Ivy opened her fist and let her fireflies spill out.
She walked for miles. However in the unchanging land of the heartless. Neither distance nor time meant anything. The gem in her chest was glowing. She did not realize it, for her gaze was fixed straight ahead and she would not look back, but the gem illuminated her skin, so that she was glowing green all over. She also didn't notice that she was an easy target for the monsters peering at her from that shadows. However, none dared touch their lady’s sign.
Ivy walked until she could no more. Then and only then did she dare look behind her. A sad smile touched her lips. She was relieved to see the she could no longer pick out a soft glow from the fires. She could no longer see the camp at all.
She knelt to the ground and touched it glassy surface. She grew in a breath and let the words of the incarnation slid past her lips. A strong wind began to blow. A rumbling began beneath the surface of the glass. Ivy stood her ground as the thick vines burst from the ground and surrounded her. She watched the barrier grow to 28 feet. She smiles and whispered a spell that would create that camp site for her. She would prefer to do it herself but she was far too tired. She lay down in the middle of the circle of vines, and promptly fell asleep.
When she awoke the campsite was made for her. A carpet of moss, over fresh, black dirt. Over to the side was a large pool. And in the very center was a huge tree fourteen feet high. It completely covered the camp site with it's branches and leaves. The fireflies surrounded the pool, making something like a light dell. Everywhere there seemed to be herbs and small flowers. There was a raspberry bush near the barrier, as well as many other edible plants. Winding around the tree grew Ivy's signature ivy vine. However this was no ordinary ivy vine it was an Ivyrose, a beautiful ivy plant with rose flowers. Ivy's favorite plant in all the lands.
Ivy smiled, she had called the camp her home, but this was different, this was a different kind of home, it was her home. The only problem was without the fires it was cold. Ivy shivered, she was going to have to find a solution to that soon. She stood up, and walked over to the plants and picked a teacup. A beautiful flower a lot like the Calla. However it is a dark navy blue, and inside its cuplike blossom is hot bubbling tea. She smiled as the scalding tea burned down her throat and filled her with its warmth. A continuous source of heat could wait.
Though not for very long Ivy shivered and put heat at the top of her priorities. Ivy grabbed another teacup and a rose flower and envisioned that plant she wanted to make. She picked many different flowers to get all of the characteristics she wanted. "Whooosh" she whispered. it was plant for "become one" She squeezed the plants together. "Whooosh" She said a second time. Emerald light emanated from the plants. She spoke the word one last time. A flash of green light blinded her momentary. Then she held a single seed in her hand. She could feel the heat coming from the seed. She planted the seed right below the tree. But she didn't have enough magic to make it grow so she drank another teacup, and wait for her magic to restore itself.
Her magic did come back but slowly. And it was hours before she could work the small magic of growing the seed. She spent these hours writing, talking to her plants, noticing the type of plants she had and dipping her toes in the water. She shivered each time she touched that icy water.
Ivy summoned the magic inside of herself. The beautiful flower grew. It was a bit like a vine and wound around the tree. The flower had a huge blossom with fire for petals. Closed the the base of the petals, it was white hot, then it changed to blue then orange, but despite the fact it touched the tree it did not burn it down. Ivy put a small scrap of cloth into the flower but the cloth didn't burn. Ivy smiled, the flower radiated immense heat but it did not burn anything, it was just what she had hoped for. She pick several seed from the plant and planted them all around the camp site. She named it Firerose. She wounded them into the barriers of the camp, she put a few of them next to the pond.
Deciding that there had to be a better way to heat the pool she picked one of the fireroses, and a pond lily. She combined them to make a Firelily she planted it in the pond but decided to go to sleep, as it was almost night and her magic would not return for hours.
Twelve days passed. Ivy tended to her plants, she added the animals as well as another type of plant called a Icycalla. A variation on teacups, but they had icy water instead of tea. The place was her home. She also planted a plant that had not been there before, lanterlights. A flower that glowed with a soft warm light in the dark. That campsite was bright and cheery. Ivy loved it, it felt like the home she left behind. On the dawn of the thirteenth day Ivy woke up in the framework of the house she had started to construct. I was like no other house. She had planted several small trees, they wove around each other to create the walls.
It was going to be a cozy little house. It was off to one side of the small little camp, and there was a small herb plot with all the herbs she needed for cooking and healing. They house like the camp was circular, with a large doorway but no windows.
As Ivy stepped out of her house she stumbled in surprise. A girl sat reading a book with her back to the tree. "Hello," Ivy stuttered.
"Hello Ivy, I'm glad to see you know who I am." The girl looked up from her book. It was a beautiful book, leather bound. The girl laid it down next to her.
"I'm afraid I don't know what your talking about. I don't know who you are." Ivy said fearfully.
"You don't?" The girl asked sadly. She stood up, "I thought you had open up you heart to this place. I guess not, you still shun this land. I am The Heartless Girl. Mistress of the beasts, current ruler of this place, that will change in time." She sighed "It appears I came to early. But I dare not leave without giving her what I came to give her," The girl whispered to herself. Reaching a decision she bent down to pick up the leather book and handed it to Ivy. "You will understand when the time comes. Return to your friends when you wish, do not leave it too long. And remember time is as we perceive it, it is the only thing that changes, yet it stays the same while all else shifts around it."
Then she was gone, it was indescribable, the only thing to be said was that to Ivy it felt like a warp in time. And suddenly the girl, also known as the silver magician, was elsewhere in time.
