Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Meandering about on the hillsides of the old Twilight Estates, Ragnbourg was lost in the reflections of the night while her mind seemed content to waver like a driven sea; tossing to and fro as if by a westward gale. Unexpectedly, however, a voice called her from her thoughts, and for the suddenness of the sound, Ragnbourg drew up her axe by the hilt!

"Peace, Daughter of Beorn." Spake the voice of the Elven maid standing amid the broken and entangled boughs of a lesser tree. Ragnbourg looked up, and knew not what to make of the stranger, for surely she had never seen this other before. 

"Who are you?" Ragnbourg said, and though her words were in her heart chosen for the confusion, they came to her lips rather coldly. 

"A wanderer." Was the simple reply, and the Elven maid, knowing these words would not satisfy, spoke on. "The two of us are alike in that way, are we not?"

Ragnbourg was quiet a moment, thinking of what she might answer.
 "I do not know you, stranger." The Beorning woman said after awhile. "Why do you approach me? It is not oft wise to seek my kind in the night, and but for my thoughts I might surely have been in a far different state than you see me now."

"Had that been the case, you would find that it would make no difference to me." Answered the Elf evenly. "I speak the languages of both men and of beasts, of trees and of the earth... Another thing, perhaps, in which we are alike."

Hearing this, Ragnbourg grew more confused at the appearance of this Elf, and ventured ask again in a voice more genuine than before, "Who are you?"

"I am neither a light in the void nor a shadow under starlight." Answered the Elf.

"You speak strangely. You have answered me what you are not, but not who you are." Ragnbourg replied. "If you will not tell me, then I do not know why we need speak further tonight."

"We speak because you are wounded, though you do not know it." This time as the Elf spoke, her voice was direct, and it caused Ragnbourg's blood to run chill with coldness. 

"... How do you know this?" Rangbourg asked, and for the first time in a long time, she could not muster the slightest ounce of anger to defend herself from her fear.

"The thing is known to you, for it has caused you a hurt in previous days and although there has been no loss of blood or flesh, you are weighed down by a grievous affliction."  

The Beorning woman trembled. There was no way she could think of to explain why she did not argue, and nothing she could think to say that would dissuade the Elf from her words, for Ragnbourg knew verily that they were true. 
"Please," she ventured now, with so much timidity that she might later scarcely believe herself capable of it. "Will you not tell me who you are?"

Now, it seemed as if the Elf gave a moment to thought, for Ragnbourg heard her sigh softly in the boughs and there was a minute of silence. Then at length the Elf did speak, and her voice was gentle. "I will not give my name, for it displeases me when it is idly used. But this I will say; that on the Mountain on which you stand, though I belong not to it, I pass by and lend my hand withersoever I will in such matters. Tonight, I lend mine to you, for I know the cause of your stumbling, and I know also that I may mend it."

"How so?" Ragnbourg said, staring up at the figure in the tree with confusion in her eyes and earnest perplexity in her heart.

"I have eyes to see," the Elf replied. "And though I would hope this answer to be sufficient, I know you cannot understand it, so I will further explain; As light enables men's eyes to perceive images of the world around him, I may perceive other material that needs not be evident to be real." 

As Ragnbourg pondered this and tried to understand, her hands slowly tightened to fists and her feet relented their stance. "Very well. I do not know you, and I do not fully understand what you have said. But for reasons I cannot grasp, it is impossible for me to compel myself to disregard you. Therefore, you may take what you will from me."

"Nay, I will take nothing." The Elf answered quickly. "It is for the same reason that you feel so much anxiety for the earth that you cannot bring yourself to disregard me, because your ability to commune with nature also enables you to speak freely with me. Such is your gift, and mine. But put away your weapon, Daughter of Beorn, and I will come down."

Ragnbourg had not noticed that up until that moment she had retained her axe in her hand. Now being reminded of it, Ragnbourg drew the weapon back to her side, but in a moment of consideration, she hesitated to put it away. 
"Nay," she said aloud. "I will place it on the ground, so that I may not be tempted to use it, for I know readily that you can see my fear. Nonetheless, I will not take up my axe."

True to her word, Ragnbourg knelt down and laid the axe on the grass, then stood and took from it several steps.

The Elf watched Ragnbourg's actions carefully through her pale green eyes, and, as the axe was lain aside, she fluidly descended from the boughs. There was not a sound to be heard when the Elf alighted on the earth, nor did she seem much bent by the leap, but touched softly and stood erect.

