Mythical Sight

Welcome=) This week is an adventure story, so read on and vote for how you’d like to continue in the comments.

Mythical Sight

You’re supposed to be doing research. Around you are other patrons of the Williamsberg Library quietly doing their own thing. On the table sits several books about viking ships or something. You’re not honestly sure anymore because you’re staring through the stacks of books at the section titled mythology.

She was green. You’re sure of it. You were reading about some ancient ship discovered that revealed something new about ship building and you glanced up. Just glanced up and saw a green woman walk into the mythology section. She wasn’t painted green either. Her skin looked like an aspen leaf just opened.

You’re curiosity pulls you from your seat and you absently snag your backpack from under the table before walking to the mythology section. You peek around the bookshelf and there she is but she’s no longer green. Her skin’s white. Ashy white like she’s a sheet of paper with texture.

“It doesn’t say anything about Oreads,” she says.

“Keep looking,” says a male voice.

You jump. You hadn’t seen the man standing with the strange woman until he spoke but now as you look at him, you wonder how you missed him.

They must be siblings. He’s got the same odd skin. As you watch, he pulls out a phone and texts something while she continues flipping through a book.

“Here,” she suddenly says. “They’re mountain nymphs. They usually stay near the mountain they call home. But there’s no mountains around here.”

She looks up and sees you. Her eyes widen as she snaps the book closed.

“Sorry,” you mutter, “I didn’t want to interrupt. I need a book on viking myths.” You point to the aisle behind them.

They glance at each other.

“You finding everything okay?”

You spin to find one of the librarians watching you.

“Yeah, just talking with…” you look back down the aisle and it’s empty. “Um… just muttering to myself.”

She eyes you for a moment and then continues on with her cart full of books. Once she’s gone, you hurry down the aisle. The book the woman was reading from sits on the self on its side.

It’s titled Nymphs of the Old World. 

You flip through it, a little disappointed you didn’t get to talk with them more. You’re still sure her skin was green. A page flutters to the floor from the back cover of the book.

Stooping, you pick it up and read, Careful what you see, it might turn out to be real. 1126 Northside Drive. If you’re interested.

Uh-oh. It’s like the button that says do not push. Of course you’re interested. But considering how strange it all seems, it could be really dangerous. You’ve no idea.

You flip the page back and forth but that’s all that’s written on it. You thumb through the book a couple times but other than what you heard the woman read, there isn’t more about Oreads, so you replace the book and wander out of the library.

So of course you’re interested and are going to go check out this 1126 Northside Drive. The question is, do you spy on the place and see what happens or do you go straight up and knock on the door?

A. Spy

or

B. Knock

Mythical Sight Option B: Knock

You’ve never tried to spy before and being straightforward has always worked for you in the past. You decide to go to the address and see what you find. So you hail a taxi and tell him to go to 1126 Northside Drive.

The taxi drives away from the library and heads toward one of the richer residential districts. You pass house after house that could fit a 747 airplane without issue until the taxi stops in front of a mansion with grounds bordered by trees.

“Would you like me to drive you to the door?” the driver asks.

The sheer pristine nature of the place makes your hands shake and you decide the short walk to the door might help your nerves.

“No, thank you.” You pay the man and step out onto the curb. He shrugs and drives away.

All right, time for a walk. You head up the driveway. Unlike in other areas of the city, the houses here have trees and lots of pretty plants. The pollen’s enough to make you sneeze.

Stepping past the border of trees into the manicured lawns, you pause to take in the house. It’s only two stories from what you can see but it’s sprawling expanse covers the entire back section of the grounds.

You start to wonder about coming here. Do they live here or were they just messing with you? Did you really see green skin?

Taking a steadying breath, you walk on until you’re on the stone porch. You knock and step back.

An elderly, frail man answers the door with a, “yes?”

“I was directed here by a couple I met at the library,” you hold up the paper with the address.

He pulls out a pair of glasses from his front shirt pocket and then studies the paper. “Odd. No one here would frequent the library,” he finally mutters.

