Mindful of his years on earth slipping by, Genesis consented to take his family to the forest at Granite Falls. It had been many years since the family had visited there. Annia had never been and Delilah had been a child when she last saw the great trees.
Like everywhere else the forest had changed. Rather than sleeping in skin tents, they would stay in an earth house.
The family was stunned by the beauty of the place.
Weary and hungry, everyone set about getting comfortable from their journey.
Once refreshed and sated with food, they set about exploring and playing.
Atticus searched for ingredients to his potions.
While her weary mate napped and youngest played...
Annia spent some time thinking.
She fretted about Atticus and regretted not heeding Delilah's and Jair's warnings. Atticus had been spoiled and she hoped with guidance, he would grow to be the man of honor.
Atticus persuaded Varinia to explore the forest with him. He wanted to use her gifts as a collector for his own purposes.
The forest was vast.
Even though, Varinia was wary of Atticus, she soon became enchanted by the beauty of Granite Falls.
As Atticus was catching more insects, Varinia discovered a tunnel in the vines.
Atticus was eager to explore it. Varinia reluctantly followed.
The sun had set, but the moon shone bright as they started exploring the hidden area.
Varinia stumbled onto an elderly woman.
"Why who this be, child?"
"I am called Varinia."
"Tis late, my child. There are bears that roam these woods. Go to your shelter. Come back and see me when the sun is high in the sky and I'll tell you of thy future. I read the stars and they speak to me of days to come. I will read them tonight for you."
It was with great reluctance that Varinia and Atticus left the area. They vowed to return again. Each for their own purpose. They returned to the the camp and slipped into their beds.
Atticus was up early fishing.
Jair now sported a full head of silver. His elder years had come upon him.
Much to everyone's confusion, Atticus roasted some of the insects he found. He told them, it was to study the creatures of the forest. He wouldn't admit that he heard eating insects made a man more virile.
They family thought it was disgusting when he ate the insects. Atticus wasn't too impressed himself.
Jair set about writing in the earth house. He was mindful of the years slipping by.
Atticus told his parents that he and Varinia intended to explore the forest. Neither he nor Varinia told the family of the secret place they had found.
Atticus and Varinia slipped into the woods, seeking treasure as they made their way back to the tunnel.
The secret place high in the mountains was even more enchanting in the light of the sun.
Despite the beauty, it did not distract them from their goals. Atticus began to gather and Varinia sought out the old woman that read the stars.
"My dearest lady, I ask you what the stars have said of me."
" I have wondrous things to speak to you, my child. There will come a handsome man that will offer his love to you. Your heart will leap when he looks upon you. It shall not be easy to leave your family behind, but great joy will fill the empty space in your heart. The handsome man will treat you as his queen all of your days. You shall teach your little ones by the flowing waters. Follow your heart, my child. It will not fail you."
Varinia was reluctant to leave the kind woman. She wished to know more. But Atticus had gathered his insects and plants. And the sun was setting.
Varinia sat apart from the family that evening, lost in thoughts of a handsome man treating her as his queen.
Atticus arose before anyone else, trying to make one of his potions.
"Ah, my brother, how the years have slipped by. When we last beheld these views we were handsome young lads. Now we wear silver locks."
"Speak for yourself, Genesis. I'm still handsome."
Atticus was angry about his potion failing and destroyed his younger sister's makeshift toys. Varinia observed his tantrum.
Annia and Livia grew even closer as they spent time together without the distractions of home.
It had been many years since Genesis crafted something from wood. As many elders do, he remembered the days of his youth and his father crafting many things from wood. He decided to make Livia a toy.
Jair finally accomplished his goal of writing a superior story, "The Bear and the Travelers"*.
"I'm feeling poorly, Annia."
"Oh, my love, you are ill!. We must return home at once."
Genesis was not happy about being forced to return home before he was ready.
While Genesis rested...
Delilah and Annia cared for the garden.
Atticus pestered Livia rather than helping out.
Excited about his improved writing skill, Jair began his next story.
Atticus planted some of the odd plants he discovered in Granite Falls.
Genesis felt well enough to join the family for the evening meal.
But he was still plagued with an aching head.
Despite feeling poorly, he made certain to give Livia the toy he had crafted for her. Genesis told her that even if he went into the long sleep, her dragon would look out for her.
Delilah has now earned a total of $2618 in playing the violin.
* Best Seller