The Great Yudonke - By Rosy

1. Interdimensional travel. 

   “Imagine there's a river and that it's the longest river ever. And no one knows about it. Except for now, that is, because now Interdimensional Travel from Bradco Inc is, for the first time ever, available. 

   Now, for the first time you can see the fabulous river world earth, where the amazing Yudonke River flows from the northern pole three and a half times around the planet to the southern pole where it tumbles into an immense cavern that goes right on through and delivers the water, now sterilized by the terrible heat at the earth's core, to the north pole where it emerges in a huge spring, beginning its long southern flow that will get all stinky again. 

   Or how about the dinosaur earth, where giant beasts, extinct in most other dimensions, roam freely, munching on whatever they can. Tours are available for your enjoyment from Interdimensional Travel by Bradco!”      

   Rosy put the flyer back on the table. “Sounds interesting,” she told the crew. Rosy is captain of the All-Vehicle Rivitir and her crew consists of Rover, the navigator and second in command, along with Brak and Jant, twin professional heroes and ace pilot and radio chatter respectively. 

   “We've always stayed in this dimension,” Brak noted. 

   “So has everyone, pretty much,” Rosy answered. “No one knew how to do interdimensional travel before. At least not that I know of.” 

   “They do it using jeewizium down on Lillow's Farm,” Rover said. 

   “Yeah right, I forgot. Seemed kind of haphazard, as I understood it,” Rosy said, frowning. “I mean they didn't seem to know where they were going or if they could find their way back.” 

   “Yeah, that's right,” Rover confirmed. “It took a dedicated adventurer to do it.” 

   “I'll say,” Brak agreed. “I heard that Lillow's dad disappeared adventuring that way.” 

   There was silence as they pondered this revelation. 

   “In any case,” Rosy continued, “Bradco seems to have done it. Puffup, when he's not being an arch-criminal, encourages research of all kinds. I can well imagine him wanting to explore these new realms.” 

   “New ways to make money,” Jant muttered. 

   “Be that as it may,” Rosy continued, “Bradco claims to have found a way, a way that allows for choosing a destination and a way to get back.” 

   “Be kinda cool floating on that Yudonke,” Rover noted. “I wonder how long it takes to float the entire distance?” 

   “Perhaps we should look into it,” Rosy suggested. The crew, always ready for adventure, nodded agreement. 


2. Booking passage. 

   The AV Rivitir landed in front of Brad Tower, the tallest building in the universe, settling easily onto the special AV landing pad. There was a valet to greet them driving a small waggal to carry them to the tower's ostentatious front portal. Rosy was glad when the waggal zipped up the wide staircase and deposited them at the door. The stairway was quite imposing, very wide and very long, all in white marble. She could see elves of all sort laboriously making their way up or down. Probably take an hour, she thought, shaking her head. 

   “It takes forty-five minutes if you're young and healthy and don't take any breaks,” Rover told her, reading from another pamphlet. 

   “An old lady might take an hour and a half, maybe longer with breaks,” Brak observed. 

   “Well, I wouldn't know about that,” Rosy stated, eyeing the big doors of the front entrance. “Shall we go in?” and she pulled the door open.  

   Inside was huge, far beyond expectations. For example, Rosy expected to be able to see the ceiling, not blue skies interspersed with fluffy clouds moving gently across, nor did she expect to see a vast forest with paths and houses here and there. She saw a weird contrivance go by, like a waggal only with wheels pulled by an energetic donkey, and she gasped in amazement. 

   “Used to be a lot of those back in Lillow's day,” Rover informed her, “They called them wagons and usually hired a donkey or a horse to pull 'em.” 

   There was a big sign: ← IDT, which was, Rosy knew from the brochure, InterDimensional Travel, or IDT as they call it. Following the path indicated by the arrow they came to a beautiful forest park with a large stately building whose front porch contained four large pillars holding the majestic overhang above. They proceeded to a glass door that slid open automatically as they approached and entered a business like lobby. The receptionist looked up with a wide smile. 

   “Welcome to Bradco Corporation's Interdimensional Travel Bureau. Are you interested in traveling to other dimensions?” 

   “Uh, well yeah, I think so,” Rosy answered, looking at the others who were trying to be encouraging, nodding agreement. 

