Andrella & Kalyn’s Festivus Shopping Spree
The holiday season has descended upon Thac. With Festivus fast approaching, Andrella and Kalyn set to the task of finding gifts for their companions. The real question is what do you get someone in the midst of a demon war?
With December being the holiday season, I thought it would be nice to have something festive in this month's blog. To that end, my coauthor Kathryn from the Heroes series put together a short story concerning Andrella and Kalyn. With a demon war looming on the horizon, the two young ladies decide to do a little holiday shopping to bolster the group's spirits. So, here now I'd like to present for your entertainment, Andrella and Kalyn's Festivus Shopping Spree:
Kalyn turned in front of the mirror, admiring her new dress. Andrella had gotten it for her and insisted she wear it on their “shopping spree”, whatever that was.
Kalyn liked the dress, especially the pockets.
I could fit a couple of bottles of Fran’s moon water in these! She thought to herself.
A knock at the door drew her attention from the mirror, and she watched as Andrella slipped in through the door.
“Wow! I told you it would look pretty on you,” she said.
Kalyn slipped her hands deep into the pockets. “Thanks, Andrella. It has pockets!”
Andrella smiled, “I knew you’d like those. Now, hurry! We have a full day of shopping to do!”
Kalyn followed Andrella from the Bright Angel Inn and down the cobbled streets. The streets of Lukescros looked completely different at this time of year. Every building, streetlamp, and even the hitching posts were decorated with greenery or some kind of fancy lights. People were dressed up in brighter colors than usual and they would occasionally break out into song as they walked by. There was something almost magical about it that made Kalyn want to sing along as well—that is, if she could actually carry a tune.
Her mouth agape, she nudged Andrella in the shoulder as they strode down the sidewalk together. “What is this Festivus again?”
Andrella arched a singular eyebrow at her before stopping and placing her hands on her hips. Kalyn noted her taking on more and more of Glo’s mannerisms as of late. “Kalyn, I still can’t believe they don’t celebrate Festivus in Deepwood!”
Kalyn screwed up her mouth before answering. “I told you, we do, we just don’t call it Festivus. It’s called the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year”—she swept her eyes around at all the flowery decorations everywhere— “and we certainly don’t cut down half the forest to decorate.”
Andrella tapped her chin as she thought that over. “Well that doesn’t sound festive at all.”
Her face brightened a moment later as she laced her arm through Kalyn’s. “But that’s okay. You’re here now and we can celebrate together!”
It was not long before Kalyn found herself surrounded by stalls and merchants shouting out their wares. She paused, eyes bugging out of her head, until Andrella grabbed her by the hand and led her onward. As they moved to the center of the market, Kalyn began to see a shift in the vendors and wares. What had started as loud salesmen with trinkets and pots and rugs, now turned into more silent merchants who took in your attire, sizing you up, and quietly motioning you to look at glowing items.
“Here we are! This is the heart of the market.” Andrella paused and looked around, her eyes bright. “Now, we will work our way out in circles. I’ll show you the ropes. The most important thing to remember is NOT to buy the first thing that catches your fancy.”
Kalyn barely heard Andrella’s words as her eyes rested on a strange jug with corks all over it. “What’s that?” She pointed at it, grabbing Andrella by the arm.
The merchant was paying close attention, and he quickly picked up the jug, waving them over. “This jar can pour any liquid you desire” He flourished his hands for effect with his next words “Poison! Acid!...”
“Can it make alcohol?” Kalyn interrupted
The merchant hesitated a split second, “Yes, yes it can. Wine, beer…”
“Ooooh! What about mustard? Honey? Mayonnaise?” Kalyn leaned forward, looking closer at all the corks in the side of the bottle, noting that each one was a different color.
The merchant leaned back slightly, but held the jar up for her to inspect. “Um… yes. Any liquid you want.”
Kalyn reached into her pockets for money, but Andrella stopped her.
“Let’s look around at some of the other vendors, first.” The young noble said.
The merchant leaned forward. “It’s yours for 200.”
Andrella gasped, “200?! Okay, we definitely need to go look around at some better wares.”
