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K is for Killer Tomato Wizards

by on September 17, 2013

Last time in the Catrina Chronicles, our heroine had just decided to settle a legal dispute by having the parties engage in a jousting match. Meanwhile, the diabolical Susan was making her way into Character Hell, and Katrina and Ermingard were still garden gnomes. Before we continue with their storylines, however, let’s go back to the Yellow Fairy’s attempt to change Catrina’s consort Perry back from being a bear….

The Yellow Fairy raised her wand for the third time. She hadn’t turned Perry back from being a bear yet, though she had given consciousness to a random flower and turned a bush into a glorious display of fireworks. This time, though, she was bound and determined to get it right. “On the count of three,” she began. “One, two, thr-”

At that moment a tomato flew out of nowhere and hit her in the head, rebounding squishily and plopping on the ground. “What on earth?” the Yellow Fairy exclaimed. She’d had tomatoes flung at her before, after a disastrous New Year’s Eve speech in her village, but she wasn’t giving a speech now, and there weren’t any of Ewokington’s citizens around either. There was no cause for anyone to be throwing tomatoes about.  Not unless…..and suddenly she realized what was about to happen. “Perry, run,” she said quickly to the startled bear. “RUN!”

The bear grunted stodgily. It clearly had no intention of running; after all, it was a really large bear. There wasn’t much around that could harm it, right? The human Perry would’ve taken to his heels long since, but the bear-Perry didn’t see the need. The bear-Perry was wrong. Really wrong. How wrong was demonstrated the next instant when the tomato exploded. The massive bloom of red power knocked the bear clean off its paws, and flung the Yellow Fairy right back into her cottage. She staggered out, clutching her wand, just in time to see a man advance dramatically from the trees, a black cloak swirling about him. “RUN, YOU SAY?” he boomed. “NO ONE CAN RUN FROM ME! I AM INESCAPABLE!”

“Oh, stuff it, Peter, dear,” the Yellow Fairy said, rolling her eyes. Of course. It had to be him. He just had to show up now, didn’t he? Honestly.

“STUFF IT?” roared the man in a towering rage. “I AM PETER MORDRED, SON OF MORGANA, THE MOST POWERFUL WIZARD IN THE LAND! I DO NOT STUFF IT FOR ANYONE!”

The Yellow Fairy could have made several sarcastic rejoinders, such as pointing out that making a tomato explode wasn’t exactly magic on the scale of, say, defeating a Balrog or bringing a roomful of buckets and brooms to life, but sarcastic rejoinders were more Princess Catrina’s line. So she tried a different tack. “Yes, yes, of course you don’t,” she said soothingly. “Now, why don’t you go back to your castle and let me change this nice bear back into a nice human, all right?”

Peter Mordred was not dissuaded. “NO,” he grumped. “I WON’T RETURN TO MY CASTLE. MY MOTHER KEEPS ASKING ME TO HELP CATALOG HER GARDEN GNOMES. I HATE GARDEN GNOMES. PEOPLE LIKE US SHOULD BE OUT IN THE WORLD DOING EVIL, NOT SHUT UP BEHIND OUR WALLS MUCKING ABOUT WITH GARDEN GNOMES!”

“Could we use our inside voice, dear?” The Yellow Fairy said. “You’ll attract attention from the village, you know. I don’t think you want that.”

Peter Mordred smiled. “OH, DON’T I?”  Suddenly a wand flashed in his hand, a slim dark one, and thunder boomed in the distance. “I’VE BEEN PLANNING ALL SORTS OF DELIGHTFUL CURSES TO RAIN DOWN UPON PEOPLE. EWOKINGTON SEEMS LIKE A GOOD PLACE TO START.”

The bear had been watching these developments from the edge of the clearing before the Yellow Fairy’s house, where it had been thrown by the tomato. Now it decided the time had come to intervene. It lurched to its paws and rushed towards the sorcerer, roaring fiercely. But Peter Mordred’s wand flashed in his hand, and a blur of dark rushed towards the bear. “Wibbity wobbity woo!” cried the Yellow Fairy in a rush, and her own wand flashed. The blur of dark broke up in a spray of sparkles.

“YOU DARE OPPOSE ME?” Peter thundered.

“I’m not going to let you turn this poor bear into something even worse,” the Yellow Fairy said defiantly. “Which means, I suppose, that we’ll need to duel about it.”

Peter was smiling again, a sight not very pleasant at all. “A WIZARD’S DUEL. EXCELLENT. I HAVEN’T HAD ONE FOR AGES.”

“Yes, as I recall, you lost your last one to that Susan girl,” the Yellow Fairy remarked primly.

“SHE CHEATED. IT WASN’T FAIR!” Peter Mordred bellowed.

“Fair point. But you also lost the one before that to your own mother.”

“DON’T YOU BRING MY MOTHER INTO THIS. I’M NOT THE ONE OBSESSED WITH GARDEN GNOMES.”

The Yellow Fairy sighed. “Let’s just get on with it then, shall we?”

