[Sometime around 46 SA…]
“Llun…” Arle Sirame murmured, voice shaking as she exited Elvenesse - gazing upon the place she had called home for so many years with tearful eyes. She rubbed her stomach with trembling hands… growing within her a secret that she had not yet told a single soul.
'I need to get away.'
That was all that was circulating the elfess’ head as she departed - carrying all that matters to her deeply within a woven backpack and a leather satchel. Despite the weight of the items, she moved swiftly through the night. She could already feel the sounds of the forest and the earth beneath her feet soothing the ache in her heart. The barefooted elfess walked, and walked… deep into the heart of the forest - where no one would find her… and her child.
She found herself taking shelter within hollowed out trees - among sturdy low hanging branches and abandoned burrows. Her meals consisted mainly of foraged berries, fruits, and plants - and the occasional hunt. Every now and then, she went hungry - finding only enough food for the oem’ii.
The Sirame taught her child - about the Aspects, the mani, her own seed. As the years flew by - he grew up well. She did her best to answer all of his inquiries, all but those about his father. Arle tried to be all that her babe could need.
Years flew by - and the two lived a nomadic lifestyle, living harmoniously within the heart of the Elvenesse forest.
“Oh, Aspects…” A deep, sorrowful sigh escapes the ‘ame as she gazes upon the scene before her.
“You are hurting…” She hums, touching one of few trees - scorched beyond restoration. Dark, pine colored eyes close as she paces away from the burnt landscape - retreating into the thriving forest surrounding that patch of desolate land.
All life seems unwilling, or unable to reinhabit the soot-covered clearing before the young mali. Animals skirt around the edges - underbrush not daring to spread their seed in the ruined soil.
The young mother made her decision then. All else could wait - her loved ones would understand her decision. They would understand that this task she was taking on is of the utmost importance.
To heal was the first promise she ever made. To maintain balance, was the second. The mark of magnolia branches winding up her left leg spoke for her - she was never one to break a promise.
Approaching the very center of that desolate landscape - the ‘ame plucked a pale flower from the vines wrapping ‘round her staff. She dug a small hole, in which she placed that flower.
“You will grow.”
Slowly, she began to reintroduce the flora to the area - clearing away the top layer of the dirt covered in soot and ash. Relocating saplings and young plants there… berry bushes, fern, shrubs, medicinal plants. Watering them diligently - speaking to them as she would to her loved ones. Singing to them, encouraging them. Raising them like children.
Day and night, she worked. Nurturing both the mali’ame boy that she bore, and the barren patch of forest that was now sparsely populated.
On the mornings, afternoons, and eves where it poured rain - stormed, or nearly flooded… she stayed. Sheltered within the hollowed out tree that she had transformed into a beautiful home, with her babe - she rejoiced. Her patience was infinite, and her love for the forest ever-growing.
Decades went by - and the flora flourished. The life around the edges of that once-singed patch began to creep back in. Wary foxes trotted inwards, sniffing the ground cautiously. They began to dig, building their underground homes. Bears bathed in the patches of sunlight peeking through the canopy of the young trees’ leaves. Birds sung from the branches of the trees, insects and other forest critters clung to the growing limbs of teenaged cedars, oaks… and that grand, flowering magnolia tree in the center of all that life.
Nearly a century since she’d started such a grand task - the ‘ame and her boy scaled the tallest tree of them all. Looking down ‘pon the lively scene below, tears streamed down her scarred visage. To anyone else, the now restored stretch of land blended perfectly with the surrounding forest - with no signs that it had ever been devoid of the wildlife that now lived there. With a wide smile splayed across her tanned cheeks, she’d pull her malii’mal into a tight hug - nearly knocking them both from the branches of the grand cedar. Laughter rang throughout the forest, mixing with the calls of the fauna to create a heavenly orchestra of joy.
Once both ‘ame had returned to the ground - Arle looked in upon that hollowed out tree with a bitter-sweet feeling in her heart. She’d turn to her babe - who stood nearly half a foot taller than her after eighty years. Her expression completely soft - it was impossibly hard to tell that the lari could ever have been as glum as she was when she left Elvenesse without a word nor a trace.
“Come.” The Sirame beckoned her son, who sported a puzzled expression upon his face - nearly identical to his mother’s save for the scars and all that she’d obtained through her century and a half of life.
“I’ve someone I need to speak to…” Her smile seemed to fade some as she took a deep breath in, a brief glimpse of grief flashing across her features. Though it quickly fled - remedied by a nervous sort of excitement.
“It’s time for you to meet your Mar’haelun.”