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|Okay, this is the shortest chapter so far. There is heaps of room for me to expand on, but right now... I'm too tired.||
“Come, sit by the water. Ap’logies ‘gin for the confus’on before.” ZeRouge had already learned the Faêran tongue, though her accent was strong in it.
“It is quite alright. You knew us not and we could have posed a threat.” Zacharia spoke warmly.
“A threat? Indeed, so it was you who have disturbed the Great Water? I beg you please return it.” ZeRouge implored, or rather demanded.
“We intend to do so. Yet there are things in which we must ask you if we may.” Peter replied, and for once his pride was dimmed.
It happened when they entered Acceber, for it was a remarkable site. The trees were of immeasurable size, both in girth and height. There were flying lights, that ZeNeara called fire-flies and glow-worms. Nothing had been cut or moulded. It was natural. All of it.
ZeNeara spoke true, the Dryads lived among the branches of these massive trees, just as the birds did. Strung between the oldest of the trees, were roped bridges, connecting the trees together, in a great spider’s web. They looked ancient, silently Peter had wondered what their purpose was. For surely the Dryads could simply fly between the great boughs.
The thick canopy of Alder, Oak, Messmate and more provided a solid roof, that turned the Orb light green. Giving Acceber a strange air, as though it was not part of the world Peter knew.
The site had crushed Peter’s pride in Retep, for he thought it the greatest beauty he had seen. Yet now it was not so.
During the last rays of light, the Elves and Fey spoke of their home and the plans for the future. Peter spoke of the tunnel and his pride returned to his voice.
When all was done ZeRouge was silent.
“Come my friends. Let us prepare for sleep and allow our hostess, ZeRouge time to think on all we have told.” Faber knew how to speak politely.
“Thank you Faber, and good rest to you all. Sleep, Fly and Dream, as we Dryads say.” ZeRouge told them.
With that all turned their thoughts to sleep and rest, not to be troubled until the morning.
Dawn broke somewhat later than the Fey and Elves had grown accustomed to, and Acceber was full of life. There were so many different bird calls that it sounded like a complete symphony. The sunlight streamed down from the mountains and onto the flat landscape. Wilhelm whose eyes could see across great distances cried aloud, “I see a blinding light, which is reflective of the sun. Ah there are so many colours, some I’ve never before seen!”
In truth Wilhelm saw the light reflecting off the Great Desert, far away to the East.
ZeNeara came to them soon after the sun lifted up its face. “My friends, ZeRouge would like to see you all, now if you please.” She spoke to Zacharia, Peter, Faber, Kit, Wilhelm and Cherrie.
“Lead on ZeNeara.” Zacharia bowed.
They followed the River back towards the falls. There ZeRouge waited.
“Strangers, this is the damage you have done! The water does not come so much now,” She gestured above and indeed the fall seemed less impressive. “You say your work will return the water? Then work as fast as you may. For Acceber, my home and home of so many creatures and plants, is dying without these falls… So too are all the lands south-east of the Towering Mountains. GO TO WORK!! When the water returns, will I be kind to you!!” With that ZeRouge flew off with her attendants not far behind.
ZeNeara remained, her head bowed. “Please forgive me. I should have told you what to expect if things should go badly for you…”
Faber moved forward and knelt. “You did well ZeNeara, you told us all you could. Be at peace. Now…” She stood as she spoke. “…we have much work to do. Peter bring the workers and planners and let us to work on that which shall remedy our Hostesses hurt.”
So the final stage of the Tunnel began.
The planners worked laboriously for the whole day, and against ZeNeara’s hope, the Fey and Elves began work and continued well into the night.
It continued thus for weeks, when there was movement within the rocks. Peter had everyone evacuate the entrance, and then he returned to investigate. Faber reacted to this in a way that she had not expected. She felt drawn back into the Tunnel, yet the strong hands of Kit and Wilhelm restrained her.
“Are you mad? The roof could collapse!” Wilhelm admonished her.
“Yes and Peter is within!” Faber cried softly and she stopped struggling.
