Astyages's Weblog

May 5, 2013

Old Mississippi Blues, played by Astyages

Okay… here’s that acoustic blues I promised the piglets a long time ago:

Hope you enjoy it!


UPDATE: this can still be heard over at Theseustoo’s YouTube channel… Just hit the button on the blogroll to be magically transported! 🙂 (Asty)

May 3, 2013

More Music from Asty…

G’day readers!

I think I’m finally getting the hang of this ‘recording’ and ‘editing’ thing… I’ve just loaded up my latest effort on my Youtube channel; here’s a direct link to it:

The guitar still has a (deliberately) ‘grungey’ sound, which I think suits the mood of the song… but do let me know what you think…

All the best,




March 28, 2013

Virgil’s Aeneid Part 35 by Astyages

Filed under: Uncategorized — astyages @ 9:43 pm

Virgil’s Aeneid

By Astyages

Part 35:

Thus far they celebrate the sacred sports, but soon Fortune would resume her ancient hatred, for while they pay their dues to the dead, these rites are viewed by Saturnian Juno with envy. She sends the goddess of the multicolored bow to try new methods of revenge, supplying her with a wind to wing her airy way to where the navy lay, secure in the port. Swiftly fair Iris descends down her arch and she arrives unnoticed by the gathering crowd. From there she flies to the deserted shore and the undefended fleet. Trojan matrons, alone on the sands, bemoan the fate of Anchises with sighs and tears, then, turning their weeping eyes to the sea, they renew their pitiful cries to themselves. “Alas!” said one, “What oceans do we still have to sail, what labors do we still have to endure?” All take up this them and with a general lamentation they implore the gods for peace and places of their own.

The goddess, great in mischief, views their troubles, and hides her heavenly form within the shape of a mortal woman. She took on the shape and face of old Beroe, Doryclus’ wife; a venerable dame… a mother and blessed with riches. But thus changed, she now ran amidst the crowd of matrons, crying, “Oh wretched we, who neither the power of the Greeks, nor flames could destroy in Troy’s unhappy hour! Oh wretched we, reserved by a cruel fate beyond the ruins of our sinking nation! Now, seven whole years have turned since we began this fruitless voyage, since we’ve been tossed from shore to shore and from land to land, inhospitable lands and barren beaches, wandering in exile through the stormy sea we have searched in vain for an Italy which seems to fly away before us! Now, cast by fortune on this kindred land, what is to stop us from staying and raising our city walls here? Oh, lost country, which the gods have redeemed in vain, must we remain in endless exile? Shall we never renew the Trojan walls, or view the streams of some new Simois? Quicly! Join with me and we’ll burn the unhappy fleet! I dreamed I saw Cassandra last night in my sleep and she put flaming torches in my hands, ‘With these’, she says, ‘destroy these wandering ships; this is your fated seat, and this your Troy. Time is pressing; let’s not ignore the good omen, while Heaven inspires our minds to dare, and gives us the ready fires. See! Neptune’s altar-fires supply us with torches! The god is pleased, and supplies our needs!” Then, from the pile she drew a flaming brand and tossed it through the air into one of the galleys.

The matrons stare wildly in amazement, then spoke Pyrgo, reverenced for the whiteness of her hair, the nurse of Priam’s numerous race: “This is no Beroe, though it is her face! What terrors arise from her frowning brow! I see a goddess in her ardent eyes! What an aura there is around her heavenly face… mark her majestic voice and more than mortal manner! I left Beroe just now, crippled with pain… her age and anguish prevent her from attending these rites.” She said, and the matrons were seized with a new amazement. Rolling their malignant eyes, they gaze on the navy, they fear and they hope, but obey neither emotion; hoping for the fated land, but fearing the fatal way.

The goddess, having completed her task below, mounts up on radiant wings to bend her painted bow. Struck by the sight and seized with divine rage, the matrons carry out their mad plan: They shriek aloud, snatching fire from the altars with impious hands, mingling green boughs and saplings in among the brands in their haste, and these smoking torches they cast upon the ships. The flame, with nothing to stop it, gains more fury and Vulcan rides at large with loosened reins: Triumphantly, he soars to the painted sterns and on his way seizes the banks of crackling oars.

Emmelus was the first to bear the news to the Trojans, while they still crowded the rural theater. Then they bear witness to what they have heard wit their own eyes: A storm of sparks and flames rising up from the beach. Ascanius took up the alarm while he was still leading his young warriors on his prancing steed and, spurring his horse on, he quickly shot past his friends, who couldn’t keep up with his reckless pace as the royal youth shouted ahead of him as he flew

“What madness moves you, matrons, to destroy the last remainders of unhappy Troy? You’re not burning hostile fleets but your own hopes and turn your fury on your own friends. Behold your own Ascanius!” And while he said this he drew from his head the glittering helmet in which he had led the youths to sportful arms, from his head. By this time, Aeneas and his train appear and the women, now seized with shame and fear disperse, running to take flight in the woods or in caverns, now abhorring their actions and seeking to avoid the light; acknowledging the rightness of their friends and their own error as they shake the goddess from their minds.

