Princess Simiel Buduar, the supreme ruler of Hypnosia, sat by a window in her excessively opulent bedroom. As Simiel looked out into the night-time scenery of Hypnosia's capital Anonymous, her mind was ablaze with the sort of things that people of her considerable regal status often think about.
"Gods, I have to do something about this window... Serafyr!"
Simiel turned towards the door and saw an unusually red-faced Serafyr Halfdrake enter. The dashing semi-reptilian warrior was gasping; most likely he had run from the other end of the Castle of Anonymous; a structure that made Gormenghast look like an outhouse.
"You... called... for... me... beloved?" Serafyr said between gulps of air.
"Yeah. Take a look at this window and tell me what you think."
Serafyr straightened his posture and looked at the window. Then he arched his brow and looked a little closer.
Finally he gasped. "By the Firepits of Draakoa! This is terrible!"
"Tell me about it," Simiel said.
"What kind of twisted fiend could have caused this?"
"I think it was the room's designer."
Serafyr gave Simiel an odd look. "What are you talking about?"
"The window. These pointed segmental frames are so two centuries ago."
"Now that you mention it..." Serafyr quickly shook his head. "That is really not why I was so shocked."
"What could be more important than my window?" Simiel asked, not following Serafyr's heroic logic; a logic that had been noticeably skewed by years of gallantry.
"Have you not noticed anything strange out there?"
"Not really. Though those paparazzi are more persistent than usual. They should know by now that I never change my clothes in this room." Simiel went to the window, opened it, and shouted at the suspiciously mobile bushes below, "I've told you guys a million times, either you stalk me at the west wing or I'll sic the griffins on you!"
There were some disgruntled murmurs and shuffling within the bushes as they sneaked away towards the western wing of the Castle.
"So you have not noticed that one of the moons is missing?" Serafyr said.
"Huh?" Simiel turned her gaze to the sky. "Red, green... Hey, you're right. Where's the blue moon?"
Among the more sci-fi oriented societies, the planet of Imaginaarium is noted as being a trilunar world. Though such terms were not generally used in Hypnosia since one of the first statements made by Simiel after she began her reign was that sci-fi was "really nerdy" and not something to be associated with the ultra trendy image of the country and its ruler. Ironically, Simiel had no objection with the technological advances brought on by Hypnosia's brief venture to science fantasy. When the media had pointed that out, the princess had issued a decree saying that as a ruler she had the right to contradict herself.
Simiel thought about the night's latest event. The loss of an essential astronomical object would not reflect well on her publicity. Most definitely not something she needed; her position was stressful enough without vanishing moons.
Simiel arose from the cushioned windowsill and walked over to Serafyr. "Is there supposed to be an eclipse tonight or something?"
"None that I am aware of."
A scary suspicion crawled up from some dark and dusty corner of Simiel's mind. She sighed and gave Serafyr a desperate look.
"You don't suppose..."
Serafyr furrowed his brow. "That Azaril has been playing with his Clever Little Alchemist-set again? I would not put it past him."
Simiel let out a very uncharacteristic groan. "Oh, great... Azaril!"
A puff of sparkly smoke appeared in front of Simiel and Serafyr. The sparkles disappeared revealing Azaril, Hypnosia's cutest and deadliest wizard, dressed in a deep green, hooded night robe, clutching a stuffed sea serpent in his arms.
Azaril yawned, his large eyes looked groggily up at Simiel. "What is it?"
"Have you been mixing potions again?" Simiel crossed her arms and stared down at the wizard.
Azaril tilted his head. "No. You told me not to after that time the Crystal Gallery exploded. Serafyr said that he'd tear off my face, if I ever tried making another potion."
Simiel glared at Serafyr. "Haven't I told you that you're not to threaten Azaril with mutilation?"
Serafyr shrugged. "I do beg your pardon, beloved one. But I felt it was appropriate at the time."
Before Simiel could admonish Serafyr further, Azaril's voice piped up, "What's happening?"
"The blue moon is missing."
Azaril's eyes widened. "Really?"
"Go see for yourself." Simiel tilted her head at the window.
Azaril quickly clambered up to the windowsill and pressed his face against the glass. "Wow! It's actually gone."
