Chapter 1

The silver tree

Eyes watering, Naomi stumbled through the brush, thrashing around and cursing the wild boar that had disturbed her sleep. Screaming, she had taken off into the bush without knowing where she was going. And due to that, she found that she was lost.

Walking deeper in to the thick forest with no clue on where she was going was pretty frightening on its own, with the knowledge that there were strange creatures which could swallow you whole and plants that choked you, made it terrifying.

Just about ready to give up and make camp, Naomi's steps slowed, allowing time to look for a suitable camp site, until she came upon a truly massive tree. Gazing intently on the trunk, she noticed that the silver seemed to ripple, projecting energy. Slowly, she raised her hands to the trunk of the gigantic tree, expecting warmth; disappointment flooded her when she touched the stone cold bark. Still, she felt the ancient tree's undulating power and lay her hands on it again. She jerked her hands back almost as soon as she touched it, scalding heat stopping her from laying her hands on it for long periods of time.

Excitement made her breathe faster as she tried to figure out an explanation.

Stone cold then scalding hot? It went over and over around her head. Her breathe flew out of her lungs when she realised there were no implications in it, it was just a strange tree that warmed up really fast.

No, there has to be something to it, a fairy tale or something. A childish voice whispered in her mind, defying her common sense.

Naomi, an orphan child, was twelve and a fighter in her heart, although this time she fought the decision to walk away and heeded the one that said, investigate.

A cold breeze whispered through the trees, bringing her the scent of a fronnate in the bushes to her right. Her heart froze, breathing stopped and her face physically blanched, she'd been so rapped up in the tree she had forgotten to scout the area for danger, not that it would have helped in the case of a fronnate because as soon as it was discovered it would have attacked her, she would have had no chance. Now her only hope was the tree, in the case of going up. Fronnates are vicious creatures, using their front claws to anchor you close and then using their back talons to cripple you, they slowly ate you alive with their dragon-like head shredding your skin, she shivered at that thought.

Her eyes spied a reasonably small branch just in front of her feet, if she threw that at it, it might get startled long enough for me to climb up the tree, out of its range.

Slowly, she leaned down, her hands closing over the branch, she straightened and turned, facing the bushes and preparing to throw the branch, then climb the tree.

Bringing her hand back, she threw the branch as hard as she could, turning around, she scrambled up the tree a couple of metres before she looked back, her blood went cold when she saw the fronnate using its claws to climb the tree after her. Quickly she resumed her climb, climbing higher and higher, every now and then she would look down to see where the fronnate was, eventually, after a while the creature stopped and went back down, making her sigh with relief. She kept on climbing.

! Hour later

She was practically asleep while she was climbing. Finally, after an incident where she fell about a metre because she fell asleep, she stopped and settled down for the rest of the night in a fork, on one of the branches of the tree.