The Interview

Submitted into Contest #87 in response to: Write about a mischievous pixie or trickster god.... view prompt

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Fantasy Fiction Holiday

 A shadow lengthens across the bard’s table, causing him to look up from his writings. A large, muscular, bearded man stands across the table from the bard. The large man places his hands on the edge of the table and slowly leans down, his face nearing the bard’s.

“I’m assuming,” the large man starts, his voice a low, deep rumble, “that you are the bard, Alastander?”

The bard sits up, setting the quill in his hand on the table next to the stack of parchment before him.

“That would be me, yes,” Alastander answers. “If you have some business with me, I am afraid it will have to wait until a later time. I have another meeting that will be starting shortly.”

The bearded man’s eyes narrow slightly as he stands up straight, crossing his arms over his chest.

“That meeting is currently standing before you.”

Alastander’s eyebrow raises in a mix of confusion and curiosity.

“Are you telling me that you are,” he starts, before glancing around the room of the tavern, then lowering his voice, leaning forward, “that you are Valestra, Goddess of Troubles and Tricks?”

The large man sighs, uncrossing his arms then shrugging his hands out to his sides.

“In the,” he starts, glancing down at his own body before looking back to Alastander, “unfortunate flesh.”

Alastander leans back in his chair, crossing his arms, his brow furrowing slightly.

“Now, now, you do realize the Day of Fools in five days from now, yes? You should wait until then to try to play tricks, even ones as poor as this one.”

The large man rolls his eyes and sighs, reaching up and grabbing the hood of his woolen cloak and pulling it over his head. He tugs at the sides of the hood slightly, giving a quick glance around the room before waving his hands before his face. As the man’s hands pass across his face, it shifts and changes: the beard shrinking and finally disappearing, his cheekbones lifting, his leathery skin smoothing and softening, his eyes narrowing slightly. Alastander watches in a mix of horror and fascination as the man’s face shifts and takes on the appearance of the statues of Goddess of Troubles and Tricks, Valestra. His mouth opens in shock as he stares at the fine features of the goddess’s face attached to the body of a large man.

“You are really...”

His words are cut off by Valestra’s large hand clamping over his mouth. She leans across the table, her face close to his.

“I wouldn’t shout what you were about to shout in a crowded room, unless you want to see a bunch of drunken idiots falling over themselves trying to get close to the actual goddess in the room. Understand?”

Alastander nods into Valestra’s hand. She sighs and stands back up, pulling her hand from his mouth. She grabs a nearby chair and pulls it over to herself before sitting across the table from the bard. Alastander shakes his head then leans against the table, speaking soft enough to only be heard by Valestra.

“You are really Valestra, Goddess of Troubles and Tricks, aren’t you?”

Valestra shakes her head, her visage melting back into the weathered, bearded face from before. She clears her throat, her voice shifting from that of a feminine goddess to that of a gruff man.

“I told you as much, didn’t I?”

Alastander flops back against his chair, rubbing his hands over his face. He drops his hands to the table and stares at the man across from him, his thoughts racing through his mind. Finally, after a moment of staring, he sits up straight, folding his hands on the table in front of him.

“Alright. So, here is a question that has been gnawing at me since I received your letter to meet you here. Why would a goddess such as yourself wish to meet a lowly bard such as me?”

Valestra leans forward slightly, resting her elbows on the table, laying her forearms next to one another in front of her.

“As you mentioned earlier,” she starts, letting out a small sigh, “the Day of Fools is approaching soon.”

Alastander nods and smiles.

“You must be excited about its arrival.”

The large man shakes his head, staring into Alastander’s eyes.

“I absolutely loathe the day.”

Alastander blinks in shock, his body slowly leaning back against his chair, his hands slipping off the table.

“Wait, why would the Goddess of Troubles and Tricks not like the day dedicated to her?”

The large man leans against the table.

“Why would someone such as me enjoy a day mocking the very thing I am about? It is a day where every idiot thinks they have become so clever as to play tricks and pranks on people. And what happens when these juvenile pranks have been played? Everyone laughs. They laugh! As if everyone involved enjoyed the entire thing!”

Alastander rubs the side of his face, taken aback by what he just heard.

“I don’t understand. Wouldn’t you enjoy people playing tricks on one another and having fun doing so? I mean, you are always playing tricks on normal people all the time.”

“And I do so because I enjoy seeing the misery and pain etched in their face when the trick has been revealed and they realized they have been made a fool! I perform my tricks and pranks for the sole enjoyment of myself!”

A strong silence starts growing between the pair sitting at the table. Alastander’s eyes lower to the table, his face masked with confusion. Finally, he lifts his head, his gaze returning to the disguised goddess.

“I still have many questions and confusions about that, but, I will move on to the second question about this meeting. Why me?”

Valestra leans back in her chair, crossing her arms.

“I wished to meet with you because it is said that you are the greatest bard around and that people put much faith into the stories you tell.”

Alastander nods, sitting up a little straighter.

“I have worked hard and long to build my reputation and earn the faith people place upon me.”

Valestra nods, her smile nearly hidden beneath her bearded mask.

“Good. The reason I chose you to meet with is because I have a task for you.”

“A task? Anything for a goddess.”

Valestra’s smile shifts into a slight grin.

“That is what I like to hear. My task for you is for you to travel, heavily in the next five days, and spread the word of my dislike for the Day of Fools and my demand that the people stop with their foolishness and end the day once and for all!”

Alastander blinks in shock, his shoulders dropping slightly. His mouth opens repeated as if to speak, each time closing before any words can come forth. Valestra watches the man’s inner struggle, her grin uncontrollably growing. The words finally escaping Alastander’s lips cause Valestra to straighten her face, her eyes moving to the bard.

“This is the command from the goddess?”

Valestra nods, sitting up straight in her chair. Alastander sighs, his shoulders sinking farther.

“Then I must abide by your wishes. I will gather my materials and head out on my task as soon as I am finished.”

The grin sneaks back across Valestra’s lips as she puts her large hands on the table, standing up with a push.

“Very good. Do your task well. Make your goddess proud.”

Alastander stares up at the large man across from him, unable to find the words to speak. Valestra nods quietly then turns. She glances over her shoulder at the bard, still in shock as he starts to slowly gather his papers together. She grins once more as she steps away from the table and across the room to leave the tavern. Once outside, she glances around before stepping to the corner of the building, then slipping into a darkened alleyway nearby. A voice rises out from the darkness ahead of her.

“So, how did it go?”

A shadowed figure steps forward out of the darkness. The large, bearded Valestra lets out a deep laugh, reaching up and undoing the tie of the hooded cloak.

“Better than I could have hoped.”

The man pulls the cloak from his shoulders, handing it to the shadowed figure.

“I doubt it would have went nearly as well had it not been for your cloak of illusion there.”

The shadowed man laughs, pulling the cloak around himself.

“The bard is really going to try to convince people to stop celebrating the Day of Fools?”

The large man laughs once more and nods.

“This will be the greatest Day of Fools prank, ever. Imagine how mad dear sister Valestra will be when she is tricked on her very own day.”

The large man steps forward and puts his arm around the shadowed man’s shoulders. The two men throw their heads back and laugh as they melt into the shadows, their laughter slowly fading into nothing.

April 01, 2021 17:33

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1 comment

Nina Chyll
19:50 Apr 05, 2021

I liked the spin. So many cool premises for stories arising from this prompt! Thanks for the read.


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