Exploring the Problem

Exploring the Problem

Sitting at the tableI sat across the kitchen table from my Foreman. He drained his mug of hazelnut coffee and poured himself another. I sipped my raspberry tea and waited.

“This coffee is far superior to most of what could be found in my world. Only the finest establishments in my world would offer such a flavorful brew. In the kingdom where I lived, only the inn in the capital city served it, and then only on special occasions.” My Foreman’s gray eyes seemed to be seeing back through time and space. He took a deep breath, and I imagined he was savoring the remembered aromas of a world to which he would never return.

“You are missing your world.” I nodded and took another sip of tea.

My Foreman tilted his head and wrinkled his brow. “Ye-es . . .” He drew the word out, then paused, seemingly searching for the right words. I waited

Falling out of manuscriptSeveral minutes later, he shrugged and continued in his soft voice. “Of course, I miss my world. All nine of us, your characters who fell from your manuscript, miss our world. It has been a monumental and formidable task to learn to live in your world.”

He took another long draught of his coffee. “But it is more than that, Mistress. I not only miss my world, I miss who I was in my world.”

“I’m not sure I understand what you mean.”

“Well, maybe you could understand better if I talk about some of your other characters who also fell from the manuscript.” My Foreman paused again, took another gulp of coffee, then sat, chewing on his lower lip.

DragonFinally, he began. “Take Dragon. She is, as she was in our world, a dragon. She still has all the abilities of a dragon – her immense magical power, her ability to shapeshift and change size. And she uses these abilities here in this world all the time.” He searched my face for some sign that I understood.

I nodded and gestured for him to go on.

Arrogant OneCleric and SorceressHe squirmed in his seat but continued. “Your Arrogant One was a renowned illusionist in our world. He continues to practice his art and sharpen his skills in this world. And Sorceress and Cleric gather their herbs and botanicals, distill their potions, and cast their spells, just as they did before. Cleric has maintained her ability as a healer, often using her herbs and aptitude to treat a malady or mend a scrape for one of us. She also still has her ability to communicate with animals. She has used this gift to help coax wildlife closer so you and the others can capture better images of them with your magic boxes you call cameras. She has also helped our friend, Colton, by communicating with Peaches, whom we knew as Mystery, and later with Blue.”

I nodded. “Yes, Cleric especially has found many ways to use her talents in this world.”

Before my Foreman could continue, my Old Dwarf wandered into the room. “Eh, do na be mindin’ me. I jus’ be grabbin’ a wee snack fer meself.”

My Foreman frowned but said nothing. He waited silently until the dwarf had completed constructing his wee snack and had taken it with him. Watching the rotund figure leave the room, my Foreman heaved a deep sigh. “Well, you can see your Old Dwarf is still doing what he did best in our world.”

I chuckled. “Yes, he has brought from his world his number one ability – eating. That, of course, is closely followed by his number two ability – chasing rabbits through the neighborhood.”Old Dwarf

My Foreman wrinkled his brow. “Yes, but even I must admit he does so much more than that. He is atoning for his sins.”

I wondered to which of the old reprobate’s myriad sins my Foreman alluded, but I held my tongue and listened.

“The dwarf displays a fierce loyalty toward all of us, but especially toward Dragon and Cleric. He would rather die than see them harmed. He was the one who went with the Unicorn, the Lord of the Forest, to rescue Dragon when she was injured in that other world, the land where the Wish Listeners previously had taken us.”

I furrowed my brow. “I had almost forgotten about that.”

My Foreman drained his cup and refilled it once more. Then he sat, lost in thought. I almost thought he had fallen asleep when he spoke again. “Yes, the dwarf keeps busy and content.” He took a sip of coffee but found it had grown cold. He fidgeted with the cup for a moment before continuing. “As for the lads – your Gypsy and your Young Hero – they were still finding their path in our world at the point when they fell from your manuscript. scryingYour Gypsy remembers the magic he learned at his grandmother’s knee. He continues to dabble in it in this world, assisting your other magic users in their ventures, but he does not pursue it with any passion. Both lads vividly remember their lives with the horses. Your Young Hero’s father owned the horse breeding facility I managed, and your Gypsy – who grew up around horses and horse people in his own country – worked as a stable lad at that same farm. In this world, away from their beloved horses, they were unhappy – as was I – until Dragon magically created the illusory horses for us. That was enough for them.”The lads and Foreman with horses

“But not for you?” I raised an eyebrow.