***** ******* *****

February 17, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — astyages @ 6:09 pm

Well… it’s not perfect, but it’s the best recording we’ve made of this song to date and I HAD to post another video on youtube soon; six months is far too long between vids…

Anyway, here’s the Burnside Refugees’ interpretation of an old Grateful Dead song, ‘Casey Jones’, along with some more footage of that lovely old locomotive, the Flying Scotsman!

Hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed playing it!


February 5, 2013

Virgil’s Aeneid, by Astyages: Part 34

Virgil’s Aeneid

By Astyages

Part 34:

Before the games were wholly finished the chief called Periphantes, who was his son’s tutor to him and whispered this, “Find Ascanius quickly, and if his youthful troop is ready, let him make his grandfather proud by riding out on horseback, leading his equals in full fighting array.” Then he called out to clear the circus. When the crowd had thus withdrawn an open plain now appears; and now the noble youths, of divine form, advance before their fathers in a line; the riders adding grace to their steeds and their steeds shining with glory.

Thus marching on in military splendor as shouts of applause resound from the crowd on either side, their helmets adorned with laurel wreaths and each brandishing aloft a cornel spear. Some bore gilded quivers at their backs; their chains of burnished gold hanging down in front. Three graceful troops they formed upon the green; each with a graceful leader at its head. Twelve riders followed each leader and there was a gap between the three troops.

The first troop was led by young Priam; a lovely boy, whose grandfather was the unhappy Trojan King of the same name. The descendants of this lad would, in after times be very famous, and add new honors to the Latian name; and how well his Thracian steed became the royal boy: The fetlocks of his fore-feet were white and on his front he bore a snow-white star. Then came the beautiful Atys, who had been brought up by Iulus and was of a similar age, leading the second squadron. Last in order, but first in nobility and in the beauty of his face, rode the fair Ascanius on a fiery Tyrian steed that had been given to him by Queen Dido and the king ordains that the rest of his troop too, shall have such coursers, adorned with golden bits and purple reins.

The happy spectators renew their shouts of applause and all the parents see their own form in their children; their own motions and their own sprightly grace now reflected as their faces alternately reflect their hopes and fears.

The unfledged commanders and their martial following first make a circuit of the sandy plain around their sires and, when the appointed signal was given, draw up in beautiful order and form a line. A second signal sounds and the troop divides once again into its three separate parts with three separate leaders; again they close and once again separate, this time into two lines of opposing troops; they meet and wheel and throw their darts as far as they could in well-mimicked war. Then the bodies run flying in a circle, each runner trying to avoid being caught by the runner following him; then they break again and rally once more into new military formations. Finally the join together in no particular order and march together in a friendly line and, in their weary feet are involved in ways as wandering as the Cretan labyrinth of old, and with as many twists and turns and without rest, as the Trojan boys now fought each other in warlike play; either side taking turns to be turned back, to return once more with a different approach; just as dolphins in the deep chase each other in circles. So this game, these carousels, were taught by Ascanius, who brought them to the Latins whilst building Alba; and the Latin fathers then taught the graceful art to their sons and so it was that Imperial Rome received the game which her youths now call the Trojan Troop.

***** ******* *****

January 14, 2013

Far Kinell by Astyages

Filed under: Uncategorized — astyages @ 12:07 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Far Kinnell




The solar system YD-437, in the omega sector of the eastern spiral arm of the galaxy is the most rimward-flung inhabited system in the galaxy; and though there is some suspicion of life on a few of the other planets in that solar system; and even on some of their moons; it is the third planet from the sun with which we are primarily interested.

Although some preliminary contact has been made with its inhabitants, the latter are deemed far too uncivilized for any serious engagement with galactic society; indeed, they are so aggressive a species that they constantly threaten to exterminate themselves, quite possibly along with all life on their own planet, in a nuclear conflagration, or by ignoring their effects on their environment, or by poisoning their own food and water, or even by stuffing up their own atmosphere! They seem to have survived thus far only by a combination of sheer luck and Loki’s own perversity.

Having little imagination, their various societies give their planet various names, the general semantic content of which is invariably ‘Dirt’, or ‘Soil’ or some-such… they also give their sun equally meaningless names, most of which simply mean ‘sun’; apparently they do not even know its proper name, or, I strongly suspect, even the fact that it has one. Of course, we citizens of the Galactic Federation know this primitive planet by the name of its discoverer, the legendary explorer of both the alpha and omega quadrants of the galaxy: James T. Kinnell; and of course, its distance from the galactic hub has earned it the well-deserved adjectival qualification of ‘Far’; so in the Federation’s star-charts this planet goes by the legendary name of: Far Kinnell.

