Drodan the Druid
Drodan has become a young adult and expected to be his village's druid. His village's current druid, while old, is hale and hearty. Thus, it is time for Drodan to become a better druid by going out in the world and learning as much as possible.
“Mr. Druid, I am here for today’s lessons.” – Drodan knocked and entered. Mr. Druid may have had a real name but Drodan never heard him called anything else. Mr. Druid had the two features that his villagers expected of him – he was one of them and he helped their plants grow. Drodan knew he had once been young. The bards told tales of Mr. Druid’s past adventures but Drodan got the inside tips on which songs were real and which ones embellished details beyond recognition – all because the bard felt the song worked better that way.
“Come sit down and have some tea.” This was the usual reply and today was no different. Lessons always started with tea and a discussion of that day’s topic, going outdoors to practice and then returning indoors to review.
As Drodan joined Mr. Druid at the table, Mrs. Druid brought out tea and cookies. They both looked at the cookies and knew to treat them decorously – and as decoration. In another situation, they might have been mistaken as bricks or stone. Here, they were flour, sugar and assorted ingredients combined to become building materials.
Mrs. Druid arrived with Mr. Druid after he himself had journeyed. She was taller than anyone else in the village. The better-travelled villagers insisted she was still too short to be a human or dwarf. She looked nice enough although no one would have called her pretty.
Her major failing did not take long to discover – She couldn’t cook. No, she could cook. It was the eating the results that were impossible.
Once the village knew her weakness, now she was “safe.” Safe – no woman feared this stranger interrupting families, mealtimes and marriages. No Halfling woman feared losing her husband to a woman whose cooking was so vile. So they welcomed her with open arms. They treasured valued her social and planning skills. What festivity would now be complete with out her decorations, her planning, her social skills – as long as she went nowhere near the kitchen.
Mrs. Druid may have failed in the kitchen but she succeeded everywhere else. She had all the social skills expected of a Druid’s wife – befriending strangers, organizing festivals and making the home warm and inviting to guests. Their home became the village’s comfortable refuge – and a frequent recipient of extra casseroles – after all, the village did not want Mr. Druid to starve. At any point, a neighbor would drop off a little something – too many leftovers or they made more than they could eat. Between the neighbors’ care packages, the Mr. Druid’s growing abilities and some Good Berry spells, the happy couple never felt hunger. Granted, perhaps they were even fitter because of it. Villagers always made sure that festivals left them with extra provisions – can’t have a Halfling Druid looking so un-plump – other villages might think their Druid wasn’t up to the job.
Within a few years, the new concern was Mr. & Mrs. Druid’s lack of children. It couldn’t be from lack of trying as the two remained so fond of one another. The villagers were not just concerned about a baby’s hunger pains but rather who would be the next village druid. Going without a Druid, just couldn’t happen. The answer appeared in a young boy named Drodan. Drodan was just one of many in a large brood but he did show such Druid like features. With Drodan’s family being so large, the family could spare one child from some of the farm work. Drodan took to the Druidic lessons. He liked how it got him out of some farm work; but he wished he wasn’t left with such menial tasks. He still hadn’t learned a spell that would peel the evening’s potatoes or turn the spit. As he grew, he took lessons at Mr. Druid’s then returned home. He got lessons and his mother made sure he learned to cook and bring thanks in the form of “Just a little somethings” that ursurped anything that Mrs. Druid could concoct.
Drodan knew that becoming a Druid had its advantages. Once he learned the Light spell, stumbling home in the dark was for his buddies not him. His mother relied upon him to start the fire for dinner nightly. He relished learning new spells and hoped that the next spell he would learn would provide the answer to life’s greatest question – how to find boobies!
By now, Drodan was a young man of 18. Now, as Drodan came of age, he realized one previously overlooked asset Mrs. Druid did have – she had the biggest boobies in the village – and they were at eye level. Mr. Druid must have known he found his mate when he laid eyes on them – Drodan was sure of it.
Returning to today’s lesson, Mr. Druid asked “Have you thought about when it is time to take your journey?”
With a puzzled look from Drodan, Mr. Druid continued. “You see, you need to go out and explore. See more than just this village. Get experience. Get a wife.” A smile to his wife was his indicating that he thought how this part of his own journey was the greatest reward.
“Um, if I go on a journey, won’t I be unable to help the village?” Drodan responded. He expected that today would be another lesson in making plants grow or some other nifty spell. But lately the lessons had been less of learning new spells and more on when to use them. These were boring philosophical discussions. After all, using Thorn Whip to take apples off a tree is niftier than discussing how and when to use Thorn Whip to handle and separate a combative married couple.
“Well, it is not like I am not here. And the lessons that you need next shouldn’t come from me. Let me get older a bit before you take over my position. Besides, with me being the primary Druid, what would you do, now that you have grown?”
“Well, I could be just a farmer for a while.”
“Hmmm. Yes. But you would need a wife. Lone farming isn’t good for the soul.”
