The Search for Soob: An Oz Tale

by Nathan M. DeHoff

 

 

THE SEARCH FOR SOOB

by Nathan M. DeHoff

 

 (Originally written in 1995)

Background illustration by Daniel Merriam

Foreground illustration unknown

 

“Well, what is it that you need?” inquired Himself the Elf, who had just appeared on a table in the laboratory of the famous Wizard of Oz.

“We just wanted to make sure the Hammer was in good working condition,” replied Number Nine, who had summoned the dwarf.

“Well, in that case, I'd better go back home.”

“Why not stay here and help us?” suggested the Wizard, as he looked up from the Magic Belt, which he was inspecting. “We're making sure all of Ozma's magic appliances are still in good working order.”

“Our next item is the Silence Stone,” stated Number Nine. “How are we going to test this? I don't suppose anyone would be willing to not speak for seven years.”

“Let me see it,” said Himself. So the Wizard's assistant handed the Stone to the Elf, who announced, “I don't sense any magic in this.”

“But it contains great power. Anyone who is hit on the head with it cannot speak for seven years.”

“Well, it seems to have lost its power. Just watch this.”

Before anyone could stop him, Himself had hit his own head with the emerald. He then said, “You see? I can still talk.”

“Something must be wrong with it!” exclaimed Number Nine.

“Or maybe it just doesn't affect magical beings like our friend Himself,” suggested the Wizard.

“I tell you, it doesn't work,” insisted Himself. “It's just an ordinary emerald.”

The Wizard's assistant took the jewel from the dwarf and examined it himself. Soon, he asked, “Wasn't there writing on this Stone before?”

“Yes, of course,” replied the Wizard. “The writing explained the Stone's powers.”

“Well, there's no writing on it anymore.”

The Chief Magician looked at the emerald, and had to agree that there was no writing on it. “This means one of two things. Either the Silence Stone has lost its power, or this isn't the real Silence Stone. Either way, we'd better do something about it.”

“But what are we going to do?” asked Number Nine.

“Well, first of all, we'll look in the Magic Picture, and see where the Stone is.”

So the Wizard, the Munchkin, and the Elf walked through Ozma's Throne Room and Royal Hallway, and soon came to her sitting room, where the Magic Picture hung on the wall. After drawing the Picture's curtain, the Wizard commanded, “Magic Picture, show us the Silence Stone!” The country scene in the Picture faded away, and was replaced with a picture of the Wizard, standing in Ozma's sitting room, and holding the Stone. This led the Chief Magician to conclude that he had the real Silence Stone, but that it had somehow lost power.

“But how are we going to fix it?” inquired the assistant.

“Let's look at this logically,” advised Himself. “What do you know about this Stone?”

“Well,” replied the Wizard, “it was the property of the Rulers of Oz for many years. Then it somehow fell into the hands of a Sorcerer named Soob. It was stolen from him by pirates, and Peter Brown brought it to the Emerald City when he first came here.”

“Then it would seem to me that you should pay a visit to Soob the Sorcerer.”

“Do you think he's still alive?”

“I'm sure of it. No one could ever destroy a great magician like Soob.”

“Did you know him?” questioned Number Nine.

“I met him once, when I was young. But I've heard a lot of stories about him.”

“And how are we going to find Soob?”

“Well, the first step is to look in this Picture. Magic Picture, show us Soob the Sorceror.” The image in the Picture once again faded away, and this time, it revealed an old man with a flowing, white beard and slightly pointed ears. He was meditating on a floor mat in a strange temple.

“Do you have any idea where this temple could be, Himself?” asked the Wizard.

“No,” was the elf's reply. “You see, Soob travels quite a bit. When I saw him, he was living at Zamagoochie Mountain, but that was a century ago. I remember he was living on Mount Munch at one point.”

“Why don't we use your Searchlight, Wiz?” suggested the Wizard's assistant.

“Because I loaned it to Trot and Cap'n Bill for their voyage on the Nonestic,” replied the Chief Magician.

“Then let's go to Glinda's Palace. Maybe her Book of Records can give us a clue as to the whereabouts of Soob the Sorceror.”

“All right. I'll leave a note.” And the Wizard took a pen and a pad of paper from his pocket. The magician dictated a message to the pen, and the magical implement wrote this message on the paper. It read: “Gone to Glinda's. Be back by six. Ozily yours, Wiz and #9.”

