The Angry Dryad

In the Feywild, Arpistis’s sister, Mavka, was furious. She loved Arpistis, but Arpistis abandoned her! She left her alone! And the idea of moving a Tree from the Feywild to the mortal realm was reprehensible. For two hundred years since Arpistis’s Tree had sprouted, Makva took care of her. She raised her, nourished her, and clothed her. But now, Arpistis’s Tree had withered. It was no longer her Tree. To Mavka, this was the ultimate insult against a dryad. Arpistis had now fully and truly shunned her.

She leapt from her throne and passed through her gardens. Leaving the eladrin Lor to care for the gardens in her absense, Mavka forced her way through the portal and into Riuying’s cottage. Riuying was unfortunately there at the time, and Mavka’s rage was extreme. A struggle took place over the course of but mere seconds, but it left Riuying gravely injured. Mavka marched out into the Neblina Forest, attacking anything that dared to stand in her way.

Deng and Arpistis approached Mavka cautiously. They intended to make peace with the angry dryad, but Mavka would only demand that her sister returned with her to the Feywild. In the discussion, Deng learned that Mavka hurt his wife, and his anger got the better of him. The battle of worlds turned into a battle of magic, but Deng found himself soundly defeated by Mavka’s strength. Their fight left a scar in the forest, burning away trees and brush, and Deng lay on the ground, overcome.

Just before Mavka was about to deliver a killing blow, Arpistis rushed to her father’s side and begged Mavka for mercy. She tried to reason with her elder sister, explaining that a dryad’s tree could only move when a ritual of love was performed. She loved Deng, and she loved Riuying, and they loved her in return. Mavka’s rage was quelled for the time being and she relented, but she still commanded Arpistis to return to the Feywild with her.

Arpistis refused. Mavka was about to ignite into a fury again, but Arpistis turned to her father. “Please, father, allow my sister to stay here with us for now. She will see the beauty of this forest and the beauty of our family. I am sure she will let me stay here with you and mother if she sees how important this is to all of us.”

Despite his injury, Deng sighed and agreed. He let Mavka see the paths of the forest but told her that she would not be allowed to harm its citizens any further. Mavka, for her love of Arpistis, reluctantly agreed. Angry and alone, Mavka walked the paths, hating everything that dared to make its presence known. But Mavka had made an agreement with Deng. Even though the satyrs made fun of her rough, bark-like skin, Mavka would spare their lives. Even though the kobolds in the swamp refused her entry, she would not boil their waters and steal their fish.

Much to Mavka’s surprise, she eventually came upon something that struck her with fear. While wandering the forests for years trying to sooth her pride and quell her fury, she came to the Vale, a valley separated from the Neblina Forest by tall mountains. The Vale was under the control of a warlord who called himself the Iron Thane. At first, Mavka did not care. The Iron Thane build fortresses and cut down trees to further his industry of war, and Mavka kept her distance. The Iron Thane and his soldiers, the Ironbound, fitted themselves with sharp weapons of war and suits of thick armor. They were building an army, and Mavka was afraid.

She thought to talk to Deng about this. Though she hated the master druid, she feared the Iron Thane more. But before she could, the Iron Thane led his forces out of the Vale towards the cities in the south. They created terrible noise as they marched, cutting down trees and stomping plants in their path. Mavka was wroth. As the Iron Thane left his stronghold in the Vale, Mavka moved in. The fortresses of the Iron Thane were scantily guarded and Mavka overpowered them easily. She burned their towers, brought down their walls, and crushed anyone in the way.

The Iron Thane was eventually defeated and driven back. He returned with the few of his surviving forces to his fortress in the Vale, but he found it in utter ruins. While his forces fought against Mavka, the Iron Thane perished from his wounds and was interred in a deep tomb. Mavka destroyed everyone who fought against her and made a new home for herself in the Vale, eager to watch the forest regrow and heal.

Arpistis came to Mavka and offered her the same ritual that Deng and Riuying had done for her: through Arpistis’s love for her, Mavka’s Tree could be moved to the Vale. Mavka was reluctant but agreed. Deng and Riuying expressed heartfelt gratitude to her for driving out the evil of the Iron Thane, and she felt pride in the accomplishment. Mavka allowed her Tree to move. She stayed in the Vale, protecting the valley and helping it regrow, though she still harbored resentment to Deng and Riuying. Her love for Arpistis, though, sated her anger.