Category Archives: magic

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

It is, of course, one of the most powerful, masterful, and best-known pieces of music ever written.

Mozart completed the “little serenade” in Vienna in 1787, but it wasn’t published until 1827, long after Mozart’s untimely death.

The Serenade is incorrectly translated into English as “A Little Night Music”. But this is and always has been the way I prefer to think of it. A creation of Mozart written shortly before he hopped aboard the ferryman’s boat and rode off into the eternal night. It is the artifact that proves the art of the master who even has the word “art” as a part of his name. A little music to play on after the master is gone to prove his universal connection to the great silent symphony that is everything in the universe singing silently together.

It is basically what I myself am laboring now to do. I have been dancing along the edge of the abyss of poverty, suffering, and death since I left my teaching job in 2014. I will soon be taking my own trip into night aboard the ferryman’s dreaded boat. And I feel the need to put my own art out there in novel and cartoon form before that happens.

I am not saying that I am a master on the level of a Mozart. My name is not Mickart. But I do have a “key’ in the name Mickey. And it will hopefully unlock something worthwhile for my family and all those I loved and leave behind me. And hopefully, it will provide a little night music to help soothe the next in line behind me at the ferryman’s dock.

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Don’t Give Up!

Yes, I am philosophically a pessimist. I expect always that the worst outcome is the one I will have to live with. Hence, I was not as devastated by Donald Trump’s election as some who were too confident that Hilkary would win. And the climate crisis seems to be good reason to prepare for the worst that can happen. Some of it is already happening, already here.

But you really should listen to what this career futurist has to say about it.

The near future is, as documented with evidence in the video, far worse than we think it is. “Just doom, nothing else,” as Robin Williams declares. But too much pessimism at this point is the death of us. We have to keep trying. We can’t just give up.

A cheerleader who is not me.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not the right person to be elected head cheerleader on this issue. I have given in to despair and weeping on more than one occasion already. Since the election of Trump, the conservative pillaging of the Supreme Court, the roll-back of EPA guidelines and restrictions, the erosion of fundamental voting rights (soon to be followed by other rights,) the mismanagement of the economy, the Covid crisis, wildfires in the West, the insurrection after the election of Joe Biden, and more and more things that signal doom and possible Armaggedon, we have to battle the urge to lie down and die.

Here is where the optimism of the Reverand Peale is critical.

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, also definitely not me.

If we stop trying, our loss and subsequent death is insured. It is only by continuing to fight that we will have a chance to save ourselves. And this is beginning to happen everywhere.

In 2020 we turned out against the Evil-Clown President in record numbers. We wrested the control of the government out of the hands of the corrupt elephants and put it back in the hands of the hard-working but mostly stupid jackasses. Biden’s donkey-like devotion to following through on the work that needs to be done got us through the rest of the pandemic, getting ourselves vaccinated and acclimated to life with the reality of the new deadly virus.

We need, like the faun, to be one with our environment.

We have tried hard and kept at it to achieve much-needed climate-control legislation. The fossil-fuel industry has made it difficult, and we nearly gave up on the Build Back Better program, but it seems through perseverance that we may have finally gotten a critical piece of that over the hurdles after all.

One thing definitely indicated is that we will need to turn out to vote in the midterm elections again this year. If we don’t, the elitist elefantiasis party will take away all our gains and punish us again, playing their golden fiddles while the world burns.

We will never have the magic we need if we don’t try to conjure it.

But despair is still not warranted here. We know what we can do to solve the problems that face us. We have done similar things before, with the Cold War, World War II, and the hole in the ozone layer in the 1980s. What’s more we have the tools we need already, and what we don’t have is quickly being developed. There are plans in the works for mountain-sized storage batteries, massive solar-power arrays, and wind farms (many of which are already built and operating.) We can rebuild and upgrade the entire power grid, not just in the USA, but for the whole world. It needs, of course, to all be weather-proofed, meteor-proofed, solar-storm-proofed, and, hopefully, greedy-Republican-idiot-proofed.

