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Windy

The Mystery Of The Kissing Bandit

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Chapter 1

 

Today, an odd wind blew into Magicduel, one that I had not created. Trouble is brewing...

Deep down in the bowls of Magicduel, he sat brooding in his laboratory, plotting his wicked deeds and down right nasty schemes. If he wasn't puttering about with his Alchemy doo-dads, he was experimenting with herbs, spices, and other noxious, toxic, and gooey things.

The arched door to his secret hideout was old, as old as the tunnels beneath Marind Dale Park. There were two intricately carved bolts, inset with oblong shapes, that seem to lock the door shut from inside the tunnel. In between the bolts was an inset carving of a circle with swirls that abutted against a split center piece. The bolts cannot be moved, nor can the door opened by human hands. No one could open The Fateless Doors, but he.

He was brooding, muttering, sputtering, and running his hands through his long thin hair in frustration. “The Sisterhood! The Sisterhood! How they vex me so!” he ranted as he paced the floor, irritating the fire sprites in their brazer whenever he passed them by.

One of the fire sprites propped his elbows on the rim of the brazer and plopped his chin on his fiery fists. Normally it wasn't concerned about the comings and goings of the mad man. But there is only so much a sprite can take before curiosity gets the best of it.

“I say, Master? What is it about this Sisterhood, that you are going on about?” It asked curiously. “Have they harmed you, somehow?”

The man stopped in his tracks, startled by the sprite. “What? Did you say something?” He asked, vexed to have his rant interrupted.

The sprite leaned on one of his fists and walked the fingers of his other hand back and forth across the rim of the brazer. By then his brothers and sisters were curious too, each jockeying for position behind it.

“It seems to me, Master, that you are in one of your moods, which we find quite entertaining, but today, you seem madder than usual.” It blinked it's beady eyes at him.

“Well, if you must know, Sprite.” the man spat, as he continued to pace the room. “It's The Sisterhood that disturbs me! All this going about smooching every man they see in the realm!” He rubbed his fingers in a circular motion against his temples. “Think! Think!”

The other sprites shrank back in fear and ducked behind the first. They knew that no good came from ideas. Ideas demanded thought and thoughts were not good things.

The younger sprites chattered in fear amongst themselves. “The Master is quite mad!” One said.

“He's always mad!” exclaimed another.

“Is that mad as in angry or mad as insane?” asked another.

“Don't be daft, idiot!” said the last and bonked his sister on the head. “He's totally insane!”

“Hush you little ankle biters!” admonished the oldest and shooed them away behind the red hot coals. He turned back to face his Master. “I don't understand, what is wrong with smooching? I don't see the problem here.”

“Don't you see? Can't your tiny brain comprehend? The Master shrieked. “I like kisses as much as the next guy! But turning in an application to make it a Guild and being accepted? Outrageous!”

“Oooh!” chimed the little sprites as they peeked out behind their coals. “A guild!”

“Oi! What's a guild, anyway?” asked one.

“It's an association of persons with kindred pursuits, interests, and aims.” said another smugly.

“Oi! How did you know that?” asked the first.

“Oh, I read it somewhere.”

The first blinked it's beady eyes. “You can read?”

“So, it's like a club!” one of them answered.

“But isn't this Sisterhood, a club?” asked another.

“Bah!” The Master shouted, waving his hand in dismissal. “I tell you, what really irks me!” he continued, shaking his finger in their faces. “It's that bloody pub owner Windy! She started this whole “woman's club'!” He curled up his fingers in the air and scrunched them like punctuation marks. “Club my eye!” He barked.

He stopped in his tracks and stopped venting. A sly smirk spread across his pale face. A thought was forming and the sprites could smell it, even the oldest. With a yelp all of them dove behind their coals in fear and dimmed their flames.

He laughed and clapped his hands together and rubbed them briskly. He danced a little jig. A thought had formed and he giggled with glee. “I know just the thing to do!” He rushed over to an old cabinet and pulled out a dull yellow obelisk. It was two feet long and had striations carved in it's facade, and looked deceptively fragile.

“Oh Yes! This will do nicely!” The Master crowed. “Strange. I've never used a Memory Stone in this way before.” He shrugged and scurried toward his workbench. On a shelf above the workbench, he pulled down an ominous dark stoppered urn. He worried his bottom lip with this teeth as he poured the viscous contents over the memory stone, and an tincture of Liquid Dust. Perfect. He needed just one more touch to make it set.

He went over to the brazier and contemplated the fire sprites who had cautiously emerged from behind their coals. They blinked their beady eyes, not contemplating the danger until he reached in and grabbed one of them.

“Master! What are you doing?” It shrieked, struggling within the tight fist.

“Have no fear, little sprite. This won't hurt a bit.” The Master said calmly as he returned to the workbench.

The frightened sprite shook in fear as he realized The Master's intent. It was to be sacrificed, it thought. The Memory Stone was going to be its head stone. “No, Master! Don't do this!” It shrieked in fear.

