Zalea, this is everyone.
Zalea is the second-most main character in the fantasy novel I’m working on. She’s part of a race of humans blended with tree elements (inspired by the dryads in Greek mythology), who can manipulate the growth and shape of botanical life. She has brown skin scattered here and there with wood knots, and hair the same color as the fuschia flower that grows from her tree branch horn. The rest of her people have symmetrical antlers that stretch outwards above their heads, as a tree would – Zalea here is the only one with the curled horn on one side. The others poke fun at her for it, but she doesn’t mind; she laughs along. 🙂
She doesn’t know I’m here yet. She’s alone, but there is no sense of forlornness; she skips her rocks and when she gets four in a row she punches the air and twirls, fuschia curls bobbing about her oaken neck. Then she scans the ground for another suitable pebble, circling around herself, tapping her fingers beneath her chin. Upon sight of the perfect one she flares her hands open, stoops quickly to snatch it up.
She looks so happy. So happy and alone.
And there’s an unnameable quality about the sight, the innocence of it, her unabashed joy, that makes something hurt in me and I must collect myself before calling her name.
“Zalea. I’m back.”
She turns, smiles. I smile too.
( Anatomy reference for the above artwork: http://faestock.deviantart.com/art/Veil-Portrait-Reference-8-514349665 )