My sister wandered The Wilds once again. She slept under boughs heavy with blossoms and in hollows of dead trees. She ate wild berries and mushrooms and drank dew from leaves. For days she came across neither creatures nor people. But then a plume of white smoke caught her attention and she hurried towards it, hoping for a roof and warm meal. She came to a cottage. A very lovely cottage with white trim and splashes of bright colors around the frosted windows and pale blue door. A wreath of bright green leaves and colorful flowers adorned the door. The most delightful scent of hearty stew wafted out, and my sister, hungry as she was, could not resist.
Abigail ran back through the kitchens and into the gardens. Her feet took her through the herb gardens, the vegetable gardens, and the stone wall dividing the gardens from the wildly growing undergrowth and thick copse of trees extending as far as her eyes could see. Her heart hammered wildly, her mind refusing to whirl, stalled as it was. She refused to think, refused to hear anything but the sound of her breath reverberating in her head.
Adrian had found her.
It was cold, but she barely registered it, barely saw the gathering gray clouds hovering overhead. Her cloak flapped behind her as she ran, heading straight for the trees. There was one, an old, hardy tree with branches bent at all angles, that she had always loved best. It was there, just to her left, demanding space from all the other trees, dripping in dark green leaves. Like the rest of the copse, it had been blessed by the fae to forever believe it was summer.
Abigail grabbed onto a branch, her breath coming heavily, and pulled herself up. Her thin slippers slipped as she hurried as high up as she could. She climbed, her fingers scraping against the rough wood, her palms lashed by disgruntled twigs, her hair collecting leaves as her hood was pushed off her head.
Finally, she had gone as high as she could. She panted heavily for a few moments before clamping a hand over her mouth to quiet her presence. Around her, the copse was silent. A light breeze danced through the trees, rustling branches and leaves. For a copse that thought it was summer, it was still chilly. Abigail wrapped her cloak tightly around herself, huddling close to the trunk as the sunlight slowly faded behind the clouds.
This is a mess, she thought as she tried to shrink into herself. She could hear distant voices calling to her, but no crunches within the copse. If she was lucky, Camille had led them away from it, towards the pastures and the stables.
The hiss coming from around her neck almost startled her out of the tree. With one arm, she latched onto the trunk; with her other hand, she clutched at the sea glass she wore.
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