“Oh for Goddess's Sake! Hold still!” The Master picked up a sharp needle and grabbed one of the sprite's little arms.” It's just a little prick, it won't hurt a bit! I even sanitized it!”

The sprite screamed as the needle pierced it's fiery skin, then watched in horror as a drop of it's fiery blood, dripped down onto the viscous Liquid Dust.

“There now. That wasn't so bad, was it?” The Master asked watched the drop of blood spread across the surface of the stone, sealing the Liquid Dust like a shell of an egg. It glowed an ominous red. The sprite fainted.

He looked down at the sprite in disgust and dropped it into the arms of it's brethren. “Bah! It wasn't even a big needle!” The Master threw on his cloak, carefully packed up the glowing Memory Stone into his satchel, and left the laboratory, the sprites fanning their fainted sibling; slamming the door behind him.

Edited by Windy

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I'm happy to be back.  I've missed you all very much.  Please enjoy chapter 1 and please.....my ego is fragile so don't not be harsh with your critiques.  This story is yet unfinished and I'm counting on all my old friends to help me get to a conclusion.  I promised Mur a book and by golly, this year I intend to get this book done.

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Chapter 2
 
Sometimes, it just doesn't pay to get out of bed...
He waited, patiently.  He knew her habits.  He'd been watching her for some quite time, as he had all the others. “Let it begin!” he hissed to himself and stepped out onto the path in front of the approaching Sister.
“Well hello stranger!” Sister Raine said with a delighted smile. “I haven't seen you in ages!”
“Oh, believe me.” He said, with a grin, as He pulled the Memory Stone out of his satchel. “You still haven't.”  
Sister Raine stared at the stone and froze in her tracks with the word, “Oh?” stuck in her throat. Quickly, he put the stone back in his satchel and then grabbed her in his arms, twisted her over one bony leg and smooched her soundly.
“Wow.”, he thought as he brought the Sister back to her feet. “She sure is soft!” Releasing her, he pulled a white rose out of his satchel and placed it in her hand, gently closing her fingers around the stem.  He tidied up her hair and then sniffed it. “Strawberries?”  He turned on his heel and headed back to his lab.
It wasn't long before Sister Raine snapped out of her daze. She wondered what she had been doing. Wasn't she just talking to someone? Then she felt her lips.  “Oh my!” She thought.  “I've been smooched!” 
She felt a sharp sting on her lips and yanked her hand back to find a white rose in it. But how did it get there? Who put it there? Who kissed her and why? Raine picked up her skirts and ran toward The Wind & Rain pub.
~~~~~~~
Slamming the pub door open, Sister Raine ran over to me, breathing heavily.
“ Windy!” she gasped, slipping and sliding on the floor that MOP, which was animated by magick, had just cleaned.
I grabbed her before she fell and guided her to a chair. “Sit down, Sister Raine, before you fall down.” 
“Now take a deep breath. That's it. In and out, in and out.  Now, tell me.  What's got you so upset?”
Sister Raine took several breaths and then furrowed her eyebrows in consternation. “I was walking through Sanctuary's View. I remember seeing a man whom I haven't seen in awhile and then...there I am, thoroughly smooched!”
Smacking a hand to my chest, I gasped dramatically. “Oh My Goddess! The Cad! The Scoundrel! How dare a man kiss you?” I teased, laughing. 
“Windy! This is no joke!” She shrieked. Oh dear.  This was serious.
Sister Raine looked up at me with her dazzling blue eyes. “Why would a man kiss me, make me forget the experience, and then take off? It makes no sense!” She shook her head in bewilderment.
“I don't see what's so strange. This is Magicduel after all.” I replied. 
Raine continued her story as if I hadn't spoken. “It seems like I saw the man's face, but now I don't recall who it was! It's like I woke up from a dream!” She  pulled out a single white rose that she had been clutching.  “Oh...and I found this!”
  I snatched the rose from her, not believing my eyes. “ Is this one of my prized roses?” I exclaimed. “Oohhh! It had better not be!” I spun on my heel and ran.
Sister Raine jumped out of her seat,chasing after me as I stormed through the  kitchen like a enraged bull. 
I slammed out the back door and ran down the path past my Foxgloves and Lamb's Ears, to the back of the garden where all my rose bushes were kept. I skidded to a halt and slowly dropped to my knees next to several white rose bushes, my hands stretched out in shock. One of the bushes had several rose buds clipped off.  I blew up like a volcano and jumped to my feet.  Storm clouds rushed in from nowhere as I began to vent.
“I'll kill him!” I screamed, making a slicing motion across my neck. “No! I'll cut off his hands and then kill him! No, no, no! Better yet! I'll cut off his balls, shove them down his throat, cut off his hands and then kill him!”  I shook my fist into the air and cursed a blue streak as the storm clouds turned black, thundering ominously. 
I am an elemental, among other things, and a very powerful one.  When I lose my temper, the weather acts accordingly.  This is not a good thing and I'm not proud of it. My temper is known far and wide. The residents of Magicduel run for shelter when I go off.
Sister Raine instantly pounced and grabbed me with her arms in a tight bear hug, and dragged me kicking and screaming back inside the pub before I could do any real damage.  Thankfully, the other five Sisters were waiting at a table, distracting me from my red haze of rage. 
Sisters' Sagewoman, Lintara, Princess Katt (not royalty), Mia, and Handy Pockets looked at me in trepidation and then glanced up at the ceiling to see if any thunder clouds had made it inside.
I broke free of Sister Raine's bear hug and shouted. “Sisters! Something dastardly and evil is afoot!”  
“Define dastardly and evil.” asked Sister Lintara, a lovely 5 foot 4 inch tall Red Fox.  Her tail swished back and forth.
  Since I was still insane with rage, I started with the attack. “Someone has attacked Sister Raine!” The Sisters gasped.  As one, they exploded into a fury of questions.  Raine raised her hands to quiet them. “Sisters! Please!” She said loudly.
