Monthly Archives: May 2015

Chapter 1 (10)

CHAPTER I

(Ailintho)

‘She’s in an old shelter on the brink of the forest in the West’, I said. He put his gear on quickly and was ready to go.

We went back to the main path and hurried towards the Western part of the forest. I took some shortcuts to get us there as soon as possible but still it was about an hour of walking. We were going fast and didn’t talk because of our accelerated breaths but eventually I managed to ask him.

‘Did you get scared of what was happening with me?’

‘More like I was surprised. I’ve never seen that before’, he answered.

‘This is the trance technique and I don’t use it often’, I explained. ‘It’s too dangerous and exhausting to repeat it regularly but it’s helpful in case of emergency. It requires someone to support on so I’m grateful you were there for me.’

‘You’re welcome.’

He was quiet and reserved but I must have admitted I was somehow beginning to like him. I recalled gentle yet strong touch of his hands on my feet and I felt sparks going down my spine again just like in the moment he was pressing the sensitive spots on my sole. I had to suppress the sigh of pleasure a couple of times…I have been alone for so long that I almost forgot how it was to feel pleasure.

I was so lost in memories that I startled when he caught my hand and pulled me closer.

‘Hash! The intruder is near.’

11139407_810371442380844_3184708428809574639_n

(let me know if you are the author of this picture)

Published under Creative Common License

Advertisements

Chapter 1 (9)

CHAPTER I

(Wanlorn)

I was watching her curiously, even with my limited dealings with druids this felt strange. My eyes were locked on her, watching every move as she went into something resembling a trance. Her body began to shake and I felt concern rising inside of me, the feeling of something going wrong was getting stronger and threatening to make me react by stopping this. The only thing that held me back was doubt, I couldn’t be sure that I wouldn’t do more damage than good if I interrupted the trance so I waited and continued watching, ready to pounce at the slightest sign of trouble. My hand was tightened around a green gem, I knew I could use it to repair even the most serious wounds. As her ritual was reaching a climax, she suddenly collapsed. With my increased speed I caught her body before she fell to the ground, gently lowering her on the soft grass. Even in my worried state I could feel her calm aura and I knew she would be all right. I spoke the incantation of my gem and moved it up and down her body to heal her but it seemed she wasn’t injured. Unsure about what to do next I looked at her face, her breathing was normal. My eyes remained on her face, there was something there that made me unable to look away. I only realized she was conscious when she called my name and I found myself looking into her eyes. I coughed to disguise my embarrassment.

‘Are you all right, milady?’

‘Yes, I am quite all right.’

‘I apologize for this situation but I wasn’t sure…’

‘People not familiar with the druids often mistake my reaction for an injury.’

‘Do you need a moment to catch your breath? Is there anything I can do to help?’, she looked at me for a moment while thinking, finally she decided.

‘There are some spots on my foot you can press to make me recover faster but you have to do exactly as I say because otherwise you might do more damage then good.’

I nodded my head and placed both hands on her foot, waiting for her to tell me what to do.

‘Press the sole and the toes gently, continue increasing pressure till I tell you to stop. Do not hurry, I don’t want to be paralysed instead.’

I did as she instructed and soon was helping her to get on her feet. She brushed herself off and informed me that she found the intruder.

10409597_792784657461818_5882606499353922719_n

(let me know if you are the author of this picture)

Published under Creative Common License

Chapter 1 (8)

CHAPTER I

(Ailintho)

I got up at dawn as I always did. I washed my face, dressed myself and went downstairs to the kitchen. Lendra was already waiting with oatmeal.

‘With dried blueberries as you like’, an old woman smiled to me as I kissed her cheek. Lendra always provided me with the best food. I have been her favourite since the day I came to the druids’ seat. Not a druidess herself but the main cook in the community, she was respected by the elders who entrusted her with bringing up the youngest children. I remembered myself as a five year old little girl walking to the storeroom or the garden holding on to her large skirt with other kids. I smiled as I realised that nothing has changed for her since then.

‘Thank you’, I said taking a small wooden bowl full of hot oatmeal and sitting at the table. ‘Has the warrior come for breakfast yet?’

‘He has’, she nodded. ‘But he didn’t want breakfast and only asked for water. He is waiting on a yard.’

I ate the delicious oatmeal, kissed Lendra again and went outside the building. He was indeed waiting and even seemed impatient. He did not say a word though, just got up and put his gear on.

