The Age of Ash
Seven Trees of Sight
The Lord of Masks smiled as the bone-chilling breeze of autumn whistled a warning tune past his carved features. The siren song crescendoed into a piercing, agonizing shriek as it dove through a copse, billowing briars and brambles all in it’s wake. Like a living thing, the Lord teased and cajoled the wind with a cackle on his face.
‘Have a care you don’t wake the trees, my fickle friend! They are not like ripe fruit for the taking… Not for you… So go quietly, foul pest,and sing songs somewhere over the dell to yourself!’
The offended party howled and whined in mock protest, doubling back to dive underneath the tall, hunched figure, buffeting and teasing his longcoat to reveal a lanky form hidden under ranks of wooden baubles and trinkets. These clacked and clattered as the Sylvan Silhouette absentmindedly ripped his flowing garments from the wind’s biting grasp, and settled his long fingers on the peaceful trees in repose all about him. The Mask of Truths and Lies itself undulated and changed,from a grin to a grimace, and in that moment the Lord’s fingers sprouted vast, slender vines. These began to wend their way through the thicket, enwrapping themselves around trunk and root, expanding with unearthly rapidity to encapsulate the whole grove. At their touch, bright veins began to reveal a maze of runic riddles on trees that were but a moment ago unmarked. Enmeshed completely in his labyrinthine web of branch and twig, the Lord of Masks relaxed and listened to the seven trees of sight, opening secret eyes that have seen and heard for eons past and future.
A city of Fey stood every seventh night, seven spires rising from the glade. Amidst the immaculately conceived archways and terraces, two eladrin held counsel.
The court regent was an imposing figure to behold in those days, but a visit from the Lord of Masks has a way of trivializing other people. His immaculate wooden face bobbed up and down in good humor, it’s carved and painted features twisted into sharp, almost grotesque expressions of gaiety. Around him played the nubile, crisp warmth of Spring, which cavorted and snickered in mocking contrast to the Regent’s stony features. This counsel took place under a grand archway of trees within eye shot of the Classroom,all of which, luckily, happened to be just outside the city limits. The two seemed deep in conversation, the regent pacing in agitation on the ivory causeway, and the Lord’s cheerful mask following his flight in parody from where he stood rooted in the mossy ground below. Though their voices could have easily been raised in the open air, their conversation remained private. The regent had spoken powerful abjurative words of secrecy, and even if he had not, very few could see or hear the Lord of Masks unless he wished it so.