The Three Pillars - Shorts & History

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Summary

The young witch apprentice, Wren, longs for adventure. Stumbling upon an old circle of stones at the base of the mountains near her village, Wren finally gets to begin the adventure she always wanted - even if it's only a trip with her best friend to go find out the meaning of the carvings on the stones. The trip, however, is plagued with earthquakes and tales of ferocious dragons waking from hundreds of years of slumber in distant lands. When the mountain begins to whisper her name, Wren cannot help herself but to go to that mysterious voice, and whatever it holds for her.

Genre:
Fantasy / Romance
Author:
MisterMorgue
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
1
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
18+

Midsommer

The sun was still climbing its lazy way up from the far horizon, as old witch Wyrdham picked her way through the forest as best as she was able. She was still quite a spry woman for her age, and felt that the fresh air and song of the birds in the trees helped her health a great deal. She was out hunting for natural ingredients, things to use in potions and poultices that she could take back to her village, Valence. She was their witch, after all. It was her job to help the villagers when they were ill, to conjure up potions that could help with the harvests, or to do with the local livestock.

Valence sat nestled between the spine of Ilara, the Sikan Mountain range, and the vast northern moors and swamps. Its location meant that it was a prime spot for all sorts of plant-life that were useful for witchery, and the healing magics associated with the craft; and, it being Midsommer meant that the old crone had plenty to gather and fill her basket with. Mushrooms and mosses, berries of all sorts, fresh herbs and flowers and various bark strippings. Waters from the various streams that trickled down from the mountains were especially useful in medicines, as well as for drinking. The forest near Valence was not all that thick, though it did grow more dense the further west one travelled, so it was not all too difficult for the old woman to traverse.

Her basket was already laden with a myriad of forest treasures when she had heard a sound that was not quite fitting for the forest. At first she brushed it away as the yelping of a fox, one tangled with a wolf or having gotten caught in a trap of some sort. As she ventured onward the old witch could no longer deny that the cries she was hearing were not from a fox, but from what sounded like a small babe in distress. Letting the sounds of those wails guide her, Old Granny Wyrdham clambored over root and stone as best as she was able. By and by, she hobbled up to an old tree that was hollow, and as knotted with age as she was. Nestled within the roots and old leaves was a small, wriggling bundle - the obvious source of the wailing that had echoed through the wood. Scooping up the swaddled infant, Granny Wyrdham cradled the babe in an attempt to help warm it - for no doubt the child was cold. Even in the height of summer, the nights in the forest, so close to the mountains, could cause anyone to catch a chill.

Small, pale, and and quite hungry, the infant would not quiet itself. Having spent many, many years as a mid-wife, Granny Wyrdham was able to soothe the child - if only for a short while - by giving it a bit of dandelion. Abandoned, or so she thought, likely because the parents were either unable, or unwilling, to tend to it. What had struck the old witch was that no one in Valence could have birthed the young thing - not without her knowledge, at least. The youngest child in Valence was but a year old, though she knew that the village head and his wife were trying for a child as well. There was no way that anyone in Valence could have had this particular child in secret. Not to mention wandering the whole way out into the wood to leave it as some sort of offering to the forest, or to die. No doubt the child had already been here for far too long. So it was that Granny Wyrdham gathered up her basket and made the slow trek back to her cottage at the edge of the village of Valence.

Once home, she bathed the babe and warmed some milk to feed the child with. The brewmaster’s wife would be able to assist with feeding the child in future, so that was where Old Wyrdham planned to head next. Bundling the now slumbering child against her bosom, Granny made her way to the Brewery to find Mrs. Branholm and to intrude upon her hospitality a while.

Old Emmaline Wyrdham had never had any children of her own, and she had been quite content to keep it that way. She was far too busy with her work, tending to the villagers and their families and farms. She knew, though, that there would be hardly a soul in the village who might be willing to take in the wayward babe. Even if she asked those who were seeking to have children of their own, taking in a strange child was far too dangerous.

After spending the evening with the Brewmaster’s family, Granny Wyrdham knew that she would have to be the one to raise the young girl. With nothing else that she could teach the child, Wyrdham would train her as a witch as was her trade. Wyrdham dubbed the child Wren, because the babe was small and noisy - exactly like the little songbird.

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