Volume 13 - Kingdom without a King - The Life and Adventures of Sir Edelbert Spore
The Life and Adventures of Sir Edelbert Spore
Kingdom without a King
The Crafty Crags portal was a deep violet, but the light coming from it seemed almost black. It changed the colors of the things illuminated by it. The portal stood on a rise in the center of the room, otherwise the space was fairly pleasant. Lamp flowers gave their usual glow and the room was carved in a hollow of the Ironwood Tower.
Going to the Magic kingdom was a dream Edelbert had for his entire life. A place built by the Titans just for casters. What a wonderful place it must be, he thought. Standing on the precipice of the portal, Edelbert waited with bated breath and his hand up nearly touching the violet field. He was afraid. Not of the portal but of the people. He had never been the best at making new acquaintances. It took him thousands of turns before he had any good friends, besides Turnip of course.
“Hmm.” He said to himself “No air movement. No heat or cold. No buzz or vibration. No sensory change beyond the glow. I expected something at least.”
In a burst of courage Edelbert stepped forward, plunging into the portal. On the other side waited sunlight and a field of glowing rectangles in too many colors. At least a hundred portals stood nearby, that was just what the Dirtamancer could see. The size of it struck Edelbert and the size Erfworld must have been left him in awe.
“Praise the Titans” Spore yelled out, drawing a few sideways glances.
“Here here brother.” A man in a red and black uniform saluted as he walked by.
Looking around there were only portals and paths, so Edelbert headed off down the nearest little trail. He had never gotten to explore quite like this before. The small footpaths began to join, until they all met at a large road which circled the park.
As Edelbert came upon them, he realized the trees were a strange blue color. He had never seen the like in all the trees he had encountered. If he had any juice, he probably would have cast Life Gauge and read the foliage, but not this trip he told himself.
A little way down the road there was a tall post covered in triangular signs pointing left, right, and up. The sign pointing up into the blue woods read Erfworld’s Fair. To the left said Menagerie, Stuffamarket, Academy. Then, the sign pointing right included
Hippy Glade, Oracastle, University. Underneath the others and barely noticeable a small sign read, The Naughty Place, written in red and also pointing to the right.
Edelbert was immediately curious about each of these locations “Too bad I have plans, I would love to wander a bit. Oh, there is the Dirtamarket. I bet the Naughty Place is where the Naughtymancers live and the Hippie Glade the Hippiemancers. Any could be fun.”
“You have no idea friend.” A tallish unit walked up beside Edelbert. The man wore a well cut blue suit and shined black shoes, sleek like his hair. His white shirt was almost as bright as his smile. He patted Spore on the shoulder. “Those Hippies do know how to party, let me tell you. I would avoid the Naughtys, rough part of the island. My name is Tommy Hollywood and it is a pleasure to meet ya.”
Sir Spore stood nearly still, completely surprised by the arrival of the man. The noble part of him kicked in though and he decided to introduce himself in kind. “I am Sir Edelbert Spore, adept D…”
“Let me guess, you’re a Dirtamancer and you are new here, sided too. I can just tell kid, do not worry about it. T has got you covered, baby. For just one hundred fifty measly Schmuckers, I will give to you a most fabulous tool.” Tommy blasted out these lines as if he had said them before, although Edelbert did not notice. The pitch had the smooth flow of practice.
Edelbert was curious. What kind of tool might the man have, probably nothing new to him, but what if the stranger was a master Dollamancer “Well, I do not know. What is it?”
“You are a smart man, yes?” Tommy continued as he gestured around the park. “What I have for you is Tommy Hollywood’s Magnificent Guide to the Magic Kingdom. This little beauty has a detailed map, as well as descriptions of many of the fabulous locations spread around the island. Even better! Show your guide at certain establishments to receive special discounts or other offers. These things practically pay for themselves.”
The Dirtamancer liked Mr.Hollywood. He found himself hoping everyone in the MK was so very nice. Maybe this was because of the natural peace that prevailed on the island. “Oh well. Alright. That sounds like it could be useful. One fifty you said? Here is two hundred, just for being so friendly.”
