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A Malazan Tale of the Forum All Hail Gamet Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is offline   caladanbrood 

  • Ugly on the Inside
  • Group: Team Quick Ben
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Posted 07 January 2010 - 12:21 PM

This is not my work - oh no. If only I had an ounce of Gamet's sense... that old git.

Malazan Tales of the Forum

The Spamion Domin

The air in the tent grew very cold as Caladan Brood and Anomander Rake sweptin, the low-burning fire in the dugout pit swirling and spitting.
High Fist Malarion regarded them with red-rimmed eyes.
“I think you could use some sleep,” Rake suggested.
Malarion scowled, “Would that I could. This Spamion Domin as kept me up nights.Do you recall how much simpler things were but a year ago?”
Rake held a thin-lipped smile that could have meant anything.
“And what about you, Brood?” The High Fist enquired.
The Warlord had neither spoken nor looked at the High Fist since arriving. Now,he glanced around awkwardly, adjusting the sit of the massive Warhammer uponhis back.
“I am afraid”, Rake offered, “that my old friend is distracted of late. Heassured me some time ago that he would write our story, and even though thatfool Gamet asked him more than once, he never got around to it.”
Malarion nodded, “It’s Corporal Spoonie isn’t it?”
Brood’s head lifted abruptly, and he opened his mouth to speak, then clamped itshut.
Malarion laughed roughly; “There are no secrets in the Malazan Empire.”
Brood growled, “Not just that. How would you feel if you were a Spurs fan andhad to carry around a damn hammer all day?”
The High Fist thought back to his own team, and his face darkened.
Don’t talk to me of suffering, you’ve no idea. Would that I had possessed anounce of Gamet’s sense…that old git.

“The Spamion Domin grows inexorably, invading one Azath Forum House afteranother. Its influence is insidious and suffocating, The Spamion Snake and hisminions…”
“Do not fight fair!” A new voice declared.
The tent-flap swept open and Tremolo-of-the-Flails entered, followed by Korik.
The three regarded the new-comers warily.
“It has been a while, Fist.”
Malarion nodded, “High Fist now, old friend. I have not seen you since thatDharujistan debacle, in the Pride and Pisshead Inn.”
Tremolo-of-the-Flails laughed, “Aye, that wily old priest Shinrei was theretoo, banging on about how great the Far East is…again! He has quite animagination.”
For a wonder, the High Fist smiled, “Aye, and Gothos-of-Many-Tongues wasextolling the virtues of vodka and decrying the corruption inherent in theMalaz System, if I remember. Ha! That was the same night the Shadowlord waspole-dancing on the table.”
“…And Fenris bit his b******s off!”
“…And Jonzey danced with Gamet!”
“…With Mappo on the Bagpipes!”
“…And Rodeo paid his bar-bill while Bottle sat in the corner talking nonsensewith Stone Monkey – who threw that book away in disgust…”

Silence fell on the tent. A long, terrible and awkward silence. Malarionfrowned.
“Now you’re getting ridiculous.”
Tremolo-of-the Flails shrugged, “Probably, as I was saying, the Spamion Snakeand his minions do not fight fair.”
“What do you mean?” Rake asked, dark, dispassionate eyes making Tremolo andKorik uneasy.
Anomander Rake, Caladan Brood, High Fist Malarion and Korik gathered close asTremolo-of-the-Flails spoke, “We are men of war, used to fighting with Flameand Cutting remarks and intellectual superiority, yes?”
They nodded.
“And we always have the old trump card of ‘Well you’re just a noob! So shutit!’ don’t we?”
They all nodded again (even Gothos who was not there)
“But the Spamion Domin are not like us, they have a new and terrible way ofwar…”
Everyone leaned closer still, the low fire sparkling in Tremolo’s eyes (whichreminded everyone to ask the Old Wise Man Shinrei later to explain why firesparkled)
“The Spamion Snake and his minions use…Hugging! And…Tea! They create Fooldomand take all of our weapons and turn them against us!”

There was silence for a long time.

“What is to be done?” Asked Brood finally.
“We will kill them all,” Malarion answered.
“No”, said Rake, “That’s illegal. We will find another way.”
“If only we could get the mighty Dragon Caldazar involved,” said Korik.
“No”, said Rake again, “he will have no part of this. I will tell you this,though; we are not the only ones moving to stop the Domin. Far to the south,Lady Anvy, Rodeo The Younger and The First Segulah have the same destination asus.”
High Fist Malarion nodded (still scowling), “Very well, I must continue mysearch for Tayschrenn as well. Others await us at Forumustan.”

The Spamion Snake gathered his minions before him. Cruz of the Dead Seed,Rhaenar the Ghastly, Rallick da Bomb, Jonzey ‘the dancer down under’ andothers…and he had a dastardly plan.

The War of the Spamion Domin had begun…<BR style="mso-special-character:line-break"><BR style="mso-special-character:line-break">


…Meanwhile, in Forumustan…

The Great Hall of Writers was a squat, ugly building where many visited, butfew stayed. Hunching its grey, stone shoulders, it bore the sheets of raintumbling from the heavy, leaden skies with miserable rancour.
Fist Gamet walked the length of The Hall of Pretenders. This was where thosethat flattered to deceive were named and shamed. It had been High FistMalarion’s idea, and Gamet had to admit he liked it, even though he had oncefound himself in it.
“So had the High Fist but he doesn’t like to talk about it.”
He passed the Portrait of Caladan Brood, and the mercurial Lament (a darkpainting with blood and misery and other nasty stuff). Further along were theold masters…Shadowlord-the-never-finished, TheClaw-the-ever-changing,PUG-the-busy, and of course…Shinrei-the-eternal-tease…

At the end of the hall, the doors opened into a massive chamber, high ceilingedwith varnished wooden shelves covering the walls. Books and scrolls and a hostof unread things covered those shelves. Too few visited this place.
Around a table in the centre sat an odd group of people.
The massive Toblokai warrior Karsa looked up from his many, many maps andgreeted the Fist. Beside him sat the diminutive figure of Solitude, his facetight with concern, quill scribbling furiously upon the parchment.
“Nothing”, he muttered, “Is as it seems.”
At the other end of the table Morneson shook his head as his companion, Fortripraised a small hammer and smashed the pumpkin at his feet.
“See!” He declared, pointing at the mushy orange mess, “Nothing in there!Pumpkins do not dream!”
“Fine”, Morneson replied, “Then it is…was a healthy pumpkin.”
“But you need lucid dreams to be healthy, I should know!”
“No you don’t!”
“Do too!”
“Do not! Fist!”
But it was not Gamet to whom he cried, but Fist Zakari, sitting quietly readingin the corner. He did not look up from his book.
“If you two don’t stop it I will get Nakijo and Greyfrog to review yourwriting! Then you will be sorry!”