   “Well then you've come to the right place,” she said, smiling wide, like a ray of sunshine. 

   “We want to float our boat in the beautiful Yudonke River,” Rover piped up. 

   “Oh?” she answered. “What sort of boat do you have?” 

   “It's an All-Vehicle,” Rosy told her, “currently configured as a flying saucer. It's easier for transporting in that shape and we thought we'd have her be a boat after we got there,”  

   “Hmmm, yes, let me see,” she murmured, typing into her computer. “Oh yes, here we go. All-Vehicles can easily be transported to the River Earth.” We were thrilled, of course, and booked passage right then and there. 

3. Floating on the river. 

   Brak expertly brought the Rivitir into a large box like structure and set it down. The door behind us closed and there was a humming with shaking and sparks and a strong ozone smell, then the door in front of us opened, showing a ramp going down to an ocean, which from up here I could tell was a really, really wide river. The far shore was just barely visible and as Brak brought us down to the water it disappeared. 

   “Wow,” I said, “I didn't think it would be this wide.” 

   “This is the normal river size,” Rover told us, looking at his maps. “About a kilometer or two across. But there are places where it's wider, like inland seas and places where it's more narrow, looking more like a river.” 

   “I guess we go with the flow,” Brak said, steering for the center. 

   “Sounds good,” Rosy agreed. 

   The Rivitir was configured as a luxury river boat and they all stood on the bridge, watching the river and the far, far banks on either side. 

   “Lots of islands,” Rover told them as they passed a large forested island. 

   There seemed to be a small village at the end, by a little cove, but they couldn't see the people clearly. There was quite a bit of river traffic, barges and yachts, sail boats and schooners, even a few rafts. Also a lot of houseboats as the river is smooth and easy flowing for its entire length only becoming dangerous as you neared the grand waterfall pouring into the earth at the south pole. There are several big nets that stretch all the way across to catch anything that might be powerless out there. An emergency patrol stationed on both sides, is ready to dash out with powerful boats in case of an emergency. 

   “But that's a couple months of easy floating until we reach that,” Rover said, leaving the bridge and settling into a deck chair. 

   Jant had the radar picture on but was also watching a movie on another screen while Brak stood resolutely behind the big steering wheel. He watched the river all around us, steering for the smoothest channels, watching out for snags and boggy spots. He was training the Clear-View Pilot, the Rivitir's auto-pilot, so they could travel with no one actually driving. A red light or a buzzer or something goes off if things go wrong, but none of them knew for sure what, they just knew it would. The Clear-View was pretty reliable. Almost from the first they referred to the Clear-View unit as Clarabelle, which she liked and adopted. 

   Ellim is the other machine member of the crew. He is a Bradco 11:11BS service bot who kept the boat, or saucer or whatever, shipshape. He cooked gourmet meals, did laundry and gofer duties, and seemed to know before anyone what was needed in every situation, all with a fabulously smiling and chipper attitude. Everyone liked him.      

   The last member of the crew is a magic wand named Zingellawabix. More ancient than Mother Earth herself, he is their guardian. He communicates with Rosy telepathically and keeps their home, the Rivitir, safe from all assaults. Zingellawabix and Rosy are also fighters in the great war against the demons or anti-gods who are the destroyers of Mother Earth, seeking to end an era. 

   Four elves, two machines and a magic wand. Together they made the Rivitir invincible. Rosy smiled as she watched the bank glide by. It was fascinating and they all sat in the deck chairs for hours watching the ever changing near shore. The far shore was too far to see in this stretch. Ellim kept their cups and pipes full so there was contentment. 

4. Waterlog 

   It was after a full week of drifting along with the current that they came to the first big city. It was named Waterlog and was situated in a cove off to the side of the great Yudonke. The city seemed to go for as far as the eye can see, being home to millions. They tied up at the dock and while Ellim and Clarabelle took care of the Rivitir and her routine maintenance Captain Rosy and her crew set out to explore Waterlog.   

   The city was very drab, almost colorless, exuding a sense of foreboding. Checking his maps Rover told them the place names. Waterlog was situated on the high ground north of the cove, known as Badwa Cove, which was next to the giant bog named Dingle's Dab that occupied the western side of the cove. 

