The Gift of Poison

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Aina Prat
@ainaprat
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Short story • 9 minute read

The Gift of Poison

By Matthew Dunn

For most, a hundred years is a very long period. In a century you could explore the entire world, meet thousands of people or make countless works of art. So it would be easy to think that staying in the same place for more than a century is a brutal waste of time. But during that century, Ivern Pies de Espino accomplished more than anyone could even dream of.



Starring: Daisy, Ivern

Lore

  • I
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  • III
  • IV

For most, a hundred years is a very long period. In a century you could explore the entire world, meet thousands of people or make countless works of art. So it would be easy to think that staying in the same place for more than a century is a brutal waste of time. But during that century, Ivern Pies de Espino accomplished more than anyone could even dream of.

To name a few of his exploits, he managed to mediate a dispute between a lichen colony and the rock they lived on, helped all generations of squirrels find the acorns they had hidden during the fall to get through the winter, and convinced a lone wolf to return to the pack he had left because he had been told his howl was very high pitched.

Ivern buried his feet and coiled them between vigilant tubers and clueless worms to bond with the roots of other ancient trees, and the forest around them flourished. Those are just a few examples of everything Ivern did during that century.



Everything was going well until the sasaphrases began to murmur that dark things were happening at the edge of the forest.

"Hunters!" Shouted its roots, and alarmed the middle of the forest.

Ivern knew that sassaphrases were trees that were alarmed by everything and panicked at the slightest deviation in the path of a snail and that, after all, hunting was not such a serious thing, since nothing is wasted in the cycle of the life. But the sasaphrases had worried the robins, and they had told the butterflies ... and telling a secret to a butterfly is like telling the whole forest.

So Ivern got to his feet, raided a colony of ants that he had disturbed as he moved, and walked away, brushing off the bark. As he progressed, he saw how alarmed everyone was.

"There are three of them," the squirrels claimed.

"His eyes are like moons of blood," the  elusive crabs before hiding in the river.

"More bloodthirsty than the elmarks," the elmarks warned.

Migratory birds swore that hunters were after their eggs. Chrysanthemums were afraid for their petals, and that worried Daisy very much, as she was very fond of flowers. Ivern calmed them all down and asked them to stay hidden until the danger had passed. He pretended not to notice that Daisy was following him, because he knew that she believed herself to be quite stealthy.

An octoyak lay dead in the grass. It had three arrows driven deep into the base of its neck. As a tear ran down Ivern's arboreal face, a squirrel he had named Mikkus quickly climbed up his trunk and perched on his cheek to comfort him.



"Hunters eat meat," he said aloud. "Hunters make toys and tools out of bones." The hunters sew the skins and dress in them.

All eight fangs had been removed from the corpse. Ivern touched the ground, and a circle of daisies it flourished around the dead octoyak. He saw a small stone viper snaking in the distance. Stone vipers are very wise regardless of their age.

"Ssssssssure?" The snake asked.

Ivern knew snakes were embarrassed by hissing, and avoided hissing words. He had urged them to accept the words they feared the most, but they took it too seriously and now only used words that began with "s".

Snakes are outstanding students.

"Yes, it's safe again, little one." The poor man must have witnessed it all. "Stay around and watch the octoyak for me," he asked. "I'll be back when I get to the bottom of it."

The horns of the octoyak sounded as they collided with each other with each step Risbell took, so much so that in the end he had to stop and tie them in a different way so as not to scare off his next prey. With those horns, he was going to make a fortune. In the city they paid well for home remedies of this type.

Niko, the hunter with one eye and the square jaw, discovered the footprints of another octoyak. He gestured for Eddo, the rich city man with the whale bone bow, to come closer. Eddo smiled, and the mischief in his eyes made Risbell, who was the youngest, shiver.


In a nearby clearing, another octoyak feasted on his favorite variety of weed. The three hunters approached slowly and silently, not stepping on a dry leaf.


