Chapter Fourteen – The Terror
The Dark Lord is watching the battle. It’s not going that well. He keeps on sending his troops towards the mountain where they are and Goel’s army keeps on surviving. He keeps on losing his commanders and appointing new ones. The latest model is called Lothag.
Lothag says he’s done everything he can do. Yes. That’s it. The Dark Lord has 99 million troops can do nothing more against Goel’s – well, let’s say he has twenty thousand soldiers left. The defensive position is just too strong. Which is absolute bullshit. No defensive position is too strong when you have five thousand times as many men as they do. This reminds me of the Battle of Thermopylae. The way the Persians finally won? They got around them and kept on shooting them with arrows. Yes, it took a long time, and yes, the Persians were bled dearly, but no force can hold out forever. Not to mention that Goel’s soldiers, however defensive a position they have, are nothing compared to the Spartans. They’ve never trained together, they’re not a cohesive unit. They’re a bunch of little groups under different commanders.
The Dark Lord is pissed. He tells Lothag to accompany him back to the Dread Tower. Back they go. They get there exhausted, and Lothag heads in to The Dark Lord’s personal chambers. Again, he tells the Dark Lord there’s no way they can take those rocks. Why not? No real reason. It’s kind’ve becoming a motif.
The Dark Lord tells him to empty out the tower and bring everyone back. This time they’re going to have help. He leads Lothag down to lowest level where in a secret room there’s a giant fifty-foot brass door bolted onto the stone. The Dark Lord explains that inside this door there lurks something…Evil. He can call it The Terror. It’s been here for ages, even before Oldworld was destroyed. It’s a foul presence. Way back when, the Dark Lord was able to control it. Back in Oldworld when he was just a normal guy living under the oppression of the United States government. Now, he’s not really sure if he can control anymore. But he has to, because his back is against the wall. It’s not, but that’s the impression Morris is trying to cultivate.
He pulls the lever, the door opens, and a huge black cloud with lighting and hissing noises and fire coming out. So basically it’s a Balrog. Yes. The Dark Lord just summoned a Balrog.
The Dark Lord manages to control it, and with the Balrog behind them they head back to Dothan.
We cut back to Josh. The Dark Lord’s forces pulled back two days before. Why? Again, no real reason. But they’re coming back now, and bringing something new.
The Dark Lord rides out and challenges Goel. He offers them all mercy again. Goel tells him to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. So the Dark Lord sends the Balrog out. Goel strips off his grey cloak and underneath he’s clad in shining white. He just turned into Gandalf. Yes. Morris is having Gandalf fight the Balrog. Why not just fly to Britain, unzip, and piss on the Professor’s grave while you’re at it, Morris?
Goel comes out and fights the Balrog. He sings while he does it, a song of love and courage and friendship. The battle isn’t exciting or well-written, even the parts that are phrased vaguely like the actual Gandalf-Balrog battle. Finally Goel wins and the Balrog falls apart. Goel turns back to his army and says let’s go. They charge.
So the Dark Lord’s forces wait until they get out well away from their defensive position and then slaughter them all without mercy.
No wait. Instead they turn and run.
Goel managed to kill their Balrog, so…
Ninety-nine million of the Dark Lord’s troops turn and run, pursed by twenty thousand of Goel’s troops.
I honestly can’t make this shit up.
And thus the final battle began, and Josh knew that there would be no end until the Dark Lord bowed his knee to Goel (page 154).
Note from the future: the Dark Lord isn’t going to bow his knee to Goel.
It’s the chapter of the final battle, of the climactic duel between Goel and the Dark Lord, where everything comes to a head…and this is the chapter title? Goodbye to old friends?
The Dark Lord and Co. have managed to make it from the Plains of Dothan all the way back across miles and miles of desolate land to the Dread Tower. The Dark Lord thinks they should charge Goel’s army, which is outside preparing to attack. Lothag says that this is a terrible idea. All of his men are exhausted from running and most of them have dropped their weapons and manning the walls armed only with clubs. I take it discipline is not a large part of this army.
