The (Not So) Little Things, a (Not So) Mini Series
Little Things: Magic Doors
by: Niami DenMother
Other than the bored night staff, idly cleaning up the debris left by various crafters, she had the Deductive Directory all to herself. Thus, there were few witnesses to the why's and wherefore's of why the food Mum created for a rush order was not quite up to her normal high standards.
It was all the fault of the doors.
Now, it is a well-known fact that laden males and laden females tend to approach closed doors in a vastly different manner. How many times have you seen some big, strapping barbarian man carrying an item or two stand in front of a closed door and bellow for someone to open it, hmm? Meanwhile, some itty-bitty halfling gal, buried under enough bags, boxes and gear to rival that of the sturdiest of sherpas carrying supplies for a mountain-climbing expedition will, somehow, with a few bumps, grinds, kicks and jabs, manage to open that self-same door with no pleas for assistance, thankyouverymuch!
Mum was no exception, especially when timed writs were involved.
As usual, she was planning on working on such writs in the wee hours, when there would be less crowding and distraction, and a greater need for someone willing and able to handle the stray rush job that came in.
Keeping in mind a recent near-collision that had almost ensured that one barbarian would never father children, she triple-checked with the staff to make sure there wasn't anyone else crafting. Speeding halflings and swinging doors could be a dangerous combination.
She was given the "all clear" signal.
It was time to beat her personal best time ... without sacrificing quality, of course!
Like a sprinter at the starting block, she prepared to "race the timer". Arms laden down with supplies, she sidled, crablike, closer to the table containing the rush order assignments. Aware that the table had a sadistic timer that started the moment she touched her assignment, she edged closer, closer, until she could just snag her order with the tip of an outstretched pinky, and she was off.
Sprinting for the two doors that separated her from the stove, she turned sideways as she approached, readying her own hip-bump-elbow-foot combination that was meant to open, and hold open, the first door long enough for her to slip through. Staggering a bit as her hip met open air, she let out an unladylike shriek. Assuming that someone lurking at the stoves had opened the door, she scolded "Don't scare me li- ..."
Nobody was there, though she could swear that she heard a very quiet muffled giggle.
She knew, because she triple-checked with every detection spell she could think of.
"Bah, I have nae time frae such shennanigans right now." Mentally shrugging, she sidled towards the second door. It, too, opened before she touched it.
Grumbling, she dropped her supplies next to the nearest stove, and approached the door, which had quietly closed behind her.
It opened before she could touch it.
She backpedaled quickly, eyeing it dubiously, and watched it close again.
Backing up several steps, she set off towards the doors at a dead run.
The first opened. Then the second, and as she skidded to a stop several steps into the next room, she still couldn't find anyone responsible for it.
Then she spied the work order table.
"By Bristlebane's glorious toe-fur, th' timer!"
She fled back to the kitchen, barely noticing that the doors, once again opened as she neared.
Quickly, she started throwing together the required items with none of her usual flair and panache.
She couldn't shake the feeling that the door was staring at her, so she kept throwing dirty looks at it while she cooked. This, in turn, led to some creative cooking flubs, the likes of which she hadn't made since she'd been a wee child learning to cook.
The souffle wasn't flat, but it wasn't exactly fluffy, either.
Was the door staring at her?
The sugar cookies were salty.
It was, wasn't it?
The cake was scorched on the edges and undercooked in the middle.
She might not know what a "smug" door did or did not look like, but she was sure that the door was, indeed, smug.
The gravy was lumpy.
Never again would she experiment with artichoke wine on an empty stomach.
The fizzpop didn't fizz.
She dropped an onion, and it rolled to rest against the closed door. The door, stubbornly, stayed closed.
Deciding that she really needed to lay off the brewing experiments, and that the antics of the door had been an imagination of her figment, she walked over to pick up the onion.
The door opened.
Quietly, calmly, she grabbed the remainder of her supplies, leaving the pitiful pile of ruined foodstuffs on the prep table. She stalked towards the entrance, nearly igniting the opening doors with the heat of her glare, dropping the unfinished work order request back on the table.
Stomping past the confused night clerk, who had been eagerly awaiting the results of her cooking, she said, "I left th' remains frae yuir new staff."
"Aye, th' invisible, undetectable pixie door openers! If they're bored enow tae be causing mischief wi' their mind games, they can clean th' mess caused by it. Next time ye might warn a body aboot them afore they ruin summat more valuable wi' their antics."
She was out of earshot before the confused clerk said, "But, but, we didn't hire any new staff!"
Somewhere in the depths of the building, a door snickered.
Editorial note: Sometimes it really is all in the little things! Starting with GU36 doors in Qeynos crafting instances will automagically open as you approach. For details regarding this and other tradeskill-related items in GU36, check out Mum's "(Not So) Little Things" guide to GU36.
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