Far from Kansas and our mundane world, the land of OZ exists. That wondrously frightful, exciting and amazing place has existed for over a thousand years (long before Dorothy's well known adventures there). Only the rarest of circumstances allow any of us a glimpse of this world. Even more rare are the times one of us has traveled there; much less, there and back.
I will be the first to admit, I have never set foot in the land of OZ. And I have only glimpsed a small part of it myself on one brief occasion. The details I present here, within these writings, are not from first hand observation, but rather have been given to me to tell. Only by swearing to keep my source's identity secret, have I been allowed this knowledge at all. However, on the day that I am to leave this world for good, I will be allowed to whisper this secret to one person; someone who I feel worthy enough to know.
The events I am recording here happened long after Dorothy and her family left OZ, but are the direct result of her actions there. The Kansas twister that carried her there was no accident. But, I am getting ahead of myself.
The years after the wicked witches were destroyed, and Ozma had been returned to the Emerald Throne, were a golden age of good and light. Evil, and the numerous creatures that fed on it, had been forced to retreat to the deepest parts of the Dark Forest and those other places where light couldn't easily reach.
The days were sunny and warm, and the nights were always cool. When it did rain, it was always a soft rain and fell just after mid-night; ending just before dawn. It never stormed in OZ.
Few children were being born, but the people were not upset by this. From the day that the Emerald Throne was created by OZ the First, no one in OZ ever fell ill to disease or died of old age. The magic of the land was such that no living creature could take the life of another; but accidents did happen. Also, you could be eaten, which destroyed their body, but not their life-spirit.
Since children were only born when someone’s spirit was freed from their body, births of course were rare. Children grew until they reached the proper age for who they were. A wonderful arrangement that left everyone at their personal perfect age.
For over seventy-five years (as figured in our world) a splendorous bliss lay over the land. Flowers bloomed and filled the air with varied mystical scents. Choirs of colorful birds would sing songs of ever changing enchanting complexity. Munchkins would break into song in celebration of each new shape they discovered in the clouds.
The good witches were rarely seen. With no great wickedness to defend against, they stayed in their homes studying magic (or so the people thought). In actuality the Good Witch of the North hadn't been seen since shortly after Dorothy first arrived in OZ, and Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, hadn't appeared to anyone in over thirteen harvests. The people assumed that Glinda would appear when needed, as she always had before.
On a sun-rise like any of the others, word came from Munchkin Country stating that a few days ago, just after sun-rise, a small dark cloud had been seen over the mountains to the East. It had only been there for a moment before disappearing, but as it was something they had never seen before, they sent a messenger to report it.
When this message reached The Emerald City, the High Minister had called the city council to gather in the throne room to discuss the phenomenon with Queen Ozma. As he made his way there, accompanied by the messenger, he briefly stopped to ask the City Librarian and the City Historian to keep themselves available, just in case.
Walking briskly down the hall to the throne room, his soft shoes barely making a sound, he could hear the voices of the assembled council through the doors just ahead; Munchkins, Quadlings, Winkies, and Gillikins, all speaking with a tone of urgency. Nearing the golden doors he noticed two Silver Guardians standing watch on either side. As he reached for the handle to open the door, he heard the rapping of the herald’s staff calling everyone to silence.
“Announcing the arrival of 'The Wise and Merciful Grand Scarecrow of OZ'; Advisor to the Throne and Chief Minister of The Emerald City.”
Wyze stopped with the door partially open and, leaning close to the herald said “Norman, what is my name?”
Norman, an exasperated look on his face, answered in a low voice, “Wyze Strawheart, sire.”
“And why did I choose that name for myself, Norman?”
Norman now had the look of a schoolchild taking a pop quiz, “In your own words, sire; to simplify things and spare the lips and tongues of the citizens of OZ at least one more mouthful of unnecessary words.”
“Correct. But if you never use that name when you announce me, others will never know to use it either.”
“Yes sire,” Norman replied. “I'll make sure to do so from now on.”
“Thank you, Norman.” Wyze leaned in closer and spoke very softly, “I do not see The Queen. Has word been sent to her chamber?”
“Yes sir,” Norman whispered back, dropping any pomp from this circumstance. “A runner was sent five marks ago.”
Wyze glanced over at the timeglass and saw that ten marks had passed since the first minister had turned it over, signifying the start of the meeting. If his face could show worry, it would. Ozma was never late.
Dark Clouds in the East of a Most Unnatural Nature
Two days back ….
