Forest Lady

There was no island city. No cataclysm of waters and storms, just the guardian winds. There was a Quartet, yes, but no Judge of Heaven imprisoned. Dremael, the centre world, where the Timekeeper Amatialle alone knew its passageways. Where I would search under the inky sky, a sky devoid of light, alit by fireflies. And then when the Others came, and the realm fell into a frozen eternity.

It was my world, always mine, but I knew there were other wanderers amidst its portals. For years Chloentyl searched for Innaetyl, calling, until my voice grew feeble, and I shivered in the breath of winter that seeped into my land. Then finally, I took flight from the deep, sobbing and soaked in the cold rain, rain that began to melt the frozen eternity. Stood up to stare into crimson eyes and a river of silver hair.

“Not all who wander are lost,” spoke this projection of Teacher. Then there is a unicorn. Oh hello, white beauty with the azure hair.

This crystallized stormbringer leads me into the forestry. I sigh. A fruitless search, time and time again. I don’t even know who Innaetyl is, what Innaetyl is. More unicorns. Those words comfort my heart, but I still think I should return to reality and yet … Dremael. I haven’t been here in too long. Would it be a crime to remain just a little longer?

There is a curious circle of evergreen trees. Someone is standing in its midst. Chrysalis Chaos halts, and nudges me forward. I’m reluctant to leave her, but she insists, and I cautiously approach the figure. Long white hair. Tanned figure. A strange manner of clothing. Little fae dancing around, one holding a crown, the other has the Timekeeper’s lantern. I shouldn’t draw closer, but curiosity gets the better of me. Who is this, who now turns to face me? I can’t tell if his eyes are red or brown or gold. It’s hard to see in the firelight. Ugh, a man, I’d better run away now. My feet remain rooted. I can’t take a step forward or backwards.

“Welcome home, Mayli,” he says, a rich, resonating sound. A hand decorated in bracelets and a single ring extends to me, I flinch and my own hand brushes my hair. I look at it with wonder. It’s blue.

I gasp and try to break free, but in our bodies, he’s watching me with the same intensity as the white-haired man, and a warmth runs up, not down, my spine as he repeats his words. “Welcome home, Mayli.” I stare. No more telltale signs of an otherworld potent. “Music box, music box, music box. Remember the Dremael of your childhood. Take my hand and step into the circle.”

My words are strange and familiar at once to me. “I am the forest child, grown.”

Perspectives blur, I keep flickering between the two, my brain screaming at how weird it is to be having a shared simultaneous vision.

“Kirayorona,” both of them say at once, together. Or are they one and the same?

Perspectives merge as I accept Shallyn’s hand, and I cross that boundary into the circle of evergreen trees.

The Sun is setting when we both remember the world again.

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