Putting the ”N” in News
The case of the broken magics
By Sir Duke Syruss O’leary
It was cold. It was dark. Just another evening in Neden. But this night marked a big date on the calendar. It was the night of the Stacked Deck Poker Tourney and Jayce our Master of Coin was hosting. It was also my first week off without a case so I was looking forward to the downtime. No more petty theft reports or missing gems, the Realms Greatest Private Eye who is always walking the beat where ghouls and magic fiends have a particular distaste for the boys in Green and Black finally had a night off, or so I thought.
“Duke Syruss?” One of the Lords Undead Workers asked with a note… Not the smartest bunch but, cheap labor am I right?
“That’s what the coffee mug says.”
That is not what the coffee mug said. It actually said Bald is Beautiful but that is not the point.
“Great.” One of his eyes popped out of its socket with excitement. “Lord Nymbous is waiting for you.”
The minion didn’t give a damn who I was. He might as well have told me to “Hey Asshole the boss is looking for you.” I should’ve expected that, they do say verbatim what he asks. Or maybe I just hate Undead so much I didn’t give this poor kid the time of day. All those years in Grimloch put a real slant towards my view of Undead as people. But they’re the most loved resource in Neden so it hardly matters.
“Cevaris as I live and breathe! All gussied up for the Carnival?”
He didn’t look up from his notepad, or remove the cigarette from his teeth. “Call me Siff.” His voice was monotone, but not threatening. He sounded dull and uninterested.
“What do we have, Siff?” I inquired
“Lord is helping set up but we’re short Staffed for the Carnival today”
“Short Staffed? But how?” I was as confused as A Fruit Bat with 20/20 vision in a Farmers Market. “We literally make all the help we need, let’s get some Ghouls to help you out man it is literally the only thing that keeps me from making the undead regular dead.”
“Not working today” He clicked his pen and continued to make notes or prizes and inventory.
“Not working today like another strike?” I said with visible anguish on my face. Can you blame me? I spent the better part of 10 years hunting Zombies almost to be taken out by wage negotiations a few years back and I don’t like to talk about it.
“Nope not working like a broken light or Dresden’s Workout regimen” He snarked. “They get to a certain spot and they just stop.”
“What do you mean just stop?” I was a confused as Gumbo is on a…
..well daily basis, I don’t actually need a clever detective metaphor here if the man isn’t in the kitchen he is confused.
“They stop walking and fall down dead. They broke the new Cotton Candy Machine. Thank goodness Nymbous was there to catch the popcorn machine before his other Minion turned off.” Siff prattled. “But it is going to be an easy day. We run these two games give out these artifacts from Nymbous’ private Museum and then see if you can Wake Up your Magically Portrait Uncle Krabombulous O’Leary to spout out some old Neden words of wisdom and maybe help the lucky winners identify their relics. Takes a relic to know a relic, right?”
“Oh yeah. Well, we got this covered.” I said begrudgingly. In All honesty, I didn’t mind it still was better than chasing some femme fatale all over Neden or tracking down a lost cat or anything to do with Magic Man. So this was still the change of pace I needed.
As the minutes turned to hours and the players hopes turned to despair Siff and I did all we could during the Poker Tourney breaks to provide laughter and Merriment to Jayce’s game room. Many of Adventures have stopped by the castle for his odd gambling games but this is the first time we convinced him to let us set up some side action.
It was a nice change of Pace everyone wins at the Neden Carnival which is more than we could say with the days tournament.
Well, we were on our final break and I was ready to get to happy-hour and put some much-needed Whiskey back in my belly.
“Time to call it Siff, grab Rawlin and let’s announce the Ticket Raffle winners” I suggested.
Siff moved as swift as a raging river, he always seems to have more pep in his step when it comes time to closing rather than opening but the guy tries.
Name after name, prize after prize was given out. Many of our Friends smiling faces showed us they got what they wanted and some sour ones showed us that they didn’t.
After all the Prizes I went to go wake up the Magical Portrait of old Uncle Krabombulous O’Leary to see if he could help our friends identify what these wonderful trinkets do… But Alas I couldn’t wake him. It was if all the magic had been zapped out of him, like every possible interesting thing he had to say was taken out of his vocal cords like the wind out of sails on a dry breezeless sea.
Zatara a friend cast Divine Aid to below to the gods to return magic…”NO” They bellowed backed in a pompous short and irritating way we usually only hear once maybe twice a year.
That’s odd I thought to myself. “Lumos” I cast...Nothing, not even a flicker it was like all the Magic had been zapped. I noticed magical swords that Jayce start to feign and dull, Our Magical Blue flames that light the halls were dying out...But surely that’s impossible Magical Fire doesn’t die out...Does it?
