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Wanderer of the Fiodh Forest
The story of a female warrior who attempts to destroy the seal that blocks the Fiodh forest.
- The Wanderer of Fiodhe Forest -
written by Fleelu
written by Fleelu
What is true honor?
I've been pondering this for a long time.
When I was young, I defined honor without much thought. I simply thought if you were outstanding at something and others acknowledge it, that acknowledgement would grow naturally into honor. Honestly, I've never even desired honor. I never thought that it would significantly affect my life. I thought I was a fairly attractive woman, and I was pretty confident in my skills as an adventurer. If i wanted it, I could've easily earned people's acknowledgement. It's no wonder I never really had the opportunity to critically think about the value of honor.
However, I think differently now. I understand the true value of honor, and I know it's something worth pursuing. As I reflected on my younger days, how I wasted my days depending too much on my looks and the praises of men, I was suddenly thankful for my husband who left everything to be with me.
All of this realization happened after I heard about the Fiodhe Forest's legend.
2. The Legend of Fiodhe Forest
Long long time ago, Partholons, the earliest human race, fought with the evil Fomors in the Sen Mag grasslands with their fate on the line. Although the Partholons fought hard till the end, they could not overcome the Fomor's and their summoned monsters. The battle ended with the defeat of humans.
After the loss on Sen Mag, the humans split in two groups and retreated. One moved north, near the Antrim mountains, while the other group retreated to the Fiodhe Forest at the edge of Gairech hill.
Fiodhe Forest is located at the northern part of Bangor, near Gairech hill. Due to the forest's compact structure, it retains all of the dew that is formed each morning. Because the forest is constantly full of moisture, a poet once referred to the forest as the Forest of Tears.
Fiodhe Forest is one of several forests that is said to have Imps. It is said that the Partholons, after the Sen Mag battle, retreated here. They received permission from the Imps to build a fortress here. The Imps agreed on one condition; that the humans must not destroy the Mother Tree at the center of the forest. The Partholons swore to keep the promise.
However, the humans disregarded this contract and cut down the Mother Tree. The enraged Imps put on a curse on the humans so that everything they touched in the forest became covered by trees and grass.
After that incident, countless myths and stories about the forest passed down from generation to generation. Interestingly, there was common theme in all of these stories. It was always about a traveler who got lost in the Forest.
All the travelers in the stories each had their own reason on how they got lost. Some said they were so captivated by the forest's scenic beauty and realized they lost their way, and others said the vicious monsters in the forest attacked them. Some also said that the Imps, still upset at humans, drew them deep into the forest so that they'll get lost and slowly die... One thing seem to be clear. All of the stories had something to do with the imps. This is how I, a grown woman, began to believe in the existence of imps. Then I was determined to go into this Fiodhe Forest.
3. Going to Fiodhe Forest
Fiodhe Forest is a perfect place to hide away from the sun at Gairech hill. However, there was something eery about the place. Not even a ray of sunlight was able to pierce through the thick trees. I needed some courage to enter. I barely stepped in, and already, I was in knee high grass and leafs were poking my eyes, However, I saw an amazing view I had never seen before. The legend of Imps seemed to be real.
And there, I finally saw it. A Forest Imp. He had a light green energy surrounding him and his face was of a young man. He was lively, weaving through the forest with ease, and I began following him as if I was hypnotized. The Imp was humming a song as it quickly disappeared into the forest.
It was amazing. I couldn't help but want to get a closer look at it. I didn't even realize I was running low on my equipment as I continued to follow the Imp.
After awhile I snapped back into reality, and I realized that I was missing all of my equipment. I felt the stinging pain from tree scratches all over my body. I was lost.
I had no clue what to do.
I stood there for awhile until I felt someone tapping me. It was the Imp I was chasing.
I was extremely startled, but I tried calming myself. Then I felt another emotion welling up from my heart. It went from my heart towards my face. It was strange...but it was a warm feeling.
As a woman way over her 30's at the time, this might sound embarrassing, but I think I was infatuated with the Imp.
I don't remember all the details, but I felt I had come to a place I shouldn't have.
The Imp looked at me curiously as if he knew what I was thinking. I immediately turned bright red and tried to direct his attention elsewhere by asking him how to get out of there. The Imp stared at me for awhile, then with determination in his eyes, he led me outside the forest.
