“You must pardon me, Kayn. I just received a message from the order to come to Riocht at once. I managed to pull Mansit by Dair to leave one more message. I understand it is out of our sequence. I wanted you to know that you might not hear from me for a while.
“I last visited Ceird a couple of weeks ago. I completed my rounds since then. I visited this one farm where the workers had an issue with the landowner. It passed without interest. As usual, I just tried to get both sides to listen to the other. Both of them had a reasonable point, but they just wouldn’t hear the other side. Once the dispute was aired, they reached an agreement in record time.
“One mother drew my attention because of her sick child. The child is doing well now. I had to listen to both child and mother to identify the complaint. Now, I did rearrange the child’s room a bit. The toy chest was right on top of the child’s bed. The mother wanted an active child badly enough to exhaust her child and only place things to play with near the child. Still, I talked with both mother and child about expressing their desires a bit clearer.
“I, even, stopped in on yet another couple having problems. I still can’t believe that I have resumed romantic tasks over these last few months. The first couple of tasks were rough as I told you. I couldn’t get out of my own mind long enough to assess the problem. Now, though, I have a better idea of what to look for and must listen to the individual tale in front of me. If I am willing to listen long enough, the source of the complaints will reveal themselves. I’m just fascinated by the actual problem rarely being where people start.
“These new tasks are a credit to you. I remembered dad’s lessons of listening in these moments and connecting to that individual story that is these folk’s marriage. Your ‘specific distraction’ continues to revise my process in surprising ways.
“In other words, I’m grateful for our correspondence. I am seeing things which I’ve forgotten. I probably picked up more from mom in the people category, but I’m learning to combine the perspectives of mom and dad better thanks to your perspective. Even in a very personal case like the mother or the marriages, people still draw a lot from their environment. They focus on different tasks depending on where they are and have a pretty set way of going about them. Yet, there are these little quirks to the equation that only the individuals have.
“Mansit and I road into Dair this morning. The sun rose brightly over the trees. I can’t think of a place I would rather be when I saw such a welcoming scene. Mansit hustled down the knave at the start, but even he slowed to a trot by the time we reached the tree. Mom would be proud of such a sight. The cool morning already shows the leaves falling from the trees, and soon the shrine will be bare.
“Right now, though, folks have been busier than usual. The cooling temperatures inspire a rush on the shrine before winter, it seems. They know I will work all winter. Still, they make an explosion of prayers in the last few months before the cold. I actually don’t mind this. Because of the lull in winter, I can clear some of these prayers and have the shrine in great shape by spring.
“I look at hundreds of rags, yet I can’t take a single one of them. I must go to Riocht because the order calls for an assembly. We do this from time to time. Our leaders like to get us to gather and hear what we’re doing. I received their letter as I was riding from the mother with the child’s house. Mansit started quickly in the cool morning, and another rider emerged just as quickly from the fog.
“The leaders of the order pitch these gatherings as assessments, but the gathering becomes more of a party than anything else. Everyone gets together and shares what they are working on. We toss suggestions for help around a campfire. So, we get more support out of these trips than we do formal assessments. Although, I recognize there is plenty to learn about us if our leaders listen at these things. We reveal more about ourselves around the campfire than they could see testing us.
“I’m looking forward to seeing everyone, but these rags will weigh on me the whole time. I’ll have to remember your lessons to stay with them and see what they have to say.
“I might even have more to share this time because of your lessons. Usually, I just find a place near the back and let the others vent. They tell of every task they have taken since the last gathering. Everyone questions what the person did. I suppose some of the other druids hear helpful things. Mostly, I think the other druids just enjoy venting their frustrations. Although, I changed my approach, so they might like to hear that. That’s an interesting idea.
“I’m not looking forward to the journey. I generally get distracted by things, so I take longer than I need to. Maybe that explains why my letter sounds as if the leaders are in a hurry to get everyone assembled. I wonder if all our letters sound the same.
“Oh wait, Riocht is your home, right? Well, that question raises a whole new prospect.
“And, did you tell me that you often get tours of Riocht’s shrine? I wonder if you will get a tour this time. If they like showing off the shrine at other times, I would imagine they would leap at the chance to show it off now.
“Well, that prospect should keep my mind occupied. It might even make me less prone to distractions. Besides, I hear Mansit neighing, so I must depart. We shall see what happens.”