The Rangers of Dropwood

Dear Aelise,

As I am writing this I am looking out through the windows of the watchtower of the rangers of the Dropwoods. Well, it is not exactly a watchtower as much as an elevated cabin that peeks out above the top canopy of trees. There is nothing to see today, since a thick fog has settled on top, but on clear days, Jee’ra tells me that one can see the swaying and sweeping of the leaves like the sea on a stormy day. I admit, this watchtower scares me a little, as it is rickety and sways a little even when there is no wind.

This particular patch of forest is reserved for the rangers. It is like a little town of the trees. Perhaps it was due to the animals that used to roam here in the past, or due to superstition, but the only way to reach this town is through the spiral stairwell that winds up around the huge Dropwood trees that grow here. The houses themselves are built onto the trees, usually supported between two trees and made of the same sturdy wood that holds them in the air. Inside each house, you’d be greeted by a small room with a hearth that rangers come to rest their feet by, and up a short flight of stairs would be the largest room in the house: the living room, which curves partially to accommodate the trunk. Further up another flight of stairs would be the bedrooms, which are small by any standards, and finally the store before the back door of the house, that leads on to other houses by means of rope bridges and platforms. The people here live simply and off what the forest provides for them. Apart from the occasional merchant and the annual supplies that they receive, this town of rangers get very little contact with visitors.

Jee’ra says the same too, and is proud of his job, stating more than once that he would have no other life than this, but some others feel differently, particularly that of the younger generation. This is a cause for concern for them, since if no one replaces the old rangers, then there would be none left. I saw on my way up a couple of abandoned homes, their windows dark and streaked with cobwebs. I peered inside, but there was nothing except dust. I dread the day that all homes in this beautiful village fall dark and dusty.

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02 - Ranger Town

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