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Rated: ASR · Novel · Fantasy · #225546
It's not just any fantasy, it's a very strange fantasy.
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Red, The Elven Pistoler
         This is North Dolluk, a small desert town on the planet Venus. This planet, relatively recently terraformed and among the top eight least desirable planets to live on in the solar system does not attract a great many people. The ones who do come are of a special breed, the ones ready to struggle for survival, the ones willing to get their hands dirty, deal with harsh deserts, mean ogres, and wacky magical outbursts, namely the dumbest people of the system's population. The culture of these settlements reflect an era long before the United States, Russia, and Atlantis first vied for a moon landing.
         Ezra Ammakon noticed that he was suddenly alone on the street. Everyone else had ducked for cover. The elven pistoler looked at the townsfolk hiding behind whatever they could use for cover and staring at him fearfully. He knew someone was behind him.
         "Ammakon!" shouted a big, rough voice behind him, "It's noon!"
         Ezra sighed. "No, it isn't," he said, exasperated, as he turned to face the six brutish orcs that stood behind him, lifting his hat slightly to wipe the venusian dust off his forehead. These orcs were known in these parts as the Three and a Half Gang, three and a half being the number of brains the townsfolk figured existed between them.
         "Yea, neither are you!" said the gang's leader, Three-Quarters Charlie. "So, are you gonna take the next spacefreighter back to Earth, or are we gonna have to shoot up your pointy ears?"
         "But boss," said another orc, "Wouldn't he still be alive if we just shoot his ears?"
         "Shut up, Lack There Of Lou," said Three-Quarters Charlie. "Go fer your gun, pointy ears."
         "Okay," said Ezra, whipping out his pistols from off his back. The orcs, surprised by his breach of etiquette in not staring them down for several minutes while waiting for them to draw, quickly pulled out their own and began to fire. The townsfolk watched open mouthed, but soon closed their mouths and began to wonder when this was going to end, because five minutes later, nobody had been hit yet.
         "My aim must really be off today!" mused Three-Quarters Charlie as he tried to reload his gun.
         "Uh, boss," said another orc, "You'd better look at this."
         "Shut up, One-Lobed Stan," said Charlie. "Reload your gun. That elf isn't going to shoot himself! Unless..."
         "But boss," said One-Lobed Stan, "Look at this!" He thrust a tiny object under his boss's nose. It appeared to be two lead objects that had slammed together at a high speed. Three-Quarters Charlie didn't get it.
         "They're bullets, boss!" said One-Lobed Stan, showing that he may have more brains than Three-Quarters Charlie after all. "We ain't been missing, he's been shooting our bullets!"
         Charlie gave Ezra a dumb look. Ezra twirled his pistols menacingly. Charlie began to realize what was going on.
         "Ohhhh," said Charlie. "Uh, we'd better go."
         So the Three and a Half Gang was never seen in North Dolluk again.
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         There was a big celebration in town that night. Everyone at the tavern wanted to buy the elf a drink. No one wanted to pay, though. This would later lead to problems.
         "Staying long, stranger?" asked the rotund human barkeeper behind the counter where Ezra sat, his feet not quite touching the ground on the stool that was built with humans in mind. Humans always seemed to think they were the standard of everything.
         "No," said Ezra, "Just stopping by."
         "Shame," said the barkeeper, "We could use a gunman like yourself.”
         “You couldn’t pay me to stay in a place like this, what with the tasteless criminals, rodents big enough to give you lycanthropy, people who smell as bad as you...”
         “It grows on you,” said the bartender with a sentimental shrug.
         “Yea, something’s growing on you,” muttered Ezra, pulling a bandana over his nose.
         “If all that bothers you so, I’m suprised you still live on Venus at all.”
         “I used to live on Earth, but I didn’t like it because you have to have a perscription to drink venusian dwarven whiskey. That’s why I don’t like most planets, actually.”
         “Well, sorry I couldn’t talk you into it. Hey, you've got something right there." The bartender pointed at Ezra’s face.
         "Where?" said Ezra, feeling his face, "Is it gone?"
