She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally decided to walk through the door. The cool rush of air fell upon her immediately, then darkness. Her senses dulled. Alone in the dark, a shadow fell upon her mind and sight, such that darker fears filled her mind. It seemed almost as if she could hear the whisper of her fallen father’s voice. She reached out her arms in the shifting shadows and mist that surrounded her body. Then a warm hand grasped her own and she felt comfort. Like a loving parent she had lost from olden days, it felt familiar. Comforting. She was being pulled toward a faint glow. It was a glow as from a half-dead sun from a dying world, but with a twilight mist that swirled around her. Suddenly, the hand that was grasping hers violently let go. She felt as if she now were falling, as in a dream. The sound of crickets and the rustling of leaves flooded her senses. Slowly, her eyes opened and she found herself lying upon a bed of giant decayed leaves, surrounded by towering trees of purple and green. All around a spectral light, a softened twilight gloom, descended, so in the half-light she could barely see. She was in a dark and dismal forest. A violet mist then descended and swirled around her. For some reason, she felt no fear, but peace in her heart, as if this alien place was some sort of heaven; a sad and quiet place in her very heart half-known to her, yet now revealed finally to her eyes.
She looked up and could see a massive tree trunk spiraling up into a heaven filled with stars that swirled and giggled overhead in a dizzying array. At that moment, something suddenly hopped out from behind the tree. A bird, yet with a broken wing. It stared at her for what seemed like an eternity. “Greetings Maome”, the bird said. She crawled up from her bed of leaves, excited. “Am I truly here, Broken-Wing?”, she said. The little bird said “Yes, you are here”. She stood up, then bent down and picked up the tiny broken bird and cusped it in her hand, at which a softer glow suddenly appeared among the trees around them. Within the purple hemlocks appeared a line of forest creatures and beasts, including a massive hind, white as the snow and glowing bright and bold. “Hynkirk, is it you?”, she said as she wept. She carried little Broken-Wing to him and placed it on a knotted root and then hugged the mighty stag. Hynkirk looked down, his mighty antlers silver and shining in the purple gloom of the forest. “Welcome child”, he said. “Come with me”. All around a thousand fireflies of amber glowed. A dense mass of insects and beasts rose up from the forest floor as one mass, and followed the pair. There at the end, through the trees, appeared a bolder light. In the glade before them, rose a mighty tree, higher than the rest. It was pale as death and ghostly, with broken and twisted branches, which hung low to the ground. Beneath it was a dried up pool, now dark and filled with shadows and cobwebs. The dying tree seemed to move a bit when Maome appeared in the sacred glade and a sense of unforeseen hope and joy stirred within it. All the forest shuddered as Maome approached the tree and touched it with her gentle hand.