Hello, fellow P&Ters! I have had a spot of free time recently, and was inspired to write about our beloved Knickerbockers. However, with the Game of Thrones season 2 premier upcoming, I found my inspiration take a wild turn - I imagined a world of both battle and political intrigue - that involved our very own Knicks! In a few hours both before and after the Detroit game, I threw together some pages - and while I'm not entirely sure whether they actually make sense - varying in tone, some serious, some humor, and lots of pure insanity! Enjoy.
A Game of Knickerbockers
"Do," he whispered solemnly, "Do What Toney Douglas Do."
The cloaked men knelt in reverence raised their hooded heads towards the heavens and murmured in response, "Do What Toney Douglas Do".
The darkness of the hallowed halls of the sanctuary was intermittently punctuated by ripples of candlelight, allowing pious eyes and quivering lips to flicker into view. The candles burned from above, resting on either side of the placard that represented the phrase which each of the followers held deep within his heart and soul, the phrase around which each follower centered his entire life, the phrase which was to be spread to the rest of the world to illuminate the darkness that choked away humanity's hopes and dreams. Chained above, carved into the lustrous mahogany were the letters DWTDD.
The man who stood in the center of the congregation, the man who they called Seth, raised a hand. The cloaked followers stood to attention. He gazed at his men, draped in mesh of blue, orange, and white, and met with each one of their eyes.
"My friends," said the man who they called Seth, "It is time."
From within his own robes, the man who they called Seth unveiled The Book. The followers' breath caught in their throats. It was a special privilege to see the tattered tome, to hear the words inscribed, to taste the holy aura it emitted. They waited. They watched. They listened.
"Hear me, my friends, as I read to you the tale that is the essence of our existence. It is of power, greed, and magnificence. It is a story of hope. Learn from it, my friends! Embrace it. Most importantly, remember it. Tell it to your children, so that they may tell their children, and so for generations the words of this book may resonate to change the world."
And so, the man who they called Seth read, and the sound of his melodious voice echoed across the hall, and his followers listened with rapt attention; their eyes closed as they imagined the intrigue of The Book.
"I see all. I know all. Like the elephant that searches for the waterhole, I remember all. I speak only divine truth. I tell the darkest secrets, I reveal the deepest desires. I am unstoppable, indomitable; instigating and intimidating. I am shrewd, clever, slick. I am the one they call Clyde.
Serenade me, muse, as I write of violence, sacrifice, and redemption... "
* * * *
I, Commander General D'Antoni, Lord of the Knickerbockers, do solemnly declare resignation from my post; as God is my witness I bequeath to Emperor Dolan rights to assign my successor. I leave with ill will towards neither my Emperor nor my infantry, for my leave is decidedly what is best for both my men and the subjects of the kingdom. I bless any successor that is to take my place, and wish the Knickerbockers success in all future endeavors.
"Is this satisfactory?" whispered D'Antoni.
"Sign it," the man blended within the shadows hissed, as he pressed the blade more tightly to D'Antoni's neck.
With a trembling hand, D'Antoni, signed his name and stamped the imperial insignia. "Am I free to leave?" he asked
The man blended within the shadows smiled, his teeth glistening in the darkness. He snatched the parchment and rolled it into his robes. "Of course," he said.
D'Antoni's shoulders had only just begun to slump with relief before the man blended within shadows ended his life with a swift swipe of his blade.
* * * *
“A crimson flower shall bleed fire,” Mike Bibby whispered, “and its thorns will pierce the heart of a King.”
Carmelo Anthony sat beside the great seer, his legs folded beneath him. His eyes were closed but his mind was open as he breathed in the prophetic fumes. He was in the Hall of Prophecy, the home of the blind seer, Mike Bibby. The one called Bibby was said to be a man of incomprehensible age – and of course, immeasurable wisdom.
“A single drop of ocean shall quench the thirst of its flame.”
Carmelo Anthony sought guidance; his Knickerbockers were in great peril. Armies of the North and South were preparing to invade the Middle Kingdom. Both Bucks and Sixers flanked either side of his army. The Bulls were approaching.
“And yet, there will be nothing remaining to save.”
There was no sign of escape, no opportunity for peace. His men were ravaged by injury, the civilians were wrought with fear, and the councilmen were afflicted with desperation. They were not prepared for war.
“But from the ashes, a seedling will rise”
But Carmelo Anthony was prepared for war.
“The seedling will grow, using the light of the Sun as a catalyst for the reaction of both the oxygen outside and the water within to synthesize carbon dioxide and glucose.”
Carmelo Anthony did not want to escape. Carmelo Anthony did not want peace.
“The seedling will develop into an angiosperm; it will grow petals, filaments, and anthers.”
