Sunday, November 03, 2013

[ValanasLore] Troublesome Sappling

No larger than the tip of my smallest finger, a simple object within my grasp provided a comforting sensation as I ran my thumb across its smooth yet very solid surface. It was the only thing I could do to hold back a smirk as the greyback went about his daily routine of teaching me a lesson on the importance of wisdom and respect. Two elements of common decency that seemed mcuh less entertaining than impulsive adventure and well-intended horseplay. The lesson the greyback was preaching kept using the object within my grasp to prove his point, constantly claiming I was ignoring it’s importance. The object was a seed, but not just any seed from any nondescript plant. This seed had been fashioned into a necklace with the utmost of skill and care. Held in place by an ornate and expertly crafted string of metal found only in the most exotic Mithelwood trees, this seed hung from a soft and seasoned string of hemp that was as old as I was young. It was both my source of comfort and security. If only the greyback would understand how important it really was to me. Rubbing my thumb across the surface of the seed always provided a source of comfort during such boring lectures. A young Nezuto of only thirteen cycles, I was the youngest of seven sisters and as such it usually meant I was the target of the most criticism. My sisters had already begun building enclaves of their own, each having found a bond and mastered one craft or another. It did not help that it was my father's belief that the life of a Nezuto was to act as a peacekeeper, not a troublemaker. The Nezuto’s life consisted of many travels, where peacekeeping was key to those kind enough to share residence with the enclave. Despite all the criticism and well intentions, I had no desire to fit the mold my sisters or father had in mind for me. Peacekeeping was boring, and traveling to the same places every year wasn't exactly my idea of adventure. The greyback of a Nezuto was known by many as Orrathi Gyonne, the only Nezuto capable of growing Mithelwood trees outside of their native lands. Our enclave traveled from grove to grove, tending to the trees and earning income through trades that we gathered along each trip. It was a nomadic life filled with the same routines and same faces. Nothing seemed to ever change. Using the term greyback was probably not the most polite way of referring to the old ape, though it was often difficult to see any hint of silver through his aged and often stern appearance. He had indeed made many efforts to build long lasting relationships with various trade partners on the island they called home, an achievement that few other Nezuto could claim. Many of these trade partners were commonly Terrans, a strange pale-skinned bipedal creatures that had little in the way of body hair. A common source of curiosity, Terrans were an intriguing sort as they often would wear elaborate clothing over what would be perfect places for fur. What made them even more curious was getting them to talk about what they were wearing. In fact, in any argument I had with them all I had to do was point out a flaw in their clothing and the argument would be completely derailed. Such silly things really, yet so much fun to watch and play with. Even when they don't like the games I usually like playing with them. “Chase Iyonna!” is usually one of my favorites, taking something that is obviously important to them and seeing how much effort they are willing to put forth to get the object back. A game that at this moment would be much more entertaining than the lecture happening before me. It was early morning when I had gotten caught trying to borrow some of my sisters spices to put into one of my other sister's morning brew. Both master herbalists in their own right, it was always fun trying to see what fun combinations I could make without them even realizing it and watching the results that followed. Sadly, father had been waiting for my morning adventure and watched for me. An act I had not been prepared for as he was often too busy to do such things. “If only you could understand the magnitude of how your actions can affect the world around you,” the greyback continued to lecture. “The Nezuto way is important to uphold, for it was the neglect of such wisdom and respect that caused the destruction of our homeworld. The seed you hold in your hand-” he began to say before I finished the sentence for him. “-is one of the very few gifts left of our heritage. Yes, I know father. But all that is so boring! We spend every day trading things and moving between the same Terran villages week in and week out. I want to see the world for what it is!” I shook my head as I usually do, as I knew the greyback would not listen. “Our people were among the stars, or else we wouldn't be here in the first place. We need adventure in our lives, a reason to find others different than us and to learn more about them!” “My young, foolish, Iyonna. What