I never should have left my hovel today. You know that funny tingly feeling you get when pondering a decision…the itchy, crawly feeling that the decision is going to profoundly affect the rest of your life…well, trust me…spend more time thinking about it than it takes to suck down your morning gruel. And don’t ever forget to check the expiry date on your prosthetic adhesive. When that stuff goes, it really goes.
It’s just my luck really. Yesterday, I would never have believed I could end up such a complete laughing stock today. Everything was going so well. I was the ugliest, most filthy, vile old hag this village had ever seen. One of the peasants told me so last week. Obviously, their previous crone had no work ethic. Would you believe she only had one crook in her nose? I have three. Quite an accomplishment I think.
There’s a fine line between a sinister, imposingly crooked nose and a nose that looks like it might have accidentally gotten slammed in a door. When the peasants see my nose coming around a corner, they quake right down to their very souls. I’ve heard them say it feels like it’s hunting them; following their every move; aiming ominously at them; thrusting threateningly at their tender bits; just waiting for them to take their eyes off it for an instant; and then twitch, bam…done in by the nose. If my nose alone instills that much fear, imagine what chaos my halitosis wreaks on this sleepy village! How quickly and far the mighty fall.
It all started last eventide when I bet my friend Magda I could make everyone in the pub think their skin was melting. I had tried it last year, just after our graduation ritual, and only partially succeeded. Let’s just say that our graduating class had a distinct ‘eau de rotting flesh’ that would not quit. Well, anyways, Magda said that I still couldn’t do it. And, having had a few too many fermented ghoul eyes, I was perhaps a bit overconfident and not as careful as I should have been. My first mistake was drawing too much power and then I got my ground rat bones confused with some powdered albino salamander livers (NOTE: remember to work on labeling my spell component pouches).
Needless to say, the illusion didn’t quite work as it should have. Actually, I ended up summoning half a juvenile phoenix that was understandably confused at its sudden change of location, not to mention the lack of a left side. Summoning never was my best subject. Anyway…the long and short of it is that I seem to have burnt out my magick…not to mention the Red Dragon pub.
I was hoping the effect would wear off after the ghoul eyes and a good sleep, but it didn’t. I woke up this morning, tried to put on my crone glamour…and…nothing. A village hag’s worst nightmare. No cracked, sallow skin. No stringy grey hair rearing like angry snakes. No boils erupting with puss. Not even a measly wart.
In times of crisis, everyone falls back on what they know. So ultimately, I blame Grimoire College for the following debacle. Our teachers constantly hammered into us that good old-fashioned costuming and theatrical makeup should underpin every glamour. It seemed an archaic concept and many of us joked that it was as outdated as our prehistoric Profs. Weaving a quick, clean illusion was far simpler than spending an hour trying to individually stick on moles and warts, so I never paid much attention to my kit. Until this morning.
The stratified layers of dust which slid off the kit when I yanked it out from under my pallet should have tipped me off that maybe…just maybe…my plan needed some rethinking. But no, I was so intent on getting out and pestering the peasants that I didn’t pay any attention to my gut. I dumped the contents onto the floor and rummaged through until I found what I was looking for....