Gamet crossed the room and left without a word. There were questions to answer,and he had to speak to Pale and Bottle.

Lady Anvy sighed irritably.
“…And then I said…BEER ME!”
The First Segulah turned towards Rodeo the Younger.
“Your humour amuses me, Malazan.”
Lady Anvy sighed, “Well I did not find it all funny.”
Rodeo The Younger shrugged, “Gods, you people are no fun. You know, all work andno play will make you a manager.”
The First Segulah looked away, and Rodeo got the impression he looked just asstony beneath the mask.
“There is much to be done, and time for laughing later.”
“Agreed,” said Lady Anvy, “Rodeo, be a dear and run me a bath.”
Rodeo sighed, “Why can’t The First do it?”
“Because”, The First intoned, “This is not the real Malazan books, and hereCanucks do the nitty gritty.”
“It is all work work work with you two, I wish Apsalar was here.”
“I am a punitive army, and I must go to the Spamion Domin to kill the Huggers.They sent priests to our Island who tried to Hug everyone and sell Tea…wekilled them all. Now we come to answer their call for war.”
There was a swirl of dust that coalesced into the ragged form of TooL-ooseCannon.
“I have returned,” he grated, his voice like grinding dust.
The First Segulah stood, sword whispering from its scabbard.
“It is time, TooL-oose.”
The T’Lan Imass creaked his head around slowly, “Your sword won’t save you! Youthink you can face me!?”
Lady Anvy stamped a foot and The First Segulah collapsed unconscious.
“Neat trick”, Rodeo The Younger muttered, “And without alcohol too.Incorrigible woman.”
It would be a long journey...<BR style="mso-special-character:line-break"><BR style="mso-special-character:line-break">


…High on Fool Mountain…

Fetid light spilled suddenly forth into a subterranean chamber that had beencast in darkness for thousands of years. Sorcery crackled and a ragged riftopened in the air. The faint stench of Tea and Garibaldi biscuits filled theclose, stale air.
Cruz of The Dead Seed was the first to step from the portal, oblivious to theCoffee Detectors that the Spamion Snake had installed throughout hisstronghold. Looking suspiciously like Henry VIII, he strode forth, breathingdeeply of the tea-strained air. Without hesitation, he summoned the warren ofOmtose Foolack and created a large, round table, complete with teapots of SevenCities design, a host of cups and many plates of biscuits.
Cruz poured the tea valiantly.
Rhaenar the Ghastly was next.
“Excellent dear friend”, said he as he sniffed the brewing tea, “Most kind.”
There was an explosion of noise as a maddened, deeply tanned figure leapt fromthe portal, screaming…
…she flew through the air, her arms wide and a crazed look to her eye as shelanded on Rhaenar’s back. Her arms wrapped around him in a vice-like grip, andthe grin on her face was terrible.
Timoklon, blue-faced King of Jellybeans and personal Chef to the Spamion Snakefollowed at her heel.
“Save it for the Malazans, Lorn”, said he, “Or the Snake will be displeased.”
Cruz poured the tea nobly.
The next to enter was Rallick da Bomb, so known for his stunning likeness toBen Affleck.
“I will have the most expensive tea you have, dear Cruz.”
Rhaenar the Ghastly frowned at him, “Why do you always have to have the mostexpensive stuff?”
Rallick da Bomb ran a hand through his hair, “Because I am worth it!”
Timoklon, Cruz and Rhaenar groaned.
“Hugs!” Said Lorn.

Some time passed before the last of the Spamion Snake’s summoned minionsarrived, through another portal smelling also of Garibaldi biscuits.
“Greetings”, said Ben Adaephon Delat with a grin and sweep of his pointy cap.He made his way to the table where all the others sat, drinking tea. BADsmiled, and picked up a cup, “If I may ha…” His heart stopped…there were oldtea-stains in his cup. BAD shook with a furious anger.
BAD thrust the cup at Cruz.
“Wash my cup and die evil doer!”
Cruz washed the cup honourably…and Cruz died.
“Hugs,” said Lorn, sadly.

Jonzey-the-dancer and Bavarel ‘Snakehair’ completed the Spamion Snake’sminions. The conversation, as they awaited the pleasure of their master, turnedinevitably to any and every subject except the one they had come here for.
“Why are you in this?” Timoklon asked of Rhaenar.
“I am the Crusher of Hugbashers, and in Forumustan I will meet my nemesis, TheFirst Segulah.”
“And what will you do after that?”
But it was Bavarel who answered, dark eyes full of sadness.
“I think I know what you will do, I think you will turn away and go.”
“Hugs,” said Lorn.
There was much deliberation of Rallick’s luxurious hair, Jonzey’s magnificentdancing skills, Bavarel’s grammar, BAD’s hat (for he had come late to theDomin) and Rhaenar’s reminiscing of old battles with Rodeo the Younger andGothos-of-many-tongues, and how Cruz was so much more powerful when he haddragons and so on and so forth…
…until what seemed a first a flickering shadow took shape before them. The teacooled, candles flickered and a palpable sense of dread and inevitabilitywashed over them (reminding Rallick to wash his hair again). An almostshapeless figure loomed over them, dark and full of mystery. Shrouded in blackrobes, they thought their master had taken a new guise…until a skeletal handemerged from the deep folds, and a grating voice from within the shadowy cowl.A skeletal finger waved back and forth in reprimand.
“Topic!” Calot warned.<BR style="mso-special-character:line-break"><BR style="mso-special-character:line-break">


