Elder Wood & Hyldemoer : Chapter 4
“Ø, it’s time to go,” whispers Bowski in my ear - which would normally startle me, but given the hypnotic beverages consumed the night before, I rise up with ease. After gathering my things quietly, Bowski hands me a light fisher’s snack “here, this will hold you over,” they mention. With the sun just peaking over the horizon behind us, I catch a glimpse of Stupendous sleeping on their back near the edge of the shore, camera finally dangling to the side and not covering their face. Crystal is nowhere to be seen, presumably resting under water.
“This way,” Bowski gestures, hobbling over with one leg. I follow with Tulip by my side, which proves to be quite a difficult task, given the wheels are out of tru and the frame is bent towards the back. “Where are we headed?” I ask as we enter the deep forest, a faint komorebi at our side. “Buckstaff Bluffs,” Bowski finally answers, before hopping over a log made of what appears to be elder wood, reminding me of my ancestral home.
As we gain more ground, I begin to sense the increasing pain that Bowski’s leg is causing them. Bowski is limping more and more, the further we tread into the forest, which at this point has completely enveloped us from all angles. Amongst the woven path, I notice a loose branch from a large impressive tree. I snap it off its limb, and quickly catch up with Bowski, who is crouched over in unimaginable pain, grasping their leg. “Here, use this,” I hand the stick to Bowski to prop themselves up.
“Where do you get this?” they ask. I start to mention it’s from the elder wood tree recently passed, but before I can finish my sentence, Bowski exclaims, “Hyldemoer!” and jumps on my back. Out of nowhere, the trees begin to swirl like a tornado, and Bowski screams,”Run! Head for the clearing!” I charge ahead on the path as fast as I can, but the wind is so strong, I can’t keep a grasp on Tulip, pushing us back into the vortex. Whispers grow deeper and louder, and leaves are shaking madly. With the stick, Bowski hits Tulip out of my hands - which is then swallowed by the deep green abyss behind us. “Go!” Bowski shouts, as I’m finally able to run against the wind. I dive through the clearing ahead and land near what appears to be a giant waterfall cascading down from the canyon above.
Bowski hobbles off my back, but I remain on the ground, my heart heavy with guilt.
“It’s not your fault,” Bowski’s paw rests on my shoulder. “It was time,“Bowski slowly takes a seat and props their leg on a rock holding the elder wood stick in btw their canines.
“But I could’ve held on longer,” I explain.
“The choice was never yours to make,” Bowski points the stick at the now seemingly quaint forest behind us, almost as if the recent events never occurred. “Hyldemoer always gets their way.”