[title=black+red]Brannyn[/title] His pockets turned out empty. Damn, He thought to himself. Looking back up to the innkeeper, he gave his best charming smile. He was completely drunk, so the smile wasn’t his best. The innkeeper continued to glare at him, and motioned towards the door. Two burly hands lifted Brannyn off of his stool, and proceeded to throw him out the front door. Bran landed face first in the mud from the dirt road. It was a warm summer night, still humid from the rains this morning. Bran sat up, wiping the mud off his face but only smearing it around in the end. The light from the inn stopped short as the door slammed shut, leaving him alone in the darkness of the sleeping village. All he felt was a mild, penetrating sadness in the back of his mind, as if his body knew he should be sad, but the drink had fuddled his senses. He stumbled to his feet and began to walk. He did not know where, or why, but he just wanted to walk. He walked past the closed storefronts of the village, boots caked with mud and grime from the day’s market affairs. He walked past the pillory, which brought back memories. His feet brought him past the edge of the forest, but he kept on walking. He walked past huge redwood trees, who seemed to almost gaze at him as he moved past. He continued on into to the heart of the forest, where eventually he wandered to a stop. The full weight of his grief came upon him, and he collapsed to the ground in a drunken heap, sobbing into his hands. A gentle rumbling could be heard in the distance. Weren’t these woods home to monsters? Whatever. He didn’t care if he died anymore. The trees in front of Brannyn parted, revealing a large troll creature. The troll sniffed the air then looked down, noticing Brannyn on the forest floor. “Hello little human. Are you lost?” The trolls voice was deep, and it shook the air around him, like a rumbling landslide. Brannyn looked up. “Just kill me.” “Why would I do that?” “I don’t wish to exist anymore.” The troll king settled down in front of the sobbing man. He crossed his legs and looked intently at Brannyn. “What has happened to you?” Brannyn choked on the words, “My family is dead. My beautiful daughter and wife, and there was nothing I could do.” His sobs grew harder, and he shook. “There there, little human. It is not all so bad. Come, let me show you.” The troll king reached down, and picked up Brannyn. He shouted in surprise as the troll king’s large powerful legs erupted into a full on sprint. He was carried lengths at which would have taken normal men days to travel in mere seconds. Usaris crashed through the forest, coming to a stop at the edge of a lake. He set Brannyn down. “Look here, little human. Look upon the lake.” Brannyn wiped his eyes and looked. The clouds had parted, revealing a vibrant full moon that shined down on the waters. the still lake enhanced the light, making the whole scene look alive. “Here,” the troll king spoke slowly, “is where the moon comes to shine. She looks upon the waters of the Earth, finding her reflection in our blue waves. The moon smiles at the Earth, and the Earth smiles back.” Usaris turned around towards the forest. “Beyond the water lies the land. The forest embodies the cycle of life,” he watched an owl fly by, “it is the flow of life and death. Within it are mysteries untold.” Finally, the troll king looked towards the sky. “Above us, little human, are the stars. They reach across the endless space, enveloping our world. This is where your family looks upon you, with happiness in their souls.” Usaris turned to Brannyn. “Fear not, little human. They may have left you, but they have left a beautiful world, full of sights and sounds and tastes and nature. You will experience the world twice. Once for you, and once for them.” Brannyn looked at the monstrosity before him, tears in welling in his eyes. “Thank you. Thank you so much.” He looked back out towards the lake. The moon indeed smiled at him. Usaris carried the little human back to where he found him. They said their farewells, and Brannyn thanked him again, tears still in his eyes. But this time they were tears of joy. Brannyn walked back through the village, past the inn he had begun at, and down the dirt road that led to endless wonders of the beautiful world. He walked until he found a farm, with a nice old man willing to give him some place to rest. He would continue on in the morning. Brannyn settled down on his cot, and slept, peacefully.