…Medium Paced Ben did not likethe main streets of Forumustan. The rain had fallen relentlessly for days,turning the grey stone of the roads and tenements to a brooding black. Hewished now for the safety of the Great Hall of Writers, but he had work to do.He glanced at the walled estate of Korbal Broach and his companion and decidedthat was a story for a real writer.
Approaching the Azath House of Pride and Pisshead was easier than he expected,and a gentle weave of Mockra sent Fenris into a deep slumber. He opened thedoor and stepped in…to find Gothos-of-many-tongues standing before him, thickarms folded across his chest, tusks tilted in what could only have been a smile.
“Niets, grozty, spegrezt “
“Erm, sure…”
Oponn (who was there by chance) rose from his seat near the fire and nodded atMPBen.
“Oi would be lettin’ moi friend in now mester Gothos, he moight not be oirishbut he’s a friend of mester Gamet now.”
Gothos scowled and jabbed a finger roughly into MPBen’s chest, “Be careful whatyou talk about in here…friend, else you will incur my wrath.”
MPBen gave him a crooked smile, “Strewth, I am always careful, my Jaghutfriend.”
“Good, though here is some free advice, ‘If at first you don’t succeed, call ita day and have a beer.”
“Very good, did you make that up yourself, Gothos.”
“No, I heard it from Rodeo The Younger.”
MPBen nodded sagely and entered the Bar.
“This be the hoigh feest’s bar, to be shoor,” said Oponn suddenly in his oddaccent, “but it be a fountain of weesdom as well, be gorra.”
MPBen cocked an eyebrow, “Erm, sure thing. Aren’t you also Iskaral Pust? Nevermind, listen, I don’t suppose, by any chance…”
Oponn laughed aloud, the bells in his jester’s hat jingling (as bells are wont,nay, self same bells must, indeed, may only do, lest they vex poor oldbell-less Kruppe into thinking that his magnamomousinity and vauntedprosperitisisounsity, as is known in all humble and divine, ambrosial andparadisiacal Forumustan…old Kruppe swears that the donkey is to blame)
“Oh”, said Oponn, “Such a jest me boy-o, chance indeed.”
MPBen stood, “I think I see someone I know over there…”
Oponn (who was there quite by chance) frowned suspiciously, “You’ll be awantin’ to steal me gold!”
MPBen shook his head and walked away, and soon found whom he sought.

“Greetings from Fist Gamet,” he began.
Bottle, the wisened old squad mage from the 9th, looked up, a startledexpression on his wise face.
“Apologies, I was thinking.”
He squinted, “Well, you do not look like Gamet.”
MPBen smiled, “No, I am not, but he bade me greet you and seek your wisdom.”
Bottle grunted, “He, that old fool is as intelligent as he is handsome…and youcan take that any way you want to.”
Then, as if by magic, Pale appeared.
MPBen and Bottle were surprised to see an old green face staring back at them.
“Just don’t ask me the scores in the inter-Genebackan cup, the Pale Vidiprinteris on the blink, and Mrs Pale…well, the less aid the better for now.”
Pale pulled up a chair next to them and hollered over the Barkeeper of thisstrange Azath House of Pride and Pisshead.
”Two pints of…”
“Aye!” Anomander shouted brusquely, “And a packet of damn crisps, I know, Iknow.”
“I am wondering”, Bottle began, “Why are you here?”
“Well”, said MPBen, “High Fist Malarion would know more of this Spamion Snakeand his Domin (which reminded MPBen to ask Shinrei later, just what exactly wasa ‘Domin’).”
Anomander appeared with the drinks and crisps.
“Where be moine?” Oponn demanded from across the room. Anomander nodded toGothos and the Jaghut grabbed the Jester and flung him out into the streets. Bychance, he landed on his feet.
“My crisps”, Pale muttered maniacally, “my beautiful crisps.”
Bottle pondered before answering, “The rise of the Spamion Domin, eh? And thedanger is represents? To answer this, one must look to the analogy of the HanDynasty, which began in 206BC, almost two centuries before the Roman Empire,yet, similar in many ways. In 202 BC, Liu Bang took control, and he was amighty and ruthless Emperor from the Chin province, which is where the modernday name of China comes from…”
Bottle talked for quite some time, and MPBen and Pale learned loads ofinteresting stuff (but understood less than half of it).<BR style="mso-special-character:line-break"><BR style="mso-special-character:line-break">


…And back in the Malazan Camp…

Sergeant Falco spat into the fire as he slumped to the muddy ground beside it.
“Strewth, Fist Hairshirt’s got a bug up his backside the size of Fener’s Hoof!”
Corporal Mithfanion was lounging at the other side of the fire, absentlystirring it with a stick.
“What happened, Sergeant?”
“Lieutenant Monok just got an eight-month ban for illegal drug use and gotshipped back to Unta! He was the only decent officer we had!”
Private Blues, the baby-faced half-Napan Spamburner looked up from the mass ofbagels and muffins surrounding him and grinned stupidly.
“You mean there is “legal” drug use?”
Corporal Mithfanion shrugged, “You know, in Gondor he would have got anautomatic two years.”
Sergeant Falco shot him a glare, “Yeah, next you’ll be telling me that there isno such thing as a homosexual hobbit!”

And lo, softly Mithfanion began to sing…

“…The seasons passed, in mournful lament,
Of a land, ere summer days were spent,
O’er hill and dale, by the shining walls of Osgiliath…”

“That’s quite enough of that crap!” Sergeant Falco barked.
“I quite liked it”, came a woman’s voice, as Apsalar strolled out of the gloomto take a seat in the mud. She looked up at the sky.
“And such a beautiful night, too. Tell me Mithfanion, do you think your songwings its way up to the heavens? Where the creator…”
“Oh, give it a rest!” Falco spat, “We ain’t in Gon-bloody-dor, orRo-bloody-han. I am sorry Mithfanion, but you just ain’t in Kansas no more.”
Mithfanion scowled petulantly and lifted his little scruffy dog, cradling it inhis arms.
“Oh, totto, we will make it home. All I need are ruby slippers…”
“So”, Apsalar began, louder than was necessary, “Word is we are on the march toForumustan, to fight the Spamion Domin.”
“So it seems,” said Falco, “But for crying out loud, EIGHT MONTHS!”
Apsalar sighed, “Oh, get over it. I wish Rodeo were here…”

