Lambuc Bannin (Biography part 2/2)
As night began to fall upon the remote valley, two druids walked side by side down a remote path away from the grove. It had been 12 months since the gruesome murder of young Lambuc Bannin, and his subsequent transformation into a type of humanoid Avian the likes of which not even Arch-druid Balbrazzi had ever seen. They had moved him to the outskirts of the grove so he could recover and try to adjust, but it had been difficult. For the first month a kindly druid matron named Salmiddi stayed out there with him and basically looked after him while he adjust to new foods, different ways of eating.. and all of the unpleasant business and changes about the body he now had.
Arch-druid Balbrazzi had performed this ceremony several times in the past, but previously the subjects were sick, or dying and had no hope of recovery. Transformation and reincarnation was a blessing and a release that was looked forward too, but this was different. Balbrazzi had sought out Karalduk Bannin and his son with righteous indignation and revenge in his heart. The Arch-druid had attempted to right the balance by taking young Bannin, and having him transformed through the ritual into a creature of nature. But the murder of the boy had weighed heavily upon him, and now he wondered if they had taken the right step, or if they had crossed over the line and come down upon the side of darkness for arranging the brutal deed. True, the boy had been blessed by his God and transformed, but his spirit was marred from the murder.. and was not adjusting as quickly as the others. Balbrazzi was the only one who knew that the adolescent boy had been deliberately killed by Dulub and his thugs, but every day that secret weighed upon him. It seemed that seeking a reckoning for the father, had focused all the suffering upon the son. The family was free to mourn his loss.. but the son had to linger while the memory of his human life slowly left him, desperately trying to adapt to a life that was thrust upon him.
The Arch-druid walked next to a younger Druid named Eyollos, who was a tall whip of a man with a dark trimmed mustache and a slightly wolfish look about him. “Father Balbrazzi, I do not understand why you give this one so much leniency, it has been almost a full turning of the seasons since Lambuc’s transformation, and yet all he does is pine for a life that is lost to him. He has been given wings and a body capable of flight, and yet all he does is just look wistfully into the sky, hardly daring a hop or a glide. He sits in quiet contemplation down by the river. At some point he must either leave the grove, or join our number as a worshipers of nature.”
The Arch-druid held up a hand and shook his head. “I have reasons for my acceptance. This young male suffered more then you can know. You must have patience Eyollos, for a young eagle does not emerge fully grown from the egg in a day.. or even a year. These things take time. He will fly and leave his past behind, when he is ready, and not before.”
Eyollos pressed the issue leaning in closer towards the Arch-druid, “Forgive my impertinence, but you still did not answer my question father. Why have you given him so much time and leniency. Most poor souls who are brought back through reincarnation are grateful to us for the favor our god has shown them. Lambuc is merely sullen and withdrawn, hardly speaking and eating only when necessary. Why do you tolerate it?”
The Arch-druid shrugged slightly. “I cannot speak of it now, but I feel a certain degree of …responsibility for his plight. As far as why he does what he does, remember who his father was. Back in Lambuc’s human days, he and his father were very close, and they would spend much time in quiet contemplation. He is, or at least he was a thinker. Now if you will excuse me Eyollo.. I would like to speak with Lambuc alone. It is nearing the time when he will visit the grove, so I would like you to have everyone out to welcome him this evening.” The younger druid nodded quietly and began to walk down the path towards Lambuc’s tiny shack.
As the druid quietly approached up the path, Lambuc studied another forest beetle, and carefully took up his piece of chalk and started to draw the lines of its body. He scribbled and tried to trace, but it was painfully obvious that the vicious talons which now tipped the birdlike claw of his hand were ill suited to drawing. The chalk fumbled once, then again, then a claw dug into the side as he tried to color in a tiny part of the paper and cracked it. Lambuc loosed a sharp, frustrated squawk as the beetle fluttered away and Lambuc hopelessly tried to fumble with his drawing implements. Finally in utter frustration he turned and screeched once as he smashed the thin drawing slate over the log. It exploded into a hundred small pieces, spilling ink from a small vial all over the stack of parchment he had to the side.
Balbrazzi came up to Lambuc as he was covered with speckles of ink and surrounded by pieces of his drawing board and crumpled balls of parchment drawings. “Still trying to draw, my son?”
Lambuc heaved a heavy sigh, then made several low clicking sounds with a short series of chirps. “There was a time, when it would help me relax. I could sit and draw everything and lose the day in its meditation. Now all it does is drive me into fury, and what’s worse is I’m forgetting how I used to do it. My body doesn’t remember, and the understanding is leaking from my mind.”
The Arch-druid slowly began to pick up some of the scattered pieces of crumpled parchment. “I warned you that would happen Lambuc. Your old life is fading, and many of the things you used to be able to do will fade as well. In time, your life as a human will be like a dream, bits and pieces might survive and surface from time to time, but nothing will be solid. You have been reborn, and as such you must start new. The ritual that was used to revive you was very special, and now it falls to us to find out more about what you are. I have sent word and other Druids are coming. Hopefully some of them might have some knowledge, so that we can find others like you, and you can rejoin your new family.”
Lambuc’s feathers puffed out in aggravation, and his voice was harsh. “I don’t want a new family! I want my father, and my mother! I want my old family.. I want my old life. You can’t imagine what its like, feeling drawn to something that scares the wits from you. I feel the pull of the sky, and yet every fiber of my mind screams that what I’m thinking is impossible. I feel the need for the air like nothing I have ever imagined, and yet my body trembles in fear with the merest thought of it. I can never go home, and any city or town I go to is just as likely to kill me for being some sort of Monster, so DON’T TELL ME WHAT I MUST DO! You have your druids, you have others that love or accept you. I have nothing and I have no one!”
