Day 2 of my expedition
Hello Marie! I send greetings from the Forest of Flora! A beautiful place with a redundant name. You’d think they’d name it…anything else, but alas all of my suggestions are rejected outright. I was sure ‘Nightmare of Histamines and Sorrow’ was a winner.
I am absolutely miserable.
I can barely breathe and my eyes are so itchy and watery, I can barely see in front of me. I TOLD Mother that I wanted to take my forest expedition during the Sleeping cycle! I can breathe during the Sleeping cycle. I can run. Now? I can’t run and I can barely breathe. Tell Mother that any harm I face because of my allergies is her responsibility. Hopefully I won’t die, because that would likely haunt her for the rest of her days, but it is important you tell her all the same.
I could have been frolicking among ice crystals and dancing on a frozen lake, gathering ice powder in its abundance. But instead my expedition is postponed and I’m wading through the sticky humidity, eyes barely open, hoping for rain to form a short reprieve from sticky skin and an itchy throat.
I tried to get my expedition switched to the approaching Fading Cycle but apparently I need mother’s approval to do so. I have lived over 24 cycle collections and yet mother still holds all the power of appointment as head of the family. You must take heed and remember my pitiful circumstances as a cautionary tale for your future.
Hog to tradition! Not everyone in our family has taken their first expedition during the Blooming cycle, just most!
I may be alone in my misery but I am not without sympathizers. Before we even entered the forest I was a sorry sight, so anyone who didn’t understand my displeasure at a Blooming cycle venture, understood very quickly. Including myself, there are seven on our expedition party: Madame Mercury and her daughter Vanessa, as well as Mrs and Mrs Fairly, they’ve been married 15 years now. Charlaine, she has yet to divulge her family name, and Kyle Meridian, that tall boy from your scavenging class? He’s our seventh. He asked after you and I told him you are well. He sends his regards. If there’s anything else you wish for me to convey, tell me and I shall relay it to him.
And since you’re obviously wondering, no, I haven’t seen any rose beasts yet, although with my eyes as irritated as they are, one could be four feet in front of me and I wouldn’t see it. The other members of my party assure me that we haven’t come across one yet. I’m more interested in coming across star blooms and leola root. The sooner we collect our quota, the sooner my nightmare is over.
Madame Mercury brought a trailing bird with her and has offered to let us send letters home with it. The thing is spoiled rotten, it sits happily, being looked after all day and spends an hour or so a day sending correspondence. It is well trained so you can be sure that I will constantly send you letters documenting my misery.
Dreaming of home,
Day 9 of my expedition
A reprieve! Madame Mercury is a goddess, a saint! She is the reason the moon shines so bright! She created a remedy for my allergies. It tastes awful and smells even worse but I intend to take it everyday for the rest of my life! She ground herbs and mixed them with water and honey. The honey only helps it go down smoother and gives it a stickier texture, no help with the taste or smell. I’m supposed to drink half and rub the rest on my face or anywhere else I itch or feel allergic reactions. I take it before I bathe otherwise I’d be stuck smelling like it all day.
I now understand why Blooming cycle expeditions are the most popular. The blooms and scenery are quite beautiful when they are not the direct cause of your suffering. The sky blooms are especially breathtaking, some of the blooms were as big as your head! They make the air smell sweet and Madame Mercury says that on a windy day, their petals dance and can catch you up and carry you as high as the treetops. It’s essentially a three month long scavenger hunt and bloom viewing. By the time we’ve gathered all our quota for this trip, the weight won’t be much worse than several large knapsacks. The ice from the fire caves, that they collect during the Sleeping cycle, is much heavier and would need far more than the seven in our party to move it.
Still no rose beast. We did see a few leafeaters though. Creepy little things. I always thought the name a misnomer but after seeing them, the name merely lacks creativity if nothing else.
Kyle Meridian actually tried to pick one up! He wanted it for an expedition pet or mascot or whatever silly notion he was on about. Madame Mercury warned him to leave it alone but he didn’t listen, and it bit him! They’re small but those teeth are sharp and there was blood and Kyle looked so astonished! He let it go and it scurried up a tree right above the fool as if to say: try that again, see what happens. I swear that was the most menacing looking leaf I have ever seen in all my years on this spinning orb.
He asked me not to tell the story to you, I suppose he was embarrassed but if anything, I find him much more enduring after being bitten so I feel it would be a disservice to him if I did not regale you with tales of his well meant mishaps.
Send Mother my best, she’ll be relieved to hear that she need not worry about the repercussions of causing my suffering. And before I forget, it is imperative that you and Mother remember to drink plenty of fluids. The Blooming cycle’s head no longer lies at the feet of the Sleeping cycle so soon you’ll be feeling its effects too. Hydration helps alleviate those effects!
