I don’t know quite how to start this letter—everything’s still spinning in my head. Before you left, I asked you how I would know I was doing as Erastil would wish. You said: “Listen to the wind, the water, and the trees, and Erastil will speak to you through them.” I thought you were being poetic, as you’ve always had such a way with words. But it was more than that, wasn’t it?
Father, I’ve heard Erastil’s voice…and it was wonderful. He spoke to me in the shade of a corrupted temple, and his guidance showed me how to cleanse it of its taint. The story he told was a sad one, but one whose resolution filled me with hope.
Many hundreds of years ago, a temple in the forests of the Lost Lands was tended by a devout priest. He watched over the land, spoke with Erastil’s tongue, and meted out the gifts of nature to the needs of mankind. But as the years wore on, he grew tired of his duties, and found scorn in the demands of petty men who gave no thanks for the blessings they received. In his resentment, he strayed from the righteous path, and bred monsters to push back the settlements of man. He did this in Erastil’s name, as if our God could sanction such a thing.
And Erastil became angry…so angry that he walked out of the forest and showed his face to the corrupted priest. In anger and in sadness, he cursed the priest with the form of a massive bear, and tasked him with guarding the temple he had so defiled until the sun burned cold and the moon crumbled to dust. This is how we found him—viscous, savage, and wanting of our blood.
Sasha fought to defend us—you would be so proud of him father—and with his leadership we were able to subdue the beast. Then, in meditation, Erastil showed me what must be done. He said to me that to cure the taint, the cursed priest must be culled. It was with a heavy heart that I went to him and struck the final blow. But I knew it was an act of mercy, and no sooner did the bear breathe its last that the curse was undone.
The temple now is something wondrous to behold. There is a great carving of an elk on the cliff face that seems like it might leap down and run amongst the sheltering trees that that vault the forest canopy. There is a pool before the temple whose waters taste with a sweetness I’ve never known. And all around the place, I can sense the touch of our teacher, our healer, the one who has made us what we are. Oh father, there are hardly words!
The remainder of our trip was eventful, but I’ll leave it to Sasha’s letters to fill you in on the details. Suffice to say, Sasha has kept me safe and secure, and continues to be every bit of the man you raised him to be. If he has a fault, it’s that his sense of purpose may be too keen, so much so that he may avoid the small duties of what is right for the larger notion of what must be done. Still, I could wish for no one better to walk at my side…except perhaps for you of course.
Pass my love to mother, and let her know how well I am doing. Truly, I feel that my life has been gifted in every way, and each new day promises only more.