CRACK! The tree split in half, a clean, horizontal split through the middle of the truck drifting almost elegantly for a moment before gravity kicked in and it came crashing down. My eyes widened with amazement.
“How did you do that?” I asked.
“It’s simple really. I just pictured the tree, then pictured myself cutting the tree in half.” My mentor, Teysa, stood before the tree with her sword out as she turned to look at me. Just moments before the monstrous trunk of the tree had appeared so secure. Ancient, like the air around us. “If you can picture it, you can do it.”
“But I’ve been picturing it!” I moaned. This was day three of our training.
“Well you aren’t picturing it right. Maybe you’re picturing yourself cutting through the tree, but you’re picturing it as something impossible. The point of this is to make what seems impossible, possible. Get it?” She looked at me with a warming smile. “Now take your stance in front of that tree.” She pointed to a tree about twenty paces away. It couldn’t have been more than three hundred years old. It was dwarfed in comparison to ancient one Teysa had just brought down.
I walked over to the tree, opened my palm to it, and pressed my fingers into the grooves if the bark. We were taught to listen to the trees before we cut them down. Trees don’t think the same way as people. Where we take greedy breaths of air, and gorge our faces with the bodies of other species, the trees provide for others. They understand that all species are develop in new ways every year. Just last year we began to see the wolves turn whiter with the snowy season. It was making them harder to avoid during our hunting sessions.
Trees also don’t speak like we speak. They sort of just shift a little bit. Like how a bird will twitch it’s head about when it hears an unexpected noise. Except really slowly. It’s awe-inspiring. I waited until the tree stopped shifting. That’s when they were totally calm.
“Sorry” I whispered. Then I stepped back and drew my sword. It was beautiful, about the length of my arm, engraved with the names of the heroes from each generation. I had yet to earn my name’s place. I took a long, slow breath. I could picture it so clearly. The rough edges of the bark. Myself, standing before the tree, like on Silence Day, standing before the shrine of Apatha. The wind, blowing through my hair. The slow rustles of the wildlife around us. I could see myself take a strong step forward, bringing the sword around like a viper darting at it’s prey. I could do this.
I opened my eyes. I looked dead at the tree. I could feel the earth vibrating below me, like the I had my hand on the pulse of the world. I inhaled again. The air was crisp and cool, with the light smell of mint. I took a step forward, closed my eyes, swung my sword and…
Chink. The blade bounced harmlessly off the bark. I slumped my shoulders, defeated.
“Well. That didn’t work. You looked so focused too. Maybe next time.” Teysa said.
“Yeah. Next time.”