Lord Nikki and the Mummy's Curse!
Posted 22 June 2004 - 11:33 AM
"Look at them, Chapple," he said to his manservant. "They're bearly wearing any clothes! They deserve to be slaughtered!"
"Yes, sir," said Chapple, idly reloading his rifle and shooting one of the gollywogs between the eyes.
"I mean, do they seriously think that they can rejoin civilisation?" ruminated Lord Nikki, chewing on his corn-cob pipe. "Would they grasp the concept of roads? Could they ever learn how to use an automobile?"
"Possibly not, sir," said Chapple. A British soldier in his red uniform rushed up to bayonet one of the charging gollys. A second golly stabbed him with a spear, and Chapple swiftly reloaded and shot him in the face as well.
"Imagine one of these dark-skinned fellows coming into the Carlton club," chuckled Lord Nikki. "All covered in that... war paint and nothing but a loin cloth. I imagine Jeeves would give him quite a dressing down, ho ho. Try to put him in a suit, shouldn't wonder..." he chuckled as a gollywog rushed up, spear aloft, only for Lord Nikki's pet dog, Culpepper, to jump up and rip his throat out.
"Good boy, Culpepper!" cried Lord Nikki. "That man was going to do something quite unmannerly, I shouldn't wonder."
A week later, and the gollywogs had been subjugated. Lord Nikki decided to take a steamboat down the Nile.
Looking over the side, he saw the ruined tomb. "Stop the boat!" he cried. The boat slowly ground to a halt, but by then the tomb had falled behind them.
"Curse you, commoner!" cried Lord Nikki, and threw the captain, who had no aristocratic blood in him whatsoever, overboard. Fortunately, Chapple was adept at piloting steamboats, so he turned it around and headed back for the tomb, grinding the bits of the captain that hadn't been eaten by crocodiles in the rotor.
They moored up by the tomb, and Lord Nikki used some of the more common passengers as a footbridge to prevent his Saville Row shoes from getting muddy. Arriving at the tomb, he noted the general state of disrepair and dereliction. "Notice, Chapple, how the ignorant natives squander their heritage," he said sadly, turning and shooting an Egyptian in the leg. "That's for sqaundering your heritage," he said, as the Egyptian writed in agony.
"Lord Nikki," he said, "look! Hyroglyphs!"
"Let me through!" demanded Lord Nikki. "I am an expert in hyroglyphs, move out of my way!"
Posted 22 June 2004 - 12:25 PM
"Something about a big eye and an eagle."
"Was that a jest, sir?"
"Well done for noticing, Chapple. Soon you will have learnt all the fineries of middle class wit."
"Middle class wit, sir? But you're one of the richest men in England."
"I'm easing you in slowly. Upper class wit is far more sophisticated and centred solely around cricket."
"I see sir. What do the hieroglyphs, say, sir?"
"It's a good job I'm in a good mood, Chapple or I'd have you flogged for such impudency."
"And thoroughly deserved such a flogging would be, sir."
"Remind me of this incident when I'm in a worse mood and you shall recieve it."
"Why, thank you, sir."
"The heiroglyphs seem to indicate this is the entrance to some sort of highly dangerous tomb. Still, nothing that I, the richest, most intelligent adventurer in the entire Empire can't overcome, Chapple. Now, go get the explosives."
"Yes, there's some annoying riddle on the entrance, but let's not waste time on that. The sooner I get out of this damn country the better."
"Very well, sir."
A young arab came running up, "Sir! Please! Sir! You can't go in there."
"You presume to tell me, Lord Nikki, what to do, young arab?"
"No, sir, but please! To enter is certain death."
"I see. Chapple?"
"Yes sir?" the manservant called from the gangplank of the steamboat, which he was descending, explosives over his shoulder.
"Shoot this man."
"Right you are, sir."
Posted 27 June 2004 - 01:00 AM
"All the worse for them Chapple, we'll recover what is inside and make sure every bit of it goes to the British Museum. No doubt it is all very important," Lord Nikki said standing up fully erect, preparing to push the plunger.
"Erm, Lord Nikki?" Chapple inquired grabbing the gentleman's sleeve and dragging him to the floor.
"With all respect my lord, you don't blow that stuff up in your face. It will ruin it."
"Right you are Chapple. Tally ho!" Nikki screamed pressing the plunger down. Nothing happened, "Oh, damn thing's not going off. Let's take a look shall we." Nikki began to rise. Chapple held him down and the dynamite exploded.
"Very good sir."
"Oh. Right. Now, to the interior. Got the cart Chapple? Very good!" Lord Nikki waved his sabre in... deep into the tomb.
