-21- Bagels and Battles (or Donuts and Dragons)

Breakfast wasn’t a large affair, just a scrambled egg patty on a sliced bagel. For the children, I thought they might enjoy having a jam to dip their bagel into, so I had put out a small dish for everyone to do that with. I wish I had bacon or ham to cook, but we don’t store any kind of raw meat here, especially overnight. I’ve worked with food-safety for too long to not know better. Should there be some kind of refrigeration available one day, I’ll take advantage of it. But that day is not today.

Conversely, I had learned that refrigerating eggs is something done in modern society due to a change in how chicken farming was conducted. Eggs back in the day, like it is here, were meant to be left out at room temperature for many days without issue.

“So, this is called a bagel?” Tally asked me, taking a bite of her fried egg bagel sandwich.

“Yes. It’s a traditional breakfast food back in my homeland. It’s normally eaten with a type of spreadable substance like mayonnaise called cream cheese, but I’m afraid I don’t know the first thing about how to make it, as I had always just purchased it ready-made at a store and kept it stored at home in a cool place. However, it has pretty much the same function as bread, in that when you cut it in half you can put something in the middle, or you can tear off a piece and put something on it, like almond butter, or any kind of jam. This is one of two things I felt like making today.”

“And what’s the other?” She asked, her chin dripping yellow with egg yolk.

“It’s called a doughnut. Do you remember when I made fries at the orphanage?”

“Yes, I remember the children eating them with abandon.”

“It’s made with the same method, by using oil and then coating it after being fried with sugar instead of salt. It’s actually a very versatile pastry, and another hugely popular breakfast item eaten throughout the day, and can almost always be found at any social function in my homeland at any hour.”

The kids were busy dipping their bagels which had been pre-sliced by me into the various jams, with Nefe doing all she could to bogart the entire portion of apple jam. Well, that particular batch was special, as I had added toasted cinnamon-sugar to it to give it that extra kick.

“Cinnamon raisin bagels are also a thing, so they can be made with the same bread dough, the only difference is the shape and the boiling step before baking. It’s important to do so, as the sugar does something during that boiling stage which gives it a chewy texture. That’s half the fun of a bagel to begin with!”

I had put aside a few of the regular bagels, though I hadn’t made any cinnamon raisin ones. With breakfast out of the way, I began making doughnuts, and wanted to get everyone involved, especially the little ones.

“So we roll it like this into a snake?” Nefe asked, her doughnut dough looking rather lumpy in places.

“That’s right, then we connect the ends so it makes a circle shape.” I connected the two ends. I would have rather had a mold cutter, but as this was new territory, I’d have to look into having one made if I cared that much.

“Now what?”

“Now we wait for everyone to finish, then we fry them!”

And that’s what we did. I had to be careful with the wooden ladle, but I could fry about two to three at a time in the pot. There was a cloth I had prepared for being able to enclose the doughnut and coat it evenly in sugar.

I can make powdered sugar, but it’s time consuming.

For the hell of it, I also made doughnut holes as well, basically small circular bits of fried dough that were bite-sized, again, mainly for the children. Everything went over well.

“I’ll work on a frosting for these later. I also need to look into a filling tool for them.”

“A filling tool?” Tally inquired.

“Yes. There are doughnut types without the hole in the center. It’s made with a bit more yeast and so there’s space inside that one can add jam into, so that when you bite into it, it’s full of flavor.”

“That sounds marvelous!”

“Daddy, does that mean you can put apple jam inside of it?”

“That’s right, my princess.”

“How do you make the filling tool?”

“Well, I would need some kind of a round tube, and a bag that fits around it which can be easily attached and removed so that it can be filled with jam.”

I tried describing it as best I could. Plastic was hundreds of years away, and I had no idea what would suffice as a substitute. I’m not exactly a medieval historian. I took an AP class on a certain continental history thinking it would be fun, and ended up receiving a low C grade, learning full well at the end, how much it wasn’t.

“Maybe we can ask Zedron?” My wife suggested. “He may know a craftsman who can make you it from just a description.”

It was worth a shot.

Jaxan went to get the children changed, and together with a large stack of papers, and three completed decks, we headed to Zedron’s Wares to meet with the Master Merchant once more.

“Thalica my sweet! Children! Gardavan, my friend! Oh, and who is the charming young woman?” He was always overly pleasant with his greetings.

“This is Jaxan, she is our household slave.” My wife quickly introduced her. This led me to let out a deep sigh, which did not go unnoticed.


“It’s nothing, I don’t want to get into a fight.”

Zedron stroked his wispy beard, surely catching it all, but saying nothing.

“Well, then, shall we head into my office?”

We all followed the master merchant, and once inside, he was presented with a few bagels and some of the fried donuts I had made earlier.

I had pitched him the overall theme of the game, and then explained the game as Nefetina and Trevorkane played an exhibition match showing off the main points of the game.

“Initially, there would be three decks prefabricated for immediate purchase and entry into the game. What you are witnessing here is a Water deck and a Fire deck. There is a third one, a Plant deck, and you will see a second game that’s a bit more of the ideal style that should bring in the fervent audience.”

