The fire above me raged, bringing my awareness to new heights. Soon enough I would have to run, but for now I could try to memorize every feature of our most sacred shrine before it disappeared forever. A hundred and seventy-two seasons of memory, as the mammals count time, had passed since the first mark on the Tree of Awakening. The first mark was nearly at ground level on the strangely smooth bark, about where one of the Ancients would have been able to reach with a foreclaw, about knee-high to one of us. Even as a hatchling, the Tree…

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