✦ = Complete
✧ = Incomplete
✖ = Discontinued
✷ = Installment of the Nightmare Arc
✦ [ SOLO - Zeke's Letter ] The Calling - Reuben receives a wonderful surprise!
✦ [ SOLO - Soul Capture pt. 1 Divinitea - Reuben meets a new client and accepts her request for a homemade infusion.
✦ [ SOLO - Soul Capture pt. 2 ] The Crowded Market - Reuben gathers the necessary ingredients for his client's infusion.
✦ [ SOLO - Soul Capture pt. 3 ] Dazed & Confused - Reuben, after hours of working and constant daydreaming, finishes the tea at last!
✦ [ SOLO - Soul Capture pt. 4 ] Finished Tea & Filled Bottle - Reuben returns home to find his bottle filled.
✦ [ SOLO - Soul Bottle Returned ] An Anxious Return - Reuben returns the filled soul bottle after a few weeks of anxiety.
✦ [ SOLO - Reaction pt. 1 ] Just Be - Reuben meditates on his soul capture.
✦ [ SOLO - Reaction pt. 2 ] Calista - Reuben finally begins to speak to Calista again after their monthlong feud.
✦ [ SOLO ] My Halloween Story - Calista drags Reuben out for Halloween festivities.
✦ [ SOLO ] Friendsgiving - Reuben readies the home for him and Calista's annual Thanksgiving festivities.
✦ [ PRP ] Market Meeting - Reuben unexpectedly meets Fisher at the market and the two discuss Lab 305.
✦ [ SOLO ] Yuletide Cheer - Reuben invites a few friends over for a Yule celebration, though nothing goes as planned.
✦ [ PRP ] Natural Remedies - Reuben meets with one of the newest guardians of Lab 305 and the two bond over talk of their essences.
✦ [ SOLO ] Be My Valentine - Calista talks Reuben into getting the Tinder app which ends in surprise for the tarotist.
✦ [ SOLO ] Coffee Date - Reuben meets his Tinder match at a coffee shop.
✦ [ PRP ] Camping Trip - Reuben is invited on a camping trip with Samael.
✦ [ PRP ] A Reading for a Raevan - Reuben meets with a new raevan. He's also shocked to find that his raevan may still be underway after all.
✦ [ PRP - Pickup ] In Your Wildest Imagination - Reuben meets with Zeke to pickup his charge.
✦ [ SOLO ] What's in a Name - The toadstool frei finds his name with a little help from his guardian.
✦ [ SOLO ] I Didn't Fuck Up! - Ryder meets his aunt Cali for the first time.
✦ [ PRP ] In The Books - Reuben and Ryder meet their first guardian and raevan combination at a bookstore by accident.
✦ [ SOLO ] The Poisonous Touch pt. 1 - Ryder tries to learn to control his powers.
✦ [ SOLO ] Mushroom Manipulation pt. 1 - Ryder begins exploring another power of his.
✦ [ PRP ] One Track Mind - Reuben and Ryder are stopped by a guardian-to-be.
✦ [ PRP ] We All Scream for Ice Cream - Ryder meets his first fellow raevan, LuLu, completely by chance by himself.
✦ [ SOLO ] Learning to Feed - Ryder finally figures out what it means to feel full.
✦ [ SOLO ] The Poisonous Touch - pt. 2 - Calista teaches Ryder a more unconventional way to think about his powers.
✦ [ SOLO ] Date Night - An innocent night goes awry when Calista finds out Reuben has lied to her.
✦ [ SOLO ] The Power of Imagination - pt. 1 - Ryder finds Reuben's new crystal ball and a power is awoken.
✦ [ ORP ] Beach BBQ - Reuben and Ryder go to their first Lab 305 gathering!
✦ [ PRP ] A Special Gift - Ryder is given a gift from Lazarus.
✦ [ SOLO ] Are those...horns? - An extension of Ryder's power is realized.
✦ [ SOLO ] And you are? - Ryder and Calista meet Evan and Valerie at a bookstore. Things don't go well.
✦ [ SOLO ] The Big 3-0 - Ryder tries to break the ice with small gesture to Reuben for his upcoming birthday.
✦ [ PRP ] Well Met - Out in the forest alone, Ryder meets a new friend.
✦ [ SOLO ] Late Night Magic - Ryder sneaks out for some late night magic practice.
✦ [ SOLO ] A New Device - Reuben gets Ryder his first electronic device, a brand new cell phone.
✖ [ PRP ] The Gift of Knowledge - Reuben has an unexpected guest come into the Mystic Herb.
✦ [ PRP ] Daydreams in the Park - Reuben and Ryder meet someone in the park during their afternoon run.
✦✷ [ SOLO ] Grounded - Reuben grounds Ryder after he finds him sneaking back in from yet another magical late night excursion.
✦✷ [ SOLO ] The Crow at Dusk - Ryder witnesses the lone crow on a branch, reminding him of his current situation.
✦ [ SOLO ] Storyteller - Ryder receives a text from Mark about Emyr's birth.
✖ [ PRP ] The Phone Call - Reuben gets the phone call from Mark.
✦✷ [ PRP ] Feeble Magic - Ryder meets up with Xiu (who brings along a friend) once again; though has some troubles getting his mojo back.
✦✷ [ SOLO ] The Girl in the Tower - Ryder has a nightmare that he decides to turn into a novel.
✦✷ [ SOLO ] The Elemental - Ryder has a nightmare about the darkness beating a large elemental in a dungeon.
✦✷ [ SOLO ] The Nightmare pt. 1 - Ryder's nightmares begin.
✦ [ SOLO ] The Invitation - Reuben calls Evan in an attempt to reconnect, inviting him to the Silver Fox grand opening celebration.
✦✷ [ PRP ] Halloween at the Silver Fox - Reuben, Ryder and Evan all head over to the Silver Fox for their grand opening/halloween celebration and Ryder opens up about his struggles.
✦✷ [ SOLO ] The Nightmare pt. 2 - Ryder's nightmare continues where it left off the last time.
✦ [ SOLO ] Familial Ties pt. 1 - Reuben receives a letter from his mother about his father's illness.
✦ [ SOLO ] Familial Ties pt. 2 - Reluctantly, Reuben decides to take Ryder to see his family for the first time in years.
✦✷ [ SOLO ] The Nightmare pt. 3 - Ryder has yet another nightmare in conjunction with the past nightmares he's had, the story continues.
✦ [ SOLO ] Winter Solstice - Reuben invites Calista and Evan over for a solstice celebration.
✦✷ [ SOLO ] New Year Nightmare - It's been over a month since his last nightmare, and yet again, it continues.
✖ [ PRP ] Mushrooms - Ryder finds Pohl outside in the cold.
✖ [ PRP ] Mystical Meanderings - Unexpected guests show up at the Mystic Herb.
