Category Archives: A Girl and her Goddess

Making Friends, Part 15

“Stop it, stop it, stop it!”

Bethany grabbed Arlyle and held her close. The goddess gasped, her light out in an instant. The flame was snuffed before it could do any damage to the young girl.

Bethany was crying. Crying. Tears ran down her eyes as she looked at Arlyle.

“You’re supposed to be my best friend, Arlyle. We’re supposed to have tea parties, and, and go fun places…and have adventures! We aren’t supposed to let anyone be hurt just because I wanted to go on an adventure.”

Arlyle hugged her friend close. “Bethany, please,” Arlyle said. “Just breathe, it will be all right.”

“All right?” Bethany looked at the children. “You’re about to hurt them, or worse!”

“And they deserve it.” Arlyle looked too. “You see children, just a bit older than you. I see new villains, ready to hurt the world for the fun of it. If we let them go free, what will happen to Thelonius? Or your new friend Clissandra?”

Bethany blinked tears away. The badger was standing next to the spire, looking expectantly at the proceedings. He stayed silent, not wanting to interject with his own biases.

“They were going to hurt her, and if they don’t get that, they’ll hurt her even worse because their… their fun,” Arlyle spat the word at the children. “Was ruined.”

Arlyle set the girl down, and walked over to the children. She seemed to grow taller, fairer. Her skull crown darkened, stretching into the heavens. “If I do not stop them now, then all their crimes they shall ever commit will be on my head for allowing it to happen. Our heads.”

“Is that bad?”

Bethany looked at Arlyle. “Is that so bad, to let other people make mistakes?”

“These are not mistakes, child.” Arlyle started to seethe. “This is malice, plain and simple. They want to hurt people.”

“And that needs to stop.” Bethany pointed her finger at Bergsten. “You are mean. And Arlyle was right to scare you. But the other stuff, I don’t know.”

“We will never hurt anyone again.” Bergsten breathed. “We will not set one foot on these lands, not even look at it wrong.”

“He lies.” Arlyle said. “They all will.”

Bethany nodded. “I don’t want anyone to be hurt. Anyone. Either by feeling bad by doing bad, or having done something terrible to stop something worse.”

The girl stamped her foot. “Why can’t we all just be extra nice to everybody? Just try really hard to do good, and when you try to do bad stuff, you have to stop and say sorry?”

Arlyle shook her head. “The world doesn’t work that way, dear friend.”

copyright 2018 Jack Holder

Making Friends, Part 14

“Arlyle, the Scourge of Darrenfell, and my best friend…stop it!”

“What?” Arlyle looked at Bethany, questioning. “What’s wrong?”

“You know very well what’s wrong, and you should stop it this instant!”

“It” was currently chasing Bergsten and his cohorts across the Meadows. A pair of old bears, dark forest green and covered in strange runes, lolling across the ground on their great legs.

Bergsten and his crew had laughed at the bears. Even tried to shoo them away. But it wasn’t until their second attempt at casting spells fell flat that they realized they were really five children up against two very perturbed mother bears. That was when Arlyle got to enjoy the show.

The goddess herself was enjoying her tea, with some lovely biscuits that she partook alongside Thelonius Bricklebook. The badger nibbled alongside, trying unsuccessfully to hide the unadulterated glee on his face as the bears swiped a claw a mite too close to one of the children.

Clissandra sat in the stone spire. Waiting, perhaps, or preparing a spell of her own. Who could tell?

And Bethany? Bethany was dismayed. “This is not how we solve our problems, Ari!”

Arlyle pointed at the children. “They were unruly, disgusting little snots that were going to set a witch ablaze for being different. Now they are enjoying a change of character.”

“You set a pack of bears on them!”

Arlyle shrugged. “I’ve learned that mauling builds character.”

“It does not, and you know it!” Bethany shouted.

As if to demonstrate her point, Erovin managed to escape long enough to cast a spell. Seeing the argument between girl and goddess, and deducing that Bethany held power, he tried to conjure a cage of fire around the girl. That was most likely the last straw.

Arlyle dispelled the conjuring with a glance. A snap of her fingers had the boy bound in chains, and a harsh word felled the other four, who were soon gazing upward at roaring bears.

“Look at them, Bethany.” Arlyle glared balefully at each child in turn. “They do not understand compassion, or reason, or logic. They have enjoyed the bounties of life, and have used them to further grind their heels into the necks of those they would deem unworthy of life. If we seek to merely punish, or distract, let alone reason with, they will respond with force and destruction.”

With a wave Arlyle brought the children forward. She glowed with a dark light, her skin a soft green, as dark flames manifested, licking around her and her prey.

“Well, look upon a true power, little specks. Look upon someone who will not forgive, or excuse, or make amends for your chaos. I am the Scourge of Darrenfell, the death goddess of vengeance that made the gods quake in fear. I am back, and I do not suffer those who slight me.”

She held a ball of green flame aloft, ready to find her first victim.

“Who shall it be?”

copyright 2018 Jack Holder