Chapter Forty-One – The Ghost Town
And here we are. The last Maradonia sporking – until the Tesches get around to publishing the final volume. I know you’re all waiting with bated breath.
Maya and Joey are still looking for Krimmy, but without success. They land outside a city called Ganesa and decided to go talk to some people. However, the city is empty, and Maya and Joey have this odd feeling that someone is following them.
Some fog moves in, which concerns Joey.
“I don’t understand this and I’m asking you Maya, where did the fog come from? Look, this doesn’t fit together! How could it be windy and foggy at the same time?” (page 364)
I admit it’s not a terribly common occurrence, but I have experienced wind and fog at the same time.
The Encouragers realize they’re lost, because they haven’t been keeping track of where they’ve been going and of course they left the dragons outside the city. I’m not sure why they consider themselves lost, since they have the Tarnkappes, which allow them to travel in football-field-length leaps. It shouldn’t take them more than a few minutes, heading in any direction, to get outside the city.
Maya decides to send out a telepathic call for help.
The problem was that she did not call Master Dominatio or Libertine directly as usual. She just pushed a general call for help over the telepathic waves… not knowing who might answer (page 364).
Trust Maya to fuck things up.
Suddenly an old man shows up. They grab their weapons but the man says he’s a man of peace and faith. He thanks them for coming to pick him up. Joey says they didn’t. The man points out that just recently Maya sent out a call for help. There’s a bit more verbal sparring. Turns out the old man is one of the immortals, and he knows who they are, that Maya can access the Fifth Dimension, and that she can conjure fireballs and destroy cities and stuff.
“Wow, you are pretty well informed and your words of appreciation are lovely but they don’t convince me!” Joey said (page 366).
Even if this was true, it would still be hilariously bad dialogue. As it is, the man isn’t saying anything with appreciation. And he doesn’t appear to be trying to convince them of anything.
The old man’s name is Cris Cornelli. Cornelli explains that he’s one of the eight immortals that live in the Crystal Palace in the eternal ice fields of the Oguna Ogini Pass. And he’s willing to help them in exchange for something. They ask what, and instead he launches into a story. I’ll quickly summarize, since it’s basically an exact copy of the downfall of Lucifer from heaven. Apollyon used to be a gorgeous angel – sorry, Light Carrier – in the Kingdom of Light. One day he was given the Divine Golden Breast Plate, everyone started cheering for him, in went to his head, and he decided he was going to overthrow the big man upstairs and be in charge. Naturally, this didn’t work, and so God – sorry, the King of Light – cast Apollyon down to earth with all his followers with a dramatic page-long speech that ends with this gem:
“And behold… … I have chosen two children! These children will enter your land and they will show you your limitations.” (page 371)
That’s right. GOD HIMSELF decreed, thousands of years ago, that Maya and Joey were specifically chosen to enter Maradonia and show Apollyon his limitations.
Cornelli talks Maya and Joey up and explains that they are legendary and special and stuff. Joey wants to know how Cornelli knows all this, so Cornelli explains that an old wise man named Atlas (naturally) has it all written down in a book.
Blah blah, the Golden Breast Plate was taken away, Apollyon wants it back but can’t get it. Then a bunch of smart people came together to perfect their knowledge.
“Basically it was a Brotherhood of Positive Thinkers.” (page 373)
This brotherhood has a lot of powers – prophecy, healing, teleportation, time travel, walking on water, controlling the elements – basically, everything that the X-Men can do.
The exposition continues. I’m not sure who told Gloria Tesch that the climax of her book should be pages upon pages of boring exposition, but I want to punch them in the face.
The breast plate gives people healing powers, but one of the chaps with healing powers brought a couple dwarfs back to life, which is against the rules, so God took the plate away and hid it. Then 400 years later it was found and people took care of it and were responsible, until one day an evil man decided to steal it. This evil man was an albino, because as everyone knows, all albinos are evil. Cornelli can’t even speak the albino’s name for fear that the albino will sense it. Fair enough. The albino shall be known as Voldemort.
Cornelli and a chap named Godwin went out to find the breast plate and eventually they did and he has it with him, although Godwin died during the effort. And now Cornelli needs a ride back to the secret valley. On a dragon. Maya and Joey think it over and decide to help him out.
“The King of Light has a plan and it seems that we are part of this plan… even if we are confused like jellyfish in the ocean.” (page 377).
Are jellyfish particularly confused sea creatures?
Chapter Forty-Two – The Mythical Garden
They start flying. Cornelli makes it rain which will help disguise them. They talk about the Lady of the East, who apparently has some kind of message for Maya and Joey. I don’t recall the Lady of the East. The Character Index in the back tells me that she’s the voice of wisdom and knowledge, which is super helpful. Thanks for including that, Tesch!
They land in the Mythical Garden and start walking and get the feeling they’re being followed. Then they see something that looks like a Veil or a portal into a different world. And then they notice a woman standing next to a tree. Cornelli flips his shit, and we jump inside his mind for a few minutes while he reveals himself to kind’ve be an incompetent coward. Wait, we just established how powerful this dude is, why is he wimping out?
