Pub Crawl: Crow, and the last assignment

Herein are contained classic stories and other timeless threads penned by patrons of the Druid's Head Pub. To suggest additions, please contact the Moderator.
User avatar
Crow
OBOD Druid
Posts: 4662
Joined: 10 Feb 2004, 17:04
Gender: Male
Location: East Coast, U.S.A.

Pub Crawl: Crow, and the last assignment

Postby Crow » 11 Oct 2004, 19:05

Editor's Note: These stories that appear from time to time in The Pub are just a bit of silliness that has been a tradition at The Druid’s Head and at The Foggy Duck for many years. In this story you'll see names of people you may recognize. Just because you don't see your name here doesn't mean that you can't participate. Please write yourself in if you'd like, and in that way we may get to know you. The only "rule," if there is one, is that we try to pick up the story from where the previous poster left it, and to include at least some of those elements in whatever comes next. Storytelling is a bardic pursuit, and although it’s hard to imagine Taliesin telling stories quite like these, it is entirely possible that by your participation, you could be immortalized in The Attic.

* * *

Crow yanked the paper out of his typewriter and sat at his desk reading what he’d just written:
Monday, October 11, 2004

Mr. Charles Payne
Editor in Chief
The Pagan Press



Dear Charley:

This is to inform you that I am tendering my resignation from The Pagan Press, effective in two weeks’ time.

My dear wife and I have decided that our finances are in good enough condition that I can take an early retirement and, with the occasional freelance job, we can still make ends meet.

I have enjoyed my time at The Press, and I trust that my 28 years of service have been satisfactory. But the daily grind has started to wear on me, and I feel that the time is right to move on to the next stage in my life.

Here’s wishing all the best to you and the fine staff of young journalists that you have assembled. I expect great things for the paper, and please know that I’ll be watching with interest.

Sincerely yours,


Crow
The old reporter snorted at what he’d written about the fine staff of young journalists. His true opinion of them was that they were a hopeless lot. Any so-called reporter who drank herb tea after work, as most of them did, instead of the hard liquor that “real” journalists drank, was not worthy of being called a reporter.

Crow signed his name with a flourish, folded the letter into an envelope, walked into Charley Payne’s empty office and left the resignation on his desk. He then walked out of the newsroom, passed the Tofu Bar, where the new breed went after work, and flew several blocks to his old haunt, The Foggy Duck Pub.

Inside the freshly scrubbed and slightly antiseptic-smelling pub, he climbed onto a stool in the darkest corner and ordered a drink: Laphroaig, neat.

The place wasn’t too busy at this hour of the afternoon, but Crow saw a few familiar faces. But nobody wanted to talk to him, and really, that was okay, because he was lost in thought anyway. He was thinking about all the years and all the stories he’d covered, and that he’d had a rather undistinguished career. Twenty-eight years at The Pagan Press had been his longest stay anywhere, but he’d worked for 12 years at a collection of smaller papers before arriving there.

He thought he’d probably seen it all in that time: time portals, exorcisms, shape-shifting, stone circles, burning Bushes. And danger, oh yes, there had been plenty of that, too, and he congratulated himself on surviving so many close scrapes. And now, here he was, nearly at the end. Just two more weeks, he thought, nothing could happen in that short length of time.

Crow thought about warm summer days, sitting by a lake with the grandcrowlings that would surely be coming along soon, the buzzing of bees and the smell of flowers thick in the air. Yes, the buzzing of bees, getting louder …

Starting from his daydream, Crow realized that it was his cell phone that was buzzing. Thinking it was probably Mrs. Crow calling to tell him to bring home a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk, he reached behind a feather, pulled out the phone and answered. It was his boss, Charles Payne.

“Crow, I just got this resignation letter, and I’m not going to try and talk you out of a decision that I’m sure you’ve given lots of thought. But two weeks is two weeks, and I have an assignment for you. We’ll call it your last assignment, and if you finish it before two weeks is up, then we’ll just call it even.”

Crow, wishing now that he’d just quit without the giving the courtesy of two weeks’ notice, answered, “Okay Charley, what’s the assignment? And please, not a lot of travel this time, I just want to go out kind of slow and easy, you know?”

Charley Payne answered, “Easy assignment, but an important one. Right here in town they’ve opened a new factory that manufactures incense, tinctures, soaps and potions, all made with Dragon’s Blood. Now their press release states that their first shipment is planned for Samhuinn Eve, and I want a profile on this company, and something about Dragon’s Blood, you know, what it is and how it’s collected. We’ll want photos and maybe a sidebar or two, all the bells and whistles. Here’s the address: 672 Monarch Way. Oh, and Crow, best wishes on your retirement, and give my regards to the missus. ”

Crow turned off his cell phone. As last assignments went, a feature on Dragon’s Blood wasn’t what he would have chosen, but at least one wish had been fulfilled: It was close to home and it sounded safe. He checked his map, made sure he had a fresh reporter’s notebook, and set out for 672 Monarch Way.

