Sunday, July 18, 2010

Slow exchange (spell)

Slow exchange
Range: One object (special)
Duration: One week (special)

It had been a boring week of mostly sitting down for old Billobi Rustfoot, when there all of a sudden was a knock on his door. He put on his glasses, grabbed his walking stick and got up from the comfort of his favourite piece of furniture (an old present from his long gone cousin Hamphred). With a little help from his stick he managed to fight gravity long enough to reach the front door. Opening it revealed a young woman dressed in all black - obviously a letter carrier in service of Penny Black.

"G'day Sir", she said with a firm voice, jaws barely open. "Letter for Mr Rustfoot."

"That's me", said Billobi and smiled.

"G'day Mr Rustfoot, that will be one and six, Sir."

"One and six? Well that's just... I remember when it only cost a flat one..."

He continued to mumble while searching through his pockets with his free hand. There, deep down, could he feel the coins waiting for his gnarly fingers.

"Say... You remind me of someone", Billobi said and inspected the young woman's face.

"Is that so?"

"Yes... Why you look... Cursed coins! You will appreciate your former strength when you get this old!"

"Is that so? One and six, Mr Rustfoot", she said, not overly enthusiastic.

"Yeah, yeah... Now I know! You remind me of daughter!"

"I'm flattered, Sir. One and six. Hurry up or Penny Black will make a visit, Mr Rustfoot."

"Yeah, yeah, you'll get your money you..." - his words disappeared when he finally got a hold of the coins. He reached out his hand to the letter carrier, who collected the right amount without a word.

"Thank you. G'day to you, Sir."

Just a sudden as she had appeared, she was gone. Billobi closed the door and defied yet again gravity with his walking stick. With a soft thud he fell into the chair, embraced by the warmth of the stuffing.

He inspected the envelope carefully. It was thick, thicker than average. The writing on the front was too small for him to read. He reached for his letter knife on the table next to him (also an old present from yet another gone friend; old Badsey, the former ferryman of Ketch-in-Loch), ripped up the envelope and pulled out a letter written on a thick piece of paper.

He started to read it: "Dear old friend! As I write this I'm looking out over miles and miles of pure gold; warm, yellow sand that forms the beach right next to my small cottage. The heat, good lords, the heat! Tall, naked trees that carries fruits sweeter than your dear mother's apple pie - gods rest her soul - and tall, naked women... Dear friend, you'd love it here! Our old bones and joints need this paradise. To give you a taste of the good life, I've attached a marker. It looks like a stamp, only larger."

Billobi turned the letter around but couldn't see anything that resembled a stamp. But when he shook the envelope upside down, a square piece of paper fell out. It was thin and had a drawing of a cat on it.

He continued reading: "I've drawn a cat on it - don't laugh, I did my best! Now, what you have there is a very special marker, enchanted by a good friend of mine. What I want you to do now is to lick on its back, and attached it on something the size of a small cat. Think of it like putting a stamp on an envelope! (I didn't have the money to pay for the stamp on this letter, though. Sorry about that, old friend!) "

While muttering about his cheapskate for a friend, he searched his living room for anything as large as a cat. Finally, he settled for the torn wastepaper basket that sat next to his chair. He licked the square piece of paper, and pressed it against the side of the basket. It sat loose, but didn't fall off at least.

He continued: "As soon as you've done this, it will be impossible to remove it."

Billobi reached out his hand and tried to pry it off, unsuccessfully.

The last lines of the letter read: "I have a similar marker here, which will start to glow as soon as you've attached yours. Now, over the next seven days, keep an eye open, and don't through away whatever you've attached the marker to - you'll see, old friend! / Your friend overseas, Tristan".

Over the next seven days, Billobi experienced something truly extraordinary. Every day, one small part of the basket was replaced by something thorny and dark brown. On the seventh day, the basket was completely gone, and replaced by something that looked like a brown little ball, with green, hard leaves on top. After a careful investigation by his friend down by the docks, he was informed that it was a pineapple, and was shown how to eat it. Though sweet, he didn't really care for the taste.

Some weeks later a new letter from Tristan arrived. Yet another one and six shorter, Billobi opened up the envelope and found a short note along with another marker. The note said: "Dear friend! The village enchanter has made a stronger marker! Just look at the drawing and you'll understand. See you soon! / Your friend overseas, Tristan".

After turning it around a couple of times, Billobi finally recognize the drawing on the marker. He immediately licked it, attached it to his forehead and went straight to bed.

A slow exchange-spell is usually cast upon a pair of stamps, which then are attached to the objects that the caster wish to swap out. The stamps must be made out of a fine piece of paper (not necessarily magical).

