Thomas meandered through the frozen forest. Ice and snow glinted in the sunlight around him, casting light while the trees blocked it. There was something beautiful in the contrast. The peaceful shadows pulled all of the fear and doubt from his heart, yet the brightness kept him optimistic.
There couldn’t possibly be a better time or place for Thomas to process what he’d just heard: Humanity had destroyed an entire species. Why would they do that? Adalric had said it was just survival, but was there really no other way? You don’t just wipe out an entire species by accident. At some point, they must have made the conscious decision to hunt down and kill every last Neanderthal. How could they do that? How cold they live with that choice? How could they even make the choice in the first place?
No matter how hard he tried, Thomas just couldn’t understand it. Would this be why he wound up hating humans? No, that couldn’t be right. Thomas could never hate a single person, let alone an entire species. Prophecies were never wrong though, and it wasn’t likely that Adalric misinterpreted something…
What if Thomas had been the one to misunderstand? The old master never said anything about hate, only said that Thomas “didn’t get along well with humans.” Though, for a magician that wasn’t much better. He had been training to “get along with” the souls that dwelt in every thing – living, dead, or otherwise. He’d even bonded with souls that existed independent of “things” to hold them. Besides, he was great with humans! He was always polite, eager to learn, and patient when listening. More importantly, Thomas always loved meeting new people! Like that time he… he…
Thomas had only ever been genuinely excited when meeting other magicians, and it was always about the magic he could learn, not the people themselves. It was only with the spirits, plants, and animals where he was content.
Thomas needed wolf hugs. He needed them now.
A note from the
Thomas, like many other people, is operating under the naive assumption that things have always worked the way they do now, and always will work the way they do now.
A lot changes over a thousand years. More than just technology, people’s outlooks on life can change pretty drastically. Traits can flip between virtue and vice depending on the time and culture, and what is prized among some may be considered trivial among others.