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    [Dasher] LAW-DM-02 The Jade Crown

    Dustin "Dasher" Montgomery

    [Dasher] LAW-DM-02 The Jade Crown.
    By Darrel Vanwinkle (Lord Pouchlaw)
    January 01, 2018

    Chapter One

    .
    Montgomery Estate; West Hollywood, California; Planet Earth.
    .
    Darren Montgomery asked, "What exactly was that, Dustin?"

    Dasher while still holding the iron machete stepped back over to stand with his parents, Darren and Alicia. "That was a demon lord, dad. They are after something I found that I no longer have. It was a magical patch of fur which permits them to teleport across worlds and dimensions. When I had a priest out here blessing my estate house last night, I showed him the patch of fur and he said he would dispose of it properly back at the Catholic church. So I no longer have the thing the demons are looking for. But they don't know that, dad."

    Darren crossed his arms over his chest and said, "Nice try, Dustin. Unless you forgot, I have to deal with lying actors and actresses back at the studios every single day. What's the real story; tell me the truth and I won't punish you."

    And this is why I should never try to craft a safe story to use for my family's benefit. My dad has to put up with liars at work and when one of his kids tells a fib, he doesn't buy it for a second. I took my parents back inside my estate house where I put the machete back on the wall and I prepared myself some breakfast as I told them the whole truth while utilizing some magic as proof and changing into my reindeer man form to add credibility to my story. When I finished and was sitting down to have breakfast, my parents stood there in silence. But I had shown them my reindeer man form and used some magic that my sister didn't even know as yet. I wasn't sure what was going through their minds at this point.

    Dasher's mother, Alicia, then said, "So the Dragon God of Rale, Arakoth, kept the patch of fur and that is why you don't have it anymore."

    Dasher replied, "That's right. And just before you knocked on my door this morning, the Archon Lion known as Daniel a high priest of Harmony blessed my entire home to protect me from the forces of evil here on Earth. But when you guys knocked on the door, Daniel went back to Rale fast. If a demon even so much as tries to enter my house now, they will feel like they are burning and will be in agony."

    Darren said, "And in Rale, you are Dasher the Seeker. Can your reindeer fly like most other magical reindeer do?"

    Dasher switched to his War Reindeer form once again and he had his father sit on his back and then he began floating inside the house and flying from room to room before returning to the kitchen where he let his father get off and then changing back into his human form again and resuming the eating of his breakfast. "I would have to say yes, I can fly."

    Alicia said, "I assume your new friends want you to come visit when you can, right?"

    Dasher replied as he finished up his breakfast. "Yes. But please keep in mind, regardless of how long I spend in Rale, only one hour passes here on Earth. And yes, modern conveniences do work in Rale despite the place being a magical world."

    Darren then said, "Then there is something you can do for us while you are there. If I give you a miniature solar powered camcorder with an extensive life video storage unit, could you fly around their capital city and video tape a random every day life tour of the city to bring back to us for production purposes?"

    Dasher replied as he was washing his dishes, "I can ask Lord Hart for his permission to film the capital city. I know it is a request that no one has ever made before."

    Darren said, "Do this for me and you can spend as long as you like with your new friends."

    Dasher smiled. "Its a deal, dad."

    Darren said, "I will go fetch the camera unit for you, son." And he headed back to the main house to get the camera.

    Alicia remarked, "Don't tell your father I suggested this, Dustin, but when you first cross back over to Rale, cast a detect evil spell on the camera just to be on the safe side. I don't want you to endanger your new friends. If it passes the test then you can continue to do as your father asks."

    His mother then departed the house right quick but she returned easily before his father had a chance to return. She then handed over a small book to Dasher and said, "Pocket this and then have your magic user friends read through this book and see if they can learn anything from it."

    Dasher quickly pocketed the book just as his father came back into the estate house.

    "Here you go, son," said Darren. "One fully prepared camera for your filming job in Rale. As we agreed upon, spend as much time as you like with your friends in Rale."

    Dasher could see right away that this was not a cheap model camera; this was one of his father's executive camera units for filming on the go. He had always wanted to play with one of these cameras but he never wanted to take a chance of breaking one since he knew the price tag was way up there. "We should have the family pool cleaned before anyone chooses to swim in it. A demon lord was in that water. Since my dishes are washed, I will change forms and head over to Rale right now. For now, you both should get to work. I don't want you to lose your jobs." And after he made sure his parents were out of his estate house. He locked the door from the inside and then he went into his bedroom and stepped into the walk-in closet.