         "No, let me get you a mirror," said the barkeeper.
         "No!"said Ezra suddenly, "I'll get it without one." He grabbed his bandanna and rubbed his entire face. "There."
         Ezra didn't realize it, but he was being monitored by a squat little steam-powered robot named Xak-xak. The little unit leaned forward on his large, reverse-elbowed arms and cocked his bulbous, round head to the side as he heard Ezra talk. He waddled forward on his small-pistoned legs.
         "Excuse me, Mr. Ammakon," said Xak-xak timidly, "Do you have a second?"
         "I was trying to keep it clean, but sure, knock yourself out," said Ezra, tossing the robot his spare bandana.
         "Uh, you misunderstand," said Xak-xak. "I need to discuss something with you."
         Ezra shrugged. "As long as you're not like that drunken dwarf who claimed to have invented the fireball spell."
         The robot led the elf into a quiet, secluded horse stall. There were no horses there, just a swarm of flies. This was good, because you never know when a horse could know what you're saying. Xak-xak looked to make sure no one was around and slid the large door shut.
         "I saw your fight against the orc gang," said Xak-xak, "And I thought you might be the one I'm looking for. After hearing what you said in the saloon, I thought to myself, 'Well, vampirism was cured in the 1970s, so the only reason you would shy from a mirror is..."
         Ezra jumped as Xak-xak held up a small reflective device. There was his reflection, shimmering in red.
         "Just as I thought," said Xak-xak, "Although I made a bet with myself that you were the green one. Oh, well."
         "Okay, what is it?" said Ezra, "It's been doing that for years now. What makes my reflection red?"
         "Mr. Ammakon, you are one of the Fantastic Seven. There are six more, each with reflections that shimmer in the different colors of the visible spectrum."
         "But, why?" said Ezra, "What is the purpose of the Fantastic Seven?"
         "Allow me to tell you a story, Mr. Ammakon," said Xak-xak, blowing off a cloud of steam and beginning.
         "During the age of exploration, three countries were dominating: Spain, Portugal, and the Island of the Lotus Eaters. There was a lot of conflict between them, so the Pope asked the council of gods what they should do.
         "The Earth was divided equally between Spain and Portugal, and since nobody much cared for the Island of the Lotus Eaters, they were humorously given 'everything else.' That meant nothing back then, but now that space is being colonized, the Lotus Eaters believe it should belong to them."
         "Wait," said Ezra, "The Lotus Eaters are all gone! In World War 2 their island was destroyed by Godzilla after the United States drove him out of Japan by nuking both of his nests, while making it look like they were attacking Japan as a cover up."
         "That's what they want you to think," said Xak-xak, "But there is still a group of very angry Lotus Eaters looking to seize what they feel is theirs and take revenge on the countries that wronged them."
         Ezra sighed. "That's it!? That's the plot to that story?! Just another petty struggle between some guys and some other guys, one being mistaken as good and the other as evil? I'm not going to have anything to do with this."
         "But..." said Xak-xak, "Mr. Ammakon, I've been looking for you for months! These deranged Lotus Eaters could threaten the well being of every one of the planets! The least you could do is help me find the other six! Please?"
         "And they want to take over the worlds, too," said Ezra, not paying much attention. "Classic. I wonder if any of these would-be supervillans realize just how much of a pain it is to run a solar system, anyway."
         "But the prophesy said you'd help!" said Xak-xak.
         "Let me explain something to you, Oil Slick," said Ezra, "I've found that it's best not to care about anything that doesn't hurt you. If these Lotus Eaters take over the worlds, that only means I'm wandering around on someone else's land." Ezra began to leave.
         "But, Mr. Ammakon..." started Xak-xak, but he was interrupted. The far wall of the tall
exploded in a ball of flame. Someone stood beyond it. He stepped right through the dying flames and was illuminated in the light. He was a dirty character. He wore a black hat and jacket and patched pants. His face was several days unshaven and he had an eyepatch over his left eye. He grinned.
         "Okay," said Ezra in a blasĂ© manner, "Who is this now? Another drunk?"
