Who: Gwenaëlle Afolayan & Rowan Steel
What: At the hilt of her breaking point, Gwen called out to Rowan…and he came to her.
When: Recently; three-weeks past.
Notes: Little Red Tree is a flashback thread.
The sun cascaded into memory an hour ago. Perhaps two, but Gwen lost any idea of time as the idea of reuniting with her little red tree swelled within her. It took over her mind and lulled her strong legs forward, bare feet sifting through the dirt…irises closing in on the moon overhead. She hid the part of herself deeply wounded by the gaping hole Kellan inflicted, so long ago, behind the cold, menacing glower of the Queen of the Unseelie. At night, however, during the full moon, on a night such as that one, Gwen shed the menace and became a mother again.
Rowan…her little red tree.
was all that mattered.
That evening seemed as any other; dark and barren. There was nothing in the forest that night, not even a Skogsrån, but the leaves dripped and the dirt was damp. It had rained earlier. For more
nights than she could count, Gwen had traversed to the lake, illuminated under the moonlight, and whispered to her son in solitude. She whispered his name upon
the lake and listened as the water carried it to him. It was easy in the
beginning —— all she wanted, all she needed, was for Rowan to hear. He
didn’t have to respond. She didn’t expect him to come, not when he didn’t
know who called. But as time careened by so too had her calls begun to swelter
her in longing.
She had shed Kellan. Where was her little red tree? Why had he not come?
The Queen stood beside the lake, then, finding beauty in its
iridescence but feeling her heart flutter because she knew Rowan would not
answer. Again. She’d be alone. Gwen closed her eyes and pictured the baby boy
torn from her, calling out, ❝Rowan…my little red tree. Come, close, to me.❞
voice echoed on the lake’s surface, reverberating, as it always had, to its
destination. As if it were the beginning again, Gwen leaned over the lake,
lulled forward…expecting…listening…on the precipice of something she never had
the chance to experience.
The thought of Kellan made her shudder. Not out of fear, but
of malice because she couldn’t wait to gouge his noxious blue eyes and feed
them to her darkness. Kellan approached Rowan in the wake of the attack on the
parade, and tried to worm his way into her son’s trust. She loathed the part of
him that so easily manipulated. She decided, then, to counter his advances. That’s
why, as she stood on the edge of the lake, Gwen wanted Rowan to hear her above
anything else in the world.
❝Rowan…my little red tree. Come, close, to me.❞