Forest WhispersMature

The clarity came so astonishingly immediate, that Heather nearly gasped. The man Heather had only just made a deal with was clutching her tree with wildly exuberant eyes. She didn't know about a glowing symbol, but something in Heather's chest fluttered. Of course he would find the oldest ash in the forest interesting. This was the tree of her birth.

"Come on. I think I've found our guide," he said as he backed away from the tree. At that moment Heather thought she was about to faint. A sudden bout of nausea stole over her and she ended up collapsing into the earth. She didn't tell Engle, but ever since Ziema told Engle the trees would guide him, Heather felt fluttery and odd. It was only until now that she understood why.

"Heather, are you okay?" Engle asked the patch of shrubbery on the ground. The plant did not stir, and for awhile Heather thought that simply being plant might fix all of her problems. However, the fluttery feeling didn't go away.

Suddenly the shrub expanded and stretched out human limbs until the girl sat unmoving on the forest earth. She knew what it all meant. She knew she now had an obligation to help this man find his bounty, whatever that meant. Heather looked up and took Engle's hand. She had about enough of collapsing like a weak-rooted balsam fir. From now on, her roots would be deep. She would stand tall no matter what else came her way. She would finish this mission and she would return her forest to its normal peaceful state.

Engle watched her as she determinedly started walking away. "Hey, hold on a second! This symbol means something! Where are you going?!" Engle shouted after her. Heather kept walking, and was happy to feel his heavy footsteps on the soft forest ground run to catch up with her.

"Heather, I need to know what that symbol means, I need your help. Heather, stop," Engle ordered as she reached for her hand, but as he grabbed for it, her arm turned into a willow branch and whipped his hand aside. He would follow her and she would lead him away out of the forest, to his bounty, and back to his home far far away.

Heather didn't actually know where she was going at first. All she knew was that she had to keep walking. Doubt slowly began to seep into her veins. Where was she supposed to go? Was she doing the right thing? As Engle continued to protest and struggled in vain to grab her attention, something caught hers. Heather stopped and held up a hand for Engle to stop talking. They were both silent.

Heather heard them. Instead of the woeful mourning and exhausted sighs, the trees began to speak a different, more subtle language. Engle shifted as Heather concentrated on the low sound of a whispering forest.

Yes, the trees would guide him.

The End

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