It has been far too long since I have been able to truly sit with the trees. Not in that damned city, below ground where the wind can’t find me, or endless bouncing along trapped in that carriage. Just sitting in their arms and listening to their night songs. Yet the poison of that city leaks out to even here. My brethren below do not even notice how softly these trees sing, just barely above a whisper. They are dying and no one even sees it since they are so blinded by the lights of that city. It just sits there pumping venom into the world and I’m just supposed to pretend like it isn’t happening? They knew! They knew they sat on demon nests! They knew! Am I really to sacrifice everything to save a man who walks into a fire willingly? Perhaps the nameless masses wandering the streets are innocent, and innocence is worth saving. Since when is ignorance really innocence. She rests her head against the trunk of the tree feeling its slow sluggish pulse. No. They are far from innocent. Murders all. I’m just as guilty myself. I’ve turned away from the forest, blinded by shiny rewards.
She looks at the ring on her finger in disgust, ripping it off her hand she throws it down to the ground. The pearl from her hair, the headband, the scythe that carried so much hatred, the magic arrows that she did not make herself, all of it she threw into a pile. She carefully removed Baern’s armor, allowing him shake and stretch free for the first time in far too long. The heat in her eyes began to glow as she was to let all her hatred incinerate the lot of it. At the last second she realized she hadn’t thrown it all in the pile. In her hand she still gripped something that she couldn’t let go. Her eyes cooled and her thoughts softened as her fingers slowly traced the intricate lines of the Kazimir family crest. It isn’t all bribes to keep me in the city. She pulled out the tiny token of a tree and sighed. Some are true gifts. Thank the stars for Natalie else I would have allowed my rage to spark an unchecked inferno in these woods. I cannot go back in there and I cannot carry these things anymore.
With a calm mind she organized her pile a bit better and took stock of everything there. She foraged for a long strip of bark and a piece of charcoal from the camp’s gently glowing fire.
To my Companions,
I cannot continue on your journey. While I see in all of you the desire to find what is the right thing to do for the world, I cannot continue to ignore my true calling. I must return to the forest. I fear these people we try to save are doomed and I am not going to let them take everything I hold dear with them. I leave now to try what I can to fortify as much of the old forest as I can from the coming doom. I do not need these possessions, they have no place where I am going. Nemin, I leave you this ring in the hopes that you use it sanely. Sabriel, I leave to you all of my archery equipment because you are a much better shot than you give yourself credit for. Lord Kal, I leave you my pearl of power and suggest you use it to shield yourself from harm as I will not be there to bring you back from death again. Rhet, I return to you this token in the hopes that you will remeber me and some day be able to forgive the natural world. Brockly, we leave you this armor for even a thunder badger as brave as yourself can use more protection. If you choose to wear it you’ll be marked with Baern’s scent and we’ll always be able to find you. Kind Varina whom I’ve just met, take my purse in hopes that it helps you in your search for your family’s killers. The rest I trust you to do with as you will. I have also left a letter for if you should ever cross paths with Natalie again if you could give it to her. I will miss you all and apologize for not saying my goodbyes in person, but I could not bring myself to step foot in that city again.
Staring at all things in a pile she finally felt light and free again. Natalie’s quiver on her back filled only with arrows made the right way, her brother’s old bow in hand, and her sickle tucked in her boot. She was already feeling relief sink into her. In one hand she gripped a small round symbol the other resting on the tree closest to death. Perhaps there are others who are awakened. Others who understand my plight. Others who I can bring to my cause. She summoned all her strength and asked the dying tree for one favor. When she pulled her hand away left in its place the bark had moved itself to leave the shape of one Druidic symbol, Revenge, so her brethren will know of the cause she is to take up. She looked at the round object in her hand one last time. Braigth. She sighed and let herself fall to all fours. It felt good to have her paws on the forest floor again. She looked to Baern, but of course he was always ready to follow her. They let out one long howl to say goodbye to what they were leaving behind and to warn those that will stand in the way of where they were going. With that they padded off into the sleeping forest.
Varina woke suddenly to the sound of two wolves so close to camp only to see a pile of things, a letter written out in bark, and the tracks of two wolves heading toward Frigus.