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||You are on Week 407
Every week we will be starting a new Story Telling competition - with great prizes! The current prize is 2000 NP, plus a rare item!!! This is how it works...
We start a story and you have to write the next few paragraphs. We will select the best submissions every day and put it on the site, and then you have to write the next one, all the way until the story finishes. Got it? Well, submit your paragraphs below!
Story Four Hundred Seven Ends Friday, March 27
Cold rain pelted down on the Chomby as he ran through the woods. What had begun as a lovely early spring ramble through the forests of Meridell was quickly becoming a disaster. Not only was Aukassen soaked through, but he'd lost his picnic basket and his fishing pole when the stream he'd been sitting beside had suddenly overflowed its banks and swept them away.
Up ahead, through the endless rows of trees, he thought he spotted... something. A tent? That was odd. This forest seemed a little out of the way for most campers. Still, Aukassen told himself, it was shelter. The loud pounding of his feet was lost as thunder cracked above his head.
"Hello? Is anyone... er... home?" the Chomby called as he approached the large, dark tent. There was no answer except the drip-drop of rain on the leaves above him, so Aukassen poked his head around the tent flap.
The inside didn't look like any tent the Chomby had ever seen before. On most of the camping trips he'd been on, the tents were cramped and dark, full of sleeping bags, camping supplies, and lanterns. This tent, though, was nearly bare inside, and it was filled with a soft glow, which emanated from the string of lights that ran along the ceiling.
"Those must be those Faerie Bubble String Lights everyone's been talking about," Aukassen said to himself as he peered at the gleaming globes of pale yellow, orange, green, blue, and purple. "Seems like an odd way to light a tent..."
Suddenly, there was a tiny tapping noise and one of the lights began to sway. "What in Neopia...?" Aukassen squinted at the light, and his jaw fell open as realisation dawned on him. They weren't faerie lights... they were faeries.
The Chomby stood there, dumbfounded. What should he do? Free the faeries or just turn around and leave?
Footsteps rustled in the undergrowth behind him, followed by a voice. "Excuse me, what are you doing with your head in my tent?"
Aukassen whirled around, almost knocking the whole tent over with his tail in his haste, to find a small Aisha looking at him with a dangerous gleam in her eyes...
Author: Do I know that Aisha?|
Date: Mar 23rd
"Err... H-Hello." Aukassen shrunk under the Aisha's glare. "I was looking for shelter from the bad weather, and I saw your tent and as it looks like the thunderstorm will go on for a while, I was hoping that I might come inside." To prove his point, he motioned upward at the sky. "But then I saw that nobody was there, and I decided to leave again but before I could, you had shown up and were talking to me."
He was hoping for some kind of understanding in the Aisha's eyes, but her look did not soften at his words. If anything, the evil sparkle grew stronger while Aukassen spoke.
"I didn't -- I didn't try to steal anything, if that's what you're worried about," he hastened to say, realising only when the words left his mouth that the Aisha did not keep any possessions in her tent besides the captured faeries.
Rain pattered down on the Chomby's back as he waited for a reaction from the Aisha. He gulped, wondering if he should add another explanation about how he had been fishing and lost his equipment, when she finally spoke up.
"Very well. So what is the name of this Chomby scared enough of a thunderstorm to break into my tent?"
"Aukassen," he replied. The tone of the Aisha's voice made him feel like a school boy chastised by a teacher.
"Aukassen," she repeated the name, opening the flap of her tent. In the light that streamed outside, Aukassen saw two red streaks adorning her purple cheeks. "Come inside."
The Chomby gulped. He did not want to enter the tent once again and see the captured faeries dangling from the ceiling. What if the Aisha had captured them herself? She could be a sorceress, much more dangerous than the thunderstorm.
Plucking up his courage, he shook his head. "No, thank you. That's very... nice of you, but I've changed my mind. I'd rather try to get home as quickly as possible."
The Aisha's eyes narrowed. "This was not an invitation. Maybe I should introduce myself to you. I'm the Aisha Enchantress, Keeper of the Sacred Grove, High Lady of the Forest. No one leaves this place without my permission. Now come inside..."
