The Life and Adventures of Sir Edelbert Spore

Previous: Volume 21

 

Volume 22

 

Beware the Ides of Smarch

 

            Turn 5476 – Good Evening Journal,

 

It is unfortunate timing that we have begun to battle with the Tarzanians just as we have launched another assault against the SDE. On top of that, the Prefecture has requested air support in defending their borders against Wewinn to their west.

 

All in all, we are in a solid position. Our scout network is extensive. Our web of Dart Frogs is extensive. There are also the many hidden Stoneheads scattered around. As well, our fleet of Clay Pigeons for airspace patrol and the moderate sized group of Toadie scouts for subterranean exploration. The standing forces within each of our cities are admirable. The combination of our mines, farms, and my ability to produce garrisoned golem; has resulted in a capacity for us to maintain a significant army with minimal upkeep paid. Peaches and I have worked hard on defensive emplacements and we are confident in our ability to repel most assailants.

 

We are well prepared for our assault against the SDE. Our strike force is substantial. Although, being a heavy ground force, it does suffer from mobility restrictions. I will be spending some turns pathing their course, but I am not to be involved in the greater war. Arthur and Kernel feel risking me directly is foolhardy at this juncture. We know the SDE wants me specifically. The Hamericans will be launching a simultaneous assault. The hope being that each of us claim a city or two, which will leave us in prime position to strike their now weakened flank later. We have reason to suspect they are facing pressure from their other borders as well.

 

As for Tarzania, we have only had minor skirmishes with raiding parties of theirs. From this we know that their units are fierce combatants and do not Turn easily. A significant number of their forces consist of Wildmen units from their natural ally tribe. It seems that Queen Jane is in love with their tribal Chief and this has drastically affected the strategy of the side. The Wildmen also possess a skill in taming ferals. As such, the Tarzanians field a wide variety of wild units which have been incorporated into their forces. This makes their armies diverse and therefore difficult to hard counter. We know nothing of their casters, and neither does the Prefecture. If they have any casters at all, they are a well-kept secret.

 

Much of our production capacity within the central kingdom is currently dedicated to popping warlords. As of yet, we have not generated another caster. Arthur, Peaches, and myself are all mildly disappointed by this. Interestingly, but not surprisingly, we seem to pop primarily jungle capable and archery capable commanders. A few turns ago we did gain a warlord with an interesting new special. A man named Flint popped with Hothead. When he takes damage, he gains charges of a flaming breath weapon. The special could also be used to describe his temperament.

 

Peaches is quite frustrated by her inability to gain Adept within her discipline. I honestly do not understand the hurdle. She is undoubtedly skilled. Her understanding of the mechanics of Flower Power seems solid. Her spell-craft in general is creative and intuitive. I have been considering it as of late and I worry studying Turnamancy may have delayed her ascension. As a barbarian I received large amounts of XP by the nature of my lifestyle. I had regular encounters. Very nearly every turn I trained. It was quite common for me to be without juice come end of turn. I raised myself in an abnormally intense environment, for a long time. Unfortunately for her growth, we are raising Peaches in a more standard safe environment. Arthur is often unwilling to risk his daughter and a valuable caster on combat excursions. Quite frankly, he does not like how often I seek a challenge. Yet again, an advantage over the poor princess.

 

 

            Turn 5507 – How is it going Journal,

 

The other day it dawned on me that I had been ignoring something for far too many turns. I have not visited the Heart of the City since shortly after the side began. This was something I immediately committed to remedy, today I did so.

 

I still do not know entirely what to make of this massive crystal. The growth is almost certainly tied to the change from Ruin to Capital.  What connection and how this change occurred are largely outside my understanding. As a master Dirtamancer I find it frustrating to have such a complete mystery, and within my own Capital.

 

When in contact with the Heart I can intimately sense the entire hex. Ironwood Tower is clearly open to me, in all of its diverse complexity. The orchard and the Life of the hex reveal themselves to me. Water flows and pools as my work has directed. Gems and minerals shine like stars, still rich within the mines.