(unless I screw up again)
Posted 28 June 2004 - 11:34 PM
"Feverishly we (by which I mean Chapple and a couple of those ghastly natives) cleared away the remaining last scraps of rubbish on the floor of the passage, until we had only the clean sealed doorway before us. Naturally, I wanted to dynamite the thing, and intimated the sense of it to the men, who, I am rather ashamed to admit, forcibly restrained me in a most mutinous fashion until I was able to convince them that I had reconsidered. I remember that Chapple particularly was most outspoken in his protest, effecting something approaching a sermon on the danger of detonation underground. I admonished the fellow patiently. I have been proficient in the use of dynamite since the tender age of 5, when, under the careful tutelage of my nurse, I exploded papa’s Summer Retreat with little more than a stick of American ‘chewing-gum’, a dandelion, and an incontinent hamster named Vlad the Mighty. Since that time, the words ‘blast radius’ have proved constant and welcome companions in my life, and I communicated as such to Chapple, who, mutinous blackguard that he was, informed me that, proficiency or no proficiency, the law of the land stated that there would be no detonating of any kind.
Frustrated, I relented wearily, and after making preliminary notes, told the men to make a tiny breach in the top left-hand corner to see what was beyond. Darkness and the iron testing rod told us that there was empty space. I intimated a kind of joke, of which I am still proud, about empty space being a most appropriate find considering the mental capacities of our sovereign governor and his laws which forbid dynamiting. I am sad to say that no one laughed*.
I turned my attention again to the empty space before me. Perhaps another descending staircase, in accordance to the ordinary royal Theban tomb plan? Or maybe a chamber? Once again, my instinct was to reach for the dynamite, alas, I found that the men had confiscated both my pipe and my plunger. These lower fellows are little better than Bolsheviks.
Candles were procured (coming, might I add, out of Chapple’s pocket money)—the all important tell-tale for foul gases when opening an ancient subterranean excavation (I made another joke at this juncture, the sense of which I will not repeat here)—and I widened the breach and by means of the candle looked in, while Ld. C., Lady E., and Callender with the Reises waited in anxious expectation. Where Ld. C., Lady E., and Callender with the Reises had come from was something of a mystery to me, since they had not featured in any of the excavation before, but the fact remained that they were there, and, glory hunting fag-hags that they were, would doubtless try and steal my spotlight. I instructed a couple of the less reputable diggers to dispose of them at the earliest opportunity.
It was sometime before I could see, the hot air escaping caused the candle to flicker, but as soon as my eyes became accustomed to the glimmer of light the interior of the chamber gradually loomed before me, with its strange and wonderful medley of extraordinary and beautiful objects heaped upon one another. It was all rather tacky. Nevertheless, at that moment, I espied the sarcophagus…”
* I would later tell the joke again at an official reception in Cairo, to uproarious approval.
Posted 19 July 2004 - 01:19 PM
"Ye gods Chapple look at this shoddy work, leaving loose wiring all over the place! These heathens... couldn't even build a coherent simile let alone a damn great temple."
Chapple apprehensively spoke up "Actually sir I think...."
"Think? THINK? I'll do the thinking for both of us lad, save you the trouble, now lets get this out of the way before someone has a nasty accident"
Lord Nikki kicked the taught rope and tore right through it with his polished boots, to the sound of some ancient works squeaking into action.
"See Chapple nothing to wor..." was as far as he got before Chapple bore him to the ground, a very heavy sort of noise tearing through the air above them followed by a very definite thunk. Lord Nikki pulled himself back to his feet and dusted himself off. "Chapple! What on earth do you think you're doing man!" he yelled.
"Saving your life sir" he replied as flatly as possible, indicating a 7' length blade embedded in the ceiling and a long cut along the side of his face
"Bah bloody dangerous thing to do that... why on earth was that thing there?"
"Well I think it may have been a trap sir"
"A trap? Are you mad boy?"
"Well there have been others..."
"Others? Make sense lad!"
Chapple angled the candle back up the passage down which they had come, illuminating several commonfolk, or at least parts of commonfolk, the only whole one left being Jimbo who had been nailed to the wall by a flurry of darts.
"Pish posh lad, that's just idleness! Honestly, these working classes would rather pretend to fall to bits then do an honest days labour. You've got to take the hardline with these sort."
"Actually I think it was Parkers who took the hardline" said Chapple, indicating a man who appeared to have had a recent encounter with something like chickenwire.
"That was Parkers?! Damnation that man was the best at making pork sandwiches... oh well... onward!"
And with that Lord Nikki continued his striding into the tomb, his feet causing manslaughter behind him as he stomped across the flagstones.
Posted 27 July 2004 - 11:31 AM
"Off you go then, Chapple."
"Damn your eyes, you go first."
"I thought you would have wanted to be the first man to step into the Pharoah's chamber, sir."
"In the offical histories, Chapple, I will be."
"I see, sir."
"I want you to know that I'm quite prepared to flog you on the spot, Chapple."
"I'm going, sir, I'm going."
Chapple crept forward.
"Keep out of the shadows!" Lord Nikki called.
"Right you are, sir!"
There was some rather unpleasant noises, Chapple screamed and a number of large, sharp looking spears fell from the ceiling and embedded in the rock.
"You all right?"
"I think I'm quite badly maimed, actually, sir."
"Well, carry on. Best to stay out of the light, I'd say."
"That was the impression I got, sir."
