Mirrors and DoorsThe witch queen was satisfied with her newest work. She smiled at the master artisan as she handed him the heavy purse he had earned for delivering a working basis. Creating a truly perfect duplicate of a door in the Empress's palace was impossible - if for no other reason, then for the wood grain - but the fifth attempt had been close enough to link them.
Nodding and smiling as the artisan bowed, the witch queen considered rumours about herself. A mirror that could take her wherever she wanted if she stepped through it... would that things were so easy.
Curse LawThe assigned counsel made a show of looking something up, and gave her client a long look. She just had to ask, "Boils filled with cats?"
"They were small cats?"
"I mean, where do you get ideas like that?"
The client nodded.
He looks too mousey to be comfortable around cats. The attorney stared at her client, trying to find her professionalism, which she seemed to have misplaced
He fidgeted. "Well... it was just a hallucination."
"Really? Psychic attack rather than physical? That might work in our favour. At least with the cruelty to animals charge."
Dragon Sparking ProblemsWorry and irritation mingled in Sylvie's mind. Ayu-Asra, the two-headed pet dragon she could not get rid of, had gotten her thrown out of an inn, and she had really looked forward to not having to sleep outside.
Not that she could blame the landlord. A glance at the animal trailing her by alternately running along the top of the fence next to the street and gliding a short distance showed her that its chest was still glowing faintly. Maybe she should have claimed this was normal and harmless, rather than admitting he had never done that before. The dragon didn't seem bothered, so maybe it was harmless, but what could it be? He was able to breathe fire, so maybe something going wrong there? Trying to remember if she'd ever heard of a dragon overheating and exploding, Sylvie flinched as Ayu-Asra whistled shrilly and veered off towards an orchard.
After a furtive look around, Sylvie followed to see what had him so excited, or what damage she would have to apologise for.
She found him chas
A Fairy TaleYou'd like to hear a fairy tale? Really? Well, all right.
Many generations ago in a village in Kandral was a boy who thought he was smarter than he was. He went out into the woods without telling anyone, wanting to prove he could hunt on his own. Instead he got lost. His parents thought he was with his cousins, his cousins thought he was with his parents, so nobody missed him until night fell.
In the dark and with no idea where he was, he became very afraid. He called for help.
Someone arrived, a figure with skin and hair shining like a moon. It talked sweetly to the boy, until he was not afraid any more. The fae asked the boy to tell it about his family, in exchange for being led to a street, and got a lot of complaints how his parents liked his brothers and sisters, who he said picked on him, more, and no-one took him as seriously as he deserved.
"Ah, this is sad," said the fae, and nothing more.
They walked in silence until they reached a path. The boy recognised it after a moment.
Summoning DemonsThe chants rose slowly, shaping sounds not part of any human language. The acrid smoke of incense swirled as the air in the closed chamber started to move. Only when the candle flames changed from their natural colour to a dim midnight blue the glow of the diagram drawn on the floor with unsavoury substances became apparent. It brightened, spitting sparks as the chants crescendoed. A flash of light and a thunder strike, then silence, broken by genteel coughing.
A strange figure stood in the summoning circle, short, and with a fringe of hair framing its properly bald head.
"William Aloysius Coltrane."
"You have been summoned and bound to our service."
"What?" The man in the circle straightened his glasses and peered up at the speaker. His opposite was about nine foot tall. The horns and goat's legs and all seemed to be way too realistic for a mask used in a prank.
"You will serve as our accountant for a year and a day."
A glance at the even more disturbing other figures around th