Listeria is a mighty kingdom covered with thick oak trees and pine groves. Even light cannot penetrate the darkness that stretches across the territory due to the centuries-old trees.
The forests were all preserved from the pre-war period, before all the death and destruction. They have seen blood and violence and keep the secrets of history to themselves. The fates of nations and states are known to these impenetrable forests.
That is not enough! The woodlands and plains are everywhere, making Listeria a place where almost every creature existing can thrive.
Fantastic animals and mythical legends all co-habit this land: from horse-sized caterpillars to dangerous, growling tigers and ferocious wolves that can break your bones with just a snap.
Who are the Florians?
Now you know why this place also needs strong defenders. That is where the Florians step in and protect the integrity of the forests. They are mystical forest genies who live in every single floral patch of Listeria.
Forest fires, illegal logging and other harmful activities that evil spirits inflict on the precious forests are all stopped by the legendary Florians. They are the protectors of the soul of Listeria.
Today, you shall hear the story of the beautiful, young and courageous Florian — Fiona, the Keeper of the Grove. The story begins with the Great Grove, which was once one of the highest shrines to the Goddess Taiyu.
It was a saintly and peaceful place for pilgrims, and they came from all over the world to become one with the divine goddess and all of nature. Life was terrific at the Grove, full of merry-making and frolic. A place where life and death went hand in hand and life was in balance.
The animals would swing among the mighty Birch trees and hang from the sacred vines everywhere. Right in the centre of the Grove, there was a crystal-clear Holy Pond which reflected even the moon’s light.
It was here, once a year, the goddess Taiyu descended and gave her devout followers strict orders to follow her path and guidance. It was in this place that the brave Fiona was born.
The Florian Fiona was a rebel from the start. Even in childhood, she would fly out in rage with her bad temper and disobey all the elders of the Grove.
Headstrong and proud, she was a force to be reckoned with, doing what she felt was truly right. The only entities she respected and loved were the priests of Taiyu and the goddess of fertility herself.
Even before she had learnt to walk, Fiona had this strong desire to protect the weak and helpless. She was the most ardent protector of all living creatures.
She promised herself that she would become the most powerful Florian protector of the Great Grove and wanted to make herself proud. She worked tirelessly, day and night, never stopping in rain or snow.
She trained in archery, knowledge of the forest languages, herbalism and medicine. Not only was she perfect in aiming her shot and hitting her targets with the sharp end of her arrow, but she also knew how to heal people.
She would use her skilled hands to provide first aid to wounded pilgrims and ensure that they fully recovered. She was also a very diligent student who, day after day, worked hard and long to hone her abilities to perfection.
Fiona bloomed like a flower, and she started to become the most extraordinary Florian out there who ever existed. But then, suddenly, a calamity occurred, something so terrible that Fiona could not even imagine it.
The Furious Battle with Ardna
Fiona got the news that the troops of Ardna were heading South to one of the Elven villages, so they would march through the Great Grove to get to their destination. All the elders of the Grove were worried because they knew that the people did not revere Taia as much as they did Elamalicht.
There was no way they could compromise with the troops; they weren’t ready to listen! It was time for a gruesome and ultimate battle. That meant Fiona had to prepare as well. The unfortunate day soon arrived.
The mood was somber and quiet before the war. When the fierce battle began, the ringing of steel and the clang of swords was heard everywhere. From morning to night, screams of death and anguish, howls of pain were echoing throughout the land.
In the end, the Florians won, but it wasn’t a real victory. Almost all of their brethren were dead. It was not a moment of joy but a moment of sadness. It was because of Fiona that the Florians had managed to win.
She led the defense and came out victorious on the other side. All the locals of the forest and the pilgrims began to respect and bow down to her, just like they did to Taiyu, who was the true protector of the woods.
Fiona’s victory spread like fire all over the land, and she became a symbol for salvation and how those who honor the laws of nature as well are faithful to Taiyu flourish.
All that led to Fiona becoming an icon just like Taiyu, and soon she founded her own Florian order. This order was called the White Wings and could only be joined by the best, most skilled warriors.
Ever since then, the order in the Great Grove has wholly changed. Not a single person is allowed to enter the territory, and the place has become closed only for the pilgrims.
This is to protect those who live on the land from ever facing the weapons of any who dared to oppose the Florians. Fiona strongly believed that it was essential to preserve the holy monastery of Taiyu, without which she would not be where she is today.
The pilgrimage rites and welcoming of guests were allowed only after the monastery was secure. Every creature which lived on those lands supported Fiona and made her the unspoken ruler and queen who would protect them and keep them safe forever.
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