He sighed. “I suppose it should have been. Perhaps it was, at first. But at the point when I fell from your manuscript, I was no longer just finding my path in the world. I had advanced to being so much more than just a rider or a horseman. My years as a commander in the king’s mounted regiment were over. ForemanI was managing the largest and most prestigious horse breeding and training facility in the kingdom. I hired people, I fired people, I trained people, I trained horses, I made schedules, I did the accounting and met the payroll and ordered the feed and supplies, Foreman was so much moreI found and cultivated clients, I made decisions regarding breeding and bloodlines, I doctored sick and injured horses . . . I had so much diverse responsibility. I thrived on a workday that always started before dawn and often stretched to midnight or later. My work was hard, physical labor combined with intellectual tasks.”

My Foreman fell silent, blushing. Finally, he muttered, “I suppose that sounded like a lot of boasting.”

“Not at all.”

dwarf and refrigeratorI was about to say something more, but my Old Dwarf chose that precise moment to return to the kitchen. “Be ye two still here? I been thinkin’ ye be all done yer chin-waggin’ and jaw-flappin’ by now. It be almos’ lunchtime!” He headed for the refrigerator. “San-whichies agin taday?”

I looked at my watch and frowned. “You have another hour before lunch, and I thought Miles was going to make soup. I’ll have to go find him and remind him.”head bowed, shoulders slumped

My Foreman pushed his chair from the table and rose. “I will find him, Mistress. That seems to be my place in this world – I believe in your vernacular the appropriate term is go-fer.” He left the room, his head bowed and his shoulders slumped.

Still standing in front of the open refrigerator, my Old Dwarf harrumphed. scowling at dwarf raiding refrigerator“Wale, it do na be lookin’ like ye been doin’ much good, lass. Yer Foreman be lookin’ more depressed now than afore ye been tryin’ ta cheer ’em up.” He shook his head and tsk-tsked at me before going back to checking out the contents of the refrigerator.

I scowled at the dwarf, but the problem was, he was right.

 

Well, now I understand my Foreman’s problem. But what to do about it . . . my Foreman can’t exactly hire on as a farm manager in this world, now can he? I’ll have to think hard about this. Do any of you readers have a suggestion? Be sure to let me know and come back next week to see what happens. I’ll leave the porch light on for you.

Is There a Problem?

Is There a Problem?

Minnesnowta lived up to its name. Last Sunday, Easter Sunday, we had . . . wait for it . . . snow. A measurable amount of snow. A shovellable amount of snow.

Easter snow“I know the people in your world have a fascination with the notion of snow at Christmas. You even have a song about dreaming of a white Christmas. But a white Easter? I thought Easter was supposed to be sunny and warm, so everyone could parade in their Easter bonnets and other frippery. How can anyone parade in this?” Dray,Elf cleric close-up 2 Dragon’s alter ego, gestured dramatically at the white landscape and the large flakes swirling outside the conference room window, a huge scowl on her face. Then, without waiting for an answer, she shapeshifted into her true form and curled up, growling and spewing black smoke, in front of her illusory fireplace.

Smoke drifting from Dragon's snout

She wasn’t the only one upset with the weather. “We had hoped to work our illusory horses.” My Gypsy frowned and pointed at the snowscape. “But riding in this weather is no fun.”

My Young Hero sighed. “Will spring never come?”

“Relax. It’s only mid-April. Spring will arrive soon.” Miles sounded confident.

Easter snowHorses by barnBut the next three days brought more snow and the following couple of days were overcast and slow to warm. It wasn’t until Saturday afternoon that the temperatures rose, the snow melted, Dragon stopped shivering and emerged from the conference room, and the lads headed for the barn and their horses.

Miles walked into my office around mid-afternoon. “Got a minute?”One Sec

“One sec . . .” I finished typing the sentence I had been composing and clicked save on the manuscript. Then I turned my attention from my computer to my husband. “What’s up?”

“I saw the lads riding their horses.” Miles gestured toward the window. “Your Foreman isn’t with them.”

I frowned. “The lads, my Old Dwarf, and even my Bounty Hunter warned me last week there was something bothering my Foreman, but I haven’t had the chance to speak to him about it yet. I was sort of hoping it was just the winter blues and that he’d snap out of it.”

