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Brynnhollow

Book 8: Cascade

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Chapter 2

After a few minutes of travel down what might generously be counted as a path, Bastyan finally asked, "Where did Obby go?"

"He's around here somewhere. He just goes flat when he doesn't have anything to contribute. I think it's more comfortable for him." Shawn said casually.

"And you say that you're a mundane human." Bastyan stated more than asked, to avoid any possibility of a misunderstanding.

"I've had a few magical adventures, but yes, at the root of it all, I'm just a regular guy." Shawn explained.

"I didn't mean for it to sound like you weren't. You just seem to have more of a magical existence than most witches I know." Bastyan said frankly.

"I promise you, my home life is very simple and unremarkable."

"I'm not disputing that. I was just thinking that for all the magic that witches have access to, they really seem to do very little with it."

"I know some people who... I guess, at a certain point, they had everything that they wanted and didn't need magic as part of their daily lives anymore. All the spells were cast, all the dreams fulfilled." Shawn said thoughtfully.

"Having your dreams come true sounds like a good thing, but I guess it really isn't if you don't get new dreams to replace them."

"As far as anyone knew, they had collectively lost their magic." Shawn said frankly.

"I never even considered that being possible."

"Luckily, they have someone among their people who they call 'The Wanderer'. He dared to dream. Not only that, he also had the strength of will to go on adventures when everyone around him was content in their complacency. More recently, he proved to his people that magic wasn't lost to them. It's there waiting, whenever they're ready to take it up again." Shawn said with a smile at the memory.

"He's also Taurus." Obby said as he formed into a three-dimensional shadow.

"I never really put much stock in the astrology thing. I mean, I know it's useful in certain fields of magic, but I really don't see the use of it in my day-to-day life." Bastyan said frankly.

"Yeah. That sounds like something a Sagittarius would say." Obby said in a playful disparaging tone.

"I am a Sagittarius." Bastyan cautiously responded.

"Of course you are." Obby chuckled.

"Obby is the embodiment of Pisces." Shawn explained.

"I don't know what that means." Bastyan reluctantly admitted.

"I would say that it doesn't matter, but since you're going to have the embodiments of several astrological signs as students, you should probably go into it knowing what you're dealing with." Shawn said frankly.

There was a long moment of silence as they crossed the enormous drawbridge, exiting Brynnhaven and entering the expansive land that surrounded Brynnhollow.

"Okay. So what does all that mean?" Bastyan cautiously asked.

"I'm not a witch and I haven't been educated about these things. I'm just going with my limited understanding as an outside observer." Shawn warned.

"Understood." Bastyan promised.

"Life changes. The world changes. Everything changes." Shawn said slowly.

"I'm with you so far." Bastyan prompted.

"This doesn't."

"What doesn't?"

"The embodiment. Obby is Pisces. If a blood vortex opens off the coast of Oregon and starts raining doorknobs on the population, Obby will still be Pisces."

"You're losing me."

"This instance of this universe is in motion. Obby isn't." Shawn said simply.

"Well, that just sent a chill right up my spine." Bastyan said frankly.

"Good. I think that's the appropriate reaction when encountering an avatar of the zodiac. You don't have to do anything to show reverence to them, but I think it's important that you recognize that in this world of endless possibilities they stand out as something special and stable and true." Shawn said frankly.

"These people who travel by horse and buggy just happen to have multiple avatars of the zodiac living among them?" Bastyan asked cautiously.

"That actually has to do with the Assembly of the Magi ceremony. Since that was done here, the kids were included."

"The Assembly of the Magi was here, in Brynnhollow?"

"Back at the vinculum, actually, but the people of Brynnhollow were involved."

"I couldn't help but overhear you." Rocky timidly said from his position as the driver of the buggy.

"Did you have something to add?" Shawn asked curiously.

"Yeah. You were talking about us traveling by horse and buggy. I'm doing this as a favor to Mason to help welcome someone new. Normally, you'd be walking." Rocky said frankly.

