Chapter Fifty-Three

Hariel looked up from washing the staff.  He felt the presence again, something utterly alien, but benign.  If anything, it seemed to be thanking him for finding the staff, and for all the work he had done to rid the forest of the aether-contaminated Harvest creatures.  Out of the corner of his eye, he could swear that he saw a figure clad completely in green-though he never could get his eye on it.  However, he did notice it stayed in his vision-was it beckoning him?

He gave chase.  Aether-fueled muscles burned at the pace it set.  Hariel realized there was no way this could be human-not even Irian was this fast.  But, it stayed visible, urging him on to run from the corners of his vision.  He ran, carrying the staff and dodging the trees.

He didn’t even know that trees could be this old.  Here they were, ten feet wide, their tops impossibly tall, their branches all-encompassing, intergrown with each other until there were no trees, there was only tree. Suddenly, the trees stopped.  In the ring they formed, a light shone.  In the midst of that light was something, but he couldn’t make out what.  He dropped to the forest floor to investigate.

In the exact center of the grove (it had to have been shaped by some hands, even if they weren’t human) was a light issuing from the ground.  In that light was a blade-it looked like an aether blade, but like none he had ever seen.  Whereas the past ones he had seen were an azure blue, this was a deep malachite green shot with white.  Its handle was white wood, sized perfectly for his hands.  He reached out and grasped it.  At that instant, two things happened.

His sword fell to pieces on his back, and his hair sprouted leaves.

Hariel finally knew what he was dealing with.  He had actually seen the Green Man.  Maybe Irian was right about Manadwydan as well.  Hariel hefted the blade and studied it.  This had been crafted for him, at some point.  It had been left here, as well.  He didn’t know how he knew, but he did.

Hariel slung the blade into the carrier the old one had formerly occupied, and started picking his way through the trees.  Elanor would wake sometime, and she shouldn’t wander the forests by herself.  She got into trouble far too easily.

Published in: on April 20, 2010 at 4:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

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