Hammer, Anvil, Forge...
To state that I loathe being here barely begins to describe it. The man in me still remembers the tales of the "dark ones" of the forests to the south. I imagine in some societies tales are told to scare children with shadows of fables. Not so at home, the shadows of our cautionary tales were all around me.

The existence of our two people so close together was always tense. Perhaps the power that some fool sought from the toad was meant as a check of sorts. Peace was always best kept by vigilance and being a little more trouble that the reward that might be had. A simple "don't go there sufficed for most" at least between my immediate kin.

Adric, from what I remember of him as a child was the type that personified the lesson of mother's tales. His charmed life to the point of the portal seems a little clearer now. Its not that all woodsmen fell prey to the dark ones, but it was far more likely with the chance growing with the more chances one was willing to take. Adric was someone my mother told me to avoid but my grandmother always encouraged me to "watch with a wise heart, for there is much to be learned."

Few spoke openly of the dark ones. Grandmother was a quite exception. She had a strong respect for their ways. They used the Mother's gifts well in many ways. The scope of their lives were very different than our own.

We counted on the "complexity" of their society as the best defense of our way of life. To keep a pulse on their nation a few from Adric's kin became our peoples eyes. Adric had many of the talents but always was too easily seen. He was never one who was good at fading into the background. Being seen is something the eyes of the people avoid. Now in this place its clear Adric has always been in the vision of the people of the dark wood.

Our land was consumed by the toads. Our land must be cleansed. The Mother has ways of dealing with those who flaunt her gifts. Where there is wet their is dry. Where their is fire their is ice. Every day of life is another's final gift. Balance is the Mother's way. The toads have disturbed the balance.

Wet places are important but cannot be where they have no purpose in the Mother's way. There is much drying to be done in the land. Impurities in metal are brought out by the heat of the forge. The hammer sparks as the weakness flees its blows against the wall of the anvil. The dark ones seem to be a suitable hammer. Without a forge and an anvil a hammer has little use in purifying.

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