After hanging this note on the door of the Wizard's suite, the Chief Magician swallowed a Wishing Pill and wished himself, Himself, and Number Nine to Glinda's Palace. At the castle, a female guard admitted the three magic-users to the room containing the Great Book of Records. Glinda was in the room, reading from the famous book.

“Hello, Glinda,” said Himself, as he hovered in front of the Good Witch's face.

“If it isn't Himself the Elf,” smiled Glinda. “What brings you here?”

“I came here with the Wizard and Number Nine.” Glinda turned around and noticed her guests. After the greetings were completed, the Wizard explained that he was looking for information on Soob the Sorcerer.

“Soob? Why, I believe I've heard that name before,” stated Glinda. She then turned back through hundreds, maybe even thousands, of pages in the Great Book. It took her a few minutes, but the Sorceress eventually found what she was looking for. She then said, “That's right. He was a student of Merlin. He served as Royal Sorcerer of Oz for some time, and then left the Kingdom for the Island of Ashangabad. But he returned to Oz a few times after that. Now, let me see if there are any more recent entries pertaining to Soob.”

While Glinda searched for information, the Wizard skimmed through a book of spells, Number Nine read from an old volume of hoztory, and Himself took a nap on the chandelier. After five hours of studying the Great Book of Records, the Good Sorceress was ready to tell the others what she had found out.

“It seems that, just six months ago,” began Glinda, “Soob retired to a temple in Nimenvell. I have not heard of such a country, but I could look it up.”

“No, thank you, Glinda,” said the Wizard, as he consulted his pocket-watch. “We're supposed to be back at the palace by six, and it's already five forty-five.”

“You know, Professor Wogglebug might know something about Nimenvell,” suggested Number Nine. “I think he's still in the Palace today.”

The three guests bade Glinda farewell. By means of another Wishing Pill, they returned to Ozma's Palace. The Wizard, the assistant, and the elf appeared on one of the walks through the Queen's beautiful gardens. Princess Dorothy and Betsy Bobbin were reclining on golden chairs in a nearby gazebo.

“Do either of you ladies know if Professor Wogglebug in the palace?” called Number Nine.

“Yes, he's in there,” replied Dorothy.

“That's why we're out here,” added Betsy.

“I think he's giving some sort of lecture in the Council Chamber,” explained the Princess of Oz.

Number Nine thanked the girls for their information, and the three magic-users went into the Emerald Palace and came to the Council Chamber. When Himself knocked on the door, the Wogglebug told the magicians to enter. The Professor of the Royal College, a man-sized insect, was attempting to explain something complex to an interested group of three people. These three were Herby the Medicine Man, Jack Pumpkinhead, and one of the Royal Librarians.

“So, does everyone understand?” asked the insect.

“Well, no,” replied Jack. “But then, I've had this same head for the past month.”

“Excuse me, Professor,” said the Wizard, “but do you know anything about a place called—What was it again?”

“Nimenvell,” stated Himself.

“Nimenvell? I believe I have heard of such a place,” announced the Wogglebug. The Professor paged through a giant volume that was on a desk, finally coming to the entry that he was looking for. “Nimenvell is a country north of Moran in the Ivalane Valley. You might recall these are the mountains between Oz and Hiland-Loland,” explained the insect. “It was discovered fifty years ago, but it has never been thoroughly explored.”

            “I imagine the people there have explored it,” said Jack.

            “Well, yes. It’s just not visited much by outsiders. What is known is that they have four temples corresponding to the four basic elements, and are deeply concerned with maintaining the balance between them.”

            “Four elements? But you were just telling us there were over a hundred.”

            “You are correct in that, my gourd-pated friend. The science of chemistry has discovered many new elements, the basic building blocks of matter. The ancient idea of the four elements does, however, retain value. It is, from what I have been able to tell, a way that the Immortals devised for dividing authority over the Earth.”

The Wizard told the Wogglebug about the Silence Stone, and about how he wanted to locate Soob. The Chief Magician then said, “But I can't go myself. Number Nine and I have to complete tests on our magical treasures.”

“Well, I would be quite willing to undertake this journey,” volunteered the Wogglebug. “I could add to my information on the Land of Nimenvell.”

“I'll go, too,” stated Jack Pumpkinhead. “We can use my Ozoplane to get there.”

