Eris busted out laughing, and ran up to the woodcutter and myself, throwing Her arms about us and dragging us to the ground. "Wasn't that great?" she crowed in a sing-song voice. "Father is such a pushover!"
"Goddess, you're good!" I shouted, smiling. I turned to the woodcutter, currently being smothered in kisses by Eris. "Esus, you protect me well. Thank you for all you've done."
Esus pushed the Goddess off of Him. "That's my job, kid. I don't mind it one bit."
Eris looked at Esus with a sly smile. "You know what?" She asked. "You should really consider cutting that beard off. It's itchy to kiss!"
Esus looked at Her with indignation, and decided to ignore the comment. Turning to me, He smiled, saying, "You have a destination, kid. But you have to be there before day break. Those boots won't get you there fast enough."
"He's right," Eris said. "You'll have to get there faster. I suggest you call in a few favours."
And with that, both were gone.
I stood for a moment in the clearing, looking around. The mountain I was supposed to reach was far away, and the two Deities who had just left were right: I'd never make it on time. I thought hard about the place I needed to go, and how I might get there. I shoved my hands hard into my pockets.
My hands didn't fit.
I turned my attention to this new problem, and I opened the pockets carefully. Inside (and now falling to the ground as well) were hundreds of blackberries. I didn't know which Deity had left them with me, but I thanked them kindly in my heart, and began to call out, "Blackbird! Blackbird! Will you return your favour?"
A moment later, the bird appeared. He landed in the clearing, and I held out a handful of blackberries, and he began to eat.
Between bites, he looked up at me. "What can I do for you?"
"Can you carry me to that mountain?" I asked hopefully.
"I can do better. I can put you on top of it!" He crowed. I handed him another batch of blackberries. "Climb atop my back, and we'll get you there in a moment!"
I climbed onto his back, and we were off.
We flew over the fields quickly, low to the ground. I looked up at the mountain, and its eye opened to stare at me. I called out to the bird about this.
"Why does the mountain look at us?"
"It sees all that happens here, even when the eye is closed. It seems harmless to me, but it can see anything, even your heart's desires!" he shouted back.
On we flew, until finally we came to the top of the mountain, out of the view of the large eye. I slid off the blackbird, tripping over the irregular ground, and stood on the rocks, looking out.
"I'll leave you here, now. Good luck!" the bird shouted, and with that he was gone.
I watched his retreating form as I stood atop the mountain. When the blackbird disappeared from sight, I sat down on a rock, kicking my feet over the nothingness. I stilled myself, and thought about why I was here. Each event played out in my mind again, and the reality of it was reinforced.
Why was I here? Because I wanted to be.
Was this real? As real as any thought.
Should I stay? I should not.
What was the mountain? I don't know if I'll ever find out.
Perhaps it was me, or maybe my mind. Perhaps I was over-analyzing, or under-analyzing. Who knows?
But I knew that it was time to leave. Time to get up. I relaxed myself, and rememberd who I was. I followed the paths back to myself, back to my own world.
When I awoke from that dream of reality, I was still seated on the floor. The time had not changed, but the candles on the altar were out. The house was cold, and I was unsure for a moment whether I had actually woken up.
I stood up, and stumbled out of my room. My legs were in pain, and my body screamed. I checked the clock in the kitchen, and it confirmed: no time had passed.
But sitting on the stove was a newspaper. I had started this on a Saturday, and before me sat the colour comics. I'd been out for 24 hours.
I laughed, and started to make eggs, wondering if this counted for one or two days of Chaos workings?
Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V
Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX | Part X
Part XI | Part XII | Part XIII | Part XIV | Part XV
Part XVI | Part XVII | Part XVIII | Part XIX | Part XX