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Ancient Oz

Chapter 7: No Place Like Home

by Ann Broomhead

New Blood Logs:

Tom Noon's Tale


In Chaos

Voyages of the Nones



Mother Goose Chase

Ancient Oz


Adventures of the Munch

Lanthil & Beyond

We see that the Wizard is unharmed. It's time to be off. We return to the Quadling village, leaving the dust of the Wicked Witch of the... (Check compass.) South South West to be scattered by the winds. There are now songbirds happy to announce our passage; we catch glimpses of their finery, pink, red, orange and brown. The wogglebugs share our path for a while, before peeling off (with great flare) to return to their home.

The Quadlings are surprised to see us, but are quite happy about our return. The same people who fed us before insist on hosting an early supper for us. Every Quadling family in the village comes, and brings a casserole. It's a wonderful meal, enlivened by our narration of our little adventure. Each of us played a part, and each of us must repeat his or her story several times, to gasps of horror, admiration, and delight. We introduce our newly-found friend, Oscar, and he is as entertaining as the rest of us put together. Gannar teaches everyone a little song to celebrate the death of the witch.

We are offered floorspace for the night, and we take it. The dragon gets a barn, and the mobile vegetation is presented with its own dungheap. In the morning, we gently explain to Daphne that we cannot take her tree with us. She understands and comforts herself with the thought that the tree does not really want a life of adventuring. She offers it to the townspeople, perhaps to be planted as a memorial to these past events. They agree.

We partake of breakfast with the community, then finally say our good-byes and head back into the forest. We come to the edge of the Mangaboos' (Rose People's) territory and stop. We spot the Mangaboo guard, and then, with a rustle, there is a double row of guards at the edge of the forest path.

"May we pass?" asks Envoy Kate, trying not to smile.

"As agreed," is the response.

We walk through their woods, admiring their vegetation (especially their strange rose garden off to the right) and their wildlife. The squirrels and chipmunks gather on the branches to watch us pass. The pixie asks them about any remaining kalidahs. The furry creatures announce excitedly that they are all gone. Our Mangaboo escort explains, "News gets around."

Daphne and Oscar their heads together on the best method for keeping the kalidahs away. They elect to use rumors. She has the trees tell slow rumors of our exploits and of our intended return. The Wizard give the squirrels the same information and repeats it to new audiences of wildlife from time to time.

When we reach the dead kalidahs, Salimar collects ten front claws, to make into a necklace. By late afternoon, we have reached the shores of Lake Quad. We are in a much better frame of mind than when we left the area. Kate leads us to the location of the clock, and Glinda de-glamours it. Carefully, we move it back, and reposition it on its dent in the sod.

This time we shrink the dragon a bit so that he doesn't overlap as much. We arrange ourselves around the clock, the Wizard presses the button, and we zip forward through the days and seasons.

Our time machine stops, and we find ourselves facing Omby Amby, . the Soldier with the Green Whiskers, and Tik-Tok. Behind them is a healthy-looking crew of young men and women in green and purple outfits, with "WU" inscribed on their jackets. They are the contingent from Wobblebug University that was helping to guard our spot.

Everyone mouths an "Oooooo" of wonder as we arrive.

"Is all well?" asks Omby Amby.

"Yes," says the Wizard, stepping forward so that he can clearly be seen by everyone.

The Soldier summons vehicles for us, and Tik-Tok asks for the Ozoplane be sent to pick up the clock. The vehicles turn out to be Scallywagons, cars with turrets containing organic eyes. We distribute ourselves between them and return to the Emerald City, with the full-sized dragon gliding along above us.

We arrive at the palace to find Dorothy and Ozma heading a crowd that cheers us, and cheers the Wizard even more loudly. We finally have the banquet we were expecting on the day of our arrival. Ozma gives a gracious speech of thanks, while the Wizard gives a fulsome one. At least it is brief. We describe our adventures to our tablemates, and in general we pass a pleasant but uneventful evening. Robbie makes a point of telling H. M. Wogglebug about meeting his ancestors, and the beetle exclaims that he will have to look up the old tales and examine them closely.

After dinner, Glinda leads the Wizard and Kate off for some private conversation. The talk is of time travel. Glinda learns a great deal from the Wizard, and then she gives him an earful. He takes it.

Dorothy drags Daphne to the Magic Picture room. They locate the Quadling village. The road is the same, and some buildings are new, but it is essentially unchanged. The pixie happily points out a giant tree which had not been there before, and a nearby plinth with worn writing. Careful examination enables them to decipher the inscription. "This Tree was Planted to Commemorate the Destruction of a Wicked Witch."