“I would go with you, but I have to develop a cure for Evna Flu,” said Herby.

“I'll go to Nimenvell!” announced Himself. “I haven't travelled much recently.”

So, after the Wizard had given a basket of magic to the Wogglebug, the insect and the Pumpkinhead mounted the Sawhorse, who sped them to Jack's Ozoplane, with Himself flying behind the wooden equine. The Ozoplane was kept behind Jack's pumpkin house, and usually served as a concert hall for the Pumpkinhead's famous Orchestra and Glee Club of shoes. When Jack opened the door, he heard voices coming from inside.

“Do you have any threes?” asked a husky voice.

“No threes for you, so what will you do? You must go fish, by puddle and pish!” replied the second voice.

“Pish?”

“I’ve already used up all the good rhymes for ‘fish.’ Wait a minute! I think we have company, Scarecrow!”

“Oh, that’s right,” stated Jack. “Scraps and the Scarecrow were going to stop by here and watch the pumpkin patch while I was in the city. But why are you in here instead of the house?”

“Your shoes are in there, and they insist they have to practice. Oh, the terrible din! I declare, it is a sin!”

“I thought they usually practiced in here,” added the Scarecrow, “but they said the acoustics were all wrong.”

“Well, we were on our way to Nimenvell, if you fine people would care to join us,” stated the Wogglebug.

“So what is this Nimenvell place, and why are we going there?” questioned the Sawhorse. The wooden horse had decided to travel with the others, but he did not know of the object of the quest.

“Nimenvell is a country in the mountains to the east of Oz,” explained Professor Wogglebug. “According to Glinda's Book of Records, a Sorceror named Soob resides in this nation. We need Soob's assistance in repairing the Silence Stone.”

“I see,” said the equine.

“Oh, Soob. The fellow who made the cloak that Ruggedo took to make himself invisible,” recalled Scraps.

“Oh, we must see Soob

And hope he’s not a rube

So let’s take to the air

And we’ll soon be there!”

            The Professor flew the Ozoplane over the Munchkin Country, while the others looked out the window and pointed out places that they had visited.

“There's that forest where we got lost, and those giant termites tried to eat us,” observed Jack Pumpkinhead. “Remember that, Sawhorse?”

“Unfortunately, I do,” replied the wooden horse. “But I remember a more pleasant experience that I had there, at the Longway Downs. I won the entire set of Longway Trophies.”

“Longway Trophies?”

“You know, those golden cups that Button-Bright uses to drink out of.”

“There's Halidom. Remember when we entered that jousting match?” the Scarecrow asked the Sawhorse.

“Yes, you couldn’t stay on for more than five seconds.”

            “Here’s the Munchkin corn country, so the farm where I was made must be around here. And Dorothy’s old house, for that matter.”

It took very little time to fly over the Munchkin Kingdom, and the plane soon reached the Shifting Sands, part of the great desert that surrounds Oz. This desert could turn all living flesh to dust and constantly shot poisonous fumes into the air, but the Ozoplane was not affected by this barrier. Just beyond the desert was a mountainous territory, home to several countries in the Ivalane Valley, which had been explored by very few Ozites.

“We should be arriving in Nimenvell soon,” announced the Wogglebug, as he slowed the aircraft down and consulted a map.

“Looks like an interesting place,” observed Jack Pumpkinhead.

“How can you tell that it’s Nimenvell?” inquired the Patchwork Girl.

“I think the Professor knows where he’s going,” said the Scarecrow. “I wouldn’t mind seeing one of those temples.”

“Those four temples are located at the corners of Nimenvell,” stated the Professor, who had noticed these landmarks on his map. “The best landing place would be that plateau. I shall endeavor to bring the plane to a stop there. Professor Wogglebug pulled two levers, and the Ozoplane slowly descended to a grassy plateau, where it came to a complete stop. After arming the security system, the passengers hurried out of the aircraft.

“Where should we go now?” inquired Jack.

“I thought I saw a village to the west, when we were in the Ozoplane,” declared the Sawhorse.

“Yes, I can see it,” stated Himself, whose eyes were much sharper than those of his friends. “It's on top of a mountain, but not very much higher than this plateau.”

“Hop on,” advised the Sawhorse, “and we'll be at that village in a jiffy.”

