Friday’s Fantasy Part 4 Dark Forest


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.”


Gwegorch“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.


**Part 5 – The Journey Continues**


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Friday Fantasy - Tirashar's Story by Eric K. Schweer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
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Eric S. said...

I'm not real happy with this episode. The flow was off, I had far too many visions flying around in my head, and had trouble sorting them out. My little narrator in my head left me to deal with them all by my lonesome. I may have to make a lot of edits, I'm not real sure. I think part of the problem is not being able to be alone while I was writing this. I know it sounds weird, but I need to write in seclusion to get into the channel of the story. >:o

Recent blog post: Love Letters, Part 2, Not forgotten

spicymist said...

hey man. i just came back on blogger after like 2-3 months. read all 4 chapters together! and now i cant wait for the next chapter. next friday is not coming soon enough! If you are making a proper fantay out of it, why don't u creat an offshoot to ur blog espeially for this story? it would be awesome!

Recent blog post: April Fool

shadow said...

hey, might feel off to you but i enjoyed it! your love of nature certainly comes in handy in your writing. i felt like i was there. and i'm glad i'm not the only one who needs to write in solitude... distractions create havoc in my mind.

Recent blog post: mr. b

Roy said...

all these, with distractions even?! wow!

this is really getting exciting!

Recent blog post: Why is this TV commercial bothering me?

Eric S. said...

Welcome back Spicymist, I'm glad you liked the story, its been living in me for a while now. I didn't post one last Friday because I wanted to promote the artist challenge I am now thinking that may be one of the problems I had last night. Information overload if you know what I mean. Too many pictures flying around, and I didn't do anything to get them cleared out last week, so I had two weeks worth to sort out.

I thought of an off shoot blog, but I think I'm going to let the story form a little farther first. Kind of help to define the look and feel of the blog.

Recent blog post: Love Letters, Part 2, Not forgotten

Eric S. said...

Hi Shadow, Thank you. I'm going to have to read and re read this a few times before I can find where I faltered. You know how it is when something just isn't right, but you have no idea what exactly it is.

Yep I am most comfortable when in total solitude. It allows me to go to that space in my mind where all things are clear and lively. My wife used to read over my shoulder while I wrote, and it drove me nuts, left me feeling uncomfortable and insecure. So I started writing very late at night when no one is around and I can find that little piece of serenity.

Recent blog post: Love Letters, Part 2, Not forgotten

Eric S. said...

Thanks Roy, yep those distraction of everyday life can get in the way some times. But then one must deal with them for they don't go away until you do. Sometimes distractions can add to a story, but usually they just create a few fractured thoughts and misdirection.

Recent blog post: Love Letters, Part 2, Not forgotten

Jena Isle said...

Slowly, I'm getting to know the characters. It's unfolding beautifully, I like that. and the drawing, WOW -magnificent. Fits to a "T". you'll be a good team. I can imagine now your book in the best seller's stands...I'd be expecting a personally autographed book for me...he he I so presumptuous? lol...forgive me. Keep writing. :)

Eric S. said...

Hi Jena, thank you. The fun part of this is introducing the characters. I'm trying to fit some of their background into the story. Tirashars and Darfrains is yet to come. We'll get a little each time on Darfrain, but the next episode will have quite a bit on Tirashar. And a little magic to go along with it. That's all I'm going to offer right now. You'll just have to come back and read next time. 8-)

Recent blog post: Love Letters, Part 2, Not forgotten

Recent blog post:
Love Letters, Part 2, Not forgotten

spicymist said...

yeah and i love the names you have chosen for characters. where did u come up with those? did u make them up or were influenced? and i could actually visualise what you were describing.

Recent blog post: April Fool

Eric S. said...

