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Forbidden Memories
Old 15 Aug 2007, 10:26   #1 (permalink)
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The thick scent of a heavy incense cloyed and knotted around the dusk light chamber, forever unnoticeable and yet always there, it hovered on the back of the conscience and produced an effect that was at once empowering and yet humbling. To be honest those are the kind of tricks that I would expect an Inquisitor to use. There has always been a view of the Emperor’s secret police as being a very subtle society and I guess things like the scent show why. It was clever; you know. They said that I was totally free within the hallowed confines of the Mechanicus cruiser Machina Divinitatus but personally I think that was just another little trick. I clearly wasn’t free; there were armed guards at every corner and pict-sensors hung from every ceiling which is hardly the type of surroundings that most women appreciate. I was free in movement but not in mind. How could I do anything when I was constantly under scrutiny? How could I even think straight when I had felt the dreadful talons of that monster Kyvil inside of my head?
As if summoned by the trail of my thoughts Inquisitor Baraste Kyvil of the Ordo Malleus marched into the chamber; he was rather handsome in a dark sort of way, his dour features set in an eternal frown, made all the more terrifying by the shadows thrown over his features by the grey hood that stood sentinel over his head. To be honest if I didn’t despise every inch of being then I might have tried to get him into bed had we met under more intimate circumstances. I was dressed for it too; that is I wasn’t dressed at all, another trick of the Inquisition I’m sure, probably something to do with making a captive seem exposed and helpless. Kyvil began to pace around me, his long legs giving him an almost equine stride and his rotations of my chair caused him to keep fluttering in and out of my vision. I was tempted to ask what he wanted with me but to tell you the truth I was far too scared to do anything other than breathe at that moment.
After what seemed like an eternity Kyvil stopped his rotations of the room and stared down at me, I wanted deeply to lash out at his sneering features but some instinct or possibly external influence forced a deep paralysis on my body and I found movement to be an almost impossible task. With a pose born from a lifetime of malice and a voice fashioned from years of cruelty the inquisitor began his dread oration.
“Mistress Descher, I am an Inquisitor of the highest acclaim, I have served your almighty God Emperor for as long as I can remember and I have served my real master for even longer. I have seen sights that most men would only dream of, wonders that would put the mightiest of trophies in the most revered museums to shame and, quite unfairly I might add, you have seen more.”
I was dumbstruck; I had not got a clue what he was alluding to and yet he spoke with such passion and emotion that I was scared that he really believed what he was saying.
“Quite why my most wonderful patron would adorn you with such visions is beyond me, I have been of nothing but dutiful service to my lord and yet he scorns me. Or so I thought, but surely it must be divine providence? It must be by my lords will that I would find you: Sari Descher. With my talents your memories will become mine and I will finally see that which my lord has provided.”
By then the temperature in the room had decreased by a considerable margin and I could see the perspiration on Kyvil’s brow slowly hardening as it cooled and I felt the build up of a monstrous power. Slowly I detected faint tendrils of energy worming their way into by cerebellum and with a cold dread I knew that Kyvil was using his psychic talents again.
“Now Miss Descher” he cried in a voice filled with anticipation “we shall continue from where we left off last time.”
I screamed in pain as the ethereal talons wrenched down deep into my subconscious and revealed sights that were never meant to be seen; sounds that were never meant to be heard; memories that were never meant to be remembered.

Sciuridea was known in Imperial archives as a lightly populated world on the edge of Imperial Space in the Ultima Segmentum. The second planet in a seven world solar system orbiting a Sol sized star labelled Chamitataxus in honour of the rogue trader who first re-discovered it. Over 90 per cent of Sciuridea’s surface was water which had led to its main export being marine flora and fauna. Sciuridea was a planet overlooked by much of the Imperium although once every few years a bulk freighter would arrive in the system to cart off the planets meagre offerings.
The people of Sciuridea spent most of their lives at sea, some all of them for there were few areas of land to build upon and fewer men willing to do so. As a result most people lived on huge floating constructs that sailed the ocean tides endlessly. To call them boats would be unfair because no boat could ever hope to reach such a magnitude.
The men of Sciuridea were fishermen born. It was said that so Cadians were born for war so Sciuridians were born to fish although the only people who actually said that were Sciuridians in the first place so there was a good chance that it was just hyperbole.

