From whence we came….
Lately I have been spending more time looking into the past, beyond the records of clans and nobles and other things that have created the societies we exist in. No, instead I have focused on what came before, before the empire and before the clans and how little we truly know is astonishing me, the Earth Demons? Elves? Sheyl? no one truly knows anything I am seeing theories and myths and I can only hope the truth lies somewhere between the two. I can not shake the feeling the fight I see before us was started long before we existed because I keep coming back to one question:
“If the Earth Demons returned because they were angry about Aela and Magitech being in their lands, what did they do when the Elves were at the height of the power?”
While I have no answer everything we currently know only points to one thing:
The Earth Demons are here, the Elves are gone.
I must admit while Sunlord Varaldia and I did not initially get along she seems both surprised and happy that I have been asking many questions about Sheyl. While she is a member of the Order of Mithril and is not as knowledgeable as some she did still go through the same initial studies. I have been speaking with her and the other Templar while they are here and also educating them on the laws of Yt while they are here to try and avoid an incident. For the most part they have been somewhat respectful, the Sunlord and Imperion still occasionally try to put their foot down but most of the Templar who arrived seemed somewhat intimidated or at least curious by the stories of my return.
I have considered returning to Aylanae to have access to their library but I dare not leave with things as they are, while those books could provide deeper light I will have to make due with the few I asked Mallegaunt to get for me. I have also considered trying to access the Somanaru, it is said many things can be shown to someone seeking answers and all I have right now are questions but that would take too much time. I am starting to feel perhaps I judged Mallegaunt too harshly when we spoke about Sylara, I envy the life he had of being able to focus on his studies and not worry about other things because the stress of this situation is making me sick. When I try to think what I should do next and who I should trust my stomach turns and I feel like I am falling through a large void, I have no direction and I feel lost.
The Templars – while they seem to possess a genuine zeal to prevent what happened during the awakening the truth is their motives are more complicated then the Empires. The Templar do not like the fact the Druidic faith exist and branding the clans as traitors will eventually destroy Druidism forever.
The Empire – I am a servant of the Empire and I have realised lately I do serve them, but not in the way many of them seek. I will speak more on this in the future but for now I will focus on what I know. The Empire, or more specifically the Guilds of Ronen and Nobles of Rasheld want the mines, and Tharian Gorn once told me all it took to get one was to accuse a tribe of being a traitor and because people so desire the mines it would work. A disturbing thought my peoples land could be taken away so easily.
Tharik – While he gives good advice he quite possibly has his own agenda, the Minotaur clan is smart and this could be a way of getting not only the Mooneagle but also the Wolfheart to be called traitors. While he spoke of how the Hydra and Sun could already be infiltrated the exact same is true of him….
Sefiros – While I do trust him he has always had a problem with what he says, he never means to cause trouble but its what he could say unintentionally that I worry about, his intentions I believe are noble but it only takes one slip up to have the Templar take over.
Justy – I feel Justy will not betray us in any way, she has a code and we have been through much. I only fear if her guild decides to try and take advantage of this situation she might be put in a difficult position.
Calim – I know not what to think. He was more then willing to see all my people killed so he thinks of them as disposable exactly as his father did. Anything I tell him he could use to his own advantage. I want to believe he is trust worthy but at the same time I fear that is my hope speaking not reality, we all went through much together in training.
The Mooneagle refugees are adapting well, my friends from the Stormblood understand what it is to lose a home so they have been making extra effort to help them out. This does warm my heart, to see something good while I am surrounded by darkness. I have been avoiding all my friends since I returned, it is hard because I do not think any of them completely comprehend the situation and I cant explain it them in a way that would give them clarity. I am quite literally torn between two worlds and if I move to far into one I will lose the other. Gwynath has been spending much time with my family and it seems to have done her much good, she looked so lost only a few days ago and I think being around them has lifted her spirits. And I have also seen Helenia and Khorra spending time together, I am not sure what that is about but Khorra has been acting a bit strange since I returned.
