The heat from the fire warms my face as mother sings to me. Her voice is like liquid silk flowing with the breeze and I curl up on her lap as she strokes my hair. I love when she sings to me in elven, it sounds like magic. Mother always speaks to me in her native tongue as well as druidic. She says that it is important to preserve our language and promises to tell me someday of her life in her tribe. Slowly my eyelids begin to flutter, the flames from the fire begin to blur as I drift off to sleep.
No sooner do I shut my eyes when I am awakened by whispering outside the door. I sit up and see Torque curled up at the end of the bed, sleeping peacefully. I can hear the guards outside my door whisper something to each other and two walk off down the hall. It is the 4am shift change and I am not at home with my mother, basking in the warmth of the fire in our cottage in her loving embrace. I am alone, (minus Torque) in Yasanna’s old chambers, just like I have been for the last seven days. Each night it’s a similar dream involving my mother and I usually wake up sobbing. I crawl to the end of the bed and curl up against my giant tiger companion and pull the covers snugly over me. Though my new room is quite warm, I can’t shake the chill that has plagued me since I took the role of the High Commander.
Seeing the look on Yasanna’s face before it cracked and shattered into a million pieces had affected me more deeply than I thought it would. The hopelessness, the sadness, and the lonely look in her eyes as her beautiful runes melted from her skin burned a hole in my heart. This woman had once tried to kill me and had killed a friend in the process. She banished me, chastised me, branded me a traitor and threw me out of a world I had lived in my whole life. For so long I had hated her for what she did. And yet here I am, curled up in her room now in charge of every Runeguard in the land at her request. She had died in an attempt to stave off some of the curse from us, she died for the Runeguard. The thought of so many lives dependent on me made me feel queasy. I rushed to the end of the bed and puked into a bucket. I heaved and heaved until not even stomach acid was left. Tears stained my cheeks. I heard a light knock at the door, it was one of the guards. “High Commander, are you alright, can I fetch you some water?” “No no, I am alright, I will be fine, thank you.”
I flopped down on the bed and Torque was awake peering at me. He growled and nudged my hand as I stroked his fur. “I know I know, I am not fine,” I replied and sighed, slipping out of bed. I went to the window and opened it. The snow had stopped falling for a moment and Aeroglyph looked peaceful. The moon was still out the sun was on its way over the horizon. I looked down at the runes adorning my skin. They seemed to glow in the moonlight. “Why did you choose me Yasanna, why?” I asked the night; as if she were floated around out in the darkness somewhere, listening to me. I turned and looked at Torque stretched out on the bed. “Hey you, up for a walk?” I said throwing my clothes on. He leaped gracefully off the bed, and strected out his giant claws. There was no use trying to go back to sleep now. My mind was filled with questions, my heart filled with emotions, and my soul filled with conflict.
I grabbed my cloak and threw it over my shoulders. “Come on tiger,” I said in druidic, “It’s time for some serious prayer.”