Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Aftermath

Elalanil Moonfire stands on a wooded hill at the edge of the forest he has protected for most of his life, and hangs his head in sorrow.  It is a parting he never expected.  This is not his home anymore,  not now.  Perhaps it never was.  It is hard to reconcile the lifetime of change that has come over him in the short time he traveled with the band of misfits he now feels closer to than he does his own kind.  That is what happens, though, when the bonds forged by war are tested by those who have never known such things no matter how long they may have lived.

He had tried to explain to the Enclave what his friends had sacrificed and why they had done it, and that they were deserving of remembrance as the heroes they all were.  It did not matter if one was an Orc, or a Pirate, or whatever other group the Enclave was prejudiced against.  What mattered was that these Brothers of his had given their lives to save not just the forests, but everyone and everything that would have fallen into the grasp of the Spider Wizard and his allies.

But the Enclave, despite all of their years and all of their vaunted wisdom, failed to see it as more than a minor nuisance they could have taken care of themselves had it gotten to that point.  They even explained how the whole expedition was nothing more than a convenient way to get Elalanil out of their way for a time while they considered what to do with him.  They went on to say that his beliefs were just too different from their own and that they would not be accepting him into their order, but as a 'thank you' for handling the forge issue they would do him the high honor of allowing him to keep his territory and his title.  Their mannerisms during this brief speech made it quite clear that they thought it was much more than he deserved for such a trifling deed.

The bitter memory brings tears to his eyes, the first he has been able to shed since crawling out of the dirt and debris from what had become of Wave Echo Cavern, a trickle that once started becomes a torrent as he sinks to his knees wracked with pain and loss.

Sometime later, and after regathering his composure, he sets out to meet with The Druid of the Wood to collect his Owl Bear cubs.  From there he will continue on to his new home, a place where he can raise the cubs in peace and build a proper memorial such that even The Old Man of the Wood would have to take note of it.

It suddenly strikes him as no coincidence that he should be compelled to save the cubs and raise them, an incredibly risky and foolish endeavor, and also be spared from certain death at The Forge.  A profound peace settles over him as he realizes that The Oak Lord had known the outcome all along, and that He had provided all that he could.

Elalanil's stride lengthens in his impatience to begin his vigil, and to guard the graves of his friends to the end of days.