On this planet, instead of using resources wisely and ensuring that everyone gets what they need, the inhabitants engage in the most ridiculous forms of the most stupid status games, for example, the competitive consumption of even their most scarce and valuable resources which often, and quite deliberately, creates artificial shortages so that a handful of their species can become enormously wealthy whilst the vast majority of them either starve or else live a hand-to-mouth existence in an unplanned and unregulated economy; little more than beasts of burden; and many, many more starve to death.

They are barbarous indeed; a most murderous and bloodthirsty species; yet each section of this species; each race, each country, each province or county, right down to each town, village or even locality, each street and each household, feels itself, both as a community, and as individuals, to be ‘god’s gift’ to the universe; ‘god’ being the fictional character on whom they choose to blame all their faults – on those rare occasions that these become actually ‘undeniable’ and not, as they usually are, verbally transformed into some kind of weird ‘virtue’; otherwise the inhabitants of Far Kinnell admit to no flaws whatsoever; yet by way of excusing themselves and each other, are frequently, and with an entirely unintended irony, known to resort to the phrase, “Nobody’s perfect!”

Anyone who dares to even suggest, however remotely, to any of their members, that any of the various societies created by this peculiar species might have even the slightest flaw in either its constitution, or in that constitution’s practical application, is severely – and socially – discredited and marginalized, while worse offenders simply ‘disappear’, never to be heard of again; consequently the brutal and totalitarian nature of their societies goes from bad to worse; with little or no effort being made at improving matters. The people are generally very supportive of their leaders and cheer very enthusiastically at all public ceremonies; knowing they dare not do otherwise, whilst public officials are praised regardless of their stupidity and incompetence and are actually rewarded for their corruption, whilst at the same time being told only those things their ‘underlings’ in the ironically named ‘public service’ feel they ‘need to know’… Though this, of course, effectively makes them little more than the puppets of various vested interest groups, they invariably fail to see this, or to recognize any conflict of interest, and insist on thinking of themselves as ‘leaders’.

Indeed, they think of themselves as having somehow been ‘Chosen’ for the job (by ‘god’ of course!) One might be forgiven for imagining that in societies which often call themselves ‘democracies’, that they are chosen by the people, because much use is made of that word; however, whilst elections on Kinnell are often are very expensive theatre productions, they appear to make little or no difference to policies, which are usually decided by the faceless monied interests who operate behind the politicians, pulling their strings by the simple and expedient means of funding both major political parties.

‘Leaders’, then, are usually chosen by ‘party’ members in ‘pre-selection’ committees, for their gullibility and manipulability, rather than for any leadership skills as such. As long as they know how to avoid responsibility and how to find suitable scapegoats for any damage they may do to their society and/or it’s economy and as long as they know how to deceive whilst telling the apparent truth in the weasel-words given to them by their faceless monied masters, they are likely to do well… for themselves, at least; and possibly their parties too, to some extent, anyway! These ‘leaders’, however, often do enormous damage to their world and even to their own societies, all for the sake of the elevated income and social prestige their public office gives them, and, having been chosen for their crookedness, they are often praised for so doing… such is the insanity of this race!

I, Zebulon Sprokkit, have been charged by the High Council of the Galactic Federation, in the wake of the recent frightening attack on our city at the South Pole, with the task of observing and reporting on the activities of this strange and frightening species. As they have recently discovered computers and evolved an e-space network called the ‘internet’, which gives one access to global news regardless of where one is on the planet, I have decided that, rather than take up residence in a major population centre, like the continents of Murka, Uropp or Aysha where it could be all too easy to end up being forced to choose sides in their politics (and, maybe, even forced to choose the wrong side!), that I should get a more objective perspective by living in a relative cultural and political backwater… For these reasons I have decided to live on the continent known by the locals as ‘Straya’, in the state of South Oz, in the deceptively pretty capital city of Madeleine.

My saucer was stolen in the unprecedented and devastating raid by only two primitives on the secret underground city we had established at the South Pole for wealthy intergalactic tourists who wish to ‘explore’ such a primitive planet. Many of these tourists appear, more often than not, to forget the ‘no de-cloaking in front of the Kinnellers’ rule, I might add! If it keeps up it will be extremely hard to keep the existence of the Galactic Federation a secret, as ordered! Our mind-control staff are working flat-out convincing people the UFOs everyone keeps seeing aren’t real!

It would also make my job immeasurably more difficult if the indigenes should ever get wind that I’m not really a Kinneller, who, of course, call themselves, ‘Earthlings’. Although we still have many of their leaders under our control, and the vast majority of the Earthlings are still convinced by the propaganda we’ve been subliminally feeding them for the past few centuries (local time), there are some Earthlings out there who have discovered that they can avoid our brain-programming rays by wearing hats made out of tin-foil, who are starting to become problematic. Whilst there is little they can do at present because they are still too easily dismissed as ‘loonies’ the number is fast growing of trained observers in positions of great responsibility who now also claim to have seen ‘Unidentified Flying Objects’ and who are beginning to wear tinfoil hats…

I would appreciate a strongly worded directive from the Ministry of Galactic Tourism to those tour operators who have not been observing proper cloaking protocols, that they either commence to do so, or face having their operator’s licences revoked; we can’t risk the humans realising our actual presence just yet… Should it start to be believed that we are here, it is likely to trigger off the nuclear conflagration dreaded by both Earthlings themselves, and, I’m sure I don’t have to remind you, our own Galactic Federation.