We are not beaten if we don’t give up.

And as the futurist tells us in the video you didn’t watch, pessimists prepare us for disaster, but only the optimist can make us successful in living through it to a brighter future beyond.

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The Education of PoppenSparkle… Canto 9

Canto 9 – The Mad Fight

Prince Flute’s rooster riders made a mad dash for Castle Cornucopia.  They all knew that their presence was desperately needed.  But more than ever was their presence required since Poppy’s new spell provided an answer to the war problem that the Fairies never had before.  Bad guys could be changed into allies by magic.  And once having a taste of life as a Sylph or an Elf, the Gobbuluns definitely preferred to stay in their new bodies on the side of the Fairies.

“We promise to fight hard for the Cornucopians,” said the Elf, the fastest learner of Fairy English.  “There is no going back for us.  And even if we have to fight and kill our former friends, they are such low and horrid creatures that we will not shed a tear over them.”

“Not ebben for me wifey!” added one of the Sylphs.  “She be too uglee and stoopid for keepin’.”

They all rounded the final turn, and Castle Cornucopia was laid out before them.  It was, of course, actually a Slow One’s barn with Fairy ramparts and towers added to all the wooden walls, but disguised by magical glammers that made the barn appear to be a normal functioning palace for milk cows.

But the truly unbelievable part was the fact that the entire defense force, instead of manning the fortified walls and ramparts, were out in the middle of the field to the east of the castle, surrounded by a sea of raging green Gobbuluns and enemies from the Unseely Court.

“What’s this?  Why is Lancelot attacking rather than defending the castle?” Prinz Flute was shocked.

“He be mad, dat one!” called out Schtinker.

“We have to help them survive.  That is the entire defense force of the castle about to be slain!” cried Tod.

“No, no, no…!” called out Glittershine.

Flute turned to Poppy and put a hand on each of her arms.  “Can you polymorph a really large number of Gobbuluns into Fairies?”

“I… I don’t know.  That takes an immense amount of power.  It will completely exhaust me, and I doubt I can change enough of them to make a difference.”

“Can you try, please?  As many as you can, on the side closest to the castle so the encircled army has a way to escape.”

“I will do the best I can…”

PoppenSparkle gathered all the energy her tired body could hold.  It wasn’t enough because she hadn’t absorbed enough sunshine since she had changed the four from the abandoned barn.   But it would change a few dozen completely.  She crackled with the summoned charge of energy, and then carefully spied out the area of fighting Gobbuluns she meant to target.

The power left her fingertips as soon as she uttered the trigger word and formed into a lightning bolt before becoming the transformational cloud over the writhing Gobbulun bodies.  They twisted and morphed as if they were made of clay and became mostly naked and poorly armed Sylphs, Elves, and Butterfly Children.

“Men of Cornucopia!  Follow me back to the castle!” shouted Prinz Flute, dashing forward to toss fireballs with his wand into the crowds of green Wartoles that hadn’t been touched by the polymorphing cloud.

“No!  Hold your ground men!  We will be covered in glory this day, even if we all die.”  Lancelot seemed outraged at Flute trying to take command.

“Look at all these new Fey Children on our side, Lord!  We now have a chance to hold the castle.  Why should we still go through with the plan to sacrifice ourselves?  We don’t have to die now!  And you will not die in any case.”  The Rascal was obviously defying his master.  But it was effective.  The Sylphs under Lancelot’s command broke ranks, fighting only to protect their escaping  brethren.  The mass of Fairy warriors flooded back towards the castle, carrying Flute’s rooster riders and all the newly made Fairies with them.

At the castle gate, Lord Lancelot, King Mouse, and Prinz Flute all pulled up short of it to shout at each other.

“How dare you countermand my battle plan?” roared Lancelot.

Prinz Flute, taken aback, quickly replied, “How dare you try to get everyone killed in spite of the fact that I provided you with a means to survive the day, and possibly win the war?”

