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Magistream Contest Fic

Back in December, I entered a writing contest on Magistream, and I would like to share it here.
I have added pictures of the companions because the Quetz you picture in your head is probably entirely different from the Quetz in mine! Plus, I think the artwork on the site is outstanding, and I love my adopted creatures.
Instead of doing a regular narrative-type story, I went for a collection of different...I guess you'd call it styles.

You may notice my Tformer geekage bleeds over a bit.

Participating magi (I'm Magi Yummyquik) were assigned a particular path to take and some companions to assist.

My story starts after 'Path A'.


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The Prompt

The Crystalline Caves were said to be a remarkable sight, clustered with crystals of various colors from blues to greens to reds, and sporadically placed all over the walls and floors of the deep passages so that one could venture into them without a light of their own. This is where you find yourself, carefully stepping over rocks and squeezing through tunnels.

It's not long before you hear the echoes of gentle tapping. Upon rounding a bend, you find who you are looking for. A woman is beating at the surrounding crystals with a pick. She’s dressed in brown trousers, heavy boots, a loose tunic and leather jerkin with a multitude of a tiny bags and pockets wrapped around her waist and legs. Atop her head is a mass of curly brown hair. You clear your throat to gain her attention, and she stops in mid-swing to peer at you from behind large, circular goggles. She lifts them from her face and smiles.

You've heard of this woman from time to time in the Keep. Anita the Accumulator. Or, for those less inclined, Anita the Pack Rat. She often sends magi out into the world to collect samples of her discoveries, and in return she'll award them with creatures. However, she is not what you expected.

“Hello, mage,” she says quite cheerfully. “Here for the journey, I wager?” You nod. “As I tell many of your folk, it’s not a pleasant journey if you’re not careful, but I give you creatures to help you with the trials. You keep them, too…long as you survive it in one piece.” You hesitate, staring at her warily with thoughts of whether or not this is a good idea after all.

She smiles wider and says, “Having a bit of fun, is all. You magi are so serious.” She wipes a handkerchief across her face, succeeding only smearing dirt. “It shouldn’t be so bad, and you get my little lovelies in the process. So,” she leans on the handle of the pick, smirking, “are you willing to go on the journey?”


Path A
“Ah, your journey will require you to seek things far and wide. To aid you I’ll give you an Etainian Quetzalcoatl who can soar through the sky and show you things you might not see.”





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Magi Yummyquik smiled and waved at the crowd as she accepted the accolades due her for finding an entirely new species of companion. Cheers and congratulations wafted up from her fellow magi in front of her…and were suddenly and rudely interrupted when a heavy weight landed on her sleeping body.

“BLERF AAHHH! GETERROFF - I can’t…breathe!” Yummyquik flailed under the cotton throw, as she tried to move her Keep Guardian’s huge paw from her face. Prowl just purred louder and proceeded to try to crawl under the blanket.



“Prooowwwl, nooo,” Yummyfquik whined, trying to push the big cat away towards the wall. “Get down. I told you to wake me, not suffocate me.”

The berthroom door banged open as Glissade slithered into Magi Yummyquik’s room with a breakfast tray.



“It’s uppy, uppy time,” Glissade said in a cheery singsong, as she placed the tray laden with muffins and chocolate milk on the side table. “Good morn, Prowl. At least someone besides me is doing their job this morning. Come on Yummy, you must get up. I’ve taken the liberty of packing your things and I’ve gotten our traveling companions fed and ready to go.”

“Aw, I don’t want to go, Gliss,” Yummyquick whined into her pillow. “I’m just getting ready to breed another Nesquik, and I need to supervise….”



Placing the tray on the side table, Glissade interrupted Yummyquik before she could finish the sentence, “I think the bunnies know what is expected of them in order to breed. They do not need any supervision.” She sniffed and continued, “Unlike a lazy, slug-a-bed mage that we both know and love.” Glissade smiled to take the sting out of her words and scratched Prowl’s aft, exactly how the big cat liked. “You promised Magi Anita you would undertake her journey. And, if you delay the start any longer, you will run the risk of traveling during sandstorm season while in the Etain Desert. We all don’t want that, now do we?”

Yummyquik sat up, stretched her arms above her head and yawned. “All right, all right. I guess I’m outvoted this morning,” she said. Swinging her legs off to the side, she squealed like a little girl when her feet hit the cold floor. Unfortunately, her bid to get back under the covers was thwarted by her Keep Guardian, who had settled into the abandoned warm spot while Yummyquik’s back was turned.

