Feline Philosophy II

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Feline Philosophy II

#1 Post by Anadelonbrin » Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:51 am

The book has been grown rather than crafted and blends in seamlessly with the other twigs and branches of Anadelonbrin’s armour. The pages are quite literally leaves and the writing on them is in Darnassian.

November 5

Shan’do Everbreeze gave me my old journal back some time ago. He wants me to start writing again, to help me sort out my thoughts. I have been reading it little by little while growing this one. It is not an easy read. A hundred pages. Three years of my life. I think there was more, but the rest of the pages are ruined. My hopes, dreams, fears, rage, love, hate… Much of what is in there, I had forgotten. Many of the names and references no longer hold any meaning to me. Others do. The people who did not just come and go. The people who are still here. The people who died.

This first entry in my new journal ties together both the beginning of the end of the former one. It begins with the moonwell in the Park in Stormwind. Every night, I walked up to it, hoping to find him there. Sagitas. I knew he would not be there, but I went anyway. It was never fair to miss him. I had been the one to walk away.

Ever since I came back from the Emerald Dream, I have been having dreams about him. Perhaps he has become a symbol for the things I secretly long for but dare not act on. His memory is pure. It never had a chance to get tainted by hurt or arguments. No conflicts of interest. No third parties. I still miss him. I miss the moments we shared in a simpler time. I miss who I was with him. I miss the way it made me feel when he smiled at me. Perhaps I dream of him because it is safe. It brings no sense of guilt or rejection. It is safe to dream of things that bring no need for action because they can never come true.

Although I never found him again, I found others by the moonwell. It was where I first met Eileena. Where we met many times. One of the last entries in the old journal was about when she stepped onto a ship to sail away from us. I was furious. I felt betrayed. Abandoned. I feared for what would become of Nomine without her. I feared for what would become of me. I was furious with her and perhaps just as angry with myself for having a part in things that had changed him. It was not a sweet farewell. If not for Miëlle, Kit and Esau, it could have been the bloody and ugly end of Starlight right then and there. It takes more than a dagger to stop a raging bear. But the three of them could. No blood was shed. Not that moment anyway…

Now, even the Park and the moonwell are gone, torn away by a dragon. Not even the scar remains. Stormwind has regenerated, new houses cover it up. People forget and move along. There are more important things than parks. Still, when sleep approaches, I replay hundreds of nights of soft paws on dew-covered grass in my mind. Still I dream of the reunion that never came. But not last night.

Last night, I sat by the fountain behind the cathedral with Eileena. Same city, same person, different water. As the droplets fell and rose to fall again, we spoke. The rage I felt when she left has long since faded, replaced by grief when she was believed to be dead, then a medley of other emotions after finding out she is alive again. Yet this was the first time we really sat down together.

Before she left, I saw us as opposite pans of a scale. We were parts of a whole and we balanced each other. I watched with sharp eyes and claws from the shadows. She watched gently with her heart. She was the light, I was the dark. Others were in between or somewhere else completely, but together, we made it work. This time around, it is different. Perhaps we are both more centred. Perhaps that is what happens when you are tossed around too much. You find your balance, or you lose yourself. I see in her something that is both strong and fragile at the same time. It resonates with something in my soul.

She needs him, but she will not erase herself to be what she thinks he wants her to be. In one way, that was clear when she left in the first place. But being locked up changes things. When she told me of her isolation, memory after memory hit me, some like a slap in the face, some like a punch to the gut.

Cage. Wood. Splinters. Sticks. Blood. Kill. Escape.
Cage. Metal. Starvation. Hate. Comply. Survive.
Cage. Stone. Starvation. Cold. Whip. Hate. Comply. Survive.
Cage. Sewer grate. Goblins. Cattle prod. Stank. Kill. Eat. Survive. Wait.

Not every cage is the same. But once someone takes your freedom from you, you are forever changed. Something breaks inside. Something grows. For one, it is a hatred for those who put them there. For one, it is a longing for a saviour. For one, it is the memories of something safe, a place, an object, a person. For one, it is all of them in a torrent of emotion. For one, it is a vast, expanding nothing. It is not the same every time. But no one escapes unchanged.