Date: Mar 23rd
It never occurred to him that he could've run away.
But then again, it wasn't as if he had the choice.
Like strings pulling at his limbs, Aukassen inadvertently found himself walking into the tent. Awkward, jerky, marionette steps. The Aisha followed closely. The flap closed behind them with a whisper.
Seconds slipped away in silence. The rain pitter-pattered on the tent and Aukassen shivered, cold and wet, anxiously waiting for the Aisha to say something. She stared at him with her violet eyes, arms crossed, not speaking. He would've said something himself, but the way she was looking at him, like he was some sort of puzzle, he knew he was better off saying nothing.
The gradient lights twinkled above him, distant stars. He couldn't bring himself to look at them. Whenever he did, he was forced to tear his eyes away with a shudder.
The rain drizzled on, harder. Thunder rattled the tent. The storm was closing in. And still the Aisha did not speak.
Aukassen couldn't stand it any more. He cleared his throat. "Ahem..."
The Aisha's only response was to narrow her eyes.
More rain, more silence.
Her stare was penetrating. Laser-like. It unnerved him. He shuddered. "What is it?"
"Oh, just wondering whether I can trust you or not."
The rain slipped down the tent like sand in an hourglass.
Aukassen coughed. "Um..."
Again, his eyes were drawn up to the lights. Twinkling, twinkling. Fingers against glass, soft, glowing faces staring out at him with beetle eyes.
He had to ask. "Those... those aren't faeries, are they?"
Her eyes narrowed again until they were no more than slits. "Of course not."
Aukassen nodded, swallowed. "Um, okay. That's good, I guess." Somehow he felt relieved to hear that the glowing figures weren't faeries. But then... what was in the bottles? The thought made him shudder. "I mean, it's nice to know you're not some kind of Balthazar copy-cat or something..."
She hissed. "How dare you compare me to that filthy bounty hunter?!"
"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean..." Aukassen stopped talking when he saw his words weren't going to change anything. Tough crowd.
He decided to change the subject instead. "So... if those aren't faeries, then what are they?"
Date: Mar 24th
"What kind of spirits...?" Aukassen asked with a tilt of his head.
The Enchantress contemplated him silently as she formulated an answer.
"Mischievous spirits. A faerie-like version of imps, if you will. They are as beautiful as the faeries that Balthazar catches in his horrible paws -- but even he would be hard-pressed to catch spirits like these."
"How do you mean?"
"Their magic is far too dangerous for the likes of him."
Aukassen turned his gaze once more to the bright lights, to the softly glowing faces, to the minute fingers pressed pleadingly upon the glass. Beetle eyes blinked at him, tiny mouths whispered words that he could not hear, translucent wings beat feebly.
"That isn't to say he doesn't try to catch some, from time to time," continued the Enchantress with a smug look. "The hapless, mercenary boor --"
The Aisha's words were interrupted by a not-so-distant howl somewhere outside the tent. Aukassen shivered involuntarily at the primordial sound as recognition thrilled through his veins.
"Balthazar?" breathed the Aisha. "In the Sacred Grove? How dare he!"
With that, the Enchantress whipped past Aukassen and ran from the tent with a swiftness spurred by angry disbelief.
Aukassen was left behind, feeling nervous and uncomfortable, surrounded by softly-swinging bulbs whose glow emanated from the trapped spirits within.
Aukassen was compelled by a power beyond himself to raise his eyes to the lights once more. The most brightly glowing spirit attracted and held his gaze, and then she began to speak...
us, sisters --
no more will
our dainty feet
in dewed grass on
cool mornings, no more
will we skip from flower
to new flower, to the tune of
spring, or be borne skyward on
curls of pearl fogs to break through
eve's purpling clouds, and, fluttering,
fly on wafer-wings toward Faerieland:
for now we are bottled, caught; and like the
full moon in a wane, our life-light is faded to
dimness, our winged joy has faded to misery.
