Several hundred miles away, Arlyle, the Scourge of Darrenfell, was chuckling. It was an evil chuckle, or at least as evil as she could manage in recent days. To passerby it might sound just a tiny bit malicious, or only kind of evil. It did not help that she was three feet tall, and was best described as the cutest death goddess of vengeance one could ever see. Still, she chuckled.

She was going to destroy the world.

…after lunch time.

Lunch was a particularly delicious affair of jam sandwiches. The berries were collected from seven different realms of existence, while the bread had been baked by a lovely couple just on the other side of a local lake. Arlyle had tried to intimidate the bakers with a plague of ten thousand weasels, but was stopped by her worshiper, who insisted on some strange concept called “good manners.” Instead, Arlyle grudgingly blessed their wheat field for a good harvest, and they had lunch.

Her worshiper was annoyingly insistent on good manners. Even as she stuffed her little face with jam and bread, she managed to smile. Her sticky hands were sure to be washed in the lake, and she would say please and thank you for the delicious meal. Arlyle found it sickening, but Bethany was…adorable…

“That might have been the best sandwich ever.” Bethany said. “Thank you, Arlyle!”

“It might have been better,” Arlyle muttered. “The screams of the weak can add to the flavor and crunch of sandwiches.”


“Ye…” Arlyle trailed off, and sighed. “So I have been told.”

Bethany gave her goddess a long, hard look, making sure Arlyle knew exactly what she wasn’t saying before looking over the lake.

“What do we want to do today?” Arlyle asked.

“What’s the next adventure?” Bethany replied.

Arlyle did not know. There were so many options that they could go with. Go beneath the lake, to see if there was a passage into the sea. There were several realms of fancy that Bethany could not even grasp yet. Or maybe they could just sit there, and play pretend for a while before making a fort out of pillows, then think about bedtime and how they would conquer it.

“Pardon me.”

Bethany looked down, and saw a badger. A badger with particularly green eyes, poking his head out of the mud. He whuffed and sniffed.

“Again, pardon me. Mud does not agree with my sinuses. Could I trouble you with an egress and a moment to compose myself?”

With no dissent from Bethany or Arlyle, the badger wriggled out of his hole. He shook himself off, and meticulously checked his coat for any blemishes. Thankfully, the mud had just been concentrated around his snout, and he was presentable.

“Much better,” He said. “Now, then. I am looking for the most powerful being in the land.”

Bethany smiled. “That’s my Ari!”

Arlyle frowned. While the accolades were appreciated, a badger seeking a power was unusual.

“Well, Ari,” The badger extended a claw towards the goddess. “My name is Thelonius Bricklebook, the fourth, if you please. I have been summoned here to this place for one question.

“Are you willing to go on an adventure?”

copyright 2018 Jack Holder

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