Kalyn wrinkled her nose at the jar. “I know a druid who could craft a prettier jar anyway for a kiss.”
The merchant pulled a yellow cork from the side and tipped the jar, letting a drop of honey stream from it onto his finger. “You won’t find a sweeter deal.” He said, licking it off.
Kalyn put her hands on her hips, “Listen, I kill monsters with the Heroes of Ravenford now, and we ransack ruined castles full of zombies and still find better loot than that jar.”
The merchant smiled, “But you haven’t found THIS jar, have you?”
Kalyn sighed and looked at Andrella, “He’s got a good point.”
Andrella shook her head, “Not for 200.”
Kalyn grimaced. “I feel like I must have it or I will die.”
Andrella shook her head “We are shopping for other people, not you!”
“It’d be a great gift for Fran. Or Elladan.”
Andrella crossed her arms. “Nice try.”
Kalyn sucked in her breath. “You didn’t tell me that shopping for other people would be so hard.”
Andrella giggled, and pulled Kalyn away from the merchant’s table. “We will come back if you still have money to spend. In the meantime, let’s see if we can find some gifts for our wizard and bard.” She led Kalyn away to a tent full of clothing items. Some seemed normal, though sturdier built than normal clothes, while others shimmered and glowed.
Kalyn was immediately drawn to a blue and silver robe with a lighthouse embroidered on the back of it. “Oooh! I found Glo’s gift!”
The tailor stepped up to the robe and motioned Kalyn forward. “Its lightweight nature is deceptive, because it is a special mithril weave that gives the wearer protection. This is a favorite of many nobles and wizards I have met, because it doesn’t encumber them, but offers some protection from, say, assassins or minor attacks.”
Kalyn rubbed her hands together. “Yep. Glo needs it.”
Andrella sighed. “Well, I guess he could use some protection. But why the lighthouse? Doesn’t he get enough grief for that?”
Kalyn laughed maniacally. “Apparently not.” She turned back to the tailor “Do you have anything suitable for a bard with, say, a bunny rabbit on it?”
“Oh my gods, Kalyn!” Andrella giggled.
The tailor thought for a moment, then tapped her finger on her chin, “Nothing embroidered, but I do have a hat…” She led the girls further into the tent and pulled from a shelf a black hat with a band of silver stars. “This was crafted by a first year wizarding student. It’s a polymorph hat, which means that the person wearing it can turn into a creature for one hour. That creature was supposed to be a bird of some sort, but mistakes were made, and it instead turns the wearer into a rabbit.”
“HA! Perfect for Elladan!” Kalyn clapped her hands, while Andrella groaned and pinched the bridge of her nose, “Shopping is so much fun! I’ll take both of those items.”
The next place the girls stopped was at the weapons and armor stall, where Kalyn immediately spotted a dagger with a wailing face on the hilt of it.
“What’s this?” She asked, picking it up.
“Only buy me if you’re an adventurer!” a voice said.
Kalyn dropped the knife in shock as she realized the voice came from the knife.
The stall merchant sighed, pausing his oiling of a blade. “That one has been nothing but trouble for me. Tell ya what, if ya buy one, I’ll give ya that one for free.”
“That’s a good deal!” Andrella said, looking around the stall with renewed interest.
Kalyn stared at the dagger. “It just spoke to me!”
“Aye.” The merchant stood, wiping his hands on a clean rag, “That’s a dagger of warning. It’s supposed to warn you of danger, but it does it very poorly.”
“I can’t help it that I’m loud! I was made this way!” The voice shouted from the dagger.
The merchant scowled at it. “It’s only supposed to talk inside the owner’s head, not out loud. And, it’s supposed to only talk when danger is near, not be a mouthy thing every hour of every day.”
“I can hear you, you know. I’m right here. You don’t have to talk to me like I’m not here.” The dagger huffed.
The merchant sighed, “Buy one, get this one free.”
“Only if she’s an adventurer! I don’t want to sit on her mantle! Or in her bedroom! Eew!” The dagger whined. “I must have adventure! I was made for a great purpose!”
