Realms of Myth
Oak, Son of Ash
A little Elfin Fianna, Cunningman, Alchemist and Seer.
Name: Oak – Son of Ash
Height: 5 ft.
Weight: 107 Lbs/ 7.64 stone
Hair: Deep Red/ past the ears
Eyes: Emerald Green
Druid – Fianna
A Cunning man /Seer / Alchemist of Rhiannon’s pool.
Oak – Son of Ash
First born of Ash Thornson and Holly Redsdottir.
Ash met Holly while he was a member of the Fianna of the forest Easton. She was the youngest daughter of a family of Bardic wood elves who traveled to Rhiannon’s Pool for Beltane.
Ash and Holly were introduced to each other when one of Ash’s war band brothers, Moss, was trying to win the affections of Holly’s sister Ivy. He got Ash to entertain Holly as part of Moss’s plan for getting some alone time with Ivy. The truth was that Ash had already been hoping to spend time alone with Holly.
He was smitten with her right from the start, but for all the poetry and songs he had studied, he could not find words to express how he felt about her. Her smile left him tripping over his own words. Never before this time had he felt such urgency to court someone. He feared that if he didn’t make his move, He might never have a chance to be with her.
He asked if she would allow him to court her. She said no but smiled and encouraged him to call on her when he returned at Samhain. Over the next few years, he repeatedly asked for her favor. She finally broke down and granted him a date on the night before he was to leave again.
During that date he asked why she kept rejecting him. She informed him that she did not wish to be involved with a man who would be gone most of the year. She wanted to have her mate and future father of her children to be near his family. He swore that upon his return that year, he would speak to his father, Sir Thorn, about finding a position and prove that he was willing to commit to her.
She waited for him to return and then they gave each other their hearts.
Ash went to his father Sir Thorn, and asked to take his place as a gentleman and was granted his post. He worked his way up to become Master of the wardrobe and made a home near Rhiannon’s Pool. He missed traveling with his Fianna brothers, but being with Holly was well worth the sacrifice.
About 53 years later, they decided to get married and start a family. Soon afterwards, they had their first son, Oak.
The day Oak was born Ash planted an oak tree in honor of his new born son. The tree intertwined itself with Oak’s life force.
Oak was the type of child who was running before he learned to walk and started speaking in phrases before individual words.
As a toddler, Oak’s favorite stories were of the Fiana. He wanted more than anything to be a brave warrior like his father was. He would sneak off after meals to listen to the war bands telling their adventures. At 5 years old, Oak would often wander off with knives or arrows, which amused the warriors greatly as they would chase him down to retrieve the weapons.
During the days he would often be found listening to the chanting and watching rituals performed at Rhiannon’s Pool. He delighted with the wonderment many of the pilgrims displayed towards the gods and felt that he too, should show the gods how much he loved them. He swiped a knife from one of the drunken warriors at a feast and hid it in his tunic. The next morning he quickly ate breakfast and set out to capture something to sacrifice. He spent all morning and part of the afternoon trying to capture a rabbit. His father came searching for him when he did not return home for lunch.
When Oak’s determination to catch a rabbit was clear, Ash proudly helped his son set a trap. As soon as the rabbit was in Oak’s arms, the little elf ran off towards Rhiannon’s Pool. Ash curiously followed Oak and was just as surprised as the rest of the folks around the pool when his 5 year old son started chanting, produced a knife and sacrificed the rabbit to The Dagda. The blood of the rabbit poured out at his feet and Oak’s eyes clouded over and turned pure white. He started speaking of a dangerous storm that was approaching. He mentioned of a shelter that would not hold the storm and a band of huntsman seeking cover there would perish if not warned.
When Oak came out of his trance there were people rushing around to repeating Oak’s warnings of the storm to make certain that no one would perish. There was so much confusion that Oak started to cry. Ash scooped up his son and brought him back to the house where they prepared for the storm. Oak was so scared not fully aware of what was happening. Ash told his son not to be frightened, the gods favored his sacrifice and blessed him with a gift to keep everyone safe.
In no time, the storm was upon them and all that he had foretold in his vision came true. Due to his warnings, the huntsman took shelter elsewhere and no one was hurt when the structure collapsed. The storm swiftly passed through the forest.
Word of Oak’s vision spread quickly and Ash was instructed to bring the little one to his Grandfather, Sir Thorn.
Sir Thorn asked the boy why he wanted to sacrifice the rabbit. Oak answered that he wanted to show his love for the gods. The knight sat Oak on his lap and boasted that at 5 years old, his grandson had such devotion to the gods that he hunted and sacrificed to them… and they answered him. The huntsmen who were spared the wrath of the storm presented Oak with gifts of thanks (a couple of traps, a fur blanket and some meat). The warrior whose knife Oak used carved a new symbol on the handle and presented it to Ash to hold onto until Oak was of age to use it. It was one of the happiest moments of his childhood. After a very long day, Oak drifted off to sleep knowing his gods and his family loved him.
