A reminisce on a bad patch in someone's life...
We’d watched the world burn that day. That day so long ago.
It wasn’t by any means a planned event. But then, when do plans ever go smoothly? At first you see a man dedicated to the peace and unity of a people head out to change the world, and then you see him standing in the flames and the corpses and he rubble of long forgotten dreams falling to the earth like ash. You see an army of young hopefuls march for reasons only they know to bury their faces in the mud and the sand, summing up their own existences with blood and dirt. The sorry joke of it all was that we’d set out to instil peace. We really had.
I watched as Matreno of the Noble House of Mirène set out to civilise the Wild lands of the North, the lands our people of the Tirenne had never managed to bring the light of civilization to. I watched and I recorded and I wrote as I do, because I was ecstatic, how can I lie? I knew this was history, this was the greatness of man I had always wanted to capture. The spirit of man that wished to do more, know more, be more and go further. Matreno was the key to this, and I simply watched him and his glittering, shining and youthful face that brimmed with energy and charisma. I watched as he marched north, relentlessly spreading his word as the Gael began to grow stiffer and stiffer and Matreno grow broody and furious the further north we went and the colder it got. Then I watched as his Gael lover, Lewllwyn, was murdered. By the Gael of the North or not, it didn’t seem to matter. The boy had to be avenged.
So I watched him torch his way across the Northlands of the Gael, saw him and his men laugh and die to the chorus of screams. Screams of the lost and dying and the crackling of the raging fires that were homes and tombs and bodies. Men. Women. Children. Tern. Gieem. Fae. All ashes now.
I remember trees in the lands of the Gael. Beautiful trees. Huge things that stood taller than the ships of the Eranne and wider than four Terns. That memory is fading now. All I ever see now in these lands is the ash and the smoke and the charred remains of true glory at the hands of small men with small minds.
Pity the only place that stopped us, the ancient fortress home of Quwyendweirwei, was made of those old trees. The entire forest caught fire that day, as well as the fourteen settlements around it. I made a note of counting. I visited each, and that was the day I watched the world burn. Metrano died that day. He had given me his diary, as had many of the men. The few who were left, anyway. I had been told to run before the siege began, but I stayed. It keeps me up a night sometimes as to how idiotic it was to stay. But I did stay. I stayed to watch, record and write as I do. And I watched one man’s vainglory burn the last of an ancient world that he had set out to tame, a quest I see now as ridiculous. Quwyendweirwei is a wasteland now. I doubt any tree in it’s right mind would move back there, if only to avoid the deep mischance of touching Matreno’s bones.
Here in Thorn he’s a hero. Men call his name as a curse or a blessing now. There are those who would burn the north ’’as Matreno would have wanted’’, or would burn the south before they burn the north ’’as Matreno would have wanted‘’. The man who tamed the North they call him here. The Gael call him the man who torched the North. I believe I am the last who remember him as the man. A man, who yearned for no songs or stories, but simply wished to do what was right by him.
I don’t know now if I wish I’d have had the wisdom to have not followed that wonderfully terrible man. I don’t know if I would have learned that lesson I know now. That ordinary people do what is right by others. Spectacular people do what is right by them.
I followed a spectacular person and watched the world burn.