"He's right." Shawn agreed, then explained, "I think this is the first time that I've ever ridden into Brynnhollow."

"You'd better start looking at landmarks and getting your bearings, because it won't be too much longer before you'll be out here on your own, expected to be able to find your way around." Rocky said seriously.

"You are a teacher, after all. They're going to expect you to be able to learn at least the basics of how to live here." Shawn added.

"No. That's not right." Obby objected.

"He's going to have to learn." Shawn persisted.

"Yes. But you can't expect an outsider to know how to live like this. Even the most basic tasks are probably going to be beyond his knowledge and skill at this point." Obby said honestly.

"Rocky? What do you think? Does Bastyan have any chance of learning what he needs to know to get by here?" Shawn asked curiously.

"I don't know. I think it'd be easier for me to try to live in the outside world than it would be for him to try and live here. The things they do to make their lives easier are the things we've chosen not to take up. Because of that, there's a whole set of skills that Bastyan's never been exposed to, much less had the chance to master." Rocky said thoughtfully.

"Well, I've got a job back in Waxell. There's no way that I'm going to be able to guide you around the countryside, even if I did know where you were supposed to go." Shawn said frankly.

"You should probably ask the elders about it, they may already have someone in mind to show you around. But if not, you can stop by Mason's shop and ask him about it. He has enough people working for him that he'd know who would be available." Rocky said seriously.

"I haven't been told anything about what I'm going to be doing. I mean, I know that I'll be teaching, but I don't know who, or where, or how many." Bastyan said anxiously.

"I don't know any of the details, but I can tell you that, from what I've observed, you're going to be teaching some really good kids. If you're willing to do right by them, you'll have my full support as well as that of everyone in the Brynnhollow and Brynnhaven communities." Shawn said confidently.

"No pressure." Bastyan said weakly.

"These people are very self-sufficient. You've been invited here to do something that they can't do for themselves." Shawn said seriously.

"Teach them magic?" Bastyan asked, just to confirm his understanding.

"Help them rediscover their magic." Shawn gently corrected, then explained, "Considering that you're dealing with curses and a population who have been both physically and genetically isolated from the outer world for centuries, it's possible that standard procedures may not be entirely effective. Some degree of adaptation on your part may be called for." Shawn said seriously.

"While I have been trained to teach dangerously powerful students and older children who've just come into their magic, I don't think a scenario like this was ever covered in any of my classes." Bastyan said frankly.

"If you can't think outside the box, it's best if you go home now. You'll be saving a lot of people a lot of trouble." Shawn said seriously.

"This goes beyond thinking outside the box. This is nowhere near the box. You should really have a team of senior professors here to perform evaluations so that they can determine the best training to provide the students every opportunity to attain their best lives." Bastyan said urgently.

"These people are cursed. They can't leave here. If you try to teach them the standard lessons, how much of what you teach them will never be used, even once? You want to prepare them for their best lives, but you need to think about what that really means in their situation." Shawn implored him to understand.

"I don't know. I don't even have the vaguest notion of what goes on in their daily lives. There's no way that I can prepare them when I have no clue about what they're likely to be facing."

"Then, from the sound of it, step one might be to get a clue." Shawn said seriously.

"It makes sense. If you're going to meet them on their terms, you might need to get a feel for what their terms are." Obby said frankly.

"I'd offer to help, but I've got the opposite problem. I know what life is like here, but I have no idea what you have in your bag of tricks to try and help them." Rocky said honestly.

* * * * *

As the horse-drawn carriage ambled along at a comfortable pace, a sudden squawk from above them drew their attention.

"Rocky, hold on. That's Conrad." Shawn said with concern.

Bastyan looked up with surprise at the large bird flying toward them.

"Something must have happened. He doesn't usually transform unless there's an emergency." Rocky said anxiously.

"I don't know about an emergency, but he doesn't do it without a good reason." Shawn said soberly.

"Conrad? Like the FBI agent?" Bastyan asked cautiously.

