TITLE: Emergence of the Fey
Marian knelt by the narrow stream, watching the puddle jumpers. The blue sparks danced just out of reach as she dipped her hand in. The playful creatures didn't cheer her, nor did the trickling of the stream or the pair of whistler birds singing courtship. The sounds of the forest were eclipsed by weeping. Usually the ethereal crying was contained to one clearing, but it resonated through all the trees.
She stood and wiped her hands on her knee-length tunic. Why was the sorrow so powerful today? She caressed the smooth bark of one of the oaks, fighting off the urge to add her own tears. "Who are you? Why do you cry?"
A branch snapped in the distance. Marian quickly pulled away from the tree and looked to the noise. If someone overheard her, the rumors would start all over again. Rushed footsteps brought her sister into view, cheeks flushed and brown hair loose from its braid. "Marian... Marian." Terra stopped to catch her breath. "Mother... needs help... Glenna... having baby. Need ointment and fresh water."
Marian didn't need to hear more. "You get a bucket from the well. I'll make the ointment and meet you at Glenna's."
Her afternoon walk had taken a wandering path through Oak Tears, but now Marian took a more direct route. She came out of the forest near Carpenter Farrol's home. Three shorn stumps greeted her and she stumbled at the sight. Who could have done such a thing to her trees?