         The stranger held a stick of dynamite and twirled it by its wick. "Don't try nothin' funny, pointy ears. I'm gettin' a lota cash fer this."
         "Goodbye," said Ezra, opening the door to leave.
         The stranger bit the end off of the dynamite. He reared back and spat a ball of flame, which struck the wall by Ezra and detonated. The elf stopped.
         "Hey!" barked the stranger, advancing, "When I sez don't try nuthin' funny, I meanz that."
         "I didn't try anything funny," said Ezra, "Opening a door is a joke that wouldn't even get the laugh track on an episode of Full
         "Careful, Mr. Ammakon," said Xak-xak nervously. "He looks dangerous."
         The stranger tipped the contents of the dynamite into his mouth and spat a wave of flames. He really seemed to want to make sure everybody was impressed by his strange talents.
         "Who are you?" said Xak-xak, shakily stepping between Ezra and the stranger, "And who sent you after this elf?"
         "I did," came a new voice. Another figure stepped into the stall. It was another elf. This one wore a striped suit and had cold look in his eyes, fixated on Ezra. Ezra recognized him.
         "Josiah?" said Ezra, "They said you were dead!"
         "Yea," said Josiah, tossing a cigarette to the ground, "I'm sure that made you sad. I realize this should be a really touching moment, but forgive me if I'm bitter. It's your fault, after all. Let's get rid of those pistols for you." He raised his hand and in a blast of magical energy, Ezra's guns shot out of his holsters and flew into his hands.
         "What's going on, Josiah?" said Ezra, "What do you have to do with this?"
         "I think you know the answer to that," said Josiah, glaring icily at him. He turned to his bounty hunter. "Decent work, Clem. Go back to the ship for your payment."
         "Don't we git ta blow 'im up? I want to blow someone up tonight."
         "Josiah, whatever you're doing, you're making a mistake," said Ezra.
         "Am I?" he replied, "What are you going to do about it? I have an anti-magic spell on you."
         "That's why I've come to like technology," said Ezra. He quickly hit a stud on the back of his glove. It lit up and the pistols Josiah took from him went off. Their barrels fired up and blasted themselves out of his hands and flew back to Ezra. He grabbed them and began to shoot at Josiah. Josiah took cover behind a barrel, drawing a derringer and shooting back. His bounty hunter , deciding that he was off the clock, ran like wine on a wedding dress.
         "Let's split, Oil Slick," said Ezra, grabbing Xak-xak and pulling him out of the stall while deflecting Josiah's gunfire. Together they ran away and kept running until they felt it was safe to stop. They found a dark alleyway and stopped to rest. The elf sat down against the wall and panted while the robot sat down next to him and blew off a large cloud of steam.
         "Josiah," Ezra said between panting, "Gods damn it, what happened to him? What does he mean it was my fault?"
         "It would appear that he's in league with the Lotus Eaters," said Xak-xak.
         "The Lotus Eaters..." said Ezra. He thought to himself for a moment. "Okay, Oil Slick, I'll do it."
         "You mean you'll serve as the Red of the Fantastic Seven?"
         "Yes. But not for your petty little saving the worlds junk."
         "Whatever you say, sir," said Xak-xak gratefully, "Thank you, Mr. Ammakon."
         Ezra grunted and stood up. He sighed deeply and began walking towards the street.
         "Where are you going, sir?"
         "Come on, Oil Slick. We've gotta find the other six colors."
         "Yes, sir!"

Orange, the Satyr Guitarist
         The history of thaumaturgy is a long
and uninteresting one. It goes way back to the
time of Sir Issac Newton, who invented the
levitation spell (later adapted by the Wrights
into the flight spell) and DeVinci, who brought
the world out of the dark ages with his
invention of the light spell. Most lightening
based spells are credited to Ben Franklin,
who also was the first to discover that magic
energies consist of quasi-radio waves and
particles. Alexander Graham Bell invented
clairaudience. Edison invented the crystal
ball. Ford, another great artificer of the time,
made the flying carpet. It is interesting to note,
however, that the most famous spell of all
time, the fireball, was invented by the least
famous inventor. He was an ancient shaman
who also created the reincarnation spell, with
which he was able to come back in many
forms, his current one being the dwarven town
drunk of North Dolluk.
