The birds sang in the trees as Greenweave sat on a log weaving a fairly large basket with many beads woven into its body. The sun shone down from an angle making a perfect place that was both warm and had plenty of light. He was in a very mellow mood. Half in the shade, he was totally engrossed in his work. The wind changed a bit, blowing his long braided brown hair back, and he caught a familiar scent. He smiled as he just barely heard Newt sneaking up behind him. He stopped his work just a little but not enough to register to the cub that he knew anything had changed. He prepared himself for what was going to come.
Newt sprang at the back of what he thought was an unsuspecting elf and was not prepared for what Greenweave did next. In fact, Greenweave grabbed Newt, tackled him to the ground and went for his weak spot.
"Gotcha," Greenweave smiled as he gave the cub no mercy as he tickled him. Newt could not speak as he loudly giggled. "Trying to disrupt my work, you little treewee, huh!!" The cub tried to get away, but it was a losing battle. A few moments later, he stopped his assault and let the cub catch his breath. "So what brings you out in the daylight... when the sun is so high in the sky?" "I could not sleep any longer and you were not in the den. I am covered, see.” Newt turned himself in a circle to show Greenweave he was indeed covered from head to toe, to protect his fair skin from the sun. “So I decided to find you. Why are you making such a big basket?"
Greenweave rubbed the cub on the head and picked up his work from the ground where it fell. "I am making a basket for Moss to store his instruments."
"You make him baskets as well as do his hair. That is very neat. Why are you doing it in the daylight? Why not make two instead of one big one? It will take less time and he could put them in more than one place”.
"Star-Top. You know, I did not think of that. Maybe two is better than one. But I do like making them big. I like it better in the sunlight too. I can see it better and when I am doing it, it makes me happy. You will learn to find what you like to do. When I am done later would you like to go fish with me when the sun is not so high up?”
Newt nodded and Greenweave took him to a less sunny place and they both sat down. Greenweave continued his weaving but he stopped sometimes and explained what he was doing to the little one.
A couple of hours later, he was done with the basket. He got up and motioned for the cub to follow and went down to the river to fish.
"You are very good at fishing, and you catch fish many fish for the tribe. Why not do it at night with two nets? You might catch more fish!"
Again, Greenweave smiled and laughed a little as he cast his net into the water. "Yes, two might be better, but I am happy with one big one. Better to do it in the daytime so I can see the fish better. I think the fish sleep at night. How many fish do you see while you are swimming at night? I love the water and the yummy fish and I know you do, too.”
Newt sat there thinking as Greenweave waited for the fish. Newt helped pull the net when he caught some.
Later on the next day, Greenweave asked Newt to watch Cloudfern because he was worried that the older elf was spending too much time by himself. He had noticed the plantshaper had been having more nightmares lately. So Newt went to the Crafting Trees and watched Cloudfern mix herbs. The room smelled very good to him. Cloudfern saw him watching and motioned for Newt to aid him. "Come, I will show you how to make tea.”
“What’s the tea for?” Newt asked.
“It’s for Goldspice. She has a little headache and this will dull the pain.”
“But Willow could heal her, right?”
Cloudfern sighed and said, “Well yes, she could, but little things like this an herbalist can heal just as well. As you know so sadly, an herbalist could not heal you. It is my craft and I am good at it. Almost anybody can learn it, unlike healing magic like Willow. Willow could easily take away Goldspice's headache, but the tribe still needs to visit a herbal healer for non-serious things first. This is for two reasons — first that we don't want to become too dependent on magical healing because the tribe knows that a healer might not always be there. And secondly, why tax the healer when an herbal remedy will do, right?"
Newt nodded and sat down on a rock next to Cloudfern's work-bench as Cloudfern continued talking. "Sometimes I wish I had magical healing, but then again after healing someone Willow can get very tired. I can continue with mine because mine is skill, not magical.”
“Oh I see, there are many herbalists but just one magical healer. Wish there were two. Do you think Willow minds others using herbs to heal even though she is available even in the day?"
“No, I do not think she minds. I am also happy to do this. Sometimes it is better in the day because it is so much brighter and the plants love the sunlight, even the dried ones. Sorry, you are not much of an elf for sunlight, huh?” Cloudfern put his herbs down and explained to the younger elf some of what he was doing. For the rest of the day Newt watched the older elf mix his plants.
The next day, Newt tried to sneak up on Cloudfern because Greenweave suggested it. But, even before he started, the older elf shook his head and said, “Please, not right now.”
Try as hard as he could, he could not get Cloudfern. He also could not tell why he was being so distant.