King Mouse was a Pixie, of the kind that take on the partial form of woodland creatures.  His head and paws and tail were all very mouse-like, while his body was very hunman-shaped and capable of wearing a suit of Fairy armor.

“I know your status as Tellosian Hero means you outrank me, Lord Lancelot, but as King of Cornucopia, I side with Prinz Flute on the question of whether today is the day we all die or not.”

“Well, we can’t exactly reform the troops and attack again now.  But I would rather take the fight to them than hole up for a siege and defensive last stand.”

Prinz Flute seemed to be actively trying to calm himself.  Poppy appreciated how calm he could make himself in dire situations.  “You must come in and listen to the new plans I have formulated.  I have made a breakthrough in magical research that might win the day for us without fighting battles against foes that outnumber us.”

Angry as Lancelot still seemed, he nodded his assent.

The Rascal ran up to him to make a report on the retreat into the castle.

Lord Lancelot eyed him coldly.  “I have no time for disobedient underlings.  Rascal, you are dismissed from my service.”

Crestfallen, the boy turned and walked back into the castle without making a report.

“Now that we have more men to defend the walls with,” said King Mouse, “let’s retire to the throne room and discuss further strategy.

Flute signalled to Poppy, calling her to him.  “You have saved the day yet again, PoppenSparkle.”

“I only did the magic.  You made it happen.”

“You look exhausted, little one.”

She smiled.  She was actually taller than Flute, but not about to contradict him.  He put his arm around her to guide her.

Lord Lancelot stood in the gateway, looking at the stupidly confused horde of Gobbuluns.  He finally turned and entered too so that the gate could be shut and barred.

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The Education of PoppenSparkle… Canto 8

Canto 8 – The Abandoned Barn

As the group continued to ride the roosters, little Schtinker could not stop talking.  Poppy talked to him as soothingly as possible, hoping to calm him and quiet him.

“We is headed to badness!” insisted Schtinker.

“You should say, We are headed for trouble,” corrected Poppy. 

“We are headed for trouble.  That knight don’t care bout ennybuddy but his own self.”

“You mean,  That knight doesn’t care about anybody but himself.

“See there?  You know it yourself!” said the exasperated Schtinker.

“You know,” said Flute leaning over from his rooster saddle to look Schtinker squarely in the eyes, “This kid is learning to speak better almost instantly.”

“This kid can thinks bedder dan he ever does before.  Troll thinking comes hard and slow.  But my mind is getting faster da more I uses it.”

“Let’s make for that abandoned barn over there.  We need to study this polymorphed little phenomenon a little bit closer.” Flute pointed at the huge rotting structure that had once been the kind of fortress for cows that Slow Ones called a barn.

“But it is urgent that we get to Castle Cornucopia fast,” warned Tod.

“I have an idea that we may benefit more by what Poppy has learned to do with her magic than any sword swings or fireballs we could add to the battle to come.”  Flute grinned as he spurred Tannehauser towards the run-down old barn.

“You is no knowing what you is doing, Prinz-guy.  Dat barn be da home of Gobbuluns!” warned Schtinker.

“Yes, I know.  But tell me, Stinky, do you really want to become a Troll again?  Or would rather stay a Sylph boy?”

Schtinker got suddenly wide-eyed and serious.   “You mean I can be dis permanent-like?”

“He can, can’t he, Poppy?”  Flute asked.

“I would have to make a difficult spell translation to turn him back into a Troll, and I like him better like this.”  PoppenSparkle smiled at the wiggly former Troll.

Schtinker gave her a hug for the sheer joy she had apparently filled his little Sylph body with.

Once inside the old barn Flute made the group dismount and gather in a circle amidst the old tractor-tire ruts on the barn’s dried mud floor.

“Poppy, I need to cast a rather invasive spell on you to measure things in your mind. You will have to disrobe for me to do it,” Flute said. He was not asking for permission.

“Sure. I prefer to be naked.” Poppy had no trouble slipping off the bikini-like armor that protected her from mind spells. Her butterfly wings magically unfurled.

