Chapter Thirty-Four – The Karthagian Marines

I wish Tesch would make up her mind between Karthagian and Karthaginian.

And…we’re back in America! The Swansons are sitting on the porch. Maya and Joey’s little brother Benjamin is talking to his cousin Andy. Benji says that he’s overheard Maya and Joey talking about evil empires and ugly fairies and stuff that makes them invisible.

His mother comes over to put him to bed and exposits that she’d really like to talk to Maya and Joey but their telephone is not working.

“No wonder my dear… the telephone bill is not paid!” Mr. Swanson said cynically (page 282).

I’m not sure Tesch understands what the word ‘cynically’ means, but setting that aside, why doesn’t he just…pay it? I mean, they are both underage, it does make sense that they’d want to call them occasionally to see how they’re getting on, considering that when they left, Maya was in the hospital.

Tesch rambles about the eldritch realm and the world between worlds and how it’s not predictable. Which to some extent is true. I could never have predicted half the stuff Tesch has come up with because it’s batshit insane.

We rejoin Joey. An armada of 50-60 ships is currently heading for Tyronia, and so he and twenty dragon riders are flying to investigate. They find the ships but the Rawkens are accompanying them so they decide to take shelter. Joey says he’ll go to Dragon Island to get the Karthagian Marines to take off and intercept Geek’s pirate ships before they can land on Tyronia.

Joey lands on the stern of the command ship and sees Maya dueling a few Marines. Joey greets her with a hug and a kiss [!] on the forehead and they make a few cracks about Maya keeping up with her swordswomanship.

They meet up with Prince Rasmos and the admirals and Joey explains everything and also about the Rawkens. The admirals discuss their plans and finally give orders to raise anchor and take off. Joey notices that they don’t seem overly concerned, which would make sense, because Karthagian ships outnumber the pirate ships four to one. Joey tries to convince Rasmos that the Rawkens are a pretty big threat, but Rasmos says their Marines are heavily armored and well protected from flying pit bulls. Then Maya pops up to brag about how Maradonia has the greatest spy network in the entire world.

“Why am I not surprised?” Prince Rasmos answered angrily. “Messengers of the deity constantly provide you with information! I don’t know why but it is not a secret that you and your brother have the ability to disappear directly in front of our eyes. I was thinking several times about both of you and I understand why Apollyon hates you.” (page 286-287)

You and me both, Rasmos.

Maya, naturally, deflects this by completely changing the subject:

“Rasmos, please…the people think that we are giants but look at us! Are we giants?” (page 287)

Nobody thinks they are giants. Nobody has ever called them giants.

Rasmos, of course, has to verbally cunnilingue Maya and talks about how she’s a genius leader, a slick swordfighter, and practically unbeatable. It’s like she’s a Mary Sue!

Rasmos demands to know why Joey doesn’t just use Defender to mow the Rawkens down, so Maya trots out the bullshit excuse that if they do, the Empire gets to bust out their own supernatural weapons to fuck Tyronia up. Rasmos then bitch-slaps Maya, Joey, and Gloria Tesch herself by pointing that Joey already used the fucking Key against the Empire. Which means the Empire already has the right to bust out the Cold Light Waves and nuke the shit out of them.

And how does Gloria wiggle out of this one?

Well, Joey explains that it’s different. See, last time, they attempted to fight the Rawkens with normal means and failed, so they used supernatural means because they had no choice. But here…they have a choice? So I guess the supreme command of King Roach, GOD HIMSELF, to not use supernatural weapons, can be completely ignored if you kind’ve really need to use them.

….that makes sense.

Prince Rasmos gives in and they take off. Maya’s hair flutters in the breeze. Rasmos asks her to put on a helmet as protection against the Rawkens, but Maya declines, because Heroes never wear helmets during battle scenes, so they’re easily identifiable to movie audiences. And they’re Badass.

It turns out that all the Karthago ships have long metal prongs in front of their ships that are beneath the surface of the water and they ram their ships into their enemies, which tears a hole in the hull and (hopefully) sinks the ship. Some quick Googling tells me that Greeks and Romans used this method, so, okay.

Pretty soon they intercept the pirates, who freak out. The Karthagians start ramming into the pirates and slaughtering them without mercy, because they’ve decided to take no prisoners.

Meanwhile, Big Bertha and her sisters spot what’s going on. Bertha sends her sisters to fetch the Rawken army which has landed on a nearby mountain side, and she flies in to find Plouton and Geek’s ship.

We cut over to Geek. He is not terribly pleased, because he suddenly realized why Plouton and his fairies didn’t come with them. Plouton knew Karthago was going to intercept the pirates and destroy them. Why Plouton didn’t come out with a plan to try and outmaneuver Karthago and save 50 ships and 20,000 pirates is beyond me, but okay.

