Fan Fiction

Discussion in 'BOARDANIA' started by alexbutterfield, May 2, 2009.

  1. alexbutterfield New Member

    What really got me interested in looking at this board was an idea I had for a discworld fan fiction piece.

    I've never written fan fiction before, but I had an interesting idea and thought I'd give it a go.

    Has anyone here written any? (is there an active place here or online for people writing and reading discworld fan fiction?)

    My idea is a full story - not just a scene or something small. it's a genuine mystery based around Ankh Morpork, with the watch and a host of original characters. I'd like feedback and a bit of help on getting the discworldy bits accurate. I'd swap notes if anyone does that kinda thing.
  2. mazekin Member

    Hey Alex, I have never written fan fiction for Pratchett things, but I do for other books, movies etc. A good place to post is . They have a place under the books section for Pratchett, however it is under Discworld, not his name. Hope this helps
  3. Maljonic Administrator

    You could have a section on the front of this site if you like, same as the ones under where it says:
    Discworld and Member Articles

    on the front page.

    Or you can just post it as threads on here if you prefer.
  4. alexbutterfield New Member

    hi mazekin - thanks, seems like a good place for it. A bit quiet in the discworld section - i was hoping there'd be a few people here interested in that sort of thing, as this is actually a discworld community.

    i might see if I can find a beta reader there. but I could well impose lots of questions about discworld minutae here.
  5. alexbutterfield New Member

    that's cool - i see there's a Fanfiction page already, with one entry.

    I'll probably just keep working on it, maybe try and get some help at, but i'll stick around here too and bug you all when i need to know the order of ranks in the watch, or the name of a bakery in ankh morpork, or something like that. Although i've found LSpace wiki to be great for that kind of thing.
  6. mazekin Member

    Would love to read your stuff :)
  7. Buzzfloyd Spelling Bee

    We used to have fanfiction from a former member, but that was back on the old boards. I've read a bit of DW fanfiction, but the quality is generally a bit low! I also used to be a member of The Turtle Moves, a play-by-post Discworld roleplaying site, which was basically collaborative DW fanfic. Sadly, the site is no more. By all means post your stuff here as you write it!
  8. alexbutterfield New Member

    I'll post a chapter soon. And if anyone is interested in offering notes, I'll send you a synopsis of my plot - as it stands right now.:wink:
  9. peapod_j New Member

    Hi Alex, I haven't been on the boards much as my life is crazy at the moment. I am a member of and love reading and writing fan fics. At the moment I'm more on anime but I have read some of the Discworld ones but it's badly organised as it's not split into the books I will have to as the monators to clean it up. I would love to read Discworld fan fics. Keep us updated. :)
  10. alexbutterfield New Member

    wow - the power cord to my laptop with this file on died and I needed to get a new one. Here's a couple of chapters from my fanfiction story. If you're interested in proof reading etc, let me know.

    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Wedge[/FONT]

    revised in a later post.[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]

    I'd rather not preserve the earlier drafts for prosperity. Prosperity is embarrassing.
  11. TamyraMcG Active Member

    I like it, Ink Morpork! The uncly teacher seems to have something he isn't telling everyone. I'll be waiting for the next installment. :)
  12. alexbutterfield New Member


    Yup, Duckling is definitely upto something. (He's a bit of a Fidel Castro/Charles Manson character with hidden depths).

    The funny thing about Ink Morpork, is i thought of that after I had an Igor tattoo artist. I had a different name (A hand with needle - a pun on the igor motto, a hand when in need, or something) , and then Ink Morpork popped into my head. A very satisfying moment.

    I'd like a couple of suggestions actually.

    At one point I list a couple of Discworld artists. They are puns on real world artists of course.

    Normal Rockwell is the trollish Norman Rockwell, which is okay.
    The Arch Angel Michael is of course a spoof on Michaelangelo - and that's fine, it ties in later in the story too.
    Clodd Hopper is the dwarfish Cluade Monet. I think that's good, and his painting Blummin' Poppies (Monet's Blooming Poppies) is sufficiently Pratchett-esque. Lily Waters is a weak twist on Waterlillies.

    So my request is for help thinking of better dwarfish spoofs on Monet paintings, or other DW spoofs on real world artists and paintings.

    Obviously Leonard de Quirm is taken.

    Can anyone suggest any such names that i can use?
  13. Buzzfloyd Spelling Bee

    At some point, I'd love to have a read of this, but I'm a bit occupied at the moment! Do keep updating, though.
  14. alexbutterfield New Member

    Here's what I have so far. The rest of the basic idea is all planned out, but these are the scenes I've written.

    Basically the story is about an Academy of Disbelievers who, under the command of a charismatic leader, a ruthless immortal vampire, and a one handed angel (not his good hand either) are hell bent on destroying all the Gods, by the only way they know how, stopping people from believing. But their methods attract the attentions of The Watch

    I'd love feedback, and suggestions for any changes whatsoever. I'm most keen to get the characters from the actual canon
    correct, so any ways to improve those parts is most welcome.

    Sorry about the formatting. The paragraph breaks dont translate well from google docs.


    “The Disc is carried on the back of 4 elephants: Berilia, Tubul, Great T'Phon, and Jerakeen. They stand on the shell of the star-turtle Great A'Tuin..."
    At the back of the classroom, a student yawned.

