A small teal onion pushed through the snows, clutching his hooded fur cloak tightly, though awkwardly, for he held something akin to an egg far more tightly, as if afraid it would sprout wings and fly away. Given this walking, talking, thinking onion was a denizen of Elcon, it wasn’t too unlikely that such a thing could happen.
The onion’s destination was clear, for right before him, poking out of the snows like the head of a severely ill giraffe was a tower that had no right to remain standing, given how ramshackle it was, made with a hodgepodge of different slabs of rock, as if the builder had just picked up any old stone he could could find, stacked it on, and nodding his head said;
“Yeah, that’ll do”
With the builder being a wizard, this is roughly how the tower was actually made.
Rather than a roof, it was more accurate to say that the upper part of the tower was a chimney. A ramshackle chimney with horns that produced bat-like sparkling purple-blue smoke. The smoke even chittered as it vanished into thin air. The onion reached the tower and was about to knock on one of the stones with a leafy fist, there was after all, no obvious door, not even windows.
The slab before our nervous vegetable was quite jagged, a vigorous bout of knocking would surely result in shredded fibres.
“Did he change the rocks again?” the onion worried.
After circling the tower a bit, he managed to find a rock that wasn’t in some way harmful on contact. He shivered a bit at remembering how he almost knocked on some rock that was quite poisonous! It didn’t matter if you were animal, vegetable or mineral, touching it would cause the part with what you touched to swell up like a balloon, and if you touched a needle?
Well, after a bit of hoping that the rock before him wasn’t some sinister mineral he had not encountered before, the onion pounded on the slab before him, shouting;
“Ho Ho Hi! Are you there great Nobbuckle?!”
A crashing sound came from within the tower and then a rumble along with a girlish scream of dismay. Following that, there was manic laughter that swelled up along the tower, the smoke condensed into a winged laughing being. The onion quivered in fear, right down to his innermost layers as he watched this laughing magical creature fly off into the north.
Our onion fidgeted as he waited, until the slab before him abruptly wiggled and floated free, managing to avoid being hit by this, the poor onion was almost impaled by a sharp blade-like object that poked out from the darkness of the newly made opening.
That was what it was.
A yellow, uncomfortably pointy nose attached to a flat yellow face. Glowing white eyes glared out from this face, and a pair of ears like horns curled out back behind. Below the nose, was a grimace like an horizontal upside-down crescent. A crescent filled with triangular teeth. Not at all a sight you want to see up close.
Given that this face belonged to an apuce, it should have been an happy unnerving smile, but then wizards are frequently unusual characters. While his kind have a fondness of tricks, unnerving people and being irrepressibly upbeat, Nobbuckle had only kept one of those three dear.
As is the case with apuce, he had a lumpy body of purply-brown fur that looked more likely to be found on a barbershop floor than on a living being. Though in his case, much of this was stuffed into a dark blue robe with glittering stars that seemed to be made from the scales of a fish. Upon his head he also had a skullcap of the same dark blue cloth and with a single star upon in. With the head of an apuce being so thin and flat, it was more than a little ill-fitting.
Since he had a robe with voluminous sleeves, he had no need to hide his scaly arms and claws in his fur as his people usually do. As for his chicken-like ungainly legs thankfully they were concealed by his long robes. Magicians are among the most likely people to wear clothes in Elcon, seeing as how they can more easily keep their clothes from coming alive and attempting to possess them.
Among the many embarrassing ends an Elconic magician can have, being possessed by your clothes ranks very high.
Nobbuckle quickly spotted the nervous onion before his abode.
“Eh? Gack? You again? What is it this time? Come, come, hurry up, You’re fortunate I’m such a good person, otherwise I’d have long since cursed you, now, now, don’t be shy, speak up!” Nobbuckle rattled off.
“I’m sorry for disturbing you O great Nobbuckle, I saw a big creature come from your chimney, will it be fine just to leave it?”
Nobbuckle twisted his head a bit and looked even more grumpy. He pulled a crystal ball and peered deep into it. Gack couldn’t see anything though.
“It’ll be fine, fine. Something will eat it I’m sure” Nobbuckle stated.
Gack bobbed his body in agreement.
“Now, now, what is it this time? Did one of Bortha’s buffows eat a ghostie and get indigestion again? Perhaps, perhaps you angered another bandit clan, hmm? You don’t look quite worried enough for that. Excited, excited, that’s how you look this means…”
“Yes great Nobbuckle! I found a thing again!” Gack shouted excitedly.
Nobbuckle pulled a protective amulet in the shape of a shield that was also a sleeping sheep from his sleeve and put it on, activating it. He’d have to re-enchant it regardless of there being danger or not, but since a previous incident he had learned his lesson.
“Well, well, a thing. What might this thing be?” Nobbuckle asked.
Gack put a sour look on his face.
“I don’t know, I thought you would, that’s why I came here!”
“I meant for you to show me the thing Gack.”
Gack’s face brightened up, lit with a dazzling smile, as if he was a young sprout whose confession of love had just been accepted. He proudly held out what he holding onto.
“This thing looks quite like a rock” Nobbuckle mused flatly.
“This rock, when someone tells a lie around it, that person will be struck by lightning!”
“No way, the Fool must have been telling lies to you again! That’s a perfectly ordinary rock! GAH!”
A bolt from nowhere stuck against Nobbuckle, causing him to convulse. His amulet did nothing at all!
“Great Nobbuckle, are you ok!?” Gack panicked.
Being a wizard, Nobbuckle was quite used to being electrocuted, so he recovered quite quickly. He was about to say that he was fine, but with some quick thinking, worried about the stone.
“I am coping with being disturbed, having an experiment blow up and getting struck through my defences by lightning” he said.
“Oh. So, what is it great Nobbuckle?” Gack asked.
The great Nobbuckle rubbed his forehead a bit.
“Isn’t it a stone that strikes those that lie with lightning?” he said flatly.
“Should I keep it?”
“Well, it could be used for disputes… but with how honest you villagers are, excluding the Fool, that’d be fairly pointless, pointless. Who knows what other issues it might have. Hohum. Let’s sell it! Is Honest Hammel at the village today?”
“He is O great Nobbuckle!”
“Wonderful, wonderful. I’ll just close up here and go with you, just in case”
* * * * *
As Gack and Nobbuckle came closer and closer to the tent of the fox merchant named Honest Hammel, the stone began to rattle. Both the vegetable and apuce stopped.
“O great Nobbuckle, this is very worrying!” Gack worried.
“How curious, curious, why is it doing that I wonder?”
Before Nobbuckle could consider further, a fox who had some fur burnt off of one hand long ago came out of the tent, it was Honest Hammel himself!
“Oh, what brings you two to…”
Honest’s voice was drowned out by the stone suddenly howling.
“Throw the stone up into the air!” Nobbuckle screamed.
Gack didn’t question Nobbuckle for one moment instead he threw the stone, which was shuddering mightily, into the air. As well that he did so, for in the next moment, the stone itself exploded and lighting appeared, a whole storm of the stuff, converging on Honest Hammel!
There was a cry that could not have possibly come from a fox and Honest Hammel was reduced to ashes.
Nobbuckle and Gack were left standing slackjawed at the remains.