the druid

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic



 

The Druid

 

Tara sat on the edge of the riverbank, waiting for her mother to finish washing the family’s clothes. She admired her mother. She was a strong woman her hand rough, hair in messy braids. Tara wanted to be just like her. She leaned over the bank looking at her reflection. She saw a young face with freckles and bright messy red hair. Her skin is soft and her hands clean. Looking at her reflection she dreamed of a different life. Often in her head, Tara would dream of adventures to the kingdom of Elfrich, daring escapes, and treacherous adventure. It was a life she knew she would never have.

 

“Tara, A little help?” Shaking herself out of her daydream, Tara looked up from the river bank to see her mother holding her hand out. “Tara, help me out of this river and get your head out of the clouds. You have chores to be done.” Tara sighed, helping her mother from the river she took the laundry basket and begins walking back toward their cottage. They lived outside the village in a cozy cottage her father had built before the war. It had two small bedrooms and a common area with a hearth and table. Tara thought back to the last time she had seen her father. He was packing his bags with many different herbs and blades, armor, and a large green leather-backed book that had the family crest on the front. She remembered seeing her mother quietly sobbing. He father walked to her mother and kissed her forehead. Whispering something to her mother that made her sob harder. Tara’s father walked out to where Tara was and knelt to her. “Tara, I need you to take good care of your mother while I’m gone. Can you do that for me?” Tara with a tear-filled nodded. “That my girl.” He kissed her cheek and walked out of the home. That was the last time tara saw her father. 

 

Tara often wondered if her father was still alive, she would ask her mother about him or what he was doing, but she would not talk. She wondered what great mission would keep him away for so long, but with no answers to be given she often shook the thought from her mind. Tara sat next to the hearth cooking dinner for her and her mother. Stirring the soup she begins to drift back into a dream. A thick Forrest came to her mind, and boy running looked over his shoulders and he could see the king’s guard not far behind him. He clutched his bag close to his side and pushed his feet to go as fast as they could.

 

A loud bang at Taras’s door pulled her out of her dream. Tara thought it was odd to have a visitor. They lived outside of the village. They had no neighbors. Most people didn’t leave the village and travelers did not come through the forest this way to get to the village. Tara stood with hesitation she picked up the steel fire poker and walked slowly towards the door.

The door was made of old driftwood her father has collected from the river, Tara looked through the holes of the wood to see a cloaked figure on the other side. “Who is it?” She said, No answer. She heard a thud on the ground and looked through the wood one more time, to see the figure had collapsed on the ground.

 

Tara’s head told her to keep the door shut in case this was a trick to get her to open the door and rob the family home, but her heart told her to check on the figure in case of injury. She looked over her shoulder at her mother who was napping in a chair next to the hearth. She took a deep breath and slowly opened the door, peeking through to look at the figure laying on the ground. A green cloak covers the figure’s face, She could see dark trousers and black boots sticking out from the cloak. She inched the door open trying not to make a sound. Squeezing her body around the door she made her way over to the figure.

 

As Tara drew near she could see crimson on the cloak, Blood. Tara took a step back, the blood was fresh and forming a small pool next to the figure. She built up the confidence and walked over the figure, she knelt and removed the cloak off its head. She was surprised to reveal the face of the boy from her dream... She wiped his sweaty hair off his brow to get a better look. He was a young handsome man about her age, with dark hair and a strong jaw. The boy’s breath shuddered. Tara knew that if she did not get him inside he would soon die, she wanted to know who he was but what would her mother say. 

 

Looking for a way to help the young man Tara ran back inside grabbed and chair, clean cloths, and some herbs to treat him. Back outside she set the char next to the boy and went to the clothesline to grab a sheet, she set up a makeshift tent over the boy and began to take off his cloak. Tara folded the cloak putting it to the side. She noticed a bag crossed over his body, she lifted his head and removed the bag. The bag was heavy for its size, she threw it on top of the cloak and it landed with a thud causing it to open slightly and reveal something that caught Tara’s eye,

 

Taras’s curiosity took over as she reached out for the bag. She flipped it open and revealed a green book. Something felt so familiar about the book and she took it from the bag, she turned the book over and a chill ran down her spine. It was her father’s book. The family emblem in graved with gold stared back at her. So many questions ran through her head. Suddenly she was tackled, “give me back the stuff!” the boy shouted. He pinned her down, prying the book from her hands. “That’s not yours” she yelled back. “It belongs to my fathers, Why do you have it” she felt the word catch in her throat and she thought about what could have happened to her father. 