“It seems that Sister Raine has been attacked on her way here, this morning.” I continued.  The Sisters murmured to each other.  Attacks was unheard of.
“It's true!” Raine exclaimed. “I met a man whom I thought I was familiar with, by the tree at Sanctuary's View, then everything went dark! I came to and found myself thoroughly smooched!” She pointed to her thoroughly smooched mouth. “On the lips!” 
The Sisters stared at Raine in shock for a second, maybe three to catch their breaths, and then fell into fits of laughter. Sister Mia, a beautiful red haired phoenix hybrid elemental, managed to speak in between her gafaws. “Really, Raine? You say some guy smooched you? On the lips?” More laughter filled the room.
Sister Sagewoman, a Shaman and my oldest and very best friend, managed to swallow her laughter. “Great Goddess! We can't have men smooching us willy-nilly! What will the neighbors think? Let's set Guards every 20 paces!” She said shaking a fist. “We'll find the Bastard! Better yet! Snares and Booby Traps!” 
The table full of laughing women got worse as they shrieked and pounded the table, tears streaming down their faces. We waited, arms crossed, feet tapping impatiently.  Once women get going, there is nothing else to do until the laughter loses it's momentum.
Sister Handy Pockets managed to come up for air and looked confused. “Excuse me? Hello? But why has this made you so violently enraged, Windy?” We ran here for cover when we saw the storm clouds!”
I showed them the white rose that Raine had found in her hand. I held it tightly, enjoying the sting from the sharp thorns. The Sister shrank back and quieted. They knew someone's head was going to roll.
Suddenly, Innocence, Magicduel's roving reporter, was in the room. How she comes and goes without anyone seeing her is a mystery. “Hello Sisters.” She greeted with a smile. “I smelled a story all the way from Willow's Walk! Plus, the storm clouds were an indication too!” She elbowed me and winked. “What's the sitch?”  
I groaned and slapped a hand over my face.  That's all I needed.  The Sisterhood on the front page of The Golden Globe Gazette.
Innocence leaned back against the bar counter, pulled out a notepad, yanked a quill from her hair and poised it above a page. “Alright then! Who, What, Where, and better yet...Why?” She urged.
“Nothing!” I shouted, trying to get rid of her as I waved my hands in the air. “I'm sure this is nothing! Just one of our many admirers having some fun!” I bit my lip, but it was too late.  The damage was done. “Ooh! Do tell!” Innocence cooed. “This sounds juicy! Come on, spill!”
The entire Sisterhood jumped up from their seats and all started talking at once. Innocence waved her quill in the air, silencing everyone.  “Why don't just one of you tell the story?”  
Sister Raine blushed with embarrassment, clearing her throat . “Well. I was walking through Sanctuary's View, admiring the scenery as I always do.  I remember talking to a man whom I hadn't seen in awhile, then everything went blank.”
“And then what happened?” Innocence encouraged.
Raine pretended to find a speck on her sleeve to collect herself and then looked at her. “I came to my senses to find that I had been thoroughly smooched!”
To give her credit, Innocence didn't laugh like a hyena, snicker, snort, crack a smile, or lose her reporter demeanor, although one of her eyelids twitched, as she studied Raine's face. “How interesting. You say a strange but yet familiar man froze you where you stood and then kissed you? What did he look like?” Her hand was poised over her notepad.
“That's the odd part!” Raine exclaimed. “I don't remember! It's like my memory is blocked or something! I swear I knew his voice!” Innocence scribbled into her notepad furiously, her tongue sticking out of the corner of her mouth. 
“And then what happened?” Innocence urged.
“Well, it's the damnedest thing! The bandit left me with this rose!” Raine grabbed my wrist and yanked my hand up as I still up had the rose in a death grip.
Innocence looked at it and then scribbled some more, muttering. “Well that explains Windy's temper tantrum and the storm clouds.”
I got uncomfortable then.  I knew how her mind worked.  “Now Inno, this isn't a big news story! It's nothing! Really!”
“Oh yes it is, Windy! This is news! Front page news!” Innocence crowed as she shoved her quill back into her hair. “I can see it now!” She said as she made an arch in the air with a hand, enunciating each word. “The Sisterhood Attacked by Kissing Bandit!” She was gone in a blink of an eye before I could protest further. 
We all stood there stunned. “Well!” I huffed, crossing my arms across my chest. “Won't tomorrow's paper be an interesting read?”
Edited by Windy

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Thank you for the input and kind words.


Chapter 3

 

Excitement first thing in the morning without coffee is not a good thing...

The next morning, Princess Kat, Lintara, and Sagewoman, rushed into the pub waving The Golden Globe Gazette, Magicduel's only Newspaper, into the air.

“WINDY! You are not going to believe this!” Sagewoman shouted as she shook the paper in the air. Snatching the paper from her hands I gasped in horror when I saw the front page headline. The three women looked shaken and were talking excitedly. I had to shush them and turn my back, so I could read the paper in peace. It was bad. Very bad.

 

KISSING BANDIT STALKS THE SISTERHOOD!

By Innocence | The Golden Globe Gazette

Stop The Presses! Magicduel has a Kissing Bandit on the loose and he's stalking The Sisterhood! Sister Raine reported that she was walking through Sanctuary's View when she met a seemingly familiar man, then suddenly everything went blank.

Raine thought she knew him, but for some reason, couldn't recall his face or recognize his voice. She then mentioned that when she was able to think and see clearly again, she found her self thoroughly smooched on the lips, holding a single white rose in one of her hands.

So readers, my questions are this! What is The Kissing Bandit's motive? How did he blank out her memory? Is he moving in on The Sisterhood's smooching antics? Which Sister is next? What will happen to him when Windy get's a hold of him for cutting her roses? I'd love to be a fly on the wall when that happens!

Everyone in the realm knows that our beloved Windy, owner of The Wind & Rain Pub and also Mistress of The Sisterhood, cultivates white roses in her garden. Again, I ask you, dear readers. Which Sister is next?

