The story of Dylestia is one of tragedy and despair. The elven sorceress has nearly no memory of her youth, her life or her origins.
One morning, the sun rose to warm the drops of dew that collected on every blade of grass and every leaf in the hills far beyond the civilized world of elves or humans. The sun warmed the blood of the fair elf that slept softly, surrounded by leaves which were carefully placed in a shallow dug out in the dark earth. She wore no clothes and was covered only by some pine branches which spread out like a blanket to both conceal her and also to shield her from any night winds.
A shiver snapped her from her slumber. The elf gasped for breath and shot up, tossing the branches that covered her. She wrapped her arms around her and discovered she lacked clothing. Fear shot through her body. He leaped to her feet and looked about.
It was early and the sun was merely rising but she could see rolling hills covered with scattered trees and reaching higher in the sky as the elevation increased to peaks that dominated the lower valley where the elf stood.
The young maid searched her thoughts for meaning but she discovered she could not remember a single thing. Her heart raced and she spun about searching for any clues. There were none. She tore the leaves from the strange earthen bed she woke from and there was nothing there neither. The bushes nearby, the trees, none provided any hint of information that might calm the panic in her heart.
The elf maid collapsed on the ground and sobbed uncontrollably, clutching her knees to her chest. She could not remember why she was there or even who she was. No memories came to her. She was lost in her panic.
After an hour she at last ceased sobbing and her heart slowed. She slowly sat up and looked about again. She saw nothing still that seemed familiar. She checked her body for injuries, wondering if something happened to her to cause her confused state. The only thing she discovered was a name written in an elven dialect on her forearm. The name was “Dylestia.” Strangely, she knew what the name meant; “Wilderness.” She didn’t know why the word was tattooed on her arm but she eventually embraced it as her own name.
In shock, Dylestia sat staring at the landscape for a few hours. She hardly moved and barely blinked; mind blank and lost. The elf was one with the terrain as if just a stone or stump useless and unknown to any but her. So still she sat, that a butterfly fluttered by, finally snapping her gaze from the abyss that called her. Brilliant blue and orange the bright creature landed on Dylestia’s knee and slowly opened and closed it wings absorbing the sun’s warms rays.
“Do not despair,” the butterfly whispered.
Dylestia turned sharply from side to side to discover the creature that spoke to her but there was none there besides the small butterfly which flapped from her knee while she searched in vain for something that made sense, then settled down once more on its perch upon her bare knee.
“Be not afraid. I am your friend.”
Dylestia only stared, purple eyes wide, softened with a single tear.
“You are not dead. You need not fear.”
“What?” Dylestia whispered aloud.
“Though you sit here bare and alone, you need not fear.”
“Why? How can I survive? I have nothing.”
“You are all you need. You have all the power you need in you. You are wild. You are free.”
Dylestia looked to her arm and the word “wilderness” printed there.
“Yes,” the butterfly confirmed. “Get up. Head up the hills. That is where you belong and that is where you have your power. Free from any binds of the civilized world.”
The elf considered the words for a long moment then responded, hanging her head once more, “I don’t understand.”
“You do not need to. Your wisdom and understanding comes from within. Power flows from you. You are all you need.”
She lifted her head once more and looked to the butterfly then to the woods sloping upward towards imposing spires.
“Yes,” the messenger encouraged.
“But where will I go? I don’t even have any clothes. No tools, no weapons, I have nothing.”
“Just go. Close your eyes and let your heart guide you home.”
“Home? I have a home?”
“Yes. The wild is your home. Now go, you are strong. You are powerful. You are wild,” the butterfly commanded then fluttered up and off, leaving the elf to process the strange message from a stranger messenger.
Dylestia looked to the hills and the trees that covered them. She thought the trees looked like a cloak that clothed the terrain. That gave her an idea.
The elf stood and quickly looked around. To one side of the otherwise mostly open valley she spied some suitable plants. She rushed to them running with an energy which sprung up from the depths of her spirit. Once there she began to strip the hemp pants of their wide leaves and even their stems to begin to form a cloth. Dylestia had a sense that she had done this before as she focused on what she desired for the final product and the fibers seemed to weave themselves into a suitable garment with only a single opening for her head. With a couple of hours work, she fashioned the leaves into a basic pullover piece of clothing that reached just past her waist.
Satisfied, she looked about for a suitable branch to steady her on the trek from the place at which she awoke, seemingly for the first time, with no memories otherwise. Her ears caught sound of flowing water and with a deep exhale, Dylestia stepped forward and headed towards the sound and up into the hills that would be her home.
The journey begun, Dylestia left behind the fear of unknown and narrowed her eyes so she might focus instead on the sounds around her and even more, the longing of her heart. Her ears told her the woods were teeming with life and her heart called her deeper into the woods and higher into the hills.
