Friendship And Other Things, by Oren the Otter

Story name: Friendships and Other Things
Author: Oren the Otter

Date: During the Summer Solstice festival, mid-June 706 CR
Location: Metamor Keep (Summer Solstice booths, Oren's tower)

Overview

Oren tends to his stand at the Festival, chats with Charles, and makes an embarrassing mistake towards Caroline.

Summary

Oren has set up a stand at the Summer Festival, selling ale and a non-alcoholic Hipoccian brew. Charles approaches and tries some of his brew, while Oren gives him some dubious advice. Oren engages Charles in a short game of Ricosticks, when Gornul shows up and Oren has him watch his stand.

Oren takes a walk to his tower, and wonders to himself why he is building it. Caroline appears and compliments its beauty, and introduces herself. She tells him that he is the talk of the Keep, and Oren abashedly admits he doesn't feel like he fits in. Caroline strokes him and says that the Duke likes him, and she does too. Oren misinterprets her remark and kisses her, and Caroline quickly jumps back, saying that she is Misha's girl. Oren bangs his head against the wall, and says that he is destined to be alone. Caroline assures him that he is attractive, and would certainly have snatched him up if not for Misha. She promises that they can still be friends, and they rejoin the festival arm in arm.

A heavily injured man in black readies a blow gun at Oren, when his antimagic charm blocking the Curse suddenly rusts away. The Curse hits him full force, removing his injuries and changing his body into a woman's. Shamgar spots her, and the two flirt with each other, the woman in black having forgotten her mission, and they walk off together.

Characters

Main characters:

  • Oren: A half-otter human from Hipocc, the "Childlike Warrior" in the Song of the Childlike Warrior.

Supporting:

  • Charles: A headmaster of the Writer's Guild, the "Rat of Might" in Felix's prophecy. He is currently competing in the summer tournament.
    • Oren fears becoming too friendly with him; although Oren and Charles are both mentioned in the Song of the Childlike Warrior, Felix's prophecy did not mention Oren, indicating either that Oren will remain obscure or will die before Felix's prophecy is fulfilled.
  • Caroline: An otter morph, and Misha's girlfriend. She and Oren become fast friends.

Minor characters:

  • Igor: An old man who is a child morph. He tries and enjoys Oren's brew.
  • Gornul: Oren's friend, a dragonette who speaks in pictures. Gornul takes over Oren's stand while he checks his tower.
  • The man in black: An assassin from Devil's Strand. He has been trying to kill Oren for weeks, and was badly bruised and injured from his past attempts. He wore an antimagic charm around his chest to prevent the curse. The charm is unable to withstand Metamor's magic anymore and rusts away. The man receives the transgender curse and falls in love with Shamgar the rhino.
  • Shamgar: A rhino morph. He meets the man in black immediately after her change, and invites her on a date.

Important mention:

  • Bradfox: A guard with ambiguous gender. S'he wants Oren's tower for stargazing.
  • Achin: A dog morph. He bit Oren during a wrestling match with him, and became violently ill from the antimagic in Oren's blood, and supposedly had cravings for fish.

Referenced:

  • Duke Thomas: The Ruler of Metamor Keep, the "Horse-King" in Felix's Prophecy.
  • Phil: A headmaster of the Writer's Guild, the "Hare of White" in Felix's prophecy.
  • Misha: Caroline's boyfriend.

Locations

  • Oren's tower is now almost 9 stories tall. Oren plans to make the 10th story larger than the 9th, with lots of windows.

Story Connections

  • A later story, Left Out, is explicitly noted to have taken place before this story. This is why Oren vaguely recognizes Caroline's name.
  • Oren's tower was last seen in In the Tower. It was only 4 stories tall then; Bradfox mentions that s'he has recruited volunteers to speed up construction.
  • The man in black previously appeared in Heart-is-True and In the Tower.

Points of interest

  • Oren's brew is cold, black and fizzy, and is based on a drink in Hipocc.
    • The Hipoccian version has antimagic powder mixed in, which Oren omits, as antimagic is poisonous to non-Hipocci.
  • Oren advises Charles to watch out for leg and groin attacks in the tournament. Note that, in Stepping Up to Destiny, Charles's role in the tournament is not in facing opponents, but in catching rings on his lance.
  • Ricosticks is a game local to Hipocc. Players bounce a stick against a wall and try to catch it as it returns.
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