Glenmore, The Glenwood
Late Spring, Year 762 of the New Age
He was nervous as he led the small procession into the forest, though he felt more like a giddy colt than a scared rabbit. The idea had come to him on a run, when his mind had wandered to the regrowth of the Oak. Nuala had used her gift to collect and enhance the magic of all of the Glenmorians present, and Huisha had channeled it into the growth of an acorn into a titanic tree.
Drustan had practiced magic with BóAnn and Fenella, but never together. While they might not be able to grow an acorn into a thousand year old tree in a matter of minutes, Drustan could not help but wonder what they could accomplish. And so with BóAnn and Fenella in tow, with their children following behind, Drustan led them somewhere they could practice in peace.
The sable stag finally came to a halt when he reached a short cliff face, no more than three fawnlings tall, with a jumble of boulders and shrubs making a climbable surface to the top of the rise. Looking up at the stone and earth, he took a quick breath and turned to the group. “Are you ready?” He asked, excitement and a little trepidation in his voice.
Ever since she had been given to him she had put most of her focus on his feelings above all, and with the training the past seasons that seemed to have become stronger. It wasn't like she would be able to explain the exact thoughts that he had but...it was like she got a hunch of it. Now the feeling was similar to a band of ants marching across her hide. The sable stag hadn’t told where they were going, only that he needed their support and of course she had followed. Part of her both worried and was happy for the lack of guards. She glanced now and then towards Drustan's oldest son. What if...something happened, what if there were raiders...what if...what...if? She got a nudge from a small nose and looked down at her side, met the grin of her only son and with that some of her worry seemed to vanish. His pink nose stood out just like his white marking against his pelt color, and the slightly darker face. His hooves too made him different, but he never seemed to be that bothered. He walked a bit oddly, probably not to stumble and fall. Running didn't seem as much of a problem either.
Drustan stopped and the pale doe couldn't help but wonder what they were doing here. She remembered what she and Drustan had done, and with a slight sting she remembered the stone fawn. Even if she had Derryth...the memory still stinged. She glanced at the youngsters, they were all BoÁnns. In Princess terms Bo had done her duty and then some. Fenella bit the inside of her lip and pushed the feeling away. The stag looked excited but his voice carried something else too. In response she simply nodded. She would never refuse him, she didn't even know if she could.
Adventure! Ears topped and eyes on as many things as he could focus on before something new caught his attention. Father had brought them all along for this and even if they might have said where they were going he must have missed it. Many times if they said something but stood far away there wasn't more than a mumble to him. It was strange because sometimes, if some fawnlings were talking...or mumbled, they began to sound clearer if he came closer.
With a slight shine in his eyes he looked up ahead at Han that walked closer to his...or their father. Then he looked at his mother, she had that troubled look in her eyes, the same that could have when she looked at him sometimes, when she thought he couldn't see her looking. He did though, most of the time. Even in his young mind he knew it was something with him that made her look like that, and sometimes it was something with his father that made her look like that and sometimes....well he wasn't sure what made her look like that. He nudged her shoulder and waited for her to look at him, then he smiled. Derryth was sure he had some kind of superpower, because if mother looked like that and he smiled at her...the look vanished...or most of it did anyway. He wiggled his tail and his grin got wider as he saw it happening again, super colt Derryth to the rescue again!
He almost stumbled when Ave stopped just in front of him. Luckily he didn't bump into her like he had done a few times before. Luckily she never seemed to get mad at him for it. When he thought she gave him a glance he fired off another of his grins. Then he noticed his father was speaking and he did his best to pay attention, although that passing yellow butterfly was mighty interesting.
Following her mate, the princess basked in the glow that was her family. As if the energy from her sister and her mate weren't enough, both of her older children, now exuding magical energy the feeling was almost intoxicating. Any which way she'd reach with her magic, she could nearly feed off of another's power. The sensation brought a smile to her face. They herd had thought their magic was fading but now look at them. Her grandmother, one of the most powerful princesses of her time, would be proud. Proud of what she and her sisters had become.
The group stopped and the bundle of fawns at their heels nearly piled on one another as they quickly came to a complete stops. The endeavor they were about to try hadn’t been attempted, at least by the three grown fawnlings here this day. Her mother had told her stories as a fawn of groups of princesses being used to enhance the power that others held inside them. She’d practiced many times alone with Drustan but this would be her first try at combining her strength with another princess. She’d never say it outright but the entire thought of what they could do was exciting.
