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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Argh...

I would like to apologize for the lack of an Unexpected Adventure part last Saturday. And, unfortunately, this Saturday. :(
Time has been hard to manage, important things keep coming up that claim my thought and attention, and I haven’t had an opportunity to write up a part as thoroughly as I would like.
I will make this up with an extra-long post, to be out between this coming Wednesday and Saturday (gotta give Time some leg-room, after all. Maybe then he’ll give me some slack… ;) )
Thanks for understanding. See you next week! :)

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Serial Story Saturday

Unexpected Adventure, Part Twenty-eight

Fate’s castle. I cooed and ran my fingers along the dark, old wood of the drawbridge. “I’m not even inside yet and I’m freaking out,” I whispered to Regis. “I can’t believe we’re here, I just can’t—”
I’m not sure how long I babbled, but it was long enough for a gold-armored guard to fetch us and lead us inside. Then I really freaked out. A massive hall showcased enchanted swords, daggers, vases, cases, flowers, jewelry, and stones. I named most of them, and stared at the ones I didn’t recognize. The guard wasn’t at all helpful; he just shrugged when I asked what they were.
“Hello, dears!”
Fate herself, shrouded in a white dress, translucent black veil, and bangles of gold—I recognized several other artifacts—stepped from thin air a few feet away. She smiled. “Ah, I see you’ve taken an interest in the Pirate’s Treasure.”
I gaped. “This is…”
I was almost sorry that we had to overthrow her.
“Overthrow me? That is new news.” Fate laughed. “The tea and sandwiches are ready, so come along.”
She led us down the hall, to the end. Then, she walked straight through the wall. I followed more eagerly than Regis.
There was a swish like a curtain, and I stood in a small garden. Daisies, tulips, and other decidedly plain flowers growing in bunches surrounded a simple white table. Fate snapped her fingers, and three chairs glittered into existence.
Regis appeared beside me after a few moments.
Fate sat down, and three sets of food showed up on the table.
I took a seat and fingered the highly decorated handle of a teacup. Then I sat back and watched Regis.

Regis, after downing a sandwich in one bite, withdrew the Pocket-watch. “You like bargains. I came to bargain.”
Fate chuckled. “If I really wanted it, I would have it. What makes you think it has any value to me?”
“I think you want more control than you already have over the world.”
“I have all the control I need. What I don’t exact, Destiny does. And we’re so close it hardly matters who gets what. We share everything.” Fate stirred her tea and ran the spoon along the rim. “For example, she received this from a late king who had bargained with one of her fairies. Oh, and she’s currently borrowing a few weapons of mine to give to various heroes.”
“Do all heroes receive known weapons?”
“Of course.”
“Am I a hero?” Regis leaned back casually.
Fate frowned. “You are to save a part of our little world from your brother, yes. But you’ve been running from that for quite some time. So, here’s the deal. In return for the Pocket-watch—”
“No, Fate. I make the terms this time.”
Fate pursed her lips. “Highly unusual.”
Cloudwillow giggled. “You just described him in two words.”
Regis leaned forward, stalling further chatter. “In return for the Pocket-watch, you let me and Peter go.”
Fate matched his pose, nodding slowly. “For your final battle, yes?” She grinned. “You want to be somewhere out of the way where no one can see, and you don’t want interference from any of us? Done.” She leaned back and slapped her hand on the table. The Pocket-watch vanished from Regis’ hand.
With a satisfied sigh, she stirred her tea. “Now, what’s this about overthrowing me?”

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Serial Story Saturday

Unexpected Adventure, Part Twenty-seven

“It’s a bargain chip,” I repeated flatly. Regis nodded. I pressed my fingers against my forehead. “How is an insanely evil object a bargaining chip?”
“I’m betting that Fate will want it,” Regis said. He began walking, away from the coffee town.
“But she’s Fate! If she doesn’t have it, she can’t want it. And why would she want an insanely evil object?”
“Because she’s Fate.” Regis took my hand in his left and started walking. I didn’t resist.
My mind struggled with impossibilities. Fate wasn’t evil. At least, I didn’t think so. She was just…there. In the same way the sun was. We might be able to dethrone her—which we would, I was sure—but that wouldn’t change the fact that…that…
I jostled Regis’ arm. “Auuugh, my brain hurts.”
“Adventure will do that to you.”
That cheered me up a bit. “Yeah, adventure. Speaking of which.” I let go of Regis’ hand and clambered onto his back. I hugged his torso with my legs, then pushed myself up so that I sat on his shoulders. “I want to see it before we get to it.”

