Letter 44

Dear Herkus,

Well, yep… After reading through my last letter it seems that I was quite determined in my drunken state to chop off my hair. And I did! Well half of it at least. Thank goodness for Clio. She came upon me and finished what I had started before I passed out. She’s truly an amazing friend and I’m grateful to know her. 

Leef and Clio each complimented me on the style… Rendu too, but I tend to turn nonsensical when I think about him saying it “looks fantastic.” I just have to remember how awful it looked before so of course this would be an improvement. I have to admit it did feel wonderful to run a brush through it for the first time in forever and remove any remaining tangles. I found myself pulling it back from my face when I caught my reflection and couldn’t help but smile. It was Irica looking back at me. 

It makes me wonder if seeing me grown up would change my tribe’s view of me. I still have the mark but that could be covered easily by the new cloak Leef gave me. (It is currently styled to look like owlsquirell fuzz and feathers in your favorite colors, blue and green.) I suppose looking more like my mother might work against me though. She doesn’t even have a plaque in the hold’s square. 

It’s been over twelve years since I left the tribe. I’m not even sure if I came across any of them if I would know who they were, aside from recognizing the Foxtail. And yet I still feel sadness when I think about how I too won’t have a plaque in the square after I die. Not unless the Great Chief Braenor keeps his promise to me. And that will mean I will be forgotten by my tribe, as though I never existed. I remember I asked you once if you would make me a plaque and you said it wasn’t necessary. Did you mean it was because you won’t forget me? Or that we don’t need to be remembered in the first place to exist? 

My friend Shadow, the tabaxi, has lost hope of reuniting with his family. I understand death and loss. I understand pain just as everyone in this group seems to, but what I can’t wrap my head around is willing yourself to claim that someone you love doesn’t exist. It is one thing to come to terms with things that have happened, and to have a desire to move forward and press onward anew. That makes perfect sense… But what he’s doing isn’t that. It stems from anger and denial. There is no acceptance in his decision, just defeat. When my grandparents disowned my father and had his plaque carved prematurely to claim he was dead, they did it out of fury and spite. But they didn’t insist he was never there in the first place. It makes me worry that Shadow resents the memory of his loved ones and how sad it makes him to remember them. Acting as though your past never happened does no good. It will always come back to you because it’s part of you. I know he has his doubts about the reality of his former life, but there is too much evidence to the contrary to say that River and Rare were never there in the first place. It has to be the work of Khar’shan. She has clouded this entire house to the point that even the plants don’t know who Shadow or his family is. And their roots are deep Herkus. There is no reason they wouldn’t know who he is. It doesn’t add up but he wont listen to reason. I’m not the right person to say anything to him. I know Leef is hurt by his statements, and Rendu attempted to literally smack some sense into him (don’t worry no big fights occurred this time) but he is exhausted from pain. That exhaustion is clouding his thoughts and paving a way for more of Khar’shan’s evil to infiltrate. It makes me want to find a true answer to their disappearances. It is painful to watch him carry on this way. I wish you were here, you would know what to do or say. You always do. I just don’t understand. If you love someone, the only way they live on is through you and your memories of them…

Anyway, right now I’m sitting at a table next to a minotaur called Ilhard. He reminds me of Actaeon, if Actaeon was like Torag. He seems to be a kind brute though, and I like him. I admit I was nervous because I stayed behind with him while the others went to speak with a noble. There’s too much to write in here, and I need to be careful of what I put down in words. But I can tell you that nobles have been turned to stone and this particular noble Taren something-or-other has asked for help. 

I stayed behind to finally get started on some healing potions. I have potted the elfroot seeds I purchased and have been focusing on growing them. I’m quite nervous to use the herbalism kit you gave me. It will be the first time making a potion on my own. I would have rather had Clio’s help, or even Torag as he is used to using a brewers kit, but there are so many tasks that need done that we would be spread thin if I asked them to stay and help me. I have to succeed at making these. I also got some healers kits at the market to hand out to everyone except Leef and myself, although I probably should have got one for both of us too. I just keep thinking about how if one of us who can heal (Leef, Shadow, Rendu, or myself) goes down and if there isn’t another healer around this could make a difference. We keep getting into dangerous situations and… I’m probably overthinking all of it aren’t I?

I’m going to attempt to make your mushroom stew today. I got some bread and vegetables at the market and I borrowed Leef’s cooking utensils. I’m not sure I will be able to put as much expertise into it as you but I wanted to do something for the group. Both my etiquette book and you mention how food is a great way to bring people together. We are always eating in passing and never really sit down to a meal together. Tha mi gu mòr ag ionndrainn suidhe faisg air teine ​​a ’champa còmhla riut agus èisteachd ri na sgeulachdan agad fhad‘ s a bhiodh sinn ag ithe.Tha mi a ’guidhe gum faodadh a h-uile duine a bhith cho fortanach gun deach gabhail riut. Fuirich, is e sin breug. Bha e a ’còrdadh rium a bhith gad fhaicinn leam fhìn a’ mhòr-chuid de làithean1.

Off topic again but if you were a plant what kind of plant would you be? Is that truly such an odd question? I was trying to think of a way to start a conversation with Rendu because if we are going to work together I have to find SOME way to talk to him without being an idiot. He’s very generous and kind, but I’m sure I make him uncomfortable with my actions or lack of ability to function around him. I couldn’t even look at him this morning while eating breakfast. Anyway I told him what I thought he might be, a rainbow eucalyptus. It also got me thinking about my other comrades and what they could be. Clio is easy as she is already a tree but I honestly think if I had to be specific I would say an Ipe tree. You know the ones with the strong trunks that are resilient and have those beautiful flowers on top? And Leef is definitely a Bougainvillia vine. I’ve never met one in person but I read about it in one of your books. They are amazing. They thrive in the sun, and their leaves look like flowers of all different colors, but in all actuality they have these tiny white flowers that are hidden away by the leaves. They climb and grow tall in the right conditions. Leef is growing leaps and bounds. I’m not sure about the other’s yet. I’ll keep thinking and get back to you. 

Rendu asked if I knew of any plants that were liked by all other plants…. Bird of paradise maybe? What do you think?

Well the elfoot is ready, and I’m going to start making the potion now. Wish me luck on that. If the stew doesn’t turn out well we may need healing potions. That was a joke… kind of. 

gaol agus gràdh,


1 Druidic: I really miss sitting near the campfire with you and listening to your stories while we ate. I wish everyone could be so fortunate as to have been adopted by you. Wait, that’s a lie. I liked having you all to myself most days.