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From Ashes The Whispers Grow

The soul of the forest returns after the fire.

By KA Stefana Published 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 3 min read
Top Story - March 2024
The Emerald Forest Destroyed by One Spark

A single spark danced along the wind as the leaves rustled, whispering their fears of the danger that would soon be released upon the Emerald Forest, hidden deep within the realms of the abandoned lands. Once upon a fairytale, kings and queens roamed these lands, seeking counsel with the ancient souls living in the trees. The magic still hung in the air, but it was a dark and evil spirit that clung to the remnants of this enchanted world.

Finding rest upon the dried leaves, the spark burst into flames, spreading with a ferociousness that promised to destroy the forest within moments. Finnur shook his leaves in warning, sending out his final message before the flames devoured his host. "Go now! Hide among the roots until it is safe to start anew. Do not tarry lest your soul be consumed by the flames."

Waiting as long as he could for the sprites to leave their host trees and settle deep underground in hibernation, he finally separated his soul from the burning tree. Settling underground in the roots, his soul would survive until the new growth sprouted.

The Emerald Forest

The fire raged on, climbing the trees branch by branch as plumes of smoke suffocated the surrounding land. The black clouds traveled southward to Elwentide, where the last king reigned. He stood at the window watching helplessly as the black ash settled upon his land. Whispering for his beloved friend, "Finnur, you shall rise again."

He slid his sword into his hilt and raced down to the potion's room, seeking the elixir to save the forest and the souls within the trees. Racing to the stables, King Lars mounted his stallion and raced toward the burning forest.

Standing on the edge of the burning forest, he felt the emptiness deep within him, knowing that the souls had departed from their hosts. The forest was a lonely place without the wood sprites. King Lars knew this was the rebirth that the forest needed to rid itself of the darkness that had wandered its paths for the last decade.

Raising his hand, he spoke the magic into existence, freeing the Emerald Forest of its blight. He watched as the devastation moved on to the southern hills, leaving nothing but burnt trees and branches strewn along the charred forest floor.

At first, a sadness fell upon him as his eyes took in the totality of the situation, but then he felt something reaching for him. In the beginning, it was barely audible, but as his feet wandered deeper into the woods, he felt an old and familiar presence surround him.

Drawing closer to Finnur, he heard a soft voice fill his head: My King, we have survived. Until our forest grows, we shall lay dormant below the earth so we may retain our strength.

"But, my friend, my time on this earth is quickly coming to an end. Will you rise again before I turn to dust?"

Come now and rest by me, and we can become one. You will live forever within our care, Finnur answered. Inviting the king to let go of this world and enter theirs.

It was an invitation his old bones longed to give into, but alas, he replied, "Tis, not my time to depart from this world, but may I return when I have finished what I have set in motion?"

Look upon the horizon, Milord, and you will see you have already left your earthly form.

Turning to look at his horse, he saw his body resting peacefully on the ground. His spirit had already separated from his earthly form. "Well, my friend, I accept your invitation."

The Southern Lands of King Lars

As the trees returned, King Lar's spirit took up residence in the pines overlooking his kingdom. He watches over it to this day, with Finnur by his side.

When you stand upon the hills, you can hear them talking, telling tall tales, but you can only understand the games they play, if you listen with a believing heart.

FableYoung AdultShort StoryFantasy

About the Creator

KA Stefana

I started writing as a hobby during quarantine. From a hobby, a passion bloomed. Author of Dark Fantasy with a twist of romance. Available on KU - The Origins of Darkness, The Daughters of Darkness and The Forgotten.

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

Top insights

  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (10)

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  • Ameer Bibi2 months ago

    Congratulations for top story "Wow, your creativity shines like a beacon in the night! Your work is truly captivating and always leaves me in awe. Keep dazzling us with your talent!"

  • Andrea Corwin 2 months ago

    Pure enchantment, it pulled me right in. I love the forest and you created a world with sprites among the trees. Congrats! (FYI toward the end in the italicized words telling the king you will see left your body, the “you” is missing and quick edit can fix that). Great job😍

  • Such an emotional good, congrats!!

  • ROCK 2 months ago

    New subscriber here! I loved every detail; happy to discover your writing ( thanks to Top Story I found you!) Congratulations!

  • Anna 2 months ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳🥳🥳

  • Brin J.2 months ago

    He was a lot calmer than I'd be if I just discovered I died😅. It was a great read. Interesting all the way through. I especially like the colorful imagery here: "It was an invitation his old bones longed to give into". I always over-do it with the details, yet this was simple enough that it said so much with so little. A skill I need to work on. Lol.

  • Gabriel Huizenga2 months ago

    Great read!! Love the fantasy elements and lore richly present in this short story. Congrats on the Top Story! :)

  • Novel Allen2 months ago

    I love the fact of the souls of trees escaping underground to preserve life. And how sweet that the kings gets to rest happily and rise again with the spirits of the forest. Adorable story.

  • Linda Bromley2 months ago

    Oooooh, thats a sad… but also sweet end. Great story

  • Anthony Terry2 months ago

    This is an intriguing read! I want to know more about King Lars

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