Early Autumn, Year 756 of the New Age Silverthorne, The Secret Garden
The rain had fallen heavy and dense all morning, and although it had cleared up significantly, the day still had a greyish tinge about it. The birds that had been silent most of the day began to tweet again and squirrels rummaged in their nests, ready to continue their hunt after food for their hibernation.
Fionn smelled the heavy odor of ozone mixed with the more fresh smell of wet trees and flowers. Although autumn gradually took over, the plants and trees did not show many signs of wilt yet. Until now the weather had been mild. In a few weeks, red and ochre colors would begin to overtake Silverthorne territory, plants would begin to languish and when winter set in, everything would finally be covered in snow.
Although Fionn preferred summer, she still enjoyed the other seasons. Only a heavy layer of snow and frost could make her slightly grumpy. Plants and herbs were, after all, her specialty, and they could be hard to find under a thick layer of snow.
Three birds chirped a happy song, making their charming little dance from branch to branch, as they followed the young doe through the forest. There were three of them, pretty little fairy wrens full of energy. They were a lot more brave and vicious than they looked though, Fionn knew. She had seen them fly at the head of a big stag, who once wandered to close to the bird nests. But they never attacked Fionn. In her mind they were her friends. Just like the mice and the squirrels that lived in the little path of land, she referred to as … The Garden.
The Garden wasn’t really hers, all the land here belonged to the herd. But it felt like hers and most Silverthorns respected that Fionn had taken this place as hers - like her mother and grandmother had done before her. All the herbs and plants that grew here would benefit the herd in the end, since Fionn used the plants to heal wounds on homecoming soldiers and others in need. With the right training she hoped to one day be able to heal the more complicated illnesses that her mother had been able to heal.
For now she was too young and inexperienced.
But she was learning fast, always training with high discipline.
A hint of a smile went over Fionn’s elegant little head, as she entered The Garden. A peace seemed to fall over her here, that she never experienced anywhere else.
The fairy wrens settled on a branch, still chirping and sharing their joy over everything. Winter would come soon enough, they all knew that. But for now the temperatures were still high enough to let most of the plants and flowers keep their bloom. In a few weeks they would wither and hibernate under the ground as colorless roots or fly about in the wind as dry seeds, waiting for next spring. So Fionn took her time to take in all the colors and shapes in her beautiful garden, knowing it would soon end once again.
She could still recall the first time she had come to this place with her mother. She could even hear the older doe’s voice in her head, if she relaxed enough to remember it: “This is our heaven, our garden of life, my little one. In here we have what we need to heal wounds and cure illnesses threatening members of our herd.”
“Is this a magic place?” little Fionn had asked, receiving a mild laughter from her mother.
“To us it sure is. Your great grandmother found this place once and started gathering plant seeds to grow the herbs she needed, right here where we stand. She also began making the pond by pushing and dragging stones here, year by year. When her daughter – my mother – grew the age you have now, she started helping here. And a few years ago I finally placed the last stone.” The elder, golden doe looked around with pride. “Once I wither and die, this place will live on, and it will be yours.”
“You will never wither,” Fionn said confidently. Then stumbled onwards on long legs, curious to explore this new and magical place.
Fionn sighed with mourning as she followed the steps of long past memories down to the little pond. The cool water surrounded her cloven hoofs lower legs, sending a light tingle through her skin. She stopped halfway out in the pond and looked down at her own reflection. Sometimes when the sun hit the reflection, she could trick her mind to seeing her mother in the water. But on this gray day the wrinkled little doe beneath her was too dark and young to resemble her mother even the slightest.
“Fionn,” a voice called, that she knew very well. She looked up in surprise, as a beautiful golden stag with silvery white mane and tail entered The Garden.
“Zeus, what are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be training today?”
The stag’s eyes burned with the pure white flame of anger, and she guessed what might have happened even before he put it into words: “My dear father decided to watch the training today. He spent the entire morning yelling at me in front of the others, then actually took the place as my sparring partner for close combat, because he thought my opponent was too gentle.”
Zeus tossed his mane, trying to get loose of hair strands away from his eyes. As always the hair twirled around his horns, dangling down in front of his face. It was one of the features that could make Fionn’s heart melt, though she would never tell the stag that.
When he looked at her again, she noticed several fresh cuts on his neck and chest. His father sure hadn’t taken it easy on his son.
“You need to stand up to him, Theseus,” she said, using the stag’s full name. “And I don’t mean in a fight. But you need to tell him to back off.”
“Become a man,” he mocked. “That’s what he always says, but he won’t let me do anything on my own.”
“Maybe that is because you are a lazy butt at times,” she said, starting to get highly annoyed by his defeated manner. “And you do need to man up. You should be training to become a king or at least a general, but right now you won’t even make it as a soldier, if you don’t get your things together.” She walked up to him on dry land, looking at him with a firm gaze not to be ignored. “I need a future mate who can protect me and our young. Someone the whole herd can be proud of. And I want that to be you!”
“But …” Zeus started, looking like one big apologetic hare with sloping ears. “I can’t, it’s my father. He is both bigger and stronger than me.”
“Power isn’t all about strength and body mass,” Fionn said with a heartfelt sigh. “Now go back to training. I have things to do and can have your grumpy butt disturbing me.” She sent him another stern look, and Zeus finally turned away, walking away on slow and heavy legs.
Fionn grunted and looked up at the fairy wrens in the tree above. “Go keep an eye on him, my little friends.” The birds chirped and flew off in playful leaps and bounces.
“Stags,” Fionn mumbled annoyed and returned to the planned tasks of the day.
You definitely deserve to have gotten her love! This was a brilliant piece that required a ton of work, and you executed it absolutely perfectly <3 Even with the simple shading, these complicated lines give it everything it needs, right down to your beautiful fawn!
She worked for days on this project, and it turned out wonderfully. Even though the piece's shading is simple, it's extremely complicated lines seem to make up for it, along with her beautiful fawn and the other animals I don't believe she's ever gotten a DD before, but I've had her on my watch since she joined here, and she has done nothing but improve <3
Guess what guys! I'm
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before anyone asks,
the wedding is not
been planning it for
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away time is back
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Sorry, I can't
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FIRSTLY: thank you
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`anmari has been spreading her infectious positivity throughout our community for over 6 years. Throughout this time Ana has been at the core of all things devious, passionately developing an eclectic gallery, helping organise devmeets, participating in chat events and also recently completed dedicating her time as a Community Volunteer. We are absolutely delighted to bestow the Deviousness Award for May 2013 to `anmari, congratulations! Read More