For the first time, the man’s smile cracked and for a moment he showed plain simple surprise. Then he smiled again and took Edelbert by the hand. “Friend, I think this is the start of a long relationship. Here is your copy of Tommy Hollywood’s Magnificent Guide to the Magic Kingdom. As a rare bonus, here is my card. I do not give these out often but you seem special Edelbert. All you need to do is find a sending hat and drop the card in, wave the wand and say my name. I will receive it regardless of the hat you use. That card is a Hat Magic item on its own.”
“Thank you, Tommy. It has been a pleasure to meet you. Could I ask for directions to the Mad Hatter Café? If you happen to know where it is.” Edelbert was hopeful. He wanted to wander but he also had to meet with Harv before end of turn. The Hat Magician needed to be back at the Prefecture on their turn.
Hollywood gave Edelbert one last pat on the back. “Just head up the trail into the Fair. At the fork take a left keeping to the edge of the Fair. After that, walk a ways until you find the Dwagon Breath Pavillion. Take another left, follow that path until the trees turn a bright white. The Café should be on the right, as soon as you begin to enter the Menagerie. I would walk you over but I do have upkeep to make you know. See ya around Spore.” With that the man turned and walked away into Portal Park.
Looking at the card it read:
Purveyor of Fine Goods and Information
Edelbert tucked the card into a pocket and switched his attention to the glossy pamphlet he had been handed. The outside was green and read Tommy Hollywood’s Magnificent Guide to the Magic Kingdom in big gold letters on the front. He opened it up and as he began to walk, he began to read.
Welcome to the Magic Kingdom. This is a wondrous and pleasing place for casters to show what it is they can really do. This is the true home of every caster of every side. We are bound as one by our skills. We do have rules here and they should be obeyed. Seek a Qualified caster or a Signamancer if you would like a copy. Please enjoy this guide to the attractions of the Magic Kingdom.
Erfworld’s Fair – Entertainment abounds with the wonderful Erfworld’s Fair. Perfomers of every stripe; musicians playing their various instruments, poets jamming out, not to mention painters, acrobats, and anything else someone might come up with. These performances change from turn to turn, as such no list is included. Visit and partake of one of the crowning jewels for all Erfword.
Hippies Glade – Peace, Love, and Harmony. This is the place to find them. Hippiemancers of all types gather here to express the nature of their craft. If a bed and meal are what you seek, the Hippies are an excellent choice. In the evenings, a great celebration usually occurs. This huge party is a wild experience and highly recommended for those with a good save against Flower Power
Oracastle – Home of the mysterious Predictamancers. Little is known about the castle or their craft. The beautiful keep lay in a forest all its own, an ominous gray. Visitors are always welcome and the castle is accessible to any caster willing to go there. The Predictamancers seem to prefer privacy but do nothing to deter guests. Whether it is for a fortune or simple curiosity, this is a must-see attraction on the island.
University – Monty Placebo’s University of Health and the Body is the home of most Healomancers in the MK. This is also where to go if one desires a Croakamancer. The nicer ones tend to congregate in this hospital setting. If you need injuries healed (or inflicted) Monty’s is the place to go in the Magic Kingdom.
Academy – The largest single institution within the Magic Kingdom. The Academy is a place of learning for all disciplines. If one is searching for an Eyemancer, a Mathamancer, or a Findamancer; this is usually the place to look. Magicians of all classes gather here for debate and learning their craft. Every discipline is not only welcome but encouraged to attend and participate in classes and discussions.
Naughty Place – Hidden among the trees of the maroon forest, the Naughtymancers make their home. Beware the confines of these darkened woods. Hidden lurkers and other unpredictable elements wander the Naughty Place. Many of the island’s fatalities occur here. Be warned.
Stuffamarket – Need to buy some Stuff? Need to sell some Stuff? The Stuffamarket is the place to go.
Menagerie – If it is magic and it moves, one will find it in the Menagerie. This place began primarily as an auction for Dollamancy units. Now one can find uncroaked, Turnamancy vessels, and specialty units of every discipline.
