Talwyn would be lying if he said he wasn't excited.
After all of this time, finally! Being allowed to do the ritual!
He wiggled in his seat, fiddling with his own earlobes and twirling his curly blonde hair in excitement. Today was going to be the day he left the forestschool forever!
"Aeeeeeeeyyyyyheeeee~!" He squealed with excitement.
Talwyns mother looked over at her son in fright from the sudden loud noise, and then sighed, as nothing was wrong at all. Her oldest son had completely freaked out before his ritual, but seeing as Talwyn was the youngest, she figured he was champing at the bit. That, and it was obvious by the silly grin and incessant fidgeting the boy was doing.
"Sit still Talwyn!" She hushed him, matching golden eyes staring at him steadily, then turned to watch the tree trunk again.
"Is it going to happen yet? What am I going to have to do, mum? Aaaah I'm so excited!" He babbled a little, voice a bit lower, but still unable to contain himself.
"It'll happen when its time. You'll figure it out when it happens. Try to stay calm, you're going to tire yourself out." She put a hand on top of his head to try to stop him practically bouncing up and down, but it didn't really work.
The boy exhaled suddenly, and flopped over. His mother rolled her eyes at the immature behaviour, beginning to wonder if it ever really WOULD happen.
She was about to get up and check the sundial out in the courtyard, when a small bloom unfurled from the tree trunk in front of them.
Talwyn somehow exploded from his defeated position and practically jumped three feet forwards, pressing his face right up to it.
"Its ready mum!! Wish me luck!" He announced to her, and anyone else nearby, barely turning to wave, every fibre of his body urging him forwards.
Taking a deep breath and pushing his shoulders back, Talwyn strode into the thicket behind the tree with the small pink bloom poking out of its trunk. The thicket reacted in a friendly way, branches curving and curling in such a way as to just fit his body as he walked, and spring back into place behind him, woody and harsh to any trespassers.
He could hear his own breath amidst the rustling of leaves, and hummed to himself a little so that the adrenalin of excitement didn't collapse into that of fear. Regardless, a vine snagged on his pocket.
Talwyn flinched but didn't stop walking- there was surely something on the other side of the thicket that everyone had been hiding, something amazing he had to get to.
Another vine snagged his pants, and he yelped a little, bouncing forwards a few more steps almost in compensation for any hesitation.
Moving a little faster now, Talwyn stopped humming, and listened to the rustle of the leaves.
Sure, it was noisy, because the vines were moving out of his way, right?
There was nobody else in the thicket, right?
Another vine didn't curl out of the way, and clipped the boys ear. Talwyn bit his lip and kept walking, but now he could hear his heart pounding in his ears.
The passage was getting tighter.
The vines weren't moving out of the way like they should.
"Its not working!" He called out to anyone, but the thicket muffled his voice, and he knew it wouldn't even travel back out to the clearing. "Its not working guys!" He called out a little louder, his footsteps now in time with his raised heartrate, pounding along over the dirt.
The vines began to snag on his clothing, but this time it was too many at once.
This wasn't what the boy had wanted at all.
He wanted something fun. A test, a competition, a challenge.
Something to tell everyone about.
Something amazing that would make him a man.
The way ahead did not open up.
Talwyn smashed into the wall of vines while jogging, and there was a whimpering noise.
He drew in a shaky breath.
A boy with curly golden hair sobbed, lost deep within a thicket.
Blood dribbled down his cheek, where the vines had placed their final warning.
His right iris, now speared through, oozed a clear liquid down the vine.
Talwyn gasped a little, trying to get a hold of himself, traced the line of blood up his cheek, and delicately placed his hands over his eye socket, almost afraid to feel the damage.
In the clearing, Talwyns' mother sat very still and upright until the sound of the leaves rustling faded into the distance.
Then she cried.
The signalling flower wilted.
He wouldn't be coming back out.
Well, thats what they thought, anyway.