Image by Epona Schweer via Flickr
If this is your first visit, you can catch up by starting with Part 1 Faroje’s Pub. Then just follow the the links at the bottom of each section on to the next.
The forest closed around Tirashar and Tabitha, the trees seeming to weave together, forming a solid barrier on either side of the trail. Shadows playing games with their perceptions. Forest sounds assaulting the pair’s senses. Creating imaginary visions of creatures of the the night to flood their thoughts. The forest seemed to have a spirit of it’s own, a dark uncomfortable spirit.
Tirashar, who had always been uncommonly in tune with the spirits of nature, whispered quietly. “Mighty spirit of trees, Gods of the forest, we mean you no harm. We’re seeking only a safe place to camp, fuel for our fire to warm the soul, rest for our wearied and worn bodies.” Tirashar continued along the trail until she came to an opening in the trees beside the path. The opening seemed almost to form before her eyes, the trees slowly withdrawing branches that had seemed to obscure it. “Thank you kind Dryads, your welcoming gesture is well noted and appreciated.” She whispered.
Tirashar rode into the opening, and followed along until she found a small clearing not far from the path. Lowering Tabitha to the ground, she slid off the mares back herself. Tirashar noticed a patch of grass, led her horse to it. While she brushed it down with a hand full of dry grass, Tirashar spoke to her faithful friend. “Moru, my beautiful black beauty, you have done well this night, carrying double the burden and never once faltering. Rest now, eat and restore your strength for I fear we have another long road to travel tomorrow.” Moru nickered, and curled her lips while shaking her head, seeming to understand every word.
“Tabitha lets find some fuel for a fire, pick only fallen limbs, dry with age for we do not wish to ager the Dryads who have been kind so far.” Tirashar said softly.
“What do you mean, what is a Dryad?” Tabitha asked in confusion.
“Dryads are tree spirits, they are aware of everything around them, and can help or hinder us. It pays to be respectful of the spirits, and the gods who protect and cherish those spirits.”
“How do you know these things, I’ve never heard of such spirits before.”
“My mother is a healer, and village elder. She taught me, since childhood, about all the spirits, and how to pay them the proper homage. Tabitha the spirits of nature are powerful, and are involved in every aspect of our lives. Those who ignore them are destined to have hardships and failures throughout all their lives.”
Tabitha was skeptical, but didn’t say anything. Her life to this point had very little to do with anything other than Faroje’s pub. She had heard many a tall tale told over a mug of ale, and had always credited them to the imaginations of the teller. Most were told to impress a wench or intimidate an acquaintance. Tabitha knew she would have trouble with these beliefs, and was surprised Tirashar was so comfortable with them. She started collecting fallen branches for a fire, and set about preparing a pit.
Tirashar took some dry grass, and made a little mound in the center of the pit. Using a straight edge knife she carried on her belt, she shaved curls of wood off a dead branch, letting them land on the mound of grass. Then selecting a few of the smaller twigs and branches Tabitha had found, she made a small cone shaped pyre over the mound. With three quick strikes of her knife on a flint, she sent a series of sparks flying into the dry grass and kindling. Before long she had nursed a fire to life, and started adding larger pieces of wood to it.
Tirashar and Tabitha sat near the fire, absorbing the glowing warmth it provided. As they settled in, getting comfortable, Tirashar added a few more branches to the fire, and moved some rocks in close to the flames so they could reflect the heat towards them. Tabitha pulled her new cloak tight around her, and laid down trying to get comfortable. The excitement of this night had taken it’s toll on her energy. It wasn’t long before both were fast asleep.
Tirashar dreamt of green fields filled with wildflowers, leading up to the edge of a darkened forest. As she walked in her dream, she got closer and closer to the forest. A beautiful Elfin maiden, with a large live oak staff, topped by a knot of roots seemingly alive and moving, came out of the trees to greet her. “I am Brethil, protector and caretaker of the Dryads. I desire to meet this person who has so impressed them to have offered their protection to her.” Brethil had a musical voice, that had an entrancing quality to it. Her hair was pure, briliant white, flowing in beautiful long, full locks down her back, a few errant strands hanging over one eye. She was dressed in a form accentuating dress that seemed to be made of a fibrous material, cut and decorated with flair.
“I am Tirashar, daughter of Elfin elder, Raensilim, and wise Druid, Amrodfaer, of the house of Shashirod. I travel to lands unknown, in search of my father.”
“Tirashar you have made a friend of the Doron Dryad’s. They have offered protection for you and those who travel with you. Stay on the trails they show you. Do not venture into the woods for the Gwegorch prowl in freedom there.” Brethil said with a firmness so like Tirashars Mother. Visions of a creature, half man, half reptile filled Tirashar’s thoughts. The creature had a particularly vicious appearance, and Tirashar felt the hair on back of her neck stand on end. “Sleep lightly and short, soon the sun will rise and add other dangers to your travels. Fear not for your friend who rides to catch up with you, for he will be shown the way to your side. Take this talisman, it is a piece of Doron with their ley contained. Trust to your feelings and instincts, and the ley will help lead you through troubles” Brethil handed Tirashar a small piece of polished oak. worn smooth, and polished by hands unknown.
Tirashar awoke with a start, and sat up. The fire was dying down, so she added a few branches to the flames. The vision from her dream came back to her thoughts, and sent a chill down her spine. Suddenly Moru lifted her head and snorted alarmingly, ears alert, looking at the entrance to this small glen. Tirashar stood quickly, and moved away from the fire, trying to fade back into the shadows of the trees. Reaching inside her cloak sleeves, she grabbed her daggers, their sheaths strapped to each wrist. Tirashare focused her eyes on the darkest spot she could find, hoping to accustom her eyes to the darkness and rid them of the glare from the fire. I know better than to look into the fire, or sleep so close to the light, what was I thinking? Tirashar wondered to herself. She could now hear the sounds of hooves, and a branch breaking. As she looked to the entrance of the glen, Darfrain rode into site.
An overwhelming sense of comfort enveloped her, and Tirashar expelled an audible sigh of relief. A welcome site Darfrain and his white stallion were. Tirashar moved back to the fire so Darfrain could see her. When she sat down where she had been laying before, she found a small piece of wood. It had the same shape as that of the one Brethil had given her in her dream. Tirashar picked it up, and held it tight in her hand. She could feel a vibration in the wood, and she could feel her worries leaving her conscious thought.
Friday Fantasy - Tirashar's Story by Eric K. Schweer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at smalltownmountainboy.blogspot.com.
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