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SkyGirl

The Silver Archer: The Battle Moves North

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THE SILVER ARCHER

Chapter 1

 

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I pulled my quiver strap tighter with one hand so it wouldn't bounce against my body as I ran hard up the last hill, trying to disguise my heavy breathing. Mistral would be furious that I wasn't at the rendezvous point when she arrived, and I doubted that she would accept my excuse. The sun had long set and the roving bands of enemy elves and men would soon resume their nightly pursuit of our little Ranger band. It was not safe to be out in the woods alone.

 

When I reached the crest of the hill, I looked down and saw Mistral's campfire already burning low. I sighed and began to run down toward her. At least I had shot two small rabbits and traded for some cornmeal in the last village - perhaps that would appease her frustration.

 

I took a deer trail down the hill so I would make as little noise as possible hurrying toward the campsite, but despite my relatively quiet approach, she was already sitting up and poking the fire back to life when I arrived in the clearing. "You stayed longer than you said you would," she said simply.

 

I sighed and dumped the sack at her feet. "I did."

 

She glanced at the bag, didn't open it, and looked up at me out of the corner of her eye. "Why?"

 

I took a deep breath. No sense in covering it up. "I healed three people this afternoon."

 

"What!" She immediately sat up and pushed back her hood to look me full in the face, her eyebrows raised high over huge violet eyes. "I told you not to use your powers without one of your teachers around! You still have much learning to do before you're ready to use them on your own!"

 

"I know ..." I unslung my bow and quiver and sat down heavily on the ground next to her, slowly pulling off my wristlets and unlacing my boots. "But ... I couldn't just leave them there, could I? One of the girls had been hurt ... one of them was a young mother who was very sick ... and then an old gentleman who was very confused and needed help. I was the only one around."

 

"You went to town," Mistral shot back pointedly. "You were not the only one around. Someone else could have helped them."

 

"But not like I could," I shot back without thinking. As soon as I said it, she closed her eyes and her shoulders sank in a deep sigh. Why had I said that? I turned away and pulled my boots off, cringing as I waited for her usual lecture. 

 

She threw her stick down on the ground and rubbed her slender hands over her face with another heavy sigh. "Sky, you bear an important responsibility as the Keeper of the Silver Bow, that's true. But you're carrying far more weight on your shoulders than you should - far more than you're ready to carry. No one expects you to fulfill every need or right every wrong that comes your way. You are not the only Healer in the world. There are others. Many others. If you stop to use your powers on every crying child or lonely old man you meet, you won't have any time left to concentrate on your training and get stronger and more prepared to help even more people, in even bigger ways. Your training is the most important thing for you to focus on right now. All these side quests of yours are good, yes, but your training is best. You have a great work ahead of you that you won't be able to do if you don't shut out the distractions and practice and learn."

 

I sighed quietly as I half-listened to the speech she had already given me three or four times in the last week. I knew her reasoning was probably true, but I also knew I couldn't just close my eyes when people saw my Silver Bow in the villages and forest towns and came to me, asking for my help. It only took me a few minutes to hold onto someone's shaking hands and listen to them pour out their heart, or to fire an arrow discreetly into the center of a bickering throng, or to place my hands on the shoulders of a wounded soldier so the King's healing power could flow through his bruised body. The practice drills and dull old texts that Mistral assigned me did not and could not seem as important as real people sitting in front of me and asking for my help.

 

Of course, I couldn't say any of that to my teacher. "You're right," I said meekly, and reached over to push the bag toward her. "I did bring back a couple of rabbits and some cornmeal, if that helps."

 

She looked at the bag, then at me, then shook her head and chuckled. "Sky, I'm not so easily distracted. Thank you for the food. You fry the cornmeal while I prepare the rabbit, and we'll continue this discussion another time." 

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Ah yes, the caregivers dilemma, when to say "no."

"No" is a magical word, it can protect us from burnout, keep our boundaries strong, and keep us out of a lot of bad situations. When all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. When you are a healer, you think you can heal the world. Learning no can be one of the most painful lessons of all.

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17 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

When you are a healer, you think you can heal the world.

 

Yes ... so much yes. It's impossible and unwise to think it, but sometimes I feel so heavy and burdened, like I shouldn't even be sleeping because I should be working and helping and trying to fix all the problems all around me. What should clue me in is that that feeling never, ever leads to action - it only leads to nervous scrolling through Facebook feeds or tossing the computer on the floor and going to bed. The World is not my burden to carry. I'm not the Messiah. I'm just one of His servants, and no servant in a King's realm was ever asked to take all of the responsibilities of the kingdom on himself or herself (except for Joseph, but whatever).