“A jiffy? Is that faster than a twinkling, or the blink of an eye?” asked the Patchwork Girl.

“Faster than the blink of YOUR eye, since you can’t blink at all, my dear Scraps,” observed the Scarecrow.

“None of these are officially codified measurements, but the blink of a human eye takes about 300 milliseconds,” stated the Wogglebug. “The eyes of a woggle-bug, however—“

“Look, are we going to argue over semantics, or just go?” complained the Sawhorse. With that, the Scarecrow, Scraps, and Jack mounted the Sawhorse, with Himself flying along behind them and carrying the Wogglebug. The bug could fly, but preferred not to, as it would mean removing his clothes. In a few minutes, the travelers had reached the gates of the village, and Himself rang a bell just outside them.

“What do you want?” asked the large man who came out of a white gate-house. This man was about six feet tall, and was clothed in a purple toga. His brown hair was quite unkempt, as was his beard, and his face bore an unpleasant expression. When he spoke, he slobbered and showed his many sharp teeth.

“Who are you?” questioned the Scarecrow.

“I am Tortormo, Gate-Keeper for the town of Vimmor,” replied the man. “And who are you?”

“I am Professor H. M. Wogglebug, T. E., Dean of the Royal College of Art and Athletic Perfection, and one of the most renowned scholars in the Land of Oz,” replied the insect. “My companions are Jack Pumpkinhead, a close friend of Queen Ozma of Oz; the Sawhorse, the Queen's Royal Steed; the Scarecrow, her Chief Royal Counselor; Miss Scraps Patches; and Himself, Elf of the Silver Hammer.”

“You're not from around here, are you?” asked the guard, who had been paying little attention to the Professor's speech.

“No. We are from the Land of Oz, which lies across the Shifting Sands from your own Kingdom of Nimenvell.”

“Well, outsiders have to pay a toll of ten thousand nimens, or they can't enter the town of Vimmor.”

The Wogglebug became worried at this, because he had not thought to bring any money on this journey. Himself, however, quickly solved this problem by conjuring a pile of golden nimens.

“This should be enough,” stated the elf, as he showed the money to Tortormo.

“All right. You can come in,” said the Gate-Keeper, opening the iron gates of the village.

“Thank you, my good man,” said Professor Wogglebug. The Professor and his companions quickly entered the town, and began walking down the broad main street. Many types of trees grew along the sides of this road, each with a plaque to identify it.

“An odd and interesting specimen,” said the Professor, as he sketched a tree in his note-book. “A vemvem tree. Perhaps I should write a tree-tise.”

“You WOOD say that,” responded Scraps, who was swinging from the branches of another one.

“We used to have trees like this in my old forest home,” stated Himself.

“I believe I was made from this kind of tree,” announced Jack Pumpkinhead, noticing a hickory.

“So, you like our trees, do you?” asked a tall and handsome elf, who stepped out from behind a large plant. “Vimmor is known as 'The Tree Capital of Nimenvell.' We have trees from all over Nimenvell, and from many other parts of the world. I am Telletus. My clan tends these trees.”

“It's very interesting. That would make you Wood-Elves, I suppose?”

“Yes, of the Logris clan.”

“I’m an elf as well, officially, although I doubt we’re very closely related. It’s more of a political than a biological distinction, as I’m sure you know. By the way, do you know where we can find Soob the Sorceror?” asked Himself.

“Soob? I'm not sure I've ever heard of Soob.”

“Isn't Soob one of those old men who live in the temple?” questioned a female elf, who had come from behind the same tree as the first elf.

“My wife, Silessa,” declared Telletus.

“When we arrived in Nimenvell, we saw four temples,” stated the Wogglebug. “Which one of those would be home to Soob?”

“I didn't think you were from around here. Where are you from, and why are you here? I assume you’re not with one of the Arboreal Tours.”

“We are from the Land of Oz, which lies to the west of your country. We came here in an Ozoplane, a creation of the Wizard of Oz, in order to find Soob the Sorceror.”

“I have heard of Oz. Several of our trees are from your country.”

“Yes, I recognize the one over there as a Gillikin Walnut. And is that an ivory tree next to it?”

“That finger palm over there is the kind that grows in the oasis in the Munchkin Desert,” added the Scarecrow. “I wonder if Zim has seen this place.”

“I don’t recall any Zim, but I couldn’t say for sure,” said Telletus.

