Notes for “The Story of Jasmine” continue:
The northern trek eventually led Ahearn into an area within the forest where there was a small grotto. At the grotto, he saw a strange and unexpected sight. From the looming darkness, it looked like there were thousands of glistening stars. He paused for a moment to make sense of what he was seeing. Moving closer, the stars became flowers. Small, delicate white flowers blossoming everywhere in this space.
Moving into the grotto, he noticed a greater thickness of flowers. Upon closer inspection, he discovered these bloom clusters enveloped a stone statue of a woman. He thought perhaps she was the guardian of this grotto until he studied the face. The workmanship was too real for a statue to be hidden in the forest. He quickly concluded it was a work of witchery. A woman had been turned to stone.
The statue was a young woman, who looked remarkably like the Princess of UR. If he hadn’t made a habit of studying faces, he might have mistook the statue for the princess. He logically concluded this must be her mother. He mused. “No wonder the Queen was never seen again after the birth of her daughter. There’s something foul to this mystery. Why was the woman turned to stone?”
Ahearn regarded the stance of the figure. It looked almost as if she had been protecting something behind her. Moving past the figure, he noticed many flower blooms had been disturbed. Many plants had been torn away and stomped upon. Someone had been here before him. The damage seemed to be recent. Parting the plants, he noticed a tunnel made of the living roots of trees, which led him to the entrance of a subterranean cave.
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