As Oak slept, there was a great debate between Ash, Holly, Sir Thorn and the Earl. Elfin tradition decreed that children were to be free to explore til they were about 10. The thought of steering an elfling into early study was one of concern that might prevent him from finding his true path. It was argued that Oak, on his own, had awakened these magicks within himself. It was agreed that without proper instruction these gifts could be dangerous, far too dangerous for an elfling to be wielding.
During the debate, the local wise woman, Skathach, approached and offered to take Oak on as a student in the early mornings. She had witnessed Oak’s prophetic moment and suggested that the afternoons would be sufficient for the lad’s wandering and exploring time. Holly, finally agreed since she already had her hands full with Oak’s infant brother, Spruce.
Oak was awakened before the sun and was fed some honey oat cakes (Oak’s favorite). Ash escorted him to Skathach’s tree. He was told that he was to mind the wise woman and she would teach him all kinds of things.
Oak, being 5, was restless because he wanted to hunt and play with his traps. He thought herbs were stupid and Skathach smelled funny, and he said as much. She laughed so hard she feared she’d do herself a mischief. The first day Oak ran away from her and hid in his Oak tree until his mother found him.
Holly explained that the smelly lady could talk to the gods, and how much his grandfather wanted her to teach him how to make the gods happy. That and an extra honey oat cake was all that was required to change the child’s mind towards being educated.
After that first day, he was more attentive and over the next few years learned weaver magick, alchemy, potions, herbs, drugs and most of all how to respect the natural laws of magick. Many, many people traveled to Rhiannon’s Pool every year to seek out healing and prophetic advice. Skathach taught Oak that not every question asked needed to be answered with magick and divination. Many times problems had easy solutions that could not be seen by those too close to them. This was a valuable lesson to learn.
In the afternoons, Oak was free to wander and often followed the huntsman. The young seer was always welcome to join them in tracking and hunting. They actually considered his presence on hunts to be fun. They helped teach him how to hunt different types of animals, how to prepare the skins and how best to make sure that nothing went to waste.
On the high holidays, Oak took part in the rituals and assisted in interpreting the signs for the pilgrims who traveled to the pool for guidance. He especially liked the Samhain celebrations when the Fiana warriors returned. It was thrilling to listen to the brave tales and adventures. He made sure to have Skathach teach him to make charms of protection that he could weave into the warrior’s hair before they set out again when the winter months had passed.
Being nomads, there was a constant flux among the wood elfs into and out of the area. Friends were hard to come by, since Oak’s family stayed near Rhiannon’s Pool, bound to Ash’s position and Oak’s training. There were periods when more of the elfs were fearful of Oak than truly friendly. His mother and younger brother became his sounding boards when things got rough. Spruce often would not let people know that Oak was his brother out of a need to keep his friendships. He loved Oak, but did not want to have the same level of isolation that he saw his brother go through. He also did not care to be in Oak’s shadow and worked hard to develop his skills in the arts and music. Spruce was determined to stay away from anything mystical.
Because he started his education at 5, his other lessons were put off as long as possible. When it came to Oak’s 10th birthday, everyone in the family (and some locals) had opinions as to what his formal education should entail. Sir Thorn wanted his grandson to be educated in the ways of a gentleman and learn to wield a sword. His uncle Brier (Ash’s older brother) felt that the elfling should become a page so Oak could become his squire when Brier became a knight. Holly felt that Oak was happiest being a huntsman and wanted him to be able to develop those skills. Skathach reminded them that his studies as a Cunning Man were important as he would one day replace her in the sacred grove. Sir Thorn agreed that Ash would be the one to make the decision on Oak’s education but strongly suggested that his own thoughts were the best course of action.
Ash took his son out and explained to him how it was time to choose a path. Oak was only interested in working towards the path of the Fiana. Ash was not surprised by the decision but had to inform the lad that because of the promise to the Wise Woman, he still had to continue his lessons with her. Oak agreed to that and understood compromises to his desired goals needed to be made to appease his grandfather’s wishes. To ease the harshness of the intense educational curriculum, Ash decided that the household chores for his eldest son would be to trap and hunt.
He usually woke before dawn and set his traps before heading to his morning lessons with Skathach. Around lunch time he met with his Uncle or his grandfather (depending on his schedule) for a quick meal and then lessons in weaponry. Three days a week his afternoons were spent reading text after text learning to recite poetry, discuss war strategies, traditions and philosophies. Another three days were spent studying stealth and survival tactics with Ash’s Fiana brother / Aunt Ivy’s lover, Moss. His one day away from studies, he tended to his grandfather’s horses.
