As Gregoriy and his comrades, Niall, Vesna and Kira, and I are preparing to leave, my father calls me over to him in a gruff voice. I see his arms are crossed, and he has a stern look on his face, so I hop on my sand steed and trot over to him, standing several feet over him. “I know what you’re doing!” I allow the silence to hang in the air between us for a long while. "A bear?1 Have I taught you
After warging into a raven and finding a bear from the air, I point the Order of the Darkwash in its direction. When we find it nibbling berries by a creek, quietly, Gregoriy explains the purpose of the mission-that we must kill the bear in a calm state with the eventual goal of healing Lord Ronnel’s sight. My heart sinks, and I step away and take a few deep breaths of forest air while considering his proposal. To be a part of such a vicious act towards such a majestic creature…unfathomable. But…it is for the good of the house, and for the good of Lord Ronnel. I’ve always wanted to be a part of the betterment of the house, yes? Well here’s my chance, am I going to let it go? Because of my own girlish wishes? Seven hells, it is time to grow up, Summer!
We start approaching the bear but it gets spooked quickly and starts to run off. “Wait!” I scamper after it and coo softly, “come back, friend.” The bear looks at me with curiosity and I give it a big smile back. I entice it back towards the creek and engage it in play, chasing and exploring the banks together. Each time Gregoriy approaches, the bear gets spooked, so I gently suggest from afar that he sneak attack. After some time, I see a glimpse of Gregoiy quickly followed by a flash of his axe, and the bear collapses, dead. I too, collapse, into a fit of sobs.
Gregoriy gets to work right away collecting the blood of the bear, while Vesna and the rest of the Order surround me with comforting gestures. When he’s done, I walk over to the bear and crouch beside it, apologizing and whisper “please help Lord Ronnel…please let this all be worth it…please don’t let your life be for waste…”
We all slowly and somberly make our way back to Castle Snownook, and prior to entering the castle walls, Gregoriy expresses his sadness and condolences for what he’s put me through today. I try to muster the strength to respond, but can only manage a sniffling nod.