Continued from Sex 302: Wordless Angst
Earnest, Lecher, and Ang trudge stolidly through a blizzard.
Well, mostly stolid.
Lecher: Are we there yet? I think something important is about to freeze and drop off.
Earnest: Is that all you think about? You don’t hear Ang complaining, do you?
They both stop and stare at the hulking, red-skinned Russian who is relentlessly plowing a path for them through the drifted snow.
As if sensing their gaze, he turns back and speaks.
Ang: No stop now. You stop, you die. Be strong. End is near.
L. Did he have to say “end?”
Earnest punches him in the shoulder, and they continue.
Fortunately, the snow soon abates.
They see a light in the distance, which quickly resolves to a window in…
L. A yurt! I’ve always wanted one of those.
L. Hey, Feynman is just as much my hero as yours.
E. That’s what I’m afraid of.
Ang trudges forward and knocks on the door. It opens, and we imagine we can feel the warmth flowing out of it, despite the distance. We dash on weary feet until we are inside.
The inside looks like the home of the witch from Brave. But instead of an old crone, a beautiful young woman closes the door and gestures us to an already-laid table.
E. Baba Yaga, I presume.
She winks at me, but does not speak.
We are cold, weary, and hungry so we also forsake speech in favor of dining.
After that, a great lassitude comes upon us and we collapse into a great mound of bear rugs in front of the blazing hearth.
It is perhaps dawn when Earnest wakes up. Lecher is at the table with Baba Yaga, enjoying tea and each other’s company. Ang is still sleeping, snoring great bellows like a locomotive.
Baba Yaga: Ah, you are up at last.
Earnest stretches his stiff muscles and walks to the table. The tea warms his insides and seems to reverse the effects of yesterday’s exertion. He raises a curious eyebrow.
Baba Yaga smiles.
B. No magic there, just herbs.
E. But there is magic somewhere. You are a witch, aren’t you?
L. Hey, there’s no need to be rude!
But Baba Yaga merely laughs, a rich, throaty contralto.
B. What is magic? What is science? What is miracle? Do you know, American smart-guy? I am ignorant peasant woman. Please explain to me.
Earnest is flustered, perhaps by her beauty as much by her question, but he responds gamely.
E. Science is the predictable Order of the universe. Miracles are when God suspends those rules for His larger purpose. Witchcraft — magic, as I understand it — is summoning evil spirits, and trading them pieces of your soul for access to unearthly power.
Lecher glares at Earnest, but Baba Yaga appears gleeful.
B. Very good! I knew Ang would bring me a smart one. And did you not?
Only then does Earnest realize the snoring had stopped. Ang is standing beside him, silent as the grave.
A. Yes. He is the one we have been seeking. But I did not expect him to come here.
B. But of course he must come! Only when all are here can the Quest begin.
L. Hold on, did you say the four of us are going on a Quest?
L. Whew, I must have misheard.
B. We need a band of five for the Quest to succeed.
E. Wait. So, then who is the fifth?
B. You American smart-guy; you tell me.
E. Hmm. For a five-man band, Ang would obviously be the Big Guy, Lecher the Lancer, and milady Baba the Chick — if you’ll forgive the expression.
B. But of course.
E. So since I’m the Leader, we must be looking for a Brain, right?
E. Huh? So we’re not doing the traditional five-man band?
B. You no listen. For smart guy, you real stupid.
E. I… I’m not the Leader? I’m supposed to be the Brain?
L. But that would imply…
B. Correct! We are going a Quest to find our Leader!
Continued in Sex 304: Autistic License