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laurie's blog: "Stories"

created on 03/25/2008  |  http://fubar.com/stories/b201129
Druid [This short story was originally a part of my occasional series, Nancy of the Tenderheart, and deals with an early chapter of Nancy’s life when she was learning to become a druid.] As the last born and only surviving child, my father, Tender leaf (his druid name), looked terribly old to me at 70 years old to my 10 years, but I adored him with every tiny piece of my heart, and since my mother died of the pox, not only followed him everywhere, but followed in his footsteps as a druid as well. He was the most gentle, calm natured man I had ever known, and I had never heard him raise his voice in anger. Which was even more remarkable considering I was a fairly normal young girl, prone to be involved in every bit of mischief that passed my way, and, having a smattering of the druidic nature magic at my disposal made me more troublesome than most. The war with the British had laid whole sections of the countryside to waste, and we had much work on our hands restoring it to its natural beauty, but even with the immense powers of nature at our disposal, it would be many years before it returned to normal once more. We did most of our work not far behind the front lines where the damage was the greatest, and we were always alone, as druids are the most solitary of the magical men, only coming together on the sacred nights to worship and then parting quietly in the night. It was while restoring what used to be a sacred grove within earshot of the sound of cannons roaring, that we ran into real trouble. The newly grown birch tree burst into flames as the lightning bolt hit it, and split it right down the middle, and suddenly I was sprawled on the ground behind my father as he whispered quickly in a voice that trembled in fear, “Behind me girl. Stay there until it is safe to run, and then leave me. I will buy you time to escape.” As I looked up from the dirt I saw six British wizards. Their robes marked them as from the College of the East Wind, the study of the weather spells. Their fingers crackled as they stored the arcane magiks ready to unleash them against my father. As for my father, old and alone against six, never doubt the courage of a father defending his only surviving child. With his face set hard in determination, his old fingers twisted rapidly into tantric symbols and the air in front of us flashed as shields of wind and earth were raised. Trees twisted from the ground to shield us further, and grew as rapidly as the wizards destroyed them. The strain soon began to show though, as the sweat burst out upon his forehead and the lightning strikes came closer and closer. “Go girl” He shouted in fear. “I can hold them for but scant seconds.” And as if to make his words burn home in my mind, the flimsy material of his robe blackened from a near strike. I screamed, and without thinking I dug all ten of my fingers into the dirt, and words I had never heard or spoken tumbled from my mouth, and men rose from the dirt around us, men of soil, of bark and of rock, born of nature. They stalked slowly towards the wizards, pieces flying from them as they turned their spells on this new threat. But as the pieces were blasted from them, my chanting regrew the missing parts. Closer and closer they moved to our tormentors. Winds whipped at them, and one flew to pieces as a mini tornado whipped him into the sky, but the enemy wizards were retreating, moving ever backwards in the face of our advancing saviours. Father threw a rainstorm at the disappearing forms of the now rapidly retreating men, and smiled quietly in satisfaction as their silken robes clung to their dripping bodies. A reminder that even easy targets like druids can sometimes be more trouble than expected. Then he gently withdrew my fingers from the soil and held them to his heart. We stood together and watched the golems I had created from the earth return once more to their silent homes, and I whispered, “I would never leave you father. I would protect you as you protected me.” He laughed in his quiet way, a sound similar to leaves rustling in the breeze, and simply said, “My little girl has grown up. I’m glad, because we have even more work now.” He gently kissed my forehead, and it was with laughter that we once again returned to our work, and with love.
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