Friday, February 25, 2011


Prompt: Write about two trees.

Source: None.


They could see the city for days before their arrival. Heyos had never seen anything so large; in the distance, it even appeared to dwarf the mountains. The city of Eurias' white walls loomed like glacier cliffs, in stark contrast with the barren wasteland of the plains.

Every night, Heyos found himself sleeping with his feet toward Eurias so that its great, ivory walls were the last thing he saw before he closed his eyes. Claey had smiled at the boy the second night, a mischievous twitch of his heavy lips, but he had refrained from teasing him, a fact for which Heyos was incredibly grateful. He could not have explained what drew him to the city if asked and he preferred not to be taunted about yet another of his habits.

Heyos did not sleep at all the night before they reached Eurias. The moon rose full over the flat plain and the city's walls shone translucent with its light almost as though illuminated from within. As they neared the city the next day, Heyos was suddenly aware of the grime of travel on his clothes and how dirty he must be. The ice-like surface of the walls reflected the columns of travelers, some coming, some going. It turned his stomach to see the shining fortress marred by their filth.

Whenever Heyos thought it would not be noticed, he stood up on his toes, trying to see over the crowd. He had heard stories about the gates of Eurias - the intricately sturdy bars made entirely from vines. It was said that the gates had been raided from an ancient village in the mountains and, though the vines had died in transit, the gates were linked to to the city by a system of living plants, almost magical in composition. He did not catch sight of the gates until the party had come deep into the shadow of Eurias' walls and, even then, he could not see them clearly until they were almost through them.

The gates were wide enough for the two enormous trains of people could walk comfortably side-by-side, though they were set so low in the wall that tall men on horseback ducked automatically. Heyos' eyes widened as they came close. He wanted to stop and touch the gates, which did indeed appear to have been fashioned from plant matter woven into the shapes of a great stag on one side and a lithe doe on the other, but he was swept up in the crowd. He would not have stopped even if he had been able; Heyos was wary of looking backward. Well, more backward than he already looked with his animal-skin clothing and long hair. It would not do to make it more obvious that he had never been to Eurias before.

The light was blinding as they came through the gates and out into the city. Heyos squinted upward. An enormous tree, its outstretched branches serving as a roof over the whole city blocked most of the direct sunlight. The brilliant glow was reflected off the smooth surfaces of the white walls, even seeming to come through them as if they were made of muslin rather than stone. All of the traffic seemed to be going toward the giant tree.

Heyos could not imagine where everyone was going - they appeared to be walking directly into the tree. As they came closer, close enough to see the pocks in the great tree's thick bark, Heyos could see a river flowing perpendicular to them. The wide, slow-moving river flowed directly beneath the tree. From the shorter distance, he finally realized where the people were disappearing to. The path they were on went beneath the tree, crossing the river.

Heyos' palms became clammy as they nearer the monstrous plant. What if it collapsed down on them? Surely they would be killed. Would he be able to breathe beneath the tree?

Beneath the tree's great roots, the path became a seamless bridge, spanning the river. The tree sat on both sides of the river, its truck suspended well above the water and the bridge. Sounds were muffled in the half-darkness beneath the tree trunk, so that it almost seemed that they were beneath water.

At the center of the bridge Heyos paused. He looked up into the hollow of the mighty tree. He thought he could see another tree there - hanging by roots that were embedded in the larger trunk. The tree glowed brilliant white, like the sunlight that came through the city's walls. Heyos stared up at it, mouth open slightly until Claey yelled, "C'mon, bumpkin, let's go!"

Blushing, Heyos looked back down to the bridge and followed his comrades back out into the sunlight of Eurias.

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