Not long after she began, the elf maid found the source of the water she heard from afar. It was indeed and flowing creek that lead to a full river further in the valley, but she was not in search of the civilization that might erect a town on the banks of the river. No, Dylestia was more interested in the source of the water; the very first drop that started the flow in the first place.
Higher into the hills and deeper into the woods, the elf traveled, light growing dimmer but the fire in her heart growing stronger. In fact, it seemed that as she journeyed further from the comfort of open fields and the possibility of civilization, her spirit grew stronger and her steps were more confident.
While she had no memory of any tree or bush along her path, she seemed to recognize everything and have full confidence that she knew all there was about the flora and fauna surrounding her. She felt more comfortable with each step and more a part of the world around her all the time.
Several hours passed. Though she could not see it for the thick canopy, Dylestia knew the sun was getting low. For the first time since she began traveling, a slight tug of fear pulled at her heels. Though she could see in the dark through her violet eyes, the dark brought out far more predators that preferred the cover of night. She could feel them watching and waiting.
Another hour passed and her heart began to race and the horizontal rays of the sun cut under the trees with their last efforts to warm the world. Darkness was coming.
It was then that a butterfly, looking precisely like the one she saw earlier fluttered by.
“You!” Dylestia called, “Where do I go?”
There was no answer but the creature flapped away from the elf and into the woods, away from the guide of the creek which grew thin. Dylestia followed scampering after the butterfly, hopping over fallen trees and bypassing bushes and brambles.
Dylestia stopped in her tracks before an enormous redwood which towered high above all the other trees; reaching high into the sky. The butterfly was perched peacefully by the massive tree calmly opening and closing its wings once more.
“Here?” The elf asked with no answer.
“This tree? I don’t understand.” The butterfly said nothing but instead lifted itself from its rest and fluttered up and out of her sight.
Dylestia paused for a moment and watched until she could see the messenger no longer. Then she closed her eyes and tried to focus her thoughts. Still no memories came to her and still no recollection of anything about her life was there. She was empty in thought except for the panic that surged through her once more. She collapsed.
Tears flowed once more like the creek she followed to this spot. This single solitary tree, the only redwood in the area and much larger and more majestic than any other. This is where she fell and watered the mighty tree with her tears of hopelessness.
For long minutes she sobbed with no words to accompany the despair of her heart. She moaned and wailed as a wounded and lost animal, her arms hugging the earth as if the earth might take her and return her to the basic nature from which we all arise. After a while, darkness took her and she slipped from this world.
Dylestia’s mind raced even while she was asleep, trying to find a path for her to follow. In her dreams she raced around surrounded by walls that blocked her at every turn. They seemed to close in around her like a cage and she became more desperate to escape; fueled by an ever increasing panic.
As her dreams reminded her of a deep pain she couldn’t understand, the magic buried deep inside her flowed free; unhindered by the restraints of her thoughts and fears. Her body prostrated beneath the mighty tree and her tears soaking its roots, the massive tree began to move. Soft purple light emanated from the meek elf and floated up infusing into the tree shaping it and bending it to its will; Dylestia’s will.
While Dylestia shook, wracked by nightmares, the tree opened up at its base creating a doorway then expanding upward creating a spiral stairway through the massive and wide trunk and towards the heavy branches high above that molded and shaped themselves into a suitable flat and inhabitable space. The tree continued to contort and twist itself until at last it resembled a home entirely designed and created for the use of the elf who was too deep in her slumber to know.
An hour or so after she collapsed on the forest floor, and as darkness finally gripped the entire landscape, Dylestia shot up thinking she heard someone call her.
“What? Who’s there?” She called. There was no one. Her eyes adjusted to the darkness and she could see well enough and looked about here. There was no sign of friend or enemy. She was alone.
As her heart slowed, Dylestia stood and began to wonder where she would shelter for the night. As she considered her options, she turned about as saw an actual door formed in the base of the massive redwood.
“That’s odd,” she thought. “I don’t recall this at all.”
Curious, she stepped to the dark wooden door and pulled on the handle. It easily opened. The elf stepped inside and closed the door. There was little there but a stairway that spiraled upwards. She slowly ascended the stairs which were rather ornate even though they appeared to be hewn from the tree itself. Up and up she climbed wondering how high she was rising but more importantly, where she was going.
At last the trunk opened up and there was a sprawling collection of branches that easily held her and formed an entire room which was enclosed on all sides as well as from above. There was even a spot with many leaves which created a bed.
Dylestia could not understand but her heart soared as she once more shed tears, this time of joy. She looked about, still unsure about her wild discovery. She spotted, carved into the tree, just above the doorway leading to the staircase; a single word, which matched the word on her arm “Wilderness.”
She was home.