Siff and I made a hasty goodbye leaving Jayce to entertain the guests for the night. But just because the carnival was closed didn’t mean I got whiskey I was on a case...I mean I still got a whiskey it was just a working whiskey now not a Happy Hour One. There is a difference…plebs.
We roamed the Halls for a while before I got the Idea of using Some Familiars as kind of a Canary in a coal mine. If the Familiar screamed and vanished in meant there was a Magic Vacuum nearby.
So we mapped out a grid of the castle and noticed it was certain corners of a hallway all surrounding our Minister of Magic Sir Naj’s room. AND HIS ROOM WAS GLOWING!
The brightest blues and greens you have ever seen.
“9 times out of 10 you walk around Neden long enough you will find something ready to explode with Magic….Let’s hope this is the Tenth time before we need to remodel...again” Siff aptly put.
I the door off the hinges with a new front kick Dith had taught me. Too bad I am already Duke, A Cooper a Brewer and A Carny and the world’s greatest detective because I would also make one hell of a Toothpick Factory. That door exploded into a million pieces, much like I feared the castle would if we didn’t stop Naj from doing what he was doing.
There in the middle of the Room Naj was casting an old an ancient spell he learned while living in Creathorne. He was trying to summon an Elder Elven god of pure power…..But Much like any time we trying to contact any of those kooky Elven gods he got the wrong one. He got the Elven god of no fun and misery who was negating all magic in certain areas of Neden at that time.
“Naj….Naj...NAAAJJJJJJJJJJJJ” I yelled like a goat discovering its singing voice. I picked up the nearest cold one and Cracked it **Schtick** ...perfect
“Oh hey guys,” Naj said as he floated down… “I didn’t see you there. I was just trying to increase Neden Magical Storage Containers in case we ever run into another Magic Man fiasco. What did I miss?”
Oh Naj, that man has many things, and Island, a magical Portal in his hat, a best friend Named Syruss but a grasp on noise and earthquakes is not one of them.
Siff and I explained to him the scenario and we all had a good laugh and glass of whiskey. Naj then spent the rest of the evening returning the Magical Properties to the full charge before going back to see where he went wrong with the ritual.
So there you have it folks another Mystery solved… We usually have no problems identifying things in Neden this just happened to be a case of a ritual gone wrong to an old Elven fuddy dudy..Don’t worry guys we will make sure it never happens again.
For those of you who DID get something at the Carnival feel free to send Me Syruss Your Ravens. I would be happy to tell you what they do now and on the house too for your hassle.
Tune in next time true believers for another exciting tale Of Syruss Exploits and Mishaps.
Letters from the editor
Dresden O’Leary, Editor-in-chief
Since becoming editor in chief of the Neden Kazoo/Secretary of Press for Neden, I have had my fair share of interesting experiences. I have written “I’m sorry you feel that way” speeches for the higher ups, “I’m sorry I killed your brother and turned him into Jerky” speeches for Jean Baptise, and “How funny was it when I got drunk and peed in your boots?!” Speeches for our Master of Ceremonies (He’s never sorry), but those experiences pale in comparison to some of the interactions I have with my staff for the Kazoo. I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you one of the many interesting situations I have experienced since becoming Editor in Chief…
“Hey Dresden, I have two words for you, Car toon!” – Syruss stormed into my office with his usual boundless energy and enthusiasm. “That’s one word, Syruss, but I love where your head's at. You want to do a cartoon for the Kazoo?” I asked. “Already did!” Syruss Beamed, and pulled out a piece of paper thrusting it at me with all of the eagerness and pride of a child showing off his art to a parent. I looked at the picture ready for a chuckle. (Syruss had a great sense of humor and I anticipated this would boost our number of readers, which I can tell you through my vast experience, is good.)
Before my eyes was a three picture strip, which seemed to tell a story. In the first picture, I stood before a new social venue in Neden, The Cougar Club. I was excited to get in, but was not allowed to. The comic exaggerated my sense of self importance, suggesting that as editor in Chief, Nymbous had given me a press pass to go anywhere in the land unrestricted (He actually did, it works pretty much everywhere except any Neden members’ personal chamber, and a random door marked ‘Syruss’ Skeleton Closet’. Whether that is meant to be literal or figurative is a story for another time. Regardless, the pass works, and is cool.) The second Image showed a couple actual hungry cougars licking their lips over some mangled meat and the third picture – well the third picture showed the outside of the club, with me screaming “Oh my God, Why me? I just grew this leg back.”
