The trees hissed gleefully in the delightfully cool summer breeze wafting through the forest. It was a painfully heated afternoon in the sun, and although the animals who waltzed underneath the trees stayed cool, the pines themselves did not. The sky shone a vivid cerulean, and puffs of creamy clouds drifted across it like icebergs in an endless ocean. If you listened closely, you could hear the faint sound of the cobalt waves crashing upon the corn-golden sand. This was an unusually peaceful day, especially for this particular section of the land, and all the living inhabitants were ready to soak it up. The dead ones, however, were a completely different story.
A sunbeam shone through a break in the trees. On its way to the ground it encountered something quite odd, something translucent that seemed only half there.
"Come on," a high, shrill voice whined. "Just when I thought that I was safe!"
This voice belonged to the form of a girl, maybe ten or eleven, that appeared the picture of purity. Her pale hair was cut in a bob just at her jaw, her face the shape of a heart, her cheeks rosy and her eyes a shimmering green. She was skinny as a twig, and garbed in a deep blue tunic. Her skin was clear. Yet something about this pure being seemed quite off. Her entirety seemed faded and her bare, dainty feet did not touch the ground. The girl floated a few inches off the ground much like fog does during the night, and the sunbeam shone right through her stomach like she didn't exist. The young child squinted in the light and stepped back out of the sudden ray.
"Young Spiro," the wind seemed to sigh, "You must not argue with what nature gives us. Do not complain about the sun's rays, although it is painful. Merely move aside so the living can enjoy it."
The girl, who was apparently named Spiro, rolled her eyes and crossed her arms across her chest.
"I'm not arguing. I'm just voicing my own opinion."
The trees started thrashing violently in the wind, and visible gusts of silvery air tore through the woods. Spiro, hair whipping around painfully, curled herself into a ball to prevent herself from being struck with sunlight or debris, looking very much like a hologram floating in the glen. A form steadily conjured itself in front of the shielded girl, revealing itself to be a very tall man, estimably around the age of sixty three. His skin was covered in wrinkles and dirt. Most of the wrinkles seemed to be laugh lines, and his hair was coarse and white, and very sparse on his head. He did, however, have a very bushy white beard, and he wore a brown monk robe. In the man's gnarled hand was a staff gnarled to match, roughly carved of wood with a luminous emerald set in the top. The man also floated slightly off the ground, and he too had the same half-real effect.
"Child, you must respect nature, and then nature will respect you," the man chastised. Spiro griped,
"Sverre, you always say that! So then I try by worshipping your sacred nature gods, and they smack some sunlight right in my face! What kind of respect is that?"
Sverre sighed, ever peaceful.
"You will understand when you are older, my dear."
Spiro glared at the man.
"I'm a hundred and ten! How much older do I need to be?!" she exclaimed. Sverre smiled good naturedly.
"Older in maturity, not years, dear one."
Spiro huffed disgustedly and stormed away, only to find herself face to face with Sverre.
"Stop following me!" she screeched. Sverre looked very grim all of a sudden. Spiro quirked an eyebrow and placed a hand on her hip.
"What's wrong?" she asked.
"An intruder is in our wood."