The Great Dark Age
It was The Time of Copy Pasta in which the sacred Book of Pasta, as it had come to be known, was transcribed by many into the tongues of the world. This was such an undertaking, that almost everyone not involved in preparing the fleet was used, from the making of the pages from rice and olive tree wood, the making of the ink by the milking of squid, to the transcribing itself. Millions of books were eventually produced for the effort, and were loaded onto the ships, now repaired, scrubbed clean (even the bilges), and ready to sail out into the world. A new breed of pirate had evolved in this time, more spiritual, more forthright, and far deadlier than before, regaled as they were in their new finery, replete with cutlass and pointy hat.
Elaine had worked tirelessly for the 10 years it took to prepare everything, co-ordinating the transcription in The Time of Copy Pasta, organising the refit of the pirate fleet, and formulating the plans for the second coming of pasta to the world. Many were the sacrifices made by Elaine, and big was the hardship, but by meditation, not to mention the consumption of every type of pasta in the book, she made it through, looking and feeling healthier than she had ever done. The same was true of most of the enlightened folk, as they endeavoured to make right what was wrong.
Thus The Time of Kneading drew near, when the preparation was finished and the spreading of pasta was to begin. A great assembly was called for all who could attend, and they did gather in the greatest meeting hall ever built. Millions attended to see pirate Elaine speak in what was to be the seminal speech of the year.
"Sistren and Brethren. Pirates and Midgets. Samurai. We, the enlightened ones, have worked hard these past years in preparation for this day. No longer shall we see the world suffer through the tyrannies and inequities of the antipasti. Long have we laboured by night and by day. Much is the pasta we have eaten, and many are the Holy Meals we have shared. Today is a new beginning. Today we start anew. Today we embrace The Art of Penne. Do not think of what you do, just react, for reaction without thinking is what is needed for Him to take us over and touch us. There are many here who agree that we must act, but do not fully agree with the methods, and for listening to me I say thank you, but I shall now show you all that we are both blessed and touched by Him," Elaine told the assembly.
Looking around from the very centre of the people, she asked everyone to close their eyes and empty their minds. Slowly, circle by circle, the people did so, and they were instantly filled with a peace so calm as to make them think they were flying. "Merge your mind with cosmic space, integrate your actions with myriad forms," suggested Elaine, as the assembled people began swaying slightly, when suddenly everyone heard a kind yet booming voice in their heads.
"HEAVEN AND EARTH COME FROM THE SAME NOODLE AS MYSELF. ALL APPENDAGES AND I BELONG TO ONE WHOLE." The room shook suddenly, as everyone felt a pressure against their person, and the entire assemblage shrunk by exactly 2.54 centimetres. He had not only touched them with His Noodly Appendages, but had showed them favour by pushing them towards midgethood. A cry of joy went up as the assembled people rejoiced that He had chosen to show Himself to them.
As the meeting came to a close, Elaine assigned ports for the enlightened to travel to, the details of which were already written and placed close to the pirate captains. When asked where she would be travelling to, Elaine replied, "If you want to climb a mountain, begin at the top. I shall be going to Pastador, the heart of the antipasti menace!" A hush followed as many realised how dangerous a part of the mission she had chosen for herself, and many offered to take her place, beseeching her not to risk her life so. "I would rather sink to the bottom of the sea for endless aeons than seek liberation through all the antipasti of the universe," replied Elaine, "I shall go with my fearless crew and spread word there myself, for to no other would I assign this most risky of missions. Go in peace, oh enlightened ones. RAmen!"
"RAmen," echoed the people. The meeting was now over, and the real work was about to begin.
The journey was long and arduous as the crew did all they could to keep their spirits up. Much dried pasta and noodles had been packed, along with meatballs and fish balls, not to mention the large amount of grog. Many months it took to get to even the Cape of Good Hope, with many more to travel up Africa to the Gibraltar straits, and into the Mediterranean sea. Elaine did her best to maintain high spirits in her crew, but the more they saw of that state of the people whenever they were forced to anchor the ship off the coast and row ashore, the more depressed they became. Pirate Elaine ended up steering a course well clear of the coast, as she knew the effect it was having. She also knew that there were many other ships sailing for the places they anchored near, so was content in the fact that soon the mission would begin in earnest.
There were ships sent to every major and minor port on the coasts of Africa, the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australasia, with specialist missions to find every enclave of enlightenment, few that they were. The work would be difficult, but using The Art of Penne should make it instinctual, not to mention allowing the enlightened to get closer to Him and His Divine Pastenance. The closer they were to their goal, the more they meditated, until they were able to be once again at peace with themselves and the sea.
The day came when the port of Pastador was spied from the crow's nest, and a hush took itself upon the crew. Captain Elaine was on deck with her spyglass, looking out towards the land, spying for a place to anchor that would be hidden from view. Suddenly she spotted it, and yelled, "Make for St. Pa Stasor's Point, and enter Linguini Cove, first mate Royston." This was obeyed, and the ship was steered towards the relative safety of the harbour. The currents were good, as if moved by an invisible force, and they were soon hidden from view of the mainland. Dropping anchor, they started unloading the crates and rowing them ashore. It took them a while, but that was finally done, and they made their plans to steal into the town at night.
As the moon rose, a procession of pirates lugging crates left the vicinity of the cove, with the captain and first mate heading towards the heart of the town, and hence the heart of antipastidom, and the crew heading to the eating and drinking establishments, not to mention the brothels and strip joints, those hallowed halls of learning. Each carried their fair share of copies of The Book of Pasta, distributing them in secret to the needy and the lost until they needed to come back to the cove for more. Many were not distributed, though, as they were being saved for those further inland.
