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A Gathering of Erminauts

by on February 1, 2012

Last time, in the Catrina Chronicles, we weren’t actually following Catrina’s adventures, as she’s still stuck in editing limbo. So, instead, we’re following our other sardonic heroine, Princess Ermingard, in her renowned quest to seek the Holy Grail  the Golden Spleen...

It was a Monday. Of course. Ermingard had known it was a Monday, and she had expected something untoward to happen, because bad things tend to happen on Mondays, unlike, say Fridays, because those are the days on which everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend…but Ermingard hadn’t heard that song and so she didn’t immediately fall into a screaming fit. Instead, she stared bleakly at the sea, out of which, only moments before, the Greek goddess Athena had popped to assign her the quest, without so much as a by-your-leave. Ermingard let out a long sigh. “Rats,” she declaimed. “I’ll probably never find the Golden Spleen. I’ll probably have my eyeballs pecked out by harpies, or have vultures eat my entrails, or some other horrible fate. Woe is me.”

She might have gone on in this vein for hours, and maybe written the whole thing up as a ballad, when her train of thought was interrupted by a sniffle. Ermie wheeled around; she didn’t much like to have random sniffly persons eavesdropping on her. But all she saw was a scraggly sort of tree just past the corner of her seaside shack. “Hm,” said Ermingard. “Well, I know the tree wasn’t sniffling.”

“Of course I wasn’t,” sniffled the tree. “But, seriously, your vibes are totally un-mellow. You should…*sniffle*….chill out, you know?”

“Um…” said Ermingard. “You’re a tree. And you’re talking.”

“No, silly, I’m not the tree, I’m  the dryad in the tree!” came the voice again.

“A….dryad.” Ermingard repeated.

Out of the tree emerged a slender girl with wildly florescent green hair. Several small twigs poked out amidst the tangle, evidently having been pressed into service as bobby-pins. “Peace,” said the girl, waving in a half-friendly, half sniffly way at Ermingard. “I’m Phoebe.”

Ermingard took Phoebe’s appearance remarkably well, all things considered. Then again, she had been cursed by a magical chamber pot and hidden away by a tribe of paranoid dwarves for two hundred-odd years, so she was beginning to anticipate this sort of thing. “You’ll want to join with me on the quest for the Golden Spleen, I expect.”

“I dunno…” Phoebe said doubtfully. “Your aura isn’t exactly radiant.”

“Look, my family’s motto was ‘Splat is coming’. We aren’t exactly a peppy clan.”

“Good point,” Phoebe admitted. “Yeah, I’m totally in. And I could bring a couple friends, too.”

“Friends. Excellent,” Ermingard said politely, though in truth she was a little alarmed. “Er, exactly how many friends are we talking about?”

For answer, Phoebe pursed her lips and let out a piercing whistle. Ermingard heard a splooshing sound from the sea behind her, and she spun back to face it, half expecting to see Athena coming again. It wasn’t Athena. It was, instead, three identical women clad in blue.

“Hi!” “Hi!” “Hi!” they exclaimed in unison. Then they stared trading off, one excitedly bubbly word at a time. “We’re!” “The! “Naiad!” “Triplets!” “And!” “We’re!” “Here!” “To!” Help!”

“Dudes, show her your stuff!” Phoebe encouraged enthusiastically.

“Sure!” “Absolutely!” “Yay!”

The Naiad Triplets ran out of the sea, formed a line, and then did a Captain-Planet-like rollcall. “Crystal!” “Psyche!” “Lynette!” What happened then would probably have been a very impressive show of magical aquatic power, except that when Crystal had yelled her name, a block of ice had leapt from her hand and shot away through the air. Unfortunately, it slammed right into Ermingard’s head, laying her out flat.

When she awoke, Phoebe and the Triplets were all staring down at her, concern evident on their faces. “We’re!” “Terribly!” “Sorry!” the Naiads chorused in distress.

“Don’t mention it,” Ermingard said. “Ever.” She had a very bad feeling about this, and it wasn’t just the rather painful bump on her head. Setting forth on a quest with three spastic water-spirits and a dryad didn’t seem fated to end well. “Er, by the by, I don’t suppose any of you knows where the Golden Spleen is, do you?”

“No! “Nyet!” “Nada!” “What they said.”


“I know,” rumbled a new voice in low-octaved tones. Ermingard wasn’t a bit surprised by this point. “Oh, look. A dwarf. Just what this quest needed.”

The new addition was much put out. “I am not a dwarf!” he growled. “I am a gnome!” 

“A…gnome.” Ermingard repeated again.

“A fire-gnome, specifically. I burn crap.”

Ermingard, being unaware of modern American idioms, almost took this literally. “You burn what?”

The fire-gnome snapped his fingers. A small puff of fire shot out, danced around in the air for a moment, and then vanished in smoke and a tiny flurry of ash. “Impressive, right?”

“Eek! Eek! Eek!” the Naiad Triplets chorused in fright.

“You’re beginning to annoy me,” Ermingard mumbled under her breath. Then, louder, she said, “Okay, Mr…er…”


“Fred. Of course. So. Fred. You know where the Golden Spleen is?”

“Yeah. I got a map. I can take you straight there.”

“Yay! Yay! Yay! Psychadelic, dudes!”

Ermingard didn’t much feel optimistic, especially when Fred continued with, “We’ll need a ship. We gotta sail past the Rocks of Squooshing Terror.”

“Couldn’t we just go round through the Happy Field of Pleasant Happiness?”


“Or at least the Meadow of Calm Indifference?”

“Look,” Fred rejoined, smoke billowing from his ears, “ya want the Spleen or not?”

The princess was sorely tempted to answer “Not” and walk away, but at this point she figured she was already committed, and she might as well go for it. Besides, it was something to do. “Okay. So we’ll get a ship. Any ideas on how to go about getting one?”

“Yeah. I gotta friend in Kumquat City. Name’s Sparky. She’ll help.”

“Of course you do,” Ermingard said. Sensing that the moment had arrived to deliver a dramatic Beginning-of-the-Quest Speech, she opened her mouth to deliver it. “Right. So…..fellow…um….Erminauts. Good morning. In less than an hour….no, that’s not right. Ask not what your country….no….my dear penguins…no…win one for the Zipper…no….ah, forget it. You know what we’re supposed to do: get the Spleen, save Catrina, etc. Let’s go do that.”

And so, with those stirring words ringing in their ears, the princess, the Dryad, three Naiads, and the fire-gnome set forth, little knowing that they had already made a powerful enemy…

*cue ominous music*


  1. I wonder what my aura looks like? Another great one, by the way!

  2. O’m’god, lol, the hippy chick dryad was an instant favorite.

    • just wait till I introduce the Prince Charming Cyborg, or, as I affectionately call him, Char-Bot. 🙂

  3. HAHAHA, oh these characters are great 😉 I like the motto, ‘Splat is coming’, too. I can’t remember if I knew about that from a previous episode or not??

    • I think I’ve referenced it before, back when I first introduced Ermingard. Of mottos, it’s one of my favorites. 😛

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