Vrokthar the Skullfeaster, Scourge of the Northern Wastes, is greatly angered this holiday season. So angered that he has subdued the soft wetlander that commands this magical, glowing word-slate and has taken the time to tap out his complaints, letter by letter, so that the gods of Inter-net may hear them and tremble.
So, hear me, feeble word-gods of this future world! Vrokthar commands tribute from you, for you hath offended him deeply. Listen well:
Bring me the head of the man who created modern packaging, and you and your lands may exist un-pillaged and un-razed.
Surely this is among the most reasonable of requests, as Vrokthar cannot imagine that you would protect such a miserable and aggravating weakling as he who decided to encase all of Vrokthar’s new memory cards in plastic so impenetrable that Mook’ta, the God of Mindless Hatred, would have difficulty opening them. Vrokthar had need to smite these thin, clear plastic boxes with his greatest axe to free them, and this has damaged the treasures within. It has also, Vrokthar is informed, voided his ‘Warranty’, which sounds bad. If the purposeless meddling of this fat, mewling inventor has exposed Vrokthar to evil curses, long shall his screams echo across the tundra.
Vrokthar, however, is as generous as he is mighty. Though he cursed the heavens with many bloody oaths after smashing his memory card, it occurred to him, in calmer moments, that perhaps this impenetrable force-field of plastic was needed to protect valuable objects from raiders. This is a weakling thing – Vrokthar fears no thieves, and keeps his things in sacks, preferably carried by his harem of female slaves – but Vrokthar must remember that you wetlanders are entirely populated by puffy weaklings. Very well then, reed-thin un-men, protect your valuable electronics with your womanish technological arts. This makes sense for you, sons of lambs that you are.
But packages of Macaroni and Cheese? What the flying fuck?!
Why must Vrokthar track down a pair of scissors to open up his cheesy powder-flavoring to enjoy a box of pillaged food products? Such sustenance is less than worthless – there is no market to sell such objects and one must travel about with a great pallet of such sub-foods in order to be traded for a simple slave-wench. Yet, here am I, Vrokthar, Mighty of the Mighty, straining his cable-like muscles to open a simple plastic bag full of noodles. Then, when the foolish bag is sundered by my great power, the fucking noodles fly everywhere! ARRRGHHHH!
Vrokthar demands satisfaction. Bring me the foolish engineer’s head. BRING HIM TO ME! Let me feast on his blood! Let him be dipped in a boiling cauldron of his own fiendish plastic and have his screams be encased forever, so that his seared corpse may be left standing as a monument on the Wastes to all who would annoy the Skullfeaster.
So it shall be!
Disturbing news reaches the ears of Vrokthar the Skullfeaster, Scourge of the Northern Wastes. As I brood upon my throne of desiccated entrails, I am told of a soft wetlander praising the virtues of strapping armor across one’s body.
This angers me. How typical of soft, womanly wetlanders to cower behind their technologically sophisticated weapons technology. Here, in the Wastes, true men face death with their chest bare and their great axe held high, to show their contempt for the weakness of their opponent. When Vrokthar goes to battle, he wears nothing but the blood of a holy bull, slaughtered as a sacrifice to Mook’ta, the God of Mindless Hatred. Never has Vrokthar died in battle, and this is proof of the effectiveness of his holy protection. The warriors that die when thusly blessed were not true believers, and so it is that the tribe of the Meaty Fists is the most pious of all the great tribes.
Only those who wet themselves with fear would cover themselves with articulated, battle-tested protection harness. Those who fear are not men, but women. So it is that Vrokthar makes a point to plant his seed in all armored wetlanders he captures, as they are clearly women. That they have failed to bear Vrokthar sons is little surprise – the soft, wetlander womb is poor soil for his harsh northern seed. Indeed, Vrokthar is so virile that he has yet to discover even a Northern woman capable of bearing him a son. All he has is useless daughters, whom he sells to buy mead for his tribesmen, for he is a great and noble man.
If the well-disciplined, well-equipped armies of the weakling civilizations of the south come to battle and it does not please Vrokthar to offer them battle, this must not be interpreted as cowardice. Vrokthar has no need to prove his naked flesh and mighty battle-cries against the womanly ranks of an organized army. What would such battle prove? There is no honor in killing limp-dicked men who have made themselves into a walking wall of steel. How could Vrokthar even determine which of their skinny, fruit-slurping number is the chief and challenge him to single combat? If Vrokthar cannot engage his enemy in single combat, then Vrokthar has better things to do. He will pack up his entire tribe and vanish into the steppe, making the so-called invicible legions of the south appear foolish as they occupy our worthless territory and find nothing but goats and scrub-grass. My, the laughs we have at their wretched expense.