“Anyway, I believe that this Soob lives in the Temple of Water,” stated Silessa.

“How do we get there?” inquired the Scarecrow.

“Oh, Aranock can take you there,” said Telletus.

“Aranock? Who is Aranock?” questioned the Professor.

“Aranock is giant silver bird. She comes whenever I blow my silver whistle.” The elf took a silver whistle from his pocket and blew it. Soon, an enormous bird soared into the sky above the town, and landed in front of the elves and Ozites.

“Does anyone here need the services of Aranock?” asked the bird, in a pleasant but powerful tone.

“Yes,” replied Telletus. “These Ozites would like you to take them to the Temple of Water.”

“Very well, Master Telletus.” Aranock lifted the Wogglebug, Jack Pumpkinhead, the Sawhorse, and Himself with one of her huge talons, and began to fly toward the north.

“So, you are from Oz?” questioned the giant bird, as she flew. “Perhaps you have met Opodock, the brother of Aranock.”

“I can’t say I’ve met him, but Ojo told me about him,” answered Scraps. “He found the whistle that summoned him in the forest, but later misplaced it.”

            “Ojo is the Prince of Seebania, in the southern Munchkin Country of Oz,” put in the Wogglebug.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen by brother. I hope he’s still doing well. I’m lucky my whistle fell into Master Telletus’ hands. There are all kinds of people out there who abuse magically summoned creatures.”

“I know what you mean,” agreed Himself. “Someday I’ll have to tell you about Wunchie the Witch.”

“Well, this is the Temple of Water,” announced Aranock, as she landed in front of a large shrine, with a wave and two fishes carved above the doors. “Aranock shall wait here for your return.”

The Ozites thanked the bird for the ride and entered the temple, where they saw a large swimming pool that covered the entire room except for the ledge on which the visitors stood. There appeared to be no inhabitants, and no passages to other rooms.

“I think I can see a door at the other end of the pool,” declared Himself.

“You mean under the water?” questioned Jack Pumpkinhead. “I could never reach that, and I know Scraps, the Sawhorse, and the Scarecrow couldn’t either.”

“Wogglebugs are also unable to swim,” stated the Professor.

“Well, I'll go through the door,” decided the elf. “If I find Soob, I'll bring him out here.” Himself dove into the pool, and swam toward the door. He then opened this portal, and entered a chamber where mermen were sitting on the floor.

“Welcome to the Temple of Water,” said a merman pleasantly. “What is it you seek here, stranger?”

“I would like to see Soob the Sorceror,” replied the elf, whose magic made him able to converse underwater with no difficulty.

“Soob? Why, he does not live in this temple. His element is air, not water, although he does possess some knowledge of water magic. His home is the Temple of Air.”

“Then I suppose I shall be leaving.”

“Allow me to transport you to the Temple of Air. All of these temples, and the King's Castle, are connected by magic.”

“Could you transport my friends, too?”

“What friends?”

“They are in the front room, since they could not reach the door to this one.”

“Very well.”

The merman, accompanied by the elf, swam to the front room, where the fish-tailed man recited an incantation. The Ozites were quickly sent to another shrine, which was, as a matter of fact, the same temple that Himself, the Wizard, and Number Nine had seen in the Magic Picture.

“You must be Soob,” said Himself to the bearded man whom he had seen in the Picture.

“Correct. I am Soob, and you are one of the winged elves of Oz, although you seem to be part leprechaun as well.”

“My name is Himself. I met you once, back when you lived at Zamagoochie Mountain.”

“Well, that was a long time ago. I can't recall the meeting, but I've lived for centuries, and met many people. Who are these others, Himself?”

“These are Professor Wogglebug, Dean of the Royal College of Oz; the Scarecrow of Oz; Scraps the Patchwork Girl; Jack Pumpkinhead, a creation of Queen Ozma; and the Sawhorse, Ozma's Royal Steed.”

“Well, you’re certainly an eclectic group. I should have figured you came from Oz. Why have you come to Nimenvell?”

“Do you remember the Silence Stone?” inquired the Wogglebug.

“Certainly. In fact, I remember the day I created it. The Silence Stone was my first major creation. I gave it to the Emperor, who used it to stop his wife from nagging him during a war. It turned out after she regained her voice that her tactics would have worked much better. Another king used it on everyone who disagreed with him, so I confiscated it and took it to the island of Ashangabad with me. I wasn’t able to take it back when the island was attacked by pirates, though.”

