When Roland awoke, his world was fuzzy. For a Far One, this meant that the world looked and felt the way a crowded store sounded; a meaningless cacophony of noise. Feelings powerful and weak blurred together to form an incomprehensible soup of raw emotion. It was like a ringing in one’s ear, but everywhere.
Gradually, things came into focus. He could separate feelings into things like impatience, anticipation, boredom, and fear. Eventually he could place the general direction of those emotions – boredom directly in front of him, fear and anticipation far to his left. After nearly a minute he could figure out how many people were around him – six – and which emotions belonged to whom. After that, it was only a moment before a clear picture of his environment formed in Roland’s mind.
Continue reading “The Cutthroat’s Promise, Part Three”
It was a quiet day at Beyond Investigations. The pile of cases on Roland’s desk was empty as a church on Friday night. His office was still, save for the flickering of the lantern that hung just a bit too low in the center. Indeed, Roland was anticipating a slow day today, and that was just fine; you didn’t get a lot of days off as a set designer who moonlights as a private detective and sells baked goods on the side. It’s a hard life, but someone’s gotta do it.
Just as Roland gets up to call it quits for the day, in walks a dame whose every feature is like the night sky – dark, mysterious, but radiant all the same. Roland knows the look of trouble when he sees it, and sits right back down in his seat, ready to hear what she has to say, ready to accept whatever curveball she threw his way.
“Oh, hey Roland. Didn’t know this was your place.” Continue reading “The Cutthroat’s Promise, Part One”
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”
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”