The night before, while tending to resentful business, next to the iron bank vault, the hibernating druid rested his bony bottom on the floor, encased in leaves, bark, twig and twine: all knotted up, tight. Wound as a top, the energy entombed, potential power, ready to pop. The iron leached the cadence of the forest from him, poisoning marrow, residing, tainted, and twisted. She saw that he was ill, and heard his raspy sleepy breath, and dared not wake him. Momokawa finished her business, and cast her spell.
The acrid gloam blew dusty spores onto the back of her neck, scuttling, skittering like tiny spiders, into the hidey-holes of her pores. Momokawa scratched the back of her neck, her fingernails and fingertips coming back a dry, baby-kind of brown dirt. This area where she landed on her roulette-wheel of a spell, the spell that would cast her to any area in the world promising of fat, lush nature sent her somewhere…unsafe. She looked up at the sky, and most of the trees covered the sun’s milky edge to the west, too low for summer at the time of day she believed it was, and then she was uncertain. The hour never seemed to change. The air cotton-balled in her throat. Landing in the middle of a mushroom circle, not perfect, but a confident, I-Dare-You to question kind of circle. The top of her head fit just under the tallest mushroom.
The spores dug in further: she saw the meadow is in that middle space between decay and regrowth. Hair brushed down on her face, unwashed but not unclean, growing from the oils and dirt of the false meadow. She studied the circle, a bit shaggy in the corners, wondering why her odd spell would bring her here. It had never happened like this before, not one time. She usually transported to tired, green forests, so old and soaked with chlorophyll, transforming all living things to shades of unnatural emeralds, limes, celadon and citron. Verdant to the point of obscene. Mating in those woods was as natural as life spawns, budding in the open, spiraling fronds and dewdrops. She wondered why no elves lived there permanently. It offered every protection to the outside world: no harm or fire ever touched those old forests.
But this forest was old, too, and offered no protection.