“Hm…This is really good!” Syruss beamed. “Right?” He said, his chest visibly swelling. “If I could make one minor suggestion?” I asked, in measured tones. Syruss’ eyes went flat. “I think it’s perfect as is.” He said. I took a moment to think about my response before saying, “It is really funny, I just don’t think if I’d lost a leg, that I’d say ‘Oh my god, why me’ – that seems a little forced.” “That is exactly how you sound!” he said, “I think I’d know what a Dresden sounds like better than anyone.”
I blinked at that.
“I AM a Dresden!” I said, beginning to lose patience. “I KNOW WHAT A ME SOUNDS LIKE BETTER THAN ANYONE.”
“That’s debatable”, Syruss said, clearly picking up on my increasing frustration.
“You know what? I just won’t run it.” I said finally losing my remaining patience. “
I get that it’s supposed to be an exaggeration, but that line….just sounds stupid. There’s no way I would ever say…”
There was a quick sound of a sword unsheathing, the sound of something being sliced, and a dull thump on the office floor.
“Aghhhh”, I screamed out – “My Leg! You cut my freaking leg off.” I began casting the heal limb spell I had learned as a very uncoordinated child, through gritted teeth. “That is completely uncalled for man! I knew you weren’t the best at taking constructive criticism, but that’s just ridiculous!”
“Completely uncalled for, Duke.” Syruss responded. “What?!” I said, finally finishing the healing spell, my limb started growing back from the spot it had been severed. “Duke…not man.” He scolded, “Show some respect. Also one time doesn’t mean you won’t say it. You just need to be in the mindset of comic Dresden.” “What’s that supposed to me…?” I started to say.
There was another quick sound of a sword unsheathing, another sound of something being sliced, and another dull thump on the office floor.
“OH COME ON!” I screamed.
It went on this way for the next three hours, him chasing me around the office claiming that “he would not apologize for art” while hacking off legs as fast as I could heal them. Finally at the end of hour three, I rolled over gasping, “Oh my god, Why me!” I breathed out. “Can’t you go harass someone else?”
“What did you say?” He said, a grin forming on his face.
“..Ah crap. Fine run it.”
Syruss ran out without another word
A few minutes later, Lord Nymbous came in – having to wade through severed legs as he approached me. “What the hell happened here?!” He barked
“You know…” I said “Just trying to get a leg up on the competition. “
Outside, Looking ‘N’
By Mouse McGee
Hello again, reader! The last time you were here we were discussing the nuances of gift giving just in time for Cecil’s. This time, Feast of the Leviathan XX is only a short time away and it got me thinking about animals and heraldry and what not.
Every year the nation of Rhiassa is kind enough to invite us into their territory for these festivities. One can see their heraldry all over the place. A black lion in a red field. The lion permeates their culture, and its symbolism of justice, courage, and wisdom is relevant even to their knighthood and its tenets.
But what, I wondered, was the most important animal in Neden? At first I thought it might be the famous Neden pizza zombies or something, but when I asked Syruss he told me the truth. The national animal of Neden, much to my surprise, is the Cougar.
Now normally you wouldn’t catch me wanting to know more about anything even remotely cat related. I can’t stand those nasty creatures! But curiosity was driving me and I had to get to the bottom of this. I wandered around Neden and talked to some residents in order to put together the real story.
The tale begins back when Lord Nymbous was challenged by the local beast Martha Greenfingers. She was feared for her feral appetites and poisonous attributes, but Lord Nymbous is never one to back down from a challenge. Not even rock, paper, scissors. (I’ll get you next time, Nymbous.)
They were locked in their vicious battle for three days, and three nights, and only stopped for the occasional sip of whiskey.
Eventually they both grew tired and fell asleep. When Nymbous awoke, Martha Greenfingers was gone and his gold had gone with her. Upset that their
Lord had been so swindled, the Neden Boys searched high and low for Martha.
It was Detective Syruss that caught wind of where she was hiding out first, and he took Naj, Dresden, Priest Z, Xabi, Rawlin, Siff and Jean Baptise out to punish her. Death was too easy for Martha Greenfingers, and sending her to the All wouldn’t work because the Harlequin worshippers thought it was too boring. The Boys ultimately compromised and decided to change her into a more fitting shape using the might of their combined magical prowess. A shape that reflected the patience, strength, and cunning with which Martha had hunted Lord Nymbous. Thus, Martha Greenfingers became the first Cougar of Neden and poetic justice was delivered.
To this day, you can find an abundance of wild cougars roaming around Neden. For some reason that I can’t yet explain, their population exploded under Martha and the natural attraction to the land of Neden keeps them there.
It’s a crazy world out there. Be safe, and look out for cougars.