 

Tara had had enough and wanted answers, she kicked the boy off of her. She stood up and wiped the dirt from her dress. Looking down at the boy she scowled, “ who are you and why do you have my father’s book.” The boy stood slowly with his hands up to show no threat. “I’m Finnigan Colewater, my friends call me Finn.” he stuck out his hand for her to shake. “Well Finnigan, I’m not your friend and you haven’t answered my question, why do you have my father’s book,” she said scowling at his outstretched hand. Finn put the book back in his bag and sat down to tend to his wounds.

As Finn took his shirt off Tara could see all of his muscles, he must be very strong Tara thought. A trail of blood streamed down his side from a large wound. Finn struggled with the cloth, trying to wrap it around his body. Tara rolled her eyes “You need to clean that would or it will get an infection, let me help you.” She grabbed the cloth from his hands. She began to crush some herbs to clean and treat the gash on his side. She could feel her face getting red as she ran her fingers over his muscles. His skin was hot to the touch and the smell of blood filled her nose. She covers his would with a cloth and tied it in a knot. “Thank you… uhhh I haven’t got a name for you.” Finn said putting his shirt back on. Tara stood up and begin walking to her cottage leaving Finn behind. “I’m Tara O’Connell.” and shut the cottage door behind her. 

 

Tara let out a sigh and slid her back down the door, sitting on the dirt floor of the cottage. She couldn’t believe that just happened, That boy outside has my father’s book, Why? Outside Finn stood there in shock. He knew his mission and he had just found his prize. He walked to the cottage door and knocked again. “Tara, please open up we need to talk about your father.” on the other side of the door, Tara listened to his words. When he mentioned her father she stood straight up and flung open the door grabbing Finn by his shirt collar pulling him into the cottage. She slammed the door shut behind them. “What do you know of my father,” she exclaimed. 

 

All the commotion had awakened Taras mother who let out a shriek when her eyes laid on Finn who was now pinned against the wall Tara still holding him by the collar. “Tara! What is going on.” Her mother yelled. “This boy knocked on our door and he knows something about father, look, he has his book,” Tara yelled back holding the book to show her mother. Her mother’s eyes opened wide at the sight of the book as she flew across the room and snatched it from Taras’s hands. “It can’t be.” mother said as she traced her fingers over the goldcrest. Mother’s face hardened and without looking up from the book she said “ we must get rid of it.”

 

 

A wave of confusion washed over Tara. Neither she nor her mother had seen the book in years. It’s the only thing of her fathers that she now has and her mother wanted it gone. Tara let go of Finn who was still pinned against the wall. “You can’t get rid of the book,” he said fixing his shirt. Taras’motherrs darted across the room to him “ Sure I can.” she said and dropped it onto the fire of the hearth. “NO!” Tara screamed running towards the flame only to have her wrist caught by Finn. She turned around and swung at him. He caught her other hand and said “wait.” She hesitated as Finn walked casually towards the fire. He crouched down next to the hearth, with a poker he pulled the book from the fire and it fell to the floor. It laid here smoking from the heat but no damage had been done. Tara couldn’t believe her eyes. How could the book survive?

 

With a smirk, Finn look up at the two and said “I told you, you cant get rid of the book I have tried.” The two women stood there in astonishment. “The book is protected by magic. I came from Vellabori to find you. Which has not been an easy task.” Finn said eagerly Finn turned towards Tara “ your father is alive but he is in danger.” His voice was cold but firm. Taras’s head was spinning from all this. Her father was alive, where could he be he has been gone for years with no word. Taras’s mother grabbed her by the shoulder “ Tara you listen to me your father is gone. This man is lying, he cannot be trusted.” Tara looking around her mother and locked eyes with Finn. He was the boy from her dreams, he had her father’s book. That couldn’t be a coincidence. 