Zebulon Sprokkit, Reporting from Madeleine, South Oz. Star-date: 020120013

Over and out!

January 3, 2013

More Music from Astyages

I was telling the piglets over at the Pigs’ Arms (  It’s the best virtual pub in e-space!) that I’d had some fun the other day playing my new Epiphone Les Paul Special II through a tiny 3-watt Orange ‘Micro-Crush’ amplifier and said I’d post a few recordings I’d made. Unfortunately I appear to be having some difficulty with the file-sharing website I usually use and while I suspect it’s just a temporary glitch and have contacted 4-shared’s tech support for help, I thought that in the meantime I’d try to post some of them direct from my pc. If I can do that here, then maybe I can do it over there (although as a mere ‘contributor’ I don’t have as much control over what and/or how I post things over there as I do here; that’s why I’m trying it here first!)

Anyway, assuming this experiment works, I do hope you’ll enjoy the following songs:

(Sorry folks… I seem to be having some difficulty getting these links to work… but I’m trying hard to rectify the problem, so please do come back later; I’m sure I’ll have it fixed soon… – Asty)

(Hehehehe! Long story short: Got it sussed! Hope you all enjoy these!)

BTW, in case anyone is interested, I’m currently looking for a bassist; if you’re a bassist, live within easy travelling distance of Paradise, SA, and/or play any other instrument (including vocals; looking for harmonists) and think you may be able to contribute to the ‘Burnside Refugees’ (who may be considering a name-change soon…) please contact me by leaving a comment on this thread. Also please take note that I installed a ‘band-page’ widget yesterday, and once I figure out how it works, I guess we’ll have a ‘Band Page’ for the ‘Reffoes’…

NB: Constructive criticism is welcome, as are all comments, but insulting comments from the ignorant will be ignored and removed.

POSTSCRIPT: If you’re having trouble accessing these files, it may be that you need to sign up for a 4-shared account in order to do so; in which case, I can recommend 4-shared as a file-sharing service; I’ve never had any trouble with them in the several years I’ve had an account there… so don’t be scared; these are good guys; go ahead and sign up! (Asty)


December 24, 2012

Astyages Saves the World (And Christmas too!)

Filed under: Uncategorized — astyages @ 10:51 pm


Gotta get this down while I can still remember it all… before THEY wipe my memory! But I don’t want to jump the gun! I must start at the very beginning…

So there I was, just a few days ago, sitting there at home minding my own business… Having fallen asleep watching old episodes of ‘Porridge’, I found myself rudely awakened by a sudden loud cursing in some strange, probably Scandinavian language, apparently coming from above and behind me. I turned my neck so quick I think I damn near dislocated it! But what I saw gave me such a shock I immediately forgot that pain… for there, dangling from the trapdoor which leads to the mysterious and hitherto unexplored regions of my loft, was the bottom half of a rather rotund gentleman clad in an ermine-lined, red velvet jacket and a pair of black moleskins over a pair of shiny leather boots, the tops of which were similarly fur-lined. At this stage his top half was invisible as the gent appeared to be stuck there… (and Gord alone knows how he got there, ’cause my roof hasn’t got a chimney!)

I instantly divined his problem: his jacket had got all rucked-up and was adding far more than was necessary to the stranger’s already impressive girth. I limped the few steps from my chair to the place underneath the trapdoor and, reaching up with the ‘reaching stick’ the insurance company had provided me with when I first had my accident, I started tugging at the jacket… As soon as I had pulled enough of it down to easy the jam the stranger fell down through the hole, skittling me in the process. The weighty gent picked himself up with remarkable agility and then bent down to offer me a hand. I took it and allowed myself to be pulled to my feet by a figure I never in my wildest dreams ever imagined I would ever meet, for standing there, right in front of my was a red-capped, bespectacled, white-bearded, red-cheeked fellow who could be none other than Santa Claus…

“Crikey!” I exclaimed aloud, “Those bloody painkillers must be stronger’n I thought… I’m hallucinating!”

“Ho-ho-ho!” The figure in red said, adjusting his jacket underneath his belt, “You not hallucinating minheer! You seein’ da real Santa Claus! Who yust picked you up from da floor? When you ever actually feel a hallucination? A hallucination strong enough to lift you up, ja?”

He had a point there… but I was cagey: “How do I know you’re the real Santa Claus and not just an imposter? I mean, there’s lot of ’em about at this time of year!”

