Pub Crawl: The Heat of The Moment

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Kat Lady
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Pub Crawl: The Heat of The Moment

Post by Kat Lady » 14 Nov 2004, 14:05

Substitute for The 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.


Kat Lady sauntered into the Foggy Duck, Crow’s chewed pencil and assignment book dangling on a chain from her cat collar. It had been another long, boring day at the Pagan Press where she was a Temporary employee, filling in for Crow who had decided that after the incidents in the last few months he needed a vacation. So he and Mrs. Crow had packed up the crowlings and headed for some exotic island for some well-deserved R&R. Kat sat wearily down at the bar and sighed thinking how glad she was that Crow was due back any day. The last few weeks had been one boring story after another. She just didn’t know how many more mystical shop openings or missing wand stories she could handle. Where was the mystery, the adventure that Crow was constantly complaining about? She sure didn’t see any.

“Gladys, a tall one please,” she said to the woman behind the bar. “Wait! You’d better make that chocolate.”

Gladys placed a tall glass of Chocolate Milk in front of Kat and asked conversationally, “Tough day at the office?”

“You have no idea”, came the reply. “I can’t for the life of me figure out why Crow finds this job stressful. Boring, yes, but too much excitement? HA!” She took a long swig from the glass before her. Why did she take this gig in the first place, she thought to herself as she looked around the Pub. Oh yeah! Something about feeling alone, no longer useful. What with Kat-Storm at University, the kat box was empty now. So she thought this would liven things up. Yeah…right. With another sigh, she took another long drink of the milk.

Before she could put the glass down, she found herself being slapped on the back by CelticDao, who appeared beside her dragging a protesting Caritas by the ear. Grinning, he asked, “How goes it, Lady Kat? Kat got your tongue?”

Kat glared at the symbol before her and shook her head. She decided it wasn’t even worth the energy to make a comment. Then decided she should and opened her mouth to speak when the pub door burst open and in burst little Night Hawk, looking tired , disheveled and anxious

The three at the bar looked at her and said, “What’s wrong, Hawky?” in unison.

“Oh dear, oh dear! There’s a fire at The Druid’s Head. Come quickly!” came the excited squeaks.

A voice from the ceiling replied, “Must have been all the heated discussions over there lately. Too much heat so it must have spontaneously combusted,” a Cumulous MoonCloud said as she squeezed through the rafters. Kat barely had time to move before a shower of Skittles hit the stool where she was just sitting. “Sorry! I’m still trying to get a handle on the Rainbow of Color thing!”

Kat thought this could be the most exciting story she had seen in weeks so she grabbed the pencil and notebook from her collar and ran after Night Hawk followed by CelticDao, dragging Caritas and MoonCloud who was still dropping skittles along the way.

When the Foggy Duckers made it to the Druid’s Head Pub, they discovered that Kernos and Merlyn had already doused the fire and were in the process of putting things right. Another false alarm. She plopped down among the rubble and felt something sharp against her cat rump. Out from the rubble she pulled the pumpkin pendant Selene had been wearing. “That’s odd”, she said aloud. She looked down, kicking more of the rubble with her foot…paw…whatever! Then she noticed that about a foot away from the pendant was a black Crow feather. “Crow!” she cried.

“Where?” asked SkittleCloud. Kat held up the lone feather to the brightly colored cloud formation.

“Look! Over here! We’ve found something.” About three feet from the Kat and the Cloud, CelticDao and Caritas had found a ruby red shoe with a spiked heel that Caritas now held up for all to see.

“Beith!” gasped MoonCloud, now back to cumulous form. She and Kat bridged the gap between them and the other two Foggy Duckers and the 4 companions started sifting through the rubble where they found Green Druid’s computer speakers next to Selene’s laptop. By now, NightHawk had joined them and was saying “What does it mean?” as CelticDao opened the laptop. The five friends watched as the Screen Saver came into focus and the word HELP was displayed in orange, black, red and green letters.

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” cat said to no one in particular. So much for boredom….
If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.--Mark Twain

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Post by Ruthie » 14 Nov 2004, 18:14

Moon Cloud, so sad her friends had been surely burnt to death in the great conflagration, cried out blue skittles. Mostly, they went thwump as they hit charred wood, blackened sofa-cushions (she had helped pick out that upholstery!), and piles of poems and spells the pubsters at the 'Head had been exchanging.

One blue skittle-tear made a plink! Moon Cloud, never very good with her aim, tried and tried to shoot for the plink! again, but to no avail.

"There's something else in the rubble," she said, "something plinky. I think it came from over here."

Kat-Lady and Caritas tried to reach the "plinky-place" Moon Cloud had pointed out, but CelticDao stopped them. He had seen how charred the floor was, and was unsure about the floorboards, especially in the centre of the blackened heap.

"I'll see if the flutes can bring some light on this, " he said, and played his flutes. Everything magickal in the room became enlivened. Selene's pumpkin-medallion glowed again, Green Druid's speakers crackled to life, Crow's feather stood on it's point and twirled, Beith's shoe did half of a jig, and the laptop began scrolling strange characters: runes, ogham, sigils, elvish, every magical script that had ever been downloaded.

Out of the midst of the charred sofa came a strong, blue glow.

Night Hawk flew to see what was glowing. "It's buried pretty deep," she said. "I can't reach it, and my talons aren't strong enough to uncover it."
CelticDao stopped playing. The magic which enchanted the items to life stopped, and everything settled down again, except for the blue light. The light had a life of it's own, it generated it's own magic.

"Well, whatever happened, it must have started in there," Kat-Lady mused, scribbling notes as she spoke.

"I'll see what I can reveal," announced Caritas, and she brought out her tarot to discover what the buried, glowing object could be. "I see a passage," she said. "But I seem to be missing a few cards here. All I can see is a journey, and a door. What is beyond the door is protected by a spell, and I cannot see past that. I think what the cards say is that we need a key, a way to open the door. I didn't draw any thing about an ending, so I believe our friends are safe."

The group worked together, clearing the rubble from the edges, and moving toward the center, toward the blue glow.

Suddenly, CelticDao's fear of a weakend floor came true, and with a creak and snap, the floor fell, carrying Caritas, Kat-Lady and CelticDao down with it. The charred rafters groaned. The ceiling buckled. Night Hawk fled for the staircase, to render help to her friends who had fallen below.

Moon Cloud panicked. She knew she was an insubstantial cloud, and wouldn't be hurt in the collapse, but she was also unable to help her friends in their danger. She made for the hole in the floor, faster than she had ever floated before. Spinning, tumbling, twirling, her only thought was to lift her friends from danger. She couldn't wait for the breeze to carry her this time, and she invoked the spirits of the wind. Before she realised what she had done, she found herself able to reach down through the hole in the floor, and pick up her friends! She hugged them all tightly, and carried them back up, pushing away the debris, and deposited them carefully on the floor.