From the feeling of her children, she could sense that she’d not been the only one excited. Though, someone was definitely unsure of the entire experience, the general feeling around her was happiness and excitement. Her mate spoke, drawing her attention back to him. She’d looked between her sister and the sable stag, giving an eager nod in agreement.
Walking, walking, walking - most of the time, such a thing would be boring. Ave did it every day, always travelling the same paths, seeing the same sights, seeing the same herd members; no matter how hard she tried to make it an interesting escapade, three years of the same old tiny neighborhood did nothing to sate her appetite for adventure. Today was different though! Today was fun! Today wasn’t just an adventure, it was an adventure with family! Just family, no buzz-kill guards to ruin the fun! Mama, dad, Aunt Fen, Han, Nami, and even little Derryth! To say Ave was excited was an understatement. The tiny filly was absolutely brimming with energy, wearing the widest of grins across her face.
The path they followed was a new path, one she had never ventured down before. While she stayed close to the group, things scattered among the underbrush caught her eye and caused her to dart off every now and then - never out of eye or earshot of her parents though. She quickly made a game out of listening for rustles and scuffles in the bushes, pretending whatever lurked inside were monsters or creepy critters of some sort. With a loud bleat, she’d charge into the brush and flush out whatever beasts hid inside, then return back to the group like a triumphant war hero. So far she had traumatized six songbirds and three squirrels, a new personal best.
Wherever they were going, they finally got there. The sudden appearance of the cliff said so, and with no where else to go, the group stopped. She wasn’t exactly sure what her father meant by “are you ready?” - ready for what? What were they going to do, climb up the cliff? That seemed strange, they should just find another path - after all, babies like Nami and Derryth couldn’t climb very well; no baby could climb very well, they weren’t well made for rock climbing. They were made for being cute though. Ave looked to her little sister and brother and grinned, feeling both happiness, and a bit of fatigue from the long walk - but mostly happiness. Whatever their father wanted them to be ready for, she’d be ready for. She was always ready.
The blue-eyed filly trotted at her mother’s side, sticking so close to BóAnn’s legs that she bumped into them several times. She had to keep her eyes trained on the path ahead-- there were lots of evil rocks in the path, and they always tried to be mean and catch her hooves! Then she would go tumbling head over heels and end up in a heap of creamy fluff, and that was no fun. She’d already done it twice on the walk, and she wasn’t keen for it to happen a third time.
Naminé was so focused on not tripping that she didn’t realize they’d stopped, walking right into Raeghan’s hocks. Letting out a little meep of surprise, the filly looked up at her brother’s tail. What was that? Oh, it was Han. Backing up, she slipped in between her mother’s forelegs, where she peered out at her surroundings.
They had reached a flat little ledge near the top, and the young princess wondered internally what they were doing here. She knew better than to open her mouth, though-- a princess should never ask such a question.
The dappled prince followed after his father, following in his footsteps. Keeping pace with his father no longer required quite as much effort as it once had, he was now taller than his mother, and getting closer to being as tall as his father, though it would still take longer to grow quite that tall. Raeghan could almost feel his father’s nervousness radiating off of him, quite like the way his mother glowed at night when he and his sisters were almost asleep. The family moved through the woods, unaccompanied by guards. His father had wanted to have time simply with his family, and Raeghan could not object. It wasn’t often that he was able to spend time simply with those closest to him.
Han glanced over his shoulder, smiling as he saw his mother and two sisters, followed by Fenella and Derryth. Their family had grown quite a lot recently, but he embraced the change. It was a good change, to see his aunt with a fawn, and his mother with two princess daughters. He felt proud that he was growing up, and that it was his duty to start protecting his family.
Han skidded to a stop as his father stopped in front of him. He glanced over at the cliff, ears turning back and forth with curiosity. He wasn’t exactly sure what his father had in mind, but he knew it involved some of his developing magic skills, and he was excited to try. As his father asked the question, he nodded, a slight smile coming across his dark features. He closed his eyes, honing into the corner of his mind where he could feel the slight tremors of magic.
Light enveloped him, the two distinct powers of BóAnn and Fenella, with the additional trickle from his daughters, and a small stream of earth magic joining in from his sons. Never had he felt more connected to his family; not even Nuala’s magic had felt this in tune. Her’s was stronger perhaps, but she hadn’t know him like his mates did.