That feeling of being completely and utterly alone… She described it. I know it. Many have died because I know it. When there is nothing and no one holding you back, what is left to stop you?

Strength in unity.

I wonder if the phrase is only words to some. To me, it is everything. It stopped me from falling into the Nightmare. It pulled me back from the Emerald Dream. It held me back when I learned that my closest friend had chosen an enemy as her new friend in my absence. It saved me from one of those cages. It saved so many lives in so many ways. We belong. We have a place that is ours in a world of war and chaos. We are different. We are not the same. But we are united.

Eileena’s place is here. A piece that was missing has returned to the puzzle. Will it fit? It has to.

This time, no gift of violence. This time, an offering of peace. Of time. My time for theirs. If he accepts it. There are no simple answers laid out before them. Can they grow with their roots in the people they once were and still be entwined as the people they have become? Only they can figure that out. It is not about an exchange of rings and vows. But they need breathing room to figure it out. To grow together or cut the cord and release each other.

My place is not between them. My place is at their side, no matter the outcome.

Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2014 12:43 pm

Re: Feline Philosophy II

#2 Post by Anadelonbrin » Mon Dec 09, 2019 9:14 pm

November 19

Memories are strange things. They lay dormant for years, decades, centuries, and when you least expect them, they rise to the surface. Sometimes causing a smile, sometimes calamity, they certainly never wait for an invitation. If you try to reach for them, they tend to slip away until you stop reaching. When you share them with others, they can grow, the details become clearer, take on new or greater meaning.

Together, we remembered Ibelin.

Perhaps how you remember someone says something about who you are.

We met up in Gadgetzan and walked down the shoreline to a secluded place where I had put up some shade screens and left supplies for cooking. On the way, Devvy kept asking how much longer we had to walk, complaining about the heat and the sand. But she was there. She came all that way. She showed up. A lot of people showed up. Fioleia arranged a stone skipping contest and and Annie, Syrawenn and Shienlao helped me hunt the local steeljaw snappers for meat so I could make enough turtle soup for everyone. I could have hunted them on my own, but that was not the point.

While we were eating, people shared memories of Ibelin and Jerome. Half the people who were there had never met either of them. But they listened to the memories and took them in, and now more people will carry their legacy on.

Some people build statues to commemorate people. Usually rich or royal people. Grand heroes who turned the tides in some war or other. But stone is cold, and all a statue really tells is how someone looked. Stories keep the memories alive. Details in every day life. The scent of the turtle soup made me remember hunting turtles along the river in the Hillsbrad Foothills so I could make it for him. His smile when he tasted it. Syrawenn and I share the same notion that every man in a blonde ponytail reminds us of him. It was my first thought when I met Ellbry for the first time. That Ellbry was flushing scarlet because he had ripped his pants did not make the resemblance any less. It was such an Ibelin-y situation to end up in. Except Ibelin would have been helped by some cute young lady.

Tahrina was the first to speak. She brought up how both Ibelin and Jerome had been important to her. She spoke of kindness and sacrifice and of what a good listener Ibelin was. I wonder if she ever knew how hard he fought for her at one point. Not in a physical battle, but when there were conflicts in Starlight between people who were too different to understand each other. Ibelin had her back and defended her fiercely. He listened and he spoke up.

After Tahrina, Syrawenn got up. I could tell she was struggling to keep it together, even though she put on a brave face and a tougher tone. She spoke of how she talked him out of getting married the first time she met him. Of all the women he kept falling for. She kept it short and then curled up with her new man. Perhaps she herself is taking a leaf out of his book, because this man is her second since my return.

Stoen told the familiar story of how a paladin lady ended up laying her hands on Ibelin’s hurt butt at a fight training. It made me smile. And then he shared a poem. He said he had shared it at the previous gatherings too, but I did not remember it from the gathering right after Ibelin died. The words were not in the flowery language poets often like to use. They were simple words, recited in a naked sort of honesty. They slashed me open to the core.

