Good Mythical Morning

Amryn's Journal - 3
The Rambling Ramblings of Teenage Girl

I open my mouth and my father comes out.

Not prefectly, he was certainly more passionate and practiced with his lecturing than I am, but he is there none the less. They started early, as soon as it became clear that I was gifted. Such a small thing, to call light into the darkness, but as a child I was delighted by it and did so at every opportunity. In retrospect it is a good thing that I had no friends for I would have been beastly in lording my newfound ability over them. Father’s reaction was … mixed. He was proud of me and helped me to master the gift so that it came reliably, but he also seemed … sad, or perhaps worried? And the ‘discussions’ began.

Just because we CAN do something doesn’t mean we SHOULD.

That was the first, a lesson which grew in complexity over the years. Having the ability does not equal having the right. I learned to temper my use of magic. I used it, and frequently, spending many nights reading by a steadier magical light rather than by candle, it was both more convenient and safer. It was used with a purpose. With conscious thought instead of on a whim.

Our actions have consequences, and power always comes with a price.

Most would separate those into two points, but I feel they are so intertwined so as to be almost indistinguishable.

Nothing is free. There is always a price attached and it is best to pay the cost of things up front rather than borrow trouble for tomorrow. I couldn’t fully appreciate this one until now. I guess in the past I’d always associated cost with money, and currency and I are still not very good friends (I’m almost certain we have it worked out now though, go team).

He attempted lessons of short term gain vrs long term payment, but nothing ever stuck, but as I watched my companions pry gems from the runed walls of this long forgotten outpost something clicked int place.

This.

This is what he meant.

That they are valuable is undeniable. Any gem merchant would trade good money for them, any mage or arcanist even more. Their sale will no doubt bring my companions much-coveted weaponry and armaments… but at what future cost. We have meddled with powers and forces that we cannot define let alone understand or reason with. What ripples will be caused by reintroducing these things to the world? Do they bother to ask themselves these questions? And if so do they just not care about the answer? I’m not sure which option I prefer actually, either makes me doubt the solvency of this tentative accord we’d found ourselves in.

It is actually a fair even split. Myself and the cleric seem far more cautious, while the human male and the other arcane magic wielder show almost reckless abandon when it comes to gathering spoils and power. The monk and the dwarf are somewhere in the middle … which to be honest surprises me. I’d thought that monks set themselves apart from worldly wealth? Perhaps it is only some of them? Or maybe that’s a thing that only happens in stories. But surely the dwarves above all others have learned the lesson about the consequences of greed and ambition? It is possible the accounts I’d been given were wrong, or perhaps these tendencies are innate and he cannot help himself?

The cycle of humans rising and being corrupted by their greed is also a prevalent one through history. The ruin that we stand in is a testament to that. Admittedly I know little about Thassilon, it was so very long ago. Stray mentions by my father (in the midst of previously mentioned lectures mostly), that they were humans whos ambition consumed them, twisting what they’d built into something dangerous and ruinous, leading to some great uprising … Maybe? I should have pushed harder for details I guess, or been more interested in the very ancient history that he seems to have studied somewhere. I can only hope that at some point I am in a position to ask him these new questions …

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Nathalia's Prayers - Maariv - Day 2

Blessed Jlyne, I understand now why you have set me on this path. Though the adventurers continue to lack common sense, and make decisions which I cannot respect, I see the wisdom in your actions. Please forgive me for ever having doubted you. For while we have braved spiders and diseased bears, we have also encountered a powerful crystal relic which seems to see through time, and found another of your followers who had been entrapped in the ruins we now explore.

My heart may not have been devouted in this effort, based solely on the order of some noble, for it felt like slavery from which you had raised me up. I know better now and I swear to you, I will put all my effort into seeing this quest being successful now. I will guard and protect, I will heal and guide as best as I can.

I pray only you give me the wisdom I need to do so, and guide me forever to following your path.