Night Hawk gasped. She had seen the whole thing. Moon Cloud collapsed on the floor from exhaustion.

"What just happened?" asked Kat-Lady

"I think it was a tornado," answered CelticDao, "but a tornado that hugs like Moon Cloud."

Caritas reached down and picked up an old staff which had fallen by her feet. It was Merlyn's staff. She was just able to make out a series of runes as their glow faded, and noticed a wet blue skittle stuck to the blue orb on top.

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Post by Crow » 14 Nov 2004, 20:38

“There truly is no escape for me. I am doomed,” said Crow. Even in the midst of the two-week vacation that he’d wrangled from the slave drivers at The Pagan Press, misadventure still had found him.

“Don't be so selfish, you’re not the only one here,” said Selene, thinking that Crow had been referring to their current situation of being trapped in a pitch-dark tunnel beneath the Druid’s Head Pub.

“Has anyone seen my other shoe?” asked Beith, apparently oblivious to more immediate concerns.

“It’s dark in here, in case you hadn’t noticed,” said Crow.

“Actually I hadn’t,” answered Green Druid, offering a gentle reminder about her blindness.

The friends had been drinking at the bar, the sound of angry voices floating up the stairs at the back of the pub, when suddenly a voice, even louder than the rest, had shouted “Fire!”

Just like most people would do in that situation, Selene, Crow, Beith and Green Druid ignored the shout and continued to nurse their drinks. There were people running past and all sorts of shouting, but the friends were so deep in thought, staring into the amber depths of their beverages that the pandemonium didn’t register, until finally Green Druid asked, “Does anybody smell smoke?”

As if waking from a dream, they looked around and saw that the pub was being consumed by flames. The main entrance was blocked by a wall of fire, and acrid smoke rolled up from the stairwell. With the exception of Green Druid, who remained at the bar sipping her milkshake, the others ran around looking for a door or window that wasn’t blocked. Crow lost a feather, Selene’s pumpkin necklace broke when it caught on a banister, and Beith lost a shoe. But try as they might, they could find no escape.

With the heat building, Selene took charge. “Follow me,” she shouted, and since no one had a better idea, they followed the Administrator into the women’s restroom. “I was in here last week,” said Selene, her cheeks coloring, “and I was looking for the plunger, and I opened what I thought was a janitor’s closet, but it’s really a stairwell. I don’t know where it leads, but at least we can escape the flames.”

Fire was now racing across the ceiling of the women’s restroom, so everyone rushed inside the door, Selene slamming it shut behind them with a loud clank. In the dark, they groped their way down the stairs.

“Where’s this tunnel lead?” asked Green Druid.

“It leads to trouble, I can guarantee you that,” answered Crow.

“Hey everybody, I think I see a light,” said Beith.

“I don’t see anything,” said Green Druid.

“Over there, silly,” said Beith, pointing. “Look, it’s coming this way! Halooo, person with the bright light! We’re over here! Have you found my other shoe?”

Suddenly they felt a rush of wind coming from the direction of the bright light. There was a loud, clattering noise, and just in the nick of time, everyone pressed flat against the tunnel walls as a subway train came roaring up and screeched to a halt in front of them. Emblazoned on the side was a large, purple number 7. The doors to the train slid open, and the friends stepped inside. The train started again and was soon hurtling down the tunnel.

Crow was thinking to himself. We were drinking in London, went down some stairs, and now we’re on the 7 train? No. It can’t be.

The train was slowing down again, and from somewhere overhead came a voice, mostly unintelligible, but everyone made out the words, “last stop.” Through the train window, a sign was now visible.

Selene said, “It says Flushing. Now that’s what I call a plunger!”

The doors slid open and everyone exited onto the platform. Crow wondered what would happen next …

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Post by EarthWard » 18 Nov 2004, 02:56

"Popcorn! Candy! All kinds of things for a long trip on the Drama Express!"

"Excuse me Sir!" Crow said to the tall man vending his wares "Where exactly are we?"

"Exactly! Well, I don't know exactly. I would guess you are about 15 and a half feet away from the train track and 30 feet from the stairs leading up to the main lobby." The man said with a shake of his head before he continued his announcement of "Popcorn! Candy!..."

Crow tried to rephrase the question "Yes thank you, but what is this place called?"

"Its a train station!!! Boy what's wrong with you?!" the man walked on his way and Crow figured it better to just try his luck elsewhere.

"Let's go upstairs and see if we can't find out what is going on" said a cool headed Selene.

The group made their way up the steps to an open plaza where people of all shapes and sizes hurried around. Infact, on closer examination they were not people at all. Humanoid maybe, but not human.

"Good lord I feel like I'm in some kind of tripy muppet land!" Bieth said

"Selene you don't have your lap top do you?" Crow asked already knowing the answer

"I don't but I don't need it to know where I am...this is a kind of Fairy World"

Sure enough her assumptions had to be right. The popcorn man walked past again, but this time the friends noticed that on the back of his head was another face sound to sleep.

"Holy molly." Crow said "Never in my wildest dreams have a seen anything like this."

A little person with really big feet and a big nose was walking in there direction paying no attention to where his feet was taking him. He ran right into the back of Bieth with a thump.

"Oh pardon me I was...." the little man stopped and took a big sniff and then yelled at the top of his lungs "HUMAN!!!!"

The whole station stopped and stared. Even the clock on the wall stopped ticking and turned his face towards them. You could hear a pin drop, and then the storm hit. Everybody was running out of the station as fast as they could leaving only the friends behind and one other little guy zig zaging around trying to find an exist but he kept running into things. Crow knew he had to get information and that little guy was going to be the best source.

"Excuse me sir but why are you running away?"

"Because of the humans! But I forgot my eyes at home! Are you a human?"

"No not me" said Crow "I'm a bird. I think you are safe now. Why are you scared of humans anyway?"

"I'm not scared of humans! I am scared of what comes after them" The little man was trembling now

"What comes after them?"

"What always comes after them! Their shadow! Their shadow creeps along with them striking fear and chaos everywhere it goes."

"But how?" Crow asked "How can a shadow cause fear?"

"Because it is a shadow! It is the dark half that nobody wants to look at. It is the wound that goes uncured. It is the hole that goes unfilled. It is the darkness without the light."

"But I thought everything had a shadow? I see my shadow all the time when I am flying and the sun is over head."

"Not here we don't"

Sure enough Crow looked on the ground and could find no shadow of his own. He looked at Beith, Green Druid, and Selene and their shadow was there stretched across the ground, but something weird was going on. All the shadows were looking around in every direction, however their owners were standing still. A siren blasted through the air and a dozen or so leprechaun looking cops came running towards the group. Huddled togather they stood still until they were tackled non-to-gentlly down to the ground.

"Hold them down while I cut the shadows off!" one of the officers exclaimed. Soon the fellows had the shadows off and on their feet. "Okay shadows. Off to the train with you!"

