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The Silver Wolf: Ghosts Of The Past-Lost And Found
Posted on Sat, February 24, 2018 by LordCeb
CruelSummerLord writes "

That was something Revafour hadn’t expected.

“…Why are you asking?” he asked, genuinely puzzled by her request.

“Because I want to know,” Seline said. “I want to hear it from your perspective.”


Chapter Three

Lost And Found

Evening saw Ma’non’go enjoying a meal of seasoned venison and roasted wild apples with his companions. The companions’ meal was the Flan’s way of thanking their guests for their help in defending Oakdale. The companions were been entertained with fiddle and drumming music. Luna had joined with the pan flute she always carried, calling her contribution a return of the Flan’s gratitude and hospitality. These types of reciprocal exchanges were very important to many of the Flan peoples, including the residents of Oakdale.

Still, Ma’non’go couldn’t help but notice how he and his companions had been given their own table separate from that of their hosts. The food was delicious, but Ma’non’go felt somehow detached from it all, and wondered if his companions felt the same way.

At one point during the festivities, Meloanne, the leader of the community, had come up to them and asked Revafour to come with her. Revafour had gone off to confer with her and the rest of the Oakdale ruling council for several long minutes. Ma’non’go wondered what exactly what was going on, but Luna seemed to be the only one of his companions concerned. The rest of their group didn’t seem to notice, as they were either watching the festivities or finishing their meals.

Finally, Revafour came back to the table, a pensive look on his face.

“Meloanne has asked a favor of us,” he said.

“And what would that be?” Weimar asked, his speech slurring from the mead he had added to the meal.

Ma’non’go did well to keep a straight face at the smell of his friend’s breath, although Amyalla had no such restraint.

“She would like us to track the evil of these trolls to its source, and to destroy it,” Revafour said. “The elders are concerned that the trolls might attack again. We don’t know how many there are, and the elders aren’t certain that Oakdale has the resources to survive another attack.”

The companions looked at each other at that. They and their Flan allies had slain more than three-score trolls over the last two days, and the idea of having to fight the foul things again was not a comforting one.

“I hardly think anyone will disagree with me when I say we’re all for it,” Amyalla said. “Do we have any idea where they’re located?”

“We’ve got their general location. The Oakdale scouts went back along the trails the trolls took to get here,” Revafour said. “You’d all best get some rest-we’ll have an early start tomorrow.”

“What about you, though?” Weimar said, as he took another drink. “Aren’t you going to join us?”

A hesitant look crossed Revafour’s face.

“I have…other things I need to take care of,” he said, somewhat evasively.

“I take it that has to do with the rest of the Flan not going to sleep yet?” Weimar said, raising an eyebrow.

“…We have a moon dance yet to participate in,” Revafour said, clearly not pleased with the question. “It’s our way of saying goodbye to our fallen allies. Tomorrow morning there’s going to be a sweat lodge, too.”

“What time is it at?” Weimar asked.

“You don’t need to know,” Revafour said, an edge in his voice. “It’s only for-“

“So we can’t participate?” Weimar said, rising to his feet. “I’d have thought we could pay our respects, too! Or is it just because I’m Oerid?” he continued, referring to his Oeridian roots.

“There are some things we keep to ourselves,” Revafour said, an angry look on his face. “So do the elves, so do the dwarves, so do everyone. Why is that so hard to grasp?”

“So, just because of my hair, I can’t-“ Weimar said, before Seline put a hand on his arm to calm him down.

“Weimar, please,” she said. “We don’t need to be arguing like this. Not tonight.”

“But-“ Weimar said.

“No buts,” Airk said. “If that’s how it goes, Revafour, then of course we’ll respect your wishes.”

Revafour nodded once, before turning away from the table and returning to join the elders.

“And not even a word of thanks,” Weimar muttered under his breath, finishing off his tankard.

Ma’non’go poked Weimar to get his attention.

I think they’ve given us enough thanks already, Ma’non’go signed to Weimar. Besides, do you really think you’d be able to stay awake through it all, after all you’ve had to drink?

“This is nothing,” Weimar said as he sat back down. “I once drank three dwarves under the table in a contest. The losers had to pay the winner’s tab…and even that wasn’t as bad for them as the humiliation of losing to a human!”  

