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Bravepaw’s Awakening 

 

Bravepaw’s eyes slowly begin to open as the warm sunlight shines through once again. The now unsettled motes of dust start to dance through the air, twirling in beams of light, as his head creakily turns taking in his surroundings. One long, deep breath after another slowly tests the limits of his lungs.

 

Having been in this situation time and time again over the course of several centuries, Orlanden is happy to see Bravepaw conscious again, but isn’t surprised. He could feel the awakening growing nearer with each rising sun these past weeks.
 

“You’ve been out some time, brother. And look there. Seems I’m not the only one here to greet you.”

As a large plume of aromatic smoke billows from his nostrils and the bowl of his pipe, he points to a plateaued clearing in the forest just beyond some wild raspberry bushes.

Bravepaw’s pupils shrink, dilate, and shrink again as he blinks to clear the fog from his sleepy eyes. He gazes to the clearing to see a mother black bear standing upright, reaching toward the boughs of an oak tree for a low-hanging beehive. From behind each leg, a cub appears. The two impatiently wait for their fill of the fresh honey.

Seeing the bears, his sleepy face forms a slight smile, but loses it almost as quickly. “I don’t remember falling into hibernation this time. How long has it been?”

 

Tending to the fire and careful not to tip over the pot of venison stew warming from the night before, Orly pauses to think.
“Hmmm… It’s been about 300 years since Osage sprouted and... over 600 since Normandor. You’ve only been in hibernation for right at 110 years, now, though.” He chuckles, “Shorter than last time.”

 

Bravepaw sits up in his makeshift bed within the lean-to that his brother built around him to give him some protection from the elements. Finally emerging from the slumberous fog, he scans his surroundings more intently and realizes that they are on the slope of a mountain overlooking unfamiliar lands.

 

He begins plucking dead leaves from his hair, “Where are we?”

 

Orlanden chuckles, “A new land, new people with less than a handful of old, friendly faces, and a new way of life from what I’ve gathered.” 

 

“For better or worse?” asks Bravepaw, sitting still for a split moment. Suddenly, he begins frantically feeling for the seed that he’s used to have hanging around his neck, but can’t seem to find it.

 

He fixes his gaze on his brother, but is now alert enough to quickly use his reflexes to catch something moving through the air toward him. He opens his hand to see the dimly glowing Elder Seed. Knowing it’s still safe, he lets out a sigh of relief. Then it dawns on him...the seed is glowing!


Orlanden stirs the pot and begins filling a small, hand-carved wooden bowl with stew, “I’m still sorting that out, to be honest. One thing I know for sure, though...our seed has started it’s growth cycle. I knew it wouldn’t be long until you woke up.”

 

He hands the bowl to him and smiles, “Eat up. You need to regain your strength. It’s from last night, but tastes even better today.”

 

Bravepaw nods and takes a sip from the edge of the bowl before guzzling a generous portion from it in one go. Bowl in hand, he slowly stands up and walks to the opening of the lean-to where he can see an overview of the new land below. As the sun hits his skin, he lets out a peaceful sigh.

 

“Change, like scars on the skin, becomes part of us. I suppose when you’re our age, it would be rare to see an elf without many of them”  

“Well, I’m running out of room myself”, Orlanden says with a laugh, “But from what I hear, there’s much that’s changed since we last spent any waking time together.”

 

Bravepaw smiles when he looks down to his arm and notices a streak of bark slowly forming. “Not all scars are a product of turmoil, however. You know, my favorite trees are those that change. As the cold bites, the leaves turn an array of vibrant colors. While the leaves fall from their year long home amidst the branches, we can rest assured that we will see the flowering buds once more come spring. Without the still quiet of winter, we would never witness such character from a tree.” 

 

He places the Elder Seed back around his neck and closes his eyes. Finally, he completely fills his lungs with air through his nostrils.

“I believe… Yes... I smell the scent of autumn on the wind. It’s so strong.” 

 

Orlanden walks up and stands beside him as they look out and over the world beyond them. He takes a big toke from his pipe and sighs with a newfound ease after the awakening of Bravepaw. He places his hand on his shoulder and smiles, “Come, brother. We have work to do.”

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Its happening!

 

Cries a dwarf named Dwain

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Somewhere deep in a grove in the eastern grasslands of Almaris, a dark elf spots two elves journeying through a forest imbuing an ancient aura. He mutters to himself, 

 

"It seems the times we live in are a time of return and rebirth of many things..."

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