"Wait! Where are you taking them?" Crow yelled

"To the Drama Express of course. That is where all Shadows found here go. To be shipped back to where they came from."

"And where is that?" Crow asked

The little leprechaun looking cop raised an eyebrow to the question and said "You ain't from around here are you? The train goes back up into the world of the Living Sun where they will be dissolved, but I have heard rumors that some shadows have been excaping off of the train. I would hate to be near a fugitive shadow, you never know what kind of chaos they might bring."

"Why are the so chaotic? There just shadows!" Crow could not understand it

"Just shadows!" the cop said "Shadows that are not acknowledged or have no home are the worst things in the world. They cause trouble in a hundred different ways! They can cause fights, disease, computer failure, train delays, you name it and I bet it was caused by an unacknowledged shadow."

"Look here" Crow crossed his wings showing them that he met business. "These are my friends. I don't know how we got here, but I will not let anything happen to them while we are here. If their shadow is a problem then sew them back on and let us get back on the train to go home."

"Sorry, but that train only goes one way and never the same way twice. You guys are stuck here but no shadows allowed. Strict orders on that handed down by the King himself."

"Then we shall go see the King himself. Where is he?"

"Well, just follow the yellow brick road."

"Oh that is so cliche!" Bieth said for the first time since here shadow was removed "I guess I need my ruby slippers too...my shoe! Where is my shoe!"

"I don't know but we need it. If this is a fairy world of our imagination, then anything that has been dreamt of would work. Even clicking your heals and asking to go home." Selene said while looking around.

"Well, I have done my duty" the officer said "Best of luck but we got to get these shadows out of here." The group marched down the steps with shadows struggling to be free.

"Did they really take my shadow?" asked Green Druid

"Yes I am afraid they did, but we'll get them back don't worry. Let's get going"

The crew of friends, befuddled as they might be, marched on down the yellow brick road.
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Post by CelticDao » 18 Nov 2004, 15:55

Meanwhile, back at the Druid's Head, Caritas reached and rummaged through her...well..."bag" (it was way too big to be properly called a purse), and pulled out...

...a Golden Fork!

"BYOFCOA!" She shouted!

Immediately, CelticDao reached into his flute bag, and drew out an identical Golden Fork! "BYOFCOA!" He shouted back!

Then in unison, they shouted "Who needs two forks anyway?"

Yes, with two charter members of the ancient Bring Your Own Forks Club Of America present, and wielding their legendary divining forks, it's hard to tell what might be possible! After all, they HAD defeated the Two Forks Dam Project, back in the 70's. Slowly, the air between them began to ripple and glow, and an odd square figure seemed to form, with a zig-zagging line drawn from the upper right, to the lower left, and the upper left half was purple, and the lower right half was orange - the zig-zag of course, was silver.

"What in the name of all that is Amish is THAT?" queried MoonCloud?

"Well," said CelticDao, in his best Doctor Didjaknow voice, "that's the Yaq Yump, symbol of perpendicular manifestation, of course!"

The Kat Grrl, was next to say "Whaaaaat? And what in the name of the Sacred Furball does that have to do with this?"

"Well," CelticDao responded, "back in the seventies, in my High School Physics class, I teamed up with my Lab Partner Laurel..."

"Just a minute there Buckaroo!" interjected Caritas! "You're not bringing up THAT trollop again! What do I have to do to get rid of the shadow of Miss Laurel 'Bug' Bruns in our lives???"

Blushing, and looking at his shoes, CelticDao stammered "um, well, um, you know, this is actually the biggest discovery we made, in our Nuclear Physics Independent Study course..."

"You mean before or after that experiment to discover the coefficient of friction of saliva lubricated tongues on various body parts?" Caritas was actually leaning toward CelticDao, and looking like she was going to do something ugly with his flutes.

"Now wait a minute there hon, it's not like you and I were an item back then, and Laurel just wanted to get good grades, by doing some really exciting original research! We DID both get A's, after all!" CelticDao now had on his tap-dancing shoes, and was giving it his best shot.

"That's Enough! No more High School Love Spats!" exploded with a burst of skittles, from the massive thunderhead in the rafters, as MoonCloud showed her darker side. "What does this have to do with us?"

"Well, it's all about wave propagation theory, and duality, and Divine Manifestation", explained CelticDao. "One day, over a pseudospherical pizza, we discovered that duality - ISN'T."

Kat Grrl pounced. "You can't make a pseudospherical pizza! That would defy the laws of Physics!"

"Exactly," said CelticDao, "which is why, ever since, I have proclaimed to the world that the Laws of Physics don't apply to Pizza. The Pseudospherical Pizza was made by a place called Avogadro's Pizza, down by the University of Denver."

"What's their number?" Asked Kat Grrl, "My feline intuition is telling me we're gonna need some special pizza for this problem."

"Avogadro's Number? 867-5309, of course.", replied CD, "and thanks for reminding me of that. You know the Yin and the Yang?" Everybody nodded. "Well, that was the beginning of our experiment - When Divinity manifests in the world, it manifests as BOTH Masculine and Feminine, in balance. The ancient Chinese knew this and used the Yin Yang symbol to represent it. Well, Laurel and I discovered that the Yin Yang is like a Radio Wave! That's how we can perceive it with our brain's center for religiousity. But, I theorized that if there is a Yin Yang Wave, then there must be something ELSE, perpendicular to it, just like a radio wave has both an electrical and a magnetic component, at right angles! Sure enough, with some research, and spiritual litmus paper, we discovered the Yaq Yump!!! That's this Orange and Purple symbol, and it's no coincidence that the three colors (including Silver) are three of the words in the English Language, with which nothing rhymes!

At the same time you have the masculine and feminine aspects of Divinity, you have the feline and canine aspects of Divinity, at a right angle to it! That's how the Ancient Egyptians came up with the Dog and Cat Deities! Unfortunately, a dyslexic Monk, in the 1100's saw Dog, and read it as God, and from that day forward, we've lost the whole concept of Divine Felinity, and Divinie Caninity! Our God and Goddess lost their Shadows!
Namasté Y'all.
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Underground River
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Post by Underground River » 18 Nov 2004, 16:47