“You said the Companions are ready? I don’t need everybody on this first trip, you know,” Yummyquik said, giving Prowl a rub on her soft, upright ears. “We’re just taking the hummers, talvar, alphyn and quetz, right? The sooner we get going, the sooner we can get back.” She stood, grabbed a sparkleberry muffin from the tray, and went to the closet to change her clothes.



Glissade looked guiltily at the floor for a moment before saying, “Yes, we discussed who is going, not only once, but multiple times. And…I have been meaning to tell you…there is only 'we' for the first leg of the journey.”

Popping her head through her lucky shirt, Yummyquik swung around to look at her Naga Ally and good friend. “What are you talking about, Gliss? I thought we were doing this to-geth-er. You know, both of us? Taking a little learning trip. What has changed?”

“I will travel with you to the Jungle of Raza, but once we have gathered the items Magi Anita requires, I must stay and visit with my family. My second cousin, twice removed, brother’s aunt’s stepchild is having a bonding ceremony. It is to be a large celebration and I am required to attend. I simply cannot decline. I am required to stay because of family obligations.”

“...!” Yummyquik cocked her head. “Your - let me get this straight - second cousin, twice removed, brother’s aunt’s stepchild? Gliss. Why does that sound like you made that up just to get out of traveling with me?”

Glissade tossed her head back with a laugh. “No, seriously. I told you our families are extended. Very extended.”

“I...guess so.”

“If you didn’t have other tasks to fulfill,” Glissade continued, “I would have asked permission for you to attend as my guest.”

“Aww, don’t make me feel any worse about this trip,” Yummyquik said from within the closet. “I’m just about ready, why don’t you go down and I’ll meet you in the stable in a few klicks.”

“That is acceptable.” Glissade slithered out the door, and issued a warning from the hall. “If you are not down shortly, I’ll send The Delroch up to get you!”



“Yeah, yeah. You are so demanding,” muttered Yummyquik from the interior of the closet. “I’ll be there, when I get there. Hmm, now where are my favorite black boots?”

Yummyquik emerged from the closet with her traveling satchel over her shoulder. Popping the last bite of muffin into her mouth, she made her way to the door. Hand on the doorknob, Yummyquik turned and surveyed the room to make sure nothing she needed on this trip was being left behind. Smiling at her Keep Guardian snoozing in the warm berth, she said “Goodbye, Prowl, we’re off. I’ll stop back in a couple weeks, once we’re done in Raza. I’m counting on you to take care of things while I’m away and keep everyone in line. And, if you’re a good little kitty, I’ll bring you back a present. Maybe a little pink collar with a bell – how’s that sound?” Yummyquik could barely keep the smirk off her face as a low growl erupted from beneath the cover.

Prowl opened one eye to watch as Yummyquik quit the room, leaving the door ajar. The big cat gave a great yawn, and burrowed her head further under the pillow thinking, ‘Time to get some serious napping done around here.’


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Excerpt from Naga Glissade’s memoirs:

… And that Yummyquik, what a time we had together! I recall one adventure undertaken for a fellow Magi. Anita the Accumulator she was called to her face. Behind her back they called her Pack Rat. But, she showed them, oh yes she did. But, that is another story for another time.

Anita and Yummyquik got along very well, as Yummyquik had a predilection for…pack rat-ery herself. Heh. In fact, Yummy was very much the hoarder of all sorts of trinkets and toys. She was particularly fond of feathers. And, she had one room in the Keep lined with shelves, in which she displayed at least a thousand carved robot toys that she had found in bazaars and markets during her travels across the land. It was quite extraordinary. She played with them almost as much as the children did.

Ah, those were the days. But, I digress.

Now, at that time, Anita had sent Yummyquik on a journey to collect specific items – eggs and crystals and such – from different parts of the world.

The Raza Jungle was our first destination. Oh, I was so very happy to be able to return to my native soil. But, I was only able to accompany Yummyquik on this portion of the quest. Family responsibilities required me to stay behind when she had to leave Raza and continue onward. Thank Primus that Yummy had reliable companions to escort and help her.

Even so, I was so glad to be home. I hadn’t had a chance to visit with my family for over a year - what with my studies at the Keep being foremost in importance at that time. Plus, I was young and impressionable, and Yummy showed me so many wondrous things. But, nothing can compare to the wonder of Home.

I did enjoy showing Yummyquik all my youngling haunts and hideaways, and introducing her to my family – my very extended family – and friends. Yummyquik was a bit nervous about spending the nights out in the open at first. I told her, if a person cannot be safe in the middle of a Naga village, they cannot be safe anywhere! We shared a good laugh, and had such fun telling stories and tall tales well into the nights. But, it was not all play, oh no. We had our list from Anita to acquire.

