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Janua sat for several moments, her heart racing. She crawled into her hole, and lit her small oil lamp, the smoke of which was carried up through holes high up within the hollow tree by the drafts from outside. The cake looked to be made of mud, but Janua didn’t think the cake’s inedibility itself was a prank. After all, they had no means to make a cake if they wanted to. But they could make a facsimile if they wanted to be…nice.

Janua contemplated this prospect with growing excitement as she wrapped the cake in a leaf, hoping to preserve it as a memento of what she considered to be a breakthrough in her mission. She opened her wooden chest to store it, and noticed the ornate spyglass Morris once presented her on another memorable birthday was missing.

Janua cried out, then sobbed. Suddenly the tree felt too small to live in, and she pounded one wall in anger and bitter disappointment. Janua missed Morris, and imagined him where he lived in a large human shack, warmed by a fire and lying on a bed. Janua roughly disrobed. She pulled off her devotional necklace of leaves, and threw it on the ground where it broke.

Janua gasped then held her breath. She was shocked at the depths she’d allowed herself to be driven to by losing her composure. Before leaving her Druidic teachers at the deeply shaded monastic Circle of her order, Janua was given the necklace as a token of the goddess’s power to guide others to redemption. Loudly, and through growing sobs she prayed for forgiveness while collecting the necklace, and respectfully draped its remnants across the wooden cradle she made to store and display it.

Sleep did not come easy, but Janua’s last thoughts of the day, reflecting a weakened, but still present hope, wriggled their way out from under her anger and sorrow. Tomorrow she would make plans to continue her mission to serve her woodland charges. She would have to forget ever seeing her spyglass again, and make peace with the loss. As for the Misfits, they would change one day. They had to.

The End

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