~~~~~~

“Oh No, no, no!!” I exclaimed, totally appalled. “This will make The Sisterhood a laughing stock!” I smacked the paper. It didn't change anything, although it did make me feel a bit better.

Necromancer Mortis, a very strong Sorcerer/Necromancer, came clomping down the stairs from the upstairs rooms I rent out, sniffing the air for coffee. I had not made any. He was a pale man with long white hair, wearing a dark hooded robe, trimmed with a sliver of blue.

“What's all this noise about?” he asked as Princess Katt, his young lover, stopped him on the last step. She shoved her copy of the Gazette into his hands.

Mortis shook the paper a bit and began to read the headline. It was not long before he thew back his head and roared with laughter. Katt smacked his chest. “It's not funny!” She huffed defensively, stomping her foot.

“Are you serious?” Mortis pointed at the paper with a finger. “The Sisterhood is getting their comeuppance and you expect me to be shocked?” Katt smacked his chest again in protest. He grabbed her hand and kissed it.

“Oohh!” she exclaimed, yanking her hand back. “This is serious! A man has accosted one of us! We don't sneak around when we do our smooching!” Katt crossed her arms over her chest and glowered.

Mortis sobered and then smiled at her. He dragged his fingers through his hair and then reached down to kiss her on the nose, apologizing. “I'm sorry, my love. I'm sure this will die down soon.” He crushed the paper in his fist with an odd look in his eyes. “Trust me. You'll see.” Princess Katt was not mollified. Would he stand idly by if it had been her?

“I am a strong woman, known far and wide as second only to Windy in the art of self defense!” Sagewoman snapped. “Let this Kissing Bandit just try to plant one on me! He'll be sorry!” Lintara nodded in agreement, twitching her tail angrily.

“Is that a fact?” Mortis asked incredulously, turning to look at her . “Just how do you propose to do that? Especially if he puts a Whammy on you?” Sagewoman gaped at him with her mouth open and then shut it clenching her teeth.

“Now really, Mortis. That sounded awfully like a challenge.” I crossed my arms over my chest. “It's almost like you approve of this so called Kissing Bandit!”

Mortis put a comforting arm around Katt and led her away from the stairs.
“Not at all, Windy my dear.” He said smugly. “But you must admit, you and the Sisters should have seen this coming. Don't you think?”

When I founded The Sisterhood initially, it never crossed my mind that men would retaliate. I mean, why would they? But it had occurred to me later that men would seek us out just for our smooches. I wasn't going to admit it to Mortis, though. I do have my pride.

I shook my finger at Mortis as he headed to the door. “Be that as it may, Morty! To smooch us back is one thing. To make us forget it, is another!”