"Did somebody mension physics?" asked GreenDruid. "I heard physics. Sounded like they were talking about cats and dogs and gods too. Weird."
"Don't worry," said Selene. "I am sure you're just picking up conversation from the pub. You do have telepathic abilities I think maybe. When we get home, I'll look it up on my laptop for you."
"Thanks, Selene," said GD.
"I'm cold," said Beith. "Having only one shoe makes me cold. Can somebody please light a fire?"
At the word fire GreenDruid felt a strange tingling sensation in her heart. She was afraid. She had never felt this before.
"You ok?" asked Beith. "You look scared. Did your telepathy pick up something bad going on?"
"No, Beith," said GD. "I just feel tingly in the heart."
"Hmmm," said Beith. "I am cold and you're scared. We need a fire to warm us."
"Yeah," said GD, the strange feeling growing stronger. "A fire would..." She broke off and stared at Beith, terror on her face.
"What?" cried Beith. "What is it, GreenDruid?"
GreenDruid's body began to glow then. She screamed in mortal dread and burst into flames.
"Warmth!" cried Beith moving toward the firy girl. "But you're going to burn...oh my I'm sorry GreenDruid. I didn't mean to make you burn!"
Beith burst into tears and collapsed to the ground.
GreenDruid burned slowly down to ashes. Everybody watched in horror as she smoldered and they all listened but she made no sound as she burned.
Suddenly, they all saw something in the ashes.
"It's her spirit," whispered Beith in fear. "She's going to haunt me for setting her on fire but I didn't mean it. I didn't try to burn her."
The something looked astonishingly like an egg.
"An egg," whispered Selene. "Wish I had my laptop to research this. Oh, GreenDruid, I'm sorry..." She trailed off as the egg began to move.
Suddenly, the egg burst apart! A tiny bird emerged.
"What is it?" asked Beith, trembling with fear.
"Don't be afraid, Beith," said Selene suddenly understanding. "It's a phoenix!"
The bird on the ashes squeaked. "You said fire three times in a row without saying forest. You made me transform. I thought I was dying too, but the fire didn't hurt and so I wasn't afraid. If you say forest three times without saying fire, I will become GD again. Say water three times and I'll be the underground river."
Beith stared at the Phoenix.
"Oh, um, phoenix," she stammered. "You're so beautiful. You've got green and blue and red and gold feathers. You're softer than a kitten I bet. Can I pet you?"
"Yes," said Phoenix. "Certainly you may find out if I am softer than our dear KatLady!"
Beith touched the Phoenix timidly. "You're as soft," she said. "But not softer."
"There's a bit of cat in me too," said Phoenix. "If you say meow nine times I might just transform into a soft kitten." She grinned at Beith. "NightHawk showed me how to shapeshift and those 4 shapes are in me. I doubt I can become anything else but who knows."
"Can you see?" asked Selene curiously. "As a phoenix I mean?"
"Don't know," said Phoenix, opening her eyes slowly. "Yes! I can! I am not blind as a Phoenix. As a human, and as a river, but not as a Phoenix. I could probably see as a cat too."
Phoenix
I love you...
Je t'aime...
Ik hou van jou...
:ghug:

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Post by Caritas » 19 Nov 2004, 19:58

Caritas gazed around, a bit bewildered...high school love spats??? What in the world were people talking about?

"Moon Cloud - thanks for saving us, " she said as she attempted to get oriented.

The particular troubles she was having at this moment was the fact that she was seeing two realities at once - the room she was in, and another underground river cavern in which a glowing phoenix was taking shape.

She tried waving the staff in her hand, Merlyn's staff, but the smashed blue skittle seemed to be interfering with the runic inscription's power. She flicked it off, inadvertently sending it into CD's face. He looked up from his dissertation on Divine Canines and Felines and she said: "Whatcha think? Shall we give the staff a go?"
It is precisely because our present life is so inseparably linked with desire that we must make use of desire’s tremendous energy if we wish to transform our life into something transcendental.  -Lama Thubten Yeshe

There are two ways to look at life. One is as though nothing is a miracle; the other is as though everything is. -Albert Einstein

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Post by Ruthie » 19 Nov 2004, 23:43

"Oh, I've seen that thing being used before," Moon Cloud cautioned Caritas. "You have to know what you're doing. You press the runes for the spell, in the correct order, , and then there's this other one you press, I think it's send or submit or apply. I can't remember, because by the time Merlyn got to the last rune, my eyes were tight shut!!!"

(Sorry, I'm at a loss tonight. I just wanted to pop in quick)

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Post by Kat Lady » 20 Nov 2004, 02:57

So Caritas began pressing the runes in the order in which they were carved into the staff, top to bottom. Nothing happened.

“Here. Give me a try.” CelticDao put his flute back under his symbol and grabbing the staff not too gently he began pressing the Runes in order from the bottom to the top. Still nothing happened.

“What makes you think you are any better at this, Hmmmm?” Caritas cried as she made a grab at the staff. “I am the one that received the highest grade in that Nuclear Physics Independent Study course. And if I remember right, you had the lowest!”

“Nuh uh!” came the reply.

“Yessir.”

“No way Jose! I had the highest grade,” replied PetulantDao.

“You lie!…..”

And MoonCloud, NightHawk and Kat Lady watched the two old friends fight, tugging and pulling to gain possession of the staff.

“Children, children! This is not the time to be fighting,” Kat Lady said purringly as she stepped forward, gently grabbing the staff to take control of the situation rather than take the chance of it breaking. But it was too late.

SNAAAAAPP!

"Oops!" Kat meowed.

All of the Foggy Duckers and friends looked at the staff. Then they looked at each other. Then they looked at Kat Lady and cried in unison, “You broke it!” And the ground started to shake, and the earth started to crack and heave and out of the chaos grew one very large portabello mushroom with a blue Skittle stuck to the top of it.

***********************

Meanwhile, in the city of the non-humans, AwenPhoenix, Selene, Beith and Crow began chasing after the leprechauns that had stolen Beith and Selene’s shadows. The ran past butcher shops, bakeries, book shops, drug stores, Times Square…Crow stopped in mid air. “Times Square?” He cawed.

“Makes sense to me!” Selene said, dripping with calm. Beith and Crow looked at her as if her head had just spun around.

“Makes sense? How?” Crow replied, in his best skeptical reporter’s voice.

“Where else could you find such a hodge-podge of here-to-for unknown creatures? Why in the city that never sleeps: New Youk City, of course! And the passers bye didn’t seem to notice the 2 women, the crow and the soft phoenix as they found themselves staring at the Time’s Square Marquee, flashing, “Greetings and Welcome….”
If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.--Mark Twain

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Post by Billy Joe Bob » 22 Nov 2004, 17:50

Phoenix and the others pressed themselves against the wall of a building, which happened to be a bakery, and watched the crush of people on the sidewalk, all of them trying to get somewhere quickly and not succeeding.

“Oh my, look at that cobbler!” exclaimed Selene, peering into the window.

“A cobbler, where? Does he sell shoes or just mend them?” asked Beith, looking around frantically.

Crow looked at the ditzy redhead and shook his head. The girl had a one-track mind.

Recovering herself from a momentary lapse, Selene took charge. Even without her pumpkin medallion, the others still looked to her for leadership. “No, Beith dear, I was referring to the cherry cobbler in the window of the bakery here, but it’s no matter, because we have more important things to do right now than eat cobbler or shop for shoes.”

“Eat the cobbler?” said Beith, blushing. “Don’t they accept Euros here?”

“Never mind,” said Crow. “Selene’s right, this place may look like New York City, but there’s something different about it. I was here once before, and I never heard of anyone trying to steal shadows. What’s that all about?”

