Horatio Ghosteye

The smell of a campfire, faint birdsong, an occasional buzzing of a close insect, and some strange breathing, all seeped in before Horatio Ghosteye opened his eyes.  Before him burned a pleasant fire, surrounded by a ring of fieldstones. On either side of this were two strange creatures, pale obese humanoids with long, swept back ears and immense chins. Instead of shoes they wore strips of cloth that let it be seen that they each bore three thick toes on their feet. Similar gloves revealed three stubby fingers and one pudgy thumb per hand. Each creature sported a silly looking tuft of odd colored hair springing from the top of its head. Neither seemed interested in Horatio as they drank from mugs that were made of bent wood planks bound by iron straps. Gradually he noticed that behind the one of them was a jumble of trophies piled on random furniture, placed for some reason at this outdoor woodland camp. Then the sounds came to him of motors whizzing by, of a racetrack. A traveling vendor came by with a spinning wheel; one free spin. Horatio grasped the wheel and gave it a turn, and won another free spin. The wheel had strange symbols around it. Mr. Ghosteye won a very nice looking beater, as for cooking. Entitled to another spin for some reason, he won a pair of work boots. Then he realized that he still had three turns, and he won a small yellow square block that he had no idea of a use for; a hammer of the wheel, whatever that was; and another spin. On this spin he won a strangely marked chunk of something identified as a field tempered glass shard. The last he won was a common digital card. He was thoroughly confused. Now the gamesman told Horatio he had one last spin, on a different wheel. He won two hundred and fifty coins. He wondered what that meant he could afford. He tried to remember how he’d gotten here, and found himself befuddled. Again he heard the race track, somewhere close. Crowds cheering.

The last thing he remembered was…sleeping under a thick blanket with star patterns on it, dreaming of small rodents living underground; seemed like it was snowing, everything bleak and barren.

As he got up from the campfire, he noticed that he had wings, big green and black ones with black edging. With a bit of effort he found he could hover a bit off the ground. It was an interesting, enjoyable feeling, so he of course began to travel this way at once. He found it strange that he hadn’t remembered that he had wings.

He found himself in a strange place with giant orange and purple flowers, strange massive trees, jumbles of car parts, and clusters of people running about of all shapes and sizes.

He walks along a road, and is shortly passed by a strange woman riding a floating, spark emitting something between a skateboard and a rocket. Then he comes to a strange building made of colored blocks like children play with.

As he is looking at this he hears music of some sort, repetitive electronic beats. He moves towards the source and finds two young ladies dancing around a speaker placed in the center of the cobble-stone road. Horatio feels compelled to go and dance along with them, but they soon turn the music off, put away the speaker, and then turn and start talking to each other as Horatio stands awkwardly by. From their conversations he finds that their names are something like ‘Golden Cherry’ and ‘Bridget’ something or other. He gets quickly bored and moves on.

He soon came to another place where people had an another outdoor speaker and were playing music, with perhaps half a dozen pixies and humans dancing. Soon he found himself engaged with the chef of the place, which turned out to be a sort of outdoor restaurant, and then helping in the kitchen. He tried his best to follow along with the short-staffed cooks., but it was just too difficult and he ended up more of a hindrance than help, so he moved on. He wondered where that racetrack had gotten to that he’d heard.

Instead he found a sort of coral full of all sorts of animals, with a stout, ogre-ish fellow dressed in stitched leather outside stating that he could adopt any pet he liked, for free. He looked around, and saw cats and dogs mostly. Mainly they were differentiated, he realized, by whether they were lazy, excited, or friendly. He wondered what sort of pet would be best to have a long; he settled for a dog he liked, and decided to take a friendly, brown spotted dog named Lake. Then he was told that the free adoption part was for ten minutes, and to keep him I’d have to pay. I considered, and put the leash on the animal to take it for a walk and see if I liked him.

Night was setting on as Horatio and Lake moved onward. The dog was occasionally barking, and, as they got further out, he began howling as the darkness deepened. They ran about into the night, ten minutes seeming like an hour. Horatio realized that he could get Lake to do several tricks, and that the Lake could chase him as fast as he could fly. At the end of ten minutes, Horatio realized that the dog cost nearly everything he had to his name. Unsure of the decision, he spent one hundred and seventy-five of the one hundred and ninety-nine gold coins he had left and bought the dog. When he came back out of the coral, he was thrilled to see Horatio again, and leaped up and down and ran in circles around him, making excite panting noises and lolling his tongue around. Then Horatio Ghosteye wondered at what to do next. Again, he thought he heard the racetrack.

He soon found it this time and entered himself in a race. After a very tough race using awkward, rickety racing karts on a wet, frozen cobblestone roads in an old village, he came in seventh out of eight. He knew he could do better than that, so he tried again. In the meantime Lake happy to see him between the races. After hitting the wall several times and not really getting the hang of driving the crazy, loud contraptions, he decided to go an adjacent race track and try his hand demolition derby. Since the stakes were low at his level of competition, admission and vehicles were free. He wondered if he’d do better at driving if he had his own car to build and perfect. In the derby he had much more fun, and placed 3rd and managed to win some money. Now this, he could do. He was even in first place for much of the derby, which was really more about avoiding the other cars than hitting them, as you wanted to last the longest. He decided to try it again then go and see about getting a new kart built. The second time he came in second, and won a bit more money. He decided to have a third go of it, just to try his luck some more. His luck proved consistent if not amazing, and he placed third this time. Now he set out with Lake to find a kart merchant and see what could be done with his winnings. He found instead a sort of vehicle bazaar, and he browsed around finding many things to buy besides just karts and parts. There were pets, furnitures, clothes, weapons, and more. As he browsed all the different items, he began to consider a different career, and realized he was finding racing perhaps too frenetic and that he’d rather be wandering about the wilderness with Lake. To this end he was looking about, trying to get an idea of what he’d like to do by the trappings involved. As he tried on a wizard’s coat, and picked up a wand, he felt a strange feeling- this was what he was, it felt so natural. He found that still, for the moment, he had no money to buy anything interesting. As he was pondering this, he noticed that morning had come while he was wandering the marketplace; as he stood there, Lake aimlessly walking about in a loose circle around his new companion, Horatio saw the strange man with the spinning wheel again. Again he offered a spin, this time once only. Horatio was amazed to find that he won one thousand gold coins, so he quickly turned to decide what to purchase. Still he found nothing acceptable, and bought only a red bowl to feed the dog. He decided to try one more race. He had no luck again, and placed eighth. Now he decided to give it up at the race track and follow his wizarding instincts. His first impulse told him to go find some monster and try out his powers.

The first thing he came to, on a slope just outside of the village, was a goblin camp. he waltzed right in and slew more than two dozen of the slavering beasts, taking them unprepared. Afterwards Horatio found some coins in a chest, and took them. He felt pretty good about this, so Horatio Ghosteye and Lake the dog set out to explore and see what good they could do. He still had no other memory than sleeping under a blanket patterned with stars; or was it made of stars? He couldn’t tell. couldn’t remember. He comes to some more goblins, kills them, and gains more coins in reward. This is easy, he thinks to himself, and moves onward. He encountered several more bands beyond this, and gained a bit more coins from each. Then he ran into a band of ogre brigands that knocked him out several times and then left him for dead as a lesson. He was seriously considering taking the lesson, and abandoning the career of a violent wizard even if it did come naturally.

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