The Chronicles of Caradys
Strength 9, Dexterity 8, Constitution 12, Intelligence 13, Wisdom 18, Charisma 15
“My name is Aloran-” And I’m a hot mess. “Please… My name is Aloran and I can talk to spirits-” Hiiiii Aloorraaannnnnn. “-and sometimes they talk to me-” Who else is going to?? “-and sometimes they even are polite enough to let me finish a sentence without interrupting.” If I had a tongue I would stick it out at you. “If you had a nose I would punch it.
“This is my story.”
“Once upon a time,” You’re such an infant. “When I was an actual infant, probably five or six, my brother and I were on the topside of Caradys collecting lava glass. The work was probably-” Definitely. “-too dangerous for kids our age to be doing, but it was what our family did to survive. My mom was the main provider, her rough, stony skin was ideal for surviving on the topside, while my dad usually stayed home because the heat from the lava flows made his skin soft. My brother was like a miniature version of mom, rocky and tough, which was why we always had to go out together. I needed to be watched-” Obviously. “-because unlike my earth-blessed parents, I had fleshy skin that was susceptible to burning and big ol’ wings that weren’t good for anything but attracting attention and catching the wind.
“So anyways, we were out one day collecting lava glass and I spotted a dune lizard. Now dune lizards fetched a good price at market and I knew if we caught one it meant we’d get ice cream later, so I went after him.” Idiot. “I was a kid, cut me some slack. I chased that stupid lizard all over the desert and right when I was about to grab him he lept into a crack in one of the many surface rocks. I remember that I shouted at that lizard that I hoped he would get roasted by the lava.” He didn’t, of course. “Of course he didn’t. They’re way too smart for that. Not only did I not catch the lizard, but I had successfully ignored my brother’s shouts until I was out of earshot and was now completely and utterly lost. And it was suddenly nighttime.” Praise be to Sola.
“I knew what to do in this situation, it had been drilled into my brain – find a landmark and stay there, shout for your brother every once in awhile, don’t drink all your water, and don’t fall asleep. So I started to wander, hoping to see something that wasn’t just sand and rock. Finally I spotted a lonely, old tree, completely devoid of leaves. If I had thought about it then I might have realized how strange it was to see a topside-tree, but it didn’t matter to me. I was too worried about following my instructions.” I wonder how long it took you to stop following instructions… “Not long. As soon as I started thinking about saving my water I got so thirsty I felt like I was going to die. And then I thought a clever way to stop caring about drinking my water was to just take a quick nap. I don’t know how long my brother looked for me before heading home or if he was ever close enough for me to hear him.”
This is where it’s my story. “Yes. When I woke up-” Finally. “-it was to the sound of someone arguing. At first I thought it was the usual, my dad insisting that my brother eat breakfast before leaving the house, but as I came to I recognized that I didn’t recognize the voices.”
We can’t just leave him here, he’ll die!
Good riddance, he’s a fool.
He’s a child!
A foolish child.
“I looked around but I couldn’t find anyone. And then I remembered where I was. And then, because I was scared and confused and just a little kid, I started to cry.”
LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE.
This is your fault for running from him.
I would have been EATEN.
Good riddance, you’re also a fool.
Listen you big, vertical log, you need to help him. When was the last time you helped someone who needed you, you leafless twig?
That’s rich, coming from a scaly rat. Fine, I’ll help him, but only because his crying is giving me a headache.
“You don’t even have a head, you big softy.” Shut up. “So after he decided I was worthy of his aid, he addressed me directly.”
So, uh, you need to do exactly what I tell you and don’t talk back, okay?
“And he showed me how to get home. My mom cried, my dad yelled and then cried, and my brother wouldn’t even look at me. I thought he was angry at me.” Your brother was so upset that night he lost you he cried until he puked. “I felt terrible.”
“A few days after I got back, he stopped talking to me. Not my brother, I mean, Him. Igwe Osisi, the irontree spirit. I think he was probably homesick.” I don’t get homesick. “I know I would have been. But after those two in the desert talked loud enough for me to hear them, I could suddenly hear everyone. It was nightmarish and I couldn’t help screaming back at bugs I almost stepped on or shushing the water that got upset by my dirty feet or scolding the wind that thought it was funny to steal my feathers. My parents were a superstitious couple but they put up with it for years, thinking it was just an odd phase from an odd child. But one day I pushed it too far.
“My dad brought home a chicken for dinner. A live chicken. And all day long it sat in an overturned basket in a corner and begged me to let it out. I shouldn’t have let on that I could hear it, but eventually I couldn’t take it and I started repeating its words to my dad.” You should have just let it die. “It told me, and I told my dad, tears streaming down my face, how the chicken had a family just like ours and how much it missed its brothers and sisters and how it wanted to be a free chicken.” It was lying. “Of course it was lying. Spirits aren’t bound to their bodies and if that chicken had died its spirit would have just found another chicken body to live in eventually. But I didn’t know that. And when my dad got frustrated and insisted the chicken wasn’t talking to me and that I couldn’t speak chicken I told him I could hear the chicken in my head and it spoke person, not chicken. And when my dad called me a liar I called him one back. And when he told me he never lied and I said the words I shouldn’t have said.
“Why don’t you tell mom about how much you enjoy visiting the chicken lady??”
“Obviously I didn’t know what I was implying, I was just saying what the chicken told me to say, and the chicken didn’t care a shred about me, it just wanted to escape. But I had inadvertently exposed a secret my dad was keeping that there was no way for me to know about except one – that I had actually been hearing voices in my head and that they were telling me things that I shouldn’t know.
“I don’t know what my dad did or didn’t ever tell my mom, but they had an argument about me later that day that started angry and loud and then turned frightened and quiet. They told me I needed to leave.” Truly models of parenting. “They were scared.” They were cruel. “They didn’t say goodbye.”
“After I left he came back.” I never left. “Well, he started talking to me again.” You needed me again. “Igwe taught me how to build totems and summon spirits. How to know when I was being tricked and when I was being told the truth. How to recognize which spirits were mundane-” Like the chicken. “- and which were special.” Like me. “And, most importantly, how to talk to people without scaring them.” I tried, anyways. “He called me Oakmoss, because I needed to cling to a tree to survive.” You still do.
“And so here I am. It’s been a few more years. I don’t see or hear from my family, and I haven’t since I left. But he’s still here, still helping. I get by doing odd jobs for people in town that don’t mind that I talk to myself sometimes and when I’m not in town I’m usually out by myself somewhere where the spirits are calmer and quieter than in the city. Every once in awhile I do odd jobs for spirits too. They need help too, just like normal people.”
Your face is just like normal people.