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Last edited by Aurora on 2009-05-30 12:36:56

Green Medicine

By Aurora

Some few hours after leaving the site of their battle with the Xsians, Maritana urged her party of Xanthyr to a halt at the edge of the forest, where the trees grew taller and more dense. They would have to tread carefully, here, for they were close to Gilsarath--which meant they were close to the lands of the Lai'Quessir. She made the sign for caution, then slowly moved forward, into the dense underbrush.

Tall, mysterious, and beautiful beyond compare, the Lai'Quessir had dwelled in these woods for as long as any Xanthyr could remember. And though they counted males among their number, they had always been great friends to Maritana's people. The shamanesses said that it was the Lai'Quessir, sent by the Great Mother, that aided the Xanthyr when first they came upon the shores of Tro so long ago.

Ever since then, if a Xanthyr had need for anything, she could call upon the Lai'Quessir to aid her. Their ancient medicine was far beyond that of the Xanthyr shamanesses, powerful as it was, and was believed to be capable of anything. Some even said it could bring a woman back from the Land of the Dead. Maritana herself was fortunate to receive the aid of the Lai'Quessir druids at a crucial moment when she lay at the edge of death.

Still, as close as they were to the Xanthyr, they were still Elves, and were quite wary of humans. As Maritana rode at a walk, she could already feel their eyes upon her and her warriors, though none could actually be seen. She stopped at the edge of a familiar stream, and dismounted her chocobo.

Before her, on the other side of the stream, was a gigantic, mighty oak tree of unfathomable age. One who may not have been so observant probably would have believed it to be just another ancient tree. But Maritana knew better; the way the wind rustled through its leaves sounded different than any ordinary tree. She unsheathed her sword, planted it into the ground, then fell to her knees with her hands clapped above her head. It was the traditional Xanthyr gesture of peaceful intent, and her warriors all mimicked it in unison.

"Lye tula yassen seere e'cormealye," Maritana spoke to the tree in near perfect Elven. It was the phrase Skaldanis taught her when she was a child, a statement that they held peace in their hearts and bore no ill will toward the Lai'Quessir. There was a great creaking sound high above, and two massive eyes opened to gaze upon the Xanthyr. The Xana's hunch was right; this was, in fact, one of the great guardians of the Lai'Quessir. Stunned gasps were uttered behind her, and she stifled a smile. It was rare that any human would see such a thing--and not have it be the last thing they saw, that is. Suddenly, a great, booming voice echoed through the vaults of Maritana's mind, speaking in her own tongue.

--What brings you to the Wood, little one?--

"Our sister is dying, Great Protector," she spoke aloud to the Guardian. "We come to ask the help of our friends to save her."

She suddenly felt a tremendously powerful presence brush against her innermost consciousness, and involuntarily flinched. Though she could determine no ill intent from it, it was nonetheless extremely overwhelming. Then, just as suddenly as it came, it passed. The wind rustled through the great branches again, in reply to her plea.

--You may pass, little one. May Khalressa see your sister well.--

Maritana smiled in gratitude, rising to her feet, and pounded a fist against her shoulder brace in the traditional Xanthyr salute. She quickly retrieved her sword, and whistled for the Darakaiva to form up once more.

They walked their chocobos for another mile or so, deeper into the wood, until at last they came upon Gilsarath. The village was nestled in a clearing next to a pond, and consisted of a number of small treehouses connected by elaborate rope bridges grown from the very vines. The buildings themselves were not so much in the trees as a very part of them, in hollows and resting on platforms seemingly grown from the branches. It was peaceful there, and so very beautiful, as it always was when Maritana visited, but it seemed particularly so then; the leaves were returning, and the strange and wonderful flowers that only seemed to grow where the Elves dwelled were blossoming.

The Lai'Quessir were gathered in small groups here and there amidst the trees, keeping a watchful eye on the Xanthyr, but saying nothing. Their garb was not terribly dissimilar to that of the Xanthyr, providing very little in the way of coverage, so as to show off the remarkably elaborate and colorful tattoos upon their uniformly bronze skin, and what little they wore was a beautiful array of colorful earth tones, with intricate embroidery. Their long, pointed ears were pierced by shining hoops and feathers of light mythril.

Maritana led her people to the center of the village and waited as always next to the great fire pit, buried deep in the forest floor so as to control the flames. After a moment or so, a great horned owl drifted down from the largest treehouse, and as it descended, it shimmered and slowly faded into a slight Elven woman with skin somewhat darker than the others. A wealth of thick, emerald colored hair cascaded to her ankles, interwoven with flowers, and she wore a revealing robe that seemed to consist entirely of soft brown feathers. She smiled at Maritana, and when she gracefully touched earth, she embraced the Xana warmly.

"Elen sila lumenn omentilmo," the Elf greeted her, and Maritana returned the embrace.

"It has been too long, Elysandra," Maritana replied, smiling.

"Indeed it has, Maritana. But if you are here to see Skaldanis, I am afraid he is on the hunt at the moment," Elysandra said with an apologetic frown, switching effortlessly to the Xanthyr tongue.

"Never mind that. It's you that I've come to see," Maritana said with some urgency, leading the Elf to her wounded comrade. "We ran into Xsians on the day's patrol. Nothing we couldn't handle, obviously, but one of our younger ones was badly wounded."

Elysandra carefully helped Tesani down from the chocobo, with the help of two other Xanthyr, and lightly pressed her fingertips against the wound. She closed her eyes, and briefly chanted in Elven, then gasped. "Quickly, bring her inside. But take care."

Maritana nodded, and she and her women complied. They followed Elysandra through the door of a nearby oak hollow, this one on the floor itself. It was dark and cool inside, lined nearly from floor to ceiling with shelves of jars and decanters, filled with all manner of herbs and potions. The Elf directed them to place the wounded girl upon a bed of leaves in the center.

"Is there anything you need?" Maritana asked. Elysandra simply shook her head, and made a shooing gesture.

"That will be all. You may wait outside."

The Xana nodded, and walked back outside to sit by the fire. Maritana was a warrior, and knew little of the Lai'Quessir's mysterious medicine; for all she knew (and all the druid told her), it would take a matter of moments, or even hours for Tesani's wounds to be healed. That they even could be, however, was not something she questioned in the slightest. The Lai'Quessir had never let them down before. And so Maritana sat by the fire, and waited.

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