    "But we didn't always believe that.” Senor Gastro opened up a large illuminated tome. “Does anyone know what this text is?”
    “Ooh, ooh. The Holey Gospel of Yahu, Senor,” said Corny, as eager to please as always.
    “Almost correct. I have here the fully restored, re-translated from the Lost Tablets of Begot, Gospel of Yahu.” Senior Gastro spoke a word at a time as he scribbled the full title of the book across the slate board that hung on the wall at the front of the room. He had to traverse it twice to fit the title up there and his board-hand was poor; it tapered weakly rightwards and he had to squeeze the last few letters together. He, very deliberately, did not capitalise the 'G' nor the 'Y'.

    “And this yahu,” he extended the 'hu' to somewhere between three and four syllables in a phonemic character assassination; “this, primitive 'god' was worshipped by which un-civilasation?”
    “Ooh, ooh. The Behovians, Senor.”
    “Cornelius, if you say 'ooh, ooh' one more time, like some kind of ape, I will send you to the jungles of Howondaland,” said Gastro, rolling his dark eyes behind a thicket of eyebrows. Gastro paused and looked down at the pages of the volume, gathering his thoughts. He perched on the corner of the old oak desk and gently closed the cover, resting his hands upon the book, which in turn, rested upon his knee. He paused for a moment and looked down at an apple which sat on his desk. Cornelius had picked it for him before class from the Academy's orchard. He did it every day. Gastro picked it up and paraphrasing the opening chapter of the Gospel of Yahu began to construct an imaginary orrery, with the aid of the apple.
    “You see, the Behovians saw the sun rise every morning and set every night and they... sat around their camp fires, or whatever they did, eating... bugs or whatever they ate, and they realised that: Of course! The world is a sphere and we are rotating!” He held up the apple and gave the stalk a little twist. The apple spun. The children laughed. “To their primitive minds, it made perfect sense, they didn't even need to test it. Never thought to check. They saw the water around their island and they climbed Mt. Begot and saw the edge of the world and that was proof to them. The world must be round because they can't see around corners and they can't see around the edge of the world. They put two and two together and got a a sphere. They never questioned it, they had no need to. They didn't need a bigger explanation. Blindly they accepted that when you were on the underside of the world you didn't fall off because...” here Gastro quoted from Chapter 3, his voice boomed, “And Yahu said unto Izak, 'there is no up, and there is no down. Drawn to me shall all things be. And by my attraction shall ye have faith in me and shall I preventeth my people from falling off the floor.'”
    Corny grinned. The silly Behovians, they really were silly. There was no other word for them, just, plain daft. Well, 'daft' was another word for them. Silly and daft. But those meant the same thing, so it didn't really count.
    “When they dropped things," Gastro went on, "they had no idea about the down force which causes heavy things to fall. Nor the up force which causes flames and steam to rise. If it had not been for the Artificers' Guild we might still believe this claptrap today.”
    The students laughed again.
    “Jaja," he mocked them, "you laugh, but it makes one wonder,” he lowered his voice now, this was his point and when he made his point he always spoke softly. It made his point less... pointy. “It makes one wonder, what we believe today which tomorrow we will also find laughable.” Gastro smiled wryly. He was likeable; a funny, comfortable uncle. He wasn't actually an uncle, he had no family, and the orphans at the Academy didn't call him 'Uncle', they called him 'Senor', but it was affectionate, and he thought of himself as uncly. He wore a khaki shirt over a plain white cotton singlet and his khaki trousers were colonized by pockets. When a student asked why he wore such strange clothes, he responded softly that in a combat situation it was better to blend into the background than stand out in colourful... colours, such as the various armies of the Disc wore. They laughed again. Gastro in a, what did he say, a 'combat situation'? He smiled back at them.

    In his study, Gastro took the apple from his pocket and sueezed it with a crushing grip, so that the juice dripped into a glass. He squeezed a little more and a final drop fell. He discarded the apple husk and swigged the apple juice. Gastro was as big as his grip. His beard was sprawled and unkempt, but his dark hair, though greasy, was always swept back neatly with a comb which he kept in one of his many pockets. He wore comfortable flat plimsolls which he had imported by the W. Sonky Co. They sported a cotton upper attached to a rubber sole, which were very suitable for the amount of walking he avoided. He rarely left the confines of his luxuriously furnished and impeccably floored Academy. He had ordered some boots though, he was going to be moving soon, very soon, very moving. He was thinking about getting one of those new tread-wheels; it was all well and good getting new boots for running in, but if you didn't also have the body for running in, you could get wheezy, and it is hard to exude authority when you are catching your breath.

    He remembered Jumbo Poncho, the cook at the Academy who had sworn by his TreadMill (TMTM), “Lost 30 pounds this week, cavron,” he used to say, perhaps as his way of justifying the bacon sandwich—with a side of bacon—that he was scoffing. The only weight Jumbo lost was in gold: a not-as-low-as-it-first-seemed(-you-should-have-read-the-small-print) weekly payment to the Exorcism TreadMills Co. There's a fat person inside all of us, just waiting to be run out – that was their slogan, but Jumbo found he garnered the same compliments by just lying about losing 5 pounds – and that way he could avoid this whole exorcise business. When you weigh over 250 pounds, what's 5 more or less? He still had to fork out for the damn thing though. That was the real weight loss strategy behind the product, by the time a customer had made his weekly payment he had barely any money left for food. Jumbo was a cook though, he never went hungry. And he had the last laugh too, his last laugh at least, when on his death bed he told the nurse, “Now the bastards will never get their money.”
    Maybe Gastro would try Jumbo's TreadMill, it was just sitting there now, as was Gastro. But it was the thought that counted, as Gastro knew all too well.


