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A Fantasy Joke

December 28, 2009

There’s an old joke circulating the trenches about General Zagin’s early career.  It holds that during the Third Darkling Rebellion, he was posted at a remote fort only a few miles away from enemy territory.  The Darklings kept sending hordes of necromantically-animated skeletons at them, and the men at the fort were getting slaughtered.

So General Zagin found the fort’s resident wizard and he said to him, “Why should the bad guys be the only ones who get to use soulless automatons?  Make me some golems so my men don’t have to get killed out there.”

There was plenty of mud lying around (the borderlands being a famously mucky environment), so the wizard did as he was told and had the golems ready by the next morning.  They failed miserably.  All they could do was walk in a straight line until they tripped over their own feet.

Zagin said, “Nice start, but I need these golems to be smarter.  Knowing how to shoot a gun would be good.”

The wizard was terrified of getting punished, so he worked long into the night making his golems smarter.  The next morning he put them on the battlefield so Zagin could see how they worked.  They were, indeed, smarter than the first batch of golems.  These ones could shoot, and if they ran into a wall they could go around it instead of standing there swinging their legs back and forth.  But they were still bleeding idiots compared to humans, and Zagin told the wizard so.

The wizard was getting excited about his work, so this time he put everything he had into making his golems smarter.  And the next morning, he proudly showed them off to the general.

The golems took one look at the advancing skeleton horde, threw down their guns, and ran away.

“What the hell, wizard?” said Zagin.  “What happened?  These golems are completely useless!”

The wizard turned to the general and said, “I think I made them too smart, sir.”

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