    "I hope mom is wrong about this camera. I have always wanted to play with one of dad's mini-cameras." And then he transformed into his War Reindeer form as he cast the Detect Evil spell on the camera while still on Earth. When the camera lit up with a red light, Dasher sighed as he disposed of the camera in the trash compactor. "All yours, Darth Vader."
    .
    End of Chapter One

    #2
    Chapter Two
    .
    The Walled City of Centralia
    Throne Room of the Heart Order
    .

    .
    Dasher greeted Daniel and the others before asking, "What was the blessing you placed upon my house, Daniel?"

    Daniel replied, "It prevents evil spells from being cast within your house if the target is specifically you. That is the exact parameters of the blessing. It will also make evil beings burn if they try to enter your house. Why do you ask?"

    Dasher then explained how he had to reveal what he had been up to in front of his parents and it seemed that his father was being mind controlled by the demons. He then explained the evil camera trap that his father had handed him and how his mother suspected there may be something wrong with the camera. "That is why I was asking, Daniel. Dad was too eager to surrender one of his 'touch my camera and die' cameras to one of his own children, me specifically, and the action made my mother suspicious." He then pulled the pocket book out of his pants pocket and handed it over to Lord Naidra. "My mother asked me to have the magic users to read over this book and see if you guys can learn anything from it. I assume it is a magic book of some sort that my mom has had on her side of the family for some time."

    Naidra cast Detect Evil on the book and it detected nothing. Then he opened the book and made a face. "What language is this? I will need some time with this to figure it out."

    Dasher then asked, "Any word from Bender and the others yet? I know they headed up to Tibor North."

    Daniel replied, "From what Harmony is telling me, they are still breaking through the ice but Bender's suspicions on the location seems to be partially true; there is a city frozen under the ice on the mesa."

    Dasher said, "I am looking forward toward going on another adventure with Comet and the others, if I am not too late, that is."

    Hart then said, "You are not too late. They are preparing for an outing right now. I am sure they would love to have you traveling with them."

    Dasher was escorted to the chamber where Comet and the others were making sure their supply packs had everything they needed for the latest adventure. Comet smiled when he saw Dasher entering the chamber. "Hey! My favorite adventurer! I am so glad to see you, Dasher! Ready to go on a new adventure with us?"

    "If you will let me come along... I function better when I get to hang out with you guys."

    I then explained to Brimpaw about the magic book that my mother had me give to Naidra since that was part of my agreement with the Rale Magic Users; any spell I learned of on Earth, I had to share with them when I returned to Rale. Comet, Brimpaw, Diamondfang and Eclipsa really loved the idea of my being with them during their newest upcoming adventure. I would soon learn that I wasn't going to be the only one accompanying these guys on their trip.

    As Comet, Brimpaw, Diamondfang, Eclipsa, and Dasher emerged from the palace grounds to begin their journey, they were joined by Freddy, Joseph, Daniel, and that elephant barbarian known as Khan. Yes, the one with the god-slayer axes. Freddy said, "We are not going to do your jobs for you, friends; we are coming along to combat any evil demons you may encounter." Diamondfang grinned at Khan. "Sadly, I am the only useless fighter in the party, Khan. I only call it useless for your benefit. In addition to being a holy knight, I also have healing skills as well." Khan smirked. "As long as none of you are a god, I have no complaints. I still like Bender and Jimmy."

    Comet then said, "The treasure item we are going after is called the Jade Crown. It was once worn by a legendary Lion Druid whom was more the ranger than the nature priest. Legend says that the crown can make plants and soil do as the wearer commands. Word reached Nadira recently that rumors of the Crown were floating around Northern Easterna near the village of Applebrook. And from the name alone, you can guess what food they have in abundance there." Khan smiled. "I love apples."

    Dasher then made what he felt was a wise statement. "If a druid owned this crown, then I suspect that it was not made of precious metals or gems. It would have been made of wood or plant materials. Or did I get the information incorrect based off of what you people just said about the crown and the former owner?"

    Freddy remarked, "It is an astute observation as would be another old Earth observation: All that glitters is not gold."

    Eclipsa moaned, "Tell me you didn't ruin all of Rayne's fun in the old days with the way you are harping about currently..."

    Joseph laughed. "No, but we did prevent him from embarrassing himself for all those times he tried to acquire what turned out to be fools gold."