    Ink Morpork: A Hand With Needle was located at the fashionable end of Grunefair street. Casper perused the wall. A dragon, that's what it was supposed to be. The others had dragons. Yet, there was something feminine about the dragon and Casper was all man, at least that was the image he wanted to project, and a girly tattoo? That wouldn't help.
    “I uthed to be all man,” said Igor, “but you thee thith lip, thir? Belonged to a lady friend. I find the fuller lip all the better for pierthing.” Igor tried to wink, but the studs in his eye-lids clinked together and got in his way.
    The carp, then, thought Casper. When he thought of himself, which was often, he thought of himself as a spiritual person and the carp was a sign of fertility to the monks of... somewhere-or-other, he wasn't sure where.
    “You are mithtaken, thir. The carp ith the thymbol of thuthtenanthe,” Igor said, regretting his lisp, but not enough to stop putting it on – he'd never go that far. Instead he used the common igor ploy of constructing his sentences to evade the letter 's' and the soft 'c'. Some words just weren't made to be pronounced wrongly, and yet, at times they were unavoidable. 'Sustenance' was one. “The thymbol of fertility,” he pointed out, “ith the two carpth fu-”
    “Yes!” interrupted Casper, “Right you are, Igor.” Casper glanced around at the other walls. “Hm, nothing jumps out at me,” he sighed.
    “What about the 3D dethignth, you have to wear thethe. Bathed on an ancient Agatean invention. I had to make thome changeth of courthe.”
    Casper inspected a contraption like a pair of spectacles wearing its own pair of spectacles. The inner set had green lenses and the outer were violet. He looked through and then suddenly pulled back, shocked. He dropped the contraption from his field of view. There was nothing there but the drawings on the wall. He looked through again, this time he didn't panic. Instead he waved a hand in front of him, clutching at the empty air.
    “Magnificent,” he declared.
    “Octarine ink,” said Igor. “Very exthpenthive, but an incredible effect, don't you agree?”
    “Huh, crazy. Very realistic,” said Casper, still taken aback by the potency of the visual effect.
    “It'th a popular dethign for the hen partieth. Thankfully, not a permanent ink. I'll give you thome more time to dethide, thir.” Igor disappeared into the back through curtains that hung over the door.
    Casper looked through a – well, it was a kind of book. Igor had invented an ingenious way to clip pages between a cover, using three clasps in the centre of a black leather binding. This one was labelled 'Normal Rockwell' and it contained iconographs of sketches by the great troll illustrator. On the shelf above it was a glass case containing a stony right hand with a matching label. Was that really the hand of the most renowned—the only—troll artist of all time? Other jars with preserving concoctions contained hands with corresponding binders. Clodd Hopper – that couldn't be the hand of the renowned Dwarfish Impressionist, could it? He flicked through a few pages and there were the paintings he'd seen as a boy in the Ankh Morpork Museum of Art: Blummin' Poppies, 1873; Wasted Lillies, 1906. The next binder was labelled Archangel Michael. And and the jar it was a left hand! If this was some kind of joke or gimmick then Igor had done his research. Archangel Michael was the fabled portrait artist of the gods, cast from Dunmanifestin when it was discovered he was left-handed. Casper knew that any igor worth his salt could transplant body parts, even with their own body parts, it wasn't far fetched to imagine an igor transplanting the hand of a great painter if he needed to do some painting, but Rockwell, Hopper, and Michael? Those must have cost an arm and... a pretty penny. Yes, that's a better choice of phrasing, thought Casper.

    Casper had a pretty penny though. Money was a given in his family; a-given whenever they a-took it. He was filthy with the stuff. He flicked through the Michaels. If anyone could afford these tattoos it was him.


    Gastro slumped into his chair, out of breath. Francesca ran a claw delicately across his forehead, replacing a lock of hair that had fallen down over his face.
    “You have a few greys,” she smiled, and with a gentle slice, cut away the stray hairs. She snipped the end of a cigar with two claws and held it up, between thumb and fore-finger, her claws receding as quickly as they'd protruded. He took it and reached for a candle, but Francesca was quicker, she held the candle up with a steady hand as Gastro puff-puffed until the cigar smoked into life. She was sitting on the corner of his mighty desk.

    “Thank you, my darling,” Gastro crooned. He called everyone his darling, but Francesca believed he meant it when he said it to her. Although she was his secretary, and this kind of thing might have been called inappropriate by some--from a safe distance--Francesca was more likely to blush than take offence. She handed over a report. On Tuesday they were due in court, it was already Octeday. Gastro flipped through the first pages and then pushed the report away.
    “What will we do if we lose, Senor?”
    “Not very much.” He was more sombre than the wide brimmed hat that hung on his wall.
    “What will they do?” Francesca rephrased her question.
    “They will ask us to stop teaching un-belief in our irreligion course, and to abolish our magical-skepticism syllabus altogether.”
    “In the summons they describe it as preaching, rather than teaching, Senor.”
    “I'm sure they do,” Gastro said dreamily. “I'm sure they do.”
    “You won't be locked up?”
    “Oh no, I doubt that very much, my darling.” Francesca lifted the cover from a dinner plate, and withdrew from the room.