We sleep well. In the morning, the Envoy of Lanthil and Princess Ozma engage in diplomatic matters. It is agreed that the exchange of embassies will have to be discussed with the Silver Council, but no one expects any problems. Salimar suggests that Oz might be interested in a relationship with her principal, KaiSen.

Glinda meets with Daphne, and is shown the plant animation process learned from the Oakleys. Glinda is immediately struck by how unlike the "powder of life" this process is. We all come to realize that Oz has a 'technological' approach to magic, which is very different from the more 'naturalistic' methods we are used to. This technological approach is used to great effect by Glinda and the Wizard. Ozma, on the other hand, works differently; we can tell that she is a true creature of Faerie.

Later in the morning, we emerge from the palace to enjoy the Emerald City. Our dragon is pleasantly startled to meet Evangeline, a two-headed dragon (Eva and Angeline). They spend time together at the ice cream shop she frequents. We settle down to do some shopping. Some of it is practical, such as the meat glue for treating traumatic injury and the thermos of "water" for treating burns. Some of it is personal, like the pixie's giant green bow. There are gifts, foremost of which is the portable shower for Tom and the Emerald Metaphor.

The Wizard gives us some altitude pills, that will help us survive in thin air. Robbie consumes an Ozography pill, and indeed learns an atlas-full of information about the Land of Oz.

Dafnord decides he wants some clothing as a souvenir -- a dress suit in the Emerald City style. He asks some Emerald Citizens and is soon directed to "The Turn Style," a tailor shop run by one Jenny Jump. Her shop has mannequins in the window, but no changing rooms and no racks of clothes. Just a post with four arms, in the middle of the floor, the arms laden with push-buttons.

Dafnord describes his desired suit to her, and she quickly sketches it before his eyes on a pad of paper. When all the details are right, she goes to the post and pushes buttons, then tells Dafnord to walk through the, ah, turn-stile.

He obeys and finds he is wearing the suit he described -- all emerald-green satin, with ruffled lace at throat and cuffs, a swallow-tail jacket, and boots with turn-over tops and gold buckles jeweled with emeralds. And the hat. Oh, my, yes, the hat. Peaked and broad-brimmed, like a traditional witch or wizard's hat, but all in green, with little gold bells around the rim. It's a dress hat, after all.

Jenny hands him the gloves and green silk handkerchiefs that go with it, along with the neatly-wrapped brown paper package containing his previous clothes.

Fallataal, meanwhile, has sought out a jeweler, looking for distinctive jewelry. He gets it in the form of semi-animated bracelets and necklaces, gold and silver, jewel-encrusted, snakes and lizards that happily curl around your wrist or neck and otherwise take care of themselves. Fine sourvenirs and trade-goods. But payment is a problem. The jeweler won't take any. Oz doesn't use money, and the jeweler read all about our daring rescue of the Wizard in the daily Ozmopolitan, and feels he's merely showing appropriate gratitude.

This embarasses Fallataal, who finds a solution by ducking out, looking up Salimar, and returning with some conjured octarine gem-stones, which the jeweler is ecstatic over.

Then Dafnord walks in, looking for accessories. The sight of him in his new suit inspires Fallataal to go to the Turn Style and get a Silver Service uniform made for himself, in the blue and while colors of the service, with crenellated borders. Dafnord, meanwhile, buys and animated beetle brooch, then goes back and gets himself a Silver Service uniform, too. Jenny is more than happy to be paid in octarine silk scarves.

Daphne, meanwhile, has gone shopping at a garden center. The proprietor is only mildly surprised to have a pixie as customer. And pleased. (He reads the Ozmopolitan, too.) She acquires seeds that ought to grow into amusing things -- such as the fur tree, the marshmallow bush, and the ladyslippers -- and in return, in the course of a long chat about arborculture, gives a magical healing to a couple of young trees that were languishing in his nursery, along with some advice about soil types.

We have now been in the Emerald City a few weeks, shopping, taking lessons in magic and humbugging, and generally relaxing. But we feel it's time to go. We must select a destination. Ozma can teleport us to almost anywhere on Earth, or to any Oz embassy in any arcane realm, or a wide selection of places in nearby Terran Space. On finding out that she can send us to Pericles, on Hellene, we decide to go there.

We pack our bags, assemble in the throne room before Ozma and her court, wave farewell, and, suddenly we are in a shady corner of a park in Pericles.

Updated: 7-Oct-06
©2002,2005 Ann Broomhead and Earl Wajenberg. All Rights Reserved.

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