 

That's kind of what this challenge is going to be about - focus, making choices, selecting what is Best and not just Okay or Good.

 

9 hours ago, jonfirestar said:

Following :)

 

I'm so glad!!  :)  :)  :) 

 

7 hours ago, Wild Wolf said:

Swanky little story entry, Sky :) 

 

Wolf

 

Thanks Wolf!! I'm glad you're here! :) 

 

6 hours ago, ForestGoddess said:

SkyGirl...reading your narratives has inspired me to take a Respawn in my own life. Thank you. Following.

 

Really??? :o  I'm coming over to follow your thread - I want to watch you respawn!! Go go go, girl! You've got this!!

 

5 hours ago, Elastigirl said:

I love how beautifully you bring your real life struggles into narrative form. Looking forward to the challenge.

 

Thank you, EG! I like putting my thoughts into allegory because, ironically, I can be more honest that way. :)  And I can also represent how important something is to me and how much it is troubling me - like to someone else, a bad grade or a difficult conversation might look like a small blip in my day, but it feels like I've been attacked by a horde of Orcs and left bleeding and confused on the forest floor. And I can be honest about that by putting it in a story.

 

Thank you for following! I'm so glad you're here!! :) 

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2 hours ago, SkyGirl said:

Yes ... so much yes. It's impossible and unwise to think it, but sometimes I feel so heavy and burdened, like I shouldn't even be sleeping because I should be working and helping and trying to fix all the problems all around me. What should clue me in is that that feeling never, ever leads to action - it only leads to nervous scrolling through Facebook feeds or tossing the computer on the floor and going to bed. The World is not my burden to carry. I'm not the Messiah. I'm just one of His servants, and no servant in a King's realm was ever asked to take all of the responsibilities of the kingdom on himself or herself (except for Joseph, but whatever).

Remember, even the Messiah you mentioned took time to go be by himself to pray and recharge. You're not better than he is, are you?

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On 4/21/2017 at 8:35 PM, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

Remember, even the Messiah you mentioned took time to go be by himself to pray and recharge. You're not better than he is, are you?

 

Nooo, you're right ... and He rested, and He went to weddings and other happy dinners and events with people, and He spent time talking with His friends, the disciples. And He worked lot. But He knew how to balance them and make sure that all of His activities were to the glory of God.

 

I think I've just found the Big Idea for my next challenge. :) 

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This is not related to my challenge, I don't think - I'll try to grab some time to start my challenge tomorrow, among a friend's baptismal service, half of an 18-page paper to write, two presentations to build, a dinner to plan, and six tomato plants to repot. But I had to report that I have just finally seen Guardians of the Galaxy for the first time, and while the pacing and style of the movie annoyed me at times, I have to say, I thought the climax at the end when they all joined hands to contain the power of the Infinity Stone was one of the most chills-inducing moments in the Marvel universe to date.

 

bbc.gif 

 

That's what friends do. That is one of the best metaphors for friendship I have ever seen. If a friend is carrying something that's too heavy or difficult or powerful or harmful for them to carry, we don't take it away from them and try to carry it for them, but we can reach out and help bear that weight, help diffuse that fear, help absorb some of that shock. And together, bearing that load together, we are powerful.

 

It also made me think about why it's important to get other friends to help carry the heavier burdens and not try to help someone all by myself. Gamora couldn't have saved Peter by herself - she needed Drax and Rocket to help, too. And that could be the key to my developing a healthier relationship with my friend group. If I help them build the kind of confidante relationships with other trusted friends and mentors that they currently only have with me, then we can spread the hurt around and create a strong network of friends, instead of running the risk of my burning out and disappearing and leaving them alone.

 

Balance ... balance is shaping up to be the theme for the first chapter of the Silver Archer series. Good, healthy balance to keep myself upright and moving forward.

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THE SILVER ARCHER: CHALLENGE 1

 

This month, school is winding down and summer with all its glorious possibilities arduous research is opening up before me; and the end of finals means the end of excuses for crappy eating. I've gained some weight back (114.5 pounds), woke up on Monday feeling terribly sick and confused with what I think may have been a blood sugar crash, and have learned the hard way that I need to eat a little bit regularly in order to stay emotionally stable and healthy. So this month, my plan is to maintain the good habits I've built at the gym and not let those slide, but to really turn my attention to how often and how much I'm eating.