“There, there, now, Windy. I meant no offense to The Sisterhood. I was just having a bit of fun with you.” He kissed Katt, smacked her on the arse, and walked out the door, whistling.

“Ooh! Of all the nerve!” she squealed and promptly stuck her tongue out at Morty's retreating back. She was only nineteen, and was still prone to childish antics.

Sagewoman got up from her seat, tossed her long black hair over her shoulder, clasped her hands behind her back, and began to pace the room, her long legs making short work of the space. “I don't like this, Windy. Not one damn bit!”

“Well, none of us do, Sagie.” I said, still watching the door where Mortis had gone. “I'm not sure there's much we can do until he strikes again.”

I didn't know what else to tell her, so I shooed them all out. I went into the smoking area adjoining the common room. BROOM, my animated sweeper, was working on the fireplace, entertaining the fire sprites as they rode on his bristles,waiting for new fuel to burn.

I stood there, deep in thought. How was I going to protect The Sisterhood from becoming a laughing stock of the realm? Why was this man accosting the Sisters? There was no spell or conjuring I could do. I hate being out maneuvered.

~~~~~~~

The sprites jumped off Broom, climbing up the side of the fireplace before perching on the mantle, to watch Windy.

“Oh, poor, poor Mistress Windy.” said a female sprite, blinking her big black eyes. “Somebody did a naughty thing!”

“Define, naughty.” said another female as it plopped down next to her.

“You know how protective she is about her Sisters. She worries all the time.” the first said, shaking her head.

A third sprite plopped down on the other side of the first sprite. “Maybe we should talk to Big Brother? He knows everything!”

“Brilliant! Just as soon as Windy-poo starts up a fire for us! You totally rock, Sis!” The first jumped down from the mantle and waited impatiently as Windy spoke some words and the new logs ignited into a nice blaze.

Quickly, the sprites dove into the crackling fire. The first sprite created a fire ball and gazed deeply into it with her beady black eyes, as her sisters sat and watched with eager anticipation.

“Breaker, Breaker! Big Brother! Do you copy?”

“What do you want, Brat?”

“Well, I love you too, Snothead!” answered the female.

“Again, what do you want, you ballerina reject?” He snapped.

“Something naughty is going on. Know anything about it, all wise and knowing?” she sneered. The female could hear her brothers snickering in the back ground.

“Well now, that would be tattling.” Big Brother hedged.

“So? It's what we do best! Now spill or else!” She screeched.

“Oh really? What could you possibly do, little toad?”

“I don't know! I'll come up with something! You wart on a Lizard's bum! Now, tell me who's attacking and kissing all the poor Sisters!”

“As if I'd tell you!”

“Windy's been good to us! Tell me!”

“Well...I'm not gonna tell you. But...I will say, that this will not end well with He-Who-I-Will-Not-Name.” He sniffed, looking quite pleased with himself.

The younger males pushed their faces into the view of the fire ball, making faces and generally making a nuisance of themselves, except for one. He sniffled and held his arm up gingerly. “The Master was mean to me!” he whimpered.

“What?” shrieked the female.

The oldest shoved the tattle tale behind him. “Shut it, Heel Biter!” He glared into the fire ball. “I'll take care of it. This conversation is over!” The fire ball winked out.

The female sprites stared at the oldest, quite confused. “ I hate it when he keeps things a secret!”, She snapped, punching the fire ball into embers.

Edited by Windy

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It has occurred to me that I have brother and sister sprites in the Master's chamber.  This will not do.  They are always separated by sex so they don't eat each other.....jk

Edited by Windy

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Chapter 4
Just when it was safe to go into the water...
He was in his lab, quite pleased with himself.  The Memory Stone had done it's magic.  There was only one problem, after it was used, it had to be recharged.
Sighing, he cleaned off the stone with a rag.  He pulled the urn down from the shelf and noticed he was low. “Hmm...another trip to The House of Liquid Dust for me!” He thought, and poured the remainder of the viscous substance over the stone.
The young fire sprites in the brazer, hid behind their coals.  They knew what was coming next. The older and bolder sprite, however, watched from his perch on the rim.
“Master? Did the Memory Stone work well?” It asked as it swung a leg back and forth against the side of the brazer where it had perched.
“What?” the bandit said, distractedly.  “Of course it worked!”
“Was it worth the cost?” 
“What cost, fireball?”
“Master! I'm surprised at you! Liquid Dust is unstable at best!”
“I'm no fool! My formula is perfect! Stop bothering me!” 
“I'm sure you know what you're doing, Master. May I suggest you use my blood, this time? Instead of these ankle biters?” A cunning look gleamed in its eyes.
The Master stomped over to the brazer. “Are you volunteering?” he snapped.
“Why yes, Master.  I am the strongest and I'm the oldest! My blood is more powerful!”
The Master snatched the sprite from where it sat. “Yes! Excellent idea!” 
The sprite relaxed in the Master's hand, drumming its fingers on a knuckle. “Perhaps, you will permit me to cut a vein with my fangs, Master?”
“Why? What's wrong with a pin?” he asked perplexed.
By then the other fire sprites in the brazer had crawled out from their hiding places and peaked out from the rim, their eyes wide open in shock.
“Ooh! The eldest is bad! Very bad!” said the first.
“Does that mean naughty, or bad as in spoiled food?” asked a second.
The first bonked the second on it's head. “Of course it's naughty! Were you dropped on your head after you hatched?”
“What's so naughty about what the eldest is doing?” asked a third.
