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Citadel Nevermind
Installment One by Venus Velvet

Once upon the time there was a castle in the middle of a deep dark forest. Actually it was a Citadel...Citadel Nevermind. This was a somewhat silly thing to call a citadel, but the people who lived there were a silly lot who liked to annoy people. So, whenever anyone came up to them and asked them where they were from, they could say, "Oh...Nevermind."

Perhaps this was not the best way in the world to start new friendships. Everyone in the surrounding areas thought the folks at the Nevermind were "weird." They tended to avoid them.

But one day, one of the folks from other places, his name was Normal, was traveling through the deep dark forest, and it started to get dark. He had no desire to spend the night in the forest. This was because the forest was rumored to be populated by vampire aardvarks. Normal, much against his social conditioning, was forced to seek shelter at the Citadel Nevermind.

His heart was in his mouth as he approached the great oaken doors. He rung the doorbell. For a long while nothing happened. Then, at last, he heard footsteps coming down the hall towards the door.

The door slowly swung open with a hideous groan. At first Normal was blinded by the glare of the light from within. Then, when his eyes adjusted he saw a ugly little dwarf standing there. The dwarf (whose name was Grendel,) opened the door a little wider and glared at him.... Normal turned to run, but tripped over his shoelaces. The dwarf spoke in a booming voice at him. "WHAD'DYA WANT?"

Normal shivered and tried to crawl through the ground. When that didn't work, he sat up nervously and said, "I really need a place to stay the night." The dwarf just gazed at him, then smiled (a really sick looking smile).


The door swung wide. Normal looked down to thank the dwarf, but he was gone. The poor young man sighed, and cautiously entered the doorway. "If you were really cautious, you wouldn't go in there!" bellowed a voice from above the door.

He looked up and saw a skeleton hanging upside down above the door. It seemed to leer at him, and its eyes glowed with a hellish light. Normal seriously considered making a run for it, but then he looked at the clouds building up, and the fast approaching night, and decided reluctantly that entering would be safer. As he went in, the skeleton laughed and said, "You'll be sooooooorry!"

He walked down a long hall hung with tapestrys. They portrayed the oddest things, pieces that may have been from stories told of other worlds.

Normal felt very alone. A deep voice spoke to him, and said "Your room is this way, sir." He turned from the tapestry to see a butler standing before him. (His name is Maven, but this has little consequence). "Step this way." So, without a word he followed this fellow down the hall. At the end of the hall there was a great door. This door the butler opened. The two entered a large room with doors all around it. Each door was labled. Names of places, some he had heard in tales, others he had never seen before. One was named "Honalee". A mystical land he had heard of in a song. Others were called things like "Mocha", "Fred's Toy", and "Red Dwarf". The butler continued for a pace, then turned and said "Please step this way, sir"....

The door read "BOARD O'DOOM" and was rather eery looking. Normal decided to go in. When Normal went in, he found.......reality as he knew it was all wrong. The room was awash with fantasies come true, nightmares from the depths of a man's mind, life itself twisted beyond Recognition.

Normal took all this in with a Grain of salt. He sighed, "Home at last."

Then a Scruffy looking, broom handle walked up to Normal. Normal looked again. The broom handle was wearing a leather sword harness, and had skinny arms and two streams of milk for legs, Normal looked again. It wasn't a broom handle after all, just a skinny barbarian with very long hair.

"And who might you bee?" asked the Barbarian.

"My name's Normal, and I would like to request a place to rest," Normal said sleepily.

"My name is Zog, and I welcome you traveler. Come I will show you to a place to rest, but stay away from that normality room, it's scary."

Normal replied, "Yes, I've heard of that room before, I've heard that it's one of the most dangerous rooms on the board, but I am strong, so I will go."

Therefore, Normal follows the Barbarian out of that room and back into the room of many doors. Once there Barbarian asks if Normal would like a drink. "Why, yes. Is there a coffee shop around?"

