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The Authentic Life of Lancelot Snurdley

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  • The Authentic Life of Lancelot Snurdley

    Here's something I'm working on now. Not entirely sure about it yet, though...

    The Authentic Life of Lancelot Snurdley

    ‘The landscape of history has always continued to produce great men,’ said I, Sir Lancelot Snurdley, in my lecture at Oxford's Balliol College the other evening, ‘but is it history that produces them, or is it they who produce history?’ I have always favored the latter approach to understanding our past myself. I believe that great men shape the world’s fortunes, and in this vein history itself. I also believe that great men carry a heavy burden, one of responsibility, to see the world’s great future ensured. Otherwise, we should all be smelly, furry cannibals living in caves like dogs, and instead of writing these maxims down in my memoirs for you to read, I should be sitting in my cave and eating you. – Sir Lancelot Snurdley, Memoirs, Preface

    1916, The Western Front

    “It’s the Ottomans, again, sir! FIX BAYONETS!” shouted Sergeant-Major ‘Pudgy’ Bowles-Sappington, his voice booming through the whole of the trenches, his call (and vile breath) cutting through the thick fog of the battlefield, causing every infantryman for 100 yards around to plug his ears in a wild rage.

    “Bugger the Ottomans!” returned the equally vociferous voice of Major General Sir Lancelot Snurdley, from under his HQ flap as he hurriedly loaded his giant revolver, beaming insanely, and twirling his immense gray mustachios around for effect.

    “Sir! It’s the Krauts! READY YOUR RIFLES!” shouted Sergeant-Major Bowles-Sappington again, in his desperate bid to look over the trench to the enemy advancing with his tin foil “periscope” while wearing his lungs out simultaneously.

    “Bugger the Krauts!” came the reply of the Major General, reaching for the dress sword he had stashed away under his bunk near the tin of biscuits and the pickled eggs jar.

    “Oi! General, sir! It’s the bloody Mongols! STEADY, BOYS!” shouted Sergeant-Major Bowles-Sappington, grabbing for his wife’s photograph and his bucket of ice water.

    “Bugger the Mongols!” cried the Major General, removing the dress sword, discarding the scabbard, and watching the gleam of the exploding shells reflecting on its hilt.

    “Errr…ummm…General, old chap! It’s the dratted Aztecs! READY YOUR RIFLES!” shouted the Sergeant-Major, preparing to pour the cold contents of the bucket down his gullet to relieve his throbbing gullet.

    “Bugger the Aztecs!” said the Major General in a loud voice, coming his hair briefly before his small, cracked, portable mirror.

    “Yes, well…It’s the bloody Vikings! TAKE YOUR AIM! Gurgle!” shouted the Sergeant-Major, downing the water in a long, satisfied gulp.

    “Bugger the Vikings!” continued the Major General, reaching into his pocket for his trusty whistle, guaranteed to attract the attention and total hatred of anyone in earshot.

    “Quite…quite…Sir! It’s the cream-faced Arabs! FIRE!” shouted the Sergeant-Major, who’s voice, loud as it was, was shortly drowned out by the roar of the volley his men released into the enemy, approaching from behind barbed wire, cutting through the swirling mists, and activating the landmines with their poor choice of footing.

    “Bugger the Arabs!” came the roar of the Major General, Sir Lancelot Snurdley. He then lifted his whistle to his lips, and blew tremendously. All along the line, the troops stopped the firing, only the machine gunners and artillerymen continuing to kill hundreds of the advancing, yet steadily weakening enemy.

    “OVER THE TOP!” he shouted. Then, he sprang forward; his whistle clenched between his pearly white buck-teeth, obscured by those giant mustachios; a pistol was clutched in one of his gloved hands, and his sword in the other. With him, and with a tremendous, terrible roar, the men went and followed him over the top of the lines, and into the swirling mists of battle, right into the enemy.

    Lancelot Snurdley’s military and political career had actually started in the early 1840s, when the young man, a struggling artist in suburban Bolton, making his money on errands and midget tossing contest bets, was found sewing in his attic by his Aunt, Jemima Felicity Quap, a well respected member of the Free for All Women’s Liberties Guilds of Upper Bolton. Mrs. Quap, Lancelot’s surrogate mother, was positively delighted by the sight, and wholeheartedly supported the bold move to sew his trouser leg. She then asked him if this meant he wanted to be a clothes designer. He said no, so she sent him away to the Crimea.