With the timing of their training, the three of them readied their bows and took careful aim. The octoyak's head was lowered, as it was feeding on berries and grass, so the muscular area of ​​the neck where they were going to shoot was off-angle. As they passed through, that area would continue to bleed while the hunters extracted the horns. It was very important to obtain them while the octoyak was still alive to ensure maximum power, or so Eddo said.

Sweat trickled down their foreheads as they waited for the octoyak to raise its head. When he was finally lifting her up, the vegetation of the clearing it grew incredibly fast, just high enough to block his line of sight. The stems rose to the sky, and the colorful flower petals instantly opened. A wall of grass covered the octoyak completely.

Eddo dropped the bow. Niko's good eye looked like it was going to pop out of its socket. Risbell's arrow shot into the air without her having fired the shot. She backed away in terror until her back ran into the nearest tree.

"I told them this forest was cursed," he whispered. "We should get out."

"It's not the first time I've faced magic," Niko assured. "I'll do this the old-fashioned way."

He put the arrow in his quiver and drew the dagger from his belt.

Eddo did the same. They both gestured for Risbell to stand there with the hunting loot as they crossed the wall of grass without making a sound. She waited and held her breath, but heard nothing. She hoped to become just as stealthy as her peers one day. But he couldn't help thinking that the wall of greenery was a warning they should have heeded. He remembered the stories his grandmother had told him about the strange creatures that inhabited the world. Stories for children, she told herself.

In the distance there was a strange and haunting sound. It was not the sound of an octoyak, but the sound of rocks hitting the ground. Whatever had caused that sound, it was enough for Eddo and Niko to run back scared like a soul leading the devil. They were very pale and wide-eyed. Then he saw what had caused his companions to flee.

A flower, a snow-petalled chrysanthemum, was dancing on the grass. Quite a curious scene, of course.

But then he realized that he was getting closer. Something made its way through the curtain of grass, and then he saw the behemoth of stone and moss. An incarnation of granite, with enormous strength and moving with rhythm. When Risbell finally took in what was happening, she heard a voice trying to calm the creature.

"Daisy!" Be careful. And ... don't hug too tight! -

Risbell picked up the pack of fangs and ran after Niko and Eddo, trying to remember the path that led to the camp. From every tree that reached a new wall of grass sprouted. There was something lurking in the grass, something that creaked as it walked and giggled when it saw Risbell go around in circles looking for a way out. She was alone in that strange forest, and behind each infernal tree there was more and more grass that did not stop growing.

Risbell was aware that she was being rounded up just like her grandmother used to do with the sheep. Knowing she was headed for a trap, Risbell bite the bullet and followed the grass.

Ivern watched the young huntress emerge from the grass maze and into the octoyak's body. The poor thing looked terrified. You could tell he had never seen anything like it in his life. He was trying to be nice, but human reactions were so individual. Nothing to do with the song of the solmendrinas.

"Don't be scared, please." Unless it is your natural state. If so, be as scared as you want. I can wait. I really don't care.

Ivern didn't want to scare anyone. But one does not control the emotions of others.

"What are you waiting for?" Risbell asked. His voice was shaky and his eyes were narrowed. "I entered without any rights, I know." I am at your mercy. I just ask you to be quick.

"Quick?" Ivern shrugged. "Sure." It hadn't occurred to me that you were in a hurry to go elsewhere. So be it then.

She closed her eyes and lifted her chin to expose her throat. He reached into his belt holster and wrapped his fingers around the dagger. If he came for her, he would be in for a surprise.

"I just want to know why," Ivern said cheerfully. He pointed at the dead octoyak with his fingers like branches. Stretching out one of his extremely long arms, he stroked the bloodstained fur.

When she drew the dagger, Risbell felt a sharp pain in her ankle. A cold sensation spread up her leg. When he looked down, he saw the cause: a stone viper, the most poisonous asp in the Ancient Forest.

Anger and instinct made him lash out at the snake.

"No!" Ivern yelled.

From the ground emerged roots that immobilized Risbell's arm from hitting. They also curled on his wrists, his ankles, and his knees. In one of his efforts to free himself, his dagger fell to the ground.