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Nadeline's Dairy Entry - Day 2
Again in Aklo

The circumstances in which I write these words should be unsettling to me, for spending a night in an unknown place with hostiles, the likes of which I could never have imagined, surely sounds grim. There was no doubt we’d battle spiders in the forest, and that we did, but to encounter traps obviously made by beings other than the mindless spider swarms was not what I anticipated.
This mystery was soon solved, however, when we entered a sort of fortress in a clearing. Old, tattered, with broken statues. It was clear by the corpses of the magus group who came before us that we were in the right place. I’d wager the amount of corpses I have seen in my lifetime has more than doubled by now. I expect that count to rise dramatically before we leave this place granted I am not among those corpses.
But it was not the corpses or the spiders or the traps that alarmed me. Grotesque creatures the size of a tall man were anything but a man, with distorted limbs and hunched over backs, greyish black in color and sinister in nature; it was as if the monsters of nightmares had come to life. They cannot be from this plane or the next and pondering why they would be here in his fortress in a forest I’d regard as my backyard piques my curiosity greatly.

I mention all this to say that despite my circumstances, I oddly feel at ease here. While I cannot say I regard my companions yet as a solid group whom I trust, I get the sense that this is all just the beginning of something far more grand than a single quest in search of a culprit in a forest and that there is reason for me to be part of it.

That being said, with the archer gone I admit I feel a bit better about this group, he was a weaker link for me. The dwarf continues to bring me comfort and all but the cleric seem formidable enough a team. That is not to say the cleric has not improved… slightly… but her continuous hesitance and obvious reluctance to continue with us is still troubling, perhaps if we make it through here and her sentiments remain as they are, we can drop her off and find another more adamant in their mission from their god or goddess to assist us. Perhaps I assume too soon that there will be more beyond this, but with all that we have encountered so far I can’t stop the tugging in my mind saying this is all merely in the outskirts of something grander and more frightening.

A few discoveries I should mention: A contraption that seems to dial back time and play back recordings of the happenings in its ‘eyesight’, a sort of scouting or surveillance magical device at the front of the fortress. Another was that the dwarf seems to have an almost lustful admiration for well crafted stone walls and doors. I’d guess it is because dwarves spend far too much time surrounded by stone walls in the underground. The most significant discovery though was the incredibly large and loud man we encountered in the fortress. Caught by the other planar creatures, he finally escaped his bindings and was quick to rush into the fray and conquer his foes in the name of Jlyne, his goddess. He seems content to remain with us and my hope is that his pure and fully trusting gusto for the same goddess the cleric claims to follow will prick the cleric’s heart and give her a bit of gusto of her own.

There are noises, small echoes in the corridors surrounding us. I know we are not alone. I have already communed with Percival, I have decided to have him keep watch while I sleep, his watch usually comes to me in the form of a dream if I am sleeping and is helpful in remaining always alert. I am sure I will need my rest for the day ahead.

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Amryn's Journal - 2
The Rambling Ramblings of Teenage Girl

It is not at all like I thought it would be. Oh indeed there was the standard fare. Gruesome spider monsters, strange and wondrous arcane marvels from a time long past. But there is also dust. EVERYWHERE.

Drink of water? Tastes like dust. Try to choke down rations before bed? Somehow bits of spiderweb find their way on to it making the already less than pleasing texture that much worse.

Stories never talk about dust (save for those times when it provides for a telling clue like a footprint or some such nonsense). They don’t talk about the way it coats your skin and makes your eyes feel like a peeled grape.

Don’t get me wrong, I became … disheveled in our travels before this. Mud, blisters, something that was disturbingly NOT mud. But I guess I thought that after reaching civilization again and throwing my lot in with this bunch things would magically change. A silly thought in retrospect.

My companions bear it well enough and I must come to face the fact that this must be something that everyone experiences and grows accustomed to. Even my beloved Jonathan has spent nights like this, and while I do not like to think of him in anything less than health and comfort I will admit that part of me that takes solace in the thought of him … less than immaculate; filled with the same resolve to stay and unravel more of the mystery that I find myself with.

Argh, I had meant to say more, but I fear my days of choosing a book over sleep are at an end. It is time to say goodbye to Hanna and prepare to turn in. I worry about her, even after all these days she still seems to hold some doubt that I will succeed in calling for her again. It is in her eyes… and the fact that she insists on goodbye instead of good night. Stubborn creature. As if I could face any of this without her.