Flute pulled a scroll out of his pouch attached to his loincloth. “Messen Sie die Metriken in ihrem Kopf. Finschole!” Sparks flew out of his fingertips and embedded themselves in her forehead. Poppy’s field of vision turned into multicolored clouds.

“Aha! It’s just as I thought. Her polymorph spell not only reshapes the body, it boosts the intelligence in the parts of the brain of the subject that serve the principles of light. It’s a mix of changing the shape and changing darkness into light.”

“So, what does that mean?” asked Tod.

“Let me test the boy to make certain of it.” Flute cast the same spell on young Schtinker.

“Just as I thought. We can turn Gobbuluns of various sorts into Sylphs, Elves, or Brownies simply by turning their inherent darkness into light.”

“Weez doan no wut you iz talkin’, but weez tanks you for bringin’ us chickie meatz an Fairy bodeez to eats!”

Four Gobbuluns gathered together atop a rotting hay bale with mushrooms growing on it. They were armed with spears that were basically sharpened sticks.

Prinz Flute looked them over humorlessly, then broke into a huge smile. “Poppy, I think we may have just found some recruits for the upcoming battle. Can you morph them the same way you did Schtinker? Please?”

Poppy leaned into the spell and enveloped the three Wartoles and one Cyclopes in her spell cloud.

The Gobbuluns didn’t even have time to scream. The cloud dispersed leaving behind three Sylph warriors with iron-tipped spears and one Elf with an Elven bow and quiver of arrows.

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The Education of PoppenSparkle… Canto 7

Canto 7 – Dat Killah Nite

When Fairies die, at least, when the good ones die, they do not leave a corpse behind.  The magical energy they are made of, originating from the sun, disperses into the air, sometimes leaving tiny bones behind, but usually leaving nothing. 

When the corrupted minions of the Unseely Court, the evil Fairies, die, they turn back into the mud and clay they were originally animated from.

So, a battlefield of a great Fairy battle would look exactly like the Arcanum looked as the little band of Fairies led by Flute entered into its vastness.

“The bodies of Gobbuluns are everywhere,” said Flute as he pointed out several lumps of Wartole-shaped mud and clay.  There were a couple of Cyclopes-shaped mud piles as well.

“There was a huge battle here?” asked Tod.

“Obviously.  First the dead Trolls, and now this.”  Flute shook his head sadly.

“Did our side win?” asked Poppy.

“There’s no way to tell.  If the Fey Children won, there should be living soldiers and Fairy beasts on the field.  The dead have returned to the air.”

“But, Flute, perhaps the winners have already left for home.  You don’t know for sure that we lost.”  Tod looked extremely upset.

“We shall see.  We must search the battlefield,” said Flute as he picked up a fallen banner from the Castle Cornucopia.

Glumly they continued to search the battlefield.

Suddenly, little Schtinker in Poppy’s lap became highly agitated.

“Dat killah nite!” cried the squirming boy Sylph.

“What are you talking about?”

The Sylph pointed at a silhouette on the top of a nearby knoll.  It appeared to be an armored Sylph knight astride a ridinghawk.  Next to him was a younger Sylph astride a pigeon.

“Hail and well met!” called the knight.  “You are late to the battle, Prinz Flute.”

“Lord Lancelot!  How did the battle go?”

With a short swoop, the hawk brought the famous knight near to where the roosters had stopped.  To their credit, neither rooster flinched at the presence of a red-tailed hawk.

“We would’ve lost had not the yon squire known as the Rascal and I cleverly used my immortality as a Storybook to slay the remaining Gobbuluns from the air after the Legion of Cornucopia overwhelmed the Dark Lord Ebon Sneezer.”

“None other of the Cornucopians survived?” asked Tod in horror.

“The Castle Guard remains at Castle Cornucopia,” said Lord Lancelot.  “All the rest are dead.”

The Rascal on his pigeon fluttered up.  “Lord, we must return to the castle quickly!  The Storr and Lord Toxiss will be sending a siege army there.  They will be overwhelmed without us!”

