Depthcaller, Emerion, Lysing, Nalkris, StitchesTater – Country Roads
I beg your patience, both for the many words lacking in beauty and the stray marks on this page. As I teach Mitchon his letters I must teach myself what I do not know, and teach you of what waits outside Ruined Oak.
I remember the five of us, Deathcaller, Emerion, Lysing, Nalkris and myself as we walked east along the road. Emerion and I talked of Koro as we turned south to the plains, sharing memory of his devotion to his prince with high-elven smiles. Lysing and I had met in the town
once twice before, and I had prayed that the Seasons dulled his memory of an unpleasant encounter with a giant plant. I remember Deathcaller, and the lesson his boot brings to mind. My mind’s eye can feel the brush of spent grass and the soft thoughts of spent mercies, all burned away in white light.
I remember standing elsewhere, my fingers humming from the pluck of a bowstring without arrow or enemy. Blood marked us each without sign of injury. Lysing applied his skill to retrace our path in an attempt to discover what occurred, to no result. With dusk upon us we made camp in the area, and my memory of this time moves like a stream through my fingers. I had barely roused to see the blood-covered skeletons before we were overwhelmed. First Emerion, then Deathcaller, then myself, each struck down by a [flurry, succession] of many blows which stole both blood and breath. When Lysing woke me he told of how another white light had left split the walking bones; its passing so fleeting and so brutal he and Nallkris were able to tend us all before winter left us cold. My resolve to carry goodberries I recall strongly.
I remember the look on Emerion’s face as he asked our forgiveness the following morning. His
self-anger [regret] regret for the decision upsets more than the taste of winter it brought. We improved in mood as we traveled, hoping to have left the path of unpleasant memory behind us to become overgrown. The weather was fair as we ambled the planes, and Lysing’s clever search of a statue with crossed blades yielded a potion of potent healing. It was not long after departing that place that again we were blinded by bright light. More un-taken movement. More blood. We hurried to the river that we might wash away the marks, hoping to hide our trail from whatever had followed. Uncertainty hurried our feet as we changed direction towards the bridge, thinking whatever it was might not swim. Unable to cross before nightfall, we made a wary camp. My memory holds the warmth of entrails, the smell of cooked venison, and the unease of quiet before I lay to bed.
I remember the pale of Nalkris’ face as he woke me for watch, telling of a flowing blood pool and another light. His crow, Avaracus, remembered more; a man of patch-work armor who touched us each to make us forget his passing. The hiss of dousing fire and song of morning birds are clear in my mind as I prepared the camp to move, and Nalkris finished his unsound sleep. It was early as we made to cross the bridge, and found the path blocked by a band of men. I remember a comment about them dressed ‘scandalously’ though I do not remember who made it. I was confused by the word, as they showed little skin. “Fetish gear, black leather,” Lysing said. I still do not understand. Emerion explained our flight to them with silvered tongue, and we were let to pass. It was some distance when we met other travelers headed opposite our direction. As we sought to warn them of our danger screams came from the bridge. One black-leathered man ran forth and begged for protection from what horror had claimed his friends. The other adventurers quickened east to the bridge, as did we west, until the stars shone. While the fire cooled I shared names with the black-leathered Nevil, and even now remember the wound in my heart of his calling mine strange. It was one of few gifts given on the Iron Route, and is precious to me. Our sleep that night was not disturbed by light nor blood but fire from the sky; a hail of rocks covered in flames fell, and we fled northward towards the forest.
Lack of sleep fills my memories of the next dawn with wool. We continued north, exhausted and uncertain of where to turn for [sanctuary], safety, mundane or divine. The ruins of a large house consumed by the forest’s edge seemed safe, yet Nevil so strongly disagreed he fled from us. May you take care, Nevil, I am glad Deathcaller’s spell did you no harm. As we turned to follow Nevil’s path were caught once more by the white flash, left dazed and blood-stained. Having been found we could do no more than return to Ruined Oak with what speed we possessed. That night’s camp at the edge of the forest was filled not with the sounds of bird or beast but with the whispers of spirits, and fortunately little else.
I remember each hour of the next days travel, every moment passing slowly in tension until we reached the bridge. No sign of the highwaymen was left, but one of the adventurers remained. Lacking memory and name and blade we could not leave him to the wilds, and resolved to bring him with us. I have since named him [Mitchon], as he is a child of the white mind-fog. I hope his body’s memory of the blade can be made whole by Pyhora, that he might serve the town in its watch. It brings to mind that Nalkis wished to trade his third watch with Deathcaller. Whether he had managed to sense the fog’s desire for the deep night or misfortune favored him, he spoke of how Deathcaller had woke him in our final night outside the safety of town. Deathcaller had introduced himself to the creature which had followed us to feast of our memory; both a pool of blood and ghost of different minds. It carried us all as its self, armored legs from Mitchon, a face from Nalkis, a voice from Emerion, hands of my body. It slithered at away at a speed we could not match, leaving its parting words: “Meet you next time.”
There is much the mundane do not know, and what we do not know we fear. And so we learn. We remember our pain and our joy as this seasons growth builds upon the last. I have seen a forest of memory burned to ash, and how little remains. What of me have you taken, little blood of my mind? I must know. I can not remember my sister’s smile, the seasoning of the Featherfall’s stew, or the feel of the blade on my cheek. I do not know if they are lost below the lessons of my past or seared clean by your light. It is my fear you have drunk of my pain I beg you return it, many here carry sorrows and I do not wish you to suffer them. I will give you freely of my compassion, which grows in the endless spring of the Seasons mercies, until such time I can teach you the lesson of my Dear.
I remember it well.