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Mar. 19th, 2010

go back. To the Beginning. To before there was The Stranger stalking the lands with his stolen secrets and empty heart. There was a before. There was a time before the story started.

Before The Tree and the journey there were false prophets and choices made long before even that.

The story ended even though I never found the words to finish it. The girl of The Tree traveled many years and over strange lands. There was the Scholar and The Fool King and many others who came and shaped the path that she took. Always The Stranger seemed a ghost tormenting her, just out of her reach. Trusting in the answers that he held she pressed always on. Never finding rest or sanctuary in those she met.

Then the day came where she came to The Great Cliffs. Standing on their edge she looked down into The Dark Abyss and knew that it was to this end that The Stranger had led her. Across the darkness lay the mirror cliff and there at it's edge she saw The Stranger. He stood staring back at her. Saying nothing. Threatening in his stance to disappear with every second that she lingered.

Breathing deeply and with a great cry the girl lept. With all her soul she flung herself across that Great Divide and came crashing down on the other side. Feeling the hard earth beneath her she rose. Finally she had The Stranger in her grasp and finally she would have the answers his eyes had promised so long ago. Opening her eyes to gaze into his she saw only the green and blue line of the horizon in front of her.

The Stranger was not there.

Hearing a noise from behind she turned quickly and saw across the way she had come The Stranger. Standing on the cliff she had lept so blindly from. Still staring with those dark eyes that piereced her so deeply. And it was in that moment she knew.

The Stranger was nothing more than a Phantom. If he had ever been real he was long ago lost to his own journey. No great reunion was intended for them. The answers he held were not hers to hear, and all her journey had been nothing more than to come to this moment, and to understand. Looking again at The Stranger she saw his own confusion. His own pain. Her heart ached for him as she reached her hand out. Bidding him to jump. To leap as she had done and together they might find a greater truth. But he stood as he always had. Unmoving. Unseeing. Trapped in his own vision, a vision that did not include her.

For turning from him she saw that this truly was a mirror. In the distance, just barely visible along the horizon rose a great aged Tree. Far to the west she could just make out a moving line of bodies slowly crawling towards it. In her heart she knew that she had finally broken free of her small life as a Guardian. She was not nor would she ever be a Pilgrim, marching mindlessly to The City that drew them ever onward.

Adjusting the back on her shoulder, the girl looked up to the sun overhead, and breathing deeply took her first steps into this new world. Knowing for the first time a feeling of peace at the knowledge that all her choices were behind her and that ahead of her lay a new beginning. A world that would look and feel familiar but would be irrevocably different because SHE was different. She was no longer bound to the life of blind duty she had led. She was no longer tied to centuries old traditions and patterns. And in that freedom she breathed deep and walked onward.