"Will you draw off the covering of your head and shoulders?" The Elf asked gently.

Ragnbourg was hesitant, but she complied with the request and took off her hat and the fur shawl that was wrapped about her shoulders, placing both items on the ground.

Looking keenly but with a sensitive gaze, the Elf met eyes with the Beorning. "How did it happen?"  She said.

"I do not know." Ragnbourg replied. "I can scarcely remember the events that led to it. All I can recollect was that there were mounds of earth, and there was a cry from within, as if someone were in dire need. So I went in, and I remember no more until that terrible icy hand gripped my shoulder. I do not remember else after that, but I must have torn from the barrow with awful wrath, for when I came to myself again I found that I was no small distance away from that place and I was not as I was when I went in."

"Since that time," Ragnbourg continued, "It has been as if the smell of death, or whenever I have felt the presence of wandering shades, has caused me to be haunted by the memory, and my mind is soon overcome by insurmountable anger... I have kept it completely my own...."

"Know this, then, Daughter of Beorn," The Elf said, after hearing the tale. "That contrary to the whims and demands of fate, you have been made to continue another man's story, though it be ended. It was by little fault of your own, and in that you may have comfort, but I will tell you the tale that proceeded your coming to the Barrow of the Herdsman, and then tell you what must be done."

Although Ragnbourg did not yet understand, and nor could she fathom how the Elf knew of this particular matter, she was grateful for answers and listened with earnest interest.

"In an age I shall not name, only let it be said that it was long before your mortal arrival in this world, a man came to sojourn on the plains of an uninhabited land. From a boat he had come off the sea and made his mind to dwell amid nature's beasts, to serve them as healer, steward, and friend. To them, he was known by the name Keeper, after they came to understand his reasons for dwelling within their domain. There was peace and conflict-ended in his time, his days were spent in service to animals. But they were lonely days for a man, and they did not last, for men were at that age of the world engaged in great explorations and conquers - and conquering nature was no less their endeavor."

"Great ships arrived on the shore of the man's peaceful land, and those that came from them began their tireless effort to extract a living from the wood and bountiful riches of the earth that were found in plenty there. But where men toil they must also reap, and for strength they needed what-with to subsist themselves on, thus the animals began to be slain. It was the desire of this man that these unwanted visitors should leave, and discontinue their work of destruction, but try as he might to forbid them, they continued their work."

"What ire was raised! What terrible hatred poured forth, as the land began to be desolated! Woe befell the man, as it must needs do to all who cradle such loathing and animosity for their own race. He cursed the sailors with tongue and deed, and they cursed him when once they knew the cause of his fight - for they were desirous to be rid of him and thus actively hunted those beasts that he knew. All were slain, and with their passing a boiling wrath infested the man's heart, and drove him that he might enact vengeance for the loss of blood with more blood. So it was. Then, for all that was then done, the sailors conceived to bring an end to their torment, and thus sought out the man. Terrible was his end, and those that were his killers also were those that placed him within the mounds."

"But his spirit did not sleep, nor did his body rest - all for the wrath that was kindled in his heart. Deep was his barrow, and deeper still his hatred for men." The Elf maid said. "Long, however, was he made to dwell where light does not descend, and he plotted his revenge in those dark places of the earth, forbidden to rise."

Ragnbourg listened, and felt all the while much colder in body than she ever had prior.

"He knew well that he would never be able to escape his prison, Daughter of Beorn." The Elf said, and her voice was no less than it was before, though she could see Ragnbourg's unrest. "Therefore, he who's story was ended, sought another to act in his place." 

There was a stiffness in Ragnbourg's limbs and something quite hard to swallow in her throat, so she said nothing for the moment and the Elf continued.

"It might well be known to you, that had he found a person bereft of their own malice and anger, that nothing could have been done against you..." She said, and her pale green eyes leveled with Ragnbourg's gaze as she tilted her chin downward. 
 The Beorning woman was still, and said nothing. 

"But now, I have told you all that need be told, and what remains is what may be done." As this was said, the Elf turned and swiftly got herself back up into the tree, looking downward on the Beorning once again. "It is this: The wight can have no satisfaction in death for his crimes in life - and his hatred against those who wronged him will prove vain, for their time is far past. But his anger will thrive where it is given room to thrive, and his desires will not rest until his anger is no more. Therefore, the answer is one that is hard for mortals to hear, but nonetheless the answer; Forgive those who have caused you hurt, and release your own anger, then the Wight's Wrath will depart. But if you do not, then you will carry it to your grave, even as he did."  

