Mistica Chronicles

Welcome to Issue 47

Xeiana Winning Entry

Lanturnacht calls all the tricksters of the night to come deal their tricks, and at times their treats. However, not many know about the Hallows, its counterpart being the Abyss of Lost Souls, and the inhabitants that dwell in there, ready to be unleashed during the night. To Upperdwellers like us, they are known as the legendary ‘Hallowed Ones’, ‘Nightmares’, and the ‘Terrorized Souls’. Many of them are tricksters and playful, seen flitting here and there during our nightly strolls to collect candy. They are not the ones that I want to warn you about. It’s time I tell you of a particular Hallowed One who my mother had once come across, all so long ago. This is a tale of my mother Vale when she was walking with her friends…

“Come on Vale, don’t walk so far ahead! You’re getting all the best of the candy!” The figure ahead glanced back, her pale blue eyes alight with mischievousness. It was none other than Vale, their Arctic Haruba friend. The one who called out was a Daydream Mericai, who pouted down at his half-filled bag of treats. Their other two friends, a Shyre and a Gourix, snickered to themselves. It was well known that the other had a major sweet tooth.

“I’m running ahead! You’re all too slow!” she taunted, running through the woods towards where she knew the next house woods. However, the first thing she did wrong was take a detour, thinking she knew a shortcut that would cut her run in half. The laughter of Vale’s friends began to fade away and all dissipated into an eerie silence. This did little to show that something was wrong, as Vale’s eagerness to get more candy, and avoid the tricks, was leading her farther astray.

The shadows around her, unnoticed, slithered around, the entire forest seeming to shift out of her eye’s gaze. Instead of heading towards the house, she was veering far off course. Straight into the path of a waiting creature from the Hallows. An inhuman giggle caught Vale’s ears, the Haruba slowing down to look around for the source. It came again and she turned around, spying a tiny squirrel-like creature crouching on a branch, a wide crazed smile on its face.

“Hello?” she asked, curiously drawing closer. It disappeared, scurrying along the tree branches, giggling every now and then to make sure it could still be detected. Vale laughed and began to chase it, forgetting about the house and her friends; she loved a good game of chase. So much that she nearly tripped over the poor thing as it sprang up in front of her. Candy spilled out form her dropped bag and she plopped onto her hindquarters, blinking down at it.

“My, my, darling, my little pet seems to like you.” A purring voice from behind her caused the young feline to leap to her feet in surprise, backpedaling away from the source.

“Oh my apologies, little one, I had no intentions of startling you. Haven’t you come to play on this lovely night?” From out of the shadows came a Lanturn Ahbruis, and instantly shivers ran down Vale’s back. Although the lantern head had no eyes, she was positive they were locked onto her own. Slowly the strange creature began to pace around her, his smile sweet and almost… disturbing. She took a step back, looking back and forth from the small creature to him, giggling nervously.

“O-Oh, it’s okay! I… I was on my way to a house.. I’m late so I should be go-” Instantly the wolf was in front of her, the smile becoming a smirk.

“So you’re lost?” Vale’s eyes widened, and before she could respond and protest, and also look for an escape route, her little red dragon pal unwrapped itself from her neck and hissed in the other’s face, letting out a warning shriek. She took that chance to spring past him, the hairs on her spine rising. There was something not right about him, and she wished she had paid better attention to her mother’s stories about what lurked in the shadows during this time. She wasn’t aware of the shadows as they sought to entangle her until her paw was caught in one. She cried out for her friends, struggling.

“Vale! Stop screaming!” She opened her eyes that were shut and was startled to see her Shyre friend in front of her, trying to help pry her paw out of a tree root. The Gourix was just walking up with the Mericai, holding her spilled bag of candy.

“What was with that? You just ran off and then a few minutes later we heard you screaming… It’s not like you to lose your candy or your way, we were worried!” Vale’s ears lowered and she shook her head.

“Sorry… I guess I saw something that wasn’t there. Come on… let’s get to that last house.” She was in disbelief once she freed herself. Was that all an illusion or… had that been real? She knew it had to have been the latter, for her little pal was staring off into the dark, eyes glowing. As the children walked away to where a house was on a hill outside of the forest, a figure stepped out from behind a tree, the smirk still in play.

“Just wait, children of the light, soon you’ll be drawn back to the shadows and the horrors that lay inside them. And this time… Nothing will save you.”

With that whisper, the haunting tone still lingering in the night, the Ahbruis stepped back into the shadows, his form warping and disappearing. The threat made it clear once more, my dear children, that creatures that dwell underneath the land we call home are not always mischievous little things that like to play tricks. Like dear little Vale, you may come across such frightening ones, but always remember to stay together, for if you remember to beware the shadows, you will always stay safe.