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Asphodel

Calls from the Land [solo]

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(Takes place a day after We Cannot Bear It Any Longer, Aster still has a room at the Tavern but this takes place away from the Tavern. Slightly liquid timed into the near future since I'm still actively participating in the TOL thread, and events from the TOL thread left purposefully vague.

Please dm me first if you'd like to engage ICly in this topic, and just note that there's a high chance I'll say no since this is a Aster-specific development topic.)

 

She'd woken up wishing she'd slept in. Aster could feel the bruises littering her body, and she sent a prayer it hadn't been worse. Her more serious wounds had been dressed, she'd gotten a new shirt since her old one was ruined, and she set out to buy some new daggers as her old ones had gotten bent in the bear's tough hide. It couldn't be too hard to find somebody selling some blades around here, especially with the amount of wandering adventurers that found themselves walking the road to the Tavern.

But Aster only found the smell of death on the wind, and the quiet numbness that came from gazing over the burnt, ruined farmland. And yet still, she walked; the numbness creeping into her bones but she kept walking. The road was freezing and her hooves were bare against it, and she kept walking.

She couldn't go back to the Tavern empty-handed; people were counting on her being able to handle herself if it came down to a fight. If she couldn't fight, then it'd be in her companions' best interest to leave her behind. She wouldn't be able to make any money to travel with, and she'd be forced to put down roots in whatever town she could with the meager savings she still had. She'd spend the rest of her twenties washing dishes at some dingy restaurant, fending off gross men and scraping by with no future in sight-

 

Aster took a deep breath. The sharp, cold air was unpleasant and biting, but she found she didn't mind that right now; it was a good wake-up call. She'd been panicking, and there was no reason to panic yet. She'd figure out a way to get some new blades, and things would keep chugging along perfectly. She just needed to keep her head on right, and things would work out.

And that's when Aster looked around, and realized she was lost. Trees loomed overhead, leaves rustling peacefully. "Oh no, this is just my luck." Aster groaned, turning around and looking for the path she'd been walking on just a few seconds ago; but she was only greeted by bushes, trees and shadowy undergrowth. It looked like miles and miles of forest, in all directions.


aster_forestthroughthetrees_show.png?wid

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She'd started walking; to where, she didn't know. Everywhere looked the same, and she'd tried to follow the sun to the west for a while until the forest got too dense to see it anymore. Then she followed the shadows, until everything was dark and she was forced to light her lantern in order to see. She'd a forest like this before, but Hadleigh was hundreds of miles away so surely... It couldn't be Hadleigh's forest, it had to be somewhere else; somewhere innately fey in nature. She hadn't seen a single animal or bug since arriving, so it had to be an individual who brought her here.

Whatever had brought her here hadn't tried to kill her yet, so Aster hoped whatever fey wanted her here didn't mean to hurt her. Maybe they found her aimless wandering amusing? Whatever the reason, Aster was excited to get out of here and return to the Tavern. She pushed through a thicket of blackberries, wincing as the thorns cut into her and caught on her clothes, and as she stumbled out of the thicket her hooves hit water and she tripped face-first into a brook.

"Agh!" Aster exclaimed, scrambling to her feet; but the damage was done, she was soaked through, and freezing. She'd dropped her lantern into the water as well, and it wasn't sealed enough to stop water from gushing in and dousing her fire leaving her in darkness. She scrounged for her lantern in the brook, and eventually managed to grab a hold of it in the pitch black water. The faun dragged herself to shore, letting the water clinging to her and the general dark atmosphere hide any tears that escaped; the soft sound of the brook helped muffle any choked sobs as well.

"Stupid thing! Alright, I'm done with this, what do you want?" Aster yelled, throwing her lantern at the ground and looking up at the shadowed canopy. There was no response, other than the rustle of leaves.

And that's when Aster noticed, a half-mile away, a small light lighting up the darkness. It flickered like firelight, and looked like it was only a small candle; but Aster followed it blindly, pushing through the undergrowth and tripping over unseen rocks and roots in her desperation to finish whatever game the fey were playing.

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