Truly, even as the Elf had said, Ragnbourg did not find these words easy to hear, nor comforting, but after a moment she found the strength and bowed to collect her shawl and hat from the ground. When she stood again, she went to pick up her axe, and looked once more to the Elf in the tree. But where she looked, Ragnbourg saw only the gnarled branches and the empty night sky... the Elf was gone.

There was much to think about, and the night hills of the Twilight Estates felt even more quiet and lonely than before. But unlike how Ragnbourg had felt when first wandering here, the stillness and silence seemed dreadful and unwelcome, so she left the hills quickly, and went back to Ost Forod. Tomorrow, at sun's first light, she and her brother would depart from the hills and go again to Oatbarton, where there they would aid the folk of Northcotton on their errands.

 Such was the strange encounter of a wanderer in the hills of Evendim...


Friday, December 11, 2015

Hop to Hopville

To my dear friends and neighbors, it is so good to be home again! I have been away awhile, but I have now returned to the beautiful Shire Homesteads, whereat I hope to again find myself in a warming embrace with each of you, my good friends here at the Grand Hole!

Since I've been away, it seems we have acquired both a new name for the neighborhood, and a bountiful amount of neighbors - quite a change from the secluded piece of the Shire I have grown accustomed to! So I, being most eager to meet all these new names and faces, made a request to view the neighborhood records and color each home according to association.
As you can see, I have continued to mark the individual estates of our own dear members in blue, and I was fairly pleased to discover that there are three other kindreds which have taken up residence in our old part of the Shire: 
The East Shire Trading Company (A very sophisticated name I should say, I wonder what sorts of trade-goods they handle..)  
The Defenders of Anduin (Very nice folk, from what I've heard of them from Skalithor!) and  
The Legion of Dark Hunters (Sounds frightful! Do you suppose they are dark hunters, or that they hunt dark things?)

I intend to speak with our kinship leader about hosting what my mother would call, a "Neighborhood Meet and Greet" in January next year, so that we may gain some friendly acquaintances with our new neighbors.
But of course, I don't think I'll have much time any prior to consider it - For you see, I heard Lilliway the other day mention something about a yule play to Aedynn and I am hoping that they might ask me to take part! I think it would be an absolutely delightful idea to boost moral up in Evendim, if each of the fellowships could return home for the Holidays and rejoice in the splendor of good company and fine entertainment! 

 Don't tell anyone, yet, though! I shouldn't like to go raising any hopes until I know for certain, so I'll just keep my ears open, and this'll stay between you and me, yes?

 I'll write when I know more, 
~Maeflower Tooke

Friday, December 4, 2015

Taivian's Dream

Last night I lay, for what seemed like hours, on the rough mattress the rangers had lent to us. My thoughts were lost in a tumultuous storm, and my heart aching for the anger and sadness I kept locked inside it... Over and over again, memories would flash before my closed eyes: Memories of my father's face as he begged me not to become like him. Memories of Mother's eyes, swollen with tears but filled with anger over Ardonali's intentions regarding me. I relived that moment when Tarvhos pulled a knife on Tyrral, and heard again Apostos' foreboding words that she had spoken to me the night before.

I struggled until I felt nearly choked by my covers. I was so restless, but I couldn't sit up or open my eyes. I felt trapped! Lost and alone... I would surely go insane if this despair continued. Was there anything I could replace these images with? Was there ever a time I was happy? ...Yes, there was! I remember her, and I tried to scream her name, then suddenly I fell...


Pain and worry vanishing away, I found the vast lake of Evendim lay before me, stretching into the horizon and eventually becoming one with the sky. The water lapped calmly around the small island on which I sat. There was no other islands in sight, nor any mountains in the distance... Just me. 

I felt peaceful and safe.. It seemed like I was in a different world now, one far from Middle-Earth and all her cares. I knew there was nothing evil within this world; no worry or despair, nothing wrong anywhere... What's more, I knew I could stay here for eternity if I wanted to.. 

Suddenly, I became aware of a presence coming up behind me. Glancing away from the glare of the setting sun, I looked and saw a young girl headed toward me. I recognized her face almost immediately. It was Aivah! With a sweet smile upon her rosy lips, she came forward and sat beside me. 

"Hey Taivian. It's good to see you." She said, leaning back on her arms.

