Atairi: song of souls
Nom Nom Nom Bushes
Just how did I get myself into this mess? Heelo thought as the Woodsman standing before his theeno prepped himself to swing, he was a large burly looking man with a plaid flannel shirt and large pants being held up by green suspenders. Oh yes, now I remember… White light flashed before Heelo’s eyes as the red bearded executioner swung his axe.
“Had enough yet, Ki’sht?” The cell guard sneered at me as I sat in the hold of Rerald Atheen’s theeno.
“Is it over already Gereen? I was just starting to enjoy the way you smell.” I mocked the dark green figure standing before me in full Dragon Barkmale. Gereen the Guard was large, the theena to an ancient willow. Standing with eight arms, each folded within its counterpart, four Oak Steel swords strapped to one hip, and a yew longbow leaning against a wall. “Alas, all good things must come to an end eventually.”
“Oh your fun isn’t over just yet youngling. The Rerald wants to see you.” A toothy grin covered Gereens ugly face. Im sure my demise was playing in that wilting head. One of the oversized arms reached into the tangling vines of my bare cell and they receded allowing me to pass through.”Oh and I would bathe before seeing her.” He said throwing a disapproving look my way.
“Not the biggest fan of the smell of wild boar, Gereen?”I jeered as I walked away. A Grunt could be heard from behind me but I didn’t bother turning around to look.
Once out of the detention area I could feel my connection to the Link returning. Placing my hand against the smooth redwood wall I reached into the Link and sifted through the thousands of theeno until I found my own. Focusing on it I walked through the rose coloured wall and stepped out into the familiar smell of bonsai and a sense of being home once again filled my spirit. I was in a small hallway lit with gently glowing mushrooms casting shadowless light from all directions. At the end of the hall was a single room lined with pillows of royal purple, blue and pale greens. Against one wall stood a green pale green slender figure with long legs and slim shoulders, lean muscles could be seen under the Oakenplate armor that covered most of her skin. A boar spear was strapped across her back. Her entire attention was placed on a collection of bone dice sitting on a bookshelf. “Feleece, what are you doing here?” As I spoke she jumped a little and dropped one of the dice, causing it to roll under the shelf.
“I, if you must know was sent to make sure you go straight to Rerald Atheen’s chamber once you’ve made yourself presentable.” She said with only the smallest hint of a smile as she straightened up and tried to make herself seem larger by puffing out her chest and striking a pose with her hands placed on her hips through gaps in her armor.
“You’re enjoying this aren’t you?” I grumbled to her. She tried to hide a smile as I pushed past her, reaching down to grab the die that had fallen. and place it back on the shelf. The room was sparsely furnished, with a bookshelf, closet and small table having grown out of the tan walls. I walked over to a heavily polished frame that hung inside my closet.
“I may be having a little fun, its not very often that one gets to hold their best friend prisoner.” She smiled as she flopped down into a pile of pillows and threw her feet up on to the table, her hands clasped behind her head.
“Well enjoy it while it lasts, I have the feeling this time my lucks caught up with me.” I said as I examined my face in the polished wood. I was young, about 18 in human years, but just a sapling to anyone else. I had a pale green skin and emerald eyes with leafy vines coming off my head down my strong shoulders. Lean muscle covered my naked body, giving me an appearance of someone years older. “Besides, didn’t Atheen say if I was caught with the hunters again she’d have my theeno chopped down?”
“Oh please, she likes you too much to do something like that. Your her little trouble maker.” She jeered. Opening one eye and giving me a flat stare. “Either way, I would stop stalling and go to the bathing pool already before she sends out a hunting party to drag you to her chamber.”
