Read Time: 3mins
Thousands of voices had been silenced in a matter of hours. So few able to escape the imminent threat; watching as the flames consumed all of those that had called this place home. Ancient trees residing here since the first days of this world, powerless to break from the roots that dug so deeply, now lost forever.
Stumbling through the smoke it came, neither forest nor flame, but something tangled between the two. In the same way as its physical form sat in uneasy alliance, so too did its subconscious, veering quickly from burning rage to profound, all-encompassing sorrow.
What had become of this place? Surely this is not how it had always been? Searching its memory for answers, it found nothing but deep, unshaking, anger. “Who am I? Where am I?” The answers, lost in the pit of its mind.
The lost soul stretched out its palm, grasping at the ashen remains of a once great oak, the touch reducing what had remained to nothing more than cinders. Pulling away, it took a moment. The bright white ash, a stark contrast against the charcoal black of its own skin; skin now covered in deep, jagged scores that revealed a core of roaring heat.
Onward it travelled. As the final glimmers of daylight faded, the lost soul continued. It would not stop for rest or thirst. Its only desire, the hope of finding someone or something to guide its journey, to help recover all that had been lost.
Coming to a sudden halt, it spotted something; the scorched head of an axe, still shining in the moonlight, buried deep within a tree’s severed trunk.
Then it struck. A flood of searing rage and the memory of what had happened in this place. A horde of cruel beasts cutting and burning their way through these once beautiful lands. Their weapons of war destroying everything they fell upon; whether tree or oakthorn, their ruthless response had been swift.
For a fleeting second he saw them; his brothers and sisters falling in defence of this sacred land. Their numbers too few to stem the tide of such an unstoppable force. Where were their reinforcements? Where was the Warden? Defence of these lands was the duty he had sworn. He should have been here leading the charge, falling by their side.
Had he truly fallen? If so, what now stood in his place? Looking upon his charred and broken husk, he felt neither alive nor dead; an entity lost between two worlds.
If he was to be damned, then he would find meaning in this new life. He would become vengeance for this once great land.
All who had a hand in what happened here would be held to account. Whether umbron or oakthorn, they would answer for their sins.