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GW2 salad drabble thingy, slightly odd since written for school and so no actual description of Sylvari and Mother

Title: Memory

You’re running through the grassy roads of your hometown, looking for that person. When you left here months ago, you thought that he’d left and that’s why he’d been gone for a month. You were wrong. He’d never left the forest.

Maybe the attack on Mother made him feel like he couldn’t talk to her. You have many cousins, but only he is your brother. Others might say you had no brothers or cousins, but Mother is everyone here’s mother if this place is the first thing they remember. Your brother had waited for you when he woke up a few hours before—he was the only one you’d spent most of your time with back then.

But that was before he went missing, before you got a job and left, before you learned how to make more than simple jewelry and cook simple dishes. You wonder what he’ll say when you find him. You wonder what you’ll say.

Would it be better to wait for him to say something or should you say something first? Your mentor told you not to make it seem like you knew him before, in case he hasn’t actually returned to the Dream from the Nightmare. He might not even recognize you.

Your barefoot catches on a rock, and you fall onto the grass and dirt. Which would be better, you wonder, him calling you by your name or by the nickname he’d made for you as a child? The nickname is why you made him a coral earring, so maybe that. You tug at your own coral earring as you stand, thinking some more. It’s been months since the last time someone called you that name. Surely he’d remember it, even if what you were told was true and he had fallen into Nightmare. Brushing off your clothes, you sigh.

The Nightmare changes people. Would he still be the brother you knew, all bright smiles and vegetables in his arms when he comes back from wandering around the forest? Or would you not recognize him now, apart from his red hair? Might you not even recognize that? He could have changed it.

You start walking again, but will this be a reunion like you hoped or will it feel like a knife pricked your skin during training or clumsy cooking? You shake your head. You’ve come this far, left here to look for him and came back to find him. You haven’t had your fill of wandering, of learning, of seeing landscapes previously unknown to you, but you can do that again after this. There’s an uncomfortable feeling in your gut that if you hadn’t come back now, you might never see your brother again. Even if he isn’t close to being the same person anymore, you never would get closure if you hadn’t come back. You’d heard that his friend, the last person you’d seen him with, had been seen here again. Your employers said that they had heard rumors of a boy around your age that matched the little you’d told them about him. Maybe it was unnecessary, but you thought they didn’t need to know. They probably know more about you than you do anyway.

You didn’t quite trust them back then; you trust them only a little more now. It might be because you have always been good at deceiving people—how could you trust the first thing anyone says if you know how easy it is to fool others? It’s not something you enjoy, but it’s why you joined the order you did. It’s easier when you’re deceiving someone you don’t know or someone you know has hurt others. It’s cold, you know that, but those people aren’t a part of your ‘world’ yet. They might never be. If deceiving them keeps those already in your world safer, you’ll do it. You’ve always been like that. When your brother accidentally ruined a friend’s cooking gear by trying to cook, you said that you had stepped away from it to do something else and got distracted. Later, you’d asked your brother why he thought it was a good idea to dump chocolate in a frying pan.

You pick up speed until you’re running again, heading for the pond near the place you stayed in town. You would play here when you didn’t want to head into the woods. There’s someone there when you can finally see it. He’s sitting with his back to you, humming a familiar song as he waters several potted plants. You used to sing that song to plants with your brother. You slow down, walking quietly in the hopes that he won’t stop humming until you have a chance of seeing if it’s him. It’s similar red hair, at least.

He stops humming and turns around, blinking up at you.

Ah, you think, it is him. Would he remember you? You have heard stories of people forgetting who the person in their memories is, of having almost complete amnesia, of just having nightmares of the time in Nightmare. Which would he be?

He smiles and rubs a hand against the stubble growing on his chin. “Do you want to sing with me?” There’s no recognition in his face.

You find yourself smiling anyway, forcing tears not to form. “Sure.”

Tugging gently on the coral earring in his ear, he blinks at you and begins to frown. “I’ve forgotten again, haven’t I? Something important…someone? Coral, coral…coralberry?”

“If you can’t remember, can you call me Viliandre or Vi instead?” It hurts, hearing him say your old nickname without remembering. “Alright, Lungwort?”

He keeps frowning. “Is this okay? That person called me Lungwort. The person who gave me—” He looks at you, sees your own coral earring, and pauses. “Oh, I forgot. That person is you, aren’t they?”

You smile, shutting your eyes in the hopes that the tears won’t leave your eyes. “I guess I’m home, older brother.”

“Welcome back, little sister.” He smiles.

You wonder how much he’s forgotten.

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Cai

November 2016

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