Crossin’ Over

What follows is one of the tales that make up The Grimmholt Collection. It was collected by The Grimmholter some years ago in the American South. At present, The Collection has only one tale concerning “Ruthy,” but it is to be hoped that more may be found at some future date.


Crossin’ Over

Please ‘low me to introduce m’ self. My last name is Rutheford so folks call me Ruthy. I don’t much care for m’ first name so I never use it. I am what you might call a pragmatist’s wizard. I don’t do no magic or nothin’ like that, it’s just that things that baffle other folks, like ghosts and other such cooters, are as real to me as rats in the barn and if they’re causin’ a ruckus then I hit ‘em with a big stick and haul ‘em off to the dump. If’n I can see it, then I c’n touch it. Always been that way. Hell I was nearly twenty before I understood the meanin’ of the word eee-thereal. I guess the first time I figured out what was different about me was when I was tellin’ my daddy about wandering around the swamp out back o’ the farm knocking the will-o’-wisps around with my Louisville Slugger. As I grew up, word kinda got around that if’n you was bein’ haunted or had some cooter monster botherin’ you, well you just look up Ruthy and his big stick and he’ll take care of it fer ya. We got us a bushel ‘n’ peck o’ ghosts ‘n’ cooters ‘round here so I’m never short on things to hit.

Like just th’ other night I was walkin’ through th’ graveyard when lightin’ starts shootin’ out o’ the ground an’ this big ugly cooter pops up all horns an’ scales. He takes a look at me standin’ there just as cool as can be an’ says I should be on my knees t’ him. He called himself the third demon of some damned place. I called him an asshole. I guess that kinda riled him some ‘cause he come after me like he was gonna do some damage. I just hauled off an’ kicked him in the nuts. Well, he fell down all curled up like you’d expect an’ whimpered that I wasn’t s’posed to be able to do that on account o’ he was o’ the spirit world. I said he was in my world now. I reckon he didn’t like my world ‘cause he just up and left. I got a bunch o’ stories like that.

Now th’ other day I’m sittin’ at the counter at Melba’s havin’ me some o’ her strawberry-rhubarb pie and a cup o’ coffee when Doris comes runnin’ in all covered in goose bumps and shakin’ like a leaf. Doris is the town librarian since Thelma Jean passed on. Now I could tell that sump’n was up ‘cause normally Doris, young as she is, is about as excitable as a dead pig. Well now, she comes runnin’ in hollerin’, “Melba, Melba! Have you seen Ruthy? I got to find Ruthy!”

“Look left, ya’ silly girl. I’m sittin’ right here,” I says. “Now, why don’t you sit down here and tell me what’s got you so riled up?”

Well after a cup o’ tea and a bunch o’ blubberin’ she finally gets it out. “Ruthy, there’s a ghost in the library.”

Now, there’s ghosts, an’ then there’s ghosts. Mostly I don’t like t’ go hittin’ folks as have just passed on lessn’ they’s causin’ trouble, ‘cause most o’ the time they’re just getting’ themselves together before movin’ on. So I ask Doris to tell me a bit more ‘bout what she saw.

“Ruthy, I think it’s Thelma Jean!”

Now, that set me back a bit ‘cause Thelma had been gone near on a year, an’ she wasn’t the kind to cause no harm, ‘cept that time she smacked me with a ruler when I spilled coffee on one o’ her books. No, Thelma Jean Coolidge was a nice, quiet old maid what never hurt a soul. She passed just as quiet on a fine June evening. Near as I c’n tell she had come home from work, had supper, then settled down for a little light readin’ with Hunter Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, fell asleep an’ just never woke up. So I finish my coffee an’ leave Doris sittin’ an’ recoverin’ an’ head off to the library.

Ever since I figured out ‘bout my little knack, I been goin’ to the graveyard after a funeral to pay my last respects to them what’s passed and offer a last handshake if’n they chose to show up. Now I’ve noticed sump’n ‘bout folks. People go where they reckon they ought to go. I seen high minded rascals, who cheated an’ lied, rise up through th’ sky; an’ I seen good men, thinkin’ they was bad, sink into the dirt in flames. Now in all her life, Thelma Jean reckoned she ought to go three places. She ought to go to church. She ought to go home, but mostly, Thelma Jean reckoned she ought to go to work.