Vrokthar wishes to speak no more of such foolishness as ‘armor’ and ‘discipline’. It is time to drink mead and take pleasure among the sheep. We will do this naked, as the God of Mindless Hatred intends. He smiles upon us, and laughs at your foolish wetlander ways in your soft, warm, prosperous cities. We are mightier than you, and will die a glorious death in battle long before any of your own soldiers.
That or dysentery. Very many of us die of dysentery.
I wrote this a few years ago, after reading an awful lot of Howard’s stuff. Given that a new movie’s being released about the big Cimmerian, I figure it’s appropriate to bring this one back:
ME: So, you are an evil wizard thinking of going toe-to-toe with Conan the Cimmerian, eh? Well, first off, let me say that I don’t recommend it.
WIZ: I care not for your paltry warnings, mortal! Tell me more of this ‘Conan.’
ME: Okay, if you are thinking of taking on the big C, there are three basic rules you must remember.
WIZ: Yes! Tell me these secrets!
ME: Rule the First: CONAN HAS A SWORD! If you are dealing with Conan, you have to remember that he is going to cut you apart with a sword. It is pretty much guaranteed.
WIZ: Bah! I shall simply deprive him of his foolish weapon, and…
ME: You misunderstood. Let me repeat the rule: CONAN HAS A SWORD! That’s it. He has a sword. He has one now, he’ll have one later, etc.. If you break his sword, he will kill you with the blunt end. If you steal his sword, he will get another one. Conan has a sword—accept it.
WIZ: Hmph! I fear no piece of steel. I have lived these thousands of years in slumber, only now to awake and rain my vengeance upon the world. This Conan may strike off my head, if it please him, and I shall not die.
ME: And just how effective a wizard will you be after Conan punts your head down the gullet of the nearest crocodile?
WIZ: Errrrr…touché. The next rule?
ME: Ah, yes—a very important one: CONAN HAS CAT-LIKE REFLEXES! He stalks like a panther, he moves like a tiger, he runs like a cheetah, he fights like a lion, etc.
WIZ: I am unimpressed, but for now let us continue to the third rule.
ME: Rule the third: CONAN IS IMMUNE TO SNAKES!
WIZ: What the hell is that supposed to mean?
ME: It’s pretty self-explanatory. If you think you will kill Conan with a snake, it won’t work. The guy has out-wrestled pythons, struck faster than cobras, hell, he can even rattle better than a sidewinder.
WIZ: But I have no mere snake! This cursed beast hath spawned in my black dungeons for lo these…
ME: CONAN IS IMMUNE TO SNAKES! I don’t care if you’ve got a snake the size of the Acella Train with the cunning of Irwin Rommel and venom that could kill the population of India in an afternoon, Conan will kill it. Remember: CONAN HAS A SWORD and will, therefore, cut it in half.
WIZ: What if I take away his swor…
ME: CONAN HAS A SWORD!
WIZ: Right, right—forgot. Well, what if he fell into a pit…
ME: CONAN HAS CAT-LIKE REFLEXES!
WIZ: Dammit. Well, say I teleported him into a room filled with asps and…
ME: CONAN IS IMMUNE TO SNAKES!
WIZ: Fine, fine! I will simply cast bolts of unearthly destruction at him and…
ME: CAT-LIKE REFLEXES!
WIZ: He can’t dodge them all day, your know. Sooner or later he will…
ME: HAS A SWORD!
WIZ: Don’t follow.
ME: He’ll stab you.
WIZ: Right. But you forget that I have several swordsmen of my own.
ME: How many?
WIZ: Ten of the mightiest warriors ever to walk…
ME: Are their names Conan?
ME: Congratulations, you have earned yourself a whole ten seconds before Conan kills you.
WIZ: But these men are strong…
ME: CONAN HAS A SWORD!
WIZ: There are ten of them, though, so…
ME: CAT-LIKE REFLEXES!
WIZ: And then I make it rain poison snakes.
ME: IMMUNE TO SNAKES!
WIZ: Then I dash away with the princess.
ME: CAT-LIKE REFLEXES
WIZ: Motherfucker! Well, what would you do?
ME: Obvious, really—don’t fuck with Conan.