The High Fist (Or Hoigh Feest, as Oponn calls him), was brooding…and Brood didnot like it.
“Do you really believe the small contingent of Malazans in Forumustan can holdout long enough against the Snake until we arrive?”
Malarion swallowed a deep draught of Fiddler’s Elbow, wiping the foam from hislips with the back of his sleeve.
“They will have to, whether I believe it or not. It grates me, this Domin, nosooner have we put an end to the Fooldom when this happens…and in my pub.”
“And have you contacted Fist Gamet in Forumustan?”
“The Warrens are infected with tea, we have lost contact.”
“Pity”, said Brood, adjusting the hammer irritably, “I would know more of theseGreyswords…”
“They are sworn to Fanderay, the pink wolf of winter. Alas, I know no more. Wetried to soak up the tea with sugar…”
Brood unlimbered the hammer, growling dangerously at the High Fist.
“Do not say that word.”
“What word? Sugar?”
“Argh! No more, that word burns my ears, no more High Fist!”
Malarion cocked an eyebrow, “Very well.”
He turned away, muttering, “Weirdo.”

A breath of hot air, and a swirl of grey ash rose and settled upon the groundin the tent as Pearl stepped clear from the Imperial Warren, another, moremysterious figure beside him.
“Greetings, High Fist, Warlord.”
Pearl sneezed, and Malarion noticed he was limping.
“Who is your friend?”
Pearl smiled magnanimously, “Why he is TheClaw.”
Brood frowned, “Not much of a disguise is it?”
Pearl nodded, “Hidden in plain sight and all that, I suppose if people are toobusy looking at him…”
“Yes, all right”, Malarion growled grumpily, “Why are you here? And I assumethe Imperial Warren is not poisoned with tea?”
“Indeed not. As to why I am here, I am on a mission of a sorts, for AdjunctTavore, and am following certain leads.”
“Aren’t you in the wrong book?”
“Am I? Well that makes both of us. Surely Tavore has not sent me off to findher sister before she was, in fact, lost. That would be…unfortunate.”
Brood laughed, “Yes, well, the time line does get confusing in this world,amongst other things…”
Pearl smiled, “Hmm, well, forgive and forget, and keep a list of names, Ialways say.”
The High Fist snorted grumpily, “Pearl, I do believe your singular purpose isto serve as a warning to others.”<BR style="mso-special-character:line-break"><BR style="mso-special-character:line-break">



“Doing a job right the first time, gets it done,
Doing it wrong a dozen times gives you job security.”
- Motto of the Spamburners

Pale followed Medium Paced Ben back out of the Azath House of Pride andPisshead and into the rain-soaked streets of Forumustan.
“Bede zabijać snake,” said Gothos as they left (or something like that)
“I guess this Spamion Domin has put everyone on edge,” Pale muttered miserably.
The streets were near empty, windows closed and shutters locked tight. MediumPaced Ben grunted.
“It will take more than that to stop the Tea’nescowri. Besides, when the Domindoes come, this city will drown in tea and garibaldi biscuits, and that’s morethan enough to put me on edge too. I am a coffee drinker…black.”
“Oooh, hark at you”, Pale joked, “Life on the edge, eh?”
Ben instinctively felt the warren open a breath before it did, and a cold, drybreeze flowed over their backs and shoulders.
“You called?” The Jaghut rasped.
Medium Paced Ben reached for his warrens, steadied by the tiny, invisible stickfigure of Shadowlord on his shoulder.
“Strange”, said the Jaghut slowly, “When you turned I could have sworn I saw anacorn on your shoulder.”
“Yeah, I get that a lot”, Ben drawled, “Who are you?”
It was Pale that answered, a startled expression on his face.
The Jaghut tyrant narrowed his eyes on the Green Man.
“I am Cursed by a God to answer when my name is called three times.”
Ben frowned, searching his thoughts, for he was sure he saw that in a movieonce, back in the Seven Cities.
“It was an accident,” said Pale.
“However”, Ben interceded quickly, a slow smile spreading on his face, “What ifI were to tell you I might know a way to lift that curse?”
“I would ask two questions.”
“What would they be?”
“First, why would you do such a thing for me? Second, what would you want inreturn?”
Medium Paced Ben grinned, “Well, the first I do just to piss off the God (aseveryone knew that’s what Ben did best) and the second…well…let’s just say itsnothing you could not handle…”

High Fist Malarion was roaring with laughter, tears streaming down his face,wine sloshing freely over his wrist and hand.
“I swear it!” Fist Hairshirt cried, his voice shaking with laughter too, “Hewanders right up to Sergeant Mappo and Sergeant Falco and says he is a T’LanImass, serious as you like!”
“And Mappo says to him ‘If you’re a T’Lan Imass then I am a hairy-arsedScotsman and Falco’s descended from convicts’, and the T’Lan Imass just nods.”
“Ha! Sounds to me like he will fit right in with the Spamburners. Honesty isthe best policy but insanity is a better defence.”
“And get this, he claims to have once been the mentor of the Spamion Snake, andwas founder of the Fooldom. He says the Spamburners need him.”
The High Fist poured them both another cup of wine and settled back, stillgrinning as he wiped the tears from his eyes.
“Aye, ‘Fooler’ is the name they gave him, and Apsalar reckons he will be alucky mascot.”
“What did Blues and Mithfanion have to say?”
“Blues said it’s fine so long as he doesn’t eat his bagels and muffins, thenApsalar knocked Blues on the head reminding him that T’Lan Imass don’t eat.Mithfanion asked him if he knew who Tom Bombadil was, and why he was in a storyhe knew of, only Fooler said nobody knew the answer to that, and that was justfine with Mithfanion. Then, lo, softly he sang.”