It is both an overwhelming and satisfying sensation.

 

There is something else though. I have always described it as music, and this is almost true. The crystal makes no sound. I believe that this is a rare instance of an auditory component within my Dirt Sense. With this in mind I intend to seek out a Rhyme-a-mancer. It may be difficult or impossible to get them to hear the song, but maybe a Thinkamancer of Foolamancer might be able to.

 

The major impediment to this research is that it would require exposing sensitive information to largely unknown units. Peaches and I might begin scouting out candidates, but it will take a long time to establish ties with individuals we can trust. I do not intend to expose the Mushroomish Kingdom to any reckless risks. I will need approval from both King Arthur and Chief Kernel before I enact this plan either way.

 

 

            Turn 5542 – Silly Princess,

 

After learning some of my suspicions, Kernel ordered Peaches to report to me for some magical gear. He wants her loaded for gummy bear, so that she might be able to have more excursions for xp. She obliged and reported immediately. The issue being that the girl has no idea what she wants.

 

I have proposed a great many different options. A few of them are only possible for Royalty. None of them has interested her. I have tried Flower Power items: She claims the Great Gardening Staff is enough. When I suggest defensive enhancements: She insists that if she is doing her job correctly that she will not be taking hits. Similar complaints arise for offensive items. Although there is some interest in Turnamancy items, many of these do not provide significant practical use in combat situations.

 

Arthur will not let the girl risk herself without ample safeguards. She seems unwilling or uninterested in taking the steps to remedy this situation. I am simply frustrated.

 

 

            Turn 5584 –  Fun Day Today,

 

I had little responsibility for the turn, so I had a Weirdish use Chant on me. I wish I had the time or focus to do this more often. Sometimes I miss the old days. The result was an entertaining new special, Hopper. With it I was able to leap fantastic distances and without tiring. I spent much of the turn bouncing around in the branches of Ironwood Tower.

 

The idea occurred to me the other day that I should seek some training in Weirdomancy. Although I have some minor skill, I am no Weirdomancer. Since I already have my novitiate I figure that it should be easy to acquire some greater proficiency, provided I have guidance. The natural inclination is there. I just have to tap into it.

 

I have made a few basic inquiries within the MK. It seems that Weirdomancers are among the rarest of caster types, even more so than Dirtamancers and Croakamancers (but not as rare as Retconjurers).

 

 

            Turn 5613 – Nothing like arguing with your King,

 

Arthur will not budge on the subject of an heir. He will not even discuss popping one. Bringing up promoting Peaches only upsets him. None of us are entirely sure the reason. When confronted he insists that this is his prerogative as King and that no one can dissuade him.

 

That does not stop me from trying. Kernel and Peaches agree that this is necessary for the side. We have an obvious weak point while Arthur remains stubborn. I will continue to push him.

 

 

            Turn 5639 – Good Evening Journal,

 

I find myself missing Dee. I have not been able to go and visit her in quite some time.

 

As you know, the escalating war effort has required me making golem nearly nonstop.  Each turn I expend every possible drop of Juice in mass producing units. I have no room for experimentation or diversity. Almost exclusively I am crafting Terracottas of various designs. Although they are my designs, the constant repetition turns this Duty into a bit of a slog.

 

The need for my talents on multiple combat fronts also leaves me a great deal of travel time. I try and use the opportunity to make scrolls, but there are issues which I have trouble reconciling. The easiest scrolls to make are all combat related. First, they are cheap because their cost does not raise as much from being converted to a scroll. These spells are easy because they are not much affected by terrain or circumstance. Pull the trigger, get a result. Simple.

 

Complex Dirtamancy not only takes a long time to focus into a scroll, but also has a massive cost in Juice. There are too many variables that go into city construction or serious terrain manipulation. Soil type, weather, available resources, the list goes on and on. This means I must add contingency elements into the scroll. A non-Dirtamancer would not have the skills to fill in these gaps.

 

Golem have a ridiculous increase in cost, for some reason. This alone makes them an inefficient use of scrolls.

