Reina the Druid
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‘That’s it, I am so fucking done with this.’ Reina huffs, throwing clothes into a duffel bag and opening a window. Her parents are banging on the door, trying to get in, and right as she gets out the window, they manage to break the deadbolt. She flips them both off and walks away, kicking her duffel bag off the roof before hopping off herself and landing with a roll before jogging away.

Luckily her neighborhood is near a big forest, and given how neurotic and cleanly her family is, they won’t follow her into the forest, which she jogs right into.

The pit in her stomach doesn’t lessen, and nor does the knot in her throat, as she makes sure to not obviously trample nature so as to not leave an obvious trail. However, as she’s making sure, she forgets to look ahead, and is soon sent tumbling forwards into a dark hole.

A scream gets caught in her throat as she starts sliding on her stomach down a steep hole. She quickly rights herself, flipping sideways and twisting so she’s going feet first and sliding on her back.

The steep slant slowly flattens out, until she’s in a black room, little white dots around her looking like stars. She scratches her head and stands up. “Where the hell…?”

The room suddenly fully lights up. “Human voice, recognized.” A synthesized voice relays.

Now she is in a strange futuristic looking room, a small pedestal holds a tablet up in the air.

She squints at it, whatever is on there is clearly a written language, but she can’t seem to decipher it. A strange tug forms in her brain as she questions this.

Her eyes blur over, and her legs move on their own, even as every fiber of her being knows that this is a one-way ticket to starting some kind of apocalypse.

Her hands reach out, and pull the tablet from its place.

A few seconds pass, then suddenly the room is flooded with light, and Reina feels searing pain before everything goes black.

When she wakes up, she’s laying flat on the ground. She groans and pushes herself into a sitting position. ‘Ugh, what happened?’ She raises an arm to move the vines out of her face.

‘Vines?’ She catches sight of her hand, and this time she screams, she screams loud.

Her hand is entirely made out of wood. She looks down at her body, and, correction, she is entirely made out of wood.

‘What the fuck? What the fuck? Whatthefuck?!’ She feels herself starting to hyperventilate, but due to dealing with several of her own panic attacks (which her family thinks aren’t a real thing, one of the many reasons she told them to suck a chode,) She starts taking deep breaths as the corners of her eyes start to darken, regaining some sense of self.

She looks around a bit, and realizes that she’s back in the forest she’d been running through. She looks back the way she came, and her eyebrows knit together with concern as smoke rises, like from a large fire.

‘The animals flee… They’re panicked by the fire. The plants scream, they are burned by it.’

‘I need to stop whatever that is.’ She walks to a nearby tree, and taps it. It glows green and starts bending to her will. The mycelia network linking her to other trees in the area. ‘The forest is burning. Someone is burning the forest. The trees are hurting.’

‘Okay, well, create something to fight that fire. Smoke detection in the branches of each plant and tree. When smoke is detected, condense water on each and every leaf, and rain over the area burned.’

There’s a bright flash of green throughout the forest, and she suddenly feels very tired. ‘I need… to return…’

She feels herself shift, falling through some kind of veil, into a misty place. ‘The Vale?’ Reina asks, looking curiously at the fog around her. ‘How do I know that’s it’s name? Because it’s a living place, communing with all druids and working with them.’

For a second, Reina thinks of going back out, of living in the normal world, but she remembers, and thinks on what people would do to her at this moment.

She’s a being entirely made out of wood, yet living and sentient like them.

Science experiment would be the best case scenario.

‘Vale, is it alright if I live here?’

In response, the fog sinks into the ground, revealing grassless soil. ‘Of course.’


Elaine rushes through the trees, “Mama? Mama!?” She shouts.

No answer. She trips over a branch, and instead of the incoming hard wood roots, she lands on soft dirt. “W-Where?” She asks, looking around as she gets up, hands drawn in.

It’s a bright, pretty, forest. Not like the dense woodland that makes up the Immortal Forest.

A woman, walking next to a large, birdlike creature, walks out from the treeline, into Elaine’s line of sight.

“Era Ouy lal ighrt?” The woman asks.

“… I’m sorry! I just got lost, and, and I can’t find my mother anywhere!”

The woman tilts her head, then kneels down to the girl’s height, pulling off her hood to reveal glowing green eyes and vines for hair. She gives a kind smile.

I’m not going to hurt you. I’m just asking if you’re alright. There’s a bit of a language barrier with outside words, it seems, so please convey words with thought, if you would.