Geek frets about this:

“Plouton has robbed me! I thought he would make me King of Tyronia and now I am nothing but another pirate without ships, people, money, a base and a future.” (page 294)

And that, kids, is why you don’t make deals with the Powers of Darkness who are known as ‘the father of all lies’.

Geek manages to save himself and another ship and they take off, leaving the rest of their armada to be turned into fish food.

Bertha heads back to see the Rawken army attack. However, the Marines are pretty well armed with bows and arrows and start turning the Rawkens into pincushions, so Bertha calls off the attack and they take off, leaving Maya, Joey, Rasmos, and the Marines to watch as the sharks start showing up to chow down on pirate booty. It’s a total victory and Maya and Joey didn’t even need to raise a finger. Hooray!

Chapter Thirty-Five – Count Argo Navis

A rider shows up at Joey’s palace with a message for Joey personally. The guards stop him and say Joey’s sleeping, so if he wants to personally deliver it, he’ll need to wait until tomorrow. Cut forward to the next morning. So, that scene was completely pointless.

The rider, who is Count Argo Navis, rolls in to meet Joey and explains he has a letter from a Princess Krimhilda. Joey grabs it and reads it. In it, after professing her love, Krimmy explains what’s happened and exactly where she’s being taken, because apparently her captors have told her where they’re taking her. And then she signs her note with a little drawn heart after her name, which is just adorable.

Joey tears up and asks Navis what happened. Navis explains, in great detail. Finally Joey sends him off to get some food and rest and busies himself with signing a purchase order for some new warships.

Meanwhile, the Rawken commander known as Tough Robby shows up with a message that he drops. The guards bring it in and give it to Joey:


We have Princess Krimhilda in our possession. If you don’t deliver our property, which you have stolen from us… within the next seven twilights, we will kill her immediately, so not even her ashes will be found.

Plouton. (page 300)

There isn’t a heart at the end.

Joey starts shaking and he slumps down in shock. Everyone leaves. Maya sends for a doctor, who quickly prescribes Joey a cardio tonic. You know, I’m not sure that’s a real drink. Anyway, Joey drinks it, recovers, and he and Maya head down to the pool to talk things over.

Maya points out that if Joey gives the Key back, the first thing Apollyon will do is kill Joey and Krimmy. And then:

“Cover each and every free citizen in the seven kingdoms with blankets of dark power!” (page 303)

Kinda reminds me of a quote from Lord of the Rings:

“Sauron needs only this ring to cover all the lands with a second darkness!”

Probably just a coincidence though. A Ring you can’t use because it will fuck you over. A Key you can’t use because it’ll fuck you over. Totally different.

Joey isn’t listening to sense, however, he’s tweaking out and mumbling to himself about needing to rescue Krimmy. Maya gets pissed off, so she shoves Joey into the pool.

Karma’s a bitch, isn’t it, Joey?

Maya, however, does Joey one better. She picks up a pole that’s sitting around by the pool, waits until Joey surfaces, coughing and spitting up water, and tries to climb out of the pool.

Then she swung the pole, that was normally used as a skimmer and hit the pole on Joey’s head yelling, “Wake up Joey! You are acting like an elementary student who just lost his toy!” (page 304)

Holy shit!

Okay. First, I really don’t feel bad for Joey. He’s a little shit. But still, he did just find out that his mortal enemy has his girlfriend and they’re going to kill her. I can support knocking him into the drink, best served cold and all that, plus it’ll help shock some sense into him, but bashing him over the head when he’s trying to climb out?

Plus, being worried about your girlfriend being murdered is NOT the same thing as losing a toy.

Joey’s bodyguards run up, grab the pole away, and help Joey out. He’s not terribly pleased and screams at Maya to not tell him what to do. Maya sarcastically asks exactly what he will do, so Joey says he’s going to suit up, grab the Key, and head off to where Krimmy is being held and torch the entire place. I assume he’s planning on rescuing Krimmy first, but maybe not. Maya gets passive aggressive, and then asks him if he’s planning on scraping up the ashes of Krimmy and putting them in a bowl in his room so he can gaze at them and apologize for loving her so much that he burned her alive. So maybe Joey isn’t planning on rescuing her?

I’m honestly kinda torn here. On the one hand, Maya just handed Joey his ass on a plate with all the trimmings, but on the other hand, she’s being a condescending, passive-aggressive bitch about it. I’m going to hedge my bets and say that I still hate them both.

Joey storms out and Maya picks up her drink.

