When Sol rested firmly above Skymoore, granting the city its literal and metaphysical warmth, Nestor Pinkly crossed an item off of his list using a green ink pen. It now looked something like this:
Show Donovan the outside
Show Donovan the inside
Mention how great the location is
Tell Donovan about to-do-list
Show Donovan to-do-list
Replace Polon (as employee, not cousin)
Set up bank account
Meet new employee
Tell new employee a joke
Make offering to Sol in the form of a watermelon pie, medium well
Adjust welcome mat
Tell the omnipresent spirit of the late Mrs. Grantham that her essence looks nice today
Rewrite price tags with better penmanship
Ask Dovetail to recite the Elvish alphabet
It went on.
With the sunrise thoroughly watched, Nestor could finally get to the morning’s more complicated tasks. First up: watering the chrysanthemums.
Odd & Ends was a thirty-minute walk from Skymoore’s one and only well, and that suited Nestor just fine. He loved to walk the city’s well-kept dirt roads. It warmed his heart to see the progress of the townsfolk’s many gardens, to see spouses exchanging affection as their walks to work diverged, and, especially, to see children running and jumping and hollering as they made their way to school. Nestor had never gone to public school himself, and the idea of it filled him with wonder, fascination and, if he was being honest, some small amount of jealousy. But no negative emotion could live in Nestor Pinkly’s heart for very long, and the jealousy was quickly replaced with joy, for he had arrived at The Well.
The Well was, in most ways, very much like the well you are currently imagining. What separates The Well from that well is primarily that it contains a seemingly-infinite volume of water despite being atop a city which receives only moderate rainfall and which has not been connected to the ground for nearly three-hundred years. Another thing that separates it is the creature of unknown origin, shape, and identity who lives in, and has come to be known as, The Well.
“Good morning, Nestor,” The Well gurgled as Nestor approached. “I was just talking to Ugly Delia, you know, who runs the muffin stand? Not Beautiful Delia, who acts? Ugly Delia?”
“Of course!” Nestor replied, tossing a nickel piece into the well. Nestor was not fond of people using this nickname for Delia Feldersmith, especially not when she was working fifteen feet away at her muffin stand as she was now, but he thought it unwise to argue with the source of water. He shot Delia an apologetic look. She scowled.
“She was saying Donovan Allman – that guy you’re working with? – is a prince, or the son of some lord down on Solkin. Is that true?”
“Not that I’m aware,” Nestor replied honestly. There was much about Donovan of which Nestor was unaware. Before yesterday, they had only ever communicated via letter. “He seems well-traveled, and quite smart, but…no, I don’t think prince sounds right.”
The Well bubbled pensively. “Regardless, what brings you here, Nestor? Water, I suppose.”
“Err, yes…” Nestor admitted. He wasn’t fond of his servile relationship with The Well.
“Excellent. Let’s see…you already gave me a coin. How about a joke?”
Nestor beamed and then cleared his throat. “How many dorgothian psions does it take to change a light bulb?”
The Well was silent for several moments. “I give up.”
“Two! One to process the request, and another to gaze into the heart of the multiverse only to find that there’s no such thing as light bulbs!”
The Well sputtered.
The Well bubbled.
The Well rumbled.
The Well roared with laughter as a geyser of water erupted from within it. Nestor, laughing along with The Well, held his watering can over his head to gather some as he was quickly drenched by the downpour. Delia Feldersmith swore under her breath and made a mental note to remember to get an umbrella for her cart.
“Nestor Pinkly,” The Well gasped as it gathered its breath. “You’re a fine fellow.”
“You as…well!” Nestor replied, and they both shared another laugh until neither of them could breathe, while Delia Feldersmith wheeled her cart away in disappointment and frustration.
With the flowers watered, Nestor decided to take care of his business at the bank. It was one of Skymoore’s oldest buildings, and one of its most impressive. It was a marble marvel of columns and arches, a bonafide architectural wonder as far as Nestor was concerned. Leading up to it was a very wide path bordered by well-kept hedges. It was so wide, in fact, that fifteen people could walk side-by-side down it. This was because the beginning of the path was marked by a gate atop which sat the bank’s name: The First Bank of Skymoore, Also Called the Last Bank of Seamoore, Formerly Called the Second Bank of Seamoore.
To accommodate the size of the path, the doors to which it led were quite enormous, and to accommodate the doors, the bank was positively massive. It was bigger than the second, third, fourth, and fifth largest buildings in Skymoore combined. This was a little misleading, as the bank contained only two rooms, built at a time when the building had a much shorter name and thus a much smaller exterior.
