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In Which We Present a Stirring Narration of the Exploits of Our Heroes in the City of Prygg, the Which Include Not Only a Daring Confrontation With the Foul Witch Magrit and Divers of Her Villainous Associates, But Other Impressive Deeds, As Well, Both Fair and Foul.


A Wizard's Stealthy Cunning, Undone by a Clumsy Dwarf. A Wizard's Subtle Subterfuge, Undone by a Witless Gnome. An Impudent and Motley Crew's Disrespectful Ditty. A Mage in Foul Humor. A Gnome's Nature Dissected, A Dwarf's Character Denounced. But the Road Forward Gleaned! A Grim Resolve Made!

Wizard and apprentice carefully picked their way through the streets of Prygg, hidden by the dark of night. Truly the mage listed among his many attributes the art of stealthery! For none living—no natural creature, at the very least—could for an instant have discerned his shadowy form gliding soundlessly through the gloom.

Alas, 'twas otherwise with his dwarfish companion. For the diminutive clod staggered to and fro beneath his enormous sack, raising both in voice and body the most horrendous din in the quiet streets of Prygg.

"Silence, dwarf!" hissed Zulkeh. "With your fatuitous clangor you shall arouse my enemies, ere now lulled into lassitude by the cunning of my trickery!"

"But, master," whined Shelyid, "I can't help it. The sack's heavy. And I can't see."

"Bah!" oathed Zulkeh. "Is the furtherance of science to be undone by the frailties of such as you? Again, I command you: desist from this vociferous conduct!"

But 'twas in vain. Threaten as he might, the wizard was unable to enforce furtiveness upon his ward. At length, he desisted in his efforts.

"Clearly," grumbled the mage, "I shall have to adopt an alternate course. No hope of escaping the notice of my enemies in the streets, burdened as I am with this dwarven lummox. So be it! We shall establish quarters for the night, and begin anew by utilizing my powers of disguise and misdirection." And so saying, the wizard sought out a nearby hostel, Shelyid caroming behind.

* * *

Later that night, after acquiring a room in the hostel, Zulkeh instructed his apprentice in the methods of disguise and misdirection.

"Know, dwarf," spoke the mage, "that disguise and misdirection are but two faces of the same coin. The cunning of the one stands in profound dialectic with the craftiness of the other. With this truth foremost in our minds, we stand fair—even this very night!—to advance greatly in our quest. For look you, gnome, what transpires this very moment in the common room on the floor below? In an establishment, I might add, which I chose for our lodgings due to its very notoriety as a hotbed of carousal and debauchery."

"A lot of local folks are getting drunk," replied Shelyid promptly.

"Precisely so! And while this behavior is unseemly and disreputable, yet does it present us with the fulcrum with which to apply the lever of my subtlety. For look you, runt, what do plebes do when they become inebriated?"

"Well, they do all kinds of things, master. They have a good time, they joke around, they play games, they urinate a lot, they get—well, I mean, they—at least they try to, you know, I mean with people usually of the opposite sex, although not always, and they—"

"Bah!" oathed the mage. "I did not request a catalog of all mortal and venal sins! The point, my stupid but loyal apprentice, is that they engage in discourse."

"Oh yes, master! They always talk a lot, I mean a really lot, and they usually repeat themselves all the time, especially after they've had a lot—"

"Bah!" oathed Zulkeh. "I did not request a demonstration! Suffice it to say that it is the inevitable characteristic of the lowlife in his cups to babble freely of all manner of things, the which include secrets which would normally be kept closely hidden. I trust that our course of action should now be clear in your mind, even given your limited intellect?"

"Oh yes, master! You're going to go down into the pub disguised like a common workman and get drunk and hang out with the people there and get slobbering drunk so you can worm your way into their confidence because they'll see you're just an ordinary guy, especially after they see you pissing about a gallon and falling down a few times and maybe even barfing once or twice. O master, you are the cleverest and most cunning of wizards!"

"Bah!" oathed Zulkeh. "Impudent dwarf! Cretinous midget! How could you conceive such a preposterous idea? To begin with, 'twould be utterly beneath my dignity to conduct myself in such a manner. And moreover, 'twould be futile as well. For not even the common souse could be so dim-witted as not to detect my superior character—the lofty brow and piercing glance would alone give me away. No, Shelyid, 'twould be ridiculous for me to attempt to pose as a lowlife when I have the ultimate lowlife as my apprentice."

