The Rare And Beautiful Pig Faced Orc Of Potawango Island

…old roleplayers will get the joke

 

 

 

The Doclopedia #1,311

Modern Magical Items: Enchanted Pooper Scooper

This item looks like the sort of device owned by millions of dog owners around the world. Long handle and a scoop at the end. They come in a variety of colors.

But this pooper scooper has one important difference: it is enchanted so as to bind an incorporeal spirit into it. Most of the time, such spirits are those of dead politicians and greedy captains of industry, but in the last century, the spirits of televangelists have become popular.

Enchanted pooper scoopers are set by the dog owner to materialize any time the pooch does his business. They scoop it up and then take it to a magical waste dump that turns it into good clean soil. That soil is then spread around to areas that are badly eroded or low in organic matter.

The average price of these devices runs 300 American dollars and there is often a 2 week wait.

The Somewhat Rambling, Yet Aways Entertaining, Story Of Mostly Purple Patty And The Class Trip From Hell

…co-starring her pet hyrax, Morty

Ok, I know, it’s been a while since I posted the last part of Sparrow, Sunny and the Return of Magic. Here is the rest of the story.

WARNING! Longass post ahead!

Part Three of:  Sparrow, Sunny and the Return of Magic

The guy was a short, balding Latino, maybe in his forties. He was chubby and had a jolly demeanor, but Sparrow could see in his eyes that he was seriously checking them out.

“I expect you are wondering several things right now,” he said in a lighthearted voice. “Let’s go down the short list, shall we? First of all, everything has stopped because we are now in Wizard Time, which is outside the normal passage of temporal river. Secondly, I am indeed a Wizard, not a child molester as Sunshine is thinking or a nutjob as you are thinking, Sparrow. I really can do magic, which brings us to the third answer: so are you. Or rather, you are possessed of the Talent. Becoming a full on Wizard takes quite a few years and a lot of damned hard work. Finally, my name is Wizard Holy Mole. Yes, I know, it’s a terrible Mexican food based pun, but we Wizards do like our goofy names.”

Sparrow recalled that later, she would find out that Wizards were pretty bi-polar, being utterly serious at times and completely screwy the rest of the time. All of them had names chosen during the screwy time.

Noticing that Sunny looked gobsmacked into near paralysis, Sparrow took it upon herself to ask about 200 questions in rapid succession before her head exploded. The Master had a good long laugh over that.

Wiping the tears from his eyes, he had told her that all questions would be answered in good time, then told them about the offer of training in the Talent if they wanted it. He described the Academy and how life would be there. When he was done, Sunny finally found his voice.

“Hogwarts!” Actually, he said it three times, the last time adding “Fucking Hogwarts!” to it.

Again, the Master laughed.

“Well, not quite, but similar. More like Hogwarts meets bootcamp meets Harvard Law School. Tough, but fun and very different. Sadly, there are no owls or broomsticks, but the students have devised a game like Quidditch.”

The rest went pretty quickly. He answered a few basic questions, then told them he and two there Wizards would meet with them and their parents that night. After that, he vanished and time sped back up and she and Sunny had stared at each other for nearly a minute before saying “We’re gonna be Wizards!”

But not loudly enough for the rest of the cafeteria to hear.

Two weeks later, they were gone from their hometown and families and standing outside a small farmhouse way to hell and gone in the middle of the Nevada desert about 4 miles off Highway 50. The master lead them in and, sure enough, it was bigger on the inside. How big? Try 5,000 acres of land in what looked like the north coast of California, but maybe 150 years ago.

That had been 6.5 years ago and now she was out doing her period of fieldwork for the Council.

And with that thought in her mind, Sparrow finished her coffee, paid the bill and added a five buck tip, then started heading off toward the Town Hall. As she walked, she felt in her pocket for her good luck charm. It was still there, which reassured her. Even though this was probably going to be a dead easy job with no hitches, she figured a bit of luck couldn’t hurt.

She pulled the Petoskey stone, which she had found on a childhood vacation on the shores of Lake Michigan. It was pretty cool looking and she fondly remembered how her grandpa, a rockhound from way back, had polished it for her, then drilled a little hole in it for the leather shoelace that was still there.

During Third Year, Wizard Suzie Creamcheese had been teaching Charms and asked them all to bring small and something dear to them to class. Sunny, always the geek, had brought his very first 20 sided die. She had brought her Petoskey stone. Wizard Suzie had shown the class how to imbue a little bit of luck into their charm. Not too much, because you would be draining luck from the next 24 hours, but enough to give you a bit of good luck when you needed it.

Most of the class had overdone it and the next day they sported black eyes, menstrual cramps, scrapes, bruises, lost books and, in her case, a zit on the end of her nose the size of a pea. Lesson learned.

She always took a couple of days a week to put a bit of luck into the charm. Not too much, just enough to maybe miss a favorite tv show or maybe be sitting next to a dog or cat when they farted. Since she seldom had need to use the charm, she had tons of good luck in it. In fact, every once in a while, she had to bleed some off. This usually happened in concert with buying a lotto ticket or finding a lost item in her less than tidy apartment.

By now, Sparrow had reached the Town Hall, which wasn’t all that big. She walked up the steps while casting Ambor’s Concealing Shroud and then walked in the front door invisible to organic or non-organic vision. The latter wasn’t necessary because this place had no video cameras, but you could never bee too careful.

It took her about half an hour to check out the entire place, which looked like a zillion other small town city halls. Rooms full of boxes of records or microfilm of records, people at desks, some using computers that were WAY out of date looking, people answering old telephones, calendars on the wall from local businesses. Same old, same old.

And then she froze as a thought hit her hard. Slowly, she turned to look at a calendar on the wall. It was from 1999. So were the ones on desks. The date on these old computers…computers running Windows 98…was the same. It was May 5th, 1999.

She was in the PAST! The Council had transported her over 15 years into the fucking past! But time travel was like, number three on the THOU SHALT NOT EVEN THINK OF DOING THIS SHIT list!

What the fuck was going on here?

Mentally, she screamed out an angry summons.

