His decision was immediate and absolute.
He closed his eyes, his brow becoming furrowed with lines of concentration as he thought of a magic trinket he'd seen once before as a child...
It had been worn on a plain cord around the neck of a wandering court magician, who had once put on a show in the town square. The elegant sleight of hand tricks and elaborate illusions were entertaining enough, and earned the fellow rounds of scattered applause and a few coins - but the real show of magic began as he took his leave. As he bowed with a flourish, my child's magpie-like eyes spotted the gleam of a large amber pendant as it swung out into view from its concealment 'neath the magician's shirt.
No sooner had my eyes captured the trinket's beautiful shape, than the amber began to glow, bursting with a warm radiance I could feel against my face. I felt an uncanny pull to the bright object, the hair on my head and arms prickling in response to the presence of such a strange force. There were gasps from the assembly of villagers. The air around the magician bowed inward and warped, an amber halo contorting the magician's figure into something far less human.
In a second that seemed to last for eternity in memory, the rustle of
colorful garments transformed into the thrush of feathered wings. Where the
magician's form had once been, all eyes now followed the path of a
brightly-plumed bird ascending into the glare of the noonday sun until its
form was lost from sight. The thump of Mme. Surrot fainting sidelong into
the dirt was audible in the stunned silence, breaking the slack-jawed
trance the crowd.
"That Shapeshifter's stone would surely be of some use in the future," Frederigo thought to himself.
Seeming to sense that affirmation, the chest's worn surface warmed pleasantly underneath his fingertips. Opening his eyes to focus on the painted surface of the box again, Frederigo smiled, giddy with expectation.
"As you have envisioned," the chest spoke one final time, "this object has been created for you. However..." the voice turned audibly colder in warning "...use its powers wisely, human."
The silence of the stone surrounding him seemed suddenly more oppressive, and he made note of the box's advice.
Frederigo felt the click of an inner mechanism spring a hidden lock, and the lid's seal cracked open. As he pushed the lid back, the hinges of the box produced a horrible metallic screech. The interior of the chest was plain, and would be completely unremarkable if it were not for the creeping sensation that the space within was infinitely vast in comparison to the box's outward appearance, most likely to accommodate the varying sizes of items it could produce. Interesting.
Sensing a bit of impatience eminating from the enchanted chest, he makes his move.
5/22/2004 12:21:10 AM
The Never Ending Quest Home
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