Considering the trials and tribulations of the past few days, I think it is only fitting to say something about my thoughts on everything that has been going on. I won’t pretend to be selfless about this. It’s all about me. My diatribes, my rules. That said, I guess I should start with the other day. The first chimera attack… True, we weren’t doing well before it, but… Well, it was one of my failures, to not raise an alarm, to sit back and watch, unsure if I was seeing friend or foe before me. I feel like an embarrassment in all this. Even when the damndable thing began to strike the caravan, I was still too slow to act.
It was others who paid the price. Inari, who I’d taken considerable amounts of time to talk with since my arrival, and her elder son, Nakamura, were both nearly killed. It was through some miracle that I was able to pull her out from under the crafting wagon, and that Annina had been able to rescue the elder boy from all but certain death. I think at this point, that I remembered the words of my first mentor, the ornery old coot. Vividly, I remembered Ironfoot, after brutally beating a whole class into the ground, telling us this when we asked why:
“Why do I do this? Why do you wish to protect others? Those who are strong have a responsibility to protect those who are weak. I stand over you as a mountain, something unsurmountable, because that’s what I need you to be. An unsurmountable peak that defends those under your care, and also, so you can defend yourself, and to raise others, so that they, too, can defend those under theirs. We do not stand alone.”
I guess I’d forgotten that point. Maybe it was the absurdity of a mountain that didn’t even crest three feet tall, or one that I could so easily lift and toss aside, even as a child. Not that he’d ever let me.
Still, I think that was what led me to see that pathetic and frightful child, weeping and having wet himself with fear, and not help but empathize with him. The fear of losing a parent may have resonated too much with me. I still remember my mother’s crying smile as she left me in a back alley, telling me she loved me, and wanted me to live.
When Inari was finally awake, I asked her if I might teach her son. I suppose it’s both my inability to properly articulate my thoughts, as well as how painful a choice what I’d asked was, that led to her viewing my question with derision. Truth being, in her position, I think I would have done the same. For someone who would ask that of a near stranger… It’s simply laughable. And it led me to realize how little I’d been learning of these people in our dealings.
Of course, the illness had begun to strike before I could truly take the time to try and focus on resolving that, and this whole place has been thrown into a panic as a result. Between the stress and my callousness while working to replace the weapon I’d favored, I suppose I just let my own duties and decisions go to hell too. I certainly upset a few people between then and today, and am simply amazed I didn’t end up on the other side of Cree’s wraith for it all. That said, I suppose the next big nail that led me here was the sheer frustration that was this morning.
Charlie’s damndable tobacco kept getting at me, and I guess that’s what led to my being completely blindsided by the chimera’s return. I was completely overwhelmed before I’d even been able to defend myself, and it’s nothing short of a miracle that I was able to survive at all. The knot that had snagged in the wound, I think it’s a sign that the Stormzerker still wants me to do something yet, but I’ve simply no idea of what it is. Maybe the flashes I saw as I fell unconscious may have been what it was, though.
I saw Graham and Ironfoot, those who I could consider my mentors… I think it’s a sign. Once I’d regained footing, I decided to redouble my efforts. I’ll become better all-around so I can maybe become a teacher and superior like those who’ve taken me this far.
That’s probably what led me to speak to Inari once more. Even as her younger son’s sickness persisted, and even though I’d failed her and others on so many levels, she still gave me a chance. She told me once more of the完璧に庚申, her so called road to perfection… I’m not sure it’s an ideal that I can believe in, but… I’ll see. It’s like a credo I’d heard among some of the legions, to push beyond the limits we had and become better. I feel as if perfection may be greedy, but I could not simply turn her down when she’d told me of the fact that she was willing to consider me in spite of the failings I’d presented to her of late.
So I decided to take it as a test of arms. I suppose it started with something simple, some blocks and strikes, but the more I moved, the less I even felt I noticed about those around me. Inari had simply faded to the background, and all that stood before me was a phantasmal opponent. I thought back to everything that had brought me to that point. The humiliations that I’d both dealt and been dealt that had caused my exile from Calva, the fights in the swamps, where I’d barely been able to even make any difference by my own. Fighting as a faceless drone during that great offensive… Meeting Sargeras and facing numerous defeats at his hands, the almost fruitless defiance I’d put forward against the ageless snake, Ziggy… Thoorin’s death before my eyes. The near deaths of my fellow travelers before my eyes, and then my failure when the chimera struck once more. Every single one of these events and failures coalesced into a single enemy before me, one that was shaped just like me. I think at least five minutes passed as I faced down this embodiment of my own weakness that threatened to overwhelm and consume me… By the time I finished, and the world returned to me, I was covered from head to toe in sweat, and breathing harder than any time I could remember.
And she accepted the offering of my show of strength. Truth being, I think Inari is the consummate teacher… Perhaps that’s her goal. She says that the path is to become perfect at whatever one attempts, so I suppose that’s really no surprise. The bitterness of my past still left a bad taste, and for now, I do not know why, but… I bowed before her, and begged her to teach me. I think, that at this moment, all I want is to grasp some small bit of that shining light, to become the mentor that those of my past pushed me towards… Maybe that’s what Stromyr reserved my life for.
I’d say more now, but… I think I hear something… Anazat, what the hell are you doing now?