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Written Account of Grimmorn Stonebraid. II
Spiders
Spiders. I’m beginning to think the entire surface world is nothing, but spiders. Just when I thought to thank Thrias for a reprieve from their webbed forest came a temple or fortress or whatever with even more of the shits. One day when my beard touches the floor and greyed beyond redemption I’ll find out who is responsible for such beasts turning so damn big. Not even big, but apparently able to conjure up spears and traps. For now I imagine it won’t be the last time I see these damn things. We’re camped right now in front of a large door. We’d taken quite a beating on the way here, so a small rest seemed a good idea. I will admit though, this place is a strange marvel. On the outside a beautiful construction of statues, but nothing that would’ve been out of the ordinary. On the inside, however, was a true treasure. I doubt any of my companions were able to understand or appreciate the construction of the inner chamber. No doubt they were more enamored with what lay inside the center… fountain? I’m not sure what to call it, nor did I pay loads of attention. I was far too busy admiring the shear craftsmanship of the hall. Smooth walls and doorways that reacted to the touch. Somewhere between magic and artisan work. It took my breath away and perhaps for the first time I came to admire something on the surface more than beneath it. As for my companions? I haven’t had much chance to get to know them any further. The bard still remains the closest thing to a friend I have up here. The cleric seems a little aloof and perhaps a bit too stubborn in her faith. The younger woman and her guardian have begun to speak up a little more, perhaps growing a drop more comfortable with us all.

The other younger woman… I’m not sure what to make of her yet. She’s talkative and inquisitive, but when it comes to battle she either waves her hands around like a daft fool or has aim that rivals the foolish archer we had. Truthfully it might’ve been a bit worse, given she shot me in the back and he hadn’t.

Speaking of the archer… he left in the night. Guess he was more of a thief than we’d thought. Given the fact he didn’t steal anything though, I’d wager nerves got to him more so and he took the cowards path. Good riddance I say. In place of him it seems we found another man who had accompanied the earlier group. He is.. unusual to say the least. Boisterous and loud and he doesn’t use a weapon. I think someone called him a …munk or something. I guess up here fighting with your fists against all manner of devilry is a common thing? I think it’s pretty damn foolish, but at least the man has courage. I can respect that.

A few more moments to close my eyes and then we continue. I’ll have to remind myself to see about getting some antidotes or alchemy healing done. One of those spiders bit me… and while I don’t feel the burn coursing in my veins, I still feel a little weaker than I should.

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Nathalia's Prayers
A verbal record of Nathalia's prayers to Jlyne

Jlyne,

I don’t know what brought me to this place. Certainly, I’d heard the rumours of the Calling, and I thought it would be an interesting thing to view, but I felt more aimless than anything as I travelled there.

Though, shortly after my arrival, I knew there had been a reason for journey. it seemed painfully evident, from the moment that a poor man had spiders spill from his mouth and a thoughtless warrior decided the best way of dealing with this threat was to kill the poor afflicted gentleman. I imagine he was a simple man, one who knew nothing of what had happened to him, or why he was so afflicted, and his life was cut shorter than needed.

Jlyne, as a healer, as your cleric, I strive to bring peace and health to those around me. Yet, there was little I could do as this life was snuffed out before me. The best I could do was try to safeguard the people of the village, using the flame of my torch to discourage the spiders from spreading further into the village

Once the spiders had been vanquished, with some aid from others who had come to view the Calling, I offered healing to those who needed it in your name.

Then, we were told by some official, that it was our duty, as citizens, to quest for the source of these spiders and destroy them.

My lady Jlyne, I felt once more as if I had returned to slavery. This man was choosing my path for me, nay telling me where I must go, and what I must do. And while it’s possible that I would have gone if I had been asked, the lack of choice still leaves me feeling powerless and angry.

Though, I do hope that I can provide some wisdom to this group of travellers, I also fear that they may choose not to listen to me. Please, I pray, grant me the wisdom and the words, to help those I journey with.

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The Travels of Garviel and his Band of Adventurers

[An excerpt from page 38 of The Travels of Garviel and his Band of Adventurers ]

The excitement which spilled out of this simple, wholesome village in reaction to The Calling, now crawled with nether-spawned denizens. Guards returning from a nearby ruin had been cursed with gruesome magic, causing a great host of spiders to spill forth from every orifice attacking anyone who should be unlucky enough to be standing nearby.

In an attempt to thwart these creatures, a fire had been set in the middle of the swarm. This was to little avail, however, as now some of the guards and a poor cleric had been separated from the main group which had rallied under the Archivists shrewd guidance.

The villagers, though they worked with great diligence, could not fight their way past the horrendous tide. But all was not lost. For there was one whose courage itself could cause the gods themselves to pause and take notice.

