OMNI is back. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, know that those who do, have already stopped reading and are breaking traffic laws as they speed to find as many copies to buy as they can. OMNI is a magazine that you HAVE to read. It’s science, futurist, sci-fi and more. Looks like it will be quaterly. Run out and buy it ASAP. This magazine is on my list, right up there with D&D, The Dancing Wu Li Masters, Tolkien, Willy Wonka, Star Wars, Mickey Rooney Boys Town and Andy Hardy movies, Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday, Dragonlance, Villains by Necessity, Silver Call series, the Final Cut, Wizards, Harold and Maude, Rick and Morty, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, Descendents Weinerschnitzel, I can go on but I’ll stop here.
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The egg rocked; lay still for a little while; and then rocked again, harder and faster. There was a crackling noise and cracks began to appear.
Zatar opened his eyes to watch. The omen spell hadn't been able to give a hatching time closer than 48 hours. So he'd been catnaping in a recliner next to the incubator for over a day now.
Sure he could have left Gus to watch the egg and all. But, being there for the first recorded hatching of a Bandersnatch egg...
He checked the recorder. Running, having started as soon as the egg began to move.
Gus entered the room with a breakfast tray just as the egg rocked again and split down the middle.
"Ah, perfect timing." Zatar said as he opened the cover of the incubator "Now, let's see if these guys are enough like dragons to be impressed."
Gus took the lid off a player on the tray revealing a pile of assorted chunks of raw meat. Zatar took a chunk and dropped it into the hatchling's open mouth.
The hatchling chewed twice and swallowed, then looked up for more.
Ten minutes, and about half the pile of meat, later the Bandersnatch hatchling was curled up in a ball sleeping.
"Did it work ?" Gus ask, settling himself in the other chair.
"I think so. But it's a bit hard to tell. The bond isn't nearly as strong as what is reported for Dragons. And Rasputin was using spells, So, nothing there as far as natural bonding goes."
"But he hadn't done anything to it's mind; so the mental strength rating should be about right?" Gus observed.
"Yes. And it checks out, along with the expected emotions. All well and good as far as it goes; but we're about as far along as the notes go."
As we advanced through the graveyard the Styx's fog grew thicker and the grave markers loomed larger. Soon becoming full sized Gargoyles.
One moved; and I threw a basic Binding Spell over it. A couple of quick spells later and we had a scout flying off into the Fog, as I fell back to the middle of our little group. Seeing through the Gargoyle's eyes would rather limit my ability to keep track of what was going on around me; but the tradeoff was well worth it. As I was able to take out three other Gargoyles before they even knew were there. There was no way of knowing who or what they were working for; if anyone. I hadn't found any spells on the one I was using. But still, better not to take chances.
And then we were there. And right across from the island we were looking for. And there on the bank facing us was a Styx's Gollum.
I cast a Binding Spell at it through the Gargoyle. Which it blocked with a spray of Styx's Water. Knocking it out of the air and wiping away my spells. But this distracted it enough for Targon to split it in half with that monster axe of his.
So much for stealth. Someone, or at least some thing knew we were there. If we are lucky it is just the automated defenses from back in the day. But even then Some One could be on their way to see what had tripped the alarms.
I stood under an old maple tree across the road from the graveyard wrapped in my cloak of shadows waiting for the others to arrive. The first I spotted was Targon. He came walking down the road not even trying to hide. I thought about it for a moment and decided that in his case this mightbe the better option. After all if you are spotted trying to hide you are more likely to be remembered than if you're just walking along out in the open. When I looked back Hawk and Kain were standing by the graveyard gate and Yerico was stepping out of the trees by the corner of the wall. I pulled back my cowl and stepped forward to join them, thinking that Targon was sharper than I'd given him credit for. By walking openly down the road, not only was he likely to be only lightly remembered but the rest of us were all the more likely to go totally unnoticed.
Hawk and Kain had seen me coming and had a brazier set up on either side of the graveyard gate by the time I reached them. I took my place in the center and began the Chant as they tossed incense on the glowing coals.
Yerico was doing a lesser fog spell, but by tying it to mine the fog gained the memory clouding effects of the Styx's fog we'd all be dealing with once we finished crossing. A clever move on her part. Not only would this cover our tracks from any locals who might have been around, but it was also an easy way to check that our protective charms were working.
The Smoke and Mist swirled together over the graveyard gate making strange complex patterns. I spoke the final Word of the spell and the magical smog froze in place overlaying the graveyard gate which swung open with eerie silence. The rest of the Styx's fog we'd created rolled and boiled around us as it flowed tword the banks of the Styx which now lay waiting at the far end of the graveyard.
Angry Flowers lie in wait
Alluring scent, enticing bait
Colors that beguile the eye
All of it a cunning lie
Angry Flowers lie in wait
Toxic nectar dripping hate
While spiteful thorns accentuate
And joyful moods evaporate
Flee before it is too late
When Angry Flowers lie in wait.
Fairy Dust upon the wind