In the rubble of a once strong building, there sits a single small book bound in leather under a plank of wood. The leather is scratched and the corners of a few pages singed. ‘Rowan Tallstag’ it reads on the first page, and contains her journal entries throughout her adventures on the pages after. Flipping through the half filled book the last entry reads as follows
I have been thinking a lot while on the road. So much has happened, and we are merely preparing for danger yet again. But through the worry and the grief I was struck by a strange feeling. I can’t explain but for some odd reason I am hit with the realization of how lucky I am as a person in this cruel world. I thought of all the people we’ve come across in our adventures, both living and dead. I thought of their own stories, how tragic so many of them were, but mostly I thought of the ones who were alone. I think that’s what made me feel lucky.
I have suffered, and felt some of the greatest pains in my life during this time. Both physical and within. But still, I am lucky. Because many people suffer, and are hurt repeatedly, especially in these times, but not all of them can go through so much and come out of it with what I do. A family.
I will never stop mourning the one I lost. I realize that now. Telling Roy about them helped me see just how foolish trying to forget them was. Randal, my sweet beloved baby brother, I will never forget you even if you have forgotten me. Not you, or our parents. I am sorry I tried. I don’t want to. I want to remember being yelled at for rubbing dirt on your scabbed knee when we were children, and helping father get the rodents from the traps because you were too upset by the dead animals to do it. The hunting trips where father taught me how to shoot a bow…half the reason I’m alive really. Mother putting us on our lap and reading us those old fairytales, that turned out to come quite in handy. There’s a thousand more I could name. I want to remember them all, and I want to remember my family. I may never stop missing them, but I can say I at least found happiness in a new family as well.
My new family is strange and gets me into all sorts of trouble, but I love them and I’m so happy to have met each of them.
I have an older sister who is actually younger than me. She cares so much for everyone around her, but is still willing to put you in your place. She’s done it to me quite a few times. She’s the most gentle and kind woman I’ve ever met, and yet the most fearsome spell thrower on the battlefield when it comes time to protect us. I will always be grateful for what she’s done for me. Despite all that life has thrown at her, she keeps go by for the people she cares about and there are not words that can properly say how much I admire her for it.
I have two younger brothers. They’re both amazingly smart in different ways. One thinks of himself as some simple coward, despite being one of the bravest of us and the only one with any sense half of the time. I gave him a constant fuss and laughed when he gave it back. He always made me smile. He frustrates me to no end that he can’t see how special he is.
The other one is more frustrating, but only because he cares too much. He’s about as bad at me with big decisions, but he does it for the people he loves. He’s also one of the smartest people I’ve ever known. He’s been a guardian protecting us day after day, and a loyal companion listening and encouraging us. He’s one of the best friends I’ve ever had and I want nothing more than to see him happy and smiling again.
Then there’s one more. I met an amazing man who I love, and who made me feel loved. He’s not always the best with words, but he makes me feel safe and the happiest I’ve ever been just by being there. He’s a stubborn and troubled man, and it worries me to no end, but somehow it endears him even more. I don’t know how much time I’ll have with him, but I’m already so grateful for what time I’ve already been given and for how strong he’s kept me so far.
They say everyone is the hero of their own story. There are so many stories out there, many of them ending sadly, angry, or bitter. Despite everything I have gone through, and all that has happened,
I don’t think that of mine. I don’t know when my story will end, perhaps any day now, but one thing is clear; it will not end as a tragedy.
My story is a coming of age, an adventure between amazing friends, a horror tale nearly a few times, a magical tale of wonder, and for a part of it, a love story. I have laughed, cried, charged into battle, and picked myself up to rebuild who I am over and over. And I’m thankful for all of it. That’s what I will focus on.
I have so much hope for the future, and for my family both old and new. I can say honestly I truly believe in a good future where all the tragedies can end and we can have our happy endings. Even if my story ends someday for the sake of that future, I’m happy to have had the tale that I did.
The tale of a huntress.