"What an amazing observation." Serafyr snorted. "You are quite the-"
Simiel gave Serafyr another glare and then turned her attention to Azaril. "Do you have any idea as to what could have caused it?"
"Well, you'd need to have some whopping big magical powers to do it, it's not easy to pull down the moon. But I don't see why anyone would want to steal one in the first place."
"One can never tell how the villainous mind works," Serafyr said. "Perhaps they need the moon for some hideous spell or they are planning on taking over the moons before moving onto the world. All I can say for certain is that, if we let some villain go forth with his despicable scheme, we are all doomed."
Simiel did not like the sound of the word "doomed". She had had several former encounters with the word and the consequences it bore. "Doomed" always meant epic battles, items oozing with power, and obscure prophecies, none of which were on Simiel's list of good things.
"Is there a way for us not to be doomed?"
"There is but one course of action we can take." Serafyr went into full hero mode. "Set forth into the perilous night and find the knave behind this heinous act!"
"Couldn't we have someone else do it?"
"Nay, fair one. We are obligated to do this selfless act ourselves."
Simiel raised an eyebrow, she could feel a headache coming on. "And why is that?"
"For we are heroes! Destined to right the wrongs, to defend the helpless, to-"
"The only hero here is you. I never signed up for any heroisms, I'm just a monarch."
"It's getting past my bedtime," Azaril whined.
"You best head back to your tower then," Serafyr said with a hopeful smile on his handsome face.
"Oh, no you don't," Simiel said. "If you're going to drag me out, then Azaril's coming too."
"But, my beauty... we... he..." Serafyr opened and closed his mouth in a futile attempt to oppose Simiel.
"No buts, Azaril's coming along." Simiel smiled at Azaril. "Right?"
"Okay." Azaril snapped his fingers, and the night robe and stuffed toy were replaced by his usual daytime robes. "But don't blame me, if I'm cranky tomorrow."
"How could I blame you?" Simiel pouted her lips, Azaril was too adorable to be blamed.
"Very well, if you are sure about it, my sweet," Serafyr laughed nervously. "Shall we go?"
Simiel rolled her eyes. "Are you nuts? I'm not going to perform any heroics in this gown. You guys head for the gates, while I go and help those paparazzi make a living."
Azaril evaporated in a cloud of sparkles. Serafyr bowed and swept his cape dramatically over his shoulder before exiting the bedroom.
Simiel made her way to the Castle's west wing, where the royal changing hall was situated. After browsing the latest collection of Coup d'Etat Hero Couture she selected a tight leather number that would make any villain confess while writhing in their vile desires. Simiel admired herself in the mirror while doing her best to ignore the numerous flashes from the paparazzi cameras.
Once Simiel arrived at the main gate, Serafyr stared blatantly at her cleavage. "What a... Um... It is very... It suits you, beloved one."
"If you don't stop being a perv right now, I'll have to kick you. And believe me, with these shoes, it'll hurt the both of us."
Serafyr cleared his throat, composing himself. "For the sake of your fabulous stilettos and my fabulous behind, I shall refrain from giving you any impure looks. Now then, shall we set forth?"
"We better, that moon's not going to return itself to the sky."
As Simiel, Serafyr, and Azaril walked through the gates and headed over the Bridge of Posh, Simiel noticed Azaril looking up at her.
"What is it, Azaril?" Simiel hoped she would not have to threaten Azaril with a kick in the rear like Serafyr.
"You had that operation done."
Simiel's hands unconsciously reached for her unusually pointed ears. "Do you like it?"
Azaril's own large ears swivelled. "They look real enough. But what will you do once the whole elf ears fad goes away?"
"Don't worry, the operation is easy to reverse, I already booked a time to get them changed back in two months." Simiel turned to Serafyr. "Where should we look first?"
"There is only one place where villains are regularly seen in Anonymous, apart from the Castle, the town hall, the School of High Sorcery, the Museum of Power, and the flea market, and that place is The Mad Winemaker; the hottest club in the evil scene."
"Okay. To the Mad Winemaker then."