    Freddy remarked honestly. "In the old days, Joseph and I were quite naive. The adventurers had to rescue us from all manner of weird to humans instances."

    Joseph then said, "One of the worst naive things that I got stuck in was through my own stubborn procrastination. I wouldn't choose a religion which made me an open target to the demons when they were sure that Freddy was the legendary warrior reborn. That stubborn issue is why I am stuck in wolf form right now. At least like this, I don't have to wear pink panties anymore. And no more pink My Little Pony cellphones, either."

    Freddy said, "A few of Arakaoth's priests stopped working on me when I almost died once. They said they didn't have my deity's permission to resurrect me from the death wound that had been inflicted on me. So these religions can be a help or a hindrance at the stupidest times. What is it that is making it so hard for you to choose one, Dasher?"
    .
    End of Chapter Two

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      #3
      Chapter Three
      .
      Dasher made a face as he replied, "Whenever I look over the deity listings, about the moment I find one that sounds good in the preliminary description, I usually find a disadvantage near the bottom of the description. And as Hart and Lucinda both said back at the palace, we should be careful in our choices since you are stuck with a god once you choose one."

      Comet asked, "What kind of deity are you hoping to find, Dasher old buddy?"

      Dasher replied, "One whom may be fun to be associated with and whom would be a great aid to my magical scout education. I've found three that almost match the criteria but then they have a nasty flaw listed near the bottom of their descriptions. Dalus the Delver, a donkey treasure seeker - his flaw is that the worshiper must sport the ears and tail of a donkey for a year after first joining the religion; Claimater the Mage, a fun loving clay mud otter - his flaw is that the joiner must wallow in clay mud for twenty-four hours and then let it dry upon their bodies. I don't want to be that messy; and third was Ruber the Seeker, a pale red kangaroo/fox hybrid - his flaw is that he demands that his followers permit him to get them pregnant once a year and while pregnant, the follower must stay in the god's lair while learning the sacred tenets. The pregnancy lasts for three months. I'd be out of action if I chose him as my divine choice. I haven't found any other possibilities as yet. The book is rather lop-sided in regards to a human choosing one of those listed within."

      Freddy remarked, "Exactly the reasons why it took me as long as it did for me to choose the reindeer sun god as my deity when the moon goddess of the wolves permitted me to trade off to a deity that may suit my profession better. It is rare for a deity to permit a follower that choice."

      Dasher then said, "You're a scout, Comet. Whom is your deity?"

      Comet blushed. "I chose a deity before I knew that I was going to be a scout. If I would have access to the book you had, I would have been a little smarter. I'm stuck with Fletcher Two-stripe. Another scout that I admired had him as his deity and I was thinking, Sounds like a hunting deity. So I went to the temple and told the priest there that I wanted to follow Fletcher so I could be a great hunter. An initiate pulled me aside and tried to tell me that Fletcher wasn't a hunting god. But since the scout I admired followed the god, I chose not to listen to the initiate. Fletcher Two-Stripe is a male skunk whom oversees the creation of feathered headdresses. When I ultimately found that out, I was floored. I tried to kill myself by throwing myself into the chasm of impaling rocks. A traveler found me there and took me to the closest temple. It was a neutral house dedicated to Gaeon. When I awoke and saw that giant wooden horseshoe over the alter. I wasn't sure where I was. I was bandaged up securely. The Druid therein asked me whom my chosen deity was so they could ask for their permission to heal me. At first I feigned amnesia by saying that I couldn't remember. Then the druid said that only an herbalist could heal me unless the god I had chosen gave another religion permission to heal the follower. I was there for nearly a month before one of the soldiers from the unit I was part of found me in the temple and identified me to the druid. He told the druid whom I had chosen on choosing day and when asked, Fletcher told the druid that I should suffer for lying about my chosen deity to a religious icon. At that point, I felt as Khan feels toward all religions. So I said that I was tricked into choosing his useless religion."

