“Father?” He heard the soft voice of Willa call out from the canopy below, to the man she believed was her father. After nearly twenty years, he was beginning to believe it himself. In a way, he was. Unfortunately, Rhyt Sporbare Pommeson had never recovered his memories after his accident in the woods. The widower, known well for his mycological research, had also forgotten much of his life’s work, and was forced to change professions. He now spent most of his time in the glass towers at the northern edge of the city, gazing out over the frozen forest, discouraging Zefflins from harassing the herds, and keeping the rare Slithe out of the boundaries of the city.
A swift gust of wings and the rustling of leaves brought the young Dendra down onto the open platform. The watchtowers were high above the canopy, offering a view of the whole city and much of the surrounding forest. The girl, nearly three hundred, was lively and demure. When he had met her nearly two decades ago, she had looked a true child of Gold Leaf: Her wings and hair were the vibrant shimmering yellow of the canopy, and her skin and eyes had the healthy green glow of spring. Now, like the rest of the citizens of Gold Leaf, she had paled like the forest around her. Her white blond hair and pale yellow leaves of her wings reminded him of a fallen autumn leaf glazed over with ice from an early frost. The wispy white gown draped about her completed the illusion. Ingredients for their natural green and gold dyes were harder to come by in the long winter, and the colorful clothing they owned from before the frost did little to camouflage them now in the frosty winter forest.
Like her father before her, she spent most of her time researching edible fungus. She had recently collected an edible specimen from some traveling Flitt, and had been perfecting its cultivation for nearly one hundred years. Trials included testing for the perfect combination of animal and plant composts, moisture, and sunlight to ensure the most abundant flush of the tastiest and hardiest fruiting bodies. Minor changes in ratio of Tannsgrisnir manure, decomposing wood shavings, the type of wood shavings, and the type of green clippings used would change the nuanced flavors of the mushrooms, as well as the sizes and colors. As with all Dendra, perfection was the goal, and she was determined to find a strain that could be considered culinarily and agriculturally ideal. Her family line was well known for their advances is agricultural food sciences.
“Keeping watch or daydreaming?” She asked him playfully, greeting him in the usual way with a kiss to each cheek. He had been thinking about the woman he used to love, whose name he had discovered, along with his own Dendra name, on the beautifully embroidered family tree that hung from the largest trees in the center of Gold Leaf. They had an entire bloodline: Pommeson. The man whose identity he had taken, and the woman who stood before him, represented the fifteenth and sixteenth generation of his line. He found it strange that his own blood mixed with the wildest woman he had known would create a line of scientists, but it seemed as though most Dendra now spent their young lives in study. Stories he had heard of his bloodline in the older generations were more interesting, back when the world was younger. However, with the odd behavior of the weather, which could only be due to Godly influence, he expected that the living generations would have serious hardships to face.
“I have been approached by the House Elders to lead an expedition, with the hope of finding out what is the cause of this long winter, and what, if anything, we can do to fix it.”
She slowly acknowledged his situation. Before his accident, The House Elders would have never asked him to go. He was Gold Leaf’s resident expert of medicinal, poisonous, and edible fungus, and spent most of his time teaching the young, consulting, inventing, and recording his findings. However, his accident changed him dramatically. He spent his time roving the forests with the hunters and free-spirits, camping for weeks on end, flying for days to the forests edge, and sometimes disappearing altogether for a month or more. He studied family genealogies and read historic accounts during any free time he had where he was stuck indoors, resting and preparing for his next trip. Willa knew he did not remember her, and he did not remember her mother. With his newfound talents, he was of little use to academic society, but coincidentally, one of the few Dendra capable of leading such an expedition. It was obvious why they would ask this of him, and obvious why he must accept.
“Who will you bring?” She inquired. He slowly listed the names for her, all of which she recognized. Many were distant cousins, uncles and aunts from different Houses. One was a great-great uncle she had never met. All were Healers, hunters, martial artists, experts in aerial combat, trackers, animal behaviorists, and one eccentric botanist. There would be little need for agriculturalists on a trek, and she expressed as much.
“Farming is a practice for the home.” Her father agreed. She laughed at his vulgar reference to her profession as farming. He smiled. It amused him to tease these new generation Dendra for all their special words they needed to describe what others would call farming, hunting, or foraging.
“Where will you go?” Was her next question.
“That is yet to be discussed, but we will of course begin with The Keepers. We will visit our neighbors The Flitt in the Wrangled Forest, hopefully question some Sleuths if we cross them. Eventually we will need to speak with our cousins in the Rose Forest, and visit the Mother City.”
Talk of the Mother City surprised her. “So far?”
“Aye. This global winter affects us all.”
She had hoped to share the news of her newest findings with her father, like she had done for most of her adult life, but his new responsibility outweighed her desire for paternal approval; and she knew he no longer cared for stories of mushrooms. She bade farewell to the stranger who was her father, and requested that he visit her again before departing. She would visit the elder generations of her House and the rest of their family would toast to her newest achievement with some Winter Wine and perfectly prepared mushrooms.
Silvano stood at the edge of the platform until the sun began to set, looking out across the frozen forest, before leaping out into the cold air himself. He loved flying.
Putting a band together to travel, find artifact Easter Eggs, fight bad guys, bang succubi (wait what?), and save the world. Silvano is going to take some cannon fodder with him from Gold Leaf, talk to The Keepers, meet some Flitt, maybe join up with Craig, and hopefully meet some sexy demigods along the way. Who’s with me? I can only realistically write once or twice a week, so this quest is going to be slow going, and I know it’s technically the Age of Races, and not the Age of Legends, but, whatevs. I’ll just keep playing by myself if no one joins me… ;)