Cyra shuddered, and the branches that had already blossomed from her skin shook their boughs, heavy with green buds.

“The woods have already claimed me,” she murmured in a reedy voice through a throat choked with roots. “You know it is our way.”

I hefted my axe. “And you know it is not our way to accept that.”

“Even if you could…even if you cut away every branch as it grows…I will still slow and cease to quicken. What will you have then? A wooden trophy? Allow me to take the path of my kind in peace.”

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