Posted 31 August 2004 - 09:31 PM
“I really wouldn’t do that, sir,” said Chapple, “The ancient Egyptians were notoriously tetchy about people fooling around with their dead.”
“Nonsense dear boy, I got all of that out my system at Cambridge.”
“I meant… tampering… um… with the sarcophagus, sir. You know, stealing and such like. Taking things from the tomb.”
“Are you calling me a thief, Chapple?”
“Well, sir, in some ways, very specific ways,” the wretched dogsbody caught Nikki’s eye, “I mean… we’re explorers.”
Chapple’s personal view of explorers was probably several decades - very politically correct decades - ahead of its time. In his personal view, when people were dead they were dead, and that was, as it were, the end of it. Whatever your culture happened to do to them afterwards, such as, say, putting them in the ground, was something it happened to do on the understanding that that was where they were going to stay. You didn’t come along a few centuries later and take them away again. That was just rude.
“Explorers! Exactly! Honestly, Chapple,” Lord Nikki thumped the lid of the sarcophagus, “Why such work is the very bread and butter of the noble British explorer! Great things will happen here! Now, help me with this inscription,”
Chapple pulled himself to his feet and limped over to his employer, careful to avoid the patches of light. He wiped his brow and peered down at the hieroglyphics.
“It seems to promise a slow and horrible death to anyone who disturbs the body of the pharaoh,” he said, “It was fairly clear about the ‘horrible’ part, at least.” he added, trying to swallow back the sinking feeling in his stomach.
“Excellent! Well, help me get this lid off, then!”
Posted 31 August 2004 - 10:50 PM
"I say, Chapple, what is this sweet-smelling maisma?"
"It smells like some kind of scented air-freshner, sir," ventured Chapple.
"You're damn right," said the Mummy.
"Yes, I though so," said Chapple.
"Good nose, that man," said Lord Nikki. "By the way, did the dead thing just speak?"
"Thing? I'm hurt, ducky," said the Mummy.
"Yes, sir, the Mummy appears to be quite animate."
"Mummy? What a rude man! Who are you?"
"Ah! Yes, please forgive me, where are my manners!" said Lord Nikki, flashing a diamond grin around his corncob pipe. "I am Lord Nikki, Fourth Earl of Winchester, Commander of the 53rd Fusilli regement. And you are?"
"Oh, me? I'm Ptepicymon, 33rd Sun God of the Nile Delta. Pleasure to meet you."
"Aha! Good to meet one of the bred folk, that's the problem with these foreign lands, nothing but commoners and darkies."
"Excuse me," ventured Chapple, "but why do you have lavender air freshner in your sarcophagus?"
"Do you know how much dead men stink?"
"Ah, right," said Chapple, nodding and grinning while hobbling away awkwardly.
"Well, dashed good to meet you, old man," said Lord Nikki. "Can we give you a ride anywhere?"
"Oh, wait before you go," said the Mummy, which was rather camp. "I have to put a curse on you guys."
"Oh, come now, that won't be necessary," demured Chapple franticly.
"What are you talking about, Chapple, we would be HONOURED to recieve your... curse was it?" Lord Nikki leaned into Chapple, and said out of the corner of his mouth (but nevertheless quite loudly) "Probably just some quaint local custom, they do things differently in these parts, like in France, I mean, do you call THIS a proper manor house?"
"NO TSH FUN BE GHUNGHUN BO..." The mummy began to intone, unwrapping the bandages from its head.
"Sir, perhaps we should..."
"Shut up, Chapple, we don't want to insult our hosts!"
"KAKAHAMA SOOPA STARHA..." The bandages were almost off, the head hidden in shadow.
"Shut up, Chapple! Honestly, you commoners..."
"KASO GRHATHA DA!" The mummy leaned forward, exposing its blackened and charred face in the light. Chapple gave a small scream. Lord Nikki was agape.
They stood, frozen for a second. Then:
"Good heavens, he's a darkie! Chapple, hand me my Darkie stick!"
Chapple, in a fit of gibbering panic, grabbed a spear from its sconce on the wall and handed it to Lord Nikki.
"That's not my... oh, never mind..." With that, Lord Nikki skewered the undead Pharoh square in the chest!
It fell back into the sarcophagus with a shriek. "That's a curse... on you... and you...." it muttered, pointing limp-wristedly at Lord Nikki and Chapple. Then the lid on the sarcophagus fell back down, entombing the mummy once more.
There was a moments silence.
"Well," said Lord Nikki, "Well I never. Darkies pretending to be noble? They don't keep 'em down well enough here. Come along Chapple, help me with this treaure. What? Yes, I know your maimed, you've still got one good arm left, haven't you? Get to it, man!"
Posted 31 August 2004 - 11:16 PM
"A knife, sir?" said Chapple, momentarily baffled by his master's obtuse line of thought.
"To behead this darkie fellow."
"Sir, we're already cursed, I'd imagine further defiling the chap's corpse will only amount to more trouble."
