The greatest delight which the fields and woods minister, is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable. I am not alone and unaknowledged. They nod to me, and I to them. The waving of the boughs in the storm, is new to me and old. It takes me by surprise, and yet is not unknown – Scrivener Emerson, M19
“Winter is coming.”
The vox-enhanced voice of the Radix Arborea spoke with a distorted dialect making it sound like a hundred wooden instruments played in slow motion. It seemed almost as if time stood still when he spoke. The Green Mechanicvm Priest was a slow moving behemoth in comparison to the man draped in white next him. Below him.
“In a fortnight” the Radix continued slowly “gales of iron sleet will reach our moons.” The prediction still sent a thrill down the spine of the white-robed figure. Winter was coming faster than he had anticipated. Either that, or time itself flowed with different speeds on the Thorn Moons.
“But the forests of Crataegus are ready,” the behemoth proclaimed, “They will welcome it. This winter, like so many winters before it, will be no stranger to them, the trees of the boreal.”
Scores of bio-mechanical creatures moved like ants around his feet.
The Linnæanne Brother, draped in the frost-white robes of Neith, shivered in the faint light of luciferin lamps that illuminated the moss covered underworld around him. He thought of another winter. The only winter he had ever known. The continous winter that encapsulated the cold corridors, chambers and chapels of the moon sized seed vault he called his home. The artificial moon circling Venus, the sister planet of the Golden Throne. The Evening Star.
He had already read the old scriptures. They described how the long-gone forests of Terra, now only the stuff of myths and legends, were living, sentient beings, alive — a fluid, changing web of purposeful lives dependent on each other. How they communicated with each other above and below ground. How flowers of individual trees, once countless species of them, shaped bees as much as bees shaped flowers. How berries competed to be eaten more than animals, once countless species of them too, competed for berries. How thorn acacias made sugary protein to feed and enslave the ants who guarded them. How fruit-carrying trees tricked animals to distribute their seeds.
How ripened fruit led to color vision.
He looked around in the labyrinthine underworld of the 3rd Thorn Moon of Gheal. Past the hulking and slow-moving shadow of the behemoth next to him. Above him. He had been in the boreal deep, in the rooted world miles below surface, for weeks and his own eyes, now accustomed to the ever-dusk, registered a plethora of colours flickering in the light shafts of lucus mirrors high above. A vision of a thousand greens, recalling the vanished Terran forests of myth, who still spoke to him, and all human beings, in mysterious ways. In teaching us how to find their bait, trees taught us to see in colour. The old scriptures were clear: We have shaped and been shaped by forests for aeons longer than we have been Homo sapiens.
The Radix Arborea next to him spoke again.
The forests of Crataegus are ready.
For the coming onslought of winter. Radix Arborea Sixten Vreeswijk and a few handfuls of Borealis Sentinels are finally done. Together with Svante Ambrosiusse the Thorne Royalty of Crataegus is ready for winter.
Without further ado here are some pictures. In colour. The forests of Terra indeed moves in mysterious ways…
…from Throne to Thorne!