The heroic trio headed to the seedy east side of Anonymous. Pratchetry was an area known for dagger-wielding murderers, antiheroes, and of course, the mandatory thieves guild which also doubled as the local meeting place for Alchemists Anonymous. Soon, a large sign picturing a leering porcine man loomed before the royal party.
Serafyr turned towards his companions. "I must warn you two, getting into the Mad Winemaker will not be easy. We must-"
"Oh shut up, Serafyr. I'm Princess Simiel, I can get into any club on Imaginaarium. And you yourself should look dangerous enough."
"I shall take that as a compliment, beloved."
At the door the trio were greeted by a gruff half giant dressed in an ill-fitting black suit.
"Are you people on the list?" the doorman asked.
Simiel smirked at the unsightly apparition before her. "Do you know who I am?"
The half giant shrugged. "No, but you're voluptuous enough, so go in."
Simiel let out an indignant squeak. "Just you wait, buster! Tomorrow I'll have your head cut off! I haven't been insulted this much since I last picked up a newspaper."
"You're not the first person to threaten me tonight," the doorman said and looked Serafyr up and down. "Serafyr Halfdrake, didn't think you were going to turn evil so soon."
"I would never-"
Simiel rammed her heel in Serafyr's foot, silencing the warrior before he could begin a virtuous rant.
Azaril moved forward, only to be stopped by the doorman's leg.
The doorman towered over Azaril's pointed hat. "Hold it. Are you of age?"
"I am AN age," Azaril said and batted his huge eyes innocently.
Serafyr sighed. "I shall take care of this." He motioned for the doorman to lean over so that he could whisper something into the half giant’s wax-filled ear.
"What? He is? Really?" The doorman looked down at Azaril in shock and backed away. "Go inside, I don't want any trouble."
"Thank you!" Azaril called out as they entered the club.
"What did you tell him?" Simiel asked Serafyr.
"The truth." Serafyr smiled. "I informed him that this is Azaril Lamentamagicka , the royal court wizard."
"Wow! I'm famous." Azaril clapped his hands and bounced around in glee.
"Infamous would be a far more befitting word. Everyone in the villainous world knows that it is unwise to get in your way."
"Yeah. Because I'm such a bad ass." Azaril levitated himself to sit on a barstool and called the bartender over to him. "Can I have a glass of juice with a colourful umbrella and a straw, please?"
"Yes, extremely bad ass," Simiel commented as Azaril received his juice.
Simiel scanned the club and the assortment of Hypnosia's Least Wanted that were occupying the tables and mingling on the dance floor. Occasionally a fight would break out, and someone would lose a limb, though that happened in pretty much all popular clubs in Anonymous. Nothing good could ensue when a mix of A-list wizards, half-breeds, and adventurers gathered in one place and consumed copious amounts of alcohol or any other inebriating substance they could get their hands on. Simiel had a firm belief that drunken fights must have been written down somewhere in the Cliché Law.
Meanwhile Serafyr had been beating some answers from the club's patrons. Soon every villain was lying sprawled on the floor, the ones who had lost their consciousness from the previous brawls could count themselves lucky.
Shaking his head in frustration, Serafyr returned to Simiel and Azaril. "None of these delinquents will confess to taking the moon. Nor do they seem to know who could have taken it."
Simiel leaned against the counter. "Did you try not beating them unconscious before asking them?"
"They would not tell the truth even if they were conscious."
"Well, you've just beaten the crap out of any possible leads we could have had. We might as well leave."
"As you wish, beloved. Come on, Azaril."
"Can I take the umbrella with me?"
Simiel sighed. "Of course, you can."
Azaril squealed in delight, jumped down from the stool, and followed Simiel and Serafyr out. The doorman was quick to give the trio way as they exited The Mad Winemaker.
After having walked some blocks in the Castle's direction, Simiel's attention was drawn to the sounds of a skirmish going on in an alley ahead of them.
"Hark! Some poor soul is in need of help!" Serafyr declared and charged forward with his Sword of Might raised above his head.
Simiel rolled her eyes and looked down at Azaril who was fiddling around with his tiny paper umbrella. "Come on, we better stop Serafyr before someone chops off his tail."
