It was a surreal moment — to peek through a doorway and see a guy banging away at a pipe organ. Blink. Realize that what he’s sitting on is a stuffed dwarf, a real live, dead dwarf. Blink. And the new girl, the dwarf, is running screaming at the organ guy.
Yeah, she made short (ha!) work of that guy. Note to self: don’t make furniture out of dwarves. Not if you want a long, happy life.
So, we’re standing around this room. It’s pretty gross and the debris from the organ doesn’t help matters. The organ was really gross — all bones and skin and fingers and stuff. Gives me the willies just thinking about it. Good thing it went blammo. Acgar was going through the rubble around the organ and she noticed a doorway and strings that were connected from the doorway to the remains of the keyboard. She messed around with the strings for like half an hour and suddenly the door disappeared, like, well, like magic.
Indira and Durilin (the dwarf lady) were the first ones through the door. I heard Indira mutter a quick prayer. “What? What’s there?” I called out.
“Oh. Oh good god. It’s blood. I think. Everywhere.” Indira’s voice sounded strained.
“A piss-poor way to treat good stone, I’ll tell you that!” Durilin’s voice boomed out of the small space.
Myntilly and I peeked our heads in. There was a small stone altar right in front of Indira. The walls were almost uniformly painted in red. Upon the walls the name “Adimarcus” was scrawled over and over. Durilin walked over to the one clean patch of wall. It had been scrubbed clean — no blood, no words. I felt drawn to the clean patch and walked over to join her. Indira paced in front of the altar like an angry cat.
“There’s something here. I feel…. I feel….” Her voice trailed off. I walked over to her. “What is it? What are you feeling?”
She shook her head and smiled. “Would you believe me if I told you I feel like wishing?”
I returned the smile. “Wishing? Like wishing upon a star?”
“Like wishing a wish. Like, um, like….” She searched for the words. “OK, I feel, when I’m standing right here (she stamped her feet for emphasis), I feel like I could ask for something, for anything and it would be granted.”
Myntilly had joined us. “Like wishing from a genie!” She tapped her lips with a finger. “What would I wish for? I wish for –”
“Wait!” Indira waved her hands in front of Myntilly. “Wait. Don’t say the ‘W’ word. If you say ‘I w-i-s-h for blah.’ It might come true. And what if we only get one w-i-s-h?”
The others joined us, all eager to discuss wish spells they’d heard about. Lingaub, the little goblin dude, was soaking it all in. I think we mostly talk too fast for him. His eyes darted from one face to another. When there was a lull in the conversation, he loudly said “Wish for three wishes! Wish for three wishes!” Everyone turned to look at him. I cocked my finger at him. “You are one smart little dude. I’m with the goblin. Three wishes.”
Indira frowned. “First we have to ask ourselves if we should w-i-s-h for something. Then we can discuss what.” She asked each of us in turn. Durilin emphatically said no to wishing. “Nothing good will come of it. Not in this room. Not from this altar.” Acgar agreed. Sadi shrugged and said, “Probably wouldn’t turn out like we wanted it to.”
Ian spoke up. “We could wish for — I mean we could w-i-s-h for the bad guys to drop dead. Or for information about their plans. We could even, we could say ‘Take us to the heart of the Fiery Sanctum!’ (everyone stopped for a moment to see if that would count as a wish. When we realized we hadn’t moved, Ian went on) Or something like that….” His voice trailed off.
“It could be a trap. The altar could be a way to trap us into talking about wishes!” Durilin hitched up her axe belt, confident that she’d made her point.
“I think it’s a portal. We could wish for the collar of the soul tree to come to us.” Myntilly smiled at us. “Problem solved and that’s sure to set the evil plans back quite a bit.”
“OK, what I’m hearing is that we shouldn’t mess with a wish. Should we destroy this altar? So no one else can wish?”
Durilin rubbed her chin. “We could turn it into <slotch>, pulverize it, I mean. But it’s 3,000 years old, give or take and well, that counts for something, right? Evil or no, it’s fine craftsmanship.”
No one spoke for a moment. And in the silence Myntilly said “I wish for a new robe!” There was an upward rush of air and a silken robe gently floated down into her arms. The altar crumbled to dust. Lingaub started to laugh. I did, too. It was too damned funny. Myntilly grinned sheepishly and held up her new robe. Her face fell. It was gnome-sized.
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