Sorry for this pause, but I need to interject here.
I know it’s very unorthodox. I’ve been lectured by those who work in the archive on how to write these tales. That they are to be written, devoid of my personality and allow for the story to tell itself. And I have. For the most part. I’m sure there are places where I’ve completely ignored it. However, I have been consistent enough. But, one can only be silent for so long. I need to express some things. Let’s start with some background.
These stories wouldn’t exist if not for a death. Specifically the passing of First Warden Oeric’Sheldmartin. At first, his death was like any other. Sorrow and then the slow process of clearing at old belongings and reminiscing. Hidden away under a couple of ledgers, was a bundle. A hand made journal and a letter. There I watched a man who I knew most of my life cry as he read what was written to him. The bundle itself, was Oeric’s life written in his words. It took me and everyone else who knew him a long time to sit down and listen to that memoir. His son read it. He had the best voice. It sounded like him speaking at times. The writing itself wasn’t beautiful. It was quite plain. But it’s what those words told. The story behind a private man and he shared everything the best way he knew how: write it in private to have its discover on his passing for everyone to enjoy. If you understood Oeric’Sheldmartin, it made perfect sense.
When the tale was told, all I could think was, I want to write something like that.
Now, I’m not one for writing and reading. When I was eight years of age, the most I could do was scratch my name. For a noble child, that painfully embarrassing when some have their children reading treatises on diplomacy at five. Mien taught more than every royal tutor I had the displeasure of being taught under. I learned to write, messily. And reading became something I could do, but avoided. My becoming the Patriarch, required me to abandon my reservations and learn to come to terms with reading. And by coming to terms I mean battle it. Fighting the fatigue I get when it comes to reading and frustration when I lack understanding. However, when studying two sets of law, both the laws of the Seat but also the laws of Dias, you can read anything after that. I became accustomed to reading and writing, but never for fun. Never for myself or the benefit of others. After hearing and reading what he wrote, I decided to try a hand at it.
However, I wasn’t about to write about me. Not yet. I wanted to start at the beginning. The beginning wasn’t with me some of the most influential people in my life. As they had a story that needed to be told. When one is given the privilege of writing about someone’s life, you need to expect that there are things you will be uncomfortable writing. The only solution is to get over it. It helps when the person passes away and you have their writing preserved at your fingertips, such as in the late Master Oeric’s case. It creates a sort of distance in that if he was willing to divulge then I should be afraid to share what I’ve been told and know.
My issue comes from pulling from notes written by elves I see every day. In these cases I mutter to myself, debate for a day, and talk to my wife, she laughs at me, and I debate some more. My choices are, be an adult or be squeamish. And of course I chose squeamish adult and talk to my source.
And the source being Master Sol. He wasn’t in his chambers, in the meeting hall, his horse was in the stables, and not with his daughter. She though suggested to check the training field while she pulled poor Julyn following her to whatever nonsense she was getting herself into. A typical day. And of course the old monk was with a bunch of warders and up to his old tricks again. He had two unfortunate waders trying to beat him. They looked as if they got through with the basic staff usage as they were still a collection clumsy trainee and not watching their feet. Master First Warden Espen was watching them greatly amused.
“Patriarch,” greeted Espen, inclining his head.
“I’m surprised he never gets bored of this,” I said and watched the two young warders actually working together to try to take their formidable opponent down with one staying in Master Sol’s line of sight and the other was trying to exploit his blind spot. It was a nice change of pace.
“You know how this starts. He comes out here to say hello. Greets them warmly. Watches them train to pick the best ones, and see what they can do. They fall for it trying to prove themselves.”
And like predecessor before, the two warders failed. The one behind him rushed with a jab of all things and Master Sol pivoted, grabbed their staff and used their momentum against him sending them into their fellow trainee. There of course was a lot of laughter at their efforts from the rest of their training clutch.
“Nice try,” said Master Sol. “However, you need to use your brains just a bit more when fighting a more skilled adversary.”
I decided to announce my presence. “Age is starting to get to you if you’re only challenging two,” I said.
He turned around and arched a brow at me. All the waders behind him clamored together quickly to show their respect in a Brotherhood salute.
