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Old January 5, 2019, 11:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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[Wilds of Moonstone]Is that a Fox I See Among the Trees?

Spring, Era XXVI


She smiled down at the little sprout as it poked through the soil, then stood, wiping her hands on her trousers, smearing the dirt over the fabric. That was three. Her limit for the day. She felt a little drained...that strange feeling when one's vis had been temporarily used up, but, at the same time, a little refreshed. She looked around her, where other druids worked to bring rejuvenating life to the half-dead forest. Three tiny sprouts alone wouldn't do much to bring the forest back to life, but, with all of them working together...

A glance at the suns told her that it was time to call it a brightening. Workers and druids and elementalists began to gather their things, moving back toward the work camp. It was time to fill their bellies and to relax. Tomorrow would be another long brightening. Even with the aid of arcana, the work was long and arduous.

Gathering up her trowel and sack of seeds and the few other small implements she had been using, Ellie fell in step with her fellows. Mostly she kept to herself, though she wasn't completely anti-social. Over the last few brightenings, she'd come to know some of the others that worked to restore the wilds of Moonstone. They were an interesting lot, to say the least. Druids and elementalists tended to be the strangest of them, but, there were notable exceptions among the mundane workers, as well.

Reaching the camp, she deposited her tools and bag of seeds in the proper place and headed straight to her tent. A washbasin awaited her there, and a change of clothes. Afterward, she'd join the others for a hearty meal, listen to the stories and pester a few of the druids for more insight into druidism.

Upon entering her tent, she closed the flap and quickly disrobed, throwing her dirty work clothes into a pile near the entrance, and proceeded to wash away the sweat and grime of the day.

The water was cold, and, with the cool air of late afternoon setting in, it sent a shiver through her naked body. Winter was over, several weeks now, but, the air still held a chill, even when the suns were high. She paused a moment, fingers idly swirling about the water in the basin, and glanced at her backpack.

Perhaps she would just stay in her tent this darkening...Grab a quick bite to eat and return here and...well. Remember. That's what she liked to call it, anyway. When she'd hide in her bed with the little(and not so little) wooden gifts she had received from none other than the governor of Moonstone a little more than two seasons ago, and recall their first meeting. A lopsided, wicked grin graced her lips as she flicked the water from her fingers and found a towel.

Yes. Stay in and remember was a good plan.
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Old January 6, 2019, 02:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Ellie's return to the tent camp had been celebrated. All help was appreciated, after all, and it was always encouraging to have somebody who stopped by somewhat regularly. Even if it was only her first time back, it was nice to have her assistance. She had been put to work right away, of course. Ellie had been given a number of various tasks all around the camp - even her druidism work had been relatively varied. Granted, it all tended to be variations of "make these plants grow," but Ellie was learning a lot about the sort of plants they were putting down. Sometimes it was hardy grasses that could serve as a bed of feed for future ranched animals. Sometimes it was saplings, to eventually grow into the forests that would serve as a foundation for nature to take root. Sometimes it was beneficial herbs, fruit-producing plants, vegetables. Why not seed something a little useful for the future as well?

And, one particularly savvy halfling had told Ellie, some of these herbs were the basis of a lot of the drugs and medicines used in Ziel Aerca. No problem setting up 'free' farms of the stuff out in the countryside, right?

She'd also learned a lot about the regulars at camp. Most of them were like Ellie, people who came by when it was convenient for them and helped out best they could. As far as she could tell, however, there were those who were really in this for the long-term. Most of them tended to be the scant few mages available. One of them, of course, was the druidess who had taught her in the first place, Shanti. There was another initiate druid running around the place, a lutran by the name of Dochi. There were far more elementalists - a halfling by the name of Kat, a young boy named Iras and his mentor, Esmerelda, and a dour Silrosian by the name of Silla. Plus there was always Nelly, the halfling agriculture expert, and Glorm, the logistics officer in charge of supplies to the place.

Included among the lessons that Ellie had learned? Not everybody, it seemed, was quite so private about their little secrets. That big communal tent over there? That was the one for everybody in this community who was a little more inclined towards 'openness.' There were a few people around here who definitely knew how to have fun, and at times it paid off to remember who was down to... have fun. Not that Ellie would ever hang out with them in that tent, right? She was a right proper girl as far as everybody was concerned, hm? She'd never wander into such a lion's den?