"I'm warning you, Chapple, your persistent insolence is sending you down the slippery, slidy slope to another flogging," said Lord Nikki, eyeing the mummy sadly, "I've still got space on my Trophy Room wall, you know. I need to fill it with something. Now hand me your knife."
Chapple reluctantly did so. Lord Nikk leaned over the side of the sarcophagus and began sawing.
"I was going to be an army surgeon once, you know, Chapple," he said, "Great call for them in the Crimea, you know."
"Sir, I think you may have to consider leaving the treasure," interrupted Chapple, suddenly.. He was sure he could see movements in the shadows.
"Leave it? Are you insane? I don't believe severe blood loss is an excuse for idiocy, Chapple," said Lord Nikki, continuing to saw.
"Um, sir," said Chapple, definitely catching a glint of metal in the dark, "I think there are definitely things... out there..."
"Now you're being vague, Chapple. I've told you before. Vagueness equals what?"
"Dim wits, sir."
"And what should Lord Nikki's servants have?"
"Sharp, cunning minds, sir."
"Now, perhaps you would like to specify."
There was a clanking of armour. Something lurched out of the shadows.
"Looks like an army of undead foot soldiers, sir," said Chapple, "and some zombie cats which look worse for wear."
"Right," said Lord Nikki, turning away from the partially decapitated mummy, "Enough of all this.... ah."
Lord Nikki watched the advancing, decomposed warriors.
"This is certainly one for the memoirs," he said. "If only Mater could see me now, eh?"
"Sir, what are we going to... do?" said Chapple, fear gripping him.
"No time to panic, my lad. Oh no. Now, you pick up the treasure chest, I shall take the spear and we shall slowly stroll out. These fellows are bound to be perceptive, royal bodyguards and all that, they can probably smell the nobility. They'll let us go, mark my words."
There was a clunk as one of the warriors fired a crossbow.
Chapple grunted, staggered slightly, but remained standing.
"They just, erm, shot me, sir."
But Lord Nikki was already running. "Time to make a tactical withdrawal!" he shouted after him.
Chapple sighed, pulled the crossbow bolt out of his shoulder, heaved the treasure chest onto his back and started waddling towards the throne room exit.
Posted 01 September 2004 - 01:41 PM
“It would seem,” he said, “That we have made some work in losing them.”
Undead cries echoed in close, angry succession throughout the tunnels. Chapple shivered.
“So it would seem, sir.” He said.
Lord Nikki grinned.
“Well, well,” he said, pulling an unlit torch from the wall, “Quite a morning.”
“Do you think, perhaps, we were rather too hasty in sawing off that fellow’s head? That’s what we used to do in the Crimea, you know.”
“Oh, yes. Ah, happier days, Chapple. Happier days. Men knew their place. None of this ‘rising from the grave’ nonsense. People were more, y’know, reliable. If you died, you jolly well stayed dead, and if you happened to, as it were, ‘come back’, you bally well had some manners about it all. You didn’t just hand out curses left, right and centre –”
“To be fair, sir, we had violated the holy sacrament of the tomb-”
“Pish and posh, dear boy. We’re explorers!”
There was an unholy shriek from a far off corridor.
“And is that really enough, sir?”
“It’s enough for me, Chapple! Why, the thrill of journeying to some as-yet-undiscovered corner of the world, of pencilling in another corner of the map –”
“Um. The world has already been discovered, sir. It’s been discovered for quite some time. The map is complete...”
“Ah. We’ve had this discussion before, haven’t we, Chapple.”
“Indeed we have, sir.”
“And do you remember what I did then?”
“You burnt the map, sir.”
“Indeed!” Nikki lit the torch with a handy match, “Where’s the fun in discovering a place that’s already been discovered by some other fellow? Now, if you don’t mind, I rather think we’ve stayed here too long. And away!”
Posted 26 September 2004 - 08:54 AM
"What's all this nonsense here?" he asked waving a torch at the cats.
"Appears to be a violent stack of zombie cats," Chapple exclaimed sagging and giving up.
"I see. Quite simple really," Lord Nikki murmured, pushed the torch through the stack and walked out, "Chapple! I will not tolerate tardiness!"
Chapple scrambled outside doing his best to avoid being licked by an undead feline. "Extraordinary sir! A feat for the history books."
"I am sure historians will not be writing about feet."
"No sir, a heroic feat," Chapple explained himself and decided he needed to lie down and possibly sew his arm back on.
"Well quite. I realised that it was only a violent stack and if the stack was destroyed the creatures would no longer be violent. In any case, there is no excuse for taking unneeded rests Chapple. We've still got to get back to the hotel, and that's about fifty miles away."
(unless I screw up again)
Posted 16 October 2004 - 09:12 PM
“Thank you,” he said. “But I’m still rather at a loss as to how we’re going to get out of here,”
Luckily, just at that moment twenty men all dressed in black robes and wielding big swords rushed in. Their leader stepped forward.
“You have unleashed the creature that we have feared for three thousand years,” he said. “You bastards,” he added, as an important afterthought.
Later that night, the motley bunch roasted marshmallows over a campfire.