The Lady says they shouldn’t go and rescue Krimhilda because Apollyon and all his minions are waiting to trap them. Instead, they need to help Cornelli return the Breast Plate, stopping by the city of Magadan, so Cornelli can conjure up the rain. There’s been a horrible drought in the area, and now a couple Orcs [really, Tesch?] control the water supply. The Lady exposits about how despicably evil the Orcs are, and wants Maya and Joey to kill them. Then she turns into an Ibis (a white bird) and flies away.
Chapter Forty-Three – Until The Last Breath
Maya and Joey head for Magadan and roll inside the city. They meet up with the mayor, Gustafson, and explain that they’ve come to kill the Orcs, liberate the city, and supply them with water. Gustafson laughs at them, but Maya and Joey say that they’re not joking and ask him to tell them about the current situation. And…god fucking dammit, here comes MORE exposition.
There are two different races, the Moncheros, who are dark skinned, and the Danuffies, who are lighter skinned and live underground. They don’t like each other and fight over water and life is bad and it used to be much better and even their famous Hanging Gardens no longer exist. And each day the Moncheros and the Danuffies send out some soldiers and they fight in the city square to see who gets control of the water pool. Huh. Brilliant idea. Why not just flip a coin, or alternate days?
The warriors start fighting to the death and finally Cornelli runs out and stops everything and says he’s going to make it rain. He raises his arms and it starts pouring rain. After awhile his arms start getting tired so Maya and Joey have to hold his arms up so it keeps raining. And yes, this scene is ripped off from yet another Bible story.
Eventually he stops and everyone comes out and starts celebrating and cheering and treating him like a God. A woman starts kissing him and then she drags him inside her house [!!]. Maya and Joey hang on to the breast plate while Cornelli gets laid. Suddenly Joey sees someone with white skin and hair – it’s Voldemort! Before he can react Voldemort grabs the breast plate from Maya and takes off. Joey chases after him, chops his fingers off, recovers the breast plate, and beheads Voldemort. Hooray!
Gustafson taps Maya on the shoulder (literally) and points out that there’s still the problem of the Orcs. Maya asks him to send the Orcs a message that Maya and Joey are here to kill them. Gustafson sends a couple soldiers with the message and only one comes back. And there’s another life that Maya could have saved if she wasn’t an idiot.
After a couple pages the Orcs, Graul and Brutus, show up. Maya saunters out into the middle of the square, and twenty soldiers come out to help her. Graul asks where Maya is. Dude, she’s right in front of you.
“I am here to kill both of you… prepare for death!” the Warrior Queen of Maradonia answered stoically (page 394).
I don’t know about you, but I got chills.
They fight. Maya parries a few blows which lets Joey slip up behind Brutus and eviscerate him. Graul and Maya square off and fight. It’s very dramatic and a few random redshirt warriors are killed. Maya leaps around and ducks and spins and parries and leaps up onto a giant horse statue and jumps off and stabs Graul through the back and then chops his head off with a single blow. Everyone goes crazy and celebrates.
As they celebrate, Joey notices a strange-looking dude with a white goatee and pig tails coming out of a black cylinder on his head, which sets off all sorts of alarm bells for me, but apparently Joey thinks nothing of it. The strange-looking dude talks to Gustafson for a few minutes, and then Gustafson comes up with a couple chalices and offers Maya and Joey a drink.
So they drink, of course.
Suddenly, Maya and Joey started to cough heavily…realizing too late that they were poisoned (page 398).
They fall over and launch into a couple dramatic speeches. Maya says it’s getting dark and cold, and Joey says that he loves her. Then they sink into unconsciousness.
They slipped deeper and deeper until they reached a very different place. A place packed with shadows…dancing and celebrating…shadows of Gnomes and creatures of the Outer Planes. But it was cold there…very cold (page 398).
And with that, I think we finally have the answer to that age-old question: “But What About Poison?”
And thus concludes the Maradonia sporks, for now at least. According to the Tesch’s website, Maradonia and the Battle for the Key is supposed to be published this year, but I haven’t heard anything about it in awhile. When it comes out, I will, of course, purchase and spork it.
Couple quick notes about this book: first, it includes a Character Index at the end, which is actually moderately helpful at keeping track of the metric fuckton of characters. There are some problems with it, however. First, there are a number of characters who have never been mentioned at any point in any of these books. I imagine some of them may show up at some point, but it’s annoying.
Second, the description contains spoilers. For example, remember Jafar and Jahy, the two boys that Krimmy was hanging out with? Yeah, they’re actually the long-lost sons of General Goran. Way to spoil that reveal, Tesch.
Third, some of the descriptions are just kind of…bizarre. Here’s the description of Joey:
Brother of Maya. Tall, well built, brown hair. Around the age of 14-17. Skater type. Outgoing, doesn’t care what other people think of him. Pretty shallow minded and mean. Later he grows into a softer and nice character. But hidden, there is a side of him which shows his innocence. He learns fast and has a tremendous understanding of knowledge. (page 404).
Setting aside the fact that apparently Tesch doesn’t know how old her main character is, I think “Pretty shallow minded and mean” is one of the best descriptions of Joey that I have ever heard.
The book closes with 38 reader testimonials that last for nine pages. I’ll quote from the last one and my personal favorite, by Armando N. Psychologist. There is strong evidence that Armando N. is merely a sock puppet of the Tesches, but that only adds to the review, I think.
“The Maradonia Saga will certainly have a longer life line in the future than the Twilight or the Harry Potter series.”