    Outside the city, a black carriage drawn by four black horses trundled lethargically onward. The carriage was fine. Produced in Uberwald by Count de Forde--the commoner can't afford a Count de Forde--it was aimed at the more long of tooth, and shadow, and pocket. The customer was offered the choice of any colour they liked, as long as they liked black. Luckily, they all did. This carriage was so black it was silhouetted against the night. Up ahead, more traditionally silhouetted against the gloomy glow of the city gates another carriage paused to pay a toll and then continued.

    “One of the Dragon Boyz!” initiated Davey. He was sat on the wall of a dried-up fountain inside the Least Gates with his buddies. “It's official now.”
    Casper looked sheepish. “I have something to confess,” he warned.
    “What? You did get it? Don't tell me you couldn't even handle a little needle, big guy like you?” Davey joked. He was younger than Casper, also athletic, but wiry. His dapper clothes hung off him like it was his father's. A golden handkerchief tried to escape his breast pocket like a lick of flame. He was the leader of the Dragon Boyz, a small time protection racket, protected from oblivion themselves by their families. They were each and every one a product of Hugglestones, Ankh Morpork's only finishing school for boys, unless you count the Assassins Guild, but they are interested in a different kind of finishing. They had met in 4B, and formed under the leadership of Davey. All these years on, here they were, collecting pennies from visitors to the city. They didn't want for money which was extremely fortunate, as they did not want for work. Perhaps that was why they hung around the city gates and taxed anyone trying to enter. The small change they collected they threw to the beggars, so like seagulls the beggars flocked after them. It was beginning to bug the locals, all these beggars with their 'eres' and 'guv'ners'. They wondered what was wrong with the other city gates. In this part of town, some of the houses even had lawns, and if the residents found beggars sleeping there one more time...

    Casper pulled his shirt over his rippling muscles and revealed, with a pirouette as he approached, a spectacular body of art. Wrapped around his midriff and his arms was a representation of Seven-Handed Sek, God of Charity. It was beautiful as anything the Boyz had ever seen. The beggars also crowded around. The official city guard who watched the gates, but ignored (in their best interests) these petty racketeers, crowded around. A crowd crowded around. So predisposed are the native Morporkians to forming crowds, that a crowd of Morporkians has become the official collective noun.

    Most of the people in this part of the city were devoted followers of Sek, they had to be, when you were born into money like they were, it was very unfashionable to turn your nose up at charity. So like many other fashions they grinned and bared it. It was like a corset, although it squeezed money rather than breath out of them. They held fundraisers and gave tithes at the temples to Sek. The Beggars Guild only encouraged the fashion, and at night the temples became soup kitchens, so many were the beggars drawn to the gate that the city was in danger of tilting... again.
    “It's sensitive. I've been in there all day,” Casper pleaded as hands reached in from all sides to touch his adorned body. He swatted them away. “It's a faithful recreation of the original Michael.”
    Davey admired the foreshortening, “It could have been painted by his own hand.”
    Casper opened his mouth to say, but decided against it. More touchy, feely, swat!
    “Was it expensive?” snivelled Chico, the third member of the gang, as he thought of himself.
    “What do you think? Very,” Casper explained.
    “Excellent. Then, I simply must have one.” Swat – a finger was tracing the chariot emblazoned on his back.
    “I did have to sign a contract agreeing to donate my body to science and medicine when I die.”
    “Won't you need it?” asked Chico.
    “Oh, I'd imagine I can buy another one.” Swat – Casper backed away. “I'm going home I need to put an ointment on it.” He delicately shrugged his shirt back on, trying to find a way of wearing it that didn't require it to touch his skin.

    The visitor in the black carriage watched with interest through the black lace that hung over the window. There was always something to see in Ankh Morpork but a crowd like this was intriguing. In Uberwald they say it pays to keep your finger on the pulse, it's one less place to get bitten. In Ankh Morpork people say keeping your ear to the ground is a good idea, but those people are planning on kicking you in the teeth and don't want to pull a hamstring doing it. This visitor didn't mix with metaphor, he was simply, acutely, aware.

    As he watched Casper back away, the visitor caught a glimpse of the tattoo. “Yeeesss,” he hissed.

    It was getting dark, the soup kitch-- temples were the main attraction now and nobody noticed as the sillhouette of a carriage trundled away in the general direction of exactly where Casper was headed.