"Me?" gasped Shelyid. "You want me to go down to the pub and get drunk with the people there?"

"Of course! The plan is ingenious! Meanwhile, utilizing my powers of disguise and misdirection, I will insinuate myself into an obscure corner of the common room, unnoticed by all, there to observe and overhear the loose words which your carousal with the plebes will cause them to guardlessly utter."

Shelyid slumped to the floor. His ugly little face became more unsightly still, his features squeezed into a ball, great tears wending down his cheeks.

"Oh please, master," he sobbed, "don't make me do it."

"Why ever not? And whence this grotesque display? I should have thought you delighted at the prospect! Many is the time I have espied you gazing longingly at the boisterous crowds in alehouses."

"But, master," snuffled Shelyid, wiping his nose with his sleeve, "sure and I'd like to have fun in the pubs like real people do, but that's the thing. I'm not a real people. I'm a dwarf. I'm a really ugly, hairy little dwarf. They'll be mean to me. Real people are always mean to me. Real mean. They kick me, they hit me, and even when they don't, they curse at me or they make fun of me. They always do. Well, La Contessa was nice to me. And Rascogne wasn't so bad after a while—actually, he was really nice, too, except I wish he would have stopped picking me up all the time by the scruff of the neck and turning me this way and that and looking at me over and saying"—here the gnome's voice dropped to a baritone—" 'a snarl-friend, eh? Most strange, most strange'—but they're the only ones." The dwarf snuffled again. "For that matter, you're not usually very nice to me, and you've known me all my life."

"Bah!" oathed the wizard. "I have no time for this puling drivel! Do as I command you, unworthy gnome—and be quick about it. For even as I speak, time wanes!"

And thus it came to pass that our heroes descended into the common room. The cunning wizard allowed some moments to transpire, following the first tentative steps of the dwarf into the boisterous environs of the pub. Then made he his own entrance, passing beneath a placard which announced the name of the tavern: The Swill As You Will. Shoulders hunched, his cloak drawn about him, hat pulled low over his lofty forehead, the mage quickly but unobtrusively found himself a seat in a dim and unoccupied corner of the tavern.

Meanwhile, Shelyid advanced to the center of the room, his mincing gait bespeaking his unease and trepidation. There did he stand for some few moments, peering about. The room was quite full of carousers, but his attention was almost immediately drawn to the big table along one side. For there sat the very epicenter of the carousal—six lowlifes, well into their cups, noisy and boisterous in the extreme. From their garments, rough-knit and soiled; from their hands, callused and scarred; from their faces, coarse-featured and weathered; from their voices, rude and profane; indeed, from every aspect of their personae, 'twas clear as day that here was the very archetype of the brutish proletariat.

"Well," muttered Shelyid, "might's well get it over with. Big as they are, least it'll be quick."

And so muttering, the gnome advanced to the table, squared his shoulders, and piped up: "Can I have a drink with you guys?"

The boistering ceased. Six pairs of bleary eyes focused on Shelyid.

"A very little man!" cried one.

"Nay," said a second, peering closely at the dwarf, "say rather a very little youth."

"Preposterous!" cried a third. "There's no youth so hairy in all the world."

"Nor so homely," added a fourth.

Before the fifth and sixth could add their opinions, Shelyid cut right to the quick.

"Actually, I'm a dwarf. I'm a very ugly dwarf, and the reason I'm so hairy is because I suffer from that most dread of nervous conditions, hysteria follicularia, the uncontrolled growth and spread of hair upon the body."

"What?" cried one.

"That old wives' tale!" bellowed a second.

" 'Tis true, then," interjected a third, "the superstition lives on!"

"And in these modern times!" added a fourth.

"Infamous!" and "Disgraceful!" came the voices of the fifth and sixth.

"Why do you think that?" demanded the first.

"W-well," Shelyid stammered, "it's just true, that's all. I've always had it."

"What nonsense!" sputtered the second. He reached down a meaty hand and hauled Shelyid up to the bench. A pot of ale was thrust into the dwarf's hands.

A very large finger, belonging to the third, wagged before the gnome's nose. "See here, young man," pontificated this worthy, "it may be true you're a dwarf—"

"Difficult to say," opined the fourth.

