Fiel told him not to touch the plants.
Those giant maguuma lilies and poisoned orchids, so majestic, each pastel petal and frilly leaf exuding the savage and untamed majesty of the jungle.
However, he didn’t say anything about the berries.
With Mer in tow, Farrin had explored the area around the reclusive pool, and found that his son had constructed a small planter garden under a patch of reflected sunlight. Most of it was filled with plants that had magical properties –sage, yarrow, cowslip– the rest were berries. Strawberries, blackberries, and a few other fruit Farrin couldn’t place but still tasted quite good.
The garden was overflowing with those. Surely, Fiel wouldn’t miss them much.
It wasn’t hard to convince Gamli to let him use his kitchen when the older norn came to him with a literal cornucopia of sweet smelling fruits.
“I lost quite a bit of weight on the Svanir front, with all those cursed tasteless rations. I wouldn’t mind stocking up a bit before winter comes,” he jokingly said, patting his arguably trimmer belly.
With a song that was quick to spread onto the other norn’s lips, Farrin put on an apron and went to work. Soon, the mouth-watering smells of pies –strawberry pies, raspberry pies, blueberry pies, and even a couple of chocolate banana cream pies, imported straight from Southsun Cove– filled the main area of the Gilded Hollow.
Farrin became a bit of a celebrity among the guild members when he trekked across the temple, delivering slices of baked goods to all present. Especially among the miners, whose never-ending toil under Rekka’s greedy eyes left them more than a little peckish.
She growled and threatened when they came running from their posts at the sweet siren calls of a warm, chocolate-filled dish, but in the end, even her hunger for ore couldn’t beat the craving for strawberry.
By the end of the day, Farrin pulled out his lute and sat down by the fire near the bar.
Many songs the skaald sang. Songs about love, about adventure, and even a few bolder ones, after they all had a few ales.
He was careful not to sing about touchy subjects, such as war, the dragons, the bloodshed between human, charr, centaurs and norn. In this place of peaceful cohabitation, he didn’t want to stir old resentment and centennial grudges.
He finished his improvised concert with a song he had composed in his youth.
The song was about a mighty she-wolf, with a coat black as night and eyes like silver moons, living alone in the mountain. A hunter wanted her for her skin, and tried many trick to catch her: traps, baits, a great number a various weapons. Every time, the she-wolf revealed to be too strong, too quick, too clever. Every time, he lost something in the battle: a finger, an ear, an eye. In the end, the hunter donned the skin of another wolf he had killed, and used that disguise to try and get closer to her. He gave her chase for three days and three nights, not realizing that his obsession was warping him. On the dawn of the fourth day, he realized that he was no longer as he used to be. The pelt of the wolf on his back had become his skin, the jaws of the animal his own, his nails had become claws. However he did not mourn that transformation, for during his chase he had fallen in love with the she-wolf, and she stopped running, for they were now the same. In the end, they went together to live on the mountain as wolves.
His tale over, Farrin retired to Fiel’s quarters.
He stayed awake a little longer, laying on the bed with a sleeping griffon curled under his arm, basking in the quiet serenity of the place, this buried temple, partly wild, with its gargantuan roots embracing golden pillars and crushing gilded stairs, and partly tamed, the jungle never quite able to completely smother the Exalted’s glorious imprint.
Very much like a certain she-wolf he knew.
Oh, how he missed her so.