From one, there were five.
The lover, she was easy to define, for feign and fawn were the extent of her graces. Then there was the muse, her place being to aspire and inspire, to seek fortune in all forms of art and the occasional artifice. The fighter, he had a temper that was quick to rise, sparking a fire that fast burnt through any sense of logic. Thankfully, there was also the thinker, she whose task it was to consider and consult, to range and rectify, life a series of knots waiting to be untangled. Then finally there was the darkness, a shadow that sought other shadows in which to multiply, the world one lived at night and all an excuse to sink into sullen depths.
Together these five formed one, she being little more than a waif, a child that might well be hidden behind a sapling should the need arise, though lost as she was amid the trees, there was no current reason to be secretive, discovery instead being that which drove her.
Straight black hair hung to sallow cheeks like the curtains of the window she had slipped from, the rise and fall of her chest echoing the sleep of the woman from whose lips the promise of adventure had arisen. Escape, she had warned the child beneath the warmth of a feather-filled duvet. And the nightmares will betray your dreams.
Those words, spoken every night the same, had born in the child a need to test their truth, and as such commit the first betrayal.
"You must adorn yourself in flowers," the lover advised, her voice like silk upon the dark skin of the lost girl. "For how can anyone be expected to find you if you look like that?" she added with typical scorn for the girl's appearance, the truth being that the waif was much too young to be concerned by attracting lovers.
The fighter, wrestling himself free of the tree he was attempting to fell, laughed at the soft, romantic notions of the lover. With eyes brimming over in hungry rage, he spat and stamped upon the mark it left in the black soil. "We need no one but ourselves," he growled. "And any who oppose us shall feel our wrath."
The girl, a single tear running down her cheek despite the company of the five, did not look like someone who could succeed in making anyone feel her wrath, and so she turned from the fighter to the thinker, hoping that she at least had something of value to offer.
"Moss grows on the north of the tree, and when a cow sits in a field, it means it will rain. That being said," the thinker countered, pausing for a moment. "The origin of everything is the start, and so perhaps we should seek the author of the end?"
As normal when the thinker spoke, the girl felt herself amiss among such wise words.
A whisper came from her side, emerging from the darkness that she rarely saw. "We are right where we need to be," it reassured her despite the creeping cold. "Deep night will come, and with it despair, disaster, death—"
The girl shook her head to rid her thoughts of the darkness, its advice always the same.
"Why can't you help me?" she pleaded, spinning on the spot to gaze up at the towering trees, each of which leaned forth with prickly branches as if to swoop her from the ground and wrap her in their sap, she then a prisoner of amber to be stored in a dusty room where children would offer but a passing glance before sketching the contours of dinosaur bones.
"I don't want to be encased in amber," the girl cried, the tears both hot and cold upon her hollow cheeks.
The fighter, lost for words, turned to look for whoever it was bearing amber, a pursuit that took him back to fighting trees, each punch only causing them to sway more violently and thus further inflame his fury.
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