Let us tell you a tale.
≈ VII ≈
x. The Saga of Frostwood
Rhewil’s feet carried her faster south through the forest than they had on the way north, aided by each tumble she took down hill and hollow. Where the vines and grasses that grew from the will of the Creation Stone in this otherwise barren place had before been an aid on their path, now they grasped at her ankles and tripped her stride.
“Curse every foot of this bloody forest.” she muttered under her ragged breath, retrieving the Míresgal from her pocket. She rubbed it gently and the ground beneath her erupted in thick, leafy vines thick with orange trumpet-like flowers that swelled from the stem before engorging into a mass of squash and gourds that knocked her off her feet.
As she fell, tumbling backward over a knee-high pumpkin, she lost her grip on the Míresgal. It landed with a soft thud on a large velveteen leaf, set in a vine that continued to coil from the ground, lazily making its way to settle at Mithrilon’s feet.
Rhewil’s head popped up from the tangle of fleshy ovoids and she scrambled to her feet, eyes darting all around to find the dropped stone. And then she saw it.
“What…” she started toward Mithrilon and the stone, and from the cold, dead earth sprung an impenetrable wall of sunflowers between them. He bent to pick up the Míresgal, and a dense, inviting carpet of moss bubbled up to form a path next to him, leading to the east.
Their eyes met between the sunflower stalks. “Well, I don’t know if it could be any clearer.” she said.
“I don’t...but...what are we supposed to do now?” he asked.
“I don’t seem to be an authority on the matter, seeing as I was just abandoned by my own blood. But if I were to hazard a guess, you are to go that way, and I am to get lost.” she said, motioning toward the mossy trail to the east with one hand and to the lightening wood to the south behind her.
“But you have to take this back to Enedon, don’t you?” said Mithrilon, holding out the stone toward her. The sunflowers sprouted thorns.
“Apparently not.” she said. “A hunter I may be, but this hunt is not mine.”
Mithrilon still held the Creation Stone before him. “I can’t...I’m just supposed to take this? I mean, I’m not saying I’ve never walked off with something that wasn’t mine, but I would rather not have a cadre of elven palace guards on my tail.”
“I would like to see them try.” she said, eyes trailing up the sunflower stalks. She took a step forward, and the huge flowers towering above their heads set themselves ablaze. She stepped back again.
“The stones know their own minds, whether you do or not. And I think they’re teaming up. I think you had better go where they tell you.”