[[ cw: non-graphic depiction of murder and death ]]
I made the knife from the gifted heartwood of my mother.
The mortals were slaughtering us for their uses, my sisters falling with terrible wrenching wails, one by one, to their axes, their murders utterly heedless to their cries or their pleas or their fury.
I could not bear to witness their suffering any longer so, greatly-daring, greatly-fearing, I left my tree unguarded and I ran deep into the Wood, where the shadows are dark as moonless night and my sisters are great giants, towering high, high above—until I came to my mother.
She was the eldest of the trees of our Wood, first sapling of the sun, whose limbs were the same gold as our father, and whose roots reached far into earth, even unto the realm of the dead. I crawled into the tunnels of her arching, tangled roots and prostrated myself before her, and I begged her for some way to save us all.
In answer, she rent herself asunder with a great groan, her golden sap-blood rushing down her trunk and over my hands like honey, and revealed the sacred heartwood of her innermost self. She bade me tear a portion of herself away for my use, and I did so, for at her core my mother is soft as a new shoot, though she is stronger than stone and storm without.
With the gift of her heartwood, I sang a dagger into shape, keen-edged, bleeding still, shaped in the hilt like my mother and her lover, the Owl god.
With my weapon in hand, I kissed my mother and left for the very edge of the wood, where the corpses of my sisters were piled and awaiting desecration. And in the night, while the mortals slept, I slit their throats—a merciful death, more merciful than they deserved.
The blood of the dagger and the blood of the mortals mingled, and where it touched the earth, flowers bloomed. Lilies the crimson of mortal blood, with a heart the gold of my mother’s, sprang up. Lilies, for death and mourning. For remembrance.
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