Harvester's Tale

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By: Anoshia Posted on: March 28, 2006

Slender beams of light cascaded down into the small Ithmian clearing, bathing a gathering of Sylvanic pupils assembled in the space, all circled around a cheery fire. In the centre of the group, a robed elder sat with her legs crossed, ebon wings extended out casually behind her. The group chatted quietly amongst themselves, waiting patiently for the class to begin.

"Very well, everyone. I'd like to thank you all for attending," the elder said, "In this session we will be discussing the dynamics of harvesting and all you need to-"

"Dynamics of harvesting?" a short mhun student interrupted, "Can't we talk about something that might be a bit less boring?"

Smirking to herself, the elder shook her robed head. "Pray tell, Sylvani, surely you realise the risks and fragile nature of the harvest?"

Closing his mouth, the student shook his head. "Very well, then," she uttered, "Let me tell you a tale of a most ambitious Sylvan who was quick to overlook this study. Perhaps you will find it helpful..."

"There was once a young Sylvan lad who walked these lands, his head filled with the desire of riches and power. As a boy, he fervently studied the Sylvanic rites, quick to master the art of Elementalism and the ability to command his grove. Earnestly he delved into the dynamics of the harvest, increasing his studies with the hopes of mastering this skill, for he knew there was much wealth to be had with the trade."

""I shall spend all my hours harvesting," thought the boy, "And will work until my reserves are full and my pockets heavy with coin." Pleased with his resolution, he packed his small bag and began to follow the highway south in hopes of finding bloodroot. Choosing this herb had been easy, as he quickly saw the wages his faithful bees could evoke upon another individual, and with the growing rate of paralysis throughout Sapience, the plant was sure to be in high demand."

"It was late in the month when he came upon a large cave, hidden from sight behind a sandbank in the hot desert. Waiting till nightfall, he crept into the underground cavern, searching anxiously for the coveted plant. To his delight, there was a plethora of bloodroot, nearly ten count growing in each alcove. He began to stuff the herbs cheerfully into his swelling pack, greedily taking any and all he could find. Hours passed as he scoured the caves, until finally he had harvested the last of the bloodroot leaves."

"Quite happy with himself, the boy travelled home. The heavy pack strained at his shoulders, but his mood was cheerful and his step light. Once returned, he sold all he had gathered in a matter of days, easily raising his prices as the demand was high and public supply waning. His pockets overflowed with sovereigns, much like his growing ego. After the last bloodroot leaf had been sold, he prepared quickly for another venture to the hidden cave."

"Finding himself again in the desert, the boy quickly entered, perusing the caverns for the prized plant. To his confusion, there was nothing growing. Where there had once been a large quantity of healthy leaves, he only found rubble and stones, with no sign of bloodroot to be had. Upset at his misfortune, he sat down, grumbling with anger at the greedy fool who had beaten him to the herb."

"As he sat resting, it happened that there was a quiet tumble of rocks nearby. Though the boy had not previously seen any visitors, his ears perked with interest at this sudden sound. Crawling ever so softly across the darkened floor, he peaked around a large boulder. In an instance, a gleaming ebon scorpion of an enormous size descended upon him from the hiding place, latching onto the boy with pointed pinchers. The lad screamed in terror, grasping at the ground as he attempted to flee. The creature clicked his mandibles, as his spiked tail descended down into the Sylvan's chest, rendering him clumsy and slowly falling into paralysis as venom seeped into his body."

"Tossing about helplessly as the poison overcame him, he reached desperately for his pack, hoping to find a single leaf. A horrid look passed across his whitening face, realizing there wasn't even a small clipping to be found. He had sold the entire lot. The affliction took his body, and he lay frozen with the ends of his pack grasped between his petrified fingers, knowing death would soon take him as the scorpion delivered his final blows."

"It is fools like this who falter. Not only do they strip the land of its resources, but they also take the very roots from which the plant stems, ceasing all growth entirely. Their lust for gold renders them helpless, as they are quick to sell everything they have in hopes of making a profit. Take heed, for misfortune is sure to accompany a greedy hand."

"Now," she said impishly, "The dynamics of harvesting..."