Kalsh was tall and pale with piercing diurnal eyes as if the sky had frozen over but laughed and sang in such a way that drew people in. He had strong arms and long bony fingers. He was graced with silky, light, golden-brown hair, fine, tied back in a strand as it fell about his shoulders. Champion of the tree people, the last of few hidden colonial pocket kingdoms in the rising of men. He had lived with the tree folk since infanthood. His mother and father survived men’s own savagery and had brought their son to live here. He befriended the Tree prince and since they were boys they had been inseparable cohorts in mischief, advocates of study from the great library where books were made of the trees that had passed on as a way to make legacies and history sacred, and in battle of the hidden forest and its tree house castle, comrades.
But today Kalsh had decided to take solitude to hunt, as it was the observances of etiquette living among the tree folk. Clad in light linen peasant shirt of grassen gold, Jerkin vest of sage hue and pants of brown, he blended into his environs quite well. Barefoot and silent in the paths in the tall grass Kalsh followed the bird. It had iridescent shiny feathers and was almost too beautiful to kill. It didn’t seem to have noticed him, as it hopped among the tops of the grass puffs above like a game to entertain itself.
Suddenly the bird stopped. Kalsh stopped, hardly daring to breath. He stretched an arrow on his bow, fixing his quarry in his sight. The bird let out two chirps, Kalsh loosed the shaft and the bird darted just quickly enough that its life be spared, winging away to the riverbank whilst letting out a loud chortle of indignance and shock. Kalsh frowned. Still determined, he followed the path silently toward the river 40 paces away. A whistle answered the bird. But it didn’t sound like a bird. Someone was there.
Kalsh crept up to the sand, hidden by his grass screen. there by the river was a woman, most natural, tall and slender. Beautiful. She was glad in a lengthy white shirt with long sleeves, simple and donning pants of some brown foreign material. She wrapped a belt of checkered fabric around her sodden form and tied a smaller band around her forehead. She possessed green eyes that looked like mined jewels framed by delicate eyelashes and fine shaped eyebrows with a regally hewn nose and full lips of soft pastel violet pink of sunsets. Her dripping wavy dark brown hair cascaded down her shoulders. The bird Kalsh had shot at hopped excitedly on the ground in front of Tristinia, warbling agitatedly and making a harsh sound pointed at the reeds. Kalsh quietly stepped back a foot or two, eyes still on this beautiful woman.
“What is it Note?” Triss asked her alarmed friend.
When Note had uttered harsh short messages looking at the grasses, Tristinia deftly swept Note into her large leather satchel with one hand whist ducking down, drawing her dagger out of her boot, standing in attack stance facing the grass.
“Who are you?” the woman demanded. “How many? I dont want trouble. Im just passing through.”
Kalsh tossed his bow from him as a distraction. He watched her eyes dart to his bows movement unseen, skipping/skimming the tops of the grass as he stepped out onto the sand, hands up near his head in defense if she tossed her dagger or to grab it should she toss at his chest.
A handsome stranger stood before her, intense eyes made from sky. She looked him up and down then back at the reeds.
“There is no one else.” He said, “I hunt alone.” He looked fierce but kind and handsome.
“What is your name, hunter?” Triss said with a hint of irritation in her voice, “and why were you hunting my bird and I?”
“They call me Kalsh and I wasn’t hunting you. I am sorry. I did not know the bird was your friend.”
Tristinia shifted her weight, looking consideringly at the stranger named Kalsh. “I have some bread and if its meat you want, I slew one of the creatures that live in the swamp few days back journey. Dried the meat. Its a bit chewy but fairly tasty.”
She flung her dagger down in the sand. Kalsh lowered his arms now that he was no longer a threat and strode forward, sitting himself across from her as she knelt down, reaching in her sack and letting her bird come out.
The bird promptly hopped behind Triss, letting out three loud chirps to announce its dislike of his company.
A smart bird Kalsh thought, an amused smile playing on his lips. “So what do they call you?” He asked.
“My name is Tristinia.” She said, handing him a handful of dried strips of meat. He let her take the first bite since it was her hunt. He took a mouthful, chewed the savory salty meat. It wasn’t bad. A woman who could hunt and so beautiful, femininely aloof but friendly. How interesting. He liked her.
“So,” she said, looking at him interestedly, “Can you tell me a bit more about yourself, Kalsh?”
“You can ask me anything and I tell you,” Kalsh replied “and you can tell me anything you wish to share as well.”
Her eyes smiled. he could tell she had not been asked about herself in a while. She agreed to share her story as he took her to the great tree house castle of the druids. She liked how he described his home. She had done enough wandering about the wilds of the world. She had no kingdom anymore, her love had been killed, other travelers left her or she had parted ways with them because they had found their place, or A place. The place Kalsh spoke of sounded like a haven of rest where she could stay and find her niche, rest and possibly abandon her quests of avengeance and grandeur.
The castle was even more beautiful than Kalsh had described. More of a wooden palace amidst and ancient grove surrounded by plains where the people grew their harvests. Some people were half druid and percentaged on down from intermixing with the natives. some were simply just people like Kalsh who lived among them, taken in to live and settle in a peaceful spot. Druids had leaves wrapped around their thick and wild though kempt hair like some tribes might decorate strands of their own with beads or yarn for colorful decoration and had hair of different green or streaks of green. Some had rough skin, some smooth. The Palace’s planks and pillars had loving sheen and crafted carved designs, tall thin double arched windows and spiraling staircases, long halls for all the villagers, like a great long house amidst huts that peppered it all around, ascending into various trees with more stairs. It was surely one of the wonders of this world which was passing into a new era. Tristinia stopped, head following the palace to its height in the ancient elms to where library and other buildings branched off from the palace, her mouth agape in wonder of its splendor.
Tristinia drempt she stood in the short grass by the waterfall in the courtyard of a palace, lying side by side in the cheery sunshine, content with having lunched and in the good of some handsome man’s company. Tris turned her face to look at him, smiling. Her eyes changed to question when he looked at her in return, propping himself on his side. Her eyes registered understanding. He leaned over her, his eyes never leaving hers, even as her eyes lowered in submission and acceptance of his advance. He kissed her slowly, longingly. Her lips met his. Wrapped in golden warmth and romance, they kissed at length, mouth to mouth cooly, yet hearts full of warmth. She had closed her eyes and as he pulled from the kiss, he reveled in the content in her countenance as she sighed smilingly, eyes still shut, preserving the dream she had just had come true. He stroked her cheek with his hand