Fear not, my spirit friends, for chance has put
our lives in a Chomby's paw -- once again we
will drink the morning rain, and sing our
songs, and twinkle over lakes and
waterfalls, flitter-winged stars:
for he will set us free.
Aukassen had always been susceptible to eloquence. The soft-hearted Chomby was moved to tears at the thought of the dainty spirits' sadness -- imagine, to not be able to hop from flower to dew-laden flower, to not be able to race the breeze on wings lighter than air...
"For he will set us free," repeated a chorus of musical voices, wind chimes on a late summer evening.
"For he will set us free," repeated the voices more forcefully, chimes in a storm...
Aukassen reached toward the nearest bottle, a dreamy look on his face...
Date: Mar 24th
"Set us free. Set us free."
With each repetition of those words, the spirits' chants evolved into commands infused with power. The more sensible part of Aukassen realized that the Aisha Enchantress was right; they were indeed powerful if they could hold his mind like this, even while they were in bottles.
His fingers closed around one bottle that shone with a soft golden glow akin to the rays of the morning sun. There was something about the light...something that normal faeries didn't have, a certain quality that he couldn't identify.
With a small tug, he removed the bottle from the cord where it once dangled like a lantern, and stared into the glass - which didn't look or feel like ordinary glass. It was more of a crystal bottle.
And the spirit within resembled a typical light faerie, with beautiful blond hair held back by a tiny tiara, piercing amber eyes and a long yellow dress. Her mouth continued to move as she chanted with her sisters, reciting the poem over and over again, the power within the words threatening to ensnare the hapless Chomby, who continued to gaze within the crystal...
Twinkling in the spirit's eyes was a trace of amusement, a dash of mischief, perhaps even malice. Aukassen felt obliged to return the bottle to its original place; there had to be a reason why the Aisha Enchantress kept them corked up in bottles in her tent. A very good reason.
For a moment, he just stood there, spirit in hand, his common sense and a longing to set these poor things free locked in a struggle within his mind.
* * *
Without further ado, the Aisha Enchantress burst from her hiding place of flowering bushes the moment she saw the hulking shadow of the Lupe moving about in the forest. Her hands were already raised, ready to cast the first spell she could think of.
She put down her arms as the Lupe turned to face her. It wasn't Balthazar, but a tall, burly yellow Lupe clad in long robes and clutching a wooden staff with a large emerald mounted on top.
"Timothy?" the Aisha whispered in disbelief. "What...what are you doing here?" Drawing herself up to full height and approaching him, she demanded, "You did not have my permission to enter my sacred grove!"
"I'm sorry, Encanta - "
"And don't call me that! I am the Aisha Enchantress now, and I proudly carry my title!"
"O great Enchantress, please forgive me for trespassing in your domain," said Timothy quickly. "It's just that I've gotten word of you keeping several spirits..."
Encanta scowled. "You've been spying on me with that staff of yours again!"
"It wasn't my fault!" the Lupe protested. "The gem suddenly lit up, and there you were, in a tent with spirits hanging over your head...listen, Enca - Enchantress, you are in grave danger! Did you meet a traveling Chomby today?"
"Yes! Now you - "
"Whatever you do, don't leave him alone with the spirits if he ever stays with you! I know I shouldn't be here, but I had to come! Are you listening to me?"
He waved his hand in front of the Aisha, whose imperious expression had given way to one filled with anxiety, so very unlike her.
"You left him alone?" asked Timothy, his voice rising dramatically on the last word.
"How was I supposed to know about what you've been telling me right now?" she suddenly shot back. "Since you know so much, why don't you come with me to my tent now, Timothy?"
She grabbed his hand and together they wove through the forest, hoping they weren't too late.
"I hope you have a very good explanation for all of this," the Aisha Enchantress said irritatedly.
* * *
"They are coming. Set us free!"
"For he will set us free."
The voices of all the spirits were in Aukassen's ears, his fingers now hovering over the cork that imprisoned the golden spirit within the bottle. Still he hesitated; if these were truly beings of strange and great power, what would happen if he obeyed their whim?
