~o0o~ Chapter ~o0o~
"This is a nice village," Quaraun commented as he looked at the rolling hills and the well manicured juniper trees. "It's very warm. Inviting. Comforting."
"Ya likes it here, then?" Unicorn asked.
"I like the tower. This appears to be the village it goes with."
Quaraun pointed to the old lighthouse, which was standing at the far side of the village, casting a shadow over it, from it's precarious perch on the cliffs.
"The area is beautiful," Quaraun continued, looking around. "An elegant local for wealthy merchants, by the look of the houses."
"Aye, and slums along the docks, by the look of the waterfront."
"Where we're likely find a tavern."
"So avoiding, the safe side of town for the seedy side, eh?"
"Of course we are. Where else would I go?"
"How did ya go from aristocrate snotty pouf, to a drink chasing gutter slum rat?"
"I met you."
"Ah! Of course."
"You do realize I didn't drink before I met you?"
"Ya did nae knows what sex was neither."
Quaraun gazed out over the field, surrounding the village. Then looked back to the dense forest they had just immerged from.
"Still..." Quaraun said in a troubled voice. "Something feels wrong here."
"These fields and the forest... they should be worked and yet we've not met a single woodsmen. Not one hunter. And now look at these fields. It's harvest season. They should be filled with workers, gathering the crops. Look those potatoes are ready for harvets. And so isn't the corn. And those pumpkins..."
Quaraun stopped talking when he saw the pumpkins.
"The pumpkins are following us again..."
"Pumpkins is no follow us, Quaraun. I just harvest season un everyone round these parts grows lots o pumpkins."
"This area is quiet and empty. And yet, look at the size and multitude of the houses ahead of us. This is quite a large city. Must be a thousand people in it at least, judging from the houses. Why are the fields empty?"
"Perhaps it is a holiday. Ya knows how Humans is with their Christy-mustnesses and stuff."
"True. Humans do seem to be a lazy lot. Have a day off for every excuse under the sun. But I don't think that's it. Something's wrong. I can feel it. And it has something to do with that tower."
"The tower again?"
"Yes. It calls to me. And it shouldn't be doing that. There is strong magic at foot here and I want to get to the bottom of it. I don't like the fact that the tower is pulling me closer to it. Someone is trying to control me."
"Yes. There is a Psyion around here. Trying to tap into my brain and take control of my thoughts. Manipulate my actions. They want me to go to the tower."
"Than should ya not be going the other way?"
"Why not then?"
"Because we need to find out who is doing it and why and make them stop."
Unicorn sniffed the air. An undeniable stench of rotten flesh hungs in the air.
"That no dead fish, I smelling," Unicorn said.
"Yes. I smell it too."
"Someone is dead."
"Some ONE? Not some thing?"
"That Human flesh."
"Are you sure?"
"Do you know where it is coming from?"
"Should be able to follow it to the source."
Quaraun and Unicorn entered the village.
"It's him!" A woman gasped.
Quaraun stopped to see who had said this and as soon as the woman realized he was looking at her, she dropped her load of root vegetables and ran away. Quaraun and Unicorn continued onward, and were greeted moments later by the woman returning, running back, with several other villagers with her.
"Look!" The woman yelled. "See? I told you! It's really him! It's Quaraun the Insane, just like ___ said. He's here!"
Quaraun stopped walking again.
"Me t'inks dis be the village ya screaming fangirl came from," Unicorn commented.
"Apparently," Quaraun agreed.
"Ya t'inks they coming to greet ya or t'rows ya out?"
"I don't know."
He wasn't given a chance to ponder the possibility either, before the crowd was gathered around him. Quaraun immediately made ready to run, but just then the crowd fell to it's knees in front of him. Men and woman of all ages, but no children, were gathered, weeping, crying, pleading, and begging. There were too many of then talking and screaming and yelling at once for Quaraun to make out anything any of the were saying. The Elf flattened his ears back. He could hear better than anyone else around. Even the slightest noise picked up full decibels in his very sensitive ears. Quaraun prefered quiet for the very reason of the fact that his ears picked up even the minutest sounds, from clear across town. Loud noises hurt his ears. This noise was loud.