Carmelo Anthony had no fear.
“The haploid pollen set upon the anther shall be transported by a pollen vector, such as a bee, to another plant.”
Carmelo Anthony was ready to fight. Carmelo Anthony was ready to kill. Carmelo Anthony was ready to slaughter.
“The pollen will fall down the stigma of the flower, fertilizing the haploid egg within to create a diploid zygote inside the embryo sac.”
Carmelo Anthony opened his eyes. He finally understood what he must do. It did not matter what the odds were; neither how weak his allies were nor how strong his enemies were. He was Carmelo Anthony. He would carry the Knickerbockers himself. He would strike fear into the opposition and inspire his own men. If necessary, he would kill each and every Buck, Sixer, Bull, or Heat himself.
Carmelo Anthony stood and turned. Mike Bibby raised a wrinkled finger toward him.
“And the diploid zygote shall mitotically divide to become an embryo.”
Carmelo nodded his head, and then quickly realized that Bibby was blind. He cleared his throat, then slowly and quietly backed away. He left the Hall, slightly guilty that he had not listened to a single word the prophet spoke.
“The embryo shall grow within the endosperm to form a seed, and that seed will one day grow into another plant. This crimson flower shall bleed fire, and its thorns will pierce the heart of a king.”
* * * *
Captain Carmelo Anthony ignored the call of his comrade and charged ahead, his sword gripped tightly in hand. The enemy unit enveloped him. He was surrounded. And yet, he was undaunted. He showed no fear. He raised his bloodstained sword and prepared to fight.
The enemy stood, confused. They saw but one man, panting heavily with his teeth bared. Terrifying though he looked, he was alone. Isolated. Was he to call for help? Was he to try to escape?
Carmelo Anthony stood, waiting. Waiting for a glimpse of weakness, a sliver of vulnerability.
Five men unleashed their weapons. A complete mismatch - in favor of Carmelo Anthony. With every movement of his blade, blood rained upon the battlefield. The men could do nothing but scream in horror as their every strike was parried away and responded with the loss of their limbs. He was powerful yet subtle; he was brutal yet graceful; he was ruthless yet beautiful.
He knelt in the pool of blood, leaning on his sword as he appraised the detached body parts swimming around him. He smiled.
This is how Carmelo Anthony does battle.
* * * *
Carmelo Anthony returned to the castle to a mixture of vigorous cheers and boos. Carmelo had learned to ignore both praise and criticism early in his career; to listen to others was weakness, to rely only on one's self was strength. Because of his work, the Knickerbockers had been victorious. This was what was important; not the style with which he achieved success. Perhaps he was selfish. Perhaps his blade was too eager to quench its thirst for blood. To Carmelo, this was a moot point. He slid forward through the crowd and their whispers.
"I hear he slaughtered half the opposing army himself- so fierce, so unstoppable!"
"And such a fool. He's going to get himself and the rest of the army killed with his antics!"
Carmelo dulled his ears to the noise of the civilians, and climbed the marble steps leading into the Council Room. He knocked on the door.
* * * *
"Enter!" shouted Interim General Mike Woodson. Woodson had been deemed the temporary replacement of the recently resigned General D'Antoni. Though he had known him briefly, he held D'Antoni in high regard and was disappointed in his resignation. Still, he thought this to be an excellent opportunity to prove to the Emperor he was fit to command the troops long term.
He watched Carmelo Anthony step through the double - doors. He was not quite sure what to make of Carmelo Anthony. As a warrior, he was nearly unstoppable. To face him in one on one was certain death. And yet, there was a stubbornness and overconfidence about him. Carmelo was always seeking to fight in isolation. General D'Antoni had had much difficulty with Anthony; D'Antoni had preached a formation based fighting style. And thus, there had been intense tension between the two as both struggled in on another's presence.
Woodson let his fingers swim across his carefully constructed, historically lustrous goatee. It had not escaped his attention that shortly after the tension between Carmelo and D'Antoni peaked, D'Antoni had disappeared, leaving a letter of resignation behind. Woodson was not one to make assumptions, but held this fact in hand before making harsh judgments on this particular subordinate.
"General Woodson, Sir! I return with news of victory over the Trailblazers!"
"So I have heard, Carmelo. I have also heard that you took on thirty men. By yourself," added Woodson.
"Yes sir. I believe I did what was necessary for the good of the battalion. I was able to thrive in isolation, and could therefore identify and attack the weaknesses of the opposing army without difficulty. I believe our victory speaks for itself, sir"
Woodson furrowed his eyebrow-less brow. He disagreed with the approach, but he could not argue with the results. Another army lay slain by the wrath of Carmelo Anthony. While he considered admonishing Carmelo for his recklessness, he thought better of it. For now, with this success, he saw no reason to hold Carmelo accountable for a hypothetical failure. Instead Woodson smiled thinly and dismissed his Captain.
