Cleric Journal: Three Hundred and Fifty Five

DearFatherMulcahy

 

 

The thing about meeting new people is that we have a tendency to proscribe actions and reactions into context of our own experiences.  Frequently, it comes to a culture being so far away from where we were raised, that we truly have very little in common.   I’m not even talking language, but diet, myths, and even deities.  None of the spear carrying ánthropoi would even acknowledge my existence as anything more than a threat, but the caster now, she was made of different stuff.

The work I had done on the wand impressed her enough to overcome her fear of me that likely went beyond social and into pure animal instinct.  We each have grown with certain dispositions and those are well founded by our history.   Turns out, with Ingrid and Lilith acting as emissary, I was able to sit within a dozen strides of the caster, whose name is an unpronounceable  string of tonal shifts, whistles, and clicks.  I felt sure that Brother Charles, the great blue macaw who had accompanied me at one point, would have been totally comfortable with their language.

Each action I wanted to perform was first vetted through one of my two companions.  It took nearly three hours just to work out certain motions such as sneezing, coughing, scratching, and the like that would be considered a neutral action and not worthy of preemptive action.

Then it was time to take a break, of course.  The caster, who we agreed I could call Thrush, went back to her people to spend an hour in the woods nourishing themselves and discussing how things were going so far.  I ate some berries and some dried meat that we had gotten from the River Crossing folks.

When Thrush returned from the woods she brought forth a small baton and passed it to Ingrid with the request that I repair it.  I was able to determine from her conversation with Ingrid that the baton had no magical properties, and was not part of an ancestor.  Rather it was a childhood toy that one of the ánthropoi had brought along and mourned the fact it had been broken.

I agreed to mend it, but found after nearly an hour of effort, that I had been lied to.  Firstly, the baton did have some magic, but it was not strong.  And second, there was a piece missing.  I relayed that information back via Ingrid and Thrush nodded with what I came to learn was her equivalent of a smile on her elongated face.  She returned to her people and accepted a small ball that had once been a part of the baton and, via Ingrid, I set about to repair it once more.

I examined the parts with  the green sight and was able to tease the small thread of magic that remained in the item.  With that, and a few educated guesses, I was able to mend the item and return to it a bit magic, fueled via my own connection to various divine sources.  In this case I chose the magic of The Green Lady.  With her connection to flowering things, it felt like a better choice.  Oh, the green sight from Semaunzilla (may she watch out for Liz and her crew since they have not appeared) was powerful in its own right, but it was more — moist.  With the ánthropoi I felt the need for something more comforting with a bit of spice.  That did the trick.  Of course, the green vision did give me a good insight to what needed doing.   In any case, all glory to those who stand in the light of a new dawn and all that.

The baton came together as easily as had the wand, but the power here was not so overwhelming in its variety, but had a strong magic which bent into a single direction.  And that direction surprised me.  This had been one of Ezekiel’s possessions.  I could feel his presence in the way the magic pulsed from the baton.  I held it up in wonder and gave an appreciative whistle at what I discovered.

My response did not go unnoticed by the ánthropoi who began to whistle and chirp themselves.  Thrush demanded the item be returned and as soon as Ingrid lay it in her hands, a sigh went up from the assorted ánthropoi.  They didn’t have to tell me how important the item was, I could sense it.

It was an object of seeking.  The power that had once resided within had been amplified by my ministrations, but also altered slightly.  For example, I saw that it would lead them to their next objective in the quest they led, and that it would somehow intertwine with my own before the end.  This was enlightening and a little overwhelming.  Beyond their quest, however, was a more subtle knowledge imparted by the item.  Ezekial was of my lineage.  His blood and mine were of the same family line.  Uncle, perhaps, a hundred times removed?  Not direct blood, I did not think, but close enough for like to recognize like.

Thrush returned the baton to her second, and the woman’s eyes lit with new found hope.  She spun on the spot, following the baton directly toward the cairn.  Then she hugged Thrush and ran back to her sisters to share the repair of the device.

It was that act that finally created a chink in the armor of Thrush’s fear.  She did not send me a message, veiled through Lilith and Ingrid, but instead addressed me directly.

In the language of Brother Ezekiel she called me friend and offered me a boon for my great service to her people.  I caught Lilith’s eye and shrugged.  I had nothing I needed.  My quest was set.  Anything I may think to ask for would be want, not need.  Anything I needed I had readily with my compatriots.

But Thrush would have nothing of it.  She offered me a choice.  She could choose for me, I could let one of the others choose, or I could make a decision.  She said I had until the sun fell.  At that point, if I had not decided, she would do what she thought best.  In either case, with the baton repaired and their spirits for the plight of the world bolstered, they would be continuing on their mad quest and leave this valley the same way they had come.

Which, it turns out, was something Wizard Tim was fond of; they were shadow walkers.

In the end, I asked for nothing.  Thrush hugged Lilith and Ingrid, and faced me once more before they left.

“You are both wise and naïve,” she said to me in the language of Ezekiel.  “I pity you for your quest is more dire than our own.  We will meet once more before the end, this I have seen true.”  She bowed to me, which drew a gasp from her cadre.

She drew her wand and wrote a glowing sigil in the air before me.  “As you will not ask, I will grant you this.”  The sigil floated there for a moment and then settled onto my chest where it pulsed, aligning to the beat of my heart, then it faded into me.  I could feel it inside me, like the memory of a kiss.

“Ezekiel would be proud of you,” she said to me and strode away, gathering her people and vanishing from the valley.

Almost as if summoned, Liz and Chloe came galloping down the road toward us,  Chloe had an arrow in her chest.  Liz looked unharmed.

“What kept you?” she growled, sliding from her horse and catching Chloe who fell sideways.

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