"Yes, as in Agent Fastbeck." Shawn said absently while devoting most of his attention to the black swan landing in front of them.

"That's an FBI agent?" Bastyan asked with surprise.

"When a person is touched by magic, it leaves a mark." Shawn said simply.

As they watched, the swan began to grow and transform.

"When Hyatt said that you'd left, I was afraid that I was too late... I'm glad I caught you." Conrad hurried to say as soon as he achieved his Oskmey form.

"What's going on?" Shawn asked with concern at Conrad's serious tone.

"Before we get into that, is this the teacher that D said that he was going to send us?"

"Yes. This is Bastyan, the Queen's Scholar. Bastyan, may I introduce Agent Fastbeck."

"Conrad. It's a pleasure to meet you."

"Yeah. Me too." Bastyan said uncertainly.

"So what's the rush? Why did you need to catch us?"

"I was talking to the boys last night about someone coming to teach them magic and they came up with an idea of something else we can do that sounds like it could work. I talked to a few more people about it this morning and, if we can pull this off, we could end up helping a lot of people." Conrad said excitedly.

"Like how?" Shawn asked cautiously.

"Well, Bastyan, first of all, we think we've worked out a way to get you someone to help you manage so many children at so many different levels spread out over such a large geographical area." Conrad said seriously.

"That sounds great. From what Shawn and Rocky were just telling me, it looks like I'm going to need help from someone local." Bastyan said eagerly.

"Well, it's not for certain just yet. There are a few potential issues that we're going to have to address before we'll be ready to approach the elders with the idea. That's why I wanted to catch you before you got to Brynnhollow and set things into motion. I had a feeling that D would be sending someone right away and when Shawn was gone, I automatically assumed that the teacher had arrived."

"Is there some reason that you're being vague about things and not just telling us what you're talking about?" Shawn asked curiously.

"Actually, yes. I'm just laying the groundwork so that you'll recognize the benefits and grasp the scale of the overall objective before being distracted by the potential obstacles."

"The objective being...?" Shawn prompted.

"To teach the children of Brynnhollow as much magic as they are capable of learning." Agent Fastbeck said seriously, then thought to add, "Of course other objectives may be revealed as we go along."

"Okay. I think we've got that." Shawn said hesitantly, obviously waiting for more of an answer.

"Rocky, if you'll turn the buggy around and head for Ima's, I can fill everyone in on other things while we're traveling." Conrad said encouragingly.

"Before we do that, I have a feeling that you already have someone in mind to be Bastyan's assistant. Can you tell us who it is?" Shawn asked cautiously.

"Okay. But before I tell you, just keep in mind that we're already aware that this might take a little work to iron everything out. We think that it will be worth the effort."

"Just tell us." Shawn said impatiently.

"Roo." Conrad reluctantly responded.

After a long moment of stunned silence, Shawn admitted, "Okay, yeah.... that could pose some challenges."

"Why? What's wrong? Is this 'Roo' some sort of kangaroo person, the way that you're a swan person?" Bastyan cautiously guessed.

"No. Believe it or not, that would probably make all of this a lot easier." Shawn said diplomatically.

"Now you're the one being cryptic. What is it? What's wrong?" Bastyan asked anxiously.

"Rhuru-wra is a Wudewas." Shawn reluctantly answered.

"A Wudewas? Like a bigfoot?" Bastyan asked uncertainly.

"Yes. But he's more than that, a lot more. He's 'The Wanderer' that I was telling you about. He was able to summon a whirlwind using ancient Wudewas magical techniques." Shawn said with obvious admiration.

"And he's Taurus." Obby injected into their conversation.

"You said that before. Do you mean that the bigfoot witch you're telling me about is also an avatar of the zodiac?" Bastyan asked cautiously.

"Yes. If you'll turn the carriage around, I can tell you what we're planning." Conrad said seriously.

"Hang on. This could get bumpy." Rocky said as he guided the horse to circle around a small stand of trees.

