Arduinna, the Ranger
Arduinna was the child of a woodland ranger and a wood nymph. Her mother sank into the Deep Green when she was a child, and so she was reared by her father, who carried her on his shoulders through the woods until she was tall enough to toddle by his side.
As they walked the woods together, he taught all she came to know. The ways of the woods, the names of every plant and flower, the songs of the birds and the friendship of the creatures who live beneath the leaves–the small shy mice, the wise owl, the busy moles, the learned badgers and the mischievous, bustling hedgehogs.
Long years and hard winters took their toll, and Arduinna’s father retired to a cottage on the forest edge. Arduinna took his place, and her knowledge of all things in her woods was so great that people came from far and wide to consult her about issues ranging from which wood made the best bows and the straightest arrows, to which bark should be boiled and used in a potion to soothe a weary heart.
They came to her cottage with some trepidation, for Arduinna kept bees and, although it was said that the honey from her hives was the finest in all the Fairelands, there was still the fact that her clearing on summer days hung heavy with the drone of many, many bees.
Arduinna was generous with the honey, which, it was said had medicinal properties. Many a child, coughing in the long, dark night, could be soothed to sleep with a spoonful of Arduinna’s honey. And many a home glowed with the pure, clear light of the beeswax candles that she made.
When the Bard Queen asked Arduinna to teach her young daughter, the Princess Flora, the ways of the woods, she knew that it would be hard to persuade Arduinna to leave her land, for Arduinna sometimes said that her feet were as rooted as deep in the soil of her beloved forest as were her mother’s, the wood nymph.