         That was a fun diversion. Back to the
         A small horse stood tethered outside
the saloon. The beast's owner was not aware
that it was in fact a kelpie who was plotting to
leap into the water trough the moment he
mounted him again. He giggled to himself at
the thought. For kelpies, that joke never gets
old. Someone was approaching from behind.
Was it time? No, false alarm. It was just
some elf coming for that lousy pegasus tied
next to him.
         "So," said Ezra to Xak-xak as he
unhitched his pegasus, "Where are we going
         "There is this other person I wanted to
investigate," said Xak-xak, "If he's still in town,
he should be at the local inn."
         Ezra climbed onto his pegasus, a
handsome white animal who Ezra named
Monday. No one thought that this name was
funny anymore. He reached down to lift the
bulky steam robot onto the saddle behind him.
         "Mr. Ammakon?" said Xak-xak as they
lifted off over the town, "We both know that
you're a supernatural gunman. You missed
Josiah on purpose, didn't you?"
         "I'd rather not talk about it," said Ezra.
         They glided over the night sky in the
light of Io, a moon Venus borrowed from
Jupiter, which had enough as it was. Many
used to think that Io was way too large to be
Venus's moon, but it turns out the satellite
camera adds ten million pounds.
         Ezra flew them across town and
landed next to the inn, whose lights were still
on. The sign over the door read "The Doctor's
Inn: the doctor is in." In towns like this, many
citizens had to perform several key functions,
and this guy was apparently both doctor and
         "Hello!" said the innkeeper/doctor as
they came through those small swinging
western-style doors, perfectly useless as far
as doors go but still fashionable, "What can I
do you for?" He was a brownie, a small, thin,
tan skinned creature, sweeping the floor of the
dining room. "Food? Healing spells?
Exorcism? I'm afraid I'm out of rooms."
         "We're looking for someone, sir," said
Xak-xak, "I've been told of someone renting a
room in your building. A satyr, I believe."
         The brownie leapt to his computer on
the desk across the room. "Hmm, no, there
are no satyrs here. I guess you'd better leave."
         "Has there been any satyrs recently?"
asked Xak-xak.
         "I don't think so, no," said the brownie
with an odd tone of insistence, "So you can
leave now. Go."
         Ezra became suspicious. "Is there
something wrong, Doc?"
         "Hey, if there's anything wrong with a
doctor, he can fix it himself, am I right?" the
brownie said with an anxious grin, "Now, if you
don't need anything else, I suggest you leave."
         Ezra and Xak-xak left the inn back into
the dark, empty street.
         "No satyrs?" said Ezra, "There's
something screwy going on in there."
         Xak-xak blew off a cloud of steam. It
didn't help much. His pressure was not
mechanical, but emotional right now. "If
anything has happened to the orange of the
Fantastic Seven..."
         Ezra sighed and began to walk
around to the side of the inn. "This is getting
to be a long night," he said.
         "What?" said Xak-xak, "What are you
         "We're gonna go check this out," said
Ezra, scanning the area above him. There
was a phone line, a TV cable, and a manna
wire wound together and leading to the
building far above him. He decided it could
hold his weight. He took aim with a pistol and
severed the far end with a bullet, leaving him
with a cord to climb up to the window with.
         "Let's go, Oil Slick," said Ezra. The elf
and the robot climbed the line, opened the
window, and stepped into the dark inn...

         Meanwhile, far away in the woodland
of Jupiter, the Council of Abscond was in
session. This was usually a given, because
no one rants, drones, or blathers quite as
much as this council. They had just gotten
finished with a week long discussion on the
intriguing use of alliteration in Little
, which half of the council didn’t
even really read (the other half didn’t know
what alliteration was), and they they got on a
new subject.
         “So,” said Abscond, a wizened old elf
at the head of the table. “It would appear that
the prophesy of the Fantastic Seven is coming
to pass. Who had April 5th?”