“Well, he doesn’t seem to be snapping. In fact, last I saw him, early this morning, he was moping in the living room, just staring off into space. I spoke to him three times but if he heard me, he chose to ignore me.” Miles frowned. “I think it’s time you had a word with him. Maybe he’s getting sick or something.”

I nodded. “As soon as I finish this piece I’m writing.”

But between finishing my work and taking several phone calls, it was early evening before I emerged from my office, rushing to get to dinner. In my haste, I literally ran into my Old Dwarf in the hallway.

“Ooof!” A piece of the apple he was munching flew out of his mouth. He picked it up and was about to pop it back in his mouth, but I smacked his hand.

“Don’t you dare! You put that in the trash.” I pointed to my office, followed him into the room, and watched him discard the apple slice.

The Old Dwarf gave me a reproachful look. “Ye dinna be needin’ ta be doin’ thet, lass. Tha food still be good. It dinna been on tha floor fer more’n a second, an’ ye and yer mister be keepin’ tha floor nice an’ clean like. Ye two al’ays be sweepin’ an’ usin’ thet noisy suckin’ machine on it.”

I frowned. “I don’t care how often we vacuum the floor, it’s still dirty. You don’t eat any food that falls on it.”Dwarf with apple

The old reprobate sighed. “Wale, it do na be makin’ much nevermind. I still be havin’ mos’ o me apple.” He took a huge bite of the crisp Red Delicious, then spoke around the mouthful of food. “Be ye doin’ anythin’ aboot yer Foreman yet? I been toldin’ ye las’ week summat been botherin’ ’em.”

I sighed. “I’ll talk to him as soon as possible.”

The dwarf gave me a dubious look. He turned to go, then turned back so quickly, he almost fell over. “Oi, I almos’ be fergittin’. Yer mister be sendin’ me ta fetch ye. He be servin’ up dinner.”

I shook my head at the dwarf’s manners but followed him wordlessly to the dinner table. My husband and all my characters were present . . . all but my Foreman.

Living roomIt was the next morning before I tracked down my Foreman. He was standing in the living room, cattycorner to the window, a faraway look in his unfocused eyes. My brow furrowed as I studied the man. He had lost weight over the past few weeks of missed meals, and his face had become far more lined and careworn than I had previously realized. It was obvious to me that something was eating at him.

I was standing there wondering how to approach my Foreman when my Old Dwarf came in, munching on another of his never-ending succession of snacks. With his typical lack of diplomacy, the old reprobate shouted across the room to me. “Eh, lass! Ye be talkin’ ta ’em yet?” He nodded toward my Foreman.

I shook my head.

“Wale, what be ye waitin’ fer?” The rotund figure stomped across the room and grabbed my Foreman by the arm. “The lass be needin’ ta be talkin’ ta ye.” He pushed my Foreman toward me, and stomped off, still munching.

My Foreman gaped after the retreating figure, then turned toward me. Slowly, an emotionless mask settled over his features. “I am sorry Mistress. I did not know you were looking for me. Have you some task for me?”

I shook my head. “No, I thought we might talk. Would you like a cup of tea, or some other refreshment?”

My Foreman’s soft gray eyes probed my deep brown ones, as if he could determine from them what I might wish to talk about. Finally, he sighed. “Mayhap Master Miles has brewed some coffee this morning?”

 

Will my Foreman tell me what’s bothering him? If so, will I be able to help? Be sure to come back next week and find out. I’ll leave the porch light on for you.

A New Problem?

A New Problem?

Dwarf closeupI found my Old Dwarf rummaging through the refrigerator. “You do know lunch is in a half hour, right?”

“Eh?” He blinked. “Be it thet late already? I been missin’ me mid-mornin’ snack!” He sighed dramatically and rubbed his bulging belly.

I rolled my eyes and pushed him aside as I began to assemble lunch for my husband, myself, and my nine characters.

Dragon in front of fireplaceThe grizzled reprobate followed me to the table and leaned casually against the counter. “Ye do na be needin’ ta be settin’ elebbin places taday. Tha beastie will na be et lunch. She be baskin’ in front o ’er illusory fireplace an’ grumblin’ aboot tha weather.”

I grunted. That made sense. Just a few days ago, we didn’t need jackets or even long-sleeved shirts as we enjoyed a day outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine. Today, it was barely above freezing, and several snow squalls had passed through the area during the morning. It came as no surprise that Dragon was cold and miserable.

“Yer Foreman prob’ly will na be eatin’ nuttin, neither.”