   A big poster on the dock told them they must register before entering the city. There were stiff fines for noncompliance. Capt. Rosy's party stopped at the Dock Office, which was the first place you passed when leaving the docks. They got registered and all that stuff as the talkative receptionist told them about Waterlog.   

   “We're proud of Dingle's Dab, our swamp,” she told them, “because to us it is so gosh-danged beautiful, and it is a pleasant swamp, you gotta admit, lots of tall reeds and secret waterways, homes of exotic fauna scattered here and there plus everything anyone ever needed comes from that swamp. We just love it.” She paused, handing Rosy the dock papers. 

   “Ah course, there is a bad side to the Dab, as we call it, and that's the swamp monster. Ol' Dingle. Every so often he comes a rampaging through the streets, causing a lot of upset, every time. Most the time he stays in the swamp though, and everything's fine.” She leaned forward and whispered conspiratorially, “In fact, he runs the swamp. He's the big boss and everyone knows it, including the Lord King Dobble himself, hiding up there in Waterlog. People think that it was when Dobble and Ol' Dingle got into an argument over something was when Ol' Dingle would rampage. But no one knows for sure,” she finished with a bright smile. Rosy thanked her and they set out to see Waterlog. 

   They wanted first to go to the capitol building because it was the biggest and this Lord King fellow sounded interesting. The streets were narrow and damp, marshy in places, sometimes with wooden planks to get across. They could see the capitol with its dome and the gaudy Waterlog flag, which was bright blue with a fluorescent brown, red and orange log across it, flapping from its top but they couldn't get to it. Every street, well muddy lane that seemed to be going toward it somehow ended up taking them further away. 

   In frustration they entered what appeared to be a resting area with tables and benches and sat down at a large round table. A man came demanding to know what they wanted. 

   “We're trying to get to the capitol,” Rosy told him, “and we're just resting because we've looked and looked and we can't find it.” 

   He frowned then pulled out a chair and sat down with them. He sat, looking downward and scowling. Then he looked up and signaled to another young man who was passing by, “Pabbon,” he yelped, “we must have tea! Bring us tea Pabbon, for we are facing an existential threat.”  

   With wide, frightened eyes Pabbon hurried off, hopefully to fetch tea. The dour man continued looking down, frowning fiercely, concentrating. 

   “Uh, hello?” Rosy ventured. He looked up briefly and nodded with a glum look before bowing his head again. 

   “So, uh, I'm Rosy Rivitir,” Rosy spoke softly. He nodded again, then slowly brought his head up giving her a look that was somehow hopeless. 

   “This here's Rover,” Rosy continued. He gave Rover a blank look. 

   “And this is Brak and that's Jant,” she finished, looking expectantly at the somber man. 

   Just then the tea arrived. Pabbon served them expertly, and silently, leaving a tray of biscuits before hurrying off. 

5. Rosy and her team hear what the somber man has to say. 

  “I'm glad to meet you all,” the somber man said dully, without inflection. “I'm . . .my name doesn't matter. I can tell you're not from these parts, maybe just visiting?”       

   “Well, yeah,” Rosy answered, “is that, I mean I hope it's okay?” 

   “I don't know,” he answered. “You see, we people of Waterlog, have been trying to get to the capitol for many years now.” He looked toward the capitol. “They send soldiers garrisoned in there and out by the Dab to collect taxes, high taxes, grab our boys for service and that's all, no other contact. We see big shipments arrive. Grabbed by the soldiers who hurry them in through their hidden and well-guarded back door, the only door nowadays, and then nothing. We have no contact with our King at all except to pay taxes and supply soldiers.” 

   “That sounds worrisome,” Rover said. 

   Rosy took a sip of the tea. It was a rich, piquant tea, quite strong but quite pleasant. “This is nice,” she said. “I don't think I've had it before.” 

   Now the man's eyes lit up. “No, if this is your first time here then I'm sure you haven't. The tea you're drinking is the famous DingleDab Tea, grown only in Dingle's Dab.” 

   Rover sat his cup down. “Swamp tea?” he asked. 

   “Ain't it grand?” the man answered, smiling proudly. “Plus, those cookies you ate? All from grains grown in the incomparable Dingle's Dab.” Rover looked at him with wide eyes. 

   “So, no one can get to the capitol?” Rosy asked. 

