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Uncle Pindby’s Detective Academy for Near and Distant Relations

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No one said going to Detective School meant risking one’s young Dwillish life in the badlands of Montrolla.
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Uncle Pindby’s Detective Academy for Near and Distant Relations
by Eric Dreyer Smith
Fantasy
Tags Fantasy, Detective, Witches, Adventure, Dwarves, Gnomes, Magic, Centaurs, Dwill, Covens, Monsters, Spies, Wars, Beasts, Creatures
November 17, 2015
Editor Christine Speakman
Line Editor Les Tucker
Cover Designer Charlotte Volnek
Pages 211

ISBN 978-1-77127-769-3

Price $5.99


Back Cover

Belium Brownsea did not know what he was getting into when he went to school at Uncle Pindby’s Detective Academy for Near and Distant Relations. He was a spoiled distant relative unsure of what path he wanted to take in life. A normal thing for a rich young Dwill. However, when danger calls he must follow his Uncle and even listen to the clandestine Centaur Marlon as they venture into war territory. This is very different from learning how to deduce who stole one’s neighbor’s newspaper. In Montrolla Hellman and Witchcraft await, old magic and chances to make new allies, all in the attempt to rescue young Dwillish girls, who if not too late can be saved from Turning by a Witch of the Brown or Black Order.

Excerpt

The travelers entered the forest together. Padoodle Pollywander, the newest member of the group, did not even know they were on a detective case. It did not seem to matter to her. She had a job and was happy about it. Belium assumed she would work with anyone. This wasn’t exactly fact. Padoodle was a keen judge of character. If she did not like a person, she would not work with them. She’d already discerned that this bunch of travelers were good folk. Even the gnome had a good heart deep down past all his outer ugliness. Dwarves considered themselves prettier than Dwills and much prettier than gnomes.

Belium, Pindby, and Glirt mounted the mules to keep their legs fresh for the great amount of walking that would be ahead. Padoodle was the hardiest of the bunch, able to walk long distances while carrying a load. An unspoken sense pervaded the travelers; this was the beginning of an untested union. Their purpose would have to be forged along the way. The question of how well they would work as a group against danger was unknown. The travelers were leaving all the places of the short peoples behind. They would be facing big, unfriendly things. They were part of some new fate. They didn’t know everything about each other or their respective capabilities, but already they’d joined with a courage that most never do. The forest sky was becoming the deep ink of night. It offered no clues as to the direction they were going. The evening was starless. It was decided the group would travel some during the night. This way they could make better time in their pursuit of the witches. Setting up camp in the cover of night had its benefits too. So far the mules were behaving, except for Saffron. She was developing a mild skittishness. Padoodle cured her unease with a pleasant herb mixture she carried that calmed mules and horses. Glirt decided to dismount Saffron and walk a bit on foot. He was getting along with the mule well enough, but mules and gnomes were a mixed bag. They did not always cooperate well. Unlike Belium, who nearly communicated telepathically with Jasper. Jasper was a jolly soul by nature. Glirt, on the other hand, definitely had a formal, working relationship with his mount. Likewise, Saffron could be moody despite favorable circumstances. Glirt decided it was best not to be hard on his new acquaintance.

Besides, walking was a good tonic. It gave the gnome a sense of control that The Great Forest slowly took away. The forest enveloped them. It was dark and dank. Unfamiliar smells and plants were everywhere. Scary sounds crackled out of nowhere when they were least expected. The silence punctuated by booms, but the booms were never explained. They soon faded back into silence. Belium thought it would have been better if an elephant suddenly charged across their path than having to endure the unexplained sounds. If Dwills still believed in omens, then Belium certainly would have suspected warnings were constantly telling them something. Everything seemed like a warning. Fear had to be kept in check. It was hard to believe the Dwillands resided so close to this place, a place Belium did not understand at all. The night would have been pitch black except for the illumination provided by the travelers’ lanterns and the dim light of moonbeams that breached the canopy of trees overhead. Branches and creepy vines frequently brushed Belium’s shoulders. Sometimes insects flew into him and bounced off before careening back into the depths of the forest. He tried not to become hysterical when a bug took him by surprise. His mind began picturing other things, bigger things, just beyond the lantern’s reach, things that might take a piece of his arm with them as they collided. He imagined the creatures spying on them, or worse, creatures lurking just out of sight, waiting for the opportunity to pounce.

There were animal noises, violent ones, coming from inside the thick of the woods. These noises made the terrible seem much more likely. Belium Brownsea used breathing techniques to calm himself, something his mother taught him. The youth was greatly relieved when the mules reached the end of the established road. This was a logical place to set camp. By the time, they began moving again it would be daylight. He’d firmly decided it was better to travel by day. No wonder tradition suggested daylight was the only suitable time of travel for Dwills. Belium was impressed with himself. He’d been able to keep with the Dwill custom of not speaking while traveling at night. He’d wanted to speak with his uncle or maybe Glirt about his fears. Pride prevented him. It was funny; pride entailed such a practical purpose. He mused, ironically, his uncle would have approved of this pride that kept the young Dwill from breaking etiquette. Before his conjectures could really begin entertaining himself, before the first grin set on his face, Belium retracted his amusements. He realized such wit served little purpose in the heart of a big case. He was in a dangerous place.

Belium did note that gnomes and dwarves had no trouble traveling in silence either. Glirt and Padoodle kept as quiet as stones. So far, they were apparently content in their roles. Belium did not know how much they knew.

Padoodle made camp for everyone. She was quick and competent. Glirt scouted ahead with a lantern, then returned to signal that he found safe ground to sleep upon. The group had come across no other travelers thus far in The Great Forest. After a light dinner, they went to sleep content the mules would guard their safety. Mules sensed peril with great ease. They were better than dogs when it came to baying out warning. Uncle Pindby told Belium it should be a safe night and to try to get some sleep. The mules slept light. So did Glirt the Gnome. Gnomes were good at sleeping light. This couldn’t always be said of Dwills or dwarves though. Belium slept like a rock once he got past the newness of the continuous forest sounds. The lad had a nightmare.

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