Art by me
Writing by @bloomingednae
Day 3: Marlind (Knowledge/Nature)
I could be everywhere or anywhere the wind might take my soul,
I could be anything or anyone you’d ever wanna know.
-Your Love – Austin Plaine
soon as Sorey entered the town gates, the aroma of fresh trees and foliage
filled his senses and he was suddenly aware of the surroundings which he had
entered. Not only was it full of life with the many students, scholars, and
traders alike, but the nature surrounding the town had absolutely grown in
size. Life prospered within the trees and branches that now arched over the
small scholar town, each one nearly emanating a large amount of blessings from
each of its branches.
Sorey carefully walked through the crowds, as it was nearly noon, and found a nearby porch that had a rail and looked over a bit of the town. Prior to entering the town gates, Mikleo was summoned by quite a chatty scholar, and Sorey clearly saw how conflicted Mikleo felt in that moment, watching him as Mikleo’s eyes shifted from the scholar and back to Sorey. Sorey just smiled and waved to Mikleo, an indication that he would go ahead and meet him later, to which Mikleo glanced back and nodded apologetically.
Leaning against the rail, Sorey began to scan the busy crowds and started to notice just how much larger Marlind had become.
Well, formerly Marlind, that is. It was definitely the same town, with very different aspects, just as he had seen from his previous visit in Ladylake. He had grown accustomed to the fact that every town he would encounter on this journey would be drastically different from what he remembered, but he still couldn’t help but compare the two sights he had seen from each city or location they travelled to.
It comforted Sorey, though, that all of the places they have been to always still held a sense of familiarity. While this former Marlind looked much more busy than he remembered, the nature focus that primarily defined the town was still strong, if not stronger, than he had ever seen before. The great tree that he once thought was large during his Shepherd journeys had now grown much taller in size, its branches covering Marlind in a protective dome while still letting most natural light seep through its foliage. Many other smaller trees with different colored leaves also contributed to the great tree, creating a vast array of color above the town. While it covered some part of the sky, it did not by all means completely block it out. The trees had a way of intertwining naturally and still allowing sunlight and the blue sky peek through its leaves.
It took Sorey’s breath away. How the blessings in the town overflowed with such positive prosperity was beyond him and it slowly began to dawn on him that this was indeed a result of his long slumber.
In the corner of his eye, he could see Mikleo making slow progress through the crowds, but he was stopped almost every minute by another passing scholar. He spoke to each person with confidence; it could be seen in the way he carried himself with broad shoulders straightened, head held high but not in superiority, and eyes filled with understanding and attention to each individual he spoke to. The way which Mikleo kept carrying on conversations and never refusing to talk to anyone was a feat which Sorey knew he developed over the years of his absence.
Sorey smiled; he felt proud as he watched Mikleo go about his work, nodding to each individual and responding as if it were second nature to him. It made him realize that in the years of his absence, Mikleo was hard at work writing multiple books; travelling everywhere and taking in the sights. Eventually, he became a well-known seraph that travelled Glenwood frequently and was sought after many scholars and travellers alike who wished to know more about the different theories and discoveries which Mikleo so often divulged in inside his books.
However, as impressive as Mikleo’s repertoire had become, it wasn’t the knowledge or work ethic which made Sorey proud; it was the fact that Mikleo was able to move forward without him, was able to live life to the best of his abilities, and eventually find pleasure and gratification in the activities he loved to do the most. It was the very same activity and hobby that Sorey loved to do, and he admired Mikleo for being able to pursue it all the same, as it must have bittersweetly reminded him of Sorey countless times.
Mikleo’s determination and ability to endure and stay strong were feats which he was amazed by. Smiling, he propped his arm on the railing and rested his head on it, staring at Mikleo who was now walking towards his direction and did a small wave in indication that he noticed Sorey. Sorey waved back. He learned from Lailah during their previous visit at Ladylake that Mikleo had the full intention of writing the books and exploring the world on Sorey’s behalf so that when he woke up, he would have the resources necessary to catch up on what the current world was like. When Sorey asked her what other people thought of his books, she merely smiled and looked directly into his eyes.
“The people call Mikleo’s writings a reflection of an inspiration; most often, his words were written in a way that felt genuine, full of life, and in positive anticipation for someone he seemed to be waiting on.” She placed a hand on Sorey’s shoulder and squeezed it gently. “Each book was in dedication towards you, Sorey, and he made sure everyone who laid eyes on his writings knew.”
Sorey was at first a bit embarrassed upon hearing that, but after reading a couple of volumes of Mikleo’s books, he began to feel emotions of gratitude towards everything Mikleo worked for, just for him.