This noise hurt. It made him want to run. But he was completely surrounded by the frantic people, and he wasn't sure if they were about to attack him or not. There was too much noise for him to focus on any one person. He could not pick out safe sounds from threatening sounds and that made him start to panic. Quaraun liked safety. He did not feel safe just now.
"Stop yelling," Quaraun said, as he clamped his hands over his sensitive long ears. "Please. Stop."
"SHUT UP!" Yelled out over the crowd, flying up over the crowd and hovering in mid air, looking very fierce and ready to attack.
Upon seeing the Phooka, the crowd immediately went dead silent. Many of them cowering back in fear, uncertain what Unicorn was or how he was able to float in the air like he was doing just then, but they knew Quaraun was a wizard and so most of them assumed it something Quaraun was doing to cause this.
"Please, help us," one man said stepping forward, his voice trembling in fear.
"What?" Quaraun looked around at the people. He was confused by the terror in their eyes. This village suddenly didn't feel as quiet and peaceful as it had felt moments ago. "Why? Why do you need help?And who do you think I am, that you think i can help you?"
"Are you not Quaraun the Insane?"
"I am Quaraun," he said dryly. "But I dislike being called insane. I wish you Humans would stop saying that about me. It's mean. It hurts my feelings. I'm not insane and I don't like your people constantly telling me I am."
"We are sorry, kind sir, but we know you by no other name."
"I am Quaraun. Just Quaraun. Nothing else. What do what from me?"
"You are a great and powerful wizard, are you not?"
"I used to be."
"Are you no longer a wizard?"
"No. I'm still a wizard. But I'm wanted by the Guild..."
"For practicing Necromancy. We know. You are the Pink Necromancer."
"Why don't you call me Quaraun, The Pink Necromancer then? Why must you insist upon calling me Quaraun the Insane?"
"It is not we who gave you your name. We simply know you from the stories we have heard."
"That you help people."
"You are the last of the DiJinn."
"Am I the last?"
"You are a wish granting wizard."
"You don't want wishes granted by me."
"But we do! Surly we do!"
"I'm a bumbling drunk, drug addict wizard and my spells often go wrong, especially my wish granting spells."
"But only very powerful, advanced studies wizards can even grant wishes at all!"
"Wish granting is a dangerous practice, outlawed by the Guild and with high rate of error. While all wishes that are granted succeed in doing SOMETHING, 9 out of every 10 wishes is almost guaranteed to go horribly wrong. Such as wishing for a bag of gold, and a giant bag of gold falls out of the sky, lands on the wisher, crushing his skull - he got his gold, his wish was granted, but he's also dead."
"But it is said you have a high rate of wishes granted going right. Higher then any other wizard known."
"Yes. I do. And even then, three out of every 7 wishes ends in the wisher being killed or horrible maimed by his wish when it comes to pass."
"We need your help."
"Do you have any idea what it is like for me? Do you think I can just help every one? When a wizard is found who has a high rate of wish granting success with a low rate of wisher harm, he tends to end up with hoards of needy and greedy followers thronging to him requesting and demanding he grant their requests."
"We are not greedy."
"No. Just needy."
"We need your help."
"In the same way desperate people pray to God, desperate people, parents of sick children, people in financial trouble, along side greedy politicians seeking power, and criminals who want to not be found, flock to us wizards with wish granting powers. Like you are doing right now."
"Please. We need your help."
"You need to harvest your crops before winter comes is what you need. I saw those harvests not being harvested out there. Villages in famine regions are known to gather up all their gold and offer it to these god like wizards, as they call us, in hopes of getting wishes for rain granted. And here you are letting your crops go to waste! While politicians seeking power, will kidnap us wish granting wizards holding us hostage, often torturing us until us grant the evil one's wish. Because there is no limit on the number of wishes that can be granted, some wizards are enslaved by kings and forced to grant countless wishes. You have no idea what it is like. Every where I go you stupid Humans are trying to get me to grant wishes for you. Why don't you just get off your asses and do your own dirty work yourself."