“Everyone knows that a sprite NEVER volunteers for anything!” said the first.
“Oh that's right! It's against our nature!” said the second proudly.
“Ooh! I see!” said the third.  That changes things for The Master's spell!”
They snickered and watched the eldest bite its wrist and let three drops of blood drip down on the stone.  “There now, Master!” it said as it licked its wound to heal it. “That will make the stone very strong!”
The Master dropped the sprite back into the brazer with the others. “So! I'm off to see how this works!” He carefully put the stone back into his satchel and dashed out of the Laboratory.
The younger sprites blinked their beady eyes at the eldest, and grinned. They were in awe of what it had done.
“Ooh! You are so naughty! I want to be like you when I grow up!” said the first. The eldest preened.
“Why did you volunteer for the Master? Our kind never volunteers!” asked the second. The others nodded their heads in agreement.
“It seemed like the thing to do.” the eldest boasted as he leaned against the side of the brazer. “I was bored.”
“Even if we're bored, we still never volunteer!” snapped the third.
The first whimpered at the eldest, feeling uneasy. “What are you up to? We all know the rules!”
“I'm not going to tell you.” the eldest said and clonked their heads together. “You'll just have to wait and see.”
~~~~~
Huffing and puffing from the trip up all the Underway Stairs, he leaned against the front wall of Willow's Shop, waiting for his next victim. He was muttering to himself. “Damn sprites! This had better work or else!” 
He thought about what he'd heard earlier, as he'd watched them from the shadows in the pub. His smug grin dropped from his face as a worried thought took shape. These women were his friends! He hoped they would forgive him later after he proved his point. He vaguely remembered why he started this campaign.
His grin crept back to his face as Sagewoman and Lintara came into view.  They were chattering away about “Critter Speak”. He was going to “kill two Majestic birds with one Memory Stone”.  How deliciously convenient.
“So it's, 'squeak, squeak, squeaker, squeakity'?” Lintara asked, uncertain.
“Close, Lintara. You have to remember, squirrels have only one thing on their little minds, Sagewoman said, tapping a finger on her temple.  “Nuts.” 
“What did I say wrong?”
“You used the wrong syntax. It's, squeak, squeak, squeaker, squeakum.”
“This is so difficult! Cat language I can understand, but squirrels?” Lintara puffed out her furry cheeks and blew air out of her mouth in frustration.
Sagewoman patted her shoulder. “Don't worry, you'll get it.  It just takes practice.”
The bandit pushed off the wall he was leaning on and stepped forward blocking their path.
“Hello, Sisters.”  He greeted pleasantly. I have something interesting to show you.”
“Ooh! I like surprises!” Lintara cooed.
“Well, hello yourself. What is it?” replied Sagewoman.
“It does not matter, you won't remember seeing it.” he said, and with a dramatic flourish, pulled out the Memory Stone.
Both women stared. “Isn't that a Mem...?” It was the last thing they saw before everything went blank.
“Hmm.  That took a little longer. I thought that damn sprite said this would make it stronger? This won't do.” He muttered, as he put the Memory Stone back in his satchel.
Quickly, he went up to Sagewoman, pulled her down a little and smooched her. “Hmm...I didn't realize how tall you are, my dear. He smacked his lips. “Is that cherry chap-stick you're wearing?” 
He straightened her up, fluffed out her hair, and put a white rose in her hand. “There, all nice and tidy like.”
He turned to Lintara and picked her up in his arms because she was short and smooched her.  He rubbed his cheek against her hair. “Hmm...I didn't realize fox hair is so soft.” He put her back onto her feet and put a white rose in her hand. “There, that should cover it.” He inspected his handy work. 
“The looks on their faces will be priceless!” He crowed as he rubbed his hands together with glee. “Let's see that's three Sister's down and three more to go!” He counted on his fingers to make sure he had it right. “Yes! Three more to go and then, it will be Her turn!” He ran off before the Memory Stone wore off.
Sagewoman came to her senses and blinked. “What the hell just happened?” She looked down at her hand and growled. “Damn it! I can't believe this!” She raged. She felt her lips,. Oh yea.  Kissed thoroughly.
Lintara came to her senses as well and shook her head. “Oh! What were we doing?” She felt her tender lips and then looked down at the rose in her hand. “Oh no! We've been smooched, just like Raine!” Claws spouted from her fingertips, and her tail twitched angrily. Lintara growled deep in her chest. Her tufted ears twitched and her tawny colored fur bristled. 
“Oooh! Just wait till I get a hold of him!” Lintara spat. “He violated my personal space!”
“I'm feeling you  I'm ready to clobber someone good! Of all the nerve! This guy has balls! He won't when I'm through with him!” Sagewoman vowed, smacking a fist into her other hand. 
Lintara, stepped up to Sagewoman and begin to snuffle at her neck and hair. “Do you smell that?” she asked, snuffling her all over.
Sagewoman squealed and pushed her away. “Stop that! That tickles! Do I smell what?”
Lintara breathed in deeply the scent.  “I recognize this smell! Darn it! I can smell our attacker!”
Sagewoman gaped at her. “Well tell me who it is, so I can rip him a new one and other fun stuff!”
Lintara looked away, embarrassed. “I can't.” She mumbled.
Sagewoman grabbed her by the arm. “What do you mean, CAN'T?”
Lintara looked miserably at her. “I can't remember what or who that scent is!”
Sagewoman let her go, stomping a foot as she crossed her arms. “Well, that won't do.” She said in a huff, blowing out her cheeks.
Lintara stared at the rose in her paw.  “We need to get these to Windy.  This is getting serious.” The woman hurried off as two squirrels watched them from a high tree branch. 
“Squeek, Squeek?”
“Squeek, Chirp, Chirp!”