The Rascal looked at Lancelot with an expression of urgency on his young, dark-eyed face.  The knight looked back at him exhausted and pale.

“We go, then.  Prinz Flute, we need your aid, both magical and swordical.  Or our ally, King Mouse, will be lost.”

 Almost immediately the hawk launched into the air.

The Rascal looked at Flute and his companions, smiled a weak, dispirited smile, and took off on the pigeon.

“We no go wid dat killah nite!” protested Schtinker.  “Heem will murdah all ob us!”

“What is the urchin saying?” asked Tod.

“I think he saw Lancelot kill the other trolls and is afraid he will kill us too,” said Poppy.

“Nonsense.  He’s a great knight and trusted friend.”  Flute shot a disgusted glare at the child.

“Heem let alla guyz in heem armies fit furst,  den heem killah alla Trollz wayne dey iz dead.”

“Is he saying that Lord Lancelot wastes the lives of his troops even though he’s immortal himself?” asked Glitter.

“Surely not.  The little stinker doesn’t really know how to speak the Slow Ones’ English,” said Tod.

Poppy tried to calm Schtinker.  But he was deeply agitated.  And as to whether Schtinker could talk or not, she wondered at the fact that Lancelot had used the word, “swordical.”

“The situation is dire, no matter how you look at it,” said Flute.  “So, we go to Castle Cornucopia immediately.”

They spurred the roosters to run to the northwest.  But Poppy did not feel good about it.

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The Education of Poppensparkle… Canto 4

Canto 4 – The Road to Cornucopia

The rooster riding was easier than Poppy had anticipated.  These chickens were not quite the same as the ones she had known back in the Necromancer’s city of Mortimer’s Mudwallow.   And Seltzerwater and Tannehauser were both apparently smarter than any chicken she had known in the Necromancer’s little river town.

Still, the first day’s progress was slow.  The cornfields that they navigated were often obstructed by foxes, pheasants, and an occasional farmer on a tractor.

They would end up making camp along the southern bank of the creek the Fairies called Pallas’s Slow Water.  They were somewhere to the West of Mortimer’s Mudwallow.  Poppy’s sister, Derfentwinkle, was now the ruler of the Mudwallow after helping the good Fairies to capture it and destroy the evil Necromancer.  It made her wonder why Flute hadn’t led them there for the first night’s rest.  They would surely be welcome.  But maybe he had some reason for not wanting her sister to know she was traveling with her new masters.

As camp was set up by Flute and Tod, Glittershine and Poppy settled the roosters.  Their reins were tied to long ropes of at least three English-measure feet so the roosters could scratch for weevils, aphids, ants, and worms.  Glitter was talking softly to Tannehauser, so Poppy tried talking to Seltzerwater. 

“You were a very good boy, Seltzer.  Tod let me guide you with the reins and I had no problems controlling you.  You are very unlike the chickens we had in Mortimer’s Mudwallow.”

“I understand you had a very hard life in your previous home,” Glitter broke into her conversation with Seltzer.  “Can you tell me a little about it?”

“Very little.  When Derfie, my sister, rescued me from there, the White Stag entered my mind and removed most of the memories of the times when the Necromancer abused me.  And since that was almost all of the times I was ever with the Necromancer, I can’t even remember his name.”

“That must have been terrible.”

“Yes.  Even with the memories removed, I still have nightmares.”

“You know that you and I are supposed to work on your spellbook this evening.  To do that, we must remove the garments that shield our minds and bodies…”

“Oh, good!  I will get to be naked once more.”

“I was afraid that your trauma might prevent you from doing that.  I understand that the Necromancer controlled your mind and body…”

“Yeah.  But I was always freeist whenever I could take wing with nothing on my body but sunlight.  These clothes are the things that make me panicky and uncomfortable.  I don’t remember it, but the Necromancer had strange fetishes that involved putting things on me.”

“Well, I am glad it won’t be a problem then.  There’s a space under those purple thistles that will work fine for our session of magical translations.”

