The Maretian

by Kris Overstreet

Chapter 161: Sol 269

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“What’s Samwise crying about?” Starlight asked as Cherry Berry, whose turn it was to read, finished the chapter. “Is he happy about going on an adventure or not?”

“That’s what you ask about?” Fireball asked. “Bilbo’s ring is a Horcrux. A real… a real big Horcrux. That more important than a few hobbit cries.”

“Yeah,” Cherry agreed. “It explains why Bilbo was acting like that after the party. How long did he have the Ring?”

“Sixty years,” Mark said. “And he didn’t age a day in all that time.”

“So it’s a Horcrux that Horcruxes other people too?” Fireball asked.

“The Potter books were written more than fifty years after these books,” Mark said. “J. K. Rowling might have got the idea for Horcruxes from the One Ring. But I remember reading a story in the school library as a kid- an old fairy tale, hundreds of years old, about a giant who couldn’t be killed because he kept his heart hidden hundreds of miles away. Turns out it was in an egg inside a chest in a tower, or something like that. The hero smashed the egg, and the giant died instantly.” He shrugged and added, “It’s a really old story with us humans.”

“But remember how Voldemort’s Horcruxes messed with the minds of people around them?” Starlight pointed out. “And this one turned a hobbit into that Gollum thing.”

“It didn’t hurt Bilbo,” Spitfire pointed out.

“Yet. That we know of.”

“Hey, you know what this makes me think of?” Cherry asked. “The Allcorn… um… word…”

“Allcorn Amulet,” Starlight said.

“What?” Mark gasped. “You mean your world has something like the One Ring?? The power of an evil god in a piece of jewelry?”

“Oh, we haven’t told you that story?” Starlight asked. “Once upon a time in the magical land of the ponies, there was a unicorn, a stage magician and sleight-of-hoof artist named Tricky Moon-lady, though she referred to herself- frequently- as the Great and Powerful Tricky…”


Our enforced vacation continues. It’s frustrating to see sols go by with no progress on the Whinnybago.

We’re coming up on a hay harvest soon. It’s going to be better than expected, thanks to the daily magic fields, but we weren’t expecting much. The actual yield is going to be down from pre-methane levels, but that still means a lot of work on suits that may be getting ready to fail.

Dragonfly shows no signs of waking up, so we’re waiting for magic batteries to recharge for Starlight’s next attempt to wake our gunk-bug. If it doesn’t work, then things will really get bad.

In other news, the ponies have picked their characters (finally), and I’ve run them through a few sample combats and skill checks. They… haven’t done well. Cherry’s barbarian charges straight ahead and swings his sword at anything that moves. Spitfire’s elf thief keeps trying to pick pockets mid-battle. Starlight, when playing her dwarf cleric, speaks in this weird monotone and makes every use of magic into a call for the others to worship her god, whose name is apparently Rocks.

And Fireball… well, the others are lucky a Level 1 wizard can’t cast the spell by that name. But Burning Hands, Flame Fountain, Chain Lightning and Magic Missile? And a 14 Constitution? And no comprehension of the concept of back-blast?

Anyway, for any future diplomats to the ponies who might read this, I have two pieces of information picked up during our daily literary discussion. Pay attention, because these things are very important to future good relations between our worlds.

1: If offered jewelry, for sale or as a gift, by a pony, the safe option is to decline as politely as possible. Failure to do so may result in fits of megalomania, overuse of the word “precious”, and/or a pathological fear of wheels.

2: For you or me, the day a stage magician shows up with real magic power and forces the town to kneel before his/her might would be a turning point in our dreary little lives. For ponies, it’s Tuesday. Bear this in mind if you’re tempted to make diplomatic threats.

Author's Notes:

Long day. This is all I have.

Next Chapter: Sol 270 Estimated time remaining: 13 Hours, 24 Minutes
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