 

I already have enough pit traps and out right attack scrolls. Peaches and I can be fully stocked with emergency Dirtamancy for quite some time. I am considering recording equipment enchantments. This should be practical because the item in question makes little difference on the enchantment. It is either compatible or not.

 

Not sure yet. I will keep thinking about it.

 

****

 

            It was early afternoon on turn 5673 and Chief Edelbert Spore had just collapsed in a fit of giggles. He was in his expansive workshop, and luckily had dropped backward into the big comfy chair he kept for daydreaming, scheming, and other imaginings. The Dirtamancer was having a fantastic day.

 

“What could be so funny as to have our esteemed Chief Caster busting a gut?” Quinn, the Court Jester, asked as he strolled brazenly into the room. “Making such merriment is usually MY domain.”

 

            Edelbert, for his part, was too distracted to be alarmed by the fool’s sudden appearance. “Yes good fellow, it usually is. But we are not reliant solely upon your entertainment. As skillful as it may be.”

 

            “Although I am always thrilled to receive praise, I will not allow it to dissuade me from my curiosity. What is the meaning of this joviality? I command you to tell me.” The Court Jester ordered with surprising force, considering he was a mere courtier and officially rank-less.

 

            “Nice try, but you do not order me Quinn. I am the Chief here, I give the orders.” The Dirtamancer laughed again heartily. He was not upset, but rather quite enjoying the overconfidence of the colorful little man. The force of the order meant the funnyman genuinely believed he had the authority.

 

            “On the contrary. As Court Jester I hold rank over matters of entertainment within the Capital. Just as you might override our valorous Chief Warlord on matters of magical significance, I may override you both when the subject is the humorous or absurd. That is my purview.”

 

            For his part, Edelbert found the argument to make a comic sort of sense. “Well until I hear King Arthur’s opinion on this, I will defer to your judgment o’ lord of laughter.”

 

Again, Spore found himself laughing uncontrollably. “Peaches and I spent the morning in the Smoking Den with the Stoned Twolls. Good group of guys, really know how to chill. Anyway, when we play with new Flower Power we tend to ask their help. If something goes wrong, their high Hits and FP resistance make it much less likely anyone croaks. Hey, are you hungry? I sure am.”

 

At that, Edelbert sent out an order to the serving staff. He wanted a large ham sandwich, a couple of bananas, a jug of apple cider, a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies, a dill pickle, candied pineapple, and an assortment of nuts… quickly. “Oh, did you want anything Quinn?”

 

“No good sir. I think I am alright. Although I am familiar with the hunger which the Smoking Hut tends to evoke. I am glad to see you enjoying yourself while you can.” Quinn smirked as he commented.

 

The Dirtamancer was surprised by what seemed to be a veiled threat. Could Quinn be some sort of traitor or double agent. “Um, what? Is that supposed to mean something? Why would I not be able to enjoy myself?”

 

“Ah, no malice intended, good sir. I am simply speaking of the inevitable down turn in your luck. That is all. I did not mean to alarm. Or…well, I did but there was no malice intended.” Quinn had a wicked gleam to his eye. Edelbert was not quite sure what to make of it.

 

“Speak plainly Quinn. I do not find this as funny as you seem to. Why would my luck turn? Is there something you know that you should tell me?” Edelbert emphasized the question with a direct order.

 

“The only thing I know, is that I do not know a thing.” The Jester laughed and then rolled across the floor, to end seated in front of the caster. “I have been reading though, and I suspect you well know the trouble that can bring. Often, I wander the library and search for new and interesting ideas. There I found a unique little tome, The Unnamed Lady. I snatched it up and gave it a quick riffle through. Upon first inspection I believed it to be a poetic tale of an erratic romance between a daring warlord named Cowen Cidence and an elusive noble caster.”

 

Edelbert was surprised, he had never seen the fool in the library before. “I spend a lot of time down there. I love the books, all the words and stories. Ooo and the pictures, gotsta love the art. It is an expansion of the personal library I crafted as a barbarian, by the way. I am rather proud of it. Vi helped a lot with it too.”

