When the legends speak of the dwellers of the woods, and of their magnificence, they usually speak of the high elves, and of their home, the golden-leaved D'yaal. But few, even those with wizard blood and lineage, know of the other inhabitant of D'yaal, and of the greatness of her destiny.
It was on a night clouded by stars and challenged by a great storm, a night dark and foreboding, that a babe was discovered deep in the woods. A midnight patroller, spooked for the first time in his hundred years of life by the night, was the one to find the child. She, for indeed it was girl-child, was found in the trunk of a tree, looking out with large and inquisitive eyes that seemed much older than the body that held them. The patroller, who was called Elmerano, discovered her only after flashes of lightning lit up her location. If it hadn't been for the storm he might never have seen the child, for although the babe was wet and freezing to the bone, abandoned in the woods, it had not let out even a whimper of displeasure. She had just stared out at the lightning, flashing across the sky, and then up at Elmerano. It wasn't until years later that Elmerano learned that nothing in this girl's life was left -to chance.
Struck by the girl-child's bravery, and her situation, Elmerano had taken her to the council of D'yaal the next morning to have them determine her fate. At first, the council was anything but agreeable to the child, calling it an abandoned wastrel and charging Elmerano with wrongdoing for bringing the child back into the city. The elderly elf had nothing to say in his own behalf, but didn't hesitate to defend the girl.
"She's strong," he'd said, "and special. For the first time in a hundred years in those woods, and I know them like the back of this old hand, I was anxious. Something was in the air, something was about to happen, and I knew it. Then I found her." As he defended her, the child was in his wife's arms, staring around with eyes that held so much wisdom that the council was struck with the same odd feeling Elmerano had described.
And so, with many misgivings, the council told Elmerano that the girl could stay, under his care, until they thought of something better to do with her. Of course, that "something better" never came, and the girl, who they came to call both Andaya and daughter, remained in the woods, beneath the gold-tipped leaves and their canopy of love.
Before long, it was apparent that Andaya was no regular human child. A few weeks before the Midsummers Night Festival, Andaya's fourth or fifth summer, Elmerano's wife, Colia, was about to prepare a rabbit for skinning for a stew. After she had laid the dead animal across the board, she'd turned to sharpen her knife when she heard Andaya's joyful laugh behind her. When Colia had turned, her jaw met the table in surprise. For there was little Andaya, eyes shining bright, hugging a fully living, happy rabbit that bolted as soon as it saw Colia. Andaya waved goodbye to the little beast as it disappeared deeper into the woods.
Colia asked, "was that? Andaya, what happened to the
rabbit…that was right there?"
Andaya looked at her mother as if she were concerned. "Are you alright, Mother? It just ran off into the woods, didn't you see? I'll get Father to get some soothing balm for your eyes." But Colia stopped her daughter before she rushed off to find her father, and instead spun her around, so they were face to face.
"No, I mean, before that, where was the rabbit? Was it lying right there?"
Andaya nodded, a solemn gesture for one so small. "Yes, Mother, and it looked so sick that I petted it and wished it well. And it got better."
But as strange as the incident was, it was only the first of many. Andaya grew into a thoroughly magic, wonderfully good maiden with wisdom so far past her years, her elven Mother finally understood what she was.
During the summer of one of Andaya's maiden years, her mother approached her with this truth that she knew in her heart. Andaya had been teaching the elvish children the language of the Woodsprites, deep in the forest, and returned to the clearing with the children flocked around her. They admired her as a teacher, a friend, and as one of them. No longer did anyone notice her differences. She had become such a part of all of them, that even the elders no longer challenged her presence. But, as she strolled into the clearing, laughing, with a basket of freshly-picked raspberries in one hand, and an elven toddler in the other, Coria knew that it was time to tell the daughter of her heart the truth.
"You're not one of us," she'd told her daughter, "and you're not one of the humans. Your being found in our woods was no chance of your biological mother, it was the predestined road of fate. Andaya, you are my daughter, in my heart, but your soul belongs to those of the chosen, the magic users of the earth. You are a wizard." And with that declaration of both love and sorrow, Coria told her daughter that she must travel to the east to find her people, and to spread her joy to the world. Andaya protested, this was her home and her family, but even she knew that her destiny lay far beyond those woods.
So, after tearful goodbyes to the people she'd known all her life, and her mother and father, she set off over the hills towards the east. She traveled for little less than a month on foot with no other companion than her memories, and of the constant thoughts and questions of her destiny and her people.