Besides the Raza Quetzalcoatl eggs Anita required, we also searched for medicinal plants. Some were common, like the aloe. Others were much harder to find and acquire. It took us six days to collect every specimen, but for one. We played a waiting game, and on the eleventh day, Lady Fortune smiled upon us.



We were looking for a specific flower that bloomed only once every hundred years. Amusingly enough, we Naga call it ‘The Daily’. No one ever said we as a people were without humor! But, this plant is reported to have magical properties, and we only had a single day to gather as many blooms as possible before they faded and died, never to be seen again for another hundred years.

The Quetzalcoatl and hummingbirds Anita presented us with proved invaluable, since these particular blooms were situated at the top of the rainforest canopy. Although Naga are exceptionally skilled at climbing, both Yummyquik and I were both too heavy to scale to the very tops of the trees where the blooms were sighted. But, the hummers scouted out the best and biggest blooms, and the Quetzalcoatl was able to just fly up and neatly pluck them from their stems. We were finished in record time. What was that beast’s name? For the life of me, I just can’t recall.

But, my youngest male offspring has one of the descendants from the original Etainian Quetzalcoatl that traveled with Yummyquik and me. Apparently, the naughty little thing found an unattached female Raza Quetzalcoatl, and nature took its course. My family will always care for these descendants, as long as we live in the forest.



Mission accomplished, Yummyquik took her leave of the jungle to continue on her journey. I gave her my solemn promise to see her back at The Keep in three months time.

So, let me describe to you, the bonding day celebration of my second cousin, twice removed, brother’s aunt’s stepchild….


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Magi Yummyquik’s Journal – Fifteenth Day of the Third Month, Fifty-eighth Year.

No rest for the wicked, as the saying goes. I must be very, very wicked ‘cause I am so very, very tired.

It is now well into the evening, and I’m on my way to the Callisto Islands, and ultimately, Rone. Anita needs a specific coral found on Rone’s Eastern shore under the sea. I was able to get a message to Salome, and she will meet me on the shore at midnight in one week’s time. This should be the easy part of the task, only because I’m lucky enough to have a mermaid ally.



I barely had time to restock provisions for myself and exchange companions before I had to leave The Keep once again. I’m not going to be able to return until I have completed all the collections Anita has asked of me. So, I am basically traveling with a small army of companions. As steeds, I have my solar hippogryph and ‘The Delroch’. [I always call him ‘The Delroch’. Like it’s a title. He thinks it’s funny. But, he’s a strange one.] No rest for my Etainian Quetzcoatl either. Poor Mirage is going to do most of the scouting, along with Phoenix Pete.



We set off Southeast from The Keep, and I’m barely a quarter of the way to the coast. I want to make sure I skirt the edge of the Etain Desert. We are going to be in that little piece of hell long enough on the next chapter of this little journey. Sometimes I wonder why I can’t say ‘no’ when people ask me for favors. Ah, I am just too nice. Excuse me while I pat myself on the back. Ha, ha, ha. I amuse myself.

Tonight is particularly beautiful evening. The fire is burning brightly, and gives off just enough light for me to write this in my journal. Everyone is bedded down except for Harley the hippogryph. He’s on watch tonight. I can just see his red coat reflecting in the edge of the firelight. Mirage is already cuddled in the sleeping bag. There has to be something wrong with his nasal cavity – he is definitely snoring. Albeit quietly, but that is still a snore. Makes me smile. And, I had to laugh earlier as my anaugi, Godzilla, carefully and slowly clambered onto the hellhound’s rump to sleep in soft comfort. Hellboy is such a sound sleeper, I don’t think he will make a move all night.



And here’s one more odd thing. For some strange reason, I couldn’t get some of the beetles to stay home. I returned a bunch of them to the garden twice before I left, and guess who I just found hidden when I unrolled my sleeping bag? Yep - twelve Vasants. Maybe they know something I don’t know.



Twentieth Day of the Third Month, Fifty-eighth year.

One more task completed for Magi Anita, and we are back on the mainland, heading toward Voltar to undertake the next.
Traveling overland from The Keep to the southeastern shore was tedious. I couldn’t fly, as I was traveling with companions who were ground-bound. Someday, someone is going to have to invent a teleportation spell.

No problems in arriving at the Callisto Islands. Harley could have flown me twice as far! I love traveling over the sea. It is so pretty. As long as the weather cooperates, of course. I left everyone else but the beetles and crabs back on the mainland shore. I was afraid that they might wander off and get lost. They are so small.



