I needed some answers to some questions that came up in a conversation with Lalenna Hhuhur about the Wodewoses of old. So I asked to speak to Cataka Hurosh, Centaur Sister, who has been searching the Aboreal Library for any clues and mentions of them in the old histories.
The Arboreal Library.
Superimposed over this location, an ethereal forest reaches up to the sky. Multiple bookshelves line every available space along the wall, the honey coloured wood lined with dark brown circles. The floor is neatly swept but otherwise unadorned, following the more simplistic theme of the room. Simple candles of green and yellow line the walls, seemingly lit by faeriefire instead of the conventional orange flames that would otherwise set the wooden surroundings ablaze. Spare bottles of ink and quills have been set aside on a spare shelf, paired with several volumes of various literature and lore that have not been returned to their proper places. A library catalogue rests here on a pedestal. Silver inlays shaped like the phases of the moon decorate the arched back of a dark chair here. A dark wood desk inlaid with silver moon accents stands here with drawers ajar, curved in the shape of a crescent moon. The Chess Board of Libertas is here, glowing with precise, shifting light and arrayed with resplendent crystal pieces. The young centaur Laka stands here, his attention consumed by the book in his hands. Reading an worn, yellowed map, Cataka Hurosh ponders with a thoughtful expression. You may use the LIBRARY commands here.
You see exits leading north, east, west, and out.
You bow respectfully to Cataka Hurosh.
Gesturing to the books and scrolls, you say to Cataka Hurosh, "It is easy to get lost."
Your mouth turns up as your face breaks into a smile.
Folding his wings, you say to Cataka Hurosh, "I did have two questions though, and I thought you may be able to help."
Cataka Hurosh lowers the map she was observing to greet you as you enter. At your gesture, she grins broadly and barks, "Aye! So much to try to discover!"
Everiine chuckles as he smoothes down his head feathers, which seem to have collected a much larger assortment of charms than usual.
You ask Cataka Hurosh, "I was hoping you could help clear up some confusion. I was earlier speak with Awe--ahem, Lalenna," he says, correcting himself, "about the Wodewoses of old. But Lalenna did not know what the difference was between the Wyldewald and the Rig-Wilde. The distinction between the two came after she died. Do you happen to know?"
Snapping a book closed, Cataka Hurosh says, "Ahh, yes. I spoke with her some more. It would seem that the Rig-Wilde, originally the title of the leader of all the tribes, became the title of for a leader of an individual tribe."
Comprehension flashes across your face.
Cataka Hurosh says, "While, the Wyldewald, by the time of the Nature Wars at least, becamse the title for those who lead the allied tribes altogether."
Rubbing his chin, you say, "I see, I see."
Her voice loud and echoing in the library, Cataka Hurosh says, "You had another question?"
You say to Cataka Hurosh, "My other question had to do with the number of tribes. Lalenna remembered there being seven, and the territories of six. But she mentioned you had found evidence of nine. I wondered where their territories might be, and--" Suddenly, the old bird stops, and turns his head to Laka Truehoof, blinking in confusion, as if he only just noticed him. "Oh, hail, little brother."
Comprehension flashes across Cataka Hurosh's face.
Cataka Hurosh smiles pleasantly, if a bit too toothy, at the young centaur.
Smiling with some ambivalence, Laka Truehoof says, "Hello."
Unable to stop himself from smiling, you say to Laka Truehoof, "It is good to see you. It is truly, truly good to see you."
Patting Laka's shoulder, Cataka Hurosh explains, "Laka has been helping me doing some research. Very helpful, very useful."
Laka Truehoof smiles gratefully at Cataka. "I try my best."
Smiling proudly, you say to Laka Truehoof, "Good! Good."
Cataka Hurosh is still grinning, the curl of her lips not changing as she blinks. "Oh, yes, your question!"
Laka Truehoof glances at you with puzzlement, confused by his exuberance.
You smile softly.
Cataka Hurosh says to you, "What was it again?"
You utter a deep, rumbling laugh.
You say to Cataka Hurosh, "How many tribes were part of the Wodewose alliance by the time of the Nature Wars? There were seven in Lalenna's time, though she could not remember where they all lived."
Showing that she understands, Cataka Hurosh nods her head slowly.
Cataka Hurosh says, "I spoke with her briefly on this too, there were nine thereafter; however, I only know where eight of them lie."
Laka Truehoof opens a book gently, turning the pages with delicate motions as he keeps an ear on the conversation.
