• The forest center was calm, ethereal and was littered with dancing rays of sunlight that managed to fight its way through the fingers of the trees. But yet it was far from peaceful for all seemed to eerily quiet. Like lurking just beyond the shadows was something more dangerous than any demon, more fearsome than any mythical monster. It was the earthen eye of the storm, a moment’s breath of safety before being plunged back into the maelstrom. And in the stillness of it all stood a gargantuan tree, towering over all walking across the moss covered forest floor. But its likes had not been seen in the human world. Instead of one solid trunk it was actually thousands of wooden tendrils emerging from the soil to twist together before splaying out at the top to form branches. The woven tree was adorned with leaves of a dark green, deep and soothing but were tinged with a gentle metallic blue. But what was especially unique about these leaves was that they curled vigorously so they resembled a maiden’s ringlet. There were multiple Widows Curls in this forest but none as big as the one in the center of it all. And it was only fitting that a Widows Curl was the heart of woods as these trees were considered to be sentient beings.

    Elaine eyed the great tree warily.

    Widows Curls were carnivorous trees and while there had been no report (Only rumors) of them consuming anything but small animals, birds and large insects, none of the trees had ever been known to grow this big. They had been traveling around the tree for hours and they had discovered that the tree was 8 miles across and a little over 25 miles around. This was definitely the location of the Earth Dryeda city. Honoum forest had been where they were last seen and this tree was definitely big enough to hold a city inside. And there was the lingering aura of magic. Strong magic. And Elaine figured that it was because there were probably a couple of witches inside helping to cast enchantments over the place to help keep this place hidden and have the grim feeling. The spell had to be recast weekly to keep it up so there had to be at least a couple of witches inside.

    “This is it.” The raven haired woman said.

    “You sure hun?” Yaelee asked, “They were only last seen here doesn’t mean the Dryedas didn’t go somewhere else.”

    “I’m pretty sure.” Elaine insisted, “This Widows Curl is definitely large enough to hold a city inside if desired and there is a distinct feel of magic around the place. Someone here is casting concealing spells to make people not want to be around this area.”

    She twisted a lock of curly black hair around her finger thoughtfully.

    “The problem is figuring out how to get inside. Or to get them to open up the way.”

    Naer stepped forward, his keen red eyes calmly observing the tree in question.

    “They are not doing a very good job at concealing if you were able to detect spells used to hide this place. This could be a trap that they set up.”

    The dark elf ran a gloved hand over a part of the trunk, as if to physically check for any possible triggers that could set off a trap.

    “Witches are sensitive to the presence of magic.”

    Xierra took on a sarcastic tilt, “Imagine that, Naer. A witch being able to detect magic that they use all of their lives.”

    “Stranger things have happened.” The dark elf shrugged, “Like an allegedly capable wood elf being unable to defend herself against a few guards.”

    Though there was no venom or sarcasm in those words, they cut straight through the fair wood elf. Because no biting or cruel tone was needed to emphasize the truth. Honey eyes clouded over with traumatizing memory as she recalled it all in horrid detail. Her full lips trembled as she fought to regain hold on reality but it became apparent that the brunette was losing that battle. Her slender frame was quivering, her knees feeling weak and suddenly, Xierra felt dirty. Dirty with a grimy feeling on her skin that she had fought so hard to clean and even harder to forget. And just when she was about to cry, Yaelee swept her into a tight, comforting hug, stroking her fingers delicately through the wood elf’s oak colored hair. All the while her silver eyes pinned Naer with a hateful and pain promising glare.

    “Naer!” Elaine snarled with an uncharacteristic viciousness, “You will remain silent on that matter if I have to curse you into oblivion myself! Now shut up unless you have something
    useful to contribute!”

    The offending dark elf quirked the corner of his mouth in amusement, “As you say, my mistress.”

    The water witch scowled at his words. She knew he spoke that not only as a way to defy her command to be silent but also as a way to show that just because he was traveling with them did not mean he would listen unless it suited his interests. His point had been made to Xierra so he did not need to pursue it any further. But how she hated it when he called her his mistress. And he knew that she hated it, which was why he called her such. Sometimes she lost sight of how he used to be her enemy. How if the circumstances weren’t so dire, he would still be her enemy.

    ‘Oh the situations necessity forces us into.' Elaine thought.

    “Well what wonderful progress we’re making.”Isaac said with derisiveness, his Irish accent still thick as ever, “Fighting amongst ourselves, we’ll find a way inside in no time!”

    Elaine ignored him, quite used to his dour nature.

    “Any ideas on how we’ll get in?” Yaelee asked, “If they went through so much trouble to hide their city, it won’t be possible to force it to open.”

    “I do have one idea. But I think we should wait it out first. There’s a chance that some of the Dryeda routinely leave.”

    “What makes you say that?”

    The blue-eyed witch glared at Naer when he spoke, “They need to eat don’t they? That means that there will be hunters and scouts to leave and gather food.”

    The dark elf laughed, “Stupid girl.”

    “I can get started on cursing you now to keep you silent if that’s what you want.” Elaine said plainly, giving him a nasty look.

    “They are Earth Dryedas little witch. They have the ability to grow their needed plants almost immediately and this location would be a very strategic location. Widows Curls are carnivorous so they could take what animals this tree consumes while using their abilities to keep it alive. They have no reason to leave the safety of their new home.”

    Elaine felt her hope sink. He was right. There would be no inhabitant of this tree leaving anytime soon. And that meant they would have to try her idea. Something she was not eager to do. The witch bit her lower lip in worry.

    “Then that means we have to try my plan. We make them come to us.”

    Naer cocked a brow, “And how do you propose we do that?”

    Her mouth was set in a grim line, “We attack the heart of the forest. We attack their tree.”

    ((Ok I understand that there was a lot in there you had to fill in yourself and that the writing is rough. I only just finished it last night so it needs to go through alot of clean up. XD Comments are appreciated as is constructive criticism! Thank you for reading! :3 ))