One of the most powerful sorcerers to ever live, Root Beer retired from adventuring centuries ago. With his stores of magical energy and a hoard of gold and artifacts that would make a dragon salivate with envy, Root Beer left the public eye in order to study his namesake and other soda pops.

In the Netherworld, absurdity is the mother of invention. Root Beer’s temporary departure from society required a base of operations, one that ensured privacy, so this most powerful mage sought the air — a rarely developed and easily expanded upon plane.

“I call it ‘cloudstone,’ Root Beer said to Anna Logarithm, villainous inventor, as he handed her a block. “As strong as granite! And I’ll soon have it as strong as dragonscale. Floats like a cloud. Rains occasionally but I think I can work that out.”

“Roots, this is incredible,” Anna gasped as she held the brick, pushing and prodding. As promised, it held strong. “What are you going to build?”

Root Beer took the brick back and set it at waist height, pressed down, and let go. It serenely held in place. “It is a bit silly,” the pop-named master of elements said wistfully, “but I have always wanted a little drink stand, maybe a little hut to experiment in. An outdoor affair, very casual.” As he spoke, he filled two owl-shaped drinking glasses with a bubbling blue brew. “Cheers love,” he popped his glass against the villain’s and they drank.

Within a year, a sky giant put the final cloudstone in place of a small platform. She knocked it down with the butt of her trowel and pushed experimentally — it held in place. Within three years, the giant and several more had built towers and homes in Cloudstone, the community taking its name from the masterful masonry.

Within the decade, Cloudstone’s population expanded rapidly. Root Beer released the spell formula to make the bricks to the public and helped build factories with co-op workspaces. An open source research movement strengthened the formula’s resistance to heat and cold weather, decreased the amount of magic needed in production, and indeed ended spontaneous internal rain showers.

Giants were the first to populate the emerging metropolis, their great height allowing them to scale mountains and leap onto the first platforms. Faeries, sprites, and pixies came next, their wings making migration a breeze. A few ice dragons and giant elemental monsters joined later, expanding the magical fields and thus capacity for growth. Within fifty years of its founding, Cloudstone’s population rivaled the largest cities in the Netherworld.

“You have found success yet again, Roots,” Anna said one day as she sipped her drink. She sat on a small stool, one of three, at a modest drink stand off to one side of the city’s square. She watched the sun prepare to set as Cloudstone idly floated over The Singing Lake, a body of water best known for its mermaids.

The sorcerer smiled as he polished the sign for Root Beer’s Floats. “Another? How about a bit of cursed caramel infused vanilla haunt?” he said, indicating the villain’s nearly empty glass.


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