By T.K. Wilson
Word Count: 15261
Rating: PG for depictions of PTSD panic attacks and violence
Summary: When Lady Goewyn of House Meridian meets the long missing treeman of roses, Lord Rhodon of the Western March, her eyes are opened to a new world of danger, magic, and healing.
Chapter 2: Lord Rhodon
“The Treeman of Roses.” said Goewyn with another bow.
“Yes, that is my name. I did not think that the outside world remember me.”
“I’ve heard stories about you from my childhood. I know that you taught my ancestress Aelwen to use her powers over the plants, and that you saved King Finvarra the Second.” Goewyn hesitated. “And I know the loss of Akasma.”
The sound of the name sent a pained look over the face of the treeman. He seemed to bend under the weight of sadness he still carried.
“The Roses Red and White” is a beloved ballad in the House Meridian.” Goewyn continued, “But everyone thought that you had left Meridian, or even died.”
“We treemen live longer than elves and men, only fire can truly harm us. And once we choose our home we will not leave it; not even to die, firm as the trees we love.”
“In short, you would never leave the land of Meridian.” remarked Goewyn.
Rhodon laughed heartily.
“I see that the ways of elves have not changed, such hasty folk!” Rhodon paused, running a hand across his chin.
“My Garden has long been bereft of laughter and song from someone other than the birds. Please, come and visit me in the future, fill my garden with song and joy. The gates will always be open to you.”
Goewyn was shocked by this offer. She bowed gratefully.
“Thank you, my Lord. I will certainly visit when I can.”
Rhodon put out a hand and ran it down Goewyn’s golden curls.
“Elf’s child with hair like sunshine, bring this heart gladness and sing for me.”
Goewyn knelt at the feet of Rhodon’s throne and set her harp to a gentle melody.
Rhodon sat in his throne listening to the merry tale of patience and love rewarded. It had been too long since the music of the elves had flowed through his garden and bringing with it the scattering of the shadows that lingered in his mind. But all too soon, the song was over, and it was far back to House Meridian walking. Rhodon opened the gates of his garden to allow Goewyn to leave.
“Come again soon, please.”
“I will! I’ll see you soon!”
Goewyn marched back to the House Meridian proper as fast as possible. She was delighted to find someone so important to her family history as Rhodon still living! Her mother and countless others had told tales of the King of the Flowers for as far back as she could recall, and to find him still living on Meridian territory was sure to be news to share… but she hadn’t gotten Rhodon’s permission to tell where he was. Until then, she would keep quiet.
Goewyn’s Aunt Betsan and Uncle Aelius were the current Lord and Lady Meridian, though Goewyn was in the line of succession, which ran through the female line. Goewyn’s cousin, the true heir Maegan, was off in Shangri-La in the east visiting with some friends.
Goewyn loped up to the gates of the castle and disappeared within. Removing her boots at the doorway, Goewyn went directly to the dining hall. On the walls of the dining hall were tapestries showing the history of the House Meridian. Behind the head chair was a tapestry of Lady Solana and Lord Orpheus, the founders of the house, on either side was the depiction of the first meeting of the two, and their subsequent victory over the Dark Man of the Shi, who had wanted Solana for himself. Across from the chair Goewyn was to sit in was a tapestry of Rhodon and Akasma, considered by some of her people to be co founders of the house. Sunshine goes best with flowers, after all.
“Well, Goewyn, you’re just in time!” said Betsan.
“I’m sorry I’m late Aunt Betsan.” said Goewyn, sitting down.
“It’s no trouble, dear. Where did you go?”
“Off into the woods to the west.”
The meal began with Betsan and Aelius discussing the events of the day, including news that a Witch had been spotted on Meridian land. Goewyn listened carefully to this, she had heard that there was a new Witch in the area. Not much was known about her, and that alone made her dangerous.
Goewyn ate quietly before asking,
“Aunt Betsan, what do you think happened to Rhodon?”
“The hamadryad? He’s probably part of someone’s guitar by now!” laughed Aelius.
“Aelius!” reproached Betsan. “No one really knows what happened to him Goewyn. He just disappeared after he taught your great grandmother to use plant magic.”
“Does anyone know why? It’s said that Rhodon and Lady Solana and Lord Orpheus were good friends.”
“No, not really. Lady Solana surmised it had something to do with Akasma’s death, but she couldn’t get anything from him.”
“He loved Akasma very much then.”
“More than anything; more than his own life, so it’s said.”
“Yes, it is. If Rhodon still lives, it would be of a great service to our House to know where to find him. I should like to see the gardens restored to their former beauty.”
Goewyn kept her peace. There was a mystery here, and she would be the one to solve it.
“Why do you ask?”
“Oh, no reason. The story’s always been a favorite of mine, is all.”
*Irish traditional song. Lyrics as performed by Dervish, but there are many sets of lyrics.