    1844, The Crimea

    “Aha!” said the Quartermaster General, Sir Laundsley Duck-Slappingfish, on the arrival of Mr. Snurdley in the Crimea as a new assistant Quartermaster for the army out there to expand the empire by wiping out Russians, Ottomans, and Mongols alike, “So, you are Snurdley, eh? I thought so…the idiotic expression on your face, the sloppily tied shoes, the stiff upper lip, the neatly clipped mustache, the plastic pencil holder, the smell of alcohol bedecking your oversized, purple-gray lips, the Quartermaster’s insignia…these things all suggested to my tremendously powerful mind that you were a Quartermaster. Am I right?” Unfortunately, the Quartermaster’s insignia had been misidentified, and that of higher command never quite registered in the General’s beady little lobes.

    “No,” replied the General-in-Chief, slapping Sir Laundsley hard in the face with his glove, “I’m actually the General-in-Chief, this lad behind me is the new Quartermaster. And you are a stupid officious ape.” The General stormed away without a further word.

    Looking rather sheepish, the Quartermaster General strode forward, grabbing Snurdley’s hand, and shaking it violently. “Ah, well, welcome to Glory Hole, old chap. This is the center of operations for supplying our boys in the front, who are gallantly taking on the barbarous foe. You see, I’m the brains of operations,” he said, tipping over a vial of ink, stepping on his cat’s tail, and leaning on his bicycle horn, while knocking the coat rack over and onto the box marked ‘EXTREMELY DANGEROUS---DO NOT JAR’. “They don’t call me ‘Brains of Steel’ for nothing, you know. Always good to see a new face to liven things up here. The Mongols are ugly chaps, you won’t like them. Learn to make due, and you’ll be extremely happy here. Despite the shells, and the guns, and the bombs, and the continuous bombardment, the screams of the men writhing in agony, the smells of death, the…”

    “Yes, jolly nice place, I’m sure. Thank you for allowing me up here at 4th Corps Quartermaster Post.”

    “That’s all right. Just a few things to note…we run things very tightly here, very tightly indeed. No accidents…nothing goes wrong…everything is on schedule…everything is done right…nothing wrong ever happens…”

    The door burst open, and a breathless courier shouted, “Quartermaster General! The entire supply train that you sent over to 5th Corps followed your directions entirely, but they took them into the enemy rear! They have no way out, and want to know if…”

    The smile Sir Laundsley wore suddenly took on a carnival air, and looked distinctly wooden, ”Oh…ummm…that…uhhh…Look, Quartermaster, have to go now. Lovely chat we had here. Leaving you in charge of this post. With any luck, we’ll be home by Christmas, what what?”

    With that, Sir Laundsley Duck-Slappingfish went out the door, and into the adjoining wall with a slight thud as his nose connected with the woodwork.

    Dear Aunt Jemima,

    This is your nephew, Lancelot, writing you, in case the return address hadn’t made the connection in your mind already. It’s been a week now out here on the Crimea, and I’m feeling quite at home, though I have the distinct feeling that my superior, Sir Laundsley, is a total idiot.

    How’s Cindy? And Phyllis? And Roger? And Arnold? And Peccary? And Fatling? I must admit that I feel somewhat home sick, though I’m getting quite used to my surroundings up here. I am stationed at 4th Corps Quartermaster’s HQ, near Smerdlikosvk, a suburb of the tiny village of Muskovitivostokovitchikov. The conversation with the locals isn’t very interesting, mostly because they can’t speak English, and in this part of the world no one has discovered the secrets of joke telling. Also uninteresting is their cooking, but that’s something which has ever bothered me, home or abroad.

    Haven’t yet seen very much action, but have heard it. The fact that the main Russian army was surrounded on the beaches and forced to surrender certainly is a moral raiser if there ever was one, despite the fact that we have no yet actually encountered anyone else in armed combat since our arrival. The Russians may sue for peace, but the others, it seems, won’t be so quick to do so. The Ottomans are very intent on mercilessly and barbarously killing every one of us, for what cause I cannot tell. I hear that the Sultan Osman is found mostly in deep contemplation, and in thinking too much a few days ago strained a muscle in his brain, which has unfortunately put that organ temporarily out of service. Whether that is a good thing or not, I cannot tell, though I have noted a goofy grin smeared all over his usually tepid mug as of late.

