Au’vesteria -- The Spirit Walk — October 2023 Challenge Winner

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Au’vesteria -- The Spirit Walk — October 2023 Challenge Winner


Staff member
Inner Sanctum Nobility
Local time
Today 4:08 AM
Under there
Pie spiderfoot woke to the sounds of the nighttime forest. Though it was dark some birds still chirped happily, and the hoots of owls and calls of other animals drifted through the quiet of the night. A slight breeze strolled through the branches of the nearby trees rustling the levees, gently causing the boughs to sway. The little goblin stretched and pulled his cloak a little tighter as he sat up, to guard against the chill that had slightly settled in on the night air. It had been plenty warm in the daytime and the sunshine when he’d fallen asleep against the tree.

Rubbing his eyes to clear the sleepy glue, he looked around. Miss Nyxia had not come back yet. The goliath woman had gone into the forest with “business” that she wouldn't talk about. He didn’t want her going off by herself and even though she said he couldn't go all the way with her, he was able to keep her company for several hours until she had stopped and told him that she needed to go the final way by herself.

“This is as far as you go, Little Green," she said sternly, her voice reverberating in the air, ‘I am to do this part myself.” It was clear that she intended to see this through without help. She demanded a solemn promise from him – that he would remain right where he was. "Swear to me," she insisted, “No matter the length of time that I am gone, you will be remaining,” her imposing figure casting a shadow over the diminutive goblin who stood at a mere three feet tall. In that moment, her towering height of eight feet seemed even more intimidating than usual. There was no doubt that she was his best friend, but her commanding tone left him with little choice but to comply. He couldn't bring himself to say "no" to a woman who spoke with such unwavering authority. So, he reluctantly made the promise she sought, giving his word that he would stay in place and refrain from following her.

Pie trusted her to know what she was doing so he waited. He opened his journal and began recording the events of the last few days. He had fallen a little behind. As usual he started with the list, Mister Lurog, Miss Ashla, Miss Vihni, Miss Nyxia, Miss Ami, Miss Fiona, Mister L, … the list continued growing but every time he opened this journal he recited it to make sure that no one had disappeared from his memory. He had dreams … dreams of blissfully going through days not remembering his closest friends. Not even being aware they had existed to remember. It had almost happened, so many people from Goblinton had been eaten by the False Hydra, and for a time most people had just forgotten about their existence. Only by some fluke did they remember them… for a time. If any of them had fallen … and they had not defeated the foul creature…he shuddered to think of his now greatest fear.

Everyone on the list brought up memories, so he sighed in relief and began journaling. The scritching of his pen a constant sound as he thought back over the events and memories of the last few days that he wanted to immortalize so that they could never be forgotten. Minutes turned into hours as the sun crawled across the sky, passing from overhead to bright rays through gaps in the trees. He grew impatient and unable to sit any longer began pacing about, looking under rocks for bugs, checking the branches for birds nests, checking the bushes for brownies or pixies. All the while his pen continued scritching away at the pages, moving of its own accord as he thought through his memories. It was pretty handy to be able to write and do other light activities at the same time.

As the golden sun sank toward the horizon, casting a warm orange glow over the landscape, a flicker of concern crept into his thoughts. He stood there, straining his big green ears for any sign of the approaching Goliath, her heavy footsteps expected to reverberate through the underbrush. Unlike Miss Ashla, who possessed a deep affinity for the untamed wilderness and had molded herself to its rhythms with her druidic magics and heartfelt interests, Miss Nyxia seemed to confront the wild head-on. She relied on her sheer size and paid little heed to the art of stealth or blending in. Nevertheless, the silence remained unbroken, absent of the anticipated commotion of thudding footfalls or the occasional outburst of frustration when her thick long dark hair tangled with an errant branch.

Torn between his desire to pursue her and the weight of her stern gaze accompanied by a commanding request for a promise, he found himself paralyzed in indecision. Although tempted to act against her wishes, he ultimately chose to heed her words. The prospect of defying her authority provoked an unsettling fear within him, one that loomed larger than simply breaking a promise. The thought of seeing disappointment etched into her hollow white eyes, the very eyes he held in such high regard, caused an immense burden to settle upon him. In the face of these overwhelming apprehensions, he reluctantly held back, longing to act but unable to muster the courage necessary to challenge her authority.

