As she dressed, Tess noticed that the pain and stiffness began to recede until she no longer felt them. She glanced down at her left knee. The gash now healed completely.
How was that possible? Did Mirial do this?
She raised her arms and stretched them towards the dark ceiling. It felt wonderful to stand on her feet again. Better yet, she was no longer running for her life.
Is this place really a safe haven like Beck had told her? "Come," Mirial's voice came from the outside.
Its brightness blinded Tess so she couldn't tell what she would be walking out into. She took a deep breath, and exited.
It took Tess's eyes several moments to adjust. Her mouth dropped slightly as she glanced around.
The cave she just walked out of was attached to bedrocks at the base of a mountain. What spread out before her was a large circle of trees. Each tree was enormous, but varied. Pines. Hardwoods. On the other side was another set of barrier of bedrocks.
A stream ran through the center and continued to flow amid the barriers, and disappeared into a dense fog bank.
Her eyes turned upwards. The sky a deep blue; void of clouds. The sun shone somewhere off to the side, out of sight.
And the glorious sounds she was hearing?
No growling and howling of those things.
What was this place? Beck said it was a refuge of some kind. Were they truly safe here?
"This way." Mirial led her across the center to the other side; towards an enormous redwood.
Tess stared up at it. How did she miss this one?
"I thought these were only in California." She said.
Mirial cocked her head to one side. "Hmm." And moved towards an opening in the side of the tree. "Just enter through here."
"You're not coming with me?"
"No." And stepped to one side.
Tess let out a sigh, and entered.