Tufull had just finished his breakfast and smiled as he gazed out his window and thought of the coming day. It was going to be a day like many others; warm with a soft breeze where lazy clouds floated overhead in ever-changing shapes. For a brief moment he day-dreamed of going down to the stream and fishing under his favorite tree, but he had work to do. Time for fishing later.
Today, he would join his neighbors in the fields on the first day of this year’s harvest. He had chosen to grow buttercups this year and was pleased to see each blossom filled to bursting with creamy yellow nectar. He knew he would be making many trips with buckets back and forth to the house, filling his wife's churns first and then the barrels he had built for storage. He grinned as he thought about his neighbors and how many of them had planted corn this year. Yes, he thought, this crop will be in high demand.
He grabbed his shoulder stick, and hanging two buckets on each end, headed out his door. His wife, Merthabelle, gave him a kiss as he passed her in the front yard. He paused to inhale the sweet complexity of the flowers' perfume and thought to himself, Ah, another marvelous day in Munchkin Country.
He heard the usual singing of Tomtum, Tucker and Havto as they traveled towards the fields. Those three always found a reason to sing, whether it was the chiming of the belleflowers, or the melodies of the windpipes. Today, they were trying to see how long they could maintain rhymes about the animals they encountered on their way. When the singing and laughter suddenly stopped, everyone close by knew something was wrong.
In the center of the road, Tomtum was standing as still as a statue. His face had turned paler than white as he stared off towards the North-East. Tufull looked in that direction at the same time as everyone else there and saw a dark cloud hovering over Mount Munch. He swore it almost looked like a face, and he tried to squint his eyes to see it clearer, but that was when Tomtum spoke.
“Darkness comes from North and East,
and on your fears it craves to feast,
for I am dark and dread and hate,
and soon I'll claim the Emerald Gate,
with good and wicked out of my way,
I will return, this time to stay.”
The air had turned heavy and still while these words were spoken. Tomtum started to move again, slowly, like someone waking from a bad dream. As he regained control of his own body, he collapsed sobbing to his knees. The air had gone chilly and the sun seemed insufficient to warm any of them back up. It was as if all the joy had been pulled from the land. As soon as he was sure Tomtum was no longer in danger, Havto ran to the Mayor's office.
Tufull kept glancing to the mountain, but the dark cloud was gone. As Tomtum had finished speaking the strange words, it had moved quickly out of sight; too quickly thought Tufull. A small crowd had formed by the time the Mayor had arrived.
“Well, well. What is this all about then?” he asked.
Mayor Welday was usually a very jolly sort, always ready with a laugh and a big smile, but now his round red cheeks looked more ivory than rosy. As he heard the story, the color faded even further from his face. Even when the Wicked Witches were around, Tufull had never observed the mayor being this scared.
“Havto, how quickly can you reach The Emerald City?” Mayor Welday asked.
“Two days Mister Mayor,” Havto answered, “if I leave right now that is. If I take Tomtum with me, it'll take three.”
The Mayor almost asked why Tomtum would need to go, but then realized that as the person central to what had happened, Queen Ozma would want to see him. If the event were magical in nature, she could possibly determine its origin. He nodded at Havto's wisdom. Though he was still young in years, Havto was levelheaded and an excellent pathfinder, gatherer and camper.
“It's decided then,” Mayor Welday said, “Havto and Tomtum will travel as quickly as possible to The Emerald City to report what has happened here to The Queen. You two pack and I will have a letter drawn up stating the official nature of your trip; just in case.”
One full turn of the time glass later, Havto and Tomtum left for The Emerald City.
Queen Ozma sat on the edge of her bed and struggled to put her slippers on. Something was wrong, but she didn't know what. She was waiting for a Spectroccultologist to arrive to discuss her misgivings with.
A little over one turn ago she had risen like she always did, smiled warmly at the myriad colors splashed across her wall by the sunlight dancing through the stained glass, and had quickly run her daily schedule through her head. She had then walked to the balcony to gaze upon the wondrous city over which she ruled. It was then that she had felt a cold chill touch her heart and she had nearly collapsed to the floor. Only her attendant, Camellia, had saved her from falling.
“Are you feeling better, your highness?” Camellia asked as she came back into the room. “The Spectroccultologist will be here in a mark or two.”
“Thank you Camellia,” answered Ozma with a weak smile. “How many times have I told you that I couldn't survive without you?”
“Too many, as always,” Camellia replied. “To think that the most powerful sorceress in all of Oz needs my help. Humph!”
