“The Caretaker is…not the evil you think it is,” Tessara said in a near-whisper, in response to Pik’s question.
“He, or she – I’m not sure – has been in this region for some time, predating this realm,” she continued, “and always a force for balance, I think.”
The kings and others present listened intently as she spoke.
“These woods, and these steppes…these lands…are ancient, and have seen many rulers, wars, and peoples come and go, and yet there has always been nature, and through its normal course, balance.
“The Caretaker, I believe is a force of or a being aligned with the natural world, unfettered by civilization and artificial laws, rules, and structures. I don’t think the Caretaker is at war with what has been built here, and what the realm represents; however, I do think the Caretaker seeks to act as a balance against what the Mistmarches seeks to impose on these lands.
“This may bring the Caretaker into some forms of conflict with the realm, and sometimes to its aide – or, rather, to the aide of the people. I believe that we have put too much emphasis on the Caretaker as both an individual and as an opponent, when we should be looking at these criminal activities and gangs as the real source of destructive power. And whether the Caretaker is a man, woman, or something else matters not…the Caretaker is a force of the natural world, seeking to promote and maintain balance.”
Tessara droned on in a low voice, almost dead-pan, as the others watched and listened.
“As for the Caretaker’s actual identity in the conventional sense, I…do not know it.”