Of Beauty and Rage: The Journey is the Purpose (Outward)

The beauty in Outward is in the sojourn. The long trek from where you are to where you want to be, or perhaps to some aimless direction that you may want to go to. This gives the journey its own meaning, that in walking through what may seem to be a vast protracted land, we find the few moments of truth and tumult make it all worth it.

In Outward, you are a nobody with the burden of a debt cast upon you for the sole reason that you were born in, perhaps, an unlucky family. You have no grand destiny in place, no world saving to aspire to, not great fortune to have. You simply exist in this world, and become what you most work hard for to be. Others surround you who are stronger, smarter, and wiser than you are or ever hope to be but are kind enough to share their wisdom to you, for a price of course.

Nothing in this world is free, whether you pay for it with silver, gold, precious jewels, or the sweat, blood, and tears of your first few days, thrown out into the world with nothing but a few things most would call garbage. You find out quickly that this is not an easy world, not the kind that would coddle and coo you to the next level.

You get a sense that this world was not built similar to other worlds. This world does not care about you, and would sooner have you knocked out than to hand you a free pass. Even in death it is not as simple for you, as dying here does not necessarily mean you would pass on to the realm of the reload save.

Knocked unconscious, a kindly stranger may find you and carry you off to the nearest town, forgetting that you had a pack of your most needed things, leaving it in the middle of the very thing that caused you trouble. Or the old guard from your hometown may be passing by and takes care of you until you are well enough to walk and without much removed from you. Or the bandits that had caused your unfortunate circumstance would just take you back to their camp and force you to work for them.

And you get a hang of how things work in this world, that setting off into the wide open requires just as much planning as if you were going out on your own camping trip. You find out that carrying a pack and evading a HUGE mantis's claw is not a very good idea, and like the rest of the world, you are just human and need to eat, drink, sleep, and maybe rest off that infection that you got from eating raw meat, or drinking river water, or sleeping somewhere you should not have slept.

Then you understand how it all works, and it becomes second nature to you. That kindly stranger is actually a magic assassin, who teaches you a thing or two about infusing your weapons with fire and ice. That wild looking man teaches you how to tap into your rage and use it to decimate anything in two (or four or ten) legs with impunity. That shady character shows you how to build and use pressure plates filled with concoctions that burn through skin and sear flesh.

You build your own weapons from the remains of your enemies, survive in the wilderness, maybe even get yourself a nice home and a new mother, a new family. You learn to cook, fiddle with strange concoctions, keep yourself fit and well. Somewhere in between, you unlock the potential in you to make remarkable tricks happen, a flash of fire here, a sword from nothing there.

But everything else in between is dead silent space. Moving through the world is like moving through a highway to get to the next city. A world with a few surprises and a whole lot of nothing in between. And this makes the world all the more beautiful.

Walking through a whole lot of space, taking the time to think about all the things you have done, and realizing that you haven't done a lot. But that doesn't matter, because what you have done felt like it actually mattered. Even things that seem mundane, a friend that needs cold stone for an annoying client every week or sending missives between towns, has meaning.

And forget about the map telling you where you are. You better just suck it up, check you compass, look around for your landmarks, and find your way. But it just makes the fields of sun kissed sand, the glimmer of blue on the open fields at night, and the purple glass growing beside a mountain begging to be hiked all the more lovely. Without the constant need to keep an eye out on the trail of sparkling breadcrumbs, or the arrow pointing whichever way, or a map that demands your attention, you can freely take in the scenery.

As with all things, however, you get used to it. Good that you already know your way through, above, and beyond the Conflux Mountain, maybe pass through the secret passage way that you have passed through so many times it's a wonder why it's still a secret, but everything then becomes mundane.

The sunset may lose its charm, becoming something that you see every day. The sunrise turns into just another indication that you can turn off your lamp that has been warding away all the ghosts of midnight; the fields of green just another familiar scene on your journey to the next request your step mother asks of you.

And that is where you find the beauty in Outward. The calm of knowing where you are, from being a runt that has never left their home, to a seasoned longbow sniper who can knockout a large giant with a single arrow (provided the giant is very far away and you've set up traps along the path towards your elevated ground). The peace of being in some place familiar, somewhere you have walked on so many times you've probably lost count. The familiar solitude of a world you return to time and time again.

We mark our journeys not by the steps we took to get there, but of the destination and events. Though this may be the case, the truth of our lives is that we live in a world where we breeze through a whole lot of nothing to find the gold at the end. But we reminisce more on our way there than on what we got itself.

Most of our stories revolve around those humdrum travails and endless motions, and the goal just becomes the punchline to this surprisingly pleasant joke. That as much as the end is beyond words, getting there is the joy of it.

Just as we work for a Life of truth, where in truth the only thing that allows us to keep going is the discipline that holds firm when all motivation has gone, so do we hold on to It though we may stumble but never fall, knowing that the joy in journey and hardship simply shows the worth of the Life that is given to us.

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