The Tale of Everblaze & the Earth Faerie
Ever since he was a young lad, Evergreen the Scorchio felt out of place. He lay in his Earth Faerie Canopy Bed and thought about why he might feel that way.
His Meridell neohome he lived in was lovely. It was an Earthen masterpiece with fresh foliage in every corner and masterful gardens on the estate. The earthy scent carried through all areas of the home with berries hanging even from the ceiling. The home had even been featured on the Neohome spotlight page and was a Meridell Chamber winner in the Best Homes of Meridell for three years now. He wanted for nothing! Evergreen lived pretty close to Cheeseroller and ol’ man Techo let him try all the interesting cheeses that visitors would bound down the hills. (What he wouldn’t do for a bite of Fragrant Ummagcheese right now!) He had wonderful siblings and often roamed the grassy meadows and trickling brooks. They would feed the creatures at Ye Ole Petpets and in their spare time to earn a little extra, help the grundo over at Kiss the Mortog clean up after the many games played. They would frequently visit the market and look at all the royal processions around King Skarl’s castle. But, as he lay in his bed, Evergreen just felt off.
He hadn’t seen many Scorchios around, actually now that he thought about it, the only Scorchio he knew was the Turdle Racing bet collector. Maybe the bet collector could shed some light on what Evergreen was feeling. Evergreen sprang from his bed and off he went to visit the Starry Scorchio. He threw a few berries and some turkey jerky into his grey backpack and was on his way. The journey was uneventful, but Evergreen found himself gazing off into the mysterious forest. The branches creaked and swayed jovially with the wind as if they had no care in the world. For a Scorchio such as himself that lived in a safe, green oasis, the wild nature of the forest drew his curiosity.
Evergreen realized that he would arrive just as the largest turdle race of the day was underfoot. He gazed at the bustling heart of Meridell with spectators clamouring and the attendants trying to feed the turdles a whole array of strange cuisines everywhere from Kreludor to Krawk Island. Weary from his journey, Evergreen settled down on a soft patch of grass and found a comfy tree to relax after the long stroll. He stroked the delicate blades of grass nonchalantly as he ruminated about his journey. He started to breath deeper and he sunk deeper and soon, drifted off to sleep.
In a strange and dreamless sleep, Evergreen tossed and turned, but was abruptly awakened when someone gently tapped him on the shoulder and lightly, but urgently whispered, “Wake now, before it’s dark Evergreen!” A bit disoriented, Evergreen woke up and while clearing the sleep out of his eyes, leisurely glanced about the dusky woodland edge, but didn’t see anyone. Unfazed, the Scorchio was feeling quite refreshed, straightened up and headed over to the betting window, where Gregor the Starry Scorchio was just turning the light off for the evening.
“Well, you are a far cry from home young Scorchio! I’m sorry, I’m afraid the last match finished about an hour ago after the turdle was fed some spooky food. It started spouting some green oozy slime out of its ears… well I’m not sure turdles have ears to be honest… anyway it was weird. Squelchy certainly earned his name day, eh?” Gregor rambled.
Evergreen smiled, “You know, I’m actually not here for the turdle racing. I… well, I don’t know many other Scorchios… and just wondered if you could help me understand why I’m feeling so down. I just wanted someone that understands.”
Gregor paused a bit startled at the request, but resumed locking the betting cage door. “I know you have the energy to take a walk after that long snooze you took by the forest. By the way, the forest isn’t the safest place at night. Do you remember what happened when Illusen was surrounded by the armies of the Werelupe King? It’s been a while since we had a terrible threat, but it’s not all sunshine and daisies at night. Anyway, why don’t we go chat and you can stay at a spare tent at the ultimate bullseye area.”
Evergreen followed the Starry Scorchio and continued, “I am incredibly happy and have a great, safe home. It’s beautiful and I have a nice family, but I don’t feel like I’m complete. There is something about me, that just isn’t right.”