“I saw him take on an entire training clutch when I was younger,” I said to the warders. “I wasn’t in it of course, but it was very entertaining to watch because they almost had him. And this was when he was in his prime. Imagine what can accomplish now,”
I planted my seed and saw a few gears and wheels turning in their young minds. A few of them were counting.
Master Sol chuckled and stated. “Monks get wiser when they age. I’m twice as dangerous now,” he said with an air of confidence that made those wheels slow down a bit. “What brings you here, Patriarch?”
“I need to speak with you about something, but you weren’t where you were supposed to be as always,” I told him.
“So you had to walk around looking for me,” he said, sweeping me with his eyes.
“Yes, I checked in all the usual places, I stopped Miranda in the middle of her shenanigans. Despite her not being your blood child, she has this uncanny ability to wear that same expression of doing something no one is going to like. Like you’re looking right now.”
He nodded his head still appraising me. “So the walk warmed you up?”
“How’s air today, is it warm enough?”
“It is,” I said and the next thing I knew it, he tossed the staff that he was using at me and I caught it in air. “I was a scout and this isn’t a bow.”
“You know how to use a staff,” he said.
And then all the warders looked at me and a few of them saying, “Oh come on, Lord Theris.” “You can do it,” “The Arch Monk told us stories about you.”
It felt odd being on the receiving end of encouragement. I remember sitting on the fence line behind me, cheering on First Warden Oeric long ago when he was recovering. However, sparing wasn’t going to help me recover from what was wrong with me.
Master Sol gestured for me to join him. “Oh come on, our first chanter monk can show off every now and then,” he said reassuringly.
I looked at the collection of young warders before me. They were all hopeful looking. I had become a bit of a legend. So just for them. I sparred with them until my lungs couldn’t stand it. Then it turned into a question and answering secession with everyone wanting to know the adventures of the first chanter who became a monk. I talked to the end of their field time and they rushed to the corner of the field for a break.
It was finally after that, I was able to talk to Master Sol. We made our way back to the main building of the monastery.
“I have a problem. You know that project that I’ve been working on,” I told him. “I’ve gotten to the point where you first meet Arlwin.”
“Okay,” he said, keeping his gaze forward.
“And writing everything that accompanies that has been hard.”
“It’s a lot of personal things that I wanted to make sure you were okay with.”
He then looked down at me, puzzled. “I thought we were passed the whole problems with personal things.”
“Well, I find myself conflicted and it’s causing me issues on writing it.”
His brow worked to an arch. He didn’t understand what I was getting at.
I stopped walking and crossed my arms. “Would you want to write about your sisters and their relationships.”
Master Sol started laughing. “Really? Of all the things to bother you.”
I didn’t see what was so amusing about. Well, I did, but that meant that I had to acknowledge that I was being silly. I didn’t want to do that. Instead, I tried to express my reasonings as being sound.
“It isn’t so much you two specifically. I’m revealing to the world that their suspicions were true. That she was involved with you.”
His mirth didn’t wan. “And they would be disappointed to know there were no passion filled trysts, moments, or secret weddings.”
“But there were moments. Enough for scandalous thinking,” I said to him. “I don’t want them to think bad of the two of you.”
“Theris, people are going to think what they want of us. Some will already have a truth in their mind based on their bias. I personally wouldn’t worry about changing their minds. You should keep writing for those with an open mind for the truth, and what I wrote for you was honest and she did so as well. We both want others to understand what we are.”
“And you wrote was probably a little too honest,” I told him. “It’ll de-mystify you.”
He shrugged. “So. Anyone who knows me know I’m nothing more than just a man.”
I think that was part of my issue. He had always been larger than life to me even though I knew him personally. When I was a tiny boy, I idolized him like a silly squirt would a brother. However, I wasn’t nearly as talented or strong as I come to realize. Yet he was still there encouraging me with Mien. While writing these stories, I learned more about him. Learning that even though he was a skilled fighter, it took work to keep up that talent. And all the physical strength in the world didn’t shed his doubts and fears. Often times, the trials that taxed him the most emotional one. And I knew that. He always freely talked about himself. However, I guess having to read his voice written in a candid fashion made me more aware.
-Patriarch Lord Theris’Heron.