Regis considered tipping the elf onto the ground. He thought better of it and let her be.
He fingered the amulet in his pocket. At least, he felt like he was; it took him a minute to remember that his other hand was gone.
With a shiver, he rubbed the stump on his right arm.
A faint presence—Peter—brushed against his mind. The amulet he’d gotten from Skong worked perfectly; Peter couldn’t get a hold on him.
Then, another presence joined Peter’s. Just as familiar, it was cold, bubbly, and excited. It completely bypassed the protection the amulet provided.
Oh, you’re finally coming to me.
“Fate,” he said aloud.
Cloudwillow leaned so that her head hung in front of his. She gaped. “Oh my gosh, you’re actually talking to her?!”
Do you know how worried it makes me, darling, when my people run away? It very nearly drives me sick. Or mad, depending on how you look at things.
Cloudwillow cocked her head. “She’s talkative.”
“You can hear her?”
No she can’t. She just sees an impression of my voice through your eyes. She’s a doll. You should have seen her when—
“Don’t tell him!” Cloudwillow squealed.
Regis cocked his eyebrow. “You look like you’re going to fall.”
“I will if she tells you!”
Oh, hush-hush, I remember. She doesn’t want anyone knowing about her fifteenth birthday bash. It made quite a stir among the elves for a while.
Regis was curious, but had no wish to hear gossip. He brought to mind the Pocket-watch of Et’ena.
Fate’s voice went quiet, a shocked sort of quiet.
I see. Well, I can’t keep you waiting, can I? Come inside, and we can talk over lunch.
Abruptly, the area changed. They were no longer in a forest, but on a black drawbridge. In front loomed a white-and-black castle, with guards dressed in gold patrolling the walls.
Cloudwillow tumbled from Regis' shoulders and landed in a sitting position. While she gaped, Regis said, "Welcome to Fate's castle."

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Serial Story Saturday

Unexpected Adventure, Part Twenty-Six

I gulped down my latte and stared at Skong. There was a very unpleasant sensation coming from him. My stomach twisted a bit.
I spotted a symbol etched on his belt buckle; two bent metal stakes crossed over a stylized eye. He was a Twister, someone that could embed magic—usually of the darker sort—into metal. They couldn’t use those abilities for their own motives, due to a magic contract between the elves and goblins a couple centuries ago, but that didn’t mean they hadn’t managed to find a way around that clause. And they still reeked of dark magic.
With a gulp, I scooted away. “Um, Regis?”
Skong grinned at me. His pointed teeth were very, very dirty. To Regis he said, “You lost the last one.”
“Yes. I need another one, with a few modifications.”
I had no idea why Regis was speaking so calmly. I crawled along the cushioned seats until I was right by his ear. “You know what he is, right?”
Regis totally ignored me and kept talking to Skong. “Can you give me something to knock out Fate’s guards?”
Skong chuckled. “It’ll cost extra.”
“Of course.”
They continued their conversation, which was mostly vague haggling. They ended with a customary two-handed cross-shake. When the goblin left, Regis slid something foul smelling into his pocket.
So maybe he knew what he was doing. I crossed my arms. “What’d you get?”

Regis smiled. If the elf was as big of a bookworm as she made out to be, she’d be drooling when he showed her. He stood and left his empty mug on the table. “Let’s get going.”
Cloudwillow hastily slurped down the last of her drink. “C’mon, tell me.”
When they were outside and away from most people, Regis stopped. He pulled Cloudwillow into a thin line of trees. “This.”
He removed the silver disk he’d received earlier. Cloudwillow’s eyes went wide. She squealed, “Why and how did you get the Pernicious Pocket-watch of Et’ena?!”
Regis raised his eyebrows. “It’s a replica.”
“What are you going to do with that…thing?” Cloudwillow cocked her head sideways. Then, she straightened and shook her head. “No, we’re not using it. I know in the legends it could do some amazing things—”
“Like teleportation and instantaneous mind control,” Regis broke in. “Which is exactly what we need to get inside Fate’s castle.”
“But it’s evil! Whenever evil artifacts like that come into the picture, you destroy it, plain and simple.”
Regis shrugged. “Suit yourself.” With that, he turned and hurled the device into the underbrush.
Cloudwillow squeaked and dove after it. She held it like a hot potato. “You’re not supposed to throw it away either! Don’t you know anything about evil items of power?” She tossed it back at Regis, then stuck her fingers in her mouth. “Ow, it burns it burns…”
Regis winced. He picked up the Pocket-watch. “You know—”
Cloudwillow rolled her eyes. “If you use it against Peter or Fate, bad things will happen, and even if Peter gets a hold of it, it’d be better if he did than you. Because you’re the hero, and heroes don’t use evil objects of power.”
Regis smirked. “Don’t worry. It’s a bargaining chip.”