“She would now and forevermore be known as Vandara, the Valor of Valerian, the Chosen.”
It was still dark when Vandara awoke, though dawn was near bloom. She tossed aside her covers and dressed. A deep longing was beginning in her chest, a draw to go into the wood and breath in its natural scents. It was as if she was being called into the wide wood, drawn by a force greater than herself.
Vandara dressed in layers, as the spring mornings were indeed still quite cool. She threw open the cabin door where she was staying and headed into the forest not a hundred feet from the little village.
The world was becoming lighter, less gray, and filled with writhing colors in every shade. She pressed on into the woods, not fearing. There was no danger for her here for she was the Chosen. She just did not yet know it.
The tall Cedarpencil trees made the day murky and mysterious but she continued on, careful not to trip over the monstrous tree roots braided into the earth.
After some time she reached a valley clearing and froze at the tree line. There he was. Vast and magnificent- the king of the wood, the Great White Lion. He sat perched on a large boulder watching the sun arise. His rich mane hung down in vast clumps about his thick muscular neck, white and colorless. He sat relaxed, as if without a care in the world, watching bees and gossamers flutter to and fro about him.
Everything was coming alive in the meadow. Butterflies nested in clumps of 5 and 6, pretending as to be flowers soaking in the first rays. Some sweetly fluttered magically about, their wings buzzing mid-air. Bees were humming, their work song commencing with the dawn.
Sleepy-eyed squirrels were just arousing, their snouts salivating over a nutty morsel. They greedily rubbed their faces with tiny hands, greeting the day with squeals of delight.
Birds sang their morning song, in chorus, as they flew in twos around the treetops. They tweeted and whistled. They sang to and fro like chimes of different tones.
By now the sun had kissed the tops of the hills sounding the valley and light was abundantly streaming in, seeping through the forest and bathing life in it light.
With its arrival the mushrooms, some hanging mi-air off of tree branches began to uncoil and regain their shape. It was as if the world hid and changed in the night only to reaffirm its reality with the coming of the light as if light was some magical envoy.
Vandara was still at the tree line, gazing down upon all the life in bloom before her. She sighed in pleasure breathed in the magical beauty. And then it happened.
The Lion turned his gaze, as if knowing she was there and looked directly at her. He stared into her eyes as the breath left her lips. She froze, fear creeping in for the first time, but it was not so much a dread as it was a great awe, an expectation of what was about to unfold.
The Great Lion stood, but did not leave his place. He awaited her approach. She took courage and fell forward into step. It was as if a force outside herself was pulling her toward him. He awaited, tame and calm, still gazing at her as she came to him.
She was close enough, now that she cold see his eyes were a clear liquid blue. She came to a halt feet in front of him and awed at his beauty, the muscle in his limbs- the inhuman strength in his body.
He was strength, he was courage. He was the epitome of beauty, yet wild and untamed. She gazed still into his eyes and reached a gentle hand toward him. He bent his head slowly and she brushed her fingers through his fur. She took in a deep breath, realizing there may have never before been one her touch the Great White Cat.
His eyes were deep, silent gems aglow in the day’s light. He gazed at her intently, bearing a hole into her soul. He saw her, she knew. He saw every part of her, every cranny of her soul and relished it. He relished in who she was. Loved her purely for herself.
He took a step back and she drew back her hand. He bowed his head, until his nose almost touched the ground. She froze. Panic began to set in. She did not understand what he was doing, but she knew it was a blessing of sorts. He was choosing her.
Though, she had been Chosen since the day of her birth without knowing it, it was another matter entirely for the Great Lion, the purest, most powerful creature in all the known lands, to bless her and make her Choosing public before all the creatures.
And nothing would ever again be the same. She would now and forevermore be known as Vandara, the Valor of Valerian, the Chosen.