She took a deep breath.

Despite the lack of color the festival was dazzling. There was a glint as an axe flew through the air and smacked into a wooden target a few feet away. Totem polls, freshly carved, lined the path like the Greek columns in the temples. In one corner there were stalls selling all sorts of wooden wares, in another there were men and women carving little toys for children, and all through the grounds there were people marveling at statues carved from different tree stumps.

But that was all just the side activities, anyone could join or look around there just to pass the time as they waited for the bigger events to start up. The competitions were what really caught her eye. The lumberjacks were quite intimidating on their own but when they were preparing for a competition they were almost terrifying. They were all lined up for various competitions. Some waited to fight each other in log rolling, where the loser ended up soaked. Some lined up for the races where they would run up and down trees. Others wanted to compete in the story cutting competition, where the winner had to cut a perfect sheet of readable story material from prepared trees.

She was here for the best competition. It was the activity that the festival was formed around, the Story Harvesting Competition. Whoever cut the best story from the finest tree would be crowned the winner. There were no physical rewards for the winner. Mostly they just received a sort of fame that came with the title and immense amount of respect. But she was entering to prove something.

The sheets she hugged in her arm as she strode up to the table weren't from a tree's story. The sheets weren't even all from the same tree. So as she walked up to the entry table, there were a lot of looks thrown her way.

Setting her clunky sheets of wood down, she said, "I'd like to enter."

Her head was just over the table's height and the man in charge of the entries couldn't help a smile. He shook his head as he picked up the book. It was clear he already had no intention of letting her disorganized book enter the competition but when he flipped through the pages he noticed something.

Ink. Ink was never used in the stories from the trees and this story was covered in it.

Taking a gaping look at the girl, he asked, "Did… you create this?"

With a mischievous grin, she held her head up high and opened to the first page.