From the Ashes: The Future of Arda

Sylvani and Kynthos: The First Meeting

What’s your name?

Kynthos.

If I may ask—

You may always ask.

—if I may ask, did you choose to come to me, or were you sent?

Both.

How is that? And… why?

When a new Shaman comes to exist, a call is sent for willing Guides. Among them, one of us chooses to accompany and teach the Shaman.

Why did you choose me?

Because I can teach the lessons you most need to know.

…What are those?

Interdependence, and loyalty.

You look surprised.

I’ve never thought of myself as disloyal…

Never in the short term. But you shirk your own species, and when you outlive your friends you will not seek others.

Is that wrong?

You think of mortals as separate from nature. You forget that the land feeds off them as much as they feed off it.

Aren’t they separate, though?

What makes it so?

Mortals… have rational thought.

Does a bear have wings?

No.

But a bird does. The presence or absence of an inherent feature or characteristic does not make one unnatural.

Then… The mortals worship gods, but other things in nature do not.

Do the flowers and grasses not worship their creators and sustainers with each bloom and movement?

Mortals build things.

As do ants, and beavers, and bees, and badgers…

…Why is it bad to shirk my own kind?

Because you must serve all of creation compassionately and without fear.

I have a lot to learn, then.

You do.

Will I be able to?

I think so.

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