 

Tara looked at her mother she looked so small and frail like the rocked that had been withered away by the ocean. Tara thought the news of her father would bring joy to her mother’s face but it seems to have brought fear. “Mother what are you hiding from me,” Tara asked with a shaky voice. The question seemed to make her mother look even smaller, her face a ghostly white. She let out a huge sigh as she sank into a chair. She sat there for what seemed like forever, finally, she looked at Tara and said “Your father had many secrets some he told me and some he couldn’t. He made his choices to keep this family safe. You were so young when he left, he was supposed to be gone for a month. Upon his return, we were going to tell you, but when he never came back I couldn’t gather the strength to tell you on my own.”

 

Tara’s eyes filled with tears with the thought of her father, her heart ached with every word that spilled from her mother’s mouth. “Your father was a strong and brave man, Tara. He loved you very much.” her mother continued. Tara could feel the tension, her mother was about to tell her something big. Her mother’s voice began to waver as tears ran down her face “ your father was a warlock, and so was his father before him. Before he left on his trip we took you down to the river and suppressed your magic. You were too young to remember but you are a witch Tara.” Her mother’s words hit her like a boulder siding down a mountain. All her breath had left her and her body felt weak. “I’m a witch?” she stammered.

 

Tara’s head swirled with the thought of her magic powers. Then anger set in, her mother lied to her for all these years. If Finn hadn’t come along who knows if her mother would have told her. Tara turned towards Finn who had taken a step back from the feuding pair. “You said you know my father, can you take me to him?” Finn took a step towards her “Yes, the journey will be long and dangerous, but I can take you to him.” Tara picked the green leather book up off the floor. She flipped it open not a single page had been burnt. Looking at the pages, she saw strange symbols she had never seen before. “ can you read this?” she asked Finn. He nodded “ so can you.” Finn turned towards Taras mother “ You said you suppressed her magic in the river.” Mother looked at them both and said “Yes, and we need to restore her magic for the journey ahead.” 

 

The mother went through all the cupboards pulling different bottles and herbs out whispering yes or no to each item. Once she had what she needed she let them down to the river. Even in the total darkness of night Tara and her mother knew the way down to the river, Finn followed closely behind them staggering and tripping over roots and branches. They reached the riverbank, Mother sets down the ingredients. “Tara, give Finn  the book, If he knew where to find us then he is also a warlock and will be able to read the spell to reverse your suppressed magic.” Mother pulls out sage, eucalyptus, wormwood, and a candle. “I need you to get into the water Tara,” Finn says as he flips through the pages of her fathers’ book.

 

Tara climbed down the bank of the river the water is freezing and sends chills through her body. “I’ve got it,” Finn says. He gets into the water with Tara, holding her hands in his. He closes his eyes and begins to chant: “I forgive myself my failures. I forgive every last one of them. Past, present, & future. I call back my power, I call it all back. That which I gave away, that which was lost, and that which was taken from me. As is, as was, as will be.  thank my guides for their protection, guidance, love, and support. As is, as was, as will be.” Finn opens his eyes and a fiery heat runs from Finn into Taras, consuming her. Her body locks up and drops into the water below.

 

Tara emergence from the water her whole body tingling. She looks at Finn and then her mother. “ I feel different,” she said looking at her reflection in the water. She is stunned at what she sees, her messy red hair was now pulled back into braids, her features were strong, tattoos replaced her freckled skin. Tara’s mother reached out to her daughter “This is who you were always meant to be Tara. You are a witch, and you come from a strong line of them. I know you can do this. Bring home your father.” Tara nodded to her mother and kissed her cheek. Finn and Tara gathered some supplies and in the morning they set out for an adventure.

 

Tara tossed and turned in her sleep, the face of her father comes through the dream. He is dirty and she can hear chain clinking. His face is bruised, he has been beaten but she cants make out where he is. Searching the dream for clues she can make out a flag on the other side of her father’s cage. The flag is gold and the symbol is a lion. Suddenly a dark figure comes into view. The figure lets out a menacing laugh “you will die here Elrick, no one knows where you are. So no one can save you.” 

