Letter 57

Dear Herkus,

I’m so sorry that I haven’t given you many play by plays of the great games. There isn’t much reason for this other than we have all been incredibly busy. We are over halfway through the events and each time on of my comrades competes I feel both elated and sick to ma stomach. Shadow is still in the lead but the rest of the podium is filled with Actaeon and Torag. Because Rendu didn’t sign up for every match, he doesn’t have the same points. But that doesn’t mean we both haven’t been giving it our all when he does compete. He was made to be in front of a crowd. I don’t understand someone enjoying that but I’m happy for him. The same could be said for Torag. Is it a demi-god thing? Shadow almost seems embarrassed by his success but I am so happy for him. Actaeon is as he always is: he goes with the flow, he thinks outside the box, and he triumphs even without meaning to. It’s frustrating and amazing at the same time. Just like him!

I don’t think this letter will get to you before the last day but our group has decided who will be in the relay on the final day. We have two groups competing. In the first it is Leef, Shadow, Torag, Actaeon, and myself. The second group is Kano, Clio, Rendu, Ilharg, and Pholon. Both teams are pretty well matched. I’m not sure who on Kano’s team will be competing against me but I’m already so nervous about it. I will be doing the swimming portion. I said I would cast water breathing for everyone the night before. This is just incase the lineups get changed for whatever reason. I also plan on wildshaping into a dolphin. I practiced a bit in that form before the games. It was fantastic to swim like that, but I know the speed at which I swim won’t really matter, because there are also going to be great obstacles in the way. 

Everyone has so much on their minds, both during these games and what will come later. I admit other than helping Rendu I haven’t given much thought to my role in the games. But now that I have one I am nearly sick with worry. I don’t want to let anyone down. I’m not naturally competitive. I never learned how to be honest. As I child I never played with others in my tribe, so racing and things like that weren’t a part of my rearing. Ma da played tag with me sometimes, and then there was that one time where Mum played hide and seek, but both ended poorly. I guess not being able to be physically far from your cursed partner makes it difficult to devote your attention to your child. 

Which leads into my next thought. The curse. After the great games we will set sail to various islands to either procure items, or gain answers. One of my tasks is on Scorpion Island. My mind won’t stop churning and analyzing what the Lotus Witch could possibly tell me to help me break the curse. As far as I can fathom it will end only if the Titans are defeated, or if I am. I can’t let it take hold of me no matter what. I think I shall ask Clio and Leef to help me think of some safeguards should it suddenly manifest. I am 23 summers and every time I see a male of my kind I get nervous. And then I also think of my past and people important to me. What if it happens with them. I can’t stand the thought of dragging someone else into this. I would rather perish than inflict this pain on someone else, or worse yet another generation. While it is horrible how I left my tribe, I find myself feeling grateful for it now, because it means that I have been able to stave off the curse as long as I have. My body and heart beg for relief constantly and I fight against it daily. I have to use my head. I have to focus on the truth of things. I now fully understand from my friends that the curse is a horrific mutation of love. I’m still afraid of loving others in any capacity but I am improving. I can freely admit that I love you and Clio, and Leef. I’m not there yet with the others but I have great affection for Shadow, and I understand why I get so frustrated with Torag and Actaeon. If I didn’t care, I would be indifferent to them and their actions. But that is not the case. And Rendu, well… He is a good person. He is a wonderful friend and I’m grateful to know him. That’s all I will say on that. 

Let’s discuss something else entirely, shall we? I have begun to get the items for my sacrifice. I have been spending each day with the ewe that will dedicate her life to Eos. I care so much about her and her comfort and my heart already breaks knowing what I must do, but that’s why I am doing it. Her life is valued and that is one of the biggest takeaways from Eos. I admit I am nervous for this too. It will be the first time of me conducting a sacrifice of this nature rather than just accompanying another. Leef is helping me make my robe, I have the oil and I’ve started collecting the timber and leaves. I just need to figure out a location because I’m sure Shadow doesn’t want this conducted in his courtyard. I’ve been practicing the prayer and the motions. I don’t know if the other’s will be there but I can’t help but want to impress upon them the validity of how this is done. And show them that each god is different and requires a different type of sacrifice. 

I understand that this is not always possible. Sometimes it needs to be quick. Like the time we didn’t have a willing being and so the circle collectively found a ceratops. She was such a beautiful beast. We had mere hours with her to learn in detail how precious she was, and to engrave her on our hearts. I’m glad I was a part of that. It is a good reminder that it isn’t always feasible to do this ritual with all the pomp and circumstance. I just hope I’m not forgetting anything because if you can do it all you should, right?

Leef gave me an odd look when I was practicing the the motions the other night. Kneel, forehead press, words, sacrifice, fire to follow the trail of oil. I’m sure I looked strange but I don’t care. I wish you were here with me though. It would be a great comfort to me. 

Well it is late and I am very tired. I will write as soon as I am able to again, but I know it will be sporadic for a while. I hope you are well and that you have been able to resume your afternoon naps since going home. I miss you. 

gaol agus gràdh,Briar.