Ac’Dorraedas was a wood mage in a land that was his since the ice withdrew. His knowledge was legendary, his reputation grown since the long days past when he first stretched his limbs towards the skies. Around him younger voices spoke, seeking guidance as he once had.
He had learnt what he could from the elder ones, now long gone, who had once shared his grove. But he still remembered their words, watch and listen, nourish and grow. And watch he had, even in sleep he had kept an eye open in the cold starlight. Then rising with the sun he dressed himself in clothes of green, performing the dance of the seasons, of life and death, until as night fell, discarding his clothes, now soiled and ragged, he would fall again into sleep.
Oh those days of fire, full of vibrancy, of life accelerated, desire, hunger and creation. Ac’Dorraedas would weave his magic, his fingers clicking, his great arms swaying as he drank in the sun, faced the wind and felt the life giving rain. All manner of creatures sought his guidance, from the smallest to the largest, all were welcome, except one whose intentions were unclear.
Once it had been different he had been told, his kind's knowledge had been sought by them, his magic revered above all others. He was used to sacrifice of course. Between the wood mages and all others it had been understood, the giving of gifts, a payment required under thundering skies rent by lightning; blood spilled and flesh yielded as it had always been. He had understood the need. Revered his kind had been, their embrace required to protect the other's children from cradle, throughout their short lives and then returning to the earth. But things had changed, permission was no longer sought. Slowly at first and then quickening the grove had shrunk.
More voices seemed stilled and those remaining sought his magic, clinging to the folds in his ancient cloak and he sang lullabies to calm them. Fear not, we are ever here, our magic is strong, and yet he grew concerned and wove a spell of immortality and cast it about him around his feet.
During the long night he stirred and sleepily woke. The skies were wintry grey, no voices spoke to him, he sought them out reaching but nothing answered, all was dumb stone and baked clay or powdered rock set hard. The grove was silent; the grove had gone. He sensed the savage roaring sound, the acrid fumes and the teeth that cut deep, his story ended, Ac’Dorraedas fell and all seemed silent.
Death and life, the ebbing and flowing of tides, the turning of stars, a land eternal since the ice had receded. Come dawn as the light lengthened, the magic of old Ac’Dorraedas took root. Between the paving slabs the oak sapling pushed upward.