Heather and Birch

Heather was born right on the border of that forest next to the Earthfast mountains. Her parents died when she was young and some villagers took her into their hut. They were poor and lived near the blacksmith. Heather hated it. Her life was accompanied by the clang-clang of the metal workers. She found comfort in the surround forest and swamp. She spent more and more time there, spending very little time in the village at all. The first time she ran into Marnzook, he warned her away from the swamps. After that he put her through the exhausting ordeal necessary to be accepted as Druid. Since she survived, he gave her the opportunity to train with him. As she trained, Heather picked up animal knowledge and herb lore, which she loved. At this point she could return to the village a little more, with herb bundles and simple healing spells. She still detested the blacksmith's, which meshed well with the avowed Druidic distaste of worked metals.

A few seasons passed and 'Zook declared her ready to take her first Journey Out in the World. Barely. Heather had a sturdy club and a small dagger and felt quite ready to tackle the Grey Forest. The forest was, at first, disconcerting. Then Heather looked at it from the eyes of a Druid and realized it was merely a forest that felt aware, which wasn't so bad. It was neat to see new plants and birds, but after a few days, Heather wondered what the great adventure was supposed to be all about. Certainly not scuffling along the forest and picking up moss and leaves. She ran across some odd tracks and followed them. That was when she ran into the orc. It did not notice her at first because it was furiously attempting to bat a fluttering grey thing hanging from the bottom of a branch above its head. The fluttering thing proved to be, upon closer inspection, a barred owl, clinging to the branch upside down, flapping her wings and giving a bloodcurdling scream. Heather thought she was in danger; but, when asked later, the owl admitted to having the time of her life teasing the stupid orc, who had been harassing the birds and ruining their hunting.

The young Druid gave a scream of her own and startled the orc and the fight began. Heather broke her club on the orc's knee and replaced it with a fallen grey branch (which she later trimmed down into her quarterstaff). She managed to kill the orc before it killed her. Barely. After a bit of rest and healing, Heather approached the owl and spoke with it. Thus, a partnership was formed between the ditzy Heather and the bat-brained Loves the Sunshine in a Birch Tree (Birch for short). Heather couldn't wait to return and tell 'Zook all about her adventure. When she came back, these adventurers were with him. She had just started to gush about her Great Journey when 'Zook kicked her out of his home. Heather had nothing to do but start another adventure with some competent-looking people, who thankfully didn't care that she was a muddy swamp rat.

Birch doesn't like her full name mentioned unless she has been formally introduced to a person, which involves the exchange of two dead rodents. Contrary to popular belief, this does not mean that, should the recipient eat the rodent, they are married.

Heather just loves herbal knowledge and potions; she thinks they are the cat's meow, especially when they can heal. She dreams of someday shapeshifting and flying with Birch through the forest, or of helping to stop a plague in a village. She is prideful of her Druidic knowledge. Sometimes she gets too excited to share it and runs over the important parts (like, don't touch the leaves, or don't stare at its eyes, or, by the way, those will-o-wisps are deadly).

Heather hates those with powerful ambitions for wealth, power, or glory (much like her foster family). They are the cat who climbs to the top of the tree only to have the flimsy branches snap and to break its back on the ground, she feels. She likes the straightforward adventure: kill the undead, stop the bad guys, and heal people along the way. It rubs her the wrong way when people don't have common sense about nature, like not cutting a large enough bare spot around a campfire, or over hunting game, or killing a bird for three crest feathers to put in a fancy mask worn twice. They are the wild dogs who kill and kill beyond their need and then wonder why they are surrounded by rotting bodies (or worse, don't know they are), she feels.

Heather died in a blaze of glory while fighting an evil lightening mage. As she landed a mighty blow, she was struck down by the backlash from the dead mage's staff. She was buried in an unmarked grave in a nearby forest. Birch accompanied Heather's body until she was interred. It is possible that no one else will ever see an owl cry as she did that day. Birch's current whereabouts are unknown.


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