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 Redlance: The past never stays in the past - Part One

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Wiseshaman

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PostSubject: Redlance: The past never stays in the past - Part One   Fri Jul 28, 2017 9:20 pm

So, after a long wait, here is the next part of our treeshaper's Saga’s. I won't set out my usual rules and such this time. I'm pretty sure everyone understands this an AU, the characters won't be acting as usual, and dare I say some will not be here at all. I hope you all enjoy, but if you don't, I more than understand.

Now, please keep all hands and arms inside the ride at all times. It's time to let our treeshaper do what he does best.


Redlance: The past never stays in the past - Part One

‘The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future’ – Oscar Wilde

The white cold fell in a slow, and seemingly never-ending pace, as if this Death Season meant to cover and bury the whole of the Holt in a solid white wrapping, much like preserver silk he thought with a smile.  Out of these last five turns of the seasons at Father Tree, this Death Season was by far the coldest of all Redlance thought as he headed out this evening, and maybe the coldest of all he had experienced in his long life.  The Death Season was always harsh on the tribe, what with the loss of game due to the white cold making any kill precious and every root he found a necessity to stave off starvation, but here at Father Tree, this one felt worse than any other the Wolfriders had seen.  The Dark Holt, the Forbidden Grove, and even the woods they roamed waiting for his beloved healer, Suntop and Ember to return, all had Death Seasons, but not as cold as here the treeshaper noted.  The white cold here at Father Tree was deeper, almost to his knee now, what with his small stature, and as he walked the growing mass of white cold surrounded him in every direction.  Redlance moved along with his head bowed, crunching and shuffling with a high step, heading in a direction he didn’t need to look up to know where he was going or where he would end up.  He knew this path too well and he found himself walking it often, on those nights when he needed to think, when he needed their guidance.  Only this night wasn’t one of those times where he sought their council.

Then, before he knew it, Redlance was there where the unseen path ended.  He looked up as the large flakes of white cold glistened in his hair, like little stars from the night sky above.  The treeshaper shivered as he saw the small opening in the woods, not big enough to call a clearing or even close to being a dell.  It was just a break in the trees, a small separation where a circle had formed around a single conifer, an opening just big enough to make one think this tree was special, just like Father Tree.  

It used to be the treeshaper thought as he approached slowly, if it were their tree.

The tree was covered in the white cold.  Its branches were bent and weighted down from the amount of the falling flakes.  Redlance reached out and gently brushed away a pile covering a small branch, enough to reach the green needles there, caressing them with a soft touch.  There was no immediate connection, no ‘talking’ as there was with his trees during the Green Growing Season, but this was not something that scared the treeshaper.  No, he knew his friend here was only asleep, something all his trees in the Holt did once the Death Season was among them.  Redlance only brushed more of the white cold away as his nose picked up a familiar scent, just a moment before he heard his voice.

“I thought you were going to get stones to warm.”

The treeshaper turned to see his chief standing just an arm’s length away with a concerned look.  Redlance shook his head sending the white cold in his red hair falling as he smiled and spoke low.  “I was, then I found myself here, being drawn by something.”

Cutter smiled with Redlance, walking up to his treeshaper, knowing well what this spot was and why it drew Redlance here, what is used to be before the humans burnt the forest down so long, long ago.  He gave his head a shake to rid his blond mane of the growing white cold there as he stopped.  All Wolfriders could feel the presence of their families at Father Tree, of sires and grandsires and mothers and grandmothers and loved ones, the grand oak was more than just a home to the tribe.  Father Tree was the Wolfriders ‘Palace’, a single living connection to all the spirits of their beloved dead who stayed and watched the tribe grow and thrive from the other world.  The spirits of those stolen too young, and those who had lived till called to cross, watched over them, to never lose touch with their loved ones.  Cutter had seen his sire and mother, long since taken by Madcoil, come to him in their shimmering spirits before entering Father Tree the night Redlance woke the grand oak.  He had talked with them both so much since that night, long silent conversations that helped guide him and his tribe, but it wasn’t till almost a full turn of the moon that he realized he hadn’t seen one mated pair return to Father Tree that night.

He hadn’t seen the sire and mother of Redlance, his beloved treeshaper.  He had seen all the others, old Wolfriders he knew by sight and those he had never seen before that night, but he did not see Talltree or Starshower.  When he asked his treeshaper later why that was, Redlance only smiled sadly and said because they were somewhere else.  The wolfchief didn’t understand what that meant till he learned of this spot, what it was, and then he understood with simple clarity.  Cutter stopped by the treeshaper’s side and whispered, “This tree, it’s too young to be the one you put their bones in so long ago?”

Redlance shook his head again, “No, that one was lost in the fire when the humans tried to kill us. This one, it’s the grand-cub of the grand-cub of that tree, I think.”

