As days passed, the frigid, arid tundra grew lush and green. Where before sparse low growth was the adornment, great pillars of life now line his path; giants of the past. True immortals. In the presence of these daemon’s of old, time stood still. Peace drew in around him. For the first time his weariness was felt. The forest beguiling, the smell of life, clean and fresh. The ground soft and moist underfoot. His very environment begged him for his repose. Yet rest could not come: uneasiness encroached. Soon the unreal became aural. A chill drove through him, chasing the shrill laughter of a child and...something else. Unrest held his frame as the cacophony usurped the tranquil copse. The thick oxygen laden breath of the trees thinned and seemed to flee in the presence of this voice.
From the shade below a tree, came a girl. Stark nakedness drew crimson from his pallor cheeks. Her body puffy and rude like a child; thin pink lips curled over tiny sterling teeth in a cruel smile: a child’s prize.
“how now, my aged ape?”
“who are you?”
“tis the who that vexes; even I fail to answer”
“what then? then what! post haste my frail fellow! do learn the cant!”
“what art thou!?”
“thou? HA! my youth! too formal for argot!”
“damn girl! speak frank! what are you?!”
there was a pause. and a flash of hate contorted the young face.
“GIRL? you call me girl?” a depth grew in the strident song
“what do I call you but what I see?”
The child began to grow. Legs thickened: muliebris. Hips widened, chest filled, face grew from a thin child, to a full woman. Hair fell down in a sea of red so dark it would seem brown, if not for the fury it withheld. Eyes shone with such brilliance, they seemed to inform the foliage of their cast.
“then you I name lost, blind one.”
stunned, the man found himself staring at the heavenly body in front of him.
“lost?” he managed
“Indeed, I call but what I see. and what I see is a creature long since lost”
“who are you?”
“has it been so long? Aye, it may indeed. you found me once before, and flew in fright, having seen the true face of your alluvial progenitor”
recognition flashed across his face.
"I am the earth, the spirit of the forest, this planet’s soul. mother of nature, and of your repulsive flock: a parasite I’ve long sought to unmake!”
“Indeed, I’ve watched you work, they are more resilient than you credit them.”
“Ha! look how you speak! such hubris! seek you truth, or throne, my weary wanderer?”
“I seek peace, but will be granted only once my thirst quenched.”
she drew in close, pressing her bare chest against him. she spoke, her breath like a spring rain, caressed his cheek drawing him in.
“Good shepherd, I may quiet the fire in your soul”
summoning the extent of his willpower, the weary, old shepherd withdrew from the earth’s warm embrace,
“tis not such nectar I seek good mother. rather knowlage“
“Indeed. Be on with this quest, lost. I pray not you find it. Not all things are to be known, even by one with such thirst as you"
The wood grew dark and cold. the warmth following its forebearer. His time in the wild again ended in failure: No truth was found.