Nature Mage - P443
This little sapling had called to him. To Erl specifically.
He didn’t know why but the thought pleased him immensely. Surely there were others it could have called to. There were bound to be ursuki around with a stronger, innate, connection to nature than he had. But still, he had been the one called to for help and that meant something.
Obviously he would do whatever he could to help the sapling move and survive and he would do so happily and with pride.
It was a good thing pippets couldn’t talk. If they could, and if anyone ever bothered to ask, Spore and Chirup would have been able to regale them with all sorts of stories. In particular though would have been the one of how Erl crooned soft comforting words to a stunted sapling as he used his magic to slowly work the tree and its rootball free from the surrounding earth. He then used his mage’s hat of all things to wrap around the rootball and secured it with his bandana and his runic gem. Any fancy pants mage would likely be horrified at the use of those items for such a dirty task, but their pouflon simply didn’t care.
When he spoke quietly to the forest spirit who had guided them here, neither spungus nor kiweet were quite sure what to make of it since it clearly wasn’t a pippet, they each climbed back onto their favored travel spots as Erl began to follow the dryad north, the sapling gently hovering in its makeshift bag alongside him.
A deep breath in.
The smell of damp mossy earth and newly opened flowers. The visualization of the calm around him being drawn into his body to settle him.
A deep breath out.
Loosening his musclea and letting the tension flow out of him to dissipate into the earth.
Erl, his two pippets, and the little sapling tree walked steadily behind their dryad guide. Well, he walked steadily. Spore was in his web between Erl’s horns and Chirup was snugly nestled between his shoulders while the tree floated beside him, held aloft by Erl’s runic magic.
Taking the time as they walked, Erl looked at the forest surrounding them and smiled. Sunlight filtered through the trees in rays leaving dappled spots on the grassy groun. That same grass was speckled with flowers tall and small and shifted gently from his passing. The canopy was a rainbow of colors, lit from behind with the glow of sunlight and every so often allowing for a peak of cloud-spotted sky. It was a beautifully sight and filled him with a sense of contentment, if only he could impart this feeling to others.
‘You know, just like how you look at the forest, the forest looks at you.’
Try as he might not to startle, Erl still wasn’t as accustomed to the spirit’s voice in his mind and winced as he knocked his head against a low branch he’d been moving under.
Was that the sound of snickering?
Ah, he hadn’t asked that outlook as far as he knew, but either the question showed on his face or he and the dryad’s mind were more closely linked than he thought.
‘It is not my mind you are linked with Erlkoenig. It is the forest itself. It felt your question just as you heard its giggles.’
That’s right. He was a Rootsinger now. He had an established connection with this environment he so admired. If the “price” to pay for that were some trees giggling at his petty misfortune? It was a price he was more than willing to pay over and over.
“Say, uh, what should I call you?”
‘I do not have a name.’
“Right, but just calling you “the dryad” or “the glade spirit” or “my familiar” in my head over and over feels rather demeaning. I mean, you’re your own… person? Being? Entity? Yeah, lets go with that. You’re your own entity and deserve all the respect I can give you.”
The glade spirit was silent for long enough that Erl wasn’t sure it was going to answer.
‘You may call me Nyssa. And I appreciate your thoughtfulness.’
“Great! In that case, hey Nyssa, do you know what this flower is?”
‘That would be marsh weed.’
“Oo, neat! What about that one?”
“Okay okay, and uh, what about this one?”
Nyssa did not drag its woody fingers down its face in exasperation but it was a near thing. Turning to look over its shoulder at the pouflon following it, it paused and stared.
‘Erlkoenig, how in Bellacoste did you manage to get caught in a tangle of twisted rush.’
“Oh, um, I was curious what that lotus-looking flower over there smelled like but then one of my ears got caught on a vine and when I was trying to tug it out I guess I got myself wrapped up in another one and uh, well now I can’t really move.”
‘I have never met a pouflon who so loves and is loved in return by the forest and yet cannot move freely through it.’ the dryad said, shaking its head as it began to help untangle him.
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