Part 28: Octa's Story: The Joy Of...Octa's Story: The Joy Of...
Octa is the name. Disciple to Lady Three, Intoner of the woods. Today, I have accompanied Lady Three on a long journey from the Land of Forests to the Cathedral City. It seems there was a rather urgent summons from Lady One, Intoner and older sister to Lady Three.
In deference to the vaults of old-world knowledge and skills stored here, this city is where magic is said to have been born. These vaults are magnificent indeed, with books from east and west, ancient and recent. Most are, as a matter of course, written in foreign tongues, but some of them are decipherable even to one such as I. Take this one, for instance... By Diogene Laetius? Who? Lives and Opinions of Eminent... What? This looks as ancient as ancient can be. Hmmm... Could this be a record of some historical freak show? I see that it is about some people from old times, but what it is trying to tell me about them, I'm afraid I cannot begin to speculate.
Compared to that, this book, describing customs from a country in the Orient, is easier to read in terms of both prose and content. It says there is apparently a "land of gold" comprised of islands the Farthest East. There is so much gold to be found there that even their palaces are golden. Fascinating! And it is there that they recorded forty-eight techniques of joy passed down through generations.
...Hm. Only forty-eight? I must say it is a rather unimpressive number for skills of old from the land of gold. I imagine some may have been lost in the process of passing them down, hand to hand, mouth to mouth. Perhaps the original number was forty-eight thousand. With all humility, I myself can demonstrate six hundred sixty techniques in the ways of joy. My stamina cannot be beaten. Indeed, endurance is my raison d'être. And I continue to study day and night in the ways of joy; aiming to add six thousand and six more! A man has no time to rest on his laurels.
Now, let us take a look at this book. Some writings on health? No, beauty tips... Ah, yes, this is for the ladies. Hm... Joy enhances beauty, you say? Oh ho! Another fascinating topic! Staying beautiful is, of course, a matter of great interest to the female species... though I must say it seems to be of no interest whatsoever to Lady Three, who is naturally beautiful. But providing joy to the female species is of even greater interest to me.
I must give this book a thorough read. My pyrotechnics have given much heavenly joy to many a lady. Two seconds flat is my record for leading one lady to a joyous frenzy. But there are obviously many other attributes to joy than speed. I must forever be one to strive for a higher and higher apex in my pursuit of joy. It is of enormous import, therefore, to continue learning. And books are the mother of learning. And learning is the mother of joy. Thus books are the grandmother of joy! All roads lead to joy, do they not?
Let us move on to the next book. This looks like some writings on another matter of health. The Function and Benefits of Woods Bathing! A subject not to be missed by one who resides in the Land of Forests. As one might assume from the name, the Land of Forests is almost entirely covered by dense woods, providing a peaceful place for any need. One can seek walks in the woods. One can take naps in the woods. And of course, one can have joy in the woods! Whatever you may want, you can get in these almighty woods. It is always slightly dark even during the day, and giant trees and low bushes provide an additional layer of privacy. Enjoy yourself, or enjoy a party of three--whatever suits your fancy. Or perhaps you would like a bit of nighttime joy under the moonlight. I can think of no better place for some outdoors enjoyment. Well, how could I not have known the healing properties of being in the woods? To be embraced by nature for both health and enjoyment? Brilliant!
I must share this with Lady Three. She has been hard at work making her dolls of late. I do worry that she may be focusing too hard for her own good and not attending to her health as she should. Not seeing the woods for the trees, as it were.
Lady Three has always been able to concentrate with the kind of intensity that made her completely forget to eat or sleep. Her hair grows at an unusually fast rate, and, for a time, it spread across the whole floor of her room when she neglected to cut it. She had apparently always liked cutting her own hair, even as a wee toddler, but ever since she discovered her hobby for doll making, that is where her heart has been. She does still like those scissors of hers, but she vastly prefers her dolls. And it is thus that I have recently taken on the responsibility of trimming Lady Three's hair myself.
What do we have next? A book on socializing, it seems. Conversation Skills to Enchant. How to give a good first impression, even if you're shy... The weather and food are safe subjects... Avoid politics and religion... Hmmm, I see. These are helpful pointers for people who are not good at talking. The weather is indeed a good topic no matter who you talk to, and the same can be said about food. But nothing makes for a livelier conversation than talking about joy. Joy talk is the lubricant for all social situations. Granted, it is true that not everyone is comfortable with the topic, so one must consider the company. For the most part, however, soldiers love joy talk, especially as a way to keep themselves awake during night watch duty. Ho ho ho!
