It is enough to frighten the others, but me? I must not fall into such traps.
I am the leader of my herd, of my collection of terrified souls that continue forward endlessly. We follow the Bright Circle, but we do not trust it. We find no peace in its sameness, for though it may sink away in the sky, it always returns. Should we sink, should I sink, then we will rise again no more. A Longneck's neck is long, but it does not cross the chasm of death.
I am learned in Earth's great art.
I hasten the pace of the others. There is not time enough for the stragglers. It is an unkindness, but it is for the sake of the herd. Our kind do not survive well on their own. Fear and distrust become our deceptive allies when alone, and eat away at us like no Sharptooth ever could.
When I first left many seasons ago, when these Mountains were just beginning to Burn, I was afraid. I was afraid to leave my herd, small and incomplete as it was. I could tell even in those days that we were far outnumbered by the other Leafeaters and their own families. But I had faith, faith that whoever was to be born into our herd would strengthen us, would remind us of the reason why the Bright Circle rises.
But I had to find a home for them, first. For all of them. The Earth, it seemed, had other plans.
I fear not this Earthshake, for the one many seasons ago tore deeper wounds than what the great rocks show. My pursuits may have been noble but the journey I faced was a far cry short as my feet carried me through fields of famine and other tired travelers on the desolate landscape. When I thought I could not stand to see the Night Circle once more, the Great Earthshake came, loud and unforgiving.
I turned back.
I faced away from the Bright Circle's promises and dragged my tail in defeat, hoping upon hoping that there was some chance that the family I had left behind still remained.
The air was acrid with fire and haze. I held my head high over the ash, though I also could not stand to see the valleys so torn and maimed by shattered rocks and broken trees.
When the blaze soared higher than I is when I stumbled upon it. What was this break in the Earth, this great gorge before me? I looked down to see an abyss of nothingness, a curse upon this land. But why should I be so abhorred?
Though the haze still permeated my surroundings, my mind cleared. I had been to this place before the Earthshake, before the life had been drowned out of it in a deluge of fire.
Where was our nest, my hatchling that surely must have greeted the Earth by this time? Was he out there? Why could I not recall where my home had been?
The charred terrain offered me nothing but the same, endless pit that stretched down before me, trailing down and away from life and into the darkness that I could not venture forth into. My nest was down there, and I knew that if I was to survive, I had to turn back.
There is nothing but the Bright Circle now, and my permanent march towards its unfaithful light.