Upon arrival, I came across an old mariner who lived just off the beach. He was very helpful in pinpointing the exact location of the Rone coral site. Apparently, he was unafraid of being cursed. According to him, the fact that other fishermen avoided the area just gave him an edge in getting the best catch. It almost seemed to me that he was hinting that he started the rumor of a curse in the first place.

I met up with Salome on the far East tip of the main island. She was very pleased with the red crystal necklace I gave her as a…well, as a bribe, really. I had no hope of getting the coral by myself. Salome was accompanied by a group of creatures I had heard of but hadn’t seen before – caeralis. Beautiful and friendly, it was a joy to see them frolicking in the water.



It was hard to tell at first if they were helping or hindering Salome as she was beneath the surface of the water gathering my coral. Quite comical, I could see them very easily through the clear water, and they were bumping and swimming around Salome as though enticing her to come and play with them in the open waters. Made me wish I knew how to swim. I wanted to join the fun. But, I am afraid of the water, you know. I believe I drowned in a past life.

Salome promised me that she would send some caeralis to me at The Keep, then I could have my own little pod. Maybe they could teach me to swim. I thanked her profusely, and promised to visit again soon with a matching crystal bracelet.

Back at the mariner’s hut, he shared a surprisingly bountiful meal with Harley and me. In thanks, I left him the Vasant beetles and a few Viridis Crabs to help in the garden and preserve certain foods that spoil quickly in the heat. He was very pleased with the gifts. Canny little man. I just figured out that by keeping the other locals away, this meant (besides good fishing) that he was the one to deal with visitors. I wonder how much extra gold and special gifts he receives for his services?


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Twenty-seventh Day of the Third Month, Fifty-eighth Year.

We are halfway to Voltar, our aim is to pick up some special spices that Anita requires for something-or-other. Also, items she needs to make what she called a ‘ham samitch’. I’m not exactly sure what a samitch is – I know I have heard the Cehual boar called a ‘ham’ in slang. So I am presuming a samitch somehow involves a boar. Hmm. I guess I shall find out once I get to Voltar.



In addition, Anita wanted some wild phoenix eggs for new breeding stock. Hellboy should be able to sniff them out easily. I might even try to get a couple for myself.



It’s almost time to switch our sleep schedule, so we can travel during the cooler hours and sleep during the heat of the day. I certainly don’t want to suffer heat stroke.

Oh, and I saw my first mirage today! No, I’m not talking about my quetz named Mirage. I mean the illusion of a pond of water in the distance. No matter how far we traveled, the water stayed the same distance away, until if finally faded with the setting sun. It was quite fascinating.

I am looking forward to perusing the market at Voltar. I need a few items for myself – jewels, and maybe I can find some new toys for my special collection. Plus, I did promise Prowl something special. And I need to buy some exotic gifts for my special friends. I am so excited, I’ve heard so much about the market.

Enough for now, time to sleep.

First Day of the Fourth Month, Fifty-eighth Year.

Oh, Holy Primus – will this trip never end?!

If Hellboy doesn’t stop antagonizing Harley by following too closely to his heels, I am seriously going to do something regrettable. I don’t know what, exactly, but I shall think of something. It’s like babysitting two four year olds. AARGH! I didn’t have any children just for this reason. I have no patience.

I haven’t written to update this journal because absolutely nothing of any importance has happened. We walk, we rest, we eat, we walk some more, we eat again and then we sleep. Repeat as needed. We changed our travel schedule about five days ago so we could sleep during the day and move in the night. I estimate we shall arrive in Voltar in a day and a half. We are so close that we can see the reflected glows of the volcanoes in the distance as we walk at night.

Please let the time fly by. I fear for my sanity.


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Portion of a sales receipt from Euclis’ Magi Market in Voltar

. . .
Phoenix gloves, teflon coated
Hippogryph treat mix
Spices – Cinnamon
Jo Jo Bar pepper
Puvia flakes
Basilisk leaves
Gingersnap
Rosemarie leaves
Ground Owie pepper
Cumulous powder
Nutmeg
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin seeds
4 cured hams
2 ten pound bags of Hoagie flour
3 cases Red Stag Whiskey
Belled necklace (links added to fit Delroch at no charge)
Catnip-filled toy ball – size large
Egg wrap – 4 lengths
Jade ball
Sunscreen

Total – 3,057,210 gold
PAID IN FULL ***

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

SAVE THIS RECEIPT FOR 10% OFF YOUR NEXT PURCHASE

AT

EUCLIS’ MAGIC MARKET

WE’RE HERE FOR ALL YOUR MAGICAL NEEDS!





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Fifth Day of the Fourth Month, Fifty-eighth Year.

All I have to say is – Voltar really knows how to throw a party.

