This unassuming little shop carries a stunning variety of goods, from daggers and maces to laser pistols and stun guns; magical cloaks and boots to night-vision goggles and force field belts; dwarven whiskey to Vermont micro-brews. The proprietor is one John of Benoch.
The layout, décor, and displays depend on where the shop is, when the shop is, and who is in the shop. A few things remain constant. A little silver bell above the door tinkles whenever a customer enters. The bell is for the customers, to let them know the shop-keeper has been summoned. The magical wards woven into the shop let John and his family know when someone else comes in. There is a counter to the left of the door. Sometimes it’s a case, displaying gems, small statues, jewelry and watches, and other similar small items. Sometimes there is a cash register on the counter; sometimes there is a card reader (they accept all major credit cards); sometimes there is only an ornately carved box.
Behind the counter there is an open doorway, though sometimes it has a curtain. Through the doorway, customers can see a small room with a table and chairs. Beyond this room is a kitchen and dining room. To the immediate right of the doorway is a staircase, leading up to the living area, which adjusts in size to accommodate the size of the family. To the immediate left of the doorway is another staircase leading down to storage rooms.
In the common room, weapon racks line the back wall. Armor is displayed along the right wall. There are shelves, six to seven feet tall, filling the space and arranged in a maze-like way that conceals how big the shop really is – or isn’t. There are plates and cups and tableware. There are mugs, and wine skins, and drinking horns. There are teddy bears, dolls, wooden dogs with leather leashes, and many other toys. There are books. There are scrolls. There are pens, pencils, and wax jacks. There are cloaks, boots, belts, shirts, pants, pouches, and backpacks. There is camping gear. There are photo frames and albums, sometimes with photographs still in them. There are racks holding bottles of wine, jugs of whiskey, and stranger, more exotic things. There are teas, herbs, spices, mixes, tinctures, and multi-vitamins.
The shop isn’t always in the same place. The shop isn’t always there at all. It moves as it wills, fitting into spaces that people have ignored, appearing and disappearing and generally going unnoticed.
If you happen to see a shop that you’re certain wasn’t there before, go in. Because the most remarkable thing about the shop is the reason it’s named the Lost and Found. If you have lost something precious, be it your great-grandmother’s wedding ring or the collar belonging to your pet, you may find it here. Perhaps the signed copy of the book that changed your life burned in a fire. Or maybe the family photo album with the only photo of your older brother was destroyed in a flood. It doesn’t matter: the Lost and Found may have it. And if the shop has found you, chances are that you’ve been lost – until now.
Benoch’s Lost and Found is a powerful artifact, created by the deities of Atlandious. John Benoch himself is part of that artifact: he cannot be forcibly separated from the shop, nor will it leave him behind. He does not age, and will eventually recover from any injury that does not completely destroy his body. He is immune to charms of all kinds, and nearly immune to hostile magics.
John and his shop are sent hither and yon through the many realities, collecting items of power, and redistributing them. Power in this instance means the power of an object to affect the course of a person’s life. Why the deities chose to create this shop, why they chose to send it on its strange mission of returning lost items to lost people, is unknown to any but the deities.
This work by Jean Headley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.