Lenoa sat staring into the mid-night sky, watching the lamps of welkin glisten and shine across the empyrean. Whether or not they had anything to do with souls was beyond her, but it was an odd thought. It was a memory she had gleaned shortly after they’d first met—she and Amir. Daydreaming was something she’d never tried for herself, until now.
“Hey,” she called out to Emarosa, sleeping beside her in the small camp they’d made outside the Sticks. “Hey!” she called out again. No response. She kicked Emarosa sharply somewhere near her kidney. “Ow! What’re ya’—why?” Emarosa shouted with a sleepy, pained expression as she sat up. “Tell me of him.” Lenoa demanded. Emarosa took a minute to regain her composure.
“Ya’ dunno?” Emarosa asked.
“Our father was conquest personified. Little else.” Lenoa stated coldly.
“Hm, he was determined. Hum—” Emarosa hummed along as she rocked back and forth
with her knees between her arms. “He was…I dunno.” she laughed. “Intense? But not as simple as that. Elohim are effusive by nature—we suck at hidin’ and controlling our feelings, and ourselves—but him? Somethin’ else. Like an avalanche. Sometimes tranquil as snow. Others so overwhelming all ya’ can do is try not to get swept up in his wake.”
Lenoa chuckled as she cocked an eye, which did not escape Emarosa’s notice. “Hey, I’m not your ma’ in case you forgot,” she pointed her finger at Lenoa, “I chose the ‘not swept up’ route. Even so…” Lenoa watched on as Emarosa seemed lost in thought.
Lenoa clutched her outer thigh as her breaths grew short. A burning rose in her chest as her sight darkened. She reached desperately for her knife, but found only darkness. Lost to her vision, she found herself shorter, darker, elsewhere. A small group of wooden doll-like creatures lay before her, seemingly dead. She gathered them up and sauntered off toward the lake, her vision-puppy following close behind. Lenoa lurched forward as she regained her body.
Looking up, Emarosa also seemed winded, though far less so. Lenoa stared at her with curiosity. “No visions fer me, luckily. Just—” Emarosa caught her breath, “Dragonfire, right? A lotta it was jes’—” a tree crashed to the ground several meters deeper into the forest. “That, I guess.”
Emarosa stood, rushing toward the source of the noise, with Lenoa following close behind. They reached a downed tree that had almost taken out a majestic willow towering nearby.
“Oh no, no, no, no!” Emarosa dropped to her knees, digging through the debris.
“Was that tree your friend?” Lenoa scoffed.
“It’s not tree, it’s what lives under it!” Emarosa scrambled through the leaves, tossing them about.
“Lives under it?” Lenoa asked as she nearly stepped on an odd wooden doll. She knelt closer, brushing some mushrooms aside to examine it. It couldn’t be a doll: there were no carving of any kind. More like small, hardy wooden limbs with joints and resin. Almost like a little person. The more she looked at it, the more familiar it became. Not unlike the things in her vision. She picked it up, the entirety of it fitting in her palm.
“We found a timber homunculus.” Lenoa said, holding the doll out for Emarosa to see.
“Yay! It’s alright!” Emarosa sighed with relief. “We need ta’ get it back ta’ the spring. This area’s been purged.” Emarosa started heading back toward the lake. Before getting too far, Lenoa grabbed her shoulder, pulling her back. Their eyes met only for a moment before Emarosa looked away.
“Sorry. Should’ve—it’s your dragonfire. It’s corrupted, so Elohim are purging it. I was out here trying ta’ save as many—“ Emarosa shook her head, “Ugh, it just won’t make sense!” Emarosa jerked her shoulder away. “We need ta’ get back to the spring! I can explain then.” Emarosa grabbed Lenoa’s hand, dragging her and their newfound wooden doll toward the will-o’-the-wisps lighting the way. Before long, they disappeared behind the waterfall once more.