I furrowed my brow and gave my Old Dwarf a questioning look as I continued my task. “Oh? Why not?”

“I do na be knowin’ tha details, lass. I only be knowin’ thet summat be botherin’ ’em.”

I nodded and made a mental note to check it out after lunch, but I set a place at the table for my Foreman, just in case.Foreman closeup

I was glad I did, when – despite my Old Dwarf’s prediction – my Foreman joined us for lunch. I watched the former military commander carefully and noticed that he didn’t seem to participate in any of the conversations, and he only picked at his food. He left the table while the rest of us were still eating.

Backyard 050While Miles and I cleaned up from lunch, I discussed my concerns with him. “Are you aware of any problems with my Foreman?” I rinsed off another dish and handed it to my husband.Miles

He took his time positioning it in the dishwasher, then held out his hand for the next dish. “What sort of problem?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. He seemed very quiet at lunch, and he didn’t eat much.”

“Well, whatever his problem, I wish your Old Dwarf had it, too. Your diminutive minion ate more than the rest of us put together and prattled on all through the meal. I couldn’t hear anyone else’s conversation.”

I sighed. “You should be used to him by now.”

Miles gave me a hard look. “I’m sorry, honey, but there are some things one never gets used to.”

I sighed again.

Bounty Hunter full body 2After we finished cleaning the kitchen and putting the dishes in the dishwasher, I headed downstairs to try to work on this week’s blog. I found my Bounty Hunter waiting for me outside my office door.

I frowned, looking at my watch and knowing I didn’t have much time to get my blog written. “What can I do for you today?”Foreman closeup

My Bounty Hunter shrugged. “I thought mayhap you would share my concern over your Foreman.”

I lifted an eyebrow and scoffed. “You are concerned about my Foreman?”

A smile tugged at corners of the man’s lips, but his eyes revealed his cold and calculating nature. “But of course.”

I decided to take the bait. “Oh? What’s wrong with my Foreman?”

My Bounty Hunter shrugged again and studied his fingernails. “I have no idea. But something must be wrong.” He lifted his gaze and faced me squarely. “Five times in the past two days, your Foreman has declined my invitations to practice his swordsmanship with me. He usually relishes the opportunity to sharpen his skills, but my invitations elicited no enthusiasm.”

I frowned but said nothing.

My Bounty Hunter mirrored my frown. “I thought mayhap you would find that as curious as did I.”

I nodded. “Thanks for letting me know.”

Foreman closeupI barely had my computer booted up when my Gypsy and my Young Hero walked in and plopped down in the chairs next to me. Without preamble, my Gypsy blurted, “Something is wrong with your Foreman. You need to do something.”

I sighed. “What’s wrong with him, and what do you expect me to do about it?”

Young hero 2My Young Hero was quick to reply. “He just is not himself anymore. We were finally able to saddle up last week and do some riding. But your Foreman did not seem to be enjoying himself. He did everything very . . .” The lad furrowed his brow and chewed his lower lip while trying to find the word he was looking for.Gypsy close-up

My Gypsy offered, “What you would term very mechanically, Mistress. He did everything very mechanically.”

The other lad nodded. “Yes, that is the term. He lacked any spirit or enthusiasm, like he was just going through the motions. And he has declined to join us since then, in any activity. He does not wish to help clean the barn, or curry the horses, or mend the equipment. He does not even want to ride.”

My Gypsy grabbed my arm. “What is wrong with our friend, Mistress? How can we help?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know. But I guess I had better find out.”

Foreman facing right closeup

Doesn’t want to ride? The man who is a former commander of his nation’s illustrious royal mounted guard? The man who managed his kingdom’s largest and most prestigious horse breeding and training facility? What could be wrong with my Foreman? Be sure to come back next week and help me discover the problem and, hopefully, a solution. I’ll leave the porch light on for you.

Welcome to My World – A Typical Week with my Characters

Welcome to My World – A Typical Week with my Characters

Monday 03/30/2020

Something woke me upI startled awake, sitting bolt upright in bed. I looked around. The clock read 4:45. I stayed as still as possible, listening. My husband was asleep by my side. The only sound was the gentle whoosh-whoosh of his CPAP machine. The door to our bedroom was open a crack, but I could hear no noise from the rest of the house. Yet something had woken me from a deep sleep, something like a thump-thump-thump.