“If only I had my laptop, maybe I could figure some of this out,” said Selene. “But for now, we seem to have eluded those shadow-stealing leprechauns, though obviously too late for me and Beith. I wish I could understand how we finally managed to throw them off our track.”

It was Phoenix who figured it out.

“That’s easy,” she said. “I may be blind, but I can tell that we’re standing in the shade. Obviously there could be no shadow in the shade, and so the leprechauns can’t tell who has a shadow and who doesn’t. So as long as we stay in the shade, Crow and I will be safe. Beith and Selene, of course, have already lost their shadows, so it shouldn't matter to them anymore until we recover their shadows, if they even can be recovered.”

Everyone congratulated Phoenix on her deduction, and to test the theory, Selene and Beith stepped away from the wall and into the sunlight. No shadows could be seen, and no leprechauns appeared.

Just then there was a commotion down the street. Crow looked in that direction and saw a cowboy hat moving quickly above the sea of faces that moved endlessly toward him. Then he heard a voice.

“’Scuse me folks, comin’ through, outa the way, please. Whoops, sorry about yer foot there, mister …” It was Billy Joe Bob from Texas, and on his arm was a ravishing brunette. And looking farther up the street, Crow spied a platoon of leprechauns that was evidently pursuing the fast-moving Texan and his lady friend.

“Billy Joe Bob, quick, stand over here,” said Crow, pulling the Texan and his companion into the shade of the awning, which stretched over the bakery shop window. As soon as the shadows melted into the shade, the leprechauns, who apparently were incredibly stupid, lost interest in the chase, turned left at the corner and stalked dejectedly away.

“Crow, you old buzzard, glad you was here to save me. Them little midgets been chasin’ me all the way from the financial district, shoutin’ sumpin’ about shadows. Well at first I figgered they was just yer typical New York weirdo, you know, so I just reckoned I’d ignore ‘em, but then one of ‘em reached out and touched me and I got a spooky sorta cold feelin’, and, well, you gotta get up purdy early in the mornin’ to pull one over on a Texas boy; my mama dint raise no fools, and I knowed that I had to get away from that ornery critter. So I started hoofin’ it down the street as fast as I could go, until I seen one of them yaller taxicab thangs. Well just as I was gettin’ in the door, this here little lady,” he said, pointing to the stunning brunette, “was gettin’ in the other door. Well, she said she’d just got here from Colorady, and them green midgets was chasin’ her, too, so we decided we’d share the taxi and try to get away. So we done it, and we was headed up this big street, I seen a sign that said Broadway, and we was just a couple blocks south of here when the cab driver seen in his rearview mirror that one of the midgets was chasin’ us. Well, he throwed on the brakes and ordered us out, said he dint even want no money. So the little lady and I been runnin’ for two blocks, and if ye hadn’t seen us, I reckon we’d be runnin’ still.”

“Did you see any shoe stores down that way?” asked Beith.

“Billy Joe Bob,” asked Selene, “What were you, of all people, doing in the New York financial district?”

“Well,” answered the Texan, “I’m livin’ back in the Great State, now, and as you know, I got that pooka down on the range. He’s doin’ fine down there, grazin’ and fattenin’ up, but he tolt me one day that he’s powerful lonely for a lady pooka. Well, I went up to Fort Worth and down to San Antonio, and I just couldn’t find no more pookas, female or otherwise, so then I heard about this place called the New York Stock Exchange, so I loaded up my pickup truck and trailer and started drivin’, but derned if I could find any livestock when I got here.

“And oh mercy, but I’m fergettin’ my manners. This little lady here introduced herself in the cab awhile ago, and now I’d like you all to make her acquaintance. Crow, Selene, Beith, Phoenix, this little lady must be as smart as she is purdy. She’s in town for some kinda physics convention. Please say how d’ya do to Laurel. ..."

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Post by Crow » 22 Nov 2004, 21:01

The friends all introduced themselves, and since no one seemed to be bothering them here, they discussed the situation amongst themselves.

“You mean you’re all druids?” asked Laurel. “My first boyfriend many years ago back in Colorado said he was a druid, and we broke up a short time after he told me. He started playing flutes, burned candles and incense all the time, and started talking to trees and rocks and things. It was altogether too strange for my tastes. But if you’re druids, where are your robes?”

“We don’t always wear robes, only on special occasions,” explained Phoenix. “And personally, I don’t burn incense, it makes me sneeze.”

“Whatever,” said Laurel. “But as an eminent physicist, I may be able to help with some of these other problems you’ve been discussing, such as whether this is the real New York, or some kind of alternate New York on a different plane.

“Now you all say that you were in London and boarded a subway where there shouldn’t have been one, and then arrived here in Flushing a short time later? And Billy Joe Bob says that he was driving in his pickup truck on Interstate 95 in New Jersey, and felt something funny as he was crossing through the Holland Tunnel. I myself arrived by train, and I admit that I felt something funny as we entered underground during our arrival at Grand Central Station.”

On the sidewalk next to the door of the bakery was a chalkboard on which the shop’s daily specials were written, and Laurel snatched up a piece of chalk, erased the board and began writing a mind-numbing series of equations:

Image

and

Image

“And so, as you can clearly see,” said Laurel, “We have all stumbled into an alternate reality, to which there are underground portals leading back to our own world. I don’t have enough information to calculate why the portals opened or when they will again close. But it is obvious that in this world, the shadows that are very ordinary in our world are seen as evil and dangerous things, and leprechauns, which are rarely seen in our world, are quite ordinary on this one, and have evolved into beings with the sole purpose of stealing any shadow they see.”

“Sole purpose?” asked Beith. “Do you mean that the leprechauns might have something to do with shoes?”

Only Selene seemed to understand all that Laurel had said, but the others were used to that, and once again decided to follow the lead of their administrator.

“We must find where the leprechauns have taken my shadow, and Beith’s shadow. I sense that even if we find the portal out of this place, we won’t be able to leave unless we are whole, meaning that we have our shadows, too. But it won’t be safe for the rest of you to travel until dark, and even then we’ll have to stay out from under any lights.”

“That won't be easy here in Times Square,” said Crow. “But you’re right, it’s the only chance we’ve got.”

And so the friends sat on the sidewalk under the bakery awning. A few people tossed coins to them as they walked past, but otherwise they were undisturbed.

Even though he was on vacation, Crow scribbled in the reporter’s notebook that he carried at all times. He wondered if people back in London were trying to find them. He wondered what would happen next …

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Post by Kat Lady » 26 Nov 2004, 16:14

As Kat, Moon Cloud, CelticDao, Caritas and Night Hawk stared at the giant mushroom, it began to grow arms and legs. Soon it was a Giant Mushroom Man with the Blue Skittle ball cap. The friends stared in awe as the Mushroom Man took a tentative step toward them. Kat’s remaining 8 lives passed before her eyes and for some reason she thought of the Chicken Heart that ate up NY City which for some other reason reminded her of longitude. The longitude reminded her of Selene which then reminded her that they had Selene’s pumpkin medallion which reminded her that the medallion was really a homing devise Crow had given to Selene after one of his assignments so he could always find her. “Eureka!” she cried.