A trawler rode gently over the serene vista of aquamarine, its rusted hull creating a stark contrast with the pulchritudinous ocean resting below it. Sari Descher gently coerced the heaving nets back onto the deck of the Nautilus. She was as proud of her work onboard one of the most famous of Sciuridea’s noble fishing boats as she was of her ravishing good looks; she was however not particularly proud of her vanity. The loaded net gently crawled up the deck and spilled its writhing contents onto the hard timber surface. Sari cast an appraising glance over the haul, decided that she was happy with it and voxed to her captain, a heavy set man named Terrel who sported a shaggy beard that local legend claimed held more species of wildlife than the rest of the Ultima Segmentum combined. Like many legends there was a hint of truth to it. Alongside the captain Sari worked with a young man named Roke and her older brother Lian. Both were three years her senior and had been working on the Nautilus for two standard Terran years.
The crew of the Nautilus was almost like a second family to Sari, the stern but cheerful Captain Terrel was almost a second father to the fifteen year old girl and she considered Roke to be a fraternal figure, ironically the one person in the crew whom she felt most distanced to was her biological brother. Lian was a quiet young man who rarely spoke to others and would often sit alone on the deck of the trawler whilst the others were enjoying a casual drink in the captain’s stateroom. It was with some trepidation but also a quiet excitement that Sari took the news that she would be receiving a little sister; not in biological terms but rather a new addition to her career based kin. The girls name was Arias Sarril and she was but one standard year younger than Sari. Although a little short for her age she was a striking figure, slender but not too tall, with fine short cropped hazel hair completely at odds with Sari’s long, unkempt wisps of lustrous blonde.
Arias was considered a prodigious fisherwoman even amongst the company of the most grizzled and revered fisherman. Her addition to the Nautilus’s crew list heralded a sudden boom in output and Sari was initially grateful for the increase in wage but her opinion of her new sibling began to change one fateful day. It had become apparent to the other members of the crew that the concept of family meant little to Arias, as did even the rather simple concept of friendship. Even Lian seemed like the sociable type compared to Arias and the crew of the Nautilus were loath to work with such a person. Captain Terrel thusly bade Sari talk with Arias and convince her to become more sociable with other members of the crew.

It was a marvellous day; Chamitataxus lay suspended in the crystal blue sky, a radiant gem suspended from Heaven by the invisible threads of seraphim; the wide plateau of the serene ocean spread out for unfathomable miles, made even more beautiful by the reflections of the massive spires that the titanic Aquanaught threw onto the surface of the sea. Alongside the massive floating leviathan the Nautilus lay becalmed, drifting lazily on the weak oceanic currants. Arias was standing, hands gripping the polished wooden railing that ran around the outside of the boat; staring out into the sea. Sari pulled up next to her and followed the girls’ vision, attempting to spot what Arias was looking at. She failed. Gradually Sari became aware of another sound, separate from the gentle lap of the waves against the side of the boat. It was the sound of singing. Though the words were alien and delivered in a hushed and subdued voice they had a power that almost completely held sway over Sari, each word a delicious pleasure held tight within a note so forbidden that the guilt of hearing it thrust her into a delicious euphoria.

I screamed in terror as Kyvil drove his talons deeper into my mind and revealed secrets lost even to me. As if from across a vast rift I heard a scream echo my own and I was initially surprised to realise that it was Kyvil, but then shock turned to fear as I realised that whilst I was screaming in pain and fear the Inquisitor was instead howling in pleasure. Through the pain of the psychic assault I could see a vague figure on the floor which I knew to by my assailant. Kyvil was thrashing about on the cold metallic floor, his limbs lashing out in directions that I’m sure limbs are not meant to go. His screams echoed in time to the dreadful song inhabiting my memories and when the daemonic mantra within my mind finally ceased so too did his visceral dirge. He rose from the floor, eyes clouded and covered in a sheathe of rapidly cooling sweat. His breath came in ragged gasps and he was clearly making an effort to prevent himself from hyperventilating. The terrible memories were still playing out in my mind and doubtlessly in his as well, with a terrible yearning in his milky eyes he plunged once more into my memories.

