The faun had been dying for a long time. Many ages had passed he first felt that inevitable twinge in his back, a slight stiffening of his joints. Centuries had come and gone since he began to find a falter in his impeccable memory, for the memory of ancient trees is stronger than that of any other being. Their bark soaks in all the world around and carves tales into rings clearer than any tome or tablet.
It was the little things that went first. Names never seemed to reach his ears, he that once could recall the title of every dryad and nymph along the Adriatic and her sisters. Not that he had ever been one to meet new people unless some benefit could be gained. Insulting courtiers was certainly no grievance to him, but when the day came that he could not call his fey companions to him (these were not of course the little green, blue, and red pixies, but their great grandchildren for those old companions had long since withered like last spring's leaves) the faun was forced to admit it was time to slow down.
He began to sleep more beneath the cypress trees that grew along the edges of the meadows, while younger fauns danced merrily in the gay vigor of youth. He watched birds flutter and the pixies fly and was content to observe the dancers spin past. He would even clap some with his wicked old grin, delighting in the respect he was shown when some young doe would fetch a goblet for him. An elder indeed he chuckled thinking that even if he could no longer whip those upstart satyrs with the strength of his great hooves or looming horns, he could still best any in wit.
But long after resigning himself that he was no longer fit for spring posturing, the faun found himself exhausted even by the festivities of autumn and even winter. It was then he decided to leave the groves and the songs and the noises which gave him head aches for the solitude of growing things from which he had first came.
He ventured deep into the forests where the trees grew like great pillars holding a misty dark canopy from which little light could seep except in beams which fell on moss covered pools among the roots. The smell of earth and decaying leaves filled the air with its musty scent, and the ferns drooped with an ever present mist. Small sounds like the chattering of mice were lost in the fog, and even the great bellows of woodlands stags could not travel far outside their glade. In such a place where a rare beam of sunlight fell upon a sourceless pool he rested. A bed of leaves cushioned his aching back, and between the legs of a great tree, which had stood since before the stars, he rested. Arms came out and settled on the great roots as if they had been wrought for that purpose alone. His hooves stretched out and sank in the soft soil; his eyes closed, and did not open much after that.
Though the silence and solitude offered by the forest was great, it was not complete, and many times was he visited by young companions. Young of course, for the old ones had all long since gone. He was sought for advice, or comfort, or simply for the peaceful presence which those who are resigned to enjoy what time they have left often carry. Of course after awhile it was only the latter that some came for. The faun's mind had slowed and his voice was raspy and easily tired. Those that ventured into the deep forest seeking the fabled old faun found his stories were few and often repeated, though they were the greatest stories of his life. Certainly they were not the happiest, nor the most exciting, but they were the most important memories he had, and it was a very, very long time until any of them faded from his mind.
There was one girl, whose name who could never recall hearing, that came again and again and asked to hear the story of the princess he had waited for all those years. Even the faun's crusted eyes would open at the sound of the name of the one he had loved so dearly. A breath of spring in an age of winter, he called her with a creaking grin, for though age had made him sentimental, it had not dulled his humor. The little girl asked him how they had met, but he never spoke of that, as if there was nothing before those two had known one another. She never asked how the princess left the lands, but he told it every time. He did not speak of the joy of her rein, for there was none in all the lands who did not know it, nor did he speak of her marriage, who's joys he had not shared, except in the delight he found in the many children brought into the world by that union. Their names were some of the last to leave him, though in his mind their faces were still round with youth, even though most of them had already sired grandchildren by then. To him they remained the picture of childhood, bouncing on his knees, begging for stories and games in the gardens of eternal spring.
Eventually there came a time when he could not open his misted eyes and cracked mouth to tell even these stories, though he whispered a name sometimes that sounded more like a sigh than the last pangs of a devotion that he kept him breathing for so many eons.
A time came when the faun could no longer be distinguished from the roots of the great tree, if indeed he had not already become a part of them. His hooves split, his hands melted into the roots and his great round horns sunk into the depths of the bark, and the faun that had always been more tree than man finally returned to the great pillar that had spawned him. He did not die, but he did wither. Little piece by little piece he withered like the face of a mountain eroding back into the dirt. Seekers to the spot still felt him for ages after that, still heard his wispy chuckle in the wind, even after the roots ceased to resemble a vague sitting figure. In time, his face was forgotten, his name, and then his legend. He faded, like a star which had burned since the beginning, becoming dust in the black, he was gone. But he did not mind, for the faun had been dying for a long time, and once one dies, one can live once more, the dust from old stars forms new ones after all. Of course he was given a new name.
Well my lovelies here you are. Now if you are wondering what chapter Moanna gets married in or when kiddies happen, or when did this stop being funny/FM, fear not. This "story" is just a random collection. No "chapter" bleeds into another unless otherwise mentioned.
I've gotten a lot of flattering comments asking for more stories. However I need a little motivation and some ideas to play with, so:
Send me a comment - I'll respond
Send me an idea - I'll write it
Hope to hear from you soon my scrumptious little readers :)