And I’m cursed!
Not that I had much choice in being cursed. That can be blamed on my great-great-great-grand ‘something or other’ ancestor who messed things up for all my family when he opened an inter-dimensional gateway to Dunari and annoyed the wrong sorcerers.
But I’m not too annoyed. Learning magic, fighting monsters, investigating crimes and discovering an entirely different world, sure beats going to school, playing football, watching Netflix and visiting granny ever Saturday. Those things are nice, but Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz . . .
I had no other option but to come here. Aisling, however, did have a choice. She’s not supposed to be here. But ‘not supposed to’ isn’t a concept she’s familiar with. Once she found out about the gateway, that was that. I’d rather have tried to stop a herd of rampaging bull heragogs than stop Aisling coming with me. Actually, I’ve very, very glad she’s here.
We’re based in the City of Bones. It’s one of the safer cities in Dunari. The spirits of the monsters that died here still live on, deterring any spirit storms (humanity’s worst enemies) from coming too close. Ganhook’s compound, with its bone walls and anti-intruder spells gives us an extra layer of comfort, and Aisling and I are finally starting to relax here. Beyond the city walls, though, gravants wander at night, sticklemogs fly by day, and all manner of multi-limbed horrors roam the lands. Some dead. Some alive. Doesn’t make much difference here. They’re all lethal.
We need to be careful within the walls, too. Last week, a moonlight thief stole Aisling’s shadow, leaving her dopey (hee hee) for days before we retrieved it. A month ago, I’d have been mugged by a helot if Ganhook’s Cat hadn’t spotted the scaly devil camouflaged against an alley wall. And if any rogue mystics caught ‘otherworlders’ like us, they’d torture us for knowledge. Ganhook claims they would make a wooden chair admit who’d last sat on it.
So why did I contact Colm to set up this site?
Because, though my folks know where we are, Mum still thinks the best use for a smartphone is to find recipes to impress her friends. Dad’s not too hot on website building either. Colm’s an IT guru. And he never judges us. Besides, the family curse will punish me if I ever write about how I got into Dunari. Having Colm write that story is a way to bypass the curse.
Logging our experiences here keeps everything real in my head. Otherwise, after the first time a magroot worm tried to burrow up through my shoe sole, I’d have gone loopy. Madness is only a breath away here, and the blog helps us accept all this craziness. And, though cameras don’t work (Aisling figures it’s something to do with the light), I’m sketching everything I see to keep an extra record.
Ganhook’s training me up to be a Dawnhunter. That’s what the family curse requires. Ganhook reluctantly agreed to train Aisling too. He didn’t want to. I can only assume he’s an expert in body language and knew how she’d react if he refused.
We’re learning magic, combat, ghost tracking, and all manner of other things. He’s also giving us tasks to do in Bone City. E.g. We recently investigated a spirit bomb explosion in a known criminal gang’s HQ. It took two days to search through all the blood, guts, and bones to find the spirit scraps in order to trace the bomb maker. When we were done, I had to wash my clothes five times to get the stench of burned flesh out. Read my blog post here.
Our new friends include, Shinytop, the ghost of an executed thief, who’s imprisoned in a walking stick that was once a branch on his execution tree. Ganhook’s cheeky talking cat. And the fire in Ganhook’s kitchen fireplace that was the last breath of a fire breathing demon that Ganhook slayed. We call it Sparks. Though the fire is friendly enough, it sinks into embers every night at midnight and refuses to rise again before six AM no matter how you poke it. That means cold breakfasts much of the time. And I suppose Ganhook’s beard is a friend too. It’s absorbed so much lavun and so many spells over the centuries, it’s taken on a life of its own.
I even know a general who has fires smouldering in his beard.
Before we started the site, we explained things to Ganhook. There’s no Internet here. They communicate using magic pencils, spirit messengers, and tons of other stuff I don’t understand which makes me feel dumb. But at least Ganhook doesn’t understand how our laptops and smartphones work which, I suspect, makes him feel dumb.
Regardless, Aisling and I felt it was only right to clear the blog with him. He agreed it was okay. Then he tried to tell us how to design it, which was funny. Ganhook’s great at spells and stuff, but he doesn’t understand real technology. Having him decide on blog design is like your cat deciding what you should watch on TV.
I can only write about some things. Others, though, are top secret ‘danger of dreadful death’ if revealed, secret.
I can tell how I inhaled a deadly fever spirit, and a healer coaxed it out of with a sponge moss, trapped it in a bottle, and gave it to me as a souvenir. Or how they have developed electricity, but cannot use it in heavily populated places because it will attract hungry electrical storms. Or how the western borders of Dunari are being swallowed up by a predatory forest called the Wrecking Woods that nobody knows how to stop.
Well, I’d better go now. There’s a storm tearing at the world outside. Rumours say it’s a minor spirit storm. I doubt it. Ganhook says that all the angry, tormented things that dwell in spirit storms don’t like cities. Too many spires and towers to snag on. Too many walls to get flattened against.
So, if you really, genuinely, honestly, wholeheartedly want to learn more about Aisling, Me, Ganhook, and the world of Dunari, check out my BLOG and sign up for Aisling’s monthly newsletter.
They call me a Dawnhunter. Ironic. I’ve never liked getting up early.