The Druid of Hardin Falls

This is the first chapter of the historical fantasy entitled "Rhapsody of Nature."


Near the village that would soon be named Viga, an explorer from foreign lands was lost in the woods. It was still daytime but though it was night. The canopy covered all of sunlight. As the man slowly walked through the thick forest, he uttered, "mil quinientos noventa y otso." The first day of the year was immediately a misadventure.

Nothing was visible that very moment and he didn't know where to go. He merely guessed his next path. The sounds of leaves being crushed by his boots enabled him to know that, despite the darkness, it was still safe.

Until he saw a small light. The first visible object happened to be a neon-colored frog. He glanced a little to the left; a much tinier object moved in circles.

It was so tiny but it was all he could see. It stopped circling. Despite the apparent lack of significance, it held his interest. But as he moved closer, it flew away. It stopped. He followed it but it flew again. It stopped whenever he stopped. It flew whenever he followed. The cycle continued. He realized that it must be leading him on to something.

As he followed the tiny object, one by one, flies turned up. Until there were many more. Circling round and round. Faster and faster. He had to run a bit just so he can catch up. The sheer focus he had on the only visible objects that moment made him forget that the place could be anything but safe.

He trusted the flies however --- whatever it takes to bring him back to a visible land. The sounds of the crushing leaves continued to be heard. But as soon as he noticed this, the flies were nowhere to be seen.

Instead, gentle streams of water was heard. He followed the echoes of these waters, which were so gentle, they made him relax. As he continued, things began to appear. Rays of sunlight slowly broke out of the thick forest.

The lush greens was illuminated by what appeared to be sun's rays of the early afternoon. "Perfect for siestas," he remarked.

Birds near him cooed. Insects hummed. They all chorused in harmony. He explored the very first visible area after what seemed a dark forever.

He realized that there was a small cascading falls nearby. And the long vines that creeped the walls of rock made it appear as though it was a secret garden in the middle of the lush forest.


Photo Credit: Celine Murillo,
 whose blog article was the inspiration behind this short story.
Many thanks to her, without whom, this creation would not have come to existence...


"Need some water?"

There was actually an old man just behind him. 

"I'm more lost than thirsty. Where is this?"

"My friend, this place has no name yet but, soon, people will call it 'Jardin Falls.' "

"Well, that's strange. Why don't we call it by what you think it'll be called? And how do you know that that would be its name?"

"My friend. I know everything from past to future. I survived a shipwreck because I knew it was going to happen anyway."

"If you really know everything, why don't you tell me my name?"

"Oh, Esteban, do you really need proof?"

The lost explorer was floored. A stranger knew his name even though he has not revealed it.

"This can't be happening. At first, I was suddenly lost without any recollection of what happened. And now, somebody knew my name at the very first glance. What are you, a sorcerer or something?"

"No, not at all. I'm a druid."

"What in the world is that?"

"Oh you wouldn't understand. But do not be afraid. Trust me, I'm a friend."

"How do I know you'll be?"

"I'm not saying you have no choice, but there's no other person who lives here, who knows this place. I can't make you trust me but soon you will know that this place is safe and that I can help you find your friends."

As the old man turns around, he said, "I'd be back to my hut. I need a little siesta."

Esteban realized that there really was nothing he can do but to trust the old man. There simply is no way he could survive a strange place unless he takes the little risk of trusting a complete stranger.

"Wait. I change my mind. Maybe, I'm guessing, just guessing... that..."

"What?"

"You are telling the truth..."

"I have an ointment for your wounds. I wouldn't want you to trust me immediately so try my ointment for your little wounds near your wrist. If it's poisonous, at least, you have a chance to survive."

"Alright, sir. Uhmm, what is your name, by the way?"

"I am Blaise. I'm actually from Provence, somewhere in southern France. I came here to these islands as a missionary."


To be continued...

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