A Hermit Magician
Light; dim, but its presence ever reaching.
The faerie Lenny waved a wing, and the small orbs of light circling him dispersed into the air. Soon enough, the forest began to light up, brightening and blending together in a swirling cacophony of colours.
Victirus smirked in satisfaction. He had grown tired of the constant darkness that seemed to perpetuate every corner of his home whatever the time, except for certain open areas. It was an experimental venture, but it seemed his solution was a rousing success.
Deciding his now fully lit dwelling as suitable, the Lenny proceeded muttered a few words and held out his feathered charm. In an instant, an entire grove of purple trees melted away into the ground, revealing a narrow stone path into the south of the forest.
Humming, he proceeded onwards. The forest was rife with magic; and powerful illusions were a norm. After months of living in it's recesses however, the Lenny was able to create a charm to counteract it's effects.
Reaching the end of the path, the trees opened up into a clifftop view. A modest tent was set up near his emergence, and countless stacks of books and spell ingredients were scattered around it.
Absentmindedly, he began to walk towards his modest home. Without sparing a glance, he grabbed a nearby book and began flipping through it's contents.
"Chiromancy..." The Lenny shrugged. "It would be a fruitless endeavor with my lack of palms, as well as test subjects."
Promptly, he dropped the book and reached for another, skimming through it all the while. The process repeated itself for a few minutes, before a high-pitched scream tore through the air.
Victirus glanced up, discarding the book he was reading in a reflex. Walking towards the edge of the cliff, he scanned the surrounding woodland.
It was faint from the distance, but he could see it: What looked like a cluster of movement near the north edge of the forest.
Without a second thought, the Lenny rushed out of his abode.
By the time he reached the far north, he feared he might be too late.
Glancing around, he couldn't see any disturbances in the eerie grove. There was no sign of the screaming that he had previously heard as well.
Taking a deep breath, he furiously tapped his feet. He had learned a spell a few weeks ago, an even more powerful version of the one he used to enchant his charms...
In a moment of clarity, the Lenny recalled the incantation. Chanting, he held out his charm and focused his concentration on the strung-up trinket of feathers and herbs.
With a final utter, a deafening scream pierced his ears. Within the same moment, the entirety of the grove faded away into a wide clearing. A young speckled Kougra was running around, screaming hysterically all the while, as a slew of thorny vines chased his every movement.
Victirus chanted a few words, and took aim at the thorns. A burst of blue fire appeared from his wing, which quickly shot out and consumed the malevolent plant life.
Startled from the sudden flames, the Kougra took notice of the Lenny for the first time. "W-Where the heck did you come from!?"
The magician grunted. "No time to explain; just get back!"
With those words, the mass of vines shook off the magical fire. There were quite a few of the plant that were charred, but for the most part, the spell only seemed to further anger it.
With what sounded like a rumbling growl, a vine shot out towards the cowering Kougra. Rapidly chanting, Victirus quickly cast the fire spell again, striking and incinerating it just as it was about to grab the young pet.
The speckled pet fell over. "Ahhh!"
The Lenny began preparing for another volley of fire, but managed to spare some time to shout towards him. "I told you to get back! Hurry!"
Shakily nodding, the Kougra got up and ran behind the magician just as he launched another shot. A few more vines tried to shoot out and grab him, but his rapid casting burned them to ash just as soon as they tried.
Soon enough, all that was left was one vine. It shuddered, crawling towards the duo with it's thorns fully exposed. The Lenny closed his eyes and focused, chanting a different spell.
As the growth squirmed into grabbing distance, Victirus opened his eyes. With a shout, purple energy shot out from his figure, locking onto the vine.
It groaned, seemingly knowing what was coming. Quickly, it changed course, attempting to escape by burrowing into the undergrowth of the forest. But the bolts quickly caught up to it and began to converge together, causing an explosion of magical energy.
Both pets shielded their eyes from the blast, and the Lenny quickly threw his intricately patterned blue, purple and gold cape over them in a flourish for extra protection. As the smoke cleared, the Lenny slowly approached the sizzling dirt where the vine had formerly been. Not a single trace was left behind.
Just as he was about to reassure the Kougra, however, the young pet gasped. "Mister! Behind you!"
He turned around just in time to be greeted by yet another thorny vine, which immediately lunged at his throat. But just as he was about to be strangled, a small figure appeared in the blue sky, blotting out a portion of the sun.
In a second, the skree shot down with lightning precision and speed, snagging and ripping up the plant in his beak before tossing it back into the sky. The Lenny, recovering from his shock, quickly followed up with one last fire spell, burning it into ash.