The wolf chief chuckled, and before Cutter could ask why his treeshaper had come to talk with his sire and mother, another familiar voice caught him off guard.  It wasn’t a sound he liked at all, it grated on him actually, but the wolf chief knew who it belonged to and he knew the threat wasn’t physical from this one.  It was the other ‘Way’ of Atok that Cutter was suspicious of. He turned to see the old one squatting by a tree just a few steps away, his old rags he wore and sunken eyes the same as the day Cutter saw them on the trail coming to Father Tree five seasons ago.

“What are you doing out tonight old one, in this cold?”  Cutter asked with squinted eyes.  

It wasn’t long after the night his family had fallen into the stream that the old one had finally come to them, not just him and Redlance, but to the whole tribe. There was a large bear in the Holt, diseased and hurt, which he had come to warn them of, and in doing so to let them know he was certainly more than just an old human in rags. What Cutter learned that night, what he was shown, taught the wolf chief that New Moon was useless against Atok of the Forest.  The old one here was beyond any weapon they possessed, as Redlance had guessed, which wasn’t quite as worrisome as learning Atok had been watching them for as long as there had been a Goodtree’s Rest, the very one burned by the humans.  Cutter didn’t like being stalked like prey, but he had come to grudgingly accept it like the others in the tribe, the old one had been helpful in warning them of unforeseen dangers, like the bear that night, in the Holt on occasion.  Still, having something that left no trace as it passed watching you did not sit well with Cutter, not at all.

Atok shook his body, like a wolf shaking its furs, sending the white cold flying before answering in the voice Cutter didn’t like.  “I came to see what drew our Red Hair to this spot on a night like this?”

“It wasn’t to talk with my sire and mother,” Redlance suddenly whispered, drawing Cutter’s attention away from Atok, as the tree he touched woke up.  It gave a great shake sending white cold falling in chunks, showering the three and blinding the elves both for a moment.  The treeshaper and wolf chief spit out the white cold laughing, that was till Redlance stopped just as quickly as he started and began to slide into the branches of the tree.  “There’s a flower in here.”

“A flower, but how is it alive with the Death Season on us like this?”  Cutter asked quickly, moving the branches to see too.  He watched as Redlance carefully removed the bloom from a single vine growing up and along the trunk of the tree, the color of the flower as vibrant as the dawn of the day star.  The petals were longer than an elf’s finger, nine in all, with a small brown circle from which all grew from.  

The treeshaper slowly pulled it out form its protected spot shaking his head.  “I don’t know my chief, but it’s beautiful, and I think we’ve have seen it before.”

“Yes, we have,” Cutter replied with a low voice as his memory reached back through the fog of his long life, back to a night during the Green Growing Season in another Holt, when he had seen the flower before.  “So why is it back now, here?”

Redlance looked up from where he stood ready to ask Atok why the flower had come back, how it had come back in the middle of the Death Season with the white cold covering everything.  Only the old one wasn’t there, the spot where he had been squatting was vacant now, as if Atok had never been there at all.  The treeshaper saw his chief look over at the spot then back to him with a frustrated look before speaking quickly.  “I hate it when he does that, slips off, leaving me feeling as thick as a tree’s bole.”

“I don’t like it when he sneaks up on me,” Redlance chuckled protecting the flower from the wind and white cold by cradling it close to his thick tunic.  “What do we tell the others why we’ve been gone so long?”

“The flower, we came out here to check on the tree where you put the bones of your sire and mother and found the flower.”  Cutter answered quickly.

“And Atok, my guess is we tell the family we found him?”

“He found us, I like that better because it’s true, now let’s get back with those stones before we freeze to death.”  The wolf chief ordered with a chuckle, and both moved out of the small circle leaving the tree alone to catch the falling white cold on its branches once again.

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G0lden

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PostSubject: Re: Redlance: The past never stays in the past - Part One   Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:46 am

Nice start. Now what is so special about that flower and where have they seen it before

Can't wait to see what happens next.

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Wiseshaman

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PostSubject: Redlance: The past never stays in the past - Part Two   Tue Aug 22, 2017 9:42 pm

@G0lden wrote:
Nice start. Now what is so special about that flower and where have they seen it before

Can't wait to see what happens next.

And the wait is now over Miss G0lden as here is the next piece...


Redlance: The past never stays in the past - Part Two

Where were they?

Nightfall sighed while looking at the fur covered flap of the den, the large longtooth pelt covering the leather drape, and both trying to hold back the cold biting wind of the outside. She could barely remember a Death Season being this harsh. The white cold falling endlessly, it seemed, to cover everything and all in a dull white mat. It made hunting easier, what with the tracks and signs from the game showing so obviously in the white cold, making following so effortless, that was if there were game to hunt. The cold drove the deer away, the tusk hogs deeper into their dens, and the birds to nest high in their own homes among the trees, and all were waiting for the green growing season to return. What game the tribe was able to kill, was the weaker or young ones among the forest, the feeble deer who could not seek shelter away from the Holt or the young tusk hog caught unaware, away from their hole. Yes, it was a hard life during the Death Season, but one the Wolfriders were accustomed too and could survive.

