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- My Story Is...
Emilia Macfarlene grew up in a small farm on the outskirts of Balfarg, the village itself was predominantly filled with Dabugghs and their human slaves. The girl and her mother remained free – if you could call it that- for one reason, They provided for the creatures within the village. Breeding horses and fowls and other small but meaty morsels easily reared and mated.
Emilia would spend hours at a time in one of the arena’s where wild horses were placed to her mother’s chagrin she would walk up to the untamed beast and somehow calm it down. The lass could never understand why this worried her normally stoic mother but it wasn’t something she could stop herself from doing and it was helping, right?
The girl was slight, small and agile with hair that grew reddish brown down to her butt. At age thirteen Emilia was a fine looking young lass, Green eyes flecked with gold and pouted lips that always seemed to be coloured red against her pale freckled skin.
As her body matured her mother became more aware of the way the Dabugghs would look at the lass when they paid their monthly visit, it wasn’t that they wanted her but that they could see the coin to be made from unusual looks and friendly inocence. One in particular offered her mother more than a years take to have the girl as entertainment for travellers. It was getting harder to hide her as the girls curiosity about nature and the village grew her Mother had had to keep tabs on her as she wandered into the wilds bringing home more curious things and questioning everything, eager to know everything. The girls biggest question and most fervent was ‘Who is my father?’ it was the one the woman could never answer to the girls displeasure.
It wasn’t the easiest of living arrangements, everything they earned went back into the animals they reared and their home was a single room, a round stone building not unlike those out of the history books. Food was scarce and life was full of work and not much else and yet Emilia still managed to sneak off from time to time.
One evening the girl draped herself in her mother’s cloak and entered the village. Following the burn that ran through the smaller residential area.
The thing she was most interested in stood at the edge of Balfarg, the stone circle. Much smaller than the ones pictured in the books she found under her mother’s mattress but still as much a curiosity to her than anything else.
Leaving the lights of the village behind her she stepped out into the uneven ground seeing the stones rise up, even from a distance she could see the lines shining blue in the earth leading into the circle of stones, one visitor had told her that those were Ley lines, with which collided into a center called a Nexus point and the power that flowed through those points could open or close rifts but the girl had also discovered that if stepped upon her entire body would tingle like she touched a live wire except the electric current traveled peaceful through her body, it was a nice feeling.
As she took that last step into the circle her body felt that peculiar vibration under foot and she sighed kneeling down and running a hand through the grass like she could touch the strange pulsing power beneath her.
A man laughed causing her to spin around cursing herself for not keeping vigilant “Quite addictive isn’t it?”
Watching him as he walked around careful not to touch the lines “You know what makes it better?” he bent down pulling something from the ground and holding it up for her to see. A weed with a yellow flower at it’s tip twirling between his fingers “Just one petal from this plant and you can see all of the energy, even in the air, there really is nothing like it in the universe .” looking closer now she could tell the man’s eyes were red rimmed and he seemed to be seeing things above her rather than looking directly at her.
” What is it? “
” Henbane” he smiled at her holding out the plant for her to take from fingers that curled like claws.
“No.. I should go.” standing up she felt rather than saw him move to grab her shoulder and she took off. Running back the way she came she forgot stealth and went for speed but the man did not follow.
The house was empty. Emilia waited days worrying that she had been abandoned or worse her mother had been taken but her mother was just gone and the animals also. Only the house sat lonely on the hillside. Emilia mourned her loss, her foolish curiosity driving her to explore and now she was alone. Hunger driving her out into the wilderness she stuck to the edges of the roads ducking as motor’s whirred by and beasts with odd numbers of legs pulled large barges.
Deciding to leave the roadside she slipped into the woods and followed a small line of power deeper into the woods.
It was coming to the end of the 5th day and there was still no end to the woods, Emilia was starving and dirty but still she forced her broken down feet to carry her. This was when she first heard it, rumbling deep breaths coming from her left. Emilia had never seen a Formorian before but she had heard that they were abundant in the Highlands so what was one doing here? Looking at the creatures one eye as it peered at her both having a moment to stare. What was it waiting for?
Taking a careful step backwards she kept her eye on it’s single orb, the beings pupil dilated and it launched at her sending her sprawling backwards with a scream feeling rather than seeing the murderous intent. Tangled in the undergrowth she pushed backwards willing herself to move even as her body protested her small quick form keeping her alive by happenstance. Standing now the Giant wobbled on a deformed foot at about nine foot tall before coming for her, screeching she twisted and started at a run knowing without a doubt that she would die here.
The thumping of feet behind her was getting closer and was accompanied by snapping and crunching as it lumbered after her.
It felt like an age had passed listening to the destruction behind her sure that a crushing blow would fell her any second until it stopped, daring a glance behind her the thing had stopped and was staring at her but would not step a foot further.
“Why won’t you come and get me?” it was a whisper not really a question but curious. Sucking in deep breaths she decided that something else must be up ahead but what could scare something so fearsome. As Emilia looked up she could make out the side of a tree, a huge tree. Looking at what she could see above her she surmised that the trunk must be around half a mile from where she stood.
The tree was an impressive thing to see, although there was hollows in the trunk and spirals up into the dense covered branches which in turn had a pathway intricately notched in as if it had grown that way, nobody had carved this tree. Houses traveled up many levels into the tree, large beehive looking growths that dangled from the tree like fruit. Even from the ground you can see the many windows, each one big enough to hold the entire village if not more and yet, nobody was around as if it had been abandoned or perhaps never discovered?
