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Timey Wimey Ermie

by on February 20, 2012

Last time, in Ermingard’s Quest for the Golden Spleen, our heroine had just made contract with the Naiad Triplets, a fire gnome, and a vague sort of dryad named Phoebe. With her newfound companions, she had set out for Kumquat City in order to find a ship that could take her towards the elusive Spleen. As our story begins, the Erminauts were standing on a conveniently-placed ridge overlooking the city.

“It looks….crowded,” Ermingard said nervously. She didn’t much like people. Unfortunately, being on a quest tends to bring one into contact with a great many people, and not all of them are nice.

“We can!” “Make it!” “Rain!” the Naiad Triplets suggested eagerly. “And then!” “The people!” “Will all go inside!”

“Could you guys maybe not do that?”

“Sorry!” “Sorry!” “Sorry!”

“Never mind,” Ermingard sighed. “Much as I’d love a good bleak rain, we probably shouldn’t. After all, we’ve got to talk to what’s her name, Sparky, with the ship. Let’s get on with it, then. Kumquat City awaits.”

Fred the Fire-Gnome scowled and spat into the dirt; the spit set a dandelion on fire. “Never understood why they called it that, ” Fred growled, as the dandelion dissolved away into tiny flecks of dandelion ash. What’s so special about a blasted kumquat?”

Phoebe sighed dreamily. “Maybe it was founded by two very romantic people who met under a kumquat tree…”

“Do kumquats even grow on trees?” Ermingard asked.

“Of course they do! I’m a dryad, I, like, know trees. Duh.”

Ermingard was about to say something cuttingly sarcastic, but she never got the chance. A deer bounded out of a nearby clump of trees and sprang merrily towards them. “Ooo!” Phoebe cooed, or she would have, except at that moment a taut red beam of light came zinging in and sliced straight into the deer, dropping it neatly in mid-bound. The Erminauts collectively gasped in horror. Fred whipped out a small dagger and dashed off in the direction the shot had come from. Phoebe, in great distress, ran to the deer and tried to work her Dryad magic on it. Unfortunately, while she was very skilled with trees, she couldn’t do much for things that weren’t trees, and even if she could, the deer had died before it hit the ground.”It’s gone!” Phoebe wailed. “The poor creature! What happened to it?”

Fred came tromping back just then, a particularly grim look on his gnomish face. “Dunno. Didn’t see anyone out there. I do know this. That deer wasn’t the target. She was.” He pointed to Ermingard. “You’re only alive because that deer got in the way.”

“But who would do such a thing?” Ermingard asked shakily. “And how?”

Fred shrugged. “It’s too precise for anyone I know. And killin’ with a beam of light…that’s plain unnatural.”

Had Catrina been there, she could’ve pointed out that killing with beams of light is a time-honored and well-respected battle technique on a number of fictional worlds. But Catrina wasn’t there. The Erminauts didn’t know who’d shot at Ermingard, or what strange devilry they’d used to do it, or whether they’d try again. What the Erminauts did know was that their quest had just taken a turn away from light comedy and delved into the deadly serious. “Well,” said Ermingard, pulling a pair of sunglasses from her pocket and putting them on, “looks like we have….an antagonist.”

*YYYYYYYEEEEEEEAHHHHHH*

*cut scene*

A few hours later, the Erminauts stood on one of the many piers sticking out into the harbor of Kumquat City, like those little things that stick out on combs. Fred’s friend Sparky, also a fire-gnome, was busily and rather virulently shrieking at Fred, as they had gotten into some sort of argument. Ermingard, unlike Catrina, had a natural gift for languages and understood Gnomish quite well, and what she gathered was that Sparky had a ship but she had already arranged to sail in a completely different direction than where the Erminauts wanted to go. Apparently she was quite upset that Fred had preemptorily volunteered her help without even asking; Ermingard gathered that Fred had a history of that sort of thing. She wondered if Fred and Sparky had a relationship, but decided not to ask. The last thing she wanted to do was get involved in a gnome argument.

“And no I won’t take yeh t’ the Rocks o’ Squooshin’ Terror even if I weren’t goin’ t’ h’Australia!” the fire-gnome concluded, enunciating her h in entirely the wrong place. “Not on me ship, and not on me ‘overcraft either!”

“Er, excuse me,” Ermingard ventured reluctantly, ignoring the little voice in her head that said she really should just stay out of it, “but what’s an Overcraft?”