The merchant turned to the dagger, “You were made to be quiet and helpful! Not loud and obnoxious!”
“Well, guess who made me? You did! So now who’s the disappointment?” The dagger shot back.
Kalyn started to giggle. “Well, I am an adventurer who is shopping for her adventurer friends called the Heroes of Ravenford.”
The dagger harrumphed, “Never heard of them. Sounds like a bunch of amateurs.”
Kalyn rubbed her hands together “Oh, Andrella! I found Seth’s gift!”
Andrella moved up to Kalyn’s side, eyeing the dagger skeptically. “Seth is going to hate that. It makes too much noise.”
Kalyn laughed. “I know.”
“Don’t give me to someone who hates me! I was meant for greatness! I will only go to someone who loves and cherishes me!” the dagger wailed.
“Well then, you’ll go to an orc, because that’s the only thing that could love and cherish something like you!” The merchant mocked.
“I don’t know what an orc is, but as long as it goes on adventure and keeps me polished, it’s better than rotting with you!” The dagger snapped.
Andrella shrugged “Well, if Seth can’t stand it, maybe he can give it to Martan.” She and Kalyn laughed at the idea, then she set a small shield on the table “I found this for Aksel. It can be used to cast Counterspell. I thought that would be very useful for him.”
Kalyn frowned. “That’s boring.”
Andrella sighed, “Kalyn, if I’d known you were a gag gifter, I would have sent you shopping with Elladan.”
Kalyn turned back to the merchant, “Do you have anything else gag-gift worthy?”
The merchant stared at her for a moment, then slowly lit up as an idea seemed to come to him, “Why, yes I do!” He hurried to the back of his stall, pulling something from behind a table. When he returned, he deposited a leather breastplate that was a glassy green color. What was more stunning about the breastplate is that it occasionally went from seeming solid, to being completely see-through.
“This is ghost armor. With one word, it can be put on or off instantly. The only downside is that it sometimes likes to whisper eerie things to you about your past mistakes. Especially silly mistakes. The sort that just make you cringe. A great gag-gift! And half-price, too!”
Andrella grimaced. “Oh no…”
Kalyn looked at the other girl and smiled maniacally, "Donnie or Martan?"
Andrella sighed and thought a moment before answering, "Donnie."
“Sold!” Kalyn rubbed her hands together as the smith wrapped the items and put them into a large sack, “So, that leaves Lloyd and Martan. Maybe Fran, who would like that jar of many liquids.” She turned to Andrella. “Where to next?”
The two women meandered their way through the rows of stalls, finally coming to a stop at one displaying dozens of belts. Andrella convinced Kalyn to put the farting belt back and get Lloyd the belt of Weapons Maintenance. On their way back to the inn, they stopped and got the jar that could pour any liquid for Fran, and then an archers booth where Kalyn found a bow for Martan that would make a farting sound when drawn. She couldn't wait to see his face the first time he drew it.
It was nearly sundown before the girls returned to the Bright Angel.
“I didn’t know shopping could be so much fun!” Kalyn said as she finished wrapping Seth’s new dagger.
Andrella giggled, “Wait till you see what I got you.”
Kalyn paused, turning to look at the other girl. “When did you get me something?”
Andrella smiled mysteriously, picking up a medium size box and giving it a gentle shake.
“Wait… what did you get me?” Kalyn's eyes nearly bugged out her head.
“It’s a surprise, silly!” Andrella laughed.
“Well, I know that but… was it a… is it a good gift or a gag gift?”
“Ooooooh, look who’s worried now!” The dagger piped up from the box, only to be shaken harshly and told to shush.
Well there you have it. I hope you found that as enjoyable as I did. In the new year, I'll have that audio clip from the Baron's Heart and some exciting news on how to win some free audio copies from the Heroes series. Further, Kathryn will return with another sample from her rewrite of the Dragon's Son. I'll also present a first look at the cover art from Tomb of the Gods and those promised teasers from the first chapters concerning the fates of Seth and Glo.
Thanks for stopping by!