As quickly as the sensations had come they vanished and Sari was left both perplexed and a little discombobulated by the sudden rush of pleasure. Fearing the machinations of daemons she intoned a short prayer to the Emperor under her breath and it didn’t escape her notice that Arias grimaced as she did so. After a disconcertingly long period of silence Sari turned to Arias.
“Arias, can I ask you a question?” The girl looked at Sari as if she were a particularly virulent disease and for a long moment Sari was afraid that she had offended her in some way, but then she nodded her head in a somewhat pathetic gesture of consent.
“I just… well you see Arias, some of the other members of the crew… well they think you’re a bit…” and Sari began to mumble her words, so perturbed was she by Arias’s blank stare, but she mustered the courage to go on. “You see, they all think that you’re a bit… unsociable.”
“I thought you had a question.” And for a moment Sari stumbled, caught of guard by Arias sudden vocalisation.
“Yes, well. I was just getting to that. I guess the question is why are you so unsociable?”
“I have…” but Sari was in her element now and was not about to let Arias answer her question so easily.
“I mean even my brother Lian occasionally comes with Terrel, Roke and me to the pub. And okay I know you’re not technically old enough to drink Dascal yet but then neither am I, it’s still fun most of the time. You know you could learn a lot from someone like Terrel if you only listened to…”
As much as she had wanted to Sari could speak no more, Arias held her in a powerful chokehold, her hands clamped around Sari’s neck. Sari gagged and spluttered as Arias’s grip tightened around her throat.
“Do me a favour Ms Sari. Shut up and let me answer your question.” Sari desperately tried to nod her head or shout yes; to give some sign of compliancy but she could do neither, such was the iron grip that held her. She could feel little other than the horrid slender fingers that were gradually crushing the life out of her and the warm, moist tears that streamed from her eyes; bathed her pleading face and blocked every available orifice. An intense fear passed over Sari as she felt her body begin to succumb to the effects of oxygen starvation, pain welled up inside her, every limb felt heavy and every movement she made caused a burning agony.

Then there was release! The grip that had been killing her relented after what seemed like an eternity and Sari fell gasping to the deck of the Nautilus, her face a wash of tears, mucus and saliva. Slowly Sari lifted herself up onto all fours with trembling limbs and began the difficult task of recuperating from such a terrible assault; gradually she felt a strength return to her limbs and she managed to pull herself up on shaking legs. She wiped her face with the sleeve of her shirt and then used the other sleeve to dry her eyes. For a moment she faced Arias and a torrent of emotions built up within her. Anger and hate clashed with fear and self pity in a devastating conflict with Sari’s soul as the battleground. After a tumultuous battle fear and self pity triumphed. Sari’s lips began to tremble and fresh tears rolled their way down her cheeks. Without a sound she turned and ran into the trawlers cabin section leaving a trail of tears behind her as she fled.

For a brief moment the claws receded and I was left gasping in pain, not just from Kyvil’s psychic probes but also from the memories of that dread ordeal. Kyvil was forcing me to relive the most awful moments in my life, a time so evil that my subconscious had buried it for my own protection and now that bastard Kyvil was forcing it to the surface and I was reliving it all over again. I fell from the chair and collapsed onto an uneven floor and it took me a few moments to realize that I lay atop Kyvil. His body was still apart from the rhythmic beating of his heart and the slow rise and fall of his chest. Though my vision was clouded I could see that his face was pressed into a moronic grin of pleasure and he seemed oblivious to the world around him. Suddenly his eyes snapped open and his hands reached up to grab me, I was too tired to resist and I could only make soft mewling noises as Kyvil began to paw all over me, his hands leaving no area untouched. As he caressed me new sounds were ripped from his mouth and I was suddenly reminded of the lyrics to the dread song that Arias had sung all those years ago. A new terror began to well up inside me, I was worried that a hideous mental assault was about to turn unbearably physical and I never thought I would say this but I was grateful when Kyvil finally stopped groping me and resumed probing the dark recesses of my mind.