Yes, a safe final assignment, he thought to himself. So why were his nerves twanging like a banjo string? He knew from experience that some things were not as they seemed, and he felt that old sense of dread cropping up. He wondered what would happen next ...

User avatar
Kat Lady
OBOD Druid
Posts: 6824
Joined: 07 Jul 2004, 02:00
Gender: Female
Contact:

Postby Kat Lady » 11 Oct 2004, 20:44

Gladys waved good-bye to Crow as he was leaving the newly renovated Foggy Duck, saying warily, “Be Careful, dear! We wouldn’t want to see anything happen to those lovely feathers of yours.” Crow paused in the doorway, eyes wide, staring at the street. Gladys was known to have had 6 of the 7 psychic experiences available so her words shot through him like the sound of chalk on a chalkboard. He shook his feathered head, sighed and began the short flight to 672 Monarch Way for what he was hoping would be a rather uneventful assignment. But recent history told him that would not be the case.

Meanwhile, at the Cloak and Dagger Factory Outlet Store, MoonCloud and the Connecticut Mafia had landed. They had heard that a new factory specializing in exotic incense was having a grand opening and decided to check it out. Mandahr, BranBeith and Kat Lady followed with umbrellas under the cumulous cloud as she dripped in eagerness about the prospect of a sale. “I wish Beith was here, “she said to no one in particular. “She always likes a good sale, especially shoes and incense.”

Mandahr snorted, “Women!” in reply as BranBeith landed on him and advised him that if he wanted to keep his horn, he had better button his lip. Kat Lady pulled up the rear, as no one else would walk behind the Rhino. Besides, she was the most adept at maneuvering around anything in her path. Either that or breaking things. She couldn't remember. “I do hope that have Dragon’s Blood”, she said, “because it is such a wonderful smelling incense. “ Looking at Mandahr she added, “It can get rid of almost any smell.”

The 4 Mafia members entered the Warehouse Outlet store, which was strangely quiet for a Grand Opening. “This is a little strange, don’t you think?” BranBeith cawed. But no one ever listended to her anyway. It seemed like a nice store with shelves of incense and candle supplies and other alchemists items: bat's wings, toad stools, cat's breath, all the things that would make an interesting spell or an ever better stew. They began to peruse the wares as the heard a deep voice from behind say, "May I help you?"

As the CT Mafia entered the building, Crow landed at the end of the driveway. He had a bad feeling about this, but an assignment was an assignment. He had never turned away from an assignment and was not about to now so close to the end. He walked with purpose toward the door and was almost run over by Selene who was so busy typing on her new laptop that she almost ran over the poor Crow. "Oh! Sorry Crow. I just love this new laptop that Mandahr made for me. I almost didn't see you! Are you here on assignment or for the Dragon's Blood sale?"

Before he could answer, a loud crash was heard from the outlet store and a cloud of red dust billowed from the windows.

"Now what?", Crow muttered as Selene strapped her laptop to her back and the two began to run toward the the pleasant smelling cloud before them.
If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.--Mark Twain

Image

User avatar
sorchael
Posts: 29
Joined: 02 Oct 2004, 04:33
Gender: Female
Location: Upstate New York
Contact:

Postby sorchael » 12 Oct 2004, 00:53

"Crap!" Sorchael cried with a perturbed look on her face. "I knew I shouldn't have mixed the worm's breath with the salamander liver! I don't know if I'm ever going to get this magick thing! Oh, crap, here comes my boss!"

(Sorry this is all I have time for! Just wanted to put my two cents in!)

:acorns:
“The world is not to be put in order. The world is order. It is for us to put ourselves in unison with this order.”
~ Henry Miller

User avatar
Kat Lady
OBOD Druid
Posts: 6824
Joined: 07 Jul 2004, 02:00
Gender: Female
Contact:

Postby Kat Lady » 12 Oct 2004, 08:21

Crow and Selene burst through the door just in time to hear Sorchael’s lament. There before them stood MoonCloud and the CT Mafia crew, covered in various powders, the most predominant one was of course the strong, but pleasant smelling, Dragon’s Blood. They all turned and stared at the apprentice alchemist who had started this mess. Sorchael realized, not for the first time, that she wasn’t in Kansas anymore and that only the Wizard could get her out of this mess, or at least help her clean it up.

Selene pulled out her trusty laptop and made herself comfortable on the floor between the jars of pumpkin seeds and catnip. Crow looked at her inquisitively and she replied, “I’m looking for a good professional cleaning service to help clean this up.” And she returned to her task.

In the meantime, Merlyn, who was in fact the new Manager of the Cloak and Dagger Factory Outlet store, raised one eyebrow and silently handed Sorchael a mop. Two other apprentices, littlewhitedove and cyforwydd, pulled out their Druidcraft Tarot and Ogham tablets respectively to divine whether or not Sorchael would still have a job at the end of the day.

