The Way It Is

“I’ve never seen you this high up before,” Mag mutters, leaning down to smell at my snout and fronds. Each snuff of breath is hot and dry, with the smell of blazing metal. We watch each other carefully, but there is no fear.

“As the mountain sleeps, the forest creeps,” I reply. Even though my paws rest on the bare rock for just a moment, grass and moss rises from my touch. Mag sniffs at it, but keeps its heat at bay. “I came to see its progress.”

Mag nodded. Sparks drift from it, floating softly up into the twilight. “It is thriving. Long may it do so.”

“You do not mind?”

“Mind?” The fiery head tilts, warm dark eyes staring into my own. “No. I watch the mountain, but cannot control it. When its time comes, and the fires roll down the wooded hill, my own heart breaks. But that is the nature of this place. I have seen it many times before, and will see it many times again.”

I let my own ears rise, curious. “I have never seen the great fires.”

“No, you would not have done.” Mag’s gaze falls away to the woodland behind me, tall but lean; the shape of trees still in their youth. A sadness rings in its voice as it returns its focus to me. “You are as new as these woods, little one. Together you grow, and together…”

Silence was all that was needed. I understood.

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