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Forest by Marcus Ganahl

Bones of the Earth

In Darnassus,
Where the shadows rise
and then fall
Like leaves from the
great tree,
A sentinel rides her tiger into the night,
And there meets a panther,
even more silent,
more deadly.
The archdruid dons his stag helm and sees, or rather hears and smells, this meeting of the heroes.

A fel being lets out a ghostly sigh.
“The whole forest mourns the passing of the Great One”
he says,
referring to the world tree as it was.
Before its corruption,
before its destruction.
“This is why we must be always on our guard”
says the sentinel,
her heart surrounded with whirling glaives
“That is why we must always be planting”
says the archdruid,
“For where will the young saplings come from when it is time for the Old Ones to die.”
And he transformed into a stag, and with each step he took, grasses and flowers and roots grew in his wake.

The fel being knew rage in his heart,
but it was really only protective.
He knew lust, too, for he was a satyr,
And cunning, and deception, and all the dark things.
But his dangerous nature only made the wise respect the forest more.
For they knew that the sacred was not always safe.
That passage would not be allowed to everyone.
That some -- most, even -- would not make it at all,
But be eaten alive.
And so was the wisdom of the wood.

Archdruid Staghelm took off his head and became elven once more.
He had to ascend his own tree, his own small branch of the Tree, to begin casting great spells.
Other druids joined him, each new one making their hands glow brighter and brighter green,
Until the forest reached out; vines, roots, brambles,
All encompassing the druids,
returning them to their home of soil,
and underground rivers,
and flowing life energy in the veins of the world.
“I want to go deeper” said Fandral,
“It is time we enter the Bones.”
The bones of the earth are large indeed, and not all who merge with them come back.
They are like stone.

To the casual observer rock might seem dead, inert. Unmoving for thousands and millions of lifetimes.
But in the bones there is marrow, and there new blood is made, and moves in deep pools of red. Magma, and other such places.
The ligaments are like roots of trees,
and lymph the waters running.
Muscles the animals,
And whole ecosystems the organs.
The heart and the brain, no one knows,
But it is thought by some druids to be

And in the winter, the body of the world must sleep.

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