The CT crew stood, dusting themselves off, when Branbeith sneezed, blowing dust off of Mandahr and revealing a brown disc shaped object on his horn. “What’s this? Is this a portabello mushroom on your horn, rhino?” And she lifted the dragon’s blood covered mushroom from the horn.

The store door opened again and CelticDao, singing Rocky Mountain High, strolled in to the chaotic front. He looked at the scene before him and decided that maybe he should lay off the Guiness for a while as it sure seemed to be clouding his mind. He walked over to Crow and Selene as she began reading the list of local cleaners that had she had found with her google search: “Joe’s Cleaning Service, Merry Maids, Oz Cleaning…”

BranBeith picked up the mushroom, and smelled it saying, “Interesting aroma. Combination of mushroom and Dragon’s Blood.”

MoonCloud and Kat Lady, eyes wide open, stared at each other and cried in unison, “Put the mushroom down and step away!” But it was too late….
If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.--Mark Twain

Image

User avatar
EarthWard
Posts: 2307
Joined: 08 Sep 2003, 01:39
Gender: Male
Location: Bard's Hill off the coast of the Atlantic
Contact:

Postby EarthWard » 12 Oct 2004, 16:06

1996 - Avalona School of Magic and Witchcraft

:merlyn:

"Dragon's blood. There are many different types that you may find in the plant kingdom but the one we will be talking about today is the Dracaena Draco which is a giant tree of the East Indies and is one of the oldest representations of the vegetable kingdom. This substance was used in many ancient cultures as an embalming product and was said to bring immortality to anyone that could mix it properly with other herbs and combine it with a fungi of some sort. The fungi would then be eaten and the eater would be granted at least three hundred more years upon his or her life. Now to identify such.....yes Kat Lady. How can I help you?" Professor Alfrain pointed his wand to the young lady with her hand raised.
"Has anybody ever been able to do it correctly?"
"Well, there of course has been rumors and such. Many rich barons have tried it later on in there life when they realized that they could not take there money with them when they died. The thing with the Dracaena Draco mixture is that if it doesn't work then you could die and if it does work and you live another three hundred years, then you must make a stronger position the next time. That is why the Millennial Dragon Tree is so heavily guarded by the Fay folks. If the right Dragon's blood mushroom was made from it one could have immortal life for a very very long time."
MoonCloud raised her hand and spoke "If the tree is being guarded then that means somebody has done it before. Who is it?"
Professor Alfrain scratched his head "I'm afraid I can't tell you that class. Her name is not to be spoken again."
"But it is a girl!!!" said Kat Lady and MoonCloud at the same time
"A lady yes. She attended this school many many years ago before I was a teacher. She was a master in Herbals and invented many positions that we still use today, but when she stumbled upon an ancient Egyptian manuscript containing the ingredients for the Dracaena Draco mixture the temptation was to great. When you gain an extra long life you lose something in return. You no longer need a loving heart because all that you would love will not last as long as you. It is a heavy price to pay and one that I would not wish on anyone. But she took it and is probably out there now still young and pretty but underneath her is a monster that will stop at nothing to gain the resin from the Millennial Dragon tree, the last ingredient she needs to complete her transformation."
"Wow!" the class said together
Kat Lady turned to MoonCloud and whispered "I bet one day we will find out who she is. Deal?"
"Deal!" MoonCloud and Kat Lady shook hands

Image
Last edited by EarthWard on 12 Oct 2004, 16:16, edited 2 times in total.
Image

User avatar
EarthWard
Posts: 2307
Joined: 08 Sep 2003, 01:39
Gender: Male
Location: Bard's Hill off the coast of the Atlantic
Contact:

Postby EarthWard » 12 Oct 2004, 16:11

Image

Picture of a fantastically gnarled dracaena draco known as the 'millenial dragon tree' in Icod, Tenerife, estimated between 1000 and 2000 years old

Information provided by Lorraine
Image

User avatar
Kat Lady
OBOD Druid
Posts: 6824
Joined: 07 Jul 2004, 02:00
Gender: Female
Contact:

Postby Kat Lady » 12 Oct 2004, 17:45

Bran Beith waved the mushroom yet again and the befuddled MoonCloud and Kat Lady reappeared.

"Wow! What was that?" the cumulous MoonCloud cried. "Where were we, Kat?"

Kat Lady shrugged and said, "All I remember is BranBeith waving that durn mushroom thingy and quick as a bunny we were there in that Druid school learnin' about some dragon plant and some lady that needs somethin' for somethin'."

Crow, Selene and the others stared at Kat Lady, who strangely sounded like Billy Joe Bob. She looked like Kat, and sure smelled like Kat. But the voice sure was Billy Joe Bob's.

"Could she be channeling?" asked CelticDao. Littlewhitedove and Cyforwydd cast their appropriate spreads to see if this was the case as MoonCloud began to tell the group her version of the adventure.

