Six months later
I sat high upon my tower, overlooking a vast meadow below me. A clean line of trees and shrubbery just left of the field marked where the forest began (not the Dark Forest, mind you; that place was long gone). I allowed my eyes to glaze over the gorgeous scenery, taking in the vivaciousness of the meadow below. I'd never seen greener grass, nor bluer sky, nor more brilliant a sun.
The thing was, I couldn't stand it.
"Master, you called?" a modest voice called from behind. The thing was a being of reckonable strength, and it was in the form of a scarecrow. I called it Nathaniel (which was just a preference of mine; the thing didn't really have a name, as far as I know).
"Yes, come here Nathaniel. I want you to look out this window and tell me what you see."
The scarecrow did as it was told and approached the window with some care. It gazed out upon the scenery.
"It is a gorgeous day, master. The sky is deep blue, the grass lively green, and the sun smiles upon the earth. You should be happy about this, and yet I sense you are not."
I exhaled through my nostrils, "Take a look at it on the deeper planes**, would you?"
On the first plane, everything was just as Nathaniel had said: green grass, blue sky, smiling sun. But on the deeper planes, things were not so hunky dory. From the second plane onward, there expanded before me a vast, shifting desert. Small tufts of pathetic shrubbery bent with the wind, and the sun baked the sand dry of moisture. There was a small oasis with a pond of clear water in the middle, but I could see that the edges of it were slowly receding. It would not be long before the oasis dried up as well.
"Oh. I see," spoke the scarecrow, "If it is of any consolation, things will change soon. I do not think this will last long."
I nodded, "What if it does last? What if moving doesn't help any?"
"It is not simply moving, my master. We are starting a new life. Everything will be reset, and you will have the chance to make things as you wish them to be."
I nodded. In the past few months, my current location had been doing its work on me. There wasn't anything necessarily wrong with the place, but it seemed to lack any kind of depth. The sheer shallowness of the place seemed to feed upon my thoughts and emotions. There was no meaning, no adventure, no spirituality; it was starting to feel like a wasteland. A few things offered me consolation, i.e. being around friends, practicing art, contemplating the future, but none of these things quite made up for the sheer lack of depth which surrounded me. I was losing my energy. No matter how much I slept, I felt tired; no matter how much I ate, I felt hungry; no matter how much I did, I felt lazy. This place was starting to bake me dry.
I sighed, "I need something to change, Nathaniel. I need a place that can touch me deeply."
"What better place than the seaside, master?" the scarecrow replied amiably, "The salty air will do wonders for your skin."
I sneered at its comment, "My skin is fine, thank you. Besides, I'm more worried about that." I pointed out the window at the skrinking oasis.
"As I said, things are going to change," the scarecrow said simply.
I sighed again, "If you say so. I'm putting faith in your word. You may go."
Nathaniel bowed, "Thank you, master."
It turned and walked quietly towards the door. As it was about to exit, I remembered something.
I bit my lip, "What of the Lady?"
"She is gone. We have banished her as you have so vehemently requested."
I paused and allowed his words to sink in, then dismissed him.
"Thank you, Nathaniel."
The scarecrow bowed, then exited the room, leaving me to gaze out upon the scenery once more (it was the meadow again). Perhaps it was a nice landscape, but I felt a passion to incinerate it just as I had done the Dark Forest many months ago.
I would give it some time, as my servant suggested.
**The Four Planes of Depth: This is a system of levels or 'planes' which measure the depth of a person's personality, emotions, desires, thoughts, etc. They are ordered one to four, least depth to greatest depth respectively. I have written a detailed description of each plane in my work The Four Planes of Depth, which you might consider reading, since I am beginning to refer to the planes quite often in my works.