As Edelbert read, his feet carried him forward on auto-pilot. Left at the fork, check. He barely noticed as the stands began to pop up, as the people began to increase from lone travelers into groups of gawkers. In fact, he found the map so engrossing that he walked right into a crowd without realizing it.
Suddenly a great fireball erupted in the air above Edelbert’s head. For just a moment he was back with Silas on the volcano. He screamed, luckily, so did much of the crowd.
On stage a group of five performers were assembled in strange full body costumes. Each was stylized as a different color dwagon; red, blue, green, pink, and purple. A black visor covered each of their faces and each wore matching white gloves and boots.
The units were engaged in a complicated martial arts exhibition, with all five seemingly fighting all the rest. Mixed into the kicks and twirls, every so often one of the group would release a blast of elemental energy matching the dwagon color they were. These emissions were seemingly blocked without damage, but Edelbert noticed it made a strong impression on the crowd.
The team then flipped away from one another, only for each to blast their element into the sky. The crowd cheered as the red unit stood and held up his arms for silence. When the crowds roar became a murmur then he began. “We are the Dwagon Rangers. This has been our daily performance. Tips are appreciated. If anyone is interested in hiring the Rangers please inquire with any of us after the show.” The fire ranger flipped backward as all five once again blasted into the air. “And remember that we are still in search of a Yellow Ranger, any are welcome to apply.
Not looking to hire Shockamancers(?), Edelbert continued up the trail to the left. Sure enough, the trees began to fade from ocean blue to sky blue and then to white. This marked leaving the Erfworld’s Fair and entering the place known as the Menagerie. He could already see the sign for the Mad Hatter Café ahead on his right.
With or without a sign, the building would have been hard to miss. The Café was pastel-pink tea cup flipped upside down on a massive saucer. It was three stories tall and Edelbert could feel it was entirely porcelain, very fragile. The front doors were light blue saloon style doors and people were coming and going through them openly.
“TRADE PLACES!!!” someone from inside the café yelled out in a booming voice.
As Edelbert stepped inside, sets of tables and chairs were forming up out of the floor in random places all over the room. It was Dirtamancy combined with Changemancy somehow, but he suspected it was mostly Changemancy since he could not sense the spell strongly. As the tables and chairs solidified people once again took up seats.
“Oh, Edelbert Spore. Over here!” Harv yelled from across the café, as he ran over to the Dirtamancer “Sorry about that. I have not quite figured out how he does it, but the owner insists on changing the setup of the furniture every hour. He says it promotes meeting new people. I find it quirky but it can be a major interruption in a conversation, so good timing.”
The little Hat Magician seemed to be wearing the same blue robes and hat he was wearing nearly twenty-five hundred turns ago, the last time they had seen each other. The clothes were very powerfully enchanted though, unlike before.
“Harvey Ford, it is truly grand to be able to see you in person.” Edelbert stepped forward and offered a hug to the smaller caster.
Harv was thrilled to see the Dirtamancer too. “Well Chief Edelbert, it seems there is a lot you did not tell me in our letters. The Crafty Crags a Capital site, amazing. I am very excited for you though. What can you tell me about your side?”
Sir Spore had nearly forgotten that they were here as representatives of unallied sides, specifically for negotiations of alliance. This was not a meeting of friends but of equals vying for supremacy, or at least in theory. The two sat down at an emerging table and a pleasantly cute woman took drink orders.
“Well.” Edelbert began “We are small, but we have many unusual and potent resources at our disposal. We are hoping that as our nearest neighbor to the north-east, that we could be allied early on. We desire no trouble with the Ford Prefecture. You have been a good friend and I would have that kindness returned in this gesture.”
“Interesting. It is not unheard of for large sides to sponsor and protect small new sides. What sort of units and resources will you need? We are a bit strapped currently but there is certainly room to negotiate.” Harvey smiled and looked around a bit sheepishly. “I probably should not have said it like that. Our long friendship will make it difficult to keep this professional.”