It took maybe three seconds for Wizard Robotix to show up. She was thankful that it was him, because he was marginally less screwy and much less prone toward dancing around the truth with Adepts. He was also an excellent explainer of things, as he had been in his other life, the one before he died and became a Wizard.

“Hello, Adept Sparrow. What can I help you with?” His smile was broad and his voice was calming. Truth to be told, with his big old muttonchop sideburns and curly hair and glasses, he kind of reminded her of her Uncle Fred.

She took a calming breath, which really didn’t calm her all that much. “Well, sir, I seem to be in the past. Over 15 years in the past. I’d just kind of like to know what the fuck is going on!”

So much for trying to be calm. Fortunately, Wizard Robotix merely took her arm and started walking her outside.

“We were hoping you would react a bit less panicky, but you still did better that Adept Sunshine. He fainted dead away when he saw the date. George is tending to him.”

Poor Sunny, she thought, George is going to never let him live this down.

Wizard Robotix went on. “You see, Sparrow, it is vitally important that an Adept be here, today, at this exact place. Without you here and Sunny at his location, Magic will not return to the world.”

The fuck? Magic was already in the world. In 2014, there were about 200 Wizards and 1,700 Adepts. That seemed pretty damned magical to her. She relayed these thoughts to the Wizard.

“Well, yes, there is some magic in the world, mostly in the Wizarding Pockets such as where we live. And we do bring some of that with us out here into what you young people call Mugglespace. However, I’m talking about Magic with a capital M. It’s what powers dragons and elves and gnomes and spells. It’s a force, or rather, an entity, that will reshape our world. The reshaping will come in August of this year and you and Adept Sunny will be playing a vital part in insuring it happens.”

She gulped twice and then had to sit down on a bench. This was some brain twisting shit right here.

“But…but why didn’t it happen before in 1999? Why did we have to come back and change history or restore history or whatever the hell we’re gonna do?”

He put a fatherly hand on her shoulder, looked her straight in the eye and said, “Damned if we know. Magic contacted the council and told us what to do and who should do it. We just followed orders.”

“You don’t know? You DON’T KNOW? Some magical twat tells you to send a couple of adepts back on some dead easy bullshit missions without telling them the truth and you all were ok with that? What the hell, man?”

“Magic didn’t hang around after she gave the order and we felt we had better do as she said.”

Sparrow was really wound up now and was getting ready to tell Robotix that she wanted to speak to the entire Council and maybe this Magic chick when the Wizard abruptly looked at his watch and said “Oops! Time to go. I know you’ll do well, Sparrow” just before blinking out of existence.

Oh, this was total bullshit.

Sparrow jumped up and was just about to call up George when the ground under her feet and pretty much everything else just faded away. A long moment later, everything reassembled, but she wasn’t in a small town, or even any sort of human habitation.

She was in the middle of a dry riverbed in the middle of the desert. It was sandy with lots of small rocks and dry as a bone.

It looked to be pretty early in the day, maybe a couple of hours after sun up. Not too hot yet, maybe 80 degrees out here in the open. No wind and not a cloud in the sky. It would probably get damned hot before too long.

She was just about to start yelling..or walking…or both, when she saw Sunny appear about 30 feet away. He wasn’t facing her, so she called out to him.

“Hey, Sunny! Over here!”

Predictably, he yelled, spun around and shot off Foskar’s Fiery Fist. She deflected it easily.

“Jesus! Calm down, you twit! It’s me!”

Sunny stared at her, then ran up and hugged her.

“Oh Spare,” he gasped out. His heart was racing. Poor Sunny was much better suited for the safer and more predictable work he usually did in the Potions lab. “I could have killed you! I’m so sorry.”

She hugged him and chuckled. “You, kill me? Not very likely, even on your best day, which this isn’t.”

Breaking his embrace, she took him by the hand and lead him over to a large rock. They sat down and she waited a minute for him to get a normal heartbeat back. She was pretty sure he had a quarter sized pee stain on his jeans, but decided not to point it out. She was kind of surprised she didn’t have one.

“So, your mission was a ruse, too?”

“Yeah, it was. I was all set to pick some Green Fairy Moths off of a spruce tree when I remembered it was early spring and there wouldn’t even BE moths for about 5 months yet. I knew I had been sent through time. I sort of panicked at that point and Wizard Mississippi showed up and told me about Magic returning and then I was here.”

Sparrow stared at him. “Wait a minute! You knew you had traveled through time because of some moths?” She felt like a bit of a dim bulb for having had to see the newspaper.

Sunny nodded. “Well, sure. That and the fact that I was in a stand of flowers that don’t bloom until late June. You mean you didn’t see ANY sign that it was not early spring, 2014.”

Sparrow gave it some thought. Let’s see, no snow on the hills, breakfast at a Lenny’s (a chain that shut down in 2003) that only cost $6.00 instead of $10.95, the television had been running a piece about Y2K and she had not seen a single car older than early 1999.

“Nope,” she said, “Not a single clue until I saw a newspaper.” Sometimes it was better not to be too honest about being a dummy.

Sunny seemed to believe her, so she decided it was time to discuss the situation at hand.

“So, I’m thinking we’ll be meeting Magic soon. What about you?”

He glanced around nervously. “I think I’d rather be back in the lab. this changing history shit is not good, Spare. One little fuckup and we don’t get born and dinosaur men rule the world or something.”

Sparrow rolled her eyes. “We have got to get you away from the Sci Fi Channel and out on a date with a real girl, Captain Fanboy.”

“Hey! I go out on dates! I went out with Debbie Mancuso just a couple of weeks ago.”

“You went to see a Godzilla triple feature! I’ll bet you didn’t even kiss her!”

Sunny was about to come back with the fact that they had, if fact, made out at his place, when their conversation was interrupted by a jackrabbit that hopped up onto a rock and spoke to them in a feminine voice.

“Hello, young Adepts!”

They both sat there, mouths gaping and eyes wide. Talking jackrabbits have that effect on you.

“I know, I know,” the rabbit chuckled. “You were expecting something more grandiose and, well, magical. I considered that, but decided that this form would do for introductory purposes.” Then she started scratching her ear with a hind foot.