Ozma laughed weakly, “And with all that power it is my friend that keeps my feet on the ground and my head out of the clouds, and makes sure I don't forget to breathe.”
Camellia smiles back, “Well....don't let the ministers hear you talking like that. I'd never get another vacation.”
The rapid clacking sound of hard-soled shoes heralded the arrival of the Spectroccultologist. A short time later a thin man in black robes hurried into the room. Half-lens glasses perched on his hawk-like nose gave him more the look of a predator, than a reader of magical energy.
Raspensqeel, thought Ozma. That is his name. She knew that those hard features covered a very big heart. She could tell that about him even before he spoke. The next thing she learned is that his voice was warm, deep and very melodic. He must have been given that name before he and his voice reached maturity, she thought.
“Your Highness,” he said, “I need your lady to leave the room so I can get a clear reading.” He inclined his head towards Camellia.
“Of course,” said Camellia. “I'll be just outside if you need me, my Queen”.
“Thank you, lady,” he said warmly to Camellia.
Raspensqeel sat across from Ozma and removed his glasses as he closed his eyes. He took several deep breaths before opening them again to stare wide-eyed at The Queen. He quickly held up his hand as he felt her about to speak and she stayed silent.
She stared back at eyes the color of the earth; smooth deep brown. The longer she looked, the larger his eyes seemed to grow until they merged into a single enormous pool of brown. Though she knew she wasn't moving, she felt as if she were floating weightlessly above a bare field. Only a brief moment more passed and she began to notice flecks of green and gray like spots of grass and stone appearing here and there. The longer she looked the more she was sure she really was staring down at the world outside. The green areas had grown in size, becoming fields and forests. Now she was sure there was a flash of blue, like water at mid-day. She thought she saw a bird and then animals running far below....with a flash, she came back to herself.
She was still sitting and Raspensqeel was still across from her; his eyes now shut. She looked at the time glass and saw that thirty marks had passed.
He began speaking; softly and slowly at first, as if it took great effort to form his thoughts. “First, I will tell you that you are well. Whatever affected you is no longer present. That being said, something dark definitely touched you. Something very old with a great hatred of the light. I've never felt the likes of it before.” He shivered briefly and continued. “I will need you to step out of the room now my Queen so I can read if there is any leftover magic in the air.”
Ozma left the room without speaking. What Raspensqeel had said was working through her mind. She found Camellia sitting in the hall and, sitting down next to her, softly whispered about what she had learned as they waited.
It seemed like a full turn of the time glass had passed before Raspensqeel opened the door and called them both in. He was covered in sweat and shaking noticeably. He cautiously sat down as they came in; as if his legs would give out at any time.
“The stained glass window that arcs across your bedroom; is there significance to the colors?”
“I had it made with all of the colors that can be seen in the Land of Oz. That way I see them all each sun-rise and no matter what else my day may bring, I will never miss seeing one of them,” replied Ozma.
Raspensqeel nodded understanding.
“This will be hard to explain since you cannot see as I do,” he began. “You can see the colors of the glass, and the colors as they strike the walls?” He paused until he saw them both nod yes. “The magic that touched you, somehow stole the color from the very middle of the air. The color is still in the glass, and the color still strikes the wall, but in between, it is gone.” He shook his head as if he didn't believe his own words.
“I don't even know what to call it,” he continued. “I’ll just call it 'The Gray'. It appears to be shrinking now, so the area of missing color will eventually be restored. I will consult with the Spectroccultological archives to see if anyone has ever encountered this type of magic before. My advice to you, Your Majesty, is to increase your magical protections and post a guard outside your chamber.”
“Thank you Raspensqeel,” Ozma said. “I will do as you recommend. Do you need assistance getting home?”
He smiled weakly and shook his head no.
After he had gone, Ozma sent Camellia to call on Sage, and request that she come to the Throne room sometime after mid-day. She would have her own archives searched to see if there was any mention of this phenomenon there; and who better to do that search than Oz's Chief Historian?
Sage ran through the halls of the palace with barely a sound from her soft-soled shoes. All that could be heard was a faint rustling sound like the rhythmic stride of a child trotting through dry grass. No sound of heavy breathing could be heard either. Of course, this was because she didn't breathe; at least not like living-born people needed to.
Sage was a scarecrow; an inanimate-born, given life by magic. Even though Ozma had told her time and again how she was different; that her creator had taken extra care to give her a body of exceptional craftsmanship; she was still a scarecrow. Her body was still cloth filled with straw. But that was where any similarity ended.
