"Wake up," Eostre said softly into Lara's ear.
Lara protested the intrusion upon her slumber. Eostre nudged her gently. "I need to speak with you a bit before the others wake."
Lara snuggled up against the rabbit's soft fur. "I thought the sun would be up by now," Lara said as she opened her eyes with a yawn.
"There is no sun inside the Tree," Eostre replied. "Or stars. What is above us here is not sky. It is the Tree," and she motioned to the darkness of the surrounding of forest, as she stood up. She yawned noisily, then bent over double, resting her front paws on the ground and stretching out her hind legs. They had slept curled up against each other, which had made sleeping on the ground much more comfortable, for Lara at least. Lara imagined that she hadn't improved Eostre's rest at all, while Lara had been reminded of sleeping with a giant plush animal she'd had as a child.
Lara had to stifle a laugh at the sight of the rabbit...no, hare, Lara thought, Eostre had made it quite clear that she was a hare, not a rabbit..."None of my kind have ever been domesticated," she had said...we remain wild...the sight of the hare, as she stretched out her hind legs. Taller than a human, Eostre's back legs were likely stronger than a kangaroo's.
"How fast can you run?" Lara asked, watching Eostre shake one of her hind legs out of the stretch.
"I don't know exactly," Eostre replied, coming out of her stretch and massaging her legs. "I've never measured my speed. But I can outrun human land vehicles in your realm."
"My realm?" Lara asked, standing up and stretching as well. "You mean Earth?"
"No. Earth is only one world of your realm."
"You mean universe," Lara said.
"That is how you would say it," Eostre said. "Whatever word you use, it is one of many such places the Tree encompasses and enfolds."
"I don't understand," Lara said. "You mean to say traveling the Tree could take us to an entirely other universe?"
"Yes," Eostre replied. "Such as the one I'm from."
"You're not from my universe?"
"I'm from one of the realms," Eostre emphasized the word meaningfully, "A few branches over from the one which carries yours."
"But your actions still govern the weather systems in our world?"
"Only because of ancient pacts made between the realms, alliances made in order to keep the realms from warring with each other," Eostre said. "I've begun to wonder if that isn't what the Redcoats are about."
"You think all of what they're doing is about starting war between your realm and ours?" Lara's head spun.
"Could be. Or it could be a warlord from an entirely other realm, merely seeking to begin conflict. There are always people who profit from war, so they seek to ignite the flames of conflict for their gain." Eostre had been rooting through the grasses at the edge of the path, and seeming to have found what she sought, straightened up. She was holding something that looked like an acorn.
"I'd normally crack this myself," she said, extending it to Lara, "but my mouth still pains me awfully."
"I have something for that," Lara said, taking the acorn. "I mean the pain. And now that I think about it, I have something for the acorn as well."
Lara gave 4 aspirin to Eostre and then cracked the acorn open with her hammer. She took the seed and gave it to Eostre, who broke it in half and returned a portion to Lara.
"These are more than enough food for the day," Eostre said.
"Are they magic?" Lara asked.
"They are part of the Tree," Eostre said. "But the Tree is more than simply magic. I'm surprised you know so little about magic, given how much power you carry inside you."
Lara stopped from biting into the seed and shot a look at Eostre. "Power? What do you mean?"
"You carry a great deal of your realm's magic in you," Eostre said. "I can smell it on you. And it's not power you stole. It is your own."
"But I've tried to do magic," Lara said. "It's one of the first things you're expected to do as a wiccan. But nothing happened."
"Mechanics," Eostre said. "Alchemy and ritual. That's not magic, it's manipulation. Magic is...deeper. More intimate. But you are unaware of yours..." She stopped, as if thinking. "That is likely why the Fates chose you as a sister. And it is why we are going to Grandmother's house before we look for your friend."
"We need to go somewhere you can learn what to do with this power," Eostre replied. "And I believe Grandmother can teach you what you need to know."