"It's good to see you too." I said, smiling back at her briefly, then turning my gaze back to the golden sunset. Aivah stared at my face a moment longer, tilting her head slightly.

"What's wrong?" She asked.

I frowned. "Please, let's not talk about it. I don't like how everyone seems to be psychoanalyzing me." My words, as harshly as they were worded, were spoken with a tone a pleading.

Aivah frowned too upon hearing them. "I'm sorry. That's not what I meant by it."

"I know. But I don't want to bring the ugliness of the real world here. I'm finally asleep. I just want to enjoy this dream." I said.

Aivah smiled, looking into the sunset and taking a deep breath of the fresh air. "Okay, we can enjoy it.. But you know, Taivian; even though we're asleep, this isn't a dream."

I looked at her with confusion, yet somehow I knew in my heart she was telling the truth. Everything was as harmless as a dream, but it all felt real. Subconsciously, our minds had connected with one another. Still, I didn't understand how it was possible. Aivah's smile broadened to see the look of wonder on my face.   

"I hear my great-grandmother used to be able to do something like this.. Maybe I inherited her abilities. I was thinking about you before I went to bed." She said, leaning forward and wrapping her arms around her knees. Her head was then rested on them, though she continued to watch me.

I felt sheepish and awkward in in her green graze, though I knew she wasn't judging me. "I was thinking about you too." I admitted.

"Oh!" Aivah said, lifting her head. "Maybe it's you who brought us here then... You've got magic anyway."

I didn't know which of us had done it. "Maybe it's both of us." I suggested, then furrowed my brow in confusion as a thought struck my mind. "Why were you thinking of me?"

"I don't know." She said with a shrug. "I was just wondering where you were and how you were doing. It isn't fair they let you join the fellowship, but sent me to Rivendell. You're a year younger than me! Still, I know things are dangerous right now, and some of that war stuff can be really hard on kids like us.. I guess I was worried about you."

I smiled. "Thanks." I said, then looked back toward the sun. Aivah followed my gaze. We sat in silence for a time, then Aivah at last spoke again.

"You know what I always thought when I was little? I always used to think that the sun has a door in it's center-- A door that leads to a wonderful and magical place; and when the sun gets halfway in the water like that, the door is opened and lets ships sail in.... That's why I believed the Elves sailed across the sea: To get to the sun." Aivah said. 

'What an idea!' I thought, but I didn't say anything. The mention of Elves sailing across the sea reminded me that Hawkinz was missing, and that Tarvhos had gone looking for him-- Tyrral didn't want him to go without Skalithor's leave. They fought about it. Tyrral threw Tarvhos to the ground, then Tarvhos jumped back up with his dagger in hand!... It had scared me. No sooner had I learned about my father's death, then my brother wields a weapon against one of our friends and forsakes his group....  That one moment seemed to start a whole chain of events! Instantly, all my worries and hurts flooded back, along with the memories they were attached to. At that moment, the golden sun of my world sunk beyond view, and the surroundings around Aivah and I was left dark.

Aivah's face, now colorless and barely visible in the dark, shone with concern. "What's wrong?" She asked.

I felt a bitterness pain my heart. "Everything. I feel like I'm with strangers-- Like I can't trust anyone anymore.. Do you know what Apostos asked me today? She's received some kind of ominous threat, and is worried about turning evil again. She told Marthrandir about it, but is worried he won't have the strength to do what it'll take to defeat her if that happens. She asked me to do it."

Aivah's eyebrows shot up, but the look of concern didn't leave her face.

"I told her I wouldn't. If darkness does try to corrupt her, I want her to fight it. I don't want her to think she has the option of failing." I admitted, feeling my bitterness increase. "Apostos, Tarvhos, Marthrandir, even Thannor-- Everyone! It's like they're giving up.. Like, they think we can give up and everything will eventually work out. It's not true! We need to have courage to stand against the darkness, not compromise with it!" I shouted, slamming my fist on the ground.

Aivah was silent for a moment, then softly, she reached out and touched my hand. "Have you told that to them?" She asked quietly.

I shook my head, glaring into the water I could no longer see. "They won't listen to me. They don't even listen to Tyrral. It's like they don't hear more than three words before they're walking away."

"Okay," Aivah said calmly, "So just break it down into three words.. You don't have to be vague or silent, but you don't have to deliver a whole big lecture either. Sometimes it's easier to understand a message that doesn't use very many words.."