She had not been made from clothes, sewn together with a course cloth head added, as is usually used for scarecrows. Her body had been sewn from a smooth, tightly woven cloth like that of a cream-colored flour sack. Her maker had given her the subtle, but definite shape and size of a Quadling girl of teenling years. In addition, her clothes were not attached as part of her body; her body was complete and whole, which allowed her to change clothes if she wished.
Her neck-length hair was woven from fresh silkgrass which, since she had been given life before it could dry out, still shined of green as it flowed in the wind. Porcelain eyes with centers of emerald hue looked out from under soft cloth eyelids. A small simple nose, and lips of green silk, completed a face that conveys great kindness and a definite twinkle of mischief.
Ozma had told her that she looks like an adult-sized version of a doll that would have easily been the favorite of every girl in the land of Oz. Ozma had offered to use magic to find out who her creator was, but Sage declined. She was alive and she didn't need to know why she had been made this way. She just was, and was happy with that.
Her life came from the heart-straw of her 'father' as it had from his. She however, had also been given head-straw from both her 'father' and 'grandfather' and so carried the intellect, and memories, of both. She is, of course, the granddaughter of The Scarecrow of Oz.
She loved to read and since scarecrows didn't sleep, she had read every book in the Great Library of Oz; twice. It was only natural that Queen Ozma had appointed her Oz's Chief Historian.
She arrived at the doors of the throne room at exactly mid-day. She had always had an uncanny ability to know the precise location of the sun; even while locked in the library for days at a time. She slowed to a walk as she drew near and saw from the look on the doorman's face that someone, besides Ozma, was still in the Royal Chamber.
“Good mid-day, Norman,” she said as she stood in her usual waiting spot.
“Good mid-day to you too,” he answered back with a smile. “Something serious must be afoot if it requires tearing you away from your books.”
“Yes,” she answered, “I’m sure that the fate of all of Oz hangs in the balance once again because some minister forgot the rule regarding the proper placement of some banner, or something like that.”
She and Norman both chuckled softly.
“How is my niece doing?”
“I'm meeting Blossom and Able for a late lunch today,” replied Sage. “I’ll let her know that you asked about her; and remind her that she needs to visit with her uncle more often.”
“Thank you,” Norman said, smiling. “Has Able received his apprentice appointment yet?”
She was about to answer that he had, when Norman held up his hand and assumed his 'official' posture. He opened the door with one hand and rapped his staff twice to signify someone was exiting the throne room. She had asked Norman once about how he was able to always know when someone was leaving and he had shared with her that the ball on the end of his staff gave him a view into the throne room. He told her that it only worked for the person holding it, so to those standing near, it appears only as a decoration.
A young man emerged from the throne room and he barely glanced at Norman as he walked past. He had black hair and pale skin, like many of the Winkies, but that was where the similarities ended. His face was clean shaven, and his hair was short and combed neatly into place. Where the Winkies dressed in yellows, ambers, and golds, and were mostly farmers, tailors, and woodsmen, this man was dressed more like a merchant and his clothing was all blacks and grays.
Sage was just thinking to herself how odd and out of place he looked when he suddenly noticed her standing there. He paused only for a second to stare at her, as if trying to memorize her look. As their gazes met, she was at first transfixed, then drawn into his sky blue eyes. Though they had never met, something about him seemed familiar.
Suddenly feeling self-conscious, Sage glanced away. After a moment that seemed longer than it truly was, he resumed his rapid march down the hall.
As the young man rounded the corner, Norman leaned close and whispered, “His name is Dalton Darcy. He said he's an ambassador from a land north-east of Munchkin Country, near the mountains there, on the border of the Shifting Sands. He called it 'The Shadowlands' and said they call it that because the sun never touches there; they are always in the shadow of Mount Munch.”
Standing back into his official posture, Norman rapped his staff three times on the floor and said in a loud clear voice, “Announcing Sage Strawheart, Chief Historian of The Emerald City and the Land of Oz.”
Sage tried to shake the uneasiness of her recent encounter from her mind as she stepped through the Golden Doors to meet Queen Ozma.
“Your Highness,” Sage said with a formal curtsy.
“No need for ceremony Sage,” Ozma said with a smile. “I instructed Norman that we aren't to be disturbed for any reason and Camellia is watching my private entrance, so we can speak candidly”.