* * * * *

"I didn't think we were on a road until you did that. I guess it could be bumpier." Shawn said honestly.

"You can walk if you like." Conrad said from beside the carriage.

"No. I'm not complaining. I guess I'm just used to riding in a car. I honestly didn't know that we were on a road until I felt what it was like to go off-road for a minute." Shawn explained.

"Scoot in so I can tell you what we're planning." Conrad said with a chuckle under his words.

* * * * *

As soon as Conrad had settled into place, Rocky urged the horse back into motion.

"So, here's what we've got to work with." Conrad said in prelude, "Shawn and I are both mundane men with the ability to open magical barriers. Andrea and I are mundane people who have been given the ability to bestow curses. Of course Obby and Roo are both avatars of the zodiac." Conrad said carefully.

"I don't see how you can do anything with that odd collection of abilities." Bastyan said frankly.

"I'm not sure that we can, but we certainly won't accomplish anything if we don't try." Conrad said simply.

"Don't forget that we can call on the Nephilim, Milo, or maybe even Paul, if we really need to." Shawn cautiously added.

"Yes. Actually, I was thinking about inviting Archdruid Highley and Reaper to this first meeting, but thought that we should see what Ima has to say about it, first." Conrad said honestly.

"I'm afraid to ask, but who is this Ima that we're going to see?" Bastyan asked cautiously.

"She and her sisters somehow managed to bypass the Brynn curse to practice a form of magic that, I imagine, is quite different from what you're used to. For conversation's sake, let's just call it 'Brynnhollow Magic'." Conrad said seriously.

"I think I see where you're going with this." Shawn said speculatively, then explained, "Since Ima and her sisters are used to circumventing the curse and improvising, they'll be more likely to be able to take this strange collection of talents to find a way to make it so that Roo and Bastyan can communicate."

"Well, yes. But just think about the abilities that you and I have. We can both communicate with Roo and we can also both open doorways..." Conrad said in a leading tone.

"But didn't we decide that a witch can't hold that power? That it has to be a mundane person?" Shawn asked cautiously.

"Right. But she's the one who crafted the very first version of the spell that allowed me to speak other languages so I could communicate with Roo. As far as I can tell, it will come down to the magic requiring the absence of a thing or the presence of it to work properly. One way, Ima could probably make a charm, the other... might be more challenging."

Shawn nodded as he continued the thought, "So if we just go ahead and assume that we can make a charm with the absence of inherent magic, then we can tinker with what we have available to come up with a working solution to both the doorway and communication problems."

"That's not really how magic works." Bastyan said regretfully, then explained, "When you need to do something, you find the spell that does that thing and you cast it."

"It sounds to me like you need to spend some time with Paul." Shawn said frankly.

Bastyan looked at Shawn curiously for a moment, then hesitantly asked, "You mentioned him before. You don't mean Paul Darroch, do you?"

"Yeah. That's him. From what I've seen of him, he's not limited to how a spell is written." Shawn said frankly.

"I know Paul... that is to say, I've met him." Bastyan admitted, then continued, "Paul came into his magic late and seems to have a natural talent for combining spells and casting them simultaneously. I've heard that it's rather impressive."

"I know that I was impressed." Agent Roberts said honestly.

"Do you think we're going to need him to come back here to perform the enchantment?" Bastyan cautiously asked.

"We'll keep it in mind as a fall-back plan if we can't find a way to make it work out with what we've got here." Conrad said thoughtfully.

"Would you guys like to climb up? It might save you a few minutes instead of taking the long way around." Rocky asked as they approached a familiar footbridge.

Conrad looked around and was surprised to realize where they were. After a moment to process, he cautiously asked, "How much of a hurry are we in?"

"One of us should probably get back to the office before too long. But besides that, I'm not aware of anything needing our immediate attention." Shawn said frankly.

"I agree." Conrad said, then turned to Rocky and continued, "I think that this once we'll take the easy way."

