I was very small when I first met Unk. I don’t remember much of our first encounter, other than it being a pale spring morning, the kind where cold damp clings in your bones and weighs down your stomping feet. Without really understanding it, I met Unk, and it met me, and that was that for many years.

It wasn’t until my mid teens, when my magic grew in me, that I paid my forest companion much attention. I’d heard of spirits, of course, but I didn’t think it one, nor did I think it a monster. It was just… Unk. Mostly silent, except for the odd crumble echo as though a voice was trapped deep within, and mostly still, save for small movements of the head or hands.

I would talk to Unk for hours and hours as I played in the forest, practicing my sword skills or playing out a scene from a freshly read book. It always seemed interested in my chatter, so I gave as much as I could, until I was called away for bed or supper.

To this day, no-one knows what Unk is. Spirit? Beast? Some creation of magic?Regardless, Unk sits in his spot even now, listening to the adventures of my own children’s play. I hope it’s comfortable there. It seems to be.

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