Familiar But Not So Familiar - P443
Erl repeated the mantra to himself as he meditated.
Breathing in, he envisioned the calm energy of the lightly rustling canopy filling up his body. Breathing out, he turned that into releasing all the fidgety energy within him into the forest around him.
He repeated the process; breathing in the easy stillness of the ground and breathing out the random thoughts zipping around his mind.
The connection between him and nature was strong and he could feel the whispering voice (voices?) echoing down it like vibrations on a plucked string. That in itself was progress he was satisfied with, being able to tell that the whispers were from the world around him.
If he was honest, being able to discount it as some madness was a relief and now that he knew where to focus he could get better at listening for the sounds.
Pleased, Erl opened his eyes– and looked into an unfamiliar face staring back at him.
With a startled yelp he tried to jerk backwards only to fall in a tumble as his body, stiff from being still longer than it was accustomed to, didn’t move in the way he expected. Chirup’s squawky cry and a rapid scuttling sound informed him that he’d likely almost squished Spore, but glancing to his side he saw the spungus was okay as the kiweet flapped in irritation.
His pippets clearly weren’t surprised by the thing staring at him and were displeased by his reaction. That was fair, he’d be grumpy if someone almost squashed him too.
Looking back at the newcomer Erl considered it. The closest thing he could relate it to was a gingerbrat he’d seen terrorizing Amaryllis’ cottage, though this creature was made not of cookied, but by what looked to be sticks, vines, and leaves. There was even a little flowery mask around its eyes and its fingers and toes stretched out like roots. The flowers on its face were quite pretty and he was fairly certain he could pick out at least four different types.
‘I am a glade spirit.’ came a whispering voice in his mind. It sounded similar to the voices from nature he’d been hearing for the last little bit, but more focused.
“I didn’t know there were such things.”
The spirit shrugged. ‘Some of your kind call us dryads, but we do not show ourselves often. Now that you have cemented your connection to the forest however you are someone safe.’ It– for Erl could not even hazard a guess at a gender and he received a feeling of confirmation from the thread in his mind at the thought– smiled at him a waved a hand at their surroundings. ‘It’s been decided that I will be your… I think your kind call it a familiar? Mmm, yes, we’ll go with that term. I will be your familiar and help you interpret the needs of the forest.’
That was… a lot to take in and Erl held up a hoof for a pause.
“I cemented my connection with nature?”
‘Yes. You are a Rootsinger now. The guardian of Heartwood told you you could become one and you have.’
“And I’m not mad, the whispers have been from the forest because of that connection.”
“And you, a spirit– dryad– are my guide or familiar to, what? Like, translate what nature is saying if I don’t understand?”
Erl nodded slowly before rubbing his head and shrugging. This was already happening and it wasn’t like he didn’t like the woods so why not.
“Alright then. Is there anything I should do first?”
‘Yes. A sapling needs help. I will show you.’
Rising to his hooves and stretching out his tingling legs, Erl waited for Spore to clamber onto his head and Chirup to settle between his shoulders before smiling at his new familiar.
“Lead the way.”
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