DargonZine F4, Issue 3

The Awakening

By: Ornoth


The morning sun was boldly creeping towards the edge of Hartley’s sleeping mat when he woke. Sitting up, he shed the single wool blanket he had been given by one of the peasant women from the nearby village of Greenmont. He had left the shutters and door of his modest dwelling open, and the smell of the surrounding pine woods and the warm sun permeated the room. Shrugging on a light brown tunic, Hartley leaned out the window and took a deep breath. This was one of those special May mornings Hartley had been taught were called Truespring, when spring finally came in a burst of warmth and lush greenness. The sky was clear and deep azure, and the leaves on the old Maple out back were calm, signifying that the rest of the day would not see any spring showers. A nuthatch hung upside down on a Cedar, nibbling at the piece of suet Hartley had hung only yesterday afternoon. Truespring had come at last, and Hartley’s soul was healed, after the long days of winter. He could feel the raw, rejuvenating power of Nature, and he rejoiced in it.

 

After several very long moments of private reverie, Hartley left his small cottage with a pewter basin. He walked barefoot down a well-known path, carpeted with a dun-colored mat of last years fallen pine needles, eventually coming upon a small woods stream. The druid climbed upon a stone that jutted into the stream. After a moment of excited consideration, Hartley tossed the basin towards the path and stripped off his tunic. The water would be very cold, but after the winter, Hartley couldn’t wait until he could swim a little and wash all over. After steeling his nerves in the sunlight, he leapt into the spring runoff. He thrashed around in the water for a bit, getting clean, and hopped right back up onto the rocks. He shouldn’t stay in too long, after all.

 

He laid down on the sun-warmed boulder for a time, drying off and listening to the babble of the rushing water and the voices of the woods. After several minutes, he donned his robe and filled the basin, bringing it back to the hut with him.

 

Walking around to the front of the cabin, Hartley came upon his garden. Here grew all varieties of flowers and herbs, and, soon, vegetables. He sprinkled water from the basin around. Most of his flowers were up, and the Lilacs were blossoming in white and lavender. His patch of Lilly-in-the-Valley were also blossoming fragrantly. There was a great deal of work in his garden, but Hartley knew that it was well worth the effort. It was still a little early to plant many vegetables, although he ought to head into town and buy some pea and corn seeds. If he was lucky he could get two groups of peas before fall, so he planned to get them in the ground as soon as possible. As for corn, that took all summer to grow, and should be planted as soon as possible.

 

He bent down and picked a single Lilly-of-the-Valley stem and smelled its sweet bell-like blossoms. Placing the basin down, he walked to the far side of the garden, where he had built his altar to the twin gods. The altar was nothing more than a small gathering of stones, but it meant more to Hartley than any other place he knew. The snow had melted from it, revealing the remains of prior offerings: a few golden leaves, a pine tassel, and so forth. He knelt before the altar, placing the Lilly blossom atop it. For several minutes he sat in silent meditation, worshipping the works of the two gods, the strong-willed man called Nature and the softness of Mitra, goddess of Love. Hartley had been taught early the worship of Nature, and knew little of Mitra save that she was the all-mother, and Nature’s twin companion.

 

After this ritual was complete, he quietly returned to his home and prepared for a trip into town.

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