Hail and well met, old friends and new readers! Mistress Writer is still convalescing, so I, Dragon, have once again shapeshifted to my familiar guise of an elf maiden, whose nimble fingers are more suited to the computer keyboard than are my dragon claws. This week, I will attempt to recount for you the mission I and three of my companions undertook at Mistress Writer’s behest.
For any among you who are new to our adventures, let me explain. We are a group of characters, nine in number, who have fallen out of Mistress Writer’s manuscripts. We each have memories of our old lives, lived in a world Mistress Writer has termed medieval, a world of magic and fantastic creatures. It was a world much different from this world in which we now find ourselves, a world Mistress Writer calls the real world.
While all nine of us miss our own world and our former lives, two of our number are obsessed with finding a way to return there – the Arrogant One, an annoying elf skilled in the duplicitous magic of illusion, and the Bounty Hunter, a figure skilled in silent stalking, strategic deliberation, and malicious instigation.
Those two have caused much trouble for Mistress Writer and her spouse, Master Miles, as well as for the rest of us, in their quest to return to our world and – perhaps – to introduce there the illusion of weapons and technology from this world, affording the two of them world domination.
Mistress Writer has a theory that we characters can not return to our world. She believes us to already be there, existing simultaneously in both worlds. She says the we who exist there are continuing with our lives, unaware of the we who now live here. The recent discovery of certain items, including a set of books, that were sent through a magic portal from our world to Mistress Writer seems to support her theory. Mistress Writer revealed to me the books chronicle events in our lives that have occurred since we have come into existence here, although she will not share any details.
If we accept the premise we are unable to return to our world, having never actually departed from it, our world would appear safe from the diabolical plans of domination by the Arrogant One and the Bounty Hunter. However, Mistress Writer fears that the we who exist here in her real world may be able to enter our own world by means of the same magic conduit through which the books and other items entered this world.
I, along with three of my trusted companions, seek to discover if this would indeed be possible.
First, there is Cleric, an elven priestess and healer who is gentle as a lamb and fierce as a mother bear, and who possesses powers she can neither understand nor explain.
Second is Sorceress, a regally aloof member of a reclusive race, honored among her people as one of their greatest magic users.
Third is the Gypsy, a talented but undisciplined lad who has an intuitive understanding of magic, having learned at the knee of his witch/grandmother; but who would prefer to engage in horseplay or practice his lock-picking skills rather than study his magical craft.
Then there is me, Dragon, a most wise, clever, whimsical, and infinitely powerful member of the most magical race in our world.
In spite of our combined powers, and weeks of toil, the location of the magic conduit continues to elude us.
“We have used every incantation, every power, every potion, and every artifact at our disposal.” Sorceress mopped the sweat from her brow and sighed heavily. “Still, the conduit remains hidden.”
Cleric raked her hand through her hair in the same gesture of frustration Mistress Writer so often uses. “We have examined the locations where Mistress Writer indicated each of the first four objects from our world was found. We have also examined the site where you, Dragon, found the last of the objects, the set of books. We have found only the trace magic from the conduit at each site. The conduit itself appears to have vanished.”
The Gypsy furrowed his brow and stroked his chin. “We know from having previously examined the books and the other four items that they all came through the same conduit, in spite of having been found in various spots within this house. If the conduit moves around, maybe it has not vanished. Maybe it has merely moved again. Maybe it is preparing for another item to pass from our world to this one. Perhaps it has even transported other items that we have not yet found.”
I snorted. “So, what do you suggest? That we go through this entire house, inch by inch, hoping that while we are examining one spot, we are not missing a moving target that is jumping between other spots?”
The Gypsy raised an eyebrow at me, and chuckled. “No, I suggest a directional detection spell, one which will alert us to any change in magical energy within a specific radius, and pinpoint the location of that change. We would each take a section of the house, two of us upstairs and two down. We would cast our spells simultaneously, and then wait for the conduit to announce its arrival . . . or its departure, if it is already here somewhere.”
I nodded. “This sounds like a workable concept.” I narrowed my reptilian eyes and considered the Gypsy’s proposal, seeking any inherent weakness in his plan. “We would have to link our spells, to be cast as one, so the magic energy of one of our spells would not be detected as the change in magic energy we seek.”
Sorceress looked impressed. “This may work!”
Cleric nodded hesitantly. “It might . . . but only if the Arrogant One does not cast any spells in the time we are waiting. His use of magic anywhere within our target area would cause our spell to react.”
I templed my clawed hands, and pondered the problem. “I can have the Old Dwarf guard the annoying elf, to prevent him from using any magic during the time our spell is in effect. That way, the emergence or departure of the conduit would be the only magic that our combined spell would detect.”
Sorceress frowned and folded her arms over her chest. “If we do manage to locate the conduit, how do we proceed? Finding the conduit is only the first step. Our mission is to determine if it is possible for us to use it to enter our world. Once we locate it, we must prevent it from moving again until we have the time to complete our mission.”
I sighed. “That could prove a more difficult undertaking. Until we find the conduit, we can not examine it and determine the means by which we might immobilize it without damaging it. We may have to locate it numerous times before being able to complete our mission.”
The Gypsy nodded. He rubbed his hands together and grinned eagerly. “I think I can devise a directional detection spell that will use very little of our energy. If we use a complicated spell, we may exhaust ourselves too quickly. We have no way of knowing if we need to hold the spell intact for mere moments or for days before we find the conduit, or how many times we may have to recast it before we can complete an examination of the conduit.”
Cleric wrung her hands and chewed her lower lip for several moments. “But . . . but what if the conduit does not reemerge? We have no way of knowing if whoever sent these items from our world has more items to send. If not, the conduit may not be re-opened again.”
I frowned. “If the conduit does not reemerge by the next full moon, we shall have to consider alternative means of locating it.”
Sorceress tried unsuccessfully to stifle a yawn. “Forsooth, I am weary! Sunset is already a memory this day. Mayhap we should take our rest and convene here again upon the morrow?”
I nodded and turned to the Gypsy. “Will you be able to devise a spell for us by midmorning?”
He smirked. “In the vernacular of this world, piece of cake!”
The rest of us looked at him blankly.
He sighed and shook his head at us. “Yes. I will easily have it all prepared by that time.”
I nodded. “Then, until the morrow, rest well, my friends. I will instruct the Old Dwarf in his duties to prevent the annoying elf from interfering in our task, and I will meet you here again at midmorning.”
Be sure to return next week, cherished readers. While Mistress Writer continues to convalesce, I will share with you the results we achieved when we implemented the Gypsy’s spell. Until then, I will be sure the porch light is left on for you.