I was given to a loving couple who changed my name to Dekota. My birth mother became a faceless figure I resented. Ma and Pa, however, always expressed gratitude for my mysterious mother. Ma was so weak that she was unable to have any children of her own.
The woman I called 'Ma' had come to the caravan as an outcast. Since the days of her youth she was plagued by an illness that the healers could not cure. She worked as a seamstress until she became so sickly and frail that she couldn't walk to work anymore. Her muscles slowly degenerated, and soon she lost the use of her legs altogether. She was considered nothing more than a crippled beggar in the eyes of so-called "decent" society. But Ma never begged. She lived under the fallen stone in Beggar's Alley for years, then brigands and mean Southerners started becoming more frequent and her friends feared she might come to harm. They had heard about the caravan sometime before and took Ma to it when it was passing. All my life, I considered Ma the most beautiful woman in the world. Though her face was haggard, it was a face I loved. She had long white hair draped about her shoulder and noticeably fragile bones under a thin layer of skin. She was mostly bed-bound because she didn't have enough strength to stand, but sometimes Pa would carry her outside to a chair in the middle of camp, where she could sit and read to the younger children. I remember her hands were always shaky; more especially as she tried to teach my to write and sew. She had such a sweet laugh. It was a little scratchy but filled with such sweetness that you didn't care.
The man I called 'Pa' was half-orc. He had deserted his rank under the White Hand before the end of the war and worked a farm near Esteldin. He was eventually discovered and driven out. Prejudice men burned his farm and hunted him even though he had fled without a fight. Pa traveled by moonlight in search of a place he could live and eventually found refuge in the caravan. Others, more willing to fight, stood to defend him when the men came. I remember Pa being a strong man and a hard worker. He was often helping other campers by repairing their caravans, reining in the auroch when they became unruly, or carrying the heaviest animal when the hunting party returned with food. He was never angry or violent, always very kind and patient.
As a youth, it seemed I didn't appreciate the wisdom and guidance I received from them. At first I was too young to pay them any real heed, then word of my being a "Wraith Child" began to make our caravan (which already struggled for peace and acceptance) even more unwelcome than ever before. I was twelve years old, my powers started to manifest, and I became angry. I didn't appreciate the home I had or the care I was given anymore. I didn't want to live where I was judged, nor with people who were hated. I was angry that my birth mother had left me. I was angry about the way everyone looked at me. I was angry because of the names they called me and the thing they said I was. The world was my enemy and so was everyone in it. I got in fights, I held grudges, I yelled at people and destroyed things, and I wasn't sorry for any of it. At times, perhaps, Ma and Pa were too timid to handle my outbursts of anger. Nevertheless, they gave me all the love I could ever want and all the comfort they could afford.
Enter the third biggest influence in my life's story:
My birth mother hadn't spoken her cryptic message to the wind that night, nor to a crowd. The woods they were in were menaced by wild wargs, thus a few men kept night-watch. One was an Elf named Fahlion; the only of the fair folk who traveled with the caravan.
My bravado was instantly shattered and I went sobbing to Ma. She lovingly consoled me until evening when my tears of self pity were spent and guilt had begun to set in. Then Pa came and told me why Fahlion had done it: I was so consumed by rage that I'd actually burned him and hadn't noticed. He was worried that if he just endured the pain, I would continue until I hurt someone else or even myself. Pa strongly encouraged me to apologize to Fahlion and went with me to do so. We found him with the healer, and though he forgave me, I can still remember the horror and shame I felt when I saw his wounds.
That was the last time I tried to hurt someone.
After that, I became afraid of myself. I swore never to use my fire again. Yet Fahlion found ways of urging me to use it when the caravan needed light or warmth. I suddenly had a purpose that was good, and much of my anger at the world went away. I began to realize that I wasn't the monster everyone thought I was, or I didn't have to be at least. My temper was still hard to control at times, but Pa, Ma, and Fahlion each helped me find ways of letting off steam: Throwing a fireball into the air, putting my thoughts on paper and burning it after the feelings were past, or jumping into yet another body of water if the anger was too severe-- They never told me what to do, but somehow the things they would say gave me the idea.
They helped me understand that while rumors and scorn from outsiders fueled my childhood bitterness, it also helped me to accept who I was and stop caring about what others thought. If it hadn't been for Ma, Pa, and Fahlion, I might not have been prepared me to meet Raechal, Unora, and Gladwine later on after leaving the caravan. They most certainly wouldn't have become my friends, I know that for sure!
Now as a young adult on good terms with the world and at peace with myself, I can look back on my life and see where things were fell into place.