The sky was beginning to turn into dark, clouded cluster of night. The axemen had a long day of chopping and chiseling down the rare stone trees with their specialty tools. It was in the extensions of the Spirits Forrest where the coastline of trees crossed into small islands was where the stone trees grew. Not many axemen were willing to venture into the island beds beside the grainy coastline of Venura, but the stone trees were the most desirable building material and the axemen were well paid for their risks.
LeVane felt a sweat bead travel down his neck. Even at a darkening twilight the sweat left a cold trail during the height of Winter. With one last swing, LeVane brought down a stone tree and it crashed onto the ground without a single scratch. LeVane let his axe drop as he leaned forward to exhale.
"LeVane, good work!"
"Thank ye, Sir. Easy as butter!" LeVane gave a wheezing laugh. He put back on his shirt over his worn and muscled frame and let out a cough as the wind dried his throat.
The Master of the volunteer axemen party handed LeVane a goatskin flask of liquor and gave him a hard clap on the back. "Not as young as we used to be, eh?" he grinned. "Let's be moving-- night is falling," the Master said as he looked up uneasily. Even though the Master was used to leading the axemen party onto the Spirit Forrest Islands, only a fearless man would stay after dark. "Leave the trees, we can pick them 'morrow," he said gruffly.
LeVane nodded as the Master started blowing his whistle so the rest of the party knew it was time to start making leave. Men started gathering their tools and the clinking of tools and groans could be heard above the silence of the island.
"To the boats! We leave before sun set-- to the boats! We will leave ye behind!" the Master could be heard as he paced toward the coastline. Many of the men followed the Master in the blue coat, but LeVane stalled behind and took his time to gather his tools. Unlike most men, he wasn't afraid of the Spirits Forrest and its islands. He enjoyed its silent beauty, however remained cautious and respectful to any spirits who might reside. LeVane made a quick cross to himself and started slowly packing up bag even as his aching back gave a short spasm.
He begun to hum the Spirit Forrest song as he knew it from early child's age. "Spirits be linger'in between the trees... watchin' me, watchin' me. Say 'ello to the trees watchin' me, watchin' me..." he began. Before he could even finish he could hear a soft cry. Beneath the dim of the trees and the building rustle of wind, the cry was so slight but still distinctive. “A babe?” he questioned.
The Spirits Forrest was known for women travelling to and leaving their babes for the night tide to sweep across the island beds of the stone trees and let the current take their children to the spirit world. However, some believe sometimes the Spirits lured men toward the sound only to disappear and keep the Spirits company for eternity. LeVane let out a tsk and knew better than to listen to the tales and instead listened to reason. He began striding towards the source of the noise and quickly the cries grew louder as he neared.
“Blessed be,” he murmured. Beneath a healthy tide swell beginning to make its way into the island, he saw a large kelp-made basket with a small and pale form of a naked baby girl.
“Ho men!” he heard a long shout. “Time is soon! Last call!”
Without another thought he picked her up and shoved the kelp basket back into deep tide. Quickly he tucked her into his coat, scrawling and screaming and all, and ran as fast as he could towards the leaving boat in the distance, forgetting and leaving his tools behind.ns22.214.171.124da2