   His look became morose. “No,” he answered, “no one.” 

   “And you get no word at all from this Lord King Dobble?” 

   “No ma'am.”    

   “Well, we're going to have to look into this,” Rosy stated, looking at the crew, who were nodding in agreement. 

   They then engaged the man in conversation, trying to learn as much as they could. The man didn't notice when Rosy withdrew from the talk, sitting silently, seemingly meditating, as the crew continued asking questions. 

   {Zingellawabix?} Rosy sent mentally, as softly as she could so as to not jar him. 

   {Yes, Rosy, I hear you. I've listened to the discourse so far and from here it looks like this Dobble is either an anti-god demon or strongly influenced or controlled by one}       

   {Yes, it is what I think as well. I think I need to talk to the Lord King Dobble.} 

   {That seems the best move. I will be listening.} 

   Rosy resumed listening and asking questions until there was a lull. Then she asked, “So where's this back door?” 

   “There is no way you could get in that way, unless you were invited, and they won't take messages,” the man said, watching Rosy closely. She remained resolute. “But I see you're determined to try.” He shrugged. “Well, first you follow this boulevard in front of us,” he pointed outside. 

   “That's a boulevard?” Jant asked with wide eyes. 

   “Yes, ma'am, one of the nicer ones. Anyway you follow that 'til you come to twisted lane, about three streets down, then you turn left. You go on down 'til you see a big crossroad. Turn right onnit. It gonna be well traveled 'cause that's the road the soldiers use. That'll be you're main worry, ma'am, them soldiers until you get to the door. Then the soldiers and a whole lot more gonna be your worry.” 

   “Got it,” Rosy told him. “Okay team, let's get going.” She struck off down the boulevard with Rover, Brak and Jant following. The man watched with sad eyes that may have had a glint of hope in them. 

6. Meeting the Lord King 

   Rosy and her crew are heading for the capitol's back door, apparently the only way in. Following the instructions of the moody man at the rest area, they came to a busy looking street, mainly by virtue of it being the best maintained street they'd seen yet. Well packed and even paved  in spots, the street was currently deserted. Peering around the corner to the right Rosy could see the well-guarded back door in the distance. She noted the street's sides were boarded up so that it was a smooth wall on both sides, like a canyon, offering no hiding places. It was the same in the other direction. Looking upward she could see guards in towers posted every so often. Too often to sneak past. 

   “Okay team, follow me,” she announced, stepping out into the street and marching smartly toward the guards at the back door. When the guards saw Rosy and the crew they seemed startled, exchanging looks of alarm. Rosy marched right up to the what appeared to be the main guard, standing in front of the large wooden door that was visibly padlocked and bolted. 

   The guard stiffened and held what seemed like a projectile weapon from the mythical lands across his front, and yelled, “Halt!” 

   Rosy, being as close as she wanted to be, stopped, her crew arrayed behind her. “We're here to see the Lord King Dobble,” she announced. 

   The guard blinked a few times, as if what he was hearing was so preposterous it was unanswerable. Then he yelped, “Impossible! Dobble cannot . . . Dobble did not, I mean we weren't informed. No visitors.” 

   Rosy, wondering why the guard hadn't said Lord King, just Dobble, like a commoner, continued. “Ah, but you see, we did not come at the Lord King's behest, rather we are emissaries of King Umpalumpa the Great.” 

   The guard clearly had never heard of King Umpalumpa, who was in fact the king of a band of mushrooms far underground in another dimension, stared at her with worry. “You will wait,” he ordered, then he rushed over to a little hut, ducked inside and slammed the door. 

   Soon the guard came out and without a word unlocked the padlock and lifted the bolt. Slowly the big wooden door swung open and a voice inside loudly proclaimed, “The emissaries of King Umpalumpa may enter.” 

   They were greeted by an officious dark-elf who led them down a short hallway that opened to the spacious grounds of the capitol. No mud paths here. All the grounds were beautiful in a well-manicured sort of way, every flower and blade of grass in place, smooth paved walkways meandering under giant trees, all trim and neat. Curiously there were no visible groundskeepers. 

   The capitol building was like a castle and there was another huge wooden door to pass through. Then they were led down a long ornately decorated hallway with a high domed ceiling that ended in front of massive double doors. As they approached the doors swung open and an imperious voice spoke. 

