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The Maple Root Door and the Pump Gourd
Eastern Emissary of Kitsune Court Approaches Tatiana, Queen of the Fey Court
Has he spoken to her?" asked Amaterasu to the Queen of the fey court, Tatiana.
"Not yet, though I can feel his heart watching and speaking to her continuously, even stronger while he dreams," answered Tatiana. Both women were walking along the edge of the Katalox wood. They had insisted their subjects leave them alone, for they had much to discuss. Katelyn and Rob was only a portion of their conversation, but they were the most important items on their court's agenda.
"Tat, you know I have much at stake concerning this year's harvest"
Tatiana continued to walk but inside her emotions were churning. Amaterasu was the Eastern Emissary of the Kitsune Court and an important fey in her own right. Tatiana relied heavily upon Amaterasu' knowledge and power of the growth and well-being of the Katalox wood. They had both spent hundreds of years in each other’s courts and were closer than sisters, despite the differences in their fey lineages. For that reason, Tatiana wanted to choose her words with care and keep any emotional modulation from her answer. She had used her gift of sight to glimpse the possible outcome of the coming fall harvest. As Kitsune, Amaterasu would understand, as Emissary, she would have to report it.
Can We Trust the Maple?
"Of course, Ama, I too am hoping that this will be the year when the Maple Tree reveals its true purpose to all of the inhabitants on this world," answered Tatiana.
Amaterasu moved regally, small feet hidden under heavily embroidered robes, hands tucked into long sleeves and after a few moments replied "Hmmm, but can we trust the maple? Oak is the most reliable, Tat, you know that, and there is not even an ash tree closer than the outer edge of the wood. What are your plans if the Maple turns as it did during the fourth millennium's harvest?"
Tatiana replied evenly "It will not go feral Amaterasu! I have glimpsed the path and though it bodes poorly for my son, in the end it is a thing he needs to learn!"
Katelyn the half blood dreams of Rob,Tatianas son
As only a one-tailed Kitsune Katelyn was well aware of her responsibilities for the protection of the boundaries of the wood.
However, Katelyn was also half-human and she loved the fall fair.
Last year her green bottle gourds had brought second place and she was hoping that this year she would take first for a secret gourd growing at the base of the Maple tree. Katelyn watched her neighbor, Rob, as he tended his pumpkin patch.
Rob was full blooded fey, and not Kitsune. He rarely spoke to Katelyn, even though they often worked the same portion of land at the same time. Katelyn knew if he were not Tatiana's son, Rob would have asked his liege lord to have her farm removed as far from his land as possible.
Katelyn dreamed of Rob, she knew they were not suited, she was half blood, she did not have enough Kitsune tails, he was the son of her godmother but more than that, Katelyn knew his loathing of humans and half bloods in particular.
None of that mattered.
Katelyn poured her love with her sorrow into the land and used her Kitsune ability for an outlet of her love.
Rob is confused by his love for Katelyn
Rob watched Katelyn carefully. He had been given orders by his liege lord not to allow Katelyn out of his sight until after the harvest, though no reason had been given. Rob was loyal to his liege lord, but found this to be the most difficult task he had ever done. Rob's mother, Tatiana, had hopes of reconciling all the beings on this world, humans, half bloods and fey. Rob felt this was a useless task, even a dangerous one. Rob was several hundred years old, he had hard opinions of what the humans were capable of; loyalty, compassion for the land or each other were not part of their character.
Why then did he dream of Katelyn every night? Even now, he could smell her scent across the fields. Her scent stirred in him a longing and something more, hope. He'd not rested for the last few days before the human fair. His nights were full of dreams of Katelyn and by day, he could not stand to be away from her sight. He did not need his liege lord's order to have him do his task!
Katelyn and her hafling
The Sacred Tree is Opened and Rob is Sorrowful
The night before the fair, Rob couldn't sleep and he found himself outside, staring at Katelyn's cottage. Suddenly, he heard a high, keening sound from the Northeast.When he looked up he saw Katelyn and it appeared that she was pulling something out from underneath the Maple Tree!
Terrified, Rob began to run. The tree was sacred! He was crying and calling out Katelyn's name but when he reached her, he could only slide to his knees in the loose dirt next to her.
Katelyn turned to him with wonder on her face. She was fiercely clutching a small, moving bundle in her arms. Rob smoothed the dirt away and saw a pair of shining eyes and smiling mouth peering up at him from the body of a pump-gourd.
Katelyn whispered, her voice nearly hoarse from the exertion of helping the root door to open, "I have loved you so long, though I knew you loathed me. Now I have my own Halfling! Not only will I have someone who loves me but I will also win Best of Show tomorrow at the fair!"
Katelyn stood, turned her nose up to Rob and walked away. Rob was left kneeling at the now closed root door of the Maple Tree.
"Ah Tatiana, I am sorry" said Amaterasu and she reached for her friend's hand. Together, the two fey grieved and wondered at the foolishness of the ones they loved.
The high, keening sound returned. Rob realized it had been coming from his own throat the entire time.