‘I guess we’re ready’, I said. He did not answer so I suppressed a sigh and went directly the path leading to the forest. I remembered not go behind him though, I might not like the warrior but I wasn’t searching for an argument with him either so I walked next to him.

‘We have to find a glade distant enough from any human seats be it the druid community or the villages nearby’, I explained to him as we were leaving the gate. I did not expect him to respond to my words but to my surprise, he spoke.

‘May I ask you some questions? Not the personal ones.’

I was astonished and didn’t know what to say so I only nodded.

‘Could you please tell me why the windows are not symmetrical in the druid hall?’

‘The windows were like that so as not to hurt the tree’, I answered, satisfied that the question was indeed not personal. ‘We used some sort of spell to make it grow this way.’

‘It looks like a safety hazard to me’, he said. ‘An attack possible from any side.’

A warrior. No need to be surprised, Ailintho. He’s a warrior.

‘We included this risk, too. What you don’t know is that the windows can be made to disappear as easy as they were made.’

‘Clever solution’, he nodded. ‘In the room I noticed a strange contrast between the elaborately decorated furniture and the simple clothes of the elders.’

‘That’s easy to explain’, I smiled. ‘Shaping and decorating wood is our tribute to nature. Trees are the monarchs of the forest and druids themselves are only servants. We protect the nature and help the villagers who live close to the forest, that’s our task.’

‘I understand.’

We were walking in silence for a moment and I must say I enjoyed it a lot. Wanlorn’s energy was calm and slow, his thoughts were hidden under his magic-proof helm and his mouth was closed. I must have admitted that although he seemed distant and suspicious, his subdued behaviour was a clear contrast to the ones of talkative, jovial and overly familiar people whom I came across everyday. It was a true relief, I could not deny it. And the fact that Nomi, our cat liked him immediately, was the best proof he was not as warriorlike as he seemed. Animals feel the vibes better than people and stay away from these negative ones.

‘Can I ask one more question?’

‘Yes, please.’

‘All the other members of the council are significantly older than you and yet Master Orthus introduced you as the chief druidess. May I know why?’

I fixed my eyes in the path in front of me and suppressed a sigh as memories returned.

‘It is custom in our community that it is governed by a druid and a druidess, a man and a woman, as a representation of the cosmic order established by God and Goddess. My predecessor died a year ago and I was chosen to take her place. In case you are wondering why such a young girl became the chief druidess’, I couldn’t see his thoughts exactly but I noticed a slight shift in his energy. ‘Well, let me just say I have condensed skills. And I look younger than my real age.’

He didn’t ask any more questions and we reached the glade soon. I looked around and noticed a poplar immediately. Perfect.

‘Now I am going to do something you will find strange but please, trust me, I know what I’m doing’, I came closer to the tree and looked at him. His eyes were dark and impenetrable. ‘I will touch the bark of the tree and it may seem that I fall into a trance. I need you to embrace and support me now because if I use too much of my energy, I may fall down.’

If he was surprised, he didn’t show it. He approached me and very carefully embraced my waist. As I felt his body close and put my arm on his shoulder, I almost lost my breath. I could feel his vibes easy now, they were so calm, clear and pure that all I wanted was to absorb them endlessly. Luckily my mind and sense of duty intervened quickly enough, after all I had a mission to accomplish. I clenched my hand on the trunk, closed my eyes and concentrated. After just a couple of seconds my consciousness raised above the tree and I could see the forest with my mind’s eye.

My inner sight was spreading high now, I was capable to see a large area but the task was to locate the intruder so I had to expand my awareness while covering the whole area and to shrink it right after whenever my inner sight caught something suspicious. It was exhausting. ‘Don’t forget to breathe!’, a voice inside was reminding me but I was too eager and determined to find the crippled creature to listen to it. With every breath out my consciousness was expanding outside my body but it was coming back whenever I was breathing in.

I was playing a dangerous game with my body, I felt it was getting too little air to breathe but I was almost done, just a small area on the edge of forest was left. My body began to tremble but I sensed the unwanted guest was somewhere there. Just as my inner sight noticed the location, my body couldn’t stand this state anymore. I felt weak and darkness fell in front of my eyes.

When I woke up, Wanlorn was kneeling next to me, keeping my legs raised on his shoulders and staring at my face with barely hidden anxiety.

‘Are you all right, milady?’, he asked.