The following days, he watched Greenweave weave more baskets. Greenweave asked him if he saw anything that suggested Cloudfern was depressed because of the nightmares. Newt said he could not tell. At which point Greenweave thought maybe they both should try to sneak up on Cloudfern. Newt whined and told him he tried several times to play with Cloudfern but he seemed just too busy and he was not comfortable with Cloudfern right now. Greenweave told him that maybe they should tackle Cloudfern like a wolf, not a cat. After all, two is better than one. Wolves team up to take their prey down. The fisher was not the best at it but he was sure if they both did, Newt would succeed.
Sure enough, the next day Greenweave tried to stalk Cloudfern. Cloudfern was collecting plants on a nearby hill someway away from the Holt. Greenwaeve was caught just as he was about to pounce on him.
“What are you doing, lifemate?”
“Um, I am stalking and tracking you.”
“Yes, I see that. I was aware of it some time ago. I was wondering why you were stalking me?.”
Greenweave shrugged his shoulders and said, “Maybe because you are just too cute not to... and maybe I just wanted to see if I could.”
“You need more practice, my love,” Cloudfern smiled.
Greenweave smiled and batted his eyes at the other elf. “Maybe you could give me pointers.”
Meanwhile, Newt was quietly sneaking up behind the blond elf. He froze just as he thought Cloudfern heard him. Greenweave picked up a plant from the green ground and gently rubbed it under Cloudfern’s nose.
“Lovely scent these flowers have this time of year, huh?” Greenweave said, while he lock-sent to Newt, **Just a little bit longer and he will be yours.** Greenweave stepped closer to Cloudfern and started to twist a strand of hair around his finger.
“What, you stalk me, try to pounce on me, rub lovely plants under my nose, and now…” He never got to finish what he was about to say because Newt jumped from his spot and tackled Cloudfern, yelling, “Gotcha!” just as Greenweave stepped out of the way, laughing.
“Good job! Told you you could do it,” laughed Greenweave.
All Cloudfern could do was curl up in a ball while Newt tickled and tormented him. When he caught his breath, he rolled over and tried to get his hands on Newt, but the cub knew what was coming and scampered away quickly. Greenweave was so busy laughing that he did not see Cloudfern turn his eyes toward him The Brown-haired elf barely escaped his grasp and ran down the hill opposite Newt. Crowsong, Cloudfern’s wolf, followed Newt. With a brief send to his wolf to make sure the cub got back to the Holt safely, Cloudfern chased Greenweave down the hill laughing.
They both returned to the Holt several hours later to find both Newt and Moss sitting on a log near the Dentrees staring at them. Both of them were out of breath and covered in dirt, sweat, plants, and little bits of mud.
“High Ones, I’ve never seen both of you so messy," Moss said, smiling from ear to ear. "What happened? Wait.... maybe I do know what happened. Sounded like two cubs playing in dreamberries from one end of the Holt to the other. Not to mention some of the wolves were wondering what you two were up to.”
Both of the messy elves looked at one another and blushed.
Newt got up from the log he sat on, approached, and looked at both his fathers. “I have never seen you two so messy either. I am glad I could help in that because now Cloudfern is happier. I am glad I snuck up on Cloudfern and pounced on him.” Cloudfern rolled his eyes at the cub and smiled.
“You snuck up on Cloudfern?” Moss said. “That is kind of hard.”
“Yes, I know, Greenweave distracted him,” the cub said.
“Yes, I got him back for that.” Cloudfern smirked and hit Greenweave on the shoulder. “Anyway, I must clean up.” The blond elf climbed up the tree to his den.
Greenweave paused a bit, ruffled Newt’s hair, winked at Moss, and followed Cloudfern.
Newt turned to Moss. “Maybe I should do something for them because it seems like Cloudfern is not so cloudy any more. Do you think I am the reason why Cloudfern is so moody?"
“No, no. You’re not the reason, little one. Cloudfern just gets moody sometimes. Maybe he just needed some space. I think you helped them with that little problem.”
“They are so relaxed now. They have not been that way in a while. Maybe I could do their hair since I caused them to be so messy and relaxed.”
“You do their hair? Now that I would love to see.”
“Yes, I will do their hair! Flutterby could help me. I will do this because I would like to do something for them.”
The next night Greenweave woke up to Newt sitting cross-legged with a contemplative look on his face. Greenweave yawned and asked Newt what was wrong.
“Well I was thinking about yesterday and I would like to try doing your hair.”
“Mine? Or Cloudfern’s?”
“Both. Two is better than one, right? You showed me the best way to sneak up on Cloudfern and it worked and Cloudfern has been very patient with me. I would like try doing your hair.”
Greenweave nodded and said he did not think Cloudfern would mind even though he was still asleep. While Newt was doing their hair, Cloudfern woke up and Greenweave sent to him why Newt wanted to do and was doing their hair.
They both smiled and, after some time wearing Newt’s artistry, Greenweave and Cloudfern took turns helping each other undo the most complicated tangles — because after all, two were better than one.