"We were in some sort of classroom," she squeaked, " and there was this teacher and some story and...oh my! Lots of things about Dragon's Blood!" With this last statement, her voice changed and she sounded different, yet familiar.

Selene stared at the floating cloud that now had the appearance of a cloud-bird. "Night Hawk?" she queried.

Before she could even finish her statement, who should come trampsing through the door but Billy Joe Bob and a befuddled Night Hawk.

Sorchael leaned on her mop and said to no one in particular, "Yep. Not in Kansas anymore."

Crow pulled out his reporters notebook and mumbled as he began to write, "Easy assignment, eh..."
If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.--Mark Twain

Image

User avatar
CelticDao
OBOD Bard
Posts: 1087
Joined: 31 Aug 2004, 22:12
Gender: Male
Location: Colorado High Country
Contact:

Postby CelticDao » 12 Oct 2004, 18:49

"Well," thought CelticDao, "no time like the present to unveil my true nature." He sat crosslegged in the middle of the shop, and reaching into various pockets, produced a blue silk pouch, a white silk bag, and some long cylindrical objects wrapped in black polar fleece, covered with red and yellow tribal flames. From the blue silk bag, he produced a round, flat piece of soapstone, inscribed with the Chinese character Dao. To the left of it, he placed... A US Pocohantas Gold Dollar coin... and to the right, a little plastic goat, standing on his hind legs - across the bottom of the figurine was the word "Celebrator". There was still a little lump in the blue silk bag. He brought out a greenish bit of stone, and put it on top of his head!

Opening the white silk pouch, he quickly withdrew his Druidcraft Tarot deck, took out the four aces, The Lady, and Cernunnos. The Lady went next to the dollar coin, and Cernunnos went next to the goat. Next, he stood up and laid the aces in a circle around him. To the East, went the Ace of Swords, as he mumbled about peace in the east, and something about a Hawk. To the South, went the Ace of Wands, as he continued to mumble about Peace in the South, and something about a Stag. West, was next, with the Ace of Cups, and all about him definitely heard something about some Salmon and more Peace in the West. Finally, he faced the North, and dropped the Ace of Pentacles, and said "Let there be Peace in the North", then something about a Bear.

Well, some of the people recognized all of this, but then, with a swooshing of the odd Guinness-soaked tunic he was wearing, he just sat down in the midst of all this! Out of the smaller polar fleece bag, came a flute! He started to play... As the haunting melody filled the entire shop, the ladies started looking around with very odd looks in their eyes. There was definitely a very feminine presence in the shop now! He set the flute down, and from the other polar fleece bag, he pulled out a bigger flute! As he raised it to his lips, a deep eerie voice emerged, first low, then rising... Now the men in the shop were really taking note, as an earthy lusty yearning slowly started beating like a heartbeat through the shop... There was no mistaking the presence of Cernunnos!

As CelticDao set the second flute down, everybody looked surprised to see that his face was wet with tears. Well everybody except Caritas, who had walked in, in the middle of this, and seemed to see the shadow of antlers about his head. He then lifted both flutes, arced them from east to west, skyward, and the entire circle glowed with golden light, and disappeared, along with the mysterious mushroom!!!
Namasté Y'all.
BrightWind

Image. . . . .Image
2005 IL . 2008 IL

User avatar
Branbeith
Posts: 263
Joined: 06 Aug 2004, 16:43
Gender: Male
Location: Connecticut (Usa)
Contact:

Postby Branbeith » 12 Oct 2004, 20:00

Celtic Dao just stared at where Caritas had been. Everyone silently looked from Dao to where Caritas was back to Dao...back to the empty spot. It was like trying to watch a virtual pong game - It was really weird.

Celtic Dao shattered the silence by screaming "He took my flutes!" This statement opened emotional floodgates; the women and men started to argue back and forth....Mandahr was pointing his horn at KatLady who,in turn, was pulling a really nasty sign from under her collar.
It was a rhino in a circle with a slash through it. "Got it at a place called the Big E" a few years back." She innocently whispered to Branbeith.

Mooncloud started to drip on Crow..who cawed about his wet feathers...He pulled at a couple of BRABbeith's feathers...She shrieked "ShIIIIIIIIIIIII"....promptly waved her stick and poor Billy Joe Bob found himself at the end of a leash held by a pleased Storm.

Night Hawk kept dive bombing Storm and Billy Joe Bob.....
Meanwhile in a corner Selene had slipped on a pair of Beith's ruby colored shoes was typing "Kansas" into her beloved computer. When nothing happened...She hit delete...and America was cut down to forty-nine states.....

The mayhem stapped Celtic Dao out of his stupor. He touched the greenish stone on his head....murmured something the stone glowed and everyone became silent and still....A sheepish Dao explained that the spell cast by the two flutes had been interupted causing Chaos. (At this point in the explanation Kat Lady couldn't help but cast a wary eye at BRANbeith)
Men and women looked at each other. All murmured embarassed apologies - which were quickly becoming way too sappy.
"We have a problem", Celtic Dao said, stopping the comments before another fight started over who was more sincere about seeking forgiveness. "I need the my flutes back and something tells me we need that funny mushroom."

