[Simple tome with white pages and flowing cursive of ink, leaning distinctly leftwards along the length of the scripture. The passages are written in Espruar of Tel'Quessir, and signature is absent; only a faint motif of black dagger and a half-mask fixed upon it mark the author.]
The Summer and the Darkening,
It was past spring at the cusp of summer when leaves grew verdant green and sun rose higher. Dark winter was not cast from memory; nor was the blood upon snow, and yet hopeful spirits swell and sang praises to the Lord. To Him, who kept them in His heart and was never far.
The Lord stood proud with his eyes just as green as the meadow on his feet, his red hair in color of wild roses and bold poppies. He stood so that all could see Him, for he had nothing to hide. Its truth rang clear among Tel'Quessir, and after bitter seasons of warring, death, it bore sweetness to its promise; to grow and to come together; with a determined sway to seek the Fall together.
But so it is that those who are perceived as saviors and redeemers, creators of the higher notes, are opposed by vain and spiteful. Furthermore, to some the thought of one's own progeny to surpass them is venom most insidious. How could a Queen allow a Prince to keep the hearts of their People, when she herself fails to do so?
From the new Spring to promising Summer, and to Darkening. The Fall is a tragedy--a hesitant tormented breath before yet another Winter; yet this one would be long and without much relief.
How could a Prince anticipate jealousy of His Mother, the Queen? How could any son close their hearts from their parents. Love for His People became his undoing, for he stood too high and stared past the webbing of callous hardened hearts and that of deceit.
Thus, the Lord gazed afar to burning horizon to witness yet another House of His People collapse in the blaze and melting stone. Ash fluttered in the air and fell down alike the rain of shadow.
The Lord turned to his Father, the Creator, toward the one whose glory was lauded by Him and by all who walked the Mortal Lands before. No Father would forsake their own Son at the moment of their greatest need, and damn them for wicked works of the Mother?
The Darkening and Exile came to pass. The Lord remained true--dreaming of oak arches and of stellar dome from His night eternal. Dreaming of Inheritance.
"Son, you will witness a victory march today and you will witness death. The fallen are brought home, and they will be celebrated as heroes. They will be prepared for their resting place that is as cold and unfeeling as the stone they're enclosed within. Brass horns will sound, and names will be written to books of the setting sun.
Will you weep for the fallen, will you rejoice for the victors? Will you count the cost of courageous charge and cling to its heavy toll? Does it trouble your mind and does it gladden your heart all the same?"
I was asked this many years ago by a figure I called my Mentor. We watched the People preparing for the final rites and I felt great bitterness observing the proceedings. I tasted the bile on my tongue when I heard prayer sent towards the distant Father, with whose name on their lips the Elves had died.
There is a ravine between being bold and being blindly valiant, and since my early years too many of the People fell to the pit of the latter. Tel'Quessir fight and die by the figure who has struck a blazing blade down onto the heart of the one who is worthy, and banished the truest light into bitter night.
Speak softly your will and enact it subtly, never sound a call for battle, so count of the fallen may remain low. Ultimate victor's worth will not be measured only in blood shed for the Prince and the People in His charge, but it is measured in what the People have learned.
We must forget the teachings imparted from the heavenly seat, and embrace the way of the true Inheritor; before the days come to close and the Great Decline withers us all.
I did not weep that day, nor did I feel pity. I turned to my Mentor and remained quiet; but he knew, for he was same as I. Or was I the same as he? His words resonated within the expanse of my mind, weightless like the brush of dew and loud like beating of the war drums - but never louder than racing heart in the confines of the cage of bone.
I reached for shadows cast by an oak tree and I felt my scorn shift to distilled peace through the murk of outrage and forlorn cuss sent heavenwards.
We spoke of wisdom that will bring with deliverance and the future, and we strode deeper into gloom of the forest where no paths are marked.
The Pillars of the Forest,
There was a tinge in my fingertips, an exciting prickling feeling as if I had sunk my hand to an ants' nest. Irritating, an itch that I can barely scratch and only with too slow flow of minutes, hours, days, months, years, decades, I could find a way to alleviate it. Small motions, delicate gestures and softer yet whispers beckon something that is so close, yet so far.
So close that I can touch it and breathe it in, so distant that it was beyond my understanding of all that was supposed to be and is.
I had heard murmurs of it, seen it manifest. It was my birthright. A curse, a blessing, and unknown to most outside the family. Even among the People who called themselves to be of one House it was a far-off murmur, and all had to understand it by themselves. It is to evolve, to grow and become oneself. To hold another's hand to guide them was a crime, and to give answers was forbidden.
What is a secret if its worth is removed, and the insight one can glean from it washed in worthless light?
To unmask the great mystery was punishable.
With narrowed eyes, I stared into the forest as I had done so many times before. It was past dusk and stars were glinting up in the night sky. I feared that shadows would grow shorter and I'd lose the sight to elusive dance of penumbra I had been engaged in.
How shadow moved with the sun, how it fell down to the foliage, down to the stones and splashed across the surrounding flora. It was life and motion, and I felt my spirit move along with it.
The night did not steal shadows away, but allowed them to deepen; stirring with greater weight as I had no backdrop of defined color.
The sensation was not unlike of water rising up to my nose; to that horror, I could have drowned, but it was yet more suffocating experience to realize shadow stirred from all points within my sights.
I acknowledged it is not separate force, an energy, but one that chokes me if it wills - when it is I, allowing myself to be choked.
I released a sigh of stalled air that had been stuck in my chest--I breathed out first syllables of mystery.
Everything that has followed since that fretful distant day I have embraced and I have kept, and craft the world from enigmas and shaped it all to truths--opaque shapes in the world of figments.
My Mentor and I, we still speak with one mind and one mouth, and when one breathes in, another breathes out underwater. Beneath a weight of tumultuous sea of ignorance.