Nefetina had lost as expected, and Jaxan was then the new opponent of Trevor.

“So, each type of deck has it’s own strengths and weaknesses?”

“Correct. Nefetina’s deck was supposed to be the stronger of the two in that matchup. However, Trevor was able to utilize certain strategies to overcome that weakness.”

We both watched the next game, with me commenting on how each card used was done so strategically.

“I see, so the Leaf Shield trap card reduces the amount of damage taken by half.”

“Yes, because of that, Jaxan’s Pitcher Plant survived being killed in one turn, and is now able to counter attack with Leech Life, restoring ten points of health each turn. In a way it can become a battle of attrition now for Trevor.”

“Hoh, that’s quite interesting.”

The game continued on, and it was down to Trevor with his Firebat in play. “Firebat, as a type who can fly, attacks which are ground based do no damage to it.” I explained.

“But the young miss is using ROOTy, and has both the Trip skill and the Tremor skill. Would this not be her loss?”

“Ah, that card is special. Trevorkane had one similar to it as well, but Jaxan had already taken it out of play. It was the Red Dragon Pup.”

“And what’s special about these cards?”

The next move and commentary by Jaxan showed it to him.

“I give nature mana to my ROOTy, and now I evolve it into FERNando the Oaknight!”

“What just happened, Gardavan?”

“Certain monsters can do something called evolving. As long as the monster survives one round of play, on the next round it can be upgraded if the card is held. The damage dealt to the first form carry over to the second unless there is a rule on the card written that states otherwise. Now the attacks available have changed, and FERNando has one that can hit the Firebat. Would you like to guess which one it is?”

Zedron examined the card Jaxan had just evolved into.

“This one, the Solar Ray?”

“That’s correct, however she can’t attack this turn, if you notice the cost.”

“Yes. I see, she needs four nature mana and only has three supplied to it currently.”

“Yeah, so she has to hope that she can survive until the next turn and use one from her hand, or hope to draw one quickly if she doesn’t already possess one.”

The game continued for two more turns, and Jaxan hadn’t supplied another nature mana card to her FERNando the Oaknight!.

“Looks like it’s my win this time, Jax!” Trevorkane boasted. It did certainly look like that was the case. “My Firebat uses Flame Diver!”

“I activate the trap card in my hand, Spiderweb Conflagration!”

“No!!!” Trev cried out.

“What just happened, Gardavan?”

“Spiderweb Conflagration takes any physical attack and nullifies the damage, paralyzing the attacking monster for one turn. It’s often used as a stalling strategy.”

“Oh, how unfortunate.”

“You and your stupid trap cards!”

“I use my item card Power Pill to increase damage by twenty. I then give one nature mana to my FERNando the Oaknight! And use Solar Ray.”

“AAAHHH!! Why does this always happen at the end right when I’m about to win!?” Trev can get heated enough to sound like a sore loser, but he also gets over it quickly.

“That’s eighty points of damage, but with the type disadvantage you receive only forty, and with Power Pill that’s an additional ten instead of twenty, which means fifty total damage to your Firebat.”

“Daddy! Make me a stronger deck or better trap cards of my own!”

“Didn’t you have a Magma Mines card in your hand, Trev?”

“Huh? Yeah?”

“If you had put it down before attacking, at the end of your turn it would have killed FERNando the Oaknight! Before it could use Solar Ray.”

“WHAT? HOW DID I MISS THAT!?” he screamed. “Aw, Poo in a shoe!”

Trev sat down, staring at his ace in the hole, unused.

“That’s how it is, Zedron. What did you think of the second match? A lot more intense, wasn’t it?”

“Quite. I daresay even I want to play a match.”

“Would you like to? Nefe would be a good opponent for a beginner.”

“Nefe my child, would you like to have a round with your dear uncle Zed?”


“Hm, which deck should I use?”

Jaxan gathered up her cards and handed the deck over to Zedron immediately.

“Please use these.”

Zedron took them gratefully and cleared a space at his desk.

“Come Nefe, pull up a chair and let’s play on my desk.”

“Zedron, might I browse the store while you play with Nefe?”

“MMH, by all means. Afterwards you will explain to me the booster packs, correct?” he asked, stroking his beard as he looked at the card in the deck before beginning the game.

“Certainly.” I answered. I stuck my arm out for Tally to take hold of, so I could escort her through Zedron’s store. “Shall we go exploring?”

“Sounds like fun.” She replied, joining arms with me.

“Shall I stay with the children, Mistress?” Jaxan piped in from the side.

“No. They’ll be fine where they are. Do accompany us.”

Leaving the children behind with Zedron to play the game, Jaxan dipped her head lightly and followed us out into the front section of the store. With many things on display, there were numerous places to start browsing, but there was also priority one as well to take care of before anything else.

“Shall we get started in finding a bed suitable for Jaxan?”

Oh yes. That problem was being dealt with, immediately.