It takes one week for the exchange to take place. Every day, one seventh of the two pieces are swapped, resulting in quite fascinating (or horrible) mixtures. Living things such as fruits, animals, humans, etc. aren't harmed by this remarkable piece by piece exchange, although it may affect their ability to walk and talk (e.g. exchanging a man and a barrel).

It is custom to draw something the size of the object to exchange on the stamps as a guideline. Exchanging objects that differs too greatly in size may result in death (or worse).

Casting this spell upon an object directly (other than a pair of stamps) will cause it to disappear into a special kind of void, where it will sit and wait (forever, if so). The next time the spell is cast directly upon an object, it will trade places with that object, and so on. Note that this is independently of whoever cast, so that a person who casts this spell twice in a row can't be sure to get the first object back (it may already been replaced).

The markers will come off by themselves on the seventh day.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dowsing rod (magic item)

As a traveller and explorer, Billobi had seen more than anyone usually do in one's lifetime; from the brightest shining gemstones, to the darkest slimy creatures, he had seen it all. But even as he grew older, things still seemed to pop up from nowhere and surprise him. If he was lucky, he had his pen ready and could add it to his journal. If he was unlucky, he had to run for his life, pen or no pen.

The only person Billobi knew of that had seen as much strange things as himself was his old friend Thomas Althorp, owner of the only antique shop in the town of Horsehead. Visiting his shop was a sure way of experience new, weird things.


"A branch?" asked Billobi and looked at the twig at the table. He and Thomas stood by the counter, opposite sides, observing the dead piece of wood.

"Yep", said Thomas. "Not very exciting, eh?"

"Not the least... What does it do?"

"Well..." - Thomas scratched his chin - "The gentleman who sold it to me said it could be used as a dowsing rod."

"A dowsing rod? Surely you know those never works, dear friend?"

"That's what I told him, but he assured it wasn't meant to be used here, and certainly not for water."

Billobi picked up the y-shaped branch and studied it up close, without noticing any kind of interesting features. "What do you mean 'not here', as in not in Horsehead? Soo...he sold you a dowsing rod that doesn't work in this town, or not at all for that matter? Maybe retailing isn't your cup of tea..."

"Hey! Maybe I'll make you buy it!"
They stood quiet for while, inspecting the gnarled thing, when Thomas all of a sudden said: "Oh, I almost forgot! He was in a hurry so he had prepared a pamphlet for the rod. Let me just fetch it."

He disappeared into the backroom, and Billobi could hear him going through - possibly - piles of papers, cursing and mumbling. Some minutes later, he came back with a small grey piece of paper.

"Here it is! Let me read it for you", Thomas said and unfolded it. "'Dear new owner of this dowsing rod, know what you hold in your very possession, because it is the Key in your dreams. Owner, if you have pursued this item as I have, we both know what you are going through. For six days or less, you've been having nightmares, impossible to escape from, in which you're being hunted by the projection of your curse. Owner, you may have been beaten senseless and scared half to death in your dreams, but know that with the Key on your nightstand, it will guide you in your darkest dreams, to the safehaven where the projection may do you no harm. Treat it well, and keep it with you always, as you will never know when you will sleep the next time! But know this, owner, after the sixth day, no Key will help you, as the projection will take..."

Thomas stopped, obviously shaken by the words.

"What does it say, dear friend?" Billobi asked, almost whispering.

Thomas continued: "' the projection will take the step into our world, where you have to face it alone. Owner, know this, I too dreaded for the seventh day, but I stood tall and defeated my projection. I am now free, and pass this rod on to guide your through your six nightmares. Owner, I wish you the best of luck.'"

"Well..." Billobi said and wiped his fingers against the counter. "Whatever vile curse it is that cause that kind of nightmares, I sure hope it isn't contagious..."

These kinds of dowsing rods only works in dreams of a cursed person, where it will look and feel as in the real world. It is employed in the same way as ordinary dowsing rods, with the difference that it will find a spot (or "safehaven") in the dream where the projection that haunts the dreamer cannot harm him or her (as long as the dreamer stays put till he wakes).

Nobody knows for sure what the cause of these curses are, but they all seem to progress in the same way. Since the cause is unknown, so is the incubation period, but when the disease breaks out the affected person will have nightmares, six nights in a row. In theses nightmares (which will vary greatly, probably depending on things such as origin of the infection, the person infected, etc.), a terrible projection of evil will hunt the dreamer and hurt him until they wake up. The projection may change from night to night, but will almost always have some personal meaning to the affected person.

On the seventh night, the projection will take on a real life form and approach the person. If defeated, the curse is defeated and the person free. The projection must be killed by the affected person, otherwise the projection will go back into the dream plane where it will hunt for another six nights.

There have been reports of people unaffected by the curse being able to use these rods in ordinary dreams, finding wondrous places and peoples, and strange, magical things - or even themselves.