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[Loreroot] The Bard Of Loreroot

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The day was hot, but the ale was cold. The bard sat at a table with his back against a wall in a small pub in Wind Sanctuary. All morning he had watched the comings and goings of the people of Marind Bell, listening to their conversations, gossips and complaints. Very few noticed him, as was his want. His friend Raven had stopped by to request more work from him on behalf of the Artisans Guild. They had spoken briefly about the commission, settled on a price, and shared a drink in good humor.

He looked up at his new patron, “I could use another.” He said flatly as he carefully removed his Lute from its case and began to minutely adjust its strings.

When the newly ordered pint came, he took a long pull. The strong sweet ale steadied him. No one (no not you No One) had ever asked him to tell this story before. His hands started moving across the strings on their own, as usual he had started something before he had meant to.

He looked up at Muritus Del Mur and said, ”So you want to know my story? Very well.” And he began to sing:

“The Root of Lore lies deep within,

Shaded from the light of day,

Secrets there in shadows hidden,

Known only to the Nymph and Fey.”

“The forest is his cradle fair.

Family? Home? He has no other.

Root and Tree his only care,

A Strangle Vine, his Mother.”

“Alseydes born and feral raised,

No words he has to keep.

The wind and rain and tree he praised

In languages they speak.”

“Blinded hearts, ears like stones,

The Others come to kill a tree.

The forest screams, sheds tears, and moans,

They cannot hear, they do not see.”

“He lures them to his mother’s face.

Their eyes so full of hate,

They fall into her sweet embrace,

And there they meet their fate.”

“Seeds to seedlings and then to trees,

Like them his stature grows,

Soon bird and beast and all he sees,

His power ere doth know.”

“A raven spoke of a Nymph most fair.

She dwelt in Raven Hold.

At length he went and climbed the stair,

To see what he’d been told.”

“Oh Lovely nymph, at sight did win,

His love, for her gentile grace.

A Knator saw, then followed him,

Back to his secret place.”

“He called to him the wind and rain,

Furious power, a tempest blow,

The Knator’s smile his only refrain,

No fear of him did show.”

“He called to him both bird and beast,

The Knator they gathered round.

Birds snapped at him, beasts bared their teeth,

Knator’s smile turned then to frown.”

“Enough! said Knator, lute in hand,

And then began to play,

A musical spell, a tune most grand,

It held them all in sway.”

“The great and mighty Knator Lord

With Music armed, loud as a horn

He saw the truth, drew not his sword,

“So like the vine, you are: BlackThorn.”

The bard stopped then and took another long draught of ale. “That’s not the end of your story?” said Muritas more like a statement than a question.

The bard put down his drink and looked again at his patron. “Why am I telling him this?” He thought to himself, then said. “No, it is not.”

“The spell of the Knator Lord’s music had caught hold of me; or maybe I just wanted to see NelyaSetesh again. I don’t really know. But I followed him back to Raven Hold. I remained there for many years as he taught me to play, and then to sing with words, and finally to speak like Men. He told me that he believed that I was the child of a human and an Alseydes: a wood Nymph. He did not know why I was abandoned, but he said it explained how I was able to speak the languages of the wind, the trees, the birds and beasts.”

BlackThorn stopped then and when Muritas only waited for him to continue, he did, still not knowing why. “At first the thought that I was the half child of a human, those I had called the Others, was detestable to me.”

At that Muritas‘s eyes narrowed, only slightly, but BlackThorn had caught it. He was defensive of the humans. Good, they will soon need him.

“In time my master showed me that not all men destroy. Some even live to protect Loreroot. He sent me to live and learn from the humans. There are those, I even call friend. Although most I meet are obsessed with fighting and training their creatures. Still they are a good lot.” BlackThorn took the last gulp of his ale. Setting the empty pint down he carefully placed his lute back into it’s case.

“It’s beautiful, and you play it well.” Said Muritas; a slight smile on his face.

“Thank you. It was the parting gift from my old master; the Knator Commander.”

“Tell me about this thorny vine, the one you called your Mother?” said Muritas looking straight into BlackThorns eyes. The bard reached into his belt and pulled out a small pouch.

“These are her seeds.” He said handing one to Muritas. “She was my Mother. She protected me, fed me from her fruit, held me close and covered me with her vines when I slept. I would not have survived without her.”

Muritas turned the shiny black seed back and forth in his hand as he listened to the bard speak. “They are more than simple strangle vines, They are sentient beings. They use small black poisonous thorns to subdue their enemies. The poison does not kill, it only causes temporary paralysis so that those who fall into their embrace don’t struggle and thrash about. That makes it easier to crush them.”

“Why did it let you live?” BlackThorn smilled at Muritas. “So like a human.” he thought. He said, “I was never her enemy, she was, is my family, my kith and kin. Why would she want to hurt me?” Mur found something humorous in that and laughed out loud. “Of course.” He said still laughing.

“May I keep this?” he asked. BlackThorn nodded and put the pouch away.

“What of you, and NelyaSetesh?” BlackThorn felt the rush of blood to his face. He had rather hoped that Muritas would not ask him about her. “We have never met.” He said looking down at the table. “But I…” BlackThorn paused, he was no longer sure of his true feelings and as a bard, he was unable to speak other than the truth to a patron. Muritas smiled a sympathetic smile and spoke softly, “I understand.” he said, “She is very beautiful.”

BlackThorn smiled. “Yes, She is.”