When I get to the library, I start makin’ my way ‘round the place an’ sure enough there’s Thelma Jean standin’ in the romance section readin’ Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. Now, bein’ a big man, I tend to make a bit o’ noise when I move, so when I come ‘round the corner Thelma Jean gives me that famous look and a “hush up there, Ruthy!” So I sidle up kinda close and whisper, “Thelma Jean, what’re you doin’ here?”

“What do you mean, Ruthy? This is my library. I work here,” she whispers back.

“But Thelma Jean,” I says as gentle as I can, “Honey, you’re dead. You been dead nigh on a year now.”

Well, that does it. I guess I weren’t all that gentle ‘cause ol’ Thelma’s face goes all streachy and she starts t’ howlin’ an’ carryin’ on an’ books start flyin’ off the shelves an’ the card catalogue starts t’ spittin’ cards all over the place. I’m startin’ t’ think maybe my life’s in danger, but I never could bring m’ self t’ strike a lady so I just yells out, “Thelma Jean, you’re makin’ a mess!” That got her attention sure. Ever’ thin’ falls to th’ floor an’ Thelma looks around in horror like she just seen an axe murder.

“Oh Ruthy, what have I done? What have I done?” an’ with that she crumples t’ th’ floor and starts in t’ weepin’ like a baby.

Well, I reach over an’ gather Thelma Jean close an’ hold her so’s she can have a good cry. Now, I never woulda done that while she was alive, but bein’ dead kinda changes things. She weeps on for a while an’ I just let her an’ then she looks up at me an’ says, “Ruthy, I can’t cross over. I can’t find my way.” An’ th’ tears ‘re just rollin’ down her poor dead face, “Preacher said there were supposed to be angels and chariots to carry me across the Jordan, Ruthy, but there ain’t nothin’ like that.” Now I knows she’s really upset ‘cause Thelma Jean never said “ain’t.”

I seen a lot o’ strange things, but th’ only angels I ever seen was on greetin’ cards an’ th’ only chariots I seen was in Ben Hur, so I didn’t take much stock in either one commin’ for dear Thelma. What I do know is that ever one of us, livin’ or dead, needs a little help when we done lost our way. Me bein’ among th’ livin’, I wern’t really th’ one t’ guide poor Thelma t’ her rest, but I had me an idea who could, if’n I could get t’ him. So I says, “Thelma Jean honey, I think I knows how t’ help ya. Now dry yer tears and put just a little faith in yer boy Ruthy here and I’ll do m’ durndest t’ set things right. D’ ya think ya can get to the graveyard tonight an’ meet me ‘round midnight?” She ‘loud as how she could an’ promised as how she would leave poor Doris alone ‘till then. Things bein’ settled at th’ library, I set off to the hardware store.

Livin’ in a little bit of a town like this, ya get t’ know how things is with folks, even if’n they wished ya didn’t. Well, as things was, I knew a thing or two ‘bout the late Jimmy Horner. James Earl Rochester Horner was a right fine man who knew the ins an’ outs of hardware like nobody else. Didn’t matter what kind o’ part ya needed, Jimmy had it. He’d run ya credit if’n times was hard, but get right strict if’n ya had the money. Why, that good ol’ boy ‘ud even open up th’ store in the middle o’ th’ night if’n ya was in a fix an’ needed sump’n bad. Jimmy’s only fault, apart from his wife, I’ll get t’ her in a bit, was that he fancied his self a wood carver. Jimmy went and got himself a big ol’ slab o’ seasoned oak tree an’ proceeded to carve what he thought was a beautiful pit’cher on it for th’ front door o’ his store. Ol’ Jimmy ‘ud see visitors lookin’ at that ugly door an’ think they was admirin’ it. He’d go outside all proud like an’ ask ‘em if’n they would like t’ take a photograph. If’n he wern’t such a good man, he’d ‘a’ been a laughing stock. When Jimmy died, a couple years ago, the first thing his boys done, was t’ take that door down an’ put up right fine factory job.

Now Jimmy had his self a wife named Rose who hen pecked that poor man ever day o’ his life right up t’ the day she died. Folks ‘round here thought she was too mean t’ die. They all reckoned that neither th’ Good Lord ner th’ devil ‘ud want her, so she’d prolly live forever. I don’t figure it was either side had a hand in it when that Kenworth run her over, her bein’ too proud t’ look both ways b’fore crossin’ th’ highway. The best thing said at her funeral was one o’ Jimmy and Rose’s boys sayin’, “May th’ Good Lord grant her peace, now that he’s granted us some.”