 

This is also the first challenge in which I become the Silver Archer. 

 

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(If this image screams "Sky has been playing on AzaleasDolls.com again instead of doing her homework ... yeah, that's what it screams to me, too.)

 

When a Keeper of the Silver Bow goes and trains with a Master to learn how to maximize her powers of healing and clarity, she becomes a Silver Archer, a Ranger with more responsibility to lead her corps and protect the people of the land in the way of peace. Her ability to clarify, to make peace, to heal with love and story - all of these become more a part of her, and her skill and precision with the bow become greater. She is gaining the knowledge she will need to become a Protector one day.

 

In less than 2 weeks, Sky will officially begin her studies with Mistral Uí Diarmada, a Master who has been a Keeper, a Silver Archer, and is now one of the Protectors of the Northern Forest. She will teach Sky how to control her emotions, how to train her body and mind, and how to use her skills for the good of the Kingdom. Sky will need to be disciplined, focused, determined, balanced, and healthy in order to learn well and give her all to her studies. She will need to fight against the attacks of the Dark Elf and her own insecurities as she leaves behind Ayre Kallana, her first teacher and the one who taught her how to be a Keeper and a Ranger. And she will need to stay committed to her quest and her goals to avoid being distracted or led away into shadow.

 

Here is my first Silver Archer challenge:

 

Food:

Track every breakfast, lunch, and dinner in MFP

- 6 days / week for 4 weeks (72+ meals): +1 CON, +2 WIS

- 6 days / week for 3 weeks (54-71 meals): +1 CON, +1 WIS

- 6 days / week for 2 weeks (36-53 meals): +0.5 CON, +0.5 WIS

- 6 days / week for 1 week (18-35 meals): +0.5 WIS

Total points available: +2.5 CON, +4 WIS

 

Eat at least 100 calories at breakfast and 290 calories at lunch on weekdays

- 5 days / week for 4 weeks (20 days): +2 CON, +2 STA

- 5 days / week for 3 weeks (15-19 days): +2 CON, +1 STA

- 5 days / week for 2 weeks (10-14 days): +1 CON, +0.5 STA

- 5 days / week for 1 week (5-9 days): +0.5 CON

Total points available: +5.5 CON, +3.5 STA

 

Stay at or below exercise-adjusted calorie limit (baseline: 1220 cal)

- 7 days / week for 4 weeks (28 days): +3 CON

- 7 days / week for 3 weeks (21-27 days): +2 CON

- 7 days / week for 2 weeks (14-20 days): +1 CON

- 7 days / week for 1 week (7-13 days): +0.5 CON

Total points available: +6.5 CON

 

Cook dinner 2 nights / week

- 2 times / week for 4 weeks (8+ meals): +2 WIS

- 2 times / week for 3 weeks (6-7 meals): +1.5 WIS

- 2 times / week for 2 weeks (4-5 meals): +1 WIS

- 2 times / week for 1 week (2-3 meals): +0.5 WIS

Total points available: +5 WIS

 

Exercise:

Go to gym 2 times / week

- 4 weeks: +2 STR, +2 STA, +2 CON, +2 DEX

- 3 weeks: +1 STR, +1 STA, +1 CON, +1 DEX

- 2 weeks: +0.5 STR, +0.5 STA, +0.5 CON, +0.5 DEX

Total points available: +3.5 STR, +3.5 STA, +3.5 CON, +3.5 DEX

 

Walk 100+ miles

- 80+ miles = +1 STA

- 90+ miles = +1 STA, +1 STR, +1 CON

- 100+ miles = +1 STA, +1 STR, +1 CON

Total points available: +3 STA, +2 STR, +2 CON

 

Spiritual Health:

Finish reading Revelation, 2 Corinthians, Psalm 1-75

- Revelation: +0.5 WIS (almost done with that)

- 2 Corinthians: +1 WIS

- Up through Psalm 75: +1 WIS

Total points available: +2.5 WIS

 

Total Points Available: +20 CON, +11.5 WIS, +10 STA, +5.5 STR, +3.5 DEX

(although STR may be adjusted if I do a lot of weightlifting this month)

 

Bonus Activities / Rewards:

- Row 3000 km: Eat a small slice of cake

- Row 3000 km more than once: Post about it on social media :) 

- Walk 100 miles or more: Buy a new pair of cross-trainers - it's time!!

