What About Love?

Love, Potion, Bottle, Cork, Liquid

The apprentice, Lilibet was grinding dried sorrel with the adept, Sandra.

“Sandra, why do we make a cordial that is mainly used for fighting? Shouldn’t we make something nice like a love potion instead?”

“To start with it’s not practical,” Sandra said.

“Why not?”

“Okay, let’s examine it. A woman sees a desirable partner and decides to slip them a love potion. The object of her affection falls head over heels for her and is devoted to her until the potion wears off. To avoid this she has to ply her beloved with the potion on a regular basis, this is not only expensive, but a kind of deceit as her lover is in reality involuntarily bound to her through the potion.”

“But what if they happen to actually fall in love with her in the mean time?” Lilibet asked.

“How will she ever know?” Sandra replied. “Is it worth the risk to not give a dose?”

“Hmm.”

“Besides, it wouldn’t be practical for us either. Think about how much product we would have to produce just to keep up with the daily or weekly demand. Out forest couldn’t provide the needed resources, nor we the work force without outsourcing our techniques, and losing our monopoly.”

“Yes, but even if one couple . . .”

“Don’t go there. So lets flip this. A man sees a hot young thing, and slips her the potion. She in over the moon in love with him, against her own control mind, and they marry and have a family. Ten years on, the man sees her with her ‘mom’ body, and he constant tiredness owing to family life. Will he be tempted to buy more potion, if he was shallow enough to have used it to ‘catch’ her in the first place? I think not. Before you know it, he has fallen out of lust with her, she has stopped magically loving him, there is a broken family, distressed children, and to top it all off – we have lost a regular customer.”

“Wow, I hadn’t thought of that,” Lilibet said reflectively. “You are really wise.”

“No, just experienced. We tried that line about twenty years ago and it was a disaster.”


Padre

Thanks to my wife for suggesting this story line.

Prime

Drank, Magic, Alchemy, Bottle, Piston, Larp, Witchcraft

There were innumerable potions and elixirs available in the Kingdom. Two guilds in particular, the Fluid Alchemists, and the High Herbalists nearly cornered the trade. There were mixtures that instilled the user with strength, others with dexterity, and yet others that gave momentary abilities such as Dragon’s-breath.

One small cottage industry on the edge of Northwest Woodlands, however, produced the most widely sought after “cordial” of the lot. It was brewed by a pair of Cunning Women, and their apprentices, from ingredients found in the meadows and forests of that region. Prime Cordial, as it was called, would transform the user to their “prime” form.

For an ageing warrior, it might restore the strength, and vigour of twenty years hence, yet it would not erase the skill or knowledge that years had bestowed on them. For a fledgling fighter it might give them brawn and skill they might not achieve for ten years to come. Thieves might find their maximum dexterity and mages recall spells long lost to their memories. The effects however were short-lived lasting but an hour.

The brief enhancement was further complicated by some drawbacks. Chief among these was that the cordial could only be used once in a moon-cycle or the user might face a type of poisoning which would permanently rob them of skills. Other concerns were more practical, such as a young warrior becoming to bulked to fit their armour, or and we need not address the one-mindedness experienced by some Bards and Rogues, which diverted them from the other tasks at hand.

Many sought the secrets of this marvellous mixture, but it was guarded jealously by the “Sisterhood,” that produced it. Numerous safeguards were put into place, such as no two junior apprentices knowing the ingredients or procedures involved in its production. Adepts were limited to three at a time, and each of these still lacked certain aspects. Only the two Mistresses held all of the knowledge and skill required, and this was only passed on to one senior adept each.


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Wood Hood

The forest ain’t what it used to be. First it was the logging, then the influx of non-native trees. More recently, these newcomers have become a real problem for the more established members of the community. In fact, some of the younger of these have started to cluster together and seem intent on making the natives feel intimidated. You know, they don’t even call it the forest any more. They have started saying things like, “Welcome to the Wood.”


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At Home

Arid, Cactus, Cloud Formation

Worn and weary, Taylor looked out at the vast expanse before him. It had been three days since had left that cavalry outpost. New Prospect was more than a week behind him, and now the hills and badlands were visible before him. It’s good to be home, he mused as a warm sense of belonging swept over him.


Padre

Self-Assured

King, Monarch, Crown, Real, Monarchy

“How dare you?  I cannot believe your temerity!” the Viceroy bellowed.

“Temerity?  It is just the self-assurance that I am right,” Felix retorted.

“Right?  I am the one that determines what is right.  How dare you question my decision.”

“I have not only questioned it, but proven it based on a faulty premise,” Felix said confidently.

It was with that self-same confidence that he went to the headsman’s block.


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Weekend Writing Prompt #243 – Temerity in 69 words

The Navigator

Arizona, Hiking, Desert, Scenic, Dry, Outdoors, Scenery

“The map says the stream is right over this next hill,” Charlie announced.

“Shouldn’t we hear it by now?” Tammie replied.

“I’m sure we will soon,” Charlie assured her.

They then crested the hill and looked at the rocky stream bed.

“Still not hearing it,” she said scornfully.

“Look, there is still water there though, lets fill the canteens and then follow the channel to the river. I’m certain there will be plenty of water there.”

Tam knelt beside one of the shallow pools and filled her canteen and a plastic bottle. “This is the last time I am going to let you guide us,” she said coldly.

“I found us water, didn’t I?” he replied.

“Humph,” she muttered, and soon they were making their way down the creek bed to whatever lay ahead, leaving the flowing stream which was just over the NEXT hill behind them.


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Prize Winner

Pixabay

Evie was called forward in the assembly and the principal announced that she was the winner of the essay contest. Many of her peers looked on jealously as she was handed the certificate and the £30 voucher.

