The Subject of this Inquiry

Somewhere in the vast emptiness of space, there is a star that some people call Sol. There are other people who live hundreds of thousands of light years away from it that call it Centauria17. But the individuals with whom we are primarily concerned call it Sol, and so shall we call it. Sol is relatively small in the grand scheme of stars. It has but two planets orbiting it –  a cold, dead, green rock, and a much livelier multicolored one – which most other stars would scoff at if they were sentient (but most of them aren’t).

And yet, to the people of the lively, multicolored planet, Sol once seemed to them the largest thing in all the universe, and so they thought it to be both their god and their creator. This was, of course, when they were stupid and didn’t know a damn thing about astronomy, but the idea stuck, and so they called themselves and their world Solkin: the special, chosen children of their deity, Sol.

There is much to be said about Solkin, but we don’t have all day. Suffice it to say, Solkin is in many ways much like other habitable planets you’ve heard of. It’s got grass and water and mountains and rocks and pumas and belly-button lint. But in other ways, from its elves to its magic to its sentient globs of slime, it is quite different.

Another thing that sets Solkin apart is the city that floats a mile above the ground, directly above a crater of identical shape, which is anchored to the planet by the longest chain you have ever seen (if you have seen the chain, which you likely haven’t). The city is called Skymoore.

Skymoore’s isolated nature has had a profound impact on its people and their culture. They are a kind people, generally speaking, but a most peculiar one. From their famed cat-fur casserole to their staunch disbelief in such a thing as natural running water, there is much about Skymoore that makes outsiders plug their nose and scoff. And this is just as well, for the people of Skymoore don’t much care for any kind but their own. In fact, there isn’t a single inn or any type of rentable lodging to be found.

Aside from that, Skymoore contains exactly what you’d expect from a mid-sized city on Solkin. You have your farms, from which the people drew sustenance; your churches and theaters, from which the people drew meaning; and your parlors, from which the people drew amusement. And of course you had your local businesses, which drew all of these things from the people.

These businesses came in all varieties: blacksmiths, herbalists, alchemists, and grocers, run by all manner of people (and, in one case, an animate statue who does not consider itself “people”). One business, a magic shop called Odd & Ends, is of particular note. You might think nothing of it at first. A small, wooden shop with a typical selection of trinkets, run by a nauseatingly amusing gnome and a human who is at times far too serious for his own good.

What makes it so special, you ask? Why should you care about this one shop, in this one city, above this one planet near a small star in the infinite expanse of the universe?

Because it is both ordinary and one of a kind. Because nobody, including its owners, could predict what wonders would be found inside its unremarkable walls, or how those wonders would shape the lives of everyone in Skymoore in ways both miniscule and gargantuan. And because, against all odds, it is the starting point and central focus of this story, and a good story can make even an ordinary magic shop worth your while.

And so for these reasons and others, Odd & Ends is the subject of this inquiry, this lengthy divulgence of private moments and amusing anecdotes. So stay a while and hear its stories. The stories of its owners, its workers, its customers. The story of its wares, of its rugs, and what lies beneath them.

You will not be disappointed.

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