Letter 43

Dear Herkus,

I have had two glasses of very strong wine and I am sitting alone in Shadow’s courtyard with my dagger next to me. What a long day. As I look at the blade in the moonlight I wonder if I have the strength and courage to do it. I’m thinking of all the pain I have endured and no longer wish to, I’m sad and frightened. But I’m done. I’m so done. 

I’m going to cut me damn hair. 

I just realized how dark that first paragraph was! I’m so sorry. Anyway, yes, this mass of hair is going to go. And for reasons I never expected. 

But let me back up. When we went out and about the town today after the battle, there was a lot of discussion about methods we could use to help each other. Namely Shadow as he seems the most distraught from being in his home and in Ellandyr in general. I think I will talk to some of the plants in his courtyard tomorrow and see if they can give me some information to help him have some more comfort. 

We visited the temple. Well a few of us did. Clio had business with Kiora. I stayed in the grounds area with Torag and Shadow. I think we had a very nice conversation and I feel closer to both of them. Shadow fascinates me. He reminds me in so many ways of me Da. Not that I think of him as my father. No. I lost my father at five and there is no replacement. And then I have… well, you of course. I can picture you laughing at me. That is unkind, Herkus. But I do love you and I am thankful everyday for you allowing me to stay with you and raising me when I had no other. I still recall our first meeting. You confused me terribly with your riddle-like phrases. But somehow you made me smile. I don’t say it enough but I cherish you. 

Shadow reminds me more of the man Telon, who was my father. A great tracker, a strong fighter with a bow, and just a steady force. I’ve watched him around the campfire and he stands guard like a sentinel. He’s tender with Leef and I’m sure he is that way with his daughter Rare as well. I can picture him lifting her up high the way Telon would lift me when I was so small. He’s compassionate and unwavering in his convictions but I truly believe him to do everything can to be fair and to improve himself. He’s kind of a mystery at times with his thought process but that’s okay. I feel as though I have learned a lot from him and… well I hope he knows how happy I am to have him as a friend. I’m just not great at expressing it. It’s nice to be reminded of the best parts of me Da, and while he’s not an exact replica (no one could be) he gives me reason to smile. 

Torag is another I do want to be a better friend to. Ever since he died I have been incredibly anxious and I know it comes across as cruel and short tempered towards him. I don’t know if he knows how similar we are in some ways. He was cursed so young, as was I. He lost his mother and truly his only parent, as did I. I’m sure the other monks helped him but did anyone ever protect him? Did they watch out for him the way you did me? I want to do all I can to keep him alive, and I suppose I should learn to be better about how I come across but I’m honestly afraid. He deserves more than he allows himself. He’s such a dumb ox sometimes. We spoke a bit of his curse and if he would ever want it broken. I know what I would want but it doesn’t seem like he’s sure.

I used the plant growth spell you taught me on the plants and flowers around the temple of the five… those poor acolytes have so much work now. I did not think that through. I just wanted it to physically show the strength and vitality of the five and maybe that would make people believe in them more. 

We went to the library and I learned three jokes as well as studied a bit on etiquette and oaths/curses. Nothing I didn’t really already know but I want to start somewhere. 

Oh, I met a gnome today. I don’t recall his name but he was… not like you. I was excited to speak gnomish but I of course offended him. And then he aggravated me so I actively insulted him, so he insulted me in Sylvan and I told him his pronunciation was terrible but honestly it was perfect and that made me even more mad. But I realized something after I left, I was too irritable with him to feel insecure to talk to him. Maybe I could try talking to him again? I don’t think he will enjoy it but that makes me want to do it all the more, just to spite his stupid long beard. 

We also went to a feast and to witness the sacrifice to Kiora. It was very much like the sacrifices you’ve taught me. I appreciated the work the priests did. Such a large body and so much to focus on. I don’t think people understand everything that goes into a sacrifice. I’m sure most are like I was before I learned more and think that it’s just saying a prayer and setting a fire but it’s far far deeper than that. Thank goodness Dia was there! She and Leef did their best to make me presentable by telling me how to stand and act, but I’m just too awkward. I don’t think I’ll ever get the hang of this. 

I didn’t see either Actaeon or Rendu until the very end of the day. I’m almost grateful. I don’t think I could have looked at either of them. I know Actaeon would probably laugh at me but Rendu, I still can’t even picture him without wanting to find someone to cast true polymorph on me so I could live my life out as an owl squirrel. Actually that’s not the worst idea. I know I need to probably discuss some things with him about his training. He’s going to be so disappointed he asked me, I just know it. It’s like Vanyal told me once. You could look at 100 centaurs and see that 99 are exemplary beings of what a true centaur should be. Strong, intelligent, wise, handsome or beautiful and superior to every other race. And then the 1 left over would be me. And this group is stuck with me. 

Early on I told them how centaurs are superior and yes I know I constantly go back and forth on that, but as much as I wish I was part of the 99 I know I am not. 

Anyway I had a lot to think about and I was doing so tonight when Leef joined me and gifted me the most beautiful cloak. It changes based on how I want it to look. He said he hoped it could cover my mark for me instead of my hair. I was overwhelmed with such gratitude. I know I didn’t explain it correctly of why my hair was my shelter for so many years. Maybe someday I will have the eloquence to do so. With the cloak on I asked him a ridiculous favor. To show me what I would look like with my hair… not how it is. And he did. 

I was shocked. Not because I think I look special in any way but because the person I was looking at couldn’t really be me. It was me Mum. Other than my eyes that are shaped like me Da’s… I have Irica’s face. I have her nose and jawline, and when Leef smiled I saw her smile. I didn’t know that my hair was not only covering the marks she gave me, but her face as well. 

So… I have more I could write but I won’t tonight. Just know that the next time you see me, I think I will be different in more ways than one. 

gaol agus gràdh,