The roots shuddered and then became more flexible, bunching together and taking the rough form of a woman who stood just a little taller than Sarah and had a pronounced hunch. The treelike creature swayed from side to side but didn’t seem to have any feet with which to move. The two faeries darted to her side and landed on her wooden shoulders. The roots around the makeshift face twisted once more, leaving deep, empty sockets where the figure should have had eyes. In another moment, a pair of pale white lights in the shape of two crescent moons emerged from the sockets and looked at Sarah. The tree-formed face scrunched up and formed into a toothy smile as it saw her.
“Lovely little Linda. You look as young as the day we first met.”
“I’m not Linda,” Sarah said. She raised her wand defensively with her left hand and pointed toward her fallen mother with her right. “She is.”
The tree-creature shambled forward, leaving a raised trench in the earth where the roots pulled away from the ground. Bending her head, she smiled in a matronly way. “Of course it is. Well, this is truly, tantalizingly terrific. I didn’t know I had another grandchild.”
“Not literally, of course. Great-grandchild, at least. Or maybe even great-great. It’s so hard to keep track, especially since I’m a spirit now instead of a person with a real body.”
There are a thousand stories about the wizard who created Greystone Valley, all of them referring to him as a man who disappeared into the mists of history ages ago. There are an equal number of tales about the witch Sabrina, who taught the Wizard his power, but those stories don’t describe somebody distant and gone. Instead, they speak of a spirit who haunts the valley still, stalking the nights for her own mysterious motives.