Creatures of Mycelium and Magic

Posted under Episode 0, Story On By Chief

Deep inside the well-hidden warrens that surround a kindly witch's home, small creatures live their lives, small golem-like creatures made of mycelium. Each no more than a few inches tall, the mushroom fae communicating only through gestures and writing, build their tiny fungal towns. Chased out of forests by ignorant humans, they have found their place here, protected by the warding magic of this young witch.

Gently she kneels, her eyes focused on a rare sight; A spirit slowly finding its way into a small collection of mycelium. The small collection of sentient magic delicately presses itself into the base of the tree where the mushroom caps sprout from. Soon the magic takes hold, the fruiting bodies now growing limbs and pulling themselves away from the ground. One, in particular, has her eye, an albino mushroom which the spirit chose not to take.

However, before she can wonder why, another floats its way over. Smaller this time, nearly half that of the prior, it settles itself on top of the milky white cap. At this moment, reality comes into view. Two small black eyes open, peering up at the witch who smiles down at you. Her hand slowly extends towards you, dark black nails pinch your head firmly but carefully, and lifts you into the air.

"Well aren't you something special," she muses, her dark purple eyes scanning you over as witch turns you with her fingers. No sense of danger yet instilled in you, your fibrous white hands tug on one looking at your reflection in reflective polish. Not too short or too stubby, a wide-brimmed mushroom cap that hides your eyes from the sun; your featureless face staring emotionlessly into the nail.

She gently places you back on the ground, watching you mull about in your new environment. The grass is tall, the leaves crunch under your tiny feet. As you turn to wander off towards the other mushroom faeries, something hot and sharp embeds itself into your back. Pain shoots through you for a moment, but the soothing touch of the witch's finger rubbing over the object helps numb any discomfort away.

After a moment your tiny hands pat along your back, something smooth and hard now attached there. You look towards the witch with a questioning gaze in your little black orb eyes. She simply smiles in response, carrying you along and setting you down a window sill, where the bundled-up corpse of a spider rests. Gently she prompts you forward, your eyes now able to see the floating blue mass that emanates from it. Your hand extends into it; mycelial roots that delve into the soul, twisting and turning knobs buttons as the corpse slowly unfurls itself. It stretches out, revealing two soft white arms and a pair of small black eyes. The rest of the body folds in on itself, creating a round shape that resembles a mushroom.

The little blob of exoskeleton and mycelium stares up at you, its small black eyes shining with the wonders of new life.

Behind you, the witch oohs and aahs at your work. "What a unique take on necromancy," she says excitedly, pulling out a tiny weathered book and hastily scribbling down her findings. Eagerly, she places another small insect corpse beside you, this time that of a stag beetle.

Again your hands unfurl into tiny white threads, tangling with its soul as you start to shape its body. First, white strands wiggle their way free and wrap around its legs tentatively moving them back and forth as its body is filled with mycelium.
 Once the insect is completely ensnared in your threads, your fingers press down on its abdomen, causing it to expand slightly. Your white hands move to its thorax and do the same thing.

The stag comes to life and along with the spider are under your command.  As the witch excitedly turns around to write this down, you use this moment to escape back into the forest.

As the last of your swarm of minions disappear into the brush, the witch looks out over the meadow. Her lips quirk into a wide smile as she watches the white-bodied faeries weave their magic.

You walk through the forest reviving every dead insect you come across.  Your mycelium undead insect army is not a swarm of over 1000.

The next morning, you wake up in your bed, and the strange girl who brought you here is gone. The room has a faint scent of lilacs about it.
She didn't even give me her name.

You adventure through the forest and this time discover the corpse of a large dead wolf.  It takes some time, but your mycelium brings it back to life.

You wander through the woods, watching for any signs of the witch. When you find her you ask, "Where did you go? I looked all over for you last night!"
"I'm sorry dear," she says, smiling at you.

You turn on the witch an attempt to attack her with your undead army.
 She easily deflects all your spells, and before long, you're surrounded by the white corpses.
The witch laughs, stepping forward, her dark hair blowing in the breeze. "Well, aren't we all just a little overzealous?"

