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Old Lady of the Woodland

Video for "The Old Lady of the Woodland" by Quantafide [Subtitled]
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Narrative is an excerpt from a forthcoming book by Quantafide's Jack Grant.

Something stirs in the undergrowth
The wind howls between the trees
I can see it more clearly now
The mystery remains with me


It's cold and dark outside. The air is rich with the fragrance of rotting mulch, which is trampled underfoot, as the trees discard their decaying leaves as commanded by the natural law of the autumn fall.

My garden backs onto woodland; the base of each tree trunk and stump carpeted with the reds, bronzes and crispy golds of dispossessed canopy.

From the safety of my bedroom, I look out of the window upon the naked branches liberated to sway in the fresh breeze of their short sleepy freedom.

It's at this time of year that I see her, the old lady of the woodland.

It is a patient thing to spy her as her form manifests slowly, from the knots and bumps of dark bark and twisted skin crust of many hallowed trees.

Any tree that she chooses.

At last she pulls free into the misty beyond to begin the burden of her labours.
A shadow she seems to me.

With her perseverance, a mound of rot is gathered. Ready to form the foundation for the baptism of fire.

Kicking crud she searches, finding hollowed out nuts, the fruits of the forest floor. Inside each one a tightly bound coil of enchanted wood. Gnarled are they that sit inside waiting to be freed. Upon her nest of leaves she places each one within.

When chanting her last incantation a smokeless fire erupts to burn. The flames give birth to the dark servants of a woodland twilight world, to guard their tall masters in the slumber of frosty months until the dawning of the spring. Then the lady melts back into her own chosen favoured tree.

Bitten by curiosity I ventured outside one year. It was late afternoon. The vapour from my breath gave good credence to the cold. The fire was weak, its red ash still smouldered. I took from the ground an old bent stick with which to prod into the heart of the ashes. Sparks spiralled upwards as the dark burnt charcoaled leaves were disturbed by my incessant poking, until the tip of the stick hit something much more solid.

The tiny creature of twisted knots stared up at me; its head and face nothing more than a dark dull bulb; its tiny animated form caught in such a nether realm did fade in and out of reality. It spoke but once, it cast a curse, and my sight to the mortal world was taken from me.

I sit blind and alone on my bed, my face turned towards my window.

And once a year as promised by the woodland sprite, I always get to see her, the old lady of the woodland.

If there be a warning to my tale it is this:
In matters not of your concern, be wary...

Not to poke the fire.

Written and recorded by Quantafide.
Mastered by Quantafide (C) Quantafide 2016

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