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Part 3

Here you can join the less than talented Druid Raoul on his journey of misfortune.
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Wraithwriter
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Part 3

Post by Wraithwriter » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:39 pm

Ancient trees towered high above the tranquil forest floor. Reaching branches and emerald leaves filtered the sun's rays creating shifting patches of shadow and viridescent light.

"You're lost again!" screeched a feminine voice, shattering the verdant tranquility. "How are you going to restore my tree if you keep getting lost!"

"I'm not lost," countered a bearded man in an exasperated tone. "We're in the same forest we've walked through for days. I'm just not sure on what direction we've been going."

"You're a Fool!" his dryad companion screeched, planting a damning finger in the man's chest. "Tell me Raoul, how does a Druid get lost in a forest? If I didn't need you I'd take you back to my glade and let those villagers hang you!"

"Well, it's a good thing you haven't or we'd both be dead!" Grated the man as he batted the dryad' finger from his chest. "Now if your Loveliness would care to shut up, I could focus on getting my bearings."

"Shut up!" the dryad screeched even louder than before. "Listen here you sorry accuse for a Druid. I am the Dryad and you are the Tree in this relationship. I will speak when and however I wish! Now, you had best find your bearings quickly or I will make you regret ever losing them."

"Too late," Mumbled Raoul, but not softly enough.

"What was that?!" The Dryad demanded.

"I said, of course Your Loveliness," the druid answered sarcastically.

"That is not what you said!"

The two broke into incomprehensible bickering that filled the once tranquil forest. Birds stopped singing, foraging dear and rabbit scattered, even tiniest of forest spider scurried away. After minutes of this a creature who'd been trying to sleep had enough.

"Will you two stop your infernal caterwauling!" Barked a gravelly voice from behind the bickering duo.

Alarmed, Raoul and the dryad spun around to face the new voice. Amazingly the Druid ensured that he was between whatever they'd face and the dryad. For the dryad’s part, she crowded as close to Raoul's back as she could and still view what they faced.

As they watched, a large furred beast scrambled out of a half-buried tree fall. White stripes ran from its nose to the back of its skull and long claws tore at the forest floor as it pulled itself out. Once free the horse sized badger stood glaring at them with entirely too human green eyes.

"I finally get comfortable and doze off only to be awakened so precipitously." The badger growled. "Is it not enough that I suffer this form? Must I also endure your marital dissatisfaction?"

At the word marital the dryad straightened with indignant ire. "I am not married to this Fool! Dissatisfied, yes, but married...Never!"

"Could have fooled me," growled the enormous badger.

Shoving Raoul out of her way the dryad stalked right up to the beast's snout. "See here you misbegotten overgrown rodent, I am a dryad, a spirit of the forest. I am not some repugnant human woman."

Raoul quickly came up behind her and attempted to pull her away from the reach of the creature’s teeth and claws. The dryad, like the trees that gave her life, had taken root where she stood having no intention of being swayed from her current course. As it were the druid's concern was for naught, as the beast did not attack. In fact its entire body shook and the chuckling barks left no doubt that it was laughing.

"Are you laughing at me?!" The dryad screeched. "How dare you laugh at me! Raoul, make him stop laughing!"

Before Raoul could react to the dryad' demand the enormous badger growled, its laughter adding an odd lit to its words. "Oh you two are too much! It's been at least ten years since I've laughed. Tell you what I'll let your waking me slide, and maybe you can help me."

"Why should we help you?" The dryad demand querulously crossing her arms beneath her breasts.

"I wasn't talking to you sweet cheeks," the badger growled, "though we can continue this discussion later. I rather like the way you smell of honey suckle."

Her eyes widened at the badger's words and stamped her dainty bare foot. "Raoul! Are you going to let this thing say such things to me!?"

With a deep sigh Raoul hung his head before giving it a shake and looking up at the badger. "How can I be of assistance?"

"Raoul!"

"Looks like he's not as whipped as you thought sweet cheeks." Letting out another bark of laughter the badger launched into his request. "I haven't always been a badger..."

***

Over the course of what may have been an hour the badger told its tale.
Its name was Trevor and he'd at one time been a woodsman. One day he'd come across a woman bathing under a waterfall; being the cad he was, he stole the pretty lass’ clothes leaving a clear trail for her follow. Upon reaching a clearing he littered the branches with the articles so she'd make quite the scene while gathering them. As it turned out his lecherous humor was not well received.

After waiting an hour he'd begun to think she wasn't coming, but no sooner did this thought cross his mind than a silvery owl alighted in a tree above him. He gave the bird no thought till it spoke.

"Your jest is not much appreciated," the owl stated its voice ringing like a choir of silver bells. Then with a shimmer the bird became a naked beauty with short cropped hair. There was little doubt in his mind that this was the same lass whose clothes he'd filched.

"What jest?" He inquired innocently, "I simple saw some clothes that needed drying and hung them up to dry." This last was said with a wave of his hand toward the scattered clothes.