Maya took another sip from her strawberry juice, enjoying the exploding taste (page 305).

Right. I don’t have anything to add to that.

After awhile Joey gets back, slightly calmed down. He’s still a bit peeved but he tells Maya that she’s right and thanks her for knocking him into the pool and then bashing him over the head with a stick because it brought him back to reality. Anyway, he wants to chat with Count Argo Navis because he believes they might be able to sneak into the place where Krimmy is being held and rescue her. But he wants Maya’s opinion because she’s more objective. Maya explains that she can’t really be objective because she’s caught between two men: Henry and Rasmos. The two guys that Maya is both stringing along. It makes her a slutty cocktease [I don’t think that having multiple partners is necessarily slutty, but stringing a couple guys along while lying to both of them is pretty slutty] but I don’t see how it’s relevant in this instance.

Maya finishes off the strawberry juice. I don’t know if it explodes in her mouth, but I presume so, because it makes her cough. Joey decides to go talk to the Count, and Maya will talk to Dominatio and Libertine, and they’ll come up with a plan of action.

Drinks: 43

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  1. WulfRitter on 17 February 2012, 05:30 said:

    “Cardio Tonic” sounds like it should be the name of a rather shady energy drink.

  2. LoneWolf on 17 February 2012, 08:30 said:

    The turbulent brother-sister relationship of Maya and Joey is described in great detail by the young author Gloria Tesch. That’s what that makes the Maradonia-Saga so interesting!

  3. Fireshark on 17 February 2012, 08:55 said:

    Tough Robby is back, along with Benji-mouse!

    I’ve never understood how it’s possible to unintentionally write characters as assholes. Gloria Tesch is a bad writer, but that shouldn’t preclude her understanding that setting wildlife on fire or stringing two men along are bad things to do.


    We have Princess Krimhilda in our possession. If you don’t deliver our property, which you have stolen from us… within the next seven twilights, we will kill her immediately, so not even her ashes will be found.

    Mario: We gotta find the princess!
    Luigi: And YOU gotta help us!
    Mario: If you need instructions on how to get through the hotels, check out the enclosed instruction book!

  4. prince o tea on 17 February 2012, 09:21 said:

    If you want to bring someone to their senses… Isn’t it better to slap them really hard, rather then you know… Possibly kill them or give them permanant brain damage?

    Also was there a point to showing Benji-mouse and the Swansons? I mean besides showing that mr and mrs s are irresponsible parents who are as equally as sociopathic as their spawn?

  5. Requiem on 17 February 2012, 10:05 said:

    Tips on writing characters

    1. don’t make them jerks, it alienates the audience. You can make them jerks if they can become liked or excused for it by growing as a character or having an actual reason why they act that way.

    2. The audience needs someone who is down to earth, someone to relate to. Now Tesch does make them somewhat this way but she goes too far and they come out stupid and arrogant. This is somewhat excused because they are young and naive but again they do lack common sense.

    3. Don’t make your heroes invulnerable. Even superman has kryptonite and can be killed.

    4. Don’t give them deus ex machina’s, let them keep their disadvantages. This makes characters more well rounded.

    5. Make them lose sometimes. A villain who always loses is non-threatening, unless they pull a Kefka and suddenly gain godlike powers and become a major threat. A villain who does lose should at least do something that hurts the heroes in some way to drive them on even if they don’t have godlike powers.

    6. Remember plot lines, character traits, and items. This is for continuity purposes, forgetting items that may have acted or been used leads to plot holes.

    7. Don’t make villains obvious, having them come out of left field is dramatic. Making them appear just, good, and pretty makes them more adept at causing harm if they hide in plain sight and appear like one of the good guys.

    8. Kill off some characters. It has to happen usually, this shows the equal balance of fighting a battle. Not everyone you care for will survive.

    9. Names. Don’t go from one end to the other. If you have weird names have more weird names, if there are other counties make them different then. Remember to not give them stupid or obvious titles unless they can pull it off.

    10. Dialogue. Dialogue is important to give your character a personality. It tells us of their background, who they are, how they feel. Learn how to use proper descriptive words.

    If Gtesch ever reads this maybe she’ll learn how to improve.

  6. Pryotra on 17 February 2012, 10:27 said:

    And that, kids, is why you don’t make deals with the Powers of Darkness who are known as ‘the father of all lies’.

    Classic. That’s a common mistake that amateur writers tend to make. Having one of the bad guys being shocked when another one of the bad guys betrays them.

    Congratulations Maya! You have just become more sociopathic then your sociopath brother, who at least gets upset when his sweet honey and her goldie cape go missing. You must be so proud to be utterly devoid of human feeling.