I got out of bed as quietly as possible, so I wouldn’t disturb Miles. I donned my robe and reached under the bed for my slippers. Something furry touched my hand. I screeched.

Miles jumped up, tearing his CPAP mask from his face. “Wha’s wrong?”

Wide-eyed, I explained. “Something woke me. When I reached under the bed for my slippers, something furry touched my hand.”

“Your slippers aren’t furry, are they?”

“No. And they don’t move when I touch them, either.”

Miles took the flashlight from his nightstand, knelt down, and shined the light under the bed. He got up and glared at me.

“What? What’s under there?”

He continued glaring. “Honey, did you bring a rabbit in from the yard last night?”

“Did I what?” I’m quite certain my Arrogant One, at his very worst, had never hit a higher note with his screeching.

Rubbing his ear gingerly, Miles gave me an apologetic look. “I’ll take that as a no.”

Just then, someone knocked on the bedroom door.

“Who is it?”

A small, tremulous voice answered. “Cleric.”

I sighed. “What’s wrong?”

Cleric with cheeks aflameSlowly, Cleric pushed open the door and entered the room. Even in the dim light, I could see her cheeks aflame. “I am so sorry to disturb you, but one of the rabbits is missing.”

“One of the rabbits?” I cocked an eyebrow at Cleric. “One of what rabbits?”

“One of the rabbits I brought inside last night.” Her voice was so soft, I could hardly catch her words.

My husband must have had no trouble hearing her, though. He heaved a big sigh. “Dare we ask why you brought rabbits inside the house last night?”

“Well, Master Miles, it has been very warm the past few days, but last night, the temperature dropped very low. The man in the magic box, the box you call a television, predicted we might get as much as two inches of snow overnight. I checked on the rabbits that live in the backyard, and they looked very cold. So, I invited them to spend the night in the warmth of the house.”

Cleric spoke as if this was a very normal thing to do, and indeed, it is for her. She continued, “They were supposed to stay in the kitchen, but this morning I found them hopping all over the house. I have found all but one. The others are having their breakfast of apples, pears, and carrots in the kitchen while I look for the missing bunny.”

At the mention of carrots, the errant rabbit poked his head out from under the bed. He twitched his ears and wriggled his nose, then hopped over to Cleric and looked up at her expectantly. He thump-thump-thumped one of his hind legs.

Naughty bunny“Oh, there you are! You naughty bunny! I should put you outside with no breakfast!” She picked up the bunny and rubbed her cheek in his fur. “But you know I will not. Come, now, let us allow Mistress Writer and Master Miles to return to their slumber.” She took the rabbit and left, turning at the door to wave goodnight.

Miles and I looked at each other and shrugged. Just another day in the life of a writer whose characters have fallen out of her young adult fantasy manuscript and into the real world.

Tuesday 03/31/2020

My husband was serving breakfast. My characters were lined up to get some scrambled eggs and breakfast potatoes, biscuits and country gravy, and pastries. As everyone took seats around the kitchen table, I frowned. “Has anyone seen Dragon? She missed dinner last night, and now breakfast this morning. I’m concerned she may be ill.”

Dragon in front of fireplace“Nay, tha beastie do na be ill.” My Old Dwarf spoke around a mouthful of food. “She jest be cold. She been snuggled-eed up by ’er fireplace since tha temperatures been droppin’ agin las’ afternoon.” He chuckled. “Ye be knowin’ how she be, complainin’ aboot the weather. She be right as rain as soon as it be warmin’ up and be stayin’ thet way.”

I nodded. I know that Dragon suffers from the cold even more than the rest of us. She was born in the heat of the desert, and spent most of her life there, at least three centuries, basking in the scorching sunlight. The Minnesota winters are hard on her, but she seems to suffer most in the spring, when temperatures fluctuate greatly between balmy and freezing.

sandwiches and lemonadeAs the day progressed, the early spring sun warmed the air considerably. Miles and I took advantage of the beautiful weather to do some clean-up in the yard. My Foreman, my Young Hero, and my Gypsy helped us clear the yard of fallen branches and other detritus left by the harsh winter winds and snow. Cleric and Sorceress made us all a picnic lunch and even my Arrogant One, my Bounty Hunter, and my Old Dwarf joined us in the gazebo for sandwiches and lemonade.

When we were finished with lunch, we all headed in to clean up. As we opened the door from the deck to the living room, we were hit with a wall of heat.

