It is the early days of summer.
The Valley of the Wolf is is alive with activity. The fields are being worked, the hunters and fishers return with their bounty. Everything is at peace, and praise the goddess Me’sha for her gifts.
As Orpo, the Merkitä Muistiin, makes his way through the valley, he follows the road Børæn made his first priority when moving the tribe here. This road grew to many, and together now allow for the flow of people and goods throughout the valley, as well as the two neighboring valleys the Wolf Tribe hold. As always Orpo’s heart warms to how the boy he considers his son, has grown to be who he is.
Walking in silence, Orpo looks around and reflects on the peace he travels through. The tribe works with a purpose, and this purpose is one in synch with the land. Framing, brewing, and even the crafts of the tribes have brought much to the Wolf. Children learn and they are allowed to be children in the safety of the valley. Still, despite all appearances, the Wolf is ready. The sounds of the forge drift through the air, as does the steady thunk of arrow striking target. The Wolf may look tame, but that is only appearance. The Wolf is always ready to strike and the Wolf never tamed.
The road takes him to his destination: a meadow. This is no ordinary meadow, it is the one the Peikko (goblin) now live in commune with their goddess. This change astounds the Merkitä Muistiin. In days not so distant, this field would be littered with the bodies of Peikko and the Wolf. The beauty and tranquility of this place would be shattered as blood seeped into the earth, and the broken bodies left for the crow’s meal.
Now the Peikko are part of the Wolf, and are the worshiper’s of Me’sha. The “little ones” as Børæn calls them, has worked to bring more to the goddess, and though the Peikko do not number many, the group here carry on the work, worship the shared goddess, and are a strong part of the tribe.
Børæn stands with them, and whatever worship they were doing is over. Orpo watches as each goblin pays their respect to Børæn, and in return Børæn, pays them his respect. Some spend a few minuets talking to the man, that once, would have buried a axe in their head. Strongly, the man and Peikko share a laugh, share a few words, or offer respect. Even Talvi, when she is not busy stalking her cub, seems to show a strange sense of respect and kindness to the “little ones.” As the last of the Peikko depart, Orpo approaches his pupil.
“You should join us next time Merkitä Muistiin, this is lore that is as important as the battles we have fought. Maybe I should collect this lore for you!” Børæn voice rumbles.
“So you are now Merkitä Muistiin pup? That ego you have knows no bounds. We all know it is your wife who is the real mind driving that body! Besides your head is as empty as your drinking horn if you think you can serve as Merkitä Muistiin!”
He tries to show his anger, but Børæn laughs, a booming laugh, and with him Orpo joins him.
They embrace, not as fellow warriors, but as father and son. Standing next to each other, the two stand in silence as they Talvi and her cub run through the grasses, and stalking one another. Talvi is old and her fur is more white than grey. Her cub, who is as black as the night will carry on her legacy.
“Does he have a name?” Orpo quietly asks.
“Turgon,” Børæn replies simply.
“Why that one?”
Børæn pauses, and Orpo sees sadness cloud the face of the man. It is a sadness that he rarely shows, and it is a side of Børæn only a few know that exists.
“Turgon was the one, besides yourself, who showed me a different way. It was he who led me to Me’sha’s grace. It was he who taught me lessons I did not know I needed. Turgon was a great chieftain. Not a chieftain of warriors, but a chieftain who showed all who would listen, a different way. Even if he sometimes chaffed at that, he new the duty he held.”
“Where I am, and always will be, Me’sha’s rage, he was her voice. At no other time in my life did your words ring more true: Ber er hver að baki nema sér bróður eigi (One’s back is vulnerable, unless one has a brother.) He was my mentor, he was my teacher, and he was, and always will be my brother.”
“A few weeks ago you asked me about the battle of Irecia. I grew angry with you, and I am sorry. Let me tell you why I was angry, maybe then you will understand why that event still is a dagger in my heart. After the utter failure of making any positive effect on Irecia…”
“But you rescued the men my boy. Surely you can see that the deed was a good one?” Interrupted Orpo who braced himself for Børæn’s outburst. Instead he was surprised by the clam nature of the man he often still saw as a boy.