✦✷ [ SOLO ] Erryd - A nasty nightmare comes to life.
✦ [ PRP ] Generations - Sam brings her mother to the Mystic Herb.
✦ [ SOLO ] The Perfect Present - Reuben decides what to buy Ryder for his first birthday.
✦ [ PRP ] One Year Down - Reuben gets friends together for Ryder's first birthday.
✦ [ SOLO ] Unchecked Emotions - Ryder decides to truly think about the emotions he has been feeling lately.
✦ [ SOLO ] Pray, Give Me MMOre Time - Ryder becomes obsessed with his new video game.
✦ [ SOLO ] Writing is Hard - Ryder takes a 'forced' break from his video game and decides to attempt some calligraphy.
✦ [ SOLO ] The Other Magic - Ryder comes to find he can still practice some magic, even if it isn't the type of magic he truly wishes to.
✦ [ SOLO ] The Birthday Surprise - Reuben celebrates his 31st birthday.
✦ [ SOLO ] The Scribbled Pages - Reuben finds Ryder's journal and decides to read the latest entry.
✖ [ PRP ] In Preparation for Hallows' Eve - Reuben, Ryder and Reinhart go costume shopping for halloween.
✦✷ [ PRP ] The Trade of a Lifetime - Ryder receives the greatest gift imaginable -- make that two gifts.
✦✷ [ SOLO ] Magical Mishaps - Ryder has had his new powers for 11 days, and things have not been well.
✦✷ [ SOLO ] Poison No More - On Christmas, Evan discovers that Ryder's skin is no longer poisonous.
✦✷ [ SOLO ] Two Years Down - Ryder turns two, and realizes some major drawbacks about his newly discovered powers.
✦✷ [ PRP ] The Primal - Ryder meets with Xiu in the forest once more. However, this time their meeting ends on much darker terms.
✦✷ [ SOLO ] Reality Bites pt. 1 - Ryder begins having nightmares about his friends and family.
✦✷ [ SOLO ] Reality Bites pt. 2 - Ryder realizes something is off.
✦✷ [ SOLO ] Reality Bites pt. 3 - Ryder debates whether or not to tell others about his recent struggles.
✦✷ [ SOLO ] Shadow Self pt. 1 - Ryder has a nightmare unlike any other.
✦✷ [ SOLO ] Shadow Self pt. 2 - Erryd is born.
✦✷ [ SOLO ] Shadow Self pt. 3 - Erryd hides the body.
✦✷ [ SOLO ] Dreamscape pt. 1 - Ryder awakens in a cell. What hell awaits him here?
✦✷ [ SOLO ] Ivy - Erryd creates his first, sustainable creature, Ivy. Reuben isn't happy his charge has been out late without permission yet again.
✦✷ [ SOLO ] Dreamscape pt. 2 - Ryder finds the courage to fight back.
✦✷ [ PRP ] A Prince's Favor - Erryd's secret is found out by the one and only, Reinhart.
✦✷ [ SOLO ] Dreamscape pt. 3 - Ryder finds the one person he's longed to see for so long.
✦✷ [ SOLO ] Unruly Frei - Reuben plans an intervention for "Ryder" that backfires.
✦✷ [ SOLO ] Dreamscape pt. 4 - Ryder finds himself in the presence of two major imaginings which changes the course of his life.
✦✷ [ SOLO ] Awakening - Ryder awakens in bed only to realize he's been in a coma for a week.
✦✷ [ SOLO ] Seeking Revenge - Ryder recovers and seeks revenge by preparing to go to war, even without the consent of his guardian.
✦✷ [ PRP ] Trader Takedown - Xiu and Rhedefre help Ryder find Erryd, and in turn, the Trader.
✦✷ [ SOLO ] The Final Showdown pt. 1 - Ryder encounters Erryd for the final time.
✦✷ [ SOLO ] The Final Showdown pt. 2 - Ryder chooses his fate.
✧✷ [ PRP ] Curtain Call - Ryder meets back up with Xiu and Cesc after defeating Erryd.
✦[ SOLO ] Return of the Sigel - Ryder confesses everything to Reuben and Evan.
✦ [ SOLO ] Reuben's Realization - Reuben comes to terms with what Erryd said is true.
✦ [ SOLO ] The Quest for an Apprentice pt. 1 - Reuben finds a letter on the floor that will change his world forever.
✦ [ SOLO ] The Quest for an Apprentice pt. 2 - Reuben meets his new apprentice for an interview.
✦ [ SOLO ] From Summer to Winter - A little update over the last 6 months in the Rothmore home.
✦ [ SOLO ] A Little Addition - Reuben decides what to do with the extra land on his property and how to increase his profits for 2020.
✦ [ SOLO ] Meeting Ryder - Reuben decides it's high time Giselle and Ryder meet.
◈ WHO: Oliver and Reuben (Bouquet of Diamonds & Skyeforge)
◈ WHEN: Early afternoon on August 6, 2016
◈ WHERE: The lake and forest near Oliver's home.
◈ WEATHER: Warm and somewhat humid. Sunny.
◈ WHO: Lorenzo, Vesna, & Reuben (kotaline & Skyeforge)
◈ WHEN: Late Morning on August 14, 2016
◈ WHERE: The Convention Center in Barton Town
◈ WEATHER: It's inside a large convention center, so it's air conditioned and rather cool. But the outside is sunny.
Lab 305. That name was stuck in Reuben's brain since meeting with Oliver. He looked over the pamphlet he was given almost constantly the entire day. It had been a week since the magical convention and Reuben couldn't get Vesna out of his mind. Her beauty, her interesting ribbon, her very being was intriguing. He had done a little digging into this place called Lab 305, where Vesna was created, and it seemed like a wonderful little community. The fact that Oliver was apart of it seemed to help Reuben along in his decision as well. There were some online articles and even a couple newspaper clippings he was able to find regarding it. Apparently it was fairly easy to apply. Simply request some information, fill out an application, send it in, and wait to see if you're chosen.
The herbalist weighed his options. If he decided to apply and did end up with a raevan one day, how would he care for it? That thought came and went as he realized he's home most of the time, thus giving him ample time to care for another being. Where would they stay? He was certain they'd need their own space. Easy, one of the spare bedrooms, done. What would they eat? Since Vesna wasn't able to eat ice cream, how would they be sustained? Well, he decided he'd have to cross that bridge when he came to it.
By this time, his mind was made up. Worst case scenario was that he wasn't chosen and he would just continue to live his life as it was. So he really had nothing to lose. He requested the application by mail and within a couple of days he had received it. That part was easy; although it was a much thicker packet than he had anticipated.
Reuben spent the next few days filling out and finding all the information requested whenever he had some downtime from working. This could be a life changing experience. He enjoyed the thought of caring for one of these magical ribbon children and it continued to put a smile on his face just by thinking about it.
