resplendent and they moved from formation to formation with razor-sharp precision.
“They look magnificent,” said Wu Doggie.
“They should,” replied Alstor. “Cyreenik has invested heavily in military symbolism.”
“They are fighting that lone man?”
“Cyreenik is. The others are her symbol.”
“He looks so confident, not a care in the world.”
“He is Osric. He is known for his skill in counter-symboling and confidence is a symbol he has invested in. Watch closely now, these are two experienced wizards so the battle will end quickly.”
Osric with his suitcase advanced to just beyond arrow range, then with a flourish tossed his suitcase into the air. Before it hit the ground he tipped it with his toe and it flew up again. As it fell a second time, it grew legs and opened up to become something that looked like half organ keyboard and half apothecary drawers.
Osric opened one of the drawers and his fingers danced over the keyboard. An invisible chorus started singing, “All we are saying is give peace a chance.” Out of the drawer streamed a great flock of white doves that circled over him, then flew over the soldiers. As it did strange things happened below. The sharp brass points of the soldiers’ spears and arrows changed into flowers and their razor-sharp formation softened into something more … fluid. To Wu Doggie it looked as if the hardened soldiers were transforming into peace protesters.
While the doves had been gathering and flying, Cyreenik had been conjuring. Above her a white cloud appeared and grew into a dark thunderstorm cloud, complete with flashes and rumbling. When she saw what the doves were doing she paused from her own conjuring long enough to throw a black bird-shaped amulet into the air.
The amulet transformed into a black bird and flew at the doves, cawing. Each time it cawed, it split into two birds and they both cawed. By the time the flock of black ravens arrived at the doves they were of equal numbers. The ravens scratched and bit at the doves, breaking the doves’ spell. The soldiers reformed smartly into tight formation, launched a volley of arrows at Osric, then charged him.
When Osric saw the cloud building over Cyreenik, he switched songs—strains of Here Comes the Sun floated out from his organ. As he saw the arrows arcing towards him, he switched to a really fast version of the Animals’ We’ve Gotta Get Out of This Place and a shining portal appeared beside him.
He kicked the organ so that it spun in the air and began transforming back into a suitcase, tipped his hat to the witch, then walked through the portal, a half second before the volley of arrows landed. The suitcase did not have a chance to follow him—instead it got pin-cushioned, stopped spinning, and landed heavily. A second later a lightning bolt from the thunderstorm over the witch’s head crashed to ground where Osric had been standing. The portal was gone and the suitcase was smoking slightly.
Alstor stood up and walked down the hillside applauding.
“Well done, Cyreenik, well done!” he shouted. Wu Doggie followed.

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