- Complete 10 or more overhead presses with 15-pound dumbbells: Buy a small dish of ice cream from Coldstone Creamery (but just a small one!)

- Get my learner's permit renewed: Buy a new dress

 

This is pretty ambitious, but most of the food things were things I was trying for anyway, so I'm not really adding any new elements, just trying to do better at writing them down. And my workout goals are a little vague at the moment, but I'm trying to find exercises besides rowing to build my shoulder and chest muscles, both for functional strength and for better-looking shoulders. I'm hoping to stick with my current routine of walking, rowing, and lifting, but maybe put more emphasis on the lifting part.

 

And as always, if it turns out that I've bitten off more than I can chew, I will pare it back once I've given this a try. :)

 

*deep breath*

 

Here we go!!

 

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These look like great goals, and I really like that you have created a newer, more awesome, persona for yourself.  100 miles sounds like a really nice number to go for!

 

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AND IM HERE at the near(ish???) beginning of a challenge before you do all your fancy beautiful heart-wrenching writing to me and I can actually read alongside you. Isn't it amazing! :D

You've got this! Balance is an awesome theme, and I hope you find some semblance of it in this busy time! <3

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WEEK TWO

mission: reconnect

 

I am alive!! This month is really kicking my butt so far ...

 

tumblr_inline_o6od4bAQDB1sqamzb_500.gif 

 

(me trying to hold it all together ... except, of course, I'm not that ripped.)

 

I'm at the level of stress that makes me tired and sad and hungry, not the higher level that makes me nervous and lose my appetite, so I've been struggling to stay under my calorie allotments each day. My new Fitbit is starting to have the same syncing problem as my old one, so it's hard to keep an accurate sense of my activity levels throughout the day. I only got to the gym once last week and don't know when I'll get there this week. My last two projects are doozies, my professor needs me to step it up this week on research work because we got a small grant (yay!), and it's my last week of work, so the back wheelhouse of my brain is whirring about appropriate goodbye gifts and thoughtfully crafted messages for cards and social media.

 

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(me actually definitely not holding it all together)

 

The most important thing I need to do right now to stay engaged and not let my self-care slip in the midst of the craziness (*gives myself the side-eye for still being awake at 3AM*) is to hang onto the mental aspects of the challenge even if I can't always follow through on the physical aspects. It's the most motivating thing in the world for me to spend time thinking of myself as a Ranger, allegorizing the things I'm doing in my life and refocusing on how I can train my body and mind to be the strongest Ranger I can. Even if I don't end up getting to the gym this week, and even if I eat a little more than usual while I finish up this stressful week, I can take a few minutes each day to remember why I'm doing this, remember what my goals are, and make concrete plans with myself to get back on track as soon as things are more under control.

 

I'll be back soon - I have more narrative segments brewing!!

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18 hours ago, SkyGirl said:

The most important thing I need to do right now to stay engaged and not let my self-care slip in the midst of the craziness (*gives myself the side-eye for still being awake at 3AM*) is to hang onto the mental aspects of the challenge even if I can't always follow through on the physical aspects. It's the most motivating thing in the world for me to spend time thinking of myself as a Ranger, allegorizing the things I'm doing in my life and refocusing on how I can train my body and mind to be the strongest Ranger I can. Even if I don't end up getting to the gym this week, and even if I eat a little more than usual while I finish up this stressful week, I can take a few minutes each day to remember why I'm doing this, remember what my goals are, and make concrete plans with myself to get back on track as soon as things are more under control.

 

The mindset of you and all of the other Rangers is definitely why I hang here.  I think that a big part of all of NF is the steady, patient, humane change of mindset to a much healthier self.  I am 100% confident you will be back on track as soon as you can.

 

avengers-captain-america-chris-evans-civ

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Hey there, been a while since I've checked in. Loved your thoughts on Guardians. Calorie that seems pretty low if I understand you to be saying only 1,200 even if you've exercised.  Also , the scale says you've gained weight but how do your clothes fit? If you are going to gain muscle and look like Cpt. America:), there is going to be some weight gain. Don't be too freaked out by the scale, or you will end up dieting away all your muscle gains

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17 hours ago, Elastigirl said:

Hey there, been a while since I've checked in. Loved your thoughts on Guardians. Calorie that seems pretty low if I understand you to be saying only 1,200 even if you've exercised.  Also , the scale says you've gained weight but how do your clothes fit? If you are going to gain muscle and look like Cpt. America:), there is going to be some weight gain. Don't be too freaked out by the scale, or you will end up dieting away all your muscle gains