Wilhelm and Kit exchanged a look of pity. For Faber was a strong willed Elf and to see her thus was to move her friend’s hearts to pity.
Inside Peter was inspecting the rock walls. Then suddenly there was a small rock fall from the wall to his left. As he looked ready to leap aside if the need arose. He peered closer, and fell over backwards as a shovel full of rock and earth fell out towards him.
“Stay your hand friend, tis Peter who has now been buried!”
“Peter is it you? Oh, there you are! Tis Masey, the Elf who agreed to complete this ere Tunnel. Do you remember?”
“Oh Masey,” Peter said as he looked through the hole, “Naturally do I remember you. Yet I beg you… do not dig further till you have braced these walls. You nearly caused a cave-in here.”
“Of course, I’ll get the others to brace them now.” With that Masey was gone.
Peter made his way to the Tunnel entrance. “All is well and almost done. I just spoke to Masey upon the other side, Come; we must brace the walls.” He announced to the gathered assembly.
With that they set to work. By the end of the next day the Tunnel was open.
The next week comprised of finishing the Tunnel, and decorating it to the Fey’s tastes.
When the Fey released the dam, they did it slowly, little by little over several hours, so as not to disrupt their work or the landscape upon the other side. The Great River Discovery flowed once more in its former glory, yet ZeRouge was still displeased.
“No I’ll not allow it!” She cried at ZeNeara.
“But my Lady why not? All is as it was.” ZeNeara pleaded.
ZeRouge would not have any of it. She would not allow the Elves to reside anywhere near Acceber.
“It’s not their land! Send the Lead she-Elf Faber, in.” ZeRouge said coldly.
“As you wish my Lady.” ZeNeara said demurely, she did not enjoy this task set to her.
Returning quickly with Peter and Faber, who had been waiting for the summons, ZeRouge looked down upon them coldly, wings fluttering to keep her up.
“Ah, so you are both here then… Well I will say thankyou from the trees for returning their water. Yet I cannot allow you, who do not understand our trees to remain in Acceber. If you wish to dwell in this area, it MUST be beyond my lands Boarder. Do you understand me?” ZeRouge glared down from 6ft in the air upon the Fey and Elf.
“As you rule these lands, I cannot gainsay your will.” Faber answered. In truth although Acceber was indeed genuinely beautiful, she did not find it as appealing as she had thought. She had spoken to the other Elves and they had agreed.
“Faber! How can you say that? You had your heart set upon moving here. How can you change your mind so?” Peter was shocked. He thought Faber wanted to live here.
ZeRouge was fuming. No one had dared been so rude before her. Faber saw this and quickly intervened.
“Friends, please. No longer do I or my people wish to dwell here. ZeRouge, I understand how you must feel. We came here assuming too much, it was not right. Yet, now my people and I have seen this land, we feel it is not the place for us. We would like to explore some of the lands to the South East.” Faber spoke truthfully, and did not see her insult. “Peter, please understand, the Tunnel will be used and admired, for generations to come. Peter, let us return to Retep and leave ZeRouge and her people in peace.”
“Sweet words oft heal harsh ones…”ZeRouge murmured, “Yet not this time! In all you said, you have insulted my people and the land we live in! Be gone from my sight, the both of you! Let it be known, that if ever a Fey or Elf is seen within my boarders that they will be punished! NOW BE GONE!!!” ZeRouge screamed as she shot high into the trees out of sight.
Peter, Faber and ZeNeara left slowly from the Great Central tree of Acceber.
“Come, I’ll join you in your return trip. For I have not seen the Tunnel since its completion.” ZeNeara masked her sadness thus, for she had come to love these people.
So it was that, though the Tunnel existed there was only one Dryad who dared to enter it. ZeRouge kept her word and neither Elf nor Fey was ever seen within the Boarders of Acceber for many a long year.
|Chapter 02 - The Tunnel, Part 2||Chapter 13, Plots Thicken pt 2|
|Chapter 17, Half truths||Chapter 02 - The Tunnel, Part 1|
|Chapter 03 - Dryads, part 1||Chapter 10, In the Royal Court, part 2|