This week has been one of discovery and the sad thing is none of it has been pleasant, in the cave I learned that I am not strong enough, when I returned home I realised I am not smart enough. I look around the village and see people who at one time or another looked to me for guidance and their protector and we now find ourselves in a situation that I don’t know how to get out of. How do I lead them when I cant even lift my head to see the horizon? I fear that walking blind I will lead them off a cliff and forever into darkness.
Thirty four straight teleports. My strength is draining fast but we are almost home and I don’t risk stopping any more then we have to for fear of what might be following. Each time we stop and rest I have the same vision, all the spirits in the distance doing what they are supposed to except for the wolf who stands in front of me looking at me. Each time I wake I am more angry….frustrated with my lack of understanding, what does it want from me?
Even if it is only a crazy hallucination from a lack of rest it does bring back memories to the first time I laid eyes on the spirit, lying near death in what remained of my village surrounded by my family who all lay dead.
I had returned home only a few weeks ago and a time of unprecedented celebration was upon us. My Father and Aidan Mooneagle had reached an agreement where Aidans Daughter Gwynath and I were to marry, it was hoped this would bring our clans closer together. My father and Aidan had long been friends and even though they had been born to different clans they had spent much time together and learned much from each other, with the Wolfheart being lead by the celebrated leader Oren Wolfheart and now this marriage between our clans it was thought finally our Clan would come to the forefront and bring all clans together. We were the strongest and our time had come.
I was of course very nervous by this, my time spent in Aylanae had made me a very internal young man who did not laugh as much as I used to. Ever since the day it was discovered I had the ability to read peoples thoughts I had been isolated from almost all the other children and even the teachers to an extent. Helenia and I had been taken to be tutored by Mallegaunt Morehall but my powers were unpredictable and many times I heard the thoughts of those around me, so I took to spending time alone in places people could not find me. This isolation did not fully translate when I returned home, I spent much time with my friends and family but even they had noticed a quieter side of me and it did concern them. When my father told me of the deal he had made with Aidan I was proud to serve, I was a second son destined not to inherit and an alliance would strengthen my fathers position in the tribes, but I had spent most of my time hiding from girls not seeking their attention like the other boys and so I was nervous.
When the Mooneagle clan arrived, a hundred people strong they met us in the centre of our village. Gathered around my family was the entirety of our tribe as I stood waiting to meet my betrothed for the first time. Perhaps my vision was coloured by all the hopes I had but when she stepped forward she was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen, when Gwynath Mooneagle walked on the grass it laid down before her and would rise up behind to watch her go as if nature itself was in admiration. Even dressed in the simple garment’s of our people she seemed more regal then the Queen and even the princess herself. I felt so inadequate at this point, she seemed so….‘out of my league’ as some of the young boys in Aylanae would say when chasing a girl who was too good for them. I stepped forward lowing myself to my knee before her holding up a crown of Lillies I had woven and said “Lady Gwynath, I…I made this for you, I did not know your preferences but Lillies I have been told were my mothers favourite…” She smiled the most adorable smile and thanked me as I placed it on her head and she ran off to laugh with her girlfriends while I stood somewhat embarrassed by my display, embarrassed but there was some butterflies of hope in my stomach as well.
A mighty cheer went up and our tribes celebrated together all night long and throughout the celebration I would find many reasons to be standing near her, we danced and laughed and shared some quiet thoughtful moments. I never had the way with words my brother had and I think I might have made the biggest fool of myself but I do not regret it, memories like these would be what keeps me strong in the future. Gwynath and I never spoke directly about the marriage, we both knew it had been organised but this meeting was to determine if we wanted it, my father and hers would never force this upon us. Still everyone seemed to have a good time and all indications were that this would go forward, my brother non stopped teased me about it and my father in his quieter moments would tell me stories of when he courted my mother. I never told him this but while I loved those stories they also crushed me, she sounded so amazing and he loved her more then life itself and I never knew her, while I know he never blamed me I couldn’t help but feel responsible that she was no longer with us. The druids warned her that after complications with her first child she would not be able to bear children again, their warnings did not phase her as she wanted nothing more then to provide my father with a house full of children for him to chase. When she fell pregnant again she was told early on the strain would kill her and she trusted those who told her, one being her good friend Gamia of the Wolfheart. If this was to be her last child she wanted to make it was the strongest she could and so petitioned Oren to allow her to bear the first imbued of the Stormblood.
