Sunday, May 15, 2005

Mall of Mâvarin, Part Nine

It's short this week. I hope you don't mind! I was feeling particularly stuck and particularly sleepy, and when the cliffhanger popped up after only a page or so, I decided to go with it. Oh, and by the way, I was wrong before about the size of the castle as it appears in the mall. It's a quarter the size it ought to be.

See Part Seven for the summaries of parts One through Six.

Art by Sherlock

Part Seven: Cathy and her friends meet Joshua Wander, an interdimensional traveler who followed his mysteriously shrunken castle from Mâvarin to Shoppingtown. He claims to have no knowledge of the others' predicament, although a policeman who remembers being the Captain of Cathma's Palace Guard is dubious about this. Josh's castle has arrived looking a quarter its normal size, and his magical abilities are severely reduced. As the stranded mage looks through a spell book for answers, Fabian asks if he can look at the spell that brought Josh to Dewitt. Although the spell is written in an unknown language that resists translation, Josh reluctantly hands over the book--and Fabian discovers that he can read it anyway.

Part Eight: Fabian announces that the spell is written in Lopartin, the ancient, magical language used on Mâton. Although the spell's footnotes mention the dangers of two much traffic between worlds, it offers no help for the current problem. Based on a vision, Fabian correctly identifies Josh Wander as a former student of nearly Syracuse University. Josh is astonished (and not especially pleased) to learn that he's "home." Fabian speculates about whether this fact contributed to the leakage between realities, and everyone wonders what to do next. Randy advises everyone to simply "wait."

Part Nine: Into the Castle

“What do you mean, we wait?” Cathy asked.

“Wait for what?” Carl asked.

Randy turned to Fabian. “Can’t you feel it? Something’s about to happen. I don’t…I don’t think we’re going to be in Dewitt much longer.”

“Where will we be, Randy?” Sheila asked.

Randy shrugged. “I’m not sure, specifically. But I think we’re going, you know, home.”

“Mâvarin is not home,” Cathy said. “It only feels like home.”

“Are you saying that we will soon travel physically to the world for which we have been mentally prepared?” Sheila asked.

“Yes,” Randy said. “I don’t—I don’t really want to go, but I think it’s going to happen.”

“How?” Cathy asked.

Randy shrugged again. ”I don’t know.”

“All right then: when?” Jamie asked.

“Now,” said Joshua Wander. “Look!”

All around them, especially on periphery of this part of the mall, floors and walls and ceiling started to bend, subtly at first and then into increasingly dramatic and unlikely shapes. Colors started to run as store logos dripped down walls, and fluorescent lights expanded far beyond their hardware. Even people turned the colors of their clothing as they ran away from the stores, headed directly toward Cathy and her friends. And yet, the glass walls of storefronts warped but did not shatter, and not a single flake of plaster fell from the suddenly convex ceiling.

“Come on, everyone!” Fabian shouted suddenly. “Into the castle!”

“Are you crazy?” Josh Wander shouted back. “It’s too small for one person, let alone a hundred!”

Fabian shook his head. “Haven’t you ever seen Doctor Who? Come on!”

“Haven’t I seen what?” Josh said, but he followed Fabian toward the little castle. Fabian stepped aside to allow Josh to open the three foot high front door, made of engraved wood panels but seemingly painted purple. Then Fabian bent over and ran forward, like a tackle at a football game. Everyone else watched as he disappeared inside the tiny structure. After a moment, he peered out again, his head seemingly about a quarter the size it ought to be.

“Well?” he said. “What are you waiting for?”

Welcome to Mâvarin (info on the books and characters)

Past installments of this and other past fiction are on the sidebar.

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