Where the forest meets the city stands the tree temple. It has been grown over hundreds of years by the tireless attention of the arbour monks, coaxing each trunk, branch, twig and leaf into precise, intricate formations. Buttresses, spires, attics and halls, covering acres are a living testament to their focus and dedication. And in the middle, the purpose for it all: the melded mind. Animal, vegetable and mineral, the ancient head monk, fused with crystal and tree. A horror and a marvel; a trinity of neutral morality, neither holy nor unholy. He is the architect of the temple, the guide of mankind, plantkind and stonekind in one. Ambassador to all, belonging to none. His great trunk, crystal fruits and fleshy limbs artfully hidden away in his sacred grove. Few dare approach, even when necessary. Only the most senior monks enter the grove, their eyes carefully downcast.
Today, the melded mind speaks for the first time in a decade. He needs us to prepare for something, though even his vast intellect struggles to say what it is. All he knows for sure is that a third of the temple trees will die in the cataclysm, and darkness will cover the world for a time. The low rumble in the distance sounds at first like a storm approaching, but today there are no clouds in the sky. We will know soon enough what is coming. Until then, we can do nothing but wait, and allow the monks to continue to tend the temple.
Mokalus of Borg
PS - Not much plot in this one, I'm afraid.
PPS - But sometimes, that's not the point.