• Published 22nd Sep 2016
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Memories of the Equestrian Wolf - (A DRWolf Origin Story) - DRWolf

Finding one's purpose in the world can take a few steps...Or only happen over the course of dozens of lifetimes...

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Memories of Eternity

Even if my memories were completely clear, I do not think I can adequately describe that place. It was massive. I felt so tiny just standing in front of it. And that was before we entered. Master spent days searching the Library to find a way inside. Even now I can't say for sure how Master and I entered, only that it was not how I would some day leave. I had never seen Master more excited than that moment. Not when I'd first understood his words. Not when I'd first spoke. Never before nor after had I seen him so elated as when we finally stepped hoof and paw in that place.

Within its walls, the Library was even more massive. No. Not massive. Eternal. Limitless. Endless halls of bookshelves. You could begin walking in one direction and it would take days to reach the end of a single shelf. And for every one shelf you reached the end of, countless more still waited. Each case extending high into the air. I know I am small, but even Master was dwarfed by them. I can sincerely say we never saw every inch of that place.

I can only imagine it was like an iceberg: that stretched on and on for miles underground. That is to say if it followed conventional logic. To this day, with all I've seen possible through magic, including that of Discord himself, I still can hardly believe that place was real.

Master soon instructed me to begin reading. To begin pouring through the countless books held in that place. Unfortunately, I had only a basic knowledge of the skill despite everything I'd learned. I understood very little of what I had read. Being able to speak, I told Master this, but he reassured me that was not important and he only needed me to read, not understand. And so I gladly continued on. Gladly serving the Master. Gladly doing what he asked of me. Gladly doing all I had ever known.

Despite that, I knew we were searching for something, but I never knew what. And neither of us knew where.

And as we searched, I began to notice more things that perplexed me about the Library. Things that have had a very long time to sink in.

It was deathly quiet. My own foot steps and Master's echoed loudly as we walked through it. The scents were . . . confusing, they were there, but . . . they never changed, never growing stronger, never lessening, every scent stayed exactly as it was. The library itself seemed to have only one scent, Master's and my own were the only others I could smell, and even then they never faded from where we left them.

I couldn't keep track of day or night, I lost track of when the sun or moon should have been up, now deep in the windowless recesses of that place. I had no way to know how much time had passed. It felt like I'd been in the Library forever, and would be in the Library forever. Just, endless. What was stranger was... I began to notice I no longer physically tired at all. My eyes did not grow tired of reading. Nor did my legs grow tired of walking. Rest was merely for my weary mind. I no longer hungered, I no longer thirsted. I simply was.

Nothing grew warm or cold, it was constant like everything else in the Library, never wavering, never changing. Light never flickered. The torches never ran out of fuel, but I never saw Master, or anything else, refill them. Nothing had a speck of dust on it despite how ancient the place clearly was. We left no prints behind on anything. It would be like we'd never been here when we left except for the books we had disturbed.

The same pattern on the floor repeated over and over, the walls and ceiling were all exactly the same, everywhere looking identical. I don't know how Master did not get lost. I feared what would happen if I lost track of him even for a moment.

No matter what, I could not shake off the feeling of intrusion, that I had passed into another's territory, that I was blot on an otherwise perfectly white sheet of paper, and that this place wanted to swallow me up to make itself pure again. I know it sounds like I am exaggerating...but to this day I don't know how or why that place was built, if it was at all. What it truly was. All I know is somewhere in those countless pages and books there was something Master desired, and so I continued to search.

Master eventually decided to use a new spell on me. Where did he get it? I imagine from among the countless tomes in that ancient place. But at the time it didn't matter to me. All I knew was Master told me I could do what he asked of me better. I could help him more. And I wanted to help him all I could. So I willingly submitted. And my life was never the same.

You might think that going from a quadruped to a biped is a simple matter of standing up. That is far from the truth. The pain was indescribable. That much is vivid in my mind. My bones were stretched and bent. I remember the sounds of my body being broken and remade. My front paws stretched and contorted into a new shape. New bones formed where none originally were. My hips and the joints they were connected to twisted and changed into a new form completely. I believe the most painful part was the sensation of my back realigning and contorting. Forgive me if this sounds graphic, but that moment is one of the few that imprinted itself indelibly upon my memories. But not simply because it hurt. It's so vivid because it is the moment I became who I now am.