    Casper made his way down the cobbled street. His shirt was irritating him, but as he began to untie the laces on his collar, he was overwhelmed by a sense that he was being watched. He turned to see the black carriage following him. Or rather it was just heading in the same direction, Casper told himself. He put his head down and kept walking. There was something wrong about this carriage, but Casper couldn't place it. He felt that if he looked back it would be for the last time. But if he didn't look back that could also be for the last time. He resolved to cross the street, that would give him the excuse he needed for a sidelong glance at the coach. As he skipped across and under the eaves of the buildings opposite he noticed what was wrong. The coach was too quiet. No, that wasn't it, now that he thought about it he could hear the coach clearly: the horses' shoes clinking and clanging, the wheels clattering, and axles creaking. Now that he thought about it, it seemed entirely normal-place. He was being paranoid, he could still feel the dirty fingers of the beggars and the manicured nails of his friends tracing all over his body, scratching and infecting him with paranoia. He took off his shirt, the fresh summer's night air would feel better than this day-old shirt on his raw skin. There was blood on it, his tattoo was bleeding and his shirt was covered in tiny speckles of blood, mostly at the shoulders where it had hung heavily against him. As he walked he dabbed his fingers against his patterned shoulder. He inspected them. There wasn't much blood at all, he'd apply the ointment and the dressing when he got home. He wiped the fingers dry with his thumb and... there it was again. It wasn't that the coach was too quiet, it was that the world was too quiet, it was like the theatre, a semi-realised world where the director had neglected the ambient sounds. It seemed like he was alone on the street with the black carriage. The leaning facades leaned in further. It became suddenly colder and the air began to fog. He knew these streets, he could make his way home blindfolded and a mere fog wasn't going to fool him, but he knew the sounds too and they were all too conspicuous in their absence. The coach sounds drew closer, Casper suddenly felt his pulse drumming in time to the horses' canter. It was upon him, he couldn't look back, he wouldn't be able to see anyhow, the fog had descended too thickly, and so quickly, he'd known nothing like it. Just keep moving he told his quivering legs. You know these streets. But his heart was beating faster and the horses weren't letting up either. And then it passed him. He felt the hulk of it gust through the fog leaving a swirling wake. He let out a deep breath, something between laughter and a sob, which he'd held for, he didn't know how long. It escaped his lips and condensed in the air. He watched it diffuse into the mists with a relief, and then there was... the sharpest of pricks at his throat.
    "That's it. So many are startled when a blade pierces their skin." The accent was unmistakeably Uberwaldian. "You are accustomed to the needle. Such a beautiful body of art."
    "Do you know who I am?" Casper attempted to declare, but he couldn't carry it off.
    "Do you know who I am?" hissed the vampire, rhetorically. "I am Death, the reaper of souls."


    Casper was upside down, but strangely there was no sensation of heaviness, no rush of blood to the head. What had happened? He climbed down and looked at himself... in the mirror? How could he be upside down when he was standing on his feet.

    "This must be one of those carnival mirrors," he declared. "They can do all kinds of funny psychic tricks these days, you know. Illusions and whatnot, seances and the like." Who was he talking to? There was someone there.


    "Are you sure it's not mirrors? I'm usually pretty darn good at figuring these things out." Casper put his hand out and felt for the looking glass but his stomach capsized as he felt no mirror. Then it sank to the bottom of the ocean as he tried to feel his body only for his hand to pass straight through it.

    "OK." Casper ordered, "I've had quite enough of this. Whatever it is you are doing, you can very well put me back now. Do you know who I am?"

    "Excuse me?"

    "What the blazing chariots are you talking about?"

    "What gives you the right to tell someone something like that? Who the hell do you think you are?"
    It all came flooding back. "Yeah, that's it, that's what he said." Casper looked down at his body, there was a bowl on the floor collecting the last few drops of blood. "And I am my soul then, am I?"
    "And that's my body then?"

    IT WAS.
    "Did you do this to me?"

    "It was a vampire wasn't it? Bloody vampires. I always knew we shouldn't trust the damn things."
    "Well, I'll have to find a way to get my body back to Igor. I signed a contract. He needs it for science and such, I didn't read it very carefully. I won't be needing it will I?" I SHOULDN'T THINK SO.
    "Good. Because I was already starting to regret that tattoo. I can only imagine what it would have looked like when I got old and wrinkly."
    Death and Casper the ghost faded away.

    The door to the cellar opened silently.The bowl was lifted to the flushed lips of the sated vampire and drained. It was the hour before the dawn, almost time to resign to his chamber. Chug Von Garter sighed heavily. It was a contented sigh, but at the same time a gluttonous sigh of over-indulgence. He loosened his cummerbund and hiccuped. He drew his candle up again and cast the flickering light on Casper's body. He'd have to find a way to preserve this masterpiece.


    Icarus could see his house from up here, and the farm, and the lane, and beyond, in the distance, the lights of the city of Ankh Morpork, like a mole-hill on the beautiful lawn of the Sto Plains. This, this would finally show his father, who'd never believed in him. When Icarus was five he'd designed a new hive for his father's bees, but his father just ruffled his yellow hair and pinned the design to the front of the ice-box that kept the old farmer's produce fresh before market. At six, Icarus had designed a machine that could pluck the feathers from a chicken twice as fast as any man, but his father preferred the old ways and said his customers had no time for efficiency. He was a man of the land, he owed his living to the land, and harboured no dreams of anything beyond this land, his land. He'd never been further than market. But Icarus, Icarus dreamed. What dwelled in the ocean depths? What did clouds feel like? What happened after death? Where there other worlds than the disc?

    With all these questions floating in his mind Icarus felt a constant lightness in his head, in his stomach, sometimes it crept into his arms and legs like an itch in his veins. He couldn't bare to sit at a table. He would stand up, pace the floor, go into the farm yard and climb to the very top of the ancient oak. There he would breath the clear air right into the forgotten corners of his lungs. He would dream of drifting into the sky, of being a thousand feet tall and skipping from mountain top to mountain top, the landscape no more than a map beneath him. Other teenagers lacked direction, but Icarus had always known that the only way is up. He couldn't remember when he'd conceived of building his wings, the idea had always been with him. While the other boys his age were chasing girls, he'd studied the birds and bees, all the while tinkering with his mechanisms. It seemed fitting that in the final construction he would use the feathers of the chickens and the wax from the bees applied over a winged exoskeleton.

    Icarus flew higher, he could look down on the Tower of Art now; the great spire that rose from the centre of the city. In the hazy dawn it cast it's long shadow like a sun dial. Still Icarus flew higher, until the clouds formed condensation on his wings. Then all of a sudden he was above them and they rolled about him like snow capped peaks. He wanted to walk among them, to lay himself down in them, finally at rest. But every time he reached out to touch a pillow they became vapour and condensed on his fingers; as elusive as a rainbow.

