For centuries she hid in the forest, isolated and alone. She had been born to a poor peasant family of woodcutters who eked out a living in the woods. When she had realised she was special – that she “had the ways of the Art in me” – she had wanted to help her family, her friends, and the nearby town whose name she had since forgotten. They were not so open-minded. Wary of her powers, they scorned and eventually turned on her: her friends and family, who all considered her a fiend sent to destroy them.
Taking refuge in the family home deep in the heart of the forest, she held off the mob for hours, barricading the door and blocking her ears to drown out their cries. Finally, she could take it no longer and fled from the house, using her powers to transport herself outside. The people she had considered her friends and family, her closest confidants, had betrayed her, and she decided, blocked into the small hut, to give them what they deserved.
As the crowd realised she was now outside, she ran into the woods. They turned on her, and chased her into the trees as she cast a spell that left them confused and disoriented. Now the forest looked the same in every direction: a maze of endless winding paths. There was no exit. Over the next few days, she says, she listened to their fumbling attempts at escape as they slowly starved to death.
Over the centuries she transformed the forest from the woodland paradise of her youth into a horrific parody of nature, ringed with fanged creatures half plant and half animal, where darkness perpetually reigned. The family hut she transformed, over many years, into a twisted, rocky edifice ringed with a chasm in the centre of her domain. She used her powers to slow her aging and restore her youth, maintaining her elfin beauty for hundreds of years. As time went on, though, it became impossible to keep up: age was too great a foe. Her hair turned thick and a deep red, her face thin and whitish, and her voice cracked. By the time she “turned that pretty young thing into a tree”, she was a bitter figure excluded from society, a long way from the kind-hearted girl she had once been.