“Well, it does not work properly anymore.”

“What, exactly, is wrong with it?”

“It no longer has its power, and the writing on it has been erased,” explained Himself.

“Well, the Silence Stone is not extremely important, but if its power has been drained, some of my other inventions may have also lost power. I shall endeavor to discover the source of the Stone's power drain.” The Sorceror stood up, closed his eyes, and waved his arms in strange patterns, while chanting magic words. An image of a man appeared in front of Soob, but it quickly disappeared.

“I could not sustain the image. Whoever drained the Silence Stone must have also drained my other powers.”

“I recognize the image,” declared a man who had been sitting on the temple floor. “It was Vell.”

“Vell? Who is Vell?” inquired Jack Pumpkinhead.

“Dr. Theophrastus Vell, a member of a noble family of this nation. He went off to Oz to study magic, and lived in Ev for a while after that. When he finally returned to Nimenvell, he was for a time one of my brothers at this very temple,” explained Soob. “But he tired of our lifestyle, and became Royal Magician for the King. If it was Vell who stole my power, we should confront him.”

“Vell, Vell, we might as well!” rhymed the Patchwork Girl.

By means of a similar incantation to the one that the merman had used, the man who had identified the image magically transported Soob, Himself, Professor Wogglebug, Jack, and the Sawhorse to the Royal Castle of Nimenvell. Here, the King, and the Queen, and the Courtiers were sitting at a long table and eating their dinner. The King was a small, balding man with glasses, and the Queen a blonde woman with victory curls in her dark blonde hair.

“Your Majesty!” called Soob. “We must see Vell!”

“Dr. Vell? Why, he's in his laboratory, working on some machine or something,” said the King. “Norva, would you show Soob and his companions to Dr. Vell's laboratory?”

A maid, who had been standing near a door, walked over to Soob and the others and said, “Follow me.” After travelling through many corridors with the visitors in tow, the servant stopped before a steel door. “This is Dr. Vell's lab. Be careful in there. The doctor has a bad temper.”

“I know,” said Soob, as he opened the steel door.

The group presently entered the laboratory, where various chemicals, books, and devices were strewn throughout the room in a quite disorderly fashion. A black-cloaked man with a grim face, who wore goggles and a laboratory coat over his cloak, was making adjustments to a large machine.

“Ah, Soob,” said this man, as he magically shut the laboratory door. “I have almost finished draining your power. I was doing it slowly at first, but I am now going to finish quickly, so that I can drain the power of the other Temple Keepers.”

“But why?” asked the Sorceror.

“You waste your powers with your peaceful ideas of maintaining the balance of nature. A pox on the balance, I say!”

“If a pox is all you get from throwing nature out of balance, you’ll have gotten off lucky,” remarked Himself.

“Once I have your powers, I shall conquer this Kingdom and the entire Valley of Ivalane, and then the lands beyond.”

“Ruling the world is too great a responsibility for any man, Vell.”

“For most of them, certainly. But for me? No, I’ve worked a detailed plan of how to arrange things, in between other projects. I just need to figure out where my seat of operations will be amongst other matters too trivial to bother you with.”

            “I do not like thee, Dr. Vell!” shouted out Scraps. “The reason why, I cannot tell.”

            “Really? I can definitely tell why,” said the Scarecrow.

            “A man from the Outside World once said it was safer to be feared than loved if one could not be both. I have learned that I am, perhaps, inherently unlikeable, but I am good at engendering fear.” To demonstrate, the magician snapped his fingers, which produced a creeping fire on the floor. The Scarecrow and Scraps promptly ran away from it as quickly as they could, and Jack panicked and lost his head completely. Himself was able to catch it, but while the Ozites were distracted, Vell grabbed Soob and dragged him to the far wall, in which was set the door to a magical chamber. The Royal Magician began to shove Soob into it, but before he could succeed, the Sawhorse ran up to him and kicked him into the chamber. Soob then shut and sealed the door. As soon as he had done this, the fire immediately disappeared.

“Someone get the King,” advised Soob. “I'll try to reverse the flow of this machine.”

“I'll help,” announced Himself.

