2011's Third Quarter Exalted Crayon - PHARREN
So we've come to The Angry Crayon's third quarter Exalted Crayon. By the purpleness of our banner, it's pretty clear who our recipient is this time around. What can one say about Pharren that hasn't been said before (or screeched loudly at their monitor)? A pillar of the community. An articulate yet ostentatious personality that has been part of TAC for many years, the angry little gnome some of us were fortunate to have known in Everquest – a Lifebringer of sorts. This is our Pharren – how do we love thee? Let us count the ways and ignore the complaints in my inbox.
No, I kid.
Pharren the hypersensitive, somewhat obnoxious, odious, yet adoringly neurotic man behind the gnome has brought his colorful personality to TAC by spreading his highly intelligent posts much like a monkey with its poo. I say this with a light heart, for as angry as Pharren appears to be, he is also an incredibly loyal friend to the board and to the few he calls friend. Exceptionally generous when it comes to supporting The Angry Crayon, granted rather mouthy about his dislike for it as well, but you know – I took his money so I gotta listen to it. =D
In all seriousness, Pharren has been nothing but a loyal member and an incredible friend with his often hilariously bitter insights and anecdotes. He has brought many a chuckle to our Mafia games, as well as infuriating and accusatory damnations, but damn if he doesn't make the game fun and better. His quickly scribbled art on various pieces of paper or napkins has brought thoughtfulness and inspired others to contribute – a nicely rounded member, one that I am grateful to have on TAC. It is his generosity that sets Pharren apart. For as acidic as his posts can appear, he actually is a really nice guy who has bent over backwards for his friends without the need to bring attention to it and without hesitation.
Let's all come together and congratulate Pharren for being our Third Quarter Exalted Crayon for 2011; a good bean hidden behind a grumpy gnome – one that I am personally thrilled to call my squirrel nut of love and dear friend.
“Once upon a time, there was a very angry gnome.”
That was how the stories about the terrible evil necromancer, who was rumored to live in a dark tower surrounded by an undead-infested moat, usually began, when anyone dared to speak of him at all. In this case, Jobober observed, the tale of the angry gnome was being spun wildly, and not without gross exaggeration, by a few of the children from town. Probably harmless, but it was best to be sure; the master had a reputation to uphold.
“And he jammed the head down on the spike, SQUISH, and blood squirted out everywhere, and he said ‘That’s what happens to people who misuse apostrophes!’ and everyone ran away screaming…”
“…but he put a curse on the crowd so that now whenever anyone is overdue on their library books, blood comes shooting out of their eyeballs!”
“...got so angry that all the fishes in the moat went belly up dead…”
“…seas boiled, fields burned, the sky went black…”
Jobober twiddled his fingerbones together impatiently, but decided not to intervene in spite of the one little girl who was laying it on a bit thick. Satisfied that his master’s reputation was intact, the animated skeleton clicked and clacked his way back to the dark tower he called home.
Rumors of an undead infestation in the moat were true enough; in fact, the entire tower was teeming with skellies and specters and spooks. Jobober didn’t see anything wrong with that, but then, he wouldn’t. Less well known were the other inhabitants of the tower; a menagerie of pets, living, nonliving, and mechanical; a bevy of gorgeous and deadly women from another realm; and, of course, the angry gnome himself.
Sightings of the angry gnome were rare, though not completely unheard of. It was Jobober’s job to do damage control should anyone spot his master doing anything that would cause suspicion. The skelly crushed unfounded rumors, spun tales, and occasionally frightened people into silence.
The little girl now approaching tower doors had driven a particularly hard bargain, Jobober remembered. A poor sleeper, she had awoken during the night and crept out of her tiny bed in the orphanage, only to come face to face with the angry gnome as she snuck down the stairs. The angry gnome was not kidnapping small orphan children to do weird experiments on. Nor was he poisoning the soup to rid the land of urchins. No, the angry gnome was doing something far more detrimental to his dastardly reputation. He was, in fact, delivering a sack of tinkered toys to the orphanage. He claimed that he was only doing it ‘so that the next generation wouldn’t be quite as stupid as my own’ (the toys were meant to be educational, naturally), but Jobober guessed that the angry gnome just liked giving kids presents. The little girl suspected the same, and, sensing she had considerable leverage, it took much negotiating to work out an agreement to keep her quiet.
And so the orphan girl showed up at the tower doors once a week like clockwork, returning borrowed books on the subject of necromancy and reporting the outrageous rumors she’d spread that week in defense of the gnome’s wicked reputation. Sometimes she met with the angry gnome himself (whose name, she’d managed to extract, was Pharren), but just as often she chatted with the various ladies who lived in the tower. Jobober didn’t know why there were so many hot elf chicks living with Pharren and could only conclude that his master was basically a pimp in every sense of the word.
The skeleton did not have long to muse; he could see now that the girl was, not ambling in her usual little-girl way, but running full speed up the path, hollering at the top of her lungs.
“It’s not my fault! I didn’t do it!”
The doors flew open as she completed her approach, and out stepped the angry gnome himself, along with several of his women. He could do no more than raise a hand to prevent the orphan girl from running him over; she stopped in time, but only just, skidding to a panting halt at his feet.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, it’s not my fault! I didn’t tell them anything, I swear! I don’t know –how- they found out about you fixing the town hall or resurrecting that adventurer or…”
Pharren only spared the girl a glance during her ramblings; Jobober saw that the gnome’s attention was fixed on something in the distance, something he could not yet make out. The women were gasping and squealing, the girl was continuing her hysterics, and the gnome stood with a fixed expression on his wrinkly little face, looking out into the distance.
“…but they –know-, somehow they –know- that you’re a nice guy! I’m so sorry! I didn’t know what to do!”
And at last, Jobober heard what all the commotion was about. Coming up the path to the tower were several of the townspeople, arm in arm, chanting merrily.
“Cheers for the Angry Gnome!”
“Cheers for Pharren, the Exalted one!”
“Cheers for my Squirrel Nut of LOVE!”
“Hip hip, horray!”
The little girl wailed and swooned dramatically. “Oh no! His reputation is RUINED FOREVER!”
Jobober put his skull in his hands, knowing the orphan was right, certain his master would never recover from this terrible blow to his evil name.
He supposed, in the end, there were worse things.
And of course, Wystro, awesome job on the bannner-thing. I had to switch up my forum settings to be able to see it, but it was definitely worth it. I was hoping nobody knew about my fuzzy slippers, but I guess the secret is out The robe motif is especially awesome, because my very first sig for Pharren had a cartoony-looking skull very much like that one - or at least, yours is closer to what my intention was. Very cool overall.
Oh, and Roz... don't think you're getting away with this so easily...
Oh, and Roz... don't think you're getting away with this so easily...
/purrs with anticipation
Here is the full image and one with just you! They're the size of my desktop, but I can bring it down to any size you want.
I've had a lot of friends over the years, but only a few that I can always count on to be 100% honest with me even if it isn't what I want to hear. There is something reassuring about knowing you have someone to talk to no matter the circumstances even in times when you're doing well. Pharren is one of those few, and I'm very grateful to have "met" him years ago.
That artwork is awesome, and the story was fantastic!
And wonderful characterization, Wystro!