I don't know how long the spells took. Time had little meaning in that place. Perhaps it took place over several sessions and my mind simply chose to forget the agony between them. But after the process was done, my body was in such pain that it was a long time before could so much as move. Master continued his own search while I recovered.

But eventually, I did regain enough of my strength to return to our search...but not as I was. I began as a simple wolf, I ended as what you see before you now. Standing on two legs. Front paws now capable of grabbing and holding. Of manipulating my surroundings. And that was simply the changes on the surface. My vocal cords had been altered as well to better speak pony tongue. I saw colors that I had never seen before in my life. The way I saw the world was never the same. The way I moved was never the same. The way I was.

But you know one thing? While I admit, the experience is one I do not wish to undergo again, and would certainly not wish upon anyone else...I would never ask to have the gifts it gave me taken away. The ability to speak, the ability to do more than pick up things in my mouth, the ability to interact. This mind that I have. The ability to see the full spectrum of colors. Before all I saw looking at a rose was 'dark gray thing that smells nice,' now I see a beautiful red flower that has inspired entire poems. That is how my entire worldview has changed.

Speaking of things that had changed, Master also began to change. He began to lose that excitement and joy he'd had when we'd uncovered that place. He began to look...empty. He was upset, but something just seemed to...dull in him. That was the only way that my mind could process it at the time. But looking back at it with the knowledge I have now...I'd go so far as to say Master had began to show symptoms of mental illness. Depression. Losing hope...then again, applying psychoanalytic theory to foggy, uncertain memories has its limits so there's no way to know.

He began to spend more and more time in the deeper parts of the Library, away from me. But he always found his way back, and when he did he used some sort of spell on me. I...honestly and sincerely don't know what it was or did. Master said it was important and a check on my progress, but that was all...I remember a vague image of seeing my own memories flickering in his eyes as it happened, but I don't know if that was real or simply a dream.

But the more of those trips Master took, the more I felt like...I needed to follow him. Like there was something very very wrong. Dogs and wolves have a keen sense for that sort of thing. But he would not have it, and every time I attempted it he shooed me back to my post...I have a vivid image of him kicking me back and yelling at me to stay put with wild eyes, no context, no words, just that image engraved in my brain...so I kept reading. I kept letting him use that odd spell on me. I kept working for him and doing all I could to help. And it honestly felt good to know I was helping. I began to realize that as my understanding increased. That I felt great joy whenever he approved of the aid I'd given him.

Then one day...

...Him stumbling back, using the spell again. Not saying a word to me, but mumbling a million things to himself. His twitching eyes darting at the books wildly and his mane disheveled. Ripping them out of their shelves as he passed and scanning them before him. Before vanishing into the darkness.

...I remember that. I remember that one moment vividly...

Time went on...Book after book passed through my paws...So much information I could never genuinely understand, only file it away in hopes Master might some day come and find what he was looking for among it...But...but he never did...More and more time passed...longer and longer without him.

I even began to turn away from my duties some to search for him...To try and follow his scent...but his scent was everywhere, and in that place no stronger in one spot than another...

I kept on going, reading those books every moment, hoping I would find what Master was looking for...but never finding him...never seeing one trace of him again...

Sorry...I...This memory...it's very painful for me...Master had been all the family I had ever known for most of my life...My savior, my companion...The only living creature besides myself I had any sort of connection to...I guess in a sense, you could even call him my 'father'...While I'd make more friends and connections someday, at the time...I felt like I'd lost a part of me...I felt so alone...I've never felt that alone before or since...and I sincerely never want to.

And all I could do was keep doing what he had told me to do. Keep reading. Keep searching for something. I didn't even know what it was, but I didn't care...I felt like that goal was the only thing I had left in the world. The only reason to not lay down and let the Library consume me. The only hope I had left in the world...that and the hope that someday he'd come back and be proud of me...That someday I could help him once again.

And so it continued. It was like that for so long that I can't even begin to imagine. Alone, searching through endless tomes in that isolated place. Most creatures only read roughly eight hundred books in their life time. If I had to guess...I think I've read hundreds of thousands, if not millions.

Up until now, all my memories have been foggy and unclear, as they took place so long ago when my mind was still forming. What vivid ones I possess are ones that for one reason or another remained ingrained in my mind. Grains of sand in an ocean. This next part is far more clear, as it happened so very recently. But so as not to drag on, I will remain brief.

One day, while doing the same as I had been doing for untold years, the overwhelming silence was broken. The first noise another creature had made in that library in so very long. I did the natural thing someone in my position would: assume my long missing Master had finally returned and rush to greet him...but that was not who I met.

