Part 5

I come to an enormous old tree just as the first sun is beginning to dip below the earth line. It will have to do; I’m running out of time. As I’ve already mentioned I’m generally terrible at the lessons my village see as important and while climbing wasn’t my worst it certainly wasn’t my best. I know that it will take me a good ten minutes to get into that monster, I can only hope that I’ll be lucky during that time. Thankfully the tree itself is fairly gnarly so there are several places to cling onto before I get to the branches themselves. The lower branches prove to be something of a challenge, they’re ever so thick and it’s a struggle to lock my arms all the way around them. I’ve never been a big girl, or a very strong one. My long hair is falling constantly in my eyes as I climb, significantly hindering my progress while the constant worry that I’m going to fall keeps me clinging so close to the trunk that my arms are burning. I’m close to giving up and resting on a branch that is still in sight of the ground by the time I reach a safe place. It doesn’t look like it will be at all comfortable but there’s no way I will be able to climb down this tree and then back up another one by the time the first sun has made its final drop so I have no choice but to stay. I just have to wait out the night.

Now I’m in the tree I have to keep myself in it. Some of the best students can simply settle themselves in a branch and fall asleep but I cannot do that. I have always been what my mother calls a ‘dangerous sleeper’ which means that I make so much noise moving in my sleep that I alert my presence to everything. It’s a term usually reserved for children before they begin training. I had to good sense to bring ropes with me, and after a few minutes fumbling around I have managed to lash myself to
not only the trunk of the tree, but the branch as well. There’s no way I can fall to the ground now, though I can still fall from the branch itself and spend a night dangling beneath it. There is equally no way that I could quickly escape if something came to kill me. Once again I was leaving my life in the hands of whichever God pitied me enough to look over me.

I’m woken by the icy fingers of the night, frost is working it’s slow way up the trunk of the tree I have nested in for the night and I groan as it dawns on me that I will have to thaw myself out before I can make any progress in the morning. What I wouldn’t give for one of our villages thick woollen blankets, I would even be happy with a thin blanket. I force myself to not think about it, to just let myself fall back asleep. I know that I will get used to the cold eventually, I have to. Everyone else manages it and so can I. I’m just dropping back off as it starts to rain. I would cry if it wasn’t so cold, I simply don’t have the energy to spare, everything is going
towards keeping myself warm. My winter furs are seemingly useless when they’re covered in frost. I might attempt making something warmer, though I have no clue what, I just need to sleep. My last thought as I slip into the unconscious world of dreams is of my brother Eric. He would have been warm where I am now. He would have been fine. I can’t disappoint him.

The End

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