And the daffodils look lovely today, eh-ey.
| July and Leah were brother and sister. July was the elder of the two, though not by much; July was sixteen years of age, whereas Leah was of fourteen years. Together they lived in the town of Firstwind in a quiet meadow by the edge of the forest. Firstwind was just a small little town, located on the southern coast of Vielle, with a population of one from two hundred. There they lived happily and peacefully, the children of a logger and a nurse.
So, our tale begins with Leah beaming at her older brother. Leah had always had a wonderful smile, the earnest sort that could brighten anyone's day. And she was letting that very smile shine in this moment, letting all know how happy she was. For she had finally finished sewing her dress.
There was to be a dance in the town of Firstwind in the upcoming weeks, a celebration of the coming of Spring. This was a nationwide holiday known as the Loreen Dantza, which supposedly meant 'Dance of Flowers' in a language long forgotten. Nonetheless, Leah had been chosen to be the girl to carry the wreath through the town and hang it on the Church atop Koa Hill, so she wanted herself looking her best. Thus, she had spent much of the past two weeks sewing a beautiful dress with her mother. She used white linen, made from flax flowers grown in their very own meadow, for most of the dress; for the more special details of the dress she had decorated it with some blue silk that her mother had, quite an extravagant fabric in this sort of town. On the sleeves, she had carefully sewn little floral designs in a variety of colors. And to go with the dress, she had bought a belt of leather with money earned from selling berries at the weekly market.
"What do you think of it, July?" Leah asked her brother, who was sitting at a desk writing with his pen, his most prized possession. He turned around to see his little sister smiling at him wearing her new dress, obviously proud of herself. Her golden bangs were held out of her face by a little metallic hair clip in the shape of a butterfly, and her sky-blue eyes shone happily.
"It's beautiful, Leah. Perhaps you could be a seamstress," he told her before turning around to his writing. Leah was curious as to what he seemed so eager to write about, but as she walked towards him to look over his shoulder, in one swift motion he closed his journal, put his pen back in its box, and shut them both in the drawer of his desk. He then turned around again and stood up. "Would you like to go into the forest?" he asked, staring down at his little sister, for he was tall enough to rest his head on top of hers.
"Of course." Leah responded, not even taking a single moment to consider. "But first I need to change out of this dress. I can't be getting it dirty before the Loreen Dantza," she said before running off to change. July walked out the door of their cottage in the meantime, and immediately felt the sensation that extends back to the very roots of humanity--the feeling of connection and balance that creates simplicity out of chaos, a silent song out of a deafening cacophony. The bright sun shone, the colorful flowers bloomed, the songbirds sang, the little brook trickled, and Holly the old horse grazed. July noticed this feeling often in this quiet little meadow.
"So, where shall we go to this time?" Leah asked, almost startling July. She was now wearing much dingier clothes, ready for adventure. She had always been like this, full of energy and full of light.
"How about... the old statue across the lake?" July suggested, pushing his red hair out of his eyes.
"Yeah, it's been a while since we've gone there," Leah noted. She then frowned. "Do you think our boat is still there?"
July grinned, and began sprinting for the forest. "Guess we'll have to find out!"
After a few moments, July slowed down, for she was much slower than he. He was almost to the edge of the meadow before she caught up. Both paused for a moment before taking the first steps into the forest. As they began down the path, the light from the sky was mostly blocked out by the thick canopy trees of all kind tangling together. There was a different sensation here than that of the meadow, one of diversity and adventure. Little animals scurried around chasing insects in the underbrush, while bigger animals chased the little ones. The brook that flowed across their meadow could also be seen flowing here in a murky little waterway next to the path. The sound of their boots crunched against the rocks and dirt of the path, and then against the twigs and needles as they continued following the brook. For this brook led to the lake.
Soon they arrived. Much to the relief of Leah, their raft that they had built was still where they had left it; however, some animal, likely a beaver, had carried away their oar. So, July instead just found a long stick and used it to push along the bottom of this motionless, crystal clear lake.
The raft seemed more... unbalanced than it had before. Perhaps it was because it had been so long since they had used it, and they had grown much larger in that time. Nonetheless, with it tipping in the direction of July, by the time their trek across the lake had finished, and they pulled onto the shore, much of July's trousers had been soaked with the cold water.
Within a minute's walk of the shoreline, there was an old statue. No one in the town knew who put it up, or how long it had been there, but it was fascinating, nonetheless. It depicted a woman holding a newborn to her chest, swaddled tightly in cloth. She looked down at the newborn, love in her eyes, and the newborn looked back, curiosity in his.
As July and Leah were approaching where the statue was, something seemed strange about the trees, as if they were moving quietly. And they seemed to be a different color. July looked around for a moment, confused and a bit frightened, until he realized what it was.
"Look, Leah! The trees, they're covered in in butterflies--" he said excitedly. A butterfly flitted over to July and settled on his face. He resisted the natural reaction of shooing it away as to not harm it--instead, he gently cupped it between his hands, and after a few moments, released it. He watched it as it fluttered away.
But Leah was not looking at the trees. She was looking at the statue. No—something else. In front of the statue, was a brilliantly scintillating sword with a blood-red ribbon fluttering from it like a flag in the wind.