    Another thing you can add to the list of character writing thing, Requiem: Don’t write from your villain’s point of view. It makes it so that their movements are obvious, and you want to shock your readers by the things that they do. Never allow the reader to see what’s going on in the Big Bad’s head.

  7. Requiem on 17 February 2012, 10:45 said:

    True, letting your villain make plans unknown to the viewer gives suspense. If the movements in war became more mysterious instead of foreknown you could have a fair battle. But you can also be creative with it by tricking the audience into thinking they are going to do something and make it seem misleading. This gives your enemies strategy more depth because it gives us what Sun Tzu called war, all war is deceptive.

    I’d also add to the list something to make your villain more rounded as well. Even evil has some humanity in it, even if its but a mere shattered remnant of who they once were. Making them completely evil gives us no depth. A character who fell from grace, made bad choices, or turned evil from loss shows us that these villains could’ve been seen as heroes or were once just as innocent as everyone else. Villains also think they are justified in their actions they don’t call themselves evil, they think it will help in some way even at the cost of others. They may think serving an evil god will give them their desires or perhaps allow them to succeed in their dreams, or perhaps they have some other reason that compels them to do what they do.

  8. Soupnazi on 17 February 2012, 12:34 said:

    Gloria, please lrn2adjective.

  9. swenson on 17 February 2012, 13:41 said:

    There isn’t a heart at the end.

    Ahaha, that line was golden.

    OK, on one hand, Gtesch seems to have realized that she’s got a few plotholes and is trying to address them, so that’s a promising indication that she’s actually rereading her work on occasion now. What is less promising is that she didn’t actually rewrite the previous plot-holey scenes, she just tried to cover them up.

    Also, I don’t know what you guys are going on about, but Joey totally deserved to be whacked upside the head with a pool skimmer. For the entertainment value, if nothing else.

    Also also, I want an exploding strawberry drink!

  10. LoneWolf on 17 February 2012, 14:02 said:

    Indeed, Glo at least trying to address the plot holes is a positive sign. She improves, but very slowly. If she continues to improve at such rate, she’ll reach Paolini level by her 40th instalment of the Maradonia-Saga.

  11. Kurt on 17 February 2012, 14:22 said:

    I’ve never understood how it’s possible to unintentionally write characters as assholes.

    Write what you know about. If the writer behaves like one herself, and nobody around her calls her on it…

    What I don’t understand is how it’s possible to write such a long story with no tension at all. Whether Maya is going to pick Henry or Rasmos doesn’t count as excitement in my book. The siblings are finally faced with a real problem, whether to save Krimmy or the Key, and what do they do? Argue like little kids, then Maya is going to ask Libertine for the solution. Aargh.

    …that’s a promising indication that she’s actually rereading her work on occasion now.

    I’ve also noticed that she has deleted her infamous twitter “Sorry guys… I can’t hear you over how awesome I am!” from her Twitter account. So she’s aware of her critics, eh, haters.

    Also also, I want an exploding strawberry drink!

    Fill your mouth with strawberry soda water before eat a Mentos. That ought to do it.

  12. Taku on 18 February 2012, 03:21 said:

    Also also, I want an exploding strawberry drink!

    Best we can do in this mortal realm, I’m afraid : gin strawberry flambe. Still awesome.

  13. Kurt on 18 February 2012, 16:37 said:

    Gloria’s brother has just uploaded a video on Youtube where he shows off his skills, skating inside the Tesches’ garage. At the start of the video, there’s a box with a label. The three partially visible lines reads LIBERY BOO // MARADONIA AND THE GOLD // QTY : 10”. Later around the 2:20 mark, you can see that the Tesches have a whole pallet with similar boxes – I’d guesstimate that there are around 65 of them. As some of them could contain Law of Blood books, this is probably the entire stock of the Maradonia Saga.

  14. Puppet on 18 February 2012, 17:01 said:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re right, Kurt. Most of Gloria’s “fans” are paid actors.

  15. prince o' Tea on 18 February 2012, 19:42 said:

    If the Tesches weren’t so ridiculously conceited and hypocritical, I would feel sorry for them. Being a bad writer doesn’t make you a bad person, but from what we’ve seen of Gloria and her parents, their attitude stinks.

  16. Lady Cricket on 18 February 2012, 21:03 said:

    “Joey tears up and asks Navis -”

    Hey! Listen!

    An annoying little blue fairy is a poor source of advice.

  17. Prince O'Tea on 18 February 2012, 21:06 said:

    It could be worse. It could be Fis who would constantly remind him that Defender is about to run out of batteries and he needs to replace them at once.