“I’m sorry,” you apologize, “maybe it was written wrong. You don’t know a couple with ashy white skin?”

“No, can’t say that I do.”

You thank him and descend the porch, a bit disappointed by this dead end.

A woman, tall and very broad of the shoulder, emerges from part of the garden against the mansion and walks with you down the drive. “I know a couple like that,” she says.

“Oh?” You glance back and the old man’s frowning as you walk away. You wave and he waves back before shutting the door.

“You saw them at the library?”

You hesitate to answer. You’ve no idea who she is and something about her skin makes her look strange, kinda splotchy.

“Maybe.”

She chuckles. “Name’s Ramal. And since we’re having this conversation, I should let you know you just looked insane to that old man.”

“Why?”

“Cause he can’t see me.”

“What?”

“The couple you’re talking about aren’t human,” she shrugs, “and neither am I.”

“Then what are you?” you stop and turn toward her. She’s got very dark eyes.

“I’m an Oread. A rock nymph. They’re dryads, tree nymphs. Why do you think they directed you to a place full of trees?”

You look around at the trees bordering the property. “Why can I see you?”

“Some people are gifted that way.”

You turn to continue walking. “I’ll chalk this up to a strange dream,” you declare.

“That’ll be rather difficult,” Ramal says.

“Really? Why’s that?”

“Cause I can’t let you go now. Can’t have you telling all your friends about us, can I?”

You glance at her but the look in her eyes tells you she means every word she says. She tries to grab you and you dodge. Then you run for the trees.

A man appears from off to your right. It’s a moment before you see he’s got very white skin. It’s the man from the library. He hurriedly motions for you to join him. If what Ramal says is true, he’s also a nymph.

You know next to nothing about nymphs but last you checked they’re tricky creatures. You can near Ramal chasing you. Her foot falls sound like small boulders hitting the ground.

So do you…

Bb. Run to him?

or

Bc. Run your own way?

Mythical Sight Option Bb: Run to Him

You know nothing about the man but at least he knows what you’re dealing with. You alter course and race toward him. As soon as you’re close enough, he turns to run with you as you race toward the perimeter of trees.

Beneath your feet, the ground rumbles from Ramal’s heavy foot falls.

After you’re through the trees, the man points to the left.

“There, go there.” What he’s pointing at is a large grove of trees. You run into the grove and almost bowl over the female you saw in the library.

“Stop.”

You stop, placing your hands on your knees to catch your breath.

A slithering sound startles you. Looking up, you see the branches of the trees moving to encase you and the two dryads. The female’s touching the largest tree, apparently directing the movement.

“Wow,” you mutter, watching as branches twin together to create a solid wall.

“That’ll give us some time but I suspect she’ll just stay outside watching for us to emerge,” the man says.

“Who’re you?” you ask.

“I’m Tarin and this is Callan. We thought we could have you help us chat with the oread because formal questioning requires three races by law. But it doesn’t look like she’s in a talking mood.” He grins crookedly.

“Not really,” you agree.

“Sorry,” Callan says, “we didn’t mean to put you in danger. We’ve never heard of territory wars between oreads and dryads. It must be localized to this region but now we’re here and, since we can’t talk to her peacefully, we need to get away.”

You shrug. It’s not like the situation can be changed now. “So what’s the plan?”

They share a look. “Sneak away?” Callan suggests.

“Okay, how?”

You peek between the foliage as you wait for an answer. The tall, heavy shouldered woman paces just beyond. Her angry muttering can barely be heard from where you stand.

“Maybe we could wait till dark and sneak away?” Callan says.

“Or we could try to follow the border of trees?” Tarin responds.

“She’ll be watching for that.”

“True, but she might feel our footsteps through the ground if we sneak through at dark.”

You turn to frown at them. “I’m not sure I follow.”

“If we walk along the tree line, there’s the chance she’ll feel our footsteps as we sneak away but if we climb the trees and cross them like a bridge, she’ll probably be watching for it since she knows we can move limbs.” Tarin points at the trees creating your safe haven.