It was getting harder and harder to think as the spirits' words reached fever pitch, echoing throughout the tent despite their crystal bottles -
The Aisha Enchantress's familiar chiding lilt brought the Chomby back to his senses, and in his surprise to hear her footsteps and her voice, he dropped the bottle...
Date: Mar 25th
The next events played in Aukassen’s mind as though in slow motion. He saw the bottle turn as it fell, the spirit’s eyes wide with surprise and joy. Her hands slid down the crystal as she was thrown around and her mouth opened to form a round ‘O’.
Then the bottle hit the ground.
“Set us free, set us free,” the captured spirits sang as the container shattered into a thousand pieces.
“No!” the Enchantress and the yellow Lupe cried out simultaneously, but it was too late. The spirit had already escaped.
“Do you know what you’ve done?” the Aisha cried, grabbing Aukassen by the front of his wet shirt. “Do you have any idea of what you’ve done?”
Aukassen, his mind clear now that the spell of the faeries was lifted, did not know enough about the spirits to comprehend the immensity of the situation. Yet, he was sure of one thing. If Balthazar could not handle those faerie-imps, he was not able to deal with them either.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to-”
“Too late,” the yellow Lupe interrupted. “Quick, we need to get out of he-”
Shattering glass cut off the end of his sentence. Aukassen looked at the bottle that had just fallen, then up to see the spirit untying the thread that tied a captured faerie to the cord. The yellow Lupe did not need to repeat his command. Aukassen bolted for the door, nearly pulling down the whole tent as his tail hit a pole.
The structure swayed dangerously but stayed up. From the corner of his eyes, Aukassen saw the Enchantress raising a hand.
“They’re too powerful. This is not the time to use your magic,” the Lupe cried. Then Aukassen was out of the tent, closely followed by the yellow pet who dragged the Aisha with him.
“They would have harmed you. One of them is bad enough already, but a group? Encanta, you would not have stood a chance.”
The Enchantress’ eyes narrowed at the use of the name Encanta, but besides that, she did not speak a word as the three ran away from the tent. Aukassen’s feet pounded loudly on the forest ground, occasionally splashing up rain water when he stepped into a puddle. Running they were, away from the spirits, not looking back.
It was only when they reached the edge of the river that Aukassen had fled from earlier that they dared stopping to catch their breath.
The Enchantress turned towards the Lupe with fury gleaming in her eyes. “Now, Timothy, I hope you have an explanation for this. It better be good!”
The yellow Lupe, Timothy, as Aukassen had learned was his name, shook his head. “I wish I did. But these events are as much of a riddle to me as to you. You know the magical power of my staff.”
The Enchantress nodded and growled, “Indeed, I do. Spy!”
Timothy sighed. “This time, it was different. I promised I would not follow you when you became the Enchantress and I did not intend to break my promise. But when I saw him,” he motioned towards Aukassen, “setting your spirits free, I couldn’t help but intervene. The images that swirled in the gem were more than troubling.”
The Enchantress considered his words for a moment. “Fine. You saw the trouble that I could get in and decided to come and lure me out of my tent so he,” another motion towards Aukassen, “could free the faeries in the meantime.”
“But Encanta- Enchantress, I didn’t even know he was already in your tent at that time. All I wanted was to warn you. Trust you to get angry at the one who saved your life.”
The two pets glared at each other.
Aukassen, seemingly forgotten by them, took a few steps away from the group. He felt lost among the two magicians who talked about him as though he was not standing next to them. Even though he had been treated like thin air by some mean pets before, he did not like the experience.
His eyes fell on the staff the Lupe carried. The gem on top, that must be where Timothy had caught glimpses of the future. At the moment, it looked just like any other emerald.
But as Aukassen continued to look at it, fog began to swirl inside and suddenly, spirits seemed to press against the inside of the gem. One of them began to speak.
