Seeds of Rhyonis: Prologue
A Rhyon Chosen
Dedicated to all of those that have come to call Rhyonis home, and a special thanks to Michael Champine and Jessica and Scott Dilworth. Their support and inspiration has turned Rhyonis into more than I could have ever hoped for, and I'm honored to have known them.
Placed precisely in the middle of the continent of Ish-Gahn, the Life Glade stretches outwards toward the encompassing circular mountain range known as the Dragon's Spine. Like a densely forested caldera, comprised of tree and root and countless flora, the Glade has been home to many, though perhaps, none so destined as he. Rhyon is his name, and as he emerges, donning moss and twig, from his root-carved domicile, the early morn light poured through the canopy; straight from Balasar's rays.
He, as his name, is derived from his Father and that of all the realm, that which all Life Essence comes from and where it will inevitably return; Rhyonis, the Spring Tree of Life. Rhyon shook off the dirt and foliage that'd fallen from the thatched roof, glowing with the same vibrant, golden pulse that everything did within the Glade. After taking just a few steps down the walk of his dwelling, he looked up to smile at the source of warmth and light that had been his home for three years now, the whole span of his life to this point.
Stretching and stepping into the fresh sunlight of an early Spring morning, Rhyon extended the vines that make up his arms and fingers, hearing them snap and pop with the introduction of bright light. Around him, a whole slew of vine creatures walks the Glade freely, ranging from viny, draconic humanoids such as himself, to plant-like animals, and massive living vine dragons who exhale deadly toxins to defend this sprawling home for them all. Even ancient elves wandered among them, giddily greeting chipper creatures and fellow tenders to the Life Glade, caressing shining plants with their slender fingers, and humming imperceptible harmonies.
It is nestled deep within the lush forest of the Glade that Rhyon's story truly begins, albeit with far less ceremony than most. On this particular walk about his duties, through the paths of the Life Glade, unfettered by the grasping vines coiling around his ankles like friends longing for company, something pulled him from watching the flowers rapidly bloom along his stride. Far above him, tucked beside one another in a high bough, he discovered two seeds; one orange with a brittle and flaky casing, the other visibly cold with a faint layer of grey-blue frost painted across its shell. Before he even laid a hand on them, swiftly spotting them from their quiet hiding place, he could feel the power they emanated and knew these to be of great import.
Checking the surrounding area for watching eyes, and taking great care to observe the shadows just beyond interwoven root and vine to ensure he was alone, Rhyon crept towards his quarry. Each careful footfall into the lush, moss-laden ground beneath him felt like a mile, chlorophyll and Life Essence pumping in his body faster as the warm golden glow of the seeds grew ever more prominent. In a matter of moments, without his knowledge or conscious doing, he was elevated several stories off the ground; the breathing earth expanding like a massive lung, until he was face to face with the two seeds, cozily sprouting beside one another like twins in a cradle.
Inexplicably pulled to these objects, beautiful and tantilizing, the foliage sprouting from Rhyon's vine-like fingers stretched out, naturally, to caress the objects before them. Just as he was to make contact, there was a horrible shuttering below and the world seemed to split apart! A massive chasm opened at his feet and stretched several hundred yards behind. He stood at the precipice, shaking against himself and teetering on the edge, inches away from a fatal fall. With a painful pressure around his wrist, he was grabbed and pulled closer to the seeds by a thin vine that shot and wrapped his flailing arm.
A voice, foreign and familiar, rang out from within the chasm, but also deeper, from in somewhere in his mind like an echoing thought. “It is time we speak my child,” it said, washing over Rhyon like a soothing warmth, growing and emanating from the seeds. “Your time has come as mine is drawing to an end.”
“Who are you?” Rhyon called out, knowing but unsure. His eyes refused to waiver from the seeds before him. The longer he was in their presence, the less everything else seemed to matter; it was an all-encompassing, enrapturing sensation to lay his eyes upon them. His leaves had yet to even touch the soft glow they pulsed with each wisened word. Yet, he could feel a deep resurgence welling from within his chest as the question came to his furled lips. “Are you in these seeds?”
The breeze picked up momentarily, shaking the leaves of the singular branch stretched out before him. Somehow, it seemed to almost falter and rise against the wind, tempting Rhyon to grasp and take the offering.