For seventeen more days Ivy stayed in her safehaven. She finished the small house and made the camp perfect. As long as anything was wrong she would not leave. Once a month had passed since she left the camp, Ivy felt her home would be fine without her, so she left. Her cat curled around her shoulders and she set out back towards the camp. She did not remember which direction the camp was in, but some internal sense told her where to go. Before night time she could see the camp by midnight she was bar meters away. The girl know as the green magician took a deep breath, and stepped into the dim pool of light from the fire.
"By the edge of my sword," Thalia cried and ran up to Ivy and squeezed her so hard so she was lifted into the air. "You're back!"
Thalia let go of her, Ivy crumpled to ground, moaning as she tried to bring air into her crushed lungs. Thalia was oblivious as she dragged her to her feet and went rushing into the camp waking everyone up with the good news.
Ivy managed to grab a breath of air. The camp was different she noticed. It was now the size of a small city. It felt huge. The city felt empty. Not many people lived there, and everyone was inside their houses. All of the huballo Thalia raised, got everyone up. The girls ran out of their houses of see what was wrong.
Amber was the first to catch on and she instantly grabbed Ivy and hugged her. Ivy felt the breath being squeezed out of her lungs again and resigned herself to not breathing for the next few minutes. When Amber let go she crumpled into Sylvia's arm, and was spun around. Then she was lifted into the air. Ivy just went limp and took it as it came. When they finally let her go she was sure she had at least one broken rib. She dragged in breath and noticed the Saffron and Lia weren't there.
She looked around and saw Saffron was leaning against one of the houses. Saffron smiled and mouthed the words, "You came back."
Lia was nowhere to be found. What Ivy didn't know and probably wouldn't have cared it she knew, was that Lia sat crying in her house. She cried for Mysaren, she cried because Ivy was back, she cried for her parents, and she cried for her sisters. Her older sister, she hadn't seen or heard from her in years. Her younger sister, Lia had worked as a maid and a part time prostitute to keep her younger sister alive and fed. She wondered how that little girl would survive without her.
Once Ivy could get away from everything Saffron offered a private tour of the expanded camp.
"How can I refuse?" Ivy laughed.
"You know Lia was different after you were gone," Saffron said slowly once they had walked for a bit. "She losned up and had fun, we actually became good friends. She reminds me a bit of my younger sister."
"So this is my fault?" Ivy's face hardened, her voice was cold.
"NO," said Saffron vehemently. "its not your fault, I'm just saying you might want to give her another chance. What happened between you two that was so horrible?" Saffron asked.
"Well..." said Ivy. "I killed her best friend, then my plant ate her dead best friend." Ivy smiled smiled, but it was a very hollow smile. "I'm going to bed now, maybe I'll give her a second chance but not any time soon. After all wounds take time to heal."
As much as Ivy seemed to pass off Saffrons' remark she couldn't stop thinking about it. What if she had misjudged Lia. Ivy shook her head, it did not matter now, they were enemies it did not matter what she did, she would always hate Lia. Saffron had shown her to her garden. The garden had stayed the same, Ivy lay on the soft bed of moss and wept. In the morning Ivy awoke, she modified her garden, a pool and all the new plants she created were just a small number of the things she added. Then Ivy looked at her tattered old dress, and sighed. It was ripped from the fights and the monsters she and the other magicians had faced. And it was tattered and ragged from old age. Ivy had changed, she was a magician now, It was time she started dressing like one. With tears in her eyes she killed three of her deer. She skinned them, sobbing the whole time. She hated chopping down her trees and killing her animals. She took out the bones to use as tools and weapons. The skins were stretched out on frames, Ivy scraped then clean then left them to dry. The meat she brought out with her to cook on the fires.
"Hello Ivy, Thalia smiled.
"Good morning Thalia. I brought breakfast." Ivy smiled. It felt wonderful to be back. She was among friends again.
Soon everyone was out of their houses. They roasted venison over an open fire. Even Lia showed up, unable to stay away from the smell of food. Thalia made a puffy white loaf of bread. Ivy's jaw dropped and inch or two, she had no idea Thalia could cook. The girls enjoyed a long relaxing bath, after a delicious venison and white ciabatta bread sandwich with lettuce and tomatoes.
Saffron finish up with the tour. The newly homecoming Ivy was amazed how much her the camp had changed. Each girl had her log cabin in the center, but in the far edges of camp each girl was making a sanctuary like Ivy's own. Thalia had a gigantic water bubble that you could swim inside of. Selena had a sky castle far above the ground, like up in the mist mountains. Then Sylvia had what she called a star home, though there were no stars in the heartless land. It was a castle built of the night sky itself. Ambers house was made entirely of fire. Ivy politely but firmly turned down her invitation to come inside, even once Amber assured her that the fire wouldn't burn her. Neither Saffron or Lia were finnish with theirs so Ivy did not get to see them yet.
When Ivy could get away, she slipped off to her garden. She picked up the broken pieces of her shattered bow, and cried. Quickly she dried her tears, she shouldn't be crying she had work to do.
She tore out a long length of her ivy and cut down a sapling. She went out to the fire and burned down a length of the sapling until it fit perfectly in her hand like the hilt of a sword. Then she attached the ivy to one side. The ivy vine was still alive, so upon her command it could grow longer or wrap around an opponent or their weapon. Ivy made another this time with a thorn vine instead of ivy. The sharp hooked thorns on this one would snag on skin and clothes. Ivy experimented and found that if she used three or more strands of grapevine that it was exceedingly painfully. The thin stems of the grapevine cut like a sword edge.