Gary The Gnome - Prologue The wizard sat in a cozy looking...

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Prologue The wizard sat in a cozy looking armchair, grumbling to himself. No one would know by looking at him that he was a wizard- they had taken his dark robes with the many pockets and pouches for supplies, taken it when he first came to this place. They had given him instead elastic banded pants and a T-shirt, and a warm terrycloth bathrobe. Not very befitting of a wizard, he grumbled, hazy from the sedatives. If he had had the energy, he would have rubbed the fresh stubble on his chin, resenting the fact that they had even shorn him of his long and tangled beard, grown out since he had started studying the arts, and that now every third day the indignity was repeated by a cheerful young candy striper who was amused by his consistent threats of a terrible vengeance. She was very sweet though, and he thought that his revenge may not personally include her. The RN who drugged him twice a day, though, she had to go. And to think, when the far travel spell he had used had dumped him here, instead of in his own lands on the other side of the ocean in his way, where he had been aiming, he had actually asked the authorities for help. He wasn’t sure why the spell hadn’t worked, unless his apprentice had fudged one of the herbs instead of gathering them himself. Come to think of it, the one pouch of powdered grave-nettle HAD smelled a bit like simple sage. The lazy boy must have mixed the remaining powder with whatever easily powdered herb already hung from the rafters. It didn’t really matter now. He’d known his mistake immediately when the policeman had given him that look. He’d landed in a world that didn’t believe in magic! He might have been able to pass it all off as a prank if he hadn’t been loaded with supplies to see him through his planned time on the other continent. When the policeman searched him he had narrowed eyes suspiciously at the various bags of herbs and powders, widened them at the discoveries of the mushrooms and dried bits of hallucinogenic cactus, and arrested him quite violently at the discovery of the yellowed human skull that the wizard had inherited from his teacher, who had been the fourteenth to inherit it in such a way. In court, of course, it was assumed that the wizard was a crazy old man who’d stooped to grave robbing to fulfill a fantasy, and as such he’d been committed to an asylum. They had no idea the real power of that skull, he thought bitterly, or of the great man it had belonged to. As if the wizard would ever do something so despicable as to disturb the dead. The skull had been gifted to his fifteen times predecessor by its original owner! And the court people had talked of whether they should cremate it or try to find out where he’d gotten it to locate next of kin, though they recognized that it was very very old. That realization was all that had cleared the wizard of murder. He did not worry much about the fate of that artifact- nobody in this world would know the uses for it and the skull was certainly capable of looking out for himself.
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