Calendula and Cats

Acgozluk has returned for Adventure April! Stop the Demon

Written by George Sanders


An undeniable switch set an oppressive mood over the forest. The uneasiness easy to brush away by someone going about their busy day. But that underlying anxiety made daily tasks harder. Something wrought in darkness hovered, like a jaded lover, stoking need in everything.


Lavani made her rounds through the forest village. Each day brought opportunities to collect stories. It was hard to break old habits. She reminded herself, she was part of the story now and not collecting.


The marketplace bustled with the end of the second harvest. Shouting shocked her out of her internal musings. A disagreement arose over the price of tomatoes. Alternating waves of need splashed at her mind.


"That's double what you charged last week! What are you playing at?" The man shouting operated the Inn. It looked like he was gathering ingredients for the evening stew with the large bag he carried. Lavani saw his need to sell more dinner bowls steam off him.


The farmer selling the tomatoes stood looking appalled. "Clearly, you don't have the taste to appreciate their value." They wouldn't budge on the price. Lavani winced at how sharply they felt they were short-changed last week. They had to make more.


The marketplace had not been a source of such desperation. They were furious with each other over a tomato. When had this greed soaked into them? They looked at each other, not with a sense of community, but mistrust.


Lavani scanned around them. The oppressive feeling seemed to feed the shouting. With a deep breath and a gentle chant, she extended patience, compassion, and peace. The air shimmered as she cast the spell pushing back the oppressive feeling. She heard the farmer apologize to the innkeeper as she hurried back to the town hall.



In the garden, the Calendula stretched at Lavani's approach. It was brave. It seemed to know it was being called to service. An orange cat walked beside Lavani and only took a brief look at the catnip in the garden's center.


Lavani whispered to the Calendula as soldiers prepared for war. "My heroes. You must keep our village safe. Give the people courage and faith. Let them see past misunderstandings. There is a danger, do not let its illusions grow or form nearby." She cut many of the flowers in preparation for defense.


To the cat, she asked for deliveries. "Pumpkin, please take these flowers around the town. Place them where people gather and at doorsteps. Put them along the roads and in the marketplace."


The cat meowed and rubbed against her. He picked up a few of the stems in his mouth and then hurried down the path into the village. A few more cats started showing up. Each hurried to complete Lavani's requests.


On the last trip, she asked Pumpkin to meet her back at the town hall when he was done.



Books and scrolls filled the table at the town hall. A leather satchel with two pouches laid across a guide with drawings of plants. Lavani moved the sachel to re-read a section of the text. Then, she wrote a line on one of the scrolls.


"It won't be enough to defeat the demon in battle. In time he will reappear, use the Nightshade to bestow a curse upon the ichor he leaves behind to dissuade his return."


Pumpkin hopped up on the table and laid down for a nap. Iris stretched from her spot in Lavani's seat - she hadn't been using it, and it was warm. But Iris had to get up to clean up Pumpkin. He was always such a mess.  

Lavani explained to the cats, "The herbs in this pouch will need to be taken to the church in Etonia. The knights will surely be aware of this danger. I have already sent Gift of Dead Birds to investigate. The herbs will protect the knights so they do not succumb to the demon's whims and help keep him away."


"Oh, and we can not forget the chrysanthemum." With the scroll finished and the satchel packed, it was time Pumpking to make one more delivery.



Experience the World

Heralds repeated warnings through the morning in the streets of Etonia. Messages sent via magic soared to allies asking for their immediate support. Plans were still being hatched as the first knights entered the portal.

Will you aid the forest and help banish the demons? Yes? Then, sign up for a free tabletop roleplay game session in May. This one-shot adventure emerged from the World Anvil Adventure April challenge. We'll use Roll20 as a virtual tabletop for this 5e-compatible game, so you only need a computer and Internet.

Check Dates and Times      

Cover image: Forest During the Daytime by Tim Mossholder


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