When Ashleigh woke up after the second attempt to remove the curse, he seemed anxious and ready to try again. I told him about what had happened to Kiira and what had happened to him. He told me that he was approaching it from the wrong direction. He knew he could get it right this time. It was obvious there was no stopping him and besides, this was not my affair. This was Kiira’s. I told him to talk to her about it and he went out to find her. She decided to think on it a bit and went for a walk. I honestly couldn’t tell you what I was hoping her decision would be. I couldn’t imagine being in that situation. My concern was only for the baby, to ensure that it didn’t come out with problems because of this. But thus far the baby has been fine. I voiced my concerns to Kiira although I tried not to sway her either way.
When Kiira walked away, Ashleigh told me that he knew it would work this time and that he needed me to not be there. I tried to quiet my heart and agreed. I figured it would probably be best if I wasn’t there distracting him. Maybe that was the reason why it didn’t work the other times. Looking back, I was giving myself far too much credit.
To distract myself from thinking of Ashleigh, I went in search of Jig. I’ve been trying to make sure that I talk to him and I’m trying to develop more of a relationship with him. Also, I thought of something the previous night- perhaps Jig could teach me to hunt for my own food so that I didn’t have to rely on other people to do it for me. I am a druid now, I should know how to do it. Jig is a really good teacher. I caught a rabbit and I was so proud… until I needed to kill it. That part was the worst and I actually threw up a bit in my mouth. Nevertheless, I was still pleased with both myself and Jig. Me teach him read and write. Him teach me to hunt. Me think that fair trade.
When Jig and I returned to the camp, Ashleigh and Kiira were waiting there. Kiira had decided to have Ashleigh try one last time. Ashleigh seemed confident that this time it would work. He asked Jig and I to go with Marius and Collin through the back of the tent where Marius had set up a spell. The spell made a hidden room like a hut on the beach where we would gather and “pray” to Ashleigh as we did before. Collin wanted no part in it, but sat and watched.
As I was going into the tent, Ashleigh stopped me and told me that he needed me to believe in him, not worship him. Then, out of nowhere, he kissed me. It was amazing and I wanted so much to just kiss him back and I did for a moment until my head screamed no and I pulled away. I said, “I can’t…” but couldn’t finish my thought because he was kissing me again. This time I tried to strengthen my resolve. I would not would not would not be the reason he did not achieve all that he wanted to achieve. So I broke away once again and turned my back. He told me that he couldn’t do anything without me. And I told him that I would believe in him, I would continue to believe in him, I was his follower. But then he said that he needed to know love. A god must help his followers, he said, by understanding what it is they are in need of. He said he needed to know love if he was to understand them and he asked me to show him. I felt my heart flow over with love, warmth, happiness, and joy. I kissed him and in that kiss I put all my love and emotion and all of my belief. When the kiss ended he reminded me to believe and I promised I would. I then went into the hut, trying to hide the goofy grin on my face, but knowing I couldn’t. I then told Marius and Jig how to believe.
A little while later, Kiira came in, but I hardly recognized her. She was who she once was, but not as I had known her. I had always known her as Kiira the drow elf elf drow as Jig says. I was not prepared for the elven beauty that stood before me when she entered. Even in my baggy robes, she was still beautiful. I’ve always thought elves were beautiful, but she was glowing. She looked happy and radiant. I know part of that was because she was back to her old self and part of it was because of the new life inside her. Then she told me that Ashleigh had taken on the skin coloring of a drow. Somehow, that did not surprise me in the least and I honestly couldn’t tell you why. I went out to see him, wondering how he was. I made myself walk slowly even though my feet wanted to run to him and fling myself in his arms. He was folding up the altar and looking rather pleased with himself. I was so proud of him and so happy for him. How handsome he looked with the dark skin. It made his eyes stand out more, especially the cross. I asked him why he took on the dark skin and he explained that the curse needed to go somewhere. He had taken the burden upon himself. I felt a fierce pride in him and myself for believing in him. He had achieved it. He was officially a god in his own right and I honestly couldn’t have been happier. Part of me is timid to love one so great and part of me is proud because I believed in him before this was achieved.
That night by the fire, I tried not to keep glancing at him. I tried to act nonchalant. I don’t know if I succeeded.
That night I had a dream. In the dream were all the druids I had seen before, my mother, my father, Marius, Marcus, Brian and a few others whom I had lost. It had this sepia overtone to everything and the people seemed peaceful, but not quite there inside their heads. There were people in the vestments I had seen before in Illidia, Covington and Ragnarose. It was set in Ragnarose. At the end of the dream, there was the lightening storm that came in from all directions to the center of the town. It was so strange. Then I woke up to Jig screaming. I tried to calm him down and get him to tell me his dream. It was obvious he wasn’t going to calm down. I went to get Kiira so she could sing him a song to calm him to sleep. We were to leave for The Thickett soon and we needed to make sure we were well rested. Jig, however, would not be calmed. He wanted to save those people in his dream who had turned into monsters. He had an Illidiaesque dream, although his was definitely a nightmare whereas mine wasn’t. I wonder what it means… We managed to convince Jig to continue with us to go save Grimm and that once the people of Sabwa were saved, we would help him. I plan to keep this promise. I really am trying with him. I really truly am.
So we traversed the shadow plane. It was interesting and tiring. The first day Kiira stumbled a bit and I thought we were going to be lost, but it was fine. The next day I stumbled a bit and was lost from the shadow plane, as were Marius, Conor and Ashleigh who were behind me (Conor was in Ashleigh’s bag). I tried to find them. Marius sent a message spell and through flares we found each other. We kept searching for Ashleigh but to no avail. Finally, Marius convinced me to set up camp. I took the first watch. To my surprise and joy, Conor came trotting up to the camp. Unfortunately he had Ashleigh’s bag. I hoped he would find us and that he was okay. I had joked to Marius before he went to bed that if a god can’t take care of himself, how could he take care of his followers. I reminded myself of this and continued with my watch, petting and loving on Conor. Finally, Marius relieved me of my shift and I went to sleep.
The next morning Marius woke me up and put his finger to his lips directing my attention to the fire where Ashleigh lay sleeping. I felt my whole chest untense and I smiled. I went to go get something to eat for breakfast but the skills Jig had taught me were failing me and I could only find some berries which I deemed nonpoisonous. I returned to the camp and Ashleigh appeared in a good mood for he teased me about catching a rabbit. Later on, he spotted one and I tried to catch it for quite some time, finally catching it only to let it go because we weren’t going to eat it right now. Ashleigh didn’t understand, but I don’t think things should be killed unless you’re going to use it now. That’s just my opinion though. What do I know?
After quite a bit of searching, we finally found the other three of the group and camped for the night. I took first watch with Ashleigh and we talked for a bit, mostly about nothing, but it was good to just talk with him. That night when we went to sleep, I lay my bedroll next to his as I had done before. It felt right and I slept peacefully.
The next day we traveled until we came to The Thickett where The Great Lift was. Marius disguised himself as a brother of Ashleigh and we entered the city, traveling to the lift. Marius got some food for Grimm and put it in the hidden hut we had prayed in. Then we traveled on the lift. When we got to the top, the view took my breath away. It was so beautiful. I could see all the way to the capital! I could see the trees and all across the expanse of country. It was so incredibly amazing. I felt moved beyond words. It was incredible.
And now we’re off to save Grimm in this world I am so unfamiliar with. But I have my friends and that’s what matters. We will save the rest of Sabwa somehow and we’ll do it together. I believe.