 

Hi EG! I'm glad you're here!  :-)

 

The calorie number does not include exercise; that's just the MFP baseline before exercise. It is pretty low - I've been consistently having trouble staying near it, even before all my stress blew up this week. I initially adjusted it to about 1400 to switch from loss to maintenance, but when I gained a few pounds back, I adjusted it back down ... I haven't hit that target more than a handful of times in the last two weeks, though, so I think I may need to tweak again. Do you have tips on knowing when weight gain is due to muscle, and when it is due to actual weight? My clothes all still fit about the same, but that's probably because my gains have only been a matter of 3 or 4 pounds.

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Popping in briefly before getting back to work, and realizing I really need to get better at managing my stress levels ... I haven't felt this sick in a year, not since last spring's finals week. When I let things get out of hand, I get muscle aches and headaches, my jaw gets tight and painful, my heart races, I get sick to my stomach, I have trouble sleeping, and my thoughts race in circles, or else they get stuck on one thing and I keep obsessing over it over and over and over. Last year I got stuck on whether one of my male friends liked me or not, and made the poor guy's finals week nightmarish ... this year I've been stuck on writing the goodbye letters and cards for my coworkers, so while I still have fragments of appreciative phrases jumbling around in my head, at least I have a much more productive outlet.

 

This afternoon I took a while to write a letter to my editor, thanking him for being such a good friend and mentor over the last year, and had a close friend read it to make sure I hadn't written anything strange in my exhausted state ... afterward I went to the undergraduate student lounge area and took a one-hour nap, then bought myself a peanut butter protein smoothie from Freshens to give myself a sugar and protein boost. None of that helped me finish any of my assignments, but I'm feeling much better and calmer. 

 

If I get a good handle on my assignments tonight, I'd love to go to the gym tomorrow and burn off some of these nerves ... at this moment I feel like I'd have no trouble at all smashing that 3000-meter rowing goal.  :) 

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5 hours ago, SkyGirl said:

 

Hi EG! I'm glad you're here!  :-)

 

The calorie number does not include exercise; that's just the MFP baseline before exercise. It is pretty low - I've been consistently having trouble staying near it, even before all my stress blew up this week. I initially adjusted it to about 1400 to switch from loss to maintenance, but when I gained a few pounds back, I adjusted it back down ... I haven't hit that target more than a handful of times in the last two weeks, though, so I think I may need to tweak again. Do you have tips on knowing when weight gain is due to muscle, and when it is due to actual weight? My clothes all still fit about the same, but that's probably because my gains have only been a matter of 3 or 4 pounds.

I'm still figuring it out. But here are some ways

 

Your clothes fitting. If you're clothes still fit the same and aren't getting tighter, chances are it is muscle

get a body tape measure. I measure my waist and hips, Those numbers should be going down. https://www.amazon.com/AccuFitness-MT05-MyoTape-Body-Measure/dp/B000G7YW7Y/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1493864259&sr=8-1&keywords=body+tape+measure

 

Are you getting stronger, able to lift more weight?

Amount. Muscle is pretty slow to gain. Unless you are really working at it, most women only gain about .5 pound of muscle a week, sometimes 1 pound. 

My opinion is if you've only gained 3 or 4 pounds, at least most of that is muscle. I'd just stick to maintence. Really right now you are lean enough, what you want to focus on is building strength.

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The cold rain was driving an ache into my throat and shoulders as I slogged through the ankle-deep pools of muddy water collecting in the deer trail I was following. This was my last mission as a Keeper. In two days, I would be leaving this forest behind, moving into the rocky north plains, leading and recruiting my own teams to carry out strike and reconnaissance missions. I wished for the sake of my ice-cold feet and low fever that the weather had been seasonally warm and sunny, but somehow, the chilled, trembly, weeping weather seemed to better reflect the still, frightened acceptance in my heart.

 

The last mission was nothing glorious or memorable - I was to gather food for Saevel, Mistral, and myself to pack for the next few days, as well as Tommelin, who had changed his mind and decided to come with us instead of follow Yazl back to his village. I slipped down the last hill before the small stream and nearly tumbled in, but skidded to a stop before pitching into the tumbling, icy water. I thought I would try to catch some fish first - they could be dried over the fire and packed easily. Besides, it had been too cold and wet for many herbs or vegetation to sprout, and my tracking skills weren't good enough to find larger animals in this wet weather. I splashed to a seat next to the stream, pulled out my fishing rod and stuck a bit of jerky on the hook, and settled down to wait.