‘A Telepath? I couldn’t find my mom, and I panicked. I tripped on a root of some kind, and fell here! I’m sorry!’ She shouts in her head.

The woman winces, but still she waves the walking stick she’d been using, and suddenly the forest starts making sounds. Not bad sounds, but still, Elaine hadn’t noticed that it was so quiet.

It will be alright, kiddo.

She looks to the bird thing next to her, and it nods, then she looks back to Elaine and gestures with her walking stick. ‘I’ll lead you out of here, then we can get one of my friends to lead me to your mother, if that’s alright with you.

Elaine nods, so the woman gestures to the birdlike creature. ‘This is a Gryphon. I call her Grace.

The Gryphon makes a funny chirping noise. ‘She says it’s nice to meet you.

She then walks forwards. ‘To get out of this place we need to go through the edge mist.’ She then gently holds her staff so that one of the ends is in front of Elaine. “Hold onto this, just in case.”

“… I can understand your speaking words now” Elaine says, wide-eyed.

The woman turns a strange sort of green at the ears... Weird, Elaine didn't realize that she seems to be made of wood. “The problem was the fact that I haven’t talked in ages. At least, not to someone who isn’t one of my friends. And since they understand the intent of my words… I don’t really have to talk in them very often.”

Elaine tilts her head a little before shrugging and grabbing the walking stick as it’s jostled by the lady.


‘What even was my… Reina, it was Reina back then.’ Reina shakes her head as they cross the mists into the real world.

The concept of time is a bit fucked for her, since she’s immortal, according to her Vale. Along with the fact that she just <i>didn’t</i> have to go out and hunt for food. She could grow her own. If she wanted meat? She feels bad about it, but just kills one of her cattle. Fish? She’d had a pond made through root-based plants that take water in from the air and condense them on their ends. Then she made fish.

So, knowing all of that, you’ll understand how she’d feel confused, walking out of her Forest with a kid, to find the woods just outside her house had turned into a jungle of wood and that’s it.

The trees, all wood, the floor, all interlocked roots, she even hesitates to call it ground.

Reina looks to the child in shock. “Um, what do they call this place?”

“The Immortal Forest?” The kid asks, as though questioning her sanity.

Reina sighs. “Right, kiddo, hold on a sec.”

She walks over to a nearby tree and she touches her hand to it.

‘Are there people around?’

‘Yes, many! Two trees forwards and to the left there is a shouting person!’ The forest conveys.

‘Thank you friends. You’ve grown well, all of you.’

‘The friend who helped the oldest ones stop burning?! Amazing!’ The young-ish tree fans a little.

Reina smiles and pulls her hand away. “Grace, let’s go.”

Grace and the kid both look at her, Grace with the most innocent look the mischief prone bird can muster. “The trees told me where to find your mother. Grace, stop teasing the kid.”

“Awww, but we never run into humans!” The bird says, probably sounding like a strange caw or squawk to the kid.

“I know, but that’s no excuse to mess with a child.” Reina replies.

The kid tilts her head. “How was she messing with me?”

Reina sighs. “Don’t worry about it. Grace, pick the kid up.”

Grace nods, then nabs the back of the kid’s shirt with her beak and places her on her back.

“Oh, I didn’t say before! I’m Elaine!” The girl says, waving, as though getting picked up like that was normal.

‘What the hell happened in the time I was gone?’

Reina then looks around and realizes. ‘Wait, it’s way too dark. How is the kid not scared half to death here?’

The area beyond the tree they’re nearby to is pitch black. It seems the canopy above had opened up just enough to shed light on where her root was.

‘Need a few Fireflies, help guide me to a mother.’ A few small tears open up in the air around her, yellow glowing flies floating out and around the area to illuminate it.

“We just need to follow the fireflies, they’ll guide us to your mother.” Reina starts walking.

Grace follows. “Are these trees alright with me stepping on their roots, ma’am?”

Reina hums. “These are not young trees that you had accidentally treaded on as a hatchling, Grace. Their roots will be fine.”

Grace sighs in relief.

“How do you understand eachother?” Elaine asks.

“Well, I’m the one who created Grace, so she understands me no matter what language I speak. I could speak chinese and she’d still understand.”

“Elaine?” Someone asks, and Reina immidiately darts to the side of Grace, grabs the kid by the shirt gently, then sets her down on the ground. “Elaine!” The mother shouts, but stops short of running to her kid upon seeing Reina.

