Some refuse. They would rather stay where they are, somewhere they know to be safe even if it is on the surface, than to travel through strange lands into a Root that, in their minds, could be swarming with undead by the time they get there. They lost their homes once, and some of them don’t want to take the risk. We won’t force them, but I hope once Mal’Kharad is re-settled and seen to be safe, they will follow.
Listen to me… I refer to “them”, as though I am somehow separate from these people, my kith and kin. I suppose in a way, I am. Petros, Halia, Zephyr, Averik, Maven, we all are, in a way. While most of our people struggle to survive, we have somehow become leaders in the fight against Wickford. I don’t know when I started thinking of myself that way, I don’t think I really noticed until Mal’Kharad became ours once more. Once, children saw me as a teacher, someone to learn facts and figures from. Now, in the faces of the young ones who travel with us to the Root, I see admiration, and I see hope.
The journey from the haven to the Root is not without trouble, of course. On one such trip, a small band of slavers from Mhurkiel though to waylay us and fill their wagons with more ‘merchandise.’ I suppose seeing one among their prey turn into living fire before their eyes and tear through them with a vengeance must have been more than they had bargained on, for they turned and fled leaving most of their supplies behind in their haste.
As we passed through the Griffon Peaks we were stopped by multiple patrols on the suspicion that we were bandits. After establishing my identity as a resident of Shadowfane they allowed us to pass, cautioning us that they were watching us and if we caused any trouble we would be imprisoned. I assured them that we sought no trouble and if we happened upon any Eurvein bandits we would be happy to take them with us so they would cause no trouble of their own. I had hoped, in fact, that we would find some and that my daughter would be among them, but alas we did not encounter any – nor did any of the patrols we encountered have any useful information.
When we finally arrived at the Root, I saw a miraculous change come over my people. The once haggard expressions on adults and children alike slowly melted away as they breathed in the air of freedom. Adults who had once lived in Mal’Kharad rushed to their old homes and began the tedious process of cleaning them out and restoring them to livable conditions. Children who had lived their whole lives on the surface stood in awe of the beauty of their ancestral homes. It was not long before the music of life among the Eurvein returned to the Root. I myself spent a month there, just living amongst my people, feeling their zeal for life renew my own hope. It was difficult, in the end, to tear myself away from them to return to Shadowfane; but where I once had only an unfounded hope to restore my people to sustain me, that hope is now full and vibrant with the reality that my people will be free, that Wickford will fail, and that all our Roots, not just Mal’Kharad,will be ours once more; and Shadowfane is the font from which that reality will spring.