    The French, as always, are right behind us wherever we go, shouting us on and encouraging us all the way, especially when we are in battle. They frequently call out to us in the din of battle from the rearguard that “You’re doing swell” and “Go get ‘em!” which greatly cheers the men. As I said, the French are behind us all the way. However, last night I did see a briefly cavalry conflict between a French hussar brigade and a squadron of sipahi. Four minutes after the initial charge, we watched as Ottoman horses ran back, riderless, while French riders ran back, horseless. The bravery of the French is, as you can see, incredible, if I may use the word freely.

    Please do tell me what’s going on in the Guild. I understand that despite the attempts to blow up Ascot, set the Lord Chancellor aflame, burn the home secretary’s house down, and raid Lloyd’s, your case is still being heard. I’m glad to hear it, and I hope further well-calculated plans are set into motion by the incredible brains behinds the suffragetters. (By the way, have you ever thought that ‘suffragettes’ might actually sound a bit more feminine, and therefore a bit more welcoming, if you will? Think Rockettes, for example…oh, all right, scratch that one.)

    Your Nephew,
    Lancelot Snurdley

    Last edited by History Guy; February 3, 2004, 16:12.
    Empire growing,
    Pleasures flowing,
    Fortune smiles and so should you.

  • #2
    What can I say...I'm hooked...


    • #3
      Marvellous old chap very amusing keep it going
      A proud member of the "Apolyton Story Writers Guild".There are many great stories at the Civ 3 stories forum, do yourself a favour and visit the forum. Lose yourself in one of many epic tales and be inspired to write yourself, as I was.


      • #4
        very nice, waiting for more!

        "Your a Mod not a God" - AnarchyRulz
        MOD of StJNES4, JNES: The War of the World
        JNESIV: Some Things Should Never Die


        • #5
          This is the greatest peice I have ever read on these forums. I'm not kidding in the slightest bit, you even have chris braud beat (sorry chap)

          I hope i never have a story against this goliath in a contest, I would have to vote against myself.
          Read Blessed be the Peacemakers | Read Political Freedom | Read Pax Germania: A Story of Redemption | Read Unrelated Matters | Read Stains of Blood and Ash | Read Ripper: A Glimpse into the Life of Gen. Jack Sterling | Read Deutschland Erwachte! | Read The Best Friend | Read A Mothers Day Poem | Read Deliver us From Evil | Read The Promised Land


          • #6
            Woah. Well, I'm sort of shocked and stunned, actually. Thanks for this unexpected praise!

            “You twisted sick idiot! You’ve mucked up everything! You make me so ill! I’m going to slap your head all over till it’s black and blue, you little rotter!” shouted Sir Laundsley Duck-Slappingfish into his mirror, unaware that Lancelot Snurdley, Quartermaster of the 4th Corps, was standing directly behind him.

            “Ahem, Sir Laundsley…” began Snurdley.

            “Oh heavens…what…what are you doing here?” screamed the Quartermaster General, his head turning a deep shade of red, his eyes bulging maliciously, his teeth scrambling ever so near Snurdley’s sausage-like nose that the little Quartermaster thought it in danger of being bitten off.

            “Pardon me, sir, I was just coming in for orders, you requested that I come and receive orders…”

            “Oh, yes, sorry about that old bean, old man, old thing, old fish, old rat, old scoundrel, old earwig…you see, I do like to have my privacy about me, man’s got to have his privacy, what what? As it is, old chap, we’ve got the Ottomans on the run. Yes, before you open your jowls to slap them madly against one another, producing your mouth music, listen to facts. This morning, in a concerted effort by High Command, we sent out some cavalry and some troops to shake up the Ottoman position, and the Light Brigade broke their position at Balaklava. You see, old chap, we’ve got them on the run. Consequently, our position here will have to be abandoned, so that we may pursue the enemy, and get them squarely on the chin, eh what? Mongols’ll never know what hit ‘em!” Sir Laundsley flashed his oversized teeth for effect.

            “Oh, righty-o, sir.”