Outside, Goel gives a pep-talk to his captains, telling them that they WILL take the tower. Josh stands with Reb and Dave and his group, telling them that it’s time to show the Dark Lord what they can do.
“I reckon we will, Josh. I trust you to tote the key to the smokehouse.” It was the highest compliment Reb could pay (page 156).
I guess it must be an Arkansas thing, because just offhand I can think of several hundred compliments to give someone that are better than telling them you trust them not to steal your sausages.
The trumpet sounds. They charge and “attack” the walls. How? It’s not explained. Running up to a wall and hacking at it doesn’t do any good. The Dread Tower is a huge and nearly impenetrable fortress. Goel’s forces have been chasing these people. They haven’t had time to build siege towers, ladders, or battering rams. So Morris doesn’t really explain how they manage to break in through the gates, and by ‘doesn’t really explain’ I mean one sentence they’re outside and the next sentence he tells us that they’re inside fighting and that’s all we get.
Goel starts fighting the Dark Lord himself. Reb has time to stop, watch the battle, and comment to whoever’s listening that the Dark Lord is very strong. A sentence later into the shortest and most anticlimactic duel I’ve ever read, Goel knocks the Dark Lord’s sword away and puts his blade at his throat. All of the Dark Lord’s soldiers surrender. Victory!
Josh starts to feel faint. He’s gushing blood from several wounds. He looks around and sees Sarah lying on the ground, dead. She’s smiling. Yeah. She was hacked to death by edged weapons and she died with a smile on her face. Somehow this doesn’t fit in with reality.
Goel grabs Josh and told him that since he saw the beginning, he has to see the end. I’m not sure exactly what he’s referring to. The beginning of what? He didn’t see the beginning of Nuworld, since it had been ongoing for a good fifty years before Josh woke up. He didn’t see the beginning of Goel’s house, since Goel had been doing things since before Josh woke up. Goel picks Josh up and tells a couple of his soldiers to drag the Dark Lord along. Now, the Dark Lord, as we all know, can cast powerful magic. He can scorch people into pieces of toast with a twitch of his hand. I’ll assume that his magic doesn’t work on Goel. Still, these are regular guys dragging him. Why can’t he fry them and run for it, killing everyone in his way?
They head down to the room where the Balrog was kept. The Dark Lord begins begging for mercy like a little bitch. Goel tells him no deal. He grabs the Dark Lord and chucks him into the pit and they lock the door down. And Josh sinks to the floor and dies.
Josh hears a bird singing. It sounds nice. He wakes up. The grass is so green it hurts his eyes. There are fruit trees and birds singing and the sun is warm on his face and he’s dressed in nice clothing and all his scars and wounds are gone. So he’s in Aslan’s country. Or Heaven, if you prefer.
He walks around eating delicious fruit and thinking about the other Sociopaths, although his memories are fuzzy. Suddenly he sees Goel and they walk around and talk. Josh asks where they are. Goel says that it’s real world, and both Oldworld and Nuworld are gone. So basically, that was the end of the world we just saw there. Everyone fought, the Dark Lord was defeated, and then the world perished in fire and everyone went to Heaven or Hell. Or something.
He sees the rest of the Sociopaths. There’s hugs all around. Everyone is there, and they’re all…happy. Because they’re in heaven, see?
They eat a delicious meal and then Goel tells them it’s time for them to begin their quest. Josh says that he thought that was over. Goel laughs and says that it was training, and now it’s time for the real work to begin. Josh looks at Sarah.
They were both thinking of the times of danger and toil and learning, and they were also thinking, It’s not over (page 165).
Yes. You may have reached Heaven, but once you’re there, the danger and toil continue. Forever. I think that’s the point Morris is making.
They head up a mountain. Josh sees his parents, and for some reason, Morris mentions that he sees Moonwise the centaur. I don’t know why Moonwise gets a name-drop. Out of this entire series, he’s one of the most completely irrelevant characters we see. And….
The Seven Sleepers had begun their final and everlasting quest! (page 166).
The thought of these idiots on a everlasting quest is horrifying.