Sari threw her tortured body onto the bed; its silken sheets enveloped her and she wept silently into a large powder blue pillow at the head of the small cot. Her mind would not allow for her to simply forget the ordeal she had just passed through and she was forced to relive the horror over and over again as her tortured mind replayed the assault. But no matter how hard she tried she could not conjure the sensations that Arias’s song had caused. She could not even remember the hymn, its words had been so bizarre that they had completely abandoned Sari and she wept all the more for that surprisingly upsetting fact.
Sari was still weeping quietly when captain Terrel entered her cabin. Gently the old man sat down at the foot of the bed. After an awkward silence that lasted for a few minutes Sari, looking up from the damp pillow, spoke.
“Captain?” she said in a voice much more demure than normal.
“Sari” the kindly old man replied “I saw what happened on the deck today, or at least, I saw the end of it. You know by law I should throw Arias off this ship for that, and by rights I should beat the stuffing out of her. But you know what I’m going to say now don’t you?”
“You’re not going to do either are you?” Terrel sighed at the vehemice loaded into Sari’s voice and the regret at what he had to say next.
“No. I’m sorry girl but Arias is too good a worker on this boat to simply let her go. She will be punished, and she will be instructed in the ways of the model employee but I’m afraid that I can’t let her go. I’m sorry.”
“I understand, but please captain, please don’t make me work with her again.”
“Don’t worry girl, I wont.” said the captain in a voice that screamed ‘I’m not promising anything’ as he left the room.

Sari never thought that she would find herself wanting to talk to Arias again but her thoughts kept harking back to the song. She longed for the sensations that the mantra brought, longed to feel the bliss conveyed by the strange lyrics and the pure unadulterated pleasure that the tune radiated.
As fortune or lack there of would have it Sari’s wish was answered without her engaging her nemesis in conversation; it was almost as if some divine intelligence was working specifically for Sari, which ironically it was.

Resplendent in a gown of finest silk Sari descended the stairs along side Roke and Lian. Captain Terrel marched proudly in front of them, a wide smile plastering his beaming face. Sari herself was almost bursting with excitement although not for the same reason as every other guest present. The Fisherman’s Horizon was held every year at the palace of the electoral leader of the Aquanaught in an attempt to coerce the often feuding fishing fraternities to mingle and socialise. It was a night for heavy drinking and story telling, of rousing songs and exaggerated boasts. It was these qualities that attracted much of the fishing community. Sari was here for another reason. Arias was going to sing. It was custom that each crew nominate one member for entertainment and Sari had persuaded Terrel, much to his chagrin, to nominate Arias as his crews’ contribution to the entertainment.
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Old 15 Aug 2007, 10:27   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Forbidden Memories

A hissing crackle over the vox-speakers announced the arrival of Varel Bureman, the elected ruler of the Aquanaught. Accompanying him were Restia Sarnad the chosen representative of the Ecclesiarchy, a thin limber woman who was adorned with symbols of purity, and Nathanuel Vrosk the head of the Sciuridea Adeptus Mechanicus presence. Vrosk was a large man who appeared to be more machine than organsism, his limbs were whirling appendages with long connection spikes in their tips and his lower torso had been replaced by an ancient hover unit. Vrosk leaned over and whispered something in Bureman’s ear through the miniature vox-speaker that replaced his real mouth over three hundred and forty years ago. Bureman nodded and walked forwards onto the podium that had been set up for him on a large stage overlooking the assembled crowd.
“My friends” Bureman intoned and his hollow, hushed voice was exuded from multiple vox-speakers set about the massive space giving his diminutive voice a power that it would normally lack. “I welcome you all once again to this: the sixth annual Fishermans Horizon. I am sure that you all wish to reacquaint yourselves with each other so, why not do it whilst observing tonight’s entertainment?” The crowd roared its approval at this statement and a large maroon curtain behind Bureman and the two officials who accompanied them.

