An ancient cherry tree grows somewhere on the tenuous borders of the Feywild and the Old Wood outside of Arkham. The morning mist hangs over the ground, blocking what dim sunlight manages to filter through the thick deciduous growth. There under the canopy the sound of a shovel can be heard, held by someone toiling away at removing a goodly portion of earth at the base of the gnarled tree. Black cherries dot the branches, just shy of a month before they ripen.
The sound of the shovel stops. A few heavy grunts and the sliding of a heavy object as it settles into an earthen hole can be heard. Branches part, and a clearing before the bowl of the tree can be seen. A hale eight-foot figure finishes lowering what looks like a casket into a freshly dug grave, nestled amidst the roots, at the base of the ancient cherry tree. The hale figure straightens, brushes the dirt from his hands, and says something in Russian.
Another figure, some two feet shorter and leaner, gracefully nods to the Goliath and says something back in Russian. He looks down upon the casket, with melancholy admiration, taking in the likeness of an Eladrin maiden carved from cherry wood. The features of the maiden closely resemble his.
“I remember our father taking us here.” The Eladrin says. “He told us that it sprouted the day we were born. The day our mother died giving birth to us. He said her spirit made it grow. I find it fitting that you should sleep here, if only as an effigy.” The Eladrin’s voice lowers.
“Father told me to look after you. I failed him. I failed you, doubly so. Firstly in doubting you, secondly in losing you. I am a poor elder sibling.” He closes his eyes as if to see a memory.
“Death lies upon you, sister, like an untimely frost upon the sweetest flower of all the field.” The Eladrin says thoughtfully.
The Eladrin takes out a book, pages yellowing with age. He opens it up to an earmarked page, and starts reading as his voice begins to tremble.
“My words are wholly inadequate at this very moment, so I chose to read something from the Great Muse. You always did love his sonnets.” The Eladrin attempts to clear his throat.
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”
Tears flow from his cheeks, falling upon the casket like rain, staining the dark cherry wood. His body bowls over, wracked and convulsing with grief as he tumbles forward into the grave, weeping bitterly. The Goliath attempts to catch him, but he pushes the brute away. The howling, wracking sobs go on almost endlessly as he sprawls across the casket, like a child trying to grasp what he cannot hold.
He pours out two and a half centuries of grief and regret and guilt and bile upon the cherry wood effigy, tears flowing relentlessly beyond what would seem physically possible for such a lithe figure. The sun moves well past the canopy as the Eladrin wails and the Goliath stands by silently.
After the sun has crossed the sky and begins it’s decent, the tears begin to subdue and the sobbing lessens. The Eladrin weakly pulls himself from the grave and ambles to his feet. He takes a handful of earth and sprinkles it upon the likeness of the Eladrin Maiden, humming a quiet elven lullaby as he does so. He nods at the Goliath, who picks up the shovel and begins filling the grave with the freshly dug earth.
“I’ll never pause again, never stand still,
Till either death hath closed these eyes of mine or fortune given me some measure of revenge.” The figure says in a hoarse voice.
The Eladrin slowly walks away into the mist of the darkening forest as the sound of the shovel continues its steady meter. As he passes the bowl of the ancient cherry tree, he brushes his hands upon words carved into the trunk, in the hand of exquisite elven script.
The words inscribed read “The candle that burns twice as bright burns only half as long.”
“Mine eyes shall rest upon you when again we meet in the Far Green Country, my fair sister,” he whispers.