   “Your majesty, the royal emissaries of the great King Umpalumpa.” 

   They approached the high throne and there sat Dr. Snarkey. Rosy just about yelped but kept her cool. It didn't seem as though Dr. Snarkey recognized them, but he was looking at them suspiciously. Rosy and her crew had been there when Dr. Snarkey and his troll army were defeated on Lillow's Farm, but she didn't think he'd seen her, although she was the one who'd wielded Zingellawabix. She hoped he hadn't seen her. It was possible. 

   “Greetings Lord King Dobble,” Rosy announced with a flourish, “we bring salutations from King Umpalumpa the Great!” 

    “Oh hey, gooda meetcha. I'm King Bubble, uh, also the great. I'm the boss here,” Dr. Snarkey told them in a flat voice without standing. He narrowed his eyes staring at them suspiciously for a moment, then asked in a whiny voice, “Okay, that's swell. Are we done?” 

   Suddenly the dark elf appeared. “Hurry, this way,” he hissed. He quickly led them back out. “Just leave your gifts in the foyer. Enjoy Waterlog!” And he was gone. They wandered out into the spacious grounds and sat at a table underneath a large and quite old shade tree.  

   “Well, that was weird,” Rosy told them. 

   “Yeah, it sure was,” Rover said, frowning. Then, looking around furtively, he whispered, “There was something awfully familiar about that Dobble character.” 

   “Yeah,” Rosy agreed, “it's 'cause it's not the Lord King Dobble, it's Dr. Snarkey. Remember? On Lillow's Farm?” 

   Rover looked at her with round eyes. “Oh yeah.” 

7. Dr. Snarkey 

   Last year Dr. Snarkey had used an old castle in a swamp to build trolls. The swamp was on a farm, called Lillow's Farm, situated in the wilderness of southern Elvenstead. He then used the trolls to attack Lillow's Farm, preparatory to attacking Elvenstead and then the world. He was defeated by the witches, elves and heroes at Lillow's Farm that day with the culminating defeat brought by Zingellawabix, the magic wand who bound all the attackers, stopping the troll invasion. The witches shut down the troll factory and used the machinery to cure trolls by running it in reverse.     

   Ego is Dr. Snarkey's real name. Ego began his career selling advertising for a radio station. It was a rough station that nefarious sorts, people like the Brown Weasels, dark-elves, shysters and all the deplorables who were morally and ethically challenged, would naturally gravitate toward. Most of his audience were delusional and felt that they were better, smarter, and wiser than those around them. They tended to be in the ne'er-do-well class, temporarily of course, blaming others for their failures while arrogantly flaunting their imagined superiority. They were, in fact, the perfect audience for Ego. 

   Ego was born Egor Blat to a super-rich elf couple in south Elvenstead City. His father owned a fleet of waggals and his mother was a super-model until she got married. The Blat's had two children, Egor and Egad who were spoiled unmercifully. Egad went on to become a ne'er do well, who would surely have become a bum on the docks if it weren’t for his paltry share of their parent's money, after their mysterious deaths, which kept him going. Egore, on the other hand, was ambitious, tricking the foolish Egad and taking most of their inheritance. He used the money to party and live a lavish lifestyle, based in the indisputable fact that he was a superior and stable genius deserving of all the good that the world has to offer and more. 

   The money could have provided Egor and Egad both a comfortable living for the rest of their lives, instead it just provided a few years for Egor's high life. When the money inevitably ran out he began working anywhere'd hire him. He was a lackluster employee who tended to look down his nose at his fellow workers and with time even his bosses. After getting fired from every job he tried, he decided to go into crime, specifically the con man game. He figured he'd be good at it after how he'd played Egad, but again, keeping true to form, he wasn't. Egad was just too trusting and ultimately too uninterested in the ways of the world. He'd finally just decided to let Egor have the money. 