            “So, take the Dveivortskipressmidgetskiansquibwhackyguy Road up to Yurtski, the capital of the Mongolian colonists, and drive those jerks from their yurts, what what. You’ve got a brigade of cavalry under Lord Snodgrass to take you through the area. Snodgrass is a military genius; your push will work incredibly well. Don’t take too long, though, because the boys would like to have the war over and be home by tea-time.”

            “Yes, sir,” said Snurdley, giving a salute with his gloved hand. He couldn’t help but admire the nonchalant, stupid attitude of these boys at the top.

            He walked back to Glory Hole to prepare for the big push tomorrow morning, and looked out for Lord S., whom he hadn’t quite seen yet, despite the fact that he’d been assigned by General P. and Lord C. for the assistance of Sir L. for the protection of the old Q.D. On the way, he sniffed a bit o’ snuff, and engaged in a midget throwing contest (a life-long hobby) at the local pub, Yurimovitch’s, near Glory Hole.

            “Goooooooooooooooooood morning, sir!” shouted Sergeant-Major ‘Pudgy’ Bowles-Sappington, a wry little man with a gap tooth and a song in his heart, though he hated just about everyone.

            “Eh? What? Oh…good morning, Sergeant-Major, is the…” began Snurdley, sitting up in his bunk under the boxes marked ‘EXTREMELY EXPLOSIVE’ in the HQ room at Glory Hole.

            “No, sir. But Lord Snodgrass’ cavalry signaled to us via smoke signals (the North American manservant, Big Chief Laughing Chicken arranged it), telling us that they would arrive at…just about…ohhh…dum, dum, dum, dum…deedily dee…NOW!”

            Then, with a “ha ha!” and a “boy, aren’t we dashing!” the clatter of hooves outside the door signaled the arrival of the six hundred members of the Light-Weight Brigade, led by Lord Snodgrass. The Quartermaster hurriedly brushed his teeth and whipped on some clothes to meet the Lord. However, he realized that he should have reached for his uniform, when he noted that the clothes he had grabbed for actually turned out to be his Bozo the Clown suit. Quickly, he made the exchange, and was back to being a Quartermaster before he could say “Antidisestablishmentarianism” ten times fast, try as he might.

            Approaching the tent of Lord Snodgrass, Snurdley prepared to meet an incredibly great man. The courts of Europe, Mexico, and Korea had long been graced by the bold, dashing, dark, handsome figure of Lord Snodgrass, who always appeared draped in his best silk dress uniform, with his dashing pointy mustache neatly protruding from under his small, beautiful nostrils. Lord Snodgrass was the beau saber of the entire 4th Corps, and he was supposed to be it’s biggest brain as well, which wasn’t saying much.

            Snurdley braced himself. Seated cross-legged in his chair was Lord Snodgrass, looking every bit as dashing and gosh durn smart as everyone had suggested. Could Snurdley’s weak, puny brain keep up with the intellectual wanderings that bashed about boldly in the crevices of Snodgrass’ synapses?

            “Lord Snodgrass, sir, allow me to introduce myself, Quartermaster Lancelot Snurdley. Welcome to Glory Hole.”

            “Hey, that’s OK. You know what? I’m happy to be here, and I’m sure everybody is happy I’m here, so let’s all be happy that I’m here together, eh? Have a cigarette, Lance, and some Grand Marnier, and some mustache wax, and hey, here’s a feather duster that I got from a one eyed Emir with a really large knife who made the mistake of challenging me to a duel in Baghdad. Bleeding from many wounds, I took him down with an ounce of lead in the old forehead. I then removed this blood soaked feather duster, and gave it a good scrub…”

            “Ah, right…thanks…” Snurdley was rather taken aback. He hadn’t been prepared to meet such a great big idiot, especially not one who pulled his pants up to his belly in that incredibly dopey manner.

            Half an hour later, Snurdley crawled on top of his mount and prepared to lead the Quartermaster’s Division up the hill, down it, and up the road, and down it, and towards the Mongols. The big push was always a good thing to play a major part in, and Snurdley was quite sure that today would be the day his name would be smacked across the headlines of newspapers all over. He could just imagine Aunt Jemima reading the Times, dipping it absent mindedly in her jam, toast, and egg, and giving a rousing cheer for her bold and rather brilliant nephew with the big nose and the flappy ears.