“What on earth . . .?” Miles gave me a puzzled look. “It feels like someone set the thermostat to maximum!”

He and I went to the hallway to check. The thermostat was set at 68 degrees Fahrenheit, but the temperature read 95.

“Dragon!”

I raced down the stairs to the conference room. There, Dragon was curled up in front of a blazing fire.

“Yo! What the heck are you trying to do?”

Dragon lazily opened one eye and gave me a toothy smile. “I am trying to get warm, obviously.”

“The fire goes. Now!” I crossed my arms over my chest and glared at Dragon. “You have this place so hot, the paint is going to start melting right off the walls!”

“Piffle.” She made no move to douse the fire.

My Old Dwarf entered the room. “Eh, Beastie! Ye be havin’ it as hot as a dwarven forge in here! Douse thet fire afore ye be roastin’ me in me very armor!”

When Dragon still made no move toward the fireplace, my Old Dwarf produced a bucket of water he had been holding behind his back and threw it on the fire.

As the flames sizzled and drowned, Dragon leaped to her feet and started chasing the dwarf, who sprinted toward the stairs. “Eh, ye be too slow ta be catchin’ me! Ye be gittin’ soft, all tha time sleepin’ in front o thet fire!”Dragon chasing Old Dwarf

“Soft? Soft? How is this for soft?” I heard the whoosh of fiery dragon breath, and a chortle from the dwarf.

“Eh, ye be havin’ ta be doin’ better’n thet, beastie!”

Just then, the smoke alarms started screeching. Miles came running into the conference room. “That crazy beast is going to burn this house down!”

“You get the alarm to stop, and I’ll deal with Dragon.”

Yup. Just another day in the life of . . . well, you know.

Wednesday 04/01/2020

2 weeks of food in one mealBreakfast was quiet this morning. My Old Dwarf was my only character who joined Miles and me at the table. The two of us watched, slack-jawed, as the rotund figure downed a stack of flapjacks with butter and syrup, a dozen scrambled eggs, two biscuits with sausage gravy, a half pound of bacon, three ham steaks, two dozen sausage links, an entire cheddar hash brown casserole, half a loaf of toasted sourdough bread, a dozen banana nut muffins, and two urns of coffee.

Miles leaned close and whispered in my ear. “Do you realize your pint-sized minion just ate the equivalent of two weeks’ grocery budget in less than 10 minutes?”

The grubby glutton in question swiped his hand through his beard, scattering crumbs everywhere. He belched several times, patted his belly, then looked at us expectantly. “Be there any DE-zert?”

Yup, just another day.

Thursday 04/02/2020

Miles and I were in the laundry room, taking the clothes from the washer and putting them in the dryer. I felt some water splashing on my arm.

“Not funny, honey.” I gave Miles a stern look.

“What’s not funny?” He looked mystified.

I made a face at him and turned back to the wash. I felt more water splashing on me. I rounded on Miles. “Stop splashing water on me!”

“I’m not . . .”water dripping 3

We both looked up as more water dripped from above.

“What the heck?”

scryingWe both ran up the stairs to the bathroom that sat right above the laundry room. There, Sorceress stood staring into the sink. The faucets were turned on, and water was overflowing the basin, flooding the room.

“What are you doing?” Screeching seemed to be my most used form of communication lately.

“Why, I am scrying, of course.” Sorceress gave us a look that plainly said Duh. Then she looked at the floor.

“Oh, no! Oh, I am so sorry! I was so engrossed in my scrying I did not notice the water had overflowed the basin.” She quickly turned off the faucets and grabbed some towels. Miles and I joined her efforts at drying up the flood.

“Why were you scrying in the bathroom sink?” I handed her another big bath towel. “What happened to your scrying bowl?”

Sorceress threw some wet towels into the bathtub and continued mopping up with the towel I had handed her. “I cannot find my scrying bowl. I believe I lent it to the Gypsy lad when he was learning how to scry, but he cannot find it either.”

Throwing the wet towels into the tub, Miles, Sorceress, and I all grabbed some more dry towels and continued mopping.

“With this terrible virus devastating your population, I was worried about some of our friends. I was attempting to scry on Colton and his mother, and on Marisol and her mother, to determine if they are well.”

“Are they?” I swapped out my towel again.

“Yes. I saw all of them clearly in the water. They all remain healthy. Next, I was going to try to scry on Christine and Talia from the Chris-Tal Clear Metaphysical Store, and on our neighbors, Mace and Gloria.”

telephone1I sighed as I tossed another sopping wet towel into the tub. “Why don’t I just call them on the telephone and see how they’re doing?”

