Steeping deeper in the forest Ara looked up at the canopy of the trees. Very little light shone down through them from their impregnated darkness, yet she was not terrified but instead felt a residual comfort from them. The path that she was traveling on was well-worn and used like that of a patchwork quilt of burnt umber and Sienna.
The sprite that had convinced her to take the tentative steps into the deeper part of the wood gently pierced her silent reverie with an innocence question, “By what do they call you?” She looked up at the pulsating orb and glanced back from where she came and said in a hushed whisper, “Ara, my name is Ara.” The sprite grew brighter still and flared out around her as if encircling her in a motherly embrace, “You have a strong name child.” “A strong name? Names are nothing more than useless titles,” Ara murmured with indignation. She turned and faced the forest with her jaw set rigidly and set off walking again.
“In time you will fathom the error of that declaration,” the orb exclaimed with another pulse of intense light, “Come, we have far to go before the sky blankets itself in darkness.” Ara nodded timidly wondering to herself if she had angered the being with her emotional outburst. Inwardly she chided herself saying What are you doing? Don’t be a fool you do not even know with whom you are speaking and now you have insulted this entity. As if it could read her thoughts it said simply, “You have much to learn child but do not chastise yourself for speaking your mind. Do not worry we will teach you all that wish you to know and more.”
Did it just read my thoughts? Ara wondered but decided to not ask and just follow. The forest here gave the impression that it was different, alive, and breathing like that of an infant snoring serenely in its mother’s arms. Ara found herself absorbed in the beauty that was unfolding before her with each step of the way. How could all of this be so different? She had heard whispers at the court that no one should enter the dark wood for within its mysteries men never returned, yet there was nothing here that frightened her. Even the ferns along the path seemed to sway and dance to a melody she could not hear, how could this treacherous? Ara didn’t know but the sprite had told her she would receive answers to all that her heart had wondered so she continued, not knowing where they were headed but trusting nonetheless.