Forgotten Memories, Slumbering Thoughts

Kren's letter
After a split mars the party, Kren writes to Rehn of the events

The Elder’s used to warn me, they did.
The elder’s would say to be wary of outsiders. Thuli told me to welcome them, to help them, to be kind to them, but he said to be also careful to them. When the strangers came to our tribe, I did not harm them, I barely spoke to them. I said not a word when the largest brought a bear as a gift, or when the thinnest gave a child to my cousin, or when cule made a fool of himself for the beautiful one.
I was careful. Thuli told me that a young friend can be as fickle as the autumn rain.
{Vigorous scribbles}
Rain, not Rehn. The names: Ava, not Ehva. Joe, not Jo. And Rehn, not Rain. Brugg was the only one I got right the first try. It was one of the first things you taught me. I remember it well. A strange thing it was not being able to read all those strange symbols that you all saw. It was so different from the language the druids taught me. Each letter made so many sounds, and I could not understand why you would spell your name any different from a word that sounded exactly the same.
“Because that is how I spell it,” you would say.
And I would ask “but why not spell it like you spell the rain of nature?”
And you would respond, “Because that is not how it is spelled.”
Then I would ask why and the cycle would continue.
Whenever you reviewed my practice writings you would critique every tiny comma, every letter out of place. It made so little sense at the time. Only now can I understand how those small changes can make a difference.
Every small change makes a difference…
{The bottom of the page is marred with bits of writing every few inches smudged by water droplets on the page, causing the ink to run and making the words illegible.}