It is not rare for me to accompany Lady Three to the front lines, for her powers as an Intoner are needed in the battlefield. But Lady Three usually takes her rest early in the evening, so I am left with naught to do after dark. On such nights, I usually engage in giving myself joy, but there are some nights where I partake in conversing with the soldiers until dawn breaks.
I remember one night where I mentioned that I once did the deed with a female faerie. All the soldiers widened their eyes at once! That in itself was a sight to see. Oh ho!
Wait, but... how!?
The size difference had to be too great...
Oh, come on! There's just no way!
Did you shrink? Or did she stretch?
Indeed, faerie folk are the size of my palm, whereas my joy-stick is of cosmic proportions. The soldiers' queries were understandable. Only one of them seemed unimpressed, simply nodding quietly at what I said. When the others questioned him as to why he wasn't reacting with surprise, he calmly replied:
I just assumed the good sir had stuck the faerie up his own ass.
That caused everyone's eyes to widen once more. The plausibility of the act notwithstanding, one must commend the flexibility of this soldier's imagination. I rest easy knowing that we are blessed with men of such intellect to defend the land. One must keep the joy parts rigid, but the mind flexible! And I cannot deny my affection for all manners of holes this whole wide world has to offer. That of the fair lady faerie was no exception. Putting my joy parts to good use was only the most sincere and neighborly thing to do. And yet...
So, Sir Octa... What is the truth?
I could not help but be amused at the looks of intense curiosity I was getting from all the faces around me. So how did I reply?
Suppress the self, and even fire is cool.
I spoke, giving a fine proverb from the Far East that encapsulated my philosophy. In the pursuit of joy, and with an iron will, a mere difference in size is no obstacle. In other words...
'Tis a secret.
What was done in private shall remain private. 'Tis the essence of wondrous joy. Ho ho ho. Perhaps I have blathered too long with an old story. Let us return to browsing through these books.
And here we have a collection of historical words of wisdom from all over the world.
Labor amnia vincit.
"Labor conquers all," from a poet of the distant past. Joy is labor, and joy conquers all. I wholeheartedly concur.
"The hand is a tool of tools."
Indeed! Wise words from one of the wisest philosophers that ever lived. Hands are most useful in the pursuit of joy. Any and all pyrotechnics are nothing without masterful use of the hands and fingers!
And here is yet another:
"Heaven makes not one man above or below another."
Truer words were never spoken; the same applies in the matter of holes. Wealth and class matter not with holes. No hole is above or below another. Well, one is usually in front or behind another, but that's another matter altogether... The point is that discriminating against holes based on gender, species, or even animate or inanimate, would be tantamount to deliberately choosing a poorer quality of life. There is beauty and strength to be beheld in every hole. Let us cast away or prejudices, and embrace all holes for a life full of joy! Ho ho.
Now then, maybe we should take a look at one more book before we go. It is almost time for Lady Three to wake from her nap. That is, I must wake her up. She might forget to eat and sleep when she is making her dolls, but when she actually does fall asleep, she sleeps so soundly that sometimes I fear she may forget to wake up at all. It would be nice to find a book that could stimulate Lady Three's curiosity. The difference in how lively she is when she is making her dolls, and when she is not, can be rather steep to a disturbing degree. I would like for her to have some other interests, but I have yet to find anything to her liking...
Hm? Wait... What is this book about!?
Could this be on the subject of geography? No... and it is not about mathematics or philosophy. Astrology, perhaps? In any case, I just read the most amazing passage on the topic of the night skies. It says, far beyond what the eye can see, there exists and enormous hole that devours any and all things around it... that it could easily swallow giant animals, boulders, mountains, this very land, and even any of the heavenly bodies above our skies!
I, Octa, have loved many holes in my life. How could I have missed a hole as magnificent as this!? This is one hole that I simply must meet. It would be a duel of sorts--the hole that swallows all, versus my joy parts that love all holes! I shall go to the ends of the earth, even beyond the skies, if it means reaching this heavenly hole someday! And it shall be that day that I continue my training. This night, I shall give Lady Three special joy. No, I shall employ all of my techniques to give her extra joy!
The journey of a thousand joys starts with one joy. Oh ho!