Sunny spoke up first. “This must be what tripping on LSD is like.”

“Yeah,” Sparrow agreed. “Only this trip ends with us changing history.”

The rabbit looked at them and smiled, something that looked very strange on a rabbit.

“Oh, children, you have no idea how strange things are going to get. Once I am back in the world, Magic shall reign and there will be wonders the likes of which you only know from movies or Dungeons & Dragons games. I shall re-make things to be fun.”

Sparrow was about to point out that many of the D&D games she and Sunny had played in involved subject matter that was decidedly NOT fun, but was interrupted by a smooth and sexy male voice saying “I’m thinking no, Magic. I’m thinking the world is doing fine as is.”

She, Magic & Sunny all turned toward this new player. She and Sunny both said “You have got to be fucking kidding!”

Magic said, “Hello, Tech. I was wondering if you were going to butt in.”

Technology had taken the form of Robby the Robot from film & television, with the addition of an iPad in his chest on which an late 1980’s video game face appeared.

Sparrow was rapidly getting used to this constant mindfuckery, but Sunny was looking at Tech/Robby like he was made of chocolate and gold.

“Holy crap! Is that Baruto from Fistfight Legend 2? I used to play that on my old NES! Also: ROBBY THE ROBOT? COOL!”

Sparrow would not have been if her friend had started drooling.

Tech gave as much of a bow as he could.

“Yep, lad, it’s Baruto. Nice to meet you, Sunny. Miss Sparrow, you look fine today. Magic, my dear, as always, it is a pleasure to see you again.”

“Fuck you, Tech!” Obviously, she did not feel the same pleasure. “This is MY time and my mission and you have no place here.”

Tech smiled broadly. “My goodness, you are SO hot looking when you’re mad. the way your ears twitch is…”

His sentence went unfinished when a blast of arcane energy hit him and knocked him ass over tea kettle for about 60 feet.

“Damn!,” was all Sparrow could think of to say before Tech stood up and hit Magic with some sort of ray that punched a sizzling two inch hole right through her. The rabbit cursed loudly in a language that Sparrow had never heard, then slowly healed the hole up. It seemed to hurt to do it.

Tech was approaching fast now and waving a white flag.

“Really, Magic, are we going to keep up this foreplay all day? Shouldn’t we get down to the real deal?”

“Are they gonna get it on?,” Sunny whispered.

“I hope not,” Sparrow replied. She was not sure her brain could handle a jackrabbit sexing a robot.

Magic went from being incredibly angry to just being REALLY angry, but also looked a bit resolved about something.

“Alright, alright! We’ll do the goddamn contest. Shit!” She kicked a rock the size of a duck egg so hard it flew 200 yards and went through 7 saguaro cactus and almost hit a roadrunner.

Tech chuckled in a strange computery manner.

“Well then, age before beauty, sweetheart.” Sparrow wanted to punch him in his robot face for that one.

Magic looked at the two Adepts, sizing them up. Sunny grabbed Sparrow’s hand and she didn’t mind at all. He gut feeling was that Big Shit was about to go down.

Magic finally spoke up. “I’ve made my choice. To find the Soul of Magic, I choose Sparrow.”

“An excellent choice,” Tech said in an amused voice. “That gives me Sunny, who I just know will do an excellent job.”

Sparrow and Sunny looked at each other. Soul of Magic? What the hell?

Magic was about to speak up when Sparrow stopped her with a flood of questions.

“Wait just a fucking second here! What the hell is the Soul of Magic? Why are WE looking for it? Are we going to be tramping around this damned desert? And what the hell gives you two the right to just tell us what to do anyway? What if we just tell you to kiss our asses?”

“Yeah,” Sunny spoke up, “what Sparrow said! And besides that, what the hell does Technology care about Magic?”

Magic, who had been cleaning one of her ears while the Adepts ranted, sighed and waved her front paws in what they all knew was an complex spellcast.

For a second, the humans felt a bit dizzy. Once that passed, information streamed right into their brains.

“YouwerechosenbecauseyouarethebestoftheAdeptsand

bringingMagicbackintotheworldistooimportanttoleavetothe

Wizardswhoareallabouthalfcrazysoit’sallonyoutwotheSoulofMagicis

MYSOULandIamnotevenasmallfractionofaspowerfulasIwaswhen

IhaditandasforwhatgivesmetherightIAMGODDAMNMAGICandeverything

youaretodayisbecauseofmeandifyoutellmetokissyourassyou’llbeinthisdesertforever!”

It took about half a second to get that input. Sparrow and Sunny were just taking in a deep breath when technology shot them in the eyes with a blue laser beam.

“Well, you’ve certainly cranked Magic up a few notches. Let me explain a few things she left out. You won’t just be looking for the Soul of Magic. You’ll also be looking for the Heart of Science, which is my heart. Well, Sunny will be looking for the Heart. See, this is a competition and a race, kids. First one back decides the fate of the world. And no, you won’t be wandering in the desert. You’ll be in a house, actually. Big old Victorian place on a sadly overgrown 500 acres. You’ll have your choice of trails to follow to get to the place. Try to stay on the trails. Oh, and the first one back with the Heart or Soul has to toss it into a pit filled with Primal Fire. Second place dies. Sorry about that, but them’s the rules.”

A moment later, the blue beam stopped and Sparrow & Sunny were facing a big hole in the air. On the other side was a high stone wall and a big open gate. They could see the house far off on a hill with a whole lot of old forest between them and it. Just inside the gate was a good sized gravel topped area. Six trails lead off from it into the woods.

“Hey! You never said anything about one of us dying!” Sparrow was very afraid for Sunny and, much less afraid for herself.

“You must leave in 10 seconds,” said Magic.

“Good luck, kids,” said Technology

Sunny looked at them both. “If anything happens to Sparrow, I’ll spend however long it takes to bring you down.”

Sparrow did the same thing and said, “Ditto, but I might just do it regardless.”

And then the portal moved forward and they were inside the gate standing on gravel. They looked at each other, then in unison said, “I won’t let you die” just as a loud voice said, “You have six hours. GO!”

