Leonus stood in among trees, trying to imagine a world in which he could not speak to them, a world in which he was not of the trees and would never return to them. The thought caused him pain. Never being able to face his friends if he failed to avenge them –
Leonus, this is Pinar Truewood. I have a message for you. It’s from Panth Deathsung. He sends: We have always loved your tenacity but in this case we love our former kin and our new kin more. If you choose to continue pursuing this path you are on then we will know that you never embarked on this journey for us. If you had you would be happy to pursue that which we deemed the more important path.
Leonus was staggered; he laughed sardonically at himself. Even in death Panth knew better than he did what was of higher priority.
“Pinar, show me the way to the Bringers of Peace. I shall do as the Trees will.” Leonus had gathered his thing as soon as he had returned to the campsite. No rest would come to him with such weighty matters resting on his shoulders.
You needn’t move Leonus; simply call out “Hail King and Father, He of Earthsung, Son of Wolves.” when we deem it fit.
Boreon stalked quietly, smelling the scent of a man, not far off the path. He could smell the agitation from here. Nothing bothered him more than animals that were on edge. Especially the sort which could do him harm. Normal men seldom killed wolves, however, seldom was not never. It could only be a pup’s own foolishness that led to his demise. He could hear a disturbance in the man’s breathing. And as the wind gusted he picked up a scent of calm. He heard a call and knew the man addressed him. And here he was thinking that he’d pass without alerting man or tree to his unique presence. The Alpha snorted in resignation and began padding in the direction of the very thing he’d tried to avoid.
He silently emerged from the underbrush the leaves strewn about thickly, into a clearing of speaking browned Pines. Clearly this man was Treeborn and Gaia’s touch gave him the faintest black aura. Another gust flung leaves about, this time also carrying a hint of the rain coming from the west. Clearly he would be traveling into something he’d rather avoid.
In the small clearing he saw a young man, with black hair and mahogany skin, his blue-green eyes were unsettling and his stance that of someone threatened. He stood easily in that pose as if it was natural for him, being the prey and never the predator.
“How does it know I,King Father?” He asked in a low grumble and very awkwardly, he wasn’t a practiced speaker out side of natural tongues.
“I was told to call on you by the Trees. I was told to follow you, to assist you in your task… Yet I know not what that maybe. Do you care for company?” Asked the young man probingly. Boreon was irritated at the Trees’ further interference.
“No, I not care fuh company!” He said irritatedly, of course he realized that neither the young man nor the Trees had registered his refusal because the young man began to collect his things. Toting his bag he looked expectantly at the wolf.
The wolf stalked off, meandering between the trees at a moderate pace, for wolves that was. He’d lose the boy, it wouldn’t take long. Maintaing pace, right behind him, however was the uninvited guest.
“Goawy!” he said over a lolling tongue, very careful not to bite his tongue. He picked up speed, weaving back and forth this time but trying to move in a general Westerly direction. The young man, however seemed not to have heard him because he pushed on, putting the thin vine woven chords of his bag over his shoulders. Stubborn.
Leonus had not seen himself ever being in this situation, hounding a wolf, come to think about it the very idea was comical. Leonus was glad that snowfall was still a time off, else he would have lost the cloud coloured wolf. He noted the general direction they were moving in and made his move. He started heading west. He cut a meandering line, he didn’t want to end up too far from the wolf.
The young man was becoming a pain in Boreon’s backside, mostly because he had managed to notice that no matter what direction the ran in the always head west. Perhaps one of his new powers would come in handy…
Leonus had been keeping his heading for over an hour, surely by now the strange wolf had to be close by. Leonus was at breaking point having been pushed to near sprinting to keep up. Leonus stopped now would be a good time to Feed the Trees. Leonus Dug and poured power into the Trees that surround him, they were a particularly healthy bunch, yet despite the frequent feeding of Envrese-boosted life force to them and the surrounding plants none bloomed anymore. No one had seen a natural flower in years. No fruit unless you boosted one plant with huge amounts. While he fed them he could hear the entire stretch for a few kilometers. If the wolf was near he’d hear it. A surge of magic filled his ears, a buzz that stopped him in his tracks unable to do anything but clutch his ears. Tears filled his eyes and he heard a howl not far off. Out of the darkness stepped a figure clad in gold armor, his partially drawn blade gleamed redder than the Wolf’s eyes and his eyes were an unnatural brown. He walked toward Leonus screaming something, but Leonus was unable to hear him. He still only heard ringing, Leonus leached his hearing and feeling, pouring it into his eyesight enhancing it for the price of temporary loss, as the wavelengths visible to his eyes changed he saw an aura, not the black tinge of Envrese or the silver glow of Instict of the Red of animal magic, not even the strange white of the Wolf he’d just encountered. This Aura shot golden flares of power, arcing from head to shoulder, toe to chest constantly shifting. All that activity was encompassed by what seemed to be a black cage. He radiated all that power gold and rich yet he was being limited… Leonus looked up to face the blinding light and returned his senses to normal. The out line of the aura was etched into his eyes. “You have seen it I see. You too can have this power if you join me. If you refuse I will strike you down. What says you Elfchild?”
The Trees screamed “No”, the first time he had ever heard such a lamenting cry. His heart broke at the wailing which seemed unending. The whole forest. Leonus covered his ears. Then he heard a voice in his head. “I will leave you here, but every Tree you listened to, every Tree you’ve fed all of them within your radius will burn, until the conflagration reaches you at its end point. If you choose not to join me you will die here. You have until the fire reaches you, choose wisely!” the gold clad speaker walked away and as he did he drew his sword. It sparked as it came out of its sheath. Leonus saw it drag on the ground like the matchsticks of old and far behind him at the base of the hill five kilometers away he saw a line of fire start, spreading left and right.
Then The Weeping of The Trees began.