He eventually sat down to wait as darkness continued to creep into the gaps between the trees, enveloping the forest in a cloak of inky blackness. Unbeknownst to him, he had drifted off and only awakened to discover that his lovely friend was still absent. Should he go after her? It had been quite some time, and she hadn't mentioned anything about being gone all night. After an internal debate, he once again chose to honor his word. Although it pained him not to check, breaking his promise seemed even worse. He couldn't fathom finding anyone in this world, or any other, who was more responsible than his friend.

A light caught his eye in the darkness, a shimmering azure light that bounced and weaved through the forest of trees. He stopped his pacing and hid behind a tree, but came out shortly thereafter when he realized what the light was, a wisp! He ran through the trees toward it, only a short distance from his present location.

“Hey there! Have you seen my friend? She’s a top shelfer about this tall!” He accentuated his speech with a jump into the air that was nowhere near the actual height of the Goliath. The wisp chirped out some unintelligible things. Frustrated pie hastily drew the shape of a small door in the air, and an actually wooden door appeared in that spot. He pulled on the handle, and peering inside he called out.

“Fuwafuwa! Can you bring Witchipoo out? I need someone to translate!” He turned to follow the wisp, as it was drifting further away. There was some shuffling from the doorway that led to a hollowed out tree trunk in the faerie realm and soon a little soft brown chinchilla appeared in the doorway, pulling a tiny pixie by her little skirt. The small winged woman was struggling and resisting, but finally gave up, and stomped one of her little feet.

“Fine! I’ll help. But you better tell the furball to open a jar of BurBur berry jam when I go back!” her tiny high pitched voice carried well on the quiet night air. She lept from the doorway, and took flight, her path long and arching curves as her tiny wings beat to propel her forward. She did a long circle around the anxious goblin who was jumping and pointing to the wisp as he followed in its trail.

“What is that wisp saying?! I need to know quick! Miss Nyxia has been gone for too long!” The pixie turned her head haughtily and started to glide back towards the doorway. Growling he added, “Yes! FuwaFuwa will open a jar of BurBur Berry! And some ThistleWhistle Hunny too if you want! I really need to know! Please!?” Relief washed over his face when the pixie looped back and spun around the bobbing wisp for a few moments before darting back.

She put her hands up in a gesture of unsureness. “It’s hard to understand them, they don’t speak right, you know? It said something about being busy and having a job I think. Can I go now?” The goblin sighed in frustration and waved her off toward the waiting door. “Yess! Fine! Thanks for helping! I have to follow that wisp!” He ran back to grab his journals and his pack, and then darted off, following the glow of the bobbing wisp as the fairy, floated, shaking her head. From her vantage point she could see other blue lights darting between the tress, drifting lazily toward a path where others had gathered in a line that was slowly moving to a deeper part of the forest. There was a procession this night and fell things gathered.

Pie left the pixie behind, abandoning it in his pursuit of the elusive wisp. The ethereal creature gracefully meandered through the thick foliage, beckoning Pie with its mesmerizing glow. Despite the darkness enveloping the forest, his eyes instinctively widened, eager to soak up every ray of light available. This enhanced perception allowed him to navigate his surroundings with ease, confidently placing each footstep upon the uneven terrain. Time seemed to elongate as Pie trailed the wisp, and gradually, he discerned a peculiar phenomenon unfolding before him. Countless other wisps materialized, flitting about in a coordinated dance of luminescence. Their delicate illuminations faintly lit the path ahead, casting an eerie radiance that both awed and terrified him. The gentle rustling of leaves underfoot provided cover as Pie cautiously maneuvered through the dense undergrowth, concealing himself while observing this mesmerizing spectacle. His heart pounded with a mix of trepidation and exhilaration as the scene before him took shape.

As the ethereal wisps emitted their gentle glow, the path before him revealed a captivating sight. A diverse tapestry of beings traversed the trail, each possessing a unique allure. The array of creatures encompassed both the grotesque and the exquisite, showcasing the remarkable diversity of the supernatural realm. While they predominantly kept to themselves, forming small clusters along the way, subtle conversations and lighthearted exchanges permeated the air as they intermingled. An occasional burst of laughter punctuated the tranquil night breeze, serving as a testament to the shared camaraderie among these enigmatic figures. Nearest him were three Eladrin, graceful seasonal elves native to the fey realm. Their hair, resplendent in hues of russet brown and fiery orange, mirrored the vibrant tones of autumn's kaleidoscope. Clad in relaxed elegance, with smooth tunics and breeches that exuded a sense of effortless style, they effortlessly embodied the essence of sylvan fashion. Among them, a woman wore a flowing, wispy dress, adding an ethereal touch to their ensemble. In stark contrast, just ahead of the Eladrin trio, a troll lumbered along the path, its elongated arms swinging in an oddly discordant rhythm. The innate grace displayed by the sylvan elves was counterbalanced by this hulking creature's peculiar, decidedly less refined gait. It was a scene marked by striking contradictions, where the delicate dance of the Eladrin coexisted harmoniously with the raw, untamed presence of the troll and other creatures on the path.

