She walks through the gateway into the forest. Overhead the trees move, swaying to the caresse of the winds. She hears them whisper; talking softly to themselves of countless cycles of moon and stars. Beneath, the ground is thick with green moss. It spreads like a cloak, flung from the shoulders of dryads to fall in soft emeralds at her feet. Here there is no time save that of the trees themselves, ancient and deep in their knowledge. Each step takes her further from the hard bright human world, and into the embrace of the forest kin. They call to her in day-dreams and sing to her at night:
“Little sister, step lightly to us, we miss your shadow-dances. Join, once more, with us beneath the bough-halls of our realm”.
She longs to return to her kin, yet she was, this time, born in the thick human flesh of mortals, a mistake, a curse. No longer does the wave of her hand create light in the dark or the breath from her lips swell the winds among the hills. Deeper into the hallowed halls of her kind she steps, searching, longing for a way to shed this skin of the hard, bright chrome world.
Moonlight slants between branches, the air is sweet with the flowers scattered like blessings in the luminous pools where it falls. Placing a hand here, there, each trunk she passes holds the memories of a hundred years and more, moving with slow sap, keeping the secrets of this woodland world. The feathered folk who dwell here call from the air, to their children who lie in their nests, lined with the hair of squirrel and soft rabbit.
She raises her arms in the glade, eyes closing as she tilts back her head. With that smile on her face, she goes through the old steps. Slowly at first, for each time feels harder than the last as if learning the dance anew. She plucks her long skirts where they trail the dark earth, and she dips and turns. Here between the shade of the leaves and the moonbeams with their bright motes she dances. Her hair streams out as she spins, laughing, whirling. Here is her communion.
And soon between the arching giants, in glimpses of what might have been, she sees beyond the veil of human eyes, sees her kin. They are smiling shyly at her, softly, sadly, the sister they have lost. Yet wanting not to call her to them for fear of her bringing the mortal world too close they turn and slip away... sad in their ken that she is lost to them, but not for all time.
The colours and magick she weaves in her shadow-dance spin out, fine filaments, glitter and cobwebs between the trees, a weir between worlds. Her dances work a bridge between fae and mortal realms, sending love to her kin and their thoughts to her. Suddenly she stops, and falls, breathless, to the loam, she lies back and watches the branches criss-cross overhead, a frail and perfect lace against the velvet dark sky. The smile stays on her lips, though, satisfied, replete. She has felt her kin reach out and soothe her mind. She is not alone, never alone, and she is loved.