Closing his eyes he tipped back his head and concentrated, pushing the magic into the rockface and channeling it as one as Huisha had instructed. It was difficult to keep it as one, but pausing to wrap the six separate streams more tightly before trying again made it feel more controlled, more powerful, focussed.
Earth rumbled and stone grated on stone. Before them the boulders merged and took shape. First a sleek muzzle, followed by a face with dark obsidian eyes. Shrubs that had once perched upon the hillside twisted and writhed into a curling set of antlers upon the emerging figure’s brow. The vision was not hard to maintain, the idea was seared into his mind with the combined light and he felt his magic was stronger than it ever had been. He pushed his magic deep into the remaining rock, pulling the shape out of the slope until a full sculpture stood before them, three times their height with head and antlers reaching as high as the trees around them.
Quivering, the sable stag stepped towards their creation. The bulk of the statue was made of rock, with branches and vines twisting around the joints forming what looked like muscle and sinew. The legs were proportionally thicker than that of the stag it was modeled from, but aside from the leaves, the antlers were just as he remembered them. “Hi dad,” he murmured, addressing the lifeless replica of Captain Broccán. Earth and stone would never replace the protector - and secret father - that he had lost, but he felt somehow safer looking at the statue.
The light of the Princesses faded, though not completely, and he felt as if there was a connection still flowing, like a stream rather than the rushing river before, but it was still there nonetheless. He smiled to BóAnn and Fenella, more than satisfied with what they had done. It was bigger than anything he had ever created, and yet he did not even feel remotely drained. The power of his mates combined with his own was unimaginable. And irresistible.
The feeling felt...unreal...and the doe closed her eyes as she felt not only her own light but BoÁnns light as well surge through her and join Drustans green growing magic. There was a small bud of magic that came from Han, a little careful just as the young colt was. Then there was BoÁnns daughters, like small fireflies. What took her by surprise was something else and made her open her eyes and look at her son. She wasn't sure what to think and for just one moment, one breath, she lost her focus. The scraping sound of a stone against another brought her back even if the feeling that she had felt coming from Derryth still tickled her side.
A slight rumble got her to look up and now her eyes widened. Earth and rock moved, but it wasn't really that was strange, it was the shape it took. A giant stag suddenly stood before the group, and it took just one look of the antlers for her to remember who they had belonged to. Obviously there had never been a reason for her to talk to the former Captain but that didn't mean that she didn't know who he was. And in another world...she casted an eye at the sable stag that had taken some steps towards the giant...in another world Drustan would have known him better. Again the worry swept over her like mist on a cold autumn morning. Once more her eyes swept over her son that stood like nailed to the ground and eyes on the giant figure. What would she do if anything happened to those she cared about more than her own life?
Something pulled him from the butterfly, something that was much stronger than any interesting track or mud puddle, or any other interesting object he had ever laid his eyes on. Not even that very interesting rock thing he had given to Misha when he was even more little than he was now was as interesting. Wide-eyed but not the least scared he watched as his father seemed to form the greens and the greys, soft and living with the hard and dead, creating something that became something inbetween. Somehow he felt himself inside those objects, those stones and the green plants even if he stood still, at the same place. He hadn't even moved an eartip. A big grin formed on the small colts lips as he saw what was taking form before his eyes. A giant father...well almost.
Closing her eyes loosely, she pushed her light forward, seeking the familiar green glow of her mate. She'd quickly found it and wrapped her own creamy glow of light around it protectively. Almost instantaneously, the paler golden light of her sister, wrapped it's way around Drustan's energy. She could feel it feeding and growing off of her own power.
She could feel the pale green ora of her son's energy enter the mix that was soon joined by Aveline's at her side. Her eyes opened in a flash as she'd felt the tiny light coming from between her forelegs, from her youngest daughter and from her nephew.
The crumbling and clash of rocks finally had come to an end as the doe felt the energy of her mate and sister fade, followed instantly by their children. Her eyes followed the rock face north to be met by the presence of a grand statue. The stone's features had transformed into a stag, his antler unmistakeable. Drustan had created his father. A living monument of the stag that did his duty to the kingdom, even at the cost of having to miss calling the stag beside him son. She'd known that the captain would be proud of the king his son had been coming. As proud as she’d been of her mate.
