Depths of Winter's heart would find the Spring of Life.

 

Rani of Rikard:  ::she didnt wish to even attempt a merge with the soil within the confines of Darby, and it wasnt until she made her way across the river, smiling faintly as the Darby Falls misted her hair, she entered the forests that Sari Faire considered her territory ... yet in this particular version of reality ... she didnt know if this truth still held ... but the boundaries weakened out here and she could feel the whisper of earth-song singing against her bare feet::

 Rani of Rikard: ::she could hear the wind whispering secrets through the dancing leaves above her head and that caused her to smile in her quiet way ... and it was then that she felt the first ... trembling? of power in the air ... not a power from a person or creature, but one from the mother earth herself::

 Keita:  ::feeling a presence moving towards her she froze, eyes wild and fearful, without a sound she rushed silently over the covered ground. frightened she lept up into a low branched tree and quickly scaled it. breathing heavily she waited, she would see who hunts her::

 Rani of Rikard: ::the trees sang their songs, not as loudly as the earth, but it was as sweet ... and she heard the change in the song, the storms in her eyes stilling as she slowly veered in another direction towards the new song::

 Rani of Rikard ::she reached the tree that gave the strongest melody and lay her hand softly to its surface ... quickly pulling back at the intensity of vibration she felt::

 Keita:  ::she felt her pursuer coming ever closer. she steadied her breath and tried not to tremble. she was unprepared and confused. why was someone after her who spent a solitary life in the forest. she held her breath...her pursuer was there::

 Rani of Rikard:  ::she didnt speak, instead she drew out her panflute of purest crystal ... its simple notes hung in the air, soothing::

 Keita::as always music served to calm her fears. she was unsure, wanting to investigate the beautiful sound but fearing the results. she hesitated, listening closely::

 Rani of Rikard:  ::she played a soft scale in first major 2-2-1-2-2-2-1, changing the key after every three rounds ... then switching to minor, more mysterious of the 2-1-2-2-1-3-1 .. haunting yet the sequence was peaceful::

 Keita:  ::like a child her curiosity overwhelmed her. it started to become haunting...and hauntingly familier. with little effort she lighly lept from the tree...and landed in an embarrassed heap in front of a raven haired beauty. she looked up with excitement and fear into unfamiliar eyes::

 Rani of Rikard   ::she hadnt expected the sudden appearance and nearly let the earth swallow her within its embrace ... the process had already begun, her feet, ankles disappearing into the soil when reason asserted itself and her extremities reformed ... that momentary pause halted the music, but then it was resumed, soft, luring ... this time a deliberate tune that was both sprite and playful::

 Keita:  ::as she looked up the music changed and she watched closely. this woman was like herself. she righted herself into a sitting position to listen, pulled a leaf from her hair and gave to woman a child like smile. she would trust the music maker::

 Rani of Rikard:  ::she let the notes trail away .. not ending exactly, but rather they lingered and were captured by the air and bourne along, and the flute disappeared into the folds of her skirts ... she knelt then, before the girl, her skirts pooling around her, and very gently she accepted the leaf::  I thank you ... I am Rani of Rikard and I have come to this place of magic and lore with only peace in my heart ... are you able to speak with me?

 Keita:  ::reaching up and lightly tugging on Rani's bit of braided hair she giggled:: yes of course! why are you here if you dont want to hurt me?

 Rani of Rikard:  ::the iris of her eyes changed then .. churning, a miniature storm captured within, and hints of lightening flaring, but her expression remained ever soft, ever calm::  Others have hurt you?

 Keita:  ::the smile left her face as she saw the anger in the woman's eyes and she was suddenly less of a child:: oh yes, i do not know who though. someone was stalking me through these woods not long ago. i ran well and thought i escaped. i was wrong ::she broke her eyes from Rani's stare and began to focus on a leaf that had landed in her lap::

 Rani of Rikard :  ::she extended her hand, palm up and within her palm rested a small stone, yet it seemed to glow brightly as a ray of sun splashed upon it, highlighting the needle-like rutile in its depths::  A gift for you .. it carries a certain vibration ... can you feel it?

 Keita:  ::eyes widening at the prospect of a present she looked up at the glittering stone, the child-smile returning she snatched it up, pulling it in close causing her to bear resemblance to a squirrel:: ohh yes, i feel. it is very strong...why do you give this to me?

 Rani of Rikard:  I carry many such stones ... some sing better for others than for me .. this one responded to you ... ::it was the truth, but more than that::  You are very receptive to the songs of the forest ... it is part of you?  Like the earth .. it is part of me ...

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