A Kinrowan Estate story: An Oak King

We’ve had honourary human Oak Kings down the years such as Arthur Rackham, and in more recent years, Charles de Lint comes to mind, but this one was most decidedly was not human though his glamour would be a proper guise for most humans not to know that when looking at him.

He was made of roots, leaves and a skeletal structure not of bone, but of living oak. Without his guise, he resembled a tree trying to be human in appearance and not coming even close as his proportions were simply wrong — way too many joints in the limbs, shoulders too wide and a skull that even I found painful to look at. He had no eyes but could obviously sense the world around him; no ears nor mouth either. He reminded me of a riddle I’d been told by an insane mortal centuries ago.

When I looked more closer at him, I could see that everything on the surface of him was moving visibly — leaves rustling though there was no breeze in the Pub, branches and roots questing for something, and his whole being pulsing with eldritch energies. Damn, he was unsettling. When he entered, even my ravens were discomfitted, and deserted my shoulders for a perch in the rafters.

(I’ve never told the mortals who live on the Estate that the Pub itself stands on a crossroads between here and somewhere else as some of them have enough trouble sleeping as it is.)

My luck must have been slightly cursed that late evening as he shambled towards me. I sighed deeply, put away the Ravens in The Library anthology I was reading and turned towards the intruder. I inclined my head slightly towards him as I bow to no one, human or otherwise. He, not being human, didn’t notice my intended rebuff.

A voice entered my head, deep and somehow akin to dry oak leaves rustling in a Winter wind. A voice I’d rather not have heard ever. It asked me a question that I could not answer, nor really wanted to know that the question existed. Even my ravens were visibly quite agitated by the question.

Emotions flushed rapidly — irritation, anger, puzzlement, even sadness. With that, he turned and left the Pub. I for my part signalled for another whiskey and planned on telling my ravens to forget this ever happened …

About Hrafnfreistuor

I was hanged upon That Tree and I talk to My Ravens, Huginn and Muninn. Isn’t that enough to say about myself?

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