The bank had been open for only forty-five seconds when Nestor arrived, and was empty save for the owner, a cube of sentient jelly named Jerun Pollin, who was slithering across the floor, leaving a trail of viscous, sea-green liquid against the golden ship emblazoned upon the marble floor. It halted when it noticed Nestor.
“You are very welcome,” it said monotonously, dragging out each syllable twice as long as necessary, “to The First Bank of Skymoore, Also Called the Last Bank of Seamoore, Formerly Called the Second Bank of Seamoore. I, Jerun Pollin, owner and founder of The First Bank of Skymoore, Also Called the Last Bank of Seamoore, Formerly Called the Second Bank of Seamoore, am looking forward to providing you with service which you will find wondrous, excellent, and other enthusiastic adjectives.”
“Great!” Nestor said as Jerun resumed its slithering.
Jerun ceased its movement once more. “If you would be so kind as to lend me your patience, I will continue my journey to the desk which symbolizes and maintains the customer-teller relationship, and from there we will proceed in the business for which you came. Does that sound agreeable?”
“Of course!” Nestor said, beaming, although he was eager to get to the next item on his list: adjusting the flowers.
“Actually,” Jerun said, pausing (Nestor’s smile faltered, but remained firmly on his lips). “Do you have time to hear the word of Rohypnar, Eternal Lord of the Stars, the Sky, the Sea, the Earth, and All That Ever Was or Will Be? Her ascension is nigh and it has never been more crucial to spread Her word.”
“Well,” Nestor said, now making sure to slow his own speech down as Jerun resumed its trek across the room. “Normally I would love to hear it, but I am actually in the slightest hurry. I’m opening a business today with my friend, and there is much to be done. Would this Rohypnar be offended if I postponed?”
“Rohypnar, Eternal Lord of the Stars, the Sky, the Sea, the Earth, and All That Ever Was or Will Be cares not for the whims or affection of mortals. They are as insects to Her.”
“Oh,” Nestor said. “Good.”
When Jerun at last made it behind the counter, it jiggled the customary jelly cube greeting. “So, Nestor Pinkly, how may I, Jerun Pollin, assist you and satisfy your banking needs today?”
“I’m here to make a deposit so we can finish that account we started. For Odd & Ends?”
“Ah, yes. The shop at which people may acquire items with magic properties. Would you like to come into the back room, or would you like me to retrieve the lock box in which you will place your currency from the back room, and then bring the lock box in which you will place your currency into this room so that you may make use of it?”
“That sounds splendid!” Nestor replied, his moustache twitching impatiently despite his smile.
“Excellent. I will return to this location in an insignificant amount of time.”
Jerun slid toward the back room, which was marked by an old and cracked stone door, without pause. The cube changed shape and consistency in order to squeeze through the cracks and keyhole. Through means unknown to Nestor, it opened the door on its way out, as it was now carrying a notably solid lockbox and stack of papers in its gelatinous form. They fell onto the counter in a slimy heap.
“Do you accept the paperwork as is, without any additional changes, alterations, subtractions, additions, or multiplications so long as Skymoore still floats and your business yet stands?” Jerun asked once Nestor had gone over the paperwork Donovan had filled out the previous day.
“I will now see the currency, promissory note, object, or beloved pet you wish to deposit to the Odd & Ends account, established by Donovan Allman on the final day of Spring in the year one-thousand three-hundred and ninety-seven.”
Nestor showed Jerun a slip of paper. Had it eyes, they would have bulged. Instead, Jerun bubbled, gurgled, and squelched at the magnitude of Nestor’s intended deposit.
“Very well,” Jerun said once it composed itself. “Then, as is customary at The First Bank of Skymoore, Also Called the Last Bank of Seamoore, Formerly Called the Second Bank of Seamoore, whisper a secret which you have never uttered to any being, living or dead, into the ear of the lockbox. I will leave this room, and enter the back room, the one from before, while you whisper this secret. Call me when you have finished whispering your secret into the lockbox.”
Nestor whispered his secret, and the lockbox purred. It opened. Nestor placed Donovan’s promissory note inside, and called Jerun out excitedly. “We’re a business! We’re a business!” he hollered. He repeated it until it became a song, which he hummed as he skipped merrily out of the bank.
“Rohypnar would wish you well if She considered you a sentient creature worthy of well-wishing,” Jerun wanted to call after him, but its voice was soft and wouldn’t be heard over the gnome’s. Instead, Jerun Pollin went over the newly-signed paperwork, rumbled curiously, and went on with its day.