Knight of ZantarniZantarni NPC
Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:32 am
Chapter 13 – The Faerie Tree
Meldrick had taken a break from greeting the newcomers at the gates. Finding his favorite spot under the big elm tree in the middle of the nearby park, he leaned back against the trunk of the tree and closed his eyes.
As he sat there, enjoying the warmth of the sunny day, he could hear a few children arguing. “There is so such a thing as the Faerie Tree!!” “There is not, it is a myth. . . .pure hooey!!” “Look, there’s Elder Meldrick, let’s ask him. . .he’ll know the truth!”
Meldrick stretched a little as the children approached him, as on lad approached him; “Elder Meldrick, could you please settle an argument. . .is there really such a thing as The Faerie Tree?”
The children stood back a little from Meldrick awaiting his answer as he smiled and turned his head towards where the lad who asked the question stood. Clearing his throat before he spoke, “Yes, there truly is The Faerie Tree.”
The lad who thought it hooey spoke up, “There’s a tree that the flowers and leaves turn into faeries at night, guarded by a talking wyvern . . . .No way!”
Meldrick chuckled, “That sounds like Tommy Wraithe. . .Tommy, The Faerie Tree is real. . .and I have seen it, myself. It was shortly after I brought the sharlous back to Celthros”. . .
After leaving Celthros, the caravan headed towards the Eastern outpost city Delphyn that sat on the edge of the wild lands. The wild lands; untamed territories; a relatively unexplored area of Zantarni, where there were tales of many unusual creatures and strange happenings. “Just the sort of place I like,” chuckled Meldrick as he sat on the back of Mother Marla’s wagon, his golden sharlou sitting with him, its head resting on his lap.
Mother Marla smiled as she saw the unlikely pair sitting on the steps of their wagon, “Meldrick,” she said as she approached them, “We will be here a couple of days, Elder Ulric has business to attend to. If you would like, you can do a little exploring.”
Meldrick perked up as Mother Marla approached, smiling at her words, “Mother Marla, you must have read my mind, I was waiting to ask if it would be all right if ‘Goldie and I went for a look see.”
“Of course, Meldrick, just be careful. . .and ‘Goldie’ you keep an eye on him so he doesn’t get into trouble,” She giggled as she gently scratched the head of the little sharlou. ‘Goldie’ responded by kissing her hand and bowing.
Meldrick chuckled and then scrambled into their wagon to get his back pack, canteen and skeleton handled daggers. Checking the contents of his back pack, making sure he had everything, he rushed back outside and hugged and kissed Mother Marla, who smiled as she watched Meldrick and ‘Goldie’ head for the hills.
Along the way, ‘Goldie’ stopped now and then, picking up the odd piece of metal and tossing stones, Medrick chuckled and joined in tossing stones, while his eyes took in the other-worldly detail of the terrain around them. Moss covered trees and rocks that gave the appearance of creatures out of fractured faerie tales.
They would stop now and then and investigate some of the odder shaped trees and rocks, and playing hide and seek among them. Meldrick also picked up samples of leaves and plants to take back to Mother Marla to see if they might have any medicinal uses.
While checking around the moss-covered stones, Goldie started jumping up excitedly. Meldrick rushed over to see what the golden sharlou had found. As he bent to look at the white, almost transparent flower petals, they moved and two of the biggest blue eyes appeared in the middle of what he had thought was a small pile of flower petals.
Meldrick could tell the little creature appeared in distress as it could barely move, “What’s wrong, little one? What can we do to help you?”
The little faerie looked up pleadingly, “Must. . .go. . .to. . .the Faerie Tree. . .must go!!” She appeared almost frantic about it.
Meldrick’s eyes opened widely, “The. . .the. . .the. . .Faerie Tree!!” Shock and disbelief at what he just had heard as all children had her the stories of the fabled “Faerie Tree”, yet none had believed it to be real. But here in front of him was proof. . .proof that there truly was a Faerie Tree and that the petals and leaves are actually faeries.
He gently lifted the tiny Tree Faerie, “Which way do we go, little one, for we do not know where the Faerie Tree is?” but the faerie was too exhausted and seemed to be continuing to lose her strength.
Goldie reached over and touched Meldrick’s arm and gently pulled him. “So you know which direction to take, Goldie?” She nodded and started off deep into the alien, moss-covered forest. Meldrick followed, being careful not to jostle the little faerie.
They traveled what seemed to be miles back into the strange forest, Goldie never wavering as if following a secret trail that only she knew. As they reached the edge of a small clearing she stopped and waited for Meldrick to catch up, then pointed to the middle of the clearing and there stood the fabled Faerie Tree.
Meldrick had to catch his breath at the beauty of this incredible tree and then stopped in his tracks as Wyvern landed in the clearing between him and the Faerie Tree. The hint of smoke from the wyvern’s nostrils told Meldrick that this creature was indeed a fire-breather and obviously a protector of the Faerie Tree.
The wyvern stood it’s ground sniffing the air, “Halt dragon! This is sacred ground and none may enter, not even a Great Red Dragon.” The wyvern looked confused as he realized that Meldrick was an elf and that the scent of Great Red Dragon was coming from him. “You are not a Great Red, why do you carry their scent?”