"Most difficult," agreed the fifth. "For who is so wise as to distinguish, with unerring precision, between a little man, a dwarf, a gnome, a midget, a shrimp, a runt, a pygmy, a Lilliputian, a chit, a fingerling, a pigwidgeon, a mite, a dandiprat, a micromorph, an homunculus, a dapperling, a small fry or someone with bad posture, weighted down with the cares of the world?"

"Not us, that's for sure," concluded the sixth, "for are we not uneducated, untutored, unlettered and ignorant?"

"Rude, crude, lewd and uncouth, that's us!" cried the first. This was apparently in the nature of a yahooish toast, for the six rowdies guzzled their pots in unison, Shelyid timidly joining in.

"Now then," spoke the second, waving to the barkeep for more pots of ale, "who told you that?"

It took a moment before Shelyid, his head swimming with the unaccustomed effects of the evil brew, grasped that the question was directed at him.

"Who told me what?" he asked.

"That you were afflicted with that most dread of nervous conditions, hysteria follicularia," explained the third.

"Oh. Well, actually it was—I mean, well, I shouldn't really say."

"Must have been a wizard," opined the first.

"Goes without saying," agreed the second.

"Even old wives don't believe that fable any more," added the third.

"Even ancient wives," contributed the fourth.

"Even crones rotting in their graves." This from the fifth.

"Even old husbands," concluded the sixth.

"You mean it isn't true?" queried Shelyid.

" 'Course not!" bellowed the first.

"Bilge and rot!" added the second.

"S'natural for some people to be extra hairy like," slurred the third.

"S'no crime," came the thick-tongued voice of the fourth.

"Was not Joe himself called 'Old Shaggy'?" commented the fifth.

"Here's to Joe!" roared the sixth. This was apparently in the nature of a bumpkin toast, for the six rowdies guzzled their ale pots in unison, Shelyid joining in, with somewhat unseemly haste, if the truth be known.

This ceremony concluded, the first wiped ale foam from his lips and asked: "So, where are you from, short one? Goimr, I expect, judging from your accent, your clothes, and your hesitant and dispirited sense of self-worth."

"A dismal lot, your Goimrics," commented the second.

"Can't hardly blame 'em," remarked the third.

"True," said the fourth.

"Better yet than being Kankrese," countered the fifth.

"Being a trilobite on the ocean floor's better than being Kankrese," added the sixth.

"But trilobites're extinct," protested Shelyid.

"Exactly his point," said the first. "And you haven't answered my question, lad."

Shelyid fumbled for words. 'Twas clear as day that the two pots of ale he had already consumed were taking effect upon the never-too-quick-witted gnome. Perhaps it was dawning on him that he was supposed to be obtaining information from lowlifes, not the other way around. Certain it is that this thought would have pierced through to his brain like a poker, had he caught a glimpse of the ferocious glare bestowed upon him from beneath the wizard's floppy hat. In any event, the dwarf made a valiant attempt at turning the tables.

"Yes, I'm from Goimr. Boring place, I agree, not worsh—worth—talking about. Prygg's a much more interesting place. Must be a lot of hidden secrets and such in a great city like this. You guys lived here all your life, I bet. Bet you know all the secrets there are in this town."

"'Tis clear," said the second, "that among this wee fellow's strengths, subtlety does not find its rank."

"Most maladroit attempt to pry information out of drunken sots I've ever seen," agreed the third.

"Not so!" disputed the fourth. "I am reminded of the occasion when we were blessed by a visit from Rupert Inkman."

"True, true," admitted the third, "I had forgot me. Sorry, lad,"—this to Shelyid—"you'll have to take second place."

"There's no comparison at all!" roared the fifth. "Why, I think this little chap's done quite decently—s'been polite, s'drank two rounds already, s'not snarled or yapped or threatened or done nothing 'cept fumble s'first effort to pry information out of sodden louts like us." He slapped the dwarf's back in a comradely manner.

" 'S'true!" cried the sixth. "Nothing at all like the cadaverous Crud. Let me remind you, fellow sods, that when Rupert Inkman paid us a visit he conducted hisself altogether different from this small not-yet-master spy."

"Can't be denied," concurred the first.

"Did the Crud share in our slops?" demanded the second.

"Nary a drop!" bellowed the third.

" 'Twas the thumbscrews gave him away," pointed out the fourth.

"Especially when he tried to apply 'em to us," howled the fifth.

"Here's to thick thumbs!" boomed the sixth, rising to his feet, ale pot in left hand, right hand outstretched, thumb sticking up like a potato. His sodden compatriots lurched to their feet and assumed a similar pose, six thumbs standing forth. And then, staggering to his feet, Shelyid joined his little thumb to the cluster, a sapling among great oaks.

"Here's to thick thumbs!" roared the motley crew. This was apparently in the nature of a yokel toast, for the disreputable half dozen guzzled their ale pots in unison, Shelyid joining in, with most untoward gusto, if the truth be known.

"And now, lad," demanded the first, "who is it what's put you up to this foolish poking and prying?"

"Speak up, now," urged the second, refilling Shelyid's pot. "You're among friends."

Shelyid stammered and stuttered. He glanced into the wizard's corner, as if for assistance, only to look hurriedly away. For veritably the mage's glare was now like unto the fiery furnace.

"Don't badger the poor little chap!" protested the third. "He hasn't even had time to drink his pot!"

"An outrage," agreed the fourth.

"An abomination," concurred the fifth.

"Here's to drinking our pots!" bellowed the sixth. This was apparently in the nature of a ragabash toast, for the six great brutes guzzled their ale pots in unison, Shelyid joining in, with positively disgraceful zest, if the truth be known.

"I have been rude to our tiny guest," admitted the first remorsefully, belching for emphasis.

"Unmannerly," added the second.

"And in a most disneedly fashion," reproved the third.

"For the answer's plain as day!" cried the fourth.

"S'no reason to pester the wee one," agreed the fifth.

"S'a wizard has put the poor boy in the pickle," concluded the sixth, shaking his head solemnly.

At the mention of the word, Shelyid's head popped up from the ale pot in which it was buried, worry writ plain upon his face. He glanced into the mage's corner, as if for assistance, only to look immediately away. For veritably the mage's glare was now like unto the volcano eruptant.

"Apologies having been properly extended to the injured party," stated the first, "I believe the time has now come to ask the question which is uppermost in our minds."

Here the six drunkards turned, as one man, and peered into the corner where sat the thaumaturge.

"I say, mates," boomed the second, "who is that ridiculous fellow who has been sitting in the corner for some time now in a transparent attempt at disguise and misdirection?"

"The one with hunched shoulders," said the third.

"His cloak drawn about him, his hat pulled low to conceal his lofty forehead," added the fourth.

"Though not his piercing glance, which flames at this very moment like the molten basalt of creation," specified the fifth.

"Here's to the molten basalt of creation!" roared the sixth. This was apparently in the nature of a riffraff toast, for the six rowdies guzzled their pots in unison, Shelyid joining in, with a zeal which can, under the circumstances, only be described as a public scandal.

"A sorcerer," pronounced the first.

"From Goimr, 'tis clear," added the second.

"Most wretched wizards in all Grotum," commented the third.

"Not so!" countered the fourth. "'Tis a truth beyond dispute that of all piss-poor prestidigitators, 'tis those of Kankr who excel all others in the fumble-witted scale of misbegotten magery."

"Preposterous!" snorted the fifth. "'Tis true that your Kankrene conjuror is an incorrigible maladroit, this I admit. 'Tis true as well that your Goimric goetic is a bungling buffoon, this goes without saying. Yet still do these shine as veritable Magi in comparison to the feckless rattlepates who adorn the pantheon of Sfinctrian necromancy."

"What nonsense!" bellowed the sixth. "'Tis a fact known to babes in swaddling clothes that the faculties of all Groutch incantators are of such base degree that 'tis impossible, as a practic art, to discern amongst them the lowest from the low. Easier to rank the art of a pile of fruit flies!"

Now spoke the first. "In general, I would agree, yet there is one exception must be made."

"Most true!" cried the second. "For even here in Prygg itself does there reside a thaumaturge of undisputable acumen and merit!"

"Aye," agreed the third. "Our very own Magrit."

"Proper witch, she is," intoned the fourth piously.

"Here's to Magrit!" roared the fifth. This was apparently in the nature of a scalawag toast, for the six scoundrels guzzled their pots in unison, Shelyid joining in, with a ravenous fervor which, it can hardly be doubted, caused the angels to ring the dome of heaven with a united peal of outrage.

"I grant you that single exception," admitted the sixth. "She's not one to stutter up her cantrips, maladminister her potions, bungle her exsufflations or muddle her demonography!" He took a deep draught of ale. "Nor, I might add, is she one to sneak about alehouses in a foolish attempt to inveigle privy information from a motley crew of drunken lowlifes such as us—rude, crude, lewd and uncouth though we be"—here there took place a clinking together of ale pots, in which, grievous to relate, Shelyid's pot was not found absent—"but who are still, I estimate with my primitive brain untutored in the mathematic skills, approximately thirteen orders of magnitude more clever than yon wizard of Goimr. Taken together, that is—alone, I reckon the slowest wit among us is not more than eight orders of magnitude smarter." He mused briefly; waved a huge magnanimous paw. "I will give him seven."

Then, like the stalking lion discarding all stealth and leaping forward in his fury, did the mage charge forth into the center of the room. His eyes glowed like coals, smoke and lightning issued from his ears.

"O infamy!" he raged. "O base impudence!"

"Impudence, is it?" roared the first, slamming his great fist onto the table. "And who are you, sirrah, to call us impudent?"

"I bear the dreaded name Zulkeh of—"

"—Goimr, physician," concluded the lowborn in one voice.

"Author of Reason's Absolute Idea?" asked the second.

"The Speculative Logic?" queried the third.

"The Phenomenology of True Truth?" This from the fourth.

"They number among my titles," spoke the wizard in a majestic tone.

"And are you not as well the originator of the Theoretical Theorem, that all facts derive from theory?" boomed the fifth.

"That I am!"

"And—this last but not least," demanded the sixth, "are you not also the author of The True Law of Gravity, Properly So-Named Only By Myself?"

"Quite so!" spoke Zulkeh. "And may I say I am pleased, albeit surprised, to find that my fame has penetrated even into the—"

But his speech was cut short, for even at that moment did the motley crew erupt into gargantuan laughter, slapping their backs and pounding their fists onto the table, rocking back and forth in mad abandon upon their chairs, several, indeed, collapsing onto the floor in most unseemly mirth. Grievous to relate, into this grotesque revelry did the now-utterly-inebriated Shelyid throw himself without a thought, behaving in a manner which, were there justice in the world, should have seen him burned at the stake.

"Ho! Ho!" gasped the first, as his rollicking humor flung him to the floor, "my graveness pulls me down!"

"Ha! Ha!" shrieked the second, his ale slopping across his noisome workhabit from the shaking of his shoulders, "perceiving the True Truth, my brew unfolds likewise in accordance with the foamy logic of its essence!"

"Hee! Hee!" giggled yet the third, draining his mug in a single quaff, "my own brew, closer to the speculation that is its proof, finds its Absolute Reason in the Idea of my gullet!"

Great was the mage's wrath. "This is an outrage!" he cried, gesticulating wildly.

"An outrage, is it?" demanded the fourth, clutching his heaving ribs. "How so?" he gasped. "Have we not caught the germ of your thought, stripped it like a seed from its husk, and shown it to the world as its own true kernel?" And at this latest uncouth witticism, the entire party of rogues exploded into a veritable hurricane of laughter.

This most disreputable scene was now brought to a positively disastrous state of affairs. For 'twas at this very moment that the dwarf Shelyid, his normal lack of wits compounded by gross inebriety, chose to rise in defense of his mentor.

"Should't make fun a th'master," protested the gnome. "Hissa mighty mage, th'master, an' hissona great 'n' dangerous kest—quest." He took another draught from his pot, spilling a good half of it down his tunic. "Me too!" he added proudly. "I'm 'nis 'prentice." The diminutive numbskull peered owlishly at the party of louts. He placed a finger before his lips. "Shhh!" he hissed. "Gotta keep kite—quiet. We got enemies, y'see. 'N' thass why—"

"Silence, cretin!" spoke the mage, wroth with wrath. He waved his arms wildly. "Be silent, I say! Enough harm have you done, you unspeakable dolt!"

"Cretin, is he?" roared the first.

"Unspeakable dolt, is he?" bellowed the second.

" 'Tis a damnable lie!" cried the third.

"'Tis a decent little man!" averred the fourth, clapping the dwarf's shoulder.

"A right and proper shorty!" concurred the fifth.

