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Ilmater's Gardener

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#1 Guest_Lord E_*

Posted 15 January 2003 - 11:31 PM

It amuses me that I am a gardener now. Sort of, anyway. I spend time in my greenhouse, among the plants, their lifeforce humming in my blood like magic. Through the translucent, innocent green of their leaves I can see the sun shining. It makes me think of the Tree of Life, and her words when I rained vengeance on them all.
- "Do you remember how the Tree used to touch you, Joneleth?"
Then I only remembered the fact that I had felt something, that observing the light shining through the green leaves had stirred emotions in me. And the frustration that there was only scorched, dead soil in where the part of me, my soul, used to be... the part that is able to be touched by things like that.

Now I remember it again. I love my garden like I used to love the tree. Actually, the garden is mine in a sense that I take care of it - it is Lord Ilmater's garden. I have my own cottage in midst of the orchard, my laboratory and library. I never knew magic could also be... gentle. And yet, powerful. I rarely speak to anyone. They are a bit curious about me - you rarely see an elf in Bytopia. Still, they can sense that I yearn loneliness. And Lord Ilmater keeps my secrets. Often he talks with me in the garden, about compassion, about the consequences of our actions, about value all life holds and how we must respect that value. Sometimes I don't understand at all, sometimes I do. He never pressures me. He says he doesn't expect anything particular of me, but that he is very happy that I care for his garden and share the result of my magical studies with others.

Oh yes, there is the gnomish Illusionist's Guild in the town down there in the valley. Strange creatures, so intelligent and ingenious and still so void of dignity, so... ridiculous somehow. But it doesn't irritate me like it once would have. I have learned to respect also things I don't understand. As a result of my infrequent journeys to the guild, I have developed an interest in illusion magic. They really cultivate it here. I do not know whether the people of Suldanesselar would be disappointed to know how much I enjoy my life now, how much there is to these Planes. Best for them to imagine me still writhing in eternal torment of the Abyss, midst the savage, random malevolence. Even that didn't feel like much anything, except frustrating.

One day I will travel to other Planes too, but I do not feel ready to leave Bytopia. This soul is such a strange thing... it emanates things washing all over me more powerfully than most devastating of my magic. It can make me weep without knowing why, it can make me tighten my muscles in anger. Lord Ilmater teaches me to give names to emotions. He asks me about them, and what I was thinking, and then he explains. Now it makes more sense already, but I am still not ready. Not by a long shot.

Ellesime said that she wanted me to feel remorse. I know that she lied, of course - she just wanted me to suffer, but that is really immaterial. I do not hate her. For her, I still feel nothing at all. Do I feel remorse for what I did? That I sought to use the Tree that belonged to all of the elves, to my ends alone. I think I do. It is just that... I find it hard to remember what I was thinking then. I was great - I wanted to be even greater. It was not pure egotism from my part - I truly believed that all creatures should try to fulfill their potential and strive for greatness. But it was very selfish, and selfishness is the first sin, says Lord Ilmater. It is thinking that others don't matter, and so their fate is immaterial in making our ethical decisions. Yes, I feel remorse. I would not do the same again.

Much stronger, more instinctual is the remorse I feel for committing the sacrilege on the Bhaalspawn sisters - Peri and Imoen of Candlekeep. I had nothing against them at all. They were mere tools for my purposes, and I only became slightly aggravated when they became troublesome. Now I realize that I did to them what was first done to me. I know the horror of being made less than nothing, the endless emptiness you are ready to give up anything to fill with something. It is no wonder they fought so hard for their souls - yet I felt nothing more than slight irritation as if I was swatting a fly which would escape the swat just barely all the time.

They are beings, as magnificient as I am, as valuable, as entitled to have a life and soul and make their own choices as I am, or anyone. That is also what Lord Ilmater says, but in this case I can truly feel it. I remember Peri's eyes, there at the Throne of Bhaal, when she urged me to join her instead of Amelyssan. I had to think quickly whether I could trust her, whether she still hated me enough not to fulfill her promise. And I had no idea. No idea at all.

I remember her eyes after the battle, as well. I remember the dark knowledge in them, I remember realizing that she didn't hate me. When I got my soul back, it was as if a wave capable of exploding huge rocks rushed into the emptiness, and all the colours and all the light. That was the first time I cried after...
I remember her telling that she hates Ellesime, and I could see that she did. The curious thing is that I do not. But of my love for her I remember nothing at all.

I made the right choice then. I hope I will continue to make more right ones.

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