 

“The point, my distractible friend, is that the book was not a pure fiction at all. It was, in fact, a metaphor and guide for Luckamancy. Riveting stuff.”  At that, the small man slapped both hands to the ground and catapulted himself up and into a flip. He landed comfortably in the chair next to the caster.

 

Curiosity was always a weakness of Edelbert’s. The caster swiveled his head twice and brought his eyes to rest on the colorful little man. “Luck a duck y doo, did you bring it up with you? I would love to delve deeper into the workings of Luckamancy. Alas, it has always been an elusive beast.”

 

Quinn’s wicked grin returned. “Strangest thing that, I stayed up into the night finishing the book. I was enthralled, almost compelled to read it to completion. Afterward I went to sleep normally. When I awoke the book was missing, no longer on my nightstand. I have returned to the library and searched the shelves where I originally found it. Nothing. So I came here next.”

 

            The Dirtamancer smiled as if proud of himself. “Lose a magic book. Speak to the Chief Caster. Makes perfect sense to me. Despite my expansive knowledge of all things arcane, I do not know where your book is.” Again, a fit of chuckles.

 

            “I did not expect you to. I came here because the book reminded me of you and your story. I simply wished to share it before the details escaped me as the physical book now has. You see, the warlord started as a barbarian. Not only that, but he popped in an isolated ruin and with a Courtier ally and a powerful artifact.”

 

            “I see the similarities, but they are rather superficial. Don’t you think, your hilariousness? Besides, I popped with a daemon.” Edelbert figured he had scored a point.

 

            Quinn locked eyes with the mentally altered caster. “Among their earliest turns, the duo stumbled across a woman alone in the wilderness. Instantly upon meeting, the mysterious caster and the warlord were deeply drawn to each other. Wanting to present an expression of her passion, she gifted her blessing upon Cowen. Whenever she was able, she would visit the man and spare him any attention that she could. She also vowed that in his times of greatest need, but when he least expected it, she would appear to bolster him. However, if he were to ever directly call for her aid the blessing would be broken, and she would no longer come.”

 

The Dirtamancer did his best to focus. Although he had done well on his initial saves against the Flower Power, he was beginning to feel like there might be some secondary rolls coming. For the time, he was content simply to listen to the jester’s story.

 

“Cowen and his companion Chance lived in and around their ruin home for thousands of turns, having all manner of encounters and adventures. Throughout their escapades the lady would often appear and lend her aid. The visits were always brief, and Cowen regularly lamented the absence of his love.”

 

As he continued, Quinn stood and strolled over to the planning model Edelbert kept of the Crafty Crags. “One turn, the companions stumbled across a lost Capital site tucked into a valley near their ruinous home. After a lengthy discussion it was decided by the pair that Chance would claim the site and be Ruler. Cowen would be his Chief Warlord and they both agreed they would be happier with that arrangement.”

 

Edelbert was surprised by this turn in the story. It was enough to draw him back from the illusions playing before his eyes and he sat up, focused and lucid once again. “I must admit that sounds familiar. Are you making this story up Quinn? I am beginning to suspect this is one of your pranks.”

 

“Oh no good Sir, this is croakingly serious. Not something I make a habit of.” The jester had an uncharacteristically harsh look on his face. “For many turns the side of Cloverleaf prospered. It grew to be an expansive and powerful side. The appearance of the mysterious caster continued, helping to foster and grow the reputation of Chief Cowen’s unyielding prowess. Fear spread amongst their neighbors, they began to believe that Cloverleaf was nigh unstoppable. Alliances began to form. Ones and twos at first, a couple of sides working together to slow their steady losses. Small treaties joined together into large forces. Eventually Cloverleaf was surrounded by a coalition of angry sides.”

 

Chief Spore put on his problem-solving hat and considered the issue. “Why would they not negotiate for allies? Calm and diffuse the situation.”

