Toise had taken the southern path to the cliffs and sat on a convenient rock under an ancient Nellock tree facing the sea. The breeze drifted into his face and the last shafts of sun warmed his back. The second moon had just lifted above the horizon into a cloudless sky.
Here there was no magic in the sense that none was made by human hand. The world looked clean, yet there was a difference and he sought for what that might be. He sought not with the power of his intellect but almost daydreaming in the warmth of the sun and the play of the breeze. A pair of gulls, lazy in the updraft from the cliff soared, moving with the vagaries of the airs. He turned slightly in his seat and looked along the cliff edge and at the trees. The struggling bent and twisted ones, the windbreaks to the forest behind, the taller crowns of those sheltered inland. Something in his mind seemed to slow, though when he recognized that fact could not say when it began. And then he saw it. The tenuous lines, the gentle and all but irresistible forces, the tracery of the life within all the things around him slowly came into focus. As he looked more closely even last year’s leaves held a glimpse of what had been and the promise of what might come from their return to the earth. At that moment something within moved. It moved as a stone might, cracking with the deep of winter frost. and exposed that thing of himself, the moment of childhood at the loss of innocence that veils the joy of all things new. He held that moment in thrall, gently, lest it slip away and drew it back within himself knowing as he did so that action would change his life forever.
“Welcome,” said a sylvan voice. Toise turned to see Salath and her companion sitting side by side on the Nellock trees’ bowed branch. He smiled and wiped his eyes and smiled again at the pair of tiny Sprites.
“For the rest of my days I will thank you for what you have given me.” Toise looked directly into the glittering violet eyes of Salath. Unblinking Salath looked back. Perspective shifted for Toise: Not with the wonton sensual Sprite manifestation of life unbounded but a deeper, profound and encompassing shift that saw the two Sprites slide off the branch their skin a liquid honey of movement and dark hair flowing on the breeze and they stood before him as man and women together. Both reached to touch either side of his face and kissed his cheeks.