Sara (qelenhn) has set up a page of links to make it easy to read her Ruby Horse serial in order. This is a fun and funny thing, and you should be reading it, if you aren't already. What's more, you should be voting, because she has it set up along the lines of a Choose Your Own Adventure. LiveJournal users will find it easy to vote, but I'm pretty sure you can also vote without an LJ account.
As for my two current serials, Joshua Wander: My Favorite Ghost (which is by email only) and Mall of Mâvarin (which can most easily be read on this blog), neither one is doing very well right now. I've been so darn busy with cleaning up the house, blogging, the trip to IKEA and now unpaid overtime that I've let myself get behind on one, and nearly stalled out on the other. I've handwritten at least one JW installment that I haven't typed yet, and I apparently haven't actually mailed an installment since the end of July. I've done better with Mall of, posting every Saturday night no matter how uninspired I was. But the results have been, well, uninspired.
I worked about three hours today at Unnamed Largish Company, and will probably work double that tomorrow. But things should ease off after Monday. Maybe then I'll be able to get things back on track.
The easiest way to catch up on past installments of this serial is on Messages from Mâvarin at http://mavarin.blogspot.com. Synopses to Parts One through Six can be found at the top of Part Seven. Synopses to Parts Eight through Thirteen can be found at the top of Part Fourteen. Synopses to Parts Fourteen through Eighteen are at the top of Part Nineteen. The installments themselves can be read in order on Blogspot using the sidebar.
Part Nineteen: Li Ramet, Lee Ramirez and Joshua Wander go off to try to reverse the effects of Li's modified portal spell, which, along with the appearance of Josh's magic castle, apparently caused all the trouble. Meanwhile, Rani and Randy announce they have successfully returned their own minds and spirits to the right bodies. Rani sets out to try to help Carl and Carli do the same. Despite being only a bookish high school student in a strange and magical land, Randy Foster thinks he has acquired sufficient magic and knowledge to sort out Cathma and Cathy as well. They sit down together to let him try.
Part Twenty: In mindtouch with Randy, the girl who thinks of herself as Cathma is told that she is really Cathy after all. According to Randy, Li's spell is more an accidental "mindpush" (magical brainwashing) than an actual transfer mind and spirit. Randy takes Cathy on a whirlwind tour through the memories of her own life, until she feels like herself again rather than the Queen of Mâvarin. At the same time, Randy helps the real Queen Cathma to reclaim her own identity. The process leaves Randy exhausted—and there are still dozens of people from Dewitt and Mâvarin who need similar help.
Part Twenty-One: Since Rani and Randy are too tired to do mind magic with anyone else for the moment, Cathy suggests going back to "Plan A"--seeing that Li, Lee and Josh successfully reverse Li's spell, getting everyone home both mentally and physically. Although leaving the castle once again floods Cathy's mind with Cathma's memories, this time it does not overwhelm her sense of who she is. Shoppingtown Mall now looks intact again, albeit in Mâvarin instead of Dewitt. Li and Lee are proud of this accomplisment, Josh less so. Cathy points out that the point is to get the mall and the people back where they belong, not to reassemble the building in the wrong world.
Part Twenty-Two: Li and Lee propose to leave Shoppingtown in Mâvarin, at least temporarily, until the people are restored. When Cathy and Cathma press them on how that part of the problem is coming along, they say that the people who actually traveled with the mall (as opposed to safely in the castle) are "feeling much better now." They have mindpushed these people from a state of emotional shock to one of relative normalcy. The mall employees have even started selling their goods and services to customers--including curious Mâvarinû, who have started coming in from outside.
Part Twenty-Three: Media of Exchange
Fayubi and Fabian both looked intrigued. “People are coming in from the King’s Gate Inn?” Fabian (really Fayubi) asked.
“And from the city, and stopping on the way to the city,” Lee (really Li) said.
“What do they use as a medium of exchange?” Shela (really Sheila) asked. “The mall employees would naturally expect to be paid in dollars, but the Mâvarinû have only suns and crowns and coppers.”
“That’s all right,” Li (really Lee) said. “We told them it was all right to accept Mâvarin coins.”
“That doesn’t seem fair,” Cathy said. “What can they do with crowns and suns, if and when they get home? They can’t deposit that stuff in the bank. They can’t even ring it up properly.”
“Oh, they can always sell the coins on eBay, if they don’t decide to keep them as souvenirs,” Li (really Lee) said. “What’s the harm?”
“He’s not far wrong,” Fabian (really Fayubi) said. “The metal alone is probably worth quite a bit in a world where coins have not been pure silver in decades. And these things will probably be highly collectible, as evidence of what happened.”
“But how do the store people know how much to charge?” Carl asked.
“Oh, we worked out a reasonable exchange rate with the manager of the J.C. Penney,” Josh said. “The other stores agreed to it right away.”
“The manager of Penney’s?” Randy said. “You mean my mom?”
“Is your last name Foster?” Josh asked.
“Yes, it is. My mom is Ruthie Foster.”
“That’s her then,” Li said.
“Is she all right?”
“She’s fine,” Lee said.
“I’m going to go see her,” Randy said. He did not wait for a response, but sprinted toward Penney’s without a backward glance.
“Listen, I hate to say this, but I’d really like to take off for a bit myself,” Joshua Wander said. “It’s been decades since I’ve been able to shop at a mall. Do you suppose they have Beatles records here somewhere?”
“You mean CDs?” Carl asked.
“What’s a CD?”
Fabian (really Fayubi ) laughed. “You have been gone a long time, haven’t you? CDs replaced LPs nearly twenty years ago.”
“There aren’t any music stores at the mall, though,” Carl said. “Once all this is over, we’ll take you to Target or something.”
“Well, I’d still like to look around,” Josh said.
“I have to say I’m a bit curious myself,” said Fayubi (really Fabian). “Assuming we do get the mall back where it belongs eventually, this is the only chance for those of us who live in Mâvarin to buy electronics and odd fashions.” He looked down at his shapeless traveling robe. “I could use something different to wear.”
Fabian (really Fayubi) laughed again. “Very different. And I’m quite interested to see, as a psychology teacher, how the different groups here interact, and how the people who traveled with the mall are coping.”
“We told you. They’re fine,” Li said.
“So, are we all going shopping, or what?” Josh asked.
“It seems like an awfully low priority right now,” Jamie (really Jami) said.
“Well, Randy and I have to rest a little longer anyway, before we can do anything useful,” Rani said. “I expect Li and Lee are tired, too, from all the magic they did.”
“True,” Lee (really Li) said. “You people may as tell go shopping while you can. You’ll never get another chance like this one.”
“About that,” Rani said. “There’s something you should all know, before you make assumptions about what you will or won’t be doing after today.”
“What’s that?” Li (really Lee) asked.
“None of you, other than Cathma, Cathy, Carli and Carl, are who you think you are,” Rani said.