“Well I must be off,” Said Muritas Del Mur as he rose from the table. “Thank you for the song and the story, and for this.” He said holding up the strangle vine seed.

BlackThorn also rose. He bowed and said, “If I may ever be of service, do not hesitate to call on me.” Mur’s eyes went up slightly at that, only slightly but BlackThorn had seen it. “I may just do that.” He smiled as if to a joke only he was aware of, then left.

Again BlackThorn sat down at his table with his back against a wall. “Why did I say that?” he thought to himself while shaking his head. “Oh well.” He said as he ordered yet another ale.

Edited by Shadowseeker
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  • 3 months later...

I am BlackThorn, Bard of Loreroot. NelyaSetesh, Lady of the Root, has asked me to begin this on her behalf, and so I must.

"First I will tell you of what has already transpired." \\

"Oh BlackThorn where are you taking me?" NelyaSetesh was in no mood for any of the bard’s silly games. She was worried about the developments in the balance between Golemus and Necrovion and how it would affect Loreroot. The loss of Wodin still weighed heavily on her heart. "If you are wasting my time, my boot will meet your face." She growled.

BlackThorn was not in his usual take-life-as-it-comes mood. He seemed quite in earnest as he led the beautiful nymph deep into a very secluded part of the wildwood. At her words he seemed to wince as if she had just slapped him, and he was quiet.

"What is going on?" she said. "You are never this quiet. In fact, most times I find it rather hard to shut you up." She was beginning to grow concerned about her friend, and that made her angry. She turned to him and asked, "What’s wrong BlackThorn?"

"We are almost there." he said turning to her in a low and quiet voice. "Listen." Nelya stopped next to where BlackThorn stood. He had his eyes closed. She tapped her foot anxiously on the ground, frustration and the pressures of the council weighing down upon her. "I don't hear any thing." she said.

BlackThorn looked at her with tears welling up in his eyes. He said, "I didn't ask you to hear, I asked you to listen." Her anger left her then and she said, “BlackThorn I've hurt you. I'm sorry."

He smiled at her and said, “I grew up here. In this valley." Nelya looked around at the ancient trees and thick carpeted moss covering the forest floor.

“This was your home? Before The knator Lord found you?" He shook his head in the affirmative. “I would like to meet the vine you call your Mother." she said with kindness. "It must have been terribly lonely for you here." she said when he didn't speak.

"No" he replied. "It wasn't. HE was always here. Always."

Nelya began to feel her heart beat faster. “Who was here?" she asked in a distracted kind of voice.

"The Knator Commander did not know why I was abandoned here." He said. "But I do, now. It was to prepare me, so I could bring you here."

Nelya could feel him now. He was so close. " HE is calling me." She said as if in a dream, and then began to run.

She ran until her lungs burned but that did not matter. "HE" was calling her. She reached the center of the valley and there all in a circle stood a copse of the most ancient trees she had ever seen. She hurried to them and ran around them desperately searching for a way in. Nelya found a space large enough for her to just squeeze through.

Inside she saw the same thick carpet of moss surrounded by the circle of ancient trees. A small fresh spring bubbled up from the depths. Standing stones with archaic Glyphs were scattered and tilted about. She new what to do.

As she spoke NelyaSetesh knelt to the ground with her arms outstretched to the sky, and in an archaic Nymphic language she cried out: "Most ancient Father, heart of the wildwood, Giver and Keeper of Life, accept from me your most obedient child this gift and awaken." The wind began to blow and rain began to fall. She lowered her hands to the ground as pulses of yellow light surged from her body and were absorbed into the mossy floor. The ancient stones sprang to life and the strange glyphs began to pulsate with power. After long minutes, Nelya’s sacrifice stopped. She was exhausted almost to the point of death.

But then an answering rumble could be heard from far below the forest floor. The rumble grew louder as Nelya tried and failed to get to her feet. She could feel the life slipping away from her. "He is awake." She was utterly spent and hung on to life only to see Him one time before death claimed her mortal frame. At the very center of the circle of the copse, the ground began to heave and crack open.

Root rose up from the ground and from his long slumber. He looked to his Priestess Nymph and she was suddenly bathed in light. Nelya felt the life of Root pour into her body. She was filled with his effulgence and yet still more flooded in, great stores of secret knowledge and power flowed from the gentle Lord of the forest into NelyaSetesh.

Outside the Bard witnessed Nelya’s sacrifice. BlackThorn wept.

When Nelya had entered the Sacred Circle, he had feared for her life, but the Bard was the voice of Root and so he had obeyed. Now he could hear the language of Root. All around the forest, things were changing; reawakening. She had succeeded. He was awake at last. The bard patiently waited for Nelya to return and many hours later the trees opened a way and she walked out to him. Exhausted she fell into his arms. He would be content to hold her forever there in his embrace.

"The Root of Lore lies deep within," she accused him. "You knew. All this time you sang it in your songs, and you knew."

He smiled that Take-life-as-it-comes smile of his and said, "Mitakuyé Oyasin." //


From Calyx:

(Mitakuyé Oyasin) From the Lakota language meaning all my relations. This thought concept is common to all aboriginal people of Turtle Island (North America). It acknowledges that everything Creator made, even that which (to modern eyes) appears dead or inanimate, is sentient, conscious, and capable of communicating with us. When we utter this phrase we are acknowledging our connection to the listener/reader and to all of creation. We are (stating and acknowledging that we) all related as family, as blood.

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