"Glad to hear it. Crossing that bridge is one of the scariest things I've ever done." Rocky said with a chuckle at the memory.

"The slippery rocks were actually the worst part for me, but that had mostly to do with my hard-soled shoes." Conrad admitted.

"Is there anything else we need to sort out before we get there?" Shawn asked curiously.

"I think we just need to be sure to keep our objectives in mind. We need for either Bastyan or Roo to be able to open the doorways, both if possible. We also need for them to be able to communicate with each other. If they were able to communicate with others, it would be even better." Conrad said seriously.

"And since you and I can do both of those things, we should be able to find a way to make it possible for Bastyan and Roo to do them too." Shawn said thoughtfully.

"Bastyan, do you have an animal transformation ability?" Rocky asked curiously.

"Yes. I tested positive for it in school, so I took a course to master it and learned the necessary control techniques." Bastyan said simply.

"Everyone in Brynnhollow and Brynnhaven has an animal transformation ability which, due to the curse, they aren't always able to control. While I can't predict when or how you'll be needing it, I feel safe in saying that you're going to need that mastery." Shawn said frankly.

"Also be aware that your animal transformation may come into play in granting you a new ability." Conrad added seriously, then glanced to Shawn to ask, "Do you think Roo has a transformation ability?"

"It never occurred to me that he might. That's something that we'll probably need to look into." Shawn said speculatively.

"Actually, we need to let Ima handle it. We don't need to be involved in this project on a long-term basis. We're just helping to get it launched." Conrad said seriously.

"Yes. But we won't be completely out of it, either. We'll be available if there's any kind of help we can provide from the outside with our FBI connections." Shawn said seriously, then added with a grin, "Besides, if Bastyan and Roo end up having bird forms, you might get to give them flying lessons."

"Granted. If a situation crops up that we're uniquely qualified to deal with, then of course we'll step up. But we should keep in mind that we're helping. We're not in control." Conrad said firmly and with a sense of finality.

* * * * *

"Rocky, are you sure about this road? It seems a little steep." Shawn asked anxiously.

"I haven't taken a buggy up here before, if that's what you're asking, but I know that this is the right road." Rocky responded seriously.

"Still not complaining... just asking." Shawn said as he looked nervously at the sheer drop off, seemingly inches from the buggy's wheel.

* * * * *

"Agent Fastbeck and Rocky! What a wonderful surprise! Who have you brought with you today?" Ima asked as she opened the iron gate.

"Ima, I'd like to introduce Agent Shawn Roberts, he works with me at the FBI, and Bastyan... The Queen's Scholar? Is that right? I only heard it once." Agent Fastbeck asked uncertainly.

"Yes. That's right." Bastyan timidly confirmed.

"Oh, Shawn, Andrea's told us all about you. She's had nothing but wonderful things to say. It's an absolute pleasure to finally meet you. And Bastyan... I can't say that I've ever heard a single thing about you. But it's a pleasure to meet you anyway." Ima said as she motioned for the group of men to walk with her into the castle.

"I just arrived in Waxell a few hours ago." Bastyan said timidly, then explained, "My real name is Michael Bazien, but I was renamed Bastyan by Queen Marimba and appointed to be her Royal Scholar."

"That's wonderful, but what brings you here to me?" Ima asked curiously as they walked.

Before anyone else could answer, Conrad calmly said, "Last night I was visiting with Andrea and the boys and we came up with an idea. It's one of those things that sounds like it could be really great, but when you stop and think it over, you realize it might not be all that easy to pull off."

"If it's brought the four of you all the way up here, it must have some promise." Ima said speculatively.

"Yes. Well, I realize that I'm making quite a few assumptions in all of this, but if we can make it work, it could help so many people that I think that it will end up being worth it." Conrad explained.

"Would you like to sit for a moment, or do you think we'll be needing to go straight to the dungeon?" Ima asked as they walked into a well-appointed parlor.

"I don't know how much work it will take, or if it can even be done." Conrad said anxiously.