Now we are free and we
Need revenge. We thirst
Date: Mar 25th
Wordlessly, Aukassen lifted his head to meet the magicians' suddenly fearful gazes with his own shocked eyes. Doubtlessly, both had seen and heard. The apparition faded.
Timothy was first to react. "Quick, Encanta!" he hissed. "You must leave the forest, now!" Ignoring her cry of protest, he gripped her arm once again and, clutching his precious staff with the other hand, the Lupe stumbled forward as if preparing to escape into the dark waters of the churning river.
"I can fight back!" Aukassen heard the Aisha shout over the rumble of thunder. "My magic has strengthened since we last met. You've no right to make me run!"
All this time, the Chomby stood motionless, rooted to the spot on the riverbank. Bewilderment flashed in his eyes as he struggled to comprehend this new turn of events. The Lupe paid no attention to him as he urged the Enchantress onward. Aukassen did not understand what the spirit had meant by revenge; all he knew was that, judging from Timothy's fear for his companion's safety, it spelled nothing good for the Enchantress who had bottled them.
By the time Aukassen spotted the moving trail of tangerine sparks, the spirits had already reached other side of the river. From there, the fluttering figures doubled back, halting at last to hover menacingly in front of where Timothy and the Enchantress stood. Aukassen tried to count them, but his thoughts were soon frayed as the voice of a spirit danced across the falling raindrops.
wings of gold
do sing with joy,
for they feel the
touch of gentle
more. No more must
we long wistfully to break free
of spheres of glass that twinkle, twinkle,
oblivious to grey misery within. With grateful hearts,
we thank the one who freed us from the chains,
Chains summoned by the one who stands
before us now,
who stole us from
sweet forest's palm --
we come to take her with
our spell. She will slumber
forevermore in that same cage
where we once mourned. Revenge.
When Timothy looked up once again, his gaze was vague, distant. He took no notice as the Enchantress dropped to her knees, unconscious. As if obeying the tug of a silent puppeteer, he lifted the Aisha and began to trek back toward the tent from which the threesome had fled. All thoughts of escape had seemingly evaporated; his staff fell to the muddy soil.
"That is what we spirits seek," chorused the triumphant spirits softly, guiding the mesmerised Lupe and the Aisha he carried with a flurry of wings and a never-waning golden glow.
And still Aukassen did nothing.
What could he have done -- that is, if he even wanted to? This was an Aisha who had captured spirits, and as far as he was concerned, she was getting exactly what she deserved. Rainwater trickled from Aukassen's tail while he mused. As for Timothy, hadn't he fled, leaving the Chomby to face the wrath of the spirits alone?
No, they did not deserve his help.
Finding himself surprisingly clear-headed and unaffected by the spirits' spell, Aukassen squelched through the puddles toward the Lupe's fallen staff. As he approached the edge of the riverbank, he noticed that something else had been lying unnoticed in the mud.
The fishing pole and picnic basket he had lost that morning.
No doubt the contents of the basket that had been meant to be his lunch would have been completely ruined. But he would still be able to return home now, carrying his fishing equipment and basket, and convince himself that his misadventure in the forest had all been a ridiculous dream.
Aukassen stared uncertainly at the swaying trees, feeling the weight of choice in his hands...
Date: Mar 26th
Setting his teeth against the cold, he made the only choice he could, given the situation: he scooped up his fishing pole and basket and turned to head for home.
Aukassen could not magic his way out of a damp paper sack, much less defend himself against a horde of revenge-hungry spirits. No, it was better to simply let them spend their ire on the ones who really deserved it...
Wait a minute.
For the past few minutes, he'd been headed away from the place where basket, pole, and staff had lain abandoned.
Why, then, was the staff now directly before him, sticking straight up, planted firmly in the mud?
Pale green light emanated from the staff, and Aukassen thought he could hear a chorus of voices, as strong as the trunk of a great tree and as ancient as the land itself.
of the Sacred
Grove has served
us, the forest, and served
us well indeed. And so
we shall lend her our aid in return.