“No. EarthWard, “ came the reply from the giant mushroom.

Night Hawk squeaked in delight. “EarthWard! You look so different in a hat!”

“Well, I have been practicing my shape shifting since our last encounter, Hawky , and thought this would be the best shape since the portabello mushroom is a known agent for teleportation and I believe the others have been teleported to some other plane of existence. So if you will just eat a piece of me, we should be able to locate them.”

“Did you just actually say ‘eat me’, EW?” replied CelticDao in between uncontrolled giggles and guffaws.

Caritas and Kat Lady looked at each other, the mother look on their face, the one that seems to say “boys” and shook their heads. Caritas replied, “EarthWard. Isn’t there some other way than eating you?” (Snicker from CD) “Sigh! Isn’t there some other way than ingesting minute pieces of the mushroom?”

“Can’t see one myself. Not a very pleasant prospect, if you ask me,” replied EarthMushroom, glaring at GigglingDao through furrowed brows.

“Well I have realized that Selene’s pumpkin medallion is a homing device and should bring us right to her,” Kat Lady said and quickly explained what she knew about the medallion.

“Oh! And don’t forget Beith’s ruby red shoe!” Moon Cloud reminded them. “That should lead us to Beith. There is no place like home and Beith is “home” for the shoe right now.”

“That does seem like the better option than losing a piece of my leg or something,” came the mushroom’s reply as he transformed himself back to EarthWard.

So the friends concentrated on Selene and Beith. A blue glow engulfed them and they found themselves outside of a bakery looking at the yummiest cherry cobbler they had ever seen. And there staring back at them from inside the shop was a leprechaun, that reminded them of Branbeith, holding a stick…
If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.--Mark Twain

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Post by Wolfwalker » 27 Nov 2004, 02:15

A rabbit came lolloping around a corner, squealing "I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date!" and skittered to a halt in front of our intrepid heroes... "Beith? SELENE!" the rabbit puffed, "quick, hide me... Some stupid green fae or gillagree is after me, yelling something about my shadow! I tell you, it's the last time I'm coming here for cherry cobbler during daytime!"

"Did you say that you've come here before?" asked Laurel breathlessly
"Wolfwalker?" asked Selene, quickly picking up the shivering little rabbit.
"Well it isn't Bunny Hill sweets!" retorted the winded bunny.

"How in the fur did you get here Wolfie?" asked Beith leaning in close as a leprachaun wandered past, glancing about...

"I use the rabbit hole in the Dragon's Lair at the Duck!" Wolfie replied, "I was having a hop around some of the side tunnels and found this one, and there's this bakery..."

"We know about the bakery!" chorused the others, "tell us about the hole!"

"Wolfwalker," said Selene in her sweetest leader's voice, "are you saying you know how to get us OUT of this dimension?"

"The other end of the hole is in the cleaner's closet in Grand Central Station," replied the wolf-rabbit. "Why, can't find your own door back the way you came here?" They all shook their heads in the negative...

"Hah!" chortled the furry ball huddled under Selene's cloak. "I knew you should have spent more time asking me questions in the Shaman!" he giggled. "Well carry me... you'll all shape-shift in the cleaner's closet and follow me back through the hole to the Duck! Come on, it's not far!"
Love people and use things, NOT use people and love things...

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Post by MorningStar » 27 Nov 2004, 08:33

Morning Star stares out the window of the Foggy Duck watching for her friends who left to check out the fire.

"Gladys have you heard anything yet or been able to get that crystal ball to work....their out there somewhere...i'm sure lost in those catacombs they call the basement of the OBOD."

Gladys just shook her head no and quietly replied.
"They'll be alright you know some how Selene and Beith will see to it and they took CelticDao with them so they aren't alone."

MorningStar shook her head in saddness.
"It's been days now and i'm worried...sigh"

So MorningStar took out her Prayer Pipe filled it with tobacco, sat in sunlight coming from the window, and began to puff her Prayers of safe journey's and speedy returns of her friends.

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Post by EarthWard » 27 Nov 2004, 17:11

:guinness:
I don't have time to write but you guys are doing a great job!!!
Too funny! :-)
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Post by Billy Joe Bob » 28 Nov 2004, 18:16

“Everbody just wait a ding-danged minute here,” said Billy Joe Bob. “We caint be traipsin’ off to no broom closet yet on account of there’s two folks here who done had their shadow stole. We caint be beatin’ feet outa here until we rescue them shadows. John Wayne wouldn’t a done it, and we ain’t a gonna do it neither.”

“But Billy Joe Bob,” said Caritas, “We don’t even have any idea where to begin such a search.”

Everyone nodded his or her head in agreement, except for Crow, who was simply writing everything down.

“Well, if there’s sumpin’ that ye don’t know, my old daddy said that the best thang a body can do is to start askin’ some questions, and that’s what I aim to do,” answered the loquacious Texan.

Removing the lariat that he had clipped to his belt, Billy Joe Bob began to twirl it overhead, rodeo style, and soon lassoed a fat, bald, bespectacled New Yorker, who was dressed in a three-piece suit and carrying a black briefcase. The other pedestrians on the sidewalk saw this take place, but quickly averted their eyes and hustled past, not wanting to get involved.

Billy Joe Bob reeled in the New Yorker, and the frightened man was soon surrounded by the Pagans who huddled under the canopy over the bakery store window.

“Now just settle down there, little feller,” said the Texan to the frightened New Yorker. “We ain’t gonna hurt ye none, and I’ll turn ye loose as soon as ye answer a few questions fer us.”

“I don’t know anything,” said the New Yorker.

While Billy Joe Bob held the frightened man, Kat Lady took over the questioning.

“Trust yourself, you know more than you think you do,” she said to the New Yorker. “Now, we want to know about shadows.”

“SHADOWS!” shouted the New Yorker, and then recovering himself, he whispered “Shadows? Oh God, I don’t know anything about shadows, please let me go …”

But Kat Lady persisted in her interrogation. “We already said that we’re not going to hurt you, and that is true. But we’re also not going to let you go until you tell us about shadows, and I know you know something, I can sense it. Now, when shadows are taken by the leprechauns, where do they take them?”

The New Yorker, who was sweating profusely in the chill November air, finally understood that the only course of action open to him was to talk, and so he did, though in a whisper: “I don’t know why anyone would want those foul shadow things, but I’ve heard – never seen, mind you, but heard – that shadows are kept in a concentration camp in Connecticut, and they’re guarded by a full battalion of leprechauns. And there’s barbed wire, and watchtowers and all kinds of electronic alarms.”

CelticDao gave a low whistle, “Wow, a full battalion of leprechauns. How will we get past them and all that other stuff? And how could we even get all the way to Connecticut without having our own shadows stolen?” He looked at Laurel to make sure that she’d heard him. Caritas fumed.