Both Kat Lady and Mooncloud started to talk simultaneously.
"we were at a druid school....Lady made a potion...took the potion....tree guarded by the fay.." Was all our heroic group could make out from the wind and meows.

"We need to think about this. Who was the first one we saw when we got here? " To everyone's surprise..a beautiful birch tree now occupied the space where BRANbeith had stood. Bran BEITH, the tree, continued. "Sorchael. Wasn't she doing something with dragon'sblood? Where is she now?"

Light illuminated Kat Lady's face when she figured out where the tree was going. "All I know is that..."
"A LADY was the one who took the potion long ago. But it wasn't right...a secret ingredient was missing..." Moon Cloud chimed in.

"Maybe it was a portabello mushroom!" Mandahr stated, as he tried to comfort a distraught Selene murmuring "There should be fifty states, right?" Mandahr, being a rhino, wasn't sure. Anything after 16 (Rhinos have four toes on each foot) was "many".
"Maybe Sorchael and the lady are one and the same?" Kat Lady finally voiced the conclusion Bran BEITH was moving towards.
To no ones surprise Sorchael was no where to be found. Now they had to find her before she found that weird mushroom. How did Caritas fit in? And how could they find a whole missing state? Crow wondered, mentally kicking himself for taking his one last assignment. Easy, yeah right.

User avatar
Underground River
OBOD Bard
Posts: 1055
Joined: 05 Jun 2004, 19:22
Gender: Male
Location: Canada
Contact:

Postby Underground River » 12 Oct 2004, 23:04

I don't feel like writing right now, but please please please make me the dragon blood lady! :) I love being evil in stories.
GD
I love you...
Je t'aime...
Ik hou van jou...
:ghug:

User avatar
EarthWard
Posts: 2307
Joined: 08 Sep 2003, 01:39
Gender: Male
Location: Bard's Hill off the coast of the Atlantic
Contact:

Postby EarthWard » 13 Oct 2004, 00:26

Sorchael was running through the woods behind the incense factory with flute and mushroom in tow. She stopped at a passage where an under ground river ran. She followed the water down into the darkness until it opened up to a large chamber that was lit with candles.
"Do you have it?" A low but strong voice said on the other side of the chamber
"Yes. Yes I have it" Sorchael hurried forward to a large wooden chair with its back facing the entrance. "Here you are." She held out the Dragon's blood mushroom and a faintly green hand took it. Standing up to her full height the woman swallow the mushroom in one bite. Her skin that was a pale green faded into a lovely pink hue. The small wrinkles that surrounded her lips and eyes smoothed out and graying hair turned black as a raven's feather. Eyes that flicker red like flames turned emerald green.
"This will hold me for a few days until I can get close enough to that tree." The woman, known as the Green Druid to her servants peered into Sorchael's heart. She could see right into people with an unnatural ability. "What troubles arise in the outside world?"
Sorchael swallowed hard "They know of you. Some are students of Avalona and have heard your tale. There is another whom was able to conjure up the spirit of Cernunnos with this flute" she handed over the stolen flute
"Oh yes. CelticDao. A servant of Cernunnos. They have been looking for me for a while but have failed. Cernunnos feels that I have avoided a very important part of nature and wishes to correct it for me. Let him try. I shall have his horns next time. What else? I see a bird in you mind. A crow."
"Yes. A reporter has been asked to look into the Dragon's Blood shipments. I fear that it is only a matter of time before he finds out who we are."
Green Druid, with great easy, picked Sorchael up by the nape of her cloak
"I do not pay you to fear. I pay you to do as you are told. I myself will pay a visit to these students and this CelticDao. I'm sure he would enjoy his flute back with a few modifications of course. You need to get that Crow bird to take you to see the one they call the Earth Warden. He is supposed to be holding a lecture about Dragon's Blood at the Millium Tree. During this time the Fay will be gone and you will be able to extract the resin that I need. And remember don't stop until the tree is dead and you have ever last bit of its resin."
"But how can I do this with Crow and the EarthWarden there?"
"Leave that to me!"snarled Green Druid "They will have more important matter to deal with, like saving their friends! HAHAHAHAHA!"
With a push she sent Sorchael on her way. The Green Druid left the cave as well and when she stepped out into the sun and looked down at her reflection in the water, up stared one of the most beautiful woman in the world.
Image

User avatar
Underground River
OBOD Bard
Posts: 1055
Joined: 05 Jun 2004, 19:22
Gender: Male
Location: Canada
Contact:

Postby Underground River » 13 Oct 2004, 01:15

Hey, EarthWard, that was awensome! I am soooooooooooooooo evil! :o :lol: :grin: :fear: The underground river was a nice touch. This story has gone beyond my writing ability so I will sit back and read about my evil twin. :)
EvilGreenDruid
I love you...
Je t'aime...
Ik hou van jou...
:ghug:

User avatar
colm
Posts: 92
Joined: 07 Jul 2004, 23:18
Gender: Male
Location: USA
Contact:

Postby colm » 13 Oct 2004, 01:58

The Green Druid, feeling secure within the plans she had set into motion, set off to a nearby town for some of the more common items that she needed. Moving agily through the streets, she was able to sidestep a young child who had popped out in front of her.