All my love,
Day 14 of my expedition
Humidity is a demon. Humidity is a demon, Marie! It thrives on our misfortune and has no obvious means of vanquishing it other than the passage of time and the inevitable change in weather. I am sick to my stomach from the thickness of this air. The expression is ‘air so thick you can cut it with a knife’ but I tell you that if I had the fabled knife that could cut through air I would not simply slice it, I would stab it and rid us of the menace all together.
Grumpy & sticky,
Day 18 of my expedition
Do you know what I did today, Marie? I stood on my feet for four hours. I wore dark clothes under the hot sun. We stood in a circle in the hopes that pollen would fall on us. This is the life I am now living Marie. It’s the Following Ceremony. We follow the pollen to the plants we need. Of course, Madame Mercury was not subjected to our intense standing exercise, she was the Watcher, she watches the wind, and sees the different pollens on our clothes and figures out which plants are where.
If I ever have the misfortune of taking another expedition during the Blooming cycle, it shall be after I am well versed in this forest’s plants and systems. If I must ever take part in the Following Ceremony again, it will be as the Watcher.
No rose beasts.
Studious, Determined, & Covered in pollen,
Day 20 of my expedition
Did you know the Following is a three day ceremony? I did not. My legs move like jelly and feel like jam. I was not meant to stand still for so long. Walking? I can do that for hours and not tire but being still creates aches and pains that feel unnatural.
But thankfully, the Following Ceremony is complete and we will set out in earnest tomorrow. Madame Mercury thinks we have a chance of finishing early. There was a surprising amount of blue pollen on our garments so with any luck we’ll find an enclosure of star blooms within the week and we’ll be home soon after.
No rose beasts.
Hopeful & Determined,
Day 37 of my expedition
Well Marie, I can now say I’ve seen a rose beast. And believe my sincerity when I say I hope that all rose beasts may one day fall into a crack on this spinning orb, lose all their petals on the way down, and finally fall into the freezing core and drown in the world’s nectar. If I cannot have that, I can only hope that I never see or cross paths with one again and if you by some strange inclination still wish to see one after I’ve told you what has happened, I can only hope that your encounter is more pleasant than my own.
We were doing so well, Marie. We covered a lot of ground and I just know we would’ve found a sizable enclosure if we hadn’t run into that… thing.
The paintings and sketches are a gross under exaggeration of those damn behemoths! If one were to believe the drawings, a rose beast would be no larger than a rhino or possibly an elephant. But those are lies Marie. An elephant is a tiny runt compared to a rose beast. We were sleeping when it decided to walk across our camp.
It was tall enough that it nearly reached the tree tops. They are so quiet, Marie, eerily so. If not for the rustling of the trees against it, there would have been no sound. By the time we were even half awake, it was a few steps away. Of course, a few steps is several hundred yards for a beast that size. It was terrifying, it towered over us and blocked what little moonlight we had. We tried to get out of its way but it was too late. It would have trampled us to death if it was a denser creature. We got caught up in its thorns and it continued on as if we were nothing more than mud upon its boot and it was too busy to notice and scrape us off.
I apologize for taking so long to write you but we’ve been asleep for 15 days. Apparently, rose beasts incapacitate any living organism that enters them as a survival mechanism so they don’t try to destroy it from the inside. A survival mechanism, Marie. Rose beasts, behemoths that dwarf elephants, have a survival mechanism to protect themselves from us. It can make you think I suppose. It’s a near miracle that we didn’t die from the dehydration alone.
Once awake, we were still stuck inside that blasted thing for hours. Once we got our bearings, we tried to climb out. The drawings always make them look circular and almost friendly but it was like a wall, a wall of thorns and flowers and branches, that’s constantly jostling around. There is no such thing as staying still inside a rose beast. It’s insides are constantly moving and rotating, wait a few minutes and you’ll find yourself several yards away from where you were.
Hours of this nonsense and no respite from the thorns so by the time I got out, I looked a sad sight. Thankfully, I was able to climb out the side and I was very near the ground when I got out. The six others were not so lucky and had to climb UP to get OUT. So not only did they have hours of climbing out of the beast, they had hours to climb down from the trees as well.
Madame Mercury and Vanessa had the fortune of making it down before nightfall, but the other four had to sleep in the trees that night.
Needless to say we are lost. Madame Mercury thinks she can use her trailing bird to figure out which way leads back the way we came, so be prepared for a lot of letters over the next two days.
Tired and annoyed,