She moved to a bench on the side of the throne room and gestured for Sage to join her. Sage sat there for a full turn of the time glass as Ozma related the events of this sun-rise, and what Raspensqeel had told her.
“In all your reading, have you ever come across anything that mentions magic that can rob color from the air?”
Sage thought for a moment before she answered, “No, I haven't. The nearest reference was of a Munchkin witch who could rearrange the colors of a rainbow. Gleebell was her name. But, rob the color from the air? None.”
“I thought so, but I had to make sure. Your memory is better than any other, so if it’s not in the great library, you would know,” said Ozma. She then leaned closer and spoke more softly, “I need you to go into the Royal Archives and search for any record of this kind of magic. Here is the key. Let no one else know you are doing this for me.”
Ozma held out a small but very intricate key of gold and emerald. As she took it, Sage noticed that it weighed much more than its small size would suggest. Reaching through the sleeve of her dress, she placed it in the little pocket that her maker had sewn under her left arm. She could only guess why her maker had put a pocket there, but it had always been a good place to carry secret things.
“Of course, you are only to speak to me, your grandfather, or Glinda of the things you will discover there. Even though the wicked witches are gone, there are still evil and wicked beings that would try to use the knowledge stored there to spread their darkness”.
“What about my father?” Sage asked. “Doesn't he know of the archives?”
“Outside of the royal family, only Glinda and your grandfather have ever been allowed into the vault,” said Ozma. “Your grandfather was there after you and your father were animated so neither of you share his memory of what he read there. I do want to warn you though, some of Oz's darkest secrets are kept in the books there. Some of the books are magic and can only be read if the book allows it. I need you to search all of the ones you can for me.”
“I will,” Sage replied. “I will go right away.”
“No,” Ozma said. “Wait until after sun-fall. I don't want anyone to be suspicious of you. If you head towards the vault now, many will suspect I have given you the key and you might be in danger. After sun-fall will be soon enough.”
Sage nodded and quickly headed towards the doors. They opened just as she reached them, and she gave Norman a quick thank you smile as she walked by.
Havto was doing his best to reach The Emerald City quickly, but also knew Tomtum would require periodic rests. Tomtum was a farmer; a shepherd mostly, so while he was physically fit, he wasn't used to long journeys. He had never spent the night outside away from his soft bed, even as a small child.
Havto was a gatherer. He walked the valleys and woods of Munchkin Country searching for wild honey and berries. When people desired a rare mushroom, or exotic fish or egg, he was the one they called upon. He was accustomed to traveling the wilds and, when needed, camping overnight. More than once he had been asked why he dressed only in greens and browns; why he always carried a hatchet and knife in his belt. “Because there are things in the gentle Land of Oz that are not always gentle to all that they meet,” had been his reply.
They had been traveling for two turns when they reached the place where the Red Brick Road, which ran from the village of Fivhills, met the Yellow Brick Road. 'Briar Point' was the name of this place, taken from the various thorny, fruit-bearing shrubs that grew thickly there. Havto decided to stop here in order to let Tomtum rest for a moment.
“This looks like a good place for lunch. It will also be our last break stop before we camp for the night,” he said to Tomtum. “I have a spot I've used before on this side of the Enchanted Forest. We won't enter the forest until it is daylight again.”
“Why?” asked Tomtum glancing around nervously. “Are there dangerous things there? I thought all of the wicked creatures had left after the Wicked Witches had been vanquished.”
“It had become safer, yes; at least for a while,” said Havto. “There are parts though, that have become wilder these last few harvests.” He saw Tomtum's worry and quickly added, “But don't worry, those are in the deeper parts of the woods. The road is still safe.” He saw Tomtum relax a bit as he handed him some bread.
After chatting their way through lunch, Havto and Tomtum rested for a few moments more in silence. It had turned into a cloudless, warm day with no breeze, so they chose a spot in the shade of an apple tree near a cluster of blackthorns. Havto closed his eyes and listened to the sounds of nature around him. Tuning out Tomtum's breathing, he could hear the buzz of bees merrily moving from flower to flower, the rustle of the briars, the singing of distant birds... Suddenly he was standing with his hatchet and knife drawn.
“What is it? What is wrong?” asked a startled Tomtum.
“No breeze, no animal sounds, yet something is moving in the briars. Grab your pack and move to the middle of the road. Rest time is over.”
Havto continued to scan the area around them. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Tomtum reaching for his pack. He had just looked away when he heard Tomtum shout in pain and surprise. He only caught a glimpse of something black and round-ish disappear into the blackthorns. He looked to see Tomtum holding his hand; blood dripping from two puncture wounds.