"Alright then, please, everyone, sit down and make yourselves comfortable." Ima said as she gestured at the low cushioned furniture, then turned to Conrad and said, "Go on. Tell me about it."

"Shawn and I have the ability to open the doorway to the vinculum chamber in Brynnhaven... do you know about that?" Conrad thought to ask.

"Yes. Andrea filled me in on the highlights." Ima confirmed.

"Good. Of course you already know about the Southseid colony..."

Ima nodded for him to continue.

"You remember Rhuru-wra, the Wanderer? It turns out that he was able to use ancient Wudewas tablets and perform a spell, proving that the Wudewas people haven't lost their capacity to perform magic." Conrad said seriously.

"What an amazing development. Wudewas witches..." Ima trailed off with a smile.

"As far as I know, they don't have separate witches like humans do. They all have the capacity to perform witchcraft. However they, as a people, have lost the ambition to learn the art." Conrad said frankly.

Ima nodded as she considered his analysis.

"Bastyan was sent here by D to help teach magic to the children of Brynnhollow and Brynnhaven." Conrad continued.

"D really is exceptional, isn't he? Not so much in the action he takes as in the fact that he takes action. He sees a problem and immediately takes steps to resolve it. You've got to admire that." Ima said sincerely.

"Yes. And even though it's just been a few days, Bastyan is here and ready to start teaching." Conrad said seriously.

"I suspect that you're nearly to the part where I can be of service to you." Ima said speculatively.

"Yes, well, last night Cain and Deimos and I were discussing it, and they were asking if it would be possible for the teacher that D was sending to also teach the children of the Wudewas." Conrad said more slowly.

"If I recall correctly, the Wudewas are physically incapable of speaking our language and theirs is so contextual and fluid that it's virtually impossible for us to learn." Ima said from a place of distant memory.

"Yes. As far as I know, that's all true. Although Shawn and I can both communicate with the Wudewas, it's entirely by magical means." Conrad said simply.

"And since I was instrumental in bestowing that ability on you, I'm guessing that you would like for me to find a way to transfer that ability to Bastyan, here?" Ima asked hesitantly.

"Yes. That and if possible, also give him the ability to open the vinculum doorways. I don't know what all is involved in it, but I thought that since Shawn and I both have the abilities, that you might be able to find a way to recreate them or transplant them or something."

"Is it just you two who have these abilities?" Ima asked curiously.

"Archdruid Highley has them too, he had them before I did." Conrad said seriously.

"So does Otis." Shawn added.

"Are all four of you mundane humans?" Ima asked slowly.

"Yes. That's right." Conrad confirmed.

"Bastyan, you are a witch, aren't you?" Ima cautiously asked.

"Yes, ma'am."

"And you've already said that Rhuru-wra has inherent magical ability."

"Yes. That's been proven." Conrad reluctantly agreed, seeing the direction that her questioning was going.

"If it were the other way around, I wouldn't automatically assume that a magical person was required for a certain spell to work. But when four out of four people with the spell on them are mundane humans, I feel safe in assuming that it is a requirement of the spell." Ima said speculatively.

"So, do you know a way around it?" Conrad asked hopefully.

"It's all guesswork at this stage of things. Is there anything else that you can tell me about the abilities or those who have it? Any commonality might help." Ima asked in a leading tone.

"I don't know. I mean, when called upon, we stood with the people of all kinds and worked as gatekeepers to regulate access to the doorways." Conrad said carefully.

"We each received our abilities in different ways, but got them exactly when they were needed. We didn't have to go searching for them, it's like they were waiting there for us and we were being guided to discover them." Shawn added.

"Do you know who it was who might have been guiding you and bestowing these powers?" Ima asked in a leading tone.

After a moment for other suggestions to be brought forward, Shawn reluctantly said, "The only name we've come across in all of this is Aengus MacOg."

"Yes. That would most likely be due to the splinter of Aengus MacOg anchored within the black Oskmey form in Agent Fastbeck." Ima said frankly as she looked at Conrad, transformed into said form.

