Fantasy Fiction posted September 23, 2017

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Origin story of a druid

Peter the Hermit

by Apostle Janos

Peter treaded carefully on the mudded waters. He knew the land so well that he could stay unseen, untrackable and unhindered. Part of it was what he learned while being a soldier in the Celeran king's army, down south. He had seen a lot of strange things during his service, Twelve years ago. That senseless war... Contrary to the sentiment of the so-called devil worshippers and evil-doers, the kingdom of Celeran was no different. The king waged the war for conquest and exploitation, but their justification was the practice of an evil religion. Peter hadn't taken many lives before he was captured. He was just a boy of nineteen from the hills, a shepherd from the country , but he was now faced with scary, demonic tribes and huge beasts in the territory of Ivory.

His gift with animals is what kept him alive, when they were attacked by a pack of wild cats. He had calmed the animals down through attitude and calm movements. Peter always understood animals better than humans. The animals were straightforward, and would never betray him. Fortunately for his captors, he managed to help them retreat through the wild savannahs with all their prisoners, losing no men. Unfortunately for them though, he could arrange his escape. Summoning a lion he befriended, Peter tore his bonds and escaped in the night, killing two half-demon guards.

Not knowing where he was, Peter still had to find his way to his allies' camp, if it was still there. Wandering around the jungles, the deserts, and tropical grasslands, he became accustomed to the environment. In only a few months, he was able to communicate with the wild flora and fauna. He became sort of a mediator within that ecosystem, a king of the grove so to speak. Strange for a stranger to the land. All the while, he was being watched.

The Ivory naturalists' enclave admired his self-training, and didn't want to disturb him because he wasn't doing anything contrary to their needs. But as soon as he was taking over, commanding the large animals, setting boundaries, making animals forage for him and move from their designated habitats, the Ivory druids had to intervene. Thankfully, the druids were at war with the Ivory army too, so they could settle their differences and work together. They took Peter in and trained him, teaching him the secret language of naturalists. He learned how to assume the shape of animals and harness the energies of the elements and the trees. He was sent on missions for the naturalists to combat the blight the demons have brought on the land. He fought on guerilla warfare and sabotage against the Ivory army. In exchange, he got to go home to the ever retreating Celeran army camps. 

He came in the club with hands raised, armed with just a club and an armour made of magical lion pelt with jungle leaves. After all this time, few people recognized him, but Peter was able to prove he was that soldier that got captured. Everybody else that had been captured was now dead, except him. Celeran was losing this campaign against Ivory, just like all the previous one, so soon they had to retreat again. When he went back to his home town, Peter was disappointed with the kingdom. With the resources he now had he created his own druidic enclave in the Celeran wilderness, trying to restore order in areas left abandoned during the wars. He recruited young men and women to take care of the lands and offered land growth services to farmers. He domesticated wild animals and created stable ecosystems in disordered territories that were turned into forgotten swamps and wastelands.

Some of the women in the surrounded lands had no prospects or had lost their husbands. He took them under his care and married them in private ceremonies in the woods, giving them children and putting them in charge of various territories the king did not care about. After a few years of feverish activity, the land flourished and Peter's enclave grew in numbers, both in human and animal life. They were giving plentiful taxes to the king, too, so Celeran was pleased. From a hermit, Peter had become and officer of the crown by his own accord, right after the old king died. He was still known for his mood swings, difficult temperament, and predisposition to solitude. But from Peter of the Bogs, he became Peter the Druid, a respectable and venerated figure.

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