Swooping back down, the skree; and a tiny moquot that seemed to be following him, landed on the magician's shoulder. It squawked in concern.
Victirus gave his petpet a weary smile. "I'm fine, Ciel. Excellent timing."
Dusting off his turquoise and gold tunic, he turned around and glanced at the shaking Kougra standing in the shade. "Now, with that over... We should talk."
"So," the Lenny surmised. "Your friends dared, and when you refused, forced you to go into this forest?"
Sheepishly, the young pet nodded.
The duo were now both sitting at Victirus's cliff-side home. His skree rested on a make-shift perch near the Lenny's tent, and it's moquot followed suit on the petpet himself.
"And," he dryly stated, "they were well aware of the illusions in this forest, and all other dangers thereof?"
The Kougra sighed. "...Yeah."
Victirus smiled serenely. "Your so-called friends should be devoured by meepits."
The speckled pet began to object. "B-But they didn't mean for any of this to happen. I know they didn't..."
The magician looked sternly into his eyes. "You do realise that you could have died. And if I hadn't intervened, you would have."
The young pet looked away. "B-But still..."
Victirus closed his eyes. "Believe me when I say this: Bad company; is much, much worse than having no company at all."
The Kougra tugged at his trousers. "I guess... you're right."
"Good. Now then, when you leave, I assume you know what should be done."
A few seconds passed before the Kougra responded. "Get out? Everyone says that this place is impossible to leave."
The Lenny nodded. "It is. Without magic, at least. However." He produced an identical charm to his own from his tunic, before eloquently continuing on. "Magic, is limitless. Wear this, and the forest's illusions will be shattered. It won't protect against the vines however, but I see it fit to accompany you myself until you make it out"
The young pet reverently took the enchanted item. "T-Thank you."
The magician crossed his wings. "Just make sure to hang onto it. As far as I know, I'm the only one that's been making them. They're tailor-made; or magician-made, you could say."
"Uh... can I ask one more question, though?"
Victirus nodded. "Go on."
The Kougra fidgeted in his wooden seat. "Do you... do you fight those vine monsters a lot?"
The Lenny smirked. "I do."
The young pet looked at him in awe. "Wow... you're amazing, Mister."
He shook his head. "I'm far from it. And I have a name. It's Victirus. Speaking of which, why don't you tell me yours?"
The speckled pet grinned. "My name's Kaloe."
"I see. Well then, Kaloe. Shall you allow to me to escort you out of here?"
The Kougra nodded. "Okay. And, uh, Mister Victirus?"
"Thank you for saving me."
The magician smiled. "You're most welcome."
As the form of the Kougra disappeared into the fading illusion of rippling trees, the Lenny breathed out in relief. It had been a while since a pet had ventured inside the forest, and one so young at that.
But he was happy that he had managed to leave with relative safety. Wiping some of the sweat from his brow, he looked up at the night sky. The moon shined bright, it's pale form complimenting the countless sparkling stars in the multi-coloured sky.
Victirus smiled at the sight. It reminded him of the skies in Sakhmet. His old home.
Shaking his head, he leaned back against a large tree and gazed at the ground. His purple trousers and jeweled boots were getting dirt on them, he whimsically noted.
Minutes passed as he took in the beauty of the forest. The faint glow of a patch of blue mushrooms at it's base gently shone into the night, and ethereal blue butterflies fluttered overhead.
But despite all that, he frowned. He had left the desert to study, to excel even more in the magical arts. After traveling, and finding Ciel, his moquot, and knowledge, he found the forest. The forest, so full of magic. All for him to study, research, and experiment with.
But being a hermit; being mostly alone, as much as he hated to admit it, was painful at times. And he missed him. He missed the royal Eyrie especially.
He was content with the events that transpired today. Perhaps he couldn't get some of his studying done, but that was a small price to pay to both save a life and make a new friend.
But deep down, something gnawed at him. Something that troubled him.
While it was true that the vines were something that he dealt with himself more times than he could remember, lately, they were getting vicious. Even more so that they usually were, even without being agitated, they now lunged out at any form of life with the slightest provocation. And what's more, they were appearing more and more often as well.
The Lenny sighed. He would have to research this. Perhaps, that starry Lupe might be able to help shed some light as well...
But for now, he wiped all the meandering thoughts from his mind. It was late, and he was tired.
Slowly, he got back to his feet, and began walking back to his makeshift cliff-side home.