The oak was an old one. It had fallen long ago, years before the girl's world fell apart. Its neighbors never gave up on it though. They continued to fight for their comrade until the very end. They sheltered the broken tree in their own branches to save it from the wrath of resting on the hard, unforgiving ground. Their attempt to rescue their friend could not last forever though; after years of being held by those surrounding it, the oak had finally reached the moment in time where it would cease to exist. Not even the strength of its friends could help it now. It would forever remain on the harsh forest floor, alone in its misery of never standing tall again.
A girl in a dark cloak nudged her horse, Rio, to a stop beside the tree. She had the cloak's hood pulled up over her head to stay warm and to hide her pale face in the shadows so she wouldn't be recognized. The undergrowth around the tree served as a perfect shelter from the cold wind that blew from th