I have scattered the elemental essence of a score or more fire sprites, thrown the fury of my frustrated rage against them as if to prove that the angry flames within me flare greater than these fae have ever shined. I could not, cannot, stay still till the emotions within me ebb. Even now, as I write this, the nib of my quill scores and tears the paper of this journal. Some things are not meant to be swallowed easily or simply to be accepted. If I did not burn now in anger, I would surely drown in grief.
Have you heard of Sicle Grove, good Reader? I speak not of the sulfurous and blighted lands it has become. It has not always been such. Once snow would fall and remain as pristine white as the innocence of the orphans who lived here. Now the volcanic dust swirls with each gust of air to mix into the falling flakes, turning it all into some black-ice sludge that stains those who it falls upon. It does not last long but soaks into the ground to produce gapping sinkholes that threaten to pull you down at any moment.
There used to be trees here, and there used to be children. They lived under the loving guardianship of the Halfling Empath Timothy and his wife Penelope. Passing adventurers wounded in battle with the Faenrae Reavers or the worse for ware from hunting Crocodiles would make there way to Sicle Grove knowing there would be respite and a healing hand. Timothy wouldn't ask for much. Just a donation to keep his children fed and clothed would be enough to get him to heal you. This was a place where you would come for healing, but stay for the friends you meet.
Then came Migbluc.
In a single night all of Sicle Grove was buried under a trail of burning lava and fast flowing tumults of rock and ash. The Greater Fist had been awoken by the evil elementalist in his play to consume his perceived foes in fire. I don't even think he knew Sicle Grove was effected, and that is what makes this evil so hard to understand why it occurred. All the orphans gone. All the gardens and the trees gone. The fellowship in peace has been replaced by fellowship in sadness. The elementalist was stopped but not soon enough.
There was one...I cannot use the word survivor, for the Timothy I knew is not the one who lives now...There is one who...remembers. Timothy remembers it daily, moment by moment, second by second, his mind rolls over the history of the Grove. He lives it up to the very instant of its destruction and then his mind simply cannot grasp all the pain and suffering. Sit with him and watch as I have in hopes of divining a clue to his salvation and you will discover what I mean.
Timothy is an empath and confronted with the death-throes of all children and wife whom he loved, he reacted only as one who cared so freely could: he took every ounce of their hurt within him. He placed this jagged sphere of agony and held it within his heart as it was the only place deep and strong enough to do so. He could not let it go then for the sake of his innocent wards. Now his noble soul is as a child confronted with this marble of splintered glass a hundred times its size. He cannot get around it, cannot lift it, and when he tries to embrace the moment the pain becomes so intense he must back away. That same jagged marble is within him now, keeping his soul from catching up with the present and his body from ever fully recovering.
I wandered Sicle grove in quiet solitude, thankful for the choking fumes that allowed me to play off my tears as nature born. I faced the fire sprites that wander there only incidentally. They are insane, fight as well as their watery cousins, and carry some coin. Enough of that. I felt the rage build within me as I poked through the half-buried remains of the main orphanage and the kitchen. The fury turned into a need for action and I raced back to Crossing to find Timothy, I know not why. To plead his case once again before the Gods, perhaps.
He was there at >ed. note: several words have been crossed out< and I am glad he was, at least, warm for the winter months. He was sitting quietly and I sat beside him but I was as air to his perceptions. I told him of how I had appreciated him in the past and how his light would always be needed if he could just manage to get past the barriers his heart had in place. All I received was a blank look of unrecognition and a sad shake of his head. My heart ached to somehow take a portion of his hurt away from him but I am only a soldier, not a healer. When he mentioned to the air around him the need for his pipe, I thought "here I can make a difference!" I leapt up, made my bows, and ran back here to Sicle Grove.
Maybe all he needs is his pipe back...but I have tunneled through the dust and mud as my frustration grows to no avail. Ah Damaris! You protect children, could not your grace find the way to heal one who did so so freely? Chaddratu, you may be blind but surely even you can feel the agony this good halfling is under? Cannot it be aleved? I take my anger out upon the luckless Fire Sprites.
A Song of Remembrance...
Forgive me Reader, my heart is not made for such things and I must continue onward lest I add more tears to this desolate place...