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The Ofnibus
By Dave Skinner

Genre/Category: Fantasy Books
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65  ePub 24   Kindle 7

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The Ofnibus. By Dave Skinner
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Ebook Synopsis

The Ofnibus is a novelette sized collection of four short stories about a thief/want-a-be-wizard named Forn. The stories are titled; Of thieves and wizards, Of man, mouse, and monster, Of dungeons and demons, and Of friends and fiends, hence the Ofnibus title. Magic plays a role in each adventure, as does revenge, love, and betrayal.

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Excerpt from 'Of thieves and wizards':

Climbing a tower to steal from a wizard is not something to be undertaken lightly. I was still bolstering my courage when I saw her approaching, so I let her go first. She didn't know it or have a choice because she hadn’t realized I was there. She had walked right past my hiding place without noticing me. So I watched her as she ascended, moving from stone to stone. I had been tempted to introduce myself. She was a striking woman even with the camouflage paint smeared on her face. I had noticed her earlier. She had been in the Pregnant Pony, the same tavern I had used. She was turning away advances, so I didn't bother making the effort. Now I knew the reason. We had both been waiting for the same thing, to assault the wizard's tower, and steal the Blood Orb.

She climbed well, and it wasn't long before she disappeared into the shadows. Sometime later I saw her slip over the crenellation at the top. That was when I started my climb.

Why, you ask? Why attempt the robbery when another thief was ahead of me? First reason is because the Blood Orb is worth the trouble. It is not a large stone, barely as big as a sparrow’s egg, but it is perfectly round. More impressive still is the colour; it is blood red, the only stone of its kind, and a powerful magical talisman as well. Finally, there is the truth my teacher shared with me as I sat by his knee; treasure only goes to those who try.

The climb wasn’t difficult. There were a lot of holds for hands and toes where the stones jutted out. I have noticed this before on wizard made strongholds. A good stone mason would have shaped his raw materials to accommodate the roundness of the building, but mages never bother. No pride in mundane tasks I supposed. Whatever the reason, it worked in my favour. I had to swing somewhat around the perimeter as I worked my way up, in order to find a route suitable to my fingers.

The other thief had gone almost straight up. She must have smaller hands and feet, or maybe she is magically enabled. I had considered doing a climbing enhancement myself, but the cost of the spell wasn’t worth it considering what I had already spent in preparation. Anyway, my more circular route brought me close to a window, and just as I was passing I heard a commotion and voices. Information is important, so I took time to look.

It wasn’t much of an opening, square and not as big across as my forearm. It allowed me to spy on what was happening because the room was now bright with torch light. The girl was pinned up against a wall, probably by magic. I couldn’t see any other cause. The wizard was rising from a bed where I assumed he had been sleeping. Not a difficult conclusion considering the night shirt he was wearing.

“. . . come to steal my Orb,” he was saying. “When are fools like you going to learn that my magic is too strong for pitiful attempts like this? I am the mighty Corban Dow, possessor of the Blood Orb, wizard of the fourth order, and you my dear are a thief. I could summons the City Guard and have you imprisoned, but that would not serve the purpose of dissuading others of your ilk, so I have come up with an alternative.”

Corban Dow slipped his feet into slippers and shuffled over to a workbench in the middle of the room. I wished he would hurry up and do whatever he was going to do because my fingers were getting tired. He opened the top of a wooden box covered in magical symbols and removed the Blood Orb. It was everything I remembered it to be, spectacular and powerful. I could feel the pull of the magic as soon as it escaped the box.

Holding the Orb in his outstretched hand, the wizard pointed at his prisoner and intoned a spell. I could see crimson energy spew out from the Orb and encircle the unfortunate girl. The spell’s effect was immediately obvious. Her weapons floated away on strands of crimson and came to rest in a chest that popped open. Her clothes followed the weapons. I enjoyed the sight of her naked body until it started to change. Fur grew quickly, covering her entirety in moments, and then she transformed …lost size …became …a mouse, a cute mouse, but still a mouse.