I looked at her, and she smiled as I met her gaze. I pondered her words and felt the frustration of that previous day slipping from my heart. I didn't want to be angry, I didn't want to become bitter or miserable due to all of this-- But I felt helpless. Then what Aivah said made that helplessness go away, and with it, my feelings of anger and bitterness. Above us, the stars came into view. They were bigger and brighter than the stars on Middle-Earth, and with them came a flood of soft, silvery light that granted color to Aivah's face.

"How did you know to say that to me?" I asked.

"I don't know. And I don't think we're alone here.. I feel like there is something helping me help you." Aivah said.

I smiled again, and suddenly my heart felt warm. The peace I had known before returned to it. I felt reassured.


I was awakened suddenly by Tyrral. We had missed a goblin camp in the Twilight Estates and had to take care of it. Throughout the battle, I kept reflecting on my dream and on what Aivah had said. That night, the four of us; Tyrral, Marthrandir, Apostos, and I gathered together to determine who would lead us. It seemed Skalithor had sent us without a leader, and Tyrral feared this would cause division among us. 

"The first company, though they deny it, stands only a few steps from dissolvement. All of us feel very much effected by it. Therefore, to see to the safety of my own, I must report these matters. We await word from the General on how we are to proceed." Tyrral said.

"I have no place as a leader, and it seems the others have no opinion, or else they will not voice them. So do what you must, it would be a good use of your skills." Apostos said.

"I thank you for your confidence in me, Milady. I will do my utmost." Tyrral said. 

Marthrandir remained silent for a time. He had been in a sour mood all day, and I could see from the look in his eye that he didn't trust Tyrral... Very few in our kinship did in fact. "Why must we have a leader?" The elf said at last, "We have seen how the other group has been doing, and we have been fine, why is that?"

"It is the position of every soldier to do his part. Theirs have not." Tyrral said.

Marthrandir  seemed skeptical. "Oh? And how do you know this?" He demanded.

"Each of us have done our part thus far to ensure the safety of the others. What is your position on this, Marthrandir? You are a Champion I may respect, and I value your opinion."

"Putting one as the leader would mean one is better then the rest, and if we are to keep the right path that we have now then we must stay that way." Marthrandir said. 

'I don't agree.' I said suddenly. I guess it wasn't my place to speak, because Tyrral continued as though I hadn't said anything at all. I was used to that; and I didn't mind it. I'm not the kind of person to argue with anyone about anything.

"In my experience, every man has his leader, be it on the battle field or in his home. It is nessessary to maintain order, and all things must, essentially, be done in order to be maintained. I do not ask to stand on higher ground than you all - no leader who is not a tyrant would. You have bested me in combat, my friend, I know surely that we each possess skills that the others do not. I am no better than you." Tyrral explained.

"Do as you will, Champion Of Men, I do not care.. If Skalithor thinks it best then that is well for me...And thats all I have to say on it." Marthrandir snapped. Then turned and walked away despite Tyrral calling after him. I felt anger stir again in my heart as the words I had spoken to Aivah were again proven true; He was walking away as though he hadn't heard more than three words. 

Tyrral turned to Apostos. "If he does not care than he sets himself to do as Tarvhos has done with his company. There is no room for selfishness on this quest." He said.

"It seems in mind, our fellowship is together. In heart, were are just as lost as the first." Apostos said. Those words sounded so hopeless to me, just as the whole situation seemed. It seemed as though it the despair that had poisoned the first company had now found habitation within ours... Everything was hopeless.. But I said nothing. Apostos walked away, then Tyrall turned to me.

"Taivian, might you help me?" He asked.

"How?" I replied.

"I need us to be united. You are wiser than I, be you but a lad. Help me." Tyrral said.

"...I do not know what to do." I admitted. I did not feel hopeless, but I did feel helpless.. What could I say more than Tyrral had said? No one would listen to me. 

"Than that is two of us. But let us not be drawn to despair on account of it. We may yet find a solution." Tyrral said, looking off in the direction Apostos and Marthrandir had gone.

"I'm not despairing." I said, hoping to somehow comfort him. It had no effect.

"But others are.." Tyrral said sadly, "How do we raise them up?"

I didn't know. At first, I thought of Hawkinz and the giddy way he handled these situations. His playfulness seemed contagious-- But it would not work now. Tyrral had tried to be positive and playful the whole day. It had done nothing but annoy everyone... Then suddenly, a thought occurred to me: "I think-- I think Marthrandir is upset by what Apostos has told him." I said, "He loves her."

