Arcania has many places – from its northern edge by the great northern ocean to its more southern edge, closer to the warmer shore bathed by a star we call our sun. Not that its north end never sees it, but a difference in latitude makes subtle changes, especially in winter, as light dimmers in various ways and lingers a little longer…
Trading salt for berries
For the very first time in moons, I traveled back south of the ancient wall – that once separated the wild & rugged north from its greener and gentler slopped south – in order to reunite with loved ones. I left my island tip in a storm at twilight to fly away from Force 10 winds. The whole journey proved a wild adventure from the start. In between flights, I paced myself. I was so eager to arrive and look through the eyes I last gazed at four years ago. And then, on approach to my destination, broken clouds let me remember how populated south is, as Tinsel City unveiled itself a few minutes before landing. However, this was not quite my destination, which lies on the edge of the wood, in between two hillsides, where spirits wander free from tarmac and concrete.
Every morning has its birdsong, every twilight, its majesty. How I longed to be reunited with this corner of Arcania. A (southern) Woodsman’s world where fire roars in between logs, smiles and orange. For Arcania has many faces too. Every square of it has its own dwellers. My hosts opened their door for a special Yuletide.
I love Arcania by the Wood.
We trudge back through time and brown leaves, h0ld kissing gates at every stage and admire every now. Led by loyal Braxie the golden Labrador, every walk turns a new quest. For the first time, we walked beyond the Fairy Tree, as young ones grow and wish to trek beyond its edge. We sometimes walk by Hideaway Cottage to avoid the main road;
stumbled through miles of mud, blackberry bushes and dead leaves, before we reach its edge. The wood is also home to clawed, furry and scaled creatures, so dear to Arcania. As we cross a footbridge, scaled ones welcome us at eye level… Their many eyes focus on us. You do not really notice them at first sight, since they camouflage at leisure. Others hide under piles of leaves, and remain there until twilight… Their coat of armour shines beneath the shafts of light, that add colours to the ground.
They are the guardians of the forest floor. As night returns, children are warned to stay in the safety of their own cottage, closer to their hearth, as the wood turns into a forbidden forest, where colder spirits wander free among the nocturnal dwellers. Higher up towards canopy level, owls & other birds of many enchant every tree.
A single encounter with either of those wild creatures could cost you a limb or two. But the fiercest of all, wander loose around trees. It is said to be so territorial and fierce, others keep well away, even the three-meter dragon that seeks its solitude among mud and dead leaves. So we watch where we trudge and stravaig! Always further, where we seek light, the wood offers an opening.
But Jae-Jae the big cat knows every inch of the old wood. he will scent you and use his stealth to check you out. Braxie has flair to detect him. During day time, he will not strike, as Arcanians wander without fear from the sun.
Now, we have reached edge of the wood. Rolling hillsides and enclosed trees define more open countryside. It is warmer and enchanting. In the distance, red kites glide through the eddies and make the most of winter light. Voices gather at edge of fields and walk together to the road. We come back home in time for lunchtime or for tea.
The wood is home to light and darkness – its beauties & its beasts, but when night comes, it is time to enjoy the moon behind glass, as I too stay warm among my kind after twilight. Every woodsman knows that.
And until my return to my northern shore, my Arcanians will share their home, for they have a great sense of love and warmth.