Hearthgazer’s shelf

A long dozen poem

Silver doe,
Obscured by mystic woods in pinkish fog.
Did it emerge from within or did I dream the gleam?

A cairn, telling this story

Where the farmland meets the tip of The Spear is an ancient tree with a hollow-hole. It is said that it once housed a family of rock-fae who used it to hide from a mountain golem, but stayed to care for the tree after it showed them this kindness. With the mountain golem long-since defeated and the tree enduring through all manner of strife, the fae left the hollow hole. It has since been taken over by generations of hardy birds with craggy beaks, said to be spirit-touched and noted to have a certain rockiness to them…

A map, with a note attached

Take great care when walking along The Spear and The Shield, the mountains protect the valleys and village to the north but they themselves are treacherous territory

Notes on an acquaintance

On the lower slope track of the East Mountains, along the trail to Ruin View Point, I encountered an old man walking towards me. Recognising me as a stranger, he called out ahead and greeted me warmly, asking who I was.

An affable fellow, I introduced myself and he told me his name was Eldan. He walked this path every morning to watch the sun rise in the West, over the Spear and Shield. 

I told him I too was heading there for the view, but of The Ruins, not the sunrise, although I was sad to have missed the latter and would make efforts to watch it another day. 

I mentioned Tilleryard, who had helped me come here, and he chuckled, knowing Tilleryard to have some renown in the village for their prize vegetables at the fete.

Though he had heard that Tilleryard had been making connections to my world, and had heard the name Hearthgazer muttered at the tavern, he knew little of me – that *I* could tell at least. Who knows what rumours spread when you aren’t there to correct them?

I offered Eldan a home-made cookie (peanut butter and chocolate chip – obviously I had packed MANY for my journey), and then told him I was a collector and teller of stories.

We had a wonderful conversation at the foot of a tree – with neither of us in a hurry to our destination it was a sunny moment of shared wonder and knowledge-trade.

Eldan, being the expert of this corner, kindly took me to the Ruin View Point even though he was redoubling his steps. At noon, from this spot, the light hits the ruins in such a way that they sparkle, and more of their mystical nature is revealed. At least, it is revealed to those who can interpret it. I am not yet there, but the view was breathtaking regardless.

I spoke to him of the Golden Hour – a concept he knows well in his rural setting, granted – but this time from within the city, where the glass and steel sparkle and reflect the setting sunlight. How, in the twilight, the electric lights begin to flicker on amongst the evening haze and create magic amongst the man-made.

Eventually, I scrawled out my cookie recipe for him, we made our goodbyes and I returned to my hearth-shelf to reflect.

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