“And your people really kept a vigil over the valley for three thousand years?” asked Chapple, who is saving me a lot of exposition right now.
“Well,” said the man, “apart from the thirty years or so when everyone sort of forgot about it. Those were a pretty sweet few decades.”
The other men nodded in agreement.
“I’m afraid I’m still have having trouble understanding all of this,” said Lord Nikki, “I don’t quite understand how he was, you know, how he’d managed to stay, uh… uh…”
“Alive?” said the man.
“Yes,” said Lord Nikki.
“The reign of Pharaoh Ptepicymon was long and bloody. When he was finally deposed, it was clear that the ordinary penalty for tyranny would not be enough.”
“What was the ordinary penalty for tyranny?” asked Chapple, who was trying to rub some feeling back into his arm.
“They gave you a light ticking off, followed by an immediate suspension of pocket money for two weeks.”
“In the end, of course, they came up with something more drastic.”
“What did they do to the old chap?” asked Lord Nikki, munching on a marshmellow.
“He was subjected to the 'horny-dog', the worst of all ancient Egyptian curses.”
Lord Nikki swallowed the marshmellow.
“And what did that entail, exactly?” he asked,
“First, they cut out his tongue. Then he was mummified alive. Then they subjected him to ancient Egyptian beat poetry.”
“It’s more horrible than I can possibly imagine!” cried Chapple, throwing himself to the ground and dry heaving.
“What happened next?” asked Lord Nikki,
“They buried him deep within the valley of the kings with a really horny dog that was supposed to hump his leg for all eternity.”
“Bloody hell,” said Lord Nikki.
“My people were instructed to keep close watch over the tomb, for if he should even be woken, he would arise a walking plague upon mankind, with the strength of ages, and the glory of invincibility! Even worse, he would be really, really pissed off.”
“Invincibility?” said Lord Nikki, “That’s not what I’d call a curse,”
“Ahhh, my ancestors were not simply providing for Ptepicymon’s future, but ours as well. They were sick of their kids screwing around all day and not having anything to do. A really good eternal curse doesn’t just provide eternal damnation - if it’s done right it provides job security for generations to come!”
Everyone chewed their marshmellows thoughtfully.
“So,” said Chapple, eventually, “What happens now?”
“The only item capable of stopping Ptepicymon is kept in the British museum. I would suggest you travel there and retrieve it.”
“Because,” said the man, “if I had a three thousand year old invincible corpse coming after me I would seriously loose my shit.”
Posted 28 October 2004 - 07:23 PM
"Why are we doing this, sir?"
"It is an ancient explorer's ritual that will take us to Britain in no time," said Lord Nikki confidently.
"Sir... we'd be in London if we'd taken the steamboat."
Lord Nikki opened his mouth to deliver some cutting and carefully-turned retort, then looked down. "Well, I'll be blowed by a swollen donkey," he profained cheerfully. "I forgot the most important part!"
Chapple sighed. "Sir?" But Lord Nikki had already strode across the yurt (I don't know why they were in a yurt) and pulled a small cage and what appeared to be an inkwell out of his MC Hammer's Explorers Emporium bumbag. He poured some red ink from the pot, then carefully opened the cage and shook it out over the ink. With his fingers, he plucked something from the liquid, then strode with his unusually bow-legged gait back over to Chapple and the map.
Chapple watched as he dropped the creature, which appeared to be an ant, onto the map. "Now, Chapple!" he exclaimed, leaping back on to the map and pacing on the spot with a great intensity, "we must pace as we've never paced before!"
Chapple shuffled the huge rucksack on his back and got his marching feet on. The ant began to weave a line across the map, marking a red trail behind it.
After about a minute, Chapple said, "Sir? Shouldn't it be going to England?"
Lord Nikki said nothing.
"Only it appears to be heading towards Japan, sir."
"Shut up, Chapple," said Nikki, drawing his pistol and shooting the ant right on the Nippon.
The door of the yurt burst open, and a Japanese man with a sharp and shiny sword stood framed in the doorway. "Hoya," it said, "akare wa lipie fritters desu?"
"Damn wops," said Nikki, idly shooting the poor Japanese man in the head.
"I think he was offering us potato fritters, sir," said Chapple, who had conversational Japanese, plus fourty other different languages, as all manservants did in the turn of the century.
"They were probably poisoned. Come, Chapple. We must show the yellow devils what an Englishman is made of!"
Posted 02 December 2004 - 10:19 AM
(unless I screw up again)
Posted 06 December 2004 - 11:46 PM
“Well, it was nothing really,” said Lord Nikki, “Just a little something I learned during my wasted youth,”
“Really? How did you spend it?”
Chapple was impressed. Initially, Lord Nikki had attempted to persuade the angry Japanese that he was Dutch. They hadn’t believed he was Dutch. Then he’d produced a crucifix and jumped up and down on it, driving it thoroughly into the dirt. The Japanese had been confused. This was an obsolete practice. They’d waited politely for him to stop.