Taking a piece of cloth from his own pack, he quickly bandaged Tomtum's hand.
“Are you hurt anywhere else?”
“Just my hand,” Tomtum said shakily. “What was that thing? It darted out when I reached for my pack, bit me and ran back into the briars.”
“I’m not sure,” said Havto as he finished tying the crude bandage. “But, let's move down the road to a clear spot so I can tend this wound properly; without having to watch over my shoulder.”
They turned and hurried down the Yellow Brick Road. Havto kept looking back until they reached a place where the road was flanked by open fields and pastures. He cleaned the punctures on Tomtum’s hand and noticed what remained of a small drop of green liquid near one of the wounds. He didn't want to panic Tomtum, so he kept that observation to himself. That was also the reason he hadn't mentioned what he thought he had seen back in the briars.
They rested only for a moment more before they continued towards Havto's camp site in wary silence.
Sage found Blossom and Able at their favorite table; in the garden next to The Crystal Kettle. Outside of The Great Library of Oz, this was her favorite place to be.
The Emerald City had many gardens, and many places to eat, only this one offered a level of privacy while allowing both sun and shade. The trellises that surrounded and divided the space were covered in flowering vines that filtered just enough of the sunlight so it was never too hot or bright. The flowers, of every conceivable color, each added their own unique perfume to the air.
The food here was always delicious, but it was delicious in all of The Emerald City’s cafes; and it was all good for you too.
If Sage hadn’t been meeting her living-born friends, everyone would have been puzzled as to why she was here. The inanimate-born, like scarecrows, didn’t eat or breathe, so why would she need to be in a café garden? The secret that only she and her two closest friends knew, was that though Sage didn’t need to eat, she was able to taste food. And, though she didn’t need to breathe, she could smell the scents of both food and flowers. The privacy of this place allowed her to enjoy both of these sensations without anyone else finding out.
“Your uncle says hello,” she said to Blossom, as she saw them in their favorite booth. “You really need to go see him more often.”
“I know,” she said. “I’ve been really busy lately.”
“He really wants to know how your work is going.”
“It would be going better if Madam Taffetta would realize that I’m able to do more than just repairs,” said Blossom.
Taking a seat across from Able, next to Blossom, Sage closed her eyes and enjoyed the warmth of the sun, the cool mid-day breeze and the sweet smell of the garden.
“It still amazes me that you can do that,” said Able. “You really should let The Queen find your maker and maybe discover why you were made this way. I bet it would be a fascinating story.”
“Why would she care about that any more now, than the last time you brought it up?” asked Blossom. “She is happy just to be alive and in The Emerald City. What benefit would finding her maker be?”
“She’s right,” said Sage absently. “Every creature in Oz is here because it is supposed to be. Knowing why I was made the way I am won’t affect who I am.”
“I don’t mean anything by it,” said Able. “I am just curious, as always.”
“Goes with being a Tinker,” said Blossom. “It’s in his blood. He just has a natural need to find out how things work; sad, I know. But, now you have me curious as well. Something is troubling you; you seem distracted. Able almost always brings up that topic and you always have a sharp and witty response for him.”
Sage glanced around to make sure no one was close before she spoke. Leaning in she said, “The Queen was attacked this sun-rise by magic. I can’t give you too many details, but she requested that I do some extensive research to look for any hint of a type of magic that could have been used.”
“How is that possible?” asked Able. “Queen Ozma is the most powerful sorceress in all of Oz, isn’t she? Has word been sent to Glinda?”
“That is what has Queen Ozma the most worried,” said Sage. “Glinda should have read about the attack in The Great Book of Records the moment it happened. Queen Ozma confided in me that no one has seen Glinda for over thirteen harvests. That’s why she is having me do the research; without Glinda’s knowledge, we’re on our own.”
“That is scary news,” said Able. “It’d be worse if the wicked witches hadn’t been destroyed.”
“Don’t you see?” said Blossom. “That is the reason to keep this secret. With the wicked witches gone, no one should be around with the power, or desire, to attack Ozma. The only beings allowed to practice magic are those licensed to do so by Queen Ozma herself.”
“It can only mean there is an unknown power out there,” added Able; understanding Blossom’s meaning. “The people of Oz would panic if they thought a new wicked power was on the rise.”
“Or worse; an evil one,” said Sage softly.
“How would that be different?” asked Able. “Aren’t evil and wicked the same?”