    He climbed further, driving himself onwards and upwards. It was still before dawn when he saw the light on the horizon suddenly break. It was beautiful, he must be the only person ever to see the dawn from this perspective. He swooped toward it with quickly improving agility.

    As he closed in the light he saw the ocean stretch beneath him, the shadows of the sparse clouds rolling over the glistening water.

    And then he reached it. The light barrier, and there were more wings, mightier than his own. Was he not the first to see the light creep over the disc? This usurper of his dreams was wheeling along in perfect sync with the dawn. Icarus flew higher to confront this rival then he saw that it was no man, but... an angel. His wings were no contraption, but natural as a birds, and he was... painting the dawn on to the sky. He had to fly upside down to achieve this which can't have been good for his back.
    "How do you do?" said Icarus.

    The angel was startled and would have dropped his brush if he could have. "Uh, I am doing fine."
    "I'm Icarus, and I'm seven. Who are you?"
    "Well, I'm Michael, and I'm quite a lot older than you young man." The angel had white hair and a bushy white mustache. He wore a white suit and his wings were, well, white. "Those are some mighty fine wings you got yerself."
    "I made them myself."
    "Well, ain't you just the dangdest little man?" said Michael. "Well, I best be a-gettin' back to my paintin'. It's mighty important work I'm doin' here."
    "What are exactly are you doing, mister?"
    "Well, it's kind of a big deal, it's a secret. I don't know if I should tell."
    "Oh please tell me, I promise to keep it, I don't even have any friends to blab to."
    "Well if you promise not to tell..."
    "I do, I do."
    "I'm paintin' the sky with the dawn. It's the finest job I've ever had, without me there would be no day. Do you want to... no, I shouldn't really let you, you're just a whipper-snapper."
    "I'm not a whipper-snapper, I don't even know what that is, I promise I'll do a good job, I built these wings all by myself. Please let me try."
    "Okay, maybe just a little." Michael gave the brush to Icarus. Icarus felt a tingle in his bones as he started to apply the light. Michael handed the can of 'early dawn' paint and then dropped into the open air.
    "Hey, where are you going? This isn't fun after all."
    "Try doin' it for 7000 years. And the time passes slower up here so you can paint the whole sky in a single morning. Oh, and when you're done, turn the brush over and paint the night. So long now." And with that he was gone, dropping through clouds below, stretching and cracking his back with relief, before swooping into a parabolic curve. He was free at last.


    Commander Vimes of the City Watch sat at his desk and supped his tea. He was determined—determined!—to have his morning break. The Watch was expanding, before long it would consume the universe, and Vimes was determined to consume his bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich before that happened.

    He reached for The Times, a copy had been left on his desk. He didn't read it now, reading the news had become a duty of the watch officer and he'd be damned if his break would be ruined by duties. Besides, Willikins had read aloud the important parts this morning. No, he turned to page 28 and took out a pencil and began to fill in the numbers. Page 28 was the puzzle page and Vimes found the No Sodding Clue puzzle especially relaxing, and he was good at it. It was like the crossword but without those sodding cryptic clues. Much more like Watch work.

    AE Pessimal knocked at the door.
    “Excuse, me, er, Your Grace,” he said. “A message...”
    Vimes sighed. “I'll take it after breakfast, AE. Thank you.”
    “It might be urgent, Your Grace.”
    “Might be? My breakfast might be urgent, AE. We do not get manna from the heavens, for heavens sake. A man has to eat. Is it urgent or isn't it?”
    “Dunno, Your Grace. Could be, though. Better to be safe than sorry though, is what I always say.”
    “Safety is overrated, AE, and apologies are underrated. A sincere apology from a proud man is worth... well, it's worth a lot. See if you can't finish that phrase, AE, I think it has potential. Then come back, and if I've finished my lunch by then, perhaps I can deal with this possibly urgent message.”
    AE retreated from Vimes' office.

    Really, was a ten minute break for a cup of tea and a sandwich too much to ask? Yes, had been his initial answer, when it was proposed by the Watchmen's Guild. If they wanted a sandwich then they could bloody well eat it on the beat. But the Guild had got it's way as unions do, and now it was regulation. Well, if you can't beat them... go find some mates and come back for them later. That's what Vimes told the lads. But he couldn't go against regulations now, could he? No, sir. What kind of example would that be setting? And so Vimes made it a point to eat his sandwich and drink his cup of tea and finish the ten-minute No Sodding Clue puzzle every morning, without fail, unless something better came up, or he was out of the office. This was his first morning break in a fortnight.

    Vimes finished his sandwich and the puzzle at once, and at once the door opened, followed by a knock.
    “I have a message for you...”
    “Yes, yes, come in, AE. Have you been waiting at the door until I finished my last bite?”
    “I can't imagine that would be a very productive use of time, Your Grace. Unless the message was an urgent one.”
    “Well let's see it,” said Vimes. He took the message from AE. It was sealed and stamped with Vetinari's wax seal. “This is from Lord Vetinari, AE.”
    “I did say it might be urgent, Your Grace.”
    “You didn't say it was from the Patrician, man,” Vimes spluttered.
    “Sorry, Your Grace.”
    He sighed, again – he was doing a lot of that lately, “Your apology means a lot, AE.”
    “Ah, very clever, Your Grace,” AE winked.
    “Did you just try to wink, AE?”
    “I did, Your Grace.”
    ”Well let's make that the last time, and 'Sir', will suffice.”

