Athair mo ghràidh Herkus,
I have not had many opportunities to write to you. Or those opportunities have slipped away in chaos. I am sorry. I wish I could give a summation worthy of the things we have experienced. It all feels so big, and there isn’t enough paper. Although I’m sure Leef would somehow find a way to make it work. He is very resourceful that way. I’ve sometimes glimpsed at his journal, not the inside of course, but it is packed with all his entries. And he is very dedicated to writing.
In my last letter I mentioned our time on the World Turtle. That feels like forever ago though it wasn’t. Let’s see, what can I tell you…
The morning after we got back I had a meeting with everyone to apologize, hopefully once and for all about my way of speaking and thinking tha are so offensive at times. I wish I had a silver tongue like Leef or Rendu. Not literally of course. That makes me think that if a tongue is that color there must be an illness involved. Although I guess Leef could make that work. Oh now I have a visual I would rather not. I will NEVER tell him about the silver tongue thing. Anyway, they accepted my apology. Shadow didn’t realize the impact his words had on me. But what else can I say? He often reminds me of Telon, my own father. How can I not take his words to heart.
Anyway, a new development in my, uh, development. The Ox… who wants me to call him Sensei Torag, and no I will NOT, wants to help me get stronger. My accident, as I shall call it, bothered more of the Dragonlords than I expected. Is it bad that this makes me feel…good? Knowing they care? Anyway, I didn’t want to but I went to the training room with him. He started showing me exercises that I just simply cannot do. A pushup? Really? I mean I sort of could against the wall but I mean come on. Sit ups? Maybe in another form of life. I considered wildshaping into something like a bear that could possible do what he requested easier but the whole point is that in this form I am not physically strong.
Then we got to sparing. I have to say Leef really inspired me. He hit Torag! Really hard! I took out my quarterstaff because I suddenly felt excited to try. But Torag was busy so Rendu stepped in to help me.
Somehow beyond all odds I landed a strike and my stomach STILL sinks when I think of it. The blow was so hard he fell the floor! I was so shocked, I didn’t know what to do. I offered to heal him but he said he was fine.
Those who use weapons like the four men in our group don’t realize what a boost being able to strike with a weapon can be for those of us who cast more than anything in a fight. During our time together and in events like the Great Games it really brings it home how physically fit these people are. So after I hit Rendu I decided to also try to land a hit on Torag.
AND I DID! I REALLY DID!
I’ll admit I didn’t mean to strike him on the head. I honestly thought he would block it. But somehow he was distracted enough by Leef that I landed the hit. It didn’t do nearly as much as it did to my strike on Rendu though. I wish it had been reversed. Not that I want to hurt Torag more, it’s just that, um… Anyway.
In retaliation he quickly swept the leg, and both Leef and I hit the ground hard. Yep, I guess this is my life now. Sparing with a giant Ox who hits as hard as his head.
Athair mo ghràidh Herkus,
This next letter will be sent with a heavy heart. After several days at sea we came back to the Forge to drop of some people and pick up some things. We met Kano there who proposed a mutually beneficial relationship.
We had an idea as to the whereabouts of one of Palladia’s instruments. Rendu would have nothing but to get it back and we all agreed.
In the high cliffs we found a nymph that had charmed a host of men by playing the instrument. It was unnerving to see them sway and watch her, completely out of their minds or will. There were men of all kinds, and some from our side and others from the Stormcloaks. But I felt pity for every single one of them.
I stayed hidden for most of the confrontation between her and Rendu. All of the sudden she was shot and the instrument dropped (we got it fixed thankfully) and hell unleashed. There was a large fire elemental that attacked everyone.
At one point I got burned and this soldier from our side of the war asked what he could do, and I yelled at him to put out the fire. He did so quickly and offered me a nice smile afterwards.
