Softly, silently she slid between the trees, weaving a path that followed the dappled pattern caused by the late afternoon sunlight in the deep forest. Somewhere, ahead of her, something called her, urging her forward with a longing so intense she found tears coursing down her cheeks. That she was rushing toward her destiny she had no doubt. The further the sun sank the stronger the feeling that she must hurry, as if with the fading of the day something much more important was fading too. Rushing forward she tried to halt herself, slow down, be calm but the unknown force urges her on, faster and faster.
Suddenly she bursts into a clearing, chest heaving to draw breath, she drops to her knees as the force that was guiding her ceases.
When she can breathe again she looks around her, in the center of the clearing,
with the setting sun silhouetting it, is the largest tree she has ever seen, the top of which cannot be seen from her vantage.
She is transfixed by the large eyes which gaze down at her.
The whole forest seems to echo the soft words as the leaves on the trees around her rustle.
"Thank you for answering the call"
"I could not resist" she vows fervently
"You could have" she's told - and somehow understands that many who heard the call ignored it. The leaves around her seem to sigh - in sadness.
Her heart is torn and she cries, anguish making her voice thick
"What can I do to help?"
"Come closer, lay your hands upon me" she's instructed, and is overwhelmed by the treant.
When she wakes, laying at the base of the great tree, craddled by it's roots, she finds darkness has fallen. The clearing around her is awash in the bright moonlight of a full moon. Her eyes feel dry and raw from all the spent tears, but as she ponders what she has learned this day the tears start afresh. The branches above her whisper soothingly in the soft warm darkness. She sees the shy forest creatures gathered around her, they each bring her a gift, fruit, berries, nuts and one brings her her own water flask, which she sips from gratefully. After eating, she stands and placing her hand once more on the bark of the ancient Treant she vows "I will return" and she slips off into the darkness of the forest.
By dawn's light she had reached her home. She alerted everyone that there would be a meeting that night, and despite the pleas from her family, she lay down to sleep.
As she stood that night, before the assembled faces of her friends, family and loved ones, she knew a moment of great sadness and for an instant her resolve waivered.
Then she recalled the saddness of the Great Treant and drawing herself up she spoke
"For sometime now the forest has been calling me, yesterday I answered that call. I was pulled deep into the forest to a place unknown to most and unable to be found unless it so desires. There I met the Great Treant. She does exist, but she won't for much longer....she fades fast."
She pauses to draw a breath and gather her words, to fling out among these people, a last hope for her kind.
"Much of our knowledge has been lost due to this war we wage with the evil that invades our world. It has not always been thus. Long ago, as legend tells us, druids did not die, they went "on".
I've learned this is true, but now, with the war, many die, there have been no old druids. The old druids used to go to the Great One and give themselves to her. Though their lives, she lived on,
through their knowledge - she knew all. We are magic, and somehow she would take the magic from the old druids and give it back to us, a never ending circle of life.
She is dying. Without her druids will cease to exist."
A sob escapes her and she swallows hard, fighting to finish this tale.
"She told me that she had called many - most ignored her." Tears fell from her eyes like rain as she admitted this, but she continued. "She needs new life and we need to remember why we need her."
"So tomorrow I leave, I am going to her. I will be her new life. I will cease to exist as you know me, but I will always be here as a part of the never ending circle of life." Her voice full of promise and hope rang out as the assembled crowd gasped in surprise at her news.
"This is the only way to save her - to save us." She vowed as the crowd surged to its feet.
"Wait....stop!" she cried flinging up her hands. "Please....please....listen to me. This is what needs to be done, and I am the one to do it, I answerd the call. This should not be a sorrowful parting. Your task will be much harder than mine, for you must take up a new duty....you must teach everyone how important this is, we cannot allow the Great One to be forgotten. For if we do, then it won't be the evil which spreads across our land that kills us....it will be us that kills us!"
She saw the sorrow filled faces before her nod, then one by one they came to her. Many did not say anything, merely touched her to communicate their feelings... the saddness....the loss...and under it all, the sense of a new purpose.
She did not sleep that night, but spent it in the company of her family and friends. At first light, with a farewell wave, she was gone, into the forest.
At first her heart was heavy with the sadness of those she left behind, around her the forest seemed to sigh with her. But the closer she got to the clearing the better she felt. She felt like the forest welcomed her more deeply than it ever had before. She reached the clearing in the early afternoon.
"You have not changed your mind?" the Great One whispered all around her.
"No." Mystra answered, stepping forward with a smile. She was overwhelmed with a sense of love and joy.
With a happy heart, full of love and life she walked up to the tree, turning she looked outward to the great forest, one last time, then she leaned back against the treant and was taken...... into the tree.