What a difference one man can make. We helped the man. I did not trust him, but can you blame me? He wore strange clothes with strange markings. He was being attacked, but that was none of our matter. For all we knew, he was a thief or a killer, and he was being punished for his actions.
But no. Rehn, you needed to help him. You needed to be a hero. When the men attempted to strike you, I could not allow it. Family protects family, no? I roared. They ran. I could have ripped the throat out of the man that attacked you. I wanted to. But you asked me to allow him to leave, so I did. You asked for food, so Aroha and I went hunting. We found two large bucks, and set up a trap. Aroha waited in the brush, while I chased the two bucks right into his waiting claws. I skinned them on the way back and began to clean the carcass. When I returned, you were happily having words with this new man. With this Ezrail. He was a good looking man. you all seemed to like him. I was wary. Much like the elders had told me. I was careful with new people.
We travelled back to the tower of Tay-vel (I am sorry, I do not know how to spell these strange names anymore without your guidance). Oakensorrow gave me no response when I told him we had arrived. I simply assumed that it was because he was a slow thinker and was taking his time responding.
We searched the tower. We found nothing. Even the bound demon was gone, and Oakensorrow. I do not know yet where they went, and my attempts to track the demon bore no fruit. We kept hearing whispers that “The thief of names is coming”. The thief of names was a title that the wizard Xanan had desired when we last came to this tower, though I thought that we had ended him.
You wanted to wait on the treant’s island. You said it would be the most defensible. I wanted to dissuade you. Both Ava and I argued that we would simply be sitting ducks were he to come, not to mention that neither Ava, myself, nor you are very skilled ranged fighters. You would hardly listen, and we were finally able to convince you when Ezrail joined our side in saying that the benefits of an island were negated by it not being isolated like most islands.
You would not listen to us until he agreed. You would not listen to us. You listened to a stranger.
As fickle as autumn r-{smudge}
Ava wanted to see the mad angel from before. It was likely that the angel was also gone, but there was little reason not to go there.
To our surprise, the angel was still there, facing the wall as before. She swayed to the music.
Ezrail was able to speak to the Nethpa. He said that the angel had been here since the induction of the dragons as gods and that the evil in the world at the time had driven her mad.
The conversation was long and I remember little of it, but what happened at the end remains burning in my mind still. Every strike, every burn, every…
I relent.
We noticed the angel had gotten up and was staring at us. We were debating whether or not to release her. Surely if the “thief of names” returned, it would mean her doom if she was still in her current state, trapped and enchanted as she was.
We knew she was powerful. Of that, we had no doubts. I looked at her and a question came from my lips.
“Would you help us defeat the black fire?”
I asked first in the language of the druids, then again in your language. Both times she answered.
This was all the answer I needed. Ava, the only one among us who seemed to have any sanity agreed. With a glance, we said all we needed to. Every moment we kept this angel captive was a moment that we doomed others to die by the fire. Every moment we waited, we killed others. Maybe we did not silence the breath ourselves, but failing to do everything in our power to save them was just the same.
We both took a few steps toward the the glass. When the others noticed, I heard the words that sparked a fire to consume us all.
“If you take another step toward the cage, I’ll blind you.”
It came from Ezrail, from the stranger. This man, whom we hardly knew, was threatening to hurt my family. To hurt me. I turned around. The man was standing with his hands up, looking at Ava. I immediately, let loose my wild fury and transformed into a large snake, preparing to strangle the man should he try to hurt her.
But you…
not you…
you sided with the man. Said he was right. You summoned your monsters to defend him. You summoned your monsters to stop your family. You summoned your monsters to prolong the suffering of others.
You would rather wait. Allow people to die, just because you said, what? You said we did not have the right as only people to decide the fate of the world.
You wait, others die. And who is to make the choice. Your god? Your dragon?
Here there are no gods or dragons, only man.
Only us.
Ava took action to break the cage. The man cast his spell at her, and struck at him with my open maw. Some force came between my teeth and the man, stopping my bite. Ava was blinded. I felt a sensation come over my body, as if a calm wave were trying to stop me, but I would not yield to this magic. I had set my mind, and would not calm. The fight continued, with Ava swinging wildly at the cage. I pursued Ezrail, who had retreated after my assault.
Once again, the calming sensation came over me, and, this time, I was unable to fend it off. My blood cooled. I wanted to hate. I wanted to attack, but I could not bring myself to do it.
You suggested communing with your gods to try and find an answer. I would wait. If your gods were not foolish, then they might agree with me, though I can hardly expect such wisdom from those fools.
We waited. You prayed. I meditated. Finally, the time came. Your answer was strange, but it agreed with us. The man in an attempt to gloat or brag, or any of those words to taught me, shot lightning from his hand to shatter the cage.
What a fool. Where I to be impressed by his show? Were I, the very embodiment of nature and will of the forests to be frightened by a single bolt of static? I laugh at the prospect. No, I was not frightened.
When he hit the cage, the glass shattered and spewed into the room. The shards floated in the air. The angel, now free, spread her wings, drew her sword, and blasted a hole in the ceiling before launching out of the room. I can only hope that she still wishes to help against the black fire.
But now, there was a different problem to face. Debts must be paid, and honor must be restored. Ava offered a solution. Ava brought out a small vial of a substance. I cast a quick spell to determine the compound. I recognized it. Nothing but some drug that Ava took on special occasions (and by that, I mean less often than everyday, no?{smudges}-ast a spell as well and began to shout about poison. Poison, it could be considered. But it was mostly harmless in the small amounts Ava took.
The man tried to leave. I could not allow this. As I wrote, honor must be restored. She was blinded, and though her sight had been restored by this man, he now owed her a debt. Not one of death, simply a debt of honor, to be paid in a way appropriate. This was not poison, but he would not listen to us.
I walked to stop the man. He could leave when debts were paid. Ava as well took steps to stop the man. As a woman of honor, she too saw the debts needed to be paid. Then, the man struck us.
The lightning lept from his palm, and wracked through my body before jumping to Ava’s behind me. I was close to the man, so were you. I saw the spell coming. I struck with my staff to try and stop the attack, but to no avail. The man was able to keep his concentration.
But you did nothing. Nothing at all. You saw this man, a man we had met less than four days ago, preparing a deadly attack against the people you had spent the last month with. We had traveled with you, bled with you, and lost with you, but when this new man struck at us, you just watched.
I was burned, but not felled. Aroha charged, and stuck at the man clipping him, but not pinning him. I, however, dropped my staff, took a step directly in front of him and threw him to the ground. I tried to strike at us again, but Ava, who had stepped closer after I threw the man to the ground, delivered a wicked cut to him that drew near all the life from him.
You could not have this though. You could not have the assailant of your family be harmed too greatly. You healed him. You healed him until he had more strength than any of us, as tired as we were. You could have healed all of us. I know you could have. I have seen you do it. Instead, you ignored your family, who had just a moment ago been struck with a twisted perversion of nature, and decided to heal the outsider. I pinned the man to the ground to stop any more spells from striking us, and Ava delivered a blow across the man’s face and cut open his eyes.
I shouted. We stopped. I asked this man, Ezrail, if we let him go, if we would allow him to live, despite his affronts, if we were to do so much as guide this man to a healer to have his sight restored just as Ava’s was, would he cease his attacks. The man agreed to our terms, and I released him. Though I kept my guard, in case he were to try and harm us again.
He asked for only you to be his guide. We agreed that only you would accompany him, but we would not be far behind. Ava and I needed to ensure your safety. Despite your actions, you were still family and I would not allow this day to destroy that bond. I did not know you would be so willing to sever that bond.
I asked you to meditate with me. I wanted to think of this day. We might think of our actions and come to understand one another.
You declined. You said that you would do me no such honor. I was hurt. I was hurt worse than a hundred wounds. I swallowed my anguish, however, and moved on. Ava and I were still hurt, and you seemed to have no inclination to care for us as you did the outsider.
That day I caught no fish. Nor did Ava, who fished with me to try and calm her nerves. Ava offered me some of her food, a dry bread that sucked the moisture from my mouth. Still, it was better than nothing. I do not remember which watch I took that night. My sleep was full of fits. For the first time in weeks, I thought of my former companions. Of Cule, Tyl, and Kirna. I missed them so. If my bargain with the forest was as fruitful as I hoped, they would still be alive. If I was lucky, they still had not been taken by the forest.
If is a strange word, no? I have written it so much in these few pages, and yet it means so little. Only what could have been. If I had succeeded all those years ago. If I had not been chosen. If I had not met you. If we had not met him. If I had been able to stay with Vrak. If.
There is little point to it I know. Still, I cannot help but think of all the things that could have been.
You healed the man’s sight in the morning while I gathered berries. I prepared them so that, even without me being directly with you, they would keep you fed. I still planned on using my magic to sneak into your camp as a rabbit at night and feed you in your dreams, whether you wanted it or not. But then you told me.
You would not be going to the town. You would not be returning to us. You would be leaving with the outsider. You just met this man. You met him less than four days ago. Still, he held more care in your heart than your family. Than me.
I tried to tell you to stay. You told me you could not. You told me that y-{smudge}-a beast. If you are a beast, then wh-{smudge}-th the druid? I tame the b-{smudge}-the beast. I love the beast.
{illegible smudges scribbled over}
I gave you my statue of a bird. I tried to. I think I threw it. I can hardly remember. I wanted you to have something of mine, so you would not forget me. I hoped you would cherish it. I took the figurine because it reminded me of Vrak. When I was worried it brought me comfort. I wanted you to know that your family was still here. I wanted you to know that I still cared. I wanted you to know that, like the bird, we would be watching over you.
I did not say that. I could not say that. Instead, I jumped into the water. The cool embrace wrapped around me and softened my rage. In the water, you could not see my {smudge}.
I hate you. I hate you with the passion greater than I hate that which so harshly rampages through the wilds now. I hate you more than the gray nothingness that it leaves behind.
And I love you. I love you more than the forests I seek to protect. I love you more than the beauty of each birdsong echoing through the bountiful wood.
I do not know what to do. Am I to follow you and ensure your safety? Am I to forget you so that I may continue my duty to the forest? I do not want to forget.