Sunny took off down the nearest path at a dead run and was lost from view in the woods within seconds. Sparrow thought for a moment, then chose the far right path. It seemed to follow fairly near the wall and that might mean that any hazards would only be coming from one side. Or not. You could never be sure with magical places.

As she loped along at a pace she could keep up for an hour or more, she tried casting the Mind To Mind spell, so she could talk to Sunny, but it was no go. She stopped for a second and cast Faltine’s Fire. An innocent bush went up in flames. So, no talking to the competition, but offensive spells were OK. So be it. She resumed running.

Sunny was a couple of hundred yards into the forest when he tried to contact Sparrow. Finding that it didn’t work, he tried a Flight spell. Nothing happened. Back to running he went until a minute later when he heard something up ahead. He slowed to a walk, then to a very slow walk. Whatever was up behind that big bush was grunting and moving around. Sunny moved as quietly as he could until he could peek through part of the bush for a good look.
“Oh holy shit,” the young Adept thought, “It’s a freakin’ Shambling Mound!”

A Shambling Mound is pretty much a big semi-humanoid shaped pile of slimy compost. A big and dangerous pile of slimy compost that was carnivorous, which would explain why this one was eating a bear.

The Shambler was about three quarters of the way done digesting the bear, which was incredibly gross looking and nearly made Sunny barf. He wondered if the bear had suffered much. Probably it had.

Hoping that the vegetable monster would not bother with a human running full tilt along the trail, Sunny took a deep breath and took off. He was a good twenty feet past the Shambler when the damned thing dropped the rest of the bear and began chasing him. It sort of rolled along, like a pile of leaves and stuff rolling down a hill, except this was actually rolling uphill just now.

“Remember your Monster Manual, dude,” Sunny told himself as he jumped over a fallen tree. “Lightning and fire have no effect. Cold does little damage, but then there is cold and there is fuckin’ A cold.”

The Shambler was gaining on him when Sunny turned and cast The Fearful Freeze Of Yittorak. In a second, the Shambler and everything around it was enveloped in 200 degree below zero cold. That pretty much stopped everything it touched. When all this shit thawed out, there would be a big dead spot in these woods.

Sunny took a moment to catch his breath, then headed along the trail toward the house.

Meanwhile, Sparrow had just crested a small hill when she stopped cold.

A troll, straight out of a D&D game was heading toward her. He looked to be maybe 10 feet tall and was butt ugly. It was also pissed off, hungry or both. Whatever. Sparrow had no time for this shit.

As the troll barreled toward her like some hideous freight train, she cast the Small Problems spell and shrunk it down to three inches tall. Then she walked up and stomped it into the ground.

“Regenerate from that, motherfucker!”

Actually, it would regenerate, but it would be three inches tall for the next 24 hours.

Sparrow resumed running. She caught glimpses of the house whenever she went over a hill. It looked like every haunted house ever.

The trail was now going up a pretty steep grade and she was slowed down quite a bit. At one point she stumbled and fell, which was why the laser beam barely missed her.

“Lasers? Really? I’m starting to get pissed off here!”

Whipping on a pair of foldable sunglasses from her back pocket, Sparrow ducked under a laser beam that was heading toward her from the left. Standing up, she cast Electric Tsunami and watched as the crackling energy spread out from her in all directions. When the laser packing drone exploded, she gave a yell of triumph.

“Wahooo! Take that, you little fucker!”

Back on the path, she soon saw that she had a straight run of maybe 300 feet to the front of the house. She broke into a dead run.

Meanwhile, Sunny was coming up on the house from the rear. He was a bit winded, having just fought off a horde of magically animated action figures armed with sharp little swords. He had turned his ankle, which kept him from running too fast. He also needed to take a wicked leak.

When he was still a couple of hundred yards from the rear of the house, he saw Sparrow come out of the forest heading for the front of the place. He picked up his pace and reached the back door a couple of minutes later. Damn this messed up ankle. He was glad that the house wasn’t huge. It wouldn’t take much time to check the whole place out, especially if he used a Szandor’s Spell of Location to find that damned Heart. Pausing only to take the fastest, yet most refreshing piss in all history, he threw open the back door and stepped inside.

“Oh Honey, I’m ho..”

The words died on his lips as he saw that this house was a whole lot stranger on the inside than it was on the outside. A staircase stuck out of a corner, but it did not reach the floor. Looking up it, the stairs seemed to go on for about a mile. The room he was in has a slanted ceiling, but even the low side was 15 feet above him. The only door beside the back door was ten feet tall, but only half as wide as a narmal door. All the windows moved around when you weren’t looking at them.

“Shit,” he said. “It’s like a TARDIS desisgned by Salvador Dali”.

Then he opened the skinny door and stepped through.

Sparrow was walking up a hallway. mostly because it had a pretty steep upward slant. When she finally reached the door at the end of it, it opened into a huge dining room, ballroom with elegantly decorated tables full of china and silverware. She made a mental note that if so much as a pickle fork started singing “Be Our Guest”, she would burn the whole place down. As she walked across the room to the only other door, she cast out with her mind as focused through the Stone of Sagamoto. She could feel every line of arcane energy in the place, which was a whole bunch of them. None, however, were connected to the Soul.

It took a long while to reach the center of the room, because the damned thing kept getting bigger. By the time she did get to the center, the doors were a good 500 feet away.

“Hey, house, this is me, Sparrow, hating this architectural mindfuckery you’ve got going on.” It didn’t change anything, but she felt better.

As she moved away from the room’s center, the whole place began to get smaller again, until by the time she got to the out door, it was all back to normal. Stepping through the door, she found herself in a hallway that curved sharply to left and right.

Sparrow headed off to the left at a trot, looking for another door. She didn’t see any, but there were a bunch of pictures on the walls, ranging from portraits of men and women from centuries gone by to several paintings showing her trotting along this same hallway.

After a few minutes, it dawned on Sparrow that she should have come back to the ballroom door by now. Obviously, the house was not done playing Mess With The Adept yet. Slowing to a walk, she finally came not to a door, but a painting of a door.