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Chapter 5
 
One of the guys in the pub, who knew better, called me a Lady today.  He almost died...I mean, I was busy serving my patrons, breaking up fights, knocking heads together, the usual thing, when...
Sagewoman and Lintara burst through the door of the pub, their faces red from running and outrage.  I didn't even have to ask.  It happened again.  The din in the pub ceased. You could have heard a pin drop.
“WINDY! He got us both!” Lintara shrieked, running to my side, waving her white rose.  I saw red.
“WINDY! By the Goddess! I've been smooched by that damn Kissing Bandit!” Sagewoman bellowed as she followed Lintara. 
I quickly hustled them away from the very interested crowd, to the other side of the room to a large ornately carved wooden booth. 
“THE BOOTH?” REALLY?” Sagewoman complained.  Lintara sighed in resignation as a sound not unlike the “Who-done-it” theme filled the room. It only went off when someone said those two words, “THE BOOTH”.  
The entire room chanted, “WHAT'S THAT SOUND?' They raised their drinks in salute and gulped them down before slamming their tankards on their tables. “HOOZAH!”
I commissioned the booth by special order.  A motley crew of carpenters led by a Dwarf named Gosney had designed it.  Evidently, I had forgotten about the Dwarf's sacred day, “Prank Day”.
Gosney and his motley crew decided to pull a prank on me, and somehow charmed the booth to set off when we uttered those two magick words. I still can't undo the spell, which irks me to no end. There isn't a spell that I can't undo that has been done. I have yet to figure out where the music is coming from.
Sure, I love ornate furniture, but the Dwarfs outdid themselves.  It was carved from fallen Lorerootian Oak, (live ones are protected), which depicts various creatures and forest fauna in the realm. It seats about 8 people and Goddess forbid if the person in the middle has to visit the Privy in a hurry.
The room was filled with anticipation as the Sisters sat down and began their story. “We were walking together to come here for a drink.” Lintara explained. “Sagewoman was explaining to me how 'Critter Speak' worked.”
Sagewoman continued the story. “It was a lovely conversation about speaking to squirrels when suddenly there was a man in front of us.” She frowned in confusion, shaking her head. “I remember talking to him and I know that he showed us something.”
Lintara smacked the table with a paw in frustration. “We were thoroughly smooched! He violated my space!”
“Whoever it is, he sure knows how to kiss, that's for sure!” Sagewoman said, touching her lips as if she could still feel the kiss. The crowd in the pub broke into laughter.  
“But, Windy? I smell something on Sagewoman. It's all over me too!” Lintara said, leaning over the table in earnest. “It's a smell I recognize! Well, kinda sorta.”
I narrowed my eyes. “Define kinda sorta.”
Lintara lowered her eyes and picked an imaginary speck off the table and mumbled.  “I can't remember what that scent is.”
“Oh great!” I growled. “We're back to zero!”
Suddenly, Innocence popped out from a corner of the room, her notepad filled with hastily scribbled notes. I had forgotten that she was here having drinks with Maebius and the rest of The Marind Bell Council.  Weird thing is, all of us forget she's around.  It's scary.
“My, my, my!” Innocence cooed as she sashayed over to us. “The Kissing Bandit strikes again! This just keeps getting better and better!” Cocking her head to one side, she looked at the Sisters with a gleam in her eyes. “Care to add anything else, Ladies?” Sagewoman and Lintara  went beet red and snapped a resounding, “NO!”
Maebius, is one my very best friends and an honored member of The Marind Bell Counsel. He is a collector of many hats and wears them interchangeably every day. He had followed up behind Innocence after hearing the two Sister's story, with a concerned look on his face.
“Windy, I'm worried.  Perhaps the rest of the Sisters should be accompanied by escorts?”
Sagewoman snorted. “As if! The Kissing Bandit got both of us with his whammy or whatever you want call it! What makes you think an escort will make any difference?”
Maebius sighed. “Well it's worth a shot. How many people do you think this 'Kissing Bandit' can zap at the same time?”
“I for one, do not want to find out.” I said bristling, fingering my poor white roses. “But know this, when the perpetrator is found, he'll be very sorry he messed with what belongs to me!”
Innocence looked disappointed and pouted. “Well this isn't much to go on! How am I supposed to write an article with vague descriptions and innuendos?” 
