Writing Revisited: 4 Days Until Halloween

Heroes’ Eve with a vampire, a squid, a princess, a cupcake, and Porthaven’s most popular pulp fictioneer.

As it happens, I don’t remember my original intention with this one, though I’m pretty sure it was another opportunity to have Pela be sensitive about being short and mistaken for a child.

Incidentally, the travails of a short person are in no wise applicable to my own life. And, honestly, people, can we stop calling Tom Cruise things like “freakishly short?” 5’7″ is a perfectly respectable height for an adult male, okay?

Author’s Note: I am exactly as tall as Tom Cruise is.

Porthaven, Heroes’ Eve night. A Vampire, a squid, a princess, and a cupcake wend their way through the twilit streets of the city. A bespectacled Goblin follows close behind.

Pela isn’t quite sure how she ended up here. Dunstana, Sally, Annie, and Ginger needed an adult escort, and Sally basically volunteered here for the role. Pela doesn’t particularly mind. She always liked Heroes’ Eve and is enjoying hanging out with Dunstana, Sally, Annie, and Ginger, and being one of the kids for the night. Though, of course, that she is being repeatedly mistaken for literally one of the kids — again — is starting to get tiresome.

Being short stinks.

Dunstana glances down in the pillowcase containing her candy. “I think that last house is running out of candy. They gave me a ham.”

“I’ll trade you for it,” Sally offers.

“Don’t worry,” Ginger says. “When we get to my house, my parents have cookies for us.” She glances over her shoulder. “They’ll have some for you too, Pela.”

Pela gives the girl a thumbs-up. Free cookies just sweetens the deal.

Way back when the holiday first started, Heroes’ Eve was meant to celebrate and honour the great heroes of Realmgard’s history — the Quintus Marcellinus Styracosauruses, the Princess Adelaides, the Greybeards, the Blackbootses, the Duchess Fortes.

Now, though, while some people do still dress up as a chosen hero, the holiday is mostly just taken as an opportunity to dress up in any costume, party, and demand a tribute of candy from your neighbours.

As Pela and the girls go on their way, the streets are filled with heroes, monsters, animals and just about everything else under the sun. Pela counts fourteen pirates, twelve knights ten clowns, eight cats, six vikings, and several impressively complex multi-person costumes.

The group turns the corner, and they cross paths with a patrolling member of the Musketeer Guard of Porthaven.

“Well,” the Musketeer says. “What’s all this, then?”

The Musketeer is going for stern severity, though the effect is somewhat ruined by the fact that his own Heroes’ Eve costume is a fish.

“Where’s your adult?” he asks the girls. “It’s not safe for a group of young ladies to be out at night on their own. Least of all tonight, with the ghosts and monsters and what-have-you.”

Pela groans inwardly. She cannot believe it’s happening again.

“But we have an adult!” Dunstana protests.

“Yeah,” Pela says, taking a step forward. “Me. I’m a Goblin, not a kid!”

“Ah,” the Musketeer mutters. “Terribly sorry, Miss. I — Are you Eleonora Strahlend? You look just the picture in the back of your books!”

“Not exactly,” Pela mutters. “It’s just my costume. But, uh, she is my Mom.”

The Musketeer stares down at Pela in silent awe. “Eleonora Strahlend is your Mom? “I’m her biggest fan! I have all of her books! I have all the translations of all her books!”

He leans conspiratorially towards her.

“So, uh, when’s the next book coming out?” he asks in a whisper.

If you missed yesterday’s scene, that’s here.

But also, it’s Thursday, which means there’ll be a new chapter tomorrow. You can catch up on last week’s chapter here:

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