January 28, 2010
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A lone wolf stood deep in the heart of the Northern Forest, reflecting on many things. Dogmatic, pedantic, stuffy cities. Elitist, isolationist, arrogant forests. Old friends, bitter enemies, and lost allies. The idiocy of the mortal races seemed to draw even the color from the world. The clouds seemed dull and the trees lacked their usual vibrancy. The wolf turned and began to run, his feet carrying him to the white road laid down by an empire of ages past, and then beyond.

He was soaring above the road, watching as the Black City came into view on the horizon. Fear and hatred fled his soul, leaving curiosity to well deep within. The northern gate was before him, then behind him as he sped forward.

A tall, cracked pillar loomed before him, surrounding by people unlike any he was familiar with. Some drenched in blood, others strangely distorted. And yet, laughter and banter rose to his ears. A winged demon gave directions to a confused student. Ideas were discussed, opinions shared. One person listened attentively as they were taught by another.

Onward, rushing onward, slipping through the air to the south, he raced once more along the road. Now trees loomed around him, strange, dark, and gaunt. Spiders and crows sped past him as he made his way between the trunks, drawn onward by the force of his thoughts. A great, twisted hulk of a tree emerged from the shadows some distance off, and his incorporeal form drew nearer. Strange whispers surrounded him, voices hidden from his eyes. A crow let out a loud cry in the stillness, and he slowly became aware of figures hidden in the darkness surrounding the tree. Soft voices rose to his ears, discussing trivial things. Herbs, potions, prices, clothes. Quiet laughter and hidden humor were uttered below him. A young student of the forest wandered past, conspicuous in contrast to the more subtle of those gathered in the glade. A brief history lesson was given, and the student delivered several shadows to the tree. Life went on.

Once more, he was drawn on, this time to the northwest. Leaving the forest behind him, he flew past mountains and rivers, winding his way gradually northwards. A shining light broke before him, surrounding the place from which he had originally come. His pace increased as his compulsion drove him through the southern gate and into the heart of the Resurgence of the Light itself. Calm waters filled the streets below him, hummingbirds and cats wandering uninterrupted. A star-filled pool stood before him, with familiar faces gathered around it. Below him, a young bard sang sweetly of the love of her life, and he smiled in recognition. An angel stood next to her, his wings folded peacefully. Armored knights laughed easily alongside dignified mages, while overhead a brilliant orb sparkled. Memories burst behind his eyes, memories of long hours spent meticulously crafting a golden axe at a gleaming, beautiful forge.

And yet he was drawn on, not allowing himself to linger as he soared northwards. Out of the northern gate and on, along the alabaster-white road. Ahead of him, emerald trees reached up, beckoning him home.

His flight carried him through the forest that was now home and hearth to him. Silver motes of light danced around him, disturbed by his passage. The huge shape of a mighty tree entered his vision, and he stopped before it. All around him were friends. Some taught, others drew power, most just laughed and talked. Another wolf spoke eagerly of her new designs and ideas. Life went on. Familiar sights and sounds drifted past him as he lost himself in a haze of contemplation.





All were the same. Populated by mortals, full of life. Mortals fought each other for power, resources, anything. But really, all mortals were the same. Imperfect, mere shards of greater beings. But all were
special, integral to the world, making it what it was. The Dark City had much in common with the Northern Forest. The conception that the Taint or the Wyrd were evil left him utterly. They were other forms of life, of being. Not wrong, but part of the whole. They were simply other facets of nature.

He threw his head back and howled, and it seemed to him as though the rest of the world howled with him, their voices becoming one, a resounding declaration that all were the same, that all needed each
other. All were one.

A lone wolf stood deep in the heart of the Northern Forest, a small smile on his lips. He bent and gently began to work a sprig of chervil loose from its resting place in the ground. On the ground next to him lay his twin blades, discarded and forgotten.

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