"I see," replied the woman before giving him a coquettish smile. The smile led him to believe he'd managed to extract himself from danger, but his hope was soon shattered. "You know, I like you. Too bad I cannot let this theft good unpunished. Tell you what, I'll forgo my usual sentence of death and show you some mercy."

Vines of thick ivy wrapped around his wrists and ankles as she spoke. Try as he might he was unable to break free. That was when the thorns began to dig in.

At his cry of pain the woman's smile turned vindictive. "Mercy may match my mood, but pain and blood are the coin I exact from all who trespass. Now, what shall I do with you?" Tilting her head to the right she studied him as he suffered the wrath of the ivy with unnatural thorns.
Eyebrow lifting, a mischievous smile blossomed on her lips. "I have it! A most ingenious sentence indeed; I do ever so hope you appreciate Queen Triggadora's merciful fey justice."

A flash of light was the last thing he saw of the naked woman then only blackness.

***

"When I woke I wore this shape," Trevor growled, wrapping his story up. "I've been eating like an animal ever since. I want to eat roasted venison again!"

"It’s less than you deserve, pervert," taunted the dryad.

"No one asked you sweet cheeks."

"So what do you want from me?" Raoul inquired a little confused and intimidated by the Trevor’s tale.

“I want you to use your magic to change me back!” came the answer. “After all, is not the power of a god greater than that of any fey creature? Use your power granted you by holy Vat to undo my curse and I will help you find your way!”

“I really-,” Raoul began but was cut off.

“Ha!” the dryad blurted, “Like he’d help you! Even if he could…” Whatever she was going to say was lost as she fell silent. After a time a wicked light entered her eyes and a sultry smile lifted her lips. Turning toward Raoul she placed a gentle hand on his cheek. “Why don’t you help this poor creature?” she asked sweetly giving the druid’s cheek an inviting caress. “You can do it, I believe in you.”

“But the last time-,” a delicate finger placed on his lips quieted him.

“Shhh,” the dryad whispered her lips now close to the druid’s. “Call upon holy Vat to change this poor creature for the better.” This she punctuated with a kiss that promised much more. When she released the kiss Raoul stood there half dazed.

Raoul remained in a dazed state for minute after the kiss, but with a sigh of content and delighted shudder, he shook off the effects. “Ok, Trevor I will help you.”

“Great!” Trevor growled triumphantly. “I can taste the venison juices now!”

“You wish,” the dryad whispered and only Raoul heard her, but the druid took no note of her words.

Taking a deep breath Raoul attempted to clear his mind of everything but what is wanted to do; however, try as he may, he was unable to dismiss the dryad’s kiss. As the energy he prayed to Vat for gathered his thoughts began to focus on the future promises implied by the kiss. He remembered nothing of their last union thanks to circumstances leading to the event, it was something he fervently wished to repeat and add the experience to his memory. First he needed to complete the task of changing Trevor.

Trevor’s form began to shimmer and shift from one form to another. He became a snake, a rat, a skunk, a bat, and finally an eagle before light flashed around him. When the burst of light cleared Trevor was left changed, but not in the manner he wished.

“What have you done!” the thing that was now Trevor shrieked. Where once had stood an enormous badger there was now a hideous amalgam of creatures. It had the head of an eagle, the body of a rat, wings of a bat, and the tail of a skunk; however, the worst were the dipping dagger like fangs and flicking forked tongue that showed as it shrieked.

The dryad burst into gleeful laughter at Trevor’s new predicament. She’d hoped that something would go wrong, but not even she could have imagined this. Raoul may be the most incompetent druid she’d ever met but he did have an imagination and a flare for the dramatic.

“I’m sorry!” Raoul cried in horror. He did not understand why all this misfortune kept following him around, was he not a devout follower of Vat, god of the natural world? Why did everything he did result in unnatural consequences? “I can fix this!”

“You’d better, you little worm, or I’ll gut you like a squealing pig!” Trevor shrieked from his eagle’s beak.

“I think it suits you,” commented the dryad through her laughing fit.

“Please stop laughing!” Raoul pleaded of the dryad, “This is my life we are talking about here! Will you help me think?” His plea only served to feed the dryad’s laughter and she clutched at her belly she laughed so hard.

Frantic minutes passed with Trevor glaring murderously at him and the dryad’s laughter grating on his nerves. How was he going to fix this one? He already had the dryad mess to contend with he did not need this as well. Then like lightning the solution hit him. “You can come with us!”

“Yeah, come with us,” the dryad gasped out then her laughter cut off. “Wait! What?”

“Yes!” Raoul exclaimed excitedly. “We’re heading to Vargbriton to find the Grand High Druid, I’m sure they’d be able to help you!”

“No!” the dryad shrieked in horror.

“They’d better, or I’ll make a special exception on my rules on cannibalism.” Trevor threatened, his voice coming out as a cross between a snake’s hiss and an eagle’s cry. Transferring his glare to the dryad a cruel gleam entered his eyes. “Looks like you’re stuck with me sweet cheeks.”

The dryad’s laughter now turned to tears. Meanwhile, Raoul was completely oblivious to the interactions between Trevor and the dryad.



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