Chapter Twenty-seven: Faerythorn
Lindrea stared at the sprout and was pleased to feel it respond, trying to grow towards her and the nourishment she was providing. Smiling, she corrected it, making it grow upright. Beside her, Bellwhispers outlined his new grand design featuring far more artistic fancies than usual. Together, they created their new faery haven.
This faerythorn was unlike any she had ever worked with but then again this one had been ‘enhanced’ by their new master. It grew quickly, faster than it had any right to even with her help. Its wood was hard, too hard and tough to be able to bend as easily as she knew it to be capable of and yet it could. Bellwhispers continued his jabbering unaware of his surroundings but from the corners of her eyes, Lindrea saw Nettle staring at the tree taking shape in front of them. His eyes were those of someone who was looking out for a change.
Bellwhisperers the Chamberlain, Nettle the old General and Lindrea the flower maid. Together, they would set the foundation for the new home of their commune.
‘Flower maid’, she thought whimsically.
No one had called her that in a very long time. The two beside her were among the few sprites old enough to remember her former post. She remained Lindrea the flower maid, despite what everyone, at least in her heart. Old Irien may have made her the Lady of the Bloom before she died but that was only because she had been forced to admit that there was no one better for the job. The mean crow never liked her. She had respected her skills though and that was all that mattered.
Lindrea was not the smartest fae or even among the most powerful. She had neither combat skills nor support abilities but every plant she tended to, flourished. As one of the only two remaining rank four mages in the commune, with the other being the Sprite Lord, she knew that her strength lay not in her power but in her skill and age. She was seven hundred years young, possibly the oldest sprite to survive the recent disaster and all her life, all she had done was tend to the forest and its plants.
Her magic, will, wisdom and vitality barely met the requirements for her rank but her skill proficiencies were enough for her to proclaim herself the foremost plant mage in their entire commune. At least, back when that distinction had actually meant something. Now, with their numbers reduced thusly and their settlements destroyed, she was their best bet to grow a new home. Perhaps, her actions today might bring some relevance back to her profession. With the way things were going the sprites could use a reminder that warriors were not the only thing they needed. Still, she couldn’t help but be a little anxious.
It was the duty of the Lady of the Bloom to care for and grow faerythorn. Her primary duty in fact. However, she had never grown a faerythorn. She might be the custodian of the seeds but the commune had never needed a new faerythorn during her tenure. Not until now at least. Regardless of the reason, she was making history. This would probably be the most important plant she ever grew.
She shook her head with a smile. Nothing had changed on the surface so if their former warrior chief was waiting for it to sprout fangs or shoot poison he’d be very disappointed. As far as she could tell, this plant was much stronger, sturdier and hardier than the other and nothing else. It would grow well and do so anywhere whilst resisting pests, diseases and the elements in ways that she was not sure she understood. Nevertheless, from what she could tell that was as far as the changes went.
Confident in her deductions, she prepared to tell him this when she was done only for the plant to grow out of her control. The changes were drastic almost as if it was dissatisfied with what she was doing before. The faerythorn shot up, growing at a rapid pace. Multiple branches began to stretch out from the main trunk, all of them sprouting smaller ones and leaves as they went.
“Get back!” she yelled at Bellwhispers.
The old sprite stood still in shock but at the sound of her voice the responses ingrained in all of them by their recent ordeals kicked in and he flew backwards as fast as he could.
“What’s happening?” Nettle asked.
“I don’t know”, Lindrea confessed. “One minute it was growing happily, the next, it tore itself free and started…well, that!”
The trio stared at the plant in shock. The growth of a faerythorn was a great and enormous undertaking requiring time, effort and resources. The commune’s elders were only capable of laying a foundation. What they did was grow a sapling that would house fae whose skills and magic would shape and fuel the plant’s growth. The trees themselves were bred to rely on, enhance and be influenced by faerie magic. The fae fed the tree and the tree fed the fae, both growing together and accommodating each other.
“That will be my doing”, a voice said from behind them.
Turning around, they were faced with an unapologetic dungeon core.