Thinking in the Forest
The message has been sent. The boy’s name is Connor.
Thomegg tucked away the parchment, brought to him by a little brown mouse, in the pouch that hung from his neck by a length of string. He kept all manner of small objects in there: green acorns, horse chestnuts, sycamore seeds, snacks like raisins and sunflower seeds, small flower-heads which had caught his eye and lucky charms like purple pebbles and seashells from the beach. It intrigued him that Draigaan had known he would be in the forest. Then again, Draigaan was an Emperor and the Emperors knew more than most.
He wandered through the wood and sat on the trunk of a fallen tree. Dappled sunlight fell upon his hair, causing it to almost resemble the fur of leopards, and his skin was a healthier colour in the warmth of the summer’s day. He comfortably folded his wings in on themselves so that he wouldn’t be distracted by their tugging at the corner of his eye.
He re-read the words in his mind. He was excited about the good he would be doing for his people, but nervous about meeting this human boy, Connor, and making dangerous mistakes.
And suddenly he was extremely worried. What if Connor hated him? What if Connor thought he was weak? What if he wasn’t meant for this sort of life at all?
‘Relax,’ he chided himself. ‘You’re overreacting.’
He gradually calmed down. Too much fear was bad for a person, and if he hadn’t been meant for this sort of life, Draigaan would have told him. Draigaan had said that Reivamonda needed more people like him. So people like him shouldn’t be panicking and wanting to stop before they’d even started.
He mentally thanked his parents for not complaining about all the time he spent alone, whether it was amongst the crowded trees of The Thicket, in the reading areas of the bookstores in The City or even on the foothills of The Mountains, if he could be bothered to travel so far north.
He needed the time to think. And also... just to be away from people. To feel the simple pleasure of being immersed in a world where people wouldn’t disturb you.
Unfortunately, people always found a way to disturb you. A face flashed unbidden in Thomegg’s mind’s eye: a pretty face framed by waves of glossy black hair, made mystical by eyes like the sky at dusk, warmth lent to it by a serene, gentle smile. A face which haunted Thomegg, had done so for more than five years.
‘Where are you now, Su-Ri?’ Thomegg thought sadly.
The eyes in his mind flashed like twin bolts of lightning and the smile grew cruel.
“I’ll see you later, Thommy.”
The memory of the voice chilled him as much as the words had on the day they were spoken. He shivered involuntarily.
Distressed, he wandered down the paths of his mind which passed by his memories and paused at the ones of last night.
Draigaan... What had he said?
“Your heart is blue. ... There is so much pain.”
There was so much pain. And Su-Ri was the cause. She with the face that had once been kindly and now only showed anger.
Yet Thomegg had been allowed to walk in the footsteps of legendary heroes, to join The Light. When he met this Connor he would be presented with a sword by an angel - they both would - and they would watch together while the world was sleeping. Perhaps Connor, or the fight, would bring relief from the pain.
‘That stupid Light will never beat me,’ Su-Ri’s voice taunted, as if she were here at this moment, responding to his unspoken thoughts.
It didn’t matter, he told himself. Su-Ri was not the only one who needed to be stopped.
‘I hope you’re ready, Connor,’ he thought, praying that his companion had strength to make up for his weakness. ‘I really hope you’re ready.’