“I’ll take it on the rocks please.”

The bartender handed Solomon his glass of whiskey across the countertop. As he gripped his cold glass in his hands, he began to think some more. Thinking about many things. The rambunctiousness off The Hedge WItch Pub was loud, but Solomon paid no mind as it soon became white noise to him in his solitude at the bar. There were other patrons at the bar, but he was by himself.

In all honesty, Solomon didn’t even know exactly why he made his bar visits a bi-daily routine. On those days, he would just leave work and head straight to this bar. No one he knew frequented the bar at the hour he showed up at, yet he still kept coming by his lonesome. Maybe it was to drink his problems away. Or to just get away in general.

Solomon actually had it pretty good. He came from an old family line that privileged him with the inheritance of an entire manor, and had a beautiful wife with three kids. He even inherited fire magic at a strength that most folk couldn’t ever hope to achieve. WIth such a fancy situation, he couldn’t really complain.

However, lately he had begun to find himself at odds with...himself. For everything he had, he’d lately began to fear some very human things. He’d gone over the hill very long ago and lost any remaining fragments of the youthful energy he still had left with him. In concise terms, it seemed he would either fear his own mortality, or the path to it.

He took a drink out of his glass, not even processing the taste, temperature, or even the strength. Perhaps his mood had fallen way farther than he’d expected. In response to himself, he just put himself face-down on the cold wood bar with his arms curled around his head. He probably did it for a while too. The singer up on stage was getting back into the chorus of her song, but he was just really just only hearing the volume of it.

Suddenly, he felt a small “twitch” in his head. He figured it was just a random headache that came from his mood and his drink. A minute or two passed before someone came next to him and spoke up.

“Hello. Are you doing fine this evening?”

Solomon turned his head up to find a woman with curled, unruly chestnut hair. She appeared to be in her forties and was wearing a moonlight jacket. Despite his current mood, Solomon decided it would be rude to not speak up in a proper manner, and so rose his head from the counter and turned to face her.

“Ah, hello miss. Yes, I’m doing fine, thank you for asking”.

The woman raised an eyebrow at the statement. “You sure? Most people who are doing fine don’t plop their heads on a bar counter like that.”
Solomon chuckled a bit. “Well yeah, I guess so, ha ha ha.” He then watched as the woman turned towards the bartender and proceeded to order something.

“Hey lad! Alvious Ale please!” The woman said excitedly at the bartender. Looks like she was ordering a Fae-brew. The bartender poured a translucent, crimson liquid into the glass before sliding it to the woman. Solomon could smell something near indescribable coming from the glass. It was similar to red wine, but had an alien scent from it due to its origins. He was surprised that she was ordering something so...bold. She saw Solomon focus his sight on her before speaking up. “What? I run a pub of my own, I know my stuff inside and out.”

“O-oh. My apologies for making things awkward.”

“It’s fine, don’t worry about it, most people wouldn’t expect someone link me on the surface to get something like that.” She chuckled a bit too. Solomon was starting to think and get worried about something, but before he could get lost in his head again she spoke up. “Also, if you’re worried about the usual thing that happens in situations like these, don’t be. I don’t swing in your direction.”

It was odd. It was like she could guess what he was thinking. Maybe she was looking at his face for tells? Or was it…


That was the relative thought process as Solomon took a chance. “Lemme guess, you have mind reading magic, don’t you?” The woman finished taking a swig out of her glass before answering. “Cat’s out of the bag I guess. Comes in handy when you work at a pub with depressed guys like you around.”

Solomon felt like he should have been insulted, but he knew she was right.

“You don’t have to tell me everything, mainly because I already know enough at it is.” The woman spoke up again. “Name’s Leyla, nice to meet you.”

Solomon spoke up too. “Solomon, also nice to meet you.”

They both faced towards the massive, colorful wall of wines and other alcoholic products. The two soon started talking while both facing the wall and occasionally turning towards each other.

“So, you came here to get away as well?” Leyla asked.

“Eh, I guess you could say that.” Solomon took another drink out of his glass, which was about half empty at this point.

“Same. I get how you’re feeling. I’m pretty happy with my living stuff too, but there are just some small things that you need a break from.” Leyla also took a drink. “Red Shoe Pub gets to be a bit much at times and I can tell my wife isn’t holding up as well as I am”

“Family stuff too huh?” Solomon leaned over a bit, feeling like he could lend an ear.

“Yeah. Usually I drive to the Deep Woods and just wander a bit, but it’s really wet from that rainstorm a few days ago, so I felt like coming to a different pub instead.” Leyla started almost chugging her glass. “Hey, I know that we probably can’t solve each other’s problems, but I kinda wanna show you something that might at least help your mood.”

Leyla held out her hand with her palms up. Before Solomon could say anything though, a ball of light showed up and gave a soft glow. It nearly blinded him despite that fact since he’d had his head down for quite a while. “Usually, when I get really down in the dumps, I always do something like this. First step towards snapping out of a stupor is to try to look at something bright y’know.”

Solomon spoke up, confused, “What advice are you trying to give me?”

“Easy.” Leyla replied. “Just find some time to learn some Light magic. It’s tied to the raw magic power that the fae worlds seeps into ours, so anyone can do it.” She took one final swig of her now empty glass and leaned over. “Like I said, I know it won’t help with whatever family or personal thing you’ve got going on, but I figure coming here depressed all the time isn’t going to help either.” She leaned back. “But for now, let’s just drink the evening away as buddies. Hey bar boy! Give me another!” The bartender nodded and gave her another glass of Alvious.

Solomon did feel better now that he had someone to talk to, and maybe he would give Light magic a try sometime. Leyla was right, the first step he could take to getting over himself was to find a way to smile more. Though he probably didn’t even need it, because Leyla was doing more than enough, he got the feeling he’d see her more often these days. Well, she’d make a good drinking buddy, especially without the worry of infidelity thanks to her orientation. So with renewed energy, Solomon decided to enjoy himself for once at the Hedge.

“Hey Jack! I’ll take an Alvious too!”