“Any other ideas?” You ask.

They shrug in unison. You turn back to watch the oread pace as you consider. Remembering the rumbling of the ground while being chased, you don’t really want to end up running away again should she feel your steps through the ground. However, you’re not really thrilled with heights either.

So do you…

Bb1: Try sneaking on the ground?

Or

Bb2: Try climbing through the trees?

 

Mythical Sight Option Bb2: Sneak through the Trees

You’re not one for heights but after being chased by the oread, you’re not sure you want to try that again.

“Let’s try the trees,” you say.

They both seem relieved that you made the decision.

It’s only about mid-day, so you sit back against a tree to wait for night fall. The dryads sit down with you.

“So I’ve got to ask,” you say out of curiosity and because it’ll help pass the time, “did I really see you with green skin?”

Callan blushes. “Oops, I did loose it.” Her skin shifts from the dusty white to the aspen leaf green you first saw. “It’s our natural skin color. We change to white on the off chance that someone can see us.”

“Green? Are you all green?”

“No, it depends on what kind of tree you’re related to.”

“Let me guess. An aspen.”

She smiles and blushes which, since she’s green, changes her face from light leaf green to more of a gem color.

“Interesting…”

You continue to ask questions until dusk darkens your safe haven. You’re a bit surprised the oread never tested your boundary but each time you’ve peeked out, she’s still pacing.

Finally the dark of night creates deep shadows across the ground. You peek out one last time to make sure the oread’s still pacing and then Callan points out the best tree to climb. You pull yourself into the first branches without looking down but your adrenaline kicks in anyway. Your hands start shaking and your chest feels tight as you move farther up into the trees.

When you’re high enough, Callan’s the first to go from one tree to the next. She holds out a hand and a branch stretches to her. Her grasp is steady and light as she moves across.

Tarin directs you to follow. You’re not nearly as graceful as you take hold of the branch and scooch on it, mostly on your belly.

A twig snaps and you all freeze. Off to your left something’s moving through the trees.

“Oh no,” Callan whispers, “that’s why she didn’t move. There’s another oread.”

As you watch, you’re sure this second one hasn’t seen you yet. You slide farther onto the branch and Callan helps you to the trunk of the tree. She gives you a reassuring smile.

Slowly, inch by inch, you continue through the branches. On the sixth tree, you’re about three feet from the trunk when there’s a snap and the branch sags. You grasp desperately for another hold but miss as the branch breaks away and you plummet toward the ground, hitting everything possible on the way down.

You hit the ground with a solid thud and instantly see five faces, three on the ground with you and two up in the tree.

But you can’t move except your head. You jerk it to the side, trying to tell the dryads to keep moving. But they don’t go away. You can still see them through the oreads as they reach for you.

“Should just put it out of its misery,” one oread says in a gravely voice.

Oh no… you still can’t move and pain’s starting to radiate up your left leg. It must be broken.

“It shouldn’t know about us anyway,” another oread says. “So we’re following the law to make it disappear.”

They bend toward you and you hear a loud crack. One of the oreads disappears and the other two spin in shock.

A branch wraps around one and sends her flying too.

You’re vision darkens but you still see the third oread fighting off the branches of a large oak before you pass out.

***

You come to in the hospital. The old man you spoke with at the house heard a crazy noise in the night and found you broken on the ground.

He says he’d press charges for you loitering on the property but it looks like something attacked you and you’ve probably learned your lesson. You don’t argue with him.

As soon as you’re released with your left leg casted, you head back to the library to research dryads and oreads.

Tarin and Callan find you there. You learn from them that they’re not violent creatures. Attacking another is against their nature, but when they saw the oreads about to kill you, they couldn’t allow it to happen.

You become fast friends. They check in on you from time to time and you study up on mythology instead of old viking ships. Now that you’re aware of them, you see mythical creatures all the time but you don’t tell anyone because, well, you’d probably come across as insane.

The End

Blessings,

Jennifer