Winter

The air is clear like frozen water. You tuck the aching fingers of one hand deeper into your fleece-lined pockets, seeking a warmth that isnt there. Your other fingers are stuck in a fist at your shoulder, numbed together around the edge of a large sack. The distant call of a lone stag somewhere in the wilderness behind you makes the tiny hairs on your face stand on end. Your breath fogs the air around your mouth and nose, bringing a short burst of heat but then leaving your skin colder than before. Your attention is drawn to a slight rustle in the dead leaves to the side of the narrow footpath youre on, but you cant stop. The sun is bright in the clear sky, and dapples your path with deceivingly rich light. No sign of bad weather at least. But you know its a trick of nature, and at this elevation the frost will kill you slowly in the night, stealing breath after slowing breath. If you keep moving, youll be fine. Your every crunching step echoes in your ears, seemingly the only noise other than your laboured breathing and beating heart. Your eye, trained by years of the search, spot a small yellow growth peeking out from underneath a large fallen branch. You readjust the burlap sack you carry on your shoulder and set it next to you. You stop long enough to bend your knees, and investigate the mushroom patch. You deem a handful of them worth keeping, cut them off at the base with your inherited hunting knife, and begin placing them in your sack with the others, but drop half of them into the dirt. You can barely move your fingers, and touching your face feels like touching a foreign object: your skin has numbed completely. You mutter curses to yourself for staying out so long, and work your fingers into a fist and out again a few times before trying again to place the prized mushrooms in your sack.

Your head is down, and your task has nearly made you forget your surroundings. Suddenly, a hotly expelled breath envelopes your head and face. Your blood runs as cold as the air around you, and you freeze in place, not daring to look up. But the breath smells of warm hay and oats rolled in honey, and makes your deadened face turns into a remembered smile. But the sweet scent turns your eyelashes into tiny icicles, and through the glittering light you blink upwards to the hovering presence. You find yourself frozen face to warm nose with a great white mare. No, not quite white; more like the shimmering silver of moonlight on freshly fallen snow. And it only looks like a horse, but the further your gaze goes, you realize this is no horse. You lift your gaze, and your eyes meet hers. The beast's eyes are like two glowing sapphires, swimming with deep blues and rich greens, and rimmed with heavy charcoal lashes. She nods her delicate head at you, her breath as visible as yours, and stamps a few times with a shimmering cloven hoof. Atop her head there are two small horns. They look to you like the branches of a winter-dead tree, leafless and gnarled.

Move along," you hear her say.You do not belong in my wood." You are so startled by the words, that you fall and land on your backside, hands in the mud. Because the words are not actually audible to your ear. You felt them in your head, and they seem to float an echo behind your eyes before dissipating. Sitting on the cold ground, inches from this creature, you struggle to maintain control of your growing fear. This is no mortal being. The beast is nodding her head again, and moves to take a step toward you. You want desperately to close your eyes, but adrenaline nails them open, unable even to blink as she gets closer. Her hooves make not a sound as they sashay through the fallen leaves and pebbles on the path. She lifts a cloven hoof and youre certain she will step directly on you, but she steps to the side, foot by silent foot, around you. You look in awe at the places her hooves touch ground: cold earth before, now covered in a slowly spreading blanket of soft, powdery snow. As the shadow of her body moves over you, its like the sun never existed, and you are overcome with a deadly shiver, teeth chattering violently. Her belly is just past your head now, and through the sound of your knocking teeth you think you can hear her warm heart beating, sending hot blood running through her body. Unthinkingly, you reach out. Just the very tips of your fingers touch the velvet fur that covers her stomach. You fingers are thawed quickly there. The fur is like nothing youve ever felt before: softer than a baby rabbit and warmer than a cup of tea. She lets your fingers drag along her length as she goes by.

On her shoulders, you can see more branches, much like the ones protruding by her ears. They appear to be hard wood, twisted and looping, but at the same time they are feathered with soft, white down. They glisten in the dappled sunlight; they sound like owls wings. You can hear the white feathers flutter slightly as she shifts them, sending a frosted breeze in to the air. Where the day was windless before, you can feel as the air picks up the cold wind in her wings, and takes it on as its own, beginning to gain strength with every dry leaf it knocks from the trees. Her long mane nearly touches the ground, and her tail trails silently behind her. They are the color of a cloudy sky on a December eve, and shine like water in the frigid sunlight. As she takes another step past your seated body, her flowing tail sweeps over your boot-clad feet, leaving rivulets of water running over the leather there. You look in astonishment as her tail in fact leaves a small trail of water; small rivers that are quickly frozen once apart from her. As she finally moves away from you, you are colder than you think is possible; not even the blood pounding in your ears feels warm.

Suddenly, your body jolts, like waking up from a dream where you were falling. You look about you with new eyes. Youre now surrounded by a much different wooded path than you remember setting out on this morning. Were you just asleep? The trees seem to have less leaves on them, and the terrain is fully snowed in with barely any soil left to the eye, except that where the branches overhang. You shiver in the biting cold, bracing yourself against the wind. How long have you been here? You hastily come to your senses and shuffle stiffly to your feet. You glance at the sky, and see the sun has gone out behind dark, looming clouds. Your mind flickers to something you once heard somewhere: You dont belong here... You get the feeling that you should leave, but are confused. Why are you standing here again? Your eyes land on your burlap sack, sitting foolishly on the frozen snow. That was it: mushrooms. You grab your sack, and haul it over your shoulder. Muttering stupidly to yourself, you glance back down the path behind you. You feel like youre being watched, but nothing looks out of the ordinary. Except for all the snow. Youre pretty certain there wasnt this much snow when you set out this morning. You give up trying to explain it to yourself, and walk on down the trail that leads home. Theres hot tea, you remember. Mmm hot tea...

Nutmeg

Nutmeg is the guardian of her wood. She watches over the other life living there. She makes sure her animals have clean water, and tells the trees when to shed their dead leaves for the winter and when to regrow them for the spring. Her forest is much like her: mysterious and fabled, and very, very old. Whether bird or beast, flora or fauna, human or faerie, Nutmeg watches over all of them.

Though she can change shape to hide or blend in to escape detection, her outward appearance is that normally that of a Unicorn. Her colors and markings change with the seasons, and her dual horns are like growing trees. They never really get bigger, but like a tree they sprout flowers in the spring, grow leaves in the summer which change color in the fall, and they shed completely in time for winter. Her wings are of the same magic wood, and follow the same seasonal patterns of her horns, but are also feathered with soft, soundless white feathers like an owl. Her hooves are cloven, and she is able to walk silently in the heaviest brush because they are similar to camel's feet, warping gently to evenly distribute her weight on the ground.

Nutmegs main defense against an attacking force would be to camouflage herself so deep into her surroundings that nothing could detect her true shape. But if that fails, she can also fly away into the night on silent wings, and alight where hopefully the attacker could not follow. Nutmeg is a gentle being, and would do anything but face danger headlong. But she does her best to protect her forest and its inhabitants by means of offensive measures. She carefully disguises the secret places to look ordinary to prying eyes. She casts protective nets around the youngest of her creatures to keep them out of harms way. Her forest is one of order and peace, and she means to keep it that way forever.

Design

To Do: Summer, Fall designs

Winter Design:

Spring Design:

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Trade Art

Art by others from trades!

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Toy Box

Custom Adopted!

Winter


Spring



Mini Nutmegs!
Nay!

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