Gregor sighed. “What do you know about your history, young lad? What do you know about Scorchios?” Gregor questioned.
“Well, I know that they are strong and brave. We have strong emotions and fierce loyalty.” Evergreen recited.
“Well, er, yes. Those things are all true. But, what is one of the hallmark signs of a Scorchio? What makes us different and special?” Gregor pressed on.
“Hmm, well, we have wings… and I know some Scorchios can fly.” Evergreen said nervously.
Gregor, exasperated, incredulously looked at the Woodland Scorchio. “Aren’t you forgetting one of the coolest, or rather I should say, the hottest things we can DO?” Gregor hinted.
“Uhm, I’m drawing a blank here. Hottest?” Evergreen said embarrassed as he shifted his weight nervously.
Gregor gasped, “You don’t know! Scorchios can BREATHE FIRE!”
Dumbstruck, Evergreen started connecting the dots. The strange warm swirling through his belly, the potion of freezing served every morning with his vitamins. It has been so routine for so long, that he didn’t even second guess it. “I… can breathe… fire?” He mumbled almost incoherently. There was a long pause and Evergreen softly said, “Thank you so much for your help.”
The two Scorchios soon approached the scarlet and ivory tents and Gregor began to help Evergreen settle in for the evening.
Gregor rested a fatherly hand on Evergreen’s shoulder and said, “You know, if you haven’t used your fire in so long, it may not come back to you so easily. It may be a long road to get to what you desire, and most likely not an easy one. I do believe that one day, it will come back. Know that, for whatever reason, that was a decision that was made and you will need to come to terms with your family about that.”
“I understand.” Evergreen said solemnly.
Gregor continued, “If you want to get your fire back, I would visit Illusen, the earth faerie. She is knowledgeable in these parts and might be able to help you… though she may ask for something in return. I will accompany you for the journey tomorrow and leave you in her stead. Have a good rest.”
After Gregor left, silence filled the tent. How was Evergreen supposed to accept all of this. Why did his family not accept him? Why the potions? How would Illusen help? The questions swirled about in his thoughts for what felt like hours. Before he knew it, the emotions of the day finally hit him and the exhaustion sent him into a deep, restful slumber.
Early the next morning, enjoying a quick few snacks from his pack, the Woodland Scorchio meandered out of the tent and met Gregor on the road to begin the journey to see the earth faerie. The Starry Scorchio gave small lessons about fire safety and tips for control as they walked the Meridellian path. The scenery began to change, and the magic in the forest was almost tangible. Everything looked a little too perfect- like a perfect pasture where no blade was askew or the joyous nature of contented forest petpets roaming the meadow. Air almost humming with natural electricity of nature being purely natural, Evergreen took a deep breath. As he inhaled the sweet scent of flowers, the vines around him seemed to come alive and sway in welcome. The delicate flower-lined path seemed to direct them along a bubbling, frothy stream with swirling shades of the purest blue, almost unnatural blue.
Gregor smiled at Evergreen, “This is where I must leave you. I need to get back to work. I hope you discover that which you seek. Winking, he headed back toward the town center.
In a haze and overcome with the beauty of the glade, the mesmerized Scorchio shook his head to clear his thoughts. After a few more minutes, the path seemed to come to a clearing, where large field’s of flowers danced in the light, gentle breeze. Behind them, a sing-songy voice seemed to come from the tree’s themselves said, “I know what you seek Evergreen.”
Startled, the Scorchio whirled around to see Illusen the Earth faerie, not walking, but almost ethereal-floating across the glade. Vines fashionably wrapped around her arms, a flower in her hair, and a creature nestled in a hand, she commanded the forest floor.
“I remember the first time I saw you, as a little hatchling… standing in the middle of your land plot, blazing fire devouring the land. I knew this day would come.” Illusen walked close to the Scorchio and temple to temple, and forcefully said, “Remember!”
