4 min read

Dryad's Song

A short story of a dryad waking up from a deep slumber and encountering a lost hunter.

A few weeks into midsummer, I recalled you stumbling upon my nest, several miles deep into the forest Nelephaeium. This was considered a sanctuary, filled with exotic plants, and berries sought after their healing properties. However, access to these rare ingredients was considered a luxury and only left to the brave, because it took days to reach its fringes, and the wildlife that roam about it were hostile. The residing creatures fended off outsiders that might pose harm to the forest, which the forest rewarded by providing food and shelter. No one would like to come across a savage creature alone, so bands of merchants usually trekked with a cavalcade of guildsmen. The vast forest spanned three-quarters South up until the Northwestern regions of the mystical Mount Vasana, with no part of the forest claimed by the nearby kingdoms. I have been a part of this sanctuary for decades, but I spent a great length of it in slumber, remembering only brief episodes of waking up to uproars of warriors and beasts, and days where I would sometimes feel a form of growth along my appendages and crown.

In my dreams I always heard a melody play over and over again. But one day, I realized I was no longer in deep slumber. I felt a distinct warmth spread throughout my chest, and somewhere in me, I felt that it was time. Time for what? I am not sure. I attempted to open my eyes, but receiving the sunlight for the first time in decades stung. I decided to remain non-seeing while I slowly readapted. I could barely make out my surroundings, but I was able to hear and feel around me. All these newfound senses were an immense delight, and the next few days were spent on rediscovery. I revelled in the assortment of textures, variety of flavors, and the plethora of scents. A pleasant surprise it was the day I heard my own giggle and learned of the existence of my voice. Then, a few days later, I was startled at what I was experiencing. Opening my eyes made me recognize areas that seem to spill out into the next, boundaries defined by a difference in values. Some more intense, and some even soothing. Still some having a close resemblance to the other, but different only by a few values lower or higher. This was when I learned what color was. However, I can barely make out any distinct features, and all I saw were splotches against a wall of green.

I heard a few snapping of twigs beyond the bushes. Leaves rustled among the dense foliage, and from behind twisting branches and tightly woven brambles, a strong presence filled the air. My eyesight was still adjusting, but making use of my tendrils, I was able to taste the air around me.

There were gashes along your arms where wounds bled into your sleeve, and knots of mud in your hair stood out, an image of disarray disturbing the otherwise serene atmosphere of the forest. Disheveled you were from the trekking, but there were no signs of malnourishment or allergies from poisonous plants. You caught your breath and looked around, and noticed a peculiar system of trees that extended farther down to the foot of the mountain. You were astonished, filled with an indescribable awe at the glorious sight of Nature untainted, but soon after, fear crept up and made you realize how deep into the forest you've found yourself. You later realize that these trees seem to have these humanoid figures embedded in the trunk, woven around by vines. None of them seemed to stir, but that was because, they – we, were in deep slumber. Only a certain mental signature could awaken us.

I squirmed, trying to shake off this long slumber, and such movements caught your eye. You threw me a bewildered look, and cautiously approached me, never lowering your stare.

My eyelids fluttered finally, my eyes registering the daylight. I could see you clearly now. When was the last time a human stumbled upon these untouched corners of the forest? I was drawn to the soothing strength that radiates from you. I sensed no corruption or greed within your spirit, and your heart is pure. You were unlike the rest. But I felt a form of distraught bubble from within you. Somehow tapping into your thoughts, seeing that my eyes were unlike the deep brown pools of yours, but a murky, psychedelic swirl of toxins, a shiver ran down your spine.

"Hello", I muttered, hoping to ease the tension.

You gasped, and lowered your stance. You drew out a sword from underneath your garments, and pointed it at me. You were shaking terribly, your weapon vibrating madly with you. I heard my giggling ring in the air at such amusing gesture, and drew out my own set of blades at you in cheery response. You trembled as each one hovered about your face. Beads of sweat formed around your forehead, and one fell onto one of my tendrils, and I giggled at how ticklish it was. You are very amusing. Eccentric, but amusing. You shook despite you being keen at keeping still, fixing your eyes at each blade that floated by your ear or hovered around your legs. I was tempted to touch you. Gently, I brushed one tendril against your face, which sent you hollering like a mad man. Your arms and legs jolted, and you fell onto the forest floor, throwing a few flinches before you finally passed out. I was taken aback with such response, as I thought I was doing well with the salutations. I turned you over to check if you fainted from dehydration, or were delirious from the forest trekking.

Related Posts

The Bubbling Brook at Berthelot

Archon Meld

Snow White

Starwing Voyager M78-64JK

Berry-picking by the Glades