He stood upon a rock, fire reflected in his obsidian eyes like the burning of the proud heart within his chest. Stonebraid stood in the midst of utter chaos. He saw the poor souls doomed to a fate of unimaginable suffering on the other side of a vast conglomeration of spider and fire and hesitated not one moment.

He crouched, bunching the powerful muscles of his legs, and with a mighty roar, jumped into the teeming swarm of spiders. With prodigious effort he moved like lightning itself through the spiders, through fire, and then through even more of these grotesque creatures. All the while swinging his powerful battleaxe to and fro. Though dangerous, he had made it!

At the last possible moment Thrias’ champion leaped out in front of a swarm of spiders heading for the helpless cleric, thwarting their advance and saving the day. Though she would never admit it. Her life and the lives of the remaining guards that she later healed belonged to this Dwarf…

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Written Account of Grimmorn Stonebraid.
First Venture

In Dwarvish
Herein lay the accounts of Grimmorn Stonebraid. Third son of Magnus Stonebraid. Chosen Blood Rager and blood of Thrias. Bringer of honor and glory. Below are depicted the great deeds of his journey. May his House ever grow brighter for them.

In Common
I didn’t write the first part of this. These books are given to every Bloodrager whom leaves the great under kingdom. They are supposed to be filled with all great deeds and glory, so that upon returning home a skald and council can go over them to assign proper merit and praise to the respective house.

What a silly notion it is. What if I died in some dragon’s jaws? How would this book ever get back to them? Am I supposed to sing my own praises here in this last piece of home? No, I’ve decided and settled on using this book to depict my truth. It’s also why I’ve chosen to write in the common tongue. I don’t need someone finding this damned book and not knowing where in the blazes to return it. Nor would I have my adventures and truth be muddled by interpretation.

I’ll start where I can remember. The sun was brighter than anything I’d ever seen. It was a rare day when a dwarf poked his head out from the safety and beauty of the earth. An overcast day it was, yet still shone like some mystical realm I wasn’t aware could truly exist. Oh sure we were all taught that the surface was real and what races had been documented in the great tomes of the Archivists, but seeing is believing as they say.

It was colder too than I’d of expected. For a land that lingered below a giant hanging globe of molten steel it didn’t seem to draw any warmth from it. I’ve been trained from a tender age to be nothing if not educated in all that I could be for this journey. Weapons, armor, survival, even this cursed common than sounds like a child’s muttering. Everything had lead up to this point in my life and yet it wasn’t my choice.

Perhaps this is not the start many skalds will herald as glorious or great, but truth is what I will adhere to. Let others of greater intelligence than myself decide what glorious spin to place on everything. This is the part of my life that I can control. The one part that I will decide how to write it. I wonder if all Bloodragers feel this way? If they all embraced what they were to become or felt the same strange trepidation that I now feel. To be told you’re only to bring glory so that some generation or two can bring you up in a tavern. A source of both immense pride and opportunity and also a weight that could snap a golem’s neck in two.

I swallowed down my fears, I wasn’t to show any. I was a foreigner in a foreign land and despite how many books and paintings I’d been shown, I was no fool. This was not a world I could relate to in the least. No deep cavern springs to drink from. No intense heat from the forges that worked tirelessly. No great horns to sound the hours of the day. Even the silence up here was deafening already. How did people exist in such a land? It felt so vast and open… so empty.

I was glad when I finally reached the village. It was the first stop on the map I was gifted. The first place I’d have a chance to leave some impression. Already I felt the pit in my stomach become the size of a goose’s egg. I was embarrassed to feel this way. A chosen son of Thrias afraid to walk into a damned village? I had to get myself together. I spent the night before perched atop a small hill to watch the comings and goings. I’d managed to trap a small rabbit during my journey down the mountain pass. A sprinkle of dwarven seasonings made it feel like home for at least a moment. I spent that night filling my belly and my mind. Going over common phrases over and over again. I knew my accent would interfere with some words, but I wouldn’t mess this up. Not my first introduction to humans. I went to bed that night with a little hope.

The next day I’d overslept. Perhaps my body didn’t want to get up, already feeling the pressure of my tasks at hand, but motivation finally came in the most unlikely of places. Food.

A gaggle of geese was what I saw in that village square. Tall and lanky looking people walked around in strange attire and stood in a great line before some tables. They were being judged or something. Talk of a culling was happening, but it didn’t mean anything to me. I recalled that cull meant a great death of something. Were these the weak or diseased of the town being gathered up to be put out of their misery? They certainly didn’t look strong. So pale and small.

