"Magic indeed!" huffed Spitemorta as she drummed her fingers on the arm of her great chair. "This aggravation of pinions and cogs mocks my patience. I swear. It does nothing for the fool watching its pointer but stop time. The only way you can ever see it move is by not looking at it for a while." She snapped shut its lid with a sigh. "But I do like hand gonnes. I like them a lot." She thoughtfully rolled her ebony egg about in her lap for a moment before opening its lid to stare at its dial of mother of pearl, inlayed with gold numerals. "The best thing about Gwaelian magic is that it can be practiced right out in front of the superstitious without getting them all upset. Honestly. I'm sick to death of peasants and fools."
"Well then," said Demonica, suddenly appearing out of a traveling spell with a skinweler in her hand, "you're right ready to enjoy a little sortie to the coast to get away from them, aren't you?"
"Don't do that Grandmother!"
"Don't do what, dear? Don't ask you to go on a sortie or don't use traveling spells? You know such spells don't bother me at all the way they do you..."
"You know what I mean, Grandmother. How dare you pop up in my face whenever the fancy strikes you."
"Much better dear. You're getting so that you're nearly able to express what you mean the first time you try. Well, you won't mind my sudden appearance in the least when you hear what I have to say."
"Oh really? Then what?"
"You know, I think it would be in your best interest if you found out for yourself," she said as she vanished.
"Damn you, Demonica!" she snarled as she set aside her wind-up egg. "One of these days you'll wish you'd never left Head." She picked up her skinweler. "Very well, let's see what's at the coast, as if I can't guess." She paused, waiting for the swirling colors to clear. "Ha! The army. Their boats are just now arriving at the delta of the Bay of Gollsport. I suppose you win enough this time to have me feeling like puking, Grandmother." She shifted the skinweler's image to Demonica's apartment and reached for the Staff.
“Ah. There you are dear,” said Demonica, with a canvas bag of skinwelerioù at her feet, obviously awaiting her arrival. "Here's your cloak. I suppose you saw that it was raining on the coast?"
"No, I didn't," said Spitemorta, looking vexed and nauseated at the same time. “But since you seem to have thought of everything, did you make arrangements for Nasteuh, or must we waste time while I do?”
“All taken care of dear. So shall we be off then?”
“On the Staff? It is the middle of the day...”
"Well certainly, but with your being anxious enough to come to my room by spell... Very well. The weather is ideal for travel over the roads, that is if you overlook the rain on the coast.”
“No Grandmother. Let's try a traveling spell. Let's get there in time to meet them. Let's just appear somewhere altogether out of sight."
“My! We are anxious, aren’t we? With your nausea, that's a right good piece to go, dear. But if you must, I know just the place to make for. Take my hand.”
Spitemorta paused long enough for a dry swallow and a deep breath before holding out her hand. Colors whirled madly in her head, making shooting pains in her eyeballs. "Aangh!" she cried as she tumbled onto her hands and knees in the edge of a great squishy pile of rotting fish heads. "Aargh! Unngh!" she woofed as she belched and coughed up every bit of what she had eaten with her late morning tea. "Gracious sakes Grandmother!" She rolled back onto her haunches and staggered to her feet, flinging fetid fish juice from her fingers as she looked down the front of her kirtle. “Couldn’t you have picked a better place than this?”
"Well," said Demonica as she took a quick step back, "I'd considered the grave yard, but since they're having a funeral, scaring the mourners out of their wits is a bit self-centered, don't you think? Anyway as you can see, it's still raining. But before you clean up enough to put on this cloak, you've dropped the Staff in the fish heads..."
"You pick it up!"
"Ah, ah, ah! Your staff, your responsibility, dear."
Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps