Origin of Pumlo, The Friendly Magician
Pumlo grew up in the Bastion, so for much of his life, he thought his destiny was to conduct intensive research into the intersection of magic and technology. He was at the top of his class in the Bastion Academy, and he started a promising career as one of the Blue Wizards. Over the years, he led increasingly bigger and more substantive projects, until he was a director at the Blue Wizards Research Center.
However, this did not come without a cost. Not a magical cost, as might be assumed. Blue Wizards are very sparing with direct magic usage, as they highly value their own intellects and do not wish to lose their grip on reality. But as with many a high achiever, there was a personal cost. After years of long nights and weekends in the research lab, Pumlo’s wife decided she’d had enough. One morning, after another all-nighter finishing a beta trial for a magic-powered mini-copter, Pumlo returned to an empty home and a note. Apparently, Tabitha had met a warrior and left the Bastion with him.
Pumlo sat and stared blankly at the letter. He reconsidered what he was doing with his life. It didn’t help that the mini-copter had suffered a critical error and smashed into the side of the Bastion’s main tower. He decided that some time away was in order.
A couple months later, the Blue Wizards in the research center observed Pumlo returning, and he seemed a changed man, compared to the one who had stumbled off south towards the Riviera. He had traded his blue hat for a yellow one and announced that he was officially a Yellow Wizard now. He was also accompanied by a golden toad which he declared as “the blingy-est toad you ever did see”, appropriately called Midas.
After that, Pumlo was a wild card in the lab. He had received tenure shortly before his leave of absence, so he couldn’t be sacked without some type of gross misconduct. But his priorities and behavior had dramatically changed. He declared that he was only interested in “party tech” to help his new Yellow Wizard brethren in their quest for “over-the-top” festivities. And he kept trying to convince his colleagues to close early and enjoy a happy hour (or two) with him. Soon, he was regarded as a nuisance and mostly ignored. But he did help a few wizards forget their troubles with a wild night out when they faced some frustrations at the lab or at home.
What will Pumlo come up with next? Can he help the Yellow Wizards hold the ultimate party?
When Beasts Roamed the Runiverse
A brisk wind sliced through the mountains surrounding Dream Master Lake. A murder of crows perched on a hardy mountain tree and croaked at each other as two figures walked by.
That counterpart was a bit distracted. He was wearing a curious contraption that covered his ears, with a cord leading underneath his fashionable blue overcoat. And whatever this device was doing, it caused its user to bob his head to an unseen rhythm as he walked along.
“HAAAARRRRUMPH!” the caped traveler waved his hand in front of the other’s face.
Pumlo took off his head contraption. “Huh, what was that, Zoo Man? My bad.”
“It’s Zubin, Zuh-bin, please! Focus your mind on the task ahead. We must use my Key to the 7th Realm” he gestured at the glittering metal artifact hanging around his neck, “to open the Gate and document what we observe on the other side.”
“My tunes are getting me hyped up! Come on Zubin McLovin! I offered you a spare set preloaded with my latest ‘7th Realm Remixes’!”
“As I told you back at the Bastion, Pumlo, those SOUNDS do not get me ‘hyped up’ – they give me a headache! And we must remain cool and precise during this delicate procedure!”
“Man, you’re cool enough for the both of us!” Pumlo grinned. “With my magitek and your key, we’ll get this done, no cap!”
“Where do you find these expressions – I’d like to keep my cap, thank you very much!” Zubin grasped his headwear protectively. “Anyway, I hope I don’t have to remind you that you’re on probation at the Research Institute? And that your performance here will determine your future there? I agreed to bring you along as my counterpart in this operation because I have some sympathy for your situation – please don’t make me regret my choice!”
“You won’t regret anything, I promise! We are gonna find something awesome in the 7th Realm, I just know it! Can you imagine what kinda parties they’re having there?” Pumlo gave an joyful, impish laugh as he grabbed the sides of his large yellow wizard’s hat. A golden toad perched on his shoulder croaked appreciatively. “See, Midas gets it, don’t you boy?”
Zubin sighed and rolled his eyes. “Just remember to cast your spell after I insert the key, at the PRECISE moment I say…” Zubin’s words faded as they moved out of hearing.
The crows cawed and flew away together. As they so often did, man was about to meddle in matters beyond their understanding. It was wise to relocate before they did so…
The two wizards soon came upon a huge wall of rock – the path ended in front of it. “This is the place,” said Zubin. “My studies of the ancient texts indicate that the gate will materialize here at Block 14572777. This timekeeping method is no longer used, but if my calculations are accurate, this should align with our time in about 30 seconds.”
“30 seconds? Try RIGHT NOW, look!” Pumlo said, pointing at the wall.
A large gate materialized in the wall, sporting bright yellow and purple ornamentation. The gate towered over the wizards, extending 100 feet above them. Surrounding the gate were a series of locks.
Zubin immediately approached one of the locks close to the ground. “Ok, I’ll insert my key, and make the proper incantations…” he mumbled some syllables in a forgotten language.
“NOW Pumlo, cast your spell to complete the unlocking procedure!” Zubin said. Nothing happened. “Pumlo? PUMLO?” he looked back frantically. “Time is of the essence!”
Pumlo was still staring at the gate in amazement. “YOOOOOOOOO! This gate is fire! I’ve just GOT to recreate this for my next rave!” He pulled out a strange device from a pocket in his coat. I’ve got to capture this or the set designers just won’t understand what it looks like, it’s out of this world!” He clicked a button on the device, which flashed once from a small window on the front.
Zubin was beside himself. “Pumlo, focus! We’re running out of time; look, the locks are disappearing!” Indeed, the various locks surrounding the gate were starting to fade away – it appeared that other wizards were also working to unlock the gate, although none were visible.
“Alright alright, let’s get this started,” Pumlo said. “I cast Fairy Glamour – the Dazzle Spell!” As he gestured, glimmering particles materialized in the air and drifted down toward the lock.
“It’s so slow! Couldn’t you have picked something faster?!”
“Chill bro, it’s not always about being fast, style counts too!” Pumlo grinned.
Just as the Fairy Glamour particles reached the lock, it too faded away. The particles dropped through the space the lock had occupied and eventually settled on the ground.
Zubin’s face started to turn red, but before he could say another word, the Gate started rumbling. Without a word, both wizards agreed that moving away from the Gate was wise.
Peering from behind a rock outcropping well away from the Gate, Zubin and Pumlo observed as it opened with a rumble. And behind the Gate, a Beast waited.
“Hold still, I gotchu bro,” Pumlo whispered. He cast Fairy Glamour over both of them.
The Beast, who resembled a gigantic lion combined with a goat and a snake, slowly emerged from the Gate, looking from side to side. Seeing nothing but cliffs and boulders, the Chimera spread its wings and suddenly took off, quickly gaining altitude, and headed south.
As the glamour spell faded, a pair of boulders revealed themselves as Zubin and Pumlo. They both sighed in relief.
“Well! We have certainly seen some shizz today, wouldn’t you say my dear Zubin!” Pumlo remarked.
“The fact that you didn’t butcher my name means you’re just as shocked as I am!” Zubin said. “We must get back to the Bastion at once! There are communications to be sent, reports to be written, follow-up excursions to this Gate to plan…”
“Wow, you seem pretty happy with how things turned out. Look, I’m sorry about messing up the whole lock procedure,” Pumlo began as he followed Zubin back down the trail.
“I am ecstatic!” Zubin said. “Forget about the locks, the fact that I’ve observed this emergence of a new power into the Runiverse…my funding will be secure, indefinitely!” Zubin whooped.
“Now that’s what I like to hear!” Pumlo said, as Midas the Toad croaked appreciatively. The two wizards took turns giving their best whoops as they headed back home.