Poppy was delighted to bounce over to the indicated thistle patch and shed what little clothing she wore.  Glittershine had a double-layer riding dress on, and that took her longer.  She was, however, quite graceful and beautiful once she was nude.  And she took care of laying out the spellbook and writing quills.

“Poppy, you must say or sing the spells in your magical imagination.  The spells will come to me by magic, and I will let them  flow through me, so that I might write them down on the paper.  That is how we translate the magic within you into words in your spellbook.”

“What is magic… exactly?  What is it made of?”

“That’s a very good question.  In fact, that is part of Prinz Flute’s magical quest.  We have talked endlessly with the White Stag about codifying magic in a way that makes it like the Slow Ones and how they developed  the thing called Science.  It allows them to have their talking wires and tellybizhions and caddylacks and things.”

“So, Science is Slow One Magic?”

“Or Fairy Magic is Fairy Science.”

 As they got into it, Poppy sang out the beautiful magics she held inside, the ones the Necromancer never found out about.  And none of the magic the Necromancer taught her was still there in her head, messing up her mind with muddy magic.

Page after page after page filled with Poppy’s own signature magic.  By the time she could remember nothing more, half the spellbook was already full.

“You have an amazing amount of spells here for an apprentice, Poppy.  But your strongest spells seem to all be about polymorphing.”

“Polymorphing?”

“Yes, changing the shape of other Fairies, animals, other Fairy creatures, and even probably yourself.  You can actually change Butterfly Children into birds and back again if you need to.  You can give wings to frogs and spider-legs to rabbits.  Though, I doubt we will ever have a need for that.”

“I suppose I can use my imagination.  But, my imagination might turn a little dark at times… thanks to my past.”

Glitter smiled at Poppy as Glitter slipped her clothing back on.  

“We have set up separate lean-tos for each of us.  We need to get in them and sleep.  Flute and I will share the watch during the night.  You two have to recover from the magic generation,” said Tod with obvious concern for how tired they both looked.

“In the morning, then,” said Glitter.

And the temporary camp settled down for the night.

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The Adventure of Reading Something New

I can travel through time. I can fly without an airplane. I can visit other worlds, other societies, on distant planets elsewhere in the galaxy.

I don’t do it literally. I do it by reading, and the movie version of it plays in my mind, an additional lifetime. Experience beyond the boundaries of my normal life.

I have rafted on the Mississippi in the 1830’s with an escaped slave and a couple of con men who pretend to be a duke and the rightful king of France. And the voice of Huckleberry Finn guides me as we overcome ignorance, racism, and an inability to get away from the things that pursue a boy who doesn’t quite understand how the world really works until he finally gets it right by listening to his heart.

I have fought giant squid with a whaling harpoon alongside Ned Land and Captain Nemo on the deck of the Nautilus, trying to comprehend the wonders under the sea without the villainous robber barons of industry turning scientific discoveries into the business of making war.

I have grown up on the Great Plains with Peta (Fire) of the Mahto band of the Dakota Sioux, learning to live with the spiritual power of the white buffalo in Ruth Beebe Hill’s book Hanta Yo! written from a story told by a Sioux painting on a ceremonial buffalo hide.

And all these many lives and wisdoms that I have added to my own I have achieved by the magic of deciphering… reading and understanding… books, many of which were written by men who died before I was born.

Anyone who would say that magic isn’t real… well, how do you explain the power of a good book?

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Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

It is, of course, one of the most powerful, masterful, and best-known pieces of music ever written.

Mozart completed the “little serenade” in Vienna in 1787, but it wasn’t published until 1827, long after Mozart’s untimely death.

The Serenade is incorrectly translated into English as “A Little Night Music”. But this is and always has been the way I prefer to think of it. A creation of Mozart written shortly before he hopped aboard the ferryman’s boat and rode off into the eternal night. It is the artifact that proves the art of the master who even has the word “art” as a part of his name. A little music to play on after the master is gone to prove his universal connection to the great silent symphony that is everything in the universe singing silently together.