I do not know what Joe thinks. He has said nothing to me since the events yesterday. I have said nothing of training. In my state, I do not wish my rage to take hold of me and cause harm to him. I also do not wish for the same to happen to him.
I am scared for the future.
I learned a spell. Rather, I believe I have known it, but was to afraid to admit it. The spell is not one I wish to know, but one I do. It uses the same energy as the black fire. I cast the spell once and felt its energy. It creates a void in one’s gut that they cannot fill no matter how they try. Food does not appease it. The hunger consumes from the inside. I dare not use this spell, but I feel so much temptation. It would end this madness. I could end it alone. No one would know.
But then I would be the monster. These feelings are strange and new to me. This issue is not one so simple. You are not evil, and I am not good. Nor am I evil nor you good. We both are gray as the clouded night.
I do not like gray.
I feel like this letter has said nothing. I do not know why I wrote it. I do not know what I wanted to say. Perhaps it was nothing that I wanted to say. Perhaps it is what I wanted to feel. Or what I wanted you to feel.
You may not forgive me. I hope that one day, with this letter, you come to understand my actions. I do not know if I will ever understand yours.
That is a way you are not like a beast. Beasts are easy to understand. They do not do things for morals or for justice. Nor for gods nor dragons. Beasts act for themselves and for their pack. For their family.
No, you are not like a beast. But you are a friend. A young friend.
A young friend as fickle as the autumn rehn.



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