One of Harpo’s chronicles told the story of Rindle Mer, pictured below. Bekka’s knowledge of this story comes in handy during one of her later adventures.
The Woods Beyond the Wood were beyond the Danken Wood in land located east of the Kinngish Queeendom of Fiddleeebod. Formerly rich, lush, moist and leafy, the woods were now brown, gray and dust. All waters, trickle, flow or splash, had vanished, causing green of green to pine away. A final flow, not of water, but of citizens and creatures, abandoned the Woods Beyond the Wood. Stonejangler to wizard, Royalty to fleckrunner, woodlock to miffen, all life spilled out of the dying drying woods in all possible directions – a runaway into Fiddleeebod, a scramble across the Greenwilla River into Clover, a hike up to the Orrun Mountain foothills, a fan out into the unknown east. Who had fled? All but a few. What few? A stubborn two.
The first of the stubborn two moved along a dry streambed, stopping from time to time to wrinkle her chalky gray nose and sniff search for water. Who was she? She was the niece of Riffle Sike, the water wizard. She bent down and scratched at the dirt with her hands. The fingers of her chalky gray hands were webbed, but her thumbs were free. She had orange eyes and her hair was a wild froth of cascading orange ringlets tied back from her unsmiling face with groatvines. She was ten bar years old. She straightened up and continued her purposeful walk down the streambed. Her tunic was chopped and ragged, a rusty leaf weave badly stitched. A twining of groatvines made an adequate belt. Tied to her belt was her purple starred pouchbag. It carried charms and amulets given to her by her uncle. Her name? Her name was Rindle Mer. Her father, Runner Rill, was Riffle Sike’s brother, a water wizard who successfully turned himself into a stream and soon thereafter, so it was said, flowed away to join the Greenwilla River. Fair and true, he never saw his daughter. Rindle Mer’s mother was a chalky woodlock, one of a tribe of slender gray distant cousins of the Villcom Wood Chalky Grays. Let me tell you by my well, as much as Chalky Grays of Villcom Wood welcome and cherish younglings by the dozens, chalky woodlocks don’t. In fact, woodlocks rarely produce younglings, and when they do, they generally give them away. That is bang bo what Delia did. Delia? Delia Branch, chalky woodlock, Rindle Mer’s mother. She left the baby nutchling on the bank of Riffle Sike’s pool. There Riffle Sike found her. There he raised her. Rindle Mer was a one of ones, an only, neither water wizardess nor chalky woodlock, but truth to say, a strong-willed, solemn faced youngling.
Rindle Mer left the streambed and ran along a narrow winder of a path through thick stands of leafless stiff skeleton trees. She was on her way to the homepool cave to see if her uncle had left yet. Truly, she hoped he had. That’s probably why she said “Good” when she plucked up the inner smooth and read its watery runes.
“This be all mine now,” she said in her scratchy voice. She had a scratchy voice. “I will find a way to build green back into the woods. I promise ye, woods! Rindle Mer vows!”
“How?” shouted a deep bellow of a voice from somewhere on the other side of a hedge stickle clump. Who or what bellowed? The second of the stubborn two left in the Woods Beyond the Wood. Stubborn? By my well, fair to tell, the second was more curious than stubborn. The second was a visitor, a native dweller of the Danken Wood, a traveller by choice into the dry desolation.