The tent flap was tugged aside and Pearl swaggered in.
“Greetings High Fist. Fist. Ha ha! Now isn’t that amusing, a High Fist, a Fistand A Claw under one roof, does anyone know of a fellow called Fingers?”
“I do”, said the High Fist, “but he is from another book.”
“Ah,” said Pearl oddly.
Fist Hairshirt cocked an eye at Pearl, “Speak your mind then, why do you lookso concerned?”
“It’s this tea that is poisoning the warrens, I fear it is weakening thebarriers between fantasy worlds.”
Malarion looked thoughtful, “Well, there might be something to that. Just thismorning I was convinced I had a Commander called Garac Kurr…”
Pearl wore a thin-lipped smile, “Yes, and there is a man outside called VakarMobris, though his accent is unknown to me.”
“What does he want?”
Pearl shrugged, “Wine, apparently, and more pen time.”
“Pearl”, the High Fist began (looking grumpy once more), “I have summoned youhere for a reason. As you can access the Imperial Warren without fear ofGaribaldi Demons, I want you to get Fist Hairshirt and the Spamburners intoForumustan tonight.”
Pearl’s eyes widened, “Erm, I am fairly certain this is not in the script, HighFist…”
“Well I have written a new one.”
“But this is most irregular, I am not sure…”
“This script, that script! What’s the difference, Pearl?”
“Oh, not everyone sees the difference, but I assure you, one exists. Besides,this is very dangerous.”
Fist Hairshirt puffed up his chest, “I am invincible…prove me wrong.”
Pearl’s shoulders sagged, “Nay, Fist. All men must die.”<BR style="mso-special-character:line-break"><BR style="mso-special-character:line-break">



Medium Paced Ben leapt back with a startled yell (though not as quickly as heused to) and reached for his warrens.
The little acorn-headed, pole-dancing Shadowlord buried its little stickfingers into his coat, yelling frantically in his ear.
“Use the crisis engine! Use it now or we can…”
Ben had no time to answer before the massive shape of the Garibaldi Demonloomed over him. It had cruel, chocolate fingers for claws, and a terriblecountenance on its absurdly large rich-tea biscuit head, twisted in some cruelparody of a happy-face.
Medium Paced Ben unleashed half a dozen warrens as the stench of stale teathreatened to soil his clothes. A torrent of boiling water from Telas and Rusedisintegrated its head and neck and the demon toppled.
Ben opened the warren and stumbled out.

Fist Gamet and Shield-Anvil Reave the Just of the EarlGreyswords awaited him.
Ben gave them a rueful smile, brushing crumbs from his coat, “Well, I was ableto get in all right but the Crippled Mod has poisoned even the Path of Coffeeand the Spamion Snake has his Demons in there.”
Just then, Mortal (enormous) Sword Soth of the EarlGreyswords entered thechamber.
“Forgive my intrusion, Fist, alas, I needs must conduct a clandestine discoursewith my confederate and confrere.”
Fist Gamet blinked.
Ben grinned, “He needs to talk to the Shield…”
“I know what it means, wizard.”
Shield-Anvil Reave the Just offered Gamet a formal bow, his face, drawn andserious.
“Forgive us, Fist, The EarlGreyswords are contracted with the defence ofForumustan by Prince James Howlett, and Rath’Asheroth, Rath’Matrim andRath’Gordonis are most displeased. Until later.”
The Shield-Anvil and Mortal (enormous) Sword bowed again and left. Gametwatched them go, shaking his head.
“You know, I really hate people that use too many words, and big words whendiminutive ones will suffice. This situation is getting grim, Ben, is there noother way to get to the High Fist and Brood?”
Medium Paced Ben scratched his head.
“I will think of something, Fist.”
“I hope so.”
When Ben was alone in the dusty chamber, somewhere in the heart of the PhoenixInn Palace, Shadowlord re-appeared.
“You should have used the crisis engine, wizard. The power of the Barghastspirits…”
“What in Hood’s name are you talking about stick-man?”
“The crisis engine! From New Crubuzon…oh, wait…”
Ben frowned, “You know, Shadowlord, you can’t even finish a sentence, did you…”
The acorn face scowled (somehow).
“Very funny, well, great oaks from little…”
“Acorns grow?” Ben interrupted.
“ARGH! I was going…”
“To finish that one? Yeah, right.”

The Spamion Snake had built his stronghold on the heights of Blue Mountain (knownas Cap-Colombie to the Barghast) atop the ruins of the ancient Fortress ofFooldom. Bean and Leaf Castle was a mighty, dark-walled citadel of juttingtowers and slant-edged buildings with a delightful sun-garden. Deep within, theSnake addressed his minions.
“Victory is upon us, my children. The fall of Forumustan will mark a newbeginning for all Spammers. A great empire will be built, not one on which thesun never sets, but one in which the kettle is always boiled!”
Rhaenar the Ghastly, Crusher of Hugbashers, Timoklon, blue-faced King ofJellybeans and personal Chef to the Spamion Snake and Rallick da Bomb (so knownfor his stunning likeness to Ben Affleck) stood below the Snake, eyes fixed andshining with worship. They roared their approval.
Ben Adaephon Delat grinned beneath his pointy cap, chuckling asJonzey-the-dancer danced like never before, and Bavarel Snakehair stroked themuzzle of Fanderay, the Hound of Spam.
The Spamion Snake lifted his arms for silence, seeming to almost grow in sizebefore his captive audience. When he spoke, his voice shook the stones and themountain trembled.

Apsalar poured a cup of wine for Caladan Brood and offered him a seat by theSpamburner fire.
“You know Rake, don’t you?” She asked.
“Aye, have done for a long time.”
Apsalar smiled, “You will like this then. We got this new recruit, Fooler, sayshe is T’Lan Imass except he ain’t immortal. Anyway, he is standing regalingsome long tale to Mithfanion and Cauthon about the how great this world is, andthey are arguing that Middle Earth is more realistic, when, out of the blue,Fooler says he is the wielder of Spamnipur.”
Brood smiled, “Rake won’t like that.”
Apsalar laughed aloud, “I know, he was standing behind Fooler at the time. So,we are all laughing and Fooler hasn’t realised and he turns round when Rakesays…’Really?’”
“What happened then?”
“Well, for a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second…”
“Hey!” Brood warned, “You will get us sued.”
Apsalar shrugged, “Ah, well, you should have seen his face.”