Hooking a charm behind his ear, you ask Cataka Hurosh, "Interesting--interesting that she knew of seven, but only knew where six lived. Is it coincidence that there is one tribe whose territory is unknown?"
Cataka Hurosh gestures for you to coem closer as she places the map in her hand upon a nearby table. "Here," she says as she points to the southern side of the forest. "The Eastern Grove - maintained their boundaries somewhere between the Mother, the former Lodge and other splaces."
Responding to your question as her finger moves across the southern side, Cataka Hurosh says, "I would not know."
Everiine quickly pulls a crumpled piece of parchment out of a stack and starts taking notes alongside the map.
Laka Truehoof leans over to look at the map with some interest, his tail flicking back and forth.
Everiine smiles and moves over, making room for the centaur to join them.
A thick finger orients itself where the cairns are located it. "The Western Grove." Again, Cataka Hurosh's hand moves as it traces the path of the Alabaster Road. "During the Nature Wars, what was known as the Road Tribe emerged... however, not much longer after that, all records of the Wodewoses cease."
Cataka Hurosh points back again to the southern forest, finger hovering around the swamp. "The Green Fens tribe."
Everiine attempts hasty, crude drawings of the approximate locations around the forest, labeling them in short hand: G.F., R., E.G., and so on.
Explaining, Cataka Hurosh says, "Then we have the northern tribes: the Serenwilde River, Moon River, and Moon Lake."
Lastly, Cataka Hurosh positions her finger to the familiar hills - now home to the centaurs - as she says, "The Hills Tribe."
Everiine marks the last location on his 'map' and checks it against the map on the table. While undeniably rough, it more or less matches the more sophisticated, accurate depiction of the woods. "And the ninth? Did it even have a name?"
Shaking her head, Cataka Hurosh says, "As I said. I have no idea."
The mystery obviously hooks the old bird, and Everiine's eyes flicker with imaginative possibilities. "How very curious..."
Cataka Hurosh tugs at her chin. "I speculate," the igasho says, "That perhaps the mystery of the Wodewoses disappearance from our histories may be tied to that last tribe, but... that is just speculation."
Lips curling up at the corners, Cataka Hurosh's mouth twists into a decidedly feral grin.
Laka Truehoof's eyes light up with a hint of excitment. "Maybe I can help, as a research project."
Cataka Hurosh beams broadly at Laka Truehoof.
You beam broadly at Laka Truehoof.
You ask Cataka Hurosh, "What do you think of that idea?"
Scratching her head idly, Cataka Hurosh says, "Well... he -DID- ask to learn all the secret things of the forest with me."
Cataka Hurosh winks knowingly.
Laka Truehoof grins mischievously at Cataka Hurosh.
You laughingly say, "Nothing like setting a high goal."
Swishing his tail, Laka Truehoof says, "And I think I'd like to start collecting new secrets now. Not that I've learned all the old ones yet."
Cataka Hurosh barks with sudden laughter. "Good to strive for new things!"
Laka Truehoof trots around the library a few times to burn off excess excitement. Then he comes to a stop, resuming his usual calm mien. "Where do I start, Cataka?"
Cataka Hurosh gestures to a stack of books, roughly as tall as her mid-section. "You can start pouring through those, I think. Make sure you take good notes!"
Laka Truehoof glances over at the books. "Right. Of course." He nods, resuming his gentle handling of the texts.
All of these books stacked around, the search for knowledge, the happy centaur--all of it remind Everiine of someone, and though he smiles, there's a sadness and loss mixed in. He takes a deep breath, and turns his attention back to Cataka Hurosh. "Thank you for the help, sister. I will make sure the other Wodewoses hear what you have told me."
Cataka Hurosh nods her head at you.
Smiling and waving good bye, you say to Laka Truehoof, "Be well, little brother."
Laka Truehoof glances up at you briefly with a slight smile. But it's clear he's already absorbed in the books.
Everiine mouths one last 'Thank you' to Cataka Hurosh, then bows and leaves.
Everiine is a man, and is very manly. This MAN before you is so manly you might as well just gender bend right now, cause he's the manliest man that you ever did see. His manly shape has spurned many women and girlyer men to boughs of fainting. He stands before you in a manly manerific typical man-like outfit which is covered in his manly motto: "I am a man!"
Daraius said: You gotta risk it for the biscuit.
Pony power all the way, yo. The more Brontaurs the better.