The bark was rough beneath her hand, the gnarled knots and breaks forming unique patterns and she moved her hand, slowly brushing over the surface of the magnificent tree.

Willow jumped down, landing on the branch below, but looked up, keeping her hand on the bark the whole while. The sky wasn’t visible through his branches, as the huge tree towered over the city, shading everything with it’s green leaves.

There was a flash of blonde, and then the figure straightened, standing very close to her, trying to tower over her but not quite tall enough to manage it.

“You shouldn’t be out here.” Illithor said.

“I can be wherever I want to be.” She replied, enjoying the sound that Illithor made as he grit his teeth.

“Perched on a branch is no place for the princess to be.”

She laughed, a little chiming laugh that was sure to aggravate him further. “Perched on a branch is exactly where the princess wants to be.” She turned, her eyes sparkling as she leaned against the tree, both hands splaying over the rough bark.

“Come back inside princess.”

“I’m listening.”

Illithor cocked his head, and strained his ears. “I hear the birds and the people, and the wind in the trees. The sound of the animals moving on the paths, and the insect buzzing to their jobs. All of these things you can here just as well inside.”

“I’m not listening to that.”

“There is nothing else to hear.”

Willow cocked her head at him, her green eyes inquisitive. “You really can’t hear it can you?”

“I can hear everything I just listed.”

Willow held out her hand to him. “Take my hand, and listen.”

Illithor looked at her, and then her hand, and suppressed a sigh. “After this, we need to go inside.” He reached out and took her hand.

At first, he could only hear the sounds he had heard before, but then, there was something. Right on the edge of hearing, like a low throbbing, almost drum like. He concentrated, listening to that note. There were other things, hidden in there, as he listened, a rolling, crashing, repeating rhythm, a soft sighing whisper, and there, almost too quiet to hear, light quick notes in tinkling succession.

He let go of Willow’s hand and looked at her. “What is that sound?”

“The sound of nature herself.”

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