A Winter of reconnection

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About a week had passed since he left The Lux under the cover of darkness. Rumor had it that he wasn't the only one who had left, it seemed that the guardians needed some quiet over the winter.

A hooded figure slowly makes his way through the snow up a small hill. Jinn lifted his hood and the purple glow from his horns illuminated the path before him. It was one he had walked many times over the past century, and he knew every marking there was. A few moments later he spied the rock that meant he was close. His lips formed a small smile as he climbed the rock and surveyed the area just beyond the hill. It seemed that the tribe had grown since his last visit a few years ago. More houses and other buildings had been constructed, it evened seemed that some well walked paths has begone to form in and out of the area.

Jinn sighed as he began his trek down the hill, many emotions running through him. He was a changed Tari'Nor since he was last here, and the events of the past 2 years weighed on him heavily. He had gone from a simple adventurer to delving in some of the darkest places he could have ever imagined in such a short amount of time, he wasn't sure if he was even the same man he was before.

Snow began to gently fall from the night sky as he made his way towards the eastern part of the village. He could see smoke coming from a few of the chimneys and he pulled his hood up, covering his horns. He didn't want to be disturbed right now, there was something he had to do.

Leaves crunched under his boots and the moonlight reflected off the snow as he walked into the graveyard. Making his way further into it, he found what he was looking for. He stops and kneels in front of the simple headstone, placing his forehead against the cool rock. He kneels there quietly for a few minutes, just breathing, then leans back.

"I did always come back in the winter didn't I" He says to no one in particular. "it's been quiet the adventure since you left, and I'm sure you would have enjoyed many parts of it." He reaches to his neck and lifts a raven's claw necklace off, gently placing it on top of the tombstone. "I know you've been looking out for me"

He stays there for some time, kneeling in the snow, pouring his story out to no one. When he finishes he slowly climbs back to his feet, brushing the snow off of his cloak. He makes his way out of the graveyard, and towards the forest that sits on one side of the village. His smile grows larger as the small hut comes into view.

"They still take care of it..." He whispers as he comes up the path to his home. He grabs a few logs and gently pushes the door open, and looks around. The familiar smell hit him and he breathed it in deeply. Dropping all of his stuff onto the floor by the door he started to build a small fire, to knock the chill out of the air. After getting that going he collapses into his bed, still in his gear, and slips away into sleep...
 
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Jinn awoke to the sounds of children outside his house, talking to each other trying to guess who was in that hut. Some of the children hadn't been born the last time he was there, and others would be to young to remember him at all. Some people in town tended to it, airing it out in the summer, and keep the small garden out front in good shape. In the winter they would leave a small pile of fire wood beside it, just in case. But the house had always stayed empty, until now. Smoke coming from the chimney had been enough for all the children around to dare each other to go knock on the door or peek into a window, to catch a glimpse of what was going on inside. But none were brave enough, the fear of the unknown kept them at bay. The commotion caused by the children was enough to catch the attention of an old woman, about 60, as she watched the smoke rise out of the chimney she smiled and slowly made her way over to the door. Shooing the kids out of her way, they all watched, eyes wide as she walked up to the door and gave it a knock.

"Come in" Jinn half mumbled out, still not really awake.

The woman walked into the hut, almost tripping over his swords. "Well those are new" She exclaimed "I've never seen you wield a blade before, You were barely getting used to that oversized walking stick when I saw you last"

"I'm a man of mystery, you should know this about your father by now" he replayed, turning over and looking up.

Gla'zer smiled down at him as she sat on the bed. "You've caused quiet the commotion amusing the children, showing up in the middle of the night like you did. Always with the flair for the dramatic"

Jinn chuckled as he sat up, reaching his arms out and pulling his daughter into a hug. "Exactly how I planned it..."

He pulls himself out of bed and throws some logs onto the fire, building it back up. He picked his swords off the ground and hung them on the wall, along with his cloak and hood. "Alot has happened in the past few years" He says.

"Well, luckily I have all day to hear about it, but you need something to eat." With that the woman goes to teh door and leans out, yelling instructions to some of the kids. They return shortly with some food and a kettle, and she goes about making some hot tea. "There has been some goings on here as well, luckily it's all been good things" She pours Jinn a large steaming mug of tea, and he leans back in his chair and begins to tell his long tale.

"So it all started when I took a wrong turn and ended up at a place called Fort Shaundular......"
 
Jinn had arrived just a few weeks prior and he spent days in his hut, slowly collecting himself, telling his daughter everything that had happened since he has last seen her. There were the good stories where Jinn's eyes would light up at the mention of his friends or his travels. But the other stories filled her with dread, stories of death and loss, nightmares and monsters. Those tales were grim, and Jinn's face showed that. His eyes were like ice and the anger that burned deep inside was almost palpable. She had never seen this before, not in him. But the first few days passed and Jinn began to feel like his old self again. The nightmares had faded, the fear had lost its grip on his mind. He met the newest additions to his lineage, twins even. The new lives breathed joy inside him, looking down at the small faces made him smile. Soon he was out in the town, reconnecting with members he had known before, telling the tales of family member's passed around the fires at night.

It was after another night around the fire that Jinn sat alone in his hut, a cold breeze blowing in through the window. He had recently received a letter, the second one sent to him over the winter, and it filled him with unease. Taking his time and going over every word, Jinn chuckled to himself even with the grim content. The same person had sent both letters, but had difficulty penning the second apparently.

"Next time get someone to write it for you, you blind fool" he says out loud to no one but himself.

Tossing the letter on the table in front of him and picking up the mug of mead he had been nursing all night Jinn stands and walks to the window, looking out it and thinking. He had always know he was going to return, but didn't think it would have happened so soon. But he owed a debt, and planned on repaying it in kind. Letting out a long sigh, he takes a long draught from his mug and paces around the hut. Moments pass as his finished his drink, working up the strength to do what he knew he had to do. Grabbing his cloak and putting the empty glass on the table he heads out the door and into the night. It only takes a few moments for him to arrive at the graveyard, but it felt much longer. Walking up to the gravestone he kneels and speaks a few words quietly to himself, then just kneels in silence for a few moments. Placing a hand on his stone Jinn stands to his feet, reaching out and picking up the raven claw necklace he had left there a few months before.

"Goodbye..."

The next morning Jinn awoke early, filled with a renewed energy. He gathered up everything he would need, and spent his morning saying his goodbyes. They had all been there may times before, but it never grew easier. His family worried for him, this new adventuring life was much more dangerous than his usual wanderings, but he smiled at all of them and chuckled.

"I've only had one trip thorough an Earth Circle, and I do not plan on doing that again!"

After the goodbyes were said, and supplies were packed Jinn donned his armor and strapped his trusty swords to his side. The trek would be long, but he was used to it. Leaving the village, under the midday sun Jinn walked into the forest, on the path back to The Lux.
 
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