(Originally posted this on the Elfquest Father Tree Holt at Forumotion. Decided to grab it from there and repost it here.)
I’ve been a long time fan of Strongbow, but mostly I guess because of how *I* envision him. Not necessarily how he’s depicted throughout EQ. I was lying in bed just now and realized that if I didn’t get up to write this, the muse would leave again. This is how I wish the whole Moonshade-goes-to-palace thing had gone:
It is night in the forest. It is night everywhere. And yet, nowhere is the night as it is in the forest. Just on the edge of hearing, are the sounds that are very carefully not being made. It is a sound so very unlike silence. Silence is like a gaping hole where the heart was ripped out of life itself. In the forest, it is like the pause of a heartbeat. The forest holds its breath, pausing to release it again in the morning.
In the dark, with only the moonlight to guide them, two are as one. Like the silence of the forest can be like any other silence to an unknowing observer, so their silence can be misinterpreted as emptiness. They seldom speak to one another. They don’t have to. They are one. They make no sound, for they don’t need to make a sound to feel so deeply. Only his breath, sometimes, is audible. She knows every sound he carefully doesn’t make. That one silent exhale is the only physical sign that he withholds nothing from her, not even his soul name. He buries the tiny sound, large as life, in the crook of her neck.
They withhold nothing from eachother. They never have, from the moment their eyes met. She knows him, to his core. Knows, that he is like the roots of the father tree. Strong, unyielding in their grip on the earth. To move him would mean to uproot him. But he is not of stone. Like a tree will break if it does not bend to the blowing wind, so he will move with the ebb and flow of the weather. It is not a reluctance on his part, to not move from his spot. But a truth in his soul. He cannot move, or it would be the death of him. The Way is not only in his blood. It is in his Soul.
He knows her, to her core. Knows, that she is like the wolf in the pack. Like he needs her, she needs not only him, but her pack to run with. She is one with him, and yet separate. To hold her down and always keep her close to him, would mean to choke the life out of her. She is not his to own. And that is part of The Way, too. The pack is hér Soul.
She has stayed by him, not out of submission, but by choice. And although some would judge her, this choice was only hers to make. To run with one wolf most of the time, does not mean one is abandoning the pack. There is no contradiction here, because intimacy is as much part of The Way as individuality. To be able to be as one, and then to be separate again. To be yourself, to make your own choices, and to feel the exquisite ecstacy of joining to your very cores.
Withholding nothing, he has felt the change in her from the moment it began. She is of two packs, unlike him. For him, only, the wolves and the hunt. For her, the wolves.. and the stars. And she has felt the change in him. How the branches twist and reach. He would prefer sending over speaking. He still does. But he has found himself searching for words, now. Testament to the change inside him, he now speaks. For the first time in aeons, his words show what both have known forever: that his emotions are not the truth. They are simply his truth. The separateness of not sending, has made visible a difference that was always there, hidden in plain sight. Now, her other pack is calling.
He could be seen as stoic, or uncaring. His face shows very little emotion. Not talking more than a whole sentence every other century kinda does that to a man. But it doens’t mean there is none. There is only a disconnect in how he observes and expresses. Feelings now, feelings are universal. Sending is the way he has found he could express without concern over choosing the wrong words. Sending is like a well-directed arrow. You aim, and then release it. This could be seen as crude, violent even. But to release the arrow means to fully, wholly let go. The choice is made, the arrow is loosed, and what happened before and after is nothing but a dream. The wolf in him knows all sides.
And so he doesn’t plead. And she does not explain. They Know. And it is enough.
When the day of departure comes, he is not there. He has gone hunting. The departure would uproot him. But the branches can bend. There is no resentment here. There is only The Way of the Soul. When change comes, it is neither friend nor enemy. It is.
And when the moon is full, he sends to her, once. “Please come”. And in a breath, a heartbeat, she is there. And they are one.
To separate and to be together again, like two cups of water.