When he was finally finished filling out the requested information, Reuben packaged it back up, called a courier, and sent off the packet with high hopes.
Just on the outskirts of Barton Town sits a quaint home belonging to none other than Reuben Rothmore, a self-employed herbalist who has a knack for coming up with strange and potent remedies for whatever plagues his clients. It is here that he calls home. Oftentimes, he spends his days outside in the garden, tending to his many plants and relaxing in the beauty of nature or working on combining the right set of herbs to create new concoctions for sickness.
Reuben always started his days before sunrise as to welcome it with open arms. This beautiful autumn day was no different. He made his way out to the gazebo and listened to the sounds of the birds chirping in the early morning. A soft breeze brushed against his skin as he made his way there.
A pond sat just beyond his lot and a cobblestone path led him to the small white wooden gazebo he had fixed up from it's prior run down state. It was adorned with a few wind chimes, a small desk, and many beautiful flowers and herbs planted around to freshen the air with their scent. It was the perfect place to meditate. He grabbed his favorite deck of tarot cards from a large chest he kept out under the gazebo and sat down in the center of it. He then sat the cards, which were encased in fine satin cloth, in front of him on a small meditation table whilst he made himself comfortable.
Reuben sat cross legged with his eyes closed and his hands dead in his lap. Deep breath in, slow exhale. Deep inhale, slow breath out. He focused until he came to the conclusion that his mind was clear enough for a satisfying read. He opened his eyes and grabbed the deck from in front of him. Unwrapping the cards from the cloth that kept them together, he began to speak aloud, "Cards, share with me information the universe wants me to know right now."
Reuben shuffled the deck and repeated the sentence a few times before he felt the cards were shuffled thoroughly. He cut the deck and held it in his left hand, grabbing the top card, he turned it over to reveal "WHEEL OF FORTUNE" upright. He then plucked the second card from the top of the deck, revealing "THE FOOL" card reversed. A bit of disappointment grew within his heart as he set down the second next to the first. Finally, he grabbed a third card, revealing "THE STAR" upright. A small smirk grew upon his face as he set the final card down in the line.
Looking over these cards, Reuben squinted a bit. "Well, a stroke of good luck, some carelessness, and finally...a fresh perspective and renewed purpose in life..." he mused. He stared down at the cards, but kept an air of positivity about him. He wondered what the cards could be trying to say but kept in mind their meanings. With those thoughts in mind, he picked up his cards, thanked them for their service with a cleansing shuffle and put them in the chest before going back inside.
The day went on like any other and Reuben decided it was about time he head to the market. He gathered his wallet, keys, and cell before opening the front door only to reveal a rather large brown package sitting on his doorstep. Surprised, Reuben's brow furrowed. He took a quick look outside. "Huh, must have been delivered while I was out back," he muttered under his breath.
Upon looking at the return address, his eyes widened. Could this be? He had all but forgotten about Lab 305, as it had been a month and some change since he applied. He quickly pulled the hefty package inside and heaved it up onto his dining table. He grabbed a knife, cut open the top, peeled back the tape and the four flaps of cardboard to reveal a silvery metal briefcase. Opening said briefcase revealed a letter addressed to him with accompanying paperwork, an empty glass bottle with a lovely yellow to red ombre cloth decked in white little spots throughout as well as a beautiful jar with a stunning array of colors all focused and emitting off of a single sphere floating in the center. Looking at the jar, he instantly felt drawn towards it. He began to get lost in the swirling colors and little sounds. Shaking himself from his thoughts what seemed like only a few moments later, Reuben forgot what he was doing only to remember once seeing the paperwork still sitting on the table. "Right," he said, picking up the letter and flipping it over quickly to open it up. It read:
What was this? Was it a mistake? Was he really given the opportunity to care for a raevan? Nerves instantly overcame him. Reuben couldn't believe that he was actually chosen to be a guardian. He even looked over the letter and the accompanying paperwork a few times in disbelief.
Reuben took the briefcase out to his workroom but upon leaving the house, realized that evening was upon him. The herbalist looked at the clock as soon as he entered the workroom in complete shock. Had it really been an hour since he found the package? It had only felt like a few minutes. He shook the thought from his head before deciding to continue on with what he was doing. He found a wooden crate full of miscellaneous herbs and simply dumped them into a large cloth bag before taking some velvet cloth and lining the inside of it. Taking the glass bottle from the case first ever so delicately, he placed it in the newly cleaned wooden crate with ease, setting the crate itself on the far end of his desk. 'Ah, a perfect fit,' he thought, taking the jar and placing it directly next to the wooden crate. There they both sat, the beautiful jar and a lovely glass bottle ready for a soul.
With a bright smile on his face, he turned off the light to his workroom, locked the door and made his way back into his house. Ah, how the cards were right. The Wheel of Fortune did play a major role this day. A wonderful stroke of good luck! It was now time to get started filling out the paperwork.
A couple of days had passed and the empty soul bottle still sat on the herbalist's desk in that same wooden crate upon that same soft velvet cloth, completely untouched. Giving it a glance over, he finally decided to pick up the bottle and look at it more closely. He set the bottle down on the desk before laying his chin down to stare straight through it. With a heavy sigh, he sat back in his desk chair and mused, "What soul would you want?" Nothing seemed to come to mind whatsoever. Continuously drawing a blank.
Darting his eyes back and forth between the essence jar and the empty soul glass, he couldn't stop thinking about what could possibly go wrong as his cards had suggested. Maybe they'd fall and shatter, though he surely wasn't that clumsy. But, with that thought, he pushed the jar back further onto his desk and after placing the soul glass back into it's designated crate, took it off his desk completely, placing it onto the floor. There was no way they'd break that way. Turning his attention back to the jar that sat upon his desk, he couldn't stop staring into it's beauty. Getting lost in all the colors was so much fun after all.
Just then, someone began to vigorously knock at his workshop door which shook Reuben from his thoughts. Looking at the time, it was still rather early, seven o'clock to be exact. Reuben went to the door and peeped through the small window next to it before opening it up to view an elderly woman standing there in a pantsuit. She looked very put together, aside from her rather frizzy, unkempt hair and she carried with her an expensive looking leather briefcase. When the door opened, she gave a polite nod and a gracious smile.
"Can I help you?" Reuben asked. He wasn't used to getting any visitors this early in the morning.
"I sure hope so. You're the alchemist, right?" she asked in a quiet and timid voice.
"I...am considered that by many. Why, what can I do for you?"
"One of your clients gave me your business card. I'm hoping you can make me a special tea...a type of divinatory tea to be exact."
Ah, so this woman was wanting to try divination. The herbalist smiled and with a nod, began to speak, "I can definitely do that for you, ma'am."
