SOULKIN--YA FANTASY Feb 9, 2019 13:28:28 GMT -5
Post by Katja on Feb 9, 2019 13:28:28 GMT -5
Warning whispered through the trees of Draghiar Forest as Rook chased her younger sister. Rook reached for Mareah's arm, but her sister moved too quick and slipped away. Her echoing laugh was all that remained as Rook lost sight of her raven hair in the shadowed woods.
Rook knew Mareah couldn't hear the tree's murmurs and despite her sister’s promise to obey her, she'd taken off, forcing Rook into a game of fox and hare. As the responsible one, the adult, Rook should have made more of an effort to stop her. But Mareah's laughter, made her ignore the counsel of the trees.
Brambles snagged on Rook's clothes as she burst into a small clearing. In ten strides she'd reached the massive Daelen tree that called the meadow home. She pressed her palms against the rough bark and a welcoming warmth prickled through her fingers. Sucking in a lungful of crisp, fall air, she looked for Mareah.
"Where are you hiding?" Rook rolled her eyes. Mareah was always playing jokes--a mischievous streak she'd inherited from their father.
She stepped back from the Daelan tree, her eyes sweeping the surrounding forest. The dense press of trees surrounding the clearing was nearly devoid of leaves, their branches scraping at the clouds like skeletal fingers. Thick undergrowth filled the space between their trunks, making it impossible to see deeper.
Worry stirred in Rook's belly. They were barely a kilometer into the forest, but still farther than most dared to come. She'd made the mistake of going beyond the clearing only once. The memory of that day shivered through her, leeching the warmth of the midday sun from her skin. The creatures that inhabited the inner forest--imps, banshees, dragons, and worse--were not to be taken lightly.
And Mareah knew better than to go past the Daelan tree.
"Mareah!" The name echoed as she paced around the Daelan tree, letting her fingers brush over its trunk.
The tree was massive. Its bark a mottled grey and black, twisted together to create irregular ridges and more knotholes than she could count. Unlike the rest of the trees, it hummed with energy. Pale blue blossoms unfurled along its branches, brought to life by the autumn sun. While the rest of the forest drifted into its winter slumber, Daelan trees bloomed.
Most people feared the Daelan tree, but Rook had never been afraid. Of all the trees that whispered their secrets to her, the Daelan was the most human.
Rook's hand dropped to her hip. "Mareah." her voice caught on the last syllable. She shouldn't have given in to her sister's pleas to come along on her foraging trip; their mother never would’ve given permission. "We don't have time to play games. If you don't show yourself--"
A hand grabbed her shoulder and Rook screamed. She whirled to find Mareah doubled over, trying to subdue her fit of laughter.
"You never thought to look up," she managed between giggles and pointed into the branches.