Sunday, October 30, 2016

Pray That The Woods Forgive, Part 2

Please keep in mind that the stories I post here are considered "rough drafts"  and will be different from the "finised product" but I like to post them here to share what I am working on and to show how I "interpet the AD&D 1E/OSRIC gamme world.

Behr had been the Druid of the Kindred Woods for nearly eight years and except for not being more aggressive at keeping the incursions into the woods by the townspeople of Kerren's Landing down, he was proud of his work.  The woods had been in bad shape when he had arrived and had been dwindling pitifully with no Druid to care for it properly for over a century.

Becoming a sixth star Druid recently was one of his most pleasant life moments.  As a testament to his great affectations and attention to the woods, it had flourished and grown under his care.  As a result, his sixth Druidic Ritual of Ascension had only taken two out of a possible six days.  Behr understood that there was a Creator of all things, but like all Druids, he also realized and poured his energy into the Will and force of that Creator, that being Nature.  By serving Nature as a Druid rightly should fulfill their obligations, The Will of that Creator, Nature, had seen fit to reward him with a rapid understanding of his role as a six star Druid and the abilities that go with it.

Now the people of Kerren's Landing were essentially declaring war against his woods by not only cutting down the trees but now by proactively trying to kill the wild life that resided among the trees.  That could not be allowed to go on.  He would not allow it to continue.  The town had plenty of open land to the North and East of it to grow and expand for centuries to come.  There was no need or call to cause the kind of devastation to the woods that they were engaging in.

Behr had sat up talking things over with Jack for hours after the group of young adventurers had gone to rest in the rooms he offered them after hearing their story and they agreed to help him defend the woods and get their stolen money back.  He had no currency to reward them for their assistance, but he offered them the next best thing in kegs of mead and honey that they could sell or consume themselves.

On his own, Behr could make the trip to the edge of the woods in mere moments by moving through the trees, literally.  However, this task was going to require more hands than he had and he would need the adventurers assistance.  Consequently, he would have to take the "slow" way and travel with them back to the township.

He could summon a couple of large elk or moose to pull his wagon along, but a few hours travel time shouldn't leave enough time for much to get worse, especially with the storm just abating by the morning.  No, they would walk.  It would give him an opportunity to think out what he planned to do by the time he arrived.  It would also allow him to gather some information by sending some of the woods smaller animals and birds and get a sense of the activity before he got there.

Now as sunrise made it's rosy appearance, he made his regular morning offering to the day in the hopes of gaining favor in his endeavors.  He came back into the meadery in time to see the young people coming out from rooms behind the bar and make their way to one of the tables.  Jack, his longtime animal friend, sidled up to walk alongside him as he went to make them some oatmeal and honey at the fireplace.

He heard Jack telling him about his morning adventure only half paying attention.  He never stopped appreciating the ring of animal communication that had been given to him by an Arch-Druid three years before that had happened to be traveling and come through his woods.  the Arch-Druid had been so appreciative of his efforts with the Kindred Woods that he had offered Behr the simple, enchanted rosewood ring so that Behr wouldn't have to continually cast the spell in order to talk with Jack regularly.  The ring also allowed him to talk with pretty much any animal at any time but no monsters.  Not that he would want to talk with any monsters.

He set the tray with the pot of oatmeal, a jar of honey and several wooden bowls and spoons on the table for the adventurers to start their breakfast.  Pleasantries were exchanged but there were mostly just morning noises as they got right to enjoying a hot meal after a night in comfortable straw beds (clean beds, thank you very much, You'll be hard pressed to find any bedbugs, lice or other unhealthy insects within his home.)

While Behr looked to be like an unusually small human, the truth of the matter was that he was actually one fourth Gnome.  His father had been half Gnome.  Being only one fourth Gnomish meant that he really did not enjoy the special racial abilities of even half gnomes.  However, he was very small for a human and the one benefit that was left to him was the racial longevity.  He was much older than most people thought he was.  He appeared to be in his early twenties but was actually almost eighty years old.  If his grandfather was correct, and his Gnome grandfather was still alive and usually right about things Gnomish, he could expect to live to at least four hundred years of age.  Maybe a little more, maybe a little less.  When he referred to the adventurers as "kids" and "young people", he meant it.

