dogwood petals, part IIThe hamadryad moved. Her half-awake brain heard rustling noises and warmth all around her. For a moment she thought she was back in her forest, sleeping beside her tree, but as she began to regain cognition, she realized the surface she lay on was too soft. It was smooth, unnatural
strange, strange...Panicked, her eyes flew open and met at once the dark eyes of a human male who stood over her. Memories of the morning flooded back to her, and her muscles tensed as the man began to speak. Im glad to see that youre awake, he said. I fear I had to be rather rough with you this morning.She turned her head away from him. As she breathed she could feel the grazed skin of her side still stinging, and the muscles in her right arm and shoulder were sore as though they had been strained. Pain: it was a strange feeling, and one she had never encountered until now.
dogwood petalsDroplets of dew gathered on the waxy surfaces of the forest leaves and plants, glistening like tiny iridescent stones in the dawning light. The wood was bathed in early morning fog, and even the illumination of the sunlight did nothing to unobscure the foliage and brush beyond the grasses. There, curled up inside the entanglement of shrubbery, her breast rising and falling in the pattern of her breathing, slept Cruetia, spirit of the dogwood tree. Dew formed equally over her white limbs, round and supple with veins of forest green clearly visible, and upon her hair, which due to the cold was red as the bark of the dogwood tree in the winter and as coarse as its young sprouts. Every breath she drew seemed to draw in turn a little tremor from the earth itself, and her paleness seemed almost transparent.She drew a deeper breath, and gave a little gasp as she finally awakened. Raising herself up on one elbow, she looked out at the mis