While high father set about once more raising his great hall upon its foundations of stone and mortar the congress of trees watched their creator labor. Worship fully studying the mysteries of his character as he reaped old tired trees from thyriss's expansive grove to form the walls and floors of his keep.
They conversed with one another in quiet whispers reflecting upon the discomfort in his heart they sensed. In unison they sought remedy to his dark countance. Proposing and rejecting numerous theories.
“How can we help him?” The young trees asked their peerage
“You can't” Came the answer from the ease dropping old barks to nodding agreement from the shrubs .
“But there must be a way.” Retorted the trees yet to bud saplings as they turned to thryiss for guidance.
“Its simple really” Laughed the songbirds “So simple that even he has yet to realize it.
“Do tell us.” Implored the congress.
“Etil has fashioned nearly every creature in or out of a flock with a counterpart, a mate, yet the master lacks one for himself.”
“Then well shall have to mold one for him since he has overlooked himself. Something in his image yet clearly a gift from us to him.” Intoned the ancient of leaves “Come forth you bravest of little birds I have a plan.”
For a season and half they debated amongst themselves merits of the plan. Whether or not it could succeed: Who of their number was bold enough to go into the ebon void.: who was strong enough to last away from creation. Which star was suitable.
On and on the birds debated, Tiring the patience of even the most valiant of hearts. The eldest of trees departed exhausted from the conversation so that he may craft the hallow seed needed.
They would have continued on for another season still had not high father returned at the turn of winter with his axes to harvest more lumber for the empty city growing around his long hall..
With a knowing glint in his eye etil cleared the dead fall and the tired trees from the forest at the edge of Thyriss’ mighty grove. At the season’s break Etil departed with several wagon loads of lumber abound for his encampment.
Only then did the flocks gathered in the branches of the eldest of leaves breathe a sigh of relief. They would have set forth with renewed vigor had not thyriss announced that the hollow star seed was done.
Each of the flocks argued for their champions. These vain preenings where ignored in favor of a little bird with no flock.
“Go” Intoned the great tree
Without delay she went. Winging her way through the ebon void several days and nights without rest she journeyed far beyond the horizon. Wearily she made for the chosen star trying to keep her bearings straight.
When her strength finally abandoned her she collapsed into a heap. The little bird sobbed softly fearing that she would fail the great tree.
Several more days did she spend in the vast space between the stars: Simply watching the great flames as her body recovered. When it no longer hurt to move she continued the journey emboldened by the seed.
Despite her renewed haste she was too late; the chosen star had collapsed. the remains a smoldering husk looming large in the near endless night.
Again the little bird sobbed bitterly. She had failed the task given to her.
Worry began eating a hole in her heart, surely she couldn’t return to the court of trees empty beaked. She would be mocked upon her return.
If only she were a little bigger, a little mightier then she wouldn’t have had to rest and then she would have made it to the stars side as it past.
Maybe, it occurred to her after the rage of her sorrow had passed by, that maybe she shouldn’t return. Maybe she could wait long enough that maybe a new star would take the place of the old and she could tap that one. instead.
That seemed like a solid plan to the little bird.
Much cheered the little bird built herself a nest out of the remains of the dead giant and waited.
When she did not return the the Parliament of trees began to grow worried. Their grand gesture was thwarted by the little bird.
Her stupidity had cost them a rare opportunity. accused the old barks.
Nay, it was her lack of heart. countered the birds of prey
None took up the little birds case. Each Plant or bird putting forth their version of the facts as they thought they knew them.
Throughout the virulent hateful rants delivered by a shrub or bird seeking his favor, thyriss was silent. Neither speaking out for nor against. The great tree listened knowingly weighing the heart of the speaker.
When the fervor had ebbed and all the throats where silent only then did the great tree speak up.
“Something has changed our star seed. What exactly I can not say as I am bound to this hollow world, and it is in the growing heavens. It is not alone that much I can tell from what little bond remains between it and I.”
“Go therefore and seek it out, my envoy.” he commanded a larger sparrow.
As ordered the sparrow flew past the horizon and out to the ebon void.
Being larger and stronger of wing he did not tire where she had. His stamina carrying him further along before sleep threatened to carry him off. When he did rest he did so beside the larger of the beacon flames lighting the dark sky.
For four days he searched valiantly for some sign of her before stumbling upon the tidy nest she had constructed for herself out of the dead star. It was empty save for the small clutch of three dully radiant eggs and the empty seed that was at the heart of this quest..
This discovery disturbed the sparrow. Where was she. No mother leaves their nest undefended. Was else was out in the void with him? Had it taken her? Why not the eggs or the seed? Did she perish defending it from an unknown danger? Whose eggs where they? the little bird was rarely in the company of a suitor, or anyone else, solitary creature that she was.
On edge the sparrow dipped the tiny seed in the extinguished heart of the great light, filling the vessel to beyond capacity before clamping it shut.. With the primary task done the sparrow debated briefly with himself whether or not should set up vigil over the nest and hope for her return.
In the end practicality won over sentiment tugging at his heart. The great tree’s boon that allowed him to exist away from world was limited, both in time and scale. He had already spent a good deal of it getting to this point.
Reluctantly the sparrow gathered to himself the seed in his beak and two of the eggs from the nest in his talons. With the greatest of haste possible sparrow flew along the path he had traveled back to creation, dropping a feather from his wing tips every so often to guide the little bird or her hatchling home.