“I feel like I’m in a Warner Brothers cartoon.” She sighed as she reached out touched the painting. Sure enough, the doorknob felt real. Opening the door, she thought “Please let this not lead to open air over a deep canyon.”

It lead to a pantry.

The pantry measured about 6 feet across and 15 feet long and had shelves on both sides and the rear. The shelves were filled with cans of various sizes. Grabbing a large can of peaches in heavy syrup, she blocked open the door, then began looking around.

Somewhere else in the house, Sunny was finally getting out of the screwiest bedroom he had ever been in. The furniture kept moving around whenever he turned away and the door would switch walls every time he went to leave. Eventually, he rant backward toward the door and got out. Now he was in another damned hallway. This one kept stretching out longer in front of him.

Close to losing his temper and with his bum ankle hurting, he simply shut his eyes and started walking forward. The end of the hallway was about 90 feet away.

Or, as he crashed blindly into a small table, it might only be 5 feet away.. Opening his eyes, he saw that he was at the end of the hallway. There was one door, on his right. Opening it carefully, he saw that it lead into a rather nice library, so he stepped inside, quickly thinking to prop the door open with a hefty volume titled “A Complete History Of Saddles” that easily weighed 25 pounds.

As he looked through the books on the shelves, he quickly noticed that most of them were titled some variation of “This Isn’t The Book You Want”. Sensing that the book he did want, possibly one telling him where to find that goddamn Soul, was here somewhere, Sunny started a systematic visual scan of all the shelves.

On shelf number 47, halfway along, he found a thick book titled “The Soul of Technology”. Opening it up, he found that it was hollowed out and contained a small stick on a leather strap, meant to be worn around the neck.

But as he watched, the stick turned into a little bow & arrow, then a wheel, then a gear and so on.

“Hmm,” Sunny thought, “I guess the Soul of Technology is change & improvement.” He put the Soul on like a necklace and turned toward the door.

In the pantry, Sparrow had looked at over 400 cans, most of them containing cream of mushroom soup, before she came to a good sized can that was labeled “Heart of Magic, Low Sodium”. She opened the can and sure enough, there inside was a glowing red heart that seemed to be made of pure light. It was on a gold necklace chain.

Sparrow put it on, then turned to head for the door.

It took the better part of 90 minutes for Sparrow and Sunny to find their ways out of the ever shifting house. When they did, they were on opposite ends of the large front porch. They stared at each other for a minute.

“I can’t let you die, Sparrow. I’m going to stay here while you take the Heart back.” He was looking very determined as he sat down. “You go on.”

Sparrow sat down next to him and took his hand. “Not gonna happen. I’ll stay here too and they can come and get this shit if they want it. Fuck ’em!”

They looked at each other and then laughed and hugged.

“We do get into some crazy shit, don’t we?”

“Yeah, we do at that,” Sunny replied. “But I never figured we’d buy the farm at a creepy house in the middle of a D&D live action adventure.” They both laughed again.

Sparrow sat back and looked out across the forest. “Maybe we’ll just be stuck here for the rest of our lives. Could do worse, don’t ya think?”

Before Sunny could reply, the voice of Magic boomed out “New rule! First one back to the pit saves the other one from The Neverending Death curse. You have 30 minutes to get back to the pit.”

The Neverending Death curse was big time shit, so the two Adepts jumped up and started running. Halfway to the woods, they both realized that they could never run fast enough to get back and a spell of Maximum Haste would only get your bones broken as you tripped over tree roots or stumbled into boulders at 100 miles an hour. Nope, for something like this, you needed to fly.

They both cast Kanopo’s Flight and were soon racing neck in neck over the treetops at 60 miles an hour. The spell was an energy burner and both of them knew they’d be wasted by the time they reached the pit.

“Drop back, Sunny! Let me save your life!” Sparrow yelled this as she dodged a rock the size of a basketball that was thrown at her by an ettin.

Sunny blasted two harpies out of the sky with a Splitting Fireball spell, then yelled back, “Save your breath, Spare. Neither of us is going to turn back.”

They weren’t more than a minute away from the portal and the pit when Sparrow pulled in close beside her best friend. Both of them were sweating like pigs and feeling very tired.

“So, hey, Sunny, let’s just tell them to kiss our asses. Let’s drop both of these damned things into the pit at the same time and then die or live or what the fuck ever.” She took off the heart and held it in her fist. Sunny took the Soul into his fist, then locked arms with Sparrow.

“Fuck it, lets just fly right into that damned pit. I’m abour to pas out anyway.”

They went through the portal together at about 10 miles an hour. A second or two later, they were diving into the pit. They could hear Magic yelling “NO!” and Technology saying “Well I’ll be damned.”

And then there was light and color and sound and just everything. Sparrow and Sunny felt like they were everywhere, nowhere and somewhere.

And then they both fell into the black.

Much later…as in, the next morning, they woke up in a big feather bed. They felt well rested and hungry, but were deeply confused.

“Are we dead?.” Sunny asked, sitting up and looking around the bedroom. It looked like it had been decorated by a troop of drunken baboons.

Sparrow sat up and stretched. “Christ, I hope not. This room is seriously ugly. Nice bed though.”

The door opened and several Wizards entered. They all looked happy, which is not always a good thing where nutty ass Wizards are concerned. They were lead by Wizard Mississippi, who stepped forward to address the Adepts..

“It would seem that the two of you chose a not too well considered option for bringing back Magic to the world. Mixing it with Technology has had some unforeseen, but not entirely bad, consequences. Mutants, for one and a rather more interesting Internet for another. We are still sorting things out, truth be told.” He paused to light a cigar, then continued.

“We of the High Council have decided that you did well, and as such, we offer you the rank of Wizard. Take some time choosing your new names. Once you get cleaned up and dressed, there will be a party in your honor. I’m assured that the food and drink will be awesome.”

With that, the Wizards all filed out of the room, leaving the Adepts to stare goggle eyed at each other.

“Holy fucking shit, dude, we are WIZARDS now!” Sparrow was bouncing for joy.