I patted her shoulder and smirked. “You are a clever woman, Inno. I'm sure you'll come up with something.” She brightened and gave me a huge smile. 
“You are so right, Windy! When I put my mind to it, my readers will be riveted!” I groaned. When will I learn to keep my big mouth shut?
~~~~
Meanwhile, back in the bowls of the underground, The Master paced his laboratory with his hands clasped behind his back. This entertained the fire sprites to no end as they only had each other to amuse themselves when he was gone.
“I don't understand what went wrong!” he muttered. He stomped over to the brazer, gesturing wildly. “They almost recognized me!”
The eldest sprite rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Hmm...I must have got it wrong.”
“Oh really.” The Master said sarcastically. “What do you suppose that was?”
“Well, Master. We sprites have poisonous saliva.” 
“Saliva? What the devil are you talking about? Saliva? Bah!”
“If I may, Master. Perhaps if I hocked up a loogy?” The Master blanched.
“That's just disgusting! What would that prove?” 
The sprite climbed up the chain of the brazer. “Well Master, when our poisonous saliva mixes with Liquid Dust, it makes it more potent!”
The other sprites climbed up the chain behind the eldest and nodded their head vigorously, silently snickering.  They realized instantly what their Big Brother was up to. “Oh yes, Master!” they all said. “It will make it that much stronger!” They held in their laughter.
“Bah!” The Master said, throwing up his hands and pacing. “But this had better work!” He plucked the eldest from the chain and took it over to his work bench. 
The Master opened a new urn and pour the black goo of liquid dust onto the Memory Stone, and recharged it.
“Well, go on!” he snapped. 
“You might want to turn away, Master.  This will get quite nasty.”
“What? Oh, quite right.” He turned his back.
The eldest sprite winked at the others and put a finger to his mouth to shush them. He cleared his throat and made hacking noises. He hacked deep into it's nasal cavities to cough it all up.
The Master turned green and gagged. “Hurry up, will you? I'm going to be sick!”
The eldest gave the others, who had turned green as well, another wink, and then spat a good sized gob onto the stone. It watched proudly as the goo slid down the stone and encased it, turning it a dull mustard color. The young sprites jumped back into the brazer , holding their mouths, trying not to puke.
“There! That should do it Master! Big Brother crowed.
The Master turned around, holding a handkerchief to his mouth, looking quite sick. “That was disgusting! Are you sure it will work?”
The eldest smiled wickedly, showing all it's sharp teeth. “Oh yes, Master. This will work wonderfully.”
The Master popped the eldest back into the brazer with the others. “Well, it had better! I'm on a schedule! Schedules must be kept!” He picked up the stone and hesitated. “Er, is it suppose to be this color? It was red last time.” 
“Of course, Master! Would I steer you wrong?” the eldest asked, guilelessly.
“Hmph!” He put the stone back into his satchel. “I'm beginning to wonder!” The Master slammed out of the laboratory, the echo reverberating off the walls.

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I think my intent is for the sprite to fowl up the Master's plans, here.  The saliva and the liquid dust thing.  It's suppose to weaken the spell.  I have no idea.  Suggestions?

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Sorry for the late reply, Windy, however, while I don't mind the current description too much, I should point out that Lintara is a tall catlady with wings and scaly dragon legs and talons for feet, not a short Red Fox. However, she still has a sharp sense of smell.

 

That aside, I like the story so far. :)

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Yea, UnGod. I'll come up with something.  It will be gruesome and yet awesome at the same time. :P  I hope. >>

 

I'll get that fixed, Lintara.  Thanks!

 

 

Could you give me an example, Assira?

Edited by Windy

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Well the person could have connections to the sprites or have other means of over hearing the conversations. I don't know. It is hard to add input on someone elses storyline. And I am not 100% certain which time frame you are basing it off of to know what people could be characters in this book.

Edited by Assira the Black

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I'm using an old time frame when The Sisterhood was still active. I'm using old character that most of us know or use to know.  I will digest this idea slowly.  Thanks!

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