Just then, a bear tottered past them on a bicycle, the wheels squeakingrhythmically. Apsalar cocked an eyebrow.
“Nah”, said Brood, “Welsh.”<BR style="mso-special-character:line-break"><BR style="mso-special-character:line-break">


Rodeo the Younger scratched hishead in sullen silence as he watched PUG pad up to Lady Anvy’s side and raisehis nose for her to stroke. The Malazan squinted and groaned at his dreadfulhangover.
“Oh, that wine…I think this is what the call the wrath of grapes…”
Lady Anvy and her hound stood together in the centre of the town-square, LadyAnvy casting her eyes around curiously, the massive hound sniffing the groundand air in turns. The First Segulah stood off to her left, calmly watching awide, empty boulevard that stretched off between the high, dark tenements. Aswirl of dust and wind and maple-leafs came together on the other side of thesquare, and TooL-oose Cannon appeared.
“A great terror befell this town. The very stones cry out in blood-soaked fear,and the ghosts…”
But Lady Anvy interrupted the T’Lan Imass with a hint of irritation in hersweet voice.
“Yes, thank you Immortal, I think we know all we need to know, wouldn’t youagree Rodeo? Sweetling?”
Rodeo grunted and tried to keep a pleasant smile on his face but gave up,shrugged and lifted the bottle to his lips. He was blessedly grateful thatwhomever had savaged this town had no taste for the cheap, local beer.
“You would not hear all I have discovered?” TooL-oose asked.
“We are not unaware of the approaching mobs,” The First Segulah answered.
Rodeo spat beer through his nose.
“Mobs?” He blurted, “Great googa wooga!”
PUG growled and Lady Anvy turned to him, one delicate eyebrow arched insurprise.
“Of course, my dear. The Tea’nescowri are coming.”
“Thousands of them,” The First Segulah added.
TooL-oose Cannon approached Rodeo, “Perhaps you should stay close to me,friend.”
It was then that they heard them. A slow and faint rumbling, growing louder.The rumbling became clearer, pounding feet, crying, raised voices, wailing…
“Oh Rodeo”, Lady Anvy began as she blessed him with a sweet smile, “You drinkfar too much. Drunkenness is not a particularly attractive habit in a man, Ishould know, I have seen the High Fist Malarion.”
Rodeo grinned and raised his bottle, “Ah well, you know me, eluding sobriety,one beer at a time.”

The mob flooded into view from three of the square’s four sides. The FirstSegulah drew his sword and faced west. Lady Anvy stepped to the North with PUGand the T’Lan Imass took the east. Behind them, Rodeo watched in horror as thehundreds of teacup and spoon wielding people became thousands. Burning biscuitsrose in waves from the mobs, arcing through the air, hob-nobs, cookies,jaffanaptha cakes. One caught Rodeo in the legs and set his pants on firebefore he managed to put it out.
He knew he would never survive all the way to Forumustan in the company ofthese four. Thus, donning his famous helmet, he came to a decision, raced offdown an alley and plunged into another mob, adding his voice to theirs.

Mortal (enormous) Sword Soth, and Shield-Anvil Reave-the-just, of the EarlgreySwords joined Fist Gamet atop the southern wall of Forumustan. Gamet hadsummoned his own contingent of Malazan military and other advisors. Fist Zakariwaited off to the side with Corporal Lament (who looked heart-broken and worthyof his name), privates Morneson and Fortrip and the Imperial Historian Nakijo.
Gamet knew that the Mortal Sword and Shield-Anvil were uncomfortable with thepresence of the last two men there – Karsa Orlong and Solitude. The hugeToblakai and his diminutive friend were studious, and nobody knew the maps andlayout of this world (or any of half-a-dozen others) better than them.
Everyone had their eyes fixed on the seething mass of humanity that swarmedover the lands south of Forumustan.
The Tea’nescowri.
“Abyss”, Fist Zakari muttered, “the stench is dreadful.”
“Aye, stale old teabags…and worse…”
Corporal Lament shuddered, “What could be worse?”

“They will attack soon, I should think,” Fist Gamet offered.
The Mortal Sword nodded, “We are ready for them, good sir.”
“You’ve recruited a fair number of locals I hear?”
Shield-Anvil Reave-the-just answered, “Indeed, sir. I may have poor taste inbooks but I know how to fight against usurpers. Forumustan will not become justone more café in the Spamion Snake’s chain.”
Karsa Orlong growled, “Chains. Always chains.”
Solitude snickered, “’Tis a running theme, yes indeed, however…nothing is as itseems.”
Gamet snorted, “Cryptic sentences…there’s another theme…”
“The Earlgrey Swords”, the Shield-Anvil continued, “Have brought Dark Daze,GreyArea, Talamandas, Narishma, Toc The Young, Wintrow, S77, Jetsam1 andBelairian into our fold. There are others the writer has not yet found, Ibelieve…and my FAITH is strong…”
“But how well do you know them?” Gamet asked.
“Not well, however, given time…”
They stood there, talking rarely, until near nightfall.
“Nothing has happened,” Morneson said, surprised.”
Fortrip nudged him, “Don’t you know, the watched kettle never boils.”
“Would that that were so,” said Gamet.
“Me go down kill bad tea men,” said (and I use the term loosely) Karsa
“You will get your chance, Toblokai,” Nakijo said.
Karsa scowled at the Historian, “Me go now! Karsa kill bad men! Karsa notunderstand, he be Toblokai, not Teablokai or weak Sunni-d’elight.”
Nakijo looked to Gamet, who shrugged. The Historian inked his quill and beganscratching notes in his book.
“Erm, okay, Karsa, let me just sex that up a little.”
Karsa growled and unlimbered his massive flint sword.
He leapt over the edge of the wall, fell more than one hundred feet, dashed histhick skull on the rocky ground, and died.
“Now that”, Gamet laughed, “Was unexpected.”<BR style="mso-special-character:line-break"><BR style="mso-special-character:line-break">


The Master of the Deck stoodbefore the Rath’ priests of Forumustan.
“Listen, I am new here…and I don’t really know what’s going on…”
“It is simple,” Said Rash’Asheroth, “You must bless the High House Tea to bringthe Crippled Mod into the game…to play by the same rules, so to speak.”
Rath’Matrim agreed, “Indeed, Master of the Deck, so much has happened to bringus to this point, and now the end game must be played out. The convergence ofall the threads must come, and soon. It is time to walk the final steps.”
There then came a sudden and subtle breath of tea-stained air as the bulkyfigure of a man looking a lot like Henry VIII appeared in the Hall.
“Greetings, mortals.”
“Cruz,” Said Rath-Gordonis.
“How do you know that?” Rath’Matrim hissed.
“Because I am the kipper of soles and seasquids.” He turned back to Cruz.
“I thought you were dead.”
“Nay, I am the Kettle of Summer, Patron of Tea Drinkers and part owner of TheBean and Leaf Chain. High House Tea demands its place on the Rath’ Council…itis our right.”

