Asha was as quiet as she could manage as she opened the backdoor into her home. She crept into the small cottage, and once safely inside, she then closed the door softly. Asha gave a small sigh in relief and relaxed. She would have been in so much trouble if her mother had-
“So what possessed you to sneak out of the house after night had fallen and then stay out far too late?”
Asha tensed against the stern tone of her mother, and slowly she turned around to face her. Sirona was certainly not pleased, easy to tell from the set frown and unhappy look in her eyes that were seen in the light of the candle she had in hand. Asha found it hard to maintain eye contact with her mother, frequently glancing at the floor and her shoes. After a long moment of silence, Salvia sighed and put a comforting hand on her daughter’s shoulder.
“Come sit with me and tell me what has really been going on.” Her tone was kinder, encouraging the bond that was between a mother and daughter, and Asha calmed if only a little as they went deeper into the home and sat down at the modest dining table. Asha’s eyes were now fully focused on the ground, but Sirona was patient as she waited for her daughter to begin the conversation.
“I snuck out to meet my friend.”
“A friend? It better have not have been that Jacobs boy.” The last part had been teasing, but Asha shook her head vehemently.
"No... my friend lives in that tower in the Great Forest..."
"You snuck out, at night, to visit the Crow Lord?" Sirona's tone wasn't quite yelling, but it was raised and Asha shrunk further into herself.
"I wanted to take Darrah stargazing, like we used to do," Asha told her, "And he really liked it too. The stars were really bright tonight."
When Asha had spoken the Crow Lord's name, Sirona's disapproval turned into a stunned expression. "Darrah?" she then asked her daughter, and Asha nodded.
"That's his name."
"How did you learn the Crow Lord's name?"
“Because he’s my friend,” Asha said in a matter-of-fact tone, “And friends at least know each other’s names.”
"So he knows yours?"
Another nod, "I told him the first time we met, and I made sure to learn his the next time we did."
"And how often do you visit Darrah?"
"When I can."
Sirona now had a better idea of how her daughter was spending her free time: away from the village and in the Great Forest with the most reclusive of the Forest Gods. She released a deep sigh, her eyes closed briefly before she gave her daughter a serious look.
“I would rather you stop visiting the Crow Lord, Asha.” Asha’s expression began to look crestfallen, but brightened when her mother continued with, “But I know you would simply continue to sneak out like you did tonight.”
Before her daughter could thank her though, Sirona’s tone turned into one of warning. “However, you are not to go in the deeper parts of the forest. I don’t want you to meet another of the gods, for not all are as nice as your friend, and not every mortal is granted ascension.” Her tone then turned worrisome. “I don’t want to lose you to the forest Asha.”
Asha gave her mother a bright smile. “I’ll always come home.”
Sirona returned a smaller smile. “I know little one.”