It is so strange to think on this and how I have never spoken of it. My friends never asked and I never volunteer the information for fear speaking it out loud would make the blame fall more at my feet. I often wonder what they think of me and how I keep so many secrets close, I spent so much time on my own that it is now second nature to hide things from people.
A few weeks after the Mooneagle clan left my people were still celebrating convinced this would be a blessed year, unfortunately this was not to be. Out of nowhere the forces of Tinigath attacked us, all manner of creatures made of stone and their human allies charged into my village and started slaughtering our people. The Stormblood was a strong tribe with many werewolves and we fought hard but we were so outnumbered and they had magical creatures we had thought were myth. With our druids out caring for the land, our best hunters out trying to get food the attack had us divided and they would slowly cut us down. When the fighting began I was at the opposite end of our village from my fathers home and I raced back to reach him, as I came within sight of the house I saw my father and brother fighting back to back and striking down many foes. But, around the corner came a man, what I now know was a fallen, a champion of the Earth Demons. He wore an open dark grey robe over his armour with the hood pulled back revealing a bald head, dark eyes and tattoos around his neck. He walked straight up to my brother, he swiftly dodged my brothers strike grabbing him by the head and snapping his neck in one smooth move. He then moved on to my father and while he fought valiantly eventually his defences were left open and the man reached in clawing at the front of his throat and tearing it out. I watched as my fathers body fell to the ground, his head turned in my direction as he grasped for air he could no longer breath and I watched as the life slowly drained from his eyes. I looked up at the creature who had done this, a smile of satisfaction lining his face and something inside me just snapped, I stretched out my hand and unleashed one of the first spells I had been taught. Three arcs of lightning leaped from my fingers striking him, two hit his right shoulder while a third struck very near his eye. He screamed in rage and turned to me, his right arm was hanging limply with blackened burns down his shoulder and his eye was closed covered in dark scars and he yelled something in what must have been Vorr because a second later a large spike of earth tore up from the ground under me tearing my body from my left hip all the way to my chin.
I am guessing he thought I was dead, maybe I was I don’t really know as the druids who were there have all told many different stories about my condition at the time. I “awoke” some time later, my vision was blurred and I couldn’t see much except for the bodies of my dead clansmen and the village burning but through the smoke a great form was coming. A large white wolf stepped from the smoke calmly walking towards me, easily twice the size of the largest wolf I had ever seen and it was magnificent. It slowly walked up to me and lowered its face to mine looking me in the eyes, it just stood there looking at me while I lay bleeding, unable to move and barely able to see. It felt like a lifetime that I locked its gaze, I am sure it was only moments but those eyes held not only knowledge, but power, strength, wisdom and the courage to use them. This was the mighty wolf spirit before and I had many questions for it but before I could ask it leaned down and touched its nose to my head forehead and all went black. I awoke several weeks later in the druid grove near Thunderheart where the druids had been trying to heal me. They informed me of the devastation that had been caused and how many people we had lost.
Even though I was meant to return to Aylanae for training I ended up missing most of that year, my wounds were too great and It was a long time before I could function properly. When I did return I was someone different, I could hear the whispers from my class mates and there were many questions about my scars to which I did not answer. Instead I became increasingly more focused on my studies and trying to learn as much as I could but there was one encounter that year of note.
Because I was separate from the other students it was much easier for me to slip away and one night near midnight I did just that heading to the tower of the Archmagi, standing out front I sent a message to Ylathe Mooneagle. I think I stood for near an hour before she finally came outside to see me, I was standing there in my pants and open tunic with my scars visible in the moonlight and there was one question I had to know.
“Your people are being slaughtered…..how could you not come to our aid?”
Today I have come to learn the importance of my peoples history and how little we truly know. In that spirit I have decided to tell my story and chronicle my thoughts in the hope that future generations will benefit from my successes but more importantly from my failures.
