I am conflicted.
Adrift and lost and questioning everything I've ever known.
Even my god and goddess don't speak to me. If they are even a god and goddess. Elves don't have deities, as it were, but we do honor those that came before.
Perhaps that is yet another mistake that I have made. Have I put faith in the wrong things, and elevated where I should have only honored?
My faith is broken, and I don't know what to believe anymore.
How painfully ironic that they call me the Mistress of Memory, when time itself has caused me to forget the core of what makes me who I am.
Have I also forgotten what it means to truly be an elf?
Is it even possible for me to re-learn?
I am immortal. I am gifted with long-sight, and I am one of the undying.
We managed to survive the city. As distasteful as I find that place, those people, I know I must go back eventually. There is work there that needs to be done, and the tree remains. This current crisis of faith I am experiencing began there. Something tells me that it will end there, for better or worse, as well.
The rest of the party managed somehow to break into the Inner Circle of the city. Lan came in as her water-faring seal form, chasing some sort of fey creature appearing as a small humanoid. This caused a distraction enough for Shalev, Fife, Ishmael and the rest to enter unmolested.
Ishmael caused further distraction by shouting out to the armed guards that the city's gardens were on fire.
Appropriately then, most of the citizens left at that point to go protect their property.
They saw Tobias bristled and ready for war, and they heard my scream when I discovered the unknown immortal was still alive.
Shalev, Lan, and Ishmael climbed down the pit to the bottom to see what was revealed, and to act as guard against anything that might come up. I began removing the unknown immortal, as gently as I could, from the entangling roots of the tree.
While I was working at removing him from the wall, the little humanoid fey - Lan called him a leprechaun- stood there looking between the unknown immortal and myself, saying that he was deciding on what shiny thing that he was promised to take. He took the crown from the unknown immortal's head, and vanished.
As soon as he did, the glow from my own pendant dissipated. With Tobias and Fife's help, I was able to pull the wounded immortal up out of the pit. Once he was safely on the ground, I began focusing on doing what I could to heal him. My faith doesn't work here. But I have potions, thanks to Shalev's forethought and gift for preparedness.
So I used them. It took so many.
Each scream he uttered was a wound to my heart. I continued talking to him, soothing him, and feeding the healing potions to him until, at last, he was whole. He slept then, deeply unconscious, and my goal became to get him out of the city safely. I noticed that once he was removed from the tree, the energy from the tree began to diminish.
While I was concentrating on this task, the rest of the party was acting as guard, and Shalev discovered that the lady of the city was not registering as being real to him, when he tried to sense her alignment. She continued to stare venomously at me specifically - as she had the moment I walked into the Inner ring of the city - but took no action.
This makes some sense to me, and possibly confirms my fear that these people are under some form of direct influence or corruption. Potentially they have been from the beginning. I think she is the key to that influence.
But they will have to wait.
We managed to make it out of town unmolested and unharmed, and I insisted that we travel a good bit away. I have every intention of returning here to save the tree, if at all possible. These people have said that they wish to be separate. So separate they shall be. May they get exactly what they desire.
As it was the Spring Equinox, I did attempt to do the springtime rituals, as appropriate; but to no avail. I have no contact, no connection, nothing. There's nothing.
Rituals done, we agreed to travel onward, toward the Library (DragonSpire) as originally planned.
I continued to monitor the progress of the unknown elf, but he remained unconscious and unresponsive. Alive and warm, but unresponsive.
The roads we traveled took us across a giant plain, which according to the description given to me by the vintner from Qualton, is where the humans gather once a year. There were several obvious campsites, and firepits scattered across the plain, but there were no humans, or any other beings here at the time we travelled through. On the other side, was a very old forest, though only a forest. No sentience here that could be sensed. I noticed that there was an odd pattern, where every third tree was completely withered.
As we continued to travel, we crossed under the mountain range, and then up over a massive river. We came to another ancient forest. There was a wooden latticework of vines that formed a gate of sorts, and the words DruidHome formed in the living vines above the entrance.
We entered the gates and came to a ring of standing stones in the center. There was a beam of green energy that shone from the center of the standing stones up to a floating island above the forest.
We stopped here, as it was close to the Solstice, and this seemed like a safe place to be.
Safe place it was, as we made camp, and were able to rest the night without event or encounter. We woke the next morning to the sound of metal being worked. We went over to investigate, and found that the unknown immortal was awake, and working on repairing one of Tobias' weapons which had been damaged in breaking the gates to the city open. He had no anvil, no hammers, he simply held the mace and worked with his bare hands.
Ishmael was instantly and avidly curious about his ability, and even more so when He asked for Ishmael to sing for the water, as he learned from the old dwarf back in Grolsh.
While he was working with the weapons, Shalev approached him and requested that a weapon be crafted out of the strange bronze metal that he's been carrying with him.
The elf agreed, and crafted a beautifully formed scimitar out of the material, much to Shalev's delight. It still needs a hilt before it can be adequately wielded, but the weapon itself is strong and true.
He is a Maker.
One of the first of us.
He said that time itself is what's blocking my memory. That I have forgotten how to *sing* and had become "too much a part" of this world. He had no answers for me. I thought perhaps that we were kin.. that he was family. In a way he is. Am I one of them as well? Have I forgotten, and therefore become separate?
But it has awakened that pain of longing inside me that I thought I had gotten over long ago. The desire to know what happened. To know why I can't remember. To understand what exactly it is that I have forgotten.
It's not the same.
I asked what happened and why. He said that he was sustaining the tree, not the other way around. and that he did so because he knew that he would long-outlive those that were doing it to him.
What have I done?
In choosing to rescue him, have I condemned the tree?
Have I become so short-sighted?
I looked at him, with tears in my eyes, and said that I felt lost.
He smiled and told me precisely where I was located.
In the middle of the standing stones of DruidHome, on the southern continent.
North of the Great Valley
East of the ancient crypts of the Imperial Order
West of the great desert
South of the tower of the last of the students of the last of the Fyrewerians
Which isn't at all what I meant.
The information, as valuable as it was, did not help soothe the ache in my heart, or ease my uncertainty. It did nothing to give me hope.
I still have so many questions.
He began to draw on the stones at that point, opening a gate to ...elsewhere. Kellyn looked on with keen interest, as the symbols he was etching into the stone were Fyrewerian symbols for "here" and "there"
The gate opened, showing the brilliant shine of the North Star, and a ship sailed through enough for him to board.
It was then that I felt a memory release. A thread loosening in the tight knot of blocked (or forgotten) remembrance in my mind. The two first trees, created as beacons. One of these was taken up and made into the North Star, to act as a constant point for navigation.
The trees now shine in memory of those first two, as a taste of the starlight, and to remember and remind us where they.. and we.. are from.
He then looked at each of the party, and smiled, saying to each of us to continue on. And he left, the shining gate closing behind him.
After he left, I sat down and performed a ritual for summer, not expecting it to work. It didn't, but I did feel some small spark of rightness there about what was done.
and then I cried. I sat down in the center of that blue stone circle, and I let the tears fall down my face in a way that I haven't done in millenia.
I cried for what I have forgotten.
I cry for the hint of who I was.
I cried for that lost taste of starlight.
I cry for all that I know I still must do, and the overwhelming feeling of being lost.
For there is still much to do, and I will - as I have apparently always done - remain here.