Mistica Chronicles

Welcome to Issue 34

Villainess Winning Entry

Lanturnacht is a time for dressing up in whismical costumes and trick-or-treating. Children's delightful thralls of horror down out the night, as they try to scare each other to tears. The Circus provides entertainment, and candy, all night long. The Maze offers stomach-turning twists and turns. And trick-or-treating gathers friends for a night of merriment. It is no wonder this Holiday finds itself a favorite among many Misticans. However, for mant, it is a time of fear.

For centuries, the haunting howls of Phantoms have been marked as sinister and malice. Jack created Jackolanterns to stave them off, but never learned the root if the discord. So long as Phantom pets fled, there was no need to question why the ethereal beings terrorized Darkwood Hollow year after year. However, eventually, the hollowed out pommekins were not enough to push away the darkness…


Neri came from a long line of Lanturn Nokwi. For generations, her family had been tasked with guarding the outskirts of Darkwood Hollow. It was a task that stirred the hearts and puffed-out the chests of the ever growing clan. In the forest, it was a noble profession - to most.

To Neri, it seemed unnecessary. How had been her favorite word as a babe. How did the Phantom pets haunt the forest? How did they terrorize the villagers? How did we know all of them were evil? Unfortunately, she never seemed to find anyone to give her a straight answer. No one knew how or why the Phantoms went around inciting fear. No one seemed to care much, either. So Neri sought the answer from the source of the chaos.

Venturing into the shadows, Neri searched out for a Phantom pet. However, while the air was thick and cold with their ethereal presence, none revealed themselves to her. Deeper and deeper, the Nokwi wandered, until even she was unfamiliar with the terrain. To late did Neri realize she was lost.

That's when the haunting chattering started. First it was a low whisper of voices. It then escalated into a high pitched howl of tones, before it finally settled into distinct voices.

What does she want?
Is she here to harm us?
What should we do with her?
Certainly, we can't let her go back.
She will bring others!
This could start a war.
No! She can't leave.

The phantoms became increasingly panicked, causing fear and pity to grip Neri’s heart. She spun to flee in terror, but one gentle voice stopped her in her tracks.

“Wait!” The phantom called.

Neri swiveled her head towards the noise, to be greeted by a Phantom Ahbruis emerging from the mist. The fear left her. She swore, in his gleaming red eyes, there was kindness.

“What are you doing here?” The Ahbruis asked.

“I-I want to learn. About you and why you haunt Darkwood.” Neri sputtered out.

“About us?” The Ahbruis blinked, looking around at his now forming companions in disbelief. Still, Neri sensed a greater understanding in him. A grin crossed his muzzle. “Alright. But just be warned, it us trick-or-treat season.” He ushered Neri forward. “Things get kinda wild here.”

And so was the case. To Neri’s amazement, the ghastly camp was alit with pets throwing pommes at each other and young ones sharing candy. Neri had to dodge several times to avoid the fray.

“It is a bloodbath,” The Ahbruis chirpped.

Neri laughed, “In the best possible way! Now tell me the rules.”