The girl looked curiously up at Green Druid. "You are really ...." the girl started. But Green Druid quickly made a hideous face and growled at the child terrifying her. She hated children, of humans a few children were able to see her as she truly was beneath the shell of magic. But soon that would change! She thought angrily as she raised her hand toward the child. She looked up to see a brown flury of feathers coming at her and the child. Quickly she withdrew her hand and fled down a side street.

Colm had seen the situation unfolding beneath her as she had been exercising her wings. Though the woman below was beautiful the sight of her had sent a chill to the core of her bones. Quickly as she could she flew to the child. Scared, the girl below was crying.

"Did you see what that mean old woman did?" The child sobbed. Colm realized that to a child all adults must seem old. "I'm sure she was just in a bad mood dear." Colm tried to comfort her. "I wish I could poker her in her ugly green nose!" The girl huffed. "And pull out her grey stringy grey hair!" This assessment of the beautiful yet horrible woman was a bit much for Colm to take in. "But the woman was really quite beautiful, child. I am sure you are just angry. But being mean back isn't the right way to handle it." "NO!" the child screeched. "She really was ugly!" She then told Colm just how the crone had looked to her.

Soon all the comotion had caused the child's mother to finally pay some attention and she drug her off with her down the street. The whole experience had left Colm a bit baffled. She knew that she herself had sensed something about the woman. Could there have been more as the child had said? Children tended to be more open and better able to "see".

Still on pins and needles she decided she had to tell someone, and since she needed to nail down some plans with her seed group about an upcoming ceremony she decided to seek out Merlyn.

User avatar
Ruthie
Posts: 1470
Joined: 03 Feb 2003, 19:48
Gender: Male
Location: CT, USA
Contact:

Postby Ruthie » 13 Oct 2004, 02:45

Hard at work in the Basement, Merlyn barely heard Colm's talons onthe great metal door. But he sure noticed when she flew straight in the open window!
"Merlyn! I'm so glad I've managed to find you! There was this little girl, and this woman, and I felt very, very bad, and then she was beautiful, but the girl said she was horrible, and I think the girl was right, and I think there's something terribly wrong!" she excitedly reported as she flew in circles about Merlyn's head.
"Well, Colm, If you think there's a problem, there most likely is," he began calmly,"and if you think you can stop flying in circles I'll help you sort it out, but now, I'm gettin' just a little dizzy."
So Colm settled on the Bench, and Merlyn took his chair, and the two discussed at length exactly what Colm saw and heard. Merlyn thought about this dilemma, and the two went to his great Library, to see if this "old woman" would appear in any of the stories.
***
Back at the Factory, Dao's greenish stone was hovering several inches above his head, and he sat crosslegged, several inches above the floor. Clearly, he was deep in thought - "well deep in something," Moon Cloud mumbled to herself, "without that flute, we have no way of finding Sorachel, and if she got hold of the Mushroom, we'll ALL be deep in something." Selene typed away trying to figure out which state was missing. Billy Joe Bob and Storm tried to help out, but after they saw "Texas" both replied "Yep, still thar," and quickly lost interest. Crow, sensing this assignment might in fact really be his last, pieced together in his notebook what had happened so far, and reached into his jacket pocket for the remainder of his lunch. He'd been trying to eat healthier lately, so had ordered the "gardenburger" at the drive-thru. As wisps of it's scent wafted past, Kat Lady growled and hissed, and ran behind Mandahr to hide.
"Well, what is it Kat," asked a bewildered Crow, "it's just a gardenburger, with extra onions. Here, want some?" He ripped off a bite and popped it in his mouth. Everyone inhaled expectantly, the room swirled, shrank to a mere pinpoint, and then expanded again. In the silence, everyone looked around, not immediately sensing that anything was out of place. "Well, that's a relief!" came a voice like jingling bells, "I thought they made those things out of portobello mushrooms!"
They, in fact, did. The jingle-bell voice which belonged to Moon Cloud, was coming from Billy Joe Bob!

User avatar
Crow
OBOD Druid
Posts: 4662
Joined: 10 Feb 2004, 17:04
Gender: Male
Location: East Coast, U.S.A.

Postby Crow » 13 Oct 2004, 07:57

Crow looked around the room and just shook his head. He felt like weeping.

