“It is not possible. It cannot be.
That feather should be out flying free!”
I can hear Robin’s voice, but I cannot see him.
“Well, too bad. I caught it. You promised me my key.” I turn over, struggling to get to my feet. I have to wonder if I’ll ever get over feeling pain in this spirit body.
“You don’t understand! This is wrong and amiss!
The lesson you learned was nothing like this!
You were meant to give up! To surrender to me!
And in your despair, I’d give you the key!
But I don’t under-”
“I DON’T CARE! Shut up, shut up, SHUT UP!!!”
My footing found, I stand straight up, furious at everything around me.
“My god! You are so annoying! I couldn’t give a rats ass what lesson you wanted to teach me! Just give me my goddamn key and let me go!”
A whoosh of wind envelopes me. I blink and Goodfellow is standing in front of me. He has his arms crossed, and a look of disapproval on his face. He takes a few steps towards me. I feel my fear return, remembering that he’s akin to a god. Even so, I stand my ground. He comes in close. It’s a little uncomfortable.
“Fine. Take it.”
He holds out his hand. There’s a new key in his hand, this one looks to be made of wood, an endless expanse of trees in the shape of a key. I feel like looking at this thing while alive might have driven me mad. I reach for it, unsure if this is some kind of trap. Snatching the key from his hand, I’m relieved to see he lets me take it.
Not the response I was expecting. But when an all-powerful god stops his normal, fun-loving rhyming and tells you to leave, you should probably do what he says.
I take off into the sky, flying back towards the door.
I look and see him glaring at the leshy.
“Go with him. I want to hear how that mortal’s journey ends.”
And with another whoosh, he disappears with the wind.
“Excuse me! What did he mean by that?!” The leshy was upset. Which, frankly, is perfectly understandable. I did kind of just interrupt his day with… uh… Oh crap.
“WHAT DID HE MEAN BY THAT?!”
The wood spirit transforms into his larger, monstrous form. Vines shoot at me, restraining my movement.
It reels me in and I come face to face with this beast for the second time.
He lets out a monstrous growl in my face and I wince from the noise. But I know now this is just him lashing out.
“So, I know you won’t eat me. What do you plan to do?”
The monster just seems to look at me, as if he’s only just now trying to figure out what he’s going to do with me.
“You realize I’m being punished for helping you, right?” his deep voice growls from inside the monster.
“Well, yeah. But it’s not like I could see this coming. I’m truly sorry.”
He continues holding me captive. This isn’t terribly productive.
“Do you have a choice?” I ask.
He sets me down and slowly transforms back into his normal form as he speaks.
“No. Goodfellow would find a nice way to make me suffer if I didn’t. You got a partner for now.”
I kneel down and stretch out my hand. He takes the hint and hops on it, running up to sit on my shoulder.
“What’s your name?” I finally remembered to ask my new companion.
I take off into the sky flying, with the spirit on my shoulder. It was slightly more difficult to navigate for me now that the trees were facing the proper direction, but the spirit seemed to correct any mistakes I made on my flight back to the door.
“You can call me Godemir. And you?” He still sounded perturbed, but I couldn’t really blame him.
“Nice to sacrifice for you. And then meet you. In that order.”
I wonder how long he can hold a grudge. “So, what’s your plan here? Just keep running from death for the rest of eternity?”
I have to admit, that was a good question.
“No. I want to find my family. A way to return to them as well, if possible. But above all that, I want to make sure they’re going to be okay without me.”
And to be honest, I wasn’t sure how I was going to accomplish that. I’m just a man, trying to escape death at the moment. And if history is anything to go by, things aren’t really in my favor.
“Then your goal is to find Fate himself? Geez, you really know how to pick your battles, don’t ya?” He turned over on my back and laid down, arms behind his head.
I’d berate him for relaxing at a time like this, but I don’t really have a moral high ground.
“Death mentioned Fate. Said he’s a bit secretive.”
“Understatement of the millennium. No one has seen him since the dawn of time, and to be honest, from what I’ve heard, I’m not sure you want to.”
“Why? He smell funny?” I shouldn’t be joking, but I have to do something to stop myself from feeling so heavy. All the shouting I’ve done and talk of Gods and concepts has my head spinning.
I feel a sharp crack on the back of my head as my passenger hits me.
“Don’t be stupid. I swear, you’re dealing with deities and somehow don’t get the kind of shit you’re in! You’ve been lucky so far. But it can’t last. Start thinking. What’s your plan?”
The door is finally in sight, but the leshy’s words make it seem so far away. What is my plan? I know nothing of this world or how it works. Am I just going to walk up to a powerful being and kindly ask that he does what he’s never done in billions of billions of years? Can I gain some kind of leverage? Am I just going to run headlong into oblivion?
“Let’s just push forward. Can’t go backwards, right?”