At camp, 2 days out from Caer Bwyn:

At a quiet camp, in the company of Bayeo, Caerdwyn speaks:

“I’ve been stewin’ about something Bayeo, ever since the night at the grove. I feel as though I’ve been pushed over a cliff face.

“I used to harbor a naïve fascination for the Night House, believin’ they were somehow more noble than the Sky, only that we had just forgotten them, buried them. I prostrated myself before them, at the grove, nearly offered myself as their servant.

“No more. They betrayed that trust, Bayeo. They’re savages, barbaric and primitive. Not that the Sky House is any better: Cold, manipulative, calculating. They’re each like the worst halves of us. And maybe that is their nature, they cannot help it… a balance struck them between them to keep the world spinning. That matters not. They are not worthy of our worship. We have been bullied and deceived into becoming their prisoners and their game tokens.

“I’m no longer going to pray to them or ask them for insight or power. If that means my magic fades, then so be it, I’ll survive on wits alone, but I think that will not be the case… I don’t think we need them for the magic, I think that’s been the big lie. I’m beginning to think that everything I’ve been taught about how magic works, what it is, has been only a half-truth.  Something tells me the Builders knew this. I wonder if then the gods silenced them for becoming too wise and powerful.

“Now the gods come to us to fix their mess. I know not what I plan to do about it any longer. I’ll keep following this road, to see where it takes us… but when it comes to the final choice, I don’t what I’ll decide. Maybe there’s another path I can’t see yet. I just hope when I have to make it, that you’ll be there at my side.”

Bayeo replies:

My friend, I too have been frightened and hunted since our night in the Woods. I should have spoken of this to you before. My…visitation…was….sexual in nature.  She was not human. She was not Vulfen. She was….other.

She was exquisite. Terrible. She was a shameful dream.

I had no choice in the matter. When I became aware, it was already happening.

This is why I have been so protective of Evaen. I feel I have some idea of what she experienced.

I too am angry. I am embarrassed. I do not like to feel that I am a plaything. I am….disappointed that any gods would seek to do such a thing. I am disappointed that they might act as slavemaster. Toying.

I have no answers to this. What if something wonderful comes of it? What if it is something that could not have happened otherwise?

Perhaps it must be that your arts will fade from you if you turn away from them. Perhaps it must be that you will make your own god. A god of the narrow path. A god of the hard choice for freedom. I am a little surprised that there is not such a god already, now that it comes to me. It seems…obvious. Perhaps it is a thing that is out of the realm of gods. Perhaps to go there, it is necessary to leave gods behind.

You know that if I stand, I will stand by you to see this task done. I know that when it is time for me to learn more of my people, if you stand, you will stand with me.