"Certainly, just follow me through the chocolate coloured door." So saying, they went together unto the land called Mocha and had a latte.

Meanwhile, Citadel NM reconfigured until all the rooms were in far different places than they had been before, and some were gone, forever and ever. But new ones had taken their place. Places like:

Normal staggered out of the chocolate brown door. "I have heard of caffeine rush before, but isn't THIS a little much?!"

He looked around. The skinny barbarian was no where to be seen. Come to think of it, Normal hadn't seen him for a few hours. Not since he was hitting on that flirty little blonde bar wench...(But, nevermind THAT.)

Normal looked around and saw that he was in a long and narrow hall. He didn't think it looked like the same place he came in...He started walking down the hall... Soon he heard music and against his will his feet started to dance. faster and faster he spun, moving down the hall, Towards the source of the music. He tried to turn back, but he could not. He tried to stop, but he could not. He moved on and one, ever closer to wait waited..Just around the corner... And the beat went on... He rounded the corner and found a hallway, the music had stopped. He opened every door and finally found a door that led somewhere. He went in to find the Nevermind, but every room of the Nevermind seemed to be netted to BOARD O'DOOM, and he was about to scream, when......suddenly he found a local room! There was much joy in him, but it turned into confusion when he relized it was telling HIS story! He ran down halls and and through rooms until he was lost.

Then he rounded a corner and fell into a deep hole....The Point of No Return......which took him to......The Red Dwarf, a burning wreck of a space mining ship, unfortunately...... occupied by a crewman, a holograph, and a cat(of sorts)... Normal found it to be a friendly sorta place, but the crewman really did want to leave, the cat stole anything of value, and the hologram was.. well, shallow.

For some strange reason Normal realized that he must use all his native intelligence and wit, to escape this ghost ship. So, he clicked his heels while repeating "There's no place like home", three times, and... oops, this doesn't look like Kansas anymore......where upon he opened his eyes to Cat shoving newly-found "FISH!" in his face..

As he wandered the Ship, he kept seeing ghost images out of the corners of his eyes. He asked the ship's computer, Holly, what they were. Holly started to reply when the obnoxious hologram, Rimmer, said, "And make it simple, Hol."

"How simple do you want it?" Holly asked.

"Simple enough for Lister to understand."

"oh dear."

Holly explained that what Normal was seeing was real, not his imagination. That dimensions had been thin lately and there was another Red Dwarf moving in the same place and time, but not the same...Well, there Holly stumbled, and left Normal even more confused.

So Normal wandered the ship, until he stumbled upon a dimensional portal, which took him and put him aboard the ship with all the people on it. Lister said, "Good riddance, he was boring." Cat nodded and went back to beating up on a skutter....

Normal tripped, in a big way. He fell on the one and only plastic model of a texas oil king. As he touched the model, it came to life and slapped him in the face. "I'm not that kind of guy!" it said as it disolved into a sticky glob of Exxon goo. Soon activists, and protesters where everywhere. He decided it would be best to leave before the gathering crowd pinned him as the culprit. He gathered up his...... started a big environmental issue on the slapping effects of oil on human skin...

Normal saw another door and decided to go through. He found himself back on solid ground once again and it was getting dark so he sat down on a patch of grass under the only tree in this vast pasture, and look up when he heard the sound of wings. A large Owl was staring down at him, and it opened its beak and said...

"Welcome, young lad, to the place of wonder. The place down under." There was darkness everyone, making it difficult to see thoroughly. So, he made himself a patch of grass and made a bed. He slept the whole night, until he was awakened again. By the same owl, it said again "Welcome, young lad, to the place of wonder. The place down under." He slapped the owl and it quieted down. He looked around again. He was in a large pasture, full of small hills and dips, and some animals. He felt as if he was light as air, until he realized that he was lifting up from the ground!