      "I woke up two weeks later in a dank cavern smelling like I had been sprayed by a male skunk in rut. It took a year for the stuff to finally wear off. My unit mates wouldn't let me enter the training grounds while I smelled like that. Abashed, I tried to commit suicide a second time. I figured that there was no way a traveler would be lucky a second time to find me, so I tied a rock around my neck and jumped off of a bridge over the Glacier River. I was taken far downstream and over a waterfall. When I woke up the next time, Fletcher was standing there with that 'look' on his muzzle. He told me that if I died, then I would be stuck in his court with no hope at all doing nasty chores for disrespecting him since I had chosen him. So I growled, Why does a headdress maker have the name of someone that makes arrows? That is what fooled me into choosing your religion! And as a Scout, I think your occupation is the most worthless, most useless occupation that I have ever encountered since it doesn't help a soldier at all. That is when he pulled me close to his nose as he told me that he has warriors whom serve him and none of them think that his sphere of control is worthless. Then he smiled a little as if another god popped the idea of a punishment into his head in regards to me. He told me that in order to earn his forgiveness, I had to go into Centralia and do a job for Lord Hart for no reward. If I failed at what he was asking, then I would change into a skunk myself moments before losing the support of his religion. And no one else would be able to restore me to normal since I was being so hateful toward him. And I told him that if I failed, then it would be likely that an enemy of the South would have killed me and then his punishment would mean nothing."

      "I broke loose from his grip but before I could leave, I stumbled and fell to the ground. That's when I saw that he had placed a skunk's tail on my reindeer body. Since I wasn't used to the new weight and balance of the thing, It made me fall on the ground. That's when he told me that I could choose to do as he asked and have my normal tail back or I could become a skunk entirely at that second moments before being teleported into the middle of his enemy's encampment. His enemy hated skunks. He told me that if I could defeat or kill his enemies as a skunk, then he would give me the chance to change religions, but other gods likely wouldn't want an immature whiny baby as a follower. Then I told him that I would do the job for Lord Hart, but I did ask him where his enemy's encampment was. He told me moments before he sent me back to the trade route that would lead to the South. I went and found a skunk and I paid him to spray me from antler tip to cloven hoof while I held my breath. Then I paid him and I went directly to the enemy encampment where I got into a Hell of a fight. His enemies were a tribe of violent boars. I somehow held my own against the lesser troops and then the chieftain emerged from his tent and he attacked me with a glowing battle sword. Just as I thought that I was a goner, I tripped on something and fell backward and when he went to pounce on top of me with the sword tip aimed at my head. I raised up my own substandard sword and... he impaled himself on the blade. The rest of the boars fled when their chieftain fell to my blade. I took the Boar's enchanted battle blade to the temple of Fletcher whereupon the priest therein nearly gagged on my new aroma. I smelled like a combination of rank skunk and filthy boar. I laid the battle blade on the altar and said that Fletcher wanted it."

      "I then departed and as I headed off to see if I could get myself clean and non-scented, Fletcher and Buscovf, his enemy, appeared in front of me and they both belted me in the face. Fletcher said that I disgusted him. Buscovf said that it was he that had suggested the Lord Hart quest as a punishment. Then he said that some reindeer were too immature to simply go and do a simple task. I then rolled over and said that if Fletcher had been true to his name then I wouldn't have felt underhandedly deceived into joining his useless burlesque wearing religion. Buscovf laughed his ass off and Fletcher attacked the boar right there. He mentally told me that he would deal with me later. While they were fighting, I slipped away to get my journey started. I did learn something in my scout training. But I guess I am royally screwed in the god department. I still hear Fletcher occasionally in my mind despite my never setting a hoof into any of his temples since that last time. And now you know of my damnation and torture over choosing the wrong religion."

      Khan then petted on the reindeer's head. "You see. Religion is stupid." And then he stepped away to continue his trek along the trail only to slip on a patch of wet ground and fall head-first into a foul smelling dung heap just off side of the trail they were traveling on.
      .
      End of Chapter Three

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        #4
        Chapter Four
        .
        Standing just ahead of the party in the middle of the path was Fletcher. "Insulting religion is not a good way to get out of it. I have another task for you, Comet. Since you are going there anyway... I need the feather of a winged Pyrolisk. Do this for me and you will be one task closer toward getting out of my religion. Or... you can stink instead. Like your friend the shit-eating elephant."

        Dasher then said, "It is a wonder you have any followers at all skunk boy. You say that Comet insulted you, then you turn around and insult other mortals as if to display that you are no more mature than he is."

        Fletcher then lifted a hand to throw a divine spell before stopping dead cold in mid motion as what appeared to be a sharp axe blade emerged from his chest apparently having come from behind him. As the formerly divine skunk fell dead, standing just behind where he had been standing was Khan looking none too pleased. "One less god."