Looking at Mikleo now and how far he’s accomplished made his heart well up in a way he couldn’t quite understand; all he knew was that he was so very grateful towards everything Mikleo had done.
As Mikleo began to climb the small set of stairs which led to the small landing that Sorey stood on, Sorey chuckled.
“Mr. Popular, are we?”
Mikleo took his spot next to Sorey and rolled his eyes. “This isn’t even the half of it. I love visiting this town, but there’s always a downside to doing so as well.” He nodded towards Sorey. “What do you think of this town so far?”
Sorey looked up towards the intertwining branches above him and he smiled. “Big. Crowded. Kind of intimidating. But also very warm, compassionate, and well-intentioned.”
Mikleo looked up as well towards the intertwining branches. “Rohan’s done amazing work as Lord of the Land to keep the tree from blocking out the sky completely. Figuring out the path of a constantly growing tree and naturally guiding it to not block out the sky is an amazing feat that I could never fathom.”
“It must be the effects of his blessing that you’re feeling,” he continued. “Rohan has always been a kind seraph and many of the students, scholars, and other people alike are just as so. It’s very rare that any scholars are impossibly competitive; you have friendly rivalries, but nothing too serious, which makes learning much more cultivated and developed for many young individuals here.”
Mikleo looked up at Sorey, who was still in awe by the amount of trees in the area. “It’s amazing.”
Mikleo laughed. “You know what’s also amazing? The library that’s been built next to Dumnonia Museum.”
Sorey’s eyes lit up. “There’s a library?! We have to go, Mikleo.”
Mikleo at first looked doubtful. “Hm, I’m not sure if that’s a great idea.”
Sorey began to laugh. “What, afraid that I actually know more content and will have read most of the books in the library already?”
At this, Mikleo just rolled his eyes and gave a small playful smack to Sorey. “Please, coming from the person who’s slept more than half his life.”
The tone in Mikleo’s voice was something that Sorey couldn’t pass. Slowly, he looked at Mikleo and smirked.
“Is that a competition I hear?”
Mikleo’s head snapped in Sorey’s direction and he squinted his eyes towards him, a smile forming on his lips.
Mikleo turned around quickly to go in the direction of the library, but was suddenly stopped by Sorey, who grabbed his hand just before he took a step down. He raised his eyebrow inquisitively, staring at Sorey who was looking at the city.
Slowly, Sorey turned to Mikleo and he smiled. “I just wanted to say thank you.”
Mikleo was silent at first, processing Sorey’s words, before he shook his head and smiled.
“Idiot. No need to thank me for something I wanted to do.”
They were silent for awhile after Mikleo’s comment, hands linked and eventually intertwining. The wind around the town began to pick up, with it Sorey’s ponytail and the capes which hung behind Mikleo’s back. It continued gently for awhile, picking up these items which served as representatives of small changes they underwent through the years; yet they themselves had not changed, despite everything else around them. Sorey grinned and squeezed Mikleo’s hand, suddenly feeling more bold than usual.
“Were you referring to me in the dedications that are in each of your books?”
Mikleo stared at Sorey for a moment and nodded. “Each and every single one of them. No individual picked up a copy without that one page being inside it.”
Sorey tilted his head to the side, feigning innocence as he asked his next question. “Did anyone actually ask why you were so attached to this Shepherd, I wonder?”
Mikleo quickly picked up on Sorey’s implications and he immediately began to feel flustered. He looked away and began to turn around to start walking down the stairs.
“I-In any case, we should start heading to the library now before it gets too late.”
Sorey laughed as he realized Mikleo was avoiding his question and followed him down the stairs. “Mikleoooo, I just want to hear you say it!”
“Like you’ve ever said it to me recently!”
“What? That I love you? And that your words in your books indirectly tell me each time that you love me too?”
Mikleo sputtered incoherent words and he glanced back at Sorey every once in awhile as he continued to walk forward.
“Y-you can’t just say that so easily…! And if my books already say it to you, then-!”
Sorey shrugged, but his grin began to grow even wider. “Why not? It’s the truth! And come on, I just want to hear you say it out loud without using your books!”
Mikleo just sighed. “O-one day, but today’s not that day, okay!”
Sorey nodded and lightly chuckled. “Okay. I’ll just take you holding my hand in public as one step forward out of your shell, at least.”
Mikleo just rolled his eyes, but didn’t deny that he did, in fact, enjoyed holding Sorey’s hand in public and squeezed it a little harder as they walked in the direction of the library.
Sorey concluded that Mikleo was a great scholar, but indeed needed lessons in breaking out of his shell in some contexts.
He was still proud of him nonetheless.
I don’t wanna be anywhere other
than you love
I don’t wanna be anything other than your love.