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Response #1: Mikal

The wizard trudged through yet another corn field. How many accursed corn fields did this land of Iowah have? Who could ever eat so much corn?

Windmills dotted the horizon, though he couldn’t tell where the mills were that ground the flour. As far as he could tell, these windmills did nothing but spin–what a waste of material. Perhaps this was a defense against dragons or enemy flying craft. In some ways, he hoped he wouldn’t have to find out…at least, not until he obtained a staff or even a wand.

He silently cursed the wizard who had banished him to such a remote land. He stopped and turned in all directions to be sure…yes, just corn fields and windmills, as far as the horizon.

His enemy was crafty, he had to admit. There’s nothing that will send someone slowly mad better than a place like this.

At least I won’t go hungry, he thought, grabbing an ear of corn off a stalk as he walked by. He’d also discovered, through one of the fire charms he could cast without assistance from a staff or wand, that some of the kernels on the ground formed a light-weight, white fluffy snack. At least it was better than just eating the corn–just a little bit of variety in his diet.

He wished that he had a spell to hunt one of the deer that he’d seen running through the fields. There were hundreds of them, but unattainable with his current repertoire of spells.

If he could even find a tree, he might be able to fashion his own wand or staff. He’d seen a couple of scraggly trees, but no oak, hawthorn, or ash…the trees that held promise for magical properties. Nothing but this accursed corn!

In the distance, the wizard heard a strange humming noise that kept rising and falling, sometimes disappearing altogether. Shrugging, since he had nowhere else to go, he started heading to where the noise seemed to be coming from.

Some time later–it was difficult to tell exactly how long he’d traveled, since these fields all looked the same–he came upon what looked like a solid, black river. He assumed it was a road, though he’d never seen one without ruts, except for in the richest areas of cities–and those were made of brick, not this smooth black surface.

He again heard the hum, starting to rise in the distance, and rapidly getting higher. He looked in that direction, and saw two sprites coming toward him quickly. Not knowing whether they were friendly, he crouched down in the small trench beside the road. At least his cloak should still conceal him, since it matched the green color of the grass.

Then, as the sprites got closer, he was horrified to see that they were strapped to the front of a monstrous machine–the machine had to be three times his height, and longer than a tavern! This dreadful machine was also traveling at an almost unimaginable speed…he’d never seen anything move that fast. Wizards could transport themselves from place to place, but they did so by tapping into the magical energies of the earth, not by moving quickly.

Thinking fast, he cast a charm that aided his speed…there would be no way he could match the machine’s speed, but he might be able to move quickly enough to jump aboard. The charm would also only last a few moments, barely enough time to reach his top speed, but he hoped that would be enough.

He took off at a sprint, moving twice as quickly as a normal man, and saw a strap swinging free on the machine. He grabbed ahold and used the sharp tug to run vertically up the side of the monstrous machine. He got a leg over the top of the machine, and used that to pull himself the rest of the way up.

The wind rushed past him and caught at his robes, threatening to pull him off. He grabbed onto the small handholds afforded by the panels used to construct the machine. He slowly crawled forward…perhaps he would be able to force the operator to stop and free the trapped sprites. In return, he might be able to convince the sprites to guide him to somewhere he could create a decent staff.

Before he could reach the front of the machine, the wizard saw a small building approaching quickly off to the right, and the machine began to slow. Seeing that the operator clearly planned to stop, he focused on hanging on until the machine came to a stop. Then, he might be able to slip around and rescue the sprites.

The machine slowed to a stop, and the operator climbed out of the front, though the machine continued to rumble. The operator slowly stretched, then walked up to and entered the building .

Taking advantage of his luck, the wizard clambered down carefully, and swung around to the front. Shocked, he saw that the lights on the front of the machine were not sprites, but some type of strange, bright, fireless lantern. He carefully peered inside, looking to see if the illusion was a trick.

“Can I help you?” a gruff voice said from behind. The wizard jumped and whipped around to face the operator. The operator continued, “If you keep looking into those, you’re going to ruin your eyes. Did you hit me or something?”

Written by: Mikal

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