Arien walked along the path in the unnaturally dark forest, a pale moon hung overhead lighting the grey oaks eerily, but she was not affected by the darkness or the possibilities of some foul thing hiding in the thorny tangle beyond the path she walked. More then once she saw yellowed eyes staring from the darkness, she met them stare for stare and they were the ones who dropped their gazes, for she was master here, this was her dark kingdom, she need not have turned around to reassure herself of her safety, for she knew if she turned the massive looming shadow of her fortress would greet her sanguine eyes. The memory of this place affected her though, emotion stirred within her still breast. Sorrow and rage fought each other like two cannibalistic snakes in the place where a soul had once been housed, childishly she wanted to bite her lip and look to the ground as she rounded the corner to her destination, but with a wry grin pushed such weak emotions aside to admire her masters handiwork upon the grey stone wall ringed so densely by trees one would have no hopes of going farther. There upon the wall was a boy, a young man, who was as much stone as the wall was, stone hands stretched out and nailed to the wall with ancient rusted nails, his naked muscular chest and shoulders marred by the lash and yet upon his stony visage he betrayed no pain. The proud stone antlers sprouting from his head which had once shown brightly with the spirit of the forest were now dark and moss and spider webs splayed between the tines. And though the deer like ears were downcast his smooth face showed no emotion whatsoever. Arien took in his every feature; he was exactly as he had been all those long centuries before. His clothing, leggings and loincloth of animal hide and even the moccasins upon his feet were as they had always been, she suppressed a grimace, he was from a time when there were no fancy court dresses or velvet gowns…she wrinkled her nose in disgust and spat upon his marble flesh and spoke the words of awakening. For a moment she was not sure it worked for he had not moved, nothing had changed, but when a dark cloud moved from the path of the moon she saw him clearly, alive and watching her with that same blank stare. He was covered in the sandy grit of ages and the spider webs and moss in his hair and antlers blew gently in the wind

"Dane, Keeper of Secrets, Brother of the Forest, he who has no heart for he gave it to his wild kin I come for an answer, which only you know, and only you can give." She said in an ancient language, the first language.

"I hear you sister of the darkness, servant of love lost, speak your question and I shall answer you," he said in the smooth calm voice that she remembered. She was silent for a time and looked away; she knew if she looked up he would be staring at her, but at the same time through her, devoid of emotion.

"Why…why did you never love me?" He smiled a hard smile, harder than the stone his lips had once been

"I was never capable to love you, as a stone is unable to love the earth it came from, for I am unlike you and not of you and long after this tainted forest is forgotten I will still be here in one form or another, unchanging, constant un moving for I am the accumulation of thought from the mind of a dreamer I have no love to give or feel for I am but the wisp of a dream." Arien glowered at him, but at the same time felt relived, and yet at the same time still felt loss unlike any before, as always she was a hurricane of emotions trapped under the iron bars of emotionless discipline, she knew not how to reply, nor what to do so she stood there and glared at him, knowing that he was already stone again, for her question had been asked and an answer had been delivered. It had not helped coming here, she knew it would not.

"I had only hoped that you…" she whispered to herself wrapping her arms around herself and casting her eyes to the black soil of the earth "Had loved me back."