Archive for September, 2008

The Wizard of LA
30 September, 2008

He was the greatest mage Los Angeles.

He knew the location of the first castle built there, and how to defeat the giant tarantulas of the Hollywood Hills.  He knew how to find the part of the Universal Lot that was always burning and how to placate the ancestors buried deep beneath the Mann’s Theatre.  He drew power from the dark old ghosts of monsters long dead, their souls seeping slowly from the tar pits, and which Beverley Hills Mansions were gateways to other realms of existence.  He knew the each human who lived within the LA city limits (sixteen, all of them over a century old), and which horror movies weren’t made with special effects.  He  has the final (and only) copies of three unreleased movies in a safe in his home, none of which will ever see the light of day, but none which he can bring himself to destroy.

Sometimes, he sits beneath the ghosts of an orange tree and cries for the fruit that they will never bear, but mostly, he protects his adopted home, the great City of Angels, from those who wish it harm, including, but not limited to, the soul of the great city itself.

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Resistance
29 September, 2008

He stood on the shores of life like a dark hearted god and stood against the winds of change.

But change is constant, and you cannot stare it down.

The Vizier
23 September, 2008

The Vizier was sick of the site of his guards.  Bloody King and his paranoid edicts, though the Vizier.  Two at the front, two behind, marching resolute and ever vigilant, clad head to toe in the finest armour, hands on the hilts of their swords, ready to draw them at the merest sign of trouble. Righteous Bastards to a man. 

They were the best bodyguards the King’s army, and thus, were the second best bodyguards in the kingdom. Not that most people knew this.  The King’s own guards were the best trained, paid and equipped soldiers on the continent, ready to lay down their life at the orders of their King, which worried the Vizier – how good is a soldier trained to die? 

He preferred his own brutes.  They weren’t as well paid, and their armour wasn’t half as shiny, but they didn’t take time to say ‘Halt in the name of the King,” before hurting people. It was a small difference, but those seven words could be the difference between life and death to the Vizier, something which he was becoming ever more concerned with.  Now, those vicious bastards were manning the doors and rooms of the worm halls for the Vizier.  An utter waste of their skills, thought the Vizier in disgust.

The Prophet Mohammed
16 September, 2008

Try as I might, I can’t find any info on Mohammed’s religion before he founded Islam.

Can any of you 3 regular readers help me out?

The Last Magician
14 September, 2008

GIlly and Roderick found a corner in the dank bar and bought themselves whatever passed for ale. Barbarian warriors, theives and rogues went about their business around them.

“So you’re a wizard?” Asked Gilly, “Why don’t we just use magic?”

“No, I’m a magician.”  Replied Roderick, “Roderick the Magnificent.  I’m not a Wizard”

Gilly looked perplexed, “What’s the difference?  You do spells, don’t you?  You made that bird appear out of nowhere.”

“I don’t do spells, I do tricks.  You know, prestidigitation, legerdemain, sleight’o’hand,” he waved his hand  wearily, and pulled a flower out of thin air.  A few heads turned in the direction of the small show, then shuffled further away.  A wizard in this kind of drinking hole was the kind of wizard that was dangerous to know.

“Looks like magic to me,” said Gilly as Roderick made the flower disappear in a small puff of smoke, “And what were those words?  Is that some kind of flower magic? The true names of roses? Some kind of ward of summoning? Can you speak to trees?”

Roderick gave up and just sighed into his drink. “I guess it’s a kind of magic, but it isnt the kind of magic that can help us get the armour.”

The small glimmer of hope left Gilly’s face.  Now they mirrored each other, looking despondently over their ales, “Yeah.  I guess.  You can’t magic iron.”

And then it hit him, that small glimmer of hope that had fleetingly entered Gilly’s mind found its way into Roderick’s.  He picked up a rusty nail that sat on the table in front of them.  Gilly watched as Roderick passed the nail from one hand to the other, and with a slight click of his fingers, the nail was gone.

