City of The Slushies | Chapter 7 | Quaraun The Insane (The PortCon Maine 2017 Novel)
That night, Unicorn was once again finding himself frustrated by Quaraun's obsessively whining over is aching side.
"Quaraun, ya does no have ovaries. Will ya stop this. Ya being ridiculous!"
"I wish I knew what was going on."
There was a crashing THUD behind them.
"GhoulSpawn?" Unicorn asked, looking down at the half-Elf. "Where'd ya come from?"
"I don't know," the yellow haired wizard moaned.
"You okay?" Quaraun asked.
"Yeah. I think a sheep broke my fall." GhoulSpawn sat up and looked around. "Where the hell are we?"
"You tell me. I can only assume you sent us here."
"Uhm... did I?"
GhoulSpawn looked around dazed.
"I don't know. How'd I get here?"
"Uhm... I... uhm..." Quaraun stopped to think. "Oh dear. I think I just wished you here."
"Great. Always a jolly good time when you do that."
"I'm sorry. I wasn't trying to wish you here."
"No? Imagine that. You never are. What was you trying to do?"
"I hurt. I was wishing the pain to go away."
"And that brought me here?"
"Him think him have ovaries," Unicorn said.
"Ovaries! Ovaries? What? Why you thinking that? You're higher then usual."
"Nah. Him insane. Remember? Quaraun the Insane. Being insane is what him does best. Besides, we out of opium. Him crashing fast. Him brain gone loopy. Him has gots no clue what him saying."
"Well, yeah. But if he's in pain, then, that needs to be looked into. But ovaries? How do you even know what ovaries are? You're not exactly educated on modern science."
"Him side been hurting all week. Him think him having PMS."
"PMS? That term won't be invented for another 500 years. Where'd he hear that? His side hurts? Appendicitis more likely. He needs to see a doctor."
"Uhm... doctor... I keep forgetting you guys are from the 1400s. What are doctors called back then? Uhm... a healer? But... uhm... you know ... he could have ovaries, actually. It's rare, but I've heard of such things. Men being born with ovaries. Women being born with penises. It happens."
"He called it chimera."
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"Yep. That's what it's called. I'm just wondering how he knew that."
"Yi saying him could really being having PMS?"
"Well, no, I don't think that's possible. That's likely his over active imagination, but the ovary thing, could be a problem. Doctors believes as many as 1 in ever 8 men are born with ovaries, that never grow and never function, so they never know they have them. Some men, if they suffer hormone imbalance it could cause their breasts to grow and ovaries they didn't know they had to start trying to produce eggs. And you're not very smart Quaraun. In fact your, kind of stupid. It's not like you to know a lot of big words. It's certainly not like you to know medical terms. How do you know about ovaries and PMS to begin with? Smart people didn't even know about that stuff back here in your time. Where are you getting this information?"
"I was reading your books."
"Oh. Uhm... I think you misunderstood what you read. Women have ovaries. Not men. Of course...You've always been confused about your gender. Now you've gone and made it worse by mixing yourself up with medical knowledge of the future that you don't have the brain to comprehend."
"I'm not stupid."
"I know, but... in some things you are. I think you might be an autisic savant, Quaraun. You got a few things you are really good at and you're practicly retarded in everything else. You'd never survive on your own without Unicorn. I'm glad you have him to look out for you."
GhoulSpawn thought for a moment.
"Oh. Uhm... Oh dear. You aren't a hypochondriac are you, Quaraun?"
GhoulSpawn looked to Unicorn.
"Is he a hypochondriac?"
"Knows not that word."
"Does he get sick if he hears someone talking about a person being sick, even though he's not actually sick?"
"Aye. Him start fussing un worrying un next t'ing ya knows him gots whatever it was."
"And he's a wish granting DiJinn?"
"Ah! I sees what ya mean."
"Quaraun. You're a strange wizard. I've seen you do strange things with your wishing spells. Often without knowing you were doing them. Is it possible... you read about men who had ovaries and some how, perhaps without realizing it, gave yourself ovaries?"
"Why would I do that?"
"I don't know. Why did you wish me here?"