"Hellooooooo?" came the whimsical call of Shanti, somewhere outside Ellie's tent. "Are you around, dear? I know it's a bit late, but something's happening, and I thought I'd try to find youuuuuuu." It seemed Ellie was being sought after. Looked like remembering might have to wait. "Apparently the governor's inbound soon! We were hoping to give her a tour of what we've done!"
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Old January 6, 2019, 10:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Eyes half closed, she bit her lower lip to stifle the soft moans as she lay there on her cot, legs slightly splayed as she began to "remember." In her mind's eye, there was the gorgeous fox eared elf, lying atop of her, perfect lips mashed against hers as she taught the young human woman things that Ellie would never have imagined on her own.

Her mind started drifting, then, to others she had met. Others with whom she felt attracted to. Others that she had thought about creating pleasurable memories with. Of course, she had kept mostly to herself, and definitely never shared those thoughts with anyone. She'd have died if any of them found out that she sometimes lay in her tent at night and thought the lewd thoughts she was having right now. No, she kept that to herself, and she absolutely did not join the others in that tent. No, better to keep those things to herself.

As her thoughts wandered, the huge breasted form of the elf morphed into a green-haired druidess...Shanti had been the one who taught her druidism, and, whether, from physical attraction or emotional attachment, the woman had become a fixture in Ellie's fantasies. Maybe it was the green hair...

Just then, as the dream-Shanti's face disappeared between her thighs, Ellie heard the very real Shanti's voice just outside her tent. Eyes snapping open, she jumped up from her cot and dropped the wooden toy into her backpack and then stood still, listening as the druidess announced her reason for coming.

Without thinking, Ellie slung open the flap of her tent, standing there in all her naked glory, and stared, wide-eyed, at her mentor.

"Sliucha is coming??"
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Old January 6, 2019, 10:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Whoops!

Shanti had good reflexes, hands going up to cover her eyes as Ellie came out of her tent naked as the day she was born. The druidess, as Ellie recalled, was not one of the people in the communal tent! "Haha, I'm sorry, were you bathing? Clothes, Ellie, clothes." Shanti laughed a little awkwardly, blushing. "Actually, you know the governor, then?" Not everybody called the governor of Moonstone her first name right off the bat, after all.

"From what I've understand she's coming along with the Carmelyans who have been helping us out a lot around here," Shanti explained, eyes still firmly closed and covered, out of respect for Ellie. "It just works well with her schedule. Not the first time she's visited before, she likes to see things personally instead of just relying on reports every now and again."
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Old January 6, 2019, 11:23 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Ellie glanced down at her nakedness, then back up at Shanti before pulling the tent flap across her body. She had always been comfortable with her body, and with nudity in general, and so being naked was one of the few things that turn her cheeks red. Still, she realized that not everyone felt the same.

She cleared her throat and apologized before answering. "Umm Yes..I..umm.. know the governor. Sort of..." Her voice trailed off, and Shanti continued, explaining the circumstances.

Ellie had planned on looking up Sliucha once she had returned to Ziel Aerca, and had even brought along the little lingerie that the governor had given her during her last visit. She chewed her lower lip, wondering if Sliucha would even remember her. After all, the elf was a very busy woman, and with her tendencies...well, Ellie wouldn't be surprised if she had been forgotten.

"I'll get dressed, then. You..umm...you said she'd be here tonight?"
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Old January 6, 2019, 11:42 PM   #6 (permalink)
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"By tonight. Might be earlier. Who knows what they might run into on the road?" Shanti peeked through her eyes for just a moment, noting that Ellie had managed to cover herself up with the tent. "If you have something to do, of course, it's no bother. I just thought, since you've been doing a fair amount of work around here, you might like for her to see what you've been doing."

A bit of recognition from the governor never hurt anybody. Although, if Ellie already knew Sliucha, perhaps it'd be a little less useful - but again, it couldn't possibly hurt.

"Although just a bit of warning, of course. You've not met the Carmelyans yet, have you? They can be... characters, sometimes." There was a bit of a nudge of her head. "Communal tent sort of characters. But they're very useful and good at what they do! I'd recommend making connections if you can, they can help you get your hands on lots of interesting supplies."

"Anyway, just wanted to let you know! Swing by the cafeteria tent if you have some time, I think that's where we'll be gathering to go over everything."
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Old January 7, 2019, 08:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Ellie chewed on her lower lip as she listened, still holding the tent flap up to cover her naked bits. In a way, it did make sense to the young woman that Sliucha should know what she'd been up to, considering that, in some part, it was the governors...nudgings...that had cracked her shell a little and spurred her into being a little more responsible for her own life. She had doubts that, had she not met Sliucha at Club Vibrato the last summer, she would not have ventured into the mountains in search of some closure of her past. That had led to Erika which had led to Shanti and the rest of those here at the camp.