            “Aha! Yeah, those are smoke signals, all right! Yes, that’s Big Chief Laughing Chicken, by Jove, and he’s telling us something…yes…that’s right…let’s see…what could he be telling us?…Major, take the Ziporhitskian Road…Yes…that’s right…Big Chief Laughing Chicken is telling us…something…” went on Lord Snodgrass, as they turned and rode down the Ziporhitskian Road.

            “Oh! I know! It means ‘No, Stupid! Don’t take the Ziporhitskian Road!’ I wonder whatever he could mean,” continued Lord Snodgrass.

            Despite the sudden artillery bombardments, the gunfire ripping into his riders, the Mongol regiments entrenched deeply behind their positions, the Ottoman irregulars pouring into their foxholes, the shell blasting off an aide’s head in front of him, and the laughing Mongol General on the hill overlooking the position, Lord Snodgrass still could not understand what was going on. So, he ordered a hurried general forward movement of the brigade to collect further information.

            Into the jaws of death rode the six hundred.

            Dear Aunt Jemima,

            This is your nephew, again. That’s Lancelot, remember? The one who’s been sending you messages from the Crimea for the past four months, expecting a response, checking the mail boxes every morning, hoping against hope that despite the rain, snow, sleet, hail, and everything else, the postman would still get through the lines to deliver your letter. Still waiting for it. Suppose there’s been a back up somewhere.

            Did you know Cousin Fatling had been given a command and sent to the front? Neither did I until yesterday when I happened to step on his foot, spook his horse, and hit him over the head with my dress sword by accident. After the knife fight ended in a draw, we realized that we knew each other, and fell into conversation. He says that he has become obsessed with home decorating lately. I thought you’d like to know, since he is a Lord. Another ally to the cause, eh?

            Saw a great deal of action today. For example, Lord Snodgrass led us into the most heavily entrenched Mongolian position on the Crimea so that we might reconnoiter it. After we rode in, we discovered ourselves to be under heavy fire, and decided to charge boldly forward to ascertain who was shooting at us, so that we might use this information at some later time. However, something went wrong, somebody blundered, and we won the war.

            Yes, you see, Lord Snodgrass’ mount charged the wrong way and hit a tree, so I was given command of the Light-Weight Brigade. It was quite exhilarating, though my Bozo the Clown costume which I had packed away in a basket on my mount’s backside was riddled with bullets. If possible, forward a replacement through the lines so that I may still have it if for some reason I may need it in the mop up actions.

            As I charged forward into the Mongolian lines, I saw our boys begin to fall. Indeed, I myself was nearly struck by a bullet, but it bounced off my sword and hit Sergeant-Major Bowles-Sappington in the heart. I feared for a moment he was badly heart, but he shouted to me, “Don’t worry, sir, it’s only a mortal wound! Now, if it might have been worse if…” at which point another Mongol volley drowned his voice out, despite his shouting.

            Anyway, after I lopped off the Mongolian General’s head, the enemy began to break, and so they did. We immediately charged after them, and caught a great many. However, I myself accidentally rode into the enemy picket lines.

            I was alone in the woods when I heard a click, that of a poorly oiled Mongolian pistol. I looked around and saw a tall, poorly groomed Mongol officer standing alone in the clearing. “Ha ha ha!” he said, “Gotcha! Surrender now…or die! Ahahahahahahaha!”

            “Never!” I said boldly.

            With that I leapt bravely off my horse and onto him, clutching his pistol, and wrestling him for it. However, I found him to be too strong, and instead discharged all six bullets into the ground.

            “Curses!” he said…he removed from his pocket a great big knife. I grappled with him again, finding a sharp rock, and in the struggle, rubbing the blade against it, over a matter of hours dulling it to uselessness.

            “Curses! Foiled!” he screamed. He then grabbed his pocket again, a pulled out a thumb screw… After destroying many such objects over the course of the struggle, I finally discovered his final weapon when he removed from his pocket a long, sleek, deadly-looking pea-shooter, which he quickly loaded, and aimed straight for my heart.