And that’s it. The end of a truly pestilent series. But before we end, I thought it would be fun to go back and revisit our major characters and see if any of them have progressed.
- Josh: Our Reluctant Leader. He began the series as a gangly, unconfident male, a poor planner, and as dumb as post. At the end, he’s still a Reluctant Leader, is gangly and unconfident, he doesn’t plan well, and he’s a bit smarter than a post. He also did things with Sarah. Goel whispered something in his ear. We never found out what that was.
- Sarah: Moody, hormonal love interest. Is still the love interest but also is a surrogate leader and peacekeeper, so some slight character development. She did things with Josh. Goel told her that those who she trusted the most would betray her. One of them did.
- Reb: A tough-as-nails reformed-racist closeted gay cowboy with loose morals and an intense Civil War fetish. Aside from losing his racism in the first book, he hasn’t really changed. He did things with Token. Goel told him his strength is his weakness. Reb’s strength is lassoing things. And using his muscles. Neither really gave him that much trouble, although I suppose they don’t help his ego.
- Dave: A pretentious, good-looking douchebag. He’s still pretentious and good-looking, but slightly less of a douchebag. Did things with Abbey. Goel told him that his mission would be more difficult than anyone else’s. A flat lie: Token’s mission was by far the hardest.
- Jake: He has red hair and he’s fiery. Along the way we learned that he’s Jewish, he likes inventing things, he lived in New York, and he likes yelling at and confronting people during scenarios when it would be best to keep your mouth shut. Also known as “fiery”. Goel told him that there would be a time where no one else would have faith and if he didn’t come through, Nuworld was screwed. This never happened. The only scenario even remotely close to the Sociopaths losing faith was during Token’s adventure, and Jake didn’t come through.
- Abbey: Began as a spoiled whore who was more concerned with her own appearance than anything else. Realized that it’s what’s on the inside that counts and gave up her spoiled and whorish ways, opting to suddenly and mysteriously have new skills that she never took the time to learn. Then continues to be more concerned with her own appearance than anything else for the rest of the series. Did things with Dave, et al. Goel said that one day he would ask her for all her beauty. He never did.
- Token: He’s still black. He has some character development in his own book and is probably the most level-headed out of all the Sociopaths. Goel said that he would unlock the mystery of all destiny. I think it’s safe to say that Token did not do anything that could not even be remotely construed as unlocking the vaguest of mysteries concerning destiny.
- The Dark Lord: The Evil Overlord List was written for this guy. Is rarely seen to do anything evil except try to exterminate Goel and the Sociopaths, who could be rightly classified as a group of anarchists and law-breakers. Highly incompetent and deserved to lose.
- Goel: He’s God. Or Jesus. Or Aslan. He can see the future and knows what’s going to happen. This helps him make prophecies that never come true, to tell his followers to trust people who work for the Dark Lord, and, in general, be a manipulative bastard.
- Elmas: A delightfully incompetent minion who somehow managed to stay alive despite the Dark Lord’s repeated threats of death. For awhile. Is Elmas alive? Is he dead? Who knows?
- Grumpy, Happy, and Volka: Fellow companions who were there when it counted for the entirety of the first quest. Showed up once more to do nothing for one book, then vanished and didn’t even get a mention at the final battle (except Volka).
And that’s it. Series over.
Looking back on it, it’s painfully obvious that the only book that Morris even remotely cared about was the first one (which, when written, wasn’t even necessarily written as the start of a series). After it was released and became moderately popular Morris whipped out nine more books in short order at the rate of about one a month to cash in on the success of the first one. None of the last nine books are even close to the quality and depth of the first book, and let’s not forget that the first book was an absolute piece of shit, which will give you some idea as to what the rest of the series is like.
But wait, you must say. Didn’t Morris, desperate to cash in on the apparent success of this series, later churn out seven more books called The Seven Sleepers: The Lost Chronicles? In the interest of completeness, aren’t you going to spork those as well? The answer is no, almost certainly not. I’ve read a couple of them, and while they’re extremely bad, they’re also incredibly boring. I may go through and write a quick summary of each book, if I feel like it. But for now, I have other books calling my name.