As it turned out, the road Elias had been taking to Era was the exact opposite direction of what he wanted. He’d ended up in the cursed lands for crying out loud! A place where even powerful wizards died frequently. Elias had nearly met his maker at the hands of a swarm of werewolves. Were it not for Alliannah literally swooping in at the last moment, he wasn’t even sure he’d still be alive.
Yeah, he had a lot to thank Aliannah for. Besides damn near being a guardian angel, that night fighting wolves had shown Elias firsthand the power he was missing out on. He’d felt the energies radiating off her. And the literal transformation of the world into hell was plenty tangible proof of that. Even more importantly, it had awakened something even deeper inside of him. Motivation. Now he’d discovered even more weapons within his ancient frozen armory.
Now the weather tended more towards the fair side. Bright, sunny skies and temperatures reasonable enough for Elias to wear a long sleeved shirt and black chinos.There were plenty of villages to travel through now that he and Aliannah had travelled well beyond the boundaries of the cursed lands. So far as Elias knew, today’s stop was Magnolia town. Famous through the world as the birthplace of the Fairy Tail guild. He remembered reading their legends as a child. Maybe it was some residual memory that drew him to that country.
It was just past midday by then. The buildings around Magnolia’s outskirts seemed suspiciously empty, but untouched. As if the residents had only left for the day. Elias could only assume they were given the brightly colored banners strung all around the town. Every step closer to the town proper brought louder music and laughter. The upbeat eighth notes of flutes and lutes set the tune to people of all ages crowding around circles of dancers waving their arms in a way that made it look more like organized chaos than a dance in and of itself. It was unlike anything Elias had seen before. He wished for a moment that he’d grown up in the town. Everyone here seemed to be in harmony. There’d be no reason to leave. Not like the way he’d left home.
If a wave of cold was to wash over Elias’ heart, it was swept away by the music and the overwhelming scents of spices and grease from the dozens of food stalls that lined the streets. Stripes and logos all emblazoned with the brightest and wildest of colors. Reds, greens, blues, yellows, purples, every color Elias could imagine. The tarps covering each stall trying to outdo its neighbors by the sheer elegance and eye-catching colors. It created an almost psychedelic effect when intermingled with the thin white smoke wafting up from ovens and frying pans.
Festivals back home had been formal affairs. This was wild by comparison, and Elias wasn’t even sure this was the wildest it could get. Elias couldn’t keep his cool against the smile forming on his face. He turned to Aliannah when they reached the edge of town.“Well then Aliannah,”
Elias said, “Looks like we’ve got a fun evening ahead.”
He paused for a second to take in the cheer. “Or at least I do. I’ve never been to a festival like this.”
Only then did his travel bag begin to weigh on his shoulders. “Though we should probably find a place to stay first. Then maybe I’ll do something other than sleep.”