Improbably, they had managed to get past the Japanese by challenging them to a rap battle. Lord Nikki had beat down three guys in straight cypher*. The fourth and final contestant had choked, dropped his sword, and run out into the street, where a passer-by had helped him commit seppuku. It being 1923, Chapple wasn’t sure what rocking a rap meant, but Lord Nikki had broken that shit down.
They had been honoured by the emperor and then kicked out of the country as quickly as possible.. They took the first ship back to England. Naturally, it sank. They took the second ship back to England.
* OK, OK, so I don’t talk street.
Posted 27 July 2005 - 04:59 PM
“We must make haste to the British Museum!” cried Chapple. “Only there, sir, will we discover the ancient artefact capable of stopping Ptepicymon!”
“We did cut the fellow’s head off,” said Lord Nikki, “I should have thought that would have done the trick.”
“Apparently not, sir.”
Lord Nikki picked himself up, brushed off his hands, and sighed.
“However did I get myself into this?” he asked.
“Sir! You bet Lord Worchester a thousand British pounds that you could circumnavigate the globe in eighty days in a Cold Air Balloon, sir!”
“Ah yes. You know, for a moment there I really thought I’d do it, too. Damn law of thermodynamics. Well, no point dilly-dallying about! Pick up your step, Chapple! We must to the British Museum!” Lord Nikki tapped the pavement with his walking stick. “I have a curse to thwart! And naturally it’s you who’ll be doing most of the thwarting!”
The British Museum cut a grim silhouette in the fog as Lord Nikki rapped at the door.
“I say!” he cried, “Open up in there! Open up, I say!”
A frenzied scuffling on the other side gave way to bolts being unbolted and chains being rattled about.
“Whoisit?” came the reply. “This isn’t the sort of hours for decent folk to be about!”
“Then it is fortunate that we aren’t decent folk!” cried Lord Nikki. “But we must be allowed entrance!”
“Hoi,” came the voice on the other side of the door, “isn’t that Lord Nikki? Renowned explorer and foremost archaeologist in the land?”
“It is indeed he!” cried Lord Nikki, “indeed! And his trusty servant manservant Chapple, foremost manservant in the land!”
“The Servant Times said I was a ‘rollercoaster ride of a manservant with a surprise twist at the end that would leave you gasping for more!’” beamed Chapple, proudly.
“Well,” said the voice, “I suppose you’d better come in, then.”
The great door was pulled open and the duo rushed inside only to find the great hall cordoned off by police.
Posted 27 July 2005 - 04:59 PM
“Holy crap!” cried Chapple.
“It started at about eleven o’clock this morning, sirs,” said the attendant who’d opened the doors. He hobbled over to them and hung his head wretchedly, “There’d been a break in. It’s terrible, mi’lord! Since then police have been everywhere.”
“Was anything taken?” asked Chapple.
“Nothing…” said the attendant, “except for… oh sirs… they’ve taken… they’ve… they’ve taken… the Nose Of The Sphinx.”
Lightning and, after a narratively appropriate period of time, thunder, beat about the museum walls, echoing itself out in the great gloomy hall.
“My God…” mused Lord Nikki, “could it be? The Nose Of The Sphinx. My very first discovery, Chapple.”
“You didn’t really ‘discover’ it per se, sir. It was, after all, just lying there in the desert. The locals had known about it for years.”
“I mean, I was the first civilised personage to see it.”
“I saw it first,” grumbled Chapple.
“Now then,” said Lord Nikki. “I’d hate to have to turn your family in for Bolshevism.”
“But the Nose…” mused Lord Nikki, “…could it possibly be? My first discovery… could prove to be the very tool I need to stop my arch nemesis. You there!” he pointed at the trembling attendant. “Who took the nose?! Did you see?!”
“Only their shadows, sir,” said the attendant. “and very queer shadows they were, too! All sort of bandagey.”
“Mummies!” cried Lord Nikki and Chapple in unison.
“One of them mumbled something about taking it back to Cairo to resurrect their Master and fulfil the Curse,” said the man. “Queer thing was, sir, they said it in Ancient Egyptian.”
“Can you… speak Ancient Egyptian?” asked Chapple.
“I learnt it in school, sir,” said the man, “at the time the common thought was that learning French or German was unpatriotic, sir. Barbarous tongues, with little in common with our Imperial dialect. Ancient Egyptian really has a lot in common with English.”
Posted 27 July 2005 - 04:59 PM
“Well sir, they both begin with an ‘E’…”
“Unless of course you spell ‘Egyptian’ with an ‘ae’.”
“I wouldn’t know of course,” said Lord Nikki, “It’s Chapple here who crosses my ‘t’s’ and, indeed, dots my ‘i’s.”
“And in fact does all of your bloody writing himself,” muttered Chapple.
“Nothing, mi’Lord. Might I suggest we make haste to Egypt?”
“But we just came from Egypt,” wailed Lord Nikki. “Can’t we do something else?”
“I rather suggest we put a stop to this dashed nonsense once and for all, mi’lord.”