Moss trained Oak in stealth by making him wear bells on his boots. The elfling would then have to go about hunting or climbing trees without setting off the bells.
The days of Fiana training were tough but the easiest for his schedule. Part of those days would involve hunting which lessened his workload. On the days of reading, he would have to go out hunting afterwards if nothing was caught in his traps that day. Sometimes he would have to hunt all night to make sure that his family would have something to contribute to the communal dinner feasts the following evenings.
When Oak reached the age of 16, he satisfactorily completed training as a Cunning Man and was released from his mandatory lessons with Skathach, although he still went to her often with questions about alchemy and/or herbs. At times he would visit her just to escape to a quiet place he felt safe in and talk about his dreams.
In the ways of romantic interests, Oak finds qualities in men as well as women that he finds very attractive, although he has never really had the opportunity to explore intimacy. Most of his peers were either told to steer clear of him or had some fear of his being a Cunning Man. Between that and his busy schedule, his socialization time was mostly during meals and not conducive to sneaking off with any lust interest.
Plus, fewer studies meant more community work.
He was tasked to assist at Rhiannon’s Pool with the Fathi rites and often helped with preparations for the holidays. During Samhain preparations, Oak decided that too many dead leaves were mucking up the sacred pool and made it one of his chores to clean them out. He wanted to be able to have everyone see how beautiful and clean the water was and thought that it would better help those aligned with water spirits to receive inspirations and divinations. His kindness attracted the attentions of a Daemon/Nixie named Valaraukar. She appeared to him when he was alone, as an elf with glittering aqua-hued skin. She thanked him warmly for helping to keep the pool clean. He was excited to meet a water spirit and had many questions for her, but she wanted to keep her existence at the pool a secret and would not answer them. She did gift him with knowledge of a skill her people have to mesmerize. He understood the charm but could not perform it, but while trying to figure it out, he guessed that his failure to produce it was due to his alignment with the element of earth. He figured that the best way to mimic the water’s fluidity of consciousness would be to mix it with a sleep potion. That seemed to bring about the closest result to the actual effect of her magick. He saw her a couple more times over the years but very briefly and only on rare occasions. He has done as she asked of him and keeps her existence a secret.
Moss started working with Sir Thorn and Brier in Oak’s combat lessons so training would include many different fighting styles.
A few weeks prior to Oak’s 18th birthday, he was pretty confident that he could succeed in the trials of the Fiana. Although his family and his instructors wanted to believe him, they recognized that his youth was showing. If he failed the Fiana trials he would have to wait many years to try again. No one Oak’s age had ever successfully passed those tests. Of the elfs among the Fiana, most were closer to 100-150 when they were inducted into the brotherhood.
Oak insisted that he was ready and was determined to attempt the trials. His father and Moss figured that the best way to truly measure the young one’s skills would be to stage their own tests first.
Ash, Sir Thorn, Brier, Moss and 5 of Moss’s war band set up the mock trials.
The first trial was one where Oak was given an hour head start and had to survive for 3 days within the mapped area of the forest without getting caught. The others tracked him for those days but could not find him.
The second trial was of poetry. He was to recite poem after poem and then recite poetry of his own on any given topic Moss chose. He also did very well in this area, so the testing continued.
For the third trial, Oak had to run through the forest with his hair braided while being chased by the others. The braids on his head must remain completely intact. He was not allowed to break a single twig under foot and must maneuver through the tree limbs and bushes while removing a thorn from his foot without slowing his speed. Although it was not easy, he passed.
They all agreed to skip the skills trial since they had been working with him on his skill sets for years and were well aware of his capabilities.
The fifth and final trial was one for which he was buried to his waist, given a shield and hazel wand, and had to fight off all nine of his challengers while they threw spears at him.
Oak failed miserably. One of Moss’s brothers hit Oak with his spear and it wounded him deeply. Within seconds Oak lost enough blood and fell into unconsciousness. They tended to his injury and then him rushed to Rhiannon’s Pool for healing. Sir Thorn was very insistent that not even the slightest scar remain from the wound.
The Oak tree connected to the young elf lost a branch that day.
When he awoke, he felt ashamed and defeated. He would not even look at his family and no words would comfort him. Oak grabbed his knife and ran off into the woods for a couple weeks. He made daily sacrifices to the gods and asked for forgiveness. He felt lost, not knowing what he was to do now that he had disgraced himself in front of his family and respected warriors. On the night of the new moon an answer came with a whisper on the breeze. “It was not your time… 5 years more have you to train.”
