The guild had decided to stay the night in our damp retreat. Blankets and bodies were scattered across the floor while the dying embers barely illuminated the room. I made my way around them, careful not to wake or step on anyone, until I had reached the doorway. I gave one look back to the room and smiled.
The day was young, the sun hadn’t risen yet and crickets still chirped in the dark. Birds prepared for morning, sounding the coming of the sun. Once again, I made my way beyond the earshot of my friends back at camp so that those sounds of nature would be all they could hear. I practiced my spell casting here until I saw the light of the sun on the horizon. It was there that I stopped and watched the sunrise as I had with Ragnvaldr.
Wind tousled my hair as I ventured back towards the camp. It smelled of damp dirt and old rain. I liked this sort of smell and it stirred up some nostalgic feelings in me. I wondered if I had been here before in my past life. Leaves rustled in the trees above me as another breeze blew through. I ran my hands through silvery hair and pushed it behind my ears and out of my face. Soon, the entrance of our camp came into view. Tobih, who was leaned against the wall, smiled and threw up his hand to wave at me as he saw me approach.
“You’re up early again,” He greeted me as I walked up to him.
I smiled and pushed my hair out from in front of my face again, “Practicing.”
“Can I come and watch sometime?” The both of us walked inside. I could already smell breakfast being cooked.
I hesitated before answering him, “I’m not sure how well I’d do if I knew I was being watched.” I didn’t want to tell him no.
He sat down in front of the fire, where Ragnvaldr was teaching Cinder how to cook again, and patted the ground beside him. “I understand. I hope you will allow me to sit in on it, though.” Tobih seemed completely understanding and responded with his usual smile.
I sat down beside him, “It’s not like I can go into battle and not be watched. Let me have a few days and then I’ll invite you to watch. Maybe you can help me understand what I’m doing wrong.” His smile widened.
“You’ll really let me?”
“Well, I’ve seen that you’re also a magic staff user. I’m not what I used to be, apparently, so I could use some pointers and help understanding the craft. We may not specialize in the same kind of magic, but there has to be some similarities, right?” It was more like I was trying to convince myself that having help would overcome my worries of being watched. It would become less of a show for me to put on in any case.
“I’ll do my best!” He was grinning from ear to ear, clearly excited by my response.
I laid back on the floor and stared at the ceiling, listening to the chatter of our group within the walls. Ragnvaldr’s voice was the deepest, standing out as he listed off the spices he was using to Cinder. Zen’s was probably the next- he was discussing with Tullia the probability of rain between here and their next camp. Wind whistled through the doorway and through the trees outside and the sound of fire crackling and food sizzling became my lullaby. I found myself dozing.
Kiffi’s head appeared within my sight a few minutes into my light dozing. I opened my eyes to find her leaning over me.
“We’ll be ready to depart after breakfast,” She informed me, “Can I ask you another favor?”
“Of course, anything,” I replied.
She sat down beside me, “I know that Orr is basically dead, but while you’re there, if you see anything that resembles a leaf, would you mind picking it up for me? If it doesn’t put you any immediate danger that is.”
“You know, I really admire the dedication you have towards your research. It’s no surprise that you became a Ranger.”
“Oh, I stopped being a Ranger. I didn’t feel like it was me. Besides, I wasn’t very good at it.” She confessed.
“Really?” Tobih butted into the conversation as well.
“I meant to tell you as soon as you were finished with your adventure. I decided to pursue becoming an earth Elementalist. So far, it’s working a lot better for me. It just… feels right. Not to mention, I can till the dirt to plant more trees a lot easier. I can check the health of the soil. Overall, it was a better trade-off. I’m a scholar, not a fighter.”
“You know, I absolutely approve of this. It seems a lot more like a choice you would make for yourself. It fits.” Tobih smiled and patted her back.
“I think it’s amazing, as well,” I agreed. Kiffi was inspiring to me. She always went after what she wanted seemingly without regrets. “Any pointers, then, for a fellow mage?”
“To state the cliché, you really have to look into your heart and learn from what it gives you.” She put her finger up to her chin as she thought and then nodded. “I know in order to play with the earth,I need to feel really grounded, no pun intended. There’s a certain zen I need to achieve before I can make the earth do what I want it to.”
“Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind.” It confirmed what I was already finding out, but I didn’t know exactly what I needed to feel to control the fire within.
“Breakfast is ready, friends!” Cinder called out, summoning everyone to the fire for our last meal before we departed. She and Ragnvaldr both served everyone a bowl of eggs with veggies and meat mixed in. Finally, everyone was seated and eating and talking to one another. It was the last memory I would have of this camp and it was one I would cherish forever.