The creature I saw climbing down from one of the windows on the top floor of that place was one I had only vague recollections of from books. A Dragon. But a very different sort of dragon. He was green in color, and to my surprise wore clothing, something I'd only seen Master and his Alpha wear. Though his were far different in style. He was smaller than most dragons I had knowledge of, and stood more upright. He also lacked wings and had brown hair on his head.

I was curious, but also cautious. He was an unknown, and the unknown is often frightening. Especially when you only have had one companion your entire life...But one companion was far more tempting to a lonely creature than none.

The dragon was likewise surprised by me, and curious. Especially when I spoke for the first time. He explained his name was Teric and he was on a journey of his own. I suppose you're all curious about that; Teric, as you can assume, is not a newborn dragon. He is 600 years old. His journey was one of atonement. At some point in his youth, an accident claimed the lives of a number of young hatchlings. As a result of that, he had quite the soft spot for children, something my nieces nowadays can attest to. While Teric never said one way or the other, I suspect my child-like state of being when he found me could have influenced his compassion towards me. Regardless, meeting me was neither the beginning or end of his journey. While the desert had been part of his trek, the Library had been an unexpected sight. He'd assumed it was merely ancient ruins, left to decay in the desert sands, and no longer home to a single soul.

Teric would remain in the library for quite some time, but had no desire to stay for long, it was just one stop on his journey. However, he was curious about both it and me. I do recall him shuddering at the contents of one of the many books and questioning how I could read them all. I explained I simply didn't understand most of it, I was merely doing what my Master had asked of me. Given what had transpired there, I wonder if I should be grateful that was the case.

Despite the colossal size of the Library, Teric remained near me, constantly talking to me and trying to get through to me. The years of isolation had made me quite introverted, I had built a shell of single-minded dedication around myself, and he was determined to get through it. Our interaction was unusual for one other reason, he had a sense of humor. Master had been many things, but telling jokes was something he had never done. I had never laughed before I met Teric, and he made an effort to try and get one out of me. To get me to open up.

Teric also tried to convince me to take on a true name, instead of just Wolf; but at the time, I honestly saw no reason in it after so many years. So Wolf I stayed.

Still, despite my nature making me sometimes difficult for him to get through to, our bond did grow...and it was a very different sort of bond than I had had with Master. I could never see Teric as a Master. He asked, he didn't demand. He tried to help me when I needed it, reaching the books that had long been out of my reach when asked, even though he felt what I was doing may be a little unhealthy. Master, while I did and will always care for him, was very demanding. Teric was simply trying to help me during his stay there. And of course, any companionship was welcome in my solitude...though I was still always looking out for Master's return.

However...that stay eventually did have to end...but Teric didn't want to leave me there. He didn't wish to leave me searching that Library for all eternity. Naturally, at first I didn't wish to leave. It was all I had known for so many long years. And I still hung onto the hope that Master was still in there somewhere...And I was terrified of leaving the only world I had ever really known.

But after much, much conversation...Teric finally convinced me of something that I consider the most painful truth I've ever had to face: that Master was gone and was never coming back. After waiting for so many years, searching so hard, there simply weren’t any other options but that. Master had needed me, he'd relied on me. He clearly had been able to find his way back to me time and again before his disappearance. If he hadn't come back after all this time and him becoming lost wasn't a possibility, what other answer could there have been? Master was gone, and if I hadn't found him by now, it was simply a fool's errand to continue searching...To this day, I still don't know what became of Master...I only hope with all my heart he's happy. Wherever he may be...

But just because I had accepted Master was gone, did not mean I was ready to leave; or ready to do anything for that matter. Imagine losing a job that you've had for your entire life, working for a member of your own family who you loved and was now gone forever. Now imagine that feeling multiplied by several lifetimes. That is how I felt. I just...didn't know what else I could do. I felt...broken. Like the world had ended for me. My purpose in life suddenly gone. What was the purpose of searching the Library for knowledge when Master was never returning to claim it? But how could I leave the only place where I felt I had a purpose? What would my life mean when the only purpose I had ever known now lay in ruins?

But Teric had no intention of leaving me a broken wreck. That is not the kind of dragon he is in the least. Instead, he stayed by my side and introduced a new concept to me. The idea that who I was and what I could do with my life...was something I could decide for myself. That we should all seek our own purpose in life and make our own fate. That we make our own identities. That in the world outside those walls, everyone had the right to choose their future, and did. And for that I am eternally grateful to Teric. While Master had taught me understanding, Teric...he taught me choice.