I didn’t have much time to ponder those facts as the tables of food had caught my eye. It certainly seemed bizarre to offer a final meal to those you were about to kill. I imagine humans saw this as a kindness? Sometimes when a dwarven elder neared his final hours they’d prepare a feast as well. Perhaps our cultures weren’t too different? A strange man spoke to me. He was the first human to ever make my acquaintance and he spoke dwarvish. I almost had a heart attack right there and then. We’d been told our kin weren’t well known and that I’d stick out immediately. So to find the first human I’d ever exchanged words with, knew my native tongue, immediately turned the world around. Once I got past the initial shock a strange sense of home managed to linger. He was a good lad, bit scrawny and pale, but weren’t they all? I hoped he wasn’t about to be culled too.

All of that came to a crashing halt as a man rode into town upon a creature I’d read about. It was called a Harse and moved with four spindly looking legs. I’d only seen a few from the traders who brought them into the city and they looked different than these.

Choas? Adventure? Fate? I wasn’t sure what was the reason behind what happened next, but the man began to… vomit spiders from his mouth. Others screamed and ran, while a few succumbed to the skittering beasts. This wasn’t exactly a dragon to slay, but we all had to start somewhere. A few others seemed to heed the call. Despite their unimpressive sizes, it appeared humans did possess bravery.

I immediately charged the man and decided that the source of spiders should be stopped. Instinct brought my sword down to cleave the man in twain, but I hadn’t expected more spiders to burst forth form his body. Magic? What the hell was all of this?

Too chaotic to really notice what was happening, I recall my pale friend shouting and rallying others to some cause. There was a small woman in the back with another in plated armor. A man had launched a few arrows into the mix, but I don’t believe he was an actual archer by the aim. Some other young woman used fire, a cunning notion to burn the spiders. A final seemed to hold the power to cleanse harm, though she was slow to act.

Truth be told aside the younger woman with fire they all seemed very slow. Correction, the archer was quick, just didn’t seem to do much. The bout went on for a while until all the crazed creatures were squashed to the ground and a few bodies remained as a result of their attack.

Despite my earlier feeling of pressure, I felt alive. I’d held back the blood of Thrias from coming out, such small pests weren’t worth his glory. Still I knew that all my training would serve me well and that in the midst of hell I could start to shine. There was talk of others needing our aid. I admit to blocking out most of what was said, until it came time to assemble the others who remained.

A rather motley little crew we were. The elvish woman was stubborn and despite speaking of wanting to aid others, seemed to demand being asked first. The man I’d befriended… named Gravyel aided me in trying to convince the others. The younger woman was flanked by her less than charming compatriot whom seemed to always be looking out for her.

The archer tried to speak to the elven woman and the other young girl. Truthfully I was more interested in a drop of mead and some food after having rolled around and dashed through flame. Charisma wasn’t my strong suit, but they’d all come to appreciate my sword soon enough. Besides every good story needs a few supporting characters for flavor hm? Perhaps I’ll have to make an effort to get to know them.

I went to bed that night, knowing that we had a journey ahead of us. Fear and excitement bubbled up inside me so much that sleep was hard to grasp. Instead I took the time to wash my beard and sharpen my sword. Tomorrow was another day. One step closer to being able to return home a hero.

.

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Nadeline's Dairy Entry - Day 1
Curiously written in Aklo

[This entry is the 87th in this particular diary. It is only within the last three months that the entries have been written in Aklo rather than Common]

I cannot sleep and the hairs on my arms have stood up on end since we set foot in these forests. Be it for excitement or nervousness I cannot be sure, likely a bit of both. As we embarked this afternoon I carried with me a lump in the pit of my stomach, a feeling which at the time I believed to be uncertainty that this was my fated path. Now I am sure more than ever that this is where I need to be. I should explain:

