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Beneath the comforting shelter of an ancient and forgotten oak and with the warm scent of the forest surrounding them once more, Hrogn and Ælfwyn felt protected – at least for the moment. No matter how beguiling it had seemed, their chance venture into the Otherworld just moments before was far more than troubling. And yet, since they could not begin to fathom how they had come to see what they had seen – or heard or felt – for the moment they settled themselves upon Hrogn’s thick crimson-wool cloak at their feet.
What little moonlight dappled the earth there wavered and danced with the firelight of the single torch wedged between the fallen circle-stones. Braced against the time-weathered granite sunk deep into the turf at the tree’s roots, Hrogn and Ælfwyn watched as the wind breathed softly through the interlace of leaves – even as they themselves tried to catch their breaths.
At last, with a skill neither had known they possessed before that night, they began to converse with their thoughts alone, as they each exchanged their impressions of all the astonishing things they had experienced in their brief but baffling foray into the Annarr-heimr – the Otherworld! Ælfwyn leaned back as Hrogn wrapped his arms around her shoulders folding her into their shared warmth. Then, perhaps in the hopes that doing something ordinary might quiet the hammering of her heart; Ælfwyn pulled her long, red-gold hair forward and began to braid it. Still, Hrogn could plainly feel Ælfwyn's mounting distress as they puzzled over the event.
Hoping to distract her, Hrogn pointed up into the arching canopy of the aged oak, known as Arsa-Darach, as he leaned close to whisper in Ælfwyn’s ear, his beard just brushing her cheek, “She looks to be the world-tree, Yggdrasil, herself, does she not? What wonders has she witnessed? How old must she be?”
As she looked up, her gaze followed Hrogn’s as it traced the tree’s limbs all the way up to the shadow of the last leaf where it seemingly touched the stars and Ælfwyn replied within their shared thoughts, “Doubtless she has witnessed the passage of centuries as easily as men mark the turning of the seasons, my lord.” Ælfwyn sighed as she finally spoke aloud, "Oh... but I believe there are bards who would do battle for the privilege of describing such a sight!"