His hand grasped a tree root, running snake-like up the mountain. He knew he must be mistaken; nothing grew this high. It twisted up the rocky heights like a vein. Touching the root, to make sure he was not hallucinating, it felt strange to him. The root emitted a strange vibration, a dull movement just under the surface, like an infant’s kick inside an expectant mother. The higher he went, more tree roots appeared, converging together to become a single tree trunk. Thick, solid bark skin provided better handholds than the slick limestone, so he traversed laterally from the crumbling rock to the tree. Ignoring the dull thumps of movement underneath, he continued to climb. The tiny orbs of golden light circled like angry wasps but caused him no harm.
As he climbed higher, he saw the tree was in the shape of a woman, resembling a praying lady, arms outstretched, reaching up to the heavens, frozen in some incomplete motion, locked in eternal prayer. The more he looked at it, the more he marveled at its lifelike details that made it seem more realistic.
It is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen; he thought.
Then there was nothing left to climb. The tree distracted him so that when he reached the top; it surprised him. He carefully came off the tree stepping onto the smooth rock surface. At last he had made it to the top! He had reached the forbidden summit of the Dragonbreath Mountain.
Taking a moment to catch his breath, he took his first steps on top. He was breathing easier now. The summit was unexpectedly still and quiet. He perceived no movement. Taking advantage of the Praying Lady tree in his presence, he looked for the wind in the leaves, but no wind blew here.
How strange, he thought. Something is not right.