Kara sang them down the river of Time to a different point in the Long Ago. Ada winced at the scene before them. They were in the sacred grove at the center of the forest. Fall colors tinted the tips of leaves.
Dree whistled a melody, bittersweet and a touch melancholy. Song birds fell quiet then repeated phrases from the song, an echo through the woods. The summoning was even picked up by the sighing leaves in the wind.
A few minutes later, Ada walked into the grove. Her hair was black with silver at the temples and her face was smoother, less worn with worry. She stared at Dree defiantly before kneeling.
Ada said neutrally, “You called, my Heart?”
Dree studied her, noting the leaves and traces of mud on her clothing. “It took you
“I was scouting along the border of the meadow where the Jormuna have settled.”
“Very well,” Dree replied. “You may stand, my champion. I have a task for you.” Ze handed her a swaddled bundle.
Ada accepted it reluctantly. She peeked under the edge of the blanket and sighed. “Is this a changeling?”
Dree caressed her cheek with a long, wooden finger. “Don’t worry about the details. Just raise her as your own.”
Ada scowled. “What do I tell Kara? I just found her in the woods?”
Dree nodded. “That would suffice. I will call for her when I have need. I trust you to
protect her until then.”
Ada growled, “It isn’t that easy…”
Dree waved dismissively. “I am sorry for the loss of your son. The chill is a most unfortunate affliction brought upon us by the Jormuna. His death will be avenged, I promise you that much.”
Ada looked away, unable to respond. Dree gently turned her face back towards zir. “I grieve with you, Ada.”
She blinked in surprise, a tear escaping. Dree rarely called her by her name. “I… thank you.”
Dree transformed into the beautiful lover that had first captured her. “I swear to you this child will not fall to illness.” Ze stroked the child’s forehead with a fingertip soft as silk, leaving a faint path of silver light. “I have other plans for her.”
Ada felt a chill in her bones despite the warmth of Dree’s voice. “Does she have a name?”
Dree laughed softly. It reminded Ada of the jingle of small bells. “I leave that to you, my champion.” Ze abruptly turned into wind and swirled around her before racing deep into the forest.
Ada’s hair blew into her face and her cloak wrapped tighter around her in Dree’s wake as if it desired to follow zir. She sighed and brushed her hair back then said to the baby, “There is a part of me that wishes to follow Dree always. Fortunately for you, little one, my heart listens to my head.” The babe cooed and grabbed hold of her finger. Ada smiled. “Don’t worry. I will try to protect you from zir.”
The scene faded as she turned to go home.
copyright 2014, Kimberley Long-Ewing, all rights reserved