Echoes of Invasion: Still Waters Run Deep | Scene 4

When Heppa inquired about starting funds for their journey, she was told to take whatever provisions she needed from the pantry. As they head down to the larder, the cousins compare what equipment they have. They both have a bow, of course. Hepalonia has a sword, whereas Tric just wears a knife. In addition, Tric also has a dowsing rod. Nasir thinks Tric goes out dowsing often, so keeping the tool with him is part of maintaining the act. “I can show you how to live off the land,” Tric assures his cousin. Then he opens the pantry and clears out whatever strikes his fancy. Aunt Penna and Uncle Thran always have the good stuff, and he is not shy about taking it.

With their packs full, Heppa considers inquiring about mounts for this scouting venture, but then she imagines the tongue-lashing she would get from her mother if anything happened to the animals. She tells herself that they will not be going so far and that hiking will be fine.

They step outside, and Tric resumes his causal prattle. “We could check with Breda before we go. I’ve been up and down the Estmark Hills,” he asserts, “but it’s been a while since I’ve been out there. She might have some more recent information.” Heppa offers a trade: they can go see Breda if Tric will let her inspect his dowsing rod. That surprises him. The rod is worthless in his opinion, but suddenly it has gained transactional value. “Very well,” he draws out slowly, “but you have to give it back.”

“Of course!” She eagerly takes the forked stick from her cousin, amazed that he was carrying around an artifact this whole time and she never knew it. She looks over the rod. Presumably, one just activates it and learns the location of water. Maybe you shake it? Just think about water? The druids have not shown her this application of magic. They have covered a lot of theory, but other than the bramble trick, nothing very practical. “I’ve never used one before,” Heppa says, waving it around a little.

Neither have I, Tric thinks, but what he says is, “If you break the dowsing rod—whew!—that means I can’t dowse anymore. That’s going to be real trouble.” He fails to inject any note of worry into this false concern. Heppa waves it a bit more and frowns. “Yup, just like that,” Tric encourages her.

“It did nothing,” Heppa says, disappointedly. Although she is unable to activate it, she can sense the edge of power through the implement, the primal currents that the druids have spoken about in relation to the brambles. This is indeed a rod of power in some sense, but it feels extremely different from what she held in her father’s study. That seemed to pull energy from her, and it lacked the comfortable feeling of rightness that the dowsing rod possesses. The pathways are within her, as they are in all elves, for the flow of faerie magic. That is what her teachers have said, and now that she has concentrated on this implement and the sensations it evokes, she can agree with that assessment. But what her father had felt very, very different. That was unnatural. The dowsing rod feels appropriate somehow. It just will not work. “How do you make this thing go?” she asks her cousin.

“Well, uh, it’s kind of complicated. It takes years of training to properly find water,” he responds.

Heppa nods along. “Yeah, and then what do you do?”

“Well, you can use it to find water… or to find not-water.”

“How do you change it?” 

Tric Manu claims that switching the rod’s mode is an advanced technique, but Heppa presses him further, asking where he got it. “Strictly speaking, I made it, but I made it with my dad.” 

“You made it?” Heppa is impressed that her cousin actually crafted a magical artifact. “How?”

“Yeah, you find a nice forked branch from a hemlock, or an oak, or a spruce, or a dogwood…” Tric likes telling stories, but his cousin is pressing for too many specific details. He cannot for the life of him remember which wood is required for dowsing. “Different types of trees are attuned to different types of water,” he fabricates. “If you want brackish water, or salty water or…” Fortunately, at that point they reach Breda’s, and he can shift the focus away from him and his lackluster—and lack water—dowsing career.