“Oh very well,” said Lord Nikki. “I say, I have an idea! Come! To my London pad!”
“Shouldn’t we be heading to the docks, sir?” asked Chapple, wearily.
“Nonsense!” cried Lord Nikki, “Why sail over the waves like a common sailor when you can fly over the waves like a common air steward?”
Chapple looked at his master worriedly.
“Surely you don’t mean-”
Lord Nikki grinned the grin of a man whose family line included one too many intermarried cousins.
The Cold Air Balloon trundled improbably across the Mediterranean Sea. Chapple shivered, pulling his jumper a little tighter around him and stamping his feet against the cold. The passenger basket swayed precariously. Chapple grimaced and sank back onto his knees, rubbing his hands to keep warm. Beside him Lord Nikki snored gently, oblivious.
Chapple caught sight of something out of the corner of his eye. He couldn’t quite believe it at first, so he did what his mother had always told him to do, which was to count to ten, then look again. So Chapple counted to ten and then, very gently, shook Lord Nikki’s shoulder.
Posted 27 July 2005 - 05:00 PM
Lord Nikki looked at Chapple blearily. “Damn your eyes, Chapple, I was trying to sleep!”
“It’s just that… well…” Chapple swallowed and pointed at a spot in what was now Egyptian sky ahead. “Look.”
Lord Nikki looked. A vast sandstorm had blown up out of nowhere, and was thundering its way towards the Cold Air Balloon, which was already beginning to rock alarmingly in the hot air.
“Ptepicymon!” cried Lord Nikki. “That mummy means to kill me! And you, obviously, Chapple.”
Lord Nikki set his jaw and stared grimly into the oncoming storm.
“Chapple!” he cried, “Prepare for evasive action!”
Chapple looked around confusedly, unsure as to what could possibly constitute evasive action in an air balloon. He then looked on in horror as Lord Nikki pulled out a knife and started sawing away determinedly at the ropes which held the passenger basket to the balloon.
“Don’t worry!” cried Lord Nikki maniacally as lightning and thunder beat about the stricken airship, “I’ll save me!”
The basket tipped dizzily to one side as Lord Nikki sawed through all but one of the support ropes. Chapple threw himself at his Master’s feet.
“Sir,” he pleaded, “you’ll kill us both!”
“Fear not, Chapple!” cried Lord Nikki as he began to saw through the last rope. He threw the wretched manservant a glance, “it’s not the fall that kills yoooooooooooooooooooooouuuuu!!!!”
Chapple woke to find himself tied down to some kind of Ancient Egyptian table. Tipping his head to the left as much as he could, he could make out Lord Nikki, unconscious on another table. They seemed to be in some kind of temple-tomb, probably, in fact, Ptepicymon’s.
Directly above them, the Nose Of The Sphinx was suspended precariously from the ceiling by thin looking rope. Ptepicymon’s Mummy priests surrounded them, chanting in Ancient Egyptian.
Posted 27 July 2005 - 05:00 PM
For the first time in as long as he could remember, Chapple became angry. It wasn’t fair. This wasn’t how it was supposed to end! Furious, he began to strain against his chains, breaking through them in a fit of rage.
The chanting stopped. Chapple grabbed a sword from a handy nearby sword rack and rushed over to his master who was still lying unconscious on the slab.
“You stay away from him!” cried Chapple, waving the sword at the mummies. “I’ll kill you all! I mean, um, I’ll uh… oh…”
“You see,” said a shadowy mummy, standing at the back of the group, “it is useless, ducky.”
“Ptepicymon!” cried Chapple.
“It is I!” cried the undead king, striding into view. “But I should really thank you! You released me from the ancient curse and set me free! And now I shall repay you by killing you!”
The mummies cheered heartily.
“Of course, it won’t be me doing the actual killing,” said Ptepicymon, “The real work will be done by the Nose Of The Sphinx. Long have I wished to possess the only item that could destroy me! Long have I wished its power!”
“What is its power, exactly?” asked Chapple, stealing a glance at the imposing sandstone nose hanging directly above him and his master.
“It’s extremely heavy,” said Ptepicymon, “it’ll, like, totally crush you, man.”
“Oh.” said Chapple, somehow disappointed.
“But there is really no need for you to die,” said Ptepicymon, “It is this ‘Lord Nikki’ here who must pay the penalty for his trespass. It was he who violated the sacrament of my tomb. So if you want to leave, I’ll just look the other way.”
“I won’t do that!” cried Chapple.
“Why not?” asked Ptepicymon, his petrified face coming into something like a frown.
Chapple seemed to think it over, then stiffened his lip, stood up straight and redoubled his grip on his sword.
Posted 27 July 2005 - 05:00 PM
“Ok,” said Ptepicymon, “Goodbye.”
The mummy priests rushed forward and began to hack away at the ropes holding up the Nose. Chapple charged towards them, sawing two of them in half with his sword. The Nose dipped treacherously as the supports fell away from it. Chapple was shaken to the ground, the sword knocked from his hand. Mummy warriors closed in on him, thrusting bronze weapons at his throat.