Fist Zakari, the Imperial Historian Nakijo, and Gamet stood near the entranceto the Hall.
“But he did die”, Zakari muttered, “Valiantly, nobly and honourably to be sure,but he still died.”
Nakijo furrowed his brow, “I hate it when they do that in books.”
“So do a lot of people”, Gamet agreed, “But you should know by now thatimportant people do not really die…they ascend.”
“To where?”
Gamet shrugged, “I do not know, go ask Bottle.”
Zakari nodded, “Soon as I get a spare hour or two.”
A tall woman with an easy step came strolling up the hall behind them.
“Now, who are you?” Gamet asked.
Zakari frowned, “Looks like a damn Claw to me.”
She smiled, “Talon, actually, but don’t worry, I am not easily offended. Fist,I am looking for a healer if you have one.”
“What for?”
“Well, my teeth hurt when I grind them.”
Zakari shrugged, “Then don’t grind them.”

A huge flood of stale tea poured from the warren like some burst dam, churningout and over the grassy plains for a hundred paces of more in every direction.The absurdly massive carriage of the Tokyo Trade Guild thundered out, swayingand rocking violently.
It was several hundred yards before it finally came to a stop.
The High Fist, Brood and Rake approached.
Massive, ugly wounds were scored down the sides, and there were many gaps atthe places where guards should have been. Huge lumps of dissolving sugar andcongealed biscuits were stuck to it in various places.
The black, lacquered door opened and a man emerged, dressed in a kimono with apainted face and sticks through his hair.
“Greetings, Shinrei,” said Malarion.
“Ah, High Fist, greetings indeed from the Tokyo Trade Guild.”
Brood nodded towards the carriage.
“It looks to be getting very dangerous.”
“Oh, it is, however, our motto is to sell love, dreams and hope. And you, Ithink, are short of the latter.”
Brood grunted, “Buyer beware.”
“To be honest, I have nothing against tea. It is an integral part of Japanesehistory, you know. The old samurai used to consider tea-drinking to be a fineart to be taken seriously.”
“Did you just make that up?” Rake said.
“I swear it, ask Bottle. Anyway, how are things here?”
The High Fist looked to the sky, judging the time.
“Well, hopefully, the Spamburners are in Forumustan as we speak.”

A huge ball of burning Spam arced through the air towards them.
“Run!” Apsalar screamed.
The Spamburners scattered, Blues diving into a bagel stand, Mithfanion, Cauthonand Sergeant Mappo raced for a burnt-out Inn. Sergeant Falco followed Apsalar.
They turned in time to see the huge ball of Spam hurtle towards Oponn, who, forsome reason, had not run.
“Argh! Me locky charms!” He squealed.
And the ball smashed into the ground before him…bounced up over his head…andlanded on the other side.
“Now that”, Apsalar breathed, “was lucky.”
Blues emerged from the bagel stand, his eyes widening in surprise at theperfect golden bagel clutched in his hand. The something happened the bagel didnot intend.
Mithfanion’s eyes grew to the size of saucers.
“Let me see it, please?”
The wondrous smile slipped from Blues’s face and he half-hid it in his hands.
“I have already given you more than I can afford.”
Mithfanion scowled, “But it’s my birthday, and I wants it. My…Precioussssss!”
And he leapt upon Blues, but Apsalar and Cauthon pulled them apart and gavethem both a slap. A second ball of Spam hit the ground nearby, and when theyturned around, the mangled figure of Oponn lay beneath a mound of burning Spam.
“I guess that’s the other side of the coin then.”
Pearl wandered into view, and Apsalar turned on him.
“Dammit, Claw, could you not have opened your warren in the path of a Spamball?”
“I suppose, dear girl, but it is so much more fun this way is it not?”
Apsalar kicked him and he fell clutching his knee.
“That’s his bad knee,” Sergeant Mappo said.
“I know.”
Sergeant Falco looked down at the Claw and grinned, “You know what they sayAps, never kick a man when he’s down, unless you are sure he will not get backup.”
So she kicked him again to be sure.<BR style="mso-special-character:line-break"><BR style="mso-special-character:line-break">


Half a bell later, the Spamburners joined the EarlgreySwords where they had surrounded the surviving minions of the Spamion Snake.
Mortal (enormous) Sword Soth and most of the Earlgrey Swords lay dead in thisimmense square, victims of the Tea’nescowri.
Rallick scowled at the Malazans and Earlgrey Swords surrounding them, “Har!This was never my favourite book in the series anyway!”
Timoklon squinted at Rallick, “Well which one did you prefer?”
“Gods below!” Rhaenar howled, “Don’t ask Rallick, please! He will just runthrough a list of books he’s never read, or movies he’s never seen just tosound wind-swept and interesting!”
Jonzey leapt to her feet, swirled and slid and generally cut an impressive dashacross the ground.
“Look at her dance!” Cried a voice from amongst the Earlgrey Swords.
“She is magnificent!” Yelled another.
Jonzey smiled a wonderful smile and danced and danced and danced (better thanthe other famous Malazan called Dancer) until the Earlgrey Swords cheered andapplauded.
With her bow, the ice was broken, the fear gone and the anger dissipating likea mist in the breeze.
Shield-Anvil Reave-the-just emerged from the ranks of the Earlgrey Swords andcrossed the no-man’s-land between the two armies.
Alone, he knelt before the minions of Spam and opened his arms as though toembrace them all.
“Give me your pain.”