It is basically what I myself am laboring now to do. I have been dancing along the edge of the abyss of poverty, suffering, and death since I left my teaching job in 2014. I will soon be taking my own trip into night aboard the ferryman’s dreaded boat. And I feel the need to put my own art out there in novel and cartoon form before that happens.

I am not saying that I am a master on the level of a Mozart. My name is not Mickart. But I do have a “key’ in the name Mickey. And it will hopefully unlock something worthwhile for my family and all those I loved and leave behind me. And hopefully, it will provide a little night music to help soothe the next in line behind me at the ferryman’s dock.

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The Necromancer’s Apprentice… Canto 14

When You Wish Upon a Broom

I woke up to find myself in the red-velvet interior of one of Master Eli’s coat pockets.  I was obviously considerably smaller than my normal two and a half inches of height.

“I’m sorry, Master.  I know I am not supposed to misuse the Magic Hat.  But I couldn’t help it.  It was there.  And I wanted a girlfriend so badly…”

“Mickey, I don’t even have to punish you.  You’ve already gotten the consequences you deserve.  You can’t have sex with one…”

“Master?  How do I stop these aggressive brooms?” the quiet boy said sounding on the edge of desperation.

“…let alone TWO brooms!  You should have used the animate object spell on one of those limestone statues Dizzyglitter is always carving.  At least they are supposed to look like Sylphs.  What are the brooms’ names, Mickey?”

“Merrydew and Cannabis,” Mickey squeaked.

“Give them new orders by name, Bob.”  The Master’s voice seemed to be suppressing a slight chuckle.

I climbed up to the edge of the pocket and looked out.

“Merrydew, sweep the floors.  Cannabis, alphabetize the potion bottles.”

I saw the two brooms stop chasing Bob and take up their new tasks.  Mickey was laid up on the exam table, his body naked except for fur and a huge bandage on his personal love parts.  I was pretty sure that was the consequences the Master spoke of, but I didn’t want to think about how it came to be.

Then I looked up and saw Master Eli looking down at me and picking me up in his gloved left hand.  He lifted me up in front of his scowling face.

“You, I believe have been a very naughty girl, Derfentwinkle.  What do you have to say for yourself?”

“I am very sorry, Master Eli.  I was always planning to return to your service.  But the crows contacted me by telepathy and told me where to find my friend Dollinglammer.  And she had news of my poor sister.”



“You left with some of the magic given you by the Magic Hat, but none of the training you were supposed to get from me.”

“Are you going to punish me?”

“Well, of course not.  What did a student ever learn from being punished beyond how much they should hate their teacher?  You saw the White Stag inside the hat.  That means you were chosen and must stay with me until your quest is completed.”

“My quest?  Is it to free the village of Mortimer’s

Mudwallow?”

“No, of course not.  I mean, the Stag doesn’t tell me much about the future.  Just that you have a quest and we are tasked with helping you.”

He put me gently down on the cold stone floor, took a vial of purple liquid from one of his other pockets, and sprinkled some on my head.  With dizzying suddenness, I was normal-sized again.

“We need to dress you in an apprentice’s robe like Mickey is supposed to be wearing if the sex-crazed brooms hadn’t torn it off him.”

“No.  I don’t wear clothes.  None of my family ever has.”

“It’s not an option.  You need to wear a protective enchantment, both from Bluebottom’s mind control and Master Pippen’s influence spells.”

“Does it have to be a robe?  Bob doesn’t wear a robe.”

“Do you want an enchanted leather jerkin like Bob wears?  Complete with magical advertising signs for our Sorcery business?”

“No, ah…  can it be a necklace, or a hat?”

“Not to hold the spell powers I will make it with.”

“You can wear your apprentice robe open in the front like I do.  I like to show off my manly abs,” said Mickey.

“I can probably make a cloak or a cape,” Master Eli suggested.

“Why do so many Sylphs prefer to be nude?” quiet Bob asked Master Eli.