All he’d asked for was a simple assignment with which to fulfill his two-weeks’ obligation, and now look at it. A nice, easy interview with the owner of an incense factory had turned into a free-for-all, with everyone shouting about plots and counterplots; beautiful women becoming crones; Portobello mushrooms; secret formulas; lotions and potions; missing states; and magic trees. And perhaps most disconcerting of all, the jingle-bell voice of Moon Cloud was coming from the lanky form of the Texan, Billy Joe Bob.

Going through a rapid change of emotions, Crow no longer felt like weeping. He now felt that he should just open a vein, right here and now, and let his life bleed out in front of them all.

“That will show them; show them what they’ve driven me to. Then they’ll feel sorry,” he thought to himself. He then reached behind a feather, searching for his pocket knife, but all he could find was a pencil stub. He threw it to the floor in disgust.

Then, his mood shifting again, he thought to himself, “Wait a minute. Why should I kill myself? And who says they’d feel sorry if I did? They wouldn’t feel sorry; they’d be glad! They hate me! I’ve always known it! It’s a conspiracy! They’re doing this to me on purpose! Well I’ll show them!”

Crow walked to the center of the room and shouted, “EVERYBODY SHUT UP!”

And surprisingly, everybody did.

When Crow spoke again, it was with a quiet intensity that somehow seemed louder than his shout a minute before. “I came here to do a simple job, and a simple job I will do. I came here to do an interview with the owner of this incense factory. Now, does everybody understand that? Is there any part of what I said that is not clear?”

Everybody in the room just shook their heads from side to side.

“Okay,” said Crow, “I’m going to ask one person to talk, and one person only. Then when I get an answer to my question, I may ask someone else to talk, but until I tell you, just stay quiet. Does everybody understand that?”

This time everybody just nodded their heads up and down.

“Now,” said Crow, “I want to know what you all are doing here, but you’re going to tell me one at a time, starting with you, Moon Cloud.”

Moon Cloud drifted front and center, took a deep breath, and said, “Well, you black-hearted varmint, I was back home on the East Coast of the good ol’ U.S.A., and I was takin’ actin’ lessons, on account of I wanted to brush up my moon phases for my next role in one of these cotton-pickin’ stories o’ yorn, but I plum run outa money. So I was readin’ the paper one day, and I seen one o’ them advertisements lookin’ for somebody to run the dilution chamber in an incense factory over here in London town. Well, it ain’t nothin’ for me to drift across the ocean, so I done it, and I got the job, and here I am.”

Crow listened to this account, trying to set aside the fact that it was Billy Joe Bob’s voice coming from the cloud-shaped entity hovering before him. He really didn’t want to get into that now. He wanted to take just one thing at a time.

“Okay,” said Crow, “Thank you, Billy Joe … er … Moon Cloud. How about you next, EarthWard? Why are you here?”

EarthWard stepped forward now, and everyone turned to listen. “I was driving a truck for Night Hawk Express Delivery, but Night Hawk there,” he said, waving a hand at the little bird perched on a curtain rod, “wasn’t paying enough to keep a bird alive, so one night I was in one of those all-night truck stops, and I was reading the paper and I saw an ad looking for workers at an incense factory back here in London. The money sounded good, so I quit Night Hawk, came over here and got the job.”

Night Hawk could barely contain herself after listening to EarthWard’s insults about her treatment of her employees, but she piped down after Crow glared at her.

The old reporter then went around the room, and everyone’s story was much the same. They’d all seen advertisements for workers in the incense factory, they’d all been hired with no questions asked, and they all were performing incredibly simple tasks and receiving wages that were too good to be true.

“Okay,” said Crow. “I’ve decided that I’m going to go up that elevator to the top floor of this building, because that sign over there says that’s where the executive offices are located. And when I get there, I’m going to find the owner of this place, and I’m going to get an interview, and it’s going to be a nice, quiet, pleasant little interview. And one of the questions I’m going to ask is why so many people have been hired, just to produce a simple thing like Dragon’s Blood incense. And then I’m going to write my story, and it’s going to be a simple story, but a good story, and then I’m going to retire. We’re not going to have any more weirdness, because I just KNOW there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for all that’s been going on here. Just because lots of STRANGE things have happened in the PAST, doesn’t mean that something strange has to happen EVERY time, and it SURE doesn’t have to happen when I just have TWO MORE WEEKS until I can go home to my nest and REST!!!”

Everyone was still stunned at Crow’s behavior, and nobody said a word as the old reporter limped over to the elevator and pressed the button marked “UP.”

No one could have foreseen what happened next …
Image
“You can't study the darkness by flooding it with light.” ~ Edward Abbey

User avatar
Draghkar
Posts: 377
Joined: 02 Aug 2004, 17:59
Gender: Male
Location: Jabeek, Netherlands
Contact:

Postby Draghkar » 13 Oct 2004, 08:20

At the moment the button was pressed, a loud bang sounded from the basement... The lights flickered once and then went black and everything went quiet...