"Oh, wonderful! I haven't been able to find someone who can make it the right way, but I hear you're pretty good at what you do."
Reuben chuckled, "Well, thank you, I appreciate the confidence. I'll do some research and get on this right away."
"Thank you...and here's this," she began as she opened the briefcase in her arms to show a few hundred dollars bundled together and a slip of paper banded around it. Not to mention many personal papers and documents she surely had in there with it. But the money caught the herbalist's eye first. "This is the first portion of your payment, mostly for your time and for the ingredients you'll need. If you can bring me the tea by tomorrow, I'll pay you the delivery fee and since it's the weekend, I'll pay you double the cost of the tea altogether. The address is on that slip of paper attached. If you're not able to deliver it, I'll be back to pick it up on Monday. I would just really appreciate it this weekend."
"Tomorrow, huh? I'll see what I can do. Thank you so much."
"No, thank you."
With that, the woman left and Reuben was a few hundred dollars richer. It was always nice when a client spread his name about. These types of surprise visitors were always welcome. Now he just had to get the ingredients and begin this little infusion.
Reuben always had a process. Lengthy research by delving into his many books and saved internet web pages before gathering the ingredients necessary to create whatever it was he was going to create. He decided to dedicate today to the woman and the special infusion she had requested.
Looking through his encyclopedia of magical herbs, he created a small list that helped with divinatory and visionary mediums. Those under the planetary bodies of the moon for prophetic dreams and mercury for divination, and then looking towards those which fell under the category of the air element for visions and the water element to further the prophetic dreams.
With this research, he wrote out a list of ingredients.
Orris Root - For Divination
Going to his cupboard, he shuffled through the multitudes of herbs, spices, and other random things on his shelves only to realize that all he currently had for this infusion was agrimony, mugwort, crocus and an orange. Thus, it left him yearning for the top three ingredients he was needing for this tea: orris root (the main ingredient), at least one agaric mushroom, and some meadowsweet. With a sigh, he realized the only way to get these items was to go to the market for them and hope he could find what he was looking for.
With that information in mind, he set out on the adventure to the market.
'Goddammit,' Reuben thought to himself as he pushed his way through the crowded marketplace. Drifting through the sea of people, the sounds of the crowd were overwhelming. Pushing past people in the center just trying to get through was the roughest part of this little excursion, he just couldn't wait to be home after this was all over.
After a good deal of time wasted and a bit of searching, Reuben finally found a perfect stall. An elderly woman was selling all kinds of spices, herbs and potions of her own.
"Why hello there, youngster. What can I do for you?"
"Hello, do you happen to have any orris root, agaric mushrooms or meadowsweet, by chance," he asked curiously.
The woman's wrinkled face grinned as she got up from her chair and walked over to the other side of her stall. She grabbed something and brought it back to Reuben, holding it out. "Here's the meadowsweet and some orris root. I'm sorry to say I don't have the mushrooms, but I have plenty of these if you'd like them."
Reuben smirked, but let out a slightly distraught sigh, this just meant more searching deeper into the abyss that was this crowded market. "I'll take them, thank you. Do you happen to know of any stalls that may be selling the toadstools?"
The woman's face crinkled a bit as she contemplated the question. "You know, there is this one woman down this street, around the corner and at the end of the block. She has some very fine wares, but she is a rather...eccentric woman," she said.
Reuben nodded and thanked the woman before paying for the herbs and continuing down the road just as she advised. Finally, he came to the small street that she spoke of. It seemed as though the crowd began to dissipate completely as the street went on towards the final stall at the end. But, just as the elderly woman predicted, there stood a figure at the end of the block at the last little stall. This woman was mounted upon a soapbox doing what could only be described as a strange dance, chanting, "Welcome, welcome, one and all, please stop by my little stall! I have wares, yes I do, I have wares that are just for you!"
Her chant, though rather annoying, caught Reuben's attention. The elderly woman was right, this lady definitely had some screws loose. As he approached her stall, she jumped off of her platform and scurried behind the table.
"Hello there! What can I do you for!?"
Reuben smirked. "I'm actually looking to see if you happen to have any herbs for sale.""
The woman belted out a deep belly laugh. "Do I have herbs!? DO I HAVE HERBS!? You bet your ass I have some fantastic herbs! The rarest of the rare. I definitely have what you're looking for!"
Reuben couldn't even keep back his own chuckles as she began to speak. This woman had lost her mind, maybe she was eating a few too many magic mushrooms herself?
"Uhh, hahah, I...umm...I'm looking for some agaric mushrooms. Do you happen to have any?"
"DO I!? I..." she began, pausing a moment after looking under a small tablecloth, "...one second," she stated, scrambling through her many sets of herbs and different wares. It was a disheveled mess to say the least, but if she had some toadstools, he'd take them.
The woman began to frantically look through her cases which she had hidden underneath her tables which were draped with fancy cloths. "I...I have to have it...somewhere..."
The woman began tossing boxes aside and rummaging through everything she had to no avail. "B-but it's gotta be here! It just has to be!" she exclaimed, throwing down some rags she held in her hands in a fit of fury.
Reuben sighed slightly and spoke, "Well, it really isn't a big deal, it's just-"
"It's a huge deal! What do you mean no big deal!? I cannot find my prized toadstools! They're said to be magical! You have no idea the powers at play here."
Okay, this woman was more than just eccentric, she, in Reuben's humble opinion, could be classified as clinically insane. He could tell why the crowd didn't like coming down this way. He slowly began to back away. He, too, believed in magic but was never as over the top about it like she seemed to be. She was, being completely honest, making him slightly nervous for his own safety by the way she was acting.
As she continued to rummage, he slowly backed away and finally turned around to begin walking away completely. He'd just have to find it elsewhere.
"AHA! HERE WE ARE!" she exclaimed, jumping over the counter. "COME BACK! I FOUND WHAT YOU WERE LOOKING FOR!" she called.
Reuben stopped in his tracks and let out a large sigh. He donned a fake smile and turned around only to see the woman barreling up the road towards him. When she arrived, out of breath, she handed him a small wooden case. Upon opening it, he saw a few very well preserved agaric mushrooms in it. His fake smile transformed into a smile of hope. They were real.
"I told you I had it!" she said. "You better take good care of those mushrooms, now. They're magical and very powerful, you hear me!? THEY ARE MAGICAL!" she huffed, instantly turning around and walking away. "AND DON'T FORGET POWERFUL!" she screamed, throwing her hand in the air as she continued to walk away. All that could be heard after that was her muttering words as she made her way back to her stall.
Reuben's face cringed as she walked away. What had just happened? He shook his head and looked down at the exquisite wooden case. Who would keep mushrooms in a case like this? Oh who cared, at least he had them now. He turned and walked away towards home.
