The Canyon

« Do you remember Ha’ze?» The desert engulfs Ha’ze, drawing him deep into the canyon. The trail zigzags downwards steeply, winding a path to the bottom of the canyon where the river rolls over rock and sandy bar alike. Each are worn away slowly by the current as the water works its unending power to change and shape upon the face of the rock.

The canyon and all of its beauty has become familiar to Ha’ze. No longer is he confused by the trail or the warmth that envelops him. This is his dream. Their dream. The place where Kainaesyth pulls him when he wants to share a story meant only for him. Once this place was a symbol of Ha’ze losing himself to the bond he had never wanted. Now, relief washes over him.

“What do I remember? You tell a lot of stories Kai.” He picks his way down the cliffside slowly. There was always the danger of falling off the side and for all this was a dream, it still hurt when he hit the river below. So like Kainaesyth, to have a mind with its own set of dangers and challenges.

Kainaesyth doesn’t answer right away, and Ha’ze doesn’t particularly expect him to. His words were an invitation down into the canyon, to their cave. It takes a while for Ha’ze to work himself down. At the end of the path through, the cave opens up and Ha’ze ducks down to enter. Rough is the stone under his hands as he moves through darkness till the cave widens. There’s a pool here, crystal clear and still. Ha’ze smiles as he sees the water, as his eyes lift up to see the far side where sometimes, rarely, the old man with a walking stick would appear.

« Do you remember Ha’ze? »

The memory, so vivid, even this far away from the event, breathes out onto the water. A memory from before Kainaesyth.

Are you strong enough to hold yourself with pride but shed the ego or avoid it? Can you stand tall, no matter what life brings to you and are you brave enough to step into that natural confidence to move ahead in life? Not necessarily to lead, but to renew oneself and find your own role in life. Brave enough to hope, to focus, to love life and potentially others and so much more? The presence holds to your memories, letting them play out slowly in your mind’s eye. Do not be ashamed of who you are…

Ha’ze stares down at the memory in the water, falling into it. How it had burned him at the moment. The first REAL call for him to awake and step out of Hazelon, to try to be something more than just a drudge. It had shaken him to the core. He hadn’t touched another egg after that one, no matter how many times they had paraded them onto the sands.

The stillness and silence is expectant. Patient Kainaesyth waits for Ha’ze to answer the question pulled from his own memory.

“I… still don’t know Kai. I am proud. You came out bronze. Someday… if you caught the wrong gold,” note here how much Ha’ze does NOT want to be anywhere near the title of Weyrleader kthanksmuch, “I’d be the weyrleader. I’m not ashamed of you. And everyone expects a bronzerider to have a bit of an ego. I manage to avoid that; it’s why I leave you behind when I wander so often.” In the cave Ha’ze looks up to find himself alone. The old man has disappeared, though the feeling of Kainaesyth’s presence remains. He’s listening. This is a problem for Ha’ze to work out on his own. Kainaesyth has simply posed the question.

“I think I have found my confidence. At least a little. I’m… enjoying seeing Galeon, Aleoa and Jaze grow up. I wish I could see more of Jaze. I hate how far away she is. I… enjoy searching out the details we don’t know about the firestarter. But then I come here and I can’t even step into the hold… All I can think about is when we heard about what had happened at Stonehaven. I know my parents were involved. Once… I thought… maybe, just maybe, if I came here I could be a part of rebuilding. I could maybe atone for a little bit of what they did here. But that wasn’t meant to be.”

Once those last words would have held bitterness, but now, they come out with the feeling of truth.

“I am ashamed of who I am. No.” He stops, and crouches down at the edge of the water. Before him the perfect stillness reflects back his own face. Strong. Confident. Holding hints of the darkness of his past but also, more recent and indistinct, of moments of joy. “I’m ashamed of who I was. That’s why I can’t walk into Stonehaven. That guilt… I didn’t do anything. But maybe I could have. Setha did. I hated him for so long. Not because of what he did but because he did it. I’m not sure… I’ll ever be able to be like that.”

Reaching forward Ha’ze touches the water and ripples break up his reflection. It’s distorted and more fitting for his current frame of mind than the perfect mirror had been.

« Your story is not done being written. » Kainaesyth’s mind wraps around him lovingly. It echos from the walls and rises from the pool. The syllables comfort and push at the same time. Ha’ze looks upwards at the crown of rock above his head.

“No, it’s not done. A new chapter starts every day. I’ll tell Rayathess the start. And then I’ll see about writing the end.”

Quiet satisfaction at Ha’ze’s words. « And I will write them.»