"I didn't mean too..."
"Just like you didn't mean to wish for ovaries?"
"I... uhm... oh. I don't know. I can't remember."
Quaraun sat on the ground and burst into tears.
"I feel I have been disrupting the past," GhoulSpawn said.
"Ya think?" Unicorn answered. "I has ta live wid him ya knows."
"Yes. I know. I'm sorry. I don't think I realized he was a hypochondriac. I probably should have noticed that before though, what with how he's always getting sick. I know that now. I'll keep my medical books out of his reach from now on."
"How? By keeping 'em wid ya sheep?"
"Yes, by keeping them with my sheep. Now tell me, where are we? Why are we here?"
"This be Land of Slushies. People is crazy. Human village ruled by Thullid chef. Him gots whole entire village worshiping him on account of him control water source. People die of thirst if they piss him off. Thems gots strange heracy system based off flavours and colours of said flavours. They whole pack of them is crazier then he is."
Unicorn pointed a thumb at Quaraun.
"And you're here, why?"
"Portal zipped us here. We can'na seems to find way out. Can'na get far in desert as it full of sand sharks. Only portal we found thus far goes to world made of all water, ruled by Slush Maids."
"Mermaids, appeased by slushies. Actually, I t'inks they may be harpies."
"Mermaids. Harpies. Slush Puppies. And... sand sharks in the desert?"
"Swim in sand, like ocean. Very dangerous. Must walk on paved roads. Step off that they attacks ya."
"This is not a realm I know."
"Meaning ya does na knows how to get us back out of here?"
GhoulSpawn knelt down beside Quaraun.
"Hey. You okay?"
"No. I hurt. I've been hurting. I keep hurting. I'm still hurting."
"Okay. Was you reading my medical books to find out why you were hurting?"
"Okay. I think, we need to take you to a doctor. Find out what's going on. Though, I'm not sure how we do that. There's no doctors back here that could help you. We'll have to take you to the future find you a doctor there. Except, non-Humans don't exist in the future. At least not a future where medicine that can help you exists. And we can't get you to there until we figure out how to get out of here first. And I don't know where here is."
"Ya got any of ya pain killers him can take til then?" Unicorn asked.
"You got any opium? That's a pretty powerful pain killer and you seem to be adapt at making it."
"No poppies growing in this desert."
"Quaraun, where exactly do you hurt? Show me."
Quaraun placed his hand on his side. GhoulSpawn did the same.
"Oh that's an infection."
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"Infection?" Unicorn sounded worried. "Infections no good."
"Quaraun, you got a fever."
"That bad?" Unicorn asked.
"Yeah. It is. Especially back here where you ain't got any medicine to combat it."
GhoulSpawn pulled the fur blanket over Quaraun.
"You lay down and sleep."
"I can't sleep. There's too many dangers. Sand sharks out there."
"Shhhh... I know. But me and Unicorn are here. We'll look out for them. You try to get some sleep."
"What for him have infection? Him have no wound."
"No. Put your hand on his belly. You can feel it. Burning hot inflamation. That's not good. The cold weather of this place is plobably what's keeping him going."
"Yis saying him is dying?"
"Yeah. He could. He's really ill, Unicorn. He may be exagerating the cause. I mean I don't think he's got ovaries causing this. But he's definatly got an infection causing him quite a lot of pain. He is suffering here. It might be a good idea to keep ice on his belly. Try to keep the fever down."
"How we do that?"
"You mentioned slushies. They're made of ice."
Unicorn sat down on the floor beside GhoulSpawn and watched Quaraun as the sick Elf drifted off into a fitful, fevered sleep.
"How come for him have infection?"
"I don't know."
"Infections is bad."
"Yes. They are."
"I had infection. I dead now."
"Is that how you died?"
"Aye. Knife wound in belly. Took infection. Pain was unbearable. Grew worse every day. There was no cure. Killed meself to stop the pain. Did no recon on crazy lil Elf resurrecting me."
"He loves you."
"Aye. I know he does. I does na know why. I is evil."
