Daily Prompt: Tree

via Daily Prompt: Tree

I thought I’d give the daily prompt a try today, and it sure worked out. I have already written a scene in the short story this is apparently becoming, so this little excerpt just kind of came naturally. Get some fantasy space trees.

     The sky was a steel grey expanse, enclosing the green blanket covering the ground below from horizon to horizon. Then, subtly, that steel slab began to deform, as if some enormous fist were slowly bearing down on the clouds. With a jarring suddenness, the metallic plane disgorged an impossibly large green mass. The outline of the object seemed to move and quiver, like a tall tree in high wind. The clouds parted further to allow through a cyclopean column, mottled and bulbous in places. A peel of thunder rolled across the treetops, raising a flock of birds who fled upwards and away.
“There it is, my boy,” Claudio called over the noise, and pointed “one of the world trees.”
“I’ve never seen one before,” Antonio marveled. He felt as though everything he had learned up to a few days ago might as well have been a fairy tale for all the impossible wonders he had seen recently. A singing sword that could cut through metal as if it were water, a door that could transport him anywhere in the world, and now a tree that grew from the heavens.
“How can a tree grow from the sky like that? Trees need to feed from the soil they are rooted in,” Antonio exclaimed, casting his ever widening eyes at Claudio.
“Why shouldn’t a tree grow from the sky? Think about that great, ancient oak in the courtyard back home. How long has it been growing there?”
“At least ten generations. Since my family came to control the castle and the lands around it.”
“That’s right. And if that tree were feeding from the soil of that courtyard, and had been for centuries, should there not be a pit around it? The soil would have been consumed after all, yes?” Claudio’s eyes twinkled as he explained.
“Perhaps… perhaps someone brought more soil and refilled any hole that had formed,” Antonio was at a loss. What was there to know about trees? They seemed to provide everything for themselves.
“It would take a family far wealthier than yours to pay someone just to haul dirt into the courtyard day after day. No, Antonio, trees feed from the air. Some of our librarians have grown trees and other plants in water with but a tiny amount of soil dissolved into it every day, and yet they grow and flourish. So it is not so strange, really, that a tree should live in the very air that it sustains itself on.” Claudio looked back to the descending behemoth. The trunk was now nearly vertical, and its arc through the sky appeared to have slowed. At the limits of vision, Antonio spotted tiny specks moving in the space between the lowermost part of the structure and treetops on the ground. The distance from ground to the hovering leafy mass could not be more than 200 metres, by Antonio’s reckoning.
“There are birds landing on it. Do animals live on the world tree?” Antonio paused and thought, “do people live on the world tree?”
A smile spread across Claudio’s lined features. “Now you’re asking the right questions. But an even better question would be: are the things that live on the world trees really people?”