            I leapt forward, and though I was quick, I was not quick enough. I felt a sudden pain, deep, throbbing, round, pea-like…a single round had been discharged into my body…I was badly wounded, and I knew it. Before he could reload the barrel, however, I yanked the pea-shooter from his hands, and jumped behind it, bringing it up against his neck, and strangling him with it. When his force seemed to melt away, and he slumped in my hands, I knew the pea-shooter had done its work, and I’d killed him.

            I felt terrible, the pea having produced a nasty wound that I at first feared mortal. I weakly mounted my horse, and rode for the hospital. Miss Nightingale administered chloroform, and removed the pea. “You’re a brave boy,” she said, for the wound of the pea-shooter is one no man would envy. I began to recover, the wound healing over the next couple of days.

            The war is now over for the most part, the main enemy armies on the Crimea having surrendered. Only isolated bands of guerrilla troops remain for us to hunt down. I have been promoted to Major, which may impress you, and I am sure that the war is quite finished.

            I must say, though, that the victory was bittersweet. Shortly afterward, while cleaning his rifle, Sir Laundsley’s Indian manservant accidentally learned that the weapon was loaded, much to his master’s dismay. The tomb is quite impressive, however. We laid out a headstone for him that reads:


            It’s quite beautiful, as I said.

            I wish to here what’s happening with your Guild. Please do write me. I can be reached at “the Tent Behind the Stump near the River Volimeritzka two yards from the dead skunk hit by a stray shell.”

            Your Nephew,
            Lancelot Snurdley

            Last edited by History Guy; February 3, 2004, 16:24.
            Empire growing,
            Pleasures flowing,
            Fortune smiles and so should you.


            • #7
              Absolutely spiffing my good man, three cheers for you sir.
              A proud member of the "Apolyton Story Writers Guild".There are many great stories at the Civ 3 stories forum, do yourself a favour and visit the forum. Lose yourself in one of many epic tales and be inspired to write yourself, as I was.


              • #8
                It is a truely great read....
                Read Blessed be the Peacemakers | Read Political Freedom | Read Pax Germania: A Story of Redemption | Read Unrelated Matters | Read Stains of Blood and Ash | Read Ripper: A Glimpse into the Life of Gen. Jack Sterling | Read Deutschland Erwachte! | Read The Best Friend | Read A Mothers Day Poem | Read Deliver us From Evil | Read The Promised Land


                • #9
                  The quick-fingered folks that beat me to the post button know what they are talking about, HG. This would be some great stuff. I love both the quality and the quantity. Keep it up.
                  XBox Live: VovanSim
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                  Halo 3 Service Record (I fail at FPS...)
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                  • #10
                    Lokking forward to some more of this delightfully funny little story old chap.
                    A proud member of the "Apolyton Story Writers Guild".There are many great stories at the Civ 3 stories forum, do yourself a favour and visit the forum. Lose yourself in one of many epic tales and be inspired to write yourself, as I was.


                    • #11
                      Me too.

                      Last edited by SKILORD; February 16, 2003, 17:16.
                      Read Blessed be the Peacemakers | Read Political Freedom | Read Pax Germania: A Story of Redemption | Read Unrelated Matters | Read Stains of Blood and Ash | Read Ripper: A Glimpse into the Life of Gen. Jack Sterling | Read Deutschland Erwachte! | Read The Best Friend | Read A Mothers Day Poem | Read Deliver us From Evil | Read The Promised Land


                      • #12
                        It's like a cross between "Flashman" and "Sir Henry at Rawlinson End". More strength to your elbow, sir.
                        The genesis of the "evil Finn" concept- Evil, evil Finland


                        • #13
                          This is definitely a masterpiece. Plenty of laughs.

                          'well done, good and faithful servant...'


                          • #14
                            I must apologize for not getting something done more yet...been terribly busy.
                            Empire growing,
                            Pleasures flowing,
                            Fortune smiles and so should you.


                            • #15
                              Your apology is accepted.... if of course you continue this magnificent piece.
                              Read Blessed be the Peacemakers | Read Political Freedom | Read Pax Germania: A Story of Redemption | Read Unrelated Matters | Read Stains of Blood and Ash | Read Ripper: A Glimpse into the Life of Gen. Jack Sterling | Read Deutschland Erwachte! | Read The Best Friend | Read A Mothers Day Poem | Read Deliver us From Evil | Read The Promised Land