“At this point it would almost be better to be severed.” I said solemnly as I found the Bathing Pool in the Link and walked through into a lush garden. In the center was a deep pool fed by a singing waterfall. The moonlight glistening off the water casting a blue light across the entire area. The grove around it was beautiful with flowers blooming all around and birds chirping in the trees. Lightning bugs shone in across the water like stars in the night. A few of the more luscious theena were treading water their pale green skin glistening in the moonlight and ample bodies seemed light and playful, their giggles and seductive appearance designed to lure humans into the pool to keep the bloodlines in the Grove from becoming too thin. Two particular beauties sat on the shore talking to Cindy the Siren that had been allowed to take up residence in the pool during the breeding months when there’s list a little too many willing sacrifices for the women to handle. I felt Feleece’s armored hand on my shoulder and she walked through the flowering willow behind me and gently pushed me towards the pool. As I approached the pool I could see vibrant colorful fish swimming in the crystal clear water. Bracing myself for the cold plunge I crouched to just at the moment a bark clad boot kicked my rump and sent me splashing into the icy water a course of giggles could be heard once I surfaced. Evidently it was just one of those days. I had only just began treading water when Cindy plunged into the water and swam my way.
“Hello Heelo,” She giggled as she emerged from the depths behind me, drapping her arms around my shoulders and pressing herself against my back in the same manner she would one of her victims. “care to join me in a swim?”
“I have better things to do then be teased by you today Cindy.” I retorted, her attempts to embarrass me usually worked, but today I was in a hurry so I plan on simply dismissing her completely.
“Oh, but I could make it so worth your time.” She whispered into my ear, her hand running across my chest and down over my abs. My resolve not to be embarrassed faltered momentarily but I quickly dismissed it, knowing that no matter what she said, the Siren couldn’t offer me anything.
“Off you go demoness, he has business with Rerald Atheen.” Feleece said leaning on her spear and glaring at the fish finned fiend.
“Oh, but its just so much fun to watch him blush.” She pouted, unfortunately she was right, the bidding flowers in my hair had begun turning a bright red.
“I’m not blushing!” I insisted, causing me to blush more, Cindy giggled again took her sweet time taking her hands from me before she plunged back into the deep and back up on the shore giggling to the theena on the shore.
“What ever you say Lover boy, just finish washing so we can get this over with.” Feleece said holding back a laugh at my situation. The rest of my bath was uneventful, and when I finished I felt stronger and refreshed as the cool water nourished my theeno. As a plus I smelled more like a Bonsai now and much less like the wild boar I had been hunting.
With no more reasons to be able to stall I stood in the hall to Rerald Atheen’s chamber. Feleece stood behind me, giving me a reassuring hand on my shoulder as she pushed me forward. The Rerald’s theeno was a great redwood, emanating a golden light from a thousand glow bugs nesting in the walls. we pushed through the long rounded hall make entirely of polished redwood, on the walls spiders had webbed great portraits of historic events and a carpet of gold lined moss stretched through the door in front of us. It was thick and firm, made of redwood with Oak Steel reinforcements growing around the edges. At the entrance stood an ancient guard, at over twenty feet tall his gigantic stature still paled to that of the door. He commanded them to halt as they approached, he was the theena to a Great Oak Steel tree and his armor and great sword grew out of his gray green skin.
“State your name.” The Guardian commanded, He never once even looked down at me or Feleece his steely gaze fixed at something only he could see. Chills came over my entire body as I stood in his presence, suddenly my cocky demeanor vanished and I was left feeling vulnerable and weak.
“Feleece Okane and Heelo Hyceer.” Feleece said, she was standing perfectly straight in the same stance as the guard, she too seemed to have become a statue, despite her compared size. I had seen it all before, as a guard
even an apprentice like her if you didn’t stand your ground against the Guardian you would dishonor his might and he would strike to reclaim it his honor.
“State your business.” He commanded, his tone and demeanor completely unchanged.
“Delivering Heelo Hyceer to Rerald Atheen.” Feleece returned, with that the entire exchange was over with. The Guardian pulled the door open just enough for them to pass through, once on the other side it was closed again.
The inside of the Chamber was very large with ambient golden light, pillows of every colour were placed around the edge of the room, a crystal water trickled around the edge and wove a stream through the room, splitting into two to create an island in the very center. On the island sat a gold lined pillow adorning the pillow sat the most beautiful theena in the entire grove, her deep green skin flawless and with a head of flowing autumn leaves, her only clothing was a necklace made of a living vine draping itself around her neck in the center, hanging down between her bosom was a perfect teardrop emerald, it glowed with power that reflected in her eyes as he looked up at them. “Heelo Hyceer, how do you pleed?” Rerald Atheen asked, an attempt at dark human humor.