“No problem!” he said… “Who else would bring you chrissie prezzie…?” I was astounded; I’d lived alone for so long I’d virtually forgotten about prezzies. Curious, I couldn’t resist asking, “Ah… What prezzie?” It was only then I noticed the large sack which had come through the trapdoor with him, as he put his hand inside it and pulled out a Les Paul guitar! Now, I’m a pretty cynical dude and not easily convinced when it comes to believing in fairytales, but Les Pauls don’t lie… this dude had to be Santa!

“Wow!” I said… and then, as I reached forward to take the guitar from him, I intoned, “I do believe in fairies! I do believe in fairies…!” just in case it should turn out to be a dream. But the ‘dream’ didn’t fade as I took the guitar in hand and plugged it into my amplifier; and the first few notes, amplified by those superb double-coiled, humbucking pickups, left me in no doubt; the guitar was real! So Santa must be real too!

“But hang on a sec, Santa! How come I get a prezzie this year? And why such an expensive prezzie too? I mean, all my life all I’ve had are socks’n’jox and maybe an occasional fishing rod, but I’ve never ever had such an expensive prezzie; and it’s just EXACTLY what I wanted… There’s something suspicious going on here…”

“Aha, mein freund!” the fat man said, “You are so sharp! You never miss a trick! Zat’s why you were chosen… And I have to admit zat ze reason you haven’t had so many prezzies in ze past is ‘coz you bin a naughty fella for so long… But ziss year is different; ziss year we need your help… ze guitar is a teensy-weensy bribe…”

But before he could explain further, there was a lot of scuffling noises from the ceiling above us and then several, dwarf-like creatures with grey-green skin, huge bulbous heads and large black, almond-shaped eyes, descended from the trapdoor. Each of them held something in their right hands; and as Santa suddenly fell silent and raised his hands. Santa’s reaction could only mean one thing: ‘they can only be ray-guns!’ I thought…

I also thought it wise to immediately put down the Les Paul and follow suit…

After exchanging several series of what can only be described as clicking noises with his two assistants the tallest of the dwarf-like creatures, who was evidently their boss, said, “I’m taking you both to our leader!”

“Shouldn’t that be the other way round?” I said, without thinking.

“Ah, but you, my dear Astyages, recognize no leaders; in your former incarnation you were a king of kinds; in this one you are an individual who, though poor, recognizes no master; it is for these reasons that you have been chosen… And as for Santa… The Master has his own reasons for wanting to see him!”

I hated the thought of being ‘chosen’ for anything… it smacked of responsibility and worse, seemed to imply the probability of work!

“Then you’ll just have to choose someone else, won’t you?” The grey dwarf, who I now realized was an actual, bona fide alien, just silently raised his ray-gun level with my forehead and allowed the corners of his slit-like mouth to raise into something which was not quite a smile. “Oh, alright then… If I must, I suppose I must…”

I could spend whole chapters describing the journey we next underwent; how we traveled in a flying saucer to the South Pole, fighting off American fighter planes from the US fleet all the way across the Southern Ocean, ’til we finally flew down into an immense cavern which took us deep into a world which I now realized was REALLY hollow!

In a fantastic underground city we were taken to a building which would have dwarfed the twin towers and given the Empire State Building a good run for its money, where we ascended to the penthouse suite which the Master was currently using as a pied-a-terre. As we ascended in the lift, I wondered why I’d been chosen and for what… I’d attempted to get further information from the greys during the flight but they remained silent and refused to make any comment.

Finally the greys escorted us through a luxurious apartment and out onto a rooftop garden which would have put the Hanging Gardens of Babylon to shame, and there, sitting on a chaise-longue drinking gin and tonic, was the Master, who I couldn’t help but think looked a lot like Jimi Hendrix…

Using telekinesis, the greys forced Santa and I to our knees, with our foreheads to the floor, as if salaaming… “Let them up you idiots!” the Master said, “I need their willing cooperation!”

The Master didn’t realise it, but he had just made his first mistake; whatever it was he needed my cooperation for, I most certainly was NOT going to oblige him!

“Forgive those stupid Greys,” the Master said, “they are one of the most uncivilized species in this galaxy! No manners at all!”

“What do you want with us?” Santa demanded. “Why have you brought us here?”