 

Quinn paced now, increasing the atmosphere of worry which he was projecting. “The sides were completely unwilling to even hear Cloverleafs overtures. Fear and revenge are powerful motivators after all. Aggressively, the coalition of sides laid waste to their once powerful enemy. Quickly the war came to the capital, all the time Cowen was confident his love would emerge and aid him to victory. On the eve of the final battle for Cloverleaf, he prayed to the Titans and asked them to send her. As his forces were overrun, all the while he raged and bellowed for her arrival. Even as the blade came down on his neck he screamed, pleading for her blessing. No such Luck.”

 

Sir Edelbert Spore sat in silence, slightly stunned at the implications of Quinn’s story. “So, what you are saying is that I should not rely on Luck to get me through tough times. My skill and ingenuity need carry me through such instances.”

 

“No Chief. I am warning you about the inevitable backlash of good fortune. It cannot last forever, and often the more fortunate one has been the worse the repercussions are. Therefore, I come to you. Your life has been greatly blessed since it began. You have certainly made beneficial choices and your tenacity cannot be discounted, however can you deny the Luck that you have experienced across your life?”

 

Considering for a moment, Edelbert finally nodded his head. “I suppose you have a point. I have had many friends, survived many unlikely situations, two major artifacts, powerful foes have passed me by without a second thought, and I have even done things most casters can only dream of. Luck has often been with me it seems.”

 

Quinn turned and began to walk casually toward the exit. “You are the most valuable asset we possess as a side. Without you, we would not even be here. I only ask that when the time comes, and it will, you do not allow your curse to infect us all. You have put far too much into this kingdom to be the agent of its destruction.”

 

At that, the little man strolled out of the room.

 

****

 

            Turn 5698 – Good Evening Journal,

 

 I finished a new magic item today. Peaches and I came up with it together. We call it the Waterwheel and it is actually a Turnamancy based item.

 

The idea is that usually when we capture prisoners they can be interrogated and hopefully turned. If that does not work, Peaches only has so much Juice with which to cast her meager Turnamancy. She mostly saves her attempts for warlords, whenever possible. This invention should drastically improve her capacity.

 

We set up the wheel in one of the streams that flows down the mountain. When we come across particularly stubborn units, we will use the machine. Enemy units are strapped to the outside of the wheel. As the water flows, it spins the wheel. The rotation periodically and repeatedly dunks the target units into the stream and then pulls them back out on the other side a few moments later. They are under long enough to get the strong sensation of drowning, but not quite long enough to croak them (usually).

 

So far, we have only had preliminary tests, but it seems to work very well. We turned a stack of knights that were captured from the SDE. It only took a couple hours. Peaches is excited. The whole thing seems a little cruel to me. This is war though.

 

 

            Turn 5720 – I find myself bored,

 

 My days are busy. There is always something to do. My responsibilities as Chief Caster are rather time and Juice consuming. This leaves me with very little time for my own interests.

 

My friends in the MK are neglected. Experiments sit on shelves in my workshop, collecting dust and nearly forgotten. There is demand not only for my Dirtamancy but my Dollamancy as well. I try my level best, but sometimes I feel as if I am simultaneously doing too much and not enough.

 

This is not meant as a complaint. I love the Mushroomish Kingdom. We are a family and I am proud to be a part of it.

 

Some turns are just harder than others.

 

 

            Turn 5745 – Amazing turn of events today,

 

Turnip requested I meet it near the pond in the cities orchard. It told me that it had something to discuss. What I found was a level 9 Tragikarp. Blinky had levelled this morning. Quite frankly, I am flabbergasted.

 

Apparently, there is a strategy which the daemon Chief has employed since early in its life. When daemon level to 9 they gain a special ability, item, or some other boon. This does not interfere with their ability to Change that level.  I was unaware of this, although I had wondered on occasion. Turnip got Regrowth as a Weirdish and Wisdom as a Glum. Trivium’s Veyezor was her gift before she Changed.

 

The hope was that Blinky would gain the ability to Change at level 9. Unfortunately, this did not occur.