He stopped only when he came to a realization. He looked down at the wooden case in his hands and thought, 'I...didn't even pay for these.' He took a big deep breath and contemplated going back. No, no, another day perhaps, he had had enough of the market for one day.
Arriving home from his morning at the market, Reuben decided to get to work right away on crafting the infusion that his new client ordered. He grabbed a glass of green tea for himself before heading out to his workshop. There on his desk sat the same wooden crate and jar that had been staring at him for a couple of days now. He moved the jar from his main working area to a smaller desk beside him. He couldn't stop glancing over at the beauty that was this "Visible Imagination". But he was determined to get his work done for the day.
Reuben cleared the rest of his work area, gathered all the ingredients necessary to concoct this infusion and placed them into a wicker basket on his desk. He then began to grind the drier ingredients, one by one, into a fine powder in a mortar. But every time he went around the mortar with the pestle, his thoughts began to race. He began to hear faint, soothing voices that were telling tales which made his imagination run wild. He began to get distracted by the swirling of the herbs inside the mortar and continued losing focus on the task at hand. That continued until his fingers lost grip on the pestle completely, clinking against the mortar and shaking him from his daydreamy state. What was he even thinking about? He couldn't remember. Regardless he looked at the time and he had been there for a good hour just staring into the herbs. He glanced over at the jar containing his newly found magical force and narrowed his eyes.
"Did that essence really just," he paused. He couldn't think of any other reason he'd zone out completely like he just had. After all, this wasn't the first time he had completely lost track of time and gotten so lost in his thoughts since receiving the magical essence. So, he figured moving it across the room onto a shelf and getting it out of his way would help.
"There," he said, patting his hands together as if to dust them off as he made his way back to his seat.
With a determined look on his face, he began the next step in the process. Combining the powder and other ingredients with some water. He placed the powder into a small cauldron and quickly cut up an orange into a few large chunks before tossing it into the water as well. Lastly, he just had to cut the mushrooms. As he began grabbing one toadstool at a time from the basket, his eye made it's way across the room at the swirling abyss of color. His thoughts began to race again. He'd make a slice into the mushroom and the sound of knife hitting the cutting board would echo throughout his mind. One slice, two slice, three slice, four. The slicing began to slow until he was basically sitting there still for minutes at a time. When he went to grab one last mushroom, his hand fell on the basket, causing it to topple over, spilling the remaining few toadstools onto the floor and into the wooden crate which still sat next to him.
That action jerked him from his thoughts. "Fuck! What the hell is wrong with me!?" he exclaimed in total annoyance. He picked up the basket and began placing a couple of the fallen toadstools back into it before setting it upon the desk once more. Again, he couldn't remember what he was even thinking about, but yet another hour had passed.
"C'mon, idiot. You just need to get this fucking infusion finished. Think about the money," he said to himself following up with a large, distraught sigh.
Reuben placed a few slices of mushroom into the pot of water and took it into his kitchen to boil. Soon, the tea would be complete and he'd be able to relax. He stirred the concoction until the ingredients turned the water a murky reddish brown. With a smile on his face, he grabbed a large flask from the cabinet and strained the tea into it. It was complete. It was perfect. It was...also very late and far past the time he'd wanted to turn in for the night.
With that, he stuck the flask of infusion into the fridge, turned off the lights, and went to bed feeling quite accomplished for the day. However, he was totally oblivious to the fact that his entire life would be changed by making that tea.
Awaking from a much needed sleep, Reuben opened his eyes completely ready to take the tea back to his new client. He sat up, stretched, and slipped on a pair of slippers before slowly making his way into the kitchen. He poured himself some much needed earl grey and sipped it. The heat warmed his body and instantly gave him a sense of purpose for the day. Most people liked their coffee and couldn't live without it. Reu, on the other hand, loved his tea. Black teas in the morning and green teas in the evening. It was a perfect cycle.
Sipping his cup, Reuben went outside and took a deep breath. Luckily it was still warm enough to only need his shorts on. It was time to start his daily ritual. He went to his gazebo and sat his tea down on a small meditation table he had there. He lit some dragon's blood incense and went to the small chest he had setup in one of the corners of the gazebo. He pulled out his Fountain Tarot deck and listened as the soft sounds of wind chimes clinked together as the breeze blew the smell of incense all about. He sat in front of the small table and crossed his legs, laying his hands in his lap.
Deep breath in. Hold. Slow exhale. Deep breath in. Hold. Slow exhale. The man repeated those steps a few times to help clear his mind. He focused solely on the sounds of the chimes and the smell of the incense as well as making sure his thoughts were floating on by him, not focusing on a single one.
When he felt his mind was completely cleared, he slowly opened his eyes and grabbed the deck from the table. Unwrapping the deck from it's satin cloth, he held the cards in his hand a moment, saying, "What information do I need to know today?"
Reuben shuffled the deck a few times, cut it into thirds, put it back together and took a deep breath. He grabbed the top card and flipped it over revealing the "KING OF WANDS" card upright. His first thought as he looked down at the card was "life is a growing adventure". A powerful card to be drawn any day of the year. Of course life was an adventure. He drew a second card in order to get more insight. "ACE OF CUPS" card upright. A smile grew upon his face. These two cards gave him the insight that was for today. A new, emotional adventure was about to begin. With a nod of his head and a small chuckle, he wasn't entirely sure what would happen today, but he was excited to see. With that, he picked up the two cards, gave the deck a cleansing shuffle, and wrapped the deck in it's protective cloth before putting it away. He leaned against the gazebo to take in the sunrise that glistened through the treetops and onto the small creek that led behind the house.
Glancing down at his watch, Reu noticed it was a bit later than he had anticipated. He quickly ran inside, grabbed his keys, the slip of paper which had the address of the delivery, the flask of "divinitea" as he called it and ran out the door.
Returning from the delivery, Reuben sat his keys on the small table he had next to his front door and took the small bag of money to the kitchen counter. With a huge, delight-filled smile, he emptied it onto the counter and began to count it. Wonderful! It was all there, and he couldn't believe what coin this client had. Hopefully she enjoyed her tea.
The man tossed the cash back into the bag and left it on the kitchen table. He'd definitely have to take it to the bank at some point. As he sat down in the large leather recliner in the living room, Reu looked out the window at his workshop, only to realize that he had yet to clean up. With a sigh of anguish and reluctance, he decided to get out there and begin cleaning.
As he picked up the used bowls and pestles, he noticed something different and out of the ordinary. The sacred bottle, the one that was supposed to steal a soul, it...was filled?! Wide eyes stared at the swirling red and orange smoke encased in glass. He frantically looked about the room. What on earth could the bottle have sucked the life out of? Then, he saw it. The bottle still sat upon that same velvet cloth inside of that same wooden crate that was on the floor next to his desk. Upon closer inspection however, wedged between the glass and the velvet cloth was a small, very dried up toadstool. How on earth did that mushroom get in there? A quick flashback of him knocking over the wicker basket of mushrooms flew by in his mind.