That was all that was said. Oak still to this day has no idea where the voice came from but he asked for a sign and he got one. Oak was trying to muster the courage to head back home when a group of Fianna found him. Many of them knew Oak by the charms and magical protections he gifted them over the years and they knew of his tests. The leader of this group, Xylon, approached and spoke to him…
“Oak son of Ash, we are well aware that you are no longer an elfling but please understand that you are still young. Even as an elfling, you are one who has proven himself of merit in many aspects. Focus on this truth, you succeeded 4 out of the 5 trials decades before most of my brothers here were able to do so. If you’re to be a true warrior, you’re aware that a true warrior does not give up. Keep up with your training and when you are ready, you’ll be an asset to your war band… You have our respect and we offered to search for you to bring you home. Your family is waiting to celebrate your 18th year. Please help us complete our task and join us for some mead and good company.”
Oak gathered his things and they made their way back home.
The first one to greet Oak was his little sister Iris who ran up and smacked him across the face. “You don’t run away… ever!" Then she smiled, "Now let’s get some cakes.” His mother embraced him and his Father poured him a cup of mead. Spruce played songs of celebration and soon everything seemed right again.
The next day Ash took Oak out to his tree. The broken branch lay on the ground. “When you were injured, your tree took a bit of damage. You are whole again and although the branch can’t be put back, it is still an extension of you … Perhaps you should use it to make your wand because a hazel wand does not suit you,” he said to his son.
Over the next 2 years, Oak carved and designed his wand and it has served him well since.
Just as the whisper told him to, Oak trained hard for 5 years before submitting his name to attempt the trials. At 23 years, Oak became the youngest elf to become a member of the Fiana Brotherhood and one of a handful of legacy Fiana. Once again this gave Sir Thorn bragging rights.
At the Beltane celebrations, He was introduced to his war band. He was assigned to travel with Xylon, which made Oak feel very secure. Before setting out on his first season with his war band, the Earl gifted him with a beautiful horse. Sir Thorn gifted him his first suit of green enameled armor. His uncle gave him with a new bow and quiver. His father presented him with the sword and throwing daggers he himself used as a Fiana, and Skathach gifted him with a silver torque with boar heads at each end. Holly worked around a rule of the bards and made it possible for her son Oak to learn the way to create a circle of protection. She purposely taught the spell to Spruce while Oak just happened to be around. In her mind, she was not going to let him leave for half the year without additional ways to protect himself.
His sister refused to see him off.
The past 8 years, Oak traveled with his war band returning each year to Rhiannon’s Pool to spend the winter months and his birthday with his family. Although he and Spruce biologically are brothers, they are very different and they have nothing in common other than the love of a good story over a cup or cups of honey liquor. His sister still punishes him for going away by favoring Spruce.
His war band values Oak’s contribution of protective and battle charms, potions and the occasional foresight. Even though he stands out in many ways, including his Cunning Man status and his deep spirituality, he is only teased playfully about the fact that he is the youngest Fiana brother, and how overly educated he is – especially for his young age.
He has bonded with all of them and would die for any of them, but he is especially connected with a warrior named Hemlock. Hemlock, on some of the colder nights shares body warmth with him.
In the middle of traveling this season, Moss came to find Oak’s war band. He spoke with Xylon and then informed the group that they were being summoned back to Rhiannon’s Pool.
Once back at the pool, Sir Thorn and the Earl ushered Oak into the great hall to meet Lady Bess, and then they took their leave.
Lady Bess invited Oak to have tea and honey oat cakes with her (still his fav.) She informed him of the tale of the 7 swords of Gofannon, and how two had been stolen and 3 still were missing. She mentioned sending Oak’s war band to seek out the missing swords but informed him he would not be traveling with them… Oak was to travel with a group of humans aligned with the Church of Light to investigate and retrieve the stolen swords. It was explained that since he was educated in the pagan ways, he would be a valuable asset in helping recover them. He also was to represent the pagan people’s best interests. He suspected that he was not being told the whole reason for being chosen but trusted that his Grandfather would not have agreed to send him if it was not important.
He would never admit to how much anxiety he felt upon learning that he was to be separated from his war band brothers, or the fact that he was being thrown into a world he knew little of, but it was his personal code of honor not to refuse such requests. He also would not betray the path that his gods set him upon in the name of his faith.
Lady Bess then decided to teach Oak a powerful spell to call forth and hurl darts of molten lava. She felt that it would be helpful to him and wanted to give him an extra advantage in his battle magicks.
While she was instructing Oak inside the hall, the folk of Rhiannon’s Pool gathered up supplies and loaded up a second horse to carry everything.
He barely had time to wish his brothers well or say good bye to his family before Lady Bess transported herself and Oak to meet up with his new traveling companions.