Deverell and I had made our plans well into the night. She needed a few days to prepare for the journey and to tie up loose ends, so I asked her to meet me at the Prancing Pony in Bree.
The next day, I made to leave Archet, to return to my home and see to things there before going on to Bree-town.
I said my farewells to everyone that morning, with the promise that I would not let as much time pass before returning home once again.
But as Dandi and I passed through the village gate, and into the lands untamed beyond its shelter, I knew that promise was likely to be broken.
I looked back once more, and the weight of promises unfulfilled settled upon me…
…visions of fire, visions of loss…
…visions of days that might have been, visions that might now never be…
The morning sun that rises each day to share with us its warmth gives way to the night, whose gentle light leads us back to our homes to rest and be renewed for another day.
The seasons turn, each one with its own gifts to us. Knowing that the beautiful snow will give way to blooming flowers, then to turning leaves, before the snow comes once more gives us a quiet peace and a place from which we can start to build our lives and make our way.
Each new day dawns with great promise, yet each day ends with promises unfulfilled. How precious are those things that we know will be.
How precious is promise fulfilled, and promises given that do come to pass.
In the course of our lives, promises kept and promise fulfilled are the hands that steady us on uncertain paths, over which carrion birds await each treacherous step.
I will not turn from this path…
I will stay its course and see it through, to whatever end may come…
Finally, we came to the path leading to the homesteads. The day was nearing its end, but there was much yet to be done.
It was time to regather the things I had packed away upon my return home two months before, perhaps for one last time…
“Be patient, girl,” I soothed Dandi. “One more night, and we are off again.”
The landscape in which we live is, in many ways, mirrored by the landscape of our hearts. All things are connected, and the power we have within ourselves to effect or not effect change in our surroundings simply cannot be overstated.
For every terror that lurks somewhere in the deep places of the world, there also lies a fear deep in the hearts of one or many of us that keeps us from fighting it. For every evil that wages war upon the Free Peoples, there is a shadow of doubt that has shrouded the heart of one or many that keeps them still and safe.
By conquering those terrors, we not only make the world safer for others, but we also reclaim a small piece of ourselves that had been lost to us. Our hearts are that much more our own, and we take a small step closer toward becoming who we were meant to be.
This is the promise given to each one of us at the dawn of each day. What we do with each day is left to us…
The time to open the door is now…
The Spirit Gauntlet Saga
Also, the entire saga, with full-sized renderings, can be found here!
(The full renderings make for a completely different experience!)