For decades Chirrd had lived among humans and goblins for curiosity’s sake, and to share what he had learned with his clan. He had not anticipated that one thing he learned by its very nature could not be shared.
It was not apparent right at the start, because he was lucky enough to first run into some of his close old friends. All of their joy about the meeting bolstered his confidence.
Once they had reached the village, he was the centre of attention. Even the few elves who at first had not been interested in hearing his stories contracted the curiosity of the rest. Chirrd started into the tale he had, in his head, rehearsed so often on his way home.
It collapsed very quickly, as his audience picked up on incongruencies where the tint of his feelings did not mesh with what he said. Their confusion was mirrored and amplified in his own mind, and mingled with his own embarrassment. He had gotten used to not sharing his soul, and having secrets. The concern for his wellbeing from his closest was swept away in a wave of disappointment and disapproval.
“I’m sorry. It’s too much.” When he hurried off, nobody followed him immediately. It meant he had some time to wonder just how something that had been as natural as breathing felt obtrusive now, fearing the answer might be that something was wrong with him.
When two of his friends found him, his shame and fear deepened their concern for him. Chirrd could feel their sympathy, and it calmed him, even before the first word was spoken. Evshi drew him out with questions, Ashas listened patiently.
Describing what it had been like to live among soul-blind people, who were obsessed with appearances because that was all they had, brought back the memory of how terrified and lost he had been at first. How could he have forgotten how it felt to share love? He could not ask that, but burst out, “How can I fear my clan? My family? It makes no sense.”
“I think you just need time. Take things slow. Being plunged in such an excited crowd right on the first day… As you said, it’s too much, all at once,” Ashas’ said.
It rang true. Chirrd’s gatitude brightened their mood.