From the Circle to the City...

Kestrel sets off on a new path.

July 10, 1358 S.Y.

A few days ago, I was simply a Druid of the Council. Now, I am on my way to embark upon what will likely be a strange and long journey.

Perhaps I should begin at the beginning, since I am writing this account to read again when I am very old and will probably have forgotten much of this.

I came to the grove four years ago and began my training after an unfortunate incident where I learned that I could shape, but could not control it. For my family’s comfort and everyone’s safety, I was sent to a place where I could learn to control my newfound skills.

Fitting in at the grove was much easier than it had ever been in my life. The rhythm of life here is easy for me. The people are much more like me than any I have ever encountered, though many of them seem to want to forget that there is a world beyond the calm of the grove. But, this is not really important to the story I have to tell.

I had finished my training and become a full (though junior) member of the Council of Druids two months before the day I was called to meet with the Grand Druid, Talbot Ashcroft. Many find him difficult, but I find that if I am calm and don’t take offense, our infrequent interactions are mostly pleasant. I admire his determination to use our powers to make life better for the people of the realm. So, I left my gardening and went to the meeting place.

When I arrived, Master Ashcroft was involved in one of his frequent debates with Mistress Nara Blackstaff. They argue frequently and it is not the kind of bickering of old friends, they truly do not agree on anything. Nara believes that we need to draw inward and stop “meddling” in the affairs of the outsiders. I understand her reasoning and staying safe in the grove is certainly pleasant, but if we never leave our groves, we will not have an understanding of the outside word. To lose this contact would be to blind us in ways that we can ill afford. But, this is a political struggle and it is not mine.

The argument stopped and both looked in my direction when I arrived. I stood silent, waiting for one of them to address me.

Grand Druid Ashcroft spoke first, telling me that they had received a request from the Duke for a Council member to accompany Princess Amaline on a journey of some sort. I had been specifically asked for. No one knows exactly what kind of mission this will be, but I am going since there didn’t seem to be any saying “no” to this trip. It should be interesting, since I have not left the grove for more than a day since I arrived.

Nara pulled me aside and told me that I’ll be back soon. I thanked her for her consideration, but assured her that I will do my duty to our Duchy for as long as it is required of me.

We spoke for a bit more about things best left unwritten, but I will be making regular reports to the Council about the state of the wilder areas of the Duchy.

The missive gave a bit of information about who the others on this mission are to be and I am trying to recall as much as I can about them.

Amaline I know well or I did several years ago. Then she was an idealistic young girl with a definite rebellious streak. It will be interesting to see what the years have done with her.

Cu is her bodyguard and companion. He is fairly straightforward in terms of who and what he is. He is a Goliath and so remarkable since they are fair uncommon. He speaks little, but is a good man to have at one’s back in a fight, having been in the arenas of Maldar.

Glyph of Andersgate will also be along. I have met him on occasion and have found him to be pleasant but odd. He makes me a bit uncomfortable, not by anything he has ever said or done, but simply because he is off in a way I cannot really explain. Lucef knows him well though, so I can ask him about it.

Tempest is a warden. I know nothing of her and have never met her. She is, however, a warden and thus is likely to see every problem as a nail, requiring a hammer to fix it. Wardens, as a rule, lack subtlety, tending to adhere to the “if it’s dead it can’t hurt you” school of thought. Ah well, no use jumping to conclusions, perhaps she will be different. I think she trained with Jarda Stonewarden, so she should be competent at very least.

July 16, 1358 S.Y.

I am at my father’s house now and will go to meet with my new companions tomorrow. I will also have a chance to see my brother, Lucef.

My trip was uneventful and I rather enjoyed the journey. I ran through the wilder areas on my route as a mountain cat, walking as a human when using the roads. No use having an overzealous caravan guard thinking I’m going to eat him, after all. The rabbits are quite fat this summer.

Seeing Father was as I expected. We argued and finally came to an armed truce. Neither of us won the argument, but neither lost. If it becomes necessary I can act as his agent during my travels with Amaline, as long as it does not interfere with our mission or my duties to the circle. I think he respects that I don’t submit to him easily, though he’d never admit it. Mother is as she has been since my baby sister died. She was happy to see me and we had a nice talk about her gardens. I brought her some new herbs and flowers for her garden and even helped with the planting. It seemed to calm her. She is so angry and hates my father with an intensity that is frightening to behold. I fear for her sanity.

Tomorrow is likely to be an eventful day. I will go early to see Lucef and then meet with my new traveling companions. Oh, and I have to go to the gardens and see if Sir Nutkin is still about. I have a pocket full of nuts for him.



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