When he returned the parliament hailed the sparrow as a hero. With great joy they cried his name, offering him the choicest of the fruits growing from their heavy branches.
“At last the cried out our work can begin.” They cried out jubilantly
Heavy hearted he turned down all rewards and sought returned to his nest.
“Ho, little one, I see you have returned to us with our prize, but with a heart most heavy. What troubles you?” Inquired the great tree beckoning him forth.
Compelled closer the sparrow left his nest and landed before the great tree so that he might begin to unload his burdens. When he had finished the sparrow felt much lighter for his heart did not hurt as much.
“Though I maybe a tree I do understand the pains of the heart, be at ease. Though she is lost to us now I fore see a time when she will return unto us all.
“Still grief aside there is work to be done. plant the seed in the cleared patch yonder.
Obediently the sparrow did as commanded and was amazed by the speed at which the sapling took to root and sprout.
In the blink of an eye it went from a teardrop shaped thing laying on the raw dark earth to a shoot rooted deeply to a strong tree rivaling the younger saplings. Startled the sparrow took to wing circling above the new tree.
“By creations root! What be this?” Exclaimed the sparrow settling on a nearby breach.
“the fruiting of thy labor made manifest.” Declared the wise tree quietly. “ do not be disturbed. This like all things must come to past.
When the sapling’s upward growth slowed then stopped, the body of it trunk fattened out and began to blossom large fragrant flowers.
Drawn in by the smell sparrow alighted form his perch to one closer at between the buds. The blossom the themselves where six no seven times the size of the great eagle, the largest of the many birds gathered among the parliament. The riot of colors and smell intrigued him, there seemed to be no end of their profusion.
From this angle then that he watched. Weary yet entranced by the beauty of it all. When new comer shook he was sure that he heard a delicate laugh in the breeze. For a heart beat the bird refused believe his ears, or his eyes. The no longer sapling laughed again before sighing. softly
“Child, please” Thyreiss admonished. “there is much to be done.”
For a moment sparrow could have sworn that the former sapling dipped its crown in acknowledgment before he was covered in a blast of thick pollen coming from all of the blooms. Heavily it hung in the air, sparkling in the light as it rained upon everything within reach.
As suddenly as it started the odd storm was over. The very largest of the many blooms, a speckled silver lily nearly as wide as the heavy bough it sat on was thick closed up on itself. The delicate petals meeting seamlessly to form an immense egg shaped pod.
Sparrow simply stared for a moment unbelieving before hopping closer to investigate, his wings now useless form the weight of the pollen coating his feathers. Once then twice he quickly pecked near the pod’s base. He actions were met with more of the soft, sweet laughter and an admonishment to stop because the pecking tickled.
Confused he turned to the elder tree: but before he could speak his curiosity Thyriss chuckled and bade him to watch.
Defeated before he could begin any argument he watched the pod, as did the few still present in the deep grove’s heart.
For a heart beat or so nothing happened, then the pod shrunk to a third of its starting size. The shell gaining in thickness while becoming nearly translucent across most of its now frosted surface.
Inside something stirred. What it could be the bird could not tell. Only a small portion was visible to him through the former petals. It was large, a great many times larger than himself, that much was clear.
“What are you?” Asked the sparrow finally as he turned away to clean his feathers.
“Many things” laughed playfully the thing to be. “Yesterday I was a seed. A thing to be; a fleeting hope bounced about in the winds of the void .Today I grow into something new.”
“You didn’t answer my question?” Observed the sparrow.
“Of course I did. You, however will need to catch up with my answer.” thing replied quietly
For a while silence hung in the air between the two. The words unsaid hanging ripe in the air. Words that sparrow wasn’t sure if he should give voice to.
Unsteadily he oriented himself towards the dim horizon. From his perch it was a misshapen thing, less a place he had traveled to much less beyond. Up close he knew it was more like a straight line cut cleanly just beyond the inscribed pilar of stone and the falls it guarded. There light sort of stopped only to be replaced with the deep dark. The stars where barely pinpricks.
The bird shivered.
“You miss her?” Inquired the voice.
“Maybe... I didn’t know her. But like me she was a small thing without a flock to call our own.”
Sparrow took a deep breath and spread wing before flying off.
“Where are you going?
“To find food. It has been a very long day for me.”
“But if you leave you’ll miss when I hatch. I would hate for that to happen.”
“You won’t hatch.”
“Whatever thing you are you come from a tree. Tree things don’t hatch, they grow or blossom.”
“Of this yes. I’m young, but this I know.”
“Maybe I’ll change things. One can never know to many things.” Was the adamant reply.
Sparrow nodded and then tiredly took to the sky.
The seeds were plentiful for the hero of the venture. No tree or shrub for many miles turned him away. It pleased sparrow that he didn’t have to fight others for prime perch. Normally he would have to duck between the bigger birds, maybe collect their leavings at the sweeter trees . But not this night. Tonight he was a hero.
That tittle stung him on the inside as he settled down in his makeshift nest. He was no hero. If he was a hero he would have bought her back along with the other egg. But he hadn’t and that hurt his heart. He settled into sleep. On the morrow he would deal with the eggs themselves, but for now sleep called.
He awoke refreshed in his nest in an entirely different tree. That fact startled him as he looked about confused. How was that possible.
You’re awake, good morning” cheered the voice from the pod .
it was above him by several branches. From where the nest currently was seated he could see it if he angled his head just so?