[Story] The Ghostclaw – Sorrowmoss

It’s strange being in the company of the living again. I’d forgotten how restless and busy they are, and above all how noisy. The younger recruits especially, I think I could hear them across the entire forest. They don’t realize it of course, it’s simply the noise of being living. Breathing, talking, eating, laughing. I know I did it too, and in years it wasn’t very long ago but it seems that it was. I’ve leapt over a great chasm and seen what is on the other side, and I can’t go back. If I try hard, I can remember bits of memories, but it gets more difficult as the days pass. Some days I can’t even remember my old name, but I don’t need it anymore. That’s not who I am now. Now I am Sorrowmoss, my body become part of the forest itself. Every one of us will, eventually — I’m just closer than the rest of them.

Except for Orledin. He understands. He’s had some training with a sword — he was among those raised to serve the Lich King. He’s been practicing with his bow as well, and while he’s making some progress, I don’t let it worry me much. My aim is unerring, and if anything gets past me, he can take care of it with his sword. There hasn’t been much opportunity to, however. Most of what we’re doing is observing the ziggurat for the summoners and their demons. They’re like us, except they are humans. Why have they come here? They don’t belong. Orledin and I are from these woods, and we’ll return to them one day. We are part of these woods already. Humans aren’t. While we wait sometimes I wonder if they’d be more willing to speak to us than the living rangers. We’re more like them after all, at least in that regard. It’s as if we are members of an exclusive society that no one wants to join.

I wonder what’s to become of us once more residents move in. Already the captain has advised us to avoid the roads, lest we frighten anyone or be mistaken for Scourge. People don’t even attempt to hide the disgust in their expression when they see us, even in town. They don’t realize that we are more suited to keeping them safe than anyone else: we have no need of food or rest, we can see well in the darkness, and we make no sound. Still, they shudder to look at us, or hide their eyes and look away. They don’t want to be reminded of what they’ll one day become. The captain is more understanding than most. He’s agreed to let us help, and I’m grateful for that. I could — and would — have continued to patrol on my own, but we’re more effective together. The building is okay. It’s nice to get out of the rain sometimes. Though I don’t need sleep, I have my own bed. I do rest on it sometimes, usually to read. Linarelle tries to make conversation, but I don’t know what to say. I know Orledin talks with the others. He tries so very hard to fit in, to make them forget what he is. He’ll be disappointed, I think.

The forest is growing, the new soft leaves pushing out of their buds, stems reaching up from the earth. More people are here too, we see them as we walk the trails out toward the ziggurat. What’s to become of us then? Will this forest still have a place for people like us? I lived all of my life here, and I’ve remained after it. I don’t want to leave. I want to keep it safe. I hope I’ll be able to.

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