Everyone was stumped and then a loud scream came from up the elevator shaft...

MURDER MURDER HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLPPPPPPPP

A womans voice was shouting...

Everybody froze....

Crow was the first to gain his senses again and shouted......

User avatar
Branbeith
Posts: 263
Joined: 06 Aug 2004, 16:43
Gender: Male
Location: Connecticut (Usa)
Contact:

Postby Branbeith » 13 Oct 2004, 12:19

Not waiting for the elevator, Crow quickly flew up the shaft and to the thirteenth floor looking for the woman who was screaming murderer. The old reporter was flabergasted to find Sorchael there holding a very banged up Merlyn. Crow fearfully felt for a pulse and found one.

"I was undercover." Sorchael explained. I am an agent for
M.E.R.L.Y.N. ( Men/women Rallying against Laywers and Youthseeking Nuts)." She managed to get out through sobs.
"Lawyers?" The reporter in Crow couldn't help but asking.
"Can you think of anything else more evil?" The old bird had no reply.

"The Green Druid found out about me; I escaped, or so I thought.
She followed me here to get to him."

Merlyn stirred and started to whisper something. Both Crow and
Sorchael strained to hear his wise words.........

User avatar
mandahr
Posts: 24
Joined: 06 Aug 2004, 16:37
Gender: Male
Location: Connecticut
Contact:

Postby mandahr » 13 Oct 2004, 17:02

Meanwhile as all of the chaos swirled about him, Mandahr (a very linear thinking rhino) tried his very best to help the situation.

"I think that most of the added chaos came from when you deleted Kansas," Mandahr said to Selene. "I will use my Barney Google search engine on your laptop to see if I can find it."

As Mandahr began his search for the state of Dorothy, he began to realize that the search would be difficult even with the Google. After many grueling hours of sweating and pushing buttons, Mandahr found the technologically impaired state and hit the restore button.

When Mandahr looked up with a triumphant grin and announced his success, he realised that his sweating had made him a very lonely rhino surrounded by many sticks of burning incense.

Nonplussed, Mandahr said "I have found and retrieved Kansas from Selene's laptop. I can't imagine how this will help, but it must in some way be a positive. Call me for all of your bits and bytes needs. Bye"

And Mandahr hopped (as much as a rhino can hop) over the circle of incense and trotted out the door with a look of satisfaction.

User avatar
Kat Lady
OBOD Druid
Posts: 6824
Joined: 07 Jul 2004, 02:00
Gender: Female
Contact:

Postby Kat Lady » 13 Oct 2004, 17:25

As Mandahr trotted out the door, Merlyn pulled Crow closer and said, "I’m too old for this,” as he lost consciousness.

Crow and Sorchel looked at each other. Neither could argue with the unconscious wizard as he had a valid point. Crow was beginning to think he was too old for this also, but chose not to vocalize this thought at this time. Sometimes it just wasn’t worth getting up in the morning.

He and Sorchel dragged the unconscious Merlyn to the elevator to deliver to the gathered shoppers in the warehouse below. Crow knew that Merlyn was the key and they needed him to be alert, or at least awake, in order to get to the bottom of this.

Selene was smiling at the fact that she Mandahr had finally restored the lost state as Crow and Sorchel returned with the wounded Merlyn. She glanced at them and immediately began a new google search for healing herbs to concoct a poultice to help restore him to health. Littlewhitedove and Cyforwydd again pulled out their cards and stones for guidance as to how the health of Merlyn could be restored. MoonCloud-Bob hovered over Merlyn, weeping from the stress of the situation. Dao and Earthward huddled together, calling upon the powers of their chi to prepare for the healing of the broken wizard. Bran pulled out her stick to augment their process.

Amidst the confusion, no one heard the hissing and spiting or saw the arched back and raised hair on the back of Kat Lady directed at the door where Evil Green Druid appeared out of nowhere, pushing the befuddled Mandahr back into the room…
If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.--Mark Twain

Image

User avatar
colm
Posts: 92
Joined: 07 Jul 2004, 23:18
Gender: Male
Location: USA
Contact:

Postby colm » 13 Oct 2004, 18:04

Back in the lab a pile of brown feathers began to move. No one but Merlyn had known he was being visited by Colm and so no one had thought to look for her in the shattered lab. From the corner in which she had been thrown by the mysterious blast, she carefully pulled herself upright. That had really hurt. The magic involved here was even more powerful than Merlyn had suspected. She looked about frantically but could see no sign of Merlyn. She prayed he was alright. Perhaps it was time to be a bit more assertive. To show a side of herself that few people knew existed. A part of herself even she was sometimes afraid of. As Colm began to transform she remembered to grab Merlyn's book from his desk. The informatin he had found would need to be brought to the group of people he had told her about. The transformation complete colm slithered toward the elevator shaft, her brown and green scales silent on the floor. Hmm. Perhaps she should have remained a bird just a bit longer....


Return to “The Attic”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest