“Hey, what happened to Ki No Ronin?” asked Dryadia.
“He slipped back out the door when Merlin showed up,” said Mike. “Before he left, he told me that he had some business to finish on this side of the veil, and that he had no plans to participate in our ritual, and that he was sure Merlin would show us the way. He did leave us a bag of sacred eucalyptus leaves though. Helluva guy, eh? If he hadn’t been there earlier …”
Mike didn’t finish his sentence, but didn’t need to. All the friends knew that they owed the noble bardic samarui their lives, and each one there bid him a silent sayonara.
“Well then,” said Alferian. “Shall we get back to the business at hand? Now Merlin did not leave us specific instructions, but we’re not total idiots, or at least Dryadia and I are not, and I think that taking both what Merlin and Ki No Ronin said, we should be able to cobble together a ritual that will magically transport us back to where we all so desperately wish to go, namely out of this pub crawl!”
“Right you are,” Alferian, said Dryadia. “I’ll just scatter some of these eucalyptus leaves in a circle – sunwise of course – and I’ll make a nice little pile of them right here in the center, too, which can serve as a sort of altar on which we can place the item that we wish to sacrifice, or offer, if you prefer.”
“Oh very good, Dryadia,” said Alferian. “That’s the kind of ritualistic improvisation that I was going to suggest, but you beat me to it! But now comes the hard part, as we must decide on that one item that we want to give up. Something of value, Merlin said, but what the old boy didn’t say, but that I think can be inferred, is that what we give up should not only be of value to the person who owns it, but also, the act of giving it up should make the whole world a better place. Now I’m just going to go around and ask each of you what you have that is of value to you, and then we’ll talk about it and decide if giving up a certain item would not only be difficult for the individual, but also if its sacrifice would make the world a better place. And to show that I’m not above this myself, I’ll start.
Alferian paced around the small chamber, stroking his chin, deep in thought. Finally, he spoke again: “Now it goes without saying that we must all be totally honest, no matter how much it hurts. And so I say to you now, the thing of value that I would give up is my wand.
Everyone in the room gasped, because they all knew that the Druid had crafted the wand himself, and each person there knew how much it would pain him to sacrifice it now.
But Alferian continued: “Yes friends, even with dead batteries, my wand is my life. But in truth, I cannot see that the world would be a better place if I were to be deprived of it. I alone know how to wield it, and I have always used it for good. No, the world would not be a better place without my wand in it, and so I reluctantly must pass. Beith, would you like to go next? Remember, you must be totally honest.”
Beith stepped to the center of the room. “Well, you all know what I’m going to say. My most valued possessions are my shoes, and it would hurt me dreadfully to give them up, but since we’re all being so honest and everything, I’ll just tell you that the world would not be a better place if I were to give up my shoes, because, well, you see, the reason I have so many pairs of beautiful shoes is because I have terribly ugly feet. Hammertoe, bunions, nail fungus, athlete’s foot, I’ve got it all, I’m afraid, and I think the world would rather see these,” she said, indicating her attractive red, stiletto-heeled pumps, “than these,” she said, kicking off a shoe and holding up one foot for all to see.
“Holy gods!” said Azrienoch. “Put it back on, you’re right, you’re right, you’re right. Put it back on!”
“Okay then, I think we’re all agreed that Beith must keep her shoes,” said Alferian. “Dryadia?”
Dryadia reached into her bag and pulled out a beautifully spangled hip scarf that she used for belly dancing. “This is the first hip scarf I ever owned, and it really means a lot to me, but would the world be a better place without belly dancers in it?” She fastened the scarf around her hips and did an impromptu dance right then and there, and by the time she was finished, everyone was in agreement that Dryadia should keep her scarf, because, indeed, belly dancing was a beautiful thing, and the world is a better place because of it.
One after the other, the friends stepped forward, honestly naming their most valued possession, but each stating a compelling reason about why it should not be sacrificed.
Selene named her pumpkin medallion.
Mike showed pictures of his ancestors.
Daigh Cahan showed his sword.
Lorraine talked about her apron.
GreenDruid proffered her crystal.
Anonymoose talked tearfully about his antlers.
Kat Lady indicated her 007 collar.
Carragh read from her books of poetry.
Azrienoch showed his first-edition copy of Mark Twain’s “Life on the Mississippi.”
“Well, that’s everyone,” said Alferian, “and I must say, you’ve all given very good reasons why you should keep your most valued possession, for the good of the world. It’s beginning to look as though we are doomed to stay here.”
“Hey,” said Lorraine, pointing at Crow. “What about him?”
“I don’t have anything of value,” said the old reporter. “All I have are my notebook and this stub of pencil, but since I don’t value them any more than do any of the rest of you, it would hardly be a sacrifice for me to give them up.”
“Wait a minute,” said Kat Lady. “You do
have something else, I’ve seen it. Your license!”
“His what?” asked Beith.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” said Crow, backing away from the group.
“His license! His pub-crawling license! He values it like nothing else, and he can’t argue that the world wouldn’t be a better place if he didn’t have it!” said Kat Lady.
“By Jove, she’s right! You’re a hero for thinking of that, Kat Lady!” said Alferian. “Just hand over that license, Crow!”
“No! You can’t have it,” said Crow, his back to the wall.
But the others were on him in an instant, and although he fought like mad, the feeble bird was no match for any one of them, much less the whole group, and soon his license had been extracted from its hiding place behind some feathers, and cast upon the pile of eucalyptus leaves in the center of the circle.
Crow sat on the floor, defeated, and he barely heard Alferian say, “Okay everybody, get ready, we’re going home! This is a sacrifice that the gods will be glad to accept, just as we are glad to make it, for the good of all the world! Selene, if you can just use your pumpkin medallion to ignite those leaves!”
"burning leaves!" said Carragh.
Crow saw a blue flame erupt from the administrator's
medallion, and soon an odor like open vats of Vicks VapoRub filled the room. Crow heard everyone chanting, “there’s no place like home … there’s no place like home … there’s no place like home,” and just as he saw that the flames had reached his precious license, there was a huge bolt of blue lightni …”
Editor’s note: We apologize, but this pub crawl cannot be completed, as the originator of the thread has lost his pub-crawling license. We do, however, wish you all a blessed Samhuinn.