Monday, August 1, 2016


NAME: Herne

AGE: 406 (give or take)

JOB: Genius loci of Williams Grove, VA

LIKES: Cookies, coffee, questionable 70s music

DISLIKES: Crowds, ghosts, paranormal romance novels

The concept of a genius loci is an ancient one that exists across multiple cultures and religions, and refers to a demigod who serves as the protector spirit of a certain location.

Herne has watched over the few dozen square miles of forest that slowly developed into the town of Williams Grove ever since he was a young demigod. His role has changed over the centuries as the town has grown, though; while his early duties were limited to natural issues and very rare human confrontations, his role in the modern world involves everything from protecting the locals from supernatural threats to quietly overseeing any construction that could encroach too far into the remaining forest.

Herne's "home," such as it is, is in a large live oak at the center of one of the town's larger forested areas. His actions over the years have led to legends of a "Forest King" who protects travelers from the dangers of the woods, and thus it has become superstition to leave small gifts at the foot of the tree. Herne keeps some of these things and takes others to local consignments or shelters.

Because of his increasing closeness to humans by necessity, Herne has had occasional human friends. These relationships have taught him to blend in -- which largely involves hiding his massive wings and antlers -- so that he can walk among the locals for either work or amusement. In recent years, though, he has done his best to keep a distance for his own sake.

But that all changes when someone leaves a cookie from Owl's Flower, the local coffee shop, at the foot of his tree.


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