He grabbed on to a tree branch, and yelled, "NO! I am sick of these constant changes in the nature of gravity, and I won't put up with it any more!" And so saying, he settled back down to the ground. "That's better," he said, and he began walking in a direction that for some unfathomable reason seemed better than the others. After a while, he began hearing a faint sound in the distance. It was kind of a rumbling, but for a long time he could not pin down exactly what it was. Then it came to him. And the makers of that sound came to him too. Over the crest of a hill came ten riders. Ten short men on short horses. They were dressed in leather and fir and had leather caps on their heads, and bows and arrows over their shoulders. They rode in a straight line, side by side. As they aproached, He saw that each rider had a rope tied to his own ankle, and thus to the ankle of the rider next to him. Ten riders galloping across the open field with their ankles tied together. Just as they were near to galloping over our hero, covering his body with hoofmarks one of the ten riders' horses triped and took a rider with him, therefore, taking every single rider down. Well, since they were in a big heap on the ground, Normal decided to ask them what was on the other side of the hills. The head of the group of riders replied...

'i really hate it when that happens'. . .

An extrememly large-bellied man stepped up to the young rider. The growls of the other riders behind him became louder as the men began to remount. The young, stalky newcomer sat atop his horse with a blank expression on his face. The large man approached with no sense of caution. He brought down his hat and swung it high over his head. The hat hit the young man in the shoulder as the larger man replied "This is another fine mess you've gotten us into."

Found a large patron of the arts clutching a small statue of Jesse Helms and drooling steadily. His eyes red, and voice unsteady as he sobbed out his woe. "Oh, such a fine work this is. The idiocy, the censorship, the hideously repression- minded ignorance just ooze right out of its very pores."

The heavy set man continued, "Well boys, we're going to have to try that from the top once again."

Normal, out of curiosity, asked what the man was talking about. The man replied, "You see, we were trying to set a new speed/time record for the all-state ride, but...

A sort of average-to-tall person in dark green walks in with a green- patterned tapastry carpet bag and sets it down by the front desk. A short balding man darts out from behind the counter and says, "May I take your your mon- uh, your baggage Miss?" "Why, yes. I'd like to check in. Nice look you have here, neo-Barvarian Citadel..."

The large Barbarian with the leather overcoat and the sword sticking out says, "I'd like a room in the party wing."

Normal noticed that the scenery had changed, and he was tired. He then decided to check into the Hotel Nevermind. He was escorted up to his room, where he had everything he could dream of ready to be used by him.

The TaleTeller walks down the front steps and greets the barbarian, and tells all who stand outside the hotel, "Welcome home. You have entered the realm of Fantasia, where everything is possible, even dangers from which you might not survive. The Hotel NeverMind sits at the edge of the Desert of Lost Dreams. Behind us is the Lake of Laughter, where a drink can make up for any hard day, `Joy is in the ears that hear', my friends. Therefore join us, and be welcomed. " She turned and went back up into the hotel, pauses in the doorway, to look back at them and smiles kindly. Then she vanishes.

Normal (as he sleeps) is in a gigantic bowl of jelly, with a HOT looking girl. But, he's feeling everything, so it can't be a dream. He thinks, "oh, man, this is WEIRD," and then finds himself walking along a NON- POLLUTED, all sand beach in nice sunny weather with a tan to die for and that same girl, except she had clothes on this time. He followed Jesica (the girl) into a cave...

Yeah, whatever.

The beach stretches far and wide along the Lake of Laughter. A sign says, "Remembering Sands" and the legend beneath tells that if you find a shell in these sands, and hold it to your ear, it will tell you of a good memory you had forgotten. And what else could you expect from the Lake of Laughter?

Normal decided to pick up a shell, after he had walked a ways. He was reminded of a time when he was about six, where he was at home in the normal part of town with the normal people. He then started remembering it on his own, and he could finally place the face of that girl that was on the beach with him. She was his next door neigbors kid when he was six, and they used to go outside and play all the time...

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