“If only I had my laptop,” said Selene, who at least had recovered some of her commanding aspect by donning her pumpkin medallion, which had been brought along by Moon Cloud.

Billy Joe Bob released the New Yorker, who scurried away.

Beith, who was ecstatic to be wearing both shoes again after Night Hawk had brought the lost stiletto-heeled ruby slipper along in her strong little beak, suddenly had an idea.

“Look everybody, there’s a bus idling at the curb across the street. We could sort of borrow it and drive to Connecticut. I have my driver’s license now, you know, and I think I could manage a bus. Where’s Connecticut?”

There was much discussion about this plan, but since no one had a better idea, they quickly ran across the street to the empty bus, which, fortunately, was close enough that no leprechauns appeared during their quick sprint through the sunlight.

Beith sat down in the driver’s seat, and with some help from Wolfwalker, figured out how to close the door. With shouts of “LOOK OUT!” and “WATCH IT!” and “OH MYGODS!” echoing from the rear seats, the redhead pulled out into traffic. With squealing tires from the bus and blaring of horns from other vehicles, the busload of Pagans careened down Broadway.

Kat Lady, who seemed to know something about directions, spied a sign for Interstate 95 North and pointed it out. Beith swerved across four lanes of traffic, and, clipping the curb, bounced onto the entrance ramp.”

Sitting near the back of the bus, Billy Joe Bob said, “Anybody got some fresh underwear? I think I need to change my shorts after that one.”

But everybody just sat in shocked silence, holding on tight and wondering what would happen next …

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Post by Kat Lady » 28 Nov 2004, 20:00

Selene placed the wolf in rabbits clothing in the pocket of her Cobbler’s Apron…Cobbler’s Apron? She glanced down and for the first time realized she was dressed in apparel that looked almost like what she had seen in the movie Darby O’Gill and the Little People when she was but a wee lass. A wee lass?? Oh dear, oh dear! She turned to speak to Beith who was concentrating on driving on the right side of the road. She seemed normal. At least normal for Beith. She looked at Wolf-rabbit and realized he had a little stocking cap on his head. She looked at Crow, who had a jingle-bell collar around his neck. Then she looked at everyone else on the bus and saw various outfits. Some now had hats, some had pointy shoes but they all either looked like elves or leprechauns. She closed her eyes and opened them again. Nothing had changed. Yep, they were now a bus full of little people of some sort or other. “Does anyone notice that we are all...um…different than when we started this journey?” she asked the bus full of creatures.

“Of course we are. One cannot progress on the Druidic path…” began EarthWard in a munchkin voice.

“I think she means our attire,” said Crow in a higher pitched caw than normal. He yanked off the collar and threw it to the ground with a sigh. He just couldn’t catch a break. That darned Karmic Clause. He stared at his friends. Even Moon Cloud now sported holly and ivy interspersed in her cumulous form. The only ones that didn’t seem affected by this change were Beith and Kat Lady. Beith he understood, since she was fae herself. But Kat, why didn’t she have any change?

Kat met Crow’s eyes and said, as if reading his mind, “Magic Collar. I fortified its protection since the Evil Green Druid thing.”

“Hey!” squeaked UndergroundGreenPhoenix and she turned to Night Hawk, who had mistletoe hanging from her wings, for comfort.

Beith pulled through the toll-stall and headed toward the first exit off of I-95 at the Connecticut boarder. She seemed to know where she was going. She pulled off the road and through the gates of what appeared to be a deserted factory. There they were met by 12 leprechaun guards all armed with sling shots.

“All of you. Come with me!” came the shout from the leader who led them to a large room full of toys! Millions of toys! And there, at the front of the room, holding a staff in his hand, the exact staff that had broken in Kat Lady’s paws was Azreinoch. And next to him, dressed from head to foot in red, white and green Santa Clause attire was Gandolf2004. He smiled at the little Foggy Duckers and said, “Greetings and Welcome.”

The Foggy Duckers and friends were all thinking the same thing, but it was Crow who put a voice to it, “Now what?"
Last edited by Kat Lady on 30 Nov 2004, 21:26, edited 1 time in total.
If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.--Mark Twain

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Post by Saille-Panthera » 29 Nov 2004, 21:23

'So nice of you all to come and help us here at the toy and presents factory!' said SantaGandalf2004, to the Foggy Duckers, who looked as though they saw pigs fly. Actually, they did, little pigs in all colours, wearing elves-uniforms and carrying presents to the different slays with reindeer in front of them.
'Ahum', it sounded from a different direction. There was Katsu, in a full Sinterklaas attire: a mitre on his head, a big white beard, a red bishop's robe, a staff, even the big book of Sinterklaas and a bishops ring, in which every childs behavior was being monitored! 'Excuse me Santa, but since my deadline is the 5th of december, not to mention all the shoes I have to fill each night before that, and yours the 25th, maybe you would be so kind as to let the new arrivals help me get everything ready?'
And before they knew what happened to them, Crow, Kat Lady, Beith, Phoenix, Selene, WolfWalker, Earthward, Billy Joe Bob, Night Hawk, Celic Dao, Caritas and Laurel (who were bickering all the time amongst the three of them after a bit of an awkward reunion) were ushered into the next room, Moon Cloud floating along with them. A complete different scene unraveled before their eyes. A beautiful white horse stood in the stable, and a huge amount of black people dressed in funny outfits were filling big sacks with all kinds of presents and candy. On of those black people (called 'zwarte pieten' by KatsuKlaas) came running towards them.

'Hey, how did you guys get here?' asked Saille_W, who was covered with black make up all over her face and the same funny suit as the other 'zwarte pieten'.
'Well, do you have an hour or so?' asked CD, and he started to explain the whole thing.
'O dear, that is an amazing story! And nobody stopped to buy that cherry cobbler? Truely amazing!!' Saille said as she nodded her head.
'Ok, tell you what, which of you guys got their shadows stolen again? Beith and Selene?'

'Hey, don't forget me, the fact that I've shape shifted does not change the fact that those leprechauns stole my shadow too when I still was Green Druid!' squeaked Phoenix.

'Ok then, you three, you'd best come along with me! Ok, let me think, shadows are attrackted by their owners again, but they tend to struggle and try to escape in this reality. What helps against that is some fine music, yes, that's it!'
Saille gathered the 'Pieten-band' (with the mouthpieces of their instruments covered in red from the lipstick everyone was wearing) and started walking towards an exit that had a sign 'Danger, entrance at your own risk' attached to it.
Now, wait just a minute, before I forget it.... and she got the sack with presents of her bag and started to spread the contents of it. Among other things there was a new pair of shoes for Beith, a brand new set of underwear for Billy Joe Bob, a huge pack of smoked salmon for Kat Lady and a brandnew laptop for Selene.
Ok, if the rest of you guys want to be so kind to help KatsuKlaas out to get ready for his trip around the roofs of Holland tonight and fill the bag with all the presents for the children who left their shoe by the fireplace (or at other places), than we are going to capture some shadows so we can send you back to the Druids Head or the Foggy Duck in one piece!

