We came into a vibrant area surrounding a large oak. A beautiful woman, with flesh of wood and hair as leaves and blossoms, sat weeping at the edge of a small pool. I know of these creatures. Dryad as they are known in the common tongue, tenders of the wood.
“I recognize you.” she said. “Your heart is of the wilderness. The trees talk of your deeds. You are a protector and a friend of nature and the creatures within. You take only what you need and pray to the old gods. Spirit Elk they call you. I am in need of your help.”
I have not been known to creatures before. “Yes, I am he of who you speak. We are looking for a druid in this area. Do you know of him?”
“I am Tiressia. I believe I am who you seek.” the dryad proclaimed.
“Madam of the wood, we are in great need of tree feather tokens.” Nix explained.
“I have what you seek, but I need a favor of you in return.” she added. “I will give them to you only upon completion of this task.”
“What is it you need, that we might fulfill all we have set out to do?” Nix asked.
“There is an evil spirit in the form of a tree to the south. It is recklessly destroying the forest and I fear it may soon turn its gaze towards this grove or the glade of Melianse.” Her voice waivered.
“On the word of Nix Holystone and the rulers of Nicenia, we shall overcome this threat and return.” Nix proclaimed.
We left Tiressia and head south as instructed. Trees littered the ground, ripped through from the roots. The sky darkens. Lightning flashes across the sky. Ill omen bestows this day.
The forest looks sick, as if a plague has befallen the land. A twisted tree, bearing a long deep scar and dark, blackened roots must have been hit by a bolt from the heavens. There is a faint creak in the air between the roars of thunder. I know these sounds and dismount, axes at the ready. My friends make similar preparations.
Even with warning, the evil spirit we are in search of, slipped our notice. The scarred tree stirred and creaked with each movement. It lunged at us, lashing out with its scythe-like branches. It connected with me, opening me up. Pain wrecks my body. Fear overtakes Katara’s eyes. Flames burst on the creature as Nix throws his volatile mixtures. Bolts seem to do no effect as Wade consistently connected with his crossbow.
Axes were made for cutting down trees and I have two of them! I swing on the tree, each axe cutting deep into it. Flames burst overhead, spreading to the limbs above. The rain does nothing towards putting out the fires. I keep the evil spirit’s focus on me, for as long as I stand, so shall those I fight for. So shall Katara.
Between fire and axe, the tree fell. Katara, Nix, and Wade took their share of the spoils, while I tended my wounds. On a time limit, we returned to Tiressia, where she allowed us shelter and rest.