“We created a new timeline and shit!,” Sunny said, punching the air with his fist.

“We’re HEROES!”

“We Rule!”

“We’re in bed together buck naked!”

They bother dived out of bed on opposite sides.

THE END

Pieboy Had To Haul Ass

…all the way to Alaska, as I recall

Part Two of:  Sparrow, Sunny and the Return of Magic

 

As she approached the cafe door, Sparrow figured that Grove Point was probably too small to have multiple municipal offices, so the town hall or whatever would almost certainly be the location of the Registrar of Wills’ office. She could go there and await the Olsen family. She’d just pretend to be looking up the will of her great great grandfather or something.

The inside of the cafe smelled wonderful, full of bacony deliciousness. There were maybe a dozen customers, mostly middle aged men who looked like they sold insurance or used cars. Only a few of them gave her the slightest look as she went to sit at the counter.

The tall and rather bony looking blond waitress that came to take her order was wearing a name tag that said “Irma”. She was smiling a big smile.

“Hi there, sweetie. What can I get ya?”

Sparrow hardly glanced at the menu. She knew what she wanted and she was getting hungrier by the moment.

“Six slices of bacon, crispy. Four sausages. Four eggs scrambled and two sliced of whole wheat toast. Big glass of milk and a big cup of coffee, black.”

Irma’s eyebrows went up. “Lordy, you must be pert near starving to want that much food.”

Sparrow gave her a grin. “I’ve been burning calories at a crazy rate.”

Irma poured her a cup of coffee and went to give the cook the order. Sparrow was just into gulp number three on her coffee when everybody in the place…actually, everyTHING in the place…stopped moving.

Goddamn it, did George have to check up on her so friggin’ early in the day? Sure, George was her handler on this assignment, but shit, she hadn’t even eaten breakfast yet.

Swiveling the counter stool around, she said, “What the fuck, George?”

George was sitting on the stool next to hers. He was in his usual conformation, that of a long-haired tortoiseshell cat with a very fluffy tail. Sparrow assumed he was the Master’s familiar, and yet he seemed to have more independence and responsibility than usual for familiars. Maybe he was a very old familiar. Whatever he was, he was nosy, egotistical and easy to piss off. Sparrow had learned to her cost never to comment that nearly all torties are female.

“Such language,” he said in that snotty tone of his that she hated, “is most unbecoming a young lady.”

“Oh, well then, I’ll get right to work on that. Thanks for telling me. Now take a hike so I can eat some breakfast.” She had never been a morning person.

George looked her up and down, then gave a sigh.

“The Master chose poorly when he chose you. Your lack of respect for your superiors is a grievous fault.” He paused to swish his tail dramatically. “Still, it is his mistake to make, I suppose. Well, on to business then.”

Sparrow considered banishing him to a Demon Box, but decided not to. It would probably upset the Master and she didn’t want that. Maybe she’d just sneak some fleas into George’s bed next time she was home.

The cat muttered an incantation that might have been Balyar’s Summons or maybe Valkwyn’s Mystical Purse, but whatever it was, a small stone on a chain appeared on the counter between them. It took Sparrow about 2 seconds to recognize the Stone of Sagamoto. This was a seriously powerful talisman.

“Holy crap! What’s up with this, George? Why would the Master give me this for a simple protection job?”

George was beginning to fade away. “I’m sure he had his reasons, child. Now eat your breakfast and I’ll see you again when the job is done. And do try not to bugger things up.”

Sparrow was having thoughts of buggering George up with the toe of her shoe when he disappeared and everything started moving again. She slipped the Stone around her neck and fastened the chain. Oddly, she could feel a bit of heat coming off the stone.

About a minute later, Irma brought her her food and Sparrow dove into eating. As she ate, her mind wandered to memories of her childhood before her apprenticeship. She thought of her friend, Sunflower Nightingale (a name he hated, but for some odd reason never would change) and chuckled.

Sunny was her oldest and best friend, born exactly 48 hours before her on a stormy January day 18.5 years ago. He was equal parts reckless goofball and over-thinking worrywart, which meant that he would join her in the crazy shit she thought up, then afterward agonize over what would happen if they were found out. Thankfully, her own obsession with having an iron clad alibi had prevented them getting caught. Well, most of the time.

It had been Sunny who, as they were both entering puberty, noticed that there was something odder going on than just the appearance of body hair and the changing of body shapes.

“No, really, Spare, I think something strange is happening to us.” He was telling her this over lunch in the school cafeteria. “I mean, what about the other night at old man Kelman’s place? We were running like hell, bags of peaches in each hand and when we came to Fish Creek, we JUMPED ACROSS IT! That creek is like, 15 feet across at that point and we cleared it by 4 feet easy.”

She had kinda not wanted to think about that. It was just another one of the dozen or so strange things that had happened over the last 3-4 months. She was kind of hoping it was all just temporary and connected with getting her period, but when she found out things were weird for Sunny, too, she crossed that off.

“We were scared,” She said around a bite of roast beef sandwich. “Our adrenaline was up. He was chasing us with those bigass dogs, after all.”

“Oh, yeah, you mean those two huge rotties of his that refused to cross a creek that was no more than 6 inches deep? Spare, they stopped right at the edge and just looked around confused! AND SO DID MR. KELMAN! I’m telling you, we DID something. And it’s wasn’t the first time. Shit, dude, my fucking room cleaned itself in the middle of the night while I was asleep last Wednesday!”

Sparrow could see that he was getting really wound up about this. She started to say something about everybody being able to hear him when she noticed that everything…EVERYTHING…except her and Sunny had stopped moving. He could see it too, she could tell, because his eyes looked ready to pop out of his head. And then a voice spoke up saying “I believe I can offer the two of you some answers.”

They had turned their heads so fast their necks both cracked. In front of them stood the man they would both soon be calling “Master”.

More Story Soon.

The Rare And Beautiful And Terrifying Octocobragator Of Potawango Island

…run away! For the love of Dog, run away!

