Mistica Chronicles

Welcome to Issue 6

AuroraDragon Winning Entry

A lone figure leaned against the trunk of a tree, thinking. His deep purple eyes stared into the pool of water near his leather boots, remembering. He saw images, both joyous and painful of his earlier years.
A young boy was dragging his feet through the mud, and with a start, the figure realized he was watching himself. The dirt lane he traversed upon was Oak Street, the very place which he used to live. And there it was, the small cottage with grey shutters and smoke slowly curling from the chimney. But as joy filled the figure watching, he realized what he was looking at. This was the day he fled from home.
He continued to watch as his younger self climbed the steps and entered the front door of his home. Inside, two adults sat at the crooked round table, watching their son with saddened faces.
"Ma! Pa! I caught a frog with Billy today! It was..." The figure listened as his own voice trailed off.
The woman looked up at her son, her cheeks stained with tears. "Travis, honey. Your father and I need to tell you something."
Slowly, the boy Travis lowered himself into a third chair and waited for his parents to continue.
"Tomorrow, the armies will be coming through this part of the country. They will be recruiting..." Her voice began to choke up but she continued. "I know your brother Andy never returned... but it is a way to help what you believe in."
The boy listened with horror. What was he going to do? He would not die like Andy but he could not stay here. The voices of his parents began to fade.
The figure beneath the tree looked away, the tears forming in his eyes. How he missed his family. When he glanced back to the water, he saw himself placing food and blankets into a pack as well as a worn map of the nearby lands.
The figure touched the old faded map sticking out of his bag. It was the same bag he saw in the water.
The boy Travis was descending the stairs of his home. His parents followed, his father's arm wrapped around his mother to give her strength. Using his other hand, he pulled out a gleaming object from his pocket.
"This is for you, Travis. May it bring you luck and good fortune on your travels."
The boy reached up and took the charm. It was a light purple and shaped like a crescent moon. He moved it around, watching the sun bounce off its smooth surface. And then he turned and began his long journey down the narrow lane. Travis looked back once to wave goodbye to his Ma and Pa and see them vanish back inside the small cottage. He waited for the right moment, just as they closed the door. And when it came, he ran as fast as he could towards the forest. From the map, he knew this place was Darkwood Hollow. Travis smiled. He was safe from the army. He would not make the same mistake as his brother before him.
The figure tore his gaze away from the water. Somebody was approaching. A quester appeared from the bushes.
"Strange Traveler, Sir. I have brought you the Twiker you asked for. The figure nodded and fished out a few coins from his pocket, handing them to the girl.
"Take this as well." From a small pocket in his bag, he withdrew the charm, still as beautiful as the day he had received it. He handed it over to the quester who nodded her thanks. "Now go get me an Albino Belragoth Plushie." He yelled after her retreating form.
The Strange Traveler, Travis smiled to himself. He had found home.