    "Ah, Vimes," the Patrician crooned.
    "Apologies for being late, Sir."
    "You are just on time Vimes, I summoned you ten minutes early."

    "Guild rules, Sir. Every officer of the Watch must take a ten minute break before starting their shift. Can't disobey Guild rules, Sir."

    "I suppose not, especially when there is a sandwich with your name on it."
    "Right Sir, 'cause the men won't take any notice if you write your name on your sandwich. If you leave it lying around it's sure to be found by someone who conveniently can't re-, rea-, someone illiterate."
    The Patrician unsteepled his fingers and walked to the window, looking out over the city. "Tell me what you know about the missing persons case of Casper DeMartini."

    "Never heard of him, Sir. We don't have the man-hours to devote to missing persons cases."
    "And here I was thinking that The Watch was expanding at unprecedented rates."
    "Oh, it is Sir, but half of our officers are occupied with recruitment and training, and sometimes I think that expanding the watch only increases the demand for criminals, Sir."
    "Ask your wife about the DeMartini's I am sure you have met them at some social event or another." He turned to face Vimes, his face was stern, ashen even, was that emotion Vimes saw. It couldn't be. Seemingly aware of his momentary lapse of control the Patrician strode out of the room. "I am instructing you to make the disappearance of Casper DeMartini a priority case."

    Outside the palace, Vimes strode briskly back toward Pseudopolis Yard, AE scurrying along beside him.

    “Find out who he is will you, AE? And perhaps why Vetinari would consider it so important to devote man-power to this particular missing person.” “You want me to spy on Lord Vetinari?”
    “Did I say 'spy'? Ask him, for all I care, just find out. I'd like a report by the end of the day.”


    The original proprietor of Ink Morpork was known as Needle-Ned. To the casual procurer of a tattoo, it might seem obvious that Ned had acquired his nickname because he was a tattoo—'artist' is too generous a term—ist. A tattooist. But Ned was never any good at art, in reality he had opened a tattoo parlor in homage to his name, and he was beginning to regret it. He did, however, have a great appreciation for art. And it was at the Ankh Morpork Museum of Art (and Things That Aren't Really Art But The Fellow With The Fancy Moustache Said It Is, So It's On Display Just In Case) where Ned found his igor. He was putting the final touches to Clodd Hopper's enigmatic Unfinished Portrait of... well, nobody was quite sure who it was of, though the general consensus pointed towards a dwarf, or perhaps a very well matured loaf of dwarf-bread that had grown a beard. It hung in the Dwarf Gallery and while young dwarfs sat around and sketched the works of their forebears, Igor (sporting Hopper's hand) finished the masterpiece. Ned didn't miss a trick and he immediately hired Igor and his collection of hands to work in his parlour. Business ever since had boomed.

    Prick-prick-prick-prick went Igor's needle. He peddled faster. Prk-prk-prk... faster. PrrrRRR. The needle oscillated in it's custom casing with a satisfying whirr. Igor peddled steadily now; Davey let the rhythmic sound of the pedal and the gears blend with the gentle sting of the needle into an endorphic hypnosis.

    Using sewing machine parts, Igor had rigged up a contraption which allowed him to work so much faster than the tribal tattooists of, for example, the Nac Mac Feegle or the N'Kouf; he peddled a mechanism of gears beneath the cushioned table which operated a system of pulleys. This was connected to an ergonomically designed casing which Igor could operate freely. The casing contained a needle which moved back and forth in time. The all important ink was squeezed through an attached Sonky Penny-A-Pack Preventative. Igor kept a stash.

    With his right hand—and it was his—Igor dabbed at the blood that formed a vague film on the skin. With Michael's left hand Igor lifted the needle away. He wiped the shoulder clean revealing a work in progress. It was another masterpiece.

    The tattoos took hours. Davey was laid up at Ink Morpork for most of the day, and that was just the under-painting. He'd have to come back for the detailing, but it'd be worth it. Only a few people on the disc had been decorated by such a master. Most of Igor's work decorated the arms of sailors who docked in the city, and they couldn't afford this kind of work, and they were after a different kind of tattoo in any case. Anchors, semi naked women, mostly naked women, mostly naked women with anchors, I love my Mummy, that kind of thing. Davey drifted off, he couldn't wait to show Casper, and as it would transpire, he wouldn't have to wait that long.


    Corporal Nobby Nobbs and Sergeant Fred Colon of the Watch pushed open the wrought-iron gate and ambled up the brick path. Before the house they were approaching, the pattern of brickwork changed as the path forked; each prong leading to opposite sides of a short rise of steps. Nobby went left while Fred, who had seen these kinds of steps before and knew they were designed this way so that the modest lady of the house could ascend without the risk of her gentleman friend catching a glimpse of her ankles, went right. Fred had no desire to see Nobby's ankles.
    They met at the top. “Fancy bumping into you 'ere,” Nobby said, feigning surprise.
    “You do know you went up the ladies' steps, don't you, Nobby?” Fred explained. Nobby just curtsied and turned and rapped on the door knocker. The knocker was of iron and cast in the shape of a lion's head. They waited on the porch for a few moments. Fred surveyed the garden. It was divided by neat patterns of trimmed miniature hedges, each leading the eye to a wonderful example of topiary. So magnetic were the focal points that Fred found his eyes crossing involuntarily. As they did so, the now double image of the miniature hedges began to overlay one another and create an extraordinary effect of vertigo. Fred stumbled forward and grabbed the railings, blinking his eyes back into business as usual. He was thankful for the railings, and he looked down at them carefully. The veranda, and the garden itself, were fenced with beautiful black wrought-iron. And intricate too, thought Fred.
    “Look at that antique iron-work, Nobby. What a fine example.”
    “Looks expensive, Fred?”
    “Oh, yes, I don't doubt that. Has to be or it wouldn't have survived. You see all of the iron in the city was commandeered during the Average War of 1812. Very interesting history, that war. The Dwarfs held a trade embargo and ceased their supply of iron, see. In order to make weapons, every citizen had to hand over all the metal they had. O' course they took the pots and pans from the Morpork side of the river first, and the war was over before they came a knocking in Ankh itself. The Rich have to have railings, Nobby. How else are they going to stop the riff-raff from helping themselves to their pots and pans? Oh, yes, they gots to have their railings.”

