Cusp of a New Era: Tales of Heroes Past - Sayla

A beacon of peace in a land plagued by war

Long ago, in a land half destroyed by the fights of man, there lived a fierce warrior. Her name was Sayla, and she was the best fighter her country had ever seen, and fought without mercy for her enemies.
Until one day.
While she was fighting near the front lines, she had received word from home: Her little sister had been kidnapped. She rushed home to try to find her, and kill the ones who had taken her sister from her home.
Eventually, she found the kidnapper inside a cave along the Nasa Cliffs, along with her sister. Without a second thought, she rushed in and slashed at her sister’s captor.
However, the kidnapper had moved Sayla’s sister into the way of the slash, taking her with himself. Sayla dropped to the ground, screaming in grief, as she had just killed her own sister. At that moment, she swore that she would never again strike at a person, nor harm anyone except in retaliation.
When she exited the cave, she saw that the forest of her homeland had been set ablaze, and where a lush pine wood once stood, all that stood now was cinders, ash, and blackened carcasses of formerly strong trees.
Upon seeing this, she forwent weeping, and instead walked into the graveyard of pine, looking to find the largest set of remains left standing. When she found it, she climbed atop, sitting upon the tree, to show that even among the violence against her people, while the world burned around her, she would remain strong and stand tall.
In time, she would hear a rumbling in the ground-no, in the roots. The very life of these trees was enraged, and she could tell. From the ground ruptured vines upon vines, thrashing around and slamming down what was left of the trees. Out of the hole they created followed a large feminine figure, cloaked in a dress made of what seemed to be large leaves, with a large trail of them behind, and vines extruding from her back. In her rage, she smashed down the surrounding dead, and eventually say Sayla atop her tree. “What have you done to my forest?” The figure yelled ferociously.
“I am but a victim of my kin’s wrath, as you are.” Sayla responded calmly. “I have done none of this but protest it.”
“You dare lie to me!” She roared once more at Sayla. “Have you no idea who I am?” She slams her vines down again, and the tree Sayla sat upon sank into the ground, leaving Sayla sitting on the scorched earth below her. “I am Botar, Goddess of Nature! You shall pay for what you’ve done!”
Sayla did not stand, but just sat there. “I have done nothing but lay victim to the men who hurt you as well.” She told the goddess.
“Then prove your innocence.” Botar told the former soldier in front of her. “Beat me.”
Sayla stood. “But how will fighting prove innocence? The only innocents in battle are those caught in between.”
“I do not care.” Botar told Sayla. “You will fight me!”
With that, Botar swung her vines at Sayla, who dodged and redirected all the strikes, never throwing one herself. “Why will you not hit me?!” Botar asked with rage in her voice.
“I have no reason.” Sayla would respond.
Finally, a vine would hit Sayla in the arm. She grabbed the vine as it did and pulled in towards her, rushing in and stabbing under the goddess’s ribcage with two fingers, causing her to collapse to the ground.The goddess would stand up once more. “Such power, yet you refused to use it until now. Why?” She asked.
Sayla sat down once more. “A tyrant uses their power to harm. I am no tyrant. I now only use my strength to defend. Myself, and others.”
The goddess Botar admired Sayla and her resolve for peace, in any situation she can. The tips of her vines were plunged into the ground, and around them sprang new life, culminating in a gigantic oak tree sprouting where the tree Sayla sat upon once stood. In front of grew a staff of sorts. Its shaft was comprised of large wrapping blades of grass, and atop it was two leaves holding a ball of knotted wood, covered in bark. “This is my personal weapon, the Lifegiver.” The goddess told Sayla. “It has the ability to give life in times of peace, and when you are threatened…”
The ball and leaves traveled down the shaft a ways, bark chipping off and forming a blade over the grass above, and the leaves forming a guard, with the ball of wood in the center. “It has the ability to take it away. Take it, and become my Champion.”
Sayla stands. “I would be honored.” She says, taking the staff, and using its power to revive the forest to its former beauty, yet all the pine was replaced by oak.
The goddess would continue speaking. “As long as this tree stands, so will your country. When it falls, so will your people. Until then, you will prosper.” She told Sayla.
When they exited the forest, Sayla was met by a group of people, lead personally by the king of the land. The king bowed to Sayla and Botar. “Sayla, you have been chosen by the gods, and you have given our forest new life. I have decided…you will lead our people.”
And with that, Sayla was given command over her country, and her reign was a long and prosperous one. After her death, she asked to be sent to the bottom of the lake within the territory she controlled. After her body was sunk, the lake flashed a bright green, and outwards from the lake, the grass of her land was filled with flowers, and her land became more fertile than it had ever been. However, she asked that Lifegiver be kept within the royal lineage, passed down between rulers, rulers who would rule not due to blood, but with the grace of the last leader. In a final act of respect towards their Forest Queen, the people renamed their land to Saylania, named her glistening grave Sayla’s Lake, the tree visible from all the land, Sayla’s Tree, and their very leader title, the Sayl. And since then, Saylania has prospered, only using their force to defend themselves and their allies, never for personal gain, even to this very day.