Popular Post Addison MacKenzie Posted March 5, 2021 Popular Post Share Posted March 5, 2021 I'm so happy to have @Geoffrey Teller guesting with us on the Resolution for this mission. I'm always amazed by his ability to find his way inside a character with very little information to go on and yet, he's incredibly descriptive and elusive at the same time! ((A Grove of Seven Trees, Memorial Forest, Thama Homeworld)) A warm breeze flitted through the graceful, slender branches of the l'far trees, filling the grove with a gentle rustling that Ashal Koas found pleasant and soothing. Her spade dug into the rich black dark soil easily as it had for the last two hours, shifting the dirt aside and forming a small mound nearby. With each load of soil moved she got closer to her goal but her pace was unhurried and regular. Even here, in the company of those she held most dear, she didn't risk letting her mask slip. Not now. Not when she was so close. Another scoop of dirt set aside, and she was a step closer to finishing her journey. The wind gusted, the l'far trees swaying, the light playing off their crystalline leaves. She could hear them speaking to her. They encouraged her when she had lost faith and purpose. They gently reminded her of her sworn promise. If she closed her eyes, she could hear their voices again. She was so near to them, now. Closer than she had been since the accident. Her expression remained neutral, but the next thrust of the shovel bit into the soil more deeply. She had planted these trees seven years earlier when she was just sixteen years old. She'd cared for them and nurtured them across the years, as they had cared for her, serving as her sounding board and confidants when she grew dejected or uncertain. The living cenotaph to her family, here in a hidden corner of the Great Memorial Forest, was the keeper of her secrets. It would not need to be for much longer. The wind shifted again and she could hear the voices of the other children, her brothers and sisters. They laughed and sang, which always made Ashal smile during the darkest times. Ashal looked towards the smallest tree in the grove, named in honor of her younger brother Ascal. He was always the first to joke, the first to tease his sister when she got into one of her intense moods. Branches shook and leaves whispered, a music knowable only to her. Koas: Don't be difficult, Ascal! You're always such a troublemaker, getting your branches tangled. Dotra and Jimberline never cause as much of a fuss. The other two smaller trees offered no immediate response. Ashal continued digging without pause, carrying on with her conversation. Koas: We've spoken about this before and you know why I have to go. This is everything we've hoped for. I've been assigned to the negiogation team as a junior diplomat. No one questioned it. Ambassador Niran chose me personally. The smallest tree in the grove fell silent. Ashal dug for a while longer, then stepped up and out of the void she had created, satisfied. They were ready for the saplings. Her people had few traditions that could be considered spiritual, but this ancient practice had grown with the Thama, much like the memorial trees themselves. New life born out of loss. It was the great cycle of all living systems and the Thama, more than anything else, respected the sanctity of life. She moved the first sapling into position, gently placing it where she should've been, among her brothers and sisters, reciting the old words for the eight time. Koas: For those that slumber, let these leaves give shade. For those that hunger, let these branches bear fruit. For those that suffer, let this sapling take root and grow tall. May new life blossom here as it withers elsewhere. This is the cycle. She spoke the tree's name aloud, then pressed the soil down with bare hands. Her meticulously precise facade didn't waiver, but a tear escaped from her eye and fell upon the soil. The second sapling was moved into position, low and away from the family of trees. Ashal tried to repeat the litany without emotion creeping in, only the subtlest notes of cold rage tinging her words. Koas: For those that slumber, let these leaves give shade. For those that hunger, let these branches bear fruit. For those that suffer...::Ashal looked back towards her family and felt their eyes upon her. This was her final gift.:: Let this sapling take root and grow tall. May new life blossom here as it withers elsewhere. This is the cycle. She spoke the tree's name aloud with venom enough to wilt the nearby grass. It was the first time a Nascaik had ever been honored with a tree in the Great Forest, but Ashal believed strongly in the tradition. New life born out of loss. Something to blossom while something else withered. She pressed the soil into place and turned to face her family one final time. Their voices had grown still but she could feel their warm embrace. She longed to be with them, and looked lovingly at the sapling. Koas: You're home now, little Ashal. Grow strong and tall for me, here with your family. I have to go now but it will be fine. This is the cycle. The breeze picked up once again, rustling and whispering in the branches around them. As she changed out of her soiled work clothes and into something more befitting a junior diplomat, Ashal heard the voices of her parents and her siblings. She heard them calling out to her, demanding justice. They didn't wish to burden her so, but she was all that remained. It had to be her. By the time she stepped out of the Memorial Forest for the very last time, Ashal Koas had renewed her resolve. She would see her plan through to the very end, as she had promised all those years ago. She felt a calm elation as she returned to her offices, just one junior bureaucrat among many returning from midday break. She imagined the grove and smiled. Something wonderful would blossom there. While something else withered. [End] ==================================== Ashal Koas Junior Assistant to the Ambassador Thama Scientific Sovereignty V239509GT0 6 1 Quote Link to comment
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