   But, after a lifetime of massive wealth Egor wasn't worth a thing. Nothing. He didn't appear to even have a soul according to people who looked into his eyes. They were invariably disconcerted by the lack of humanity they saw there. He began preaching on corners about how things oughta be, but his vision was a dystopian nightmare when examined. That's when a radio executive happened by. His station was financed by people who would like all taxes for the wealthy eliminated, the poor made into serfs and all minorities caged or run out of the country which fit perfectly with Egor's vision, except with Egor as wealthy, not poor. The executive hired him on the spot to sell advertising for the radio. This he was good at, for all he had to do was continue his own rant to the money people who, because of his position, would listen to him. These wealthy manipulators benefited by controlling the gullible radio audience this station attracted. 

    One day when an announcer called in sick, Egor took his place and the rest is history. Their unsavory radio audience loved Egor's rant. Soon after Egor became Ego. He was not even aware when he dropped the r, his concern being only self-gratification and the belittling of the small people trying to run the world around him. His cruelty became legendary. One day, right after he got on the air, Dr. Snarkey appeared and took over Ego, and the show. Ego was unaware of Dr. Snarkey's appearance and is quite content to stay that way, as long as his luxurious life continues. Dr. Snarkey became a super star overnight, intent on getting rich by bringing down civilization through the use of trolls and deplorables, who just loved him for it. 

8. They made an awesome noise. 

   “Well, team, I don't think it makes much sense hanging around here,” Rosy told the crew. “I mean they're gonna figure out about Umpalumpa or that we know Dobble's a fake. Either way, it wouldn't do to get caught here.” 

   “No Ma'am,” Brak replied. “I think it'd be good if we ran,” and he took off running which Rosy thought was odd for a hero, until she saw Rover and Jant behind him, also running, so without another thought, she took off after them, running as fast as she could, which was fortunate because the thugs that Brak had spotted running frantically out the capitol door had spotted them and were soon at the spot where Rosy and the crew had been sitting, and were now giving chase, but still a goodly ways behind. 

   The guards at the entry gate and posted over the lane were all bamboozled by this change of direction. Their defensive stance was to the front not behind and Rosy and her crew were able to dash through without mishap and disappeared into the twisting lanes and ditches of Waterlog. It was useful that the people of Waterlog, seeing what was happening, quickly came to Rosy and the crew's aid. The people knew something was wrong at the capitol. 

   When Rosy and the crew were safely hidden in a basement, she found out more. This fake Lord King Dobble was using all the people's taxes to secretly amass a large army on the other side of Dingle's Dab. All the young men were either hiding or conscripted, and the King's patrols, like the ones looking for Rosy right now, kept the people subjugated and afraid.    

   “I'm going to call Zingellawabix,” Rosy told the crew and they kept quiet. 

   {Zingellawabix?} Rosy sent telepathically. 

   {Yes, Rosy. I've been listening and I know that the Lord King Dobble is actually Dr. Snarkey, who we know is an anti-god.} 

   {Yes, and he knows who we are. We've just escaped from the capitol and are hiding from the King's patrols. Snarkey's building a secret army down by that swamp.} 

   {Then we must move. Do you think you can get to the Rivitir? If not, I have established a rapport with Clarabelle and I'm sure she could bring the Rivitir to you.} 

   {Let me check with the crew.} 

   I didn't much care for the idea of our autopilot directing a rescue mission, especially in hostile territory. But I couldn't think of any alternatives. I filled in the others on what I'd said to Zingellawabix and asked what they thought. 

   “Clarabelle is good,” Brak said, thoughtfully. “I do think she'd get here. Thing is, how do we get to her when she's here. There's just narrow lanes that I could see, where would she land?” 

   “I wish we had a transporter beam like on that famous TV show where they just say, ah beam me up!” Jant said, with a grin.  

   “I think they needed a scotty,” Rover said, “but it would be cool. Zap, just like that and you're back on board.” 

   “Yeah, that does sound cool, except we don't have a transporter beam,” Rosy said. 

   “Nothing even close,” Brak added. 

   “I wonder if we could get on the roof?” Rover asked. 

   “That's a great idea! I'll find out,” Rosy answered. She climbed the stairs to check with the residents. When she returned, she told them, “We can, but we'll be totally exposed doing it since it's a ladder leaning against the house. They say there's a lot of patrols still.” 

   “So I guess we wait till it gets dark,” Brak said. 