         “I did!” shouted the halfling named Bill,
waving his ticket in the air victoriously.
         “Ach!” growled the dwarf named Gigi,
who often put on a tough guy facade to
compensate for his sissy name. “If I lose one
more time, I’m oot’ve the council!”
         “Anywhoo,” said Abscond, “We must
decide what we will do about this. How can
we best assure the success of this fellowship
of seven?”
         “Let’s hold a bake sale!” said Spunky
Jack the wizard, one of the most highly
respected wizards in the system.
         “They’re about to face a terrible string
of hardships, the likes of which not one of us
could retain our bladders at the thought of,”
said Walker the ranger, also called “Tex”, with
a straight face. “I suggest we talk about this
for a very, very long time.”
         And so they did. They probably still

         "Ugh," said Xak-xak, "I don't like it.
There's something strange about this place."
         They appeared to have stepped
through the window at the end of a dark
hallway. It stretched a long way down with
doors regularly at either side. Ezra found this
weird, because the size of the hall didn't seem
proportional to the outside of the building.
         "What are we doing now, sir?" asked
         "That brownie is hiding something,"
said Ezra, giving his pistols a quick spin
before re-holstering them, "I say we take a
quick look into each of these rooms."
         Xak-xak normally wouldn't have
approved of such a thing, but he knew that
elves were very stealthy people. Ezra quietly
tried the knob of the first door on the left and,
finding it unlocked, cracked it open. He stuck
his head inside.
         "Here we go," said Ezra, "This isn't a
real room." He opened the door fully,
revealing another long hallway. The two of
them went inside.
         Xak-xak shot off a blast of steam with a
shrill whistle. "This shouldn't be..."
         The hall was just like the first one, and
this time doors were leading into where the
building should be ending. Ezra opened the
door on the left. There was a new hallway
there. Xak-xak looked down another. There
were hallways everywhere. Ezra ran down to
the end of one, finding the window they came
in at. He tried to open it, but it wouldn't move.
         "What's going on?" Xak-xak panicked.
         "Let me try something," said Ezra. He
opened the nearest door and ran inside it,
only to run into Xak-xak on the other side.
         "We're trapped in here," said Ezra.
         They both turned around to face the far
end of the hall when they heard a deep, hollow
grunt. Ezra readied his pistols. There were
some heavy footsteps and panting sounds.
Xak-xak gave a whimpering creak. Something
was coming.
         The far door opened. A strong, cold
draft blew through the hall. There in the
doorway was the black outline of a bulky, hairy
beast. It slowly padded forward, breathing
deeply. Ezra recognized the yellow glow in its
eyes. It was a werewolf.
         The werewolf reared up and howled.
Ezra tried to shoot it, but to no effect. It
continued slowly at them.
         "Don't you have any silver bullets?"
said Xak-xak anxiously.
         "I came from Earth," said Ezra,
"Lycanthropy was cured there long ago!"
         "Okay, uh, plan B..." said Xak-xak. "I'll
distract him, and you, uh, shoot him."
         "Every bad plan involves someone
‘distracting’ someone," said Ezra. "That
always creates some stupid image in my
         Xak-xak opened a door and ducked
into it, Ezra closely behind him. They quickly
closed it behind them and leaned against it,
but they only found the werewolf right in front of
them in the hall again.
         The werewolf didn't waste any time
now. It leaped at them, its large fangs bared.
They were able to escape back through the
door, but found themselves again in close
proximity with the wolf. They broke out
running, going through any doors they could
get to, but of course finding themselves in the
same place. Nothing made any sense.
Nothing was right. There was no escaping.
The werewolf had them cornered.
         “Stand back, Oil Slick,” said Ezra,
rolling up his sleeves and advancing on the
wolf. “Things could get uglier.”
         “What are you doing?” said Xak-xak.
“Oh, I can’t watch!”
         The wolf and the elf faced each other.