Just as Serafyr reached the head of the alleyway, two huge ogres were flung across the street. Serafyr's mouth fell open as he beheld the person coming out of the alley. Simiel and Azaril joined the gaping warrior in time to see an exceedingly attractive young woman step into the light of the luminous stone lamps lining the street.
The woman looked at Serafyr and snorted. "What brings you to the wrong side of the bridge?"
Serafyr's pose stiffened. "Terrin, what a pleasant surprise."
Terrin Halfdrake wiped at her chain mail bikini absentmindedly. "Don't lie, Sera, mom wouldn't like it. What are you doing here?"
"I should be asking you the same thing."
Terrin shrugged. "Where else can a girl pick a fight? Is that why you're here?"
"I am neither here to pick a fight, nor am I a girl."
"Could've fooled me with those red clothes."
"At least mother approves of my style. She likens your look to that of a harlot."
Terrin sneered. "Like me and my rebellious attitude give a care about that. Look, I'd love to stay here and beat you up, like always, but I've got stuff to do."
"That stuff would not happen to have anything to do with the disappearance of the blue moon?"
"What would I do with a moon, you idiot?"
"I would not know, for I am not the criminal mastermind here."
"Well, I had nothing to do with it. I'm more of a down-to-earth sort of villain."
Simiel studied the stand off with some amusement. Why was it that siblings, especially twins, always ended up on opposite sides? Together Serafyr and Terrin would have been a true force to reckon with, but they were far more interested in bickering with each other than uniting their powers to do whatever they pleased. Slowly Simiel's mind began to wander down inappropriate paths of mature fantasies involving herself and the two powerful warriors.
"Very well, Terrin. But if I find out that you did in fact steal the moon, I am telling mother."
Terrin laughed. "Ooh, scary. See you later, stupid."
"Do not call me stupid, you scalebrain!" Serafyr shouted at his sister's retreating back.
"Boy, am I glad I don't have any siblings," Azaril commented as they walked on.
Once the trio reached the Bridge of Posh, they noticed a figure sitting on the side of the bridge. It was next to impossible for Simiel to tell which gender the figure was as any facial features were being obscured by a mantle of copper hair.
"Excuse me, but this is an exclusive bridge. If you wish to throw yourself into the river, you will have to go to the Bridge of Despair," Serafyr said, stepping forward.
The figure laughed. "Please, honey, I couldn't kill myself even if I wanted to. And believe me, sometimes I want to cease existing."
The most beautiful male face Simiel had ever seen turned to look at them. The elaborately clad youth slid off the bridge's side and two silvery wings slipped out from beneath the hair.
"Meede?" Simiel said, staring at the God of Wisdom in shock.
"What are you doing out of Eternity?"
"I'm just checking if the polishers did a good enough job." Meede's silver eyes turned to the sky.
Everyone followed the god's line of sight up to where a familiar blue orb hung suspended by the lack of gravity.
"So that's what happened to the moon," Azaril said.
"Yep," Meede scoffed. "Her Supremeness, Haande, thought that the moon looked a little bleak. So She waltzes over to the Tree of Knowledge and orders me to get someone to clean it up. I don't have to tell you, it's not easy to find a professional moon polisher in this dimension."
"Uh..." Simiel looked around. "Right."
"Too right. She totally ignored the fact that I had a date with the God of Theatre. I told Haande to go bother someone else, but apparently, since I'm also the God of Night, moons are my responsibility. I'd like to see Her take the sun out for a polish."
"Okay... We're going to head back to the Castle now..." Simiel commented, trying to sneak past the deity with her companions.
"Fine. I have to go back to Eternity anyway, see if I can reschedule that date. And so help me, if Haande isn't happy with how the moon turned out." Meede spread his wings and took off, vanishing into the sky.
"That was weird," Simiel said after the trio was safely in the Castle's courtyard.
"I guess it goes to show you that even gods don't live a perfect existence." Azaril climbed up the stairs to the Castle's doors.
"That explains why they created such a screwed up universe."
"Truly, my sweet princess, wiser words were never spoken."
"Whatever." Simiel waved her hand. "I'm going to bed now. Tomorrow I'm calling the royal architect so I can get rid of that damn window."
Stories and artwork Copyright 2009 by Mette Pesonen. Copying in whole or in part is prohibited. However, you may link to this page.
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