Quaraun flung his pink feather boa over his shoulder as he turned and walked back towards the village gates. Unicorn followed him.
"Please! The Human cried out. "Don't leave..."
"Do you know," Quaraun continued talking. "There are cults, churches, and temples built in honour of wish granting wizards, in hopes of attracting the wizards to come to their village?"
Every Human in the crowd stopped talking. Quaraun stopped walking when he heard the silence and tried to think of what he could have said to get that reaction. Then turned, and with his hands on his hips glared angrily at the Humans cowering before him.
"Let me guess, somewhere in this village is a cult that worships me, and you're all members, who consider me to be some god you've been praying to waiting for me to rescue you."
No one answered him. They all looked scared out of their minds, with the sudden realization that they had angered the world's most powerful wizard.
"Ya has fan girls," Unicorn whispered to Quaraun, laughing.
"Don't remind me. I'm trying to keep a low profile..."
"By wearing the pinkest dresses ya can find?"
"I'm wanted by the Guild."
"Aye. And they want ya dead. These people here want ya alive, so's they can kiss ya feet and crown ya god. Ya ought to like that."
"They're worse then ZooLock," Quaraun grumbled.
He hated helping people. At the same time, he hated the guilty feeling he got whenever someone asked for help and he said no to them. Everyone knew the stories. No one knew the truth.
"Tell me what you want."
"You said that...
"Ya said that too..." Unicorn said.
A dark and stormy night dimmed in comparison to what it was now.
"They attack their own people and claim it was their enemies."
"In the process of cleaning up, the government and church betrays them and has them all murdered by the army."
"Murdered by the army?"
"As an outsider, what is your opinion on the human race?"
"I'm confused. Why are you tlling me these things?"
"You're an Elf."
""Yes. Which is why I am wondering whay you, a lowly Human, is speaking to me."
"Mmmm, I loves de smell of decomposing bodies in de morning."
Quaraun and the Human both looked at Unicorn questioningly.
"Does ya no smell it?" Unicorn asked, seeing Quaraun's confusion.
"No. I'm an Elf not a Bloodhoud."
"They is burning bodies."
"De Humans. I smells the burnt blood of half-Elves un young-uns. De Humans around dese parts is burning child'en un Half-Elves. Dis village not so nice as it looks."
"That's not right."
But before Quaraun could consider this more...
"ZooLock?" Quaraun asked when he saw the squid headed priest. "What are you doing here?"
"Quaraun!" ZooLock exclaimed, uncharacteristically happy to see the Elf. "I thought I'd lost you!"
"I'd hoped I'd lost you," Quaraun snarled.
"Good to see you too!" ZooLock wrapped many tentecleas around the Elf to hug him.
"Let go of me!" Quaraun yelled, trying to wriggle out of the Thullid's grasp.
"How have you been?"
"Terrible. A crazy boat person took us down river on an otter cat in a brook instead of a river. Santa Claus is apparently an evil bastard, and Unicorn is eating Human Head cheese."
"Marvelous! How is your leg?"
"It hurts like Hell, thank you for asking. I didn't want to be reminded of it."
"This town has a tavern, I'll get you a room there."
"Why you being nice to me?"
"Why shouldn't I be?"
"You're never nice to me."
"I think, you've misunderstood me."
"You locked me in a bowl for centuries and then you stuffed me in this Elf. You delight in tormenting me. What's there to misunderstand?"
"I was trying to take care of you. As I still am."
"You're up to something."
"No. I just finally realized you felt like you were my prisoner all those years and I had no idea you felt that way. I wanted to make life good for you. You never had to do anything. We always did everything for you."
"I couldn't even move."
"We didn't know you wanted to."
"I lived in the ocean. Free to swin whereever I pleased. You put me in a bowl! Now I'm traped in an Elf, but at least I can move his body and make him travel."
"Well, I am deeply sorry. I didn't know."
"I don't believe you."
"Let me make it up to you."
"I'll serve you."
"You got your chains off."
"Oh, yes, but they are right here." ZooLock pulled out his chains. "No reason to wear them if you weren't there to drag me around. Look. I'll put them back on, so you can drag me around again."
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