Raeghan’s breath was taken away as he felt a tug at his own magic. He had used magic before, but typically it felt like little more than a trickling spark, enough to make a flower bloom, of the grass stand taller around him, or even to make pebbles skip across the dirt at times. He could feel each member of his family through the gentle string of light that bound them together. His father’s deep resonating magic seemed to resound through the link, and his mother’s lighter gentle magic seemed to flow in a quiet harmony. He could feel the magic of his little sisters, and even a quiet rippling drop from Derryth. He breathed deeply, taking in the feel of the power that resided in all of them. He smiled to himself, enjoying the feel of his magic flowing so freely from within him.
He heard Ave and Namine speak quietly to themselves, and he opened his eyes to look over at them, ears flicking. However, his attention hardly rested on his sisters for a moment before it was directed elsewhere. He stared at the enormous structure before him, stunned for the moment. How was this possible? His magic was still flowing slowly, encouraged by the power of his mother and aunt. He stepped forward, standing beside his father, trying to make sense of it all.
Feeling the flow of energy through the group, Ave instinctively closed her eyes and relaxed. The warmth felt familiar, like that time when Aunt Nu made the tree grow, except not exactly the same. It was pretty close though. Her mother and aunt radiated with the stronger magic, while she and her sister contributed what they could of their tiny glows. Soon enough, the scraping sounds of stones and and rocks grew and grew until finally something had formed. Ave could feel it forming, but with her eyes closed in relaxation, she couldn’t see it. When the magic faded off, Ave opened her eyes once again, but what she saw she could not believe.
She had seen her father build stone creatures before, but never anything this impressive. “whoa…”, she murmured, frozen in awe for a bit, but finally bust out of her sedentary state and bounced over to investigate their creation closer.
A squeak of surprise emanated from Naminé as she felt every hair of her body stand on end. It felt like a bolt of lightning had gone through her body, and she looked wildly about for the source. Funny, it seemed to be coming from Daddy. He was tugging at her, except not really, and he was asking for something; she channeled it into him, and all of a sudden she felt a rush of light. Of magic. It was something she’d felt a few times before, when she’d had a few scrapes and bruises that had gone away in front of her eyes. Did Drustan want to heal something? Was the mountain hurt? She wasn’t sure if she knew how to heal a mountain. Hopefully he did.
The tiny princess gasped in awe, jaw dropping as a figure made out of stone began to take shape. It was a fawnling, certainly-- but it wasn’t, it was rocks and leaves and vines and twigs! How could that be? Who was it? Did it want to hurt them? She hoped not. Edging out from beneath her glowing mother’s belly, Naminé tilted her head sideways and stared at the fawnling. “Hello?” she asked in a tiny voice.
The wind picked up, rustling the leaves that adorned the figure. He wondered what Broccán would think when looking down on them from Óganach’s Kingdom, that he had made this likeness. He hadn’t known what shape the creation would take until he came to it. He had just thought he needed his magic to protect them, and it was Broccán who he had visualised.
If only he could bring his father and the others he had lost back to life as easily as he had made this figure. He remembered how the regal roan stag had used to bow to him, pretending he was a prince yet knowing otherwise. Drustan’s thoughts wandered, wondering how they had kept the secret for so long. The groan of trees and the grating of stone snapped his attention back to the statue expecting to see it falling, ready to call his children back, only to see that the statue was moving. Slowly - ponderously - the creation lowered its head, bent a knee and extended the other leg. To Drustan’s astonishment, the likeness of Broccán was bowing, just as he used to.
For a moment all the sable stag could do was stare, before he turned to BóAnn and Fenella. “Is... is it... is he alive?” He asked in a whisper. The stone figure had stood again and was standing perfectly still like a sentry. What on Óganach’s earth had just happened?
When Drustan spoke she wasn't sure if she should say anything or not. Her eyes had returned to the giant figure. It had moved. It was no question about it, it wasn't like it was a stone that had tumbled down and landed at their feet, nor earth magic making something bloom or grow...no it had actually moved. Fenella dared herself to look at her mate. He had turned towards both her and Bo...
“...I...don't know, Drustan...Óganach...have his ways...and only He knows why...perhaps he finds you worthy of something more than...normal earth magic? Despite all...” she paused and looked around, cautious as ever “...you are a son of his line...still...no matter what..”