Well, when dear Rose got herself shuffled off, Jimmy’s affections settled on one Miss Thelma Jean Coolidge, only he never really let on ‘cause he was kinda shy ‘bout women folk. But if’n you was lookin’ ya could see th’ way he’d look at her as she passed his store commin’ an’ goin’ t’ th’ library. Jimmy ‘ud stand on th’ porch an’ say, “Good Mornin’ Miss Thelma,” an’ “Good Evenin’ Miss Thelma,” an’ she’d smile sweet like an’ right back with, “Good Mornin’ t’ you Mister Horner.” It was a sweet and funny thing t’ watch.

Well, it was long ‘bout six o’ clock when I got t’ th’ “Horner ‘n’ Sons Hardware Emporium” an’ Jimmy Jr. an’ Ethan was just closin’ up fer th’ day. We give each other a “hiya” an’ then I asks ‘em, “Say fellers, d’ you by any chance still have that fancy door your daddy carved.” Jimmy Jr. kinda gives a shudder an’ Ethan just chuckles deep down. “Yah we do Ruthy. Jimmy Jr. tossed it up top th’ hen house on account o’ it’s such an eye sore. You want it fer sump’n?” “Well I’d just like to borrow it fer th’ night,” says I. “I’ll bring it back come mornin’.” “What ya want with it?” asks Jimmy Jr. Now, I start scratchin’ my chin thinkin’ just how to tell these fellers that I’m a tryin’ t’ get in touch with th’ feller what carved that door, when Ethan says kinda fearful like, “Jimmy Jr., I reckon maybe we better not ask what Ruthy’s up t’ t’night, don’t ya think?” Jimmy Jr. looks back t’ me, gives another shudder an’ just turns back in t’ th’ store. “Hen house is out back Ruthy. ‘N’ you just keep th’ door,” an’ in goes Ethan. Here I was thinkin’ maybe I’d get some help cartin’ th’ thing up t’ th’ grave yard. Well I can’t blame ‘em really. So it’s me, m’self an’ I with a big ol’ ugly slab o’ oak footin’ it two miles out to the grave yard.

Most folk, when they see me doin’ sump’n strange, just kinda pretend they don’t see me. I guess they fig’r it’s better not knowin’. I was just tickled when Melba met me in th’ street with a sack supper and a thermos o’ coffee. She didn’t say nothin’ but that I should have a care. I think she’s sweet on me.

‘Long ‘bout ten thirty, I make it up th’ hill t’ th’ “final restin’ place”, eats me some o’ Melba’s fine fried chicken, an’ then I get on with th’ business o’ rescuin’ poor Thelma Jean. I took th’ door an’ lays it down right or’ top Jimmy’s grave an’ then I starts in t’ knockin’. “Jimmy,” says I “I’m awful sorry t’ bother you so late but I’m in a fix here an’ I need some help.” I keep a doin’ this a spell an’ then I hear Jimmy’s voice a commin’ from behind th’ door. “Ruthy? ‘S that you? “This better be good ‘r I’ll tan yer hide fer pesterin’ me so late.” Jimmy always give out like that, but I think he kinda liked bein’ needed. Well to make short work of it, out come ol’ Jimmy, wearin’ his Sunday best just like we buried him in.

“Jimmy, I sure do ‘preciate you getting up fer me.”

“Aw Ruthy, you know I can’t but help someone in a fix. What ya need, son?”

“Well Jimmy,” I says “It ain’t really me in the fix this time. You remember Miss Thelma Jean don’t ya?” At th’ mention o’ Thelma’s name ol’ Jimmy starts in t’ blush an’ that’s a sight t’ see on a ghost. “Ya see she passed on ‘bout a year ago now. Trouble is, she’s havin’ a time findin’ her way ‘cross. It’s a sorry sight I tell ya.” I see Jimmy gettin’ mighty concerned. “That fine, gentle lady weepin’ an’ moanin’ ‘cause she’s got not a soul t’ show her the way.”

“Ruthy that’s th’ most awful thing I ever did hear. That just ain’t no good at all. Why Ruthy you don’t s’pose that maybe she’d ‘low me…na, she wouldn’t want th’ likes o’ me t’…would she, d’ ya think?”