“Sir…” he murmured, “I… did… my… duty…”
“Indeed you did, Chapple!”
For it was Lord Nikki who now took up the sword from where it lay, having come around and shaken free of the chains using an ancient Peruvian chain-shaking device. Like a whirlwind of inbred upper-class steel he cut through the warrior mummies and faced down their master.
“Haha!” he cried, “It seems the nose is on the other foot, ey, Ptepicymon?”
“Not really,” said the mummy, “You’re both still well within the designated crushing distance.”
“Sir…” managed Chapple, “you… saved me…”
“Indeed!” said Lord Nikki, “We’ll both be home in time for tea and crumpets! Which you’ll be making, I might add!”
“Are you people insane?” cried Ptepicymon, “You’re both about to die in the most horrible way imaginable! Being crushed by a gigantic nose!”
“You look scared, Ptepicymon!” said Lord Nikki, “That’s the problem with mummies, Chapple! No backbone!”
“Haha, sir!” cried Chapple, desperately.
“I’ll have you know my backbone was placed inside a Canopic jar along with my stomach, liver, intestines and the shrivelled remains of my Ancient Egyptian genitals!” cried Ptepicymon, angrily, “Your spinal column, however, is about to be squashed flat in what my people once called ‘squishification’! Prepared to be squishified, chumps!” Ptepicymon ran forward and began to gnaw away at the last rope holding up the nose with his remaining teeth.
“Chapple!” cried Lord Nikki, “Run for the exit! I’ll see to old boney here!”
Chapple blinked. “Sorry, sir?” he asked, “it almost sounded like you told me you were asking me to save my skin.”
Posted 27 July 2005 - 05:01 PM
“Go to, Chapple!”
Chapple turned and ran, seeing Lord Nikki run towards Ptepicymon, sword held high. Behind him there was a tremendous thud as of, say, a twenty-five tonne sandstone nose hitting the temple floor.
And then silence.
And then a horrific rumbling. The temple began to cave in. High pressure sand broke through the ancient walls, swallowing up the catacombs and washing away support columns. Chapple ran for the exit, dodging the trapped floors and collapsing walls. He threw himself through the door just as a final cave-in sank the entrance back into the sand.
“Sir…” he murmured, tears streaming down his face, “Oh, sir.”
He pulled himself up to his knees to see the tomb had been completely buried by the desert. He wept.
A hand rested on his shoulder. He looked up to see, through his tears, the leader of the black robed tomb protectors.
“It is over,” said the man. He offered Chapple his hand and pulled the servant to his feet.
“Your ‘Lord Nikki’ was a brave man,” he said. Chapple nodded.
“He wanted… to do what was best…” said Chapple. “…for England.”
“Yes, yes,” said the man, “let’s not forget I’ve just been made unemployed. Oh well, I hear the Scorpion King’s tomb has a vacancy. You can join me, if you want. The money’s no good, but you do get this cool robe!”
Chapple shook his head. “I’m sorry. It wouldn’t be the same.”
The man shrugged. “It’s alright,” he said kindly, “think it over though.”
“I think I’d like to be alone for a while,” said Chapple, “You know, to pay my respects.”
The man nodded and walked away into the sands. Chapple stood alone and looked out into the desert.
“Sir,” he said, “You were… a fine master. There’ll never be another like you. I really mean it. I… I don’t know what to say…”
Posted 27 July 2005 - 05:01 PM
Chapple turned on the spot, wide eyed.
“No!” he cried, “It’s impossible!”
“Impossible?!” cried Lord Nikki, “Nay! Merely highly improbable!”
“But…s-sir… you were buried…”
“Indeed!” said Lord Nikki, striding out of the sand, “Luckily I kept my head! Unlike Ptepicymon!”
“Dead? Oh my, yes,” said Lord Nikki, “crushed by the very nose which he tried to steal from right under our noses!”
“Sir!” cried Chapple joyously, “this is incredible!”
Lord Nikki brushed off a few remnants of sand from his suit and nodded firmly.
“‘Incredible’, Chapple?” he asked, “Incredible is our job! We’re explorers, dear boy!”
“I’m so happy I think I might die, sir!” cried Chapple.
“Nonsense, dear boy,” said Lord Nikki. “You haven’t made me any tea, yet.”
“Holy crap, you’re alive!” the black-robed man emerged from the sand, holding two horses by the reigns and blinking in disbelief. “How’d you do that?”
“Good God, a native!” cried Lord Nikki. Before Chapple could stop him he rushed forward and decapitated the protesting man with his sword.
“Sir…” managed Chapple, “You shouldn’t have… you see, he was on our… oh nevermind.”
“Come, then,” cried Lord Nikki, throwing himself onto one of the horses, “I’m sick of this country and everybody in it! To Blighty! Horsey: away!”
“Horrah!” cried Chapple.
And so they rode, rode into the dizzying sunset, rode to tea, to crumpets, and to untold adventure.
Posted 27 July 2005 - 05:06 PM
On the other, boo! I wanted to join in