A place to keep my memories, in case the worst happens

The Imaginative Elder

Deep in Fen’norlan, there was a pride with a focus on the magic and wonderment of nature. In the pride, a new generation of Kits had arrived, and the entire community was alive with excitement and wonder as to how these Kits would grow and develop.

One such Kit was expected to become one of the wisemen of the pride. He learned very quickly and exhibited the ability to lead the other young ones, in spite of being the tiniest of them.

This young Kit was rambunctious, excitable, and always ready for new challenges. Sometimes, he was so enthusiastic that he made up explanations for things that confused him until he was able to see explanations solidly in front of him.

As the generation of Kits grew older, many of his peers found him to be exhausting. His falsified explanations for things gained him many skeptical looks. Most found him endearing, but not necessarily “wise.” He found himself working twice as hard to earn his place among the wisemen of the Pride.

As he grew older, gradually he did manage to prove himself. One day, he was acknowledged as a Pride leader and looked at from the whole of the Pride as a wise and capable member.

His antics, however, never truly changed. He continued to piece together the world around him to the best of his ability with his imagination, never allowing the limits of the physical world to stop him from attempting to apply explanations to the unknown.

Over time, this meant the other elders of the Pride dismissed much of what he had to say as personal monologue and went about their business. The others simply asked for his assistance on strictly technical matters, mostly calling him very adorable for his great tales. Some even commented on how he would have made a much better bard than an elder.

During the rainy season of his third year as an elder, a great storm attacked the forests. It knocked over trees, replaced paths with grass, forcing new paths to be made all throughout the forest. The hunters of the Pride ended up having to fight their way through the forest as though they had just settled. Harvesters had to search out new bushes and trees that had not almost drowned or drifted to the streams and rivers. It had been generations since the Pride had to fight this hard to feed everyone.

The imaginative elder went to the forest in an attempt to find the old ways of hunting and harvesting. After two days of searching to no avail, he saw, while camping, the smallest bit of familiarity from when he was taken on hunting trips as a younger Kit. He searched through this area, and managed to find berry bushes still intact.

Quite proud of himself, he put together an impromptu basket and collected enough berries to help feed the Pride for a week. His triumphant return was met with new sets of adoration and celebration. His place as an elder was more secure than ever. Most members of the Pride seemed to forget their ambiguous feelings toward him being an elder.

The week passed, and the Pride managed to relax a little more. This allowed the Hunters to retrack their paths, the Harvesters to find new sources of nuts and berries, and the new young Kits to remain fed.

As the berry supply started to dwindle, the Hunters and Harvesters wanted to be led to where the imaginative elder had found the first batch. He happily obliged, quite sure he could lead them there again. He warned them that it took him two days to get there, but all who followed him were quite prepared.

What none of them had thought to take into consideration was the flooding and how it would constantly shift and re-alter the land. Flooding does not simply disappear, it can continue to cause damage for weeks after it has begun. Water is patient, it can wait. It can cause damage slowly. It can make what once looked familiar seem completely unfamiliar with only a week’s time.

The small party that followed the imaginative elder spent another week searching and searching. Slowly, the party dwindled as members returned back to the Pride to handle their own affairs, brushing it off as a fluke that the elder had actually found anything substantial.

Gradually, it became reasoned that the imaginative elder simply stumbled upon a bush that may have seemed familiar, but was something the Harvesters had then found after the storm, and was not a truly solid source of food.

Some of the group began to make comments, referencing the imaginative elder’s blunders before. Their faith in him clearly shrinking all over again. He began to grow very quiet and sullen. He sent the party to return to the Pride and determined he would help as he could. All the while, his spirit dwindling, his imagination suffering, his self-esteem falling to the very depths of the Abyss.

Days passed, then weeks, then months. It was only much later that the Pride began to worry about the imaginative elder’s whereabouts. A search party had been sent out, they combed the forests of Fen’norlan.

It took them until the cold season before they found him, slouched under a tree, passed on to the next life. His vacant eyes looking sorrowful and lonely as he lay there, alone in the cold. In his hand, he clutched a branch covered in withered berries, and beyond him lay a field of bushes, holding dried up shells of berries. The imaginative elder was the youngest elder to pass on in the Pride, and he had done so completely and utterly alone in the world.

A fable passed down for generations among my people, shared with dedication to those who think differently.

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