Her eyes followed the nudge of the Shanti's head, fixing on the communal tent for a brief moment before a bit of red touched her cheeks and she quickly returned her gaze to the green-haired druidess. Well, she certainly wouldn't be joining them there! But, maybe Shanti was right. Maybe she should try and make connections. She had some ideas, ideas that she shared with a dwarf she had met in the fall of the last era, and having connections that could provide aid would be a boon.

She smiled at her mentor and nodded. "Alright. I'll get dressed and come by the cafeteria in a little while." She started to turn and close the flap, then paused. "Oh, and..umm...Sorry. About the nakedness, I mean..." She smiled again and closed the flap behind her.

A little while later, she entered the cafeteria tent, wearing a cream colored dress with a knee-length skirt and long, string-laced sleeves and front. Looking around, she surveyed the tent, seeing who was there and looking for Shanti.
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Old January 7, 2019, 11:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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"No no, I'm sorry for disturbing you," Shanti reassured Ellie. "I'll see you over there, then." With the news delivered, the druidess would leave Ellie to her devices once more.

To the cafeteria! Which, considering it wasn't a designated meal time, was quite bustling. The halflings here made sure there was always something to snack regardless of what time it was, to be fair, but most activity revolved around the three big meals of the day. Shanti was here, she always stood out considering how green she tended to be, and she spotted Ellie quite quickly as well, beckoning her over.

Pretty much everybody was here, honestly. The only people missing were two of the elementalists, Silla and Kat. The former had always been a little sullen and antisocial, whereas the latter apparently didn't feel like there was anything from her to showcase that hadn't already come through in a report, and wanted a chance to just relax.

But everybody else was here! Amidst the various conversations, Ellie learned that Glorm was a part of the same Carmelyan sect that the ones the governor bringing along were a part of, that some of Nelly's family had worked with them before (they were in the alcohol brewing industry and grew their own grapes and hops), and that Esmerelda had previously enjoyed the privilege of spending some nice, relaxing sessions with them at their facility.

"Would you prefer to go first or last on the tour?" Shanti asked Ellie, giggling. "You're the newest person here, after all. Maybe you want to get it out of the way first? Or perhaps you'd prefer to see what the others do?"
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Old January 7, 2019, 11:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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She was a little surprised that nearly everyone seemed to be in the tent, but, then again, the visitation of the governor was a rather big deal. She quickly found Shanti in the crowd and seeing the woman beckoning, she made her way to the table.

Sitting down next to Shanti she listened to the conversation, a bit curious about these Carmelyans that would be accompanying Sliucha. She knew of the Carmelyan faith, of course, but, this particular group sounded to be different. If they were with Sliucha, she could only imagine.

Shanti's question caught her attention, and she quickly replied. "Oh, no no. I'll go later. I...wouldn't even know where to start, honestly. And, I've only been here, doing this for a very short time. I think the rest of you should go first. Definitely..."

The thought of providing a report, or tour, or whatever it was she needed to do, even if it was to Sliucha, or maybe even because of it, seemed rather daunting to her. No, she'd wait. Better to see how the others faired, first.
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Old January 7, 2019, 11:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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There was a brief overview of how things would go. Glorm didn't really have anything to report on - he and Shanti were the ones who typically sent off the summary of what they'd accomplished to the governor's office anyway, and he didn't have anything new to add. He was mostly here to catch up with his Carmelyan buddies. The dwarf took his work pretty seriously, so it had been a while since he'd seen them!

Shanti was mostly going to be leading and facilitating. She had a few things of her own that she wanted to showcase, but she'd also be helping introduce everybody else's projects as well.

Dochi didn't really have anything to call his own. He was sort of a handyman druid - a finger in many pies, helping out everywhere. He was mostly just here to see the Carmelyans, who he'd heard a lot about but never gotten to meet before.

Nelly was going to talk with the Carmelyans about fertilization tactics, the balance between various types of plants, showcase a few of the things they'd rigged up around these parts... she was their resident expert on this sort of thing, but it was always good to get the perspective of others. She explained to Ellie that these Carmelyans - and Glorm would back her up - were primarily focused on the bounties of the land. Good healthy soil, bountiful harvests, fertile and energetic livestock, that sort of thing. Extremely useful around these parts!

The young boy Iras, Ellie had also learned, was a child who had a tenuous grasp of his magic. His mentor Esmerelda had been chosen to help him temper it into something useful, and Sliucha was the one who had helped Iras when he had first started getting into trouble. She was excited to show the governor the young boy's progress, and what they had been working on in the meantime.

