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Deal 1104: At Sea

The darkness rushed over the explorers in the middle of the blue sea. Before that moment, they had blue skies, deep blue water, and the occasional porpoise playing off the bow. Now, the sun was gone and replaced by a giant silver ghost, hollow in the center where the sun had been. Stars rarely seen even at night were visible near the sun, including the elusive Mercury and the more common Venus.

The large shiny structure off one limb of the Moon could only be the base from which an alien invasion would be launched. No one noticed it, despite its size.

That day’s journey had been uneventful. They left port in good spirits, and might as well have sailed off an edge of the world.

By the time that they reached their planned way point, they hadn’t seen even an echo of another ship for hours. They were off all the normal shipping lanes. They were close to as alone as a single boat could ever be, the only 40 people in miles. Mortal people that is.

Poseidon had sent the porpoises to keep an eye out for him. But they didn’t know that on deck.

Below, monsters circled, readied their attack on the lonely ship.

Then the sun vanished.

Poseidon chuckled.

All the unnamed and unnamable beasts backed down. Their moment in the sun had passed.

Aboard ship, we remained blissfully ignorant. Even the Captain and crew came out on deck to share the spectacle, leaving no one to guard the weapons.

Fortune was on their side, and the weapons remained unneeded.

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Deal 1044: Cat has a Dragon, Dragon in Denial

The message keep piling up. First, it was a steady stream of carrier pigeons. Then owls. Now, little cards are simply appearing in a basket. I caught one in the act, it looked like it was falling through a slit in reality. Or that strangely malleable substance that passes for reality around here.

Not that I can read them, mind you. I can interact just fine with nearly anything that crosses my path, at least verbally. But apparently the language I know how to read and write is not spoken here. And what is spoken here might as well be Greek to me when written. I really ought to ask Gwen for help with this, but she has gone so far out of her way for me already. At the pace I’ve been learning from her and her friends, I should be able to upgrade my own translation spells to include written words soon.

Raven dropped in for a visit the other day. Apparently he’s been trying to get in to see me for a while now, but Gwen keeps chasing him off. I’m not sure if she knew he was here or not, but he did get in. He’s up to something, and Gwen is right that he likely does not have my interests at heart.

I’m not sure she does either, mind you, but she has been very upfront about that. Raven just changes the subject and makes oddly nonspecific promises. And I’ve caught him trying to manipulate my memory too. So that one is staying at arm’s reach. I couldn’t resist testing my growing powers, though, and snapped a birdcage around him. The look on his face was priceless. Then he quorked something that likely would be obscene if translated, tore a raven-sized hole in reality, and stepped out. He hasn’t been back.

The toad has tried to visit, but the cat I’ve seen around the place just steps out of a shadow, picks up the toad, and steps back into a shadow. I’ve asked Gwen about the cat, and she insists that she does not have a cat.

I asked the cat, but he didn’t answer. At least not in so many words. But he did strongly imply by gesture and deeds that as far as he’s concerned, he has a dragon that he lets have the illusion of free will.

Cats and Dragons. Probably not a good idea for them to team up.

The Harpy that came by for an afternoon was interesting. She was adamant that her (and her sisters) were misunderstood. I’m pretty open minded, but her case was not entirely persuasive. I found it telling that Gwen didn’t actually give her unfettered access to me, but chose to remain in reach. Cat just twitched and wrinkled his nose when I asked him about the Harpy. Gwen just shrugged and said I had to make up my own mind in due course.

Time for another crack at the message pile. Perhaps tomorrow we can begin work on my eventual goals. Perhaps I should ask the cat for help.

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Deal 1022: Double Nonnet for Sallis

Man of depths unfathomed, still unplumbed
Optimist, attacks mystery
Rocket or sheepwash, it works
Ever faithful Gromit
Constructed at home
Hotpot and tea
Even space
Extra
Smart
Expert
Gaffer and
Rescuer all
Overcoming odds
Muddling through everything
Indeed, but not as yet love
Totty, Wendy, Piella, gone.
Wensleydale preferred over the moon

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Deal 1021: Staged

The crowd has been well-behaved as dusk settles over the amphitheatre. The early warm up acts were fun for passing time until the main event, but may not be memorable. Except that one guy that… but I digress. Night arrives swiftly at this place, so it almost seems as if someone has simply thrown a switch and turned off the sky. Then, as our eyes adjust, we realize that he also turned on the stars.

Everyone quickly settles back into their seats as the amphitheatre plunges from navigable to one giant tripping hazard. We all quiet with anticipation.

The stage lights come up to reveal a contraption of some sort on an empty stage.

It fires bundles into the front three rows that turn out to be ponchos. Nervous laughter ensues, but the front three rows also don the ponchos.

The device spins around. As it turns, spotlights reflect off it and scan the crowd. It stops, with a pin spot reflected onto a single seat, near an aisle. The other spotlight operators turn their lights around and join in, The seat is empty. Which seems a little strange in an otherwise sold-out house. The lights go off for a moment, then on, as all the spot operators blink their shutters in unison. Now the seat is occupied.

The occupant is dressed a little more formally than the rest of the audience. After a moment, he stands, and the crowd begins to realize that this was his entrance. He makes his way to the stage.

From that beginning, the show got weird.

At one point, he was juggling kids borrowed from the audience.

He set up a series of gramophones, and attempted to identify which was producing live sound and not a recording with the help of a small dog.

He did a knife catching act with dull knives.

It was strange and wondrous. All the professional performers who saw him were green with envy at his management of the crowd’s attention.

He did things that every critic had panned with their typical poisoned pens. But it probably didn’t help that his final bit was designed to annoy critics. He even said so from the stage, pointing out that by and large most critics would have already filed their reviews of his show by that point, so it was perfectly safe to mock them.

When the house lights came up, the audience response was immense.