Instantly, Tyrral brightened. "You are right. Milad! You are right." 
The champion started forward, and I followed, though his reaction to my words had been surprising. Only a moment ago he seemed out of ideas and almost lost, but with three words, he was suddenly rejuvenated....

Three words.. 
Aivah's voice returned to my mind, and the peaceful feeling to my heart.

"Apostos!" Tyrral called upon seeing her heading toward us. "Release Marthrandir from your promise. I beseech thee, please."

Apostos looked confused. "What promise?"

"He is weighed by the things you spoke to him regarding." Tyrral said.

"I have bound him to no such promise." Apostos said.

Tyrral didn't understand. Releasing Marthrandir would do nothing to ease his upset. He had already heard about the threatenings she'd received. To tell him he was not obligated to do anything would only feel he had detached himself from her, or betrayed her wishes. I remembered the way Apostos had told me, and the feelings it gave me-- That helplessness. It was just worded wrong. We didn't have to feel helpless. I knew the time had come for me to speak from the heart.

"Tyrral.. If I may.." I said suddenly.
 Tyrral looked at me. "Speak, Taivian." he said.

I looked at Apostos. "Apostos... What you said upset me because it sounded like there is some doom coming upon you, and that you have accepted it.. I know it's not true, and that you would never, but hearing you say it scared me. I thought you were asking me to be your safety net, and by having one, you wouldn't think you needed to fight as hard." Apostos lowered her brows, so I continued: "...I was that for my father...I believe what you said, and I'm afraid for you. But I think... In any situation, whatever happens next, our group would do best to live by three words." 

Apostos and Tyrral now listened intently. I could feel my my heart burning as three words came from my mouth: 
"Courage, not compromise." 
It sounded so right, as if I had heard it from somewhere else.

Instantly, Tyrral smiled. "Well said. Well said!"
Apostos nodded, "Indeed.." she said.

"Apostos, you have Marthrandir's heart on your side. Be united with us, I beg of you." Tyrral said, looking toward Apostos. 

She returned his gaze for a moment and replied. "I would not see another fellowship disbanded..." she said, then she looked at me. "You are wiser than most. I have been the contrary as of late, and for that, I plead your forgiveness for the hurt caused, and for the doubt I've laid upon you." The last part seemed directed at Tyrral. 

Tyrral kneeled before Apostos. "Together, in Peace and Doubt." he declared. Apostos thanked him. I said nothing. It seemed suddenly that I couldn't speak at all; though I wanted to tell Apostos that I did forgive her. I could no longer find any words to say. Just then, Marthrandir rejoined us.

"Marthrandir. We have great need of you. Stand beside us, I pray." Tyrral pleaded.

"I have nothing more to say on it.....I have battled hard today. I'm restless and wary.." Marthrandir said, and it showed in his fair elven face.

Apostos took Marthrandir's hand and wrapped her fingers in his, though her eyes were still on me. Was she waiting for me to say something? Or was she merely lost in thought? I couldn't tell.

"I understand." Tyrral said,"The day has been long.. Let us all rest. Tomorow we will move on to Ost Forod..."

"Very well.. Have a good rest." Apostos said, then both she and Marthrandir walked away. Once again, Tyrral and I were left standing together. 

"You and I again, milad! Haha.. Well, you should also get your rest." He laughed, sending me on my way. "Don't let any of the boogymen into your head tonight, eh? Hahah, sleep well my young friend.'

He had no idea how late he was on telling me that, but I smiled. I knew there would be no nightmares tonight. I had to tell Aivah..


That night, I met her once again. This time, we were in a field of green grass and flowers, both so tall they passed our knees. The sky above us was bluer than I'd ever seen before, and the wind blew strong. Aivah stood a few feet away from me, holding back her short hair with one hand. 

"How'd it go?" she asked, smiling brightly.

"You were right. Thank you Aivah." I said, smiling back at her.

"Don't thank me. I'm not the one who put the words in your heart.." Aivah replied. 

I knew she was right. Once again, my heart felt warm and peaceful. I had hope once again, and the courage to keep on going for just a little longer.

"So, while we're here, do you wanna play?" Aivah asked suddenly. 

I nodded. I had really missed playing with Aivah; it seemed she had a way of making time stand still... Like we never had to grow up, and nothing bad would ever happen again. I knew that wasn't true, and that eventually I'd have to wake up and go on with the quest...

 But while we were both here, we might as well have fun together.
So we did.