you say is true to a point. Nezuto are tenders of the innocent, spiritual healers of those who have passed on, and above all defenders of peace. Adventure and the disruption of peace goes against that very fabric, and with each action like that you risk awakening naga. You must understand this, or face being lost to your entire people.” The old greyback looked upon me with a practiced face of concern, disapproval, and frustration. And I understood to a point. Naga was a term used by the Nezuto referencing the negativity that could seep into the otherwise pacifistic people we all shared a bond with. Our spiritual connection was much stronger than the other bloodlines in the world, rivaling that of the mysterious and warlike Tentaki. By awakening naga, a Nezuto either severs their spiritual bond or turns the symbiotic bond into a parasitic one, the result of which is potentially cataclysmic. The greed and dark emotions that help awaken naga and the change that follows is what many Nezuto call Naganezu. More of a bedtime story told to help keep the youth in line, many Nezuto do not speak of such individuals openly. I was fully aware of such things, but what harm could really come from having a little fun? Even the old man could use some fun every now and again, and it concerned me greatly to not see him smile like he once did during my childhood. “If I am not mistaken father, being monotonous never really helped to stop naga either. Change is a part of life, and if we do not embrace this change we accomplish nothing,” I expressed passively knowing full well that the greyback would not approve. My thumb began to rub harder on the seed, the reactive warmth I got in return helped to settle my desire to push the argument. “Child, only through tending your own soul can you begin to understand. You have not achieved your own bond yet and your reckless behavior and childish antics will do nothing to accelerate that connection.” He crossed his arms as he prepared for the final part of his lecture, preparing himself for the final word. “As one of my seven daughters, gifted with one of the last remaining seeds of our lost worldtrees, you must do what you can to uphold our traditions. There will be no room for debate on this fact, for without these traditions our people would not be where we are today.” As it usually did, his final words queued a mocking snort in the back of my mind as I thought of where exactly he though our people were today. Nezuto were generally viewed as nomadic pacifists with a bent for being reclusive. Only a select few of each Nezuto enclave new of the bond which my father spoke of. By nurturing one's spiritual connection with an object or sentient being, every Nezuto can have the potential of awakening a symbiotic bond that makes the two much more than the sum of their parts. A bond that if used improperly resulted in awakening naga. It was this fact that I felt needed to be changed, though I felt powerless to do so. All that I could really do in the meantime was keep finding fun ways of getting what I wanted, and so far it has worked. Being the most physically fit of my sisters, I was also among the only ones who practiced martial arts, wrestling, and enjoying a good dance when visiting the various Terran trading posts. A practice that many of my sisters, and especially my father, didn't look kindly on yet never did anything about. Taking one last look at my father as he walked away to share in the morning meditation and following breakfast, I could only give a sigh of defeat. Sadly there would be no spewing of broth this morning, and I had planned for an even better mix of spices this time around that would leave a bit of a burn. Though as I looked down to the seed within my hand, I realized the warmth had been pulsing through my body subtly the whole time. I knew my bond was there within the seed somehow, though a part of me felt I was not yet ready like my father wished. Some part of that bond was calling me to explore, to find adventure outside the enclave. It called me beyond the beaten path and to the shores beyond, expansive stretches of land bordering even larger bodies of water. I had yet to see such a pleasant sight, though I have heard and read stories of such from the Terrans we often traded with. Stories that had been told by the campfire, often alongside stories of heroes and the evil that they have faced. Stories of those now in the Hall of Legends. I loved these stories, and desired greatly to be among them. A part of my bond that I had not yet connected with seemed to want that as well, to be one of the Legends. The thought alone seemed to echo a pulse of excitement throughout my body. And as my smile formed across my face, I knew nothing my father was going to say or do was going to keep me from that calling. Though first, a good meal was waiting and although I may not be completely welcome, my sisters always did enjoy my pleasant smile. At least I could have that bit of comfort in the morning.