  18. Erin on 18 February 2012, 22:31 said:

    And that, kids, is why you don’t make deals with the Powers of Darkness who are known as ‘the father of all lies’.

    Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!

    Benji-mouse! Is this a pointless appearance? Or does it hint at the possibility of Benji-mouse and cousin Andy coming to Maradonia in a later book?
    … Right, the first one.

    Also, this is the worst explanation for the parents not worrying about the kids off on the adventure that I have ever seen. I mean, come on. You’re really going to go off and not have any means of contacting your kids? I’d think they’d have a neighbor or a nearby relative check in on Maya and Joey if they weren’t going to be able to do it themselves.

  19. Pryotra on 19 February 2012, 10:33 said:

    Agrees with Prince O’Tea about the Tesches

    It’s not their bad writing that makes me want to laugh at them, it’s their attitude. If they were at least decent about the whole thing, I’d feel a whole lot more guilty about making fun of them.

    Honestly, that whole chapter with Maya and Joey’s family was a waste of time and effort. Of course their parents aren’t worried about them. That would make them less then perfect. It might have been interesting to see their parents starting to come apart after their disappearance and all the weird things that had been happening (the UFO’s and such) or have Benji-mouse actually have a point to his existence, but, as it is, all she did was have a chapter of “Oh, everything’s fine.”


  20. LoneWolf on 19 February 2012, 12:09 said:

    Someone probably pointed out to Gloria: “Hey, shouldn’t Maya and Joey’s parents worry about them more?” and she was all like “their telephone bills are cynically not pad, lol”.

  21. BettyCross on 20 February 2012, 18:59 said:

    @Pyrota, yeah, I also noticed the UFO attack on “Oceanside” didn’t have any consequences that are worth mentioning in the books. They aren’t worth mentioning because they don’t affect Maya the Magnificent and Joey the Great in any significant way.

  22. Pryotra on 20 February 2012, 19:52 said:

    Guess not. But, hey, this would just be major news and possibly an entirely altered way that people would have seen the world.

    Nothing important.

    On the parent’s level, if they were worried sick and afraid that their kids had been abducted or something, it might have actually been an interesting read. It could have been something of a reality check to the reader, who had, presumably, never given them a second thought.

  23. Puppet on 21 February 2012, 11:41 said:

    Maybe it’s like Calvin and Hobbes. All these “adventures” Joey and Maya are having are actually just taking place in their backyard.

    “Mommy, I have to go save the world!”

    “Mmhm, come back by 8.”

  24. Prince O' Tea on 22 February 2012, 11:40 said:

    Or maybe Gloria and Joey made up Maradonia to cope with their emotionally abusive and neglectful parents.

    “Mommy, I’m a Princess and I’m going to save the world!”
    “Whatever. Your father and I are going to the Bahamas for six weeks. There’s a hundred dollars and some pop tarts in the kitchen, and remember to give Benji-mouse his ear medicine. We’re not taking a phone so don’t bother calling us That’s the cab, love you bye!”

  25. Fireshark on 22 February 2012, 23:54 said:

    Or, Maya and Joey are actually video game characters in a largely static RPG. Passing of time is skewed and it’s always day. They’re on a quest, but no one really notices if they come or go. No battle ever has actual consequences territory-wise. In fact, the only dynamic elements of the game are that the heroes can gain or lose items, and that plot-important characters can die. Gloria made up this story about a video game to let out her frustration at being unable to make or play video games.

  26. swenson on 23 February 2012, 17:04 said:

    That theory has the benefit of explaining why Tesch is always on about “Gamers”—she’s trying to disguise her true motives.

  27. Mr. A on 10 June 2023, 11:41 said:

    @swenson #9:

    OK, on one hand, Gtesch seems to have realized that she’s got a few plotholes and is trying to address them, so that’s a promising indication that she’s actually rereading her work on occasion now. What is less promising is that she didn’t actually rewrite the previous plot-holey scenes, she just tried to cover them up.

    I agree. You can’t tell the reader now that using the Key against the rawkens “didn’t count”, when the possibility of a loophole wasn’t mentioned at the time. Also, Joey’s own Protagonist-Sense told him that the battle was a victory for Evil.

    This does raise an interesting question: how do the Powers of Evil know whether the good guys have violated the “arms limitation treaty” or not? Heck, how do the good guys know? I mean, they probably receive some kind of supernatural confirmation, because that’s how everything works in this series. But it would be more interesting if they didn’t. You could do something clever with that. For example, suppose the good guys used special effects to fake some magic, Wizard of Oz-style, so the bad guys thought they violated the “treaty”. The bad guys would pull out their superweapons and then immediately get smited for it.