The Last Druid – Part 2
This is Part 2 of Clever’s short story. If you haven’t read the beginning, you can find it here.
A thrum of warm magic gently woke Kiery, as her mind filled with a vision of the sun rising. The tree was communicating with her. She shook Daelen awake, and he gathered his weapons.
“You’re a sorcerer. Why do you have so many weapons?” Kiery asked.
“I use my magic to enhance the weapons. They were created by a magesmith to absorb my magic. Combining them makes me stronger and more versatile than the average sorcerer. It’s why I was put on this mission.”
Kiery nodded, and they both quietly prepared for the task ahead.
“Are you ready for this?” he asked kindly.
“Not exactly, but what other choice is there?”
“You always have a choice, Kiery,” he said as he took her hands. “But I’ll be with you the entire time. I’ll keep you safe.”
A jolt of magic spread up from her feet, as a vision appeared. Two fey dancing merrily under the boughs of an oak tree, the forest lit with glowing orbs. Kiery laughed aloud. Daelen quirked his eyebrows in a question.
“We reminded the tree of a moment in the past; two feys holding hands and dancing. The tree showed me the memory,” Kiery said.
“Is that how you communicate with the trees?”
“Yes, they can send me a vision of anything they are currently witnessing or have seen in the past. They can also share feelings with the memories. This memory brought the tree joy, to have fey dancing in the forest.”
“Why don’t we bring back some joy to the forest?” Daelen said, as he pulled her closer.
She smiled up at him, and they began to sway back and forth. Daelen twirled her slowly before resting his hand on her lower back, their bodies now touching. Their eyes locked.
Kiery cleared her throat. “We should probably get going.”
“Of course,” Daelen said, as he released her.
As the tree opened before them, it sent one final vision to Kiery. A beautiful smile on her face as Daelen spun her around and brought her close.
They made their way back to the warlock camp in the rising light. The forest was more alive during the day. Birds sang to them as flowers sprouted up along their route.
“Beautiful,” Kiery whispered.
“Yes,” Daelen replied, but he was looking at her.
Kiery flushed and the flowers bloomed brighter. Daelen laughed softly.
They stopped at the edge of the camp and looked for signs that anyone was awake. Four guards still held posts around the black tree, but other than that it was clear. Daelen told Kiery to wait for his signal, and with a few muttered words, disappeared.
Kiery watched as the guards around the tree fell in rapid succession, and then Daelen reappeared. He waved her over.
“I’ll keep watch while you take care of the tree,” Daelen said. Then, he squeezed her hand. “You can do this.”
Kiery nodded and turned toward the tree. She placed her palm against it, preparing to suck the life from it. At her touch, a pulse of magic shook the ground. The tree had alerted the warlocks. Daelen cursed and urged her to hurry, as he pulled out two daggers.
Kiery placed her hands back on the tree, but she hesitated. The tree must have sensed her indecision, because Kiery was assaulted with flashes of the past. A beautiful blooming tree wrapped in May Day ribbons. Couples kissing under the branches. Children climbing within them. The tree showed her how it was cared for and appreciated.
Then, the images grew dark. Less people came to the tree for merriment and healing. They stopped spending time leaning against its trunk. Loneliness, abandonment. Finally, the warlocks came to it, seeking its magic. That’s when the tree bloomed black.
The tree wasn’t evil. It was hurt.
Yells pierced the air, as warlocks rushed from the tents. Daelen let loose glowing daggers that struck true, but they were badly outnumbered. Kiery turned back to the tree.
She could heal the tree now, but it would only turn dark again once she left. It would take more than a little druid magic to undo the tree’s view of humankind.
She had two choices: quickly kill the tree and escape, or take the time to figure out how to truly heal it. She glanced at Daelen. He now battled up close with a handful of warlocks, spells flashing between them. His magical weapons gave him an advantage, but it wouldn’t be long before he was overwhelmed. She remembered the oath he made in her garden, and that’s when she knew what she must do.
The only way to drastically change the tree was true sacrifice.
Kiery hung her head, leaning her weight into the tree for support. She hadn’t known Daelen long, but she knew he would tell her to save Evairin, even if it cost his life. She knew he would hold off the warlocks long enough for her to finish the task. He wouldn’t run.
Kiery sent her druid magic into the tree, pushing back the darkness. As she did so, she showed it the image of her dancing with Daelen in the oak tree. She shared with it her intention, both of their intentions, to sacrifice themselves to heal the tree.
The tree rumbled in surprise. She clearly cared for Daelen, but she was putting the tree first. The trunk began turning a healthy brown from its ashy bark. Daelen cried out, but Kiery didn’t stop her task. Vines came to her aid, wrapping around the tree and bursting with flowers. The tree’s leaves changed from black to bright green.
Kiery heard warlocks charging toward her now. Some had slipped past Daelen, which wasn’t a good sign. With whatever time she had left, she sent all her strength into the tree.
A warlock grabbed her and ripped her from the tree. He gripped her shoulders and muttered a few words, but nothing happened. The warlock looked between her and the tree. His magic was gone.
With barely a thought, Kiery sent vines to wrap around the warlock. The whole forest rushed to their aid. The remaining warlocks were trapped.
Kiery rushed to Daelen. He lay on the ground clutching a scorch mark on his chest. Kiery took his hand.
“I’m so sorry,” she said.
Daelen coughed, and his head lolled to the side. Kiery began to weep.
A vine brushed against her, but it didn’t comfort her. The vine pushed harder. She turned to look at it, and that’s when a glowing leaf fell from the tree.
Kiery rushed to the leaf and brought it back to Daelen. She crushed the leaf in her hand and sprinkled it on his wound. After a moment the wound began to glow, and the scorch mark disappeared.
Daelen woke and sat up, pulling Kiery into his arms.
“You did it,” he said.
“We did it,” replied Kiery.
She kissed Daelen deeply, and colorful flowers bloomed to life all around them.
What did you think of The Last Druid? If you enjoyed this short story, we would love for you to leave a comment, or even buy us a cup of coffee! We promise to share!
Thanks so much for reading!
-Clever & WTF