Finding a wife was a problem. Most of his friends had already married off. When the time came, going for walks with a girl became more dire than a ball game with the guys. Very quickly, the best boobies found the best buds. What remained were mediocre boobies or ugly personalities. The unmarried few debated between a shrew with a handful or a flat wall with a smile. Drodan had the misfortune of being born at a time when more sons were born than daughters. Payback was not pretty.
“I could remain at my parents for a while.” They both frowned knowing that this idea need never be mentioned again. He wasn’t the oldest or youngest so when he had farm jobs, they were the most boring ones. Usually, he helped his mother in the kitchen Mr. Druid had heard his complaints often enough. The Drodan’s family’s farm wasn’t that big and as the children grew, it was time for some to move on.
“No, you need to not stay here for a bit. You see, the spells, learning them is the easy part. Learning when to use them – that is the hard part. The best way to do that is a journey; a voyage; a quest.”
“A quest!” Giving a young man a target to go out and be a hero picked up his emotion. What Halfling wouldn’t want to be the feature of some heroic bard’s tale. At least it was better than the songs featuring a drunk bumpkin getting into trouble.
Yes. A quest. Your quest is to get experience. Maybe get some treasure. Getting a wife would be good too.”
“That would be fun! But what is the goal of the quest.”
“Well, the hardest quests are the ones that don’t have a definite end point.”
“So how do I find one.”
“Hmmm. Well, let’s say you travel through a couple of cities and try to have some adventures. I would say – go for at least a year. I want you to go out for at least that long. Do interesting stuff. Meet people from difference places. Learn some new songs.”
“Do I have to find dragons and gold?”
“I would hold off on the dragons, they make horrible pets. You may get some gold, but there’s more than one type of treasure.”
What kinds of treasure did you get on your tripss.”
“How about a wife? She is still the best treasure that I found”
They glanced towards Mrs. Druid. Mr. Druid saw the young lady whom enraptured him many years ago. Drodan, being a young Halfling of 18, saw a set of boobies.
“I know,” Mr. Druid continued, “Your quest is to travel and learn about new plants. A periodic visit home would be nice too.” After a contemplative moment, Mr. Druid continued, “I would suggest starting with a large city to find out what is available there then visit surounding locations to learn what plants are available in each areas.”
“Mr. Druid, a trip like that takes money that I don’t have.”
“Dear boy, you earn it along the way. Farmers will pay a little if you make their fields grow better. You do a sample small growth spurt to show them what you can do then hit the larger fields after payment. It won’t be much but it gets you some coins to get you started.”
“But what about my parents. Don’t they want me to help there?”
“Well, your farm does have enough hands. Your parents do know that doing a trip like this is good for Druids. You see, I can teach you spells, but I can’t teach you how to react in an emergency. I can tell you words to the wise but you can’t see how to apply them until you meet lots of different type people.”
“But what happens when I don’t use the right ones.”
“Well, it is called Practice. And, this way, when you really mess up, your brothers aren’t around to see. It is embarrassing, you know.”
“Is that why you went on journeys?” Drodan asked. The local bards sang of Mr. Druid’s escapades but hadn’t really stated why he had left at all. Mr. Druid didn’t have brothers so his stupid tricks must have been seen by someone else.
“Sometimes you go because you’ve been told to; others, because your best friend married the girl when he proposed faster than you. Hmmm.”
In that quiet moment, Drodan considered how Mr. Druid was his parents’ age. Would that girl have been his mom, or the fat baker or the blacksmith’s wife whose words were as loud and sharp as anything struck on the anvil.
“So what is the next step.”
“You will need to pack. I believe that underneath your seat you might find something useful.” Drodan reached down to find a knapsack.
“Hmm, a good cloak would be good too. Here behind that chair.”
The quest was becoming real.
As he packed the cloak in the knapsack, Drodan realized that this was no spur of the moment discussion. Now he was certain that Mr. Druid and his parents already decided that his next Druidic lessons would be at the hands of someone he had never met.
“You will want something for defense. Why don’t you ask your father for something; perhaps what I brought him back from my journey.”
“Mr. Druid, how long was your journey?”
“Dear boy, I left for 5 years. When I came back, the village druid was still healthy as ever. He waited for another 5 years until he moved to his wife’s village.
I had ADVENTURES. Now it is your turn! I want the bards to sing about you!” Mr. Druid encouraged, hoping that the bards’ songs would feature great feats and not lacksidasical tales of the Halfling who woke up a giant with a badly timed Light spell and then getting bound himself by a poorly executed Thorn Whip spell. His predecessor was so unlucky after all. When Mr. Druid had returned to his village, only mushrooms were growing and 3 houses inadvertently burned by badly aimed Light spells.
As it was time to go, Mrs. Druid offered yet another cookie. Hardtack, Drodan thought. “You know, these cookies must be great for travelling.” And with a grateful smile, she packed him an extra large portion for his journey. Her generous smile would remain in his memory long after the last of the hard, crumbly bits had been dissolved into tea.
As Drodan left the Druid’s happy home, he took one last glance at Mrs. Druid, upwards, somewhat in the direction of her face and thought, “Yes, its all about the boobies.”