CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: Morrigann's Garden

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CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: Morrigann’s Garden           

Warm water lapped at her toes, and Story saw that she was standing on the shore of a smooth, glassy lake. On the far side were pine-covered mountains abutting the lake’s edge. Snow dusted the highest peaks, yet down where she was, it was surprisingly warm. A light breeze, with the exquisite scent of citrus on it, ruffled the hem of her long, purple gown.

Great. Please don’t tell me I’m dreaming about him again.

Story glanced over her shoulder warily, but no one was there. Instead, there was a sprawling fruit orchard; a shoulder-height, wooden fence penned it in. The fence actually looked like it had grown there; flowering limbs sprouted off a fence post here and there down the line. She found herself walking toward the open gate without commanding her feet to do so—as if she was being drawn to it.

Once inside she could see that the orchard spread for miles. Every sort of fruit tree she could imagine, and some she couldn’t, were there in various stages of growth. Some had flowering blossoms on them, others had mature fruit ready for picking, while still others were young saplings, with only a dusting of leaves. Despite the fact that it looked completely untamed and random, there was something methodical about it—as if it were organized chaos.

But because of the chaos, she couldn’t find any sort of path. So aside from wondering why she was even there to begin with, she didn’t really know where to go now that she was inside the orchard. She wished for her compass because—even though it wouldn't really do her much good since she had no known landmarks to navigate off of—it would at least be comforting to have.

With her next step, she felt a slight weight and bump against her hip. Looking down she saw her compass hanging off the sash around her waist. Had it been there all along? Or had it appeared because she’d wished for it?

“Man, I sure wish I had a cold Barq’s in a bottle right now.” She was disappointed, but unsurprised, when no root beer appeared.

Well, it was worth a try. At least I have my compass now.

She untied the lanyard from her waist and brought it up near her face, aligning the needle to point north, and out of habit checked it against the sun’s position. She blinked in surprise; the sun was where it ought to have been—in the east! Story shook the compass for good measure, and just as before, once the needle settled down, the sun was rising in the east, not in the south.

Was she back in her own world? Had Ailionora’s magnetic poles shifted while she was swimming with Adair? Her mind raced, and then a thought struck:

What if the compass was pointing at a fixed object instead of a magnetic pole? And now that I’ve moved position somehow…

She set off briskly in the direction her compass was pointing. She felt it then, for the first time, the pull on her soul. She really had no other way to explain it—it was simply that. Something was tugging on her very essence; it was similar to what she’d felt when she’d seen the cave painting of the tree, only exponentially more powerful. Story had no idea where she was going or what the compass was leading her to, she just knew that it was the right way. Magic coursed through her veins, and she felt every hair on her body standing on end as if she’d just been shocked by an enormous charge of static electricity.

She picked up her pace and began to jog, eventually breaking into a full run, all the while moving toward the center of the orchard. Fruit trees flew by faster and faster as she ran, much faster than she’d ever been able to run before, yet as her speed increased, so did the tugging on her soul.

War of the Seasons, book one: The HumanWhere stories live. Discover now