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Lost Brother

Stanrick Longfang

“I see my brothers and I standing in a clearing. There are rocks piled on the ground, the sun is setting and even Mordok stay away from the clearing, the trees around are dead and dying. And I feel darkness all around me. It feels as if in this small patch of land Gaia has left behind and never wishes to return.”

Stanrick was kneeling in the small smoke filled room; across from him Soulvieg sat mixing a potion.

“Your dreams show a disgraced land.” She said not even looking at Stanrick.

“Sometimes, when an Ulven who lost their path that Gaia puts before them, and can not find their way before they pass they are not burned. They are put in the ground. Some believe that Gaia then cleans the spirit and then the spirit can go on its journey to meet the Great Wolf. Others believe that it is a way to punish the fallen spirit by keeping them from their journey. Such things are not up to us to decide. ”

“You mean like the graves where criminals are buried? I was told to never step foot on that land. I am surprised that so few know of this practice. ” Stanrick looked up at Soulvieg as she handed him the potion.

“It is that way for a reason. The High Priestesses of past generations had their reasons. One day you may have to set foot on the discarded lands. The one in your dream may be older than any we know of and you may need to go there for reasons I can not see yet. The runes speak riddles when consulted. Now drink that. It will clear your mind and help you sleep.” She got up as Stanrick turned his nose to the green liquid before he drank the potion. He coughed and grimaced at the taste.

“The place you saw may have been deep in the swamp. The runes tell me of something beyond our reach. The Daughters have divined it as well. Until the time comes when you need to know about it, you will not remember it… just like the rest.” Stanrick looked up, puzzled.

“The rest? What… what were we talking about?” he rubbed his head a little then got up.

“Stanrick, I asked you to come in here so we could talk about your plan to set up supply caches on the hunting trails. I think it’s a great idea.” He picked up his helmet off the ground.

“Oh… right, I forgot for some reason.” he said as she blinked and shook his head.

“I see you haven’t had any dreams lately, if you have any feel free to speak with me about it. Dreams can tell us a lot about our lives and the runes are sometimes tied to them.” Soulvieg smiled.

Stanrick nodded then he let him self out of the room. Rill was hidden in the corner but Soulvieg knew she was there.

“You can come out now, my child.” Rill came out from behind the curtains.

“Why do you make Stanrick forget his dreams?” she asked. “His dreams may or may not have truth he is not ready to handle. He has seen every one of his siblings fall. He has seen mates die. He saw the outsiders arrive when we thought we were the only ones in this world. Gaia has put much in his path and his dreams are a map that could guide him.

“I only make him forget them until he needs to know what he has seen… until we all know what he has seen.” replied the Runeseer with a grave tone.

Stanrick had a killer headache. He picked up a bottle of mead from the porch of the great hall and took a swig as he started for the gate.

“Stanrick!” he knew his mothers voice from anywhere and turned to look at her. “You need to take the young ones with you; Siren just let the chickens lose in the bunk house. And I’m not even going to say what Yawn did.” Youreden pulled Yawn by his ear out of the bunkhouse then went back in to grab Siren. “So you get them out of here and take them with you to the outpost, maybe you can find something for them to do.”

Stanrick finished the mead bottle then grabbed Yawn by the collar of his tunic and let Siren climb up on his back.

“Yeah I will figure out something for them to do.” he grumbled as he started to walk out of the village. Yawn flailed his arms madly and yelled at the top of his lungs. “Let me down! You gonna meet da great woof! I’ll bet you!!!” Siren was just glad to be with her dad.

“We’re going to the outpost! Out to the out post we go!” she sang as she played with Stanrick’s helmet. He scanned the pines looking for pineed sap as he went. “Ok you two lets play a game. Who can get me the most sap?” Siren jumped down and took off in to the trees. Yawn pumped his feet and Stanrick looked at him in amusement as he let him down and the two ran tree to tree picking up sap. “Remember how I taught you to pick it! Its no good if you damage it!” he yelled with a smile as he pulled out his pipe and lit it taking a drag before he started to take the walk to the out post. He passed two warriors heading back to the village and they nodded to Stanrick. Normally, he would not let his younger siblings run loose in the Pineed forest near the Village but this time of the year the harvest was in full swing. The entire woods was filled with hunters and warriors and they would be safe.

After Stanrick had returned from fighting humans, he was appointed as the quartermaster of the Outpost. He still thought he was a little young for the posting but he knew better then to question his great aunt. If she picked him then she had a reason, but he was starting to wonder if something was going on. This was the third time this month he had talked to Soulvieg but he did not ever recall walking in to her great hall. Every time she asked about dreams but he could not recall any. The thought was gone as he walked into the outpost and he climbed up the ladder and joined his younger brother Ranmir and looked out at the swamp.

Ranmir was just about a year younger then Stanrick. The two brothers watched the kids playing in the field with the wooden swords. Hunters walked back from the trails as other warriors began their patrols. “Stanrick, do you ever wonder if the Mordok believe in Gaia and the Great Wolf like we do? I mean, if we travel to the heart of the swamp, do you think they burn their dead and sing their praises?” Stanrick look at his brother and tried to see where this came from. “What? You’re kidding right?”

Ranmir headed for the ladder and started down. “No brother I mean it, the world as we have been raised to see it has changed. As children, we never knew of a world past the endless sea, yet humans and syndar have come to our lands telling stories of the dead walking. No Ulven has gone on the Long walk and returned. Maybe they had fallen or maybe they found a place to live in peace. We will never know unless we look.” He went down the ladder and went to grab his bag by the fire.

“Daddy, Daddy!” yelled Siren from outside the wall. Stanrick turned to look at his little girl. “Yes?” he asked her. She looked up and stuck out her tongue and made a strange sound “Bulipliplip” he smiled down at her and stuck out his tongue in return. “Bulipliplip”

In the corner of his eye he saw Ranmir walking out the outpost heading North. “So you’re going then? Did you tell mother?” Ranmir stopped and turned to look up at Stanrick.

“She knows as does Soulvieg, I have to do this Stanrick, this is the path Gaia has put to my feet. I don’t know what I will find but I know we will meet again.” With that Ranmir continued to walk as the moon rose in the east and soon the sight of him was lost in the trees.

Siren and Yawn climbed up to the look out and joined Stanrick. She pulled on Stanrick’s tunic. “Daddy where is uncle Ranmir going?” He looked at the tree line.

“I don’t know, but I believe we will see him again.”

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