Time: A Year Ago
Location: The Forest/The Glade
These days were full of haze and dreams. My memories still skim past the time as if it didn’t exist. I only had one focus, one purpose. I had to answer the spirit’s call.
It’s surprising that the Invaders didn’t track me down. Maybe they had bigger issues to deal with. Or maybe they thought a lone soldier-slave lost in an unknown, hostile world wouldn’t live very long anyway.
That was their folly. They should have tried.
They should have hunted me before I found my destination. They didn’t like what I became by the time I returned.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
I was nothing on my own. Nothing but a broken body and anguished mind. Maybe it was madness that materialized the spirits I thought called me. I was so certain I was being led somewhere important.
Then, finally, I arrived.
The mountains loomed closer each day I stumbled forward. The forest began to sway along the sloped hillsides. I felt the altitudes rising. It was a slow rise, but I saw how the tops of trees were now blanketed in cloud-like fog. It felt somehow safe, like a protective layer hiding me from the steep cliffs that rose above into misted obscurity.
Then, there were lights. Strange, but natural lights that drew energy from the land and the forest around them. I approached one to investigate.
It was the first time I’d seen a real crystal.
Not one of those fake crafted ones that crystal masters of today are so proud of. Those don’t hold a candle to the true crystals of the wild lands.
Staring into the light of the stone, I felt the first ripple of pure wonder. I’d not know something so beautiful and alluring existed. I might have even been tempted to give up right there, give myself to this light and expire…
Except that my vision told me that this was just one tiny part of the whole. Ahead, multi-colored light bloomed in the nooks between the leaves of the trees. There were more crystals. So many more. A whole glade of them. The peaceful pulse of the planet was their heartbeat. It drew me. It welcomed me.
I wanted the crystals. Their power. I never felt such a deep desire.
But when I reached out to touch one, a voice stopped me.
-You have come.-
I turned, my attention torn from the song of the crystals. Here was something I longed for much, much more.
-I am so happy!-
She — I was surprised that my spirit-creature was female — truly did sound happy. I couldn’t understand the feeling of pure joy the spirit’s light bathed me in. It was warm. So warm. For the first time I knew what comfort felt like.
“You are..?” I prompted, unsure of what to call her.
-I am tywys,- she replied.
Tywys. It was a word in a language I’d never heard before. The language of the spirits, perhaps. However, when she spoke it, the word’s meaning transposed upon the strange language.
The word meant she was my guide. Just like the legends spoke of.
She was gentle.
If there’s nothing else I can remember of Tywys, it was that she was so very gentle. She was everything that the world had never shown me before. The opposite of the thing that I’d been shaped into.
Her light was soft and pure. I should have basked in that light. I should have welcomed it the way it welcomed me.
I could sense her joy, though I couldn’t understand the emotion. I felt her hope, too, as if she saw me as the key to undo the wrongs of this dark world.
She told me that I had come to fulfill what she was made to be. I was her meaning. Her purpose. And now she could be more than just another longing spirit.
This surprised me. The spirits were so bound to their pact with my people that they would waste away waiting for us to come? Did they only will themselves to become these guides… no more than slaves to a dying clan?
Shameful loss for all.
It was then that I realized there were other spirits there. They were hidden among the glow of the crystals. So few, but so much potential. Would their people ever come?
“What happens to a spirit if their person never comes?” I asked.
-It’s better not to think about it,- she told me.
Her answer made me think about it all the more.
I didn’t know what manner of creature Tywys was. Her light began to take on a form the longer I was in the glade. She appeared to draw power from the crystals and from my presence.
She was a beautiful thing to behold.
Her own features seemed crystalline. Long and slender, almost serpent-like. Yet, she was not of the snakes or belly-reptiles I’d seen in my time. She was something different, more majestic.
Her wedge-shaped head bore two gem-like eyes. A long mane of silk-fur sprouted along the length of her back and slender tail. Two wings unfurled from her shoulders, mastering the air around her with natural ease.
As she grew in strength before my eyes, a deep hunger spread through me.
“What are you?”
She responded with a mysterious glint to her eyes, -I am a test.-
“What sort of test?” This excited me. I did not back down from a challenge.
-I am a balance of the ancient energies, of both Creation and Chaos.- Tywys told me, though I could not understand. -I will guide you to find your own balance. Then, you will know the strength of your people.-
Dear, hopeful Tywys.
Perhaps she was the one who needed to learn the strength of my people.