Meldrick looked to the Wyvern, surprised that it actually spoke to him, “I am Meldrick of the Gypsy Elves, blood-brother to Red Claw of the Great Red Dragon Clan. . .” Meldrick stopped as Goldie, cam to his side and took his hand. “But we can talk of that later as we have found one of the Tree Faeries and she is not well.”
The Wyvern moved closer to see what Meldrick held in his hand, “That is Celeste, she is an Elder. . .We thought we lost her.” The wyvern looked to the Faerie Tree. “We must hurry. . .there isn’t much time. . .the Tree Faeries need the nutrients of the tree to survive. They are dormant during the day as they remain attached to the Tree.”
Meldrick followed the wyvern to the Tree and held the Tree Faerie. . .Celeste, to the branch that the wyvern indicated and she slowly stirred, her eyes opening as the wyvern moved closer. “Naris. . .” she smiled as the tree branch enveloped her feet and she quickly changed shape to that of a flower on the Faerie Tree.
Meldrick and Goldie moved back away from the Tree and watched as the wyvern seemed to smile and count each ‘flower’.
After awhile, the wyvern came back over to Meldrick and Goldie, “I am Naris, Protector of the Faerie Tree and I thank you for returning Celeste to us, we thought we had lost her. She has asked that you stay till tonight’s ‘Awakening’, so that she may talk to you.” The wyvern looked back to the Faerie Tree, “You must know that this is an incredible honor. . .now I must resume my vigilance, there is a small brook beyond those rocks and I ask you to please not approach the Tree unless you are summoned.” The wyvern sniffed the air again and as she took to the air, Meldrick heard her say, “Great Red Dragon scent. . .most curious.”
Meldrick smiled as he and Goldie settled in. He leaned back against a moss-covered rock and just watched the Faerie Tree as its boughs, laden with Tree Fearies, gently moved in the slight wind. Goldie laid her head in his lap and watched too.
As the sun began to set, Meldrick noticed the Tree start to fill with movement and as the last vestiges of day shown over the hills, the Tree Faeries began to stir and spread their wings. Then one by one, they slipped out of there bounds and drifted in the air, looking much like cherry blossoms adrift in the wind.
Meldrick knew that this was indeed a great honor as his eyes filled with the wonder of the Tree Faeries in flight. He noticed that several of the faeries seemed to be gathering around the spot where Celeste had rejoined the tree. He watched with great interest as Naris landed near the tree and the faeries seemed to swarm about her, when he realized that this must be part of ritual honoring their protector.
Naris looked back over her shoulder to where Meldrick and Goldie sat and motioned with her barb tail for them to come to the Tree.
Meldrick and Goldie stood up, Goldie taking his hand and holding it tightly as they proceeded to the Faerie Tree. They both smiled as Celeste spread her wings and the Tree released her from its loving grip.
She moved to them and then lightly hovered in front of them. Meldrick opened his hand, offering her a platform to stand on which she accepted and landed on his palm.
“I want to thank you both, Meldrick. . .Goldie, for without you I would have joined the spirits.”
Meldrick was surprised that Celeste knew their names and she giggled.
“The Faerie Tree is sentient creature and during my healing, she was able to learn your names and to teach them to me.” Celeste looked to Goldie and then back to Meldrick.
“We, unfortunately lose a few of our people when they get injured and cannot make it back to the Faerie Tree, our lifegiver.” She looked to the wyvern. “Naris is our Protector, but she cannot go and search for those who are unable to make it back home. . .for her duty is to protect the Faerie Tree at all cost.”
“I have been asked to request something of you. . .I know that you love Goldie, but if she or one of her kind would join us, it would give more of our lost ones a chance to survive, to make it home.”
Goldie squeezed Meldrick’s hand and looked up into his eyes. Meldrick knew that she was going to stay and nothing more needed to be said as he knelt down and hugged her.
That being understood Celeste asked Meldrick to spend the night with the people. He smiled and graciously accepted.
The night passed quickly as Meldrick greeted as many of the faeries as he could. He smiled as he watched Goldie interacting with his newfound people and in the background of it all was Naris as she flew about, ever-vigilant.
When the morning came, Meldrick watched as the faeries rejoined the Faerie tree, all but one.
Celeste flew to him and handed him a small vile. “Your Mother Marla is known to us, please give her this gift of our life sap. . .she will know what to do with it.” She kissed his forehead and flew back to rejoin her link with the Faerie Tree.
Goldie came and hugged him, saying good bye in her own special way; then quickly running back to the Faerie Tree and finding a perch in its branches.
Naris landed before him, “Farewell, young dragon and guard this secret well."
"Farewell, Naris." He smiled as he headed back into the forest, heading back towards home.
Meldrick closed his eyes, remembering the beauty of the Faerie Tree.
"Meldrick, what did Mother Marla do with the life sap?"
He smiled and opened his eyes, "There was an epidemic in Stonebridge, the life sap saved hundreds of lives."
"I remember my Grandfather talking about that epidemic. . .my Grandmother almost died, except for a miracle cure." Tommy looked to Meldrick and then hugged him. "thank you...thank you...for saving my Grandmother."
Meldrick hugged him back, as a tear rolled down his cheek. "You're welcome, Tommy...you're welcome."
Sit back and I'll tell you tales of Faeries and dragons.