“It’s mine and you can’t have it!” yelled one dryad to another.
“Sharing is caring, Clovamora.” yelled the other dryad.
“Well I don’t care Lilacoris. So go away. Finders keepers.” the green dryad, Clovamora turns away and starts to run into the woods.
“That isn’t how it works when you steal it!” Lilacoris calls after her. With a huff of leaves and pollen, she turns back into a tree, sulking.
I’m going to get that thing back from her if it’s the last thing I do.
After a few human hours, she turns back into her humanoid form, and takes a drink from the creek, waving at the naiad, who waves back before greedily snatching up a trout. Lilacoris looks the direction where her sister and best friend ran off but all she could see was endless forest. With a groan, she starts the long and arduous trek to her sister’s clearing, where Clovamora was sitting peacefully surrounded by her animal friends.
“Glad you decided to come back this way. I was getting worried.” she says, picking up a squirrel and stroking it’s red fur languidly.
“I had to cool off at the creek for a little while. I won’t take that thing you have but you have to return it. You can’t steal things like that.” she sits as well and a old badger waddles her way over, nuzzling a patch of grass in Lilacoris’ hand. She gives it to her happily and scratches behind the badger’s ear.
“But I can’t give it back now. I found it. It’s mine.”
“There is a big difference between finding something and stealing something. It belonged to someone else first. They’re probably missing it. What did you steal anyways?”
Clovamora turns away and her face flushes bright green. “I took a human.”
“A human? A nasty, stinky, destroy our trees human? Why did you do that?”
“Well it’s a human child. A young one. They call it a baby.”
“Why, my dear sister? Why?” she puts her face in her hands in frustration.
“It was all alone in the woods. Crying for it’s mother, so I took it. I did find it. Not steal it.”
“Where is it now?” Lilacoris looks around, expecting it to be tucked in the grass and clover somewhere.
“I have it hidden by my stump. No one can see it, or hear it, for that matter.”
“We have to take it back. Some human lost it’s baby. We have to take it back now.” With a start, she walks towards the one stump in the clearing, a large patch of thick clover and flowers covering a hole in the middle.
“Leave the baby alone! I can take care of it, I swear.” She gets up as well and pulls her sister away from the hiding place, blue tears streaming down her face.
“Fine. FINE!” she yells, making her sister jump, “I will allow you to take care of it, but do not come to me when you need help. I know nothing of humans, and especially not their nasty young. You are on your own for this. Good luck.” She leaves, running through the tall aspens and willows.
She makes it back to her stump and sits down, thoughts about the baby coursing through her head. Out of nowhere, a jet of water hits her square in the face.
“Who did that?” she yells, whipping around. Another hits her in the left shoulder and when she turns, she gets hit on the other.
The naiad, the one from earlier, pokes her head out of the water and giggles.
Lilacoris towels off her face with a leaf and turns to the woman.
“Why’d you do that?”
“Cuz you seemed so sad. I wanted to cheer you up.” she giggles again and dips below the water.
Lilacoris lays down next to the river and sticks her hand in the water, watching her skin soak up the pure liquid. The naiad grabs her hand and tugs playfully, trying to get her in the water.
“You know I can’t swim.” she pulls her hand out and the naiad pops out with it.
“And I cannot go on the land. What is your point?”
“I’m just frustrated at all. But no bother. What is your name?”
“I am Daphines. And you are Lilacoris.” the dryad gives her a look. “I can hear really well under the water. Do you want a fish?”
“No thank you. I don’t eat meat. Only plants.”
“Isn’t that kind of cannibalistic? Eating the very thing you are made of?” she smiles quickly.
“I could say the same to you. Aren’t you a fish as well?”
“No I am not a fish. That is a common misconception. I am a naiad, a river spirit. I am not made of fish, I just choose to represent myself like a fish, with fish characteristics. I could have legs if I so choose. See?” with a shimmer of water, her long winding tail gets replaced by two blue-green legs. The water shimmers again and the tail comes back.
“Well I’m glad you explained the truth. I wish I could change my appearance like that.”
“Can you not turn into a tree? Do you not leave flowers in your footsteps? That is beautiful as well. Your very presence cleans the air. It is amazing. Do not doubt your own self.” she ducks under the water and pulls out an oyster shell.
“Take the common oyster. On the outside, it’s super bumpy, grey, and slimy,” she pauses and runs her hand across the spine of the shell, making it snap open, “with a little bit of love, a beautiful pearl can be seen.” she snatches the pearl and drops the oyster in the river. “You can take that pearl, and with a little bit of magic,” she twirls her fingers, that same watery shimmer from before, “you can make something new with it.” Suddenly, the pearl is surrounded by thin silver wire, wrapped in the shape of a ring. Daphines hands Lilacoris the ring and she slips it over her finger.
“It fits perfectly. Thank you. I will make you a gift as well.” With a quick look around, she picks a small dandelion, this one in it’s white puffy stage. With just as much care and gentleness the naiad showed, she touches the flower lightly, watching the seeds scattter. She collects the seeds in a breeze and sticks them back on the now empty bud. Almost like a scene in reverse, the seeds shorten and the yellow petals return.
“May I borrow a bit of your water?” Lilacoris asks, holding out her hand.
“For you, I would give the whole ocean,” the other woman gathers a small puddle of water in her hands and Lilacoris sticks the flower inside, chanting a small Greek phrase,
“Meraki,” she whispers, and the water rises up around the dandelion, turning to a clear crystal, much like quartz.
“This is wonderful. I will put this in my river bed as soon as I can.”
“Before you leave watch the flower.” She whispers that same word and the flower starts to bloom fully, the petals stretching out before falling off, the white seed pods taking their place. In in instant, the seeds disperse withing the crystal and land back on the bud, restarting the cycle.
“The dandelion is the only flower that represents all of the heavens. The sun,” she points to the now yellow flower, “the moon, and the stars.” May this show you what it is like out there even on the rainiest of days.”
“I appreciate this, Lilacoris. Thank you.” she gives another smile and kisses Lilacoris’ hand before swimming off, her tail fin shimmering like the sail on a ship. Lilacoris turns back to her sister’s clearing and walks towards, finally coming to her decision.
She makes it to the clearing and watches as her sister gathers milk from a goat and feeds the young human child.
“I’m sorry for earlier, sister. I was frustrated and my head wasn’t clear.” she sits besides her and looks at the human child, it’s bright blue eyes piercing her with their intelligence.
“She’s beautiful isn’t she?’ her sister asks, not looking up.
“She really is. Have you gone back to where you found her? Maybe someone is looking for her?” she offers up, but Clovamora shakes her head no, trying not to upset the baby, who coos with the rocking motion, making both women smile.
“Well if that’s the case, we must name her. It’s better than calling her the baby. What do you suggest we name her?” Lilacoris says, the gears in her head turning.
“I don’t have a clue. What do you think?”
“Sweet sorrow? Are you sure?” Clovamora turns to her gently, giving her a confused look.
“Think about it. She will live here with us. Age as humans do, adn when she has become old and gray, we will still be young. Once she lives with us truly, she can never return to her true people. It will be sweet sorrow. We will know who she is, and she will never know. Charmolipi.”
“Charmolipi it is. Hello my beautiful. You are mine, and no one can have you.”