"Oh fuck...a toadstool? Really?" he said, looking at the bottle of floating smoke as he scratched his head. How could he be so careless as to leave such an exquisite piece of magic out in the open like that. He couldn't believe how careless he was. He could have gotten the soul of a beautiful fox or a powerful magical soul, but alas, his carelessness led the bottle to none other than that of a fungus. Now he had a magic bottle...with a toadstool soul inside. With a deep breath, his mind flashed to the first set of cards he had drawn a few days prior.
"THE FOOL" card was the only one flashing before his eyes. 'Definitely foolish,' he thought to himself with a shake of his head.
Then the cards from today's reading came to the forefront.
"KING OF WANDS" and "ACE OF CUPS". 'An emotional new journey through life.' That much was for certain. It certainly filled him with a certain emotion already -- just not the emotion he was expecting.
Reuben glared at the bottle and rolled his eyes. He took a deep breath and picked it up in disbelief. Well, what could one do? It was time to turn it in, apparently.
A feeling of hopelessness and failure overcame Reuben in the days after realizing that his bottle had been filled by a mere toadstool. He was saddened, not only because it wasn't what he had wished it to be, but he felt as though he failed Zeke and the entire Lab community. After all, surely a toadstool wouldn't be anyone's first choice, right?
Over the course of the next couple weeks, the herbalist tried multiple times to somehow figure out a way to "release" the soul from the bottle without breaking it. He didn't want to call Zeke, for fear of either looking stupid or being completely rejected altogether, so he kept his mouth shut and researched. Sadly, there was very little information online and in his books for "how to release a soul from captivity" that pertained to his problem specifically.
For days, Reuben stared into the bottle's swirling smoke longing and thinking about what other souls he had wished to capture. Maybe that of a phoenix or even a forest fae perhaps. Even the thought of a beautiful fox delighted him more. But a damn toadstool? With despair and sadness building within him, he hadn't had any choice but to send the filled bottle back and hope for the best.
Reu watched as the bottle's smoke swirled within it. A sigh of anxiety escaped his lips. What had he done? He was careless, a fool, that's what. He grabbed a piece of paper and a pen and began to write. Throwing out a few drafts, but finally coming up with something he found good enough to send to Zeke.
Dear Mr. Zeke Farris,
Reuben sighed as he read it over a few times, such sadness in his eyes. He folded the paper in thirds and put it in an envelope addressed to Zeke Farris. He placed the letter and the completed paperwork on the top of the briefcase before delicately closing it up quite securely. He patted the case and locked it shut, placing it in a new box with bubble wrap to the brim. He taped up the box extremely well, addressed it, and called the courier service to come pick it up.
The box itself sat inside his front door for a good hour while Reuben stared at it from his couch chewing on his nails. He just wasn't satisfied with what had happened. Thoughts of what could have been kept creeping up into his mind. Beautiful souls that he would only dream to catch. Finally, the knock came.
Reuben opened the door to see the courier standing there with a bright smile on his face. Reu half-smirked before handing the man the package, signing a slip of paper and closing the door. He glanced through the small window next to the front door and watched the courier get into his vehicle and drive off.
Well, the deed was done. He had filled the bottle and sent it back. Now all he could do was wait for Zeke to get in touch with him...or not. After all, he wasn't counting on a call back ever again from Lab 305.
A few days passed since the courier came and picked up the package for Zeke. No word was sent to him at all. Reu knew that he had fucked up and that he wouldn't be hearing from the lab ever again. Why would they contact him when he ruined and wasted a soul bottle like that? He had done enough sulking. He had to deal with the facts and move on with his life.
Reuben decided that a good reading was what he needed to do now. He got himself up out of bed, a cup of tea in hand, and out to the gazebo he went. He lit the incense and grabbed his favorite deck from the chest. A few moments of meditation later, he picked up his cards, gave them a good shuffling, a cut of the deck, and drew a card.
To his surprise, it was a very telling card that he had pulled. He set it down upon the meditation table and began to chuckle a bit at the power of the cards. As he looked down at it, "THE FOUNTAIN" card upright stared him back in the face.
"Just be," he said aloud with a small chuckle. The one card that told him to forget his worries, just relax, just "be". He definitely had needed that in that moment.
It wasn't hard to realize what the cards were trying to tell him, but just for kicks, he flipped another. "THE SUN" card upright. A card about happiness and the power of positive thinking. Things would get better. It was always so telling when he read the cards. They were always there to calm him down and bring him back to earth.
So what if he wouldn't be called back? His life would go on. If they called, that'd be wonderful; but it wasn't the end of the world if they didn't. A smirk grew upon the man's face. He knew what he needed to do now was just chill, relax, think positive, and "be".
"Will you just come over, please? I need someone to talk to."
Reuben walked from the kitchen to the living room with a cup of hot tea in his hands and his cell phone wedged between his shoulder and his ear. With a heavy sigh, he set his tea down on the coffee table and brought the phone into eye's view. Clicking the "End" button, he set it down before picking up his tea to take a sip. He needed a good cup of tea after the troublesome month he'd had.
Within the hour, Reuben heard his front door open up. There she stood. A tall 5'11" woman with chocolate skin, curled short dark brown hair and bright chestnut colored eyes. "I'm here. Now what're you needing to talk about, hmm?" she asked in an annoyed tone, turning to see Reuben with a bright, cheesy smile on his face sitting on one of his couches. She chuckled, crossed her arms and waltzed across the room with big strides, making her way to the other couch which sat across from him. She planted herself down and waved her hand, as if to give him permission to speak, all with a look of annoyance on her face.
"I've missed you," Reuben stated with some sincerity as he leaned forward.
"You haven't talked to me in over a month, bitch. Why call now?" she questioned, sitting herself back.
"I'm sorry. I'm a terrible person, I know. But you can't stay mad at me."
"Mhmm." A look of utter annoyance on the woman's face.
"Calista, c'mon. We're grown adults and we need to talk out our problems. You're acting like I wronged you. I've had a rough month and I need someone to talk to...seriously."
"You want to talk out our problems? Okay, fine. Lets start with the fact that you've ignored all my phone calls for the past month and-"
Reuben cut her off, "Lets actually start with the fact that you hexed my ex-boyfriend, which you can't, for whatever reason, figure out how to undo. Now he won't talk to me."
"Pfft. That boy deserved it. And you needed to wake up. He treated you like utter shit. And for the record, ignoring me wasn't very 'grown up' of you, either."
"All I asked of you was to help me perform a love spell! You purposefully went behind my back and hexed him so that he has the worst nightmares about me every time he falls asleep. I feel like you owe me an apology."
"I owe you an apology!? You should be thanking me for saving your dumb ass from that dickhead." Calista gave Reuben a death-filled glare, tightening her grip on her biceps with her crossed arms.
Seeing as though she wouldn't budge, Reuben rolled his eyes and sighed. "All I want is to make amends with you and put this behind us. I'm over Clark. Now, can we just move on and catch up, please? I have much more pressing matters to discuss."
Calista eyed Reuben up and down with a raised brow. She rolled her eyes and pursed her lips. "Fine, we can move on. I guess I kinda missed you too," she said, looking away with a smile growing ever-so-slightly on her face. "You have to admit that my hex was funny as hell, though."
Reuben chuckled. "Yeah, and I guess he kind of does deserve it," he said with a growing smile.
The two stood and hugged. Calista had been Reuben's best friend since elementary school. She is a natural witch, born with the gift, but due to her family's strict rules, was never able to practice whilst living at home, even though she would dabble here and there without her parent's knowledge. Once she moved out, however, she had free reign on all things magical. She immersed herself in her studies, practicing day in and day out; oftentimes making bad choices and messing up her incantations, but it was all a learning curve for her. She dabbled in many branches until she finally found illusion magic. Oh, how she enjoyed her illusions. She could pull the wool over anyone's eyes with that. Thus, it became her main branch of study throughout her college days.
"So, Cali, I have some news to tell you," Reuben began, grabbing his cup of tea from the table and taking a big swig and setting it back down. "I fucked up...big time."
Calista sighed and rolled her eyes. He was always so dramatic when it came to things. She was certain of that. "Oh, Reu, of course you did. So, what STD did you bring home this time?" she questioned, raising a brow.
"Ugh, it's not like that at all," he waved her words off with a disgusted look before continuing, "I was given the opportunity of a lifetime and I fucked it up. I was given this gift...a magical bottle and-"
"You were given something magical!? Well, where is it!?" Calista interrupted. She was always extremely excitable by anything having to deal with magic.
"I sent it back."
"Why the hell would you do that!?"
"Would you just shut up and listen a minute."
The woman sat back in her seat a moment, simply glaring at Reuben with crossed arms and legs in an annoyed, yet attentive fashion.
"As I was saying, earlier this month I was given this magical bottle that I had to fill with a 'soul' of some sort. It's for this experiment of sorts; they're like people, only not fully? Anyway, I figured I'd want it to be like a magical type of soul. Either a fae, vampire, dragon, or some sort of magical creature. But I messed up and wasn't paying attention. I was making a special tea for a client of mine and it required toadstools. So I brought them home and misplaced one of them. The next day, the bottle had sucked the life right out of that mushroom and was swirling with smoke. The only thing I could do was send it back. I haven't heard from the people at the lab since. I'm just pissed at myself for wasting the bottle and potentially fucking up the entire gift. So it's been bumming me out lately. Today was the first day that I've felt any sort of relief from it, and that was only due to my meditation this morning."
Calista cocked her head a bit as she listened. What a story. Magical bottles with soul sucking abilities? This sounded like some Lab 305 shit. "That sounds...interesting. This 'lab' you are referring to...it doesn't happen to be called Lab 305, does it?"
"Yes! That's it exactly! So you've heard of them? Do you-"
"Oh my god! You fucking whore! How the hell did you even get a bottle!? You're a damn mundane! What the fuck is wrong with that place!?"
Reuben's face fell into utter confusion. "Wh-what're you talking about?"
"What am I talking about!? You have the opportunity of a lifetime! I'm a natural born witch and I can't even seem to get a fucking letter back. I've been trying to get my hands on a raevan for years. I've sent multiple requests in to become a guardian and I've never once heard back. Honestly, why on earth do you want a raevan anyway? What would that bring you? Do you even realize the kind of responsibility that comes with such a thing!? Magical creatures that contain all sorts of powers you can only imagine; but it's real. A raevan would be a witch's best friend! Ugh! But no, they have to give it to the damn mundane," she spewed, rolling her eyes and heaving a heavy sigh, throwing her arms about in a fit of - what could only be considered - a grown woman's tantrum.
'Maybe it's because of your attitude and temper,' Reuben thought to himself a moment, looking at his distraught friend with a puzzled stare. But, the question she asked in that bout of rage struck him. Why did he wish to become a guardian? At the time, looking back, it sounded like something he had really wanted to be apart of. He thought it'd be fun to take care of something other than himself for once. But, in reality, what the hell was he even doing? Calista was right. This was a huge responsibility. Much larger than caring for something like an animal. This was a magical being, who could get well out of hand; and with him not having any innate magical powers, why would they choose him to care for a creature over someone well versed in magic, a natural witch no less? He was both extremely upset, and yet, strangely relieved. Upset because he had messed up the soul capture and telling Calista hadn't helped his feelings on that; in fact, she made him feel worse. But he also felt a sense of relief knowing that there was a huge possibility that the lab wouldn't accept such a boring soul choice.
Finally, after a few moments of contemplation, he spoke, "To be completely honest, I signed up because I wanted to take part in the endeavor. I met a raevan and she was intriguing. Magic or not, this was something that I was more than wiling to be apart of. But you're right, I guess I didn't consider all the consequences before sending back the soul glass, filled. What the hell do I do now?"
Reuben brought his thumb to his mouth and chewed slightly on his nail. His eyes darted about the room in wonder and shock. What was he to do? He was in the dark completely about whether or not he'd even receive a call back from the Lab. Finally, his gaze rested down the hall towards the bedrooms. The most responsible thing would be to ready a room for the creature once it was born if, in fact, they did finally call him back. Better safe than sorry, right?
Calista sighed and watched as Reuben's eyes darted down the hall in quiet contemplation. She knew exactly what he was thinking. She shook her head, rolled her eyes, and stood up. "Alright, lets go get this room ready for your future child," she said, walking towards the hallway, turning around to see Reuben stunned. "Well, c'mon. It ain't gonna ready itself!"
Despite his best efforts to NOT go out this Halloween, Calista seems to have wormed her way into forcing him out onto the scene. Costume? Check. Swarms of kids and teenagers roaming around in search of candy? Check. Reuben being unhappy with his situation? ...Maybe? Regardless, Halloween is in full swing and for better or worse Reuben is a part of it this year. His hometown seems to be taking this year above and beyond with every street and public space being filled to the brim with holiday-appropriate fare and fairs. How does Reuben handle it all? Does the fact he's a soon-to-be Guardian change anything about his feelings in regards to Halloween? Does he end up having any fun?!?
"Are you ready yet?" a voice rang out from the living room. It was piercing to the ears and filled to the brim with an undertone of utter annoyance. The woman was clad in witchy attire from head to toe. A large witch's hat adorned her head with dark lips and makeup, as well as a dark short dress with a broom. Your stereotypical witch costume.
"Almost," he stated with a roll of his eyes. A sigh escaped the new guardian's piercing red lips as he flipped the cape over his shoulders and tied it around his neck to keep it in place. His face was decked out with pale cream makeup and darkened eye shadow with a small drip of fake blood flowing down the sides of his mouth. He wore two fangs and bright red prescription contacts. He was a vampire for the evening, that much was obvious. He actually recycled an old vest and suit pants for the occasion and wore a white collared shirt underneath with a red necklace medallion that Calista had let him borrow. This was her favorite holiday, and one that was only mediocre in his opinion.
Reuben normally enjoyed a quiet evening at home on Halloween. If any children dared venture out past Barton Town to his cottage, he was armed with some candy to pass out. But tonight he'd have to turn out the porch light, because Calista forced his hand this year.
They were apparently supposed to go to the Halloween bash in Durem, his home town. Calista, also being from Durem, always loved the people and the scene. Reuben, on the other hand, always avoided the place at all costs. Somehow, even unbeknownst to Calista herself, Reuben agreed to attend the festivities.
Giving himself one last glance over in the mirror, he licked his teeth and went out into the living room to see Calista standing there on her phone scrolling through tumblr, no doubt.
"Okay, lets go," he said, standing at the hallway's entrance.
"Finally," Calista stated, looking up to see the entire costume put together. "Wow, Reu, you really clean up well. I'm impressed."
"What is this? A compliment? Coming from you? It really must be an odd day of the year," he jested.
"Oh shut it. Lets go," Calista stated with a cracking smile, taking Reuben by the hand and leading him out the front door to her truck.
Crowds of people lined the streets of the halloween fair. The night was definitely upon the world and people from all over came to Durem for their annual Fairytale Fair. Orange jack-o-lanterns lined the streets with dim lights strung up from telephone pole to pole. Even the buildings were decorated with cobwebs and some terrifying cheer. Everyone was in a good mood...except Reuben. He rather regretted the decision to come out to Durem. The last thing he wanted to do was be seen by anyone he used to know growing up.
Calista, on the other hand, was drawn to the night and loved the festivities. She acted as though she was a child running from booth to booth, playing the little games and such and gathering candies for herself.
Reuben sat on the sidelines at almost every station. Oh, how he had wished he stayed home and lit some candles, meditated, and read some tarot cards instead.
Out of the corner of his eye, a couple walked past. They were both dressed in "Dia de los Muertos" attire. Half face skull painted on the man's face whilst hers was done up more intricately and entirely. The couple walked by them and the man glanced at Reuben as he sat on the bench and smirked with a quick nod.
Reuben's heart skipped a beat a second. It wasn't that type of smirk you'd give a stranger. It was a "checking you out" sort of smirk and nod. Reuben shook it off, yet began to blush behind the makeup. He decided to distract himself and check out his phone instead. Finding that Tumblr was far more entertaining than just sitting there.
Suddenly, a presence joined him on the bench. Out of the corner of his eye, it was just a large figure. Reuben quickly glanced up to see the same man from a few moments earlier sitting there, looking straight on at one of the games. Reuben quickly looked back at his phone and only acted busy to keep from becoming too awkward.
"This is a little lame, isn't it?" the stranger asked, still looking forward.
Reuben was caught off guard at the man's voice. "Y-yeah, a tad bit, heh. I'm waiting for my friend over there to finish her game," he said, looking over at Calista who was unashamedly bobbing for apples.
"Same here," the man said, turning to look at Reuben straight on. "I'm Evan, by the way. I'm really diggin' your costume," he said with a smile, eyeing Reuben up and down.
"Ah, yeah? Thanks, I appreciate it," Reuben began, a smile growing on his face. "I really like you and your girlfriend's costumes as well. They look really nice. And I'm Reuben; though you can call me Reu."
The two shook hands quickly and Evan spoke up, "Thanks, it took her a few hours to paint them. Very nice to meet you, Reu. So, what brings you to the fair? Your girlfriend over there?"
Reuben chuckled a bit. "Yeah, she's been hounding me to go out for a while now. I don't know why I agreed to come out; but I did."
"Yeah, same here, man. Ah, looks like she's done. It was nice meeting you. Have a wonderful evening," he said with a smirk and a wink, patting Reuben on the back. As he stood, he looked over at his girlfriend who ran up to him with a stuffed jack-o-lantern she had won. The two hugged. Before leaving, however, Evan turned, winked once more and waved at Reuben as they walked into the crowd.
Reuben smiled as the man patted his back and just nodded when he was told to have a good evening. Did that really just happen? Was he being slightly hit on by a random stranger...with a girlfriend no less? Stranger things could have happened. Reuben couldn't stop smiling a moment before he got up, waltzing over to an unhappy, soaked Calista who just couldn't seem to get an apple.
"Goddamn these games. I can't stand this," she stated, looking at the obviously goofy smile on Reuben's face. "What's got you in such a good mood?" she asked.
Reuben looked off in the direction Evan walked and shook his head with that same smile. "Nothing, just enjoying my time here," he said.
The two spent the rest of the evening at the Durem Fairytale Fair laughing, playing the games and visiting the booths. All in all, coming out this halloween was a very good idea, Reuben decided. A very good idea indeed.
Thanksgiving. A time for Americans to give thanks for all that they were given. Yes, it wasn't a Gaian holiday, and if it weren't for Calista (who was originally from America) Reuben probably wouldn't celebrate it either. But this day had become a good reminder to give thanks for all you have in life, regardless of location in the world. Since the two became good friends, Reuben would join Calista at her family's thanksgiving celebration except for the year or two they traveled back to the United States to spend the holiday with Calista's extended family. But since the two turned eighteen, they've been doing the celebrating separately due to the many familial issues that Calista has encountered with her family.
Every year, the night before Thanksgiving in America, Calista would come to Reuben's cottage and spend the entire evening preparing things for the next day. Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and all the fixings of a true, traditional Thanksgiving meal. The two would discuss their favorite things which happened that year and what they were thankful for. But over all, the two would just use this day as an excuse to hang out, eat, and talk about life.
The smell of baked pies filled the home for days to come, and everything just felt right. Especially since Yule was just around the corner and the two could go into December with high spirits.
Thanksgiving, or Friendsgiving as they called it, was just their magical little night. Most years the two would read tarot together and Calista would practice her magic with the help of Reuben. Obviously, they would do this any day of the year, but this day was festive and always brought joy to both of the friends.
◈ WHO: Fisher & Reuben (Smerdle & Skyeforge)
◈ WHEN: Early Afternoon on November 29, 2016
◈ WHERE: Downtown Market in Barton Town
◈ WEATHER: Overcast, yet dry. Rain to come.