It was all too much to take in. Numbness, shock, anger, fear, denial – these and other emotions rippled through me as I slumped into one of the dusty chairs. As if he understood, Grunthrin came over, slowly coaxed me from the chair and from the hall and out into one of the larger cloistered courtyards away from the old quarter. He found us a quiet corner, away from staring eyes and ears, and ordered us food and drink. Then he sat there, encouraging me to eat, drink, talk. Slowly I began to refocus, asking nervously if these Shay were still alive. He told me he didn’t know but that he was convinced that some were. Not that he knew where they’d be.
I realised that if I was to discover more about them, about me, I needed to find these elusive Shay. Although by then I was convinced that this quest, this journey, wasn’t going to happen. I was afraid of what I would learn, not just about them, but about myself. Did I really want to know, now, who my parents were? I was convinced they abandoned me because of what I was. An ugly half-breed, an abomination, an outcast. Once again, I was the Outsider. Stranger than I had ever thought.
Grunthrin was kind, gentle. Not once did he grumble or push me. But he told me that if I did decide to go on the journey to which I had been called, he would gladly be my mentor and guide me as much as he could. I thanked him. I think. My world had just fallen apart, shattered into tiny pieces and thrown into chaos.
He walked with me back to the copse, to Ghost, telling me to think things through, to take my time to make any decision and to call on him if I needed his help. That the Guild would always be there for me, whatever I decided.
I watched him leave then put my arms around Ghost’s neck and cried bitter tears of anger, of regret. Why, oh why, had I ever come to this place? Why had I ever yearned to know who I was? Why had this happened to me? And I cursed my father, my mother and the whole of Rohinval…