So it'd be Shanti talking a whole bunch, with Nelly, Esmerelda, and Ellie piping up for their relevant parts. Sounded like a plan! And none to soon, for while they deliberated, one of the camp guards came by to note that the wagons had been spotted. The governor's party had arrived!
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Old January 8, 2019, 12:17 AM   #11 (permalink)
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She sat quietly for the rest of the meeting, chewing on some dried fruit one of the halflings had provided. She really had no idea what she would present to the governor when it came her turn. All she really did was plant seeds, and use her magic to help a few sprout each day. She was far more interested in just seeing Sliucha again, and meeting the Carmelyans.

The sect seemed an interesting bunch, from what she understood. She wasn't quite sure how much they differed from the rest of the Carmelyan faith, but, she gathered there was some difference. And, there was the whole "communal tent' and their association with Sliucha. And, both Nelly, who was one of the few that Ellie conversed with regularly, and Glorm seemed excited for them to arrive.

And, then, they were there. Ellie perked up as the announcement was made that the governor and her party had arrived. She stood, smoothing out her dress and straightening her hair as best she could, suddenly conscious of her appearance and whether Sliucha would remember her.
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Old January 8, 2019, 12:36 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Well, they had best go and meet their acclaimed guests, yes? Shanti bade everybody follow her, and their motley group made their way on over. The governor had apparently decided to keep this relatively low-key, for the party she traveled with hadn't been particularly large. A single wagon carriage escorted by four mounted guards, members of the governor's personal bodyguard unit, all dorin.

One of them dismounted in order to open up the wagon carriage. The governor was the first to descend. She had apparently decided to forego a more formal and regal appearance in favor of something a little more practical for walking around - not a terrible idea, considering their location. It wouldn't do any good for a long gown to drag in the dirt, after all. A lacy black gothic corset dress it would be, then, the skirt only going perhaps two-thirds down the thigh. Black elbow-high gloves, sheer stockings, some rather black heels... black, black, black. Quite the theme! Jet black lipstick, a touch of kohl around the eyes. She took the offered hand of her bodyguard, smiling at him as she came down the steps.

Behind her came two others. Quite the characters, indeed. One was a man of relatively large stature, much of his face covered in what seemed to be a stag "headdress" - a bit of awkward maneuvering required to get the imposing antlers through the carriage door. He was shirtless, revealing his muscled and tanned body as well as the various designs that seemed to have been painted (or perhaps tattooed) upon him: little triangles depicting the rays of the sun around his nipple, a swirling flame around his navel, overflowing cornucopias flanking the flame. The rest was what amounted to a somewhat more generous loincloth, covering a bit more than a normal one but still leaving very little to the imagination.

Next was a female of what seemed to be an elven build. She too had a face covered up by a mask, although this one seemed to be more avian in nature, large feathers sprouting out to the side, a long elegant beak coming out before her. Like her counterpart she was entirely topless, showing off her bright green barbell piercings, possessing the same sun markings but around both nipples, the marking of a sprouting tree around her stomach, and other tribalistic symbols upon her shoulders and arms. She had on a see-through, silk skirt, and some very, very thin underwear on underneath... not too dissimilar from what Sliucha had gotten Ellie, really.

"Shanti." Greetings were in order. And Sliucha was a hugger. The druidess was greeted appropriately, and the governor came around.

Hugs for Glorm, who gave a cursory one back before scuttling off to talk with the Carmelyans.

Hugs and a kiss on the head for Dochi.

Hugs and a kiss on the cheek for Esmerelda. Ellie was pretty sure Sliucha had copped a feel. A hug for Iras as well, and a pat on the head!

Hugs for Nelly. Lift the halfling up and swing her around a bit!

And a hug for Ellie too, of course. Plus a kiss on the cheek, and that was definitely a copped feel. "They been treating you all right?" Sliucha asked her quietly, smiling.
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Old January 8, 2019, 01:05 AM   #13 (permalink)
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The procession made their wait out to meet the carriage that, presumably, Sliucha and company were arriving in. Ellie stood beside Nelly, watching with anticipation as the dorin guard opened the carriage. The first thing the young woman saw was a shapely, pale leg and black heels. She bit her lower lip. Soon enough the owner of the leg appeared. Black on black on pale skinned perfection. The lacey dress looking, much as she remembered the gown the elf had worn when they first met , as if the fabric was screaming in agony from the stress of keeping those massive mounds of flesh contained. Sleek fox tails and ears cinched the woman's identity.