The eerie scene before him was a spectacle of diverse and bewildering creatures. Among them were the hyena-like gnolls, their appearance both savage and unsettling, as they emitted maniacal laughter that sent a shiver down his spine. As they continued moving along the path, a peculiar duo of short and unattractive boggarts came into view. Clumping together, they carried jugs of wine, casually sipping from them with an air of nonchalance. But it didn't stop there; a coven of three hags materialized, their twisted and gruesome forms boldly exposed to the world. Two of the hags humbly deferred to a larger, more imposing figure as they walked along the path. The heavy thud of footsteps reverberated through the air as a colossal hill giant appeared on the scene. Towering over the others, this giant of a being stood nearly twice as tall as Miss Nyxia. To his astonishment, the giant effortlessly carried an entire log upon his shoulders, seemingly oblivious to its weight. Upon this makeshift stage, a boisterous gathering of about twenty Brownies reveled and caroused, perched atop the uprooted remnants of a fallen tree. The sight was truly surreal; each creature contributing its own unique presence to the strange procession that had assembled here. It was as if some otherworldly convergence had occurred, bringing together beings from from beyond the pale in a peculiar celebration. The atmosphere was filled with an undeniable sense of mischief and merriment, as these fantastical creatures indulged in their revelries beneath the moonlit sky

Crouched in the bushes, Pie observed the surreal scene unfolding before him. Suddenly, a buzzing sound caught his attention from behind. He turned and was faced with an unusual sight - a gigantic, fuzzy bee unlike any he had seen before. But this wasn't the first time he had encountered colossal bees; they had haunted his nightmares. Overwhelmed by these memories, Pie instinctively flinched as the bee quickly approached him.

The bee quickly flew towards him, but abruptly veered backward. That was when Pie noticed the presence of a rope around its neck. His gaze followed the rope to its origin and he saw that it was being held by a centaur woman. She wasn't wearing a shirt or any other clothing for that matter. She had long blond hair that cascaded in waves down her shoulders and over her bare breasts. Her skin possessed a light tan tone which transitioned into a mid-torso covered in lightly spotted brown horsehair, characteristic of the rest of her equine form.

“Oh, I’m sorry! Brumble didn’t mean any harm! I hope he didn’t scare you, you look a little pale.” Concern colored her voice as she reeled in the rope so that the giant fuzzy bee hovered and moved back and forth much closer to her, and further away from the little wide eyed goblin.

“No, I mean yeah, but only because I was startled and I met some other big bees that weren't nice before. Is you’re .. uh friend … Brumble.. A nice bee?” He straighted himself, the sense of immediate danger passing.

The young womans lyrical laughter rang out. “ Brumble is nice, he’s just excited. He’s a Fuzzy Buzzy, not like the other giant bee species out here, He comes from the fey, like I do. I’m just talking him for a walk, and tonight is the Au’vesteria, you might call it the “spirit Walk”. You must already know that since you are here.” She looked around then down to him again. “You didn’t … stumble on this unknowingly did you? You know the rules right?” concern lingered in her soft questions.

Pie shrugged. “My friend Miss Nyxia came and told me to wait for her, but then she didn’t come back, so I saw a wisp coming this way and followed when it got dark and she wasn’t back yet.” He relaxed a bit, seeing that the fuzzy buzzy wasn’t threatening anyone, just hovering and inspecting things within reach of its leashed pathway near the centaur woman. “I didn’t know what was going on, but I saw all these different people and monster people walking together. It reminded me of the marches where that kind of thing didn't matter as much.”

“Oh, uh, My name is Pie! It’s nice to meet you. You seem nice, so thanks for telling me about this! Will you tell me the rules? One time I went to this place and they didn’t like orcs and goblins there and they told my I couldn’t talk to some people because they were my bitters. So it’s good to know the rules. Are there any bitters here?” his eyes lit up as the danger of the situation seemed to fade. This was a festival of some sort, not some nefarious gathering.