 

So, Gentle Readers, I have some New Content for you. See, over on the 30 Days Wonder Facebook group, I do storytelling and gaming experiments. The current one involves me telling a story, but each day at the end of the segment, I ask readers for suggestions that influence the next days piece. I then choose the one I like best and use it.

Reprinted below are the first three parts of the story. Enjoy, and if you are on Facebook, check 30 Days Wonder out.

Sparrow, Sunny and the Return of Magic

 

Sparrow checks in all directions to see if anybody has seen her. Not that she figures many people would care about her spending the night in a cow pasture, but you never can tell with these small town folks. After rolling up her blanket and taking a couple of gulps from her canteen, she pours a bit of water in her hand and washes her face. Drying her eyes on her sleeve, she then digs around to get her Leatherman tool and the map out of her backpack.

She puts the Leatherman into her pocket, but leaves the compass and binocs in her pack. Finally, she takes out the map titled Elk, Pine and Willard Counties.

Checking the map, Sparrow notes that this is in fact Grove Point, a rather sleepy little town of 6,000 residents placed smack in between farm country and Elk Lake, a once popular tourist destination that has declined in recent decades thanks to Big Elk Reservoir 20 miles down the road and much closer to the interstate.

Taking a boosted granola bar from her pocket, Sparrow takes a bite and begins walking toward the main road. After climbing through the barbed wire fence, she looks up and down the road to make sure that nobody is approaching, then takes a deep breath and heads toward the road.

After climbing through the barbed wire fence, she looks up and down the road to make sure that nobody is approaching, then takes a deep breath and walks into the center of the road. There, she takes out the map, orients herself to the correct side of the road, and sits down crosslegged on the pavement, closing her eyes and stretching her arms, one in the direction from which she’d come and the other in the direction she intended to go.

Clearing her mind, she then says “By the Wondrous Winds of Warloo”. There follows a few moments where she feels like a dandelion seed in the wind, then the sensation of damp grass under her butt. When she opens her eyes, she is in the main city park in Grove Point. Nobody has seen her arrive.

The spell worked! Her Master would be so proud of her! Getting up, she brushes some grass off of her jeans and looks around. Across the street, she spots a Lenny’s. Sounds as good as anywhere to get some breakfast and a cup of joe.

As she heads off for some grub, she thinks about where she needs to be here in town at exactly 1:30 this afternoon.

More Story Later

The Fattest Mouse Gets Eaten First

…and other proverbs

The Doclopedia #1,101

The Alphabet: K is for…

Kangaroo Uprising

 

…that’s what it was, mate! The bloody Kangs rose up against the Koalas and Wombats, trying to take control of Australia. It was a damned close thing at first, what with the Cockatoos and Wallabys on their side and us with only the Platypuses and Kookaburras. Two years it went on, and many died on both sides before we got the Emus, Dingoes and Birds of Prey on our side.

After that, it weren’t long before the Kangs gave up and things got sorted out by the politicians. Now, three generations on, we’re all right, mate. Of course, the humans all got wiped out, but there never were many of those blokes anyway.

K’vek

…was an alien of the K’or Dishi race who had the unfortunate luck of straying too near Fantasy Earth 43, where magic prevented any technology greater than the simplest clockwork mechanisms. His small spacecraft shut down and he was barely able to guide it into a crash landing in a large alpine lake.

Escaping with his life and nothing more, K’vek started exploring this strange world. Since he looked somewhat like a large flightless bird with arms instead of wings, he stayed hidden from the dominant sentient races. Fortunately, he could eat this planet’s animals and plants, so starvation was not a worry.

Eventually, K’vek was found by a young mage who had detected an “otherworldly presence” using a spell of detection. After some tense moments, they were able to converse and learned much about each other. The mage, one Terulin by name, invited the alien to come stay at his home, an invitation K’vek was happy to accept.

Over the years, the two became close friends and Terulin explained K’vek to the outside world as “a rather successful experiment in polymorphing”. Using K’vek’s advanced abilities at mentally computing probabilities and chemistry, they sent parties of adventurers out on many successful missions, making all involved quite wealthy.

K’vek died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 187. Terulin, only a few months from death himself, used his wizardly skills to create statues of himself and his old friend. These huge crystal statues still stand unchanged amidst the ancient ruins of Castle Terulin.

Welcome To The House Of Strange

…where we live with strange pets

 

CATCON/DOGCON UPDATE

NOTE:I don’t usually post stuff about DogCon/CatCon in between actual con trips (though, of course, these con trips are imaginary), but several things have happened, so I figured I’d give everybody a heads up.

First off, as most of you know, we lost Lucy to cancer back in August. It was a sad time, but we are doing better now. More on Lucy later. A few days after Lucy’s death, we adopted our sweet little Basset Hound girl, Daisy. She has become a beloved family member.

(Daisy: Hi there, folks!)

Next, our imaginary Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Abigail & Beatrice, have been offered a chance to come live in Critter City, Texas, as part of the Trained Goat Review, doing shows at the Rock Hard Cafe. It’s a pretty big show that plays twice daily during the heavy tourist season and three times a week during the off season. Abby & Bea have decided to take the offer, so they will be leaving us soon. We’ll miss them, but we’ll get to see them at the con every year.

(Abby: It was a hard decision, folks, but Mom has always told us to follow our dreams.)

(Bea: We’ll miss everybody here and the yearly trip on the Magic Bus, but we’ll put on a really great show in Critter City. Come see us!)

Our imaginary cat, Flash, did not take Lucy’s death well. He stopped eating, cried all the time and seldom left his apartment. The female cats stopped coming around and he got pretty surly. After awhile, he started to hit the catnip pretty hard. He really missed his big sister and partner in crime.

But then, well, the way Joe explained it to me is like this. See…

(Sasha: I’ll be taking over the explaining here, folks, since listening to Dad try to explain anything high tech is pretty painful and embarrassing.

To give you the short version, with the help of Joe, Bea and Sadie Misiaszek, I braintaped Lucy just days before she died (thus preserving a copy of her katra, or spirit if you follow human religion) and then uploaded it later into a cyborg body. I just could not stand to think of losing my sister.

