Photo by Todd McKinley
Sybil awoke to the sounds of birdsong. It was a strange sensation, almost foreign.
How long have I been surrounded by dead stone?
She opened her eyes and beheld more green than ever has been seen in her short life. A veritable sea of green stretches through the sky, with only traces of blue between reaching limbs.
“Oh!” she exclaimed, unable to keep her feelings contained. She was a child again, a feeling of wonder sinking deep into her mind. Vast trees as big around as entire citadel towers stood all around her, reaching impossible heights.
“I never . . . Not this much,” she felt herself say. Beneath her, the ground sank into a soft spongy moss. She wanted nothing more than to languish in the spot and giggle to herself. But years of learned propriety forced her to stand and take a survey of the situation.
She was alone, or so it seemed. The sounds of trickling water filled the air about her.
“Hello? Is anyone there?” she asked, knowing full well there would be no answer.
Somewhere far off a bird took to flight, it’s wing beats almost a scream in the forest.
“Hello?” she called again. Nothing.
Call out with your mind, a sudden thought spoke to her, as if whispered in her ear.
Ask us, anything.
The sudden intrusion into her mind left her speechless, and thoughtless. Her legs faltered and she fell back upon the heap of green moss.
“Who are you?” she blurted out, and then remembered the words she’s heard.
Who are you? Sybil asked, her mind echoing as never before as if her thoughts were being listened to, are you there?
Yes, came the reply, more powerful than she could comprehend, yes we are here.
Sybil looked up at the trees once more and then it dawned on her.
Who are you, she asked again feeling her confidence grow.
There was a pause and then the trees reverberated.
We are the Forest Occulta.