 

Turnip has a few daemons reserved to level before they Change. Eventually we will have an elite set of extremely refined daemon specimen. I approve of this plan and we intend to run it by Kernel, just to be sure.

 

 

            Turn 5764 – How is it going?

 

It was a great day today. Scouts reported a couple stacks of Bullboys and Cowgirls near my route to Bogslog. Arthur and Kernel were hesitant but gave permission for me to engage and croak the man-beasts. It has been a while since I have been in a good fight.

 

We softened them up from the air as we approached. Although the combat could have been finished without direct confrontation, I wanted to get my feet dirty. My stacks landed and charged, bolstered by the thrill I was experiencing.

 

The bovine units fought well. Their high Hits made for a long battle. Both my escort warlord and I survived. We did lose a couple of knights and frogs, but nothing devastating.

 

We will still make Bogslog next turn. I can get back to work on defensive emplacements.

 

 

            Turn 5789 – Hello Journal,

 

A moderate assault force attacked Riverside today. The Tarzanians sent fast ground troops through the jungle, as well as a small group of aquatic units and boats.  They hit us hard because we were not expecting the attack at all.

 

It is okay though, we managed to hold the city. Losses were considerable. We lost two warlords and a significant group of daemons. Most of the rest were golem units. They definitely hurt us this time.

 

Discussion at the Round Table has centered on concerns about the escalation in Tarzanian activities within our territories. The warlords are convinced this is a sign of a larger invasion in the works. They make a compelling argument.

 

****

 

            Turn 5813 had been an excellent day for Sir Edelbert Spore. For most of the turn, he and Princess Peaches had been hard at work on the walls of the Crafty Crags. They finally had a breakthrough on a project the two had been collaborating on for some time. Together they had managed to grow a botanical defense system. All over the surface of the cliff side approach to the city they planted clusters of what they had come to call Squigglers.

 

These plants were somewhere between a vine and a worm. Once established, they wiggled and twitched constantly. They were not units so required no upkeep, only containing the most basic traces of Life. Another advantage was that they grew like weeds and would quickly cover the entire cliff face around the mountain. This would make it exceptionally difficult to assault or even approach the city from those directions.

 

After his long day of work, he cleansed himself and headed out to the Magic Kingdom. The vast majority of his Juice was spent already, but that was more than fine as his plans were entirely social in nature. His good friend Dee Ceased had invited Edelbert to join her and a few companions for an extravagant meal from the Changemancer kitchens. One of the folks he would be meeting had suggested an eatery called Quark’s.

 

Seated in the center of the dining room was Dee and two others. As soon as Edelbert saw them, he made his way across the room. When he stepped up to the group, he gave a small bow and smile.

 

“Guys, this is Edelbert. A great friend of mine!” Dee stood and dashed over, embracing the Dirtamancer in a tight hug. She then spun around and gestured toward the two men she had been seated with. “This is Doc Brown and the esteemed Bones. Friends from the hospital.”

 

Doc Brown spoke first. He was dressed in simple practical garb, all covered up by a large white lab coat. His silver hair was wildly sticking in all manner of directions. “It is nice to finally meet you. I feel like I already know you so well. Dee here is quite enamored of you.”

 

The Dirtamancer grinned ear to ear and motioned to Doc then Bones. “I am always ecstatic to meet new people. The chance to chat with a Healomancer and another Croakamancer is most welcome.”

 

“I’m a doctor man, not a Croakamancer.” Bones corrected, brusquely. “I’m the Healomancer, as a matter of fact. My popped name is Dr. Leo DeKoy. Everyone calls me Bones though, because of my interest in Croakamancy. That is actually what brought Dee and I together.”

 

Dee was blushing, which was quite noticeable against her otherwise snowy skin. “Doc is not a Healomancer. That is his name, just Doc. Although I can see how that might be confusing now that you point it out. I had never even noticed.”

 

“Anyway.” Doc regained the conversation. “Why not sit, good Sir Dirtamancer? Our conversation was just beginning, and it looks as if the Chef is already headed over for our orders.”

