Granshirwood Ways  (New In Book 2)

The “ways of the wood” have always been a deadly mystery to foes trying to clear a patch of it, steal any living thing from it, or commit violence in the wood. Teams of axe men, bandits, and even whole armies have vanished in this vast, ancient forest, sacred to the Wembrish. Yet worthy folks always find safe passage through the Granshirwood and its eastern twin, the Wembrywood. All but the dullest visitors sense the forest either helping or hindering them, with the Wembrish guiding that effort.


Granshire Trees

Giant cousin to the oak, this “sociable” tree can live thousands of years, enduring frost, flood, drought and fire, but not long isolation or neglect. Each holds a complete ecosystem, with tapestry spiders, weebifurs, giant bumblebees, courier bats, gardener beetles, and tiny gemworts, only thriving with all in residence—and other Granshires nearby. Every tree produces countless edible flowers in spring, sweet berries in summer, and nuts in fall, plus offering winter shelter in the throne, or central branches, and in the cellar, under massive, hollow roots. A few Wembrish may also live in a tree, gently training its growth with ropes, wunchels, and wood-stops, but no nails, saws or axes!


Tapestry Spiders

These harmless, bread-sized wonders thrive among other tree dwellers, especially the beloved weebifurs, whom they groom constantly. Compulsive workers, they also do well among caring humans, who have them make superior tapestries, banners and garments, all from weebifur silk. One even employed them to manufacture books! Clever, tapestry spiders have been known to beat humans in the game of castle, and ensnare enemies in miles of rope. If threatened, they hide, or instantly transform their dark, brown hair into an array of spikes, looking deceptively sharp and hard.



Quiet, but rarely silent, these squirrel-sized caterpillars like to curl around branches, be fed leaves by their caregivers, and brushed 4-5 times a day, as their silk-hair grows rapidly. Weebifurs have always been a reliable judge of human character, preferring a kind shoulder to a branch for an hour at a time. If threatened, they instantly curl up into a hard grey ball or change colors to match surroundings. When most content, they purr and glow in the dark, each with its own hue of light (“Wembrish candles”).


Granshire Bumblebees

Big as apples, these hold deadly venom in their stingers. Ranging several miles by day, they share information, while guarding the entire forest as one community. Every treehold will know of visitors still miles away. Only other “Wee-folk” (tapestry spiders, courier bats and Volpings) can understand their rapid language. A bumblebee too old to fly becomes a teller, relaying the day’s news to courier bats at sunset; an old bat does the same at dawn. Together, they make their forest the Continent’s best informed “woodopolis.”


Courier Bats

These lightning quick bats range further than the bumblebees, yet relay information fastest by using sonar, so that no one can ever “fool the wood” at night. For a large, dangerous intruder, hundreds of them will converge, emitting a synchronized blast of sonar to stun, confuse, or render it unconscious. Contrary to hyúlem myth, courier bats do not drink blood, carry plague, or attend demons. They like to hang upside down by day, sleeping beside weebifurs to keep warm. Only other “Wee-folk” can understand their frenetic, high-pitched language.


Gardener Beetles

Ounce for ounce, these hand-sized beetles own the hardest shell armor of any creatures on the Continent. While tending to a tree’s healthy growth, they will defend it from all harm. Skilled at deterring rodents, reptiles and bugs, they have been known to destroy even the largest enemies from the inside—after being swallowed by them! The exact color and texture of Granshire bark, they can be impossible to spot, even when moving. Like all “estaters,” gardener beetles only thrive in Granshire trees, where they can live for many years.


Gemworts (jewel worms)

Looking like prized emeralds, incongruously set into a Granshire’s bark, these rock hard, ageless, “tree barnacles” actually stimulate its growth by helping the bark breathe. Ever diligent, gardener beetles relocate a tree’s gemworts to the most beneficial spots on the trunk once a year, where they remain harmless—unless uprooted! Requiring deep shade and a base as hard as Granshire bark, gemworts will drill through anything until finding it. Hence, they have been used as a weapon of last resort against the worst enemies of the wood.


The Wembrish

This dwarf branch of the Delfinians has inhabited the Granshirwood and Wembrywood for more than 8,000 years. Speaking an ancient dialect, the Wembrish never found a need for written language. Dark-skinned but light-haired, and only 4 feet tall, they wear green clothes and skin paint, to remain invisible to intruders. The Continent’s longest-lived humans, they inspired the saying “Wembrish Luck.”


Never leaving the forest, they only trade with visitors who respect it. Knowing its every detail, they never get lost. Phenomenal herbalists, the Wembrish can treat almost any illness but love or death itself! They enjoy riddles, games, Delfinian beverages, and retelling complex, long-winded sagas, accompanied by music on flutes, drone-pipes, dulcimers, harps and drums.


Tipping their arrows with deadly venom harvested from Granshire bumblebees, the Wembrish invariably defeat their enemies. Anyone entering the forest swinging an ax or a lit torch is as good as dead. Yet any who can earn Wembrish trust—after being put to the weebifir test—will enjoy their rustic hospitality while in the wood, plus safe, guided passage through it.


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