Our wayward children seek
to do the Enchantress harm, but this
is not the will of the forest. Go,
take up the staff, free the Aisha and Lupe
from the spirits' thrall. Once you do so,
and only then, shall you be permitted to depart
Aukassen looked around. It was as though he could feel the eyes of the forest on him.
It seemed he had no choice.
Taking up the Lupe's fallen staff, he turned back toward the Aisha's grove.
But when reached it, he discovered that the tent, Neopets, and spirits had disappeared.
Aukassen stood still for a few long moments, straining to hear any sign of them over the sound of pounding rain.
The emerald on Timothy's staff flashed once, drawing Aukassen's eyes.
Images flashed within the large gem, and Aukassen suddenly realised what had happened...
Date: Mar 26th
They were in the staff, spirits and all.
The Aisha was not there, at least not as a solid one. He could see her transparent body crouched, almost child-like, alongside the tall wizard Lupe, their expressions filled with anguish as they were still, tormented as they rested on their knees.
They each looked like spirits, insubstantial as their ectoplasm was swept away from them with the wind, their bodies fading with each and every moment. The spirits swirled around them in luminescent orange lights, and to the Chomby, their sparkling bright dots shimmered happily, finally able to fulfill their seeming need for revenge.
We have finally
come full circle. You are
trapped as we were and now you
become as we are. Soon wind
carries your bodies to this
darker night of oblivion to
serve out a punishment of
our choice. All your hopes
rest upon a stranger who a
knowledge of you do possess
not. They are to give a life
back to you. Our spell knows
Aukassen frowned as he looked into the shining gem. These spirits were extremely getting excited in their glorious moment of triumph, and it looked as if they were getting slightly careless. Would they have shown this to him if they knew that he held the staff?
Possibly, but most likely not, because the knowledge helped him just as much as it helped the captives that were under their thrall. How could he help the pets he had met earlier without knowing about them? Without having seen them before? He definitely knew of them now, and the spell called for something that he didn't have.
He slumped down. All of his effort came to absolutely nothing. To naught. He may as well just relax on this stupid tree as he waited for the forest to exact its strange kind of unfair punishment because he didn't help its dumb Keeper.
Well, he didn't truly know who they were, did he? His head perked up at this sudden revelation. There were so many things about the two pets that he did not know, and besides their names, and the fact that they had powers, what else could he say about them? That they were weird old pets who seemed to have a knack of pulling this sort of thing down upon themselves?
Aukassen straightened his posture, taking in a deep breath. There was something he could do... but what? He could spit on the gem, hoping that the gooey subject could magically break down the prison that held his 'friends,' but that seemed a little bit absurd, even to him.
What he did was the only thing he could possibly think of to help out the two pets.
He swung the staff down, making sure that he aimed the gem to land squarely on the hard rock jutting out of the ground beside him.
A blinding light filled the air, and Aukassen lost all semblance of thought...
Date: Mar 27th
...for thought was replaced by one thousand purposeful voices.
In the moment of brightness, Aukassen saw the forest in front of him in scintillating detail and heard its commanding speech.
staff is your
best friend in this
moment of need. So
exercise restraint, fool.
Apply yourself, think
of the ways you
could use it,
Chastised by the forest itself, the Chomby picked the staff up and held its glowing orb to his face. He felt embarrassed and uncomfortable -- sick of being commanded to do deeds he had no wish to commit, tired of dealing with irascible magical beings of the faerie and forest kind, soaked through by the rain shower that still danced a slow-dripping dance upon the leaves around him, and weary, so weary...
The orb was cracked. His earlier violence against it had clearly had an impact beyond yet another cryptic poem whispered into his ear. Aukassen stared ruefully at the fissure in the otherwise smooth crystalline surface.
And yet... and yet it was not broken. Its magic seemed intact, because it was showing Aukassen something, a familiar figure moved within the shattered surface.
Aukassen watched and saw in the gem the figure of a Chomby. The Chomby was leaning upon a ghostly tree, peering into the orb at the top of a staff. Then the Chomby arose and shook himself free of minute raindrops, and faded into the uncertain trees.