The Earlgrey Swords and The Spamburners and the minions of the Spamion Snakecame together and laughed and sang (especially Mithfanion an Cauthon, who, lo,sang softly) until all their differences were forgotten.
“Wonderful,” said Rallick da Bomb (who’s hair looked more perfect than ever)
“Hurrah!” Morneson yelled.
“Smashing!” Fortrip shouted.
Caldazar and Calot helped Anomander roll out dozens of kegs of Fiddler’s Elbowfrom the P & P Inn to liven up the celebrations.
“I shall wash my own cup!” Ben Adaephon Delat declared happily (though hedidn’t, as it turned out later)
“Well this is exactly how it seems!” Solitude said.
“Abyss thinks Abyss should go to Pale’s aid with alcohol, Mwa. Ha. Hah.” saidAbyss
“More wine fo…for evy…buddy! De…de…vidi…print…” Pale slurred (for he wasalready quite drunk)
“Aye, more indeed!” Bottle laughed, “And praise to the writer for neglectingthe obvious ‘All the Tea in China’ joke!”
“WOOF!” Fanderay barked.
“WOOF!” PUG barked back (and some years later there were many mini-fanderaysand mini-pugs, but that is another story)
“The darkness in men's hearts that drives them to do these canthis be the world we live in? Men's heart...cold... The life is gone…” Lament murmured.
“Yay!” Artagel sang.
“Kocham was,” said Bavarel to Gothos (or something like that)
“Kocham was tez,” he replied (or something like that)
“Not bad,” muttered Rhaenar (who said he preferred Edge’s and so is poorlytreated by the author)
“Anyone for tea?” Timoklon shouted, and everyone laughed.
“Hugs,” said Lorn.
“Fools!” Fooler laughed.
“Fooler!” Fool replied.
“Where is Rodeo?” Apsalar cried.
“More beer!” Roared Tremolo-of-the-flails.
“Ribbit!” Greyfrog croaked.
“I love you, Rallick,” said Lady Anvy (honestly!)
And Karsa’s amazing healing powers brought him back to life (map in hand)
And Gothos finally smiled.
And so did the Hoigh Feest (as Oponn calls him)
And so did Fist Hairshirt.
And so did Oponn (who, with incredible luck, was still alive.)
And Nakijo recorded it all for his histories.
And Fist Gamet grinned.

The warren of Omtose Foolack opened, sending billowing clouds of ice out intothe café. The Spamion Snake’s mouth dropped open as Gothos and Edge strodeforth. The two Jaghut glared at the Snake.
“I am the 24th Incarnation! You Jaghut cannot harm me!”
“Enough,” Gothos commanded, “Your ways must end.”
The Snake screamed at them, “No! There can be no end to what I have begun!”
“Come with us,” Edge offered, “There is a place you can go…a sanctuary of asorts besides this one.”
Snake’s eyes flitted around the Bean and Leaf stronghold.
“You would deny my freedom? My fun? What gives you the right!”
“We have no wish to deny you, Snake. We Jaghut know that Spam has its place,and there is an old Jaghut saying, ‘Let he who has not spammed, cast the firststone’”
“Then why?”
“Because it has brought grief where before there was none. All things must bedone in moderation.”
The Snake shook his head, “Yet, is it not said that if something is worthdoing, it is worth overdoing?”
Gothos growled, “And they also say conscience is what hurts when everythingelse feels so good.”
Snake frowned, “What is the point of saying that?”
Gothos shrugged, “How many times have I asked myself that same question readingyour posts.”
Edge stepped forwards.
“The High Fist would hang you if he caught you, and call it Malazan justice.”
“But why? For in the end, am I not really just harmless fun? Did not theseMalazans once practice the religion of Spam and Flame in their old wars?”
Gothos nodded, an odd, wistful smile on his Jaghut face, “Ah, the old days…”
After a short time (for his attention span would allow no more), Snake asked,“So what is this place you speak of?”
“A place where you can Spam until you can Spam no more.”
“Unlikely,” said Snake.
“Nevertheless, come with us, let us take you to the Knefles Nascent.”

Medium Paced Ben emerged from the folds of Meanas he had woven and stared atthe empty spot in the café.
“Oh well, Shadowlord, I suppose that wherever those two Jaghut take him, thisis an end to it.”
“An ending, well who would…”
“Have thought it?” Ben laughed.
Shadowlord’s little acorn head screamed furiously.

The wall exploded in a shower of dirt and dust, the concussive blast shakingthe café to its roots. A tall figure of withered skin, exposed bone andshredded flesh like old, dry parchment strode in through the gap.
“TooL-oose Cannon has arrived,” he grated.
It was in the cellar of the café that he found the broken body of Rodeo theYounger.
“You still breath, friend,” said the T’Lan Imass as he gathered the unconsciouscanuck easily into his arms.
“Come, Rodeo the Younger, we are going back to Canada.”
The old cowboy’s lips parted gently, his eyes flickered beneath closed lids.The T’Lan Imass bent closer to put his ear to the Malazan’s mouth.

“Well”, Lady Anvy began, “We were too late. I suppose your war is over now?”
The First Segulah turned from her.
“This is an unsatisfactory conclusion. However, the Spamion Snake’s threat hasbeen answered. And so, I will return to my home…for now.”

The High Fist slumped into his seat, and sat in silence for near half the nightbefore he finally raised his head and stared hard into Brood’s eyes.
“I sincerely hope”, he began, “that I never have to go through this again.”
The Warlord, Rake and Korik all agreed.
“One last thing”, said Malarion to the Warlord, “What was the Spurs ManCityscore?”


This post has been edited by caladanbrood: 07 January 2010 - 12:22 PM

O xein', angellein Lakedaimoniois hoti têde; keimetha tois keinon rhémasi peithomenoi.

#2 User is offline   Gothos 

  • Map painting expert
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Posted 07 January 2010 - 01:20 PM

now that's one big blast from the past... good find!

although, the horrendous polish translator fodder still stings :nono:

This post has been edited by Gothos: 07 January 2010 - 01:21 PM

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

#3 User is offline   Fist Gamet 

  • Mortal Sword
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  • Interests:Writing, reading, writing, climbing, writing, scuba diving and writing (not at the same time)

Posted 26 January 2010 - 11:02 PM

;) Dude! You found it! Way to go, Brood!
Victory is mine!

#4 User is offline   BAD 

  • Resident Evil all the things!
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Posted 19 May 2013 - 09:03 PM

"Wash my cup and die evil doer!"

Posted Image Good times, good times.
PS - Forum needs more infopop. ;]

#5 User is offline   Tiste Simeon 

  • Faith, Heavy Metal & Bacon
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Posted 20 May 2013 - 07:48 AM

Wow, BAD, now there's a blast from the past!! Welcome back!
A Haunting Poem
I Scream
You Scream
We all Scream
For I Scream.

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