Writing Every Day in October: Day 6

I just can’t pass up the opportunity to have a character in law enforcement say “What’s all this, then?”.

Here we go: Day 6—and do please note: Porthaven is supposed to be more the East Coast of North America than anywhere British, but I just can’t pass up the opportunity to have a character in law enforcement say “What’s all this, then?”. And, basically, I regret nothing.

Every fall a travelling carnival, well, travels to Porthaven. It’s Dunstana Darkstone’s favourite time of the year. Well, except for her birthday. And Wintermorn.

And Princess Moonflower’s birthday.

And Heroes’ Eve.

The travelling carnival, she decides, is easily within the top twelve of her favourite times of the year.

Whenever the carnival is coming back, Dunstana always listens to people complaining about it, cursing the crooked carnival workers for seeing the fine people of Porthaven as no more than a bunch of ‘marks’ and ‘rubes’ — yeah, Dunstana doesn’t know, either — bemoaning the fact that all the carnival games are rigged and impossible to win. How the only real way to win the games is not even play them.

And Dunstana just does not get it.

She wins every game she ever plays. And, honestly, it’s not even that hard. She’s starting to figure that everyone else is just a bunch of sore losers to embarrassed to admit they can’t throw ball well enough to knock over a stack of bottles.

Though Dunstana does sort of think it’s a little weird that somebody always seems to loudly sneeze nearby while the last bottle is wobbling precariously.

That always seems to help knock down the last bottle and win Dunstana all sorts of fabulous prizes.

And there was that time a owl swooped by the ringtoss game, snatched her ring out of the air and deposited it on the peg that won her a giant bear stuffy.

She still can’t figure out why the guy running the game got so mad at her.

It wasn’t her fault there was an owl!

Or that the guy with the roulette wheel got scared by a mouse, hit the wheel with his elbow, and nudged it enough for Dunstana to win the top prize.

Or that a porcupine decided to wander into the balloon-popping game.

“Hey, little lady,” a voice calls to Dunstana as she passes by another game booth. “You feel lucky today?”

“I always feel lucky,” Dunstana answers.

“Well,” the weaselly man at the booth says, “have I got a game for you!”

“I don’t know,” Dunstana answers, “do you?”

“Look, kid,” the man says. “It’s easy. You see this ball?” He holds up a red glass ball. “Find the ball, win the prize. Just five marks.”

“Pfft,” Dunstana scoffs. “That’s easy.”

She hands over her five marks.

The man at the booth lays out three small bowls, hides the ball underneath one and begins moving them around.

He stops moving the cups and grins down at Dunstana. “Well?”

“Middle,” Dunstana declares.

“Oh, sorry, little lady,” the man says as he flips over the cup. “Better luck—” He glances down to see the bright red ball staring back up him. “How did you do that?”

“What do I win?” Dunstana asks.

“A keychain or a moustache comb,” the man mutters before he grins again. “Or you could go double or nothing.”

“What do I win?” Dunstana asks.

“The keychain and the moustache comb!” the man exclaims.

That’s not a very good prize as far as Dunstana is concerned, but she decides to go for it and win just because she can.

Once again, the man plays down the bright red ball and hides it under the bowls.

What is going over there?” he exclaims, pointing off behind Dunstana.

She glances over in the direction where he’s pointing, sees nothing and then turns back.

“Well?” he asks. “Where’s the ball this time, little lady?”

“Left,” Dunstana says.

“So sorry, little lady, it looks like I —f” Once again, he glances down to see the bright red ball mocking him with its very presence “— That’s impossible! You cheated!”

Thoroughly unimpressed, Dunstana looks up at him with narrowed eyes.

“You cheated!” he repeats. “You must have!”

“How can you tell?” Dunstana asks.

“Because I cheated! I swiped the ball while you were distrac— Uh oh.”

Lucky as ever, Dunstana notices a member of the Musketeer Guard of Porthaven passing by. Dunstana tugs on the Musketeer’s light blue cape to get her attention.

“What’s all this, then?” the Musketeer asks, turning towards Dunstana.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” Dunstana says, “I’d like to report a rigged game.”

Basically, the premise for this one was ‘Dunstana has a Luck Stat of Infinity.’

As I work out the more supernatural and metaphysical elements of the world of Terrace, I’m starting to consider running with the idea that Dunstana does a lot of the things she does because she’s got supernaturally good luck — and then possibly going really off the rails by doing something like making her the avatar of the as yet undefined goddess of luck.

Nothing has been decided at this point, and this story shouldn’t be considered as definitive or authoritative; this is really more of a thought experiment of what I can do with Dunstana as a character with impossibly, infinitely good luck.

Whether this will make its way into the real Realmgard stories remains to be seen. It’ll happen when and if when it happens.

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