“I know… Let me tell you tell you more, and then you can see why my anger is still there…"
“After Irecia, my companions and I split apart to take care of our own matters. I traveled to Me’sha’s shrine and longed for the peace that place brought me, and still brings me. When Talvi and I arrived, the peace was shattered. Turgon and the worshipers were gone. Gone to were the little ones. My adopted tribe was missing, and the shrine looked as an attempt was made to destroy it."
“This is why the events of Irecia still are a dagger in my heart. I failed my adopted tribe, and if I was there, if Talvi was there, we could have prevented it. I still blame myself for Turgon’s and my adopted tribe’s abduction. I will live with this shame till my body is returned to the land.”
A quiet then settles, and out of no where a breeze stirs the grasses. It dances across the grasses, and then surrounds the two men, as if it is a caress. The breeze is a gentle one. It caresses. It soothes. It carries the scents of summer, as well as the touch of forgiveness. Looking up at Børæn, Orpo sees no anger but in place a peaceful calm.
“We decided that these Black and White cloaks were the ones behind the abduction. As is typical with the soft ones in the south, we had to “discus” matters. The details are not important, just that we learned of a rot festering in the heart of the Church of the Light.” At mentioning of the Church of the Light, Børæn spits. Even now, many years after the events, he is angry at the so called ‘Light’."
“Traveling south, we learned that indeed this so called religion of peace, was in fact a den of lies, deceit and evil. The church * spit * supported these Lightbringers, and it was they who abducted Turgon and my adopted tribe."
“We tracked down a location of a gathering of these White Cloaks. We noticed that one of them was the apparent leader, and when I saw him, Belàldur had all he could do to stop me from rushing in right then. So I waited and my rage grew.”
Orpo looks at Børæn and sees the look he has seen many times: being lost in his remembrance. It is if, after all these years, he still feels he is there now.
“As soon as the coward left, I looked to Talvi and she knew. It was time to hunt. Kicking my horse, we took to the wind and raced to capture our prey. Some of my companions followed, but I did not stop. All Talvi and I cared about was delivering Me’sha’s rage upon our prey."
“After about two hours, we caught up to him. How I am still not sure, one minute he was on his horse, the next he was on the ground. It made no difference, I leaped from my saddle and grappled the man. He struggled, but soon Lohikäärme Hammas was in hand, as my companions arrived during my questioning. Yes, before you asked, I did not question him in the ways of the Wolf. I showed restraint. I only hobbled him, and broke he shoulders. It is amazing what it takes to break someone who feels they are strong. We learned what we needed, and I carved into his chest “Traitor” in the runes of our people.”
“Learning from the coward of a farmhouse that Turgon was being kept, we made haste to there. Me’sha’s rage was still with me, and we rode with her as the wind pushed us on.”
“The details of what went next is not important. Swords sliced, magic was flung, and blood flowed. I found Turgon, near death’s door, but it was due to the aid of Grel, who up until then I thought was like a Pop-in-Jay (all sound no will). Turgon lived, still weak, but he lived.”
As if on cure, the wolf cub runs up to Børæn barking in pleasure. In a blur, Børæn, grabs the cub and whispers to the young one. Their is happiness here. Børæn’s hardness, softens as the cub licks his face. Their is a tenderness as well s he rubs the cub’s ears.
“There is more to this tale Merkitä Muistiin, but that can wait. The sun is setting, and you know the queen is not happy if I am late.”
Orpo chuckles at the dichotomy that is Børæn. “Go. Go. We can talk again.”
Orpo watches as Børæn whistles for Talvi and gently places Turgon to the ground. The three head down the roading to the village and the hearth of Børæn’s lodge. In their wake, Orpo feels a slight breeze stir the air agian. It gently touches his cheek. Like a dream, the breeze leaves and rustles the grasses lining the road Børæn walks, and as if it was his companion, it blows gently round him in harmony as he walks.