4. Impossible Reunion
After I came back to Dunbarton, all I could think about was the forest and the Imp. I couldn't concentrate on any of my work. I didn't know what was wrong with me. I even stopped practicing my sword skills that I used to practice everyday. Everyone I talked to all said it was simply a hallucination. At first, I tried to believe it as well. I tried to convince myself to snap out of it, but my longing for the forest and the imp just grew larger.
The next day, as soon as the sun rose, I headed towards Fiodhe Forest. I was very nervous as I thought about possibly seeing the Imp again.
But....I couldn't go in. There was a large stone that sealed the forest.
When I touched the Sealstone, a hazy message came out and it spoke to my spirit.
...Honorable...only an honorable person can break this seal...
Ah...the sad history between humans and Imps....the Imps must've known that a human had entered the forbidden parts of the forest. The memory of how humans had been dishonorable and broke their promise to the Imps began flowing into my mind. It was so hurtful...
The Imp doesn't want humans to enter anymore...Oh how I wish I could break the stone and enter. After banging on the stone all day, I realized that I wasn't the one. I had never felt so regretful in my life that I had never pursued the virtue of honor.
Will I never meet the Imp again? The thought constantly haunted me. I knew I was being dumb, but I couldn't help it. I couldn't even sleep that night.
5. The Honor I was Looking For
After that day, I was interested in one thing and one thing only: What I would have to do to become an honorable person. At first, I thought it was through people's acceptance. I know it sounds silly for a middle-aged woman to worry about how to win acceptance, but I was desperate. The deep pain I felt from the message of the Seal Stone and my longing for the Imp continued to drive me. Every time I thought of the Imp's face staring at me with his beautiful face, my desire to break the stone grew stronger.
The next day, my life changed. I took on every request from the town's people. From little things like cutting wood and farming, and even defeating monsters, I did it all. Sometimes I had to face strong monsters and it wasn't easy. I had never cared so much about what other people thought about me. The town's people were astonished that I, the arrogant and confident woman, would do such things.
I tried extremely hard to raise my honor. But the more I tried, doubt continued to weight me down. Why am I really doing all this? Could I really gain enough honor to override the failures of mankind's honor?
6. Next to the Campfire
More time passed. One day, like every other day, I left for Fiodhe Forest during the night. As I approached the forest, I saw a man sitting next to a campfire, playing a lute.
The man said he was spending the night near the forest. He had also met the beautiful Imp! He said that he could not forget about the Imp no matter how hard he tried and that since that day he had been pursuing honor. We were essentially on the same boat.
He wasn't attractive, but he knew a lot of songs. After some time, he began singing a familiar tune...it was the melody the imp was humming.
I still remember the last part of the song clearly.
'Mankind's dishonorable act
Who could forget
Could they ever regain the honor
I do not know
All I can do is pray
as I live each day'
As I was listening, the man explained to me. He said that this song had been passed for ages. I asked him what "honor" meant, and he looked at me and told me.
He said fame and honor were two different things. Honor doesn't come to those who pursue it. If you live by the values you believe with all your heart, it will naturally come to you.
Then, with a smile, he continued. In a world that forces you to compromise your values, if you stand by your convictions, that is honor.
After I he explained everything, it all made sense. What I was looking for was not the Imp or honor. Those were all a byproduct of something...what I wanted was someone to draw me out of my deep loneliness.
And like that, the man and I began dating. The following year, we got married!
...though a deep part of me still wants to go to the forest and see the Imp.
A long time after, I found out something amazing.
I realized the man I married was THE imp I met.
He, also, could not forget about me. He was transformed into a human and kicked out of the forest for helping me, which was a violation of the Imp's code. Then he began looking for me.
He still sings that song he sang when I first met him when he misses home. I understand his pain... He chose to leave everything to be with me. I can't blame him for looking back once in awhile and miss what he had. I, too, longed to meet the Imp even after we were married...
My desire to go into Fiodhe Forest changed from a selfish desire to my wish for my husband.
However, I still haven't figured out what true honor is which is the key that will break the seal.
Today, my husband and I still roam around the forest. At first, we tested if our honor was strong enough to break the seal. Now, we're just waiting for someone who could break the seal to show up...a person who has fifteen different titles, yet doesn't boast about them and makes their honor shine brighter...we're waiting for this kind of hero.
Even if we become another sad story that adds to the collection of stories about the forest, we will not quit...