Tale #3: The Glade of Druith
North of the Brammenwoods lies the Glade of Druith, just past the great Lake of Glazglubin that is squeezed between the two forests. Druith is home to the Schamani of Druith, who stayed neutral during the Great War, much to the dismay of the other Nordmen and Old Gods. However, the whole Glade of Druith was declared a nature and culture preserve when the Null Concord was signed in the Age of Awakening, a point brought forth by the technocrats of the UOBT during the negotiations, and during the war efforts, the Nordmen were prevented from invading Druith by the Allied Forces. This happened in 28 AH (the Age of Heroes when a massive host led by Jörg the Giant and Grand Druid Brynwain gathered by Ravensburg to storm Druith, the Keepers and technocrats of Altonar rallied for a mighty sideswipe against their forces and thwarted them from penetrating the Wall of Druith, a great row of winter willows, which encircles the glade. Jörg aimed to secure the magically fertile lands of Druith to supply the North and unite all Kaltani tribes under his crown, while Brynwain had struck an alliance with him to gain access to Vaenndrasil and the well of power contained within the wood of the great tree.
"The fruit is smaller and harder now. Soon, no more will grow outside the season," Red Sky said, his face grim. "Is it Great Schamani Open Plains? Is she dying?" I asked, my voice thick with worry. Without Great Schamani Open Plains, the Glade would wane. No longer would the trees glisten with the great fruit of life, no longer would the Great Beasts roam the plains. "Hush, young one. There is no death in Druith. But her powers are fading, I can see it even now in the sky and the grass and the wind... We must travel far away: The many tribes will gather as one in the shade of Vaenndrasil. Search for the bright star, my boy, we turn our backs on it to find the way." "Yes, Red Sky." We found the bright star, and we turned our backs on it to travel far away. The glade was waning, grass turning yellow, fewer and fewer fish in the brooks, and wherever we went, the trees bore fruit that was smaller and harder than ever before. It took a whole moon to travel across the plains, and in time, we reached the great lakes. Here many of our brethren lived. Other tribes, all worrying for Great Schamani Open Plains, all worrying for Druith. Some joined our journey; some had already left on their own when we found the places they had inhabited. A second moon came and passed, and as it waxed and waned, the canopy of Vaenndrasil grew out of the horizon, greater and mightier every day. The tree of life would soon stand tall above us, and below it: Great Schamani Open Plains. When we arrived, all the tribes had gathered. Druith was united under the mighty tree. On a root like a mountain, far above the rest, there she sat: Great Schamani Open Plains. Her hair covered her back and shoulders, and it was dark and rich and fell many, many fathoms down to the ground, where it had taken roots. Her eyes shone like the stars in the black sky, and her skin was creased like the bark of a mighty tree. She sat there for a long time, silently, and none dared to break the silence. The children of Druith stood below her, with her, silently watching Great Schamani Open Plains. The day faded, and as the final light of the sun was swallowed by the night and bright stars began gleaming in the sky, so did Great Schamani Open Plains. She opened her mouth to speak, and a great light shone out of it, just as it did out of her eyes and nose. All held their breath to hear her words. "I am become stone. What life I have to give has long passed into the land. I know this: The fruit has become small and hard. I know this: the grass has become yellow. But the soul I had to offer this land has become thin with time, and now it is stretched out too far to hold together. I am become stone, my children of Druith. Weep not for the stone, my children of Druith, for a stone is not Druith. I am become Druith as well. My life force is still beating below the fertile soil. It just longs for company. When my skin cracks and my jaw freezes, when the lights in my eyes go out, let one who has learned the arts and who is willing step onto this root and take my place. And if none shall step up, that too will be alright. If the one will not bear the burden, the many will take their place. Even without the life force of a Great Schamani, Druith is Druith. With these words, I go to rest..." And she did... The Great Schamani Open Plains lifted her hands high up, as if she wanted to pluck the stars out of the sky, and a great light shone down on her. As it did, all the tribes could see her turn to stone, forever a statue, a monument to her grand sacrifice, perched on that great root. Then, the people of Druith wept for her. We wept through the whole night, our tears flowing to the ground like the river. On the next day, we celebrated her: A great feast was held at the foot of the root. And we all ate the small and hard fruit, and we all laughed with a smile on our face and a tear in our eye. We danced through our sorrow, we sang through our sorrow, and when the next night arrived, all the schamani from all the tribes climbed up the root while we cheered them on. They all offered their life force to Vaenndrasil, to Druith. And one of them would be chosen. One of them, would be Great Schamani.