Sorceress’ cheeks flamed. “Oh. Oh, yes, I suppose that would work.”

“Yes, I suppose it would.” I gave Sorceress an arch look as I handed her some more towels.

Just another . . . do I have to say it?

Friday 04/03/2020

I looked up as my Young Hero strutted into the living room. I immediately noticed the smug look on his face.

“What’s up?”

MusclesHe grinned at me. “Well, Mistress, as you know, being half-dwarf, I am shorter than most humans of a similar age. That has never troubled me. But it has always vexed me that I have none of the great muscle and bulk of my dwarven kin. So, I have been exercising.” He pushed up his sleeve and flexed his arm. “Look!”

I gaped at the boy’s arm. It was indeed impressive. My Young Hero sported the muscles of a champion bodybuilder. I whistled. “How long have you been exercising?”

“Not that long. Along with the exercise, I have been taking some health potions the elf gave me. They have really helped.” He struck a pose and showed off his muscles some more.

I frowned. “You took potions my Arrogant One gave you?”

The young lad nodded.

I arched my eyebrow and sighed. “Was that really smart?”

My Young Hero stopped showing off and furrowed his brow. “You do not believe he would have given me something unsafe, do you?”

“You know him as well as I do. What do you think?”

Just then, my Arrogant One entered the room, whistling nonchalantly. My Young Hero rounded on him. “What was in those potions you gave me?”

“Why? Did they not work?”

I stood and got between my two characters. “What was in them?” I glared at my Arrogant One.No muscles

“They were harmless enough. But if the lad not satisfied with the results, so be it.” He snapped his fingers and my Young Hero’s muscles deflated like leaky balloons.

“It was all just an illusion! Why you dirty, rotten . . .”

My Arrogant One didn’t stick around to hear the rest of my Young Hero’s invective. He took off like a rabbit, the lad right on his heels.

Yep, you guessed it. Just another day.

Saturday 04/04/2020

“Eh, lass, ye better be stoppin’ tha war.” My Old Dwarf took a big bite of a crisp, red apple, and continued speaking around the mouthful of food. “Yer Bounty Hunter, an’ yer Foreman an’ tha two laddies be aboot ta be kiltin’ each udder oot in tha back yard.”

I sighed and headed for the door.

“What’s going on?” I yelled at my characters as I stepped out onto the deck.

My Foreman, my Gypsy, and my Young Hero were holding their saddled mounts by the reins in the middle of the yard. Arrows were sticking out of the saddles. The three characters were yelling at the top of their voices at my Bounty Hunter, who was yelling back, just as loudly.

I ran down the steps.

“I asked what’s going on here!” I raised my voice, trying to be heard over the ongoing brouhaha.

“This is the first day in months the weather has allowed us to ride our horses and this lout is out here firing arrows at us.” My Foreman scowled.

HorsesTarget“This is the first day in months the weather has allowed me to engage in some target practice. And I am not firing at them. They are intentionally riding into my line of fire. I have as much right as those three to use the yard.” My Bounty Hunter nocked another arrow in his bow and turned toward his target, which was set up in front of the garden shed.

“You have the right to use the yard, but not our paddock when we are already here riding!” My Gypsy grabbed the other man’s arm, causing the arrow to go wide, flying over the fence into the neighbor’s yard.

“Stop! Right now! All of you! You.” I pointed at my Bounty Hunter. “Front yard. There is more than enough room to set up your target in front of the garage doors. You can shoot from the end of the driveway. I know Dragon has extended the spell of concealment that far.”

I turned back to my other three characters. “Gypsy, use your magic to retrieve that arrow without being seen. And all of you – try to solve these problems without fighting, won’t you?”

Without waiting for an answer, I turned and went back inside.

An hour later, Miles came in the front door and up the stairs. I looked up as he came into the living room. He was holding an arrow.

“What happened?”Bulls eye

“Your Bounty Hunter scored a bulls-eye . . . on my tire.”

I sighed.

 

Welcome to my world! I hope you have enjoyed observing some random events from a typical week in the household of Mistress Writer and Master Miles. Be sure to come back next week and see what is in store for my little band of displaced characters. I’ll leave the porch light on for you . . . if it hasn’t been broken by an arrow before then.

porch light broken