Knight of ZantarniZantarni NPC
Sat Nov 22, 2008 7:56 pm
Meldrick smiles, "Before starting this tale I would like to give thanks to manroms on Deviantart, I was 'looking' through photographs there and stumbled upon this one, it is of the Cathedral of St. Sofia and Sofia Park in Uman, Ukraine and is the inspiration for this tale."
"Thank you again manroms for your inspiring photographs, it is incredible."
Chapter 12, The Temple under the Falls
Fall was upon the land as the many hued leaves fell from the trees. Meldrick could hear the leaves fluttering in the breeze and crunching underfoot. Smiling as he found his way to the old apple tree in the park.
Sitting down and leaning back against the trunk of the tree as he took a break from greeting the newcomers at the gate. He took out some bread from his bag and listened to the sounds around him of children playing and others enjoying the crisp fall day.
Meldrick took a bite of his bread and smiled at the thought of another fall day, long ago, when he was still a teenager.
He could hear the children and some adults start to gather around him as he started his tale; “It was a crisp, fall day much like this one . . . .”
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The caravan had stopped and set up camp on the outskirts of Caernaur. They had come to Caernaur to gather salt and mountain wheat to carry with them to their winter camp grounds further south.
After checking with Mother Marla, Meldrick gathered his backpack and enough food for a couple day hike in the mountains above Caernaur. He made sure he had his skeleton-handled daggers and his first aid kit, and then headed out.
As was his norm, he followed the animal trails up into the mountains. The air was cool and the multi-hued leaves crunched under his feet as he climbed higher following what appeared to be a mountain goats trail.
Reaching a wide ledge, he looked back down on where the caravan hand camped and smiled. He smiled as he could make out the hustle and bustle of the camp as well as the villagers from Caernaur, who were enjoying intermingling with the people.
He hadn’t realized that it was getting late, as Meldrick looked to the setting sun he decided the ledge would make a perfect place to camp for the night. He decided to lie back against the rock face at the back of the ledge, to watch the full glory of the sunset.
As he leaned against the rock face, he realized he still had his backpack on. He shifted his weight a little and in doing so the back pack hit against a rock jutting out from the rock face that moved with the hit. As it did, Meldrick felt the stone face give way and he found himself slipping into the mountain and sliding downwardly in what appeared to be a cave of some sort.
As Meldrick rolled to a stop, he felt leaves crunch beneath him. Taking a moment to gather his wits about him, he looked up and realized he was no longer in the cave for he could see the evening sky above him. After checking himself for injuries he stood up and turned to face away from the cave and what he saw he could not believe.
Before him were trees with golden leaves and a pool that was fed by a waterfall. He rubbed his eyes in disbelief as under the waterfall appeared to be a small temple with what appeared to be an alabaster statue within.
By the look of the area, there had not been any visitors in a long time. He could see no footprints in the dirt and he could only hear the sounds of night birds that had made their homes somewhere in the golden-leafed trees.
Meldrick picked up his backpack that had ended up near his feet and looked into the cave tunnel that had brought him here. He then looked back at the temple under the falls and smiled “Never miss a chance to explore.” He said to himself and turned back towards the pond.
Walking along the banks of the pond, he noticed movement in the pool and wondered what kind of fish might survive in this secret mountain pool.
Nearing the temple and the falls, he noticed that the statue appeared to glow. He cautiously stepped into the temple and noticed that the falls seem to divert to either side of the columns in front of it, allowing the light of the moon to shine upon it, giving it a heavenly glow.
He moved to take a closer look at the statue. The features of the female were beautiful. Her ears appeared human yet the skin showed the markings of an elf.
Meldrick found himself staring at her face, wondering how and why there was this temple under the falls, here in this secret spot and who would have place it here. “Was she someone’s lost love or was she a long-forgotten goddess?” he asked himself, not realizing that he had spoken out loud.
“She was both. . .” a small voice said.
Meldrick jumped in surprise as he did not expect to find anyone here in this secret spot.
As he turned to face the owner of the voice, she continued, “Her name is Sofia and she is a water goddess . . .”
There standing before Meldrick was what appeared to be a young lady. She had soft, blue-green skin, human-like ears and Elvin-like markings. Her soft green dress seemed to flutter about her.
“I. . .I. . .I am sorry, I didn’t realize that anyone was here. I hope I haven’t violated some taboo by being here.” Meldrick blushed a little, having been caught.