“VERY WELL. WHAT SORT OF DUEL WOULD YOU LIKE? MAGICAL ENERGY BOLTS? SHAPESHIFTING?”

“Oh dear. I had forgotten there was more than one sort of wizard’s duel. Wait a moment while I consult my rulebook, would you?”

She ducked back into the cottage, leaving Perry the bear and the evil wizard standing awkwardly outside. There was a long pause, while they hear sounds of rummaging inside the cottage. “SO….” said Peter. “HAVE YOU BEEN A BEAR LONG?”

The bear shrugged its beary shoulders.  As a matter of fact, it hadn’t been a bear very long at all, since it was only earlier that day that it had encountered the magical pants of Merlin and transformed, but it wasn’t about to communicate that to Peter Mordred.

“I HAD A COUSIN TURNED INTO A SALAMANDER ONCE,” Peter mused. “HE GOT EATEN BY A GARTER SNAKE. I LOATHE GARTER SNAKES.”

The bear made a gesture with its paws which it meant to indicate its puzzlement, as it assumed evil wizards such as Peter Mordred were by nature chummy with any member of the snake family. This sort of thing is hard to communicate by a gesture, though, and before the bear could try again, the Yellow Fairy returned, happily lugging a large book.

“Right,” she said. “We could do the standard shape-shifting wizard’s duel very nicely. There is the one about escalating curses and incantations, but I’d rather reduce the collateral damage, if it’s alright with you.”

“FINE,” Peter agreed unhappily. “SHAPE-SHIFTING IT IS. BUT NOT STANDARD. I DON’T WISH TO BE CONFINED ONLY TO ANIMALS. I WANT TO CHANGE INTO ANYTHING.”

“Oh,” said the Yellow Fairy, flipping through her rulebook. “Oh I see. You want the expanded duel, then. Oh dear. Hm. Ah, here it is. Yes. The rules state that in this particular duel, the participants may change into any living or unliving thing, and when they change into a thing not living, they are permitted to animate it in order to engage in the duel. Participants may not, however, change into more than one thing at a time, nor may they combine separate things. No changing into a hippobear, Peter,” she said sternly.

“HADN’T EVEN THOUGHT OF IT,” the evil wizard protested, though in fact he had been planning that very thing.

“Also, you can’t change into something that’s not in our time period. No machine guns, for instance.  If one participant breaks this rule, then the other may  do so as well. And no teleporting away into other time periods either. Teleporting automatically counts as forfeiting the duel.”

“PERISH THE THOUGHT.”

“Of course,” said the Yellow Fairy, who didn’t believe a word of his protestations. “Well. The duel shall continue until one overpowers or destroys the other. Are you prepared, then?”

“WHAT ARE THE TERMS OF VICTORY?” Peter demanded.

“Oh. Them. Yes. Well…I suppose if you win, I’ll let you do whatever you like to the village and the poor bear here. If I win, you have to go back to your castle, and not come out again for a hundred years.”

“FAIR ENOUGH,” Peter Mordred said, dramatically brandishing his wand. “I AM READY.”

“As per tradition,” the Yellow Fairy said formally, “we will each take ten paces away from each other, and begin on the tenth. On my count. One…two…”

Perry the bear kept a close watch on Peter, as he was certain the evil wizard would cheat and start early. For once, however, Mordred was as good as his word. He angrily marched off the ten paces, then spun on the tenth, wand flashing in his hand. The Yellow Fairy whirled to face him as well. The duel was on.

This has been another exciting episode of the Catrina Chronicles. Be sure to tune in next week for the dramatic duel. Also, I apologize as I’ve missed a few weeks, but I’ve been somewhat busy, personal-life wise. At any rate, for previous episodes go here. For my Amazon page go here. And as always, thanks for reading!

 

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5 Comments
  1. This is my first introduction to the Catrina Chronicles and I am enthralled! I love the humor you give your characters and as I have a penchant for garden gnomes I highly enjoyed the many gnome references. The only thing that I got confused about was Peter vs Perry. The names are quite similar, so at first it was hard to keep track of who was who. Perhaps if I had read earlier parts of the story it wouldn’t be confusing. Which I am going to have to go do now!

    • Welcome to the series! It’s always nice to have another member of the Catrina fanbase. 🙂

      I admit, that is a good point about the name confusion. I have actually been thinking about renaming Perry for some time even before I introduced Peter, though I haven’t decided on a name yet. I will give that some thought. Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of the Chronicles!

      • Character naming is quite the trick. My normal process involves thinking about what word or two sums up my character or their part in a story and then finding a name using the powers of google that means that very thing. This is rather obsessive, but it seems to work for me and is therefore the best naming advice I can give:)

  2. ZOMG…my absolute favorite scene in a Disney movie growing up (uh, and prolly still) was the battle between Merlin and the Marvelous Mad Madam Mim, so this is one of my favorite bits of yours. Plus, it was hilarious and cataloging garden gnomes made me laugh out loud 🙂

    • That’s also one of my favorite scenes. I’m glad you caught the reference. Though my duel may be a bit more wide-ranging than theirs…:D

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