   Rosy nodded agreement and they settled in. They waited until midnight then they climbed up on the roof before calling Zingellawabix and Clarabelle to bring the Rivitir. As soon as the Rivitir was overhead they had her descend until they could climb on board but before she was low enough a ring of spotlights surrounding them flashed on. The Rivitir stopped descending and hovered about half a meter above their heads. Despite being blinded by the bright lights Rosy could make out dark elves, orcs, and weasels, clearly members of the notorious Brown Weasels, surrounding them, standing everywhere between the lights, jeering, pointing and laughing. 

   Suddenly Dr. Snarkey appeared with an unsavory looking faerie by his side. “So!” Dr. Snarkey screeched, “You horrible scoundrels are trying to escape without leaving me a gift?” 

   “That's right,” Rosy replied. “Because you're not the Lord King Dobble.” 

   “What?” Dr. Snarkey barked. “How did, uh, wait. Haven't I seen you somewhere before?” He peered at Rosy suspiciously. 

   “That's the one had the wand, back on Lillow's Farm,” the faerie told him. 

   “The wand!” Dr. Snarkey screamed, “Oh my heavens people, run!” He was already leading by example and his confused minions followed, but it was too late and they ran into an invisible wall, a wall like steel so that they tended to clack and clang when they met it, being suitably armed and armored, which created a monstrous cacophony said to be heard kilometers away. Certainly the secret army garrisoned south of the city heard it. 

9. Setting them free. 

   Most of the soldiers in the garrison were conscripts from the streets of Waterlog and the surrounding countryside. The people have sent many delegations to petition the Lord King Dobble and demand to know why so many young people were being taken by the army. Was war imminent? The people should know if it is, but every delegation was turned away, unable to even access the capitol grounds. 

   Meanwhile the young people from the city and the countryside conscripted into the garrison were appalled at their leadership. The commanders were all orcs, Brown Weasels, dark elves or even trolls and not a one had the common sense of a gnat. Disgusted and fearful, the conscripts were too frightened to break away, instead spending their days in mindless military drills and abuse.                 

   Today while marching in the field they heard a terrible clamor from the capitol which was beyond their sight. Everyone stopped and stared in the capitol's direction, frozen in disbelief. Then they saw some figures on brooms fly upward and stop, slowly returning to earth. 

   “What the hale?” screamed one of the commanders, a tall and grizzled orc. 

   “Form ranks troopers!” the highest commander, a dark elf with two weasels in tow, yelled as he came running out of the headquarters building. “The capitol's been attacked! We're at war!” Then he ran toward the front but suddenly veered, going instead toward the tall, grizzled orc, and promptly stuck to him. 

   “What the hale?” the tall grizzled orc yelled with wide eyes as the high commander stuck to his belly like a . . . Then he kept screaming that exact same question over and over as every commander of the garrison came running and sticking to him. Many of them were asking the same question. The troops stared in disbelief, unsure what if anything they should do. Anyone trying to take control quickly found themselves stuck to this large group, all screaming “What the hale?” in dozens of different voices, all stuck to a tall, grizzled orc whose head rose above the others, marking the center. The conscript soldiers could only stare in disbelief before slowly coming to the realization that they were free. Somehow these slave drivers were stuck, quite solidly stuck. Then with laughter and whoops of joy they ran off, returning to their homes throughout the land. 

   Meanwhile at the capitol the brigands trying to escape were all captured, bound by the magic wand, Zingellawabix, and placed in a large cage. The real Lord King Dobble and his court were found in dungeons in the castle's basement and were released then returned to their rightful places, saying they'd do better next time. 

   There were parades, music and dancing. A drab, humorless society has come to life, and what a jubilant life it was! Rosy and the crew were awarded medals and certificates of wondrous gratitude, then amid cheering crowds they boarded the Rivitir, again a river boat, and floated away, down the great world river, the Yudonke. 

   At the next IDT Gate they transferred back to their own dimension. They loved floating the Yudonke and surely there are many more adventures to be had there, but they were all a little nervous about this new technology and wanted to make sure it could get them home. It did and they are now back cruising their natural world, enjoying its many side tracks and adventures. They've talked of going back to the great Yudonke but Rosy had a hunch, and she believes Brak and Jant do too, that somehow Rover will get them back to the Yudonke without using Bradco's IDT gates. Somehow he'll do it, without meaning to and without any idea how he did it, but somehow he'll do it.

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