The companions exchanged laughter at that, although Ma’non’go could see the look of concern on Seline’s face, as well as the look of disgruntlement on Weimar’s.

The low, rhythmic chant in the background filled Revafour’s ears, just as the scent of sweetgrass and sage filled his nose and lungs. Almost all of the tension vanished as he sat among his fellow Flan, participating in the millennia-old rituals that were their inheritance.

The rituals were slightly different in Oakpoint than the ones Revafour and his community had done in Tenh. Revafour’s rituals used tobacco and cedar instead of sweetgrass and sage, but the scent of the latter medicines was comforting and reassuring all the same. The Flan had lost so much in the centuries since the other human races had come to the Flanaess, but there were still some things uniquely their own.

Despite the peace Revafour felt from the ritual, his argument with Weimar from the night before continued to weigh at the back of his mind. 

Why was he so insistent on participating? Revafour wondered. Why can’t we have just these small things to ourselves? Would that be too much to ask? It’s just…that…

He was uncomfortably aware of the fact that he used a sword and armor of Oeridian make, not to mention a cloak that had plaid Oeridian patterns, although he’d personalized it with the Flan-styled beadwork he’d sewn into its lining.

How many of them even know what it’s like? Revafour wondered, as the lead cleric poured another cup of water on the flames. They aren’t responsible for what happened-of course they aren’t!-but we still live the impact of it every day.

Revafour did his best to put the confusion and uncertainty out of his mind as he inhaled the sacred medicines once more, and lost himself in the rhythm of the chant.

Why’d I have to go and be such a bloody fool? Weimar wondered as he finished shaving. He had a throbbing headache this morning. At first he thought it had come from a hangover, but he’d gotten used to those long ago. He realized that his headache came from his guilt and frustration.

I goad Revafour, and look what happens. No wonder he got so angry…and yet, why would it matter that much to me anyway? he wondered, as he put his shaving knife back in his pack and wiped away what was left of the lather on his face. Why should I care if Revafour and the other Flan have their ceremonies?

He didn’t know…

…and he found that disturbing.

“You’re ready to go?” Seline asked as she walked up to Revafour. The large man was now dressed for the road, clad in his heavy armor and with his huge sword strapped to his back.

“Yes, I am,” Revafour said, picking up his backpack with a stoic look on his face. “Shall we be off, then?”

“We have a little while yet,” Seline said, shaking her head. “Amyalla’s getting our supplies ready-we’re going to need as much oil as Oakdale can spare, plus whatever’s left of the acid. We don’t know what’s going to be out there.”

“Fine,” Revafour said as he turned for the door to the cabin that the people of Oakdale had set aside for the companions to stay in. He moved as if to push past Seline, but she held out an arm to stop him.

“Are you alright?” she asked him.

“Why wouldn’t I be?” Revafour said.

“You seemed like you were pretty upset by Weimar asking if he could join that sweat lodge you and the other warriors were going to have,” Seline said. “Is everything alright about that now?”

“Never mind it,” Revafour said, shaking his head. “Let’s just-“

“Why does it matter so much?” Seline said.

“I don’t see why he, or any of you, would need to be involved,” Revafour said, his eyes narrowing. “Why would you need to participate, anyway? Surely we can have these private things for ourselves?” he demanded, his voice rising.

The wounded look on Seline’s face made Revafour flinch, despite his otherwise stoic demeanor.

“Why did it happen in the first place?” Seline asked.

“…Why did what happen?” Revafour said.

“The overrunning of the Flanaess,” Seline said. “From everything I’ve seen, the Flan had many of the same facilities and knowledge as the Oeridians and the Suel-blacksmithing, writing, magic, architecture, and more…so why were they pushed aside by the new arrivals? Why do you wear a sword and plate armor of Oeridian design, when the Flan had their own examples of these things long before any other humans came to this land?”

Revafour stared at her for a moment, trying to understand why she was asking.

“Surely your studies told you that,” he finally said, confusion replacing his anger. “Or wouldn’t the other Flan peoples you’ve met have told you?”

“Many of the texts I’ve read depicted the Flan as backwards and uncivilized,” Seline said with a frown, “and I didn’t feel right trying to broach the subject with Flan I didn’t know too well. I thought that...well…”

That was something Revafour hadn’t expected.