“Guilty my Rerald.” I returned with the same crude humor. I watched a sparkle in her eyes as I played her little game. It faded quickly and she looked past me.
“You may leave now Feleece.” She commanded. Feleece gave my shoulder one last squeeze before she melded into the wall and was gone. “Oh dear child, what am I to do with you?” She asked rubbing a delicate finger over her forehead.
“Promote me to Huntsman?” I joked, with my winningest smile. She chuckled to herself and sighed, I knew this was my last straw.
“Heelo, you know you are my favorite child.” She started her spirit dropping quickly, her shoulders slumped a little and she seemed to age ever so slightly as the light in her Emerald dimmed. “I’ve given you so many chances, where did I go wrong?”
“The fault is all mine my Rerald,” I said quietly, I could see she was wrestling with what she was about to do. “Please, do as you wish with me, my Rerald.”
“This is not the fate I want for you, so much wasted promise,” She shook her sorrow quickly and straightened back up. All business once again. “Im so sorry to do this my child…”
“Wai..” I attempted to say but she silenced me with a raised hand.
“Heelo Hyceer, for the crimes against the grove of: Theft, fraud, Impersonating a Guard, Impersonating a Huntsman, Impersonating a Watcher, assault, fraternizing with Humans, after strictly forbidden, and lastly for the incidental death of Huntsman Doun Asasi. I centance thee to death by execution two days from now.” When she finished she sighed heavily and slumped back down, seeming to age much more this time. “I’m so sorry I couldn’t save you my Son, but you brought this upon yourself, now leave me to mourn.”
“Farewell… Mother.” I said as I walked to the wall. Once back in my theeno I was placed on lockdown to await the Woodsman. It was the longest two days of my life.
IHeelo watched as the axe came swinging towards the fraile trunk of my theeno. The first strike sent blinding white lights off in my eyes, as sap began bleeding out of me in a slow flow. The second left me hanging on by a thread. I watched as the Woodsman’s sap covered axe pulled back and prepped for the final killing blow. I felt the axe enter and cut cleanly through my trunk. and the world went blank.
“Wake up my child, you’re not dead, yet.” Rerald Atheen’s voice came through softly guiding him me through the darkness. “Open your eyes little one.” My eyes slowly brought themselves open to see Feleece standing before me, armorless and without a weapon to be seen.
“Hey there sleepy head.” Feleece said giving me a smile that seemed to make her pale green skin glow softly. “He’s awake Rerald. I can’t believe he’s still alive.”
“Thank you Feleece, I never doubted him for a second.” Atheens voice said from somewhere behind me. I turned to see my mother on the other side of me. I was laying flat on my back with the two women standing over me. “Welcome to the land of the living, youngling.”
“What happened?” I managed to cough out. My chest felt like it was on fire, my limbs were too stiff to move.
“You were nearly killed, but Rerald Atheen saved you!” Feleece said excitedly. Her eyes glowing with excitement.
“But, but why?” I asked baffled. Trying to recall everything that had happened.
“You have a power that no other theena has Heelo.” Atheen started. “I couldn’t let that go to waste.”
“But what you had me executed…” I said.
“That was nothing but a stage. Listen Heelo, you don;t know how yet, but your special, you can reach through the boundaries of this world into others. One day you will use this power to save our entire grove, but for now you must be one your own.” Atheen said looking a hopeful. “Until you can learn to master this ability you are more of a danger then that which we face here.”
“Where am I to go?” I asked finally able to move, I looked myself over, roots like that of my theeno wrapped themselves over my body, and on my left shoulder grafted onto my body was a small Bonsai tree.
“I know not my child, just that you must leave, and can not return until the eve of your 100’th year.” Atheen said, in her official voice. “On that day you must return and best the Corruption. I wish we could have more time my son, but you must leave at once.”
“My Rerald, the Huntsmen are on their way.” Feleece said quickly, standing she help Rerald Atheen to her feet. “Farewell, my Friend.”
With that they both melded into a nearby Ancient Oak Steel tree and I was alone. Forcing myself to my feet I ran on stiff legs for days.
a few years later I was presented with a letter, from Therein academy.