 

The last week had not been easy for any of us. The wet chill had settled in Ayre's bones and resurrected his fever, forcing us to leave him with an innkeeper in the last town. He had only been back with us for a day before Mistral sent me out on this scouting mission. I wanted so badly to have him nearby for as long as I could - the nightmares had receded, but left me barely able to sleep at all, and I had to work hard to hide how small, cold, and alone I felt at the thought of moving out and leaving him behind. When I sought his eyes across the campsite, he avoided my gaze, and was too busy mending equipment and preparing for the next part of his own journey to sit down and talk. I could feel his own dread building and knew he was too sick and weak to confront it, but I felt lost - like I had reached out to grab a handhold on the side of a mountain, and it wasn't there.

 

Mistral had also decided to handle the reconnaissance for the next part of our travels, so she, too, had disappeared, only leaving basic instructions and saying she "trusted me to know what else I needed to do". Why she would say such a thing when she knew as well as I did that I did not, in fact, know what else I needed to do - I didn't know. I hoped there was no hidden message or side mission I had missed.

 

After nearly an hour of sitting unprotected in the rain and feeling it soak into every square inch of cloth on my body, the idea finally arose in my head to build a shelter for myself. I dug the end of my pole into the mud and used my Bow to create a small lean-to shelter with my cloak, plunking rocks over the two corners to create a windbreak. My spirits rose slightly once the wind was not lashing water into my face.

 

My mind wandered. Mistral had said my mind was like Saevel's, like the wind ... it certainly felt that way today. I thought back - I thought about who I had been when I first became a Keeper. I thought about how far I had traveled, how many miles my legs had covered, and how much stronger my mind and body had grown. But with the incessant racing of my tired heart, trying so hard to push down the waves of fear that lapped up from my stomach, I kept coming back to Ayre. I saw images, and felt fragments of memories. Sitting with him and Aki in the Guidlhall, spinning stories by the fire while the snow swirled outside ... the gravity in his eyes as he took my hand and closed it around the Silver Bow ... the confidence in his voice as he charged down a hill knowing I was right behind him, or when he called me to come help him heal Yazl and the other wounded travelers we encountered. I did not know where these memories would lead us. Would we see each other again? Keep making more stories and memories to share? Or would our friendship slowly fade into the background of my experiences, becoming just another rock under my feet as I climbed up the mountain of my life's journey?

 

Next thing I knew, I was writing. Long ago, I had stopped writing in the little book that I brought with me from home at the start of my journey, but I never stopped carrying it; and today I pulled it out and began to fill page after page. Ayre and the Bearded Ranger had told me that the power of the Silver Bow was not only for healing people and creating clarity - what animated it, what gave it life, was words. As I wrote, I could feel the familiar warm glow stirring and rising in my heart like the flutter of wings, spilling out onto the pages and giving my words brightness and power.

 

I wrote to Ayre - I thanked him for everything he had done, everything he had taught me and been to me. I wrote about the future and what I hoped to become, and how that future was possible because of his friendship and teaching. I promised to become strong, to become the Protector that he and Mistral wanted me to be. And as I wrote, I could feel the Bow's power begin to heal me. I remembered everything they had said about my purpose being larger than myself - it was something that the King had created for me, and I was safe within the boundaries of His power and will. I remembered that Mistral had promised to be with me and teach me what to do and where to go. I knew she would grow close to me too, and become a friend, in time. And I would meet others training to be Silver Archers and Protectors - I was not alone; I was not peerless or friendless. I would meet others along the same journey, and we would help and counsel and love each other. Together, we would come back to the Forest, or we would go forward into other lands that needed us, and we would spread the light and hope that we had been given. 

 

I tore out the pages and folded them into a thick bundle, only briefly glancing over what I had written. This was for Ayre. Whether we got to sit together one last time or not, he could at least have this, my promise of friendship and my pledge to make him proud. "May my words bring light to you in my absence, as your presence has brought light to me," I whispered.

 

The rod jiggled and snapped me back to the present. I closed my rucksack and grabbed the pole.

 

I had one last mission to complete.

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HIYA :) I fell off the map for a while, but I am gonna try to be a lot better at keeping up with people! I feel ya on finals stress... good luck with your projects and everything!!

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