Racieus hadn’t resided in the elven stronghold of Gaoth Caislean for long, and as such, was a bit surprised at the feelings that leaving had evoked. Even though he was technically an “outsider,” he was treated with the respect deserving of… well, deserving of an elven lord. The halfling had almost considered taking a boat out of the port city, one of the largest ports for leagues, but he had decided against it. While a sailor would probably say differently, Racieus often felt trapped on a boat. The boat, and subsequently he, could only do what the sea allowed.
Racieus didn’t like that. So he went by horse.
He had ridden only a short way when a bird dropped out of the sky to perch on his shoulder. Its beak opened, but instead of a caw, he heard a familiar voice.
“Are you so eager to leave that you forget to say goodbye to your friends?” asked Sigurd through the bird.
“I didn’t forget” asserted Racieus. “It was intentional.”
Taking the silence as exhortation to continue, the halfling offered his reason.
“I am truly sorry, but I had to go before I could change my mind. I had to answer fate’s call, and could not let a friend convince my heart that it was right in wanting to stay.”
If is truly fate’s call, then I doubt there was there much I could have done to change your course.”
“Perhaps,” said the halfling with a laugh, “it was fate that warned me to leave first!”
The bird’s eye gleamed, as if sharing in the mirth that its master felt. Then it suddenly cocked its head and stared at Racieus.
“You speak as though you don’t want to go. Why?”
“I was just starting to settle down, and get used to the peace” the halfling lied.
The bird’s eyes narrowed. “Do not think me so easy to dupe small one!” came Sigurd’s angry voice, accompanied by a distant peal of thunder. “Or do you equate my intelligence with that of my stable-master? What have you hidden in your past that even you, the slayer of dragons, fear so?”
Sigurd’s voice softened, again becoming the caring voice of Racieus’ dearest friend.
“Fate rarely calls upon us at a moment of our choosing, but in this case, you could not ask for a better time! You have the aid of myself and all the elves under me. There are few who wold deny you aid if you asked for it. You need only tell me what troubles you so we know how to help.”
Racieus’ only reply was a whisper.
“I cannot bring myself to admit it to you.”
“Because I can’t even admit it to myself.”
With that, the halfling gently shook the bird from his shoulder and spurred his pony on.
Back in his chambers at Gaoth Caislean Sigurd mumbled a word, and the pool he had been looking through winked out. He was almost as troubled as Racieus had seemed only moments before. The halfling was rarely cryptic, preferring to speak his mind no matter the consequences.
This had to be serious.
Yet something stayed Sigurd from going after the halfling. Racieus would never admit he needed help, and after their conversation, Sigurd believed that if he sent any, it wouldn’t be well received. And as much as he wanted to help his friend, the elf knew that this was a personal matter. Sigurd suspected there was an internal wound that had to be healed.
Only Racieus could face this foe. No amount of elves or concerned friends would be able to take his place.
Sigurd was convinced that he could no longer do anything to help, but that wouldn’t stop him from being ready to if the need arose.
“Fate rarely calls upon us at a moment of our choosing” the elf repeated, tracing a symbol in the gazing pool before him.
“But luck favors the prepared.”