I know I shouldn’t o’, but seein’ ol’ Jimmy so flustered was just so funny that I couldn’t help but laugh at the poor ol’ boy. It got even funnier when I told him she’d be here soon so’s that he could ask her his own self. I don’t think I ever seen anythin’ as funny as watchin’ a ghost tryin’ t’ slick his hair back an’ askin’ if maybe I didn’t have a mirror an’ askin’ if’n he looked alright. You ain’t never seen a school girl at her first barn dance more flustered than was ol’ dead Jimmy Horner.

Well it wern’t long b’fore Miss Thelma Jean showed up. “Thelma Jean, you remember Jimmy Horner don’t ya?” I says.
“Well, o’ course I do. Good evening t’ you Mr. Horner,” she says courteous like.

“Miss Thelma, it’s a right pleasure seein’ you again,” says Jimmy, just blushin’ to beat th’ band. I gives Jimmy a nudge. “Miss Thelma…uh…um…”

“Go on ask her,” I whispers.

“…Um …Miss Thelma, Ruthy here tells me…um… I mean, I was wondering if maybe you would ‘low me to escort you…um…”
I’m watchin’ Thelma as poor Jimmy is goin’ through his convolutions tryin’ t’ talk an’ I can see that she’s blushin’ just as much as Jimmy only she seems t’ be holdin’ a bit more composure. Finally she takes mercy on the poor boy an’ says “Mr. Horner, I would be delighted to accompany you where ever you lead.” An’ here Jimmy just beams, an’ I mean that literal like ‘cause a light starts shining off him makin’ the midnight like noon time in July.

Jimmy holds out his arm which Thelma takes an’ they start headin’ fer Jimmy’s door. B’fore passin’ through Thelma turns t’ me an’ says, “Ruthy, thank you ever so much. You’ve given me much more than just a guide.” Then she give me a little kiss on the cheek and crossed over. B’fore Jimmy his self heads off he takes a good look at that slab o’ oak he carved an’ says, “Ya know Ruthy, that’s the ugliest damn door I ever laid eyes on.”

Ya know, I hear some as say that folks ain’t married in heaven, that when we cross over, all th’ things of this life don’t matter no more. I can’t see no evidence that gold an’ such count fer much passed this life, but love? Yessiree. Love goes on f’rever.

Well anyhow, like I said m’ names Ruthy an’ if’n ya ever need sump’n done, land cleared, fence posts set or cooters what need an ass whoopin’, just look me up ya hear?

Article by GC Curators

Use Category: (HO/LK)


The Potter’s Pipes

Sir Walter Raleigh returned from his ventures in the new world and brought tobacco with him, changing the world of fashion and social interaction. Smoking became a pastime, a status marker, an art form, and big business.

The original smoking tools were pipes that have since taken on shapes and styles far surpassing the original simple clay bowls of the sixteenth century. Among the more distinctive designs were the multi-piece constructions most often found in Germany and Austria. These were made of wood, porcelain or clay and often decorated with painted scenes or, in the case of the wooden variety, carved scenes or faces. Some of these pipes are amazing works of art, but some of the most interesting, and entertaining from a magical perspective, are those known as The Potter’s Pipes. They are of the German design, but quite simple, bearing no decoration and made of a rather more crude clay than the porcelain usually preferred.

The story goes that there was a village potter who was an honest man. He never told a lie, and never tried to cloud the truth. He suffered, and watched others suffer, from outright lies and subtle untruths. He saw how others often benefited from manipulating others with obfuscation, but still maintained his dedication to honesty and forthright speech. It was his belief that silence was preferable to lies, and that kindness could buffer even hard truths that needed to be spoken.

By some agency, whether it was the fairies, a witch, a saint, or some other divine power, he was rewarded with a single power: to put purpose to his work. This resulted in bowls that seemed to mix ingredients better, cups that held more than they should, plates that seemed to empty slowly, wine pitchers that held as much cheer as wine, and the like.

This potter enjoyed a good smoke among friends and thought he would try his hand at making a few pipes. His thoughts went to the beauty of honest friendship, the joy of being able to count on the honesty of good people, and the pleasure of true meaning from true friends. This time, the purpose put into the work was conceptual rather than practical. The result was a pipe that allowed no dishonesty to befoul a moment of communion. Simply stated, when The Potter’s Pipe is being smoked, it is impossible to be untruthful, either by outright lie, misleading with “true words”, or even omission.