"Does love need a reason? He saw something in you no one else did. I don't think you're evil Unicorn. I don't think you ever were. I think you were hurt. You felt unloved. You reacted badly to that. Finding out someone loved you, changed you. He's been good for you. You've changed just since I've know you two."
"I know. Him ain't good for much, but him good for that. I is evil. Him love me any ways. Never understood that."
"You're not evil, Unicorn."
"I has murdered millions."
"In life. Centuries ago. But you don't any more. You take care of sick little Elf now. You know not a lot of people would do that. Most people would just leave him to die."
"Not a lot of people could put up with hims annoying whinny, bitchiness."
"There's that too."
"Yis a very a non-judgmental person, eh?"
"I'm a half-Elf. And half-Demon. I got judged a lot. I learned not to judge others. It hurts to be judged. I try not to cause that pain in others. Unicorn... you need to careful with him. You're rough with him. He's not in good health, even when he's not complaining."
"Is ya our GhoulSpawn?"
"Yes. I'm your GhoulSpawn. Except I'm not actually from here, remember? I'm not from your dimension at all. And the 1980s is where I should be, not back here in the 1400s with you. My mother was from here. But my father was interdimemsional demon. But I've been back and forth in time now. I've seen him in other times. Future times. Past times. He's frailer then he wants people to know. Hysterical, annoying, whinny, and bitchy, but...that's kind of because he's scared of everything. He's not as a crazy as he acts. Being loud and overly crazy seems to get people to back off and that's what he wants. He wants people to back off. He doesn't like people calling him insane, but at the same time, the crazier people think he is, the less they bother him, so he tends to act crazier on purpose. I started realizing that, when I realized he acts very different in public then he does when he's alone with just his family. He hasn't got much strength to defend himself with and he really doesn't like using magic. He avoids it usually. He's frail and weak and he scared of being hurt. That's why he acts like this. Of course, at the same time he is crazy. He's just not as crazy as most people think he is. Not yet."
"I've seen a future, where he... I'm not sure what happened to him. But he's ... not quite himself any more. I don't know how far into the future it is. But he gets hurt. Really bad. It changes him. Makes him mean. Scared and mean as a defensive measure. He's no longer hysterical yelling to keep people back. He gets violent. Starts hurting people. Not out of hate, but out of fear. I don't know what happened, but he was really scared. Too scared. Protect him. Don't let him get that scared."
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"Him can get so hysterical."
"I've seen that."
"Nah, ya has not. Ya has no idea how bad he can get. Ya does nay live with us. Ya sees him here un there. Not all the time."
"I've seen him enough that I could imagine how much worse he gets."
"I am with him all day. No break. I need a holiday from him once in a while."
"Overwhelmed? Aye. Him a handful. I does no understand how one lil Elf can be so hard to take care of. I never took care of no one before. Taking care of him is like taken care of whole army, if every solider was high on drugs un running around crazy all at once."
"Don't you keep him on drugs?
"Is that not making it worse?"
"Oh no. Makes it better. Drugs I give him, calm him. Opium mellows him out. It only time I get to rest. Him keyed up now on account of, we ain't got no opium, so him being himself now. No more mellowed out hysterics. Just plan old over the top hysterics."
"Is he that much of a handful?"
"Aye. I just wish he would stop walking. He will no stop. He walk for days on end without sleep. Walk until he collapses. All me life I never encountered any one like him."
"In the future, there's a lot like him. The madness that possess him, becomes an epidemic."
"Has it a cure?"
"No. Do you think he needs one?"
"No. It just would sometimes be nice to stop un rest once in a while."
"You're resting now."
"Aye. Only because he has exhausted himself from too long no rest."
"Perhaps, it'd help, if I brought back some books... about what's wrong with him. It might help you understand what's going on with him better."
"I can'na read."
"He can. I can. He could read it to you or I could read it to both of you. Might do him some good to know what's going on. I doubt he's any less confused then you are."
"What it him have wrong?"
"It looks like Autism. Quite severe."
"What cause it?"