Aukassen blinked and tapped the orb, which was beginning to flicker uncertainly. At his touch, it lit up again and the images continued to stream within its glassy confines. The Chomby reappeared from amid the trees to pick up a fishing pole and a picnic basket. He opened the basket and rummaged around its contents until he found a jar amid the damp remains of what should have been lunch. He opened the jar and its contents caught the light, a rich, amber gold: honey. The Chomby held his fishing pole and coated the entirety of its line with honey until it was as though a ray of sweet, sticky, late afternoon sun had been twined into a narrow thread. Then the Chomby rose and made for a tent in a nearby clearing.
The top of Timothy's staff flickered valiantly and then went out, a firefly exhausted by its own luminescence.
It did not matter: Aukassen knew what he had to do.
The spirits' shrill giggles pierced the air, filling the heads of Timothy and Encanta with wicked glee. Beetle eyes blinked and tiny mouths curved into mischievous smiles, wings beat in an incessant hum that would have been musical if not for the fact that its origin laid in the wing beats of nervy, ill-intentioned waifs.
It was a good joke to them, of course. To bring their captor, Encanta, back to her own tent, her and her foolish friend with his magical staff, who had tried to help her escape -- how silly! Sillier than Faellies hiding under toadstools when thunder roared, how could they think of escaping? Silly, silly pets, now to be tormented with the spirit sisters' impish merriment until... until...
"Hold, sisters," spoke a high voice, sweet as a bluebell. "What is that I see? A golden thread upon the floor."
"It is the finest ray of sunlight, sister -- let us braid it into our hair," answered another voice, playful as a springtime brook.
"Nay, that is sunlight of a sweeter sort -- fit for tongues, not for tresses," added a third, twirling upward on wings of gossamer to inspect more closely the fine golden line which had wound its way into the tent.
Encanta and Timothy didn't achieve their ranks as master magicians for nothing. As soon as they were aware of a distraction in the form of the honeyed fishing line, they cleared their heads of the spirits' taunts and torments and began to exchange very particular sign language -- but the motion of their hands was unmistakeable: "Let's end this."
It was over quickly, as far as magical battles go. The spirits, intoxicated by the sweetness of the honey which was so rare to come by in the Buzz-less Enchanted Grove, were soon caught one and all in a tangle of fishing line and honey. Encanta and Timothy's joint efforts formed a magical barrier that pressed upon the confused faeries and was barely challenged by their mind-bending magic.
The one with the voice sweet as a bluebell, who had first enchanted Aukassen, was the first to vanish -- she puffed into downy blue petals. Another trickled away, silvery water, with the musical chuckle of a brook. A third vanished into the tiny explosion of an over-ripe berry, a fourth disappeared into a curling vine leaf. Faerie by faerie, spirit by spirit, Encanta's and Timothy's magic helped the forest reclaim the wayward spirits who had left its benevolent confines.
Finally, all that was left was a pile of forest debris, stuck to a golden line.
And at the end of that line, just outside the tent, stood Aukassen, fishing pole in one paw, Timothy's broken staff in the other.
The two magicians emerged from the tent and looked at Aukassen with a modicum of respect for the first time since he had met either of them.
"You know," said Timothy, as he retrieved his staff and examined the orb's cracked surface, "this Chomby has potential."
Encanta nodded in reluctant agreement. "I am quite impressed..."
Her speech was silenced by the voice of the forest itself, which had the last word as forests always do.
spirits, out to cause
trouble are now secured,
back where they ought to be,
companions of the sun, of the
birds, beetles, of snails, dreamers
in the abundant foliage of their home.
And now the rain will stop pouring, and
only drip under the setting sun, off of leaves,
branches, clustering at the centre of flowers,
trickling sunshine, and from the soil will rise
the smell of rain, of elements pulling together
in perfection, and there will be light, and blue
in the sky, colour in the trees as the sun
catches on the edge of raindrops
in prismatic minute rainbows
and dazzling white.
Date: Mar 27th
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