Evergreen felt an intense wave of blackness cover his eyes and felt unsettled by his surroundings. As if flying, the dazed Scorchio saw a little hatchling emerge in a wooded clearing on a plot of land in Meridell. The hatchling was playing with a baby Ixi colt and a young Skeith. From the looks of it his brother and sister! While playing a game, the children started laughing as if something funny was said. Almost instantaneously, a blaze of acidic-smelling fire burst forth. Emanating from the deep reaches of the little belly, the baby scorchio laughed and laughed as molten fire quenched the green of the glade. The baby scorchio started to sob as he noticed how frightened the Ixi and Skeith were, but the sobbing only generated more fire. Before long, all the nearby homes were consumed. Evergreen gazed at the scene with big, wet tears rolling down his eyes.
The memory became hazy again and the Scorchio watched another scene unfold. Illusen and Kayla rushed to the scene to preserve Meridell at the suggestion of King Skarl. After a few clever magical administrations, the embers slowed and the burn was contained. The hatchling was scooped up with Illusen and cradled to sleep. In the meantime, not wanting to leave his lunch, King Skarl insisted on rehoming Evergreen or shipping him off. After some insisting and a bribe of 12 roasted drumsticks, Illusen managed to convince Skarl to allow Evergreen to stay with his family in Meridell, with the help of Kayla.
The memory faded and slowly, the darkness of remembering caught up to Evergreen as he gazed into the grass in tears. Illusen lifted Evergreen’s chin and encouraged, “It wasn’t your fault. Everyone needs to be taught to use their talents. With the absence of many Scorchio’s in Meridell, you just didn’t have the right teachers. Do not be downcast, for you aged and had a joyful and peaceful upbringing. Your family and home are safe. Now is the time you discover and learn to control your talent!”
“But… how! How can I even want to use this talent that has scarred the earth and almost hurt my family! Why would I want this?” Evergreen said shakily.
“From the ashes, beauty emerges. You came looking for what makes you whole, perhaps you can answer your question yourself?” Illusen questioned.
“Well… I…” Evergreen stumbled over his words.
Illusen continued, “We were protecting you from the guilt that entangles. By allowing you to safely be around your family, you nurtured confidence so that you can unleash your talents for good. There are so many positive things you can do with your talent once controlled. I know that Kayla already mentioned needing a high heat to extract essence of… something or other… potatoes maybe?”
“I guess when you put it that way, I can see the merits. But, how do I learn to control this?” Evergreen worriedly asked.
“I’ve asked Gregor to assist you in lessons. You will promptly see him three times a week until you are proficient. Remember, Meridell’s safety depends on your control. But, I want to tell you, even without fire, you are who you are meant to be.”
A little puzzled by the strange comment, Evergreen thanked the faerie and left the glade. He met up with Gregor and took many lessons, advancing his training into defensive talents to protect Meridell further. As he started to head home after a very long and gruelling session, Gregor smiled and mysteriously said, “Illusen will be expecting you.”
Evergreen veered off the path for home despite the exhaustion, made his way through the peaceful and quiet forest to see the faerie once again. Upon the clearing, Evergreen saw petpets playfully running around the clearing as butterflies made their last stand against the dusky golden hour.
Illusen emerged and questioned the Woodland Scorchio, “Did you find what you were looking for?”
After a pause, Evergreen said, “I always had it. Hard work, determination, and the love of friends and family are my favourite part of this journey.”
Illusen simply said, “Quest accomplished.” She knelt down, brushing flower petals from her hair. The red, black and orange petals took flight and swirled and twisted around into a new form. Illusen handed Evergreen the item.
“It’s perfect. Thank you so very much.” Evergreen bowed.
Throughout the years, many in Meridell have heard the story of Everblaze the Fire Scorchio, but few have known the long, sometimes painful and hard journey the hero fought to get to where he is. The legends of old will always talk about the brave, unlikely hero that discovered his true strength in family and friends, and just a little fire and the earth faerie who believed in him.