“I’ve brought you here because you two are the last ‘hold-outs’… the last two people on the whole of planet earth who have not somehow been subverted, brainwashed, bought or otherwise incorporated within structures which are ultimately owned by the Illuminati. Surely you’ve suspected…?” We both nodded silently, “I’ve known for some time…” Santa said, then, turning to me he added “I was trying to warn you when we were so rudely interrupted… and brought here…”

“You will be used as ‘Judas goats’; we will first brainwash you then program you to be the most zealous advocates of our cause; from the human perspective you will be leading the exodus from the doomed planet earth to travel to another earth-like planet in the constellation of Arcturus… You’ll act as travel-agents as well as poster-boys for our human migration plan to our home-world…”

The Master must feel confident of himself, I thought, if he could afford to give away such staggering details, even in such a tiny slip… but the words ‘human’, and ‘homeworld’ in the same sentence told me I was dealing with aliens here… Space aliens, or inter-dimensional ones? I wondered, but had little chance to find out, as the Master explained that the purpose of migrating the whole human population to Arcturus was so they can be farmed as fodder and used as slave labour… but we two would live like kings… with every one of our senses most abundantly gratified in all kinds of imaginative ways…

I’d heard enough; the time had come to act! If I waited any longer they’d isolate me and then start to work on me psychologically; if I acted now at least I might have some element of surprise as they wouldn’t be expecting either of us to resist the three armed guards who had escorted us and who were still aiming their weapons at us… Moving suddenly, and hoping Santa would realize what I was doing and at least just move himself out of the line of fire, I put myself at the center of a cross with three Greys to my left, right and in front of me, desperately hoping my sudden movement would trigger the precise reaction it did: the Greys all instantly pointed their weapons at me, but just as they fired, I dived into a combat roll aimed at the feet of the one in front of me…

The Greys to the right and left of me were instantly vaporized by their own ray-guns, while the third Grey hit the Master with a glancing shot that left him seriously concussed and winded, as I came out of my combat roll onto to my knee, finishing the roll with a punch to the groin which thankfully turned out to be as painful for the Grey as it is for humans. He dropped his weapon as he doubled up, whimpering in a foetus-position on the floor as I carefully took aim and vaporized him.

I went across to the Master and saw he was wearing some kind of mask which had been damaged to reveal reptilian scales underneath the human-like face… I knew it could never have been Jimi! There was not even a single guitar in sight! This was just another psychological ploy to gain my sympathy and trust… Mercilessly, I zapped the Lizard-man into oblivion.

Finally turning my attention to Santa, I realized he was not entirely surprised by my actions… I gave him a quizzical look, with my head tilted to one side… “You were expecting this, weren’t you?”

“Errr… Ummm… ahhh… let’s just say, ‘hoping’ shall we? But yes, I was rather relying on your skills as a martial artist… Now, quickly, we must get out of here before any more of them come! We can hijack a saucer; I was watching how they operated them on the way here…”

“Yeah, me too!” I said… “Now let’s go!”

The ray-guns made it easy for us to get out of the building and into the private car-park where our guard had previously parked their flying saucer (I must use this term now, as they are not ‘UFO’s any more!)

Speed, surprise and a couple of zaps from the ray-guns took care of the guards; and, if we’d both been watching them to learn how to fly the saucer, I’d also been keenly observing how they operated their weapons systems… As we flew out over the underground city I saw my target and yelled at Santa to head towards it as we fought off a small fleet of half-a-dozen more flying discs… After finally shooting down the last of these I had just enough time to aim and hit the ‘fire’ button to loose a photon torpedo at what had looked to me very much like the city’s nuclear power-station. We saw the explosion and the beginnings of an unmistakeable ‘mushroom’ cloud behind us as the shock-wave finally hit us… Tilting the saucer at an angle, I found I could ‘surf’ the shock-wave ’til we finally shot out of the cavern’s opening like a bullet from a gun… In the rear-view screens we could clearly see that our explosion had started a chain-reaction as the major buildings of the whole city were blasted into their component atoms.

Of course, we took the long way ’round on the way home, to avoid having to fight the US fleet in the Southern Ocean, ’cause those guys shoot first and ask questions later! But as soon as we got home I’ve prepared this report for YouTube; the world MUST be warned; though I shall post it under a pseudonym. The Lizardmen’s dastardly plan, which had been scheduled to start on 21/12/12 has, I think, suffered a serious setback, but sooner or later, they will be back from Planet X with another attempt to turn us all into lizard-fodder! In the meantime, NOW is the time to turn against your Illuminati masters, who will be weakened at least temporarily by the absence of the Master…

Anyway, now you all know why the world didn’t actually end on 21/12/12 as it was supposed to; Santa and I have managed to buy it a temporary reprieve, but how long that will last is unknown; in the meantime, Santa assures me that he will not let this little escapade interfere with his usual Christmas duties and I’ve let him keep the flying saucer to help him with this… so, without undue modesty, I can truthfully say that I have not only saved the world, but Christmas too! With Santa’s help, of course!

Happy Christmas piglets!