The Druid slowly drew over to Lambuc and gently took his shoulder as the avian’s chest heaved and low mournful squawks sounded in what could only be the weeping of his kind. “Come with me tonight… the other druids will be there. You will meet many who will accept you for what you are, and see you as the beautiful creature you are. Please.. come to the dinner tonight, then stay with us a while longer until the other druids arrive and we can find out more about your people.”
Eventually Lambuc nodded and looked up towards the druid. “There is squawk something else.” The Druid nodded and sat back down upon the log after they had gathered the last of the parchment drawings. “what is it?” Lambuc looked up and his eyes seemed to almost glow with intensity. “It’s back, I can feel it welling up inside me. The power.” Balbrazzi furrowed his brow slightly, What do you mean, its back. What is?”
Shaking his head and wracking his brain, Lambuc tried desperately to think of a way to explain it. “The power is back. When I was first changed and the energy that pulled the substance of my body from the grass remade me, it left a storm of energy and change in my spirit. It’s like a tempest, roiling and brewing inside my chest, getting slowly stronger. Last night I exhaled and tried to let it out of me, and the whole area filled with this foglike mist. I think its something inside me that was left over from the change, and its getting stronger. I feel its power, remaking things and altering things as I learn to let tiny bits of it go.”
As Lambuc spoke.. he reached down and small streamers of light flowed from his talons, touching the shattered pieces of the drawing slate and pulling them together. Balbrazzi gasped as the streamers pulled the slate back together and seemed to fuse the shattered pieces back into the whole slate. After they had dissipated, his drawing board was just like new, sitting whole upon the log.
Balbrazzi was stunned. “I.. I sensed no Sorcery or Arcane magic, but you have no prayers memorized, no rites and rituals that would allow you to do this. How did you do that Lambuc, you must tell me!” “I have been trying! It’s a storm inside me.. a storm of life and change, of the wind and the Air which illed my lungs with the first breath I took in my second life. The power of that ritual is inside me now. I don’t fully understand it yet, but as I do.. I feel it getting stronger.”
For the first time in decades, Balbrazzi was afraid. Perhaps the balance of that ritual, would some day come full circle in the form of a mighty mystic, wielding strange divine powers and bent on revenge for a murder he had arranged. He offered a quiet prayer to his God, in hopes that it would never come to pass, but the dull void in his heart gave him no comfort as he watched the mended drawing slate slide off the log and into the grass.
Night time eventually came, and Balbrazzi walked with Lambuc into the druid grove. There was a feast of some sort going on and the druids were talking while observing an important blessing to the Lord of Nature. The mood was infectious, and before long, Even Lambuc felt his spirits being lightened by the merriment of the druids. Many of them welcomed him as a brother of nature, and did their best to make him feel at home. He was quiet, for a time, but then found himself chirping or clicking merrily as the druids began to sing. Some of their songs were solumn affairs that spoke of their devotion, others were little more then bawdy tales which told of love and enjoying the passion of life.
Lambuc felt the warm buzz of drink and song from the feast as he sat to the side. Several of the female druids were fascinated by his feather covered body, and one even worked up the courage to touch one of his wings. He extended it briefly, and the druid giggled slightly before bowing in thanks and moving on. He sighed softly, content and happy for the first time in over a year as some of the harsh reality of his life slowly lifted. He glanced about idly, then he looked to see the hut of a young woodcarver.. when his blood went cold, and his mug fell from his talons.
There, on the side of the woodcarvers hut, were intricately carved masks.. just like the ones the murderers had worn on the night Lambuc was killed. His shivering talon reached up and took one of the masks down, and he found that he could not tear his gaze from it. It all came back to him.. fresh as if it had happened only a moment ago, for this was the mask that he wore.. the fiendish villan who had sliced his throat and brutally took his life.
Balbrazzi was starting to make his way over, a look of concern upon his face as Lambuc’s mood had suddenly transformed. The young Avian had gripped a young druid woman’s cloak his eyes were wide and almost insane. “W-w-where!!! Where did you get this!” The girl was a little tipsy, but was slightly alarmed at the vicious talons that now held her robe. “I made it… two years ago.. some men hired by the Arch-druid came through and bought most of them, but brought them back the next day.”
The haze of alcohol was gone now as everything was spinning and Lambuc turned to see Balbrazzi working his way through the crowd of revelers.
“Lambuc?.. what is it? What’s wrong?” the Arch-druid paled slightly as he saw the wooden mask fall to the floor. “Damn it all!.. I had ordered you to burn those!”
Everything was an insane blur.. he had to leave.. he had to get out, get away. The same man who had cared for him and took him in, was the one who had arranged his murder in the first place. He bent low and voiced a hate-filled screech which made many of the nearby patrons wince or hold their ears.
“You… you… MURDERER!!!!!!” It was a sound that Balbrazzi would never forget.. as the young Bannin raced through the crowd of druids… smashing through a window and fleeing into the darkness. The festival came to a halt.. and many stood wondering what was happening. Meanwhile, the Arch-druid sighed while leaning down to pick up the wooden mask the assassin had worn that fateful night.
Eyollos came over to the Arch-druid. “My Lord, should we go after him?”
Balbrazzi shook his head slowly. “The balance will be maintained. My righteous indignation at the sage, blinded me to the balance, and now the events which will likely end in my doom have started to unfold. There is no need to look for him Eyollos, in time he will return on his own looking for me.” The druid, heaved a heavy sigh as a small tear of shame and despair crawled down his face. The revelry was ended as he turned away, and tossed the mask into the fire.