 

An oddly different man approached the groups table. He wore a simple beige garb that managed not to accent any of his physical characteristics. His skin and hair were slightly different shades of beige as well. Although the man was smiling generously his face was mildly off putting; dull, rounded, and mask-like.

 

Bones grabbed the newcomer’s attention immediately. “Odo, glad to see things are running smoothly. I promised to treat my friends here to a feast. Can you take care of us?”

 

The nondescript man’s face became suddenly stark. “Why bother to ask such a question? Is there anyone who could take better care of you? You jibe me just to get a rise, you old scoundrel. I will not oblige so easily. Will you be having chef’s choice or is there anything in particular you fine folks had in mind?”

 

Dee spoke up immediately, with a hungry grin spread across her face. “I’ll eat anything that was harvested from an animal. Just make it tasty.”

 

Having not been warned that such a decision was imminent, Edelbert was unsure what he might want. “I come from a jungle dominion, might I be able to sample some foods from another climate zone? If that isn’t too much trouble”

 

The Changemancer pulled up a seat and took a place at the table with the others. “Oh, that will be no issue. I have an extensive recipe book and palate that has never been matched. What about you gentlemen? What can I get for you?”

 

“Chef’s choice will do us both just fine.” Doc interjected quickly while shooting a sarcastic glance at the doctor. “Bones and I more than trust your skills, even if he does not like to admit it.”

                                                                                               

            Odo flicked his hand dismissively and a tiny white powerball appeared above the table. A few moments later and a group of four emerged from a back room. They wore matching beige uniforms, and each carried a tray laden with a multitude of foods.

 

Immediately the strange man began plucking items and tossing them onto the table. Different vegetables, a few slabs of meat and fish, even a couple fistfuls of various powders were all thrown into a heap together. From a pocket at his side he then drew a simple looking aluminum whisk.

 

Sel, Graisse, Buerre,” The Changemancer cast, inciting chaos amongst the gathered ingredients. The pile began to swirl into the air above the entire group. Items flexed, shifted, divided, and combined seemingly at random. Then suddenly, the whole cloud of debris snapped together with a flash and a bang. On the table now waited dozens of diverse dishes.

 

“This looks wonderful!” Dee nearly squealed as she immediately began serving food onto her plate.

 

Chef Odo stood and bowed generously. “I must now bid you adieu. I have many other customers to serve this evening and only so much time or Juice to do it with. It was a pleasure to see you all. I hope you grace us with your patronage again.” The odd man turned and walked to another table with his crew.

 

The meal was all prepared self-serve and all four of the companions immediately started in. There was easily enough food for ten units, far more than the group would be able to eat in a sitting.

 

Edelbert marveled at the wasteful extravagance. “I could not ask a barbarian unit to foot the bill of such a feast. Please Bones, allow me offer at least a part of the cost.”

 

“It is a good thing no one asked you isn’t it? I appreciate the gesture Spore. My skills keep me well funded though and I enjoy these little excursions. Feels good to flex the weight of my discipline occasionally. Take it as a gift and enjoy.

 

Conversation tapered off quickly as everyone stuffed their faces. Minutes passed as few words were exchanged, just satisfied glances and the odd remark about the quality of the food. Somehow booze made its way to the table and Dee made it a point to keep the wine flowing, especially into the Dirtamancer’s cup.

 

Even as talk resumed, the topics tended toward the jovial and mundane. Spells and theory held no part of the natural magic of celebration in which they were all partaking. This evening was about fun and companionship, not learning or Duty. Time passed as the companions laughed and carried on. The evening progressed quickly, and it inevitably got to be late.

 

“Well friends” Bones began as he stretched. “I think it is time for me to be headed back to Sick Bay. I have an early shift in the ER. I should be properly rested. Besides, if I drink anymore I will have minor incapacitation tomorrow.” He smiled as he stood.

 

Dee almost jumped up. An odd glimmer rested in her eyes. She spoke a little too quickly. “You are right. It has been a wonderful evening. Thank you again Bones. Doc it is always good to see you. Edelbert, would you mind walking me home, I’m a little drunk?”

