When Donovan awoke, it was dark outside. The Pale Moon reflected its dim light upon western Skymoore, but it did little to alleviate the heavy cloak of night. Nestor Pinkly still slept soundly, holding his top hat like a child might hold a teddy bear, and murmured softly to himself about the high cost of pickle juice in the capital of Westergard. This could have been nonsense, or a memory from Nestor’s past on the surface, or maybe The Capital of Westergard was some kind of pickle juice bar in Skymoore with unreasonable prices. It was well and truly anybody’s guess.
It took a moment or two for the memories of the day to really settle in Donovan’s brain, and for him to separate dream from reality. As far as he could tell, it was all reality. It wasn’t often that the Suntouched had a day that stretched the limits of credibility, but it was happening more and more often in his forced retirement. Continue reading “Heart’s Desire, Epilogue”
It couldn’t have been fifteen minutes later that Donovan Allman awakened with a start. How could he have fallen asleep with the Cabal about to invade Odd & Ends? Donovan hadn’t quite assessed how time worked in the Soul, but it was still an awfully foolish thing to do.
The train was now in a tunnel, but it didn’t look like the part of the Soul he knew. The cave was too natural. When it pulled into a station, which seemed to lead further into this tunnel system, Donovan got out for a moment to assess the map of all the stops. A lot of them had meaningless smudges where the names ought to be, and empty space where the map ought to be, but it was still shaped approximately like Skymoore. The next stop would take him closer to Odd & Ends.
While he waited for his destination, Donovan took a quick stroll about the train. Like much of the Soul, it was a work in progress, but the basic shape of the thing was there. Naturally, a large entertainment car was the centerpiece, with a glittering silver stage in the center. Attached to that was a car full of unlocked dressing rooms. Feeling a little chilly after his swamp water mishap, Donovan pulled a green satin cloak around himself. It was one of the first new items of clothing he’d acquired in Skymoore, and the first new cloak he’d worn since Asylum gave him his old traveling cloak two decades ago. Continue reading “Heart’s Desire, Part Seven”
The first masked figure to reach them slashed at Donovan with a stained-glass claw, grazing the front of his tunic and leaving razor-thin tears. Donovan took a few steps back, and Hega barreled forward, slamming her shoulder into the figure’s knees and toppling them over. She smashed the glass claw beneath her foot, crushing the human hand beneath, and drew a heavy baton from her hip, daring the next attacker to come. And come they did.
Donovan hung back. He was certain now that everything going wrong with his day was the result of his curse interfering with his life yet again. He thought that by opposing the Cabal in this passive way, through the Heart’s Desire sale, he had found a loophole in the curse. But the rodom thieves and now this proved it; there was no loophole, there was only the curse.
Continue reading “Heart’s Desire, Part Six”
The First Bank of Skymoore, Also Called the Last Bank of Seamoore, Formerly Called the Second Bank of Seamoore was easily Skymoore’s longest building, with a walkway as wide as its name and a garden fit for royalty of a particularly decadent nature, containing more unique flowers in its expansive lawn than the bank had customers (and as it was Skymoore’s only legal bank outside the Mish Mash…it had many, many customers).
By the time Donovan and Hega neared its illustrious walkway, half a dozen guards were frantically trying to place a number of flimsy-looking sandbags to obstruct it, lacking both the manpower and the bag quantity to sufficiently stop an excited toddler, let alone a rampaging rodom. Hega told them as much. Continue reading “Heart’s Desire, Part Five”
As Donovan rung up pairs of size-changing shoes, mirrors that reflected the past, and lipstick that imbued the wearer with temporary omnilingual capabilities, Donovan’s mind was not on the present much at all. Physically he was on autopilot, engaging in polite conversation that he did not remember moments after they occurred, and ringing up products in memorized motions. He wondered how these things might change the lives of the purchasers, and how that might reflect in the magic labyrinth below. Would non-Skymoorians even impact the Soul? Were his theories about it even correct? Would these rash choices be worth it? Continue reading “Heart’s Desire, Part Four”
As panic properly took hold of Odd & Ends’ unaffected patrons, Malleus Silverscale positioned himself to protect those hiding in the Wonders of Solkin exhibit and ensure nobody got in or out of the back room. With Linda using her similarly powerful stature to block the front door, this left the exhausted Nestor Pinkly to jump into the fray to retrieve the brooch that was causing all the mayhem.
All around him noses were bloodied, customers were shoved, and merchandise was destroyed. Nestor blocked out all the horror and focused on the brooch as best he could – if only he could get that, he could end this. The troll at the center of the brawl was no match for the enchanted Karessa’s practiced second story work, and she claimed the brooch after a brief struggle. Now if Nestor could just manage a containment spell… Continue reading “Heart’s Desire, Part Three”
Nestor’s Magifts functioned like so: people in line could fill out a form describing what they would like constructed or what problem they would like solved – ideally limited to common household tools and situations – and then Nestor would work and field questions as the line progressed. For a discount, people could also bring their own goods from home. He was envisioning a more relaxed environment, maybe half a dozen people gathered around, talking about his creations as he worked. Instead, he was about to be a one-man assembly line
As the halfling in front explained their vision for a wrench that adjusted its size as necessary, Nestor reached into the box of components under the counter, crushing a tigerfalcon feather in his fist to cast a spell of quickening. The result was a peculiar mix of exhaustion and revitalization, like a shot of caffeine to an insomniac. Continue reading “Heart’s Desire, Part Two”
On the morning of Odd & Ends’ Heart’s Desire sale, with just an hour until sunrise, Donovan Allman was wiping down the glass display for candles that flickered on and off in time with music. For the twelfth time. He was certain he saw a smudge, but he realized now it was only a bug crawling on the wall behind it.
He smashed the insect. Not even a steakfly was going to ruin this day. Continue reading “Heart’s Desire, Part One”
Asylum angrily tore a map of Solkin in two when she saw it in the drawer of her desk, the way you might swat a fly. It depicted a battle plan to rescue the inhabitants of six villages across the Grandian countryside. It was a plan that was foiled, by the Suntouched.
Beneath that map was a diagram of the streets of Castiron, where a magic circle would be drawn to teleport the city into an ambush by the Army of Below, so the city could be raided and rescued from the coming doom of the Void Lands. Asylum snapped her fingers and the diagram vanished in a cloud of purple smoke. It was a plan that was foiled, by the Suntouched.
She searched yet another drawer, wherein lied a leather-bound notebook she’d bought at a stationary store in Dol Belvargamar. She stabbed it through with a knife. Inside the notebook were her plans for the Army of Below’s greatest stand, at Castle Belvont, the Grandian capital. It was foiled by the forces of Grandia and Dol Belgargamar, led by the Suntouched. Continue reading “Come One, Come All, Epilogue”
Lofgun’t’gundrmgr Arterford, or Linda, as most people called her, awoke one morning keenly aware that she was alone in Gwendolyn Bottlehelm’s extravagantly sized and needlessly soft bed. Even for a minotaur of her stature, lying there in the middle of that pink-and-red mattress was like being lost at sea, uncertain if she would find the strength to reach dry land.
When Gwen was around, the unreasonable opulence in which she lived made sense. Her curtained bed and bejeweled candle holders took a backseat when she was present; Gwendolyn was always the centerpiece of a room. Without her, it all reeked of excess. She was sure her own home seemed a sty in comparison, which led to more and more days at Gwen’s home, as the two grew harder and harder to separate. Continue reading “Come One, Come All, Part Five”