 

Tara lurches from her sleep “Father!” she cries. “It’s ok Tara you were dreaming everything is ok.” it’s Finn, he is seated by the fire, doesn’t seem like he has slept at all. He brings her a warm cup of tea. “ you want to talk about it.” he asks offering a smile. Tara takes the cup from him “I dream almost every night, no way of knowing where the dream will take me. The night before last I had a dream, in the dream I was you running through the forest. You had the same cloak and bag. I could see you running from the guards.” she continued to tell Finn about the dream of him and of her father. Finn listens, when she is done he looks at her smiles, and says “ You are a very powerful witch you know that.” Tara looks at him confused by his words.,

 

“I was using a locator spell to find you, your magic must not have been suppressed.” he said “what do you mean?” tara asked. “I mean, that you tapped into your magic while you were asleep allowing you to see me,” he explained. “I can teach you more on the journey but for now try to get some sleep, we leave in a few hours.” Tara laid back down on her cot, she could hear her mother soft snore in the other room. She closed her eyes and drifted back to sleep eager to start their adventure

The next morning Tara was awoken by the salty smell of bacon cooking. She stretched and looked around the room. Finn was standing over the hearth, his cloak and boots already on. he served three plates handing one to Taras mother. He turned around smiling at Tara, “it’s never a good idea to start an adventure on an empty stomach.” handing her a plate. Tara smiled back taking the plate from him, it had two fried eggs, bacon, and some fruit from the garden. “Did you make all this?” she asked taking a bit of egg. His smile widened “my mother taught me to cook, but I use magic to make it edible.” They finished the meal and gathered their gear. Tara looked to her mother, heartbreaking at the thought of leaving her behind. Mother grabbed her and pulled her in with a tight hug, Tara kissed her mother’s cheek and said “when I come back I will have a father with me.” her mother kissed her back and said, “ you are strong tara, but you will need to learn how to control your powers, always listen to your heart.” With that Tara and Finn set out into the Forrest.

 

As they made their way through the dense forest Tara's mind drifted, she could see her father once again but this time more clear, he was shackled to the walls of a dark dank cell. Blood trickled down his face, he looks so small compared to the man Tara once knew. “Finn, how do you know my father?” she asked. Finn looked at her with pity “it’s not a story I’m proud to share.” he said looking down at his feet. They had been walking for hours now. Tara had never been so far away from home, they stopped for a small break. Finn pulled some bread from his bag along with the green book. He sat down on a log and flipped through the pages. “I was hired by the king of Vellabori to find your father and bring him back to the kingdom.” he sighed “at the time I was just a young boy whose parents were taken away for practicing magic, I didn’t know I was a warlock.” Tara looked at Finn she could see the pain in his face as though of his parents. “What happened to them?” she asked. 

 

“They were locked away in the dungeon, to serve the king. When they refused to serve any longer the king’s advisor convinced the king to have them killed and to have all magic wiped out,” he said and a small tear fell from his eyes. “When I was hired by the king I didn’t know that my parents were dead, I was promised that if I brought your father back they would release them. It was a lie when I got back they gave me the bodies of my dead parents.” Tara felt a knot form in her stomach. “If you are a warlock, why do you need my help?” Finn had stopped flipping through the book and looked up at her. “Your father wrote a lot about you in this book, he talked about your powers, he called you a seer. You are the only one left in the kingdom with that type of power,” he said. “You can tape into the minds of others, seeing and feeling what they experience. We can use your powers to locate your father. Finn took the book over to tara and showed her the many entries her father wrote about her, as she read her father's words one thing stuck with her. He wrote that his mind will always be open to his daughter. Tara turned back to Finn “did he know that he was going to be taken to the king to be his slave?” she asked. Finn nodded. “He once told me that he knew one day you would learn of your powers and come to his rescue.” Tara felt her cheeks grow hot, “If he needed my helo then why did they suppress my powers?” Finn looked shocked by the question “ they suppressed your magic to keep you safe, the king ordered all witches and warlock be harvested of their powers and disposed of. Your mother is without magic so if they suppressed your they couldn't take you away.”

 

At that moment Tara realized she and Finn were likely the only two people left in the kingdom with magic powers. “Finn,” she asked “how are we going to save my father, I don't know how to control my powers.” tara felt defeated. “I can see my father when I think of him, he's in bad shape and I don't know how long he has.” she stuttered. Finn reached out and comforted her “we are going to see a powerful mage, he lives on the north edge of the forest, its about two days of travel.” “That is the opposite direction of Vellabori!” tara yelled, “it will take more than a week to reach the kingdom.” Finn assured her “we have to go see the mage he is the only one who can teach you how to control your magic.” tara sighed “I hope we reach my father in time.” the pair gathered their things following the river north.

 
 


Submitted: April 24, 2021

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