Reina awkwardly waves. “Hi… Your kid kinda tripped into my Forest on accident. She’s fine, if a bit shaken up by the experience.”

Reina then taps the kid on the back with her staff, gesturing for her to go forwards.

“Mama!” The kid launches herself at her mom’s arms. Reina smiles sadly and more fireflies start appearing as she summons up a light show to keep the area illuminated.

“Sorry if she was any trouble…” The mother says, and Reina shrugs.

“No, not really. She barely even panicked when she saw Grace.” Reina gestures to the Gryphon walking beside her.

She then huffs as she squats down. “Now, before I go, I’m curious, what year is it?”

Elaine’s mother hums, looking up into the darkness of the trees. “I think it should be around 2173 AFR.”


“Ah, an immortal then? It stands for After First Reawakening. Or after the first time magic reawoke in a person.”

“… It’s… It’s been over 2000 years since I left?”

Elaine’s mother smiles sadly. “If ‘AFR’ means nothing to you, then I’m afraid that yes, it likely has been.”

Reina huffs. “No, this, this is fine. I didn’t have many that I cared about back then anyways.” She looks at the floor, and remembers something. “Oh yeah, why is this place called the immortal forest?”

“Many have tried and failed to burn it down, and after resettlement, it was found that the older trees are practically impossible to hurt, and they regenerate faster than any other forest on earth.”

‘…’ Reina facepalms, wiping a hand before going full dryad again. “Trees, can you tell me, has another druid visited you?”

“<i>Nope! Just you!</i>”

Reina groans. “That… This entire forest thing is my fault. A fire was burning a forest when I had turned into a druid at first. I used up all my energy to edit all the trees in this forest to have a trait that condenses ambient water in the air and rains it down when smoke touches the branches.”

“As for the regeneration, I had put down my root in this forest, apparently for thousands of years. Growth energy leaks from my roots, and considering I spent thousands of years purely cultivating my Forest…”

Elaine’s mother laughs. “Wouldn’t be the first time a seemingly supernatural anomaly was actually just a person living life. I don’t have a clue what a Druid is though, so I’d have to guess you’re a new one.”

“A ‘New One’?”

“Magic has a lot of different forms. And it changes those who use it. If you’re from before the reawakening times, you likely awakened your ‘True Form’ of some kind. There are many true forms, and over the years we’ve documented them. Human is just what everyone is born as at this point.”

Reina raises an eyebrow. “What are you then?”

“Oh, I’m a vampire. Elaine is one also.” The kid smiles, showing off fangs. “It’s not exactly the same way people viewed vampires back then if what I learned in history was true. We can all walk around in sunlight, it’s just annoying because it’s bright and cripples what most of us would call our best magic.”

“And the blood drinking?” Reina asks, curiosity in her tone rather than wariness. She doesn’t even have blood anyways so it’s not like she should worry about that.

“Hm. Well, we do need to drink it, otherwise we’ll wither away to a feral state, much like if you leave a domestic animal to starve. But certain members of our species have more or less appetite than others. I’m the average where I live, at a cup every three days leaves me fully nourished. While my neighbor is at the very edge of the less appetite end, at a cup every week.”

“… Hm. Interesting.” Reina nods a little. “Well, I’m going to go. Maybe I’ll visit your village someday.”

“You’re… not gonna come with?” The younger one asks.

Reina laughs a little. “I’ve been without human contact for over 2000 years, and even before that I was a teenager. I’m not exactly properly sociable, and just talking to the pair of you took a lot of energy on my part, kiddo.” She pats her on the head a little. “Maybe if I ever find myself tired of Grace’s antics.”

“Hey!” Grace squawks in offense.

Elaine’s mother huffs a laugh at that reaction. “Well, seeya someday then.”

Reina nods a little and walks off, fireflies helping her retrace her steps back to where her root was originally placed.

She was serious about her not being that sociable a person. Her bark itches all over from that interaction. She was strangely alright with the kid, but talking with the woman just made all of her wooden skin itch like hell.

“So, back to the forest?” Grace asks.

“Yeah. I wanna create a few spies to keep an eye around the place. Whaddaya think’d be best?”

“Bats and spiders would be your best bet, ma’am.” Grace answers.

When they get back into the forest, Reina walks to the storage room. “I thought it was a strange outlier, maybe you got lost between worlds and ended up in the vale as a result, but if the people outside are dealing with things like you…”

She mutters this all to a decapitated dragon skull.