Yet this one, this season, exerted a grimmer grip on the Holt, and the elves, than other seasons before. The white cold fell longer, gathered quicker, and all the while the wind bit at them more. Even Cutter, who usually wore little but his vest around his chest during the season, had asked Moonshade for a fur-lined tunic just as the Death Season descended. The decision may have been the one step that kept him free of the sickness that was running through most of the tribe, again nothing new to the hardy Wolfriders, Nightfall thought as she helped Leetah crawl under the furs to get comfortable. The sickness was something she hadn’t seen since the last Death Season at Father Tree, but as it appeared first in the young ones, the huntress realized what was happening. Nightfall watched as Suntop and Newstar first became sick, their bodies getting weak while their skin became hot to the touch. Both refused to eat, and what they forced down wouldn’t stay in their stomachs. Leetah had asked to heal them but her lifemate, Nightfall’s beloved chief, had told her no. Cutter knew if they became to dependent on his cherished lifemate’s magic then it would make them too weak to be the masters of the Holt. Then the sickness spread quickly, from the cubs to the elders, striking Strongbow and then Leetah and Clearbrook, and all three almost at once. As the trio fell ill, the sudden attack was all that was needed for their chief to take hold of the situation and begin to put his will to fighting the sickness, and his tribe responded as they always do, using his fierce spirit to rise and fight as well. And as the Wolfriders brought their indominable will to bear, it was the shy one among this loving family who needed this fight the most to keep her well, and save the life of the cub she carried.

“How are you my love?” Moonshade whispered, looking lovingly into her lifemate’s eyes as she brushed a strand of his hair from his face. He looked better this evening, the color was back in his skin and his eyes looked sharp and focused again.

The archer smiled back from the furs and nodded using his voice instead of sending, “I feel better, hungry actually. I think our treeshaper’s brew helped me fight the sickness.”

The tanner could barely hold back her smile of joy at hearing her lifemate getting better. She had been down this path once before and she had no desire to walk it again, yet here she was, taking care of him from sickness. Once she had agreed to do whatever it took to save him, had made a bargain with a troll she detested and despised to keep him alive, and even though Moonshade would have honored that accord the troll never came asking for her due, and the tanner never gave the troll or the bargain a second thought. Just an arm’s reach away, Nightfall smiled with joy at the statement as well. She had worried so much for her archer, the way he took ill so quickly, but the potion her beloved soulmate brewed had helped him stave off the sickness, and it had helped her sweet tanner as well, who looked so weary at the moment. Her belly was large with the life she was ready to deliver, her breast heavy with the food the cub would need, and yet the tanner was still so beautiful the huntress thought, still so captivating.

“That is so good to hear my love, now rest with our precious healer, and tomorrow maybe you can eat some meat and it will stay down.” The tanner smiled lovingly while slipping the furs over her beloved soulmate, keeping him warm just as a voice called out.

“You look tired as well my sweet one, rest with us please.”

Moonshade looked over to see her healer smiling at her affectionately, and it made the tanner’s heart skip. Leetah was looking better as well, the brown skin looking more alive than it had as the tanner reached over and ran the back of her hand across the healer’s cheek. The skin felt smooth and perfect to Moonshade, drawing a loving smile from the tanner, but it also felt cool and that made her feel so much better as Leetah whispered with concern. “Where are our beloveds? Shouldn’t they have been back now?”

Yes, where are they? Strongbow asked with a tinge of worry, rolling over onto his side and reaching out his hand to rub his lifemate’s back and side.

“They have been gone long, too long maybe?” Moonshade replied, her worry now added to the air of the den.

Nightfall only shrugged, noting the worry from her family matched the same in her heart, as her thoughts went back to the nights before this one. Cutter first ordered everyone to share dens, huddle against the cold of the Death Season. He brought the family together first, Moonshade and Strongbow moving into the den they all shared with the treeshaper and his huntress and his healer. The pair only nodded and did as ordered with loving smiles, while Dart and Newstar moved with Suntop into Clearbrook’s and Treestump’s den. Yes, it was cramped, but it was also warm, and with everyone looking after everyone he was assured no one would be alone to fall into some sick stupor. Then, the wolf chief had Redlance make up a special drink from a plant he called Taro, a root his treeshaper knew would help fight the sickness. The treeshaper added a special second part to the drink, a liquid from a leaf which helped the one already stricken to slip into a deep peaceful and restful sleep. The rest, along with the Taro root, helped the affected ones recover, and as they did Redlance made more of the drink from the Taro root, but without the sleep-inducing piece. Everyone else drank this potion as Cutter ordered, keeping the sickness from spreading. So, the huntress thought, all they had to do now was huddle together until the white cold stopped and the tribe would be safe. Cutter had led them through this before and he had done it again.