Well, it all worked out reasonably well, even though it took longer than we expected to get some of the parts from Eosonia Cybernetics and Massive Dynamics. The biological parts took a couple of days longer to grow than we expected, too. Still and all, I think Bea, Sadie & I did a hell of a job considering we don’t have hands or thumbs and Callurian Arm Units are a pain in the ass to use.

And for those of you who ask “Why didn’t you just clone her?” see below.

The only tiny problem was that the polyphasic silibrain that we copied Lucy into doesn’t hold information indefinitely unless it’s in a functioning body, which means that when we hooked up her brain, she had some holes in her memory, plus a few very minor changes to her personality. Unfortunately, none of those changes seem to make her less likely to get into trouble with Flash.

Anyway, after about 3 weeks of fine tuning, we figured it was time to tell Mom, Dad, Flash & Abby about her. It was a very interesting family meeting, but Joe did a good job translating for Bea & I. Of course, I use the term “very interesting family meeting” in place of “the shit hit the fan”. Mom & Dad & Abby were speechless for about 10 seconds, then they all started talking at once, often in foreign tongues or straight out cussing.

Poor Flash, who was stoned out of his mind, just said “What?”

Then I trotted out Lulu (we all had agreed that she was no longer exactly Lucy Louise anymore) and everybody stared and then cried and stuff.

First thing Lulu did, tail wagging all the time, was walk right up to Flash and say, “You are now and have always been my friend. I am now and always will be yours.”

Yeah, I sorta reprogrammed her to be a Trekkie.

So Flash just stared at her and then he jumped up on her back and started wailing like a lost kitten and it was two days before he fell off of her, exhausted. He then slept for three days and has now been off the ‘nip for a month.

Mom told Bea and I what good girls we were and fed us a great meal.

Dad stood and looked at us, then smiled and said “That’ll do, pigs” and gave us the Vulcan salute.

You gotta love Dad! Well, except when he talks about high tech.

So Lulu is a part of the family now. She still needs a few upgrades before she can go out in public. The one red cyber eye makes her look kind of Borgy and I’m damned if I can get organics to grow on her tail. She also needs a few memories reinforced. Still, she’s in pretty good shape and we’ve got our sister back. Mostly.

And now I’ll return you to Dad.)

(Abby: You did good, girls. I’m proud of you.)

(Flash: I love you guys and Sadie and Joe!)

(Lulu: There is no way I can thank you, Winker.)

(Sasha: It’s Sasha, sis. Keep saying my name like I told you to, while thinking that you need to activate module 888-C.)

(Lulu: Ok. Sorry, sister.)

(Sasha: It’s ok, Lulu.)

…and while she doesn’t act or look exactly the way she used to, she’s pretty much our girl. Well, except for the 47% that’s machinery, but you can’t see most of that anyway. Amazingly, she does still eat food, but she doesn’t poop or pee very often. And she’s not afraid of a goddamned thing!

So there you have it, Gentle Readers. If anything of a similarly big nature happens, I’ll let you know.

And now…DOCLOPEDIA GOODNESS!

The Doclopedia #1,081

Golden States: The Magical Golden Kingdom

On a bunch of Earths, the United States of America exists in a magic filled world. In most of those worlds, California is a major player. However, on Magic Earth 12, thingsa are different.

California is a land of great wealth, happy people and powerful magic. Unfortunately, all of the kingdoms around it are populated by evil scumbags who covet the riches of the Golden Kingdom.

To the east is Nevada, home to both the Gambling Elves and the Dark Trolls. Both have attacked California several times, but failed to gain any ground. Fortunately, these two groups hate each other and will never work together.

To the southeast you’ll find Arizona, a wretched desert kingdom that is ruled with an iron claw by the Snake People. They have attacked California twice, the last time in 1980. They were beaten back and badly hurt by a Rain of Fireballs.

Immediately to the south is Mexico, home of all sorts of terrible creatures. The worst of the lot are the Aztec Mummies and the Dire Chupacabras. While not overly intelligent, these creatures are many and persistent.

Finally, to the north is Oregon, home of the Rain Dwarves and the Beaver People. They are formidable opponents who work together well. Fortunately, they cannot devote enough manpower to a full attack on California because then the Dragons of Washington would attack from the north and the Idaho Goblins would ravage the east.

We won’t even get into the odd threats from the Salt Demons of Utah, the Volcano Giants of Wyoming or the Skinwalkers of New Mexico.

All of the above are why 60% of California’s GNP goes to defense.

The Magic Dog And The Happy Cat Go To The Fair

…and they rode the carousel

 

The Doclopedia #1,030

For A Good Time, Call…: Fillandor The Incredible

Be it known to all citizens of this great city that, for a limited time, the Great Wizard Fillandor the Incredible will be here offering up the use of his amazing powers to one and all for mere pennies!

Fillandor, who is much acclaimed throughout the Eastern Empires and the Land of 10,000 Gods, will spare no effort to magically assist you with problems large and small. Recently, upon request of the Sultan of Panishad, Fillandor journeyed for to the south and not only banished a herd of Demonbulls, but used his fantastic powers to find a beautiful young bride for the Sultan.

A mere fraction of Fillandor’s abilities include: Healing of disease, curing of the troubled mind, insuring the increase of wealth, stimulation of crop growth, banishment of the demonic & undead, predictions of the future, protection from harm by others, alterations to the face & body, revival of faded bedroom abilities and far too many other magicks to list.

As is his humble nature, Fillandor has situated his wagons in the Worker’s Quarter, near the South Gate. Appointments can be made by calling 262-0094 from a Speaking Kiosk. Hours are 8 AM to 6 PM, all days. Payments in cash only.

Make haste, good people! Fillandor will not be in town long!

.

.

.

The Doclopedia #1,031

For A Good Time, Call…: Eskwif

Females who seek fulfilling fertilization encounters with a healthy and fully furred Alpha Male should call Eskwif with their mating song.

Eskwif sires fine cubs and has all six of his foot-paws. His tail is strong and his kloon is undamaged. His musk will make you swoon into receptive mode.

Call out soon, females! Eskwif is ready to serve you!