Following that stunt, the next several sleep cycles involved little focus on our runes, and very lengthy question and answer sessions. That is to say, he had many questions, and I did my best to answer them. I had several questions of my own, but rarely asked them.
To begin with, he indeed was, at very least, not from the part of the enclave where he would learn about the basics. He frequently questioned why the Trees were so important. His questions often led to logical arguments against trusting the Trees, and their providence.
“So these trees talk to you?” He seemed naturally dispositioned to asking questions about everything.
“Well, not me specifically. I’ve only heard them once, with the help from the Elder… But they talk to everyone else.” I confirmed for him.
“What do they say?” It often wasn’t his questions themselves, but the way he asked them, that made me feel he had ulterior motives.
“Well, I don’t know. They don’t talk to voids, mostly.” And often my answers only reminded me that I wasn’t like everyone else, and I had been sent out.
“Did you ever ask?” And then there were the questions that made me get flustered, and feel ignorant. I’d never thought of any of this before, but the way he quizzes me, it makes me feel like I’ve failed him by not knowing the answer or stupid for not having asked about them when I had the chance.
“I- I, erm, no, uh, I didn’t think to.”
“Oh.” He would often fall into thought before starting another line of reasoning. “Why do the trees grow the way they do? You know, with the rooms, and the lights, and the fruits. Even beds!”
“I don’t know.” Thinking about it, isn’t that how trees are supposed to grow? “They have always grown that way.”
“That’s natural?” He gave me an incredulous look.
“Sure. How else would they grow?” I mean, honestly. I can’t imagine them looking anything other than what they do.
“So they grow steps with railings, because… Why?”
“So people can walk up them. How else would people get to their rooms?” I mean, why else would they grow them? My method of getting to my room was not the norm. Thinking on it, would that be considered my previous room now? I suppose I won’t see it ever again.
He had this bizzare smile on his face. “But what reason would a tree have to grow in such a way to provide anything for anything except for itself?”
“That’s… just what they do though?” Why am I questioning this? Why is he questioning this? It’s obvious that’s what they do, what else would they do?!
“Thats worse than saying the answer is 42! At least they had forgotten what the question was. This… it’s insanity!” He seemed a bit exasperated, his hands in his hair, which had grown quite long now. When I had first met him, it was only a finger length. Now it draped halfway down his back. I had been cutting mine regularly with my rune controlled wind. Its bothersome and gets in the way if it gets too long.
“M-maybe we should practice our runes some before taking a rest.” The cycles like that had gone on for quite some time. Sometimes he would try to revisit the same questions. Was he expecting a different answer? It was very demoralizing. I won’t be defeated by his insistence!.
Finally, after a few more sleep cycles, he asked a very peculiar question: “So are like, the trees, uh… god, or something?”
I was unfamiliar with that term, but he had always been receptive te explaining his words to me. “What do you mean? What is ‘god’?”
“Well… Where I’m from, people struggled to answer that as well. But, I suppose God is the top authority on everything.”
“Oh. No, The Elder has mentioned that the Trees answer to Gaia. I don’t know what Gaia is, but the trees answer to it.” Thinking about it, maybe there was something above Gaia I suppose? But to be honest, it didn’t seem important. What would knowing that provide?
“So… hm… okay. It just seems so arbitrary to respect the trees so much, when all they are, are some plants that feed you.” He dismissed the subject as odd and unnecessary by waving his hand as if it was now an unimportant subject.
That made me bristle. Some plants that feed you?!
“Those ‘Some Plants’ not only feed you, but house you, provide you with light, clothe you, clean you, provide a place for you to sleep. They do everything for you. It isn’t arbitrary. Don’t you ever disrespect them again.” I could feel the heat flushing my face. I was angry.
After that, our conversations were much shorter and less meandering. They usually centered around the runes we sought to control with better accuracy.
Thanks for the support! I am in your care!