He had decided to spend the night in the open. In the orange-red dusk he had discovered a small wild lake behind the next piece of forest. From here, hilly pastures opened up between rocky heights and a winding stream. It had to be the Karstbrook, some of which was marked on his map. Large shiny blue and red dragonflies flew rapidly over the bank. A good sign for good water.
Night was about to fall so there wasn’t much time. He took off his mask completely and poured the cool water on his face with both hands. He also drank as much as he could, filled his drinking tube and got up to protect himself from the mosquitoes, which were already buzzing hungrily. He had still rather absorbed the landscape, the terrain and the water and had not yet taken a closer look at the flora. But immediately the blooming meadowsweet caught his eye. It bloomed like clouds in several places between the reeds swaying in the slight wind. The light evening breeze had already blown the sweet, tempting scent into the Torn’s nose. It was seductive like the lap of a young lover. Meadowsweet was also a tasty and fragrant sweetener that could relieve pain.
The twilight increasingly impaired his view, so he now hurried through the embankment. He sighed in relief when he discovered a bush of wild mint. His fingers gleefully rubbed the leaves. What an invigorating smell! He plucked a bunch of sprigs of mint and then hurriedly went on a detour in the direction of a resting place that was appealing from a distance. Then, completely unexpectedly, he discovered tansy on a stony corner, towering with yellow blossoms. The best ally against all the blood-sucking pests and animals! He also knew it as a protective plant against fiends and ghosts in his now distant home.
The most effective application in his situation was, and he knew it from Kathor the wandering herbalist, to burn the tansy while smoking on a small fire and to stride through the billowing smoke with held breath or to smoke the drapery. The essence of the herb got caught in it and kept all the bugs away for some time. But since he was very exhausted and therefore just wanted to sink into a restful sleep as soon as possible, he decided against the fire and just cut off a large bouquet with his curved herb knife. This smell spoke to him in a whisper .. he could feel the protective aura immediately.
Wandering cautiously through the green chaos, feeling the ground with a broken branch, he moved along the water to the looming giant dead tree with protruding twisted roots. Tiny winged figures buzzed past his hood, while the silhouettes of the trees stood out against the red-purple gradient of the sky. When he arrived at the dead giant, he got rid of his knapsack, blanket wrap and stick. Relieved, he sat down on a dead birch trunk and inhaled the cooler air. The Torn could literally feel the exertion flow from his limbs and fall away from him.
Embedded in the landscape, lightness flowed through him. Inner peace in the fading twilight.
Shortly after that he spread out his woolen blanket in the protected place. The chirping in the bushes accompanied his hand movements as he laid the fresh tansy around his hidden bed. He also stuffed some of the mint sticks into his freshly filled drinking bag and rubbed the leaves on his exposed body parts. The mint was particularly helpful in drinking water as a cooling ally at lunchtime. Now he took up the tansy and laid the rods in an oval protective circle around his blanket. So he would keep the crawling and flying nuisances away. This was the only way he would be able to sleep and not go insane .. Finally, protected from the bloodsuckers, he bedded himself on his blanket, covered himself in his wrap and took a deep breath. The sea of stars began to show itself while the treetops only emerged as deep black silhouettes.
Sein Blick wanderte gerade langsam.. als ihm unvermittelt etwas einfiel: Die Zweige des Beyfusses in seinem Tornister! Am Morgen war ihm dieser Verbündete unerwartet üppig begegnet, nach langer Zeit. Aromatisch doch mit bitterem Geschmack und sanfter Art.. Der Magier öffnete seinen Tornister, der in Griffweite an dem liegenden Birkenstamm lehnte und mit einer Schnur an seinem Arm befestigt war. Seine Finger wühlten und griffen nach den Stücken der Ruten um seinen Kopf darauf zu betten. Er war eins der besonderen Kräuter. Lange Traditionen. Wiederkommende Rituale. Und trotzdem auch eine persönliche Verbindung zu jedem, der überdies nach dieser sehnt. Als Schutzkraut gegen Unwesen und Geister wird es genauso wie der Rainfarn schon immer in Häusern und Ställen als Räuchermittel verwendet. Zur Sommersonnenwende werden die Leiber der Tanzenden umschnürt oder Kronen geflochten. Zum Ende der Feuerzeremonien werfen dann alle den Beyfuss in die Flammen und übergeben damit all die Lasten und Anfeindungen dem Element der Reinigung. Dass er in anderen Traditionen auch in hoher Dosierung verwendet wurde um Klarträume zu ermöglichen hatte er vor kurzem von ein Paar reisenden Oneironauten erfahren. Auf die Frage hin wohin sie denn reisen würden antworteten sie nur schattenhaft “Wir haben kein Ziel, wir folgen den Zeichen der Welt und den Hinweisen der Träume”.
His gaze was moving slowly across the branches and stars… when something suddenly occurred to him: The branches of the Mugwort in his knapsack! That morning, after a long time, he had met this plant friend. Aromatic but with a bitter taste and a gentle manner. The magician opened his backpack, which was leaning against the lying birch trunk within reach and was attached to his arm with a cord. His fingers dug and reached for the bushy bundles to rest his head on. It was one of the really special herbs. Long traditions. Recurring rituals. And yet also a personal connection to everyone who also longs for it. As a protective herb against monsters and evil ghosts, like the tansy, it has always been used as an incense in houses and stables. At the summer solstice, the bodies of the dancers are enveloped or crowns are braided. At the end of the fire ceremonies, everyone then throws the Mugwort into the flames, thus handing all the burdens and hostilities over to the element of purification. He had recently learned from a couple of traveling oneironauts that it was also used in high doses in other traditions to enable lucid dreams. When asked where they were traveling to, they only replied shadowily “We have no destination, we follow the signs of the world and the indications of dreams”.
Frogs croaked and crickets chirped as he breathed deeply again. The cold crept slowly around his embedded body and through the thicket. The powerful billows of the herbs snaked into his mouth and nose. Ethereal penetration and mirrored starlight. The soft pad made of Mugwort under his resting head he then drew the sigil of the undiscovered with still warm fingers into the dark sky. As a protection against potential discovery by humans, birchfolk or wild beasts, this lower glyph spell was sufficient here. Since there were apparently no other races or dangerous magical creatures around here. He then left the rest of the night to the shimmering fairies, silent water spirits and nocturnal forest animals. His inner drift into a state of visions through the twilight of perception made him feel different. He felt the gentle touch of soft leaves all over his body even though he was dressed. And then the overwhelming smell! He could taste it too and couldn’t deny its growing presence. All these scattered groups of Mugwort in the scenic distance were all but many faces of a single powerful entity and essence. He raised his arms in his inner vision, reached slowly into the swirling tangle, and then saw a glowing glyph as though through murky water. Pulsating blackness was fading away and made place for a gentle glow….