From the Journal of Aframos Longjourney, Pilgrim
With notes by Avos Torr, Scholar of Rheve Library
Skalday, Nineeenth Cycle, Seventh Year, 81st Turn
Forty-Seventh Day in the Trees
Something very strange is happening. When we woke this morning, we found that the trees had vanished from around us. After seeing nothing but trees for so many days, we very nearly panicked. We were surrounded by bushes, grass, everything but trees.
Among the grass and bushes, there were numerous barespots. These barespots were round, varying in size. At the center of each was a very small plant.
My first thought was that we had been transported somewhere else, by magic. However, Torne looked around, and said that I was wrong. "I thought like that, but look, look, look around, the trees have changed, but not the ground." I realized that he was right, seeing a hill shaped like a bear I'd seen last night. I hadn't recognized it at first, since it lacked the trees that had adorned it before.
After a moment of talking, we finally realized what happened. The little plants in the bare patches—they are very young trees. While we slept, they lost their great size, shrinking until they became sprouts. This is strange, even for this forest.
By standing on the hill, we could see for miles around us. In the distance, we could see trees that hadn't changed yet, but they were very far, and the path didn't head in that direction. We were at a loss for what to do.
Then we heard a rumbling, all around us. We looked, and in the distance, it seemed as though a wall of trees were rushing towards us. We turned, and trees came from that direction as well. We didn't know where to run. We simply held each other as the trees came closer.
As the walls came closer, we realized that they were not actually trees moving toward us, but that trees were growing, and that this growth was coming towards us.
Soon the wave of growth reached us, and the trees around us burst into growth, groaning and rumbling around us. We kept as far from any of these growing giants as possible. Dirt showered around us, and the ground beneath us moved as roots spread out.
Then the noise stopped. We had been at the center of this growth, and it stopped where we were.
We did not move for some time, but finally, we decided we needed to be on our way. We gathered our things, brushed the dirt off of them, and then left.
Things were fairly normal until midmorning. We walked among the trees, looking around them. There was disturbed dirt all around for several miles. Eventually, the trees we saw seemed to be undisturbed by the event. We thought that this might be a sign that things would be getting back to normal. How wrong we were.
It started again when Torne climbed onto a large boulder to look me in the eye. He sunk, suddenly, to his thighs, and I had to pull him out. Some of the rock clung to him, as though it were a liquid. Curious, I tried to touch it, trying to find what it might be, but my hand passed through as though it were air. Souja climbed to the top, and seemed to find it perfectly solid, even when I waved my hand under her
We continued on, determined to leave this strangeness behind.
Shortly after noon, we heard something above us. The branches hanging over our heads were laden with apples. They seemed as though they should weigh the branch down, but instead it seemed to be straining up. As we watched, the stem of one of the fruits broke, and it fell, not down, but up. Another broke, and this one fell forward, ahead of us, until it hit another tree and caught in its branches. Soon we saw apples falling in all directions except staight down1. We hurried ahead.
By late afternoon, it was clear that something very strange is in this part of the woods. We saw a flock of birds flying out of a cliff, and then a log rolled up a hillside, righted itself, and became a tree again before our eyes. We decided we had no choice but to try going back the way we came.
We are now making our way back. We are not making camp tonight, but will keep moving. We are resting for the moment on a hilltop, where at least we can keep an eye out for what's going on around us.