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by Nicole Ash
Category: Erotica/Erotic Fantasy
Description: Almost as far back as Arwyn could remember, she'd sought comfort in being near her 'wishing tree' in the Elderwood whenever she was hurt or lonely. As a child, she'd begged to be granted many silly wishes. As a woman, she wanted only one, a man to love her forever.
eBook Publisher: New Concepts Publishing, 2006
eBookwise Release Date: August 2011
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [51 KB]
Reading time: 30-42 min.
What little sunlight made it through the heavy canopy of the trees danced along the ground as their leaves were ruffled by a slight breeze. Arwyn fancied she could hear the giants that towered above her whispering to one another, their words too softly spoken to be fully understood, but loud enough to leave an impression of countless secrets being told. Outside the forest the sun had been merciless, making her wish fervently that she had not chosen to wear a dress of such thick material, but it was her favorite dress and she always dressed her best when she came to see the spirits of the wood. This deep into the forest, all was cool and dark and she could completely forget about the outside world. The torment she endured at the hands of the other residents of Edgemoor, the teasing, the whispers about her sullied bloodlines, her absent father, all could be forgotten. Here, nothing mattered except her tree. Her deer-skin boots made no sound as she walked along a path well trampled into the moss covered ground by years of similar journeys into the depths of the Elderwood. Arwyn soaked in the silent tranquility that surrounded her, wishing she could stay here forever but knowing at the same time that that could never be. No one could live in the Elderwood. It was forbidden. To enter it as she did, to come so far into it, was bad enough. Perhaps that was what drew her in, though, time after time? The lack of other humans in an unspoiled world all her own.
Her mother had told her once that the Elderwood was the oldest forest on the face of Dun-da-har, the only place where ax had never struck, and she could well believe it. It would take eight large men to wrap their arms all the way around one of the smallest rowan trees on the outskirts of Elderwood. Further inside, in places where none of the villagers from Edgemoor, her home town, would dare think of going, Arwyn knew of trees easily four or more times that size. Her destination, in fact, was, to the best of her knowledge, the largest tree of them all. The tree had drawn her even as a young girl. She could still remember the first time she laid eyes on it. Naylee and Mar, girls, it seemed, that had always had a particular hatred for her, had been teasing her again. She had run away into the woods, running for safety in a place she knew even at that time that she should never go, where no human was considered safe. Nothing had impeded her passage, as was claimed things would. No monsters came to eat her. They were all back in the village, laughing at her. When she had finally stopped running, she found herself beneath a tree so large she could not imagine that it had ever been any smaller. She had felt safe beneath it, safe for the first time in her life, from all of the people who still waited outside the forest to hurt her again, but would never come here to do so. The forbidden forest had opened itself to her, and when she finally decided to go home to her mother, the path back seemed clear as day to her, as though the trees she had run around in her haste had moved ever so slightly to the side that she might find an easy way out. In her youth, this had seemed a perfectly natural belief, but as she grew older she realized that she had to have been mistaken. Since that time, though, she came always to that great tree and made all of her wishes upon it.
She wasn't certain why she was so convinced that the spirit of this tree favored her enough to consider granting her wishes. Despite having wished earnestly as an adult for a loving mate, or at least to not be such an outcast, aside from the silly wishes she had made as a child, Arwyn had yet to get anything at all she had wanted.
She thought she had, once.
"Nadir...." Even the name hurt, but after having formed the thought, the whole humiliating, agonizing event came back in a rush.
She had wished so often that Nadir would notice her. He was so handsome, tall and strong. It was the dream of every girl in the village to marry him and she had certainly been no exception. It would have solved so many of her problems.... When he finally did notice her, she believed that all of her wishes had at last come true. Nadir told her he loved her, that he had wanted so often to be with her. He claimed that he did not care what the others said, that none of them really mattered. Her spirit soared. She left herself completely open to him, told him how she felt, how she had always felt, ever since she was a little girl. He had been one of the few people who did not tease her, who had never seemed to hate her, and she had loved him for that as much as for his dimpled smile. That night, when he told her he had something special planned, that he had something important to ask her, Arwyn thought he meant to ask her to marry him. She had fantasized so long about that moment, had even decided years ago how she would accept.
"Stupid, stupid, stupid. You should have known better!"
He did not actually have any thing in particular to say. It was more something he wanted to do. They made love to each other under the stars and lay for hours in each other's arms, and while his professions of loved had already stopped, hers continued to flow like water from her lips. Mortification did not quite cover something of this immensity.
The next day, Arwyn had wandered around in a daze of bliss. It was easier to ignore the way the others whispered when she was around because she knew the most handsome boy in town loved her. However, as hours went by without a single sign of him, she started to worry. Arwyn looked all over town for him. She found him, much later, not far from where they had lain the night before. With his pants down. On top of Aurease.
"I just didn't make the right wish, that's all. I was too specific," she assured herself.
Part of her wanted to wish that night had never happened, but she knew nothing could ever change the past. Not even wishing for it. The best thing, she knew, was to make a wish that might be granted, as everyone else's wishes were. The problem was Arwyn had never been around the other girls when they made their wishes. She was not welcome there and when she felt the inclination to go, resisted curiosity, knowing where that might get her. She knew well the advice her mother always gave, but knew too that her mother had not seemed to have any more luck at it then she. After all, her mother was still unwed. Could she possibly know any better how the wish was to be made? She had always said to be specific, that the wood spirits would sometimes play tricks on those who were not. She had even admitted once that it was being too general in her wish that had caused her own heartache, and though she would never say anything else about it, Arwyn suspected she was referring to her father.
"Lack of a father." Just because no man claimed Arwyn as kin, that did not mean she had no father at all. Ever since the incident with Nadir she had suspected her mother had made a similar wish, which just meant that her father knew who he was but refused to claim her. It was a shame and dishonor to be born out of wedlock, but there was nothing she or her mother could ever do about that. Sullied bloodlines.