The Rootless One had already left the Temple of Frozen Blossoms, so I won’t be traveling to the Blood Forest just yet. I did hear about an interesting man called the Wand Maker.
I finally found Aspen Wandmaker, all the way back in the Great Forest of Velloren. We sat quietly at a small campfire sharing venison stew and tea. He smiled when I said the trees were beautiful but I startled him when I asked what they were saying. After a moment of studying me he said:
They tell me there was a storm in the north. Several of the old ones fell. The young ones are excited. The old ones have been blocking the sun for decades. One of the fallen is grumbling. It wasn’t his time. He blames the family of gnomes that burrowed between his roots and then left, but the other trees say he never filled in the gaps so it’s his own fault. The truth is that he is still waiting for them to come home and he’s afraid that now they’ll have no safe place to be. The others will reassure him that they will shelter his gnomes should they return, but they tell me he refuses to see the truth that the gnomes were killed and eaten by wolves.
There was a tornado to the west ripping young and old alike from their roots. That forest is still in shock but it will recover soon.
But it’s the news here that disturbs me. There are too many squirrels in this place, and there is something wrong with them. They’re taking all the nuts but they’re not eating them or caching them for the winter; they’re destroying them. The squirrels are chewing up leaves and twigs and tearing up bark, leaving those trees vulnerable to disease and rot. The animals will go hungry, and there will be no new seedlings in spring.
He paused a moment, frowning and deep in thought. Then he turned to me and said, “Do me a favor. If you return to Koenigsburg visit the Master Druid. Tell him I’m asking for his help. And bury this at the base of the Heart Tree. Let her know we still hear her.” With this last he handed me a small carving of a pile of nuts, leaves, and seeds.
So, I’m off to Koenigsburg. Again.
You can click this link to read what little I learned about Aspen Wandmaker.
This work by Jean Headley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.