The Great Collection of the Elemental Families of Huphaea, anid 1830 #11

Hello Everyone! I hope you are all well and staying safe. We have been in the grip of some brutal humidity, but that is just an excuse to use the pool more 😆. Hard to believe it is August already, and the Halloween candy is already in stores? I can’t even… Let’s get back to exploring Rosewood, shall we?

We left off with Elahna finishing her climb up the redwood that took her to the top of Rosewood Manor. She emerged into the sunshine, and… (this is one of my favorite parts, I remember it so vividly!)~

Remember this view?*

I sucked in a sharp breath and dropped to my knees, terrified now that I was the tallest point on the tree. My head swooned and spun, my breakfast threatening to reappear.

That would be way too much of a shame, it had been wonderful going down, I had no desire to ruin the memory.

I crouched within the tips of the branches, stilling my mind and heart, breathing deeply for several moments. Slowly, I lifted my eyes from the floor. My fear had paralyzed me so that I hadn’t noticed the size of the open room around me.

A circular floor, complete with a knee wall, balanced on the tree top like a newsboy hat. Three clusters of plum-colored rattan chairs and side tables and two chaises were arranged haphazardly, colorful pillows tossed here and there. Beyond the furniture all I could see was sky.

The unease that danced beneath my ribs in lurching, fluttering steps sucked in all of my attention, inhibiting me from lifting my hands off the comforting floor. Maybe this was a bad idea. How long would it be before Rosewood alerted Aymur, or worse, Daphne that I was incapacitated up here?

I hung my head lower, about to give in to defeat when a slight tingling flowed up my arms, as if urging me to rise. Soft rustling began to my right and I glanced back to see branches flowing toward me. Their soft, lime green fronds caressed my bare arms, while the woody parts snaked around my waist and legs. The tree was providing me with a safety harness!

Photo by form PxHere

Once I was firmly, but gently wrapped in live webbing, I noticed the warm cedar-like fragrance of redwood filling the open air. My mind began to still and I inhaled deeply, using the serene scent to quiet my stomach and nerves.

The tree nudged me again.

I leaned back onto bent knees and raised my eyes to the limitless ceiling of the deck. Ever so slowly I stood up, the living harness adjusting with me, always providing reassuring pressure to my torso and legs. The Seat wanted me to see its grandest view and was providing comforting support, I had to oblige.

The vista of a verdant countryside cut through by a platinum ribbon rolled to the horizon.

Venrood Forest stretched below, vast but short in stature now. A few barges topped with golden stacks of planks emerged slowly from the trees and were hitched to what must be draft horses, but looked like ponies, to be guided into the mill pond. I turned, intending to look down on Cragbend itself, and made my way around the furnishings to the opposite side. My harness loosened and shifted with me, giving me confidence with every step.

Cragbend was a bucolic hamlet at ground level, from the air it resembled a Thomas Kinkade painting.

The river narrowed after the mill pond and continued to wind through the town, bisecting it neatly. People moving on the main road resembled ants, some driving carts to an open air market on the upper side. Smoke curled from chimneys and water wheels sploshed. I glanced at the sun, it still had a way to go until high noon, (what did Daphne say that hour was called, mezzanar, I think?), I still had time to wander once I was done up here.

Past the market, the road ran out of town again, lined with shops and smaller farmsteads just like on the forest side coming in. I wondered where it led to, deciding to ask Aymur for a map later.

As I stepped away from the edge, the wall receded to knee height again. I approached the stairs leading down, and the harness twigs slid silently away.

The redwood scent lingered, however, even to this day I can recall it when I need an extra bit of courage or peace.

I placed my hands on the deck as I passed through the floor and whispered, “Thank you, that was truly amazing. I couldn’t have seen that view without your help.”

Rustling like maracas answered me, along with a warm pulse under my hands. I smiled and ducked below the platform once again.

This time fiery garnets glowed when I reached the circular juncture, directing me down through an immense beech tree that deposited me at the end of the hallway my room was on.

How cool it would be to grow up in a tree! One thing I knew for sure—acrophobia was not part of an Arborean’s makeup!

Yes, how cool would it be to grow up in a tree? You see now why I remember that morning so vividly. I was paralyzed with fear, yet able to witness that grand sight. It was breathtaking. Would you have been able to stand up on top of the tree without help? I won’t forget that sight, nor several others that we will get to later on. Next episode, we will head into Cragbend for a taste of everyday Eflarian life!~

Curious for more information about Ereth, Huphaea, and its inhabitants? Join the Nightingales by subscribing to Collata⚡, the Collection of Huphaea’s newsletter! I send out one email a month with extra bits from my time in Huphaea, things I can’t fit into the episodes. Come along, join the troupe, we are a merry band! Subscribe below!

*photos used are free for use from pxhere or unsplash.

©2020 Eleanorah Starr and Quill & Orb Press. All Rights Reserved.

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