The colt could hardly control himself as he saw the giant almost father thing move. Carefully he took steps forward til he stood beside his father and Han. Eyes glittered as he looked up at the creature. The only thing that moved now was the green in the branch antlers. Derryth had never seen anything close to this amazing. He looked around. Mother looked...part worried and part something else, Father's eyes had that ‘something else’ look too. He nosed the stags shoulder, ears topped and the biggest grin he could possibly do. “Again! Make it move again, Father...” he peeped, then he remembered his manners “...please?”
She skirted around the stone stag, giggling and darting in between his solid legs like a dancing butterfly. She would have loved to climb up on top of the statue, but with nothing to jump up upon to reach the back, she settled for playing around it’s feet.
When the rock started to creak and moan, Ave squealed and bounced back over to her mother and father, fearing the stones were coming down on her. She didn’t hear them break and crumble, nor did she hear the loud ‘thud’ of the statue falling to it’s knees. What were the sounds for then? Turning around from between her father’s knees, her jaw dropped once again. The stag… it was alive?....
This really was the best day ever.
Ave donned the biggest smile she could possibly wear, nodding excitedly to her little brother’s request to make it move again. “Make him prance!”, she giggled.
She'd turned to bring her attention to her daughters. Fearing the giant stone stag was going to fall over as it began to creak and groan, she called out to her daughter as she pranced around at it's feet. Without having to say a word, the filly quickly found her away to her side. She's stepped back slightly, reaching her tail forward, putting it between the stone stag and her children. Unbelievably the statue leaned forward, bowing slightly, before returning to his regal position as before. Her eyes grew larger as her mate asked if it were alive.
Fenella was first to reply, a traditional, acceptable answer for her mate. One which Bo wouldn’t have been able to come with in that moment. She couldn't think of much else to add. She simply stared at the stone face, still unable to believe what they'd all just witnessed.
Han shook his head a little, his dark mane flicking back and forth. It seemed alive, so real and formidable. Had they really created this majestic creature? His siblings jumped forward, excited by the stone giant before them. Han watched Derryth grin as his father, and Ave request for the giant stag to dance. Han’s ears flickered. He smiled down at little Namine. He was his father’s son, and while his father may not have the birthright to be a true Glenmore king, he was a true leader all the same. Only his father could lead his family, bring them all together like this.
Han’s ears flickered lightly, pride entering his dark eyes. He watched as his siblings gathered around his father, gentle light emanating from his mother and aunt. He dipped his head a little in a quiet salute to the stone giant.
The young filly’s jaw dropped in amazement as the big stone stag bowed to her daddy. Was he really alive? She had never heard of huge piles of stones speaking, but if they could bow, why not talk?
She took a few cautious steps forward. It had bowed to her father; that meant he was its king, and if Drustan was its king then there was no way that it would hurt her. At least, she hoped so. It was still pretty far away from her, so at least she could run. She wouldn’t run though, she was a big grown-up princess and she would stay.
“Daddy?” she asked, creeping up behind her father’s tail. “What… what is it?”
"Careful," he absently cautioned his excited children. The stone giant seemed sturdy enough now it was still, but better to be safe then sorry.
"Magician Huisha says it is a golem. Like Sir Lancelot just.... Bigger." He peered up in awe at the creation, amazed still that they had created this.
Smiling indulgently at Derryth and Aveline, he was already feeling tired from the initial magic but their enthusiasm was infectious. "I don't think my father is the sort to dance, so no promises,” he winked at Ave, and turned back to the stone golem. “Let’s see shall we... stand back,” he half-lidded his eyes so as to keep a blurry eye on the fawns as well as the golem, while trying to concentrate.
He doubled a full prance would be safe, considering the weight of it, so first he concentrated on one leg at a time. At first nothing happened, focussing on trying to move the rocks up, but he found when he thought about the movement as a whole, it came more easily. With a grinding of stone, the golem lifted one foreleg proudly, and put it down again before doing the same with the other.
Drustan managed to make the construction go through the motions again a few more times before sweat began to break out along his neck. With a deep breath, he stopped, and smiled around at his family. His princesses and their children. He was so proud of them, and the other royal and common does he was lucky to have in his harem and all their fawns. There was nothing he wouldn’t do to keep them safe, and though he needed a fair bit of practice with his magic before the golem was ready, he would soon have just the thing to keep that promise.Their protector.