‘Yes, I am quite all right’, I nodded. I was still feeling dizzy and weak but I was coming back to my normal state. His strong, clear energy was flowing to my body through feet and I felt better much quickly than usually.

‘Is there anything I can do to help?’

I smiled. Most of the community was accustomed to me losing consciousness while performing clairvoyance but being a stranger he must have been shocked. And judging by his vibes he was clearly worried about me. I smiled widely. It was nice feeling to know he did care for me and I hated to admit that instead of searching for the intruder I’d rather stay like this with his hand on my shin and his dark eyes fixed in my face…

11231035_884757404949966_3001877518522704846_n

Published under Creative Common License

Chapter 1 (7)

CHAPTER I

(Wanlorn)

As I was waiting for my guide in the morning, my mind went back to the meeting. The druid hall was situated inside an enormous tree, standing at the entrance I could feel waves of positive energy. Ailintho was smiling widely so I assumed she felt it as well but it could have been simply because she was happy to be home.

A small black kitten was sitting on the fence, observing the life around carefully. When her eyes reached mine, she curled up and looked at me even more intently. But then she straightened up, jumped down to the ground, came to me boldly, meowed quietly and started to rub against my leg. Ailintho looked at me surprised.

‘She does not normally come to strangers’, she said with disbelief.

I spoke nothing, just smiled and scratched the kitten softly behind her ear. She closed her eyes and purred with pleasure but Ailintho didn’t let it last long.

‘We must go’, she turned around and walked ahead. ‘The elders are awaiting us.’

The great wooden doors opened soundlessly as if by magic. As we entered I noticed a slight drop in temperature compared to outside, the living tree provided cooling in the summer and warmth in the winter. The decorations were beautiful, almost everywhere I looked there were wooden carvings of various animals. Something else caught my eye as well, the placing of the windows, they weren’t symmetrical as one would expect in the city but rather placed at seemingly random distance from each other. This really made me curious but before I could ask Ailintho about it we reached the council of elders.

They were seated at a great oak table with ornate wooden chairs that wouldn’t seem out of place in a King’s hall. Their clothes were in stark contrast to this, each of them wore plain shirts and pants. I made a note to ask Ailintho about this as well later.

During the meeting the elders showed respect towards me and were courteous but I still felt an undercurrent of being interrogated. Mostly I listened and answered them while asking very few questions myself. As the meeting was coming to an end, they assigned Ailintho as my guide until we get to the bottom of this. After shaking hands with each member of the council I went to the room that was prepared for me, ate the dinner that was left there and went to bed.

Now it was early dawn but I was already prepared for today’s task, I only needed to wait for Ailintho to appear.

Published under Creative Common License

11667520_1133842519964597_8044567421093260241_n

Chapter 1 (6)

CHAPTER I

(Ailintho)

I was observing him carefully, finally being able to do it without restrictions. He was sitting right in front of me and telling the Council of what he had found out about the disappearances in the village. He was handsome indeed but not one of those rich, plain and empty men who were successful with ladies. Judging by his appearance and profession he was rather feared than desired, Daile would be disappointed. He had a very distinctive, though a bit gloomy look with a long triangular face, long nose and pale skin. His brown eyes were big, deep and sad; they were giving me no chance to avoid his glance. They were sending me a serious look under long black eyebrows as if asking ‘Who are you?’

I could have posed to him the same exact question. He wasn’t a common warrior, of this I could be sure. I could sense an active intellect and a deep emotional life in him; the features he were hiding as they were not appreciated in his profession. He could kill hybrids and people, he could have a stone – like face, his appearance could intimidate those less courageous but I was not deceived at all, he was a complex human being, not a killing machine. My gaze wandered to his mouth, it had a beautiful and sensual shape with full lips which made me feel like I wanted to run to him at once and kiss him passionately. ‘Ailintho behave!’, I scorned myself in thoughts. ‘Control yourself and listen to what he is actually talking about!’

‘I was told that three inhabitants of the village were missing in the forest so I went searching. Forgive me if I had trespassed on druid lands, that was not my intention. I usually get along well with druids and clerics and I don’t search for any reasons to quarrel with them.’

Orthus nodded his head.

‘The forest is free from boundaries and we would never attack any travellers who lost their way here.’

I was sitting on his right together with five other druids, that was the whole council of our community. The room was spacious and brightened by the light of setting sun, we have gathered by the round table to listen to the words of a stranger.