“Not an Overcraft, a ‘overcraft!” Sparky corrected.

“That’s what I said, wasn’t it?” Ermingard asked.

“Naow,” Sparky said in a worse approximation of a Cockney accent than Bert from Mary Poppins, “y’ didn’t sai ‘overcraft, y’ said somefin’ else altogether!”

“Blimey,” Ermingard said. “Well, whatever I said, what exactly is it?”

“It’s a craft that ‘overs, y’ bloomin’ idjit!”

“Hey! Hey! Hey!” the Naiad Triplets said in outrage.

“Ho ho ho and call me Santy Clause, ya still ain’t usin’ me magical ‘overcraft!” Sparky rejoined.

Fred snarled a very insulting Gnomish word, whereupon Sparky launched herself bodily at him. The two rolled about the pier, pummeling each other with all their might and main and using dreadful language. Unfortunately, the pier wasn’t very big, which meant that the two combatants didn’t have much room to roll. Ermingard, not wanting to get pummeled by mistake, scurried backwards. Alas, she wasn’t looking where she was going, and on her last step, her foot met not the comfortably solid wood of the pier but the uncomfortable airy void of, well, air. Ermingard staggered, flailed about frantically for a second, and tumbled off the pier with a scream. She did not fall into the water, although she might have preferred that given where she did fall. Sparky’s hovercraft was tethered just below, and as Ermingard tumbled into it, her elbow struck a plastic control lever. There was a sudden swirl of shiny lights and a crackle of electric power. Ermingard and the hovercraft and an eel that had wriggled its way onto the craft out of pure eely curiosity vanished. “Um….Fred? Dude?” Phoebe said, her face turning emerald green in surprise.

Fred, in mid pummel, glanced over where Ermingard had been seconds before. “Ey!” he yelled. “Where’d she go?”

Sparky looked over. “Oi!” she shrieked in renewed indignation. “She took me time-travelin’ ‘overcraft!”

Fred’s voice went very quiet. “She took yer what kind of ‘overcraft?”

***

Ermingard had closed her eyes in the chaos of the fall and the sudden burst of whatever-it-was that the hovercraft had gotten caught up in. When she opened her eyes, she found herself still sitting in the hovercraft, only now it was on land, a wide field of neon-pink grass, specifically. Even more startling, however, was that she was surrounded entirely by a horde of spear-waving giant mutant potatoes. “Solanaca tuberosa!” they chanted in ominous voices.

“Wha!” Ermingard squeaked, backpedaling frantically. She might’ve been good with languages, but she definitely didn’t speak Giant Mutant Potato. Before she could try and work out some basic verb structures, she bumped into the lever again, and the hovercraft, frightened eel and all, was often into time, and Ermingard never did find out what the potato warriors really wanted. Next thing she knew, the hovercraft had bumped to a stop. This time it wasn’t in a field of neon pink alien grass surrounded by chanting potatoes. This time she’d landed in a hard parade ground made of grey rock, apparently right in the middle of a squad of soldiers on maneuver. They were, needless to say, somewhat surprised to find a girl on a hovercraft with an eel popping in out of nowhere. Ermingard was no less surprised; she didn’t recognize their grey-white uniforms, or the symbol they bore; it looked like a piece of silverware, but it wasn’t quite a spoon, and it wasn’t a fork either….before Ermingard could puzzle out the name of the strange device that was partly a spoon and partly a fork, the soldiers had recovered from their shock and sprung into action. Bowstrings pulled taut. Ermingard saw with even more surprise that the soldiers weren’t training arrows on her, no, they were aiming large reproductions of their symbol. A dozen of those odd silverware pieces now pointed sharpishly at her. “Right,” said one of the men, who was apparently the leader, “Brigadier-General Burnside C. Nightingale, commanding the 17th Spork Brigade. And who might you be, then?”

“Oh, dear,” said Ermingard.

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3 Comments
  1. Well done, my friend!

  2. Your wackiness knows no bounds!

    “Ermingard and the hovercraft and an eel that had wriggled its way onto the craft out of pure eely curiosity vanished.” I love that there’s an eel. and the giant mutant potatoes? my gosh! I love that too. haha

    • The giant mutant potatoes may come back later. I’m kinda curious myself as to what they wanted. 😛

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