Lore

Learning the Hard Way




Prell likes to walk. He likes to explore, and today, his explorations have taken him into Kithacore in search of herbs and plants.

“Perhaps today I’ll find that elusive mandrake I need.”

Wandering along a small deer path, Prell notices something. Could it really be this easy today?

“Why I’ll be. Sometimes the herb gets you, and sometimes, you get the herb.” Prell states. Looking down in a small patch of grass, Prell notices the broad green leaves and purple root-base of the mandrake. Pulling out his pair of harvesting shears, Prell puts on his gloves and grabs the mandrake by the upper leaves and takes the shears and cuts away the stalks. Upon doing so, the mandrake responds to the cutting by popping up and out of the ground a few inches into the air and falls with a dull thud into the green grass. Smiling, Prell reaches down for the mandrake.

“Owww!” Prell shouts out, feeling a sharp needle-like prick on the side of his hand. Looking down at the mandrake, it seems it was not without company. A small blue-green snake slithers off into the underbrush.

Prell’s head spins, his heartbeat rapidly increasing, and then he feels himself falling into unconsciousness.

——————

Prell hears a voice.

“What have you learned?”

Prell, unsure of the voice and himself, does not respond to the voice.

“Take your time, Prell. When the time is right, it will come to you, and when it does, answer the question.”

Prell sits up, or what he thinks sitting up would be. Looking around, he sees a vast forest laid out before him. Is this Kithacore?

“Who’s there?” Prell asks innocently.

“What have you learned, Prell?” The voice asks once again in the same even tone.

“I don’t understand the question.” Prell speaks. “What do you mean what have I learned?”

Prell looks around more, trying to discern the speaker’s location and source, but cannot.

“You made a mistake, Prell, and now you have a chance to learn from that mistake if you’re able to learn from the mistake you made. Do you think you can?” The voice queries.

“I don’t know. How do I know how to learn from the mistake if I don’t know what mistake I made?” Prell inquires quizzically.

“Good answer, Prell. You’re beginning to understand. Now. What have you learned?” The voice repeats.

Prell feels a presence in his mind, almost as a suggestion within his mind, and he sees himself back in Kithacore, walking along a familiar forest path. He watches this scene unfold, and gets a strong sense of deja vu. He knows he has done this before, what is unfolding in his mind before him. Watching the scene play out, Prell sees himself reach down into the grass to cut something, and then feels a sharp pang of regret course through him. A strange feeling. It’s almost as if he was there experiencing it, trying to tell himself specifically and exactly what he needs to do first, but knowing he can’t prevent the inevitable.

“Yes, Prell. Now you’re starting to see what you failed to learn. Good.” The voice states calmly. “Again, what have you learned, Prell?”

Prell, now understanding what the voice was asking him, responds.

“I learned not to be so hasty and to think things through before enacting on them. I learned that mandrake harvesting is dangerous and can come at a price. I’ve learned that mandrake is rare for a reason and often guarded. I’ve learned.”

“Well done, Prell. Take this with you and grow. TerVarus is not done with you yet.” The voice utters and then fades away.

——————-

Prell awakens in the grass face down, his shears off to one side. Everything he brought with him is still here, including the mandrake. The little blue-green snake is gone. He staggers to his feet, unsure of the time and day. He decides he’s had enough herb gathering for one day and starts back home.

“Was it a dream?” Prell asks himself. “It sure was a vivid dream if it was.”

Looking down at his hand, he notices two tiny blue-green dots on the side of his right hand. He rubs them. No pain. He licks his finger and tries to remove the stain. It doesn’t come off.

“I guess I’d better clear away foliage around a mandrake before I attempt harvesting one from now on.” Prell smiles, knowing he has learned something new today.

It would seem that Kithacore agrees.

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