“In the moments life was mean, you would lend a shoulder.
And now that you have left the scene, life is so much colder.”

I had been standing by the soup kettle, stirring what was left while Tahrina spoke. It gave me something to do with my hands. But Stoen’s poem took all my defences down. It was not just about Ibelin. It was about all the fallen who meant something. All those who lifted me up and are now dead. All those who stood up for me when I could not stand up for myself. About those who saw me for more than a hopeless feral. It was about Quinthis Jonespyre, about Shan’do Bearwalker, about Shirala. And the moment my mind conjured up the image of her alongside the image of Ibelin, I could not even pretend to hold back the tears.

Looking through my old diary, every time things took a bad turn were followed by an entry of how much I love her, of how she took me out of whatever dark place I got myself into, of how she healed my wounds, of how patient she was when I was trying to learn something, of how she made me laugh. In the end, I failed her. In the end, she fell, and I was not there to catch her. I don’t know if I can ever forgive myself for that. Is there redemption for something so severe? She was a sister to me in all but blood. Even now, her father is as a father to me. I got her brothers out of the Nightmare, but it did not bring her back. Perhaps it was at least a small step of atonement to Shan’do Everbreeze. He has never put blame on me for not being there for her, but he does not have to. I blame myself enough.

I stood there by that kettle, in front of everyone, crying. I can not remember when I last felt so lost. And right then, Fioliea waved me over to come sit with her. I can not describe how grateful that made me feel. She shared her wine with me as Nomine got up to speak.

Nomine spoke of Ibelin’s good intentions and his detective agency. He spoke of Jerome and why he was nicknamed “the Murloc” and what lessons we could learn from them both.

With Fio’s support, I managed to pick myself up enough to speak when Nomine was done. I told the story of the time he was ambushed in Shattrath because of one of the many girls. Of how he always wanted to give people another chance when they messed up. I don’t remember exactly what I said. It all got a bit blurry. When I could not get another word out, Syrawenn got up and came over to give me a hug. I mumbled against her shoulder how I miss that idiot… And just like me, she is reminded of him by every ponytail she sees.

Preston and Anomen got up to say a few words about carrying on the memories they had heard told, helping keep them alive even though they never met Ibelin or Jerome.

Glasses were raised in the honour of the fallen. Fioliea poured some of her wine into the sand before drinking with tears in her eyes. Seeing her sadness, knowing what she had lost, what our people lost, my last resolve fell and for the first time, I was defenceless against the impact of the burning of Teldrassil. The dam broke and I cried in her arms like I have never cried before. Liathene came over with gentle words before parting, but I could not get even a single word out. The tears just kept flowing.

Cats do not cry.

Perhaps the tears are a testament to how I have grown into my skin as a fully fledged druid. Perhaps I have finally forged a connection with even my elven form as something other than just an inconvenience. I used to be a cat that sometimes took on other forms. Now I am a druid. The shapes are not just another function. They bring their own sets of instincts and behaviours. Cats do not cry, but elves do, and this one was crying a river.

The others must have left one by one. In the end, four of us remained on the beach. Fioliea, Philias, Tit Man and myself. The gentlemen offered us handkerchiefs to dry our tears. Ellbry shared a poem of how a lost one is with us in all the little things around us. It was heartbreakingly beautiful. Fioliea had struggled to hold it together, but this was just too much. It was my turn to hold her as she cried.

In her love, they live on. Not in the ashes, but in her love. The flames of Teldrassil could not burn that away.

Philias joined in the embrace and we held her while she was shaking with tears and sobs.

Ellbry remembered that it had been said that Ibelin liked fireworks. He had some with him. He set them off and as we wiped the tears from our cheeks, we watched the bright lights shoot up into the desert night sky, reflecting in the calm waters. I carried Fioliea to Stormwind. I don’t know how I can ever express how grateful I am to her. A fitting end to a night I will not soon forget.

Not a single thorn sprouted.

Old friendships were remembered.

New friendships grew stronger.

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