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Deal 1168: Chicken little’s mirror

The magic mirror promised her beauty beyond compare. In exchange, she merely had to offer cautious advice to her friends.

This went on for some years without issue or concern, until the panic set in.

Little did she know what was in store for her. The sky had been her constant companion, and now it was at risk. She had to warn her friends.

But that put her at odds with her promise to her mirror.

How could she possibly decide?

Which came first?

Her image or her friends?

As she panicked unable to decide, the sky opened up and the storm arrived. The worst storm seen in the barnyard in generations.

As she floated off across the road, she knew she should have warned her friends, but her vanity had stood in the way.

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Deal 1136: Wings by night

Approach the ritual in the right frame of mind or not at all. I was warned. I probably should have listened.

Candles set the atmosphere, along with interesting art on the walls and beads hanging everywhere. Once inside, it seemed as if I had been transported somewhere very different from my mundane world. The altar with a fetish and mask may have been a clue about what was to come, but I had no idea. Then she stepped into the room.

Long hair in dreads, more beads than ought to be possible, layers of clothing that moved almost as if they had a mind of their own. There was no mistaking that this was her domain. Even if the motifs of the altar and art weren’t repeated in both her clothing and her tattoos, it would be clear. She asked me no questions, and I offered no information. Perhaps in a different world I would have and things would be different. She gestured to the pile of pillows and bade me be comfortable. I did.

From that point, things get a little hazy.

At first, literally hazy from the incense set alight around the room, then from the smoke of the herbs set alight in a bowl. Even if I hadn’t held the bowl up and inhaled deeply, I would have been affected. Should I have asked what was in the bowl?

In the moment, that seemed a rude thing to do, and I refrained. But then, if I had been the least bit prudent, I wouldn’t have been seeking out practitioners of the mystical arts, and letting them practice upon me unquestioned. No, prudence was far from my mind that night.

And that was about the last thing my conscious mind can recall.

My next memory begins a few moments ago, when I opened my eyes to find myself miles above the landscape, watching the twinkling lights as if they were constellations that are approaching. Approaching while the wind picks up, whistling past my body in a way that makes no sense at all if I am laying in a field watching the stars go by. Because I’m not, after all. I’m falling, constantly falling, towards a landscape of twinkling stars, but never reaching the ground, the wind buoying me up as it whistles over my wings, tickling each feather individually, caressing me as it carries me away.

Wings?

What have I done?

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Deal 1005: Stewed Birds and Open Fire

You always want to begin with a clean workspace and a stable source of heat. If burning wood, you will need a heavy cast iron pot to spread the heat from the fire to all sides, and hold it hot as the fire burns down. You won’t need to put the pot directly in the fire, balanced at one edge is often preferred because it can be turned occasionally, or moved closer and further as wood is added and consumed.

If potatoes are handy, tuck a few at the edge of the fire, in the ashes so they don’t burn. Turn occasionally and let them roast for a while before adding them to the pot near the end.

Butter and herbs will form the base. Other fats may be used, of course. Use what is at hand as long as it isn’t rancid. Rub the bird in salt and pepper too, and brown it in the hot fat before adding anything else. If the goal is a stew and time is not on your side, you can always break the bird down into pieces that will cook quicker and render more flavor into the broth.

Of course you can even spatchcock it if you’re feeling fancy. No one really enjoys picking around the backbone anyway.

Chop a few roots, rinse ashes off your potatoes and break them into chunks, and add to the pot along with more salt and pepper and some water. If some beer is at hand that won’t be missed immediately, add it in place of half the water or so. It will cook down and make a richer broth.

If you have time to simmer them until cooked, you can always drop chunks of biscuit dough into the top of the pot. Little fluffy bombs of bread will steam in the broth in no time at all.

To serve, all you need is enough large bowls and an appetite.

More of that beer you raided for the broth would probably go well too.