She smiled and softly giggled then caught herself, “No, no. . .you haven’t broken any taboo, although you are the first visitor I have had in a long time.” She smiled and her eyes twinkled in the reflected moonlight. “I am
Jayde the Keeper of the Temple and welcome.”
Meldrick smiled, “I am Meldrick of the Gypsy Elves and it’s a pleasure to meet you Jayde.” He looked about the inside of the small temple, from what he could see it was well-cared for and clean.
“As the Keeper, I take it you make sure the temple is clean?” Meldrick asked.
She giggled again, “Oh yes, among other things. But keeping it clean is the easy part.” She reached to touch the falling waters on the outside of the nearest column and pointed her other hand at the nearest wall. The water seemed to flow through her and splashed against the wall, sending a few gathered golden leaves into the pool.
She smiled as she removed her hand from the falling water and the flow stopped immediately, “See, cleaning is the easiest part.”
Meldrick smiled and chuckled, “That was some neat trick . . .may I ask how you do that?”
Jayde smiled and twirled about, her soft green dress appeared to come apart in so many droplets of water as did her hair and as she stopped, the droplets formed back together, “It’s easy Meldrick, for I am a water sprite.”
Meldrick’s eyes went wide in wonder as he witnessed the separation and regathering of droplets, “A water sprite. . .I thought they were just a myth.”
She giggled again, “Even myths have a basis in fact and I am living proof.” She twirled once more and smiled.
“Do you know how to dance, Meldrick? It has been a long time since I danced with anyone.” Her eyes pleaded for an affirmative answer.
Meldrick smiled, “I don’t dance very well, but I would love to dance with you.”
Here eyes lit up as she took his hand and led him out of the temple. He set his backpack down and took her hands and proceeded to dance.
They moved and twirled about, Meldrick’s feet lightly crunching the golden leaves that covered the ground, while Jayde’s feet very lightly floated over them. They danced about, smiling and laughing, finally ending by falling to the ground sitting across from each other.
“Thank you Meldrick, I hadn’t danced like that in a very long time.” She smiled and then looked back towards the temple and then up to the night sky.
Meldrick looked to the temple and then back to Jayde.
“When I wondered if she was a long, lost love or a goddess, you said that Sofia was both. May I ask what her story is?”
Jayde smiled, “Sofia truly was a goddess . . . the goddess of the falls. She brought rainfall that grew the crops in all the surrounding valleys and was worshipped for the prosperity that she brought to all the peoples . . .Elves, humans and Sprites.”
“She fell in love with a young man named Aaron Wells, who was the architect and sculpture that designed the temple and carved the alabaster statue of her.” She looked about her, “Believe it or not there was a time when this hidden garden was heavily visited.” Then shaking her head, “But that was long ago.”
Jayde paused before continuing, “Aaron truly captured the spirit of her in the statue and it touched the heart of Sofia. She told him how she felt and he confessed how much he loved her, but had been afraid to tell her as she was a goddess.”
“He had spent almost all of his free time here with Sofia and they became so much attached to each other. They were fun and carefree times.” She smiled and looked up into Meldrick’s eyes.
“Then came the war and Aaron was drafted into service. He had come to her before going off to fight and he promised to return to her. Sofia wished she could keep him here safe from harm, but she knew that she could not hold him here nor keep him from his appointment with Fate.” There was a sadness in her voice.
“As Aaron left, Sofia fell to her knees and wept. One of those tears found its way to the pond.” She stopped and stood up and turned towards the hidden entrance to this secret garden. Meldrick stood, too.
“She was a goddess, but even a goddess could not survive a broken heart.” She looked back at the pool and the falls. “The Temple is a monument to their love.”
Jayde look back at Meldrick and smiled, “And I am a testament to their love. . .for that teardrop that found its way to the pool became me.”
She reached out her hands to him, “Come Meldrick, let’s dance and be happy.”
“I spent the next few days with Jayde, we danced, we laughed, and when it came time to leave I told her I would come back from time to time to visit her and to dance with her. She had smiled and told me that she knew I would.”
Meldrick smiled at the memory of his last visit as he stood up and started for home. “Jayde really is an excellent dancer.” He said to no one in particular. He smiled as he heard someone playing a flute and he could tell that a few of the children had started dancing.
Sit back and I'll tell you tales of Faeries and dragons.
Last edited by Meldrick the Elder on Sun Nov 23, 2008 8:41 am; edited 1 time in total