Sliucha!

Ellie did her best to contain her emotions, hands clasped tightly in front of her as she managed to rip her eyes from the governor, curious to see the Carmelyans. Eyes widened a bit as the first appeared. Wow...those were some muscles! The mask and headdress was...strange...she thought, but, the rest of the man who stood behind Sliucha was impressive, to say the least. Her cheeks, already flushed from the sight of Sliucha, saw a deeper red as she realized her eyes had strayed down to the loincloth that hid very little.

Next came the slender form of what Ellie assumed was an elf. Another animal-themed mask also hid the woman's face, but, Ellie imagined that, if she were an elf, and if the rest of her body was any indication, she was gorgeous.

Ellie turned her eyes quickly back to Sliucha as the woman made her way down the line, greeting everyone. She apparently knew them all, or at least was familiar with them. As the elven governor reached Esmeralda, Ellie thought she saw some groping, but, wasn't entirely sure. For a moment, the initiate druidess felt a tinge of jealousy. It soon passed, however as Sliucha lifted the adorable Nelly and spun her around, eliciting a little giggle from Ellie.

Then, it was her turn. She found herself holding her breath. Did Sliucha remember? She slipped her arms around the elf's body, hugging her tight, giggling a little as the governor copped a feel, and kissed her cheek.

In equally hushed tone, she smiled back. "Yes, they have. I enjoy it here."
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Old January 8, 2019, 01:19 AM   #14 (permalink)
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"I probably needn't have asked, the people here are lovely," Sliucha noted, kissing Ellie's other cheek before backing off. Had to remember they were actually here on business, after all, she couldn't just stand around and kiss everybody.

Well, she could. But it seemed like it'd be a little rude.

"Dochi, Ellie, I don't think you've met these two before," Sliucha began with introductions, gesturing with a hand towards the Carmelyans. "These are Feidh and Tareenshalnus. The latter is the leader of the Carmelyan sect that we work with."

"A pleasure," the elf purred, as Feidh offered a nod in greeting to both Ellie and Dochi.

"I've read a lot of good things in that report, Shanti. Would you do the honors?" Sliucha asked, excitedly clapping her hands together. The druidess was more than happy to comply, of course, starting off the tours. She would do most of the talking, leading them around the nearby area, speaking not only of what they were doing here, but what they had managed to accomplish in previous areas since the last time the governor had come to visit. The Carmelyans also seemed to pay quite a bit of attention as to what was discussed, asking questions where relevant, offering suggestions of criticisms as appropriate.

Shanti talked at length about the new plant types that were cross-bred to see how they might fare in the wilderness, Esmerelda helped Iras demonstrate the water purification they were working on to help cleanse the water sources and sulfur pools, and Nelly blabbed with the Carmelyans for a while about all sorts of agricultural techniques. And definitely admired Feidh's abs. She might as well have been talking to them, the way she stared.

Then it was Ellie's turn! And Shanti had brought them all over to one of the large fields of trees that Ellie had helped plant, the foundations of a potential forest - explaining the context of what they'd put the initiate druid to work on. It was time for Ellie to do a bit of talking of her own, then!
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Old January 8, 2019, 01:39 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Ellie straightened her dress again as Sliucha gave her other cheek a kiss and backed, mostly to give her hands something to do other than groping the governor back. She settled herself and turned her eyes back to the pair of Carmelyans, and, once again, found herself staring at the man. She'd never seen a man in the nude before, and loincloth aside, Feidh was about as nude as one could get. And, those muscles... And, Tareenshalnus simply purred when she spoke, sending shivers down Ellie's spine.

She politely returned their greeting and lowered her eyes with some difficulty, her cheeks deep red now.

Off they went! The tour had begun and Shanti led, explaining this and that and letting each of the others demonstrate or report on their own tasks and projects. She held in a giggle as she watched Nelly all but make out with Feidh's midsection. Not that she could blame the halfling. She'd been sneaking(not so sneakily) looks at the man's impressive physique herself.

Far too soon it came time for her to speak. With everyone looking at her, she felt her chest tighten, her hand clasped tightly before her as she tried to think of something to say. Something that didn't make her sound like a blithering idiot. Unfortunately, nothing like that came to mind.

"Well...ummm. I...Work with some of the others to help reforest the region. Mostly, I plant seeds, but..umm. Shanti taught me the basics of druidism last fall...and..I use that magic to help speed up the growth process. I..well, I obviously can't do much...not yet...but, it's something. Right?"

Talking in front of people. Her second, third and fourth greatest fear.
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