I don’t speak often, so you’d do well to listen when I tell you who I am.
Of course, I’ve already told you, though your kind are often deaf to all but words. My soul is written in the veins across my skin. It pulses through the courseways of my body when I run the wilds; pounds in my chest, burns through lung and limb… but you should sense my purpose now, even in my stillness. It’s laden in my silence, imbued within each measured breath that I exhale.
Then I will give it words, for no one knows better than I what power words hold.
I’m a Seeker.
My people look for the rare ones like me in childhood: a daughter of the clan well-grounded in herself, sturdy of mind and body, who does not forget the things she sees and hears. Cannot forget them. Her perfect memory is the Seeker’s greatest gift for her clan: a safe-house to fill up with precious things. Her self-knowledge is a steadiness against the empty hole of what our people have forgotten. The matriarchs honored these gifts in me when they chose me to learn the memory meditations. To wander. To seek out the truths of who the Gugrum used to be.
It’s my task to remember what’s been lost, and if you know anything at all about the Gugrum people, you know that we’ve lost more than most. The breaking of our nations, our centuries of servitude, and the grinding passage of the years over our backs have worn away the memories of our culture and our language: even the meaning of our people’s name.
I’ll be the one to find it again. I’m called to find the lost words. To wander from clan to clan. To search the ruined towers of the Forlorn Marches for lost records and inscriptions. My journey will likely carry me into the slave-lands of Motta, where the captive of our kindred sweat in the dust under the lashes of men who see us only as strong arms and backs for labor.
I seek the old stories. Memories of who our people used to be. The scattered scraps that still remain of our lost language. Once I’ve heard a thing spoken aloud, I can’t forget it. I collect the old words, like bright stones on a chain, to bring back as a gift for all my people.
Anger, selfishness, the shedding of blood… the mother-clans set these things aside long ago, and the matriarchs say we are better for it. But I’ve taken these three habits up again, because I need them. I’ve descended into a world that’s far more dark and dangerous than the steady mountain villages and hunt-camps of my homeland.
My village still stands, rooted in the mountain, and I am grounded with it. It waits for my return, high in the wilds of Ba'areth. The lake draws down its stark blue from the sky: pure and blazing in the water. As blue as blood. Around it, where that blue meets the gray pebbles of the shore, stone towers rise up from the earth like great trees, connected at their roots and overrun with wildflowers. I close my eyes, and I can count the blossoms on the cherry-tree beside my mother’s door.
I’m far from home, but I’m not lost.
I’m not like you, but don’t mistake either my silence or my patience as the hallmarks of a vacant mind. I watch, and I listen, and I remember every word.