The witch gets close and lets her guard down and that's when you attack her with your undead wolf.
 The witch is knocked away, but she pulls out a wand from her robes. You feel a jolt of electricity and the corpses of your army drop to the ground, their insides melting into the soil.

Your army begins to merge into 1 giant mushroom creature.
 Its face is a mess of tendrils and eyes.
"Oh my, what have you done this time?" The witch asks, picking herself up off the ground.
The mushroom creature looks at you, the tendrils in its mouth waving around.

The creature is docile and sits down to paint you a painting of Jason from AIPD angrily staring at a birthday cake.  You and the witch look amazed at this artistic mushroom golem!

The witch laughs as the mushroom creature stands again, it smiles back at her.
"My, you certainly are talented. And powerful too," She says, pulling out a small black mirror from her robes.

Your mushroom looks into the black mirror and suddenly
 screams, the tendrils in your mouth reaching into the mirror to grab onto the witch, who laughs.
She laughs and then laughs and laughs until she falls over.
You've never seen the witch laugh before.

You attempt to take over the witches body.
 She manages to slip free of your threads and escape.
The next morning, you wake up in your bed and the strange girl who brought you here is gone. The room has a faint scent of lilacs about it.

You look over to the strange girl and notice
 she's wearing a dress that is similar to yours, but with some added puffy sleeves. She also has a wide brim hat on her head and a purple feather sticking out of her hair.
"Where did you go?

You notice the girl is undead, but you cannot control her.  She is under someone else's spell.

You attempt to perform necromancy again, and the girl is horrified. You are unable to communicate with the dead.
The strange girl then says "Oh! You're the mushroom fae I heard about.
 Are you hungry?"
The girl hands you an apple pie, which smells so delicious you almost choke on it. She tells you her name is Yurika Shizukuri, and she comes from a long line of mushroom fae witches.

You ask Yurika about the witch that brough you to life.

"She was trying to get revenge on me and my family for killing her husband," She says.
Yurika goes to your closet and opens a chest you never knew existed. She pulls out a dark grey cloak and puts it on.

The cloak has the emblem of a large golden
 mushroom with the words "Mushroom Faery Army."
She then shows you a book of maps, detailing all the places in the world she has been, and the names of the spirits that she has spoken to.

One of the names sticks out:
A woman in Kyoto who you have seen on many occasions. A beautiful old lady, always wearing a black kimono and holding an ornate staff.
You speak with the dead, the dead speak with you.

You and Yurkia head to see Hiei in Kyoto.

As you approach the shrine where you saw her, you notice a woman walking around the perimeter. Her white hair has several long braids, and her face is covered by a veil, concealing her features.

You call out to her, "Hi Hiei!"

She turns around and looks at you. You can't quite read her expression under the veil, but she smiles and waves.
She then takes off down a side street.
"Where did she go?"

You follow her and yell out, "Hey Girl, y
oo hoo! Wait up!"
But she just continues on her way.
You are confused, and so is Yurika.
Yurika tells you that Hiei's ghost has appeared in the past.

Hiei finally stops and you catch up to see she is standing in front of a shrine.

Yurika tries to explain it to you.
"She is waiting for you to make a wish, to grant a single wish to the people of this world, and then you will have to leave this place."

Yurkia hands you a bloodstained letter from Jason explaining his Extreme hatred for everything to do with Birthdays.  You read it, and you know what to wish for.  You wish birthdays never existed.

Suddenly, the old woman smiles and bows, and disappears.
You are confused as to why you didn't get a chance to say goodbye, and so Yurika explains.
The first time Hiei spoke to you, she said that you had potential.

The shrines glows with a blinding light and when your eyes adjust you see that you are in world where birthdays never existed.  You look around and see:
 no candles, no cakes, nothing to celebrate the day.
You are still very confused and ask Yurika about it.
She tells you that the woman was trying to tell you something else, and that if you continue to follow her, you will find a way home.

Next time on "The Mushroom Who Ended All Birthdays":
 The ghost of Hiei leads you to a strange village, and you begin having visions about the future.
You are so busy looking at your crystal ball that you don't even notice Yurika walking up behind you and put her hand on your shoulder.