“On the contrary, I see our friendship as a prelude to a long alliance between our sides. What better place to start than to have Chief Casters which are already trusted friends.” Edelbert looked around to make sure no one was listening. “You also have a wrong idea about us. I do not need units or money. We have those. The Mushroomish King simply seeks a long alliance with an established side. Honestly, we just want to be friends, the terms are of little interest to us. Although, I do have a propositional treaty for you to let your Signamancer have a look at.”
Harv picked up the brief document and looked it over quickly. “Yeah, my brother Stan will look at it and we can get back to you. I got to say that I am on board, if the treaty looks good. I will have to convince my father and sister, but they prefer allies. What can you offer in support to us?”
“Currently we do not have the mobility to assist you in active battle, however we can shortly guarantee your south-western border. Also, we will have a great range of tradeable goods, units, and golem. I can be hired to perform work on your cities, no offense to your own fantastic projects Harv. Later on we will offer strategic intervention in your combat space, but that may take a few hundred turns before it can be regular. Flying mounts take too long to pop.”
The Hat Magician looked at a small magical timepiece on his wrist. “This sure seems like a lot of ‘we wills’ and ‘eventuallys’. That is not a good base for a treaty. What can you give me now? I am sorry Edelbert but I cannot just ally to a side with nothing to gain out of it. You are too small to provide security.”
Edelbert had worried about this sort of forcefulness from his friend. Negotiations tended to pull the joviality out of interactions between people. “If we do not live up to our end of the bargain, we will pay two hundred and fifty thousand schmuckers in penalty fees.”
The café was suddenly silent. Someone coughed lightly but everyone was trying very hard not to look at Edelbert. Quickly sound returned to the room.
Harvey laughed as he sputtered on his drink. “Maybe we should not be discussing this here. I am sorry friend. I was not taking this seriously enough. I did not expect any real offers, this was a chance to see one another. It is your first turn as a side, after all. That was a serious offer?”
“It is written on that contract already.” Edelbert said with a smug smile. “We are not to be taken lightly Chief Ford. I have worked very hard to make the Mushroomish Kingdom a powerhouse. We will be, in just a few turns. Why not walk with me back to Portal Park and I can show you our capital briefly before you return home?”
“Alright, how can I say no to a tour of a master Dirtamancer’s work.” Harv smiled as he accidently jabbed Edelbert’s pride.
Sir Spore looked down at the ground as he said. “I am not yet a master, Harv. I had hoped that building the capital would have bumped me up, but I just cannot seem to make that last step. It is close, I can feel it.”
“Well you are the only caster I know that has novitiates in four different classes of magic.” The Hat Magician patted his friend on the shoulder as they stood and headed for the doors. “You will get your mastery. Your skills are beyond reproach. Maybe try focusing on Dirtamancy for a while, don’t spread yourself so thin.”
Edelbert saw some merit in the idea. In fact, he had never really considered it at all. “My new duties will require me to act primarily in my natural capacity for the next few ten-turn, maybe more. I doubt I will have the time or Juice to experiment like I used to. But now, maybe we could work together on something. Can I see some of the Capstones sometime, by the way? I am deeply curious.”
“Only if we ally.” Harv’s face became very serious “I need you to show some discretion Edelbert. You know some things about my side that other sides do not. I justified it because you were alone in a Ruin and you were certainly going to join the Prefecture, or so I thought. That is fine though, I am not upset. Please, don’t talk with too much detail about the assets of my side.”
“Yes, of course. I apologize. Let us discuss something less tactical.” Edelbert conceded.
For the rest of the trip back to Portal Park, the two discussed simple things like weather as magical effects and basic theory of Hat Magic. It was good to have a caster friend. Although, Edelbert thought, he would be able to have magic theory discussions with Peaches now too.
Harvey stopped before entering the Mushroomish portal. “I need a Pinky Swear to my safety. Sorry but we are not yet allied and I am a Chief Caster, after all.”
Edelbert for his part was surprised by the need for such a formality, but he had no real objection. “Alright, I Pinky Swear no harm will come to you while within my side or care. Good enough?”
