Fran puts an end to years of dread when she returns, and so do the woods.
Should it be any surprise that trees can speak? Do they not breathe, consume, and live? Those who have heard of such lore have often attempted to listen to trees by cultivating them, cutting them, and observing them -- such is the practice of students in natural histories -- only to find themselves failing miserably (or perhaps, more accurately, comically). Trees will not learn or lean to speak save if they are many. For the long years granted upon the lives of trees have taught them much knowledge: to crowd, to block light from reaching the earth, to huddle together, and perhaps most importantly, it had taught them the lesson that the wisdom of the wood should never be imparted unto those of brief lives.
Of all creatures, the Viera, who live the longest here have been most fit of all listeners. And in time, the Viera knew that to continually listen and harvest the wisdom of the wood one had to remain within it to earn its approval. To leave the wood was foolishness, for there is no wisdom to be learned among those who live such brief lives. And, though they would not admit it to themselves, to leave the woods meant sacrilege, for it meant that the Viera no longer trust the wisdom of the woods, and had decided to join the company of those whose lives were brief.
In a place where time is measured by the sunrise and sunset, and in a place where that sunrise and sunset often cannot be seen, time loses its meaning. But among those whose lives rarely stretch beyond a hundred years time is hunted and captured and saved and spent, and cut and measured into seconds and minutes, hours and months. Fran defied the Green Word fifty years ago and from then it had been an act of slowly participating in the hoarding of time: a year spent here, another spent there, and as each passing year the voice of the woods grew fainter and fainter. And then there was Balthier.
Fifty years. A nice figure. She couldn't believe that it had to lead back here. Of course it had to, eventually, the return to the past that she had walked out of -- she could not decide which stung more, the coldness of her sister or the constant reminder that she can now barely hear the whispering of the wood -- was something she dreaded. Now, at the very moment of her needing to face that eventuality, she realized that it did not become easier, but (at the very least) she could end that dread.
When Fran whispered to the wood it hesitated at first, as if recognizing the voice of someone first unfamiliar. But fifty years for the wood is very brief. The path to the Eruyt Village reveals itself. The party runs along the path. There is rustling overhead and Fran does not catch it. Many Viera are leaving. There is trouble in the world beyond. More Viera are leaving. And then they are returning. The Viera are leaving. Then they are returning. Rustle. Returning. Rustle. The wood fears an end.