"Here's to all shrimps!" hallooed the sixth. This was apparently in the nature of a canaille toast, for the six vulgarians guzzled their pots in unison, Shelyid joining in, with a passionate ardor so utterly inappropriate to the situation that even the lambs of the field, should they have been witness, would have bleated for his blood.

"You seek the witch Magrit!" boomed the first.

"A mystery has befuddled his mind!" cried the second.

"But 'tis not for lack of his science!" pronounced the third.

"Nay—perish the thought!" protested the fourth.

"Not he—not such a prodigy among philosophes!" concurred the fifth.

"Verily, the answer lies elsewhere!" concluded the sixth.

As one man, the roughnecks leapt to their feet and cried out in unison:

"He has enemies, don't you know!"

Then, spreading into a ragged line, the six hurly-burlies linked arms and elbows and began a most uncouth dance, accompanied by the following doggerel verse:

It's enemies brought him low, don't you know,
don't you know?
Enemies what's brought him low, don't you know,
don't you know?
Hid the truth from his cunning, don't you know,
don't you know?
Hid theyselves from his cunning, don't you know,
don't you know?
And that's why he's here, don't you know,
don't you know?
A-looking up old Magrit, don't you know,
don't you know?


At any rate, this tiresome and disgraceful ditty went on for some little time, showing on the part of its authors neither couth nor urbanity. Even worse was the spectacle presented by the treasonous dwarf Shelyid, who not only attempted to join the dance—in which enterprise he failed due to his by-now-total state of drunkenness—but even, sprawled on the floor, attempted to learn the words, and then!—when he failed in this enterprise as well due to his sodden incapacity to form any words beyond mush—still managed to beat time to the tune with his ale pot. A sad and sorry sight, indeed!

As for the wizard himself, it is not inaccurate to state that this proved to be one of the rare moments in his life when he was actually speechless, so great was his indignation. It goes without saying that this atypical speechlessness was all that saved the six lowlifes from the most gruesome of fates. For had the wizard been able to form coherent phrases, there is not the slightest doubt that the hexes and spells which would have issued from his lips should have brought down upon the half-dozen hooligans a termination so hideous as to have served generations of proletarian mothers in cautioning their children on the dangers of insulting a sorcerer.

As it happens, however—and in this we see that primitive cunning so often evidenced by the lower classes—'twas at this very moment that the gargoyle group announced, again as one man, that it was time to turn in for the night. No sooner said than done, the loathsome gang staggered out of the tavern into the darkness of the streets beyond. Yet did the sixth of the motley and disreputable crew pause upon the threshold, and, gazing back within, wave a thorny finger in the direction of the street to his left, announcing: "You'll find the witch Magrit down this street—two blocks, turn left a block, right three blocks, and there she is—an old great gray house, tall and turreted about. You can't be missing it." And so saying, he followed his brethren.

These events recounted, the gentle reader may imagine that it was in no great humor that the wizard returned to his rooms above, dragging his apprentice by the scruff of the neck. Therein he stormed about, casting down curses upon lowlifes in general, a half-dozen lowlifes in particular, and one specific dwarf.

Especially, one specific dwarf.

Indeed, indeed, he waxed most eloquently upon the subject of this one specific dwarf, cursing not only the fate which had saddled him with the witless and unworthy gnome, but every habit, attribute, characteristic, feature, foible, trait, earmark, peculiarity, particularity, singularity, lineament, quality, property, idiosyncrasy, mannerism, tendency, detail, aspect, streak, stripe, crasis, diathesis, disposition, affectation, temperament, bent, bias, warp, woof, twist, turn, leaning, inclination, propensitude as well as propensity, propendency, propension, proclivity, predilection, and predisposition, forgetting not humor, mood, temper, tone, vein, grain, cast, cue, heart, mettle, and spirit, the which, taken together, summarized the persona of this specific dwarf, even including in this condemnation certain descriptions of the gnome which, fairness requires me to say, were something of an exaggeration, of which "cloven-hoofed" was perhaps the least ill-tempered.

No doubt this lecture would have greatly enlightened the wretched dwarf, opening up to his understanding many aspects of his character which the dull-minded runt had not hitherto grasped. But alas, the wizard's efforts were in vain, for the dwarf Shelyid had long since fainted away, whether in awe and wonder at the wizard's psychologic facility, or from the unaccustomed effects of many pots of ale, it is difficult to say.

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