After sundown, I found the moon rising among dreary mists on the Eastern horizon. She came up slowly, with purpose, lighting the low cloud with ghostly light. I sang a song to her that Selene taught me, but it brought me little comfort. There seemed a great coldness between us.
After investigating the Spriggan layer and a local lookout, our party has exhausted our leads as to the whereabouts of the Varnholders. The only option that remains now is to push into the ‘Valley of the Dead’ and seek out the evil the centaurs have warned us against. With hope and luck we will find the people we seek held captive and be able to free them to return to their city. If not, we will at least be able to lay back to rest what has risen and see that it doesn’t take anyone else.
Gideon is quick to warn us that this task will not be easy. Though he remains brave and confident, I can feel the conflict in him. He wants to be more cautious, to act valorously but also wisely. He knows we have come to depend on his leadership here—in this place of doubts—more than ever before. And so it weighs on him that we are always looking to him for the right thing to do. He doesn’t know better than any of us.
For my own part, the ‘right’ thing seems quite different from what is expected by the others. Through this journey, the moon brought me to the Nomen, and I feel I have much more to learn from them. I would like to sit by their fire and sing with them, to know the night as they do. Surely we could learn from one another, surely we could be friends if we had time to bathe together in the white light from above. I hope there will be time for that when this is done. I hope I live to get the chance.
As for the Varnholders, their fate concerns me, but seems to be out of my control. If this ancient presence had evil purpose for them, surely they have been put to it by now. Our chances at rescue, or even vengeance, seem slim. But I keep these doubts to myself. Voicing baseless dissent would be of little help.
I worry, I doubt, and I want to turn away. I feel as if I am riding a current of wind sweeping me up in this conflict, following friendship rather than wisdom. Instead of lighting my way, the moon stands at my back. She pushes instead of pulls. I go blindly.
The light of the moon shows things that the sun could never see. It light paths in the darkness and empties shadows. I know this…I’ve seen it. Now I study the land and look for signs among the mists. But the night is darker here. The moon seems further away.
When the moon rises again I will say the hundred word prayer. Perhaps she’ll answer with a prayer for me. Perhaps then the way will be clear.