"No one knows. Doctors in the future spend decades, hundreds of years. Just studying it. Trying to find out. What it is. Why it is. It's extremely rare and than one day, all of a sudden, 1 in every 3 babies has it. A third of the entire population is sudden, all exactly like him. Ad no one knows why. At first they think it's caused by abuse. Blame the parents. Accuse them of beating their children. But then, children who weren't abused get it. Then they thought it was something in the food, said the water fish swam in got poisoned and the child ate the poisoned fish. And it wasn't that either. They came up with cures for diseases and said that was it. But then it wasn't that either. They have service animals for them now. Animals seem to be better at caring for Autistic children then people are."
GhoulSpawn paused and looked up at Unicorn. He was standing over the half-Elf looking down at him.
"You're a horse aren't you?"
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"I keep forgetting that. You look Human most of the time. Keep forgetting you're not."
"Shape shifter. Illusions. I can make ya sees me as whatever I wants ya to sees."
"I know. They don't work on him, do they?"
"He always sees the horse, doesn't he?"
"He always sees the horse."
"You're a service animal."
"I is no beast of burden."
"No. That's not what it means. They train dogs and horses, especially little miniature horses and Shetland ponies, to take care of Autistic children. Something about dogs and horses, they can tell when a child needs help. That's what you do with him. I never thought of that before. If, we took him to the future, tried to find him a doctor, they wouldn't let you go in with him, but they would let a Shetland Pony go in with him. It not that uncommon a thing anymore to see someone with Autism have a Shetland pony trotting along beside them. Would have to get you registered and certified somehow. They'll check the paperwork. That could be a problem."
"Ya still t'inking of taking him to future?"
"I really think we need to. He's in a lot of pain. If it's appendicitis, he could die."
"What is apedesitiseses?"
"Appendicitis. I'm not sure. It's... I don't know what causes it. It's the pain he's describing. Except he's a nut and describing it wrong. I gotta be more careful what books I let him get access to. He's crazier every time I see him, isn't he?
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"How do you put up with him?"
"I is used to him."
"I know. But you had to get used to hi first."
"Him were no always like dis."
Unicorn shook his head.
"Him were always strange. Un him were always stupid. But him was no paranoid like dis. Dis happen after de Elves cast him out of de Hive Mind. Him were used to thousands of people in him head wid him. Now him all alone in dere. It drove him mad. Poor t'ing. Him slowly get crazier as him get older."
"He seems to be become delusional."
"Aye. Him find more t'ings to be scared of every day."
"I think he's been traumatized."
"Aye. Him has. More den once. I t'ink him needs ya around more often."
"Doesn't he have you?"
"Aye. But I dead t'ing. Un I is no Elf. Him need live companion. Him need Elf friend. I t'inks it why ya keeps getting zapped into our life."
"He's wishing for me and granting his own wishes."
"Aye. Him is lonely. Him want live friend. De more him spend time wid only dead t'ings, de crazier him get."
"You didn't want me around."
"Aye. I knows. But him need ya. Him is very lonely, un him wants ya wid him. I t'inks him gonna keeps wishing ya out of portals, untils ya just stays wid us un does no more leaves."
"I'm a Demon."
"Yis half Demon. Half Elf."
"I was born in a Hell Dimension. I'm not from your world or your time. I can't stay in any one time, place, or dimension long. It causes rips in time. Every time that happens, more portals open up. The more portals there are, the more people fall through them and get lost."
"In places like dis."
"Yes. Exactly. In places like this."
"We is in a world where dey does worship slushies, wid an Elf what is losing his mind, un a Demon dat is tearing apart time, just by hims being alive." Unicorn shrugged. "Dis just normal day for me, ever since I been wid him. Him strange wizard."
Volume 59: The City of the Slushies
Quaraun and Unicorn wake up in a frozen desert, with no knowledge of where they are and memory of how they got there.
Assuming that they have once again been sucked out of their own time and space by yet another of GhoulSpawn's unstable portals, the two wizards set off to find a way back home, and come across a strange isolated Human city, where a squid-headed priest controls all the water sources, forcing people to worship his god or die of thirst.
Slush Master Bazooloo of the 8 Arms has brainwashed the citizens to depend upon the magical properties of the life giving slushies. Generations have passed since the last Human saw a natural water source, and with Bazooloo handing out Slushies only to those he deems worthy of living, the citizens have divided off into sects, each controlled by their devotion to one flavour of slushie.