"I'm sorry Carmelo, but I must cut this meeting short. I have business to attend to. I congratulate you on your efforts and your success. "
With a curt bow, and a burst of his famous grin, Carmelo left.
And yet, Mike Woodson was still uneasy.
* * * *
Emperor James Dolan smiled. It has once been said that once the Emperor smiles, a beautiful and harmless newborn chick resting by its mother is devoured into the maw of a snake. Dolan smiled because he won. The battles? The conflict? The War? They meant little to him. Over his rule he had seen both wins and losses accumulate; not one had affected him either which way.
This is because Emperor Dolan always won. No matter what happened in his extensive Empire, he found a way to win. He swam in pools of gold wrenched from the hands of the unfortunate. He drank liquid silver forged from savings of the poor.
As the Emperor relaxed in his diamond throne, he considered his next move. What to do now, so that he may continue to win? He decided to take a stab in the dark.
He heard a groan of pain as his sword drove straight through the throat one of his personal guards. He pulled the blade back, intrigued. He raised the sword above him and let blood flow down into his throat. Meanwhile, the guard lay on the ground, convulsing and erupting blood. He tried to speak to the Emperor, to call for help, but could only gurgle and moan. Dolan watched the spectacle for a few seconds, but eventually grew bored. What to do? He definitely needed a new guard. He was always losing them, although he was not entirely sure how.
The Emperor tossed aside his blade. He looked outside his window, his eyes taken in by the beauty of the weeds and parasites that decorated his imperial garden. He was overcome by a sudden urge to give his gardener an immense contract extension.
"Your grace," the Emperor heard, distracting him from his serenity.
A cloaked man, hooded and shrouded in darkness had entered his lair. The man stepped over the deathly still body of the guard and knelt before the Emperor, perfectly shrouded in the shadows.
"Speak," the Emperor commanded, with his deep and fastidiously perfected "Emperor" voice.
"The body has been hidden, your grace," the man blended within shadows whispered.
Emperor Dolan blinked, and then squinted. After a pause, he shook his head,
"No, my loyal servant. You are mistaken. The body is clearly right next to you. And quite fresh, might I add. I'll have to call my cook and-"
"Your Grace, I am referring to the body of the man you ordered me to kill last week-"
"Ah yes! Of course! That bastard, Anderson, that was my piece of cake, he had no right-"
"Your Grace! I refer to, of course, the General. General D'Antoni. His body has been disposed of, as according to plan..."
The Emperor's gaze turned dark. "Ah," he said softly, shifting towards a more subtly menacing voice, "So, he has been dealt with. And so, the plan proceeds. Excellent work, my loyal servant. You have once again served me well..."
A gasp was heard from the other side of the gall. The Emperor turned quizzically to the man blended within shadows. "It appears, my loyal servant, that we have a visitor. Show your manners. Welcome him."
The visitor stood quickly, realizing he had been discovered. He tried to run, but in his perpetually sluggish state this was impossible. Before he could muster enough energy to speed into a casual stroll, the man blended within shadows grabbed him by the ankles and dragged him forward to present to the King.
The visitor showed no fear. The man blended within shadows pushed him to his feet. He stood, with dreadlocks sweeping over his lazy eyes as they met with the Emperor's.
"Ah, Renaldo. I thought we had finally lost you... You are, of course, as perseverant as ever..." The Emperor smiled as though regarding a long lost friend. "You have no idea how much we have missed you."
"I know what you've done, Emperor!"
The Emperor smiled once more, and the mother of her chicks could only squeak in horror as she witnessed the onslaught that the snake laid upon her children. "What do you know?"
"You ordered the death of General D'Antoni!"
"Oh no...what excellent work as always, Renaldo. This why I was so reluctant to let you go... You have been such a dear, Renaldo. It's a pity that it has to end this way. All I can say is that I'm truly, truly sorry... We will miss your curious ways..." The Emperor nodded towards the man blended within the shadows.
As the sun set on the kingdom of the Emperor James Dolan, light shone through his dusty window, and for a brief moment dissipated the shadows that the man was blended in. Renaldo had turned to submit himself bravely to certain death, until he saw the face reflected within the light. For the first time in his life, Renaldo's eyes became wide open.
"You! It's you! It's been you! All along, it's been you!"
The light passed, and the man was once more blended within the shadows.
"Yes. It is me"
Renaldo Balkman's eyes were still wide open as his gaze shifted from the man to the knife buried into his heart.
* * * *