HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO TAKE PART IN A QUEST?
This Quest has been sponsored by the Ross Island Dependency Tourist Board. There's nothing like a good Quest for stimulating the exotic holiday business. If this comes off, there'll be thousands tripping across the Antarctic ice next summer!
Unfortunately, the New Zealand Tourist Board nicked the idea, and have been touting a low-budget facsimile of our Quest in recent weeks. (They have also been putting about the preposterous idea that this Quest was devised by some obscure Oxford Don sometime in the middle of the last century. Do not be taken in by their pale imitation).
This Quest concerns the bodily remains of one Pingu, who was created somewhere out in the South Polar waste by an unremembered but undoubtedly wretched Eastern European animator. Like most of his kind, this sad individual was in the thrall of the BBC (cue doom-laden music).
Pingu reigned briefly over this World. It was a time of terror and despair, until he was thrown down. He became formless, but he did not die. Children's television characters are not easily killed, though the ones who are neglected and forgotten (and there are many) can become very vindictive. Pingu was a spoilt little brat in the first place, which can't have helped. As a result, and in the proper Quest tradition, he can only be destroyed by casting his currently-amorphous corporeal matter into an approximately-bottomless chasm high on the slopes of Mount Damp, from whence he came....
Do not be deceived by Pingu's present appearance, which is that of a rather exclusive black and white executive stress-buster. All who possess it will come under its power. Unless they are exceptionally pure of heart, their powers will increase but so also will their capacity to do harm. In the end, anyone who holds the Plasticine for more than a little while will become enslaved by it.
Nonetheless, this is a fun Quest, open to all (except those under 3 years of age, since the Quest contains small parts). But if you would prefer a large part, then we particularly value your interest. Don't worry - this Quest starts off in a jolly and benign fashion. To get things started, we need someone to volunteer as Plasticine-bearer, and three good mates to set out with them in search of some pub in the middle of nowhere. That can't be too difficult, now can it? The more wimpish and ill-suited to dangerous adventure you are, the better, really. You know how these things generally go. (Please note, however, that you are likely to be pursued by a pathetic creature smelling of fish. Oh, and there's already a dark and terrible creature on the loose, and that apparently wants the Plasticine as well).
The really good thing about our version of this Quest is that you don't need to be rustic or otherwise bucolic to take part. You can start from wherever you like, pastoral setting or otherwise, and you can be whatever you like. That Oxford chappie was a bit narrow in his outlook, but this time round you can be a townie, a foreigner or even a female in this thoroughly broad-minded epic.
The general idea is that we see how this first bit goes, and then create another scene and introduce a few more characters when it seems appropriate. Soon or later we'll probably have to have a Council or something, and pick an A-Team of around Nine or so for the really tough bit of the Quest, but until then we can all find our feet, furry or otherwise, in a more relaxed atmosphere.
We intend to be fairly easy-going about the Rules, too. Possessing the Plasticine for the purposes of dominating the world will be tolerated, provided you show proper respect for other Researchers. It's good form to give people and other life-forms at least a few minutes' notice of their impending death, for example. The final outcome will of course be the total destruction of the BBC. There is also a rumoured risk of the flight of all things magical from the Earth, but this seems pretty unlikely, so please don't worry about it.
There, we knew you'd be up for it! Just post below, and we're off - the Road Goes Ever On, that kind of thing. Please don't sing unnecessarily, though. It isn't a bloody musical. And don't forget to bring a change of underwear, and something suitable for brandishing. It will probably be best to cancel the newspapers indefinitely. (In fact, if you're one of those Researchers who aren't allowed to use anything sharp, then brandishing a rolled-up newspaper would be a good option). If you're volunteering for the initial responsibility of the Plasticine, please post under the title of 'I've Got the Biggest Part'. If you just want to cause general mayhem, pick and post under another title, invent a persona if you want to, and don't worry - general mayhem always goes down a treat in a good Quest...