“Evie,” Mrs. Baxter said. “Your essay was unique, and was a breath of fresh air for all of us judges. Many of your competitors seemed to follow the same line of argument, and there was a surprising similarity even in much of their wording. How did you manage to write something so original?”

“Well, I um, I made it a point to not use Wikipedia at all, and in fact, once I started following that rule, I decided to avoid using the internet at all.”

“But, how could you possibly have managed gathering all of that clever information without the web?” the principal asked in astonishment.

“Well, after school one day, I missed the bus. So I had to wait for my mum. She said to meet her by the side exit, so I went down a hall that doesn’t get used much and I found a really weird room that no one seemed to know about. It was all full of books and stuff, so I had a peek. Before I knew it my mum was ringing me, asking why I hadn’t come out yet. I told here I was reading an actual book. Soon the “Library” became my favourite place in the school, and no one ever bothered me there. I used the books to research my essay.”

“How novel,” Mrs. Baxter said. She then turned to the deputy head and whispered, “Did you know we still had a library?” Mr Turner just shrugged.


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Year Past


Bradley Pelish at Unsplash

Danno stood on the boundary and tried to make out what lay ahead. All he could make out was more haze and confusion. He had been in a similar place before; a year ago in fact. He looked behind him, and then forward again. Surely, 2022 couldn’t be any worse than 2021. Then again, he thought that the year before as well. He looked back again and took it all in. “Into the mist,” he said aloud and stepped into ’22.


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A Change Of Tack

Map, Robbery, Middle Ages, Table, Chair, Medieval

“Why do we always go to an inn after a mission?” Baylor asked.

“It’s tradition,” Amwyn the Sorceress replied.

“Yes, but, we go on an adventure, we then go to a merchant and sell our take. Next we go to an inn sleep a couple of hours, then wile way in the bar until we overhear some new feat to be attempted. In the meantime we drink away a sizeable portion of our takings,” Baylor observed.

“What else could we do?” Reynor the Bowman asked.

“What if we bought a little storefront and set up an office? Then we could advertise our services,” Baylor suggested.

With that Adventures Are Us was born. The comrades soon found that business was not going to be easy however. In the first week they only had one enquiry about a map, which proved to be an old copy of a milkman’s route. For their troubles they managed to obtain little more than 73 empty bottles and a tub of cottage cheese.

The second week saw them placing a notice at Town Hall which read “No mission too small.” This led to Baylor and Reynor serving as private security at the Cheese-mongers’ Convention, and Tenian the Bard playing three sets at a third rate music festival as the warm-up act for a trio of trolls called The Tone-Deaths.

Week three found Amwyn doing simple illusions and making balloon animals at the Lord Mayor’s daughter’s seventh birthday party.

The adventurers all returned to the office on the following Monday with only one thing in mind, though no one dared speak it.

Finally, Reynor said, “Let’s go to the inn,” and they all agreed.


Padre

A Bit Of A Laugh

House, Country House, Exterior, Facade

It all sounded like a bit of a laugh. Word around the pub was that the weird guy over at Number 23 was out of town, and that there was some quality electronics to be had by anyone enterprising enough to help themselves to them.

Pete was a little reluctant at first, but Davie and Trev said it would be a doddle, and that no one would ever know it was them. Pete at last gave in and the trio planned to give the place the once over that evening.

Wearing dark hoodies, and Covid masks they made their way to the back door and had a check. Sure enough there was an easily located key under a dog dish on the porch. So far so good.

Things soon took a turn for the worse. No sooner than Trev turned the key and stepped through the kitchen door that got a face full of some sort of cobweb. Hundreds of little spiders darted all over him and he screamed as he received scores of bites before he began to swell all over, and fell lifeless to the floor.

The remaining two burglars looked at each other and began to retreat towards the treeline of the back garden when a low growl of at least three large canines could be heard. Pete caught glimpse of bared fangs among the trees and bolted back into the kitchen, followed by Davie who slammed the door shut as four huge Rottweilers pounced against it.

“What do we do now?” Pete gasped.

“Hell if I know. No wait. I will get some food from the fridge and we will throw it out the window in the back and then run out the front door.”

Davie opened the fridge and took out what looked like chicken and opened the window just enough to toss it out. One of the hounds approached it and then gobbled it up, but the other three were nowhere to be seen. He then knocked loudly on the glass until the others came into view before throwing some lunch meat and a hastily opened can of corned beef out the window. He then ran to the front door and made an exit, only to be mauled by two other Rottweilers.

Pete barely had time to get the door shut. He sat on the couch in the living room and tried to work out what to do next. He knew he couldn’t outrun the dogs. He decided to check the basement to see if there was anything he might use to escape with, or at least a weapon.

He made his way through the house and marvelled at the high tech kit that seemed to be everywhere. He attempted to boot up one computer display just to be jolted with a burst of electricity that knocked him backwards. It was then that he noticed their were weird posters of demonic creatures on several walls.

Escape again became the only thing on Pete’s mind. When he got the the door to the basement there was a bronze plaque that said “Abandon all hope those who tread here.” That was enough. Pete admitted defeat and rang the police to turn himself in.

When the officers arrived, the dogs or spiders were nowhere to be seen nor were the bodies of his mates. Pete frantically tried to tell the events of the evening to the officers, but the police were dismissive of his claims asking what he had been taking.

“There must be a bad batch out there,” one of the cops said.

“But I don’t do drugs,” Pete objected.

“That’s what they all say,” the other cop replied.

Pete of course was telling the truth, and his friends were never seen again. He did, however, learn the valuable lesson that you should never try to rob a Dungeon Master.


Padre