Reflections Flern-7 part 3 of 3

In the morning, Wlvn rode out front with Riah close beside him. He needed Riah to show the way, but he also wanted to keep a close eye on her. The more he learned about his many lives throughout time, the more he learned that prolonged interactions between humans and his little ones were not recommended.

Vilder and Pinn rode behind and stayed very quiet the whole day. They only passed occasional whispers between them, and while Wlvn knew full well Riah listened in with those good elf ears, he refused to hear what he assumed was private. Meanwhile, Thrud and Vinnu became very talkative and animated the whole day. It had to do with the terrain, the weather, men and women, husbands, babies, and whatever else came to mind. Tiren and Gunder came next and said nothing, being content to let their women do all the talking. Wlvn only hoped that Kined and Fritt were paying attention at the rear of the column. He felt a little concerned that neither Kined nor Fritt had yet expressed their feelings about Flern’s disappearance and his arrival in her place, but he could not worry about that just yet. It would happen.

In the meanwhile, Wlvn instinctively kept his ears open for the sound of a baby cry, a sound seldom, if ever heard when the sun came up bright. They were night creatures after all. Of course, he knew he had fallen into another time altogether and he had no reason to suppose the Wicca would follow Loki’s pattern. He did not imagine the woman, powerful as she might be, would even have access to night creatures. It would take a god to bring them from their world of origin, wherever that might be. Still, he listened all the same, and the more so as the sun began to set.

He called for an early camp and let Riah practice her hunting skills while the couples built a fine fire. Wlvn sat and occasionally stared at Kined and Fritt. He did not know what to tell them. He knew that Flern started seriously falling for Kined, if not already fallen, and he got the impression the feelings were mutual, poor Fritt. Sadly, there seemed absolutely nothing he could do about it but stare at them now and then and sigh. Things generally stayed calm and quiet in the camp until he heard a voice instruct Tiren.

“Please take only the fallen and dead branches, if you don’t mind.”

He heard Fritt fall over. He imagined Tiren fainted as well. He heard Gunder shout and Vinnu scream, and he sighed and got to his feet. He found a tree-man, a dryad some eight feet tall, well back from them all, and posing no threat to anyone. In the perfect timing that the little ones show now and then, Riah came into the camp at that very moment, a roe deer slung over her shoulders.

“Hello, Lord Oakvein,” Riah said. “An honor to see you again.”

“My pleasure, young daughter of Laurel the Wise.” Lord Oakvein smiled at the elf as Riah walked to a small clearing downwind from the camp where she could butcher the deer for their supper. “You are not the young woman I expected,” Lord Oakvein turned his eyes on Wlvn. “But unless my old memory is failing me, I would say you look exactly like her in a masculine sort of way. Besides, I recognize the sword.” Lord Oakvein lifted the ivy that hung like a vest around his shoulders and showed a scar in his right side. He continued to smile and appeared to consider the scar something like a badge of honor.

Wlvn returned the dryad’s smile and invited him in. “Come to the fire, though not too close, of course. Fritt, get up. Kined, help Tiren. Gunder, why don’t you go help Riah butcher the deer. Ladies, I believe the water is boiling to make the elf bread. Vilder and Pinn, you might want to stick with me. I imagine this good gentleman has some news for us.”

“Not entirely good news, I’m afraid.” Lord Oakvein shook his head as he stepped up to walk beside Wlvn.

They passed pleasantries for a time, until the deer got cooked. Strips of meat started being smoked to take on the road. The bread also got made and some tubers, not unlike potatoes that Lord Oakvein pointed out. They cooked quickly. By then, the company had become comfortable with the dryad’s presence and found him to be a kind and caring soul. But by then, it had also become dark in the woods, and the travelers were inclined to keep close to the light of the fire.

Finally, Lord Oakvein told something of himself. “I am the spirit of the forest,” he said. “I feed the birds and animals that live in my place, and I know that they, in turn, feed others. Even those that die of age feed my roots and help me reach for the light.” He paused to nod at Riah. “The elves of Miroven take the dead and fallen wood. They also cut the trees I mark, the diseased, broken, and stunted ones.”

“Does that hurt?” Vinnu interrupted with the question.

“Like a haircut,” Wlvn responded. “Go on.”

“The elves do me much good when the fires come.” Lord Oakvein took a breath. “But the men by the rivers have no restraints. They take what they will and cut down what they would have. I am the one who is restrained from interfering, but then I have seen the homes and wagons and great things they have done with my wood. I am not unhappy that they nibble at my edges.”

“Good to know,” Vilder said, and he explained when the others looked at him. “We have cut many trees from the forest around our home, but I never thought of it as cutting into someone who was alive.”

Lord Oakvein smiled again for the young man. “All of creation is alive in one form or another. It would be very sad if men began to think that all the world was dead and empty.”



After a visit with the Dryad, Wlvn and Flern’s friends follow their elf guide into dwarf territory. And Kined proposes to Flern, which is strange.  Too bad Flern is not there… Until Monday, Happy Reading.


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