"I'm going to die!" He yelled. The cold of the poison was already reaching above his knees.

The snake crept up to Ivern's feet and wrapped itself around his leg until it reached his armpit and crawled inside. It came out the back of his head again, coiling itself in one of the branches, and hissed with his forked tongue to touch Ivern's ear.

“Sssssin want,” siseó. —Sssssssto—.

"Please," Risbell implored. -Help me-.

Ivern pondered for a second.

"Ah yes!" The twinkle in his eyes gave away an idea. "I know someone who loves octoyaks." Especially the dead.

"And please forgive Syrus." It has just hatched from the egg and is still not in control of the poison. I'm afraid he gave you the full dose. He wants you to know that he is terribly sorry. You scared him and he reacted on sheer instinct, ”Ivern said. Now watch.

The tree man knelt over the body of the octoyak, closed his eyes, and hummed an earthly tune. His hands were wide open and buried. The runes on his head emanated a greenish light that passed to his arms, and from there to the ground. Purple mushrooms emerged from the inert body of the octoyak. They were tiny at first, but they grew to fill that entire body. A few moments later there was only fur, bones, and a bunch of purple mushrooms.

"Salvardiente mushrooms," Ivern muttered as he plucked one out with extreme delicacy. "Always so punctual."

The roots released Risbell, who collapsed, instinctively clutching her heart. The icy pinpricks of the poison had already reached the chest.

"Eat this," Ivern said as he offered the purple mushroom to the dying woman. "It won't taste as good as salamander spray or sunlight, but it's not as horrible as aphids, either."

Risbell had no idea what the tree man was saying, but at the moment her options were more than limited. A voice from the past echoed within him. Her grandmother. Trust in nature. The Father Tree will help you find your way.

He took the mushroom from Ivern's hand. It tasted of bitter tea and compost ... one last disappointing meal. Then the cold grip on her heart began to thaw and retreat. Within minutes, her legs were working again.

When he recovered, Ivern brewed for him an infusion of leaves, sap, and water from an underground spring that he had discovered with his feet. It was served in a small nest brought to him by one of the migratory birds.

-Is it you, right? The Father Tree.

Ivern shrugged as if he didn't know. "Do you know what we can do here?" He asked, focusing his attention on the octoyak's bones. "Moss loves to decorate everything."

Said and done, as soon as he finished speaking, the moss covered the bones. Next to the mushrooms, what had been devastating a few minutes before was now beautiful.

"Sheldon would love to see how beautiful his bones have been." Badgers will find shelter in their ribs from autumn storms. It all takes advantage, ”Ivern stated, and turned his attention back to Risbell. "It sounds like nonsense, but it makes all the sense in the world." If he hadn't died, you wouldn't have survived.

"We wanted his fangs," Risbell explained. She looked down, embarrassed. "The rich are crying out for them." They pay a lot for them.

"I remember the money." It's rarely a good reason.

"We shouldn't have killed him." My grandmother used to tell me that if you have to kill, you have to use everything to honor the beast.

"I'd love to meet your grandmother," Ivern assured.

"It's underground."

"Going back to the land we were one day born from is noble."

"I'm sorry," Risbell said after a long moment of silence.

"All life is valuable." The gentleness and mercy that Ivern conveyed with his voice made Risbell unable to hold back her tears. Ivern patted him on the head. "I couldn't handle this situation better." I have so many things to remember about humans, and so many others that I forgot to learn ...—

Ivern helped Risbell to her feet.

"Now I must go." I promised the tadpoles of the South Pond that I would oversee their elections for the new lily king. It's a fairly contested election.

After a while, Risbell was near the river, near the tree line. After drinking a little, he made a hole and inserted his fangs into it. As she dumped some dirt on top, she recited the prayer to honor her grandmother had taught her, and repeated the ritual until the fangs were buried. Then he bowed his head in reverence and walked away from that place marked as a grave.

