Finding My Voice
I recall being a young girl, and leaving my family home in the provinces to seek my fortune as one of the great adventurers, the citizens of Kugnae. My brothers and I set out, determined to succeed in our newly chosen paths. As I approached the city for the first time, I saw the spires and rooftops of a then unimaginable amount of buildings, and the smoke from many workshops and taverns. This was a place of excitement, of commerce. This was a place of new beginnings.Now, these were the days before the Great Shift. Some might say that it was a different world, one that lacked refinement or possibility, but I was there and I know the truth. These were simple times. The law was simple, for no one had discovered new ways to skirt around it. The possibilities for adventure were more direct, because we were all young and inexperienced, and our culture was pure, for we had not yet unlocked the true power of the legends.
As I passed through the impossibly large city gate, I turned to marvel at the grandeur and beauty of this construction. Unable to pay attention to my steps, I tripped, cracking my head against a rock and losing consciousness. When I awoke, I found myself in a small cabin occupied by a strange man in a red shirt.
"Welcome back young one, are you alright?" He asked me.
I found that I could not quite remember who I was, or where I had come from. Expressing this to him, he chuckled while removing a simple spring dress from a closet full of basic uniforms. He passed the garment to me and spoke to comfort me.
"Do not distress, for you are now a citizen of the Kingdoms, and the greatest glory is yet to come. My name is Ironheart, and it has become my calling to teach the ropes to young heroes like yourself... Will you do me a favor?"
I nodded, still unsure of how to speak to this strange man, who seemed to be the first person I had ever met.
"Excellent. Take this wooden sword." He turned to a large chest and removed a sword, nothing more than a stick with a hand-hold and passed it to me. I held it awkwardly in my hand. "Step outside, and bring me the meat from ten rabbits. You will find that many live just outside this door, in my yard."
I nodded again, and headed for the door, not knowing what else to do.I spent the rest of the day running these sorts of strange errands for Ironheart. He never left his hut, and I began to wonder if he was some sort of hermit. Having purchased some basic armor and a better sword with the change from the tasks he had set me, I set out to look around the city. I still found myself unable to speak, yet I could hear the words of others. Some of these messages, as I would come to understand later, were being magically broadcast all across the world, and into the minds of each citizen, and ability that would not be taught to me until I had gained a higher insight. Without knowing the nature of these messages, I tried my best to contact the speaker.
At the time, I had no idea who this man, Howie, was. I called his name out on the wind, and received a quick reply. Realizing my status as a new arrival, he walked to Ironheart's hut with his friends Serra and Kiyone, and began to teach me the basics of interacting with others. I remember this meeting very well, for Kiyone and I would live and work side-by-side for many years, having later been two of the first few walkers of the path of the Muse. However, the dark and violent events of The Shattering was still a few years in the future, and well beyond the imaginations of even the most experienced citizens.
I never saw Howie again, but I will be forever indebted to him and these two women, for being kind to a stranger, and teaching a poor young girl how to use her voice.