Every room in Skymoore’s Below-Ground Emergency Homes had a painting featuring an approximation of what its view might be like if its occupant were living above-ground and their home hadn’t been destroyed in a terrible accident. Government-appointed art thieves would sneak into the room at specifically scheduled times and replace one painting with another, depicting dawn, morning, sunset, night, etc. The art thieves weren’t nearly as quiet as they thought they were and none of the paintings were especially high quality or effective, but everyone living in a below-ground emergency home had bigger things to worry about, so they pretended that the service was useful, or at the very least, did not vocalize its worthlessness.
Karessa Plunderton was considering filing a complaint, however, when she realized one morning that not only had the expected art heist failed to occur, but the clock in her room had ceased functioning. She had lost track of time pacing the room, reciting lines for an upcoming one-act play that slipped from her mind as soon as she spoke them, until her mother returned from a fruitless job hunt and asked her why she hadn’t started her day. What she thought had been pre-dawn had transformed into early morning while she wasn’t looking.
Naturally the one time Karessa woke up early, she was punished for it. And the day’s inconveniences were only beginning. Continue reading “Come One, Come All, Part One”
Fifty years ago, a dozen gnomes left their homes in the dwarven nation of Barlagtelen, having grown tired of their neighbors disrespecting their careers as entertainers. They made their way to the neighboring woods of the Dol elves, who for a long time hated dwarves and were considered their opposite. The idea of a variety theater troupe was more palatable here, but they were unimpressed by the gnomes’ complete lack of magic in any of their shows.
These gnomes were a statistical impossibility, for it is just as uncommon for gnomes to lack magic as it is for dwarves to possess it, and yet there was not an ounce of magical blood among the twelve. But they didn’t allow this to deter them; what they lacked in arcana they made up for with talent, passion, and showmanship. Whether it be dancing, singing, acting, or acrobatics, these gnomes did it, and they did it well. Continue reading “Nestor the Incomparable, Part Two”
“And that,” Nestor Pinkly said, “is why friendship and joy are the most valuable resources even in a capitalist economy.”
“I think you misunderstood,” the golem replied. “I said gold is the most important thing to me because my body is actually made of it.”
“That was a lovely speech, though,” the golem’s boyfriend added. “Even if it did last a quarter of an hour. So, thank you for that.”
“My pleasure!” Nestor said, saluting the pair. “I hope you two have a wonderful day.”
“Can we get to the bank now, Nestor?” Karessa Plunderton asked. “People are staring.” Continue reading “Nestor the Incomparable, Part One”
Aftermaj storms were a matter of serious concern in Skymoore, but they were rarely so disastrous as they could be. Sure, things blew in the wind, caught fire, and collapsed, but the random acts of magic – disappearing floor, randomly-summoned spirits, people suddenly existing in several places simultaneously – only affected those who weren’t careful. Because, you see, magic had a way of respecting boundaries both natural and constructed. Continue reading “Bad Faith, Part Nine”
Dingleob Boelgind spent two nights a week with his grandmother, Ponifka. When kamenclo grow old, the magic that keeps their stone bodies in a humanoid form weakens and becomes erratic. One might grow additional limbs, crumble to the floor, or become a tasteful vase. Ponifka Boelgind mostly became a stone wall separating her living room into two halves. This would sometimes last for hours. It was challenging, and Dingleob’s time and support meant the world to her. Sometimes he read to her, sometimes they just talked. Sometimes the said nothing at all. Every time, it was pleasant. Continue reading “Bad Faith, Part Seven”
The plan was simple, or it would be once Karessa got inside the Dufton’s mansion. Their estate was protected by an invisible magic field which produced an alarm if anyone not on the family’s guest list stepped through it. The only other way in was to be granted entrance by the pair of stone-faced guards (literally, they were golems) which stood watch over the gate leading into the estate’s extensive courtyard.
Unfortunately, Karessa was no longer on that list. The news stung. Continue reading “Bad Faith, Part Six”
Few things burn quite so hot as young love. Few things claw at you quite as painfully as young heartbreak.
Karessa spent her days and nights in her room. Crying, mostly. Sobbing. Howling. Thrashing. Bleeding out as tendrils of despair tore at her heart. Screaming his name into a pillow like a cry for help into a void in which she dwelled alone. She hated him. She missed him. She wanted him back. She wanted him dead. She wanted to die.
Time passed. Continue reading “Bad Faith, Part Five”
“Out,” Karessa said. “I’m allowed to be out.”
“You’re sixteen,” said the woman who gave birth to Karessa, who was seventeen. Her mom was sitting on their couch, reading a book with a half-dressed giant on the cover, and glowering. “And you live in my home.”
“I pay for the place,” Karessa did not say. “I was just with a friend,” Karessa said. Continue reading “Bad Faith, Part Three”
Insultingly close to the Mish Mash lie the evergreen plains in which the wealthiest families of Skymoore had built their estates. There you could find the Windblown Manor, home of the Windomere family, Progress Point, home of the Stonesoul family, and the creatively-named Dufton Estate, home of the Dufton family, to which Lawrence Dufton belonged. Continue reading “Bad Faith, Part Two”
A long time ago, sometime after Seamoore became Skymoore and sometime before the present, a number of disabled, sick, pretentious, and otherwise undesirable people were deemed unfit for proper society, and they were quarantined in a crowded district to live in misery together. (Today it is generally agreed that this was an awful thing to do, though that doesn’t do much for the people who languished there.) The resulting region was forced to expand upward, rather than outward, and to become its own self-sustaining ecosystem, containing a little bit of everything if you knew where to look. This jungle of wood and rust, known today as the Mish Mash, was almost a city unto itself, with its own politics, its own culture, and its own leaders. Continue reading “Bad Faith, Part One”