Two days ago I discovered that some of the Mooneagle clan had been secretly worshipping the beings we know as the Earth Demons. For countless generations we had lived in peace, these beings were merely the myth of an ancient power that was long dormant but five years ago they awoke and in their fury destroyed my family, my tribe, many of my clan and countrymen. Since that day I had carried the burden of swearing I would never let this happen again and I would destroy them should they ever enter our lands. Not only did I fail this vow but I did not have the decency to die in the process instead running like a coward.
I was shown the secret entrance to a tunnel which descended deep into the mountain. I used my powers to turn myself into a ghostly wolf, insubstantial and silent I stalked forward dreading what I would find at the end of this road. I have long trained in magic and my sense could tell me this entire place was created using nummian magics and they were quite old. I eventually came to a room with a statue, an altar and a large set of doors in the back. My wolf senses could smell the fresh blood on the alter and my worst fears were now realised, the Mooneagle clan was participating in sacrifices. I was able to pass through the door unnoticed into an extremely large room, what appear to be two priests stood at the base of a large demonic statue with a fire burning. Along the wall it appeared there were members of the Mooneagle clan trapped in alcoves in the wall. Slowly each of them was being turned into stone, I attempted to free one person by using my control of the earth to separate it from his skin but unfortunately it was fused to him and he died. I decided to try a new tactic and nullify the magical effects. This worked and many were freed but while doing this I had awoken a dangerous creature. Made and stone and flying on wings what little I saw made me think it was a gargoyle and it struck me before I could move, I now bear another set of scars to match the ones I received during my first encounter with the Earth Demons. I raised my protective magics but to do so I plunged the entire room into darkness, I could not see my enemy to stop him and with no sight of the people I had freed I could not protect them. The creature taunted me telling me it had been waiting for me and calling me the champion of the air, does this speak of me specifically? I doubt it, this is more likely a reference to imbued in general. It spoke of further influence being spread through the Wolfheart lands and the Hydra lands and tried to fill me with more doubt , I must admit it by this point that is all my heart knew. I struggled with the decision of what to do, if I dropped my protections to attack it could strike me down first, I could not see it to strike specifically at it instead risking an area attack that would most likely hurt those I was trying to save. They were begging me to kill them knowing that the fate they would endure was worse then death, even as this broke my heart I retreated…..retreat, a word used by people when they don’t want to call themselves weak, when they don’t want to admit they were not strong enough or courageous enough to stand with their brethren against an enemy and I cant help but think that I, Taesian Stormblood, son of Morran and last heir to the Stormblood tribe am a coward.
Never have I felt fear so profound as I did in that cave….no it was more then fear, it was doubt, it was despair. Sitting there in the dark unable to attack my enemy and protect my countrymen who stood only feet from made me feel more helpless then I believed was possible. How many years had I trained to fight this enemy and when my time came there was naught I could do….how my ancestors must look upon me with shame.
After leaving the cave I gathered Gwynath and the three families should could convince to leave and we are heading to Thunderheart, I am teleporting them as far as I can each hour but my strength is draining and rest is hard to come by. The doubt follows me, how can I protect these people when I left their own clansmen to die? Gwynath looks to me with hope but I cant meet her gaze, she believes in me far more then I do and in truth she is the one I admire, her whole world just fell apart and here she is leading as many of her people as she could. The only respite I find is in the few conversations I have with the younger ones while we rest. They ask many questions about what happened and what I am and it is only now I realise my perspective is different to my people. I speak to the children of balance, air, water, earth, fire, the animals, the trees and the people. One of them asked how I knew the earth demons were evil and while I could have explained what I had seen there was a more powerful answer in my heart: The spirits we follow do not demand our worship or sacrifice, they offer guidance and we can follow or not as is our choice, they give us freedom where the Earth Demons offer slavery of the heart if not the body. I do not know if this answer satisfied them or not but they started asking more and more questions as we travel and I was happy to answer as best I could, for me this might be the only way I can give back to my people.