The Centaur woman laughed, “Bitters? I don’t know what … oh, perhaps you mean betters?”

The goblin shook his head, “No, I’m pretty sure they said bitters. Do I need to look out for betters to?”

The centaur smiled. “No, no one here is better than any other. That’s kind of the point of everyone gathering together. My name is Lithea, by the way. Why don’t you hop up on my back and we can see if we can find your friend. What does this Miss Nyxia look like?”

She stretched out her free hand and when Pie took hold of it she helped swing him up to land on her back. Once there he was a little self conscious, while nudity didn’t phase him since many creatures in the fae realms did not hold much stock in clothing, being this close to another person was a bit more intimate, even in a friendly manner. So he was careful to keep his hands close to the base of her waist when he needed to steady himself.

Lithea walked onto the path and waved to some of the participants before joining the procession. “Well, She’s a top shelfer, so shes a lot taller than both of us, and most people for that matter. Shes got gray skin and her eyes are all white, and her hair is so pretty and dark and soft! Oh and she smells like sweet honey all the time! She says it’s from being in the marches, and she said that’s whey my skin sparkles in the moonlight too! See!” He leaned forward stretching his hand out in front of her. Now that they were on the path, bits of moonlight did filter through and his skin sparkled with little blue specs.

“Oh, how pretty! You really do sparkle in the moonlight! I hadn’t heard of that before. So you’ve been to the fae realms before?” She asked as they moved up the path.

“Yes! I got goblin napped by a bossy faun girl, and she kept me as her slave for a year. AND A DAY! Can you believe that? Anyway, I had lots of fun until she tried to keep me longer, but eventually I had to leave and I was back in the normal realms, but a long long long way from home. I don’t know how long I was gone. Miss Nyxia said she was only in for a little bit and it was 5 years, and Miss Ashla says her 5 years was 10 for everyone else. I haven't been home yet to find out how long I was gone. I hope it wasn't a hundred years or anything.”

Lithea looked over her shoulder at the goblin with concern. “You don’t sound too upset about that. Except for that extra day.” She giggled finding humor in that part. “You spent a good deal of time there then. Are you sure you’ve never seen a fuzzy Buzzy like Brumble?”

Pie shrank back a little, and shook his head, then realizing she couldn’t hear that, “No, the part I was in was always sunset and there were swamps and forests and the season elves lived there. I didn’t see any Be- Buzzys there. The only things buzzing around were the pixies! There were lots of those.” He scanned the groups that they passed, some of them walking slower than themselves, looking for Nyxia but marveling at the collective gathering of monsters, fae and other magical folk.

After a short while following the bouncing lights of the wisps bobbing along the path, the path opened up into a clearing. There, a bazaar of sorts was set up, tents and carts where all kinds of things were offered. The smells of strange and wonderful foods filled the air as they approached, the sound of many different peoples drinking and laughing together and of hawkers tempting those gathered with wares from all sorts of far off places.
Pie let out a deep sigh. It was not going to be easy to find Miss Nyxia in all this. Picking up on his distress Lithea reached back and gave his leg a gentle squeeze. “Worried about your friend?” She asked with a hint of concern.

Pie took a deep breath before answering. “Yeah. I am, she's been gone quite a while and she wanted to come here in secret and wouldn’t let me come with her. So something is going on. Now that I’ve seen this though,” he gestured with his palm to the dazzling array of people, creatures and monsters before them, “I’m a little less worried. Maybe I should be more worried what she is up to more than any danger she might be in.”

Pie hugged the centaurs back gently. “Thanks for helping me get here! I’m not sure I would have been brave enough to face all this alone. What are you going to do now?”

Lithea giggled a little, and then answered. “I’m looking for someone too! Brumble needed his exercise and I have a family member that might be here as well. Someone that hasn’t been home in a very long time. Would you like to keep looking for our lost friends together?”

Pie’s heart beat faster as he excitedly said “Yes! I still feel so overwhelmed in all this, it would be great if we can stay together and help each other look!”

They entered the bazaar, Lithea describing the person she was looking for and as they walked among the gathering of monsters the excitement in the air lifted their spirits and they talked and laughed and pointed as they began to wander through the amazing thrall of the magical gathering that was the “Spirit Walk.”

To be continued in next months challenge!
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