The Potter's Pipe color

The effect seems to surround everyone engaged in the conversation, smoking or not, but does not extend to those in the area who are not part of the conversation. For instance, a group of friends around a pub table would be subject to the enchantment, but not others in the same room. It is important to note that the effect is not a kind of “truth spell” that compels one to reveal secretes or the like. It merely prevents falsehoods and manipulations. Known hyperbole, say for effect in a story or anecdote, is unaffected, but exaggerations meant to impress or influence are impossible. A business deal made while smoking The Potter’s Pipe could be trusted to be “transparent”, and bad decisions would be the responsibility of the decision maker, not a lack of important information.

The story of the potter may or may not be historically accurate, but The Potter’s Pipes most certainly do exist. The Grimmholter reports seeing two of these pipes and hearing reports of at least one more. In every case, the artifacts are highly cherished and admired, and rarely, if ever, used.

Article by GC Curators

Use Category: (LK)

Bags of Holding and the “Pop-Home” Travel Case

Most people have at least heard of things that are “bigger on the inside.” The simple concept is that whatever vessel is used, it seems to hold far in excess of what the outside dimensions would indicate. Among some communities of magic users, the spells used are relatively common despite the complexity of casting, owing to the extreme usefulness of the finished product.

The simplest versions are limited both in capacity and in what can successfully be put in the bag or box. Some will not hold living objects. Some can only hold a limited amount. Some can hold an impressive amount, but only for a limited amount of time. In some of my early attempts I had this last problem, which resulted in a rather unfortunate regurgitation of an entire wardrobe and a few other travel necessities onto the roadside. Fortunately for me, this took place on a lightly traveled road, so I didn’t have to explain the mess. One remarkable bag I heard about recently had both an impressive capacity, and could also hold items much larger than the opening of the bag, in this case, a small beaded purse.

I also encountered one very interesting fellow, a doctor, who traveled around in something larger but very similar. He referred to it as a ship and assured me that the seemingly limitless interior capacity was a product of science rather than magic.

By and large, these bags or boxes aren’t “keyed” to a particular user. Once made, they work. No special trigger spell or personal recognition is necessary. Often, they are virtually impervious to wear. I still haven’t determined if this is a windfall of the magic, or if it is simply a result of the contents of the bag not actually contacting the physical material of which it is made.

Use Category: (G&G)

I have made a variation of this item of which I’m rather fond. There have been times in my life that I was somewhat less careful about my nature than I should have been. This indiscretion has occasionally made my possessions the targets for theft. I’ve learned  some caution over the years, and have invented of a couple of useful items. One of these is the “don’t-mind-me” case described elsewhere in The Collection. Another is my “pop-home” travel case.

The “pop-home” case is a lovely black walnut affair with golden hinges and clasps, and is roughly the dimensions of a standard briefcase (18”x12”x4”). The case itself was made for me by a superb carpenter I had on The Grimmholt estate some time ago. The general idea is that the bottom of the case seems to recede infinitely as more items are placed inside. There are, of course, limits, but it is usually more than adequate space for most of my travel needs. Nothing larger than the opening can be placed in the case, and all items are available only in reverse order. No simple reaching in and rummaging about to find the thing on the bottom, I’m afraid. It still has to be unpacked.

The thing I’m especially pleased with is that this case has its own means of emergency travel. And it is, shall we say, shy of strangers. Should any other than myself touch the case, it will teleport home. “Home” for this case is a very small, quite secure closet in my lodgings on the Grimmholt estate. The long and short of it is that if one attempts to steal the case from me, the would-be thief winds up empty handed. On one occasion, the thief had an exceptional grip and wound up in a very uncomfortable position in the closet. This unfortunate person was in pretty bad shape by the time I could make travel arrangements home and rescue the poor thing.

I’ve thought about creating a summoning back option for the case, but that kind of distance magic is quite complex and not entirely reliable. I’m usually not in such need of the contents as to make it worth the trouble or risk.

So, there it is: My “Pop-Home” travel case. Useful, sometimes frustrating, but quite secure.

Article by G

Use Category: (AF)

The Sea Tribe

A cursory description of one of the fascinating peoples The Grimmholter has encountered.