‘So did you find any traces when you were exploring the forest?’

‘I did. Not the ones the villagers would think of, though.’

‘They did not seem like hybrid or animal ones, did they?’, I guessed.

‘Neither of them.’

Orthus and I looked at each other instinctively. No hybrid then, just as we expected.

‘So what were these?’

‘Human ones. You have an unexpected guest in your forest.’

A murmur passed through the druids but Wanlorn remained unmoved.

‘But these may be the footsteps of someone from our community!’, Dargo protested. He was responsible for keeping an eye on the forest so implying that someone had bypassed the guards without his knowledge was like an insult to him.

‘Is somebody in your community crippled?’, Wanlorn asked still sending us this severe, serious look.

‘No. Nobody we know’, Orthus responded. I felt anxiety growing slowly in his aura but he remained calm.

‘Then it must be a vagabond’, the warrior nodded his head. ‘One footprint was regular but the other vague, without clear shape. That person must have been halting all the way here.’

Druids began murmuring again. As long as I remembered we have never had an unknown intruder in the forest.

‘The trace begins in the western part of the forest and leads to the northern one, it doesn’t come in any way close to the village situated on the south. Whoever or whatever that was, it is not responsible for the disappearance of the villagers.’

Silence fell after the warrior’s words but was soon broken by Marimo, a druidess responsible for the contacts with villagers.

‘If it’s not a monster or an animal that captured the inhabitants then why do they disappear?’

‘I cannot be sure but I was analysing the situation and I think I have an explanation for that, too’, he leaned back and sat on the chair comfortably. ‘From my recollection of the mayor’s words, it seems there were three cases. The first missing person was a heavy drinker, it’s possible he fell down and drowned in the river while being intoxicated. The waters could have taken his body with their flow. Missing number two seems like a rogue, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone killed him in an argument or revenge and then hid the body. If he hadn’t got any family or friends then no one was determined to find out what happened to him. The third person seems like a decent one but the winter was severe, perhaps he got frozen while being away from the village. As I said, I cannot be sure. But I can see that all three cases don’t necessarily have to be connected to one another nor to the mysterious crippled creature wandering through your forest.’

‘It makes sense’, I nodded. I had to admit he was observant and his conclusions seemed logical. ‘All we need to find out is where our unwanted guest came from and possibly send him there again.’

‘This is what I am going to do, m’am’, he almost smiled looking at me. ‘That’s what they pay me for.’

‘We would be glad if you helped us get rid of an intruder’, Orthus spoke. ‘And our community of druids will add on something more to the sum the villagers will pay you for solving the puzzle.’

‘Very well. I’ll start searching the forest tomorrow in the morning.’

‘We’ll provide you any help you need.’

‘I’d be grateful for a guide. If it wasn’t for Lady Ailintho, I would get lost in the forest’, he bowed his head slightly in my direction and I got angry again sensing his irony.

‘That is correct’, in response I bowed my head, too and raised the left corner of my mouth in a spiteful smile. I was just telling the truth!

‘Sir, you’ll go with Ailintho then’, Orthus stood up from his chair. ‘But first you need to rest. You’ll find a meal, warm bath and a bed in our community, please make yourself comfortable.’

Wanlorn thanked him in just a couple of words and left the room with the rest of druids. I did notice that just before he disappeared he turned his head and looked at me but I pretended I didn’t see it.

‘Who is he, Ailintho?’, Orthus asked when we were alone in the room. ‘What are you sensing in him?’

‘A warrior, but not a typical one’, I answered immediately. ‘He was wearing his helm, which was blocking his thoughts, so I didn’t find out much about him. But I could feel his energy without any problems. He’s intelligent and courageous, that’s for sure, but he’s also hurt and drained emotionally. He must have lost a lot of people who were dear to him.’

Orthus nodded his head.

‘That’s what I suspected, too. I want to send you to search the forest with him because you can read people like writings on a piece of paper, however if you had sensed anything dangerous in him, just tell me and I will send someone else.’

I was thinking for a moment recalling the streams of energy emanating from his body and then I shook my head.

‘No, Master, he is not dangerous. Broken but not dangerous. I have nothing to be afraid of.’

As long as I was in the forest, I was safe from any danger. I bid Orthus good night and went to my chamber. I had to go to bed soon as I was about to get up very early in the morning.

Published under Creative Common License

11695848_1133843199964529_8259795747668601888_n