“Actually,” Said Roderick, pulling the nail out of Gilly’s ear, “I think I can.”

Sand
10 September, 2008

I hate sand.

No more than that today.  Just saying, is all.

Dragon Bezoar
9 September, 2008

“Umm…” Gilly the Fence felt the radiant heat increase as the dragon moved it’s head down to his level. Gilly didn’t sweat as much as feel the liquids in his body get out and run away.  Only equal parts stupidity and bravery kept his feet on the spot and meeting the dragon’s gaze.  Well, now it’s nostrils – too close to see both eyes.  Gods those are scary nostrils, thought Gilly.

“Go on.” Said the dragon.

“It’s called a macroherpetobezoar, really.  At least according to the mages.”  The dragon’s eyes narrowed, the sweat doubled it’s evacuation.

“Y’see, a bezoar is a stone found in the stomachs of ruminant animals, you know, sheep, goats, cows.  Sometimes humans.  It’s made of stuff they…they, umm…”

“Eat?”  Said the dragon encouragingly, though it failed to be anything but threatening to Gilly’s ears.

“Yes,” Said Gilly in involuntary falsetto.

“Use?”  Asked the dragon.  The single syllables were a blessing to Gilly.  Dragon’s are usually more elegant, but any more and Gilly wouldn’t be able to breath.  Part of Gilly’s brain pointed out to the rest of him that this meant the Dragon was interested, at least enough not to kill Gilly.

“Well…they’re good for stopping poisons.  All types, animal venom, alchemical, even Belladonna.  You just drop it in the food or wine and it soaks up the poison.  Kings pay much gold for the peace of mind of being able to enjoy every drink and every meal they eat.”  Explained Gilly, “And a Macroherpetobezoar is…well…a dragon’s bezoar.”

“Steel.” Said the dragon, the sybilant ‘S’ blowing off Gilly’s rather expensive hat.  It landed in a pool of lava and disappeared into cinder and smoke with a puffy ‘whoomp’

“Yes.  A bezoar’s only made of that which doesn’t digest.” Said Gilly, letting his knowledge make up for his courage.”  For cows and goats, it’s dirt and stones.  For humans, it’s hair and  bone, but for a dragon, well…it’d be chainmail and swords…wouldnt it?  So I’m thinking that, if a normal bezoar can be put in food, a steel bezoar from a dragon could be forged into armour that would deflect all poisonous arrows, possibly even fireproof and magicproof.  What king wouldn’t give half his kingdom for that?”

“Hmmm….” said the dragon, a low rumble passed through Gilly’s body, “Gack.”  Gilly didn’t need any more convincing.  If the dragon wanted to talk, he needed room, and gilly jumped and hopped over the small pools and rocks on the ground around the dragon’s lair. 

The dragon arched it’s neck up, drawing itself to its full height.  Gilly couldnt help but notice the pile of gold on top of which the dragon rested.  It was more gold than Gilly had ever seen in one place, but the dragon was large enough to dwarf it.  Actually, realised Gilly, it was barely large enough for the dragon to sleep upon.  He had chosen the right dragon.

It looks like this gamble might pay off, thought Gilly.

A Tourist in Amsterdam
8 September, 2008

I found Anne Frank’s house.

It wasn’t that hard to find. lots of signs and maps pointing me in the right direction…which I guess was the problem in the first place.

Whiskey Review: Talisker 10 years Single Malt.
7 September, 2008

A light single malt from the Isle of Skye that smells like Dettol and uncooked pizza dough that’s been left out in the sun for too long.  It tastes like lightly salted puke would if it could defecate.

Don’t bother.

Privatives
5 September, 2008

Privatives are concepts which are actually the absence of another thing.

E.g Darkness is the absence of light, sobriety is the absence of drunkedness, cold is the absence of heat.

It’s kinda like an opposite, but it’s fun to find a privative that’s treated like an opposite, then invent a real opposite.   Terry Pratchett does it sometimes, anti-light, knurd, anti-heat.

Fun things, privatives.