    The door was opened by a worried looking lady. She was narrow at the ankles and the waist, while the body mass which used to occupy those regions had been asked politely to vacate the premises by a pair of tight knee-length boots and a tighter belt. It had joined the already ample areas around the hips and bosom. The final effect was like standing one of the curvaceous Pipsqueak Root Beer bottles upside down.
    “You must be the fellows Havelock sent. I do apologise for the wait, Jeeves and Missy are out looking for Casper. I swear, if that boy turns up unscathed he'll be the one answering this door for the rest of his days. Making me get up to answer the door myself! How undignified. I do apologise.”
    “Sergeant Colon, Mam, and this is Corporal Nobbs. We are from the City Watch. We would like to ask a few questions that might help us track down Casper.”
    “Of course, do come in. I am Mrs. DeMartini, Casper's mother. I do apologise; I'm a little shaken.” As she led them in, she began to sob, which only added further strain to the leather band around her waist. Luckily it was made of stronger stuff than she was.
    “My word,” she said through sniffling and swallowing. “I haven't invited watchmen into my home since my husband passed away.”
    “Oh,” said Nobby, “was your late husband's death, suspicious, mam?
    “Goodness, no. He was struck by lightning for denouncing our saviour, Seven Handed Sek.” She raised her eyes to the ceiling, and, cued by speaking her god's name, kissed her fingers—like the first step in blowing a kiss—then reached around and patted her rear. Twice. It was the Sektarian ritual known as the Checking of Pockets. “It happened in here," she said, entering the lounge, "a lightning bolt came right through the ceiling, smack dab in the middle of the day. No denying it, I'm sure. Nothing left but his boots.”

    Fred and Nobby sat down side by side on a plush velvet couch. They removed their metal helmets and held them on their knees before asking Mrs. DeMartini some questions.
    “When was the last time you saw Casper?” inquired Fred.
    “Yesterday at temple. He always attends temple on Octeday. A good Sek-fearing boy.” Nobby noticed a wing-back chair that matched the couch and another chair in the drawing room. It was singed with the outline of a man, like a cast shadow. Mrs. Demartini noticed Nobby staring and explained, “I see you spotted where my husband was smote. We keep the chair as a reminder that we too can be taken to a better place when we pass away. And it is part of a set, I wouldn't want to split them up.”
    “You believe your husband will be in heaven, even though he was struck down by, er, Sek?” asked Fred.
    “Oh yes, our saviour Sek can be a little impulsive,” she checked herself again, “but we Sektarians have ways of guaranteeing our place in paradise.”
    “Indulgences,” said Nobby knowingly, “a great uncle bought me one of those when I was born. He told our mam that I was gonna need all the help I could find to get into heaven. You can give money to the priest and they write a receipt for you that says you are one step closer to heaven. If you collect enough then they let you in even if you've done something bad. Problem is the amount of indulgences you need keeps going up. When I was a nipper it was twenty-five, but last time I checked it was two thousand and twenty five.”
    “How many have you got, Nobby?”
    “Oh, just the one, Fred.”
    “Mrs DeMartini. Have you any reason to believe that Casper is in trouble?”
    She didn't. And there was no reason he'd have left home, no falling out or disagreement.
    “No enemies, that you know of?”
    Mrs Demartini explained that Casper was in a gang – not a criminal gang. She said the words like he was a little boy playing at gangs. “They are called the Dragon Boyz, with a 'Z',” she said. “They wear their silly little suits, with the gold kerchief in the breast pocket; like a flame, you know. They don't do anything illegal, just collect donations at the Least Gate and donate it to the Temple. It's just about the image, they dress the part and that intimidates visitors, but they've never been in a fight in their life. He wouldn't stand a chance if anyone...” She pressed the back of her hand against her brow and shook her head. 'I'm sorry. Oh, my little Caspy.”
    “Oh, bugger,” thought Fred. He didn't want a crying woman on his hands. “There, there,” he said. “We've no reason to think he's in any danger, you even said so yourself. He'll probably turn up. We'll need a list of his friends, the other boys in his gang. Any girls he might be staying with. And an iconograph would be very helpful.”
    “Of course.” Mrs DeMartini stood and took an iconograph from the mantle. It was a family portrait showing Mr and Mrs DeMartini and Casper. “This was taken shortly before Mr DeMartini passed away last year.”
    “Little Caspy?” thought Fred. He was a strapping young lad, tall and muscular with olive skin and dark hair and eyes. Fred raised an eyebrow to Nobby.
  15. OldStoneface New Member

    I see that it's been, what 3 years since that post. Wondering whether a final version was ever published on FFN or elsewhere?

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