Part 1: Blackout
I wake up with the feeling of impending doom hanging over me. I think it's the sound of my alarm clock that's causing it. It has all the characteristics of church bells mixed with thunder, but apparently this is the noise needed to wake me up in the morning. I get out of bed and check my slippers for spiders, before I turn on the radio.
"… and the mystery power blackouts continue. Last night the whole of More and Romsdal county was without electricity for five hours. Residents in the Aalesund area claims to have spotted strange lights in the sky pervious to the last blackout, but the spokesman for Tafjord Power states …"
Well, at least the power is back now.
I yawn wide, and shuffle my way into the kitchen, ignoring the dull voice of the news reader as he starts talking about UFOs. It's five o'clock in the morning, and I need my caffeine. Still half unconscious I lean against a cupboard, while I watch the coffee maker work it's magic.
Oh joy. Another day has begun. The thrill. The excitement.
The first sip of coffee makes me feel better. Now I can open both my eyes at the same time. I dump down in the sofa, open my physics book and stare blankly at a page for a while before I close it again.
I still have one and a half hour to kill before my bus leaves.
" "Ivar Aasen" is again demobilized due to engine failure. Until a spare ferry can be put in service, there will only be one ferry trafficking the run between Aursnes and Magerholm. Travellers from both sides of the fjord should prepare for long waiting hours, and increased traffic density."
Make that one hour to kill. They should never have named a ferry after that grumpy dead writer. He's probably cursed it or something.
One hour. I can finish the Trademeet quest in one hour.
Since this is the best idea I've had so far today, I decide to act on it. My computer starts up with the familiar happy blip. I pat the top of the screen.
Good morning to you too, Bob!
"And now, the weather report: We are expecting rain and near gale in the…"
This is too depressing, I want music.
I grab the remote to the stereo. Then a sudden flash of light blinds me.
When I regain my eyesight, the world has changed. I am in a badly lit room that smells like like a clogged toilet and I am pointing the stereo remote at a group of oddly dressed people. I feel like I'm in one of those "Find Five Errors" pictures. And I'm all the errors.
"Kierwan, what… what is THAT!" I hear a thin voice say. It is coming from a slender, blond woman with a somewhat puzzled expression on her face. My brain registers that she is speaking english. Then it short-circuits.
WHAT THE H…
"I am not sure, Aerie. This is truly a strange… creature." The speaker is an ash blonde man with pointy ears, who is wearing a bright blue robe. He looks ridiculous.
It has finally happened. I have lost it!
A man standing in the shadows, a little behind the others says: "Hmpf. Whatever it is, it means trouble. Nothing good ever comes from messing with… magic!" He practically spits out the last word. That reminds me of someone…
That voice… I KNOW that voice!
I study their faces, and realize that I have seen them all before. I know these people better than I know some of my closest friends. I have spent hours upon hours in their company. Aerie, Cernd, Keldorn, Yoshimo, Valygar and my mage bhaalspawn: Kierwan.
"I am sure I have never seen anything like this in our Mother Nature." Cernd is viewing me curiously. "It looks like some kind of un-natural cross breed."
Finally I manage to say something. "What is going on?" Original, aren't I.
"Ah, so it is capable of speech! What are you, foul creature?" Keldorn booms at me. I feel uncomfortable about that big sword in his hands, so I back away a little.
"Stop it! You are just scaring the poor thing!" I am so glad I made Kierwan a kind and gentle person. "We are not going to hurt you," he says to me calmly, "we just want to know what you are."
For a moment I am not completely sure what I should tell him. I look down on myself, and notice that I am still wearing my tiger feet slippers, the pink pyjamas with a Snoopy pattern on it and my green bath-robe. I look up again and say:
"I'm a human. At least I have been so far." They don't look convinced. Yoshimo crosses his arms over his chest, raises an eyebrow and comments: "Is that so…"
"But… I have never heard about anyone having a human as a familiar before… I think." Aerie gives me a wide-eyed stare before she continues. "A-And it doesn't look very human."
Thanks a lot, Aerie!
"Stop calling me an "it"! I'm a bloody SHE, alright? And besides…" I stop ranting as I suddenly realize something. "A familiar?!"
"Er, yes." Kierwan looks embarrassed. "You see, I tried to summon a familiar. And you are what I got."
"Can't you… sort of return me, or something?" I ask hopefully, even though I fear I already know the answer.
"I am sorry, but it is irreversible, " he sighs. "You are my familiar for life, and I have to take care of you." He doesn't seem very pleased about the prospect. Neither am I. Suddenly a few things starts to worry me. After all, I know the game well. And I know my own limitations.
"Remember, you have to make sure I stay alive, or else you'll loose a point of your constitution." I remind him.
Mind the terminology, stupid!
"You'll become… weaker, I think"
"Oh. Well, I'll do my best."
I am relieved to hear it.
"By the way, what shall I call you?"
I think about that for a moment. "You can call me Strange."
Part 1: Blackout
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