From somewhere deep inside of me I felt a sudden surge of desperate energy, a rush of adrenaline that overpowered all the fatigue in my limbs and pushed me to my feet. I had no idea where the boost had come from but I suspect that it was my subconscious desperately trying to forestall what happened next. I ran for the door, leaping over the comatose figure of Inquisitor Kyvil who was laying spread eagled on the floor. I smashed into the sealed door with all the force that I could muster, nothing happened. Slowly Kyvil became aware of my now favourable predicament and began to lift himself slowly onto his hands and knees. Knowing that there was no way out of the room I instead resigned myself to punishing my captor. I leapt over to Kyvil and before he could rise delivered two kicks to his stomach and then a third to his head. The Inquisitor rolled over onto his back and lashed out at me with an elongated leg. He hit me in the side of my left kneecap, I issued a pained cry and I went down hard. Before I could react Kyvil was on me, pressing my head down onto the cold, metal floor. With a voice that oozed malice he hissed into my ear. “We are just about to get to the exciting part, please do not interrupt. This ritual is so much easier with you still alive.” Without altering his position he rammed his psychic limbs back into my mind with more power than ever before.

The first performer was a lean man named Ziggy Strudats. He was a talented singer with a powerful falsetto voice who had a penchant for outrageous costumes and zany lyrics. His wild stage antics sent ripples of excitement throughout the considerable crowd but Sari merely sat through it in a stoic silenced. Once the performance would have electrified the young girl but now she found it dull and lacklustre. Strudats left the stage to rapturous applause and the second performer entered the stage. Thomas Teypt was a crewman from the small fishing boat Cheilopogon which people said was High Gothic for a type of flying fish. Teypt’s style was much more laid back than the previous performers but the crowds’ reception was much the same. As Teypt exited the stage he left behind an almost completely satisfied audience. The only spot of contempt was a young sixteen year old girl sitting three rows from the front.

The next performer was a young girl, about fifteen years old with short hazel hair and a pale complexion. As Sari saw Arias take to the stage she leapt up from her seat and rushed to get closer to the stage. The rest of the audience just sat in a blissful ignorance of the terror that was about to unfold.

Sari stared up at the stage in total adoration of the figure standing on the podium. Although Arias had become a figure of hate for Sari’s attention over the past few days the thought of hearing the blessed song washed away all her fears and petty hates. Arias slowly moved the microphone to her lips and began to sing. The song was different to the one that she had sung on the Nautilus but it still carried the same power, the same pleasure. The first few notes of the slow rumbling dirge blasted out of the vox-horns and the audience let out ecstatic moans as they heard the wonderful, forbidden words. The song slowly escalated, suddenly members of the audience joined in too, even though they had never heard the strange words before they seemed to know them instinctively. The mantra rose in power and volume, a tumbling cacophony of disgusting syllables centred around the dread chorus of:

Slaanesh amak ararl
Slaanesh rave dew surld
Amak toth Slaanesh

Several members of the audience had now removed their clothing and cavorted naked on the stage, running in circles around the singing, smiling girl howling and wailing as unrelenting pleasure gripped their souls. Sari joined them and threw off her expensive garments. To the side of her she noticed Terrel weeping in pleasure as he sliced his arms open with a broken wine glass. His lifeblood spilled out of him and was consumed by naked men and women who groaned in pleasure as they consumed the crimson liquid. She saw Lain in front of her, he was completely naked and was advancing on Arias, a lustful light in his eyes. Sari saw his intent and was consumed by a terrible jealousy, grabbing the shard of crystal that was still stained with Terrel’s blood she lunged at her own brother and thrust the glass into his jugular. As Lain fell to the ground a wave of delicious satisfaction crept over her and she gently licked his still smiling face.

Restia Sarnad lunged at the nearest prancing nudist and brought him down with a flick of her chainsword. In one hand she clutched the sacred weapon and in another she clasped a golden aquilla symbol. She drove her way through to the young girl on the podium that was the catalyst for this dreadful heresy. Sari leapt on the clergywoman from behind and caved her skull in with several blows from a severed table leg. With a howl of satisfaction she picked up the fallen chainsword and aquilla fully intending to use the former to eviscerate the latter but her plans were waylaid when what could only be described as a miracle occurred. A golden glow suffused the great eagle and bathed Sari in its light. To the rest of the maddened ‘audience’ the light only fuelled their dark pleasures and pushed them to ever higher feats of debauchery, but for Sari the light was a divine liberator. It reminded her once and for all of the glory and benevolence of the almighty God Emperor and showed her the terrible truth of what awaited her soul were she to continue down the path of damnation.

