Whew! I’m glad I’m home in our world after walking through that fog.
I left the cabin yesterday wanting a fresh start to my quest on seeing the Oracle or even just finding her forest. Thankfully, I ended up in Ot’s world once again. I know this because I met the healer, Igbo, and he sort of sent me in the right direction towards the foothills of the mountains. I asked him how I could find the Oracle, but he just smiled at me, a knowing glint in his eye. He walked with me through the forest until late afternoon where we arrived at a lake. There we prepared to camp for the night and as we sat by the campfire, I tried to give him a pouch of MRE(meals ready to eat) for dinner, but he shook his head.
“Thank you, I do have my own provisions, as well. Here, did you want to try some?” I looked at the fare he was offering and shook my head.
“No thank you.” It wasn’t easy not to grimace at what he had, they were bugs he kept in a leather pouch. The little buggers were still crawling and just watching him put them in his mouth made me want to cringe. I guess he probably was thinking the same towards my MRE. Well, the cardboard-tasting food I was shovelling in my mouth would certainly taste better than live insects anytime, in my opinion.
“I got lost yesterday, Igbo.” I start to say.
“Oh?” he says, turning his gaze towards me.
“I found myself in a forest similar to yours and was expecting to find Ot or one of your clan members foraging. Instead, I met a dryad who tried to entice me to stay in her forest much like how a siren tempts sailors to dive into the sea until they drown.” Igbo raises one eyebrow as he looks at me.
“And what did you do?”
“Well, the moment I realized that she meant for me to never leave her forest, I did my best to trick her into letting me go. I was lucky to escape, but I completely understand how some men would have stayed on. Her voice was just unbelievable!”
“What?!?! You listened to her sing?”
“Uh, yeah, a little, I guess. Until something hit me on my forehead, a bee maybe or something. That released me from the trance temporarily and then I put my earphones on so I couldn’t hear her anymore.”
I pull out the earphones from my pocket and let Igbo listen to some music. His head bobs up and down, and then smiles as he hears Cyndi Lauper singing “Girl’s just wanna have fun.” I smile along with him. He takes the earphones off, I think it was after the song was done.
“That is a very handy contraption you have there. It was a good thing you had it with you. Otherwise you would have been trapped there in the Dryad’s forest and slowly turn into a centaur.” I feel my jaw drop.
“Did you really think you would have stayed the same if she was successful in making you stay?”
“Is that why the prince is now a centaur and is still looking for her in that forest?” I gasp.
“Ah, she told you the story.”
“Yes, she told me all about how she sang to tempt her sister’s betrothed. And once the prince was smitten with her voice, her sister laid a curse on her, making her into a dryad and the prince into a centaur.”
“The curse wasn’t only for her. It was also for the men that would be weak enough to be enticed with her voice. It’s magic would turn them into centaurs after they are smitten, and they will forever be searching her forest, desperately looking for her. Not knowing that she is the forest itself and thus, they would never be able to see her, because she knows exactly where they are.”
“You mean there is more than one centaur there?”
“There are a lot of them. Unfortunately, males are weak. The temptation of a female is too irresistible, and couple that with the magical beauty of her voice, there begins the making of a centaur. I’m amazed you escaped.” I smiled at his words.
“I think I wasn’t meant to become half horse, half man.” 😉 The flathead chuckles.
“Maybe you have a point.”
“So, how come you know about the dryad from this other forest?”
“The Dryad, Callista, is the sister of Ursa. They used to both live in the forests in these foothills where their father reigned.”
“You mean Callista used to be from this world? Who is Ursa?” Igbo looks me straight in the eye.
“Yes, Callista used to be from this world. However, for your other question, you should check the book in your bag. You will find your answers there.” He looks up at the dark sky. “It is late, I will see you in the morning. Good night, my friend.” He then leaves me sitting by the campfire, my mind whirling with all these questions and possible answers. After sometime, I get into my sleeping bag and fall asleep.
The morning brought beautiful sunshine with a crisp, fresh air. I inhaled the sweet scent of the water coupled with the fragrant pine as I sat up. An arrow made of two twigs pointed to the direction of a path into the forest, in what I assumed, was the way to the Oracle’s forest. I looked around to see where Igbo might be, but he was nowhere in sight.
“Igbo! Igbo!” I called out. No answer. I guessed he decided to ditch me and go his own merry way. I shrugged my shoulders, got up and rolled away my sleeping bag. After my morning rituals, I decided to start walking in the direction the arrow pointed. A couple of granola bars should tide me over until my next stop. It was too bad I didn’t have coffee with me, I could have used some at that point.
I walked for miles, stopping only for a short lunch break underneath a huge tree. The peacefulness I found in the wilderness was very relaxing. It was almost dusk when I encountered the thick fog near the base of the foothills of the mountains. I debated on whether to go on or wait until morning. The fog would surely lift by then.
The sound of heavy breathing and short grunting noises some distance behind me caught my attention. My heart started pounding and my hands began to sweat.
“Bear!” I thought to myself.😱
Cautiously, I turned to see if I was right. Sure enough a huge grizzly bear was busy feeding behind a bunch of berry bushes towards my right. I gasp.
The animal raised its huge brown head in the air, it’s ears perked as it took a huge sniff. It was probably trying to catch my scent. My hands began to tremble at my sides. My mind was blank and my body immobile. When it turned its head in my direction, I felt like it was looking at me, piercing me straight into my very soul.
A loud roar brought me out of my reverie. I realized that the bear was standing on its hind legs, it’s left paw swiping in the air as it let out another loud growl. I felt my feet slowly back away, the fog enveloping me in its moist and cool embrace. When I couldn’t see through the thickness of the mist, I turned and ran, and found myself in another forest. I pull my phone out of my pocket to check for cellular signal. A smile breaks on my face at the beautiful sight I see. A single bar of cellular connection showed at the top left hand corner of my phone’s face.
I let out a deep sigh as I looked at my surroundings. It was late afternoon and there was no way I would be able to get back to the cabin before dark. Besides, I need to go back into that other world in the morning. So, I decided to camp for the night.
As I sit by my campfire, here in the forest somewhere in Alberta, I typed up this story so I could share it with you. Though I haven’t reached my destination yet, I am confident I will at least find the Oracle’s forest, I am hoping I get to meet the Oracle, but it all depends on her. After I upload this to my site, I will continue reading the book THE HEIR:Darkstone Trilogy 1 on my phone. Don’t ask me how Igbo knew I had a copy of the book because there is no way he knows what cellphones are, right?🤔