She disappeared from my sight and I unthinkingly followed a path I came upon that lead deep into the forest. Finally, I collapsed down on to the ground again, my good leg giving out on me, and worriedly looked around. The trees seemed to be darker and taller here. I guessed that I had found the oldest part of the forest. Standing up once more, I surveyed my surroundings, and saw a little glimmer of light out of the corner of my right eye. I turned toward in, and saw nothing. I decided to head off into the trees to see what it was.
“How will I find the path again?” I wondered quietly. Deciding the wooden door disappeared, and there was no point in finding out where I started, I headed off the path and toward the glimmer I believed I saw.
The going was rough, and my crutches became a hazard. They slipped and slid on the damp moss, once I even fell into a tree because one slipped at the wrong moment. I was huffing and puffing at the tough process.
“Okay fine, I’ll heal myself!” I yelled at no one in particular. I sat down on a large rock and began to think. “If I focus on my ankle, maybe it will come to me.” I closed my eyes and focused all my attention on my foot. I didn’t notice that all types of animals began to gather around me. I reached into my core, like Nerospi taught, reaching out with my hand in my head to touch it. I smiled when the words came to me.
“Eakis limaks basite,” I felt the energy travel through my body, and concentrating on my ankle. I opened my eyes and the light from the magic blinded me. I closed my eyes again and waited until I felt the magic had left. I opened one eye a crack and I moved my ankle in all directions. No pain.
“Yes!” my face broke into a grin, but turned quickly into a frown, startled by the gathering of animals around me. My little rabbit friend was sitting in front of me, twitching her nose. “Hi, again.”
“Hello, Amberlin,” A voice above me said. I looked up and saw an owl. His feathers were amber, much like Nerospi’s fur and the line in my eyes. The owl’s eyes were different though, his eyes were the deepest black, and I felt I could see the whole night sky in them, including the Milky Way galazy. “I am Aerito, the elder of this forest.” I felt a need to curtsy, but I restrained still trying to wrap my head around that every animal seemed to be able to talk.
“Hi, I mean, hello, Aerito,” I stuttered, uncomfortable with all the attention I was receiving.
“Oh Aerito, you’re scaring her!” A deer to my right said in a musical voice. “Hi, honey, I’m Myrania, the mother around these parts.” She sounded so sincere, I immediately calmed and smiled at her. “See, that’s much better!”
The rabbit hopped into my lap and I asked what her name was. “I’m Virie, I was sent to get you. I’m one of the protectors of this forest,” She sounded younger now, and I wondered if she was new to the being a protector.
“Nice to meet you,” I still hadn’t heard the names of any of the other animals—the birds, the other deer and rabbits, or the family of skunks I saw on the outer edges of the group.
“Come, Amberlin,” Aerito took off, but flew low beneath the branches so I could keep track of him. I looked around for my crutches, but they seemed to disappear, along with the wrap I was wearing for my foot. I shrugged to myself and began following Aerito, my ankle pain gone, down another little path that seemed to appear from nowhere.
He led the way and the other animals followed along behind me, except for Virie, who I held in my arms. I certainly felt a connection with her, but wasn’t sure why or for what reason, and Virie seemed just as content in my arms.
Aerito flew into a clearing and I followed, surprised at the tree directly in the center. It was a willow tree, but it did not have blue-green leaves. Instead they were white-silver, sparking in the light that came into the clearing; the bark was silver as well, but darker and grainier. It didn’t look as though it was fake silver, like the tinsel put on Christmas trees. It was quite beautiful in my eyes.
Aerito circled and landed on the ground in front of the willow, facing me. I realized he was quite a large owl, reaching my knee in high and each wing was just as long. He ruffles his feathers and shifted from foot to foot, all the while staring at me. I sink into a criss-cross on the damp, earthy ground; Virie settled in my lap, and I absentmindedly pet her head and ears as Aerito begins to speak.
“This is the called the Walona Traka, or easier said, the Wish Tree. It will grant the Key’d person one selfless wish. But it will only become active when it believes the time is needed,” Aerito said and I nod in acknowledgement. “Now, come up to Walona.” I stand up placing Virie on ground. I walk up beside Aerito who turns around the face the Walona. “Place both your hands flat on the trunk. You’re going to make a connection with the tree so he knows when the best time to activate his power.”
“He? His?” I said in surprise and Aerito chuckled and nodded.
I focused deep into myself, reaching my energy out to the Walona through my hands. I reached far into the Walona’s trunk, then finding it was thriving. Tendrils of silvers were flitting up and down through the tree, and is not consolidated into a ball like my own purple energy. I could feel the tree pulsating like a heartbeat; the tendrils pausing and continuing with each beat. I felt myself smile at the Walona, and I feel his happiness back, displayed by the quicker pulsations of the tree. We had made our connection.
I retreat back into my own body, “Aerito, what does it mean when we have a connection?”
“It means that he will be able to see everything you see and feel everything that you feel. The connection will remain until you have made your wish.”
I ponder for a second, “How will I know when the Walona Traka has been activated?” I could’ve sworn I’d seen the owl smile.
“You’ll just know.”