Written By: Jim Markus
"Why isn't this working?"
Ella held the man's head underwater and waited for the bubbles to stop. We'd seen it before. Green light would beam out from the cauldron. All the candles in the room would extinguish. Then, immediately, we would feel fifty years younger. Hell, we'd look fifty years younger. That was the whole point of the ritual.
"He stopped breathing," I mused. "That's a good sign."
"Not for him." Ella had a dark sense of humor, but that's normal for someone who spent the last thousand years in a stone castle in Ireland. I don't care how stoic the witch or how many ages one spends at in the library, the strangest things make you laugh once you've watched everyone you know die from old age.
John had stopped breathing though. The bubbles weren't coming up anymore, but there was no green light. The candles were still lit, and I still felt all 100 of my years. "It should've happened by now," I said. "Where'd you find this asshole?"
"Twas at a festival for virgins, my dearest. He sat at the head of a table at the place they call Gencon," Ella said. "He wore a protector in his pocket and carried a stack of role-playing books so high that he swayed from side to side as he walked to his seat. Twas for these reasons alone that I extended him an invitation to join us at the castle."
"That's your problem," I told her.
"Twas a convention for the playing of roles," Ella whined. "Whence doth one find virgins if not at such a place?"
"It doesn't matter." My shoulders fell. "He was running a game, right?"
Ella glared at me.
"He's a GM," I explained. "Have you ever played an RPG? Game Masters are like gods in the worlds they create. The players adore them. You brought home the Chris Hemsworth of nerds."
"Regardless, he serves no use to us now." Ella released the man's head, and it bobbed back to the surface. "On the next harvest moon we shall find a proper virgin, but for now we shall think of the green lights, bring the candles to the table and enjoy this dead-GM stew."