The wild was Dylestia’s world. The elf dwelled there wrapped in the comfort and power of the natural world. And there, she was happy. Her days were spent wandering the woods, communing with animals and collecting herbs and roots capable of brewing fantastic potions and elixirs she kept in dried gourds. Few ever saw her and few even knew she lived, but the sorceress wielded power beyond most in the world.
While she mostly busied herself with simple spells and the concocting of her potions, this day, she worked on something much more powerful and at the same time, much more dangerous.
Months earlier, Dylestia came upon a small tower seemingly built through magical means. The perceptive elf could feel the pull of arcane energy and at last discovered the site. The structure itself was worn but remained as some of the magic used to form it still held.
Dylestia explored and searched the ruin and in it, discovered some tomes; long forgotten. A couple were filled with mere spells, most of which didn’t mean much to the wild elf, and since she wasn’t classically trained in magic, they weren’t easy for her to decipher, but one was different.
One was bound in rough leather and sewn with plant fiber. The pages themselves were also leather which made the book exceptionally large, requiring two hands to carry. On the cover appeared a cloven hoof like that of a deer, in a circle that appeared to be drawn in blood. The writing itself appeared as though it may be blood with dark pen strokes and a red hew. Dylestia was immediately interested in the content of the book and flipped through pages. They showed drawing of wild creatures and many words and writing that were foreign to the elf.
The final page of the book had one large word above a drawing of what appeared to be a faun or some other half beast half man creature. The word above the drawing was clearly spelled out in a curious and ancient hand: ARGOS.
She didn’t know what she had, but Dylestia was sure it was valuable and worth keeping. She carried the tome back to her home carved from a huge Redwood that both protected her from harm and provided a comfortable place for her to rest. There she began to study the book.
For hours on end and days upon days, Dylestia concentrated on the book. It was difficult work because she was unfamiliar with the writing and even books themselves were not something the young elf had even seen or worked with much. Her magical powers were more innate, internal welling up from a place deep in her and her mastery of them was haphazard at best.
Still, after months of work, she determined that the book was a guide for summoning a creature that she determined must be from another plane of existence and likely, some sort of demon. But what type?
That is where things got complicated. Based mostly on the illustrations included within, Dylestia concluded that the beast drawn in blood on the pages was connected to the natural world. She herself was very in tune with the flora and fauna around her and she decided that it was for that reason that she could feel the tome’s energy from a far and even more so in her hands. It pulled her spirit.
After deliberating for over a month, Dylestia decided to follow the instructions in the book as well as she could. She was under no illusion as to what the book advised. It was a tool to summon a creature from beyond the world she lived in.
Over the months she became obsessed with the book and the being it was devoted to. “Argos.” She ever had the name in her mind and on her lips. The half beast, half man shown in the pages called to her in a way she found irresistible.
At last she summoned the courage to perform the ritual.
Dylestia did not sleep for days as she reviewed every line meticulously, staring long and hard at each word, each picture, working tirelessly to recreate the exact same conditions necessary in the book.
She first had to build an altar of wood and fiber from the trees and plants. It resembled more of a bed than anything we humans may recognize but for the nature of the creature it called; it was required. Dylestia gathered baskets of berries and other fruits of the wild and placed them around the altar.
Finally, the blood of a creature of the wild was required. In the book it showed a goat, but Dylestia had never seen a goat in the woods in which she dwelled. With much hesitation and regret, she downed a deer with the long bow she crafted and then spread the animal’s blood on the bed.
The altar was set, as well as the elf was able to recreate it. Finally, she was required to call to the creature. The words were unfamiliar but she studied and meditated on them long and hard. She was prepared to attempt to summon the being she was transfixed on for so many months. Her heart would tolerate nothing less. She needed to summon the creature like a fish needs to swim.
“In nomine naturae, vocavi te, Argos,” she chanted, seated, legs crossed, on the forest floor.
“In nomine naturae, vocavi te, Argos.”
“In nomine naturae, vocavi te, Argos.”
Over and over Dylestia chanted the words, hopeful she was saying them correctly. She did not track well, the passing of time, but she knew she had been at it for a while.
“In nomine naturae, vocavi te, Argos.”
Though she dared not open her eyes, the elf felt warmth like that of a fire and light poured from the forest altar and raced between the trees piercing the dark.
“In nomine naturae, vocavi te, Argos.”
She chanted with more force in her words, her spirit reenergized with the warm light.
“In nomine naturae, vocavi te, Argos,” she repeated.
A sudden wind burst forth from the center of the alter blowing Dylestia’s hair and the branches and leaves from the clearing. The blast broke the elf’s concentration and she at last looked up.
Her eyes widened and her mouth fell open as she discovered a creature balled up like a baby in the center of the altar. She could not find words and scarcely breathed. Suddenly the thought that perhaps whatever was in the center of the altar was not alive and she tried to summon the courage to stand and investigate but as she tangled with her fear and surprise, it moves.
Two legs, cloven and covered in fur like those of a goat stretched out and a cry called out from the creature sounding similar to that of a wounded deer. Dylestia leapt to her feet and snatched her bow from the ground but did not draw it but rather clutched it in her hand.
From the raised angle she could tell that the top half of the being for humanoid, with two arms and a rugged but reasonably typically shaped head.
“Who are you?” Dylestia blurted, then covered her mouth as if surprised the words escaped at all.
The creature shot up to its feat and stumbled somewhat, but locked eyes with her. It appeared male with much facial hair very much like a man’s beard. It’s eyes were crimson and seemed to glow in the low forest light.
The creature spoke in a gruff and low voice, but with words the elf understood, “Who are you?”
Dylestia had to think for a moment, not because she didn’t know the answer but because her mind could hardly take in all the information, “My name, is, my name is Dylestia,” she whispered.
“Why have you summoned me?” The creature demanded in a growl looking her up and down.
“I, um, I’m not sure. Something just told me to,” she muttered, unable to take her eyes off the creature.
“Something? Or someone?”
“Oh, well, there is no one else here. I found a book and followed the instructions,” she explained, “I felt I had to.”
The creature relaxed some and looked about to take account of his surroundings. He then looked carefully at her. “I see,” he answered. “You seem pure, child.”
“I don’t know what you mean,” Dylestia mumbled.
“I mean,” the being bellowed, “that you appear to be one with nature, a pure heart, not chained down by the binds of civilization. Does that sound true?”
“Well, yes, I suppose that is true, I’ve never thought about it much.”
The summoned creature snorted.
“Forgive me,” the elf started, “but who are you?”
“You don’t even know who I am?” He laughed. “Then you are pure indeed. And apparently quite powerful.”
“Are you Argos?” She guessed.
“Indeed!” Argos cried as he held his thick arms high to show his true size and strength. “I am Argos. Servant of Pan, god of chaos and the wilderness. It seems that you too are his servant, my child.”
“Perhaps I am then,” Dylestia mused.
I love writing, and when I do, I especially enjoy writing fantasy fiction. Hero versus villain, good versus evil, it’s often a genre that can highlight the extremes in human nature. Heroes can highlight the best characteristics we are capable of; loyalty, courage, bravery. On the flip side, villains can highlight the dregs of human nature; selfishness, deceit, hate, greed. Indeed, we have in us tremendous potential. Either for good or evil. Fantasy allows the writer to invent literal monsters to represent those characteristics. Fortunately, as a writer, I have seen monsters first hand.
I’ve seen people who lack all loyalty burn those they claim to love to protect themselves. I’ve witnessed people lie to everyone including authority in an effort to guard their position or their reputation. I’ve seen parents abandon children. I’ve seen children turn on their parents and attack them in hurtful ways. I’ve seen friends destroy friends socially, betraying their trust and lying then laughing at them while they suffer in pain. There is literally no end to the pain a person will inflict on another person.
In my own world, all of that has been done to me and more. Indeed, I’ve been broken by the depth of betrayal and lies created to wreck me. I’ve had someone tell me they love me while working to bury me and leave me ruined. I’ve endured campaigns against me based on a fantasy invented to cripple me. I know monsters well.
I saw a mother, unable to deal with parenting, pour more and more drugs down her child’s mouth leaving her forever damaged and altered. I saw a wife call police on her husband because he wouldn’t accept her lies and then use authority to put him in check. I have seen people lie in court, under oath, to judges to protect their egos and cement a false narrative that served no one except the person who invented it. I’ve seen monsters.
I’ve seen people use and violate other people then blame them for the hurt they caused. I’ve seen an abuser spin the truth into a sick web that ensnared the very person they wounded. How easily do evil people dress themselves in victims’ clothing and appear so meek and mild? It seems wolves can wear sheeps’ clothing comfortably. I’ve seen monsters.
Truth endures, however. Justice finds a way. Monsters are real. Evil is real. I will ever write and fight…monsters.
In a sea of white
In a storm of hate
One had the strength
To be among the great
He was meant to be
Very first of many
But first he had to face
The words of the angry
Not only brave he stood
But on the bases played
Better than the average
Enduring history he made
A woman of beauty
Helping her man through
He loved his woman
The wife of his youth
Breaking through walls
Ending a racist era
In which only some
Were allowed to be player
And on the field
Few played as well
Named rookie of the year
While enduring the hell
He fielded the ball
He hit home runs
Stole many bases
Now all are allowed
To play the sport
Judged on ability
One was the start
A virus has brought us to our knees
Deadlier than our darkest dreams
In the midst of it all
My strongest call
Was to post Tiger King memes
We stand tall and proud
Masters of the world we rule
Brought down to our knees