From deep within the Ancient Forest, Ivern smiled. The octoyaks in the pack would be proud. ▲ UP ▲

References

 v · eHistories and Events
History events

Some random short stories:

  • Meat and Rock
  • A Heart of Demacia
  • The Pool of Illusions
  • Bad Attitude, Bad for Business
  • Twin Sunrises
  • Wake up a Hero
  • The Voices of the Dead
  • Shadow and Fortune: Chapter Four
  • The Thorns of the Black Rose
  • The Last Light
  • Unchained
  • Prayer to a Ruined Shrine
  • Extreme unction
  • The Dream Song
  • The Garden of Oblivion
  • The Road to Ruin
  • Kalduga Station Monster
  • A Sword without Scabbard
  • Greed and Tears
  • The Second Tomb

All 208 short stories ...

Some random videos:

  • Beyond the Garden
  • The Call to Power
  • The Terror under the Earth
  • Book of Thresholds
  • Kingdom (Video)
  • The Way, an Ionian Myth

All 68 Video Stories ...

Some random comics, narratives, or reveals:

  • Reborn
  • Scourge of the desert
  • X WUZ HERE
  • Zaun Amorphous Combatant

All 0 comics, 8 narratives and 9 revelations.

Calendar of Events

Annual

  1. Lunar Delight (Chinese New Year)
  2. League of Lovers (Valentine's Day)
  3. Masquerade (Carnival Season)
  4. Great Hunt (Easter)
  5. Urf's Day (Fool's Day)
  6. Summers (Summer)
  7. Anniversary (October)
  8. World Championship (October)
  9. Harrowing (Hallowe'en)
  10. War of Nine (Christmas)

Others

  • Blood Moon (Blood Moon Hunt)
  • Winter Olympic Games
  • Legends of the Field (FIFA World Cup)
  • Camp Yordle (BR)
  • Cosmonautics Day (UK)
  • Ocean Week (OCE)
Historical
  • Diaries of Justice
  • Judgment
  • Instrument of destruction
  • Shadows of condemnation
  • Shadows beckon
 v · eHistories and Events
History events

Some random short stories:

  • Meat and Rock
  • A Heart of Demacia
  • The Pool of Illusions
  • Bad Attitude, Bad for Business
  • Twin Sunrises
  • Wake up a Hero
  • The Voices of the Dead
  • Shadow and Fortune: Chapter Four
  • The Thorns of the Black Rose
  • The Last Light
  • Unchained
  • Prayer to a Ruined Shrine
  • Extreme unction
  • The Dream Song
  • The Garden of Oblivion
  • The Road to Ruin
  • Kalduga Station Monster
  • A Sword without Scabbard
  • Greed and Tears
  • The Second Tomb

All 208 short stories ...

Some random videos:

  • Beyond the Garden
  • The Call to Power
  • The Terror under the Earth
  • Book of Thresholds
  • Kingdom (Video)
  • The Way, an Ionian Myth

All 68 Video Stories ...

Some random comics, narratives, or reveals:

  • Reborn
  • Scourge of the desert
  • X WUZ HERE
  • Zaun Amorphous Combatant

All 0 comics, 8 narratives and 9 revelations.

Calendar of Events

Annual

  1. Lunar Delight (Chinese New Year)
  2. League of Lovers (Valentine's Day)
  3. Masquerade (Carnival Season)
  4. Great Hunt (Easter)
  5. Urf's Day (Fool's Day)
  6. Summers (Summer)
  7. Anniversary (October)
  8. World Championship (October)
  9. Harrowing (Hallowe'en)
  10. War of Nine (Christmas)

Others

  • Blood Moon (Blood Moon Hunt)
  • Winter Olympic Games
  • Legends of the Field (FIFA World Cup)
  • Camp Yordle (BR)
  • Cosmonautics Day (UK)
  • Ocean Week (OCE)
Historical
  • Diaries of Justice
  • Judgment
  • Instrument of destruction
  • Shadows of condemnation
  • Shadows beckon


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