And of they went, the door slammed shut behind them. Faintly they could here the sound from the Pieten-band, singing some kind of tune none of them had ever heard, although Katsu was softly singing along to himself 'Zie de maan schijnt door de bomen...' (editors note: free translation: see the moon shine through the trees, a well known Sinterklaas-song in the Netherlands)


Crow looked at the others who had stayed behind, and again he was the one saying what everyone else thought: 'Does anyone else have a bad feeling about this?'
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Post by Crow » 30 Nov 2004, 17:30

Saille explained that she had actually found this place some years ago when digging in her garden, and suddenly had found herself in New York City. Her experience had been the same in that her shadow was stolen by leprechauns, and it had taken her a long time to discover where her shadow had been taken.

While Crow wrote down this fantastic story, Saille went on to describe how she had blackened her skin with coal dust until she resembled a shadow, which immediately caused a troop of leprechauns to run outside the fences and capture her. Once inside, she was able to reclaim her own shadow, but then she had been trapped.

Now, walking through the door marked “Danger,” the friends took in a scene that contrasted sharply with the Toy Room they had just left. Standing under an awning that stretched over the door, no shadows were cast, and from this vista they gazed with horror into an open pit coal mine, and working the mine were thousands and thousands of shadows.

Shadows dug in the pit. Shadows pushed heavy wheelbarrows. Shadows put coal into huge sacks, which they then tied and carried away on their shoulders.

Saille explained that after she’d been captured, she had labored like that for many months, but eventually had gained “trusty” status, with one benefit being that she had some duties that brought her to the Toy Room on occasion. She had luckily been there when the Foggy Duckers had stumbled into the room

Comprehension began to slowly dawn on everyone, but Crow felt he had to ask the question, just to be sure. “You mean that most of the leprechauns who aren’t on guard duty work in the Toy Room making toys for Sinterklaas, while the shadows are out here digging coal? Why?”

Saille spoke the words they all had been expecting: “The shadows dig the lumps of coal that are delivered to children who misbehave. The shadows are seen as the dark side of humanity, and in this dimension digging coal is viewed as just punishment for them. But the biggest problem is that once a shadow is thrown in here, there is no escape. And without your shadow, no one can become a ‘whole’ person again, and no one can cross back to our own dimension.”

“But most of us still are ‘whole' people,” said Laurel. “Why haven’t out shadows been stolen?”

“Because,” said Saille, you haven’t cast a shadow since you’ve been here. The lights in the Toy Room are so good that no shadows are cast, and up here under the awning, you don’t cast a shadow either. But if you were to step out there into the sunlight, the leprechauns would be on you in an instant!”

Taking charge, Selene said, “Well, it seems to me the first thing we must do is recover our shadows. Saille, can you find my shadow, and those of Beith and Phoenix?”

Saille said she would try, and everyone watched as she walked down into the pit. After about a half hour, she was seen walking back up the winding path, and following her were three shadows, all of them trudging along with sacks of coal on their backs, and one of the shadows was walking with a strange motion, as if it was wearing only one shoe.

“Oh, the poor dear,” said Beith, standing under the awning. “But I don’t understand, I now have both shoes, plus this lovely gift pair. Why is my poor shadow missing a shoe?”

“Because,” Selene explained, “At the time your shadow was stolen, you were missing one stiletto-heeled ruby slipper.”

“Oh,” said Beith, breaking into tears at the memory, and at the sight of her shadow.

And then, there under the awning, there was a happy reunion of people and shadows, and everyone except Crow dabbed at a speck of a tear. Crow just wrote it all down, wondering if somehow he could count this as work time instead of vacation time.

“Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit,” said Billy Joe Bob. “That’s the sweetest derned thing I’ve ever seen, them shadows and people cozyin’ up like that. But how are we gonna get out of here now?”

But Beith had other ideas: “Get out of here? Get out of here? I don’t know how we’re going to get out of here, but even if I knew how, I couldn't leave all those other shadows toiling away like this. I think we must look for a way to break them all out of here. Why look! Some of them don't even have shoes!”

And so, there at the edge of the open pit coal mine, with the sounds of shovels and picks on one side and the merry sounds from the Toy Store on the other, the Foggy Duckers, with their shadows, made a plan.

Crow just shook his head. He couldn’t believe what was coming next …

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Ruthie
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Post by Ruthie » 01 Dec 2004, 20:54

Everyone agreed that shadows feared the light, and always kept their heads pointed away from the sun. Everyone agreed that a moving target was much harder to capture than a stationery one. Everyone agreed that convincing the sun to do loop-the-loops in the sky to move the shadows was impossible. The sun was tired, and barely made it up each morning these days, and even then, it went to bed awfully early. So the 'Duckers decided to get those shadows moving and shaking without the help of the sun.
First, they tied Beith down and blindfolded her, because the rest of the plan required the sequins from her stiletto-heeled ruby slippers to be removed. Kat Lady found some tripod-like apparatus under her collar, and Selene and Caritas helped CelticDao reconfigure the Yaq-Yump for perpindicular manifestation, reflecting it across the Pumpkin Medallion affixed to the tripod.
Moon Cloud picked up the sequins removed from the slippers, and rose into the air above the pit, turning slowly across the Yaq-Yump's beams. Earthward began chanting "I feel the power! I feel the power!". Green Phoenix, dazzled by the turning light chanted "I believe in miracles! I believe in miracles"
Wolfwalker had a deja-vu, and he remembered his wild youth. He shouted "Hey! I feel good," did a little happy dance, then said, "I knew that I would."
Something happened just then. As the reflected Yaq-Yump intersected realities, the shadows in the pit put down their shovels and sacks. Their shadow feet moved in crazy directions. Their shadow hips began to jiggle. The oldest shadow, in the deepest part of the pit hadn't been moved like this in centuries. The moving light from the reflected Yaq-Yump stirred something very deep within, and it stood up and shouted "C'mon and take me to ..... Funkytown!"
And that proclamation rippled up through the pit, glanced off the sequined, turning Moon Cloud, and as it fell upon the 'Duckers, they were transformed once again, this time into 1970's clothing. Their shadows were disco-dancing, moving so erratically that no Leprechaun could ever catch them, and the dance fever under the awning attracted the shadows out of the pit.
They marched up the trails, alternately displaying the sacred letters of freedom, the first letters from the shadow liberation movement's motto: "Yonder Morning Comes Again", giving hope to all shadows in the pit of perpetual night. They sang "We love to say that the Y M C A! We all can play when the Y M C A!"
Crow put his head under his wing, wondering how any of this got started, who came up with it, and if he really wanted it to stop after all, because his feet were tapping, too.

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