Continuing to drag his feet regarding turning over the staff and reluctant to deal with Renwick just yet, Tric next heads to Fenowin’s favorite glade. If she is not there, he intends to go see Breda; Tric is well-versed in procrastination. He spends a while examining the various bushes until he finds one that is actually the green-clad druid, hair full of moss and other plants.
“How are you doing this blossoming season?” Tric asks, trying out some flowery language.
“This most refreshing time of year is indeed a time of new opportunities,” Fenowin replies, in her spacey fashion. “I have been conducting some interesting work.”
It is news to Tric that she does “work” in some traditional sense. She always just seems to be standing around staring off. Maybe sometimes she dances in the glade? She is definitely the most druid of all the druids in the village. “So, you’re very one with nature—”
“I hope to be so, one day.”
“Do you actually host any birds or animals on your person?”
Fenowin does, as the occasion arises. As for whether there is a nest in her hair right now, she tells Tric that spring is a bad time to have creatures about her person because for most of them, this is their mating season. They need stable environments for their nests. She leads Tric over to a bush where there is a tiny hummingbird nest. “In other times of the year, birds do roost around me. But an elf is not a sturdy platform for raising the young of another species.”
Tric nods at the bird on his own shoulder and inquires about building a nest for the magpie in his backpack. “Do you have any tips on what resources I should give him to put in there?”
“The bird itself should be the one constructing a roost,” she advises.
“Yeah, don’t try to pawn this work off on me,” Tric mutters at Mate.
“But you could make favorable materials available. Twigs, vines… things that are flexible and can be woven together.”
“Ah! He’s good at tying knots, so that should work out well.”
“If you wished, you could build a box, and then leave it to the bird to arrange a comfortable seat inside it,” Fenowin adds. “This magpie is clearly not of our forest. What news have you of the outer world? You must have ventured out somewhere to make acquaintance with this bird.”
“I met him in the human city South Tower. Maybe you knew it as the Southern Outpost?” Fenowin looks at him blankly. “Or maybe you didn’t know it at all… You’re probably not interested in that. You probably are interested in that at the southern edge of the forest there’s a group of woses trying to slowly rebuild it. Do you know Roombledoombledeur?” Fenowin says she has not seen that wose in years. “It’s doing well!” Tric assures her. “Raising a couple saplings now…”
“Is everything at peace in the outer world?” the druid asks.
Tric ponders that for a moment. “I think peace, yes, but there’s always some activity,” he hedges, given the armed uprising that might be in the works.
“Is any of it coming toward the forest?”
“No, as far as I know none of it is,” Tric tells her. “There might be some scuffles among the humans, some internal struggle… The issue with the water and the dwarves is mostly taken care of. And we ran into a few undead here and there, but who doesn’t?” Tric throws in casually.
“At the forest edge?” Fenowin asks, alarmed. Tric assures her they were beyond the forest; the undead were underground or off in swamps. “Ah, that is good news to hear. I have been working on some defenses for the forest.”
“What kind of defenses? I imagine you’re good with brambles…”
“Brambles would only help against foes like you or me. There are larger metaphysical threats,” Fenowin tells Tric. Her eyes then focus on something just beyond him. “What is this item?”
He realizes she has taken notice of the staff on his back and feels slightly affronted by her question. What, I can’t be carrying this thing? He schools his features though and replies, “It’s, uh, yes… Undead fighting underground were standing over this creepy thing. I’m supposed to give it to Uncle Thran, but I don’t know… I’m thinking maybe we should just… Maybe no one should have it?” Tric notices Fenowin reach quickly into some fold of her dress. As her hand darts back out, he jerks away from the powder coming at his face but does not manage to get out of its way. His body convulses with sneezes.
Tric Manu does not react to the powder in the way Fenowin expected, so she does not follow it up with any other type of attack. Rather, she apologizes.
“What was that about?!” Tric cries once the sneezing is under control. He exhales sharply, trying to clear his air passages. “Moss below!”
“It was just a precaution—”
“To make sure you had not come into contact with any substances that are potentially lethal to elfkind,” Fenowin explains.
“Like what? Dapper inkcap or something?”
“Couldn’t you just ask?”
“Once again, my apologies. But you were acting a little off, and as the only not fully elvish person here, you could have been serving as a vessel.”
Normally Tric’s mixed heritage is of little matter to him, and it is seldom mentioned around the village. But this time it bothers him. What is Fenowin implying here? Do they not trust me? “Fine, it’s fine,” he says flatly. “It’s just… I’ve got a lot of things I’ve got to take care of.” He makes his farewells, muttering about having to go do work with Renwick.
Fenowin watches him leave, concerned. Tric Manu is clearly not bearing anything that she just tested for, but something is bothering him. She resolves to make some inquiries.