Ri had known many places and peoples, as she had always traveled with her grandfather. He was not her father’s father, but he might as well have been. He was all that she loved, and her only family as far back as she could remember. He had always called her Ri, and she called him Jaca, because he never seemed to stop talking. He would teach her useful things that kept her alive in the wilderness, such as trapping, three ways to catch fish, hunting with makeshift spears and bows made with sinew from animals, recognizing edible plants in any terrain, making fires with damp wood, cooking, and taking care of injuries. He also taught her to respect and learn from the forest; to be alert and see around her. When they traveled through towns and villages, he would show her the ways of the people there, teach her of cultures, languages, and the learning of the scholars. She soaked up the knowledge like the ground does rain. They never stayed in one place longer than six months, moving on to another exciting place. She never thought to wonder why they didn’t live in a town or village like those she saw; her grandfather was different than the people she saw, why should he act as them? He had told her that she was an orphan, and he had found her alone as a small child. He teased that she had been birthed of the wind, and named her Elyria, meaning breeze. He had never complained of her presence. He was not overly affectionate; but she knew he loved her. These were the best years of her memory.
In one of the villages they stopped at, there was an illness beginning to spread. As soon as Jaca heard wind of it he packed them up and they were traveling again. But not before he managed to catch the sickness. They were a week out from the village before he would admit that he could no longer travel. In fact he could barely stand. Making a temporary camp, she made him rest so he could recover. She had never seen him seriously ill, and this sickness was not familiar to either of them. His strength just seeped from him. When he finally broke into a fever she was a little relieved. At least this she knew how to help with. But whatever she did, the fever rose. He became restless and pale. He wouldn’t eat; couldn’t eat. He worried that she would catch his sickness, but she hadn’t caught it yet, so she really didn’t care. She tried all the remedies she could think of and find the ingredients for. She even made up a few, desperate to find something that helped. But he kept getting worse. Soon he was often times unconscious. Clamping down on her fear she tended to him as best she knew. Late in the night, five days since they stopped traveling, his breath left him. With it went her whole world.