The flap suddenly moved, breaking the huntress from her thoughts, as she looked at the den entrance with eagerness. The others did as well, even Leetah, who looked up from the furs hoping her loves were through with being outside on this cold night. The healer and huntress both breathed a sigh of relief when they saw Cutter slide in, then turn and take a large leather pouch from someone outside. The wolf chief moved with ease in the cramped den, taking special care not to step on anyone, as he crawled into the cramped space. Nightfall sighed again with contentment as she saw her lifemate slide into the den, closing the flap to the bole hole with the extra pelt. His red hair shimmered in the candle light from the white cold, drawing a smile from Strongbow and Moonshade as he turned and chuckled.

“The white cold is falling still, but it looks to be slowing,”

“Is that what took you so long, watching the white cold fall?” Nightfall chuckled with him, poking her love just a bit, sliding over next to him.

The wolf chief laughed as well, opening the leather pouch, and with a quick hand he pulled out several heated stones he and Redlance got from the fire they had made below. He put them under the furs, replacing the ones that had since turned cold as he spoke. “No, we found ourselves taking a walk through the Holt, and then our treeshaper found something.”

The heat from the stones began to warm the furs even more as Leetah looked to Redlance and smiled warmly, but with concern. “What did you find my love?”

Redlance bit his bottom lip, then reached into his pouch pulling out the large flower he and Cutter had found in the small clearing. As soon as the bloom was visible, the lifebearers gasped at the sight of the flower and its bright color, but the tanner was the only one of the three who did not to recognize it. Moonshade looked back to ask her lifemate how such a thing was possible, how could the bloom survive the Death Season, but when her eyes saw the look on the archer’s face she froze. A sudden small hand of fear touched her heart, and when he sent to those in the den that fear grew, growing in her stomach.

Is that, the same flower? How, how is that possible?

“It is the same one, but how did it grow here? I thought it only grew in Holt where we waited for our beloved healer to return?” Nightfall whispered, shaking her head, adding her question to the archer’s.

The tanner spun back round at the words from her huntress, saw the look in everyone’s eyes, and the fear in her heart grew and tightened, all at the same time. Everyone had the same confused and frightened look as her lifemate, and now Moonshade felt alone which only added to her own growing anxiety. “What is it? What does the flower mean?”

The den fell silent for a moment, no one sure how to go forward, unsure of what words to say or use to keep the dismay at bay. The tanner felt a twinge of panic now as she stiffened and clutched at the fur covering her lifemate. They were hiding something her family, holding something back from her, and Moonshade was about to demand just what that was when her treeshaper spoke up.

“Do you remember when Strongbow caught the foaming sickness and you took him to Old Maggoty? “He asked and all the tanner could do was nod twice. The grip of fear lessened as she saw the look in her treeshaper’s eyes, the warmth there helping to push the terror away, the flow of his love to her as he continued on slowly. “Do you remember also how you told her you would do whatever she wanted to save him?”

How did he know I was just thinking about that? A cold, deeper than the outside, started to creep into the tanner’s bones as her hand slid up between her breast to cover her heart and she whispered, “Yes, but how did you know about that?”

“Skywise overheard one of the trolls laughing, about how Old Maggoty was going to take you away from us, the tribe.” Leetah spoke up, answering as she sat up as well, the look of confused fear on her face replaced by one of confliction. “He came to me and Nightfall, told us what he overheard, and then I went to Cutter.”

“How was she going to take me away from the tribe, to make me do what?” Moonshade asked quickly, feeling a shiver run down her spine. Even the touch of her precious lifemate could not quell the terror caused by what she was hearing at the moment.

Cutter pulled off his thick tunic and sighed after he did, “She never said, even when we were close to blows, with all the trolls in their caves. If it wasn’t for our treeshaper stepping in to break the bargain, I think we might have lost you.”

Moonshade was struck numb at what her chief revealed, what he told her while his piercing blue eyes gave such sincerity to his words that she knew every word was the truth, and that made her feel so protected. Then, she turned to her treeshaper and he only smiled warmly making the fear ebb even more, to almost disappear as he began to speak and tell her what happened that night so very long ago.


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PostSubject: Re: Redlance: The past never stays in the past - Part One   Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:35 am

Oh, the flower is the key to the past or the future?

Nice to see how all are taking care of each other rather than having Leetah heal them all.

Great chapter. Can't wait to see what happens next.

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