“Yes.” Harv smiled at the obvious sarcasm mixed in Edelbert’s tone. The two stepped into the portal. “So tell me how you made the Crafty Crags into a capital site? I did not think such a thing to be possible.”
“I had help, Titanic help.” Edelbert remembered back to that momentous turn. “I cannot reproduce the effect if that is what you are asking. I found an artifact that I used. It temporarily gave me the ability to reshape terrain. Unfortunately, the artifact did the real work so I learned very little from the experience.”
The two made their way from the portal hollow up to ground level. Once there, they wove their way up to a balcony as to grant a view of most of the capital.
Alternating rows of crops and houses ran down the slopes. Here and there a Toadie could be seen wandering about their business. The capital was still fairly empty, but in a few turns it would be full of activity. A single Arrow Frog flitted about in the airspace.
“Edelbert, your city is a work of art.” Harv laughed as he leaned out over the outlook “I look forward to our alliance. We need to work together and soon.”
The Journal of Sir Edelbert Spore
Turn - 4773 What a wonderful day Journal,
Seeing Harvey after so long was quite enjoyable. All the praise he gave the Crags did not hurt my enjoyment either. He is a good friend. Stan Ford, the Prefecture’s Signamancer will review the treaty and counter tomorrow. I suspect we can come to an arrangement quickly.
After my meeting, I got my first chance to explore my new city. There were no surprises for me but it was deeply gratifiying to directly witness the fruits of my Dirtamantic labors. Many details of the Crags remained and some were enhanced into the overall design. For Instance, the creature busts that I have scattered around are now regular parts of the architecture in all stone and wooden parts of the city.
At dinner, I got a good opportunity to chat with Chief Claypool and Princess Peaches. Both units seem competent and intelligent. I am looking forward to working with them.
Peaches has some ideas on ways to enhance the Toadie. She says she will need my help as it is still beyond her capacity. Casting Flower Power with an actual Florist is going to be a dream come true.
It has only been a turn and already this new side has granted me so many wonderful opportunities. I may not be a Ruler but I am so very excited to see where the future and the Titans will take us.
Tomorrow I ship out. There are cities to claim and build. Looks like I needed my Rockhoppers after all.
I'm really hoping the prefecture doesn't try to take advantage of edelbert and the kingdom somehow, I want to like them. Also, I wonder how a level 1 city site claimed by a dirtamancer differs from one claimed by a warlord. Given how cool the geography is for the potential cities, I'm looking forward to how they turn out. Also, if there are still barbarians hanging around that other city, I wonder if they might try to strike a deal with them? Maybe there aren't many there and they could turn, maybe be a vassal state, maybe turn but have some level of autonomy/be able to keep their own men, maybe let them have that city in return for some free work and help defending that side or something?
I like this for some time, though I admit I'm slightly worried, slightly curious, where you go from here.
Part of what I liked was the generous nature of sir Spore, that he never was seeking combat or to hurt others. That, however, seems to go against the needs of a Side. I don't know how your be able to continue Spore's giving nature while having a Side that almost has to go to war to make an interesting story. It helps that you already set up an enemy that is clearly deserving of a fight (Silent but deadly). Still, curious to see how you go about showing Sproe's nature as he leads warparties.
@falcore51: If you're talking about my comment between the difference between a city claimed by a dirtamancer and a warlord or other caster, I wasn't talking about the Crags. The crags weren't even claimed by Edelbert. Next turn, Peaches, Claypool, and Edelbert all ship out in an attempt to (I assume) claim the previously mentioned (and foreshadowed in the next chapter title) remaining 3 possibly vacant cities within 20 turns of the Crags. I was wondering if edelbert's claiming will differ, and if so how.
Also, on @dsollen's point, I think that once edelbert decides that an enemy is an enemy, he has little problem fighting them. He just takes a bit to get to that point. Take the orkids (can't remember their spelling), though they in theory could be parlayed with, he realized they weren't going to give him the opportunity, and he wiped them out pretty quickly. I think he might have some troubles with large-scale strategy, but I have the feeling that wouldn't really be his forte regardless. However, our protagonist will almost certainly struggle to not be taken advantage of in the MK.