Winter never seemed to end this year, by the moon we are in the spring although it didn’t feel like it, the cold air and the rain had been going on 6 months now with no end in sight. Hugo moved through forest with practiced ease the soft earth making squishing sounds as his boots got more muddy and wet, his fur cap trapping the heat and the rain in equal measure. Finally he reached a tree he had been eyeing for hard wood for the last 3 years and decided to trim around it’s base to keep it clear. His axe making quick work of the brush and ferns around the tree, the plants making sounds like rain on a roof whenever the axe met them.
He liked that these didn’t scream when you had to cut them.
“Soon Monsieur Tree you will make something beautiful but not today I swear.”
After quick work clearing he placed his hand upon the tree and tried to feel what the tree was feeling, but all he felt was the rough bark and the cold dampness. He had heard stories that some trees could speak but this was not one of those trees he realized after a while and felt silly so he kept walking. So far Grandfather Oak was the only tree he had ever heard speaking.
He liked Grandfather Oak.
Making his way to the river that would lead him home, he saw a fallen log that had a perfect hiding hole, it reminded him of that horrible night long ago. the memory took over he remembered his lung that didn’t get right till he was older wheezing in the cold air, his small limbs feeling like they were filled with lead and fire after running for hours, and that thing chasing him though the night glowing with ghost lights.
He didn’t like ghosts.
He passed a path that he knew would take him to the grove if he wanted but he knew it wouldn’t hold any peace for him right now. Outsiders and cannibals had stomped through his grove and corrupted it with their presence. how would they like it if we planted a fir tree in the middle of their church? he laughed at the silliness of the question and the image of the great tree bursting through the roof of their place. All of those outsiders with their silly questions, rules that made no sense, and looking at people and places that they had no right to see. We had been fine for generations but now things are changing too fast.
He didn’t like change.
Secrets were now exposed that put the circle in danger. the trees were silent and unclear on their path forward. A crone could save or damn them, there was no good choice it was like getting hit with a light mist deep in the woods and loosing the path back home with night coming on fast. He loved his circle and loved his community but their are somethings that couldn’t be reconciled together. It was like a pitcher that had been in the family for generations that had been dropped and was now in a hundred pieces never to be recovered or put back together. For the longest time he had considered himself a protector of the Circle and of the town, not an attack dog. He had a hole in his stomach were anxiety and fearfulness of the future now lived.
He didn’t like this feeling at all.