Ezra put himself between the beast and one of
the doors, then in one quick move opened it
and jumped through. As the wolf pounced at
him, he dropped to the floor, tackled by Ezra
coming out the opposite door from behind. In
one hand he had a set of steel manacles that
he had for some reason. He clasped one end
on the wolf’s hind leg, and turned around to
clasp the other on his front leg.
         “Now that’s... mind boggling...” said
         “It’s magic, pay it no heed,” said Ezra.
He peered through the door the wolf’s legs
were hanging out of to see an endless line of
struggling werewolves through an endless
line of open doors. “C’mon, I’ll see if I can
break the window.”
         Just as Ezra started towards the
window he heard a disturbing sound behind
him. It was like an infinite number of wolves
howling at once. He turned to see the
werewolf picking himself up and lurching
toward them on two legs, towing the long
chain of wolves with him.
         “I hate climaxes,” said Ezra, drawing
his pistols.
         But a slow melody suddenly rose up
from the darkness. It was a guitar tune. As it
picked up, the world flickered around them
and fell back into place. Ezra, Xak-xak and the
werewolf were in a normal hotel room, brightly
lit and welcoming, with a fancy oaken chest of
drawers and an unmade bed. A satyr sat at
the end of the bed, his short horns poking
through his brown hat and a flannel shirt on
top of his goat legs, strumming his guitar and
grinning under his long mustache. He sang:

I'm trying to sleep, but ain't faring too well
This magic, it disturbs me, so I'll counter this
It's times like this where I can't go wrong
Strumming out my magic-stopping
         counterspell song

         The werewolf turned on the satyr, but
the satyr turned on the werewolf.

I think I'd like you better when you're in your
          true shape
You may not oblige, but you cannot escape
Calm yourself down, let me counter your curse
Listen to my lycanthropy reversal verse

         The werewolf cringed and fell to the
floor. The fur and claws melted away to reveal
a small, brown, wiry form. It was the brownie
doctor/innkeeper, lying on the ground, panting
as if he just woke from a horrible nightmare.
He sat up, looking himself over.
         "Am...am I cured?" he said weakly.
         The satyr laughed. "Naw, my songs
aren't that pow'rful. But why didn't ya tell me
you were a werewolf?" He opened the back of
his guitar, where there was a small
compartment. "Here, I brought this here from
Earth. It'll do ya."
         "Oh, thank you, sir," said the Brownie,
gratefully taking the vile he held out, "I will not
charge you for your stay here!" He darted out
of the room.
         "So, you're the orange one?" said Ezra.
         "I've been called that," grinned the
satyr, "Name's Jedadiah the Billy. My
reflection shimmers all perty and orange.
Drives the ladies wild."
         "Jedadiah, sir," said Xak-xak, taking a
step forward, "You are one of the Fantastic
         Jedadiah chuckled to himself. "Yea, I
always suspected that. And which one might
you be, my good elf? The green one?"
         "Red," said Ezra with a sigh. "You can
call me Ezra."
         "Ezra?" said Jed. "Here's a welcome
change. Most elf names're beyond my
pronunciation, like Áquenagvendell."
         Ezra bit his lip. Sometimes it was
hard to hold his sacred elven vow. Other
creatures were never to know that most elves
were traditionally named for the first sound
that came out of their mouth when they were
         "This is fantastic!" said Xak-xak,
blasting off steam. "I've found two of the
colors! I do hope you'll come with us to find
the others?"
         "Sure thing," said Jedadiah, "But not
now. Night's time fer sleepin'. I hope you
two’ve got yer own place, cuz all’s I can offer
you is the floor.”
         “I’m not sleeping on any floor,” said
         Jedadiah yawned, giving Ezra an
examining look. He started strumming his
guitar again.

I see that you're stubborn, but it is getting
You'd be better off in a comatose state
While the crickets are chirping and the
         in the sky
Take a listen to my magic sleep lullaby

         "Allow me to be more specific," said
Ezra, not showing any signs of sleep, "Elves
do not sleep. Not like you do, anyway."
         "Oh, right. G'night, than." He switched
off the light.
         “Great. I’ll just stand here, why don’t I.

Next Chapter="Dungeons and Wagons: continuation 1
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