How is one meant to feel at the end of a journey, and one that has lasted ages? I did not seek out the answer and perhaps I still do not have it, but I realize some truth now. We are near the end, and yet I still feel incomplete in my goals.
The sunlight has stopped scorching the flesh of my bare arms, though the consequences of passing across the desert still linger and the vest of hide I wear sticks to my sweat drenched back. I am the second son of Kharman (according to the Late Registry of the Guild). I feel at once both orphaned and yet driven by my nature to seek out my blood clan. Y’ssem the gunner is trailing behind me, and I do not believe he is riddled by the same doubts as I. Yet I still have some attachment to the man; he remains the only friend I have met over the past 12 years. We have come to the far reaches of the forestlands now, escaping the desert, which abruptly ends at the edge of the dense tree line, as though afraid of penetrating farther. So many sleeps have past and our destination is near, but I am afraid of what lies ahead.
We reach a slope after a lengthy walk through the outer forestland; below lies a pool of a kind not seen since when we began traveling together. I remove the canteen at my belt, thrusting it toward Y’ssem, who has at least found the will to catch up with me. He takes the empty canteen and descends, sliding forth down the hill ahead, a pool of still water before the temple? Yes, an unknown temple sits at the other side of the pool, and as I get closer, I notice the deep bluish green color. I sit upon the damp floor of the forest, and motion to Y’ssem to quicken his efforts.
If one were to ask me the obvious question—is he a servant—I would of course respond, but with a swift punch across the jaw. He is not a mere servant, and I hold him in high regard. Y’ssem is a name reserved for only the most wise among his people, a blood clan that dominates the northern isles.
Several hours have passed, and I have started to grow weary. Something in my mind speaks out against leaving the temple — a shrine, according to Y’ssem. He has some knowledge of the old belief and of the high country. This land was always called the high country, because of the peoples that existed here long before; the forestland overtook their civilization when they sailed away on their ships.
An ocean is near, but our quest takes us toward the east in the opposite direction. I attempt to quell the desire to stay at the shrine; a curious sensation telling me to explore a place long abandoned. I was once told stories about certain places having personality, having a-soul? I forget the words. I wonder to myself as Y’ssem and I travel onward, were these stories true?
We have passed on toward a destination I never believed I would reach. I wonder yet again if I should turn back. But the destination must be close, I know what is coming. Camp has been fixed. Night falls quickly in the forestland, but I feel eager still to continue my efforts. And the pull of something calling out.