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It was a very difficult era for the Kilniore Forest. Once a mighty stretch of woodland that densely filled the basin surrounded by the Shaerlorn Mountains, its roots now withered from drought and its lush treetops were now made bare by the rubbing winds.
The forest literally weathered difficult seasons before but the longevity of these particularly harsh conditions seemed as if they were the dark resolve of a great force.
Before the drought, animals teamed beneath its leafy canopy. They spun living essence amongst its trunks and even in death the creatures returned to the forest energy that was used to create fresh saplings. But after the trees thinned, an exodus of wildlife occurred taking with it the vitality of the ecosystem and leaving the health of the Kilniore Forest to take a turn for the worst.
Dead branches littered the forest floor and on occasion, entire trees snapped in two like breaking bones—gusts relentlessly flogged its trunks and the energy that was once the life force within its roots became its torturer. The drought persisted another three months and the winds successfully worked to beat from it its roots its final exhalation. Defeated, the light of the great forest dimmed and for an apparent lack of purpose, the winds stopped.
Perhaps sensing the echo of despair in the void that was once great woodland, passing birds did not rest in its dead branches. What remained was a heavy stillness that oppressed the basin like a crushing anvil—as if it were in a choke-hold while time and space deliberated.
Eventually, and only after a very long stillness, a verdict had been reached and the air over Shaerlorn Basin suddenly stirred.
Dark clouds emerged as if exhaled from a parallel dimension, their bellies growing heavy with roiling darkness. Above the triage thunder cracked and lightning, nature’s nuclear defibrillator, called forth rain. As it fell from the sky it industriously swept the air clean of Death’s bone dust. Droplets burst upon impact like exploding messenger bags filled with long-lost sentiments of love. The hardened ground wicked the water’s expectant energy downward towards the roots of the forest, where Life obediently awoke.
A series of physical contradictions occurred during the forest’s renewal process: pregnant seeds righted themselves in underground blackness to send life skyward; delicate laces of newly-born growth pushed heavy ancient boulders aside; fresh tender saplings shattered hardened dense surfaces. Miraculously, buoyant delicate Life overpowered heavy rugged Death as recognized physics were turned on its head.
The dangerously long stillness had in fact been due to deliberation. The very forces that oppressed the Kilniore Forest learned that they were not supreme. No matter the severity of destruction they presented, Life would not cease to exist! These external energies could not extinguish it, only cause it to pause or morph. Life eternally existed, whether as an idea or an organism, or even as a longing, and its resilience was due to gratifying only one endeavor, which could not be stopped—to be.