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Storybook: Missing

"OCH!" Had there been anyone else in the house at the time, the stream of curses that followed that exclamation would have made them think that they had the wrong house, or that Mum was possessed, or something.

Eventually, however, the stream of curses wound down, to be followed by much muttering and thumping from Niami's storage room as the tiny halfling practically tore the place apart, looking for a prized heirloom. "Twas one o' only two things o' my grandmother's that survived th' Shattering. I will NAE lose it now. I will nae! Do ye hear me?! Thieves! Blackguards! I know it was here when I went tae sleep! Call oot th' guard!" With that, the diminutive halfling waved around the infamous RPoD (Rolling Pin of Doom) and stormed from her house.

She was just about to call for a guard when she saw it being carried past by a large barbarian.

"Stop right there, laddybuck, that be my ..."

The barbarian, upon seeing the enraged halfling descend upon him, wrapped his arms protectively around the item. "Mine! My magic helm! Get your own!"

Nonplussed, Niami stopped and simply stared a moment as the barbarian fled. Helm? It wasn't a helm, it was ... Belatedly, she realized her quarry was getting away. Drawing in a huge lungful of air, she started to bellow, "St-"

Waitasecond. There was another being carried by a dwarf. And another in the hands of one of the guards, and ... they were all acting pretty oddly.

Bemused, she simply spun in a circle like a demented top for a moment.

"Och! Thunderbelly!" She kerpounced on her neighbor before he could enter the safety of his home.

The doughty dwarf, brave hero of many battles, paled, but stood his ground. She could almost hear the mental gears whirring, however, as a crafty look suddenly came to his eye, and he pasted a false grin on his face.

"Och. Dinnae smile now, lad. Yuir face might crack. Now, let me see that, please." Since Mum's 'request' was coupled with a shake of the RPoD, he quickly complied.

"Hello, Mum! You have just GOT to go get one of these for yourself. It is really amazing! Nobody should be without one!" He babbled on, nattering something about protection, and running some errands, and a whole bunch of nonsense, while Mum only listened with half an ear.

Slowly, the babble wound down, as Mum wordlessly inspected the item. "But, I suppose I can get another one, if you're really taken with that one", he finished lamely.

"Nae, that is all right lad, here ye go." She handed it back, a thoughtful look on her face. "I'll jus' go oot an' hae a talk wi' th' lad meself. Outside the South Qeynos gates, ye say?"

Sensing a reprieve was at hand, Thunderbelly snatched up the item and dove for his door, calling out over his shoulder. "Yes'm. Blert or some-"

The slam of the door cut off the rest of his reply.

Meanwhile, Mum mused over what she had seen. It was an exact replica of her missing heirloom except for one little detail. Where the initials "N.D." had been engraved on the inside bottom of the original, there was a tiny symbol.

She murmured quietly as she headed for Antonica, "All right, lad, th' joke is on me. Let's see what I can salvage from all this."

Patiently, she listened to the halfling fashion accident out in Antonica, nodding and smiling as if she believed every word he was saying. She pondered silently as she ran around South Qeynos, Qeynos Harbor, Antonica, back to Qeynos Harbor, and so on.

Before running out to Antonica one last time, however, she picked up one more item from her home, stuffing it into a pocket of her apron. Then, singing to herself, she exited the town gates "She swallowed the dog to catch the cat ... she swallowed the cat to catch the bird ... She swallowed the bird ..."

When she handed the replica to the fashion accident, she was ready for the slight puff of illogic as he disappeared, to be replaced with a very familiar figure.

With reflexes that many a cookie-thief had come to rue, she whipped the scissors out of her pocket with one hand, and grabbed a handful of oversized foot-fur on the avatar with the other.

"Gotcha! Now, gi'e me a lift up, I need tae talk tae ye." She spoke quickly. For all that she was one of his favorites, the very large avatar could very easily squash her like a bug.

"All right, little one, but this better be good." The voice rumbled from far above her, and the sun was blocked out as a ginormous hand lowered down for her to step onto."

Mum released her grip on the fur, patting it gently as she re-pocketed the scissors, then demurely stepped onto the proffered hand as if she did this sort of thing all the time.

As she was lifted up to his ear, she feel everything shift out of phase a bit, as the avatar hid them both from prying eyes. Wouldn't do to ruin the prank for the next person now, would it?

"Make your case quickly, little one. I've been disappointed in your worship lately."

Mum swallowed heavily and began. She hoped the idea she'd concocted during the running around would find favor. "I know, I know. I've been sae busy lately that I've nae been practicing mischief an' pranks like a proper worshipper should, but that's because I've been planning summat REALLY big, an' I wanted tae lull everyone intae a false sense o' security. An' truth tae tell, I could use a bit o' yuir help wi' it. I'd like tae borrow some o' yuir worshippers twice in one weekend. Och, it will be grand, tallstuff!"

Bristlebane's avatar listened carefully, his grin growing wider as he listened to her outline her plan. "I approve wee one, and I shall command some of the local worshippers to aid you when the time comes. My faith in you is restored."

Niami barely held in a sigh of relief, and greatly daring, spoke up once more. "One more thing, lad. Could ye not only return my possession, but gi'e me twa more? One my size, an' one fit frae a dark elf? An' matching lids as well? I hae another idea ..."

"They'll be in your house when you return, Mum. I'll be waiting to see what you do with them." With that, he moved his hand so Niami was standing in front of his mouth and blew a giant breath.

As she tumbled through the air and into a portal, her voice could be heard trailing away behind her. "Wheeeeeee!"

Moments later, she was in her storeroom, beaming happily at her grandmother's prized heirloom, an old tin stewpot, and the two replicas. Giggling to herself, she rubbed one of the replicas, cooing happily at the effect.

"Och, this Bristlebane Day is going to be SO much fun!"

Created: 2008-03-27 10:35:28          
Last Modified By: Niami Denmother          
Last Modified on: 2008-03-27 10:42:25          

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