fantasy, short, stories mythology

Sammorien – The Moss-Man

From their vast kingdoms of clouds, oceans, mountains and volcanoes, Lady Lavinia and Lord Ifir’s children viewed themselves as higher beings and the benefactors of the world they had created. The immortal Enai clans remained loyal to their masters, grateful for the powers they received and many their many other privileges. The Erai ever regarded the Enai as their servants, created for the sole purpose of doing their bidding, the forest god Lord Silyan however, viewed the woodland Enai as his friends and companions. He knew each member of his clan and was always the first to welcome a new baby born into their community. Likewise, the forest Enai were truly devoted to their Lord, loving him for his wisdom and kindly nature. He too loved them in return. And one particular individual was his favorite, a young golden-haired female called Kora.

Although she was as good an archer as any hunter, Kora was a gentle being with little interest in tracking wild beasts. Instead she spent her days strolling through the woods in search of herbs, sweet berries and mushrooms. At sundown she would rejoin the other Enai in their camps as they prepared for an evening’s rest. There she always gladly took part in the evening music and dance. Lord Silyan would often play his flute where Kora would sing along to every tune, ever accompanied by the other Enai. As the others returned to their makeshift treetop beds, she would often stay by the god’s side throughout the night. Over time the two grew very close, spending more and more time together until the day they became lovers.

As neither had ever denied the rumors nor hid their affections towards each other, the Enai elders began to view Kora with a new found respect, addressing her with the title of ‘Nefiria Alhani’ – meaning Lady of the woods.

Yet the humble maiden was quick to dismiss the title.

“I’m no Nefiria,” she would often say, “I have no desire to become Lord Silyan’s queen. I’m simply an Enai, no different to any of you. As much love as I hold for him, I fear that neither his father, the great Lord Ifir, nor any other Erai would ever allow such a union. Our Lords see us as nothing more than mere servants.”

One sunny day, as the rest of the clan began to gather their things before moving on to their next destination, Kora asked to speak to Silyan in private.

“I have started feeling strange lately,” she whispered as they sat down under a tree. “I think that I may be with child.”

Silyan embraced her lovingly before summoning one of the clan’s medics, and ordering Kora to be examined before they embarked on their journey. The healer quickly confirmed her suspicions and advised that Kora rest as much as possible.

From that day onwards, the women of the clan took great care ensuring that Kora always remained well fed and that she didn’t exert herself overly much. They began to slow their pace, covering shorter distances and taking regular breaks. Initially unhappy with the attention, Kora eventually gave in, as she realized the importance of this child to their community. No such hybrid of the two races had ever before existed.

Lord Silyan, although delighted with the prospect of becoming a father, chose not to inform his family of Kora’s condition, still unsure of quite how they would react to such a revelation. Nevertheless nothing in this world could escape the ever-present gaze of his parents, Era-Gragiya and Ifir, from their golden palace in the clouds.

As the months went by and the time drew near, Silyan and the Enai found an old forest full of large oak trees for their new encampment. One cold winter night, as Kora lay resting in their tent, Silyan saw a sudden flash of bright light through the fabric of their tent and then heard a familiar voice calling his name. He quickly grabbed the heavy skin of a wild beast and wrapped himself up before stepping outside.

“Hello mother,” he stated hesitantly as he spotted the radiant figure of Era-Gragiya standing before him.

“Oh Silyan, my boy… Why would you hide such a secret from me?” she asked as they sat beside the tent.

“I… didn’t think you would approve,” he commented briefly as he glanced back at the sleeping Kora before turning to face his mother again. “My child will be part Enai.”

“What nonsense. How could you even think such a thing of me?” Era-Gragiya replied. “Part Enai or not, it doesn’t matter. That beautiful creature will have your blood, and will thus be as much my grandchild as Ieskr, Fiehri’s boy. I have the right to know and to see the child. Silyan, I wish to be there for the birth.”

Silyan beamed and embraced his mother before responding:

“Forgive me. I’m sorry for misjudging you, mother,” he answered with another shy smile. “You don’t know how pleased I am to hear your words. You are more than welcome to stay with us. We could certainly use your help.”

And so the sky queen stayed with her son and the clan of the forest Enai awaiting the day when she could finally welcome her grandchild into the world.

One night, the time finally came. A tense, emotional Era-Gragiya assisted with the delivery of the first ever Erai-Enai offspring. The child that Kora finally bore was unlike any creature to have existed. He had his father’s dark eyes but none of the woodland Enai features. Most remarkably he was unusually long with arms and legs resembling the thick roots of tree, while his body was made of green moss. Seeing his son’s shining eyes, Silyan decided to name him Sammorien.

“Extrodinary, I have never seen such a child as him before,” the forest god commented, still surprised by the unusual looks of the baby.

“May I hold him?” asked Kora.

“Of course you may. He’s perfect,” said the sky queen as she carefully handed the newborn to Kora.“I’m so glad that I could be here to meet him. Your father will be so proud. Now, it’s time for me to return. Farewell!” she added before vanishing in a flash of bright light.

