Amid Summer Night
Posted on Sun Feb 26th, 2017 @ 6:54am by Category V: Supervillain Frederick Hollywood
Location: The Haunted Wood
Timeline: The year of the Apocalypse
It was one of the druidic high holy days. The would be goddess of nature had invited everyone to celebrate in the Haunted Wood. Along with the spider silk and wrapped up critters of all kinds the place was a sight to see. It was nighttime and the super moon was at its fullest. Lanterns had been placed to decorate the pathways and illuminate the area quite well. There were also bonfires all about with people standing around them in mass.
A special section had been created with a massive circle in the center filled with runes and blessed by many of the druids and clerics in attendance. Just a bit into the woods surrounding that were various offerings to the gods, earth and the visitors to the Summer Solstice. Massive cornucopias the size of buildings had been filled with fancy fruits, huge vegetables, wild meats, and flowering things.
Frederick loved meeting the various races who came to visit the strange place. Each held a special place in his heart. It was almost like a United Nations meeting. Everyone seemed to willing to embrace the other races as one of their own.
Elves with their unnatural grace and Vulcan-like ears. Telling tales of times long forgotten by most of the other races. He loved asking about what it was like to see the passage of time from that kind of perspective. He found the varied responses from the attendees quite informative and fascinating. Unlike many humans Frederick loved the idea of immortality.
Dwarves so stout and gruff of demeanor, but normally meaning well. The beards of these men had been well groomed and adorned with gems, jewelry and clasps of the finest earth metals. They of course brought some of the best ale, mead, and spirits. They also had some of the finest heavy armor and axes. The strange man found it quite hard to master some of the small tank like people’s versions of games.
Halfling having an almost childlike stature and energy level. Running about through the fair, laughing and giggling. They always seemed to be getting into something. Some of them had braught of of the best comfort food to be had. Pies of all kinds and stews to write home about.
Still even stranger races had come to the celebration. Some Drow had come from the Underdark entrance just below Findel. These deep earth dwellers had some of the strangest foods of any of the visitors. Fred respected the frankness many of them had, although he also felt it was born of generations of hardship and not necessarily a racial truism.
He couldn’t help but partake of the tables filled with nature's bounty from across the realms. The strange tall heavyset traveler had decided to let himself go. For the first time in his remembrance in this realm he got drunk. That of course lead to other things. Pipe weed was passed around. He was told it was from a very special source in Phoenyx's gardens.
Everything seemed brighter. Hollywood felt more happy in a genuine way than he had in a long time. He felt almost goofy. So many things that had pained him seemed so far away. Maybe it had been that he had partaken of some mead and the fine pipeweed his friend Kim had grown.
This night unlike most he had wandered off on his own from the safety of his party. He did have things to do but they were sort of an excuse to see more of what was going on. As he was looking around for offerings to The God of Concordant Opposition, Fred bumped into what he thought at first was a little girl.
When the almost totally naked tiny woman turned around to look at him Hollywood almost took leave of his senses. There was a short golden skinned winged woman with the face of an angel. Simple jewelry were her only adornments. She spoke in a voice that seemed to have music playing in the background. “Hello! Are you lost?”
Aryel would always remember those sad eyes. How they almost seemed to beg for someone to see them.
He smiled in his often of putting way. “Yes indeed I am.” There was more truth to that than he cared to admit. Not only had he been taken from his home long ago, and never did find the inner calm he had been looking for, he had no idea where to find the items he needed in the huge bazaar.
“Oh? What are you looking for?” Her feet floated just a foot over the ground covered in some kind of swirling cloud.
The tall heavyset blonde man wanted to scream that he had been looking for someone like her his whole life. “Ahem...I am looking for things to offer my god Delvin the Black. I am going to cast a find familiar spell tonight and I am hoping for his blessings in that endeavor.”
In a blur she grabbed his arm and pulled him up the walkway almost making him fall over. Whatever this little girl was, she was strong. “I think I know what you are looking for.” As she drug him like an aimless child through the fair he found things he needed, Gems of the finest cut, incense of the opium flower, and parchment paper both for the spell and to write prayers into.
Of course this did not all happen at once. As they walked they dined, drank and danced through the night. Frederick felt as though his normally global way of looking at things had shrunk into a very small orb around just the two of them.
When Fred found out her name he was tickled. When he found out she was a higher form of an elemental from the plane of air he called her Princess Aryel. Although she liked it, the pop culture reference was lost on her, although the fact that it was missed was not.
Of course when she found out he wasn’t a local either and from a dimension devoid of any real magic, Aryel wondered if he was from a sub dimension of hell. His answer did nothing to shake that feeling.
The little mephit told him that she was very old. Thousands of years old maybe even older. He couldn’t help but make crack about older women. Not that she acted that old at all. In fact she kept pace with him in drinking and partying throughout the festival, and at one point acted as his escort when he could no longer find his way about for a short time.
When she dragged him off into a very secluded part of The Haunted Wood, the man from another place barely noticed that they had wandered well into the giant spiders kingdom. He had no distaste for the macabre and in fact the flowers blooming everywhere even out of some of the web sacks could have been decorations for a gothic wedding.
They crashed into a bed of moon flowers. Fred couldn’t help but notice that winged woman seemed to almost weigh nothing at all. She was indeed formed of mostly air and primordial magics. They spent hours hidden from the world’s view. Both felt as if only the two of them existed.
Shortly before midnight the young man was awaken from his sleep. He looked over and saw that his companion had also fallen asleep. Even though it disheartened him greatly, he feared if his spell was not cast in time and the right offerings made he might not get another chance like this for a long time.
Dressed in his finest robe Hollywood went through the forest until he found a clear area to cast his familiar spell. Before doing that he prayed to Delvin. Asking him to bless his endeavors. He laid the offerings in the center of the clearing. He placed a prayer scroll on top of that. In short order the precious items became engulfed in flames and disappeared.
Feeling as though his words had been heard the Wizard began to speak the words and make the gestures to cast the spell. He knew full well the duration could be anywhere from one hour to twelve long grueling hours having to continue the spell.
When noon came Frederick felt a bit disheartened. Maybe Devlin didn’t believe he had been ready or maybe his offering wasn’t big enough. These things raced through his mind as he laid down in that very spot in the haunted Wood exhausted and drained both mentally and physically.
When the night came and the strange man opened his eyes he instantly felt a radical change. He knew he was no longer alone. He felt like he was no longer one person. Memories of places he had never been and things he had never done flooded into his mind.
Aryel was staring straight into his hazel eyes with her own golden solid colored eyes. It seemed either his god had either a strange sense of humor or a very kind heart or both, as he was The God of Balance.
One thing was for sure. It would be a very long time before the man from Orlando would feel alone as he had.