CHAPTER TWO: Grom Becomes an Adventurer (1)

     Bornen carefully loomed over the bubbling cauldron, inspecting its purple colored froth with interest. His surroundings, dimly lit by an occult-worthy dripping candle placement, were a disorganized arrangement of truly weird oddities, strange anatomy currently pickling in dusty jars on high shelves, and a beginner’s collection of the bizarre antiques buried by time, (not to mention a small stack of unopened postage, bound together by a thin length of hemp, right over there, but a detail like that can be easily overlooked in a hut such as this).

     “Beard clippings,” said the gravelly voice of the figure standing directly across from Bornen, in a perfectly articulated dwarven accent.

     He extended a clenched fist over the cauldron. As he slowly opened his hand, tiny bits of flaxen tresses floated downward to the froth. There came an unsettling gurgle as the purple stew introduced the new ingredients to an already questionable mixture of . . . who knows what? Bornen certainly didn’t.

     A nauseating stench arose with the ascending, mauve hued mist. “Are you sure this will work?” he asked with mounting uncertainty, wafting the air around his nose.

     “It will work,” the figure replied reproachfully, “my magic always works. You know that, Bornen.” The pale skinned elf gave him a narrow, gray eyed glare.

     “R-right,” he conceded with a nod, “what comes next then?”

     “The toenail, but,” the elf cautioned, “it must be perfectly crescent in shape. Let me have a look. You were clever enough to bring extras, I presume?”

     Bornen held aloft several toenails of varying sizes. “What do you think Ezmyr? Will any of these do?”

     Ezmyr, the secluded hermit who regularly practiced forgotten forms of esoteric magic, (and did other vague, usually unproven things in the privacy of his own hut during his off time; things best not asked about), studied the samples ever so scrupulously. “Hmm,” he said thoughtfully, plucking one from the crowd, “this one is well enough.” He cast it into the bubbling liquid, then there came a pitched squeal that can be likened to a frightened pig gradually drowning in, let’s say, a boiling cauldron. 

     “And now?”

     “The sock,” Ezmyr said casually in tones of raspy dryness. His reptilian sonancy, coupled with the shadows bouncing off of his bony countenance, made him all the more mysterious sounding as he added, “unwashed of course.”

     The garment was gradually immersed, and a terribly bright flash of light temporarily blinded Bornen. When he ventured to readjust his vision, he noticed a mystifying and luminescent cloud tunnel issuing forth, whirling and rising toward the ceiling.

The End

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