December 13, 2012

Virgil’s Aeneid part 33

Filed under: Virgil's Aeneid #33 — astyages @ 5:32 pm
Tags: , , ,

By Astyages

Part 33:

The boxing done, and the prizes awarded, Aeneas orders an archery competition to close the games. With his own hands, he raises upon the shore the mast of Sergestheus’ shattered galley, tying a fluttering dove to the top as a living target. The rival archers advance in a line; their turn to shoot was decided by drawing lots from a helmet: The first scroll chosen bore the name of Hippocoon, for whom the crowd cheered. The next to be chosen was Young Mnestheus, who had lately been crowned with naval honors. The third contained Eurytion’s noble name; then his almost as famous brother, Pandarus, whom Pallas had urged to confound the treaty and send among the Greeks a feathered wound. At the bottom of the helmet, Acestes remained the last, who would not let his age restrain him from youthful sports.

Soon all bend their trusty bows with vigor and each chose an arrow from his quiver.

Hippocoon’s was the first, as the feathered weapon cut it’s forceful way through the liquid air to stand now, fixed in the mast, while the fearful pigeon flutters in her bands and the tree trembled, while the shouts of the pleased crowd rend the vaulted skies. Then Mnestheus placed his arrow into position and, lifting his eyes, aimed above the target; but his glancing blow missed the dove, yet by such a narrow margin that he cut the cord which fastened the flitting bird by the foot. The captive thus released, flies away, beating the skies with flapping wings. But Eurytion stood with his bow already bent, and having first invoked his brother god, let fly his winged shaft with eager haste and its fatal message reached her as she fled: Leaving her life aloft, she strikes the ground and its owner retrieves his arrow from the wound. Acestes, grumbling at his lot, still remains, having had no shot and so no prize to show for his trouble. Yet he sends a shaft shooting upward, for the sake of displaying the archer’s art and boast of his bow. The feathered arrow gave a dire portent, as was judged after the event by the augurs:

Chafed by the speed, it caught fire as it flew and trailed a plume of following flames as it ascended; kindling it mounts the sky and marks its shiny way like a falling meteor, to vanish in the wind or decay, burnt out by its own blaze.

The Trojans and Sicilians stare wildly and, trembling, turn their wonder into prayer. The Dardan prince, hodwever, put on a smiling face and enclosed Acestes in a close embrace; then, honoring him with gifts more valuable than the rest of the prizes put together. Turning aside the bad omen and refusing to confess his own fears, addressed the archer thus, “The gods have wrought this miracle; they have awarded you the prize without the lot. Accept this goblet, rough with figured gold, which the Thracian Cisseus gave my father a long time ago: Receive this pledge of ancient friendship, which I justly give to my second sire.” And as the trumpets cheerfully sound, he proclaims him victor and crowns him with laurels. Nor did the good Eurytion envy him his prize, even though it was he who had transfixed the pigeon in the sky. He who had cut the line was graced with the gifts awarded to second place and the third prize went to he whose arrow had pierced the mast.

December 5, 2012

Virgil’s Aeneid, by Astyages: Part 32:

Virgil’s Aeneid, by Astyages

(With apologies to regular readers for the lengthy wait between episodes; I’m hoping things will calm down enough in the new year to be able to post more regularly. In the meantime it seems that a few of the more recently posted episodes have ‘gone astray’… so I shall start by reposting these; perhaps it may be a good opportunity to re-acquaint yourselves with your place in the story… ~ Astyages)


Part 32:

The race thus ended, and the prizes awarded, once again the prince addresses the attentive crowd: “If there be here anyone with courage enough to dare the gauntlet-fight with bared limbs and body, to sustain his opposite in open view and stand forth the champion then we shall renew the games. I propose two prizes to be divided thus: A bull with gilded horns, tied with golden fillets shall be the portion of the winner, while a sword and helm shall cheer the loser’s grief.”

Then, in the lists, haughty Dares appears with head erect and stalking stride; his nervous arms wielding the weighty gauntlet as loud applauses echo through the field. Dares alone stood hand to hand in matched combat against the mighty Paris; the same, at Hector’s funeral challenged the gigantic Amycian, Butes and by the stroke of his resistless hand stretched his vast bulk upon the ground. Such was Dares; and as such, he strode along, drawing the wonder of the gazing crowd by displaying his brawny back and ample breast. He lifts his arms around his head, throwing empty blows which whistle through the air. A match is sought for him but throughout the trembling band no-one dares answer the challenge. Presuming upon his force, his sparkling eyes already devour the promised prize; he claims the bull with irreverent insolence, and, having seized his horns, accosts the prince:

“If none dares to oppose my matchless valor, how long must I wait for foes? Permit me, chief, to lead off this uncontested prize without further delay.”

The crowd assents as the proud challenger demands to prize, and echo his cause with their redoubled shouts. Acestes, fired with just disdain to see the palm usurped without a victory, reproached Entellus, who was sitting beside him and had heard, unmoved, the Trojan’s pride, thus:

“Once, but in vain, a champion of renown; can you so tamely bear to see the ravished crown born off in triumph before your eyes? And do you now, for fear, shun the danger of the fight? Where now is our Eryx? Where now that god who taught your thundering arm the game? Where now is your baffled honor? Where the spoil that filled your house and the fame that filled our island?”