As Elaine and Royston reached the heart of town, they were stopped dead in their tracks by the sight of a temple to Antipasti. Never before had anyone built a temple to pasta or the power of the FSM, yet here was this monstrosity in the heart of her beloved home! Before leaving the shadows, Elaine made sure that her robe hid her raiment properly, advising Royston to do the same. Across the town square did pirate Elaine walk, although her movements belied her purpose that night, for she stooped a little, and shuffled as she walked, appearing as if one of the antipasti faithful. This way did she gain entry past the lethargic guards of the temple, and passage to the inner sanctum. There the strongest adherents to the antipasti lay. This was the battle Elaine had prepared herself for all those years, as foretold to her by the FSM in a vision of her dressed in drab garb, as she was now, standing in a temple devoted to wasting away.
Standing there as she was, she attracted the attention of one of the priests who approached her, making the sign of the antipasti at her as if in welcome. "I come to seek your wisdom, sirs," said Elaine in as tired a voice as she could manage, "I have travelled many leagues to be here, and seek that which you can tell me."
The priest seemed puzzled by her language and intonation. "Have you, my dear?" he replied. "Tell me that which you seek, and I shall provide it for you." Clapping his hands lazily, he summoned a servant with a tray of antipasti, proffering it to Elaine.
"No," she said, refusing the proffered dish, "I do not partake of this filth." The priest stood back, aghast. Never before had he been spoken to this way. "I come preaching health and forgiveness from Him on high. I come with a gift," she said to him, reaching inside her robe and brandishing The Book of Pasta as if some form of talisman. Taking one quick look at the title of the book, realisation dawned upon him that this was not some joke, or indeed a cruel one. This was what their order had worked so hard to destroy all those years ago. By this stage, all the inhabitants of the room began to realise what was going on between their leader and the strange, drably-dressed woman. To see a woman in here was rare for them, as theirs was strictly a patriarchal society, the ways of the woman having been reduced to childrearing and housekeeping long ago.
Whispers were made, and word went out of what was happening inside the temple, and they had soon attracted quite an audience of lethargic onlookers, eager to see something different. The tension was palpable. "Let us take this outside," suggested Elaine, "I want more people to witness your downfall." Eagerly agreeing to this through his overconfidence, the high priest and all assembled moved from the inner sanctum towards the front doors to the temple, spilling out into the moonlit night. Many had gathered here as well; such a sight that had not been seen since the old days before the downfall and the dark times.
Elaine and the high priest made their way to the middle of the square, the crowd parting for them slowly. Looking round, Elaine saw that most of the faces were relatively young, the old being too weak to move much at all. A circle had opened in the middle of the square, allowing the two of them in as a hush fell upon the crowd. When the two were face to face in the stillness of the night, the Patriarch of antipasti expounded so-called virtues of antipasti to Elaine and the people, weaving his lies so very well. He mentioned the healing properties of the water used in cooking antipasti, stating that when watered down it became far more potent. The people ate these lies like so much antipasti, yet Elaine remained calm and passive throughout the tirade.
Elaine started clapping slowly, emphasising her disdain at his words, slowly building up to a speed unseen and unheard in these lands for many a year. A quiet and not-so-lethargic murmur ran through the crowd. Is this it? Is this the beginning of the end for the antipasti? she thought, moving her hands slowly but surely to the clasp on her cloak. Suddenly Elaine whipped her cloak from her body, revealing her regalia in its full splendour. The priests cowed on the ground at the sight of her magnificence and beauty, at last removed from its cover. "Hear me, you people of Pastador. Once I lived among you as one of you, and I was accepted. My father's family once lived here, but although my mother came from a different land many leagues away, and you were kind to her as any adherent of the One True Pastenance should be. Do you not recognise one of your own? A few gasps were heard from those brave enough to gaze upon her. Elaine removed her cutlass and a copy of The Book of Pasta from their places on her person, raising them towards Him in supplication.
"So I tell you, sistren and brethren, listen unto His teachings, for only through them does real wisdom flow. These are the words of Him to His people." The people began watching ever more closely. "Do you not remember Him saying to us, "I'd really rather you didn't build multimillion-dollar temples...when the money could be better spent ending poverty, curing diseases, living in peace, loving with passion and lowering the cost of cable"? Do you not remember the other commandments passed down to Captain Mosey on Mount Salsa? Remember to keep your mind alive and free without abiding in anything or anywhere." The throng was suddenly and thoroughly enlightened as to the meaning of those words, even the priests were in tears at the realisation of what they had done.
That night, in the square, a feast was made of the Most Holy Meal of spaghetti and meatballs. A sudden transformation occurred, as everyone suddenly felt their energy coming back after so long without any. The Holy Meal had cured them of their ills. A great pressure was felt my all present, too, as if they were being touched heavily, although i'm sure that you'll be unsurprised to hear that all present shrunk by exactly 2.54 centimetres that night. Many books were distributed by Elaine and her crew, and some began copying them straight away, ensuring that they would spread far and wide once again. All who looked upon Elaine that night fell in love with her totally. Such was the feeling spreading throughout everyone, that Elaine allowed a tear to roll down her perfect cheek before its glistening beauty fell from her chin to the floor below. It was at that very spot that an olive tree was planted in memory of that night, which continues to flourish and grow to this day.
Roland Deschain - Half prophet, half gunslinger, all Pastafarian!
"Since Alexander Pearce escaped, over 250 people have disappeared in the Tasmanian wilderness. No remains have ever been found." - Dying Breed