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SJORIA: Book One|"The Silence Before The Song"|Scroll Down to Begin...

Chapter Three: The Mishap in the Blue Wood

he sisters had only walked a short distance from Shemsi’s teiami when suddenly there was a green flash in the bushes by the wayside.
They stopped short, earfins focused suddenly towards the place they had seen it. They watched with wide eyes.
There! It flashed again!
Neyhira put a finger to her lips and beckoned that her sisters follow her as she crept nearer to the bush. Slowly she reached out towards the bush and carefully moved its branches aside, with her two sisters eagerly looking on.


They all screamed in surprise and jumped back from the bush! A great big talgonfree swooped out from under the branches and dive-bombed at Neyhira. It chittered, rattled, and whizzed like a firecracker gone wrong! Neyhira was certain the erepod meant to claw off her face. She fell back on her bottom, swatting at it frantically. “Get away! Get away!”
Valii and Thairyn did not have enough time to understand exactly what the green flash was, but they started screaming! The “attack” did not last long—within a few seconds it looped around the three girls and dived behind a tree.
For a few moments, the girls did nothing but stare at each other, each panting hard from the excitement. Then, all at once, they burst into laughter.
Thairyn giggled. “It was just a little talgonfree!”
“I was so scared!” Neyhira said.
“He was goin’ to get you, Neyhira! He was! He was going to get you!” Valii said, laughing.
“Was he now?” Thairyn asked. She smiled wide as she helped Neyhira up from where she had fallen. “Well, I say, we go get him!
“I can’t believe we were all so scared of a little talgonfree! All right, Thair, let’s go get him!”
Valii stopped laughing and was thoughtful. Had her older sisters forgotten all about their audience with the Gem Chief on behalf of their nanani’s injustice? She decided not to remind them, however, seeing as she did not really want to blacktail, blackmail, or do anything else that Thairyn usually did and got in trouble for to her beloved Papa.

The trail that the talgonfree had followed was a mostly untravelled path, overgrown with long curling vines and flowers. The air was sweet and the grass was soft under the girls’ feet, so they did not mind. Yet, after only a little while of searching for their “escaped foe”, Thairyn felt compelled to stop. Noticing this, Neyhira and Valii did too.
“What is it, Thairyn?” Neyhira asked.
Thairyn did not answer at first but stood looking almost entranced at the trees around her. “Listen,” she said. Without any explanation, she left the path and approached a large Tree Kin standing near the wayside. She looked a little hesitant as she stood before it. She extended her hand and touched it. All prior apprehension fled from her face and she drew nearer, so that she was leaning against the soft furry bark. She closed her eyes and smiled. After a moment, she pushed away from the tree and looked at her sisters. Beckoning to them with bright eyes she said, “Neyhira, Val, com’ere! Come here, I want to show you something!”
Her two sisters came close to her. She took Neyhira’s hands in hers and pressed them up against the Tree Kin. Then she did the same to Valii. “Do you hear it?”
Valii was not at first sure what they were trying to hear. After all, what could one hear with her hands? Still, she wanted to find out what excited Thairyn so much, so she did as instructed.
Neyhira smiled knowingly at Valii. She closed her eyes. She could feel the subtle pulse under the Tree Kin’s skin in her hands—as she leaned closer and rested her earfin against it, she could hear the full intensity of the giant’s heartbeat.
Thairyn was glad that Neyhira had caught on. Valii, however, seemed slower to understand. Thairyn gently nudged her head closer to the tree’s bark. “Listen.”
Valii’s eyes lit up at once. “Ooh! I hear it! It’s his own heartbeat!”
Thairyn leaned close to the Tree Kin. She closed her eyes again and immersed herself in its feelings. This Tree Kin was expressing to her powerful emotions that were hard to understand, though she got the idea that it was longing for something. Then she could “taste” rain on her skin, hear the peaceful tapping of large drops of water on leaves—she felt refreshed and invigorated. She felt cold and wet too, but comfortably so. It was refreshing, like a cool drink from the brook on a hot day. The rain! How fun it was when it rained! Storms must be to the Tree Kin what a birthday party was to her; a time to play, to sing, to have something really interesting to do—a celebration! Yes, that was it. Storms were a time to celebrate!

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