The Renewal of Gaia, Part II

EVENTS NEWS #423
Date: 02/03/2013 at 01:18
From: Anonymous
To : Everyone
Subj: The Renewal of Gaia, Part II

A month would pass before the dryad reappeared before the Lady of
Nature. In her absence, the devotees of Nature fervently combed both
memory and archive in search of any information that could aid them, and
now gathered with Oceana and the dryad. All sources of information
exhausted, they now gathered together, hopeful and eager to find a cure
to the xoran disease.

The dryad stared at the group, her eyes glazed. "Tell me what you have
learned."

Delphinus Windancer stepped forward. While many had spent their time
investigating the libraries of the land, he and Jack Moonflair had
travelled deep within the fortress of Azdun in pursuit of an ancient
elixir. Brewed in the underground forest, the potion was rumoured to
cure any ailment. But it had not proven successful in healing any xoran.

Nevertheless, Delphinus held the cure aloft and described its creation.
"Pure well water," he proclaimed, "alongside a sprig of mistletoe
harvested from the sacred oak at midnight. To brew, however, you only
require the addition of heat."

The dryad's eyes fixed upon the elixir within Delphinus' grasp, and she
nodded.

"Then our answer lies within Azdun," she stated. "But I have yet to
regain any of my energy. As we speak, my powers wane..."

The dryad coughed slightly, her form visibly shaking. "I know of only
one way to do so... The spirits, their powers are immense. Please,
Oceana, take me to them?"

At this, the Lady of Nature took hold of the dryad's hand, and all
followed as they visited, in turn, the spirits of Sapience's great
forests. One by one, the spirits Thalia, Clio, Calliope, Eupheme,
Terpsichore, Euterpe, Urania, Melpomene, Erato, and Polyhymnia all
bequeathed a portion of their power to the weary dryad. At last, a
faint, scattered aura surrounded her form and she declared her energy
replenished.

Now to Azdun did the group travel, swiftly traversing the continent and
descending into the darkened fortress tunnels. Through the underground
forest they journeyed, stopping before the sacred oak at mid-morning,
and gathering their collective strength for the task ahead.

~ ~ ~

Midnight struck, and Delphinus expertly removed a sprig of mistletoe
from the towering oak, passing it to the dryad, who inspected the dark
leaves with narrowed eyes. Producing the ritual bowl used by the druid
Druala, the dryad set it upon the ground and tossed the sprig of
mistletoe into the concoction. As the plant fell, faint motes of emerald
light trailed in its wake, lingering as the jagged leaves sank beneath
the gleaming mixture.

"Quickly, form a circle around me," the dryad directed.

As the group quickly moved to do her bidding, the dryad took a step
toward the bowl, her countenance alive with eager anticipation.

"Ah, devotees of Nature," she crooned. "How selfless you have been. In
the aftermath of such destruction, such misery... you persist. The true
ideals of Nature live within you: a continuous stream of vigour that
flows through your very veins."

The dryad smiled softly, casting her eyes upon each of those gathered.

"Through your efforts I was summoned, through your continuous efforts I
remain..." With careful movements, the dryad stepped into the bowl, her
feet submerged beneath the dim glow of the mixture.

"...and through your faith, shall you be blessed," the dryad whispered.

At once, blinding light filled the bowl and shone outward, illuminating
the surrounding forest with an eerie effulgence. Great arcs of amber
streaked from the luminous column and, with a seething eruption of
power, encased the shimmering radiance in a solid, glistening shell.

There, beneath the heavy boughs of the oak, rested a large sphere of
amber, a dark, obscure shape at its heart, unidentifiable through the
swirling hues of the resin. The devotees stared, dumb-struck. All stood
still bar Jacobi De'Arc, who took a determined step toward the sphere
and caressed the gleaming shell. At his touch, a deep crack coursed
across the surface with an ear-splitting screech.

The block of amber began to thrum, the deep crack splintering across the
surface and fracturing the sphere to the very core. The vibration
strengthened further still, increasing in intensity until, as the sphere
began to quake, the resin shattered. Thousands of glistening shards
surged outward, dissipating into mere trails of glittering dust as they
flew through the air.

The great clouds flickered and twitched, before twisting into writhing
tendrils that moved with an eerie sentience. Suddenly pluming, the amber
tendrils conjoined, solidifying into the perennial form of Gaia, the
Goddess of Nature.

~ ~ ~

The Goddess stood before the gathered crowd and graciously inclined her
head. It had been three hundred years since her essence had been
scattered amongst the wilds, and now that she had returned, she realised
that the world had inexplicably altered.

"We have much to discuss," the goddess intoned, "but first..."

Taking a step forward, Gaia grasped Delphinus' upturned hand and gently
closed his fingers. His eyes widened in surprise and, as the Goddess
stepped back once more, he uncurled his fingers to find a diminutive
root resting within his palm.

"That, dear ones, is a burdock root." The goddess smiled softly and
continued. "It should, environment permitting, thrive and spread its
seed. But more importantly, it should provide the cure that you have
been so avidly searching for."

With these words, the Goddess of Nature dissolved into an aureate haze
of spores, departing to the Garden of the Gods, where she stands once
more amongst the Pantheon. In awe of what they had just witnessed, the
mortals too departed, carefully tending to the young burdock root that
would, in the coming days, finally cure the ailing xoran race.

Penned by My hand on the 19th of Valnuary, in the year 617 AF.