“Sylphs are naturally immune to heat and cold, so they don’t need clothing to protect them from those things.  And they like the freedom of movement they have with nothing binding to wear.  They don’t need clothes the way Elves and Slow Ones and Brownies do.  There are even Elves that make magical necklaces, collars, and rings to keep them warm or cool so they can be nude also.”

“But some of us just like to be naked all the time,” I said, not really understanding why Bob didn’t know that already.

Bob was looking at me as I stood there naked in front of him.  He had a shy smile on his cute face.  It gave me an unexpected thrill to realize it.

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The Necromancer’s Apprentice… Canto 13

Angry Wizards Aren’t Good for Your Health

On the way back to the willow castle Bert and Homer were reciting some kind of comedy routine they had seen on some Slow One’s tele-bish-yawn set at what they called the Nurse-Sing Home.  It was something done by two Slow Ones named Cabbit and Klaustello.  It was talking about a bees-ball team.  And the dumb guy, Klaustello wanted to know the name of the guy on first base.  But the other guy didn’t understand the question because the team had stupid names.  And then they both got really mixed up, but the dumb guy got boiling mad about Who’s on First?  It really wasn’t all that funny.

“Why does Klaustello care if the first guy’s name is Who?” Derfentwinkle asked.

“What kind of game is bees-ball anyway?” I asked.

“It is the All-Mermerrican Sport,” said Homer.

“I think they take a bunch of angry bees and make them into a ball to throw at the players of the other team,” said Bert

“And the other team takes their bees-ball bat and try to defend themselves from the stings by swatting the angry ball of bees,” said Homer.

I began to think it was funny when I pictured in my head the expression on the face of the bat when the stupid Slow One grabbed it by the feet and swung it at a ball of bees.

But most of the time, only the two crows thought it was funny.

And then we all landed safely on the roof of Cair Tellos’s main keep.

“Arrest them all immediately!” shouted the Wizard Pippen.  The pentagram on his chest-plate was glowing with bright blue protection magic.

“Not Bob the apprentice.  He’s Master Tragedy’s loyal student,” argued Prinz Flute, the faun-child who was Pippen’s only son.

“If he was supposed to be guarding the prisoner and let her escape, then he deserves the punishment too.  Set up the chopping block right here, right now.”

The crows took off almost instantly.  Dollinglammer used her butterfly wings to follow them before the Sylphs with the halberds could grab her.  But Derfentwinkle and I were both caught.

The Executioner of Cair Tellos in his jet-black hood and black-banded armor set up the wooden chopping block right in front of us.  A guard pushed me down to it so that my neck was against the place on the chopping block carved to fit it.  I was about to really lose my head, and I was not happy about it.

“Father, please, they were returning to the castle.  How do you know that Bob didn’t recapture her, and was bringing her back to us?”

“You are right, son.  We shouldn’t cut his head off first.”

The Sylphs with the halberds picked me up again and forced Derfie down to take my place.

“Here, now!  Those children belong to me.  You overstep your authority in doing this!” shouted Master Eli as he showed up, red-faced and huffing with the effort of his climb up to where we were captured.

“If you punish them yourself, we’ll just end up with more pigeons around here.  What’s the lesson learned from that?  More fat pigeons?”

“A better lesson learned by far than if you cut off their heads.  Students learn nothing without their heads attached.  At least when they have their heads still on there’s a chance of beating sense into them.  Or do you have a head-reattaching spell I don’t know about?”

“Okay, but I won’t have young Sylphs who are supposed to be prisoners flying out of here to go tell my secrets to the evil elves in the swamp.  Or that Bluebottom friend of yours.”

“Oh, believe me.  They will tell me more secrets of his than they will ever tell him about you.”

Then Master Eli tilted a vial of potion over Derfentwinkle’s head, instantly shrinking her down almost to nothing before picking her up and putting her away in a side-pocket of his red overcoat.

“Be warned, Sorcerer.  You are not above suspicion yourself.” Growled the Wizard Pippen.

“Come with me, Bob.  We have lots of work ahead of us.”  Master Eli stormed away from the fuming wizard and I scurried after him with one hand on my recently-threatened neck.

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