“…Why are you asking?” he asked, genuinely puzzled by her request.

“Because I want to know,” Seline said. “I want to hear it from your perspective.”

Revafour sat down at a nearby table, gesturing for Seline to join him.

“…The Great Migrations came at a bad time for my people,” Revafour said after they’d sat down. “We’d suffered at the hands of tyrants like Vecna in the Sheldomar Valley, the Archmage Tzunk in the lands around the Nyr Dyv, war against the Ur-Flan and their draconic overlords in what are now the Aerdy lands…we were so weakened from battling all those menaces that we couldn’t resist the new arrivals effectively.”

“…So it was bad luck?” Seline asked in surprise. “That’s what caused it all?”

“In part,” Revafour said, nodding, “but there was also base betrayal, and a great deal of it. We welcomed many of the new arrivals as brothers and potential allies…but all across the Flanaess, promises were broken, treaties were violated, we were repeatedly betrayed by those who had sworn to aid us…not that the dwarves or gnomes were necessarily any better,” he finished with a bitter smile. “We lost so much in the process…in its own way, it was worse than simply being defeated in battle.”

“What do you mean?” Seline asked, now feeling her own puzzlement.

“The evil ones among the Flan started our problems, the betrayals of the Oerids and Suel completed them,” he finished with a disgusted sigh. “And now we’re forced to live in the shadows of the new masters of the Flanaess, save in more isolated places like this, or in the few realms where we continue to dominate, such as Tenh.”

“I’m so sorry,” Seline said, reaching out to gather his hand in hers. “I wish that…”

They were interrupted by Ma’non’go coming into the cabin and walking up to them.

We’re finally ready to be off, he signed to his friends. Amyalla’s waiting for us, and she doesn’t seem very patient…

Luna had just finished packing for the road, and was walking to join the rest of the companions when she heard Weimar calling her name. Turning around in surprise, she saw Weimar running up towards her, an uncomfortable look on his face.

“Do you have a moment?” he asked her

“Of course I do,” Luna said. “Come on, let’s join the others,” she continued, as they resumed their walk.  

“You remember…about last night, right?” Weimar asked after they’d walked in silence for a few seconds.

“Of course I do,” Luna said, nodding. “What about it?”

“…I can’t figure out why I was so angry about it,” Weimar said, looking at the ground in shame. “It wasn’t that important, surely?”

Luna thought on that for a moment.

“What made you want to participate in the first place?” Luna asked. “What made you want to ask?”

“I was too much in my cups, I suppose,” Weimar said, shrugging. “All the flute music didn’t help much, either-I’m not at all fond of wind instruments…”

Luna and Weimar both knew that wasn’t all there was to it.

“Perhaps, I…I hated being left out,” Weimar said after a moment. “The idea that I could be excluded just because of who I am, and…”

“And that upset you, of course,” Luna said with a nod. “Was there anything else, though? What do you think you might have gained by participating?”

“…I’m really not sure,” Weimar said, shaking his head. “I thought for a moment that I might learn more about the mysteries the Flan know more about, or that I might get…something out of it.”

“…Something?” Luna asked in surprise.

“Damned if I know what it is, though,” Weimar said. “I just hated the idea of being left out, of missing something special. I know how silly it sounds…”

“I don’t think it sounds silly at all,” Luna said, taking Weimar’s hand in hers. “It sounds like you’re looking for something-do you know what it is?”

“No, I don’t,” Weimar said, shaking his head. “It’s just that I saw the ceremonies and songs the Flan have going for them, and I began to wonder…what have I got that’s like that?”

“So you want ceremonies and songs?” Luna asked.

“No-I’m not one for myths or music,” Weimar said with a frown. “I was wondering about what it means, though, and…”

“Do you feel like something’s…” Luna trailed off.

“…Missing,” Weimar said with a frown. “As to what it is…”

“It’ll come in time, I’m sure,” Luna said. “Pelor’s light guides everyone who seeks the right path. You just-“

“We’d best be off!” Airk said, running towards Weimar and Luna from where the rest of the companions were standing. “Come on-Amyalla is already screaming at us to get moving, and you can just imagine what she’ll be like if we keep her waiting much longer!”

So saying, the gnome immediately turned around and marched out, keeping ahead of the humans despite their attempts to catch up with him.

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