The Family Line Part 34 – Of Pine, Leaf, and Needles



Part 33 – Of Pine, Leaves, and Needles

ScreenShot00651 (2)Green grasses full of fallen leaves filled the forest floor. The canopies of trees let in the last rays of the dying day’s sunlight, pointing down through the moist air to the forest floor like fingers of light softly and silently touching the earth. Upon the branches tree were red budding flowers as the leaves themselves were a deep green. Along with the trees an occasional light gray boulder dotted the floor, as if put there by some giant or carried there by some ancient glacier long ago. It was unlike any forest Theomin had visited on his journey. The other forests were sinister, too unsettling for unawair travelers. Not this forest. It was much more calm and inviting.

It had been over a day since Theomin found any trace of a northern path. It had warn away, givin up to nature’s persistant growth as it had not been maintained or traveled along in a long while. Theomin could only guess where north was. The forest only allowed some amount of light in. North could be anywhere and Theomin had not the slightest idea which direction it was or how to tell where north was.

Theomin stopped, noticing that the tiny lynx on his lap had become suddenly alert. It was looking out ScreenShot00652 (2)amongst the trees, perhaps spotting something Theomin’s eyes failed to see. Its long pointy ears twitched back and forth as it persistantly staired off into the forest. After a while, Bragga’s mood changed too. She became more agitated. Theomin only knew too well what followed when she began to nervously shake. He clutched the reigns tightly, anticipating something bad happening. He peared out into the forest but saw nothing but trees and a few large buzzing flies, which did nothing to harm them. He wanted to see where his little lynx friend was stairing so he looked at the lynx head and followed its line of sight. He followed it all the way to a tree. Just a regular tree. Nothing special about it, other than it was slightly different than the others. Its leaves were green with no red budding flowers and its trunk was browner and smoother. It looked like a relatively young tree as it had not fully grown up to the canopy of red buds above.

He intencely gazed at it, waiting for something to come out of the tree or from around the tree. Unexpectedly though, the tree itself moved. It moved for just for a brief second but the fright of it moving shook all three of them. The lynx lept back and clung to Theomin’s tunic with its sharp claws while Bragga nervously bucked almost throwing Theomin off but he had a tight grip on her. He whipped her around, hoping that whatever enchantment that tree was under did not effect the other trees. He galloped, avoiding more trees like the one he saw and every so often glancing back to see if it was, following somehow. It did not.

The sun had fallen below the horizon. The last light was fading and Theomin reached the edge of the forest. ScreenShot00653 (2)The view was oddly familiar. He found his way back to the empty field where he found his lynx friend. Theomin sunk in his saddle. With all that time he spent in the forest, he had backtracked all the way out to the edge of the forest. He looked around, hoping for a path. He did not find one inkling of a path. Finally, with not much to go by, he turned west, riding along the edge of the forest, hoping to find an opening to the forest that had the appearance of a path and that was when he happened along one. An opening that looked as though it continued into the forest and not far from the opening was a path. It was faded, barely visible but it was the reminence of a path from long ago. With no other idea of how to travel north, he followed it.

The path took him, again, amongst the red budding trees. It continued along, at times turning and twisting ScreenShot00654 (2)around west and then east and then north again. It did not stay in one direction, as if the path had been forged by an intoxicated man. At one point, it split into two directions. One going right, the other heading left. Theomin took a moment to think which way he wanted to go. If he was still facing north, the left path would make more sense as it would be heading west. If he was facing west, he would be heading back south. Being low on food and spending his last drips of water on the poor lynx, he decided on the path that made the most sense. He turned left.

It continued along through the thick of the forest trees for a distance but then inclined a bit as it was ScreenShot00660 (2)heading up a hill. The thick of the trees still made it difficult to see anywhere, even though the hill climbed above many of the trees. Suddenly, in the distance, he spotted another sight of ruins. It did not seem too far away and the path led right to it. He had Bragga pick up the pace as he felt weary of the day’s travel. He was hoping for food or drink as he approached the ruins.

Finally, thickness of the trees ended as he broke from the forest. It did not look like the empty lands of Eregion with its dry riverbeds and large boulders strewn across the land. Another elven ruin sat at the edge of a cliff. As Theomin approached it, he saw it was occupied. By whome, though? If they were those horrible half-orc creatures, he could not bear another confrontation with them. He decided to take the safest path.

ScreenShot00664 (2)The path split to the right, heading down a hill, away from the elven ruin and continued down the cliff. As he headed down he had one of the most spectacular view he had seen yet. Though the path was cut in half, a log joined the two parts of the path with the backdrop being very tall and very beautiful waterfall. The rock was of a reddish color. The smell of moisture was in there air as was the sharp and the memorably lovely smell of pine was in the wind. He missed the smell of pine.

ScreenShot00663Back in the Wold, pine was as constant as the horses that lived there. The pinetree that stood next to his house always gave out such a wonderful odor all year round that it was the smell of home for him. Now, so far away from home and a normal life, he was amongst the smell of pine again. The smell and nostalgia of home.

Even though he was around such beautiful sights, he could notScreenShot00669 (2) help but feel homesick for the first time in a long while. It had been almost a month since he departed from his house. He had been so busy with the other adventures of his journey he had not had the time to feel homesick. But now sudden glimpses of home passed quickly through his thoughts, haunting them. The windmill on the warm summer days. The feel of the dry Wold grass as it gently ran across his hands. The sight of the rushing ScreenShot00668 (2)Anduin on its way south. The gentle breeze caressing his face. His father brushing the ponies. His brothers playing. His sister helping her mother cut apples on the poarch. He pulled back on the reigns, stopping and shut his eyes, almost feeling the warm sun of the Wold on his face as he smelled the aroma pine on the wind. The feel of home engulfed him like a warm welcoming blanket that he did not want to be released from.

As quickly as his thoughts raced to the Wold, they raced right back to reality.He opened his eyes and found himself at the edge of a stream at night in a forest thick with pine needles, and leaves on the forest floor. Only the soft snore of the lynx, gentle sound of wind through the pine trees, and the trickling of the water as it flowed past down the river was all heard in a melodic symphony. Across the gently flowing river sat a lonely modest house, lit from the inside with a delicate flickering flame. Nets were placed along the river, fish hung from a post, and a boat floated alongside a tiny dock out front of the house. A small bit of smoke puffed out of the chimney of the tiny house.

ScreenShot00667 (2)As late as it was, Theomin needed food and shelter for the night. He had Bragga test the depth of the river before crossing it. It seemed shallow near large boulders which were not unlike the large boulders of Eregion. He crossed the river and held up his tiny lynx friend, who was still asleep. He dismounted from Bragga and tied her to the pole bearing fish. He straightened himself up, trying his best to look decent but was not sure how he looked let alone how he smelled. He just approached the door and nocked on it.

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