LOL, Spicymist, I love it, what a great question. Tirashar and Darfrain just came to me. I was staring at Pony's pictures, and asking them who they were. Boom, the names popped up in my head. Tabitha was a spur of the moment choice. Darfrains Mother Cloemilla was a creation of some serious contemplation. I like the name Cloe, but it didn't sound old enough. Now then Brethil, is Elfin for Birch, and Gwegorch is a combination, Gweg Elfin for man, Orch Elfin for goblin.

I sometimes have more fun researching things than I do writing the stories. :)

Recent blog post: Love Letters, Part 2, Not forgotten

Recent blog post:
Love Letters, Part 2, Not forgotten

tashabud said...

Hi Eric,
Do you know? I grew up in the middle of forrests in the Philippines, so I can relate to all the spirits you're talking about. The old folks in the province are very superstitious and very into all kinds of spirits. So it's not just in fantasy stories these spirits exist. They actually exist in the innermost parts of the forrests of the Philippines also. Hee,hee.

Your story and your characters are unfolding beautifully. I didn't feel as though your thoughts were all jumbled up when you wrote this segment.

I agree with Jena, your niece's drawings illustrated your story well, or, your story is portraying your niece's drawings beautifully.

I'm with you about writing. I write my best when I'm completely focused on my writing.

Good night,

Recent blog post: A Visit With Dr. Cassidy

TWM said...

Stop! You're killing me Eric. As I read this portion I was thinking, "Good he's worked out the mechanical defects that had been troubling the flow."

This is the best chapter yet and the train is picking up steam quite nicely. I hope you're just as "bothered" next week.

Eric S. said...

Well thank you Mark. I keep reading it, and each time I get more comfortable with it. I guess maybe my thoughts had climbed aboard that ever present self criticizing train. As you know, we can be our own worst critic.

Recent blog post: Love Letters, Part 2, Not forgotten

Recent blog post:
Love Letters, Part 2, Not forgotten

Eric S. said...

Hi Tasha, I knew you would understand and feel the forest spirits. They are always around us, and transmit their vibrations when we are open to them, LOL. No I'm not crazy, I just like exploring the unknown realms ;)

Yes Pony's picture give me so much to work with. So far it has been an interesting and fun journey, I just hope it continues.

As to the writing, Why is it that we seem to create so much better in solitude. I am getting better at doing with out these days, for Blinda has taken to staying up late also. Which means I have to either write with company, or stay up even later whic sometimes happens anyway. 8-)

Recent blog post: A Written Portrait?

lilly said...

Oh I finally got a chance to come and read. I am not sure why you are concerened about it Eric the story is unfolding really well and we are getting to know more about the characters. It leaves me wanting to know more. Look, if you had more time you can polish things off as we all could but we dont have the luxury. Sometimes I think its better to get the story published and you can re-edit later and perfect it (simply because your readers arent seeing the issues you might). Don't forget to get some sleep though! Pony's art is perfect. A brilliant partnership for this project. How wonderfu that her art inspired this. Who knows where it might lead?

Recent blog post: Not Happy Barbie

Eric S. said...

Hi Lilly, Sleep, what's that, LOL. Thanks, I'm getting more comfortable with it, maybe just a few tweaks, but I can't find them yet. The next section is playing through my head a little to forcefully. I might have to get it out, and then come back and take a look.

Time certainly is a luxury we don't seem to have much of, but I guess I have only one person to blame for that huh. 8-)

Recent blog post: How About a Few Twists

Kel said...

Yah . . . I'm in agreement with most of the others, I don't see how this installment is weaker than the others. Things are rolling along fine wee Bro.

I'd hoped you'd tap, eventually, one of of Poni's scarier critter sketches. I enjoy her hero/heroine and humanoid villain sketches, but I think she really gets into a visceral space when sketching one of her many beasties.

And I totally dig the critter's name in this story . . . Gwegorch! Cool, very cool.

Eric S. said...

Yep, I guess it's just in my imagination. Pony's critters are so good. Some of them don't quite fit this story though. There may be a few more along the way. :) ;)

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