 

“Oh, well yeah. Of course I will.” Edelbert was in no hurry. He had an easy turn planned for the next day and still had a pleasant buzz going.

 

Doc stood as well, his eyes were oddly glazed over and faintly illuminated. He then grabbed the Dirtamancer for a vigorous handshake. “It was a great pleasure to finally meet you, good sir. I see why Dee holds you in such high regard. I am sorry this will be of little comfort, but it will make all the difference. The darkness lies, but it will fade. We will see each other again, in the Oracastle. I so Predict it.”

 

Chief Spore stopped, almost frozen in place. “What does that mean? You said you were a Healomancer. Explain.” He spoke with aggression that was atypical for the caster.

 

“Actually, you said I was a Healomancer. Dee said I worked at the hospital, and I do.” Doc Brown held a sadly reserved look of knowing. “I have the unfortunate job of determining the hopeless cases, people beyond the help of Healomancy. My grim efforts save a great deal of Juice, and therefore lives.”

 

Dee moved up and gave Doc a hug. “I can empathize with all the pain and loss of life that your abilities expose you to. Thank you for bearing that burden in order to do so much good.”

 

Although he was agitated, the noble in Edelbert took the fore. “Doc, I am sorry for my reaction. It is nothing personal. I have had some deeply unpleasant experiences with your discipline.”

 

The Predictamancer chuckled softly, sadly. “Me too.”

 

Dee grabbed Edelbert’s hand and began to walk off toward the Naughty Place. “We need to get going Doc. I will see you in two turns. Off tomorrow. Goodnight.”

 

            The pair of casters walked casually through the night. For a while they just strolled along the path, holding hands and enjoying the peace. Eventually the trees around them transitioned to a shocking red. The two casters paid no mind, simply enjoying each other’s company.

 

            Dee broke the silence without warning. “Edelbert, why have you never kissed me? Do you not find me attractive?”

 

            The Dirtamancer stopped, shocked into paralysis for the second time that evening. “I… uh,um…what? No. I mean yes! I mean… just. It is not that I do not find you attractive Dee. I would not even know where to begin. I have never kissed anyone before. It has never come up, I guess.”

 

            The Croakamancer closed the gap in a blink. She interlocked her lips with his, but a bit awkwardly because Edelbert mostly just stood there. He still had no idea how to respond.

 

            Without letting go of his hand, Dee continued down the road toward the Sepulchral Home. “So, what do you think, worth trying again?”

 

            Edelbert was unsure what to say. There was no question that the kiss was a very pleasant experience. He was simply to overwhelmed to process what had just happened, let alone speak.

 

            “You do not have to answer. I can feel how much that excited you. Croakamancer, remember?” Dee giggled as they came to the entrance of the Home. “Would you like to come inside, maybe spend the night? We can get a little more…in depth, than our usual anatomy lessons.”

 

            Still, Edelbert was having trouble forming a solid sentence. The best he could come up with was, “I do not know what to say.”

 

            Again, Dee began to gingerly pull the Dirtamancer toward her apartment. “Yes would be a good place to start, I think.”

 

            Their evening was just beginning.

 

****

 

Volume 23  - Hurrah, Hurrah (Coming Soon(ish)

 

Index


Forums

 

Bibliography

Comments

    • falcore51

      Yeah another installment,  great seeing some more of the story unfolding and the foreshadowing coming.

      • KenD

        I wonder if the many low level weirdish that they have now could spam the Tragicarp with chant until it got [Change]...

        Alternatively, could Edelbert study one of the daemons that had achieved Change naturally at level 6 or 7, and then replicate the special to the Tragicarp using his weirdomancy?

        Are the pokedaemons restricted to using the Change special at the moment they level?

             If so the "random" and "until end of turn" nature of the weirdish chant would it difficult to get the timing right.

        Also - part of my brain had to be amused when it looks like the next chapter is titled "Coming Soon(ish)" given the ending scene!

        cool

        I'll see myself out...

        Ken D.