Entellus replies thus: “My soul is unchanged, unmoved with fear and still moved by martial fame; but my chill blood is now curdled in my veins and I’m scarce the shadow of the man I once was. Oh, that I were in my prime again; that prime which this boaster now displays so vainly. The brave, who defy this decrepit age, should feel my force, without the promised prize!”

Thus said, and rising at the word, he threw two ponderous guantlets down in open view; gauntlets which Eryx was wont to wield in fight and to sheath his hands with on the battlefield. Seized with fear and wonder the crowds behold the gloves of death, with seven distinguished folds of tough bull hides; the space within is spread with iron, or with loads of heavy lead: Dares himself was daunted at the sight and, renouncing his challenge, refused to fight. The hero stands astonished at the weight of the ponderous engines, which he now holds, poised in his hands.

“I wonder what you would have said,” Entellus said, “had you seen the guantlets of Alcides… or had you viewed that stern debate upon this unhappy field! This which I bear were those used by your brother Eryx; still marked with battered brains and mingled gore. With these he long withstood the arm of Heracles; and these I wielded while my blood was warm… when this languished frame was moved by better spirits, before age had unstrung my nerves or time had crowned my head with snow. But if the challenger refuses these arms, or cannot wield their weight; or dares not to use them; if great Aeneas and Acestes accede to his request, then I shall resign these guantlets; let us fight with equal weapons and let him have cause to fear, since I resign my right…”

This said, Entellus strips off his quilted coat, bearing his body in preparation for the strife; composed of mighty bones and brawn he makes a towering object on the sands. Then just Aeneas supplied both contestants with equal arms, which they tied around their shoulders to their wrists. Both stand on tiptoe with their arms aloft at full extent, their bodies bent indwards whilst trying to keep their heads as far as possible from the aimed blows of their foe as, with clashing guantlets, they provoke the war; one relying on his youth and pliant limbs and the other relying on strength and his giant size. But this latter is stiff with age; his motions are slow; he heaves for breath and staggers to and fro, whilst clouds of smoke blow loudly from his nostrils. Yet with equal success they strike and ward; their ways different, but alike in their art.

Before and behind the blows are dealt; around their hollow sides the rattling thumbs resound. A storm of well-intended strokes flies with fury, narrowly missing temples, ears and eyes; but not always missing for often the sweeping stroke of the gauntlet smashes into crackling jaws. Heavy with age, Entellus stands his ground, but with his ducking body avoids the wound; his hand and his watchful eye keeping an even pace; while Dares crosses here and there, constantly shifting his position and like a captain who beseiges some strong-built castle on rising ground, views all the approaches with observant eyes, vainly trying this and that and relying more on industry than force.

With hands on high, Entellus threatens the foe; but Dares watches the motion from beneath and slips aside, shunning the descending blow. Entellus thus wastes his forces on the wind and, thus deprived of the stroke he had intended, fell heavy and headlong to the ground; his heavy limbs embracing his ancient mother. So falls a hollow pine, that had long stood on Ida’s height, or in the woods of Erymanthus, torn from its roots.

The different nations rise to their feet and their shouts and murmurs rend the sky as Acestes runs with eager haste to raise up the fallen companion of his youth. Dauntless he rose and returned to the fight; his cheeks now glowing with shame and his eyes burning with fury. Disdain and conscious virtue fired his breast as he now presses his foe with redoubled force, laying on a load with either hand and driving the Trojan over the plain. Nor does he stop or pause to allow for rest or even for breath, but storms of strokes descend about his head, a rattling tempest and a hail of blows.

But now the prince, who saw the wild increase of wounds, commands the combatants to stop; binding Entellus’ wrath and bids them be at peace. First he spoke to the Trojan, exhausted by his toil, and soothed his sorrow for the shame he’d suffered. “What fury seized my friend? The gods were propitious to him and averse to thee, having given his arm superior force to yours… it is madness to contend against such divine strength.”

The gauntlet fight thus ended, his faithful friends bore the unhappy Dares away from the shore: his mouth and nostrils poured with blood and he spat blood out of his mouth along with pounded teeth. Faintly he staggered through the hissing crowd, hanging his head and trailing his legs along. The sword and helmet are carried by his train, but the ox and the palm of victory remained with his foe.

The champion then came before Aeneas, proud of his prize, but prouder of his fame:

“Oh, goddess-born, and you, my Dardanian host, mark with attention and forgive me if I brag; learn what I was by what remains; and know from what impending fate you saved my foe.”

Sternly he spoke, and then confronts the bull; and aiming his deadly stroke full on his ample forehead, the deadly stroke descended and pierced the skull. Down drops the best, not needing a second blow, but sprawls in its death pangs on the ground. Then he spoke thus: “In Dares’ stead I offer this. Eryx, accept a nobler sacrifice; take the last gift my withered arms can give: Thy gauntlets I resign, and here renounce the field.”

***** ******* *****

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