There are reports of raft communities and the like from all over the worlds. Some harbors host boat cities, the people on which may never have need or be inclined to set foot on shore. Certainly there are small groups and individuals to whom the water is the only place they feel comfortable. The call of the sea is legendary and undeniable for some.

One of the most innovative groups of people I have encountered have made a life on the oceans by deliberate and conscious choice. One of the things that sets them apart is the technology they use and the purpose to which they have set themselves: Model sustainability and clean up harbors.

The Sea Tribe fleet is made up of a central base/factory flag ship and several lesser vessels that provide support as well as make up the homes of most of the tribe. The factory ship is a massive catamaran made from two salvaged tanker ships. This ship is a floating dry dock, shipyard and recycling center. Salvaged vessels are towed on-board and either reconditioned or dismantled for their useful materials. In nearly every case, eighty percent of the vessel can be recovered in some fashion. Unneeded parts are sold or recycled if possible. Many of the hulls are converted to hydroponic growing operations to provide food for the tribe. In some cases, the tribe has taken on the responsibility of detoxifying vessels and sinking them to create artificial reefs. Many of the world’s harbors are littered with abandon boats and ships. The tribe provides both a service to the harbormaster by removing these and gains materials for their own needs.

The base ship also has a plastics recycling facility that skims floating debris from the oceans and converts it into useable material. When recycling is not feasible, the resulting material is often used as filler for floats, fenders, or even aggregate for plastic hulls among other things.

There are a surprising number of technicians and environmental scientists among the tribe. Many of the countries the tribe visits contract for environmental surveys and harbor clean up. These contracts help offset the costs of operation and provide the funds for fuel and other necessities the tribe cannot yet provide for themselves.

Most of the power to conduct operations is generated from solar panels, wind and wave generators. When the fleet is at rest, a massive array of panels are deployed, additional wind turbines of various sizes are erected, and the recharge of batteries begins.

The Sea Tribe moves slowly, relying on sails for the most part. The base ship is the only regular exception, relying on diesel motors. I understand that there are some innovations being proposed to move to a non fossil fuel alternative, but I didn’t stay with the tribe long enough to learn the details.

Fishing, hydroponic gardens, and some small animal husbandry provide the diet for the tribe. There is an impressive flotilla of gardens, with some vessels dedicated to fresh water distillation using both solar still principles as well as reverse osmosis plants.

The long term viability of The Sea Tribe has yet to be proven, and its acceptance in the world is still in question. But as is often heard from tribe members when asked about these issues, the pragmatic motto applies: “We haven’t sunk yet.”

Article by G.

Use Category: (LK)

Grimmholter’s “Don’t-Mind-Me” Boxes

There a number of items in The Collection that are of great value or are deserving of caution. When transporting these items, the Grimmholter uses what he refers to as “don’t-mind-me” boxes. The boxes or cases are usually quite well but simply made from some common wood such as pine and are generally free of finish or paint.

Additionally, a spell is laid on the case that makes it utterly ignorable. One can see it sitting there, but it makes no impression on the conscious mind. The curators have witnessed this several times, moving the box out of the way in order to find some new acquisition The Grimmholter has just delivered that is, in fact, inside the box. It isn’t until the box is finally opened that the spell is suspended. The spell works on the spell caster as well unless some extra steps are taken.

“I had a devil of a time with this the first time I succeeded building one of these things. I finished it, closed the box, and then spent the next three hours trying to find it again.” –Grimmholter

The solution seems to be attaching some personal token to the outside of the box before closing it. This “keys” the box to a single person, allowing them to recognize the box for what it is.

The Grimmholter informs us that despite several burglary attempts, none of his “don’t-mind-me” boxes have ever been lost or had their contents disturbed.

Article by GC Curators

Use Category: (AF)

The Bag of Infinite Possibilities

This is a version of the spell-on-item concept. In this case, it is a kind of portal nestled within a bag of some sort. Stick your hand in and pull out something, potentially anything. A hammer, a pine cone, some sand, a duck, a bag of crisps, some bat guano, a handful of rubbish from someone’s dustbin.

I’ve never attempted making one myself, but all of my investigation seems to point to this: Opening a portal is relatively easy. Getting it to focus on a particular place is hard. The upshot is that there are a few of these bags floating about, but their usefulness is questionable.