And this concept was such an alien one. The idea of free will. Yes, I'd long since been capable of thinking beyond my instincts, but for the first time...I was being asked to think outside of Master's suggestions and ideas. To form my own rather than take in what others showed me. With all this in mind, there still was the question of whether I should go with Teric or remain in the only place I had ever known. And Teric made it clear that was my first exercise of my free will and only I could make that decision. On one paw, the outside world terrified me for the same reasons leaving Master's den had so long ago. On the other, I knew without Master, the Library held nothing for me.

In the end, I decided to leave that ancient place, returning it to the quiet endlessness Master and I had found it in. The last thing I did before departing was write a note, thanking Master for all he'd done for me and saying my goodbyes, and leaving it in there. It wasn't a matter of hoping Master would find it, it was the principle of it. Whether he would ever find it or not, I knew in my heart I had to put those words down. Since then I've learned more about why. It was the same principle as writing down words or thoughts and then ripping the paper up to get them off your chest. Saying my final goodbyes, even in the form of a letter that may never be found, was my way of finding closure so I could move on.

I remember the first steps I had taken outside the library in what seemed like a lifetime. The sun was blinding...but the warmth...the heat. Those were things I admit I had missed during my long solitude. Teric had to guide me for some of the early steps of that journey while my eyes readjusted to the bright light of day I'd not seen for countless years.

But light was not the only thing I had to get used to again. As you can probably guess, I did not instantly age to a skeleton the moment my paws exited that place, but its power did wane rather quickly. I didn't notice it for several days, but I began to feel hungry and tired again. I began to thirst. I began to feel all the things a normal creature would. And with the return of these needs, came unexpected complications. Teric shared what food he had brought, but Dragons don't need to eat as often as ponies or wolves do, so finding food in the desert, while incredibly difficult, was now a necessity Teric had not planned for. Water was another rarity, and we frequently were without it, any sources very few and very far between.

And then there was the heat. When I had come to the Library, Master's magic had protected me the entire trip. Teric, while more than capable of surviving the heat himself, had no such ability to protect me. While I retained the same determination that had kept me at Master's side now directed towards getting out of the desert safely with Teric, my body was not as strong. It was miles and miles of burning sand and scorching heat. The cold nights were easier, but now I grew tired and needed rest, and Teric, while more durable than I, still needed breaks himself.

Of course, Teric, like any goodhearted being, wasn't about to let the creature he'd drawn into this journey perish because of it. He did everything he could to ensure I'd stay alive. From keeping me in his shadow to try and keep me cool to makeshift sun hats and clothing for me, he did everything on hand to try and preserve my life. I was taken aback by this, unused to seeing another inconvenience themselves for me and not the other way around. It reminded me of how I tried to help the Master whenever I could...and made me realize that now I had no one to direct my help and aid towards.

But even with Teric's help, the elements and lack of provisions gradually took their toll on me. I became very, very ill towards the end of our journey out of the desert. My head hurt constantly...I felt weak and dizzy. My stomach churned. Teric said they were signs that I was in grave danger, and made certain to try and keep me cool if at all possible. But my condition continued to worsen. I became very confused and disoriented to the point I couldn't walk and Teric needed to carry me. I wasn't even conscious for the final leg of our journey.

The next thing I remember is finding myself in the water of an oasis at the desert's edge. Teric had finally made it and used it to drag me back from the brink. To cool me down and rehydrate me. Had he not found that oasis, we are both certain that I'd have perished there. While it had come very close to being the end of me, I had finally made it out. And I know for certain I could not have done so if Teric hadn't been by my side.

Teric did apologize for what he perceived as shortsightedness on his part. I'd nearly perished in that journey, so naturally a part of him did feel that he'd made a mistake and endangered my life in the process. I reassured him that it was quite the opposite. That while perhaps we could have planned things out better, it had been my choice, I knew there'd be a risk and chose to do it anyway. And that I'd have had no way of even hoping to escape the desert without his aid. I refused to let someone who had done so much for me beat themselves up for my sake. Teric joked that I'd 'make a good psychiatrist' and ultimately promised me he wouldn't be too hard on himself, if I promised him I would just relax and recover.

The desert was behind me. The Library was behind me. But those first steps out of a desert were merely the first steps on a much greater journey. One that would define the rest of my life.