He died, Herkus. So many lives lost because the elemental was so strong. I can remember you conjuring elementals, and they always intimidated me, even when they are on our side. This one was raving mad, and when he exploded at the end of his life, it was quiet and smelled of sacrifice. Not sacrifice that brings peace or power, but the kind that brings tears and loneliness.
One Stormcloak survived. Leef being the kind person he is was able to convince him to help us arrange the bodies as well as we could for me to dedicate them. I offered his comrades have dedication to Eos the only titan I would send a prayer to willingly, and ours Kiora. He agreed and it was so. Afterwards Rendu helped me spread seeds and I helped them grow. In part to cover the ash of what had occurred, but also because as you taught me, we must find meaning in the loss of others. Life will flourish again eventually. But also that life is meant to honor those who lay silent.
I talked to Rendu a bit about all of it. He was truly gutted that his decision caused such an event. I wanted to comfort him. But my awkwardness neither gave me the courage to say the right thing, or offer up a touch on the arm to give him assurances he wasn’t alone. I never knew how much he feels responsible when bad things happen to this group. Leef explained to me that his Oath lends to that. As a paladin he is bound by that oath to protect others. I’m not entirely sure I understand it. But I know he feels responsible for my accident as well. I’m sure it’s as I did when he went into the pool of blood and came out nearly dead. It’s horrific to feel
someone you care about your companions grow cold in such a way.
I wanted to explain to him though that I was no better than him. I wanted her dead the moment I saw how she trapped men inside their minds. It was such a quick rage I felt towards her. It was frightening to look at that part of myself after the fact. I’ve never been comfortable with charm spells. They are too similar to my curse. And I refuse to use one. I know not everyone who uses that kind of magic is evil or has evil goals. Clio uses it, I believe Leef can as well.
But to me there is nothing more terrible than being compelled to feel, act, or think in a way that is not how you would naturally proceed. It’s the base of this awful curse. I can remember seeing Telon at times seem like he had a war within himself when he looked at Irica. And the same of her to him. Did they hold any real affection for the other? Even as another person in the same situation? I will never know what the depth of malice was behind that glass box inside their minds.
We are in a moment of respite after a horrendous battle on the island of the Amazons. I don’t want to alarm you by sharing the details but suffice it to say, it was a very long fight, and there were many close calls. The Lady of Coins is officially our enemy and for that I am less than thrilled. If only because she seems less dangerous when there was a common goal, but now that is severed and who knows how that will haunt us.
I remember you often saying that the refusal to speak up is in essence an agreement made. This is so true. Many of us didn’t voice our concerns at all when it came to dealing with the lady of coins. I know I didn’t. But because of this conflict arose in our group as well as during the larger battle.
I don’t really want to think of it anymore. Just know that I promise that I will speak up if I don’t understand or agree on something. I just need to learn how to do it in a way that doesn’t ruin relationships.
On a completely different note. We have a brand new member of the family!!!!!!! Zirconus hatched! He’s here and he’s amazing and wonderful. I cannot express how full my heart is not that he is here. He is so smart and handsome. One thing to note is he really seems to enjoy bitter greens. I’m not sure if that means he enjoys all bitter foods, or if this is a specific preference. But I always have them around so I have more than enough to share. He is also eager to learn anything I can teach him. He said that in return he will bring me treasure but sappy as it seems, having him in my life is enough for me. Maybe someday I will explain to him why this instant bond with him means so very much. My family has grown so large at this point, I always wonder if there will be more room in my heart. But there always is. I remind myself that I must get stronger because there is so much more to lose now as well.
As of right now we are headed towards the island of the Fates. I share Clio’s trepidation. When you don’t know what’s coming, it’s hard to prepare. And we don’t know anything. Also a book talked to her today so that was unnerving. Just a taste of what’s to come I’m sure.
The air feels like static around me. I’m not sure if it’s the island or the anticipation but I feel as though something big is coming.
I miss you. I wish you were here to talk to me and advise me and tell me what I can improve upon, but also what I’m getting right. This world is very big and it’s overwhelming at times.
gaol agus gràdh,