I think to where we are going and I am reminded of my family and friends there, have I brought doom to their doorstep? People who chose to not only open their homes but their hearts and trust to me are now in danger because I was not enough. For them I can only take solace in the fact that our way is to oppose the Earth Demons but what of my friends who I brought here?
Justinia Lastrium, a wonderful and talented young lady who has been kinder to me then most during my time in the outside world. Her family is something of a hero in her home town and they could all lose her because I brought her here, but what are my choices? send her home and losing a strong warrior who might save countless lives? is it selfish of me to want her to stay and more importantly does she stay because she feels guilty for what I sacrificed for her sister? I would hope not because she of all people owes me nothing, that day gave me my first moment of freedom in five years.
Then we have Calim Gorn, while I don’t feel guilty that he is in danger seeing as he was willing to get my whole clan into a war based on lies, I do feel bad that he might die thinking I hate him. Perhaps he does not see his actions as I have seen them but the true could be said of me as well. Even since we graduated he became so erratic, one moment he would not care about anything the next he was willing to fight us over something trivial. Some of this is explained by his….family situation and in truth if I had grown up in his household I probably would have ended up worse. He is not a bad person he has just become a desperate one, the one thing I don’t understand is why he would try and risk all our lives, after all we have been through are we not family? or is his sister more important then all our lives? I fear that if he loses himself in the pursuit of his desires he will cross a line that those he cares about cant forgive and then he might lose everything.
Sefiros. Where to even begin with this one, one part charming rogue, one part honourable knight, ninety-eight parts complete mystery. Still he is my friend and he has been faithful always, there are few I trust more and while I am concerned I have put him in danger I also hope he will find what he seeks here. Sefiros is a man who appears lost, he has spent so much time following orders that he has become deaf to his own heart but in these lands he might find what he seeks. He does not know this but I often think he is the strongest of all of us, Calim and I are broken things, Justy is a mercenary. In rare moments during battle Sefiros fights with a strength and conviction we all seem to lack but he does not see it in himself, it is like he sees himself as empty and not the potential hero he could be.
Helenia Chrysti, an amazing young and powerful mage. We have been…..close, but never spoken of what we are, sometimes I feel like she is going to bring up those tough questions and then its like she realises what so few others seem to. I don’t expect to live long enough to have a family. I admire her for her ability to live in the moment and I hope beyond all else that she is long gone from these lands by the time I return, if Sefiros passed on what I told him she might decide to stay and if she was to die here I would never forgive myself. So often my urges propel me on the course of nearest destruction secretly with the hopes today might end my pain and I do not wish her to go down with me.
I know not what I will say to any of them when I eventually arrive in Thunderheart, there is so much inside me that is confused. The creature called me the champion of the air? I do not understand what it means and I fear that if I am to be the champion are we all doomed? Will I draw the eye of the Earth Demons to us as I have drawn the Toress’ by letting Sylara stay? How can my people defend ourselves, I can not go to the empire with this. That will only lead to them taking more of our land for themselves but if I don’t say something we might lose the land anyway….or have we not lost it already? the emissary said those lands were now under their protection.
Today while resting I was…or dreamed I was in the spirit realm, in the distance I could see many of the spirits as they were but in front of me stood the spirit of the wolf. Large and powerful the king of all beasts and undisputed leader of the pack he was magnificent and he just looked upon me. I could see nothing in his eyes as he looked upon me, was I that unimpressive? will I be the one that finally destroys these lands and ends his hunt? does he not blame me if that comes to pass because all things die in time? or is he waiting for me to take action? Or is it all in my head. Perhaps I am not as important as others think and I should just leave these lands, maybe that is why Ylathe Mooneagle left her people?
Gwynath is walking around handing out stew and she will be upon me soon. We have not spoken of our engagement since I returned and in truth I am glad for it, she is a chieftains daughter and destined to lead her clan to greatness, she must marry for the good of her people and after today’s events we can say that I am not what’s best for them. I have divided her clan and separated her from her mother and father. I do not even understand how she does not hate me, first my family and now hers makes me wonder if I am not the bringer of death.
I will be home soon and many decisions will have to be made, I hope I am ready.