Hope Springs Eternal – February 468 AV

Redwood stretched its branches towards the dawn, a welcome and pleasant sensation that relieved the ache of hunger and soothed its sap dried wounds. The long dark was finally lifted.

Like elsewhere in the forest, darkness had birthed the onslaught of demons and the old tree had stood against that dark tide in defence of its charge – a small sapling growing in the centre of the clearing. They were gone now though, the light had returned and the treant could breathe at last

A silent shadow crept into the grove, wearing flesh but still seeming one with the forests of the Delvings.

“Fury” Redwood said in recognition. “Your other is safe, you need not have come”

The fae hunters body was still covered in vines but they no longer reached below ground for a connection to the great plant.

“I did not send this one to fight, only question. The bearers of the acorn spoke with me through this one. I sent them to you so the forest could pass judgement. Yet the acorn was not returned to it’s place at it’s heart and chaos has rained down upon the forest since.”

Forest Fury’s host reached a hand out to the sapling and the little branches tried to reach back but were still too short. Redwood huffed and lumbered over to him.

“I communed with the acorn. The Heartwood was carried and protected by a Delver for much of the last few months. He believed planting the Heartwood closer to the rivers source would let Heartwood spread it’s wisdom and vitality to the other lands. It wished to try”

Forest Fury’s eyes lit with anger

“The Heartwood choose to weaken it’s own forest?!”

“No,” Redwood began slowly “It understands there is more than one heart to this forest and one has slept too long”

“How dare you!”

Redwood straightened to his full height and loomed over the hosts body.

“Look around you, Vara’s Bounty, Luna’s Stand, the Delves are being assaulted by malign forces and still you did nothing. We cried out for guidance when the Heartwood left us and for a full year you did not waken.”

The host cocked it’s head considering. Redwood continued.

“Heartwood asked to be taken to help protect the people of the forest, they in turn have brought it home. That is our cycle Fury, spirits and people together make the Delvings whole. You have been apart from us for too long.”

The host paced to the edge of the clearing and stopped not looking back at the tree that had slowly turned to follow him.

“Perhaps you are correct. Perhaps I shall continue to use this one to interact with the forest above. Perhaps when the Heartwood is grown I may then sleep but for now I am needed to protect this place.”

The host stepped in the forest and vanished. Redwood turned back towards the dawn now glowing a bloody orange as it spread across the sky and watched as it dispelled the last of the darkness.