Paige Roper had spent much of her childhood being teased ever since that incident in fourth grade when she got her reading book stuck in her cluttered desk and the cover tore as she tried to get it out. “Page Ripper” the children had called her, and anytime she handled a book thereafter there was sure to be someone who would shout out “Don’t tear it,” or “Look out book, run!”
The problem was that Paige loved to read. Yet, because of the taunts she never did so in public. To her teachers’ surprise however she was a model student, and in fact remained ahead of her classmates. That was because from the time she got home until well after bedtime she read.
It was as she began her time at university that a marvellous pair of circumstances changed her lot. The first was that her roommate Sandra Turner didn’t know the cruel nickname. The second was that Sandra had a rather cute twin brother who was also a voracious reader as well.
Paige and Tom hit it off from the first, and soon they read together and had long deep literary conversations. The pair of bookworms fell deeply in love, and soon after graduation they married and opened a bookstore under her new name – Paige Turner’s.
There was no need for poisoned apples or elaborate hexes. Alice Carmichael’s power was in her tongue. The woman could shoot verbal venom that could destroy the most robust of spirits, and she reduced more than one sales clerk to tears. Okay, she might not have been a wicked witch in the storybook sense. She was in fact worse than that, she was foul mouthed *itch. Close enough I guess.
Most of kids just referred to her as red hair girl. She was a bit of loner, and her accent and striking locks didn’t help the impression of her otherness. Her real name was Ingrid, and her mother had come to the city on a one year exchange at the university.
Ingrid knew nothing about softball, and she even seemed a little unsure of the “rules” for playing tag. It wasn’t until the second semester that the red headed girl became the “red headed wonder.” Miss Murphy had taken the class out for their physical education lesson, and as was the usual practice, Ingrid was the last one picked when they were making teams.
Mandy Jeffreys, the “captain,” told Ingrid to stay in defence near the goal, where she “wouldn’t cause any trouble.” Then it happened, the ball came towards Ingrid, and everyone on her team shouted at her to “just kick it.” That seemed a silly instruction to Ingrid so she took control of the ball and out-manoeuvring three opponents she raced the length of the field to shoot to the far corner of the net, catching the goalie totally off guard.
It seems they play soccer in Ingrid’s native Germany.
“Whatever you do, don’t drink it. It is a lotion not a potion. It will make whatever it is put onto invisible, but it wont work on cloth. So, be careful, as if you get wet it can wash off and leave you exposed in more ways than one,” the merchant warned.
“Will it work on armour?” Helio asked.
“Anything except cloth, so metal is fine. I did have a customer complain once that after they stabbed a Goblin, the creatures could see the end of their sword blade where the blood had washed off the lotion.”
“So why this instead of a potion, or a cloak?” Helio queried.
“The decision is yours of course, but the lotion is 6 silver coins, the potion 6 gold, and the cloak 60 gold.”
“May I have three lotions then?” Helio said counting out the coins.
“Excellent choice,” the merchant said with a smile.
To be a Prince Charming requires no real nobility, merely a strong jaw and cleft chin. A suitable castle or palace is a must, to hold a few balls within. Some flashy clothes and a servant or two, to pass out invitations and decrees. With all that in place, it won’t take too long, till peasant girls will go weak at the knees. Being Prince Charming is easy you see, as it is a position of birth right plain. Just beware of those Disney guys, as their constant presence is often a pain.
It had definitely seen better days. In fact, it was quite tired and run down, but it prized. His “new car” was a ’68 Buick LeSabre with 156,000 miles on the dial, and it was all his. Okay, the driver-side door stuck a bit, and the passenger door opened best if it had a good kick from the inside. The paintwork was pretty good though, and it was okay of gas. Water seemed to be more the issue, it took nearly as many miles to the gallon as it did in fuel. This was remedied by removing the thermostat (after the third one), and adding loads of heavy tape to the hoses. It is amazing what treasures could be had for $200 back in 1977.
The God-King had ordered it, thus it had to be so. The male children were to be culled. Every new-born baby boy was to be cast into the river to face drowning, if the crocodiles didn’t get them first.
God-King or not, one enterprising mother was not going to subject her child to that fate. But how could it be avoided? The answer was to “obey” the edict. The child would be cast into the river, but in a water-proofed basket. The king had not given any details on how the infants were to be thrown into the water. A simple wicker basket, and a nice coating of tar would do the trick.
Thus Mosha was swaddled and placed in the well-pitched wickerwork before beginning his river journey, a journey that would shape the destiny of a people – no, the world. Talk about a basket case.
Timeran put his usual positive spin on it. “This would be a new beginning,” he said. “We are setting out on a grand adventure, and we will build a community that will be the envy of those who see it.”
Not long afterwards the three vessels which made up the expedition pulled away from the quayside. In them rested the hope and dreams of an entire people. Everything necessary of building a “New Bulland” was there: livestock, seed, and ploughs. The forty-three families were also huddled aboard.
“A new beginning,” Timeran had said, a “New Bulland.” Pamol pondered her father’s words and couldn’t help but question – If New Bulland is going to be so admired by our neighbours, why did our last neighbours drive us away and burn down the last one?