A grim silence lingered, excess from the cries that preoccupied the air moments earlier. Shattered from an exhausting battle, neither had won, both distressed from defeat. They lay down their arms and lay down their persons. Absorbed slowly by the damp earth, entrenched along the pin straight path that broke the meandering road between Kald and Hirane.
Violet halted her mare after they reached a pause in the slithering road. Twists and turns disoriented the slight girl and demanded her to rest the wrenching bowels that displayed her unease. Thankful for the respite, the cropped black mane crouched for drop of water from the stream that never left the road’s side. The mare bowed her head next to the girl for refreshment as well. Soaking her hand in the cool brook, Violet pressed her palm to the back of her neck, relieving herself of the nausea that was bubbling up. She tilted back on her heels, landing in a tranquil heap at the base of a decaying pine.
The olive windows slowly faded as Violet’s long top lashes inched closer to meet their kin at the base of her eye. Breath slowed and met the rhythm of the nattering stream and chorus of the wisps of late summer air that carried occasional icicles insinuating the changing season. A prolonged breeze caught the attention of Violet, requiring more than just a fleeting recognition. She pried open her resting eyes and was met with a disturbing flurry of dust, feathers, and possible leftovers of other horses that have passed through. Swatting with perturbed effort, her flailing arms elbowed the unstable pine behind her. Loosening the unhinged roots, the small, by surrounding comparison, tree collapsed with relief onto the path. Stumbling into the pyre hole of her previous stand, Violet caught herself trying to avoid gauging root spears that were left from the ruin.
Hands grasping at the clammy, turned soil, her grip failed to support her momentum. Flattening into the cavity where the tree once stood, Violet slowly urged her body to turn over and regain its composure. A heavy weight pressed against her back, denying her efforts to stand, forced Violet back into the hole. The roots started to creep towards her limbs, and towards their broken comrades of the fallen tree. She strained and cried for help, but her attacker kept her restrained. The corroded pine began to erect from the pull of the desperate roots, eager to join as a whole again. A fresh life, a fresh sacrifice. All on the road from Kald to Hirane.