Chapter 1 - Reflections
But this time she did not face a lone man, this time she faced the world.
Inside there was only Kala and another person, who's back was to me the entire time and so I did not see his face, which is how I was able to view the entire goings on without being seen myself. On the council table lay the blue robe of the elders which Kala usually wore, and on-top that her sword.
Kala addressed the person before her, "My decision has been made, and I must leave, and nothing will convince me to stay."
She paused for a moment, then began to walk around the seated man. "So many things have changed these past years. I do not remember my childhood, in fact I do not remember much of the years before I came here and made Whitestorm my new home. I do remember though the world which we all did live in."
"Already a few years after the fires, years, and still there was death and destruction everywhere. All that was left of this building we are now in was a single wall. How many dozens of families were homeless and living under the branches by the river? Look at the world we now live in and all that has changed."
"Little by little people were given homes, and they in turn helped build new homes for those without. Within a year after I became leader everyone had a home. And this town was once again alive."
Kala kneeled before the man, "From the rubble which still lined the roads you and I rebuilt these very chambers. How many people have come and gone since then? Good leaders of others, great friends of our own. How many lives have we influenced in only trying to better our own?"
Kala stood again and walked away from the man with her hand on her chin, lost in thought. It was a moment before she once again spoke. "Do you remember that old man of the sea. I have not seen him since the time I came to power, but I remember him telling me of lands far away where the fires never fell, and how he would one day sail in a ship there. What was it he always said..... 'All it will take is time... All it will take is time'. I thought he was crazy, you did too, we all did. But as the years went on we did learn how to sail in the wide ocean and we did find those lands."
"And that scholar, the one who always sat in the town square and told everyone how he would one day fly as a dragon does in the sky. No one ever listened to him until the day he flew into the town square under a balloon guided by the winds. How many balloons did we lose after that in the Badlands before we learnt to navigate the air currents? But we did learn. We learnt... WE learnt."
Kala appeared to become agitate as she said those words, almost angry. She stopped talking and walked over to her cloak and sword.
Somewhat calmed down she continued once again, "No... I don't remember by childhood, but I do remember a world without ocean ships or air balloons... and the magics. How much have the magi improved in recent years? And what of the new classes appearing, more specialized and dedicated to a certain way of life."
Turning back to her companion she continued, "My friend, I know your thoughts, you think I have gone mad, but I assure you I have not. You see just this morning a child came up to me and asked me why I made the sea ships. She wanted to see her father who was out at sea and seldom returned to Atheria. She asked me 'Why did I make the ships?'", Kala paused a moment and then answered her own question, "I did no such thing".
"Nor did I create the air balloons, or fight in the battles we won to secure this town. But I could not tell her that for I knew she would not understand.
"But her words opened my eyes, and I can not believe I did not see it earlier. As the day continued I listened to what others were saying. It had never occurred to me before today, but I listened to all the conversations."
"Do you remember back when we rebuilt Whitestorm? After each new building we praised the gods for their guidance. After each family was given a home, when we first set sail or successfully navigated the air to Cardania, when the magi discovered the entrance to the fire planes, we praised the gods for their guidance. But today I listened and people praised me."
Walking back to the table which held her cloak and sword, "No, it is not the first time I have heard such praises, but in the past I have always felt that their praise was more of a thanks and that the praise was to the gods. But today it felt different. I listened to their words and the gods were not even in their thoughts."
"I had not thought to take notice of it either but this morning at the temple I was the only one there. When I arrived this city may have been in pieces, but each morning each person would be at the temple. I do not remember when people stopped appearing. I suppose it happened slowly at first until one day I was the only one who remained. And I am left asking myself if I am the reason for it."
Kala picked up her sword and fingering the sharp edge she continued once again, this time though it appeared to me that she was now talking to her sword and no longer to her companion. Her voice was hollow and lost, and she spoke almost as though she were in a trance.
"Many years ago when the fires came the gods did not appear. Worse yet they let the disasters come, then left us alone to rebuild and bury our dead alone. When I went out on my journey to find my parents and when I discovered them dead the gods were not with me. When I became leader the gods were absent. And each battle we fought to secure this town we fought without their help."
"I know this as well as I know anything, but I can not live my life believing there are no gods. If I had a choice I would chose not to live in such a world."
Kala replaced her sword ontop the table. "That is why I must leave, I must go and find the gods; for staying here they will never find me."
"The leaders of the classes shall rule while I am away. I will be back, one day." And with those last words she turned from the table which still held her cloak and sword, and for the last time she walked through the council doors....