There were no more individuals in the palace save for two. The rest of the guests had all congealed into a massive pile of pleasure and death. Some people lashed about with their fists cracking ribs and pulverising flesh; others merely lay strewn on top of each other in grotesque positions that were impossible for sane humans to emulate or even comprehend, barely moving unless to utter another howl of delight. The centre of the palace hall now resembled a great mound of flesh, undulating and moving with the flow of the terrible song.

Dey tuk er jerbs
Dey tuk er jerbs
Derka der
Goo hrachra

Sari, now free from the terrible malice that had held sway over her soul collapsed on the floor and howled, this time not from pleasure but from a deep terror that suffused her every being. Desperately she squirmed around and picked up some clothes. She didn’t care that they weren’t hers or that they were drenched in blood, sweat and fouler things still. She donned them as quickly as she could, trying desperately to distinguish herself from the fleshy mass dominating the centre of the room. Almost blinded by terror she ran about desperately searching for an exit, the golden aquilla held so tight in her clenched fist that the edges ruptured her skin and blood splashed onto the already drenched floor. Eventually after running around in a panic for several minutes and just as she was ready to lose hope she was grabbed by the only other sane person in the room. She looked up into the permanently immobilised features of Nathanuel Vrosk.

I couldn’t take it anymore. There is only so much agony a single soul can put up with and mine had had enough. I closed my eyes for what I prayed would be the last time. Unfortunately my prayers were left unanswered and I awoke several hours later. My mind was ablaze in emotions, self loathing for my terrible lack of control that night, fear for what might have been and anger, not just towards the perpetrator of that awful memory but also the one who had forced me to live through again. It was then that I noticed that Kyvil was no longer on top of me; he was lying on the floor, tears slowly collecting in the rivets in his skin. I got up as quickly as my aching limbs and overwrought brain would allow. I can remember standing over the bastard Inquisitor, somehow I was holding a small knife that I think I liberated from one of his pockets as I was getting up. I can remember him seeing me as if for the first time and saying, in a voice filled with happiness and fulfilment.
“Now I have seen true wonder. Why do you deny what is so pleasurable?”
I lifted the knife and brought it crashing down into his constantly merry features and stabbed through his skull and into the twisted brain within.
“Because I value my soul” I said as I got up and headed for the door; the Inquisitor's key in my hand.

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Old 21 Aug 2007, 20:34   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Forbidden Memories

I find it hard to believe that such a well-written story has so few views. This is definitely one of the best I've read so far, though it is not without a few minor flaws.

I was hooked by the high quality of descriptive writing. It is not often that I am impressed in this regard, and I was pleasantly surprised here. The Slaanesh scene towards the end...superb. The whole hidden cultist theme is not a new one, but this time it's subtly refreshing, partially because it's from the POV of a civilian female character, something not often seen in 40k.

I'm not quite sure of the "Inquisitor's" role in the story; he didn't seem to fit in as well as everything else in the story. It seems he's corrupt as well, although there's no pretense for this, nor is there any for his overly malicious treatment of Sari. The interplay between them was quite riveting and disturbing, which was probably what the author was going for.

A few minor grammatical bumps marred the otherwise pristine face of the story, such as misuse of semi-colons; the missing punctuation in Sari's last line almost makes me want to cry, because it would have worked *so* much better otherwise.

The author should be commended for such a great entry, and I hope it'll get a bit more face time. (This goes to show that every story in this contest should be read )
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Old 22 Aug 2007, 00:35   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Forbidden Memories

Reading through this I can see a few instances where words have been missed out but it's easy to extrapolate what words were meant to be there so it's ok. The author probably had to rush to get within the deadline or maybe just missed them whilst proofreading. I also see what you mean derfderf about the misuse of certain punctuation marks but then I don't think that it detracts from the overall story too much.

Some wierd things I noticed whilst going through the story, the latin words used for the planet and boat names are all authentic words. Nautilus is self explanetory, Cheilopogon is a type of flying fish as the author points out. These examples make sense but has anyone tried finding out what Sciuridae and Chamitataxus are in latin. It's quite amusing.

Also take a close look at the names of the performers in the second half. Remind you of anything?

Clearly the author of this piece didn't take it too seriously but I think the humour is merely a little bit extra because it isn't made too obvious. kinda like an easter egg I guess.
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