On the past and future of Antoine Suomare

Benched comfortably at a table in the Inn of Suomi, two armor-clad and fair-haired warriors watched their glasses being filled.

"Thank you". The barmaid was briefly caught by the young mans chest-nut eyes and quickly turned away her head, surprised by the color, and by the strange light that seemed to emanate from somewhere beyond the retina. She mumbled a nearly inaudible "You are welcome" and left the table.

He turned again to the Suomi warrior, who had his hair and beard arranged in braids: "It seems to me that I am forgetting more and more of my mundane past. What was my mothers name, again?"

"Juliette" he replied, swallows a mouthful of his wine.

"That’s right. I don’t know why I keep forgetting it - I am afraid that soon the little I remember from my mundane life will have vanished. Could you spare the time to listen to what I still recall of my past - so that you may later remind me?"

The other warrior, glass in hand, leaned his back against the wall: "Sure Antoine, go ahead".

"All right. Let me see… There is one memory that is still vivid; I remember it very clearly. When I was a little boy and could not fall asleep in the evening, my mother, Juliette, used to sit by my bunk and tell me stories. My favorite one was the one about my great great grandfather. He had come to Mileth from Suomi in an army led by the beautiful Suomi queen. There was a great war going on, a war against evil monsters… she used to describe them to me; horrible flying horses with no riders, giant vipers breathing plagues and curses and swarms of beings, half as tall as men, with black skin and flaming red eyes, wielding terrible saw-edged swords. Afterwards I used to lie, half asleep with my eyes closed, and imagine these creatures with delightful horror… where was I?"

"Your great great grandfather?"

"Right, this great grandfather of mine was in this army, and right outside Mileth, there was a huge battle - a giant clash of the two armies. Thousands of both men and monsters died. I do not know who won, but anyway my grandfather was left as dead on the battlefield. He was found by a local farmer who brought him home, where his oldest daughter nursed his wounds and eventually, when he had recovered, married him. I was told that is why our family name is Suomare, and that it is form him that I have my blond hair…"

"So that is why you are here, in Suomi?" he asked, eyeing Antoine quizzically.

"It is… when I awoke in the Tavern of Mileth, after being touched by the Light, I was desperately confused. Why had the Gods, or the Light, chosen to touch upon me, of all beings? I strayed the streets of Mileth in desperation, and just outside the village, right by the fountain, I met a wonderful priestess, Meiterith, the gods bless her name. She told me about the temples and about the crafts. I suddenly remembered my bedtime stories, and all the pieces of the puzzle suddenly seemed to fit, I was meant to be a warrior…"

"Like your great grandfather..?"

"Absolutely… Perhaps it was the temple that makes you forget. In the circles, when your blood feels like it is on fire, or when your body seems to turn to ice, from your bones to your flesh… you remember?"

A cloud of pain nearly forgotten crossed the face of the Suomi warrior "I think that every Aisling does."

"Perhaps that is where you forget your past… it is impossible to say by now of course." Antoine sipped his wine thoughtfully, and continued: "I do not think that I had more… meaning in my life, in the old days when I worked at the farm. But the lack of meaning just seems so much more… insistent, now. Now I am a warrior, but what is it that I am supposed to do… what is it the Light wants me to do… is there another war drawing near, or…"

"So you came here to find out? To find out why you became an Aisling?"

"Perhaps… I guess so…" Antoine fingered his glass.

"So… is the answer here, in Suomi?" the warrior asked, fingering his braided beard.

"I do not know… I do not know… at least not yet".

The Suomi warrior raised his glass: "Any way, I wish you the best of luck on your journey, and I hope that you will find your purpose… some place or another. Skal."

Antoine raised his glass in reply: "Skal"