I haven’t spent much time at Aspen’s Rest these past few months. Between the building of a secondary refugee town, Goldenfield, and Fonti’s Fancy, aka the Definitely Permanent Dam, I have been home for a total of 2 weeks. That was not altogether either.
Luckily the house is still standing. It’s actually thriving pretty well without me. Who would have thought the two older ones would be so keen on organizing everything and keeping track of all the plants and herbs. Tristan documented and wrote up our ledgers and burned through almost my entire allowance for paperwork before our adventure with the mercenaries last year. He’s gotten alot better after he started working with the local bookshop owner. He is also trying to save up for a pilgrimage to the Order’s Library to see about learning more about these lands and his home world here in Osterra. I’ll be sad to see him go, but he’s got a hunger for knowledge and I am not one to stop growth.
Rena and Vithi have been the real help with maintaining the gardens and plants as well as organizing the drying racks and placing them in bottles and packages. Verona and the younger boys have been keeping the water flowing, also thanks to Merrick. When the Dryads had left the local woods for an ambassadorial quest he had wandered into my street of Aspen’s Rest and offered a drunken helping hand to the little ones. He actually sobered up and keeps a good eye on them nowadays, I’ve been told by some of the local guardsmen. It keeps him out of trouble. It also makes the Dryads more attracted to him when they fetch water by their stream I’ve been told but I’ll take what I can get for now.
Almost 2 years I've been here in Osterra and the echoes of the Reverse have all but faded from my mind and dreams. I’ve almost turned my once hopeless dream into a reality. An herbal shop for potions, poisons and first aid kits. Maybe this upcoming year will be the actualization of it all. I would be lying if I said I would be happy to retire from adventuring- it’s been grand going out with Oonagh to train the Hyenas, spar with Ayla, and sing and be merry with our vastly expanding faction members. Gwion has been an exceptional leader to follow throughout these adventures, no doubt, and I hardly hesitate when the Green Goddess works through any of us these days. A lot has changed since surfacing through the waters into these lands.
Maybe I’ll have more adventures after opening the shop, maybe it will become something else. All I know at this moment though is that the whistle has been blown- time to release Fonti’s Fancy.
Jay puts aside her journal and quill, gears up and takes her place along one of the lines of massive ropes attached to the damned up walls. Ja’Nuk was heading one of the other lines on the opposite riverbed, and her old friend Kar was behind her with a separate group of young fishermen and makeshift boats. The refugees of these lands had banded together like a pack of lions against the demons- building the dam and it’s release mechanism as well as building safe passage across the river when it flowed freely again. They were hardened and wary of being out in the open for these weeks but no scout had let anything in or out to discover there surprise for the demons.
“You all heard it! To your stations, now! The demons are waiting to face your wrath and justice!” Jay called out. Fifteen men picked up the ropes behind her and on a second whistle blow everyone heaved.
A massive grating sound echoed out across the empty river bed. “Heave!”
“Put your backs into it!”
“Ja’Nuk is buying us all that good peach wine if we get it open in 30 seconds!”
The roar of the water was deafening at the flood gates finally gave in. Jay released her grip on the rope and braced herself in case anyone got caught in it as the waters snatched it into the torrential currents. There were no cheers that could be heard of the floods, not for a while until a keening whistle sound was heard for the third and final time.
They had succeeded. Demons had fallen prey to their trap.
The cheers and triumphant hollering did not cease for many long moments after that. Jay let the men and women who had participated in the building and creation of this plan embrace and rejoice before noticing smoke and other eerie sounds penetrate the chorus. Glancing downstream towards the trap other flashes and sounds came to her ears.
A flash brought her back to the Reverse, on her knees and angrily cursing towards the sky as a fireball hurtled towards her. Smoke filled her lungs, heat scorched her face and dried the cursed spit she hurled in defiance up towards the mages who worshipped those foolish and loathsome gods. A scream ripped itself from her throat as she was hurled over the cliff and into the gorge.
She blinked and was standing stone still on a hill as black smoke rose up in the distance from where the demons were still fighting the adventurers for grounds in Osterra.
“Combat magic? In Osterra?” Disbelief and dread began to fill her soul.
“Everything al’ight Miss Jay?” Kar limped up behind her. He looked towards where she was gaping awith a confused expression.
“Get everyone across the river Kar, and have those horses and carts ready for us to depart back to Goldenfield. I don’t know exactly what’s going on at the Fields of Sorrow, but I can feel it like I’m back in my birth world. There’s combat magic happening over there. We need to get to a fortified place and wait to hear from any Ravens about what’s transpiring in this battle,” Jay felt the man hastily turn away and start barking orders. His limp was less prominent with the new urgency but would return with a vengeance in the morning. No one else seemed to have noticed or heard her, but they knew that Demons schemed and were on board with leaving Fonti’s Fancy as soon as possible.
Jay watched the skies and smoke until she was called over for the last ferry across. She hid her trembling hands from the refugees and soldiers and congratulated them on their accomplishment.
The fireball loomed in her mind again, reminding her that retirement may have to wait for another lifetime. And for the first time in a long time, Jay turned to the woods and prayed.
Goddess please, I may not worship you like others, but the Grove has listened to you much this past year and been fortuitous for doing so. Don’t leave them unprotected, please. I beg of you, guide my found family home.