        Freddy sighed. "I am sure the demons are laughing their asses off now. You are not going to be very popular, Khan. Arakoth was watching; I know you aren't afraid of him, but killing gods will not make the world any better or safer from demons. Now lets see about getting you cleaned up so we don't have to smell that all the way to the ranger's grove."

        Arakoth the Dragon God was then standing there with Starshine the Magic of Hope, Elderon the Fox, Warrior of the Shining Blades, and Harmony, the Lion of Knowledge. "The ladies are still breaking open the lost northern city. Khan... we were permitting you to keep those axes to deal punishment upon evil forces. Fletcher was not evil; despite Comet thinking else-wise."

        Comet said, "So you weren't listening when he asked me to get the feather from a winged Pyrolisk? I am not stupid, Arakoth. I know what a Pyrolisk is. It is the flame version of a basilisk. Fletcher was sending me to be turned to stone. Khan WAS right; Religion is nothing but trouble!"

        Arakoth then said, "But you trust Diamondfang and he is my paladin."

        Comet growled, "So resurrect his lame ass and ask him why he was sending to a place to get stoned!"

        Elderon said, "It is generally not healthy to growl at a god, Comet. Especially one whom can flatten you with his fat ass."

        Arakoth then shot a dirty look at Elderon whom simply deflected what ever flew at him which then split a nearby tree in half.

        Dasher said, "Again with the unnecessary immature behavior. This will make choosing a god harder for me since the gods are coming across as children."

        Harmony and Starshine worked on reviving Fletcher, a feat that could only be done once on a God. "Careful, colleague. We just revived you; now you owe the council of Harmony for bringing you back. But we do have a question for you. Why were you sending Comet off to a monster that could turn him to stone?"

        Fletcher slowly sat up. "You let a barbarian keep enchanted Artifact god slaying axes that were empowered by the gods themselves?! Are you people out of your minds?! Had Comet been thinking like a warrior should, I never said he had to confront a living Pyrolisk. I just need one of the feathers. Even a court jester could have figured that one out. I guess he doesn't really want out of my religion which he chose himself. No one tricked him into choosing me. In fact, one of my own initiates tried to warn him before he joined and he signed up anyway. I am a Merchant god, obviously, but I cannot let a follower down-talk the religion since he willingly made the choice. If Baby Comet wants out of my religion, all he has to do is craft a feathered headdress out of Uncommon to Rare feathers with the rarest ones positioned at the top. The day he does this and presents it to one of my altars, I will permit him to switch religions. His freedom in exchange for the headdress. Fair enough, right?"

        Arakoth glanced at Freddy, whom spoke up at that point. "Do you swear upon your mature rights of a god that this deal you are speaking in front of other gods to Comet will not be reneged? And you will do nothing to impede his journey to make this headdress so he can be free of your religion? If you are serious, then swear it upon your soul."

        Fletcher growled, "I don't have to swear anything to a stupid mortal!"

        Freddy then exclaimed, "So you admit that his task is simply another immature punishment that you dreamed up to teach Comet a lesson!"

        Arakoth nodded his head. "Freddy has a point, he asked you if you would swear upon your mature rights. And when you refused, you proved that this was simply another childish display to get revenge on the mortal that made the boar battle god laugh at you. You are as immature as they are claiming. I swear... some gods need to be back in their diapers."

        Starshine spent the polite moment to get all of the nasty off of Khan. Arakoth then said, "You people continue your journey; we will deal with Baby Fletcher."

        The mortal adventurers moved on past where the gods were going to lecture the divine skunk. After a while, Diamondfang said, "I was letting Arakoth know everything that was going down from the moment Fletcher attacked Khan to the moment Khan returned the favor. Although, perhaps you should still make the headdress so you can finally be free of the religion. A fresh new start as it were." Comet said, "Like I have a choice."

        Dasher grinned. "I wonder what the Rale Gods would think of Christianity?" Freddy replied, "Careful, Dasher... I mentioned that to Harmony himself once and he said that the gods would fight to retain their omnipotence. There are no humans on Rale save for a small community that Hart's Minotaur mentor is protecting. Mine and Joseph's parents are with them. Joseph's parents are the ones whom wanted a daughter. I believe they have one now. And Joseph gets to stay with the rest of us now." Joseph grinned. "I never have to worry about pink ever again. But you really should choose a decent god so you have some divine protection from demons. You know the demons are going to be after you. That's why Freddy and I are here."
        .
        End of Chapter Four

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