He sat down at the table with the group and served himself from the large pot.  Lot's of honey, thank you very much.  Too much honey would make his teeth feel "coated" but he kept his pointed teeth very clean normally.  Clean and sharp.  'The better to eat you with, my dear' he thought, chuckling to himself.  His grandfather had told him that his tastes were hereditary.  Their's was a lineage from an old clan of Gnomes that had preyed on humans and every other two- leggeds as well as animals, birds, fish, etc...  they could get their little hands on.

Not that he ate people regularly.  As a matter of fact, people were more of a snack to him.  Being mostly human, he was conscious that cannibalism was frowned upon.  He just couldn't help himself sometimes.  So, he really tried to confine his munchies to people who had been freshly killed in battle or in a natural catastrophe, things like that.  Mmm.  What he would do for a couple of meaty fingers right about now....

Not much of serious consequence was discussed over breakfast.  He didn't want to upset their digestion before the big trip North.  Now that the dishes were being cleared and cleaned, they could get ready to go.  "I would like to tell you a bit more of my plans to protect the woods before we go.  Partly to keep you in the loop and partly to prepare you for things you may see along the way." Behr explained.

"To begin with," he began. "I will be sending lookouts and spies ahead to see what those scoundrels in the town are up to.  What you will see is a flurry of small animals, birds and insects coming and going around me.  They are my scouts so I don't want you to do anything rash like trying to kill mice or squash insects.  That would make me most unhappy."  Viktor, the half-Orc, spoke up, a bit diffidently.  "I am used to eating small animals like rodents and such as a means of sustainment while travelling."  He continued, "Is that going to put me in a bad light with you and your scouts?"

Behr thought about that for a moment.  On the one hand, he didn't want any unnecessary stress on his scouts.  They tended to not be so cooperative if they thought they would only be rewarded by becoming something else's lunch.  On the other hand, he well understood that it was simply the nature of a being like an orc, or a half-Orc as the case may be, to sustain itself on the flesh of other creatures.  "I'll tell you what, my young cohort", Behr replied convivially, "If you can make an effort to wander off a bit to find your meals and not feast on those that are obviously trying to aid me, I can overlook it as simply meeting your natural tendencies.  Don't be lazy about it though.  If it isn't immediately nearby but seems to be coming toward me or departing me, let it be on it's way.  Agreed?"  Viktor shrugged and with an appraising look replied, "Agreed Sir."  "Excellent!" Said Behr.

"What else will we do besides sending scouts, Mr. Behr Sir?" asked Elsa, the fair half-elfin Illusionist.  "Please, just call me Behr.  The 'Sir' and other needless deference is unnecessary.  "  Behr stated flatly.  "Also, 'We' won't be doing much on the way there.  I however, aside from scouting, will be having a few traps laid for anyone unwise enough to wander into the woods for the purpose of killing animals for clearing or for terrorizing trees for clearing."  Mikal raised his hand, as though if in class.  "Traps of what sort Si.. uh, I mean Behr?"  Behr chuckled.  "The kind that don't leave people very capable of terrorizing woodlands ever again.  If they're lucky."  he deadpanned afterward.  "Don't worry though, Mikal, I shall be sure to not let you be caught in any of the traps I set.  Unless, of course, you switch sides on me."  He glowered menacingly at that but then winked at the young fighter and grinned at him.

"We can discuss things more as we are on our way."  The small Druid exclaimed loudly as he stepped away from the bar where he had been leaning during the conversation.  "Let's be on our way now."  At that, everyone moved to gather their items and packs and began to head outside too start on the road back to Kerren's Landing and defending the Kindred Woods.

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