“You’ve always known me, Rhyon, as I am you, as you are me, as these Seeds are both of us, and we them. We are all connected." There was a pause where the rumbling words of the Spring Tree of Life rolled over Rhyon like a tsunami and echoed into silence. "I am the First Borne, father to all mortal races and source of all Life Essence within the realm; Rhyonis.”
Rhyon swallowed hard against the drying sensation of his planty mouth; the tongue beginning to harden like dried grass as he was struck by realization. The words flowing into the air, or from the chasm, or his mind, sourceless and all surrounding, filled his body with a sense of fullness and light. Tenders of the Life Glade spoke with Rhyonis in the metaphysical sense daily, but having his father, and that to the entire realm speak to him directly, was overwhelming.
Tears of thick green sap rolled down his cheeks as the sudden understanding that Rhyonis, the Spring Tree of Life, was speaking directly to him! It was surprising, but not alarming. It is from Him that all life has come into the realm, and the denizens of the Life Glade have an intrinsic connection to Him. Although, it is unheard of for Him to call to anyone other than the Archdruids of the Glade, at least as far as Rhyon's knowledge went.
"Rhyon," the booming telepathic voice called, releasing him from the stuporous awe he found himself in. Even communicated with directly into his mind through the Life Essence that coursed within his body, Rhyon couldn't help but feel the booming oppression of the power it carried. “You are being entrusted with the future of the world at large."
The stunned silence that had bloomed in the wake of His proclamation was broken only by the continued words ushered into his mind; each syllable warming Rhyon's insides like a summer wind yet chilling his flesh with the cold anxiety of winter. Though meaning was lost on him initially, the sensation of growing power with every inch closed between the seeds and himself kept him stoic and focused.
“It is only a matter of time before I fall and you will be left to sustain the world alongside your sister to the east.”
Unsure entirely what this meant, Rhyon's heart pumped faster, violently. The blood of his body was unable to keep pace with the chlorophyll of his foliage, spurred to intense action at the overwhelming surge of Life Essence from Rhyonis' communion.
“I don't understand what you’re saying, or maybe I do and just don't want to?” The confusion horribly apparent in the phrase. Rhyon had an intense, deep understanding of the laws of nature, the endless flow of life to death, the natural order by which all come into this world, yet he was failing to comprehend what the end of the source of Life Essence would mean. “What are telling me? How is your time coming to an end? Won't we all perish if you do?”
Without word or warning, the seeds dropped from their perch and, instinctively, he caught them. On contact, there was a massive eruption from the chasm behind him and a blood-curdling wail accompanied a surging wind. It didn't belong to Rhyonis, Rhyon, or anything he knew could possibly exist! It filled him with an immediate sense of dread and impending death.
“Help me, Rhyonis!” Screaming against the howling gale and growing sense of decay, coiling around him like a constrictor, Rhyon looked around frantically. In his search for solace, he noticed the wilting flora that was, just moments ago, vibrant as the dawn. What had been lush green moss and prismatic wildflowers, were now grey and brown husks of withered remains. The howling grew louder than his screams of fear and deafened him to anything other than its omnipresence!
Violent sickness convulsed within Rhyon's gut; fear bubbling into something tangible, painful, more real and intense than any sensation he had yet to feel. Just before his eyes blacked out completely, a ghostly being of black and purple flame arose from the pit and reached for him; its spectral amorphous form growing a visible hand in his direction, warping the air and draining it of the typical vibrant clarity it boasted. As it was about to touch his chest, a blinding light exploded from the seeds in his desperate grip and he lost consciousness, hearing the howling wail slowly die into a scream, an echoing din, a whisper, and then silence.
When Rhyon awoke next, he was in an unfamiliar forest, dazed and confused. He found himself to be surrounded by an endless wood of willow trees; curtains of multicolored leaves (silver, white, green, black, and purple) that brushed against each other in the breeze, emitting chattering whispers in every direction he turned.
Amongst them, albeit brief and momentary as a passing thought, Rhyonis called once more, “Welcome to the Whispering Willows, my Rhyo. Find the Huntress and her Shadow to the east. It is with them that you will move forward with your destiny. You’ll be free from the sight of those that would wish to find you, but tread carefully and quickly! Time is of the essence!"
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About the Creator
Hey there! My name is Austin, I'm a writer/podcaster who strives for inclusion and representation in all of my work! Read stories here, or check out my podcast at rhyonisrr.com In a cold and dark world, we are each other's warmth and light!
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