The tree felt welcoming and Emilia was ready to rest, desperate to be clean and back in her small home with her mother, curling up as high in the tree as she dared, feeling safe on the upper limbs she dreamed fitfully of angry Dabbugghs snatching her mother and stealing all the animals, the dream felt so real that the girl woke up crying only to find there was food laying next to her, simple vegetables uncooked but she was starved and delirious she cared nothing for where it came from and ate with a ravenous speed the raw vegetables hitting her stomach and leaving her both full and sick but it was a much more welcome feeling than cold and empty. As time passed Emilia wondered what had happened here, there was nobody around and that made her curious as to how the food had been left for her. The girl had been well sheltered and forced to keep within the confines of her small home but the odd traveler had passed and she would pepper them with questions until her mother would scold her rudeness. One such visitor who was a messenger traveling far to the north who spoke about magic trees, having stopped to rest at them more than a few times in his travels. This was one of those trees? Emilia had so many questions and nobody to put them to, standing by the tree trunk looking up into the canopy far far above her.
“Where are all your people?” Emilia whispered into the rough bark. As the words left her lips she felt a stirring from the tree itself as if it were answering her but she couldn’t speak tree. Another night in the tree brought another dream only this one could not possibly be her own.
A shaman of dark magic stood with the Fomorians, helping them. The tree tried through barrages of sickness leached in by human slaves but no sooner had it began to heal the sickness than summoned wolves burst into the tree clawing and tearing at the people, woman and children screaming under its foliage. Flames roared up as the crops were burnt by slaves and as much as the tree dropped to help the people sheltering within the overflowing panic and endless torrents of beasts and illness the tree could not provide enough. As the images faded and Emilia woke she realised she was crying, great vicious sobs. She felt the sorrow. Surely a tree cannot feel? No but it did remember the feelings of the ones who perished under its branches and the fear from the rest who ran only to be slaughtered by the awaiting beasts at the boundary.
The shaman however was gone. Emilia didn’t quite know where or why but that one giant remained at the boundary of the tree. There was about three thousand feet with which one could travel from the base to the outskirts before he was there. Untrained, the girl had no clue as to how to get passed the being nor did she ever think that she might be able to use the tree and so marking the outskirts she began a new life within the tree.
It was not such a hard life as the tree provided everything she could need besides the company of someone else who she could talk to and so she ended up talking to the tree, even calling it ‘mairneal’ Friend.
The first year she noted that the branches of her friend did not change at all and despite the icy climate that she could clearly see the temperature around the tree was still warmer and homely. During a storm one night the lass felt near a breeze despite the sounds of whistling and howling without. The longer she spent the more she noticed, Sprites living at the utmost branches of the tree and other little creatures taking shelter in its vastness none of which showed her any kind of acknowledgement.
While sleeping one night Emilia woke with an insistent urge to look to the west, something was coming. Hurrying to the base of the tree she heard a cry out in the darkness and ran towards it feeling safe within the boundary of the tree. Sure enough a man struggled to break free of the giants grasp, his legs were broken. Feeling a surge of hate rise up for the being she continued to run towards the two, he would not kill the only other person to cross her path! “Stop it!” she screamed. Neither looked towards her. Without warning a rumble started behind her as Mairneal vibrated, pulling energy from the Ley lines and with the sound the Fomorian stopped and began to take steps back with a look of sheer horror in her direction before the energy was released and the being that had trapped her for over a year was speared straight through, the gaping hole in his chest blazened like it had been lasered out.
Staring in horror as the body fell to the ground Emilia was pulled back to reality by the painful cries of the male.
Dashing over to him she struggled to haul him into the tree’s confines, dragging him under the shoulders while he screamed with every pull the girls small form barely enough to shift his weight. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry” she whispered over again. By the time they had reached shelter the man had fainted from pain, finding a weave she had made she dampened it and placed it on his forehead sitting beside him. Without help this man would die. “I have to help him” her voice was panic stricken with the knowledge that this tree destroyed the giant. A leaf the size of a large blanket floated down to them and she tucked it around the man careful of his legs, this had happened a lot in the time she had been here. Something would fall from the tree when she needed it most.
Frustrated she put her head into her knees and stayed beside the male all night long.
Stirring to the sound of his breath changing she scrambled back as he turned his head to her “You!” he shouted raspily “You saved me?” Looking at him he seemed healthier, clearly parched but he had more color in his face and were his legs straighter?
Shaking her head she noted the leaf was gone and the male was dressed in a hooded robe “N-no. The tree….”
The Male turned out to be a Millennium Druid who in turn told her that she herself held the ability to commune with the great tree and that was how she was able to evoke the energy to smite the giant. Once it was discovered the tree was inhabitable and safe the grim tale was told of how it had been sacked and abandoned, people and creatures began to return. Emilia lived under the tree for years more and on the date of her Twenty-first year she decided to leave and travel Scotland. The tree gave her a gift upon her departure to Emilia it felt like a farewell. Bark armour imbued with the energy of the ley lines and a staff that had been worked on by a fellow druid who made it so a blade could hidden within the shaft and along with the staff she acquired a hand gun which sat perilously on her waist. Emilia could not embrace her druid nature instead opting for a traveling life seeking knowledge and her first steps were to find a place in this post Cataclysm world.