And ham sandwiches are food of the gods. *burp*


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Etain Desert Oasis - Story handed down from Storyteller to Storyteller in the Tepes Gypsy Camp

Let me tell you children, of the time a magi from The Keep journeyed here to our little corner of the world. What makes this magi special was the circumstances of his arrival and what followed.

Traveling with his magical companions, this magi had been on a quest to find fantastical items from all over our beautiful world - from the green, green Raza, to the frigidly white Arkene, to dark and sinister Silva, to the extremely mysterious Rone and finally to our own little paradise here in the warm south. He had medicinal plants, strange new bugs, snowflakes frozen in crystal, seashells as large as your head the color of the rainbow, and fire captured in a cylinder. Many were the treasures he carried.

And his companions! I have it on good authority that a herd of proud Delroch consented to be pack animals. Strange red and green beetles traveled in clusters of thousands, tunneling beneath the very sand. With an anaugi on each shoulder, the magi himself rode a solar hippogryph, twenty-five hands high! Thirteen alphyns frolicked and played as they traveled, watched over by a flock of fifty fire gryphons trained by the magi’s own hand to form complex flight patterns in the sky.



And guarding the caravan on the ground was a ferocious hellhound almost as large as the bulls. But the fierceness was only exhibited to enemies, as children climbed and played all over the beast while he was at rest. Inside, he was surely made of sugar.

After partaking in Voltar’s monthly Carnival, the magi was on his way home with his treasures and purchases when misfortune befell him. Traveling on the borderlands, he was distracted by a distant sleuth of those terrible nandi bears – always hungry and always on the prowl.



He didn’t notice a great sandstorm rapidly coming from the south, and he and his companions were soon engulfed in the blinding, choking winds. Thrown off course, the caravan was headed straight to Death Valley, where they surely would have been lost forever – magical powers, notwithstanding.

However, the gods were smiling upon that magi, and my great-great-great grandmother was the one who found them wandering lost in the desert storm. My grandmother had an affinity with the winds, and was able to calm things down just enough to lead the entire caravan from the brunt of the storm and back to our camp situated at the Iacon Oasis.
Our people made the magi welcome, fed and played with the companions, and exchanged small gifts. In thanks for our assistance, the great magi left us with some of his magical beetles to help keep our oasis fertile. And you can see they have done a splendid job. Iacon Oasis is the envy of many a rival tribe. As an added bonus, everyone in camp was treated to a ride on the imposing hippogryph, which thrilled adults and children alike!

Grandmother left with that magi to travel to The Keep to learn how to better control of her wind talent. That is how we finally acquired a shaman of our own, who has passed knowledge down through the generations. And, Grandmother’s adventures are worthy of an exciting story of their own….


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Yummyquik’s Journal – Twenty-ninth Day of the Fourth month, Fifty-eighth Year.

Holy slag. I am beat. I need to sleep for a week, at least. My faithful companions and I have finally returned. I am officially calling this quest, ‘Anita’s Journey to the Pit and Back.’ And to think I complained about the quest to the Caves of Nareau being too difficult. Little did I know. I think I hit all four corners of the known world – and three corners of the unknown.

I’m gonna get that magi who attacked me under cover of a sandstorm in the Etain Desert. We seriously almost died, and if it hadn’t been for that gypsy teen…I don’t even want to think about it.

I have an idea who was the culprit, but I need conclusive proof. Look out Merion, I’m watching you!

But, I made some good friends and that gypsy has quite an amazing talent with the weather. I think I will pass her on as a student to Campari. They should get along famously.

Along with completing Anita’s tasks, I learned quite a bit (and brought back some fabulous feathers for my collection). Very disappointed that I never came across any new and magnificent companions to show the world, but there’s always next time.

Everyone’s fed and bedded down for some serious, well-deserved rest. A more detailed journal entry shall have to wait, along with gifting the treasures I found for my friends.

And as for me, I am off to berth.
Wake me at your peril.

yummyquik ♐

.

[Crossposted from DW. Apparently, I like to spread my boring Spam all over the Internet. And, I paid for both sites, so I should use them like a mad monkey. Comment at either place, I'm easy.]

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Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
lionille
Mar. 31st, 2012 02:20 am (UTC)
^^ You already know how much I enjoyed this (especially the receipt!) but it's even more awesome with the actual creatures in there to illustrate!
mdnytryder
Mar. 31st, 2012 02:27 am (UTC)
thanks, babe!
Oh, in case you didn't know, Belmos said he's going to have his army sale soon. Start saving that gold.

sntmentalfkness
Mar. 31st, 2012 07:12 pm (UTC)
That's pretty cool!
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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