There are variations on these things which will be discussed, but they all seem to have one thing in common. Once a thing is clear of the bag, there is no putting it back. This can be a real problem with living things, particularly if it is form a different environment or plane of existence. In most cases, it doesn’t take any magical aptitude to use one of these bags. So, should a person run across one, extreme caution is advised. They can be both entertaining and extremely dangerous. They can also be heartbreaking and tragic. One report was of a desert traveler who popped his hand into a bag only to remove a new born babe. By the time he realized what he had, he had completely removed the child and could not return it to its mother.

I have seen two of these bags. One was a rather shoddy affair made from a weave of roughly twisted plant fiber. If it hadn’t been for the flexibility and the “bag” shape, I would have called it a basket. The other was exquisitely crafted from silk and leather, embroidered with thread of gold and silver, and had a flap closed with a golden buckle. Both of them were completely unfocused, and as a result almost utterly useless in practical terms. They had both been discarded by their makers as a bad job.

There are of reports of some truly remarkable variations. In one instance, the bag could be focused through concentration to open on something like what the user wanted. This particular bag may respond to a desire for a knife, for instance, by opening to any variety of edged item be it a chisel, a paring knife, a sword, or the massive blade from a harvesting machine. The one that impressed me the most was that of a sorceress that was psychically linked to her bag. In this case, the bag would open to the thing she needed, even if she was unclear what to do with it. I was told that in the early experiments, the bag provided nothing at all. I understand that sometimes the portal didn’t open at all leaving her holding what seemed to be an empty bag. No actual need. No provision.*

So, there it is. The Bag of Infinite Possibilities. As with all things magical, exercise caution when using and keep away from unsupervised children and fools.
*One of the things this suggests is that there was an awareness or even sentience within the bag. This is actually not surprising as many spells and workings can result in either a transference of a portion, or at least replicated pattern, of the caster’s mind, or even integrate a spirit into the item (see future article on spirit interactions and binding/hosting).

Article by G

Use Category: (LK)

An Introduction to The Grimmholter and his Collection

Iain Gaius Halifax Grimmholter has been a traveler and collector of folklore for longer than the term has been in existence. His name is derived from grimm, meaning word, and holt or to hold, thus his name means “the one who holds the word”. He has stated that he drew the name from his collection rather than the other way ’round and sees his ultimate purpose as being the guardian of the the accumulated knowledge of The Grimmholt Collection. The other names the Grimmholter uses have been added, he states, mostly as convenience throughout the centuries, though they do seem to hold some personal meaning. He has made it clear that his birth name carried little import to him or anyone else and has therefore been lost to time.

The Grimmholter was born in or near the Black Forrest about the time that Rome decided it liked that region. At an early age, he was discovered to have some magical potential by a local wizard and subsequently fostered to this person. Taught a rare system of magic, wood lore, and a certain amount of martial skill, The Grimmholter lived and worked with a few others in ways that delayed the Roman incursions for some time.

During an engagement in his mid thirties, Grimmholter was severely wounded.  Most of his other party had been killed or driven off over the previous years, and he found himself alone, feverish, and desperate. He sought refuge in a deep cave and began working spells in an attempt to save his life.

“Frankly, I’ve no idea what I did or what actually happened. I’ve tried. Believe me, I’ve tried. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to undo what I did, but I don’t think I’m supposed to. I spoke spells I knew and spells I didn’t know. I’m fairly sure I laid magical patterns no sane man would have attempted. I think the delirium had me thinking I was someone else who actually knew what he was doing. There was a healing spring in the cave. That, I do know, and I think there might have been a spirit, or maybe a goddess or two, though that may have been a fever dream and some moss on the walls. It’s possible that I got into some funny mushrooms.”

The final result was the Grimmholter emerging several months later whole and vigorous. Over time, he discovered that his body healed at an alarming rate. This healing process is largely responsible for the Grimmholter’s longevity.

The Grimmholter has engaged in various activities over the centuries both magical and mundane, but none are as dear to him, nor constitute the real value in living he has found, as those of educating youth and collecting and preserving information. His travels have taken him to the ends of this world and, presumably, a few others. The Grimmholter has, upon occasion, hinted that he has engaged in a bit of extra-dimensional travel as well. The result has been an astonishing collection of tales, folklore, mythology, and simple observation that now make up The Grimmholt Collection.

Excerpts of this amazing body of lore are now being released to this site by the curators of The Grimmholt Collection for the enjoyment of the general public.

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Article by GC Curators

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