When Unicorn shows the people how to make their own slushies and introducing new never before seen flavors, disrupting the belief in the mythical 9th flavour, he is seen by some as the Slush God whose coming was foretold and by others as a heretic sent by the evil Slush Maid to destroy Bazooloo's reign.
We interrupt this novel to bring you: Twerking Dragons! (Twerking Dragons, coming soon to a City of Slush near you.)
These are not finalized chapters.
What you are seeing here is the unedited first draft as it is being written. The published version may be vastly different.
Expect what is seen here to change, be added to, and expanded upon during the editing and revision process.
Some parts may read awkward, as a simple sentence may be being used as a "place card" for an entire scene. The sentence will later be changed to a full scene in the published version.
Fire and Pearls by Brett Pierce
The premise of this story was created in a brainstorm session workshop at PortCon Maine 2017, in a panel called "Foundations of Worldbuilding" by Brett Pierce.
A group of about 60 people collaborated to create the basic structure on which this story was built.
Thank you to everyone who was part of this workshop and helped to create this portal world for Quaraun and Unicorn to visit!
I was in a 1-hour writing workshop last month and we were given the challenge to write a story based of a set of ideas that the group made together. The idea was to come up with a theocracy that was not evil and did not involve the worship of a deity.
In the end, we agreed to write this:
- A Fantasy set in an isolated city in a frozen desert, where the people worship slushies, and the leader is a slushie seller who has been elevated to god-statues by the people due to their belief that magic slushies are sacred objects. While the Slush Master himself rules his theocracy peacefully, the members themselves have divided off into sects, each sect worshiping a different flavour slushie and shunning anyone who worships any other flavour. 8 flavours exist, but a mythical 9th flavour is said to soon be coming to save humanity. People in the surrounding countries refuse to do business with them, believing them to be insane, resulting in their complete and total lack of any trade or merchants.
I don't know if anyone else in the group has actually gone on to write a story based off this idea or not, but me, I'm 7 chapters into writing a novel based off this idea. It's fun to write because it goes against a lot of the norms you see in a fantasy theocracy.
The world I'm dropping the story into is one I've already got several volumes published for.
The government system of the region is basically a group of wealthy, pompous bigot magic users (think, Ku Klux Klan, if they were Elf Wizards) who've declared every one who practices any form of magic (and you'd be surprised what they consider "magic" to be - like 1500s witch hunters they can "see" "magic" in everything, so long as it serves their purpose) without their permission, to be a traitor and must be executed. They started out as a wizarding guild, but then they killed off all the other guilds are are the only guild left (thus people refer to them simply as "The Guild"), they went on to over throw the government (a quasi-clanish-tribal-monarchy system) and declare themselves the law of the land.
I'm not sure what type of government you would call it - it's kind of like gangsters of the 1920s, where big bullies who can out bully the other bullies end up in power. Basically they are a gang style terrorist group that is slowly taking over all the governments.
They rule things similar to the Vogan in Hitchhiker's Guide, where they have documents and papers for everything and won't allow anyone to make a move without long lists of paperwork approvals and people who don't get the proper permits for something are executed. They are kind of terrorist/gangster/bureaucrats who are Elf wizards and basically want all none Elves dead ad all wizards who are not them dead because they don't want the competition.
So, tossing a wacky slushie worshiping theocracy into the mix... I don't know how the Guild is gonna react to that. They are used to overthrowing small "tribal" monarchies (not medieval style monarchies of kings in castles; rather I based them off the small clan kings of ancient pre-Celtic Scotland, which were very tribal). This'll be my first time writing them vs a theocracy and it ain't a traditional theocracy.
I have no plot, plan, or outline so no clue how this story is gonna end up going.
okay.... so according to this: https://www.pinterest.de/pin/305611524690656094/ (see image embedded below)
what I just described is a type of government known as a "Junta"
Junta: A group that takes control of the state after overthrowing the government by force.
Cool. Now I have a name for what type of government The Guild is.
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