Weak. Broken. Lost. Vitae lay motionless on the ground, contemplating his now seemingly meaningless life. Was his brother right to cast him down? As he lay there he stared to the sky and looked upon the stars and planets, the turning of the universe, and the progression of time. He hoped there was more to his existence than the life he'd left behind.
Vitae rolled over and stumbled onto his feet. He gazed in awe at the once barren planet. It was alive, with vegetation as far as the eye could see. He walked hesitantly forward towards the forest as the crater flooded with each step Vitae took. He reached the forest and the crater sat in the distance as a glimmering, clear water lake.
He continued deeper into the forest without worry, the world was beautiful and he felt an overwhelming connection to the forest. He'd never felt the ground beneath his feet nor the air blow through his mane. He'd never breathed in the scent of the roses nor felt the sun kissing his fur and warming his soul. The world around him seemed to feel the same, new plants blossomed around him, and trees exploded with fruit.
Vitae paused as a sound dominated the air. A weeping sound. Did a brother feel regret and come back for him? Or maybe his parents had finally returned? Vitae sprung into a sprint, charging towards the sound. He was sure this was his way back, quickly forgetting his one moment of peace, a first in what seemed an eternity. He found himself aside a stream, no sign of a brother and the once promising sound fallen silent. He stood; panting, confused and lost in the strange place with nothing except trees in all directions and a small stream.
Exhausted from the run, Vitae fell to the ground confused. Never had it been so difficult to run, he didn't understand why he felt sore.
"Excuse me?" said someone from across the stream. "Are you okay? Who are you?"
Vitae just lay there, still panting and struggling to find a breath. "He..Hello?"
A mysterious beast crept out from under the bushes and tall grass, hesitant and scared. "Take a drink, you'll feel much better." The beast said, "I'm Pura. I look after the forest. Who are you? What you doing here?"
Vitae didn't respond.
Pura crossed the pond. The cold water danced around her paws. She pushed her head under Vitae's and lay it aside the stream "Drink," urged Pura.
Vitae sipped from the crisp water, gazing into the reflection of another four legged animal. Ash coloured fur covered its body with patches of green leaves and twigs entangled from head to toe.
"What are you?!" Vitae questioned, struggling to get out his words and drops of water creeping down his whiskers. "There's no-one in this universe but my family, so where are you from?!"
"I'm a wolf, of the forest. I've been here as long as the forest. It's mine to protect!" said Pura.
"It's been here mere hours?!..." Vitae questioned under his breath, puzzled.
"I'm sorry?" said Pura. "Who are you, again? As the protector of this forest I demand an answer!" Pura stood tall. With a little shake the leaves and twigs fell to the floor, and her fine, silver fur glistened as the sun fell upon it. Her bright violet eyes stared deep into his, eyes filled with passion and tainted with dreams.
"But mere hours..." Vitae mumbled under his breath before letting out a deep cough to clear his throat. "I am Vitae, a guardian. Youngest brother of seven..." Vitae stumbled to his feet, trying to stand proud and strong. His voice deepened and he looked towards the sky, "Protector of the universe."
Pura stood there, just staring at Vitae. "What...?" She said in a sarcastic tone, "There is nothing other than this forest...", she chuckled. "It was born from an explosion with a burning white light, a light which scored the ground in flames and engulfed the world in rain for twenty-two days and nights. I was born from the light. Now I give my life back to the forest."
Vitae just sat there, molding the information into something he could comprehend. But he was struck by a question, one which he had all forgot about.
"Wait, okay... But, Pura, why were you crying?" said Vitae.
Pura's pride vanished, her eyes welled, "Because this is the night the forest dies." Pura sighed, a dead look in her eyes as she looked back toward where she come from. Smoke blanketed the sky so not even light could pierce its towering body.
"My home is dying, Vitae. It's a shame you couldn't see it in all it's glory. It was a beauty that no words could describe..."
Embers and ash started to fall like rain and snow, covering every inch of the forest. Vitae sat beside Pura and rested his head on her neck for just a second or two, a moment to show his empathy and try to console her. "I know this is all strange and, for now, maybe nothing makes sense but know I understand. My world, too, has been stricken from me. But now is not the time to grieve." Pura looked up into Vitae's emerald eyes, tears pouring down her face.
"We need to leave... Now!" said Vitae.
He pushed Pura in the right direction, "This way." The two began to run through the endless forest, always growing larger the closer Vitae got to untouched ground. The flames chasing their tails, growing with the forest as more tinder was swallowed. Suddenly it wasn't a forest but a lake ahead of them, the two fell into the water, not seeing it as they ran for their lives. The fire surrounded them, towering above them till nothing was visible but the flames of the forest.
Vitae, quickly accepting his short lived mortal life, was unable to swim and sank into the depths of the lake. The light from the flames growing dimmer. But as his eyes closed, the water level fell with him. The water lifted from the side of the crater, and rose, gathering as a ball above their heads. Vitae's fur started glowing, an aura of a perfect blue sky. The water started to pulse as Vitae rose from the ground, his aura grew uncontrollable as it spat torrents of water in all directions..The ball of water and the aura imploded in a flash before bursting into a wave, gushing in all directions. The wall of fire collapsed like buildings and vanished as it struck the ground.
Pura climbed from the empty crater and stared longingly into the distance. A once beautiful world fell silent and all that remained was ash.
"It's okay Pura, we'll fix this." Vitae said, "At least some good came of it."
"What good?" growled Pura, fighting the heaviness of her eyes.
"My brothers didn't take my power," said Vitae.ns 18.104.22.168da2