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 3: Goewyn Goes Visiting.
Goewyn awoke the next morning, and dressed quickly. As soon as breakfast was over, she decided, she would go and talk to Ablach, the treeman of apples, Lord of the Eastern March and his wife Maia, the treewoman of hawthorns. They were also part of the ancient tales, and Rhodon was Ablach’s kinsman. She had questions that only they could answer.
Goewyn came down from her room just as breakfast was being set on the table.
“Good morning, Goewyn!” said Betsan.
“Good morning, Aunt Betsan.”
“Come sit. What are your plans for the day?”
“I was hoping to visit Lord Ablach and Lady Maia. They were in dormancy when I was here over Christmas, and I would love to see them.”
“Of course! They love you so much, you must go see them.”
“Thank you, Aunt Betsan, I’ll be home in time for lunch.”
Goewyn walked across a green field toward the full orchard of the treeman of apples. The trees waved their leaves in greeting, their flowers finished for the year, ripening fruit lining the branches. Goewyn looked around for the jolly treeman and his sweet bride.
“Lord Ablach! Lord Ablach, are you home? It’s Goewyn!” called Goewyn.
As Goewyn rounded a corner, Ablach stuck his head from behind a tree. Goewyn jumped back and let out a yelp.
“Jeez! Ablach, don’t do that!”
The treeman of apples was taller than Rhodon, but was very similar in build and appearance. However, Ablach sported round, rosy cheeks as opposed to Rhodon’s thin, angular face. He also wasn’t as meticulous as his kinsman in personal appearance, his stick-like hair not as neatly groomed and his tunic slightly askew. His green eyes twinkled merrily as he addressed Goewyn.
“Lady Goewyn, what a surprise! Did I scare you?”
“You did in fact! Whew.” panted Goewyn.
“What brings you here? Come, have some tea.”
Ablach lead Goewyn to his cottage, situated in a circle of apple and hawthorn trees. A circle of rocks surrounded a table, made from a few slabs of rock. Standing by the table was Maia, the treewoman of hawthorns and Ablach’s wife. Like her husband there was a wildness about her, from her grey-brown skin, to her chocolate eyes and stick hair. She, being a lady was better groomed than Ablach, but there was still that untamed, playful spirit about her. Ruffling her ombre-dyed pink dress she came to greet Goewyn.
“Lady Goewyn! What brings you here? Wait a moment, I’ll go get an extra cup.” exclaimed Maia.
Maia returned with a small fired-clay cup in her hands for Goewyn and sat her to Ablach’s right at the table. As Maia poured the tea Ablach enquired of Goewyn.
“What brings you to our part of the woods?”
“Do I need a reason to visit my good friends and mentors?”
“No, I suppose not, but I can tell, something is on your mind.”
Goewyn smiled slightly.
“It’s true. I went hiking in the Western March yesterday and I met your kinsman, Lord Rhodon.”
Ablach almost spit out his tea in surprise, while Maia choked on a bite of scone.
“Rhodon?! And he talked to you?”
“Oh, yes, I sang for him as well. He wants me to come again and keep him company.”
Ablach sat back, an incredulous expression on his face.
“Wonders never cease.” he muttered.
“Why did you come to tell us this? Not that we’re not thrilled about the news, but still.” asked Maia.
“More than that, does Betsan know?” Ablach’s voice was anxious.
“No, I haven’t said a word.”
The treeman of apples sighed.
“Good, that’s good.” Ablach drained his teacup in relief.
“I have some questions about him, that I know I can’t ask him. Like why did he become a hermit for so long?”
Ablach set down his teacup and pressed the tips of his fingers together.
“That… takes some telling.”