“Goodbye mother, thank you for your help,” Silyan answered still gazing down at his son.

As Sammorien grew, instead of sucking his mother’s milk like Enai children, he would stretch out his limbs and cling to the nearest tree to absorb nutrients from the soil. It didn’t take long for Kora and the forest god to see that their son was slowly becoming more and more plant-like.

Though capable of walking and fluent in the Enai tongue, Sammorien was exceedingly slow, taking only a handful of small steps at a time, and he frequently struggled to keep pace with his father and the clan.

Her son’s slow pace made Kora begin to worry. So, one day once Sammorien had dozed off next to her, she decided it was time to discuss the situation with Silyan.

“Our precious boy is barely walking. I fear that next time we move on, Sammorien won’t ever be able to keep up with us. What shall we do?” she whispered to her lover while stroking the child’s mossy green hair.

Silyan stared at the sleeping boy before responding:

“Travel is in our blood and we’ve been in this forest far longer than any other land. Sammorien seems to love being here, he’s become very attached to these particular trees. As much as it pains me to admit, I think he would be better off staying in these woods.”

Hearing this Kora burst into tears and immediately begged Silyan to wait at least one full year before their departure. Though growing ever more restless and bored with the same surroundings, the Lord of the woods reluctantly agreed.

And so the couple and the other Enai remained in the oaken woodland until a full year had passed after Sammorien’s birth. The decision to stay proved difficult for the clan, particularly the hunters, many of whom had to trek far from the forest in search of their prey. Although worried about Silyan’s restless nature, Kora was pleased to see him bonding with their son and teaching him the ways of the forest Enai. By the time the first patch of snow had fallen, the boy had grown to the size of a fully mature large oak.

As the clan began to gather supplies for the journey ahead, Silyan and Kora bade a tearful farewell to their son, cuddling him lovingly in their arms. Then they watched as the mossy, dark green-faced Sammorien smiled back at them, before attaching himself to the trunk of a large oak tree.

“Noraiohi lietr… noraiohi ari…” he muttered to them in the Enai tongue with his unhurried, gravelly voice.

Before they set off, Lord Silyan cast a protection spell over the forest to ensure that no mortal being could ever seek its destruction. He and Kora moreover made every single member of the clan take a sacred vow, promising to return to the same spot at least once a year to visit their beloved child. Silyan thankfully knew that his parents would also be watching over Sammorien from their perch in the skies.

And so Silyan and the Enai clan left the oaken forest, leaving Sammorien on his own for the first time. The gentle child spent many of his days simply clinging on to the trunk of the same oak tree and feeding from the nutrients in the soil. Having inherited his father’s love of music, the boy remained in those lands enjoying quietly listening to the birds sing.

One cold windy night, as he was about to fall asleep still attached to his tree, Sammorien was disturbed by the sound of a galloping horse. Suddenly he heard a loud crash and a scream. The animal had tripped over a protruding root, unseating its rider, before it dashed off into the thick woodlands, leaving an injured man writhing on the ground.

Sammorien rose sluggishly and strode towards the human. There he found a young man dressed in a hunter’s garb. Seeing the fracture and listening to wounded cries, he soon realized that the mortal’s leg was broken.

Terrified of the moss creature and thinking it some evil beast, the man reached for his dagger only to find that it had been flung into the distance during the fall. He started screaming and trying to flee, but he was too badly hurt to move.

Sammorien briefly stood over him before whispering, this time in the Gragiyan mortal tongue:

“Please don’t be afraid…I mean you no harm. I am no beast of the forest,” he murmured before uttering a spell that swiftly healed the man’s leg.

Awestruck by what he had seen, the man tentatively got up before responding:

“Thank you, oh gracious creature of the woods. If you’re no wild beast, then pray tell, what are you and what is your name?”

“They call me Sammorien, I am son of the forest Erai, Lord Silyan and a woodland Enai,” replied the moss creature before stepping away from the human and preparing to return to his tree.

Recognizing that here stood a divine being, the man knelt down in front of Sammorien.

“Praised be thy name and that of your father, Lord Silyan,” said the mortal, still on his knees, “How can I ever repay such kindness?” he asked.

Tired and eager to resume his slumber, Sammorien glanced down towards the human from the comfort of his tree before offering a response:

“Dear stranger, I ask nothing in return. I leave you only with a word of advice, next time you step into a forest, be sure to leave an offering of fruit and flowers for my father and his servants so that they protect you from all manner of wild beasts,” he whispered before dozing off to sleep.

And so the man headed home and told everyone he knew of his encounter. Thus sparked the legend of Lord Silyan’s son, the Moss man, the spirit and protector of the woods, the first ever demigod. It was the legend of Sammorien.

14 replies on “Sammorien – The Moss-Man”

I’m glad that you enjoyed it. It will be hard for Kora but she will learn to cope. Her and Silyan have a strong bond with their son.

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