While the Sorceror and the elf made adjustments to Vell's machine, the Sawhorse rushed out of the room. He ran to the King's dining room, and told the monarch to follow him to the laboratory.

“King Quelna, Dr. Vell was draining my magical powers and planning to take over Nimenvell,” announced Soob, as soon as the King and the Sawhorse had entered Vell's room.

“Treason!” shouted the King. “I knew I shouldn't have allowed him here. My wife talked me into it.”

“Actually, if I remember correctly, your wife warned you against it.”

“Yes, well, whatever the case. Vell's trial shall be held at once.”

After Soob and Himself used the machine to restore Soob’s power, a trial was held. Dr. Vell was found guilty of treason. All of his acquired knowledge of magic was taken from him and he was sentenced to planting trees and serving the humble autochthonese of Dantan for thirty years. After this, the Scarecrow suggested Nimenvell open trade and diplomatic relations with Oz, to which the King and Queen were agreeable.

“Would you like to come to Oz with us, Soob?” invited Himself. “You can see how it's changed.”

“Not right now, Himself,” said the Sorceror. “But someday perhaps.”

The Ozites bade farewell to King Quelna, Queen Klanta, and Soob, as well as to Telletus and Silessa, who had come to the castle for the trial. Telletus then blew his silver whistle, and Aranock returned the Ozites to the Ozoplane. The Wogglebug flew the aircraft out of Nimenvell, and, as the Sun set, the Ozites returned to their homeland. The Silence Stone had been restored, and the Professor immediately began work on the story of his recent adventure, although he exaggerated his part somewhat. And Tortormo was quite disappointed when the money he had received from Himself turned out to be totally worthless.

 

THE END

 

Authors Original Note: Soob the Sorcerer is mentioned in The Gnome King of Oz.  In this story, famous Oz characters finally meet Soob, who, it turns out, was a student of Merlin.

Story: When the Wizard and Number Nine begin cataloguing the magical implements in the realm, they discover the Silence Stone is no longer working.  This leads them to its sources, the Sorcerer Soom who had created the magical item years ago.  But Soom is in a far off land across the Shifting Sands, and it's up to the Wogglebug, Jack Pumpkinhead, Himself the Elf, Scraps and the Sawhorse to trace him down in the mysterious country of Nimenvell.

Continuity Notes:

Dating: The story takes place while Number Nine is still an apprentice to the Wizard of Oz, and Jack uses his Ozoplane, likely in and around 1939.

Himself the Elf: Himself the Elf (from Handy Mandy in Oz) is established to be "one of the winged elves of Oz," but also part leprechaun.  Upon meeting an ancient elf (see Wood Elves below), Himself acknowledges that the name "elf" is given his kind as a political distinction rather than as a biological one.

Nimenvell: This country is located in the mountainous region east of Oz and west of Hiland/Loland.  In The Ork in Oz, this strip is called the Ivalane Valley and features several realms, including Bildad, Arv, Kallikan, Dantan and Moran.  Nimenvell would be north of Moran.  The Ive and Moran mountains surround each of these kingdoms on the east and west.  Ivalor and the rain forest are south of Bildad.

Wood Elves: Another Tolkien connection is made (first established in The Mysterious Chronicles of Oz) with the existence of Wood Elves in Nimenvell, indicating that some of the Eldar made their way into other fairy realms besides Valinor. 

Silence Stone: The narrative clarifies the creation and role of the Silence Stone.  One of Soob's earliest magical endeavors, it was given as a gift to an ancient Emperor of Oz to silence his Queen who expressed contrary ideas during the midst of a war.  The end result turns out that she was right.  It passed on to his successor, who abused it as well, silencing all dissenting opinions in his realm.  Soob took back the Silence Stone from him and returned it to his home in Ashangabad, where it remained until Polacky the Plunderer stole it from him.  It reappeared years later in The Gnome King of Oz.

Soob: The Sorcerer Soob is noted as being very long-lived (possibly attributed to the extended life afforded in many Nonestican countries) and the student of Merlin, bringing some version of that story into Ozian continuity.  Soob's only mention is as a passing reference in The Gnome King of Oz as the creator of the magic casket housing three of his magical implements, the Flying Cloak of Invisibility, the Silence Stone, and the elevator plant bulbs.  He is noted to be a good wizard who once lived in Ashangabad, but now resides in the country of Nimenvell, located in the north Ivalene Valley.

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