"I got my power through a pendant that Paul and his friends enchanted for me. When I needed to open the gate, I was given the ability and the pendant provided the magic to make it work. I've never called on Angus MacOg and my power isn't godly, like Conrad's. It's distinctly demonic, the same way that Archdruid Highley's is definitely angelic." Shawn explained.

"And this all came together in relation to the Assembly of the Magi?" Ima asked to verify.

"Yes." Shawn quickly answered.

"The gods rarely move so obviously. If they had directly participated, few would have lived to tell the tale. No, I think what we encountered is probably something left behind, baked into the system, which has been waiting for people like us to discover it." Ima carefully explained.

"Does that hurt us or help us in what we're trying to do?" Shawn asked curiously.

"It helps us, I think." Ima said slowly, then added, "If we can reason out the dynamics of the spells, we might be able to find a technicality or loophole that we can exploit to help with our current situation."

"You didn't say anything about Otis having magic or a pendant." Obby said as he grew from Shawn's shadow to stand before him.

"That's because he doesn't have one, at least, as far as I know." Shawn said uncertainly.

"Who is this we have here?" Ima asked curiously.

"Oh, excuse me, this is Obby... Who he is might take a while to explain. For now, let's just say that he's my shadow."

"As you like. A pleasure to meet you, Obby. I can't wait to learn more about you." Ima said sincerely, then turned to Conrad and asked, "You were saying?"

"As I recall, Otis acted as more of a placeholder than a gatekeeper. While we were together, I don't recall him using any of the gatekeeper abilities. According to what Shawn was saying at the time, he didn't have to do anything, he just needed to be present." Conrad said thoughtfully.

"I've spent time with Otis and I haven't noticed a pendant or seen him do anything magical." Obby said honestly, then thought to add, "Of course, Shawn doesn't use his gatekeeper abilities either, unless he has a good reason to."

"This is sounding more and more like just what we're looking for." Ima said consideringly.

"How's that?" Shawn asked curiously.

"The others of you have used the abilities given to you to perform important tasks. It seems this Otis person may have been prepared to do the same, but was never 'activated', so to speak. That being the case, it may allow us to transfer the dormant abilities in part or in whole to Bastyan and Roo." Ima said seriously.

"This reminds me of a recent case that I had. Before we're too far in, can you give us an educated guess of which people or magical supplies you might be needing to gather to accomplish this? We could get those things on the way before we work too much on the details." Shawn asked seriously.

"Details like 'how'?" Conrad ventured to ask.

"Yeah. Little stuff like that." Shawn said with a grin at his boss.

"It would stand to reason that we'll be needing Otis, if he's going to provide the dormant spell or spells that we will be transplanting." Ima said thoughtfully.

"That makes sense. I thought you might need him." Shawn admitted.

"It's impossible to predict whether we'll end up needing both Bastyan and Roo, but it might be good to have both present while we're sorting it all out." Ima said frankly.

"The way these things seem to go, I could easily see them being here making the difference between us getting what we want and settling for what we can have." Conrad said gravely.

"Yes. It would be prudent to take such precautions early on. If I'm reading the situation correctly, then we may only get this one chance to make things right." Ima grimly explained.

"Can you think of any supplies that we might need?"

"Most of what I will need, I already have downstairs in the dungeon. The only other things I might possibly need would come from Jimson and Dark."

To Be Continued...

Editor's Notes:

Oh my goodness!

It is certainly good to see the Brinhollow people again.

As always, it is so nice to find out new things about the people we meet in these stories.

It is like seeing friends that we haven't seen in quite a while.

We catch up with what has been going on and we find out how everyone is feeling and we share what we each have done and learned, in the meantime.

MM has so many ongoing stories, that it is probably a good idea to alternate from one time to the next, to a different story, so we don't have to wait forever to get a new chapter from one or our favourite stories.

Thanks, MM for this wonderful new chapter. We will patiently wait for whatever you choose to bring us next time.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher