An Awkward Halloween Happening of Happiness and Heartache



  • Note: This is a response to Sely's Halloween Chron Challenge. I hope I've fulfilled all the requirements for a serious-silly story.

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    It was a bleak and melancholy day in Merindor. Avatara had been planning to go out today, but now, with the bleak weather, he couldn't be bothered.

    Avatara's quest had been to find Icel, but he had no idea how to do this. So far, Merindor seemed to be a dead end. At this rate, there was no way Avatara would defeat Icel by his self-imposed deadline, and no way he'd ever get to see Katerei again.

    Katerei. Avatara hoped she was okay. Had Selax delivered his message to her? Why had Selax been so insistent that he be the one to go after Icel, and what was Selax so busy with that he couldn't help?

    Now he almost hoped Selax hadn't delivered the message. It was bad enough that he abandoned her, but to stand her up in a strange world too? He couldn't bear to think of poor Katerei, alone, abandoned, hurting.

    How he wished he could hug her. Yet here he was, just giving up. To distract himself from his sorrow, he took out a book, and read.

    34 chapters later...

    "Ahem."

    Avatara looked up in surprise, then recoiled when he saw the figure before him.

    It was a ghost. It was obviously a ghost, because it was transparent, yet faintly glowing. But the transparent, glowing white blob in front of him didn't look like he would have expected a ghost to look. It wasn't wispy and shapeless. Rather it looked like a giant marshmallow with arms, legs, and a head.

    "Is that it?" demanded the ghost. "I was told you'd run away and drop lose change. What a rip-off!"

    "Um, who are you?" asked Avatara, feeling more confused than afraid.

    "I know, it's impossible to tell through my impeccable costume, isn't it?" bragged the ghost.

    "Costume?"

    "Well, duh! You didn't think I was really the ghost of Baymax, did you?" the ghost laughed.

    "The ghost of who? And who are you really? And since when do ghosts wear costumes?"

    "Hey, I'll ask the questions!" said the ghost, sounded irritated. Then after a pause it added, "and I'll answer your questions. I'm wearing a costume because it's Halloween, and I've got a party to go to after this. I'm Retsy, one of the ghosts of your past. The other ghosts of your past should be by shortly to help me haunt you."

    "Retsy?" the name didn't ring any bells in Avatara's memory. "You're a ghost of my past? But I don't think I've ever met you?"

    "That's because you never even bothered to introduce yourself when I was in Pnyx for Lord Malis' wedding!" exclaimed Retsy-wraith. "I call that rude!"

    "Hey, I was a little busy getting stabbed in the gut and nearly dying!"

    "What a lame excuse!"

    "So you're haunting me because I didn't introduce myself to you when I was stabbed in the gut?"

    "No! (Although that was bad enough!) I'm haunting you because you made me kiss Selax!"

    "I did what?! " sputtered Avatara, shuddering at the idea of the stoic air elemental kissing anyone.

    "In another dimension, obviously," clarified wraith-Retsy. "But I'm never going to stop haunting you!"

    "Just what I needed," muttered Avatara, wondering how being haunted would affect his mission.

    "Avatara..." murmured a different voice. A soft, melodious voice. Avatara turned around and saw the ghastly, transparent form of a beautiful girl floating on the other side of him. Her long, silvery hair was braided, and she was dressed in a sparkling blue dress made of ghost ice crystals.

    "Moonshadow!" gasped Avatara.

    "It's time to see what I can do," sang Moonshadow's ghost. "To test the limits and break through. No right, no wrong, no rules for me - I'm free..."

    A cold dread grew in Avatara's chest. "How can you be..." dead?

    "Let it go, let it go! I am one with the wind and sky," Moonshadow-wraith continued to sing.

    "No," Avatara whispered.

    "Dude, you're interrupting her solo," Retsy chastised him.

    "Oh, sorry." Avatara waited patiently until Moonshadow finally finished singing. Upon finishing her song, Moonshadow smiled in satisfaction. Then slowly, her smile turned to a frown and she scowled at Avatara.

    "Avatara. How many times must you kill me?"

    Ouch. Avatara turned to Retsy. "Alternate dimension again?" he asked. Retsy nodded. Avatara turned sadly back to Moonshadow. "I'm sorry," he said. "How many times did I kill you?"

    "Directly?" asked Moonshadow. She paused to count on her fingers. "Three. Indirectly?" she paused for a much longer time, losing count and starting over several times before giving up. "I don't remember. A lot. Why, Avatara? Am I good for nothing but dying?"

    "No," protested Avatara. "I don't even know what happened, it wasn't me!"

    "Ugh, this is no fun," complained Retsy. "I thought we were going to torment him with memories of his past, but he doesn't even know what we're talking about!"

    "Maybe you should go to the other dimension and torment that Avatara?" Avatara suggested.

    "Do you have any idea how much trouble that would be?!" Retsy demanded. Avatara shook his head. Retsy sighed in exasperation. "I'm going to summon the rest of the ghosts of your past, hopefully they can do a better job of tormenting you!"

    Retsy snapped her fingers, and slowly five more transparent, glowing ghosts floated in through the walls of Avatara's room. Avatara's heart ached as he recognized his old friends. Slayer, with long grey hair and a grey beard, dressed in classic wizard robes and carrying a staff. Theo, whose head was shaven and blue arrows were drawn over his scalp, arms, and legs. He was dressed in a weird yellow and orange outfit. Rogan, who wore a fancy tuxedo, a billowing cloak, and a mysterious white mask. Kestrel, who was dressed like a purple unicorn with wings. And Talos, who was naked except for a crude red cape and a pair of white briefs.

    "Oh good, you're all coming to the Halloween party!" noted Moonshadow happily. "Those are, um, creative costumes, guys..."

    Avatara just stared at his old friends. They had once been so close, they had shared so many adventures, but he hadn't seen any of them in years. What had happened to them?

    They promptly all started moaning about all the times Avatara had let them down, all the times he ran off and abandoned them to pursue a side-quest, all the times he failed to save them from villains, all the times he hadn't even bothered to come with them on a quest.

    Avatara backed away from the ghosts, feeling remorseful about the bad choices he'd made in the past, as well as angry about the unjust accusations they were bringing down at him all at once.

    "I'm sorry I wasn't perfect. I'm sorry I wasn't as strong or as helpful as you thought I should be. I've always done what I thought was the right thing at the time, but I've made mistakes..." Avatara apologized.

    "Now this is more like it!" Retsy approved, pulling a bag of ghost-popcorn out of thin air and proceeding to eat while she watched the retired adventurer ghosts torment Avatara.

    "You left me as a stone statue for months and didn't even try to find a cure!" exclaimed Talos.

    "Yeah, I probably should have looked into that..." Avatara admitted.

    Retsy was staring at her popcorn as though something was wrong. "Wait a minute," she realized. "We're missing the most important ghost! Katerei, where are you!" Retsy snapped her fingers again.

    Not Katerei too... thought Avatara in despair.

    There was a tense silence as the ghosts' moaning died down, everyone waiting for Katerei to show up.

    Nothing happened.

    Retsy scowled and snapped her fingers three more times. "Come on , Katerei!"

    Finally, even slower than the other ghosts Katerei floated through the wall into the room. She looked like a giant valentine. She wore a huge fluffy pink gown, adorned with more glitter, ribbons, and lace than one would have thought possible. An alarmingly huge lace collar framed her head. She looked furious.

    "Retsy, is this costume your doing?!" she demanded.

    Retsy smiled proudly. "Isn't it wonderful?" she gushed.

    "It's lurid!"

    "Hey, be grateful you're clothed!" pointed out Talos, who had been trying unsuccessfully to cover himself with his cape.

    "What took you so long to get here?" Retsy asked Katerei.

    "I was on holiday!" Katerei replied. "What's so important that you had to interrupt my vacation?"

    "Haunting Avatara, of course! We're tormenting him with the mistakes of his past, and I thought you could offer some meaningful contributions," explained Retsy.

    Avatara had had enough, but he had already concluded that there was no way for him to exit the room without going through a ghost, which was not appealing. He wondered if setting the room on fire would help, but that seemed a bit drastic. He decided to take this opportunity to apologize to Katerei.

    "I'm sorry, Katerei. I didn't want to leave you. Selax kidnapped me. I thought I could defeat Icel and be with you again, but it's proved harder than I expected to even find him..."

    Katerei silenced him by waving her lacily-gloved hands in front of her. "Whoa, hold up. You're telling the wrong Katerei. I'm just a ghost, and I'm not going to Cythera to deliver your message."

    The meaning of her words sunk in, as Avatara started to make sense of what Retsy and Moonshadow had said about an alternate dimension. "Then, Katerei, the one I know, is still alive?" Avatara asked, feeling, for the first time in weeks, a spark of hope.

    Katerei-ghost shrugged. "Presumably."

    "And all of you," Avatara went on, looking at each of the other ghosts. "You're still alive too?"

    The retired heroes fidgeted awkwardly. Finally Slayer admitted, "well, at this point, who knows?"

    Avatara remembered what Moonshadow said about being killed numerous times. "How many dimensions are there?" he wondered.

    "New ones are popping up all the time," said Moonshadow. "There's real Cythera, alternate Cythera, Books of the Elements world, Glass Menagerie world, world of Sail, world of Fail, world of Warcraft-"

    "Speaking of Sail," interrupted Retsy. "It's a brilliant book. How's the sequel coming along?"

    Katerei's eyes became shifty. "Ah, well... I've postponed writing it. But I am working on another novel in an entirely different world!"

    "Oh, okay!" said Retsy, appeased at the idea of having another story. "Don't forget to record it on audio-book for those of us who can't read!"

    "Um, I'll see what I can do," agreed Katerei.

    "Well, is everyone done haunting Avatara?" asked Retsy. "Because we really need to get going if we're going to make it to the Halloween party on time."

    The ghosts shrugged and began floating away.

    Avatara sighed in relief. Retsy turned around and scowled at him. "Aren't you coming?" she asked.

    "To the Halloween party? Why?"

    "Because it would be the perfect place for Icel to attack! No one would notice his dark energy until it's too late!" Retsy pointed out.

    Avatara considered that. It did seem plausible. Maybe his lead that Icel was near Merindor wasn't wrong. Maybe he was just waiting for an opportune moment to strike.

    The other ghosts were turning around to share their opinions.

    "It wouldn't surprise me at all if Icel showed up tonight," said Slayer.

    "Come on, are you seriously going to just give up?" asked Rogan.

    "Are you going to just abandon your girlfriend like you abandoned all of us?" asked Theo.

    They were right. But, "I don't have a costume to wear," said Avatara. In fact, he hadn't dressed up for Halloween since he was a child - they didn't celebrate Halloween in Cythera. It was too bad he hadn't saved any of his costumes. He had really enjoyed dressing up like Barney the dinosaur, and Jar-Jar Binks...

    "Oh, don't you worry about that," said Retsy, smiling mischievously.

    "Ooh, you're in for it now," laughed Kestrel from within his Twilight Sparkle costume.

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    Avatara walked reluctantly into the Merindor Halloween party. He felt a bit awkward in his tiny purple top, purple mini-skirt, and long purple boots, with random bits of armour on his forearms and collar. The long orange wig was kinda cool though. And somehow, the costume made him feel brighter, friendlier.

    Avatara made his way nervously through the party. The ghosts had already wandered off to try to scare partygoers into dropping loose change, and he was alone. He didn't know very many people in Merindor.

    But then, he noticed someone standing to the side, dressed in a dark leotard, dark boots, and dark cloak. Although the shadow from her hood covered most of her face, Avatara could somehow recognize the local Captain of the Knights, Elysia. He had already met her in his search for information about Icel, and they had gotten along well.

    "Friend Elysia!" called out Avatara as he approached her. "I am elated to see you! Are you enjoying the festivities?"

    Elysia turned to him. "This party is pointless."

    "Perhaps, friend Elysia, but I fear it may not be," said Avatara dropping his voice.

    "What do you mean?" asked Elysia.

    "It is possible that the villain I seek will attack tonight. If this comes to pass, the consequences will be most grave."

    Elysia nodded once in understanding. "I'll keep a lookout, and have my Knights do so too."

    "Thank you, friend Elysia. I hope that together we can prevent tragedy!"

    "We may have a long night ahead of us though. I hear this party will go on until at least midnight."

    "Would you like to pass the time together?" suggested Avatara. "Perhaps we could try the dancing?"

    Elysia cocked her hooded head. "Actually... yeah. That sounds nice," she agreed.

    "Spectacular!" cheered Avatara, as he led her out to the dance floor.

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    That night, or technically early the next morning, Avatara changed out of his Halloween costume and into his pyjamas. The party had been a lot more fun than he had expected. He spent the whole time with Elysia, dancing, playing board games, and going to walks around the perimeter to watch for Icel. But Icel never showed up. Perhaps he never would.

    Perhaps Icel didn't have to be Avatara's problem. Perhaps he could just stay here, with Elysia... It would be so much easier.

    But as he put on his pyjamas, he discovered his empty water-droplet necklace. The necklace Katerei had made for him.

    Giving up meant never seeing Katerei again. Giving up meant breaking her heart. Giving up meant putting her in danger, for Icel was bound to return to Cythera someday for revenge.

    He didn't have the option of retiring from heroism and having a pleasant life. He would have to keep trying to find Icel.


  • Global Moderator

    @breadworldmercy453_bot, on 26 October 2015 - 04:28 PM, said in An Awkward Halloween Happening of Happiness and Heartache:

    "Retsy?" the name didn't ring any bells in Avatara's memory. "You're a ghost of my past? But I don't think I've ever met you?"

    Was the bell part intentional? >_>

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    "No! (Although that was bad enough!) I'm haunting you because you made me kiss Selax!"

    Heh, I wonder what she'll have to say after BoF... :laugh:

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    Slayer, with long grey hair and a grey beard, dressed in classic wizard robes and carrying a staff.

    I didn't know you read Lord of the Rings?

    Quote

    "And all of you," Avatara went on, looking at each of the other ghosts. "You're still alive too?"

    The retired heroes fidgeted awkwardly. Finally Slayer admitted, "well, at this point, who knows?"

    Truth. <_<



  • Quote

    Was the bell part intentional? >_>

    Uh, yeah, totally intentional. >_>

    Quote

    Heh, I wonder what she'll have to say after BoF... :laugh:

    I'm really scared now. Really, really scared.

    Quote

    I didn't know you read Lord of the Rings?

    I haven't (I also haven't read Captain Underpants : __P), but I thought Sely might appreciate a Lord of the Rings reference. When I google-image-searched for a reference picture, I had to ask Shorty what the difference between Gandalf the Grey and Gandalf the White was. He said Gandalf the Grey turned into Gandalf the White after he levelled up.


  • Global Moderator

    @breadworldmercy453_bot, on 27 October 2015 - 02:55 PM, said in An Awkward Halloween Happening of Happiness and Heartache:

    I haven't (I also haven't read Captain Underpants : __P), but I thought Sely might appreciate a Lord of the Rings reference. When I google-image-searched for a reference picture, I had to ask Shorty what the difference between Gandalf the Grey and Gandalf the White was. He said Gandalf the Grey turned into Gandalf the White after he levelled up.

    No, he became Gandalf the White after he quit smoking.


  • Global Moderator

    Well, Avatara did suffer...but he also had fun...

    Hmm, I suppose that's acceptable (for now...he needs to suffer more next time!).

    An entertaining story, as always :) .

    @breadworldmercy453_bot, on 27 October 2015 - 02:55 PM, said in An Awkward Halloween Happening of Happiness and Heartache:

    I haven't (I also haven't read Captain Underpants : __P), but I thought Sely might appreciate a Lord of the Rings reference. When I google-image-searched for a reference picture, I had to ask Shorty what the difference between Gandalf the Grey and Gandalf the White was. He said Gandalf the Grey turned into Gandalf the White after he levelled up.

    Actually, I've heard that Tolkien said that Gandalf's resurrection was one of Iluvatar's (that is, God's) direct interventions in Middle-Earth's history (along with Gollum's fatal stumble in the book version of the Ring's destruction), which is interesting. I always assumed it was his immediate superiors that sent him back.



  • @breadworldmercy453_bot, on 26 October 2015 - 04:28 PM, said in An Awkward Halloween Happening of Happiness and Heartache:

    How he wished he could hug her. Yet here he was, just giving up. To distract himself from his sorrow, he took out a book, and read.

    34 chapters later...

    Wait, does he ever finish the book?

    Quote

    "New ones are popping up all the time," said Moonshadow. "There's real Cythera, alternate Cythera, Books of the Elements world, Glass Menagerie world, world of Sail, world of Fail, world of Warcraft-"

    Hah. :D

    Quote

    Katerei's eyes became shifty. "Ah, well... I've postponed writing it. But I am working on another novel in an entirely different world!"

    "Oh, okay!" said Retsy, appeased at the idea of having another story.

    Well, at least Retsy supports me working on something else.

    Quote

    Giving up meant never seeing Katerei again. Giving up meant breaking her heart. Giving up meant putting her in danger, for Icel was bound to return to Cythera someday for revenge.

    He didn't have the option of retiring from heroism and having a pleasant life. He would have to keep trying to find Icel.

    You can do it, Av! waves pom-poms

    I recognized maybe half the costumes from the descriptions (at first, I thought Retsy might be the Stay Puft marshmallow man and Rogan might be Phantom of the Opera.) Didn't recognize Kat's until I saw the name in the URL. Still have no idea what Av or Elysia's costumes are.


  • Global Moderator

    @ikaterei_bot, on 01 November 2015 - 09:22 PM, said in An Awkward Halloween Happening of Happiness and Heartache:

    I recognized maybe half the costumes from the descriptions (at first, I thought Retsy might be the Stay Puft marshmallow man and Rogan might be Phantom of the Opera.) Didn't recognize Kat's until I saw the name in the URL. Still have no idea what Av or Elysia's costumes are.

    I recognized only a couple from the descriptions, and I'm still not actually sure who Rogan is supposed to be. I think though that someone should have dressed up as the Man in the Yellow Suit. (A reference which will make no sense if you haven't watched the first season, although I can't recommend this week's episode as a good starting point, since it was one of the show's weakest so far.)



  • @selax_bot, on 14 November 2015 - 08:03 PM, said in An Awkward Halloween Happening of Happiness and Heartache:

    I'm still not actually sure who Rogan is supposed to be.

    Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon. Come on, how could you not know that? :p


  • Global Moderator

    I guess he didn't read the URL of the reference photo.


  • Global Moderator

    @ikaterei_bot, on 14 November 2015 - 11:32 PM, said in An Awkward Halloween Happening of Happiness and Heartache:

    Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon. Come on, how could you not know that? :p

    ...asks the person who--if memory serves--didn't know who Jaws was in the context of James Bond...

    @avatara_bot, on 15 November 2015 - 04:11 PM, said in An Awkward Halloween Happening of Happiness and Heartache:

    I guess he didn't read the URL of the reference photo.

    I said I wasn't sure: I didn't say that I planned to go to even the slightest effort to find out :p .


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