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18 Years Later...

Roslyn could have never heard her mother calling her, for she was far off in the treacherous forest behind her father's castle. Well, maybe not treacherous but certainly most intimidating to any stranger. Blanketed with trees of every sort, the forest held within it a vast array of wooded plants: small scary looking ones, daonin, no taller than the kitchen table, with thistles and thorns growing around them. There were medium sized trees, laonin, no taller than a house, which produce, at the very top, flowers whose beauty stands unmatched by any plant known to man. Many have tried to pick the laonin's flowers, but to no avail, for these flowers can only be picked by very skilled climbers called Beggars. Not surprising that this tree would guard her beauty and release her flowers to only the worthiest of individuals. Being a Beggar was no easy job which took years of extensive training. The laonin's flowers could only be picked by those beggars who asked very gently and without an ounce of disdain or anger in their voice. Beggars were, in deed, among the most pleasant people in the land. They had to be in order to work in such a demanding field. But Roslyn's favorite tree only grew at the very edge of the forest.

Every morning, Roslyn stole away from her fortress, before dawn, riding her stallion through the lush forest as its emerald eyes glistened in the mist. She rejoiced in seeing her very breath expelled through the thick gray frost.

Melagro, her friend, wasn't an animal to her; he was her companion. She didn't ride him; he carried her. His unblemished coat shone brightly through the dew that rested lightly on his thick black mane. Melagro was as close to perfection as any animal she could ever imagine.

"C'mon, Melagro, we are almost there," she said as they ventured deeper and deeper into the forest.

Of course she knew to Melagro, this type of prodding was unnecessary because he had tread that same path yesterday evening, as well as yesterday morning, and even the preceding morning, for ten years. He knew the way, and he could get there if she were mute and blind. Before she could halt the creature, he had already begun to slow his gallop to a gallant trot. As they came to the edge of the forest, Roslyn let out a sigh of relief. They had made it just in time. As the sun rose above the cliffs, it cast a ray of brilliance that seemed to reach beyond thick clouds. Roslyn could see the castle from the cliffs, and as she turned, the castle and the entire forest were covered with a virtuous light. To Roslyn, this was when the true beauty of the old castle could be seen.

"See there, my friend, is this not why we worship?" she said leaning forward almost whispering into the horse's ear.

The young woman and her stallion stayed there revering the bottomless canyon below as the sun began to peak out over the clouds.

"I wonder what life is like below the clouds," she said as sadness slowly crept upon her face.

Choosing not to succumb to longing and melancholy, she quickly exclaimed, "We will make that journey one day, Melagro, just you wait." This statement, which was spoken many times before, floated from her lips down to the canyons below.

They waited there silently as the sun rose higher and higher creating a canvas of orange, red and purple hues. To Roslyn, very few things are more pleasing than waking the sun...

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