Actions

Work Header

Lessons

Work Text:

Ged was not the man he was a year ago. If you had told that man that in a year's time he would no longer be a wizard, he might have laughed. His power had left him for good, essentially overturning the whole way he viewed the world. There were so many things that he needed to learn, things a normal man of his age would have long mastered. Before, his path was different from most when he had his power and now he was like a newborn, needing to learn new ways of being.

However, he was not alone. Tenar, the girl – no – woman, who he had met when he stole the other half of the Ring of Erreth-Akbe from Atuan, helped him learn. The last woman who had taught him was his aunt who happened to also be his birth village's witch. He was known as Duny back then and once he was told his true name, he left home with Aihal and never looked back. He had already started to look down on his aunt before he left, thinking that he had learned all that he could from the woman.

Tenar, however, was different. He saw her as his equal ever since they left Atuan for he wouldn't have been able to escape without her help. She was an intelligent woman despite her lack of knowledge of the outside world, and now she had become beautiful in his eyes. After a lifetime of not allowing himself to be with a woman out of fear of losing his power, Tenar taught him the one thing his male teachers could have never taught him, which was how to love a woman. She also gave him a new chance at life and gave him a reason to continue being. He loved her and realized that he had always loved her on some level. He just never contemplated the idea that he could love a woman when he still had his power.

Then there was Therru. She taught him hope. Her face and body may have been scarred and she had known fear, but that winter he saw her grow and start to shine. It may have been a small start, but even when Ged had first arrived at Oak Farm Therru already knew the first stanza of the Creation of Éa. Now on the day of Sunreturn, she could say the Winter Carol and the Deed of the Young King and she had learned all of the Creation of Éa by now.

Ged smiled as he sat beside Tenar and listened to Therru's raspy voice reciting because it was a significant accomplishment for the young girl to be able to recite the songs considering what she had gone through in her life. Despite being shunned and harmed by her very own parents, Therru still overcame that and learned. Aihal, now dead, had told Tenar to teach Therru. When Tenar told Ged of that he wasn't sure what Aihal meant. As Ged watched this remarkable child, as scarred as she was, he thought he now saw why, even though he couldn't quite put his finger on what it was. However, he did trust that Aihal knew what he did when he told Tenar to teach Therru.

If he still had his power, perhaps he would've known exactly what Aihal had seen in Therru, but Ged could see how the girl grew once she learned. She actually reminded him somewhat of himself. When he was young and foolish, he was scarred himself through his own folly and it took so long for him to relearn the skills he had once learned so easily that he thought he might never learn them again. To see Therru fight to learn the songs even though she could only speak them and not sing them, reminded him of that time, and to see her succeed made him happy because he had a vague idea of how hard it must be for her to accomplish such things. He knew that it was probably even worse for her because it was the people who were supposed to love her the most who scarred her and made her day to day existence hard to bear. People shied away when they saw her disfigured face and body even though she was just a little girl.

Therru and Tenar didn't just teach him things that wizards couldn't teach him or hope, but they also helped him learn to become a new person who could handle being normal. Ged had come to grips with the fact that he had lost his power while herding goats alone on the high mountainous terrain of Gont Island, but he still had yet to feel like he had found his place. However, he found his place amongst Tenar and Therru who became the family that he could've never had before. Tenar, despite the fact that she had already married and was a widow, was almost like his wife and Therru their daughter despite the fact there was no ceremony proclaiming so. In fact, most near the farm just thought of him as a hired hand that Tenar had taken into her bed and he knew it. It didn't bother him though. Tenar knew the truth and that's what mattered. It gave him a place and a reason to exist. He could accept that he was without power, but without those two, he was not sure what he would've done other than spend the rest of his days as a goatherd wandering the mountains of Gont.

This was a life that he could handle living. It made him happy in a way that his power that would have never done so. He was beginning to think that maybe it was worth losing his power after all. If losing his power meant that the songs weren't forgotten and they continued to be sung on Sunreturn and the Long Dance, then it was worth something. He vaguely remembered that only a half a year ago, to the day, that he had seen a performance of the Long Dance on seas far south of the most southern islands – a performance that stopped suddenly because the people had forgotten the songs. Hearing Therru speak the songs of Sunreturn made him glad he gave up his power and helped return the songs.

Not many men got to live more than one life, but Ged had done so literally by walking through the land of the dead, and in doing so he became reborn himself as he re-learned how to live without the power he once had.