Now, you have to consider, while you listen to the story relayed to me by the Woodsman, that he was not there when Rossa was in this situation, fighting the Eerie as they sieged her, trying to grasp at her body and pull her off the branch, making her stumble and fall to the death of her body and the eternal torment of her soul.
This was what the Woodsman said to me all those years later, so you should make and effort now and imagine this red-skinned, white-haired girl swirling in her crimson cloak as she stabbed and slashed at the coming monsters.
We do not really know how hard her heart beat, what her thought might have been while her muscles strained. No matter how powerful her new sorcerous body could be, we should all keep well in mind that Rossa was, as she had always been, nothing more than a girl deep down in her heart.
She had been polished and shaped into a weapon of revenge due to the consequences of the War, but in that moment we might only wonder how bleak her thoughts were.
I was not there, and you will never be. By now, her story can only be taught in passing. But if you will, please picture in your mind the slashing sounds and the throaty screams of the Eerie, and the branch rattling with each time Rossa tip-toed back and forth, as agile as a ballerina of the world that had gone bad.
Her eyes were hard as steel, as she swung her weapon, cutting through the cursed flesh of her assailants and cleaving a line of fire through their ribs. The Eerie would yell and scramble back and forth in a tug of war between her fury and the will of the Fae stringing their dead sinews forward.
Rossa’s breath heaved. She looked down and only saw the mass of mutated corpses struggling to reach her. With each swing of her weapon her arms hurt a little more. The spear seemed to weigh more and more with each movement. A few of the Eerie scratched and bit against her arms and legs, their talons going up in flamed upon contact with her body.
She couldn’t keep this up for long. In fact, it was a bit of a miracle she even managed to reach this point.
And then from below she spotted a even more hideous shape start to climb. The Fae touched the base of the tree, turning it dark and tainted. Its touch ruined everything that was natural, bringing the wrath of the Old Country just a tad closer.
“How long are you going to keep this charade up, I wonder?” It inquired, grabbing the back of an Eerie and pulling itself forward a few more steps, ever closer now, while Rossa was being pushed away and off the branch with each moment. “I only entertained your pathetic attempts because they amused us. And when you fall off that branch, it will be time for the forest to claim you once and for all. Then silence will finally come to rest and we will enjoy one more patch of land cleaned off the presence of your kind.”
Rossa had words to share, but she couldn’t push them out with how hard her chest heaved. She had to work hard for each breath as the wall of talons and fangs from the Eerie reached further, threatening to sweep her off the tree.
But if only she waited for a little more, maybe she could…
She glanced at the Fae, still wearing her grandmother’s skin like she wore her crimson cloak.
Rossa gritted her teeth. She had been a tad too confident in herself, once again, but what did she have to lose by now? Her home was gone, her family was now eaten and their souls strung into a coil of pain, and everything that her grandmother had worked so hard to protect now reduced to painful memory.
And she was responsible, for sure, but the true cause was the lanky thing coming closer.
The Fae looked up at her, victory in its beady eyes.
Rossa flashed it a grin.
And she jumped.
Aiming her spear at its heart like a lightning shot, she cried out in a thunderous voice as she hit its body with her weapon, piercing through her grandmother’ skin and right through the ichor spilling all over until the fuming tip of her spear came out of the thing’s back.
It shrieked in pain, grabbing at her neck to try and choke her as they fell towards the ground.
Rossa did not let go. She spat in its face and they hit the mass of Eerie with a rumble.
She felt the shaft of her spear breaking between her hands.
A silver flash and a thunder – the tall tree creaked and fell under the weight of the Eerie.
Rossa coughed and she lost awareness for a moment. Her strength abandoned her – she fell against the body of her foe and her eyes closed.
But just for a moment. The shock recoiled and she opened her eyes again.
The Eerie recoiled from her fury, skittering off into the forest, while the Fae groaned and shrieked as its body ripped apart. The upper one glared at her with a gaze full of hate, detaching itself from the lower half and from the smoking remains of her weapon.
It seemed like that silver had been more than enough scare Eerie off, but it couldn’t withstand the touch of a Fae.
The black thing that had toyed with her since she had first met on the path cried out in anguish. It withdrew and scampered off into the forest, followed by the remaining Eerie.
Rossa fell to her knees again. She went to take a look at what remained of her blade. The metal was fuming like acid, and it had curled up as dead leaf in autumn.
No more help would come that way, that much was sure.
And no more help would come from her grandma’s house.
All that remained of it was a crater full of rubble.
The fallen tree already a testament to anotherr failure.
Her hope to deal with the consequences of the final rite she had to office were gone with it.
Her wound spilled viscous blood that refused to leave her skin. It congealed on it like crimson beads.
But she still did not seem to have trouble crying.
Rossa fell forward and wept.
Author’s Notes: And the Tower. It was interesting to use the tree as a proxy for the falling tower.
Three days to the end of the challenge. It feels unreal.
Thanks for reading.