It happened again just as it did last night, the night before The Calling. Even in the meager single hour of sleep I had just earlier, I had the same dream that has been recurring for some months now. There is no light, no noise. It has hard to discern where I am, and then suddenly a beam of light (perhaps sunlight? It does not matter) shines brightly, revealing a crude path within a forest (I have come to the conclusion that it is much unlike this one) the shadowed silhouettes of ancient and grand willows surrounding me and out a great distance from me a shadow even more grand than these trees, though I cannot tell what it is. The path seems to lead toward it and I am overwhelmed with the urge to follow it. These dreams, while puzzling, have never given me discomfort. In fact, they feel… right? Be it premonition or symbolism of my path toward my destiny, I do not know, but I like to think it doesn’t matter. And this very night, finally a breakthrough! One that has settled my stomach but quickened my heart. Tonight for the first time in this dream… I took a single step forward toward the shadow in the distance. It can only mean that this is where I am meant to be. Before tonight I was so sure the increase in the recurrence of this dream was because I would surely be chosen today at The Calling. For whatever reason, it seems fate requires this adventure first. And then after… a more secure ticket into the Academy. I shall not question it.

Even without this dream or this impromptu adventure the day has been quite trying for me. I awoke to the day I have been waiting for nearly my entire life only for the world to seemingly turn upside down. A guard sent on a mission of importance in this forest returned spewing spiders from his mouth, spiders which spread onto people in line and at the tables for The Calling. Never have I nor my parents seen anything like this in Embrille! While I and others were able to finally gain control of the situation, it was not without loss of life. Whatever this evil may be, I cannot allow for this or worse to happen again to my hometown, or gods forbid, to my parents.

And so here I find myself on an actual adventure to find what has caused this and rid the world of it. It’s all rather surreal, truthfully. I had imagined I’d either be on my way to the Academy or weeping in my pillow after being rejected. Admittedly I think I may like this scenario better than those two, yes, even over immediate acceptance into the Academy.

I am accompanied by the unlikeliest of people, but then isn’t that how all adventures begin? There’s the Dwarf who quite literally chopped the cursed man in half. Morbid as it was, the brave action made me gain an immediate respect for the peculiar man. I feel safer knowing he is here. He seems to have made an immediate bond with another man I have never seen in town. He is well spoken, enjoys joking… but I find his questions to feel often times more like prying. Still he is a man of great knowledge, I am eager to be the one asking him questions, for I have so many. There is a man here who I could have sworn casually tossed an arrow into the fray in town rather than shoot it, but he deems himself an archer. I can only hope he actually is, otherwise I am not yet sure what he brings to the group.

Then the Cleric…I dislike this elf. Actually I believe she is only half of one. I cannot judge, I hardly know what I am, but this is not my reason for my distaste in her. I had always imagined Clerics to always hold themselves with a measure of grace and selflessness, for this is how those I have seen in town act. This woman, however, seems keen on self preservation. Regardless, I know better than to make an enemy out of someone who could give me life.

But it is not the Cleric I worry about. This other woman and her…companion… I stop short of calling this companion elven for something about her does not sit well with me. The woman herself wields magic I am unfamiliar with even in study. What’s more, I get the feeling she is hiding something from us deliberately. I cannot deny that her abilities and those of this “Hanna” are strong, especially at such a young age, which makes me all the more worrisome. For her I have almost as many questions as for the well spoken man. I hope getting to know her will dispell my worries, for I find her abilities fascinating and am eager to learn more.

Percival has awoken and is eager to commune. Despite my lack of sleep I welcome this. I cannot wait to tell him of my dream and I have not gotten the chance to hear what he thinks of these people. I will no doubt have much to write about in the coming days.

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Amryn's Journal - 1
The Rambling Ramblings of Teenage Girl

Father always said that writing helps clear the mind and there is no better way to work through a problem than to catalog its sides. I am not sure if that is true or not, but I have developed the habit of following his advice over the years. So many pages filled with ideas and questions, book after book, which vary from ‘abysmal’ to ‘adequate’ even to ‘inspired’. They’re all gone now of course and I am left to start over with you … but I don’t know precisely where to begin.

Perhaps it would be easiest if we just said TODAY.

We made it to town!

After weeks, maybe even months of circuitous traveling we have again reached civilization! I have never been so excited to see people in my life. And the food, oh merciful gods the food! If I never eat a questionable bug or berry again in my life I will consider that a triumph. Tables of food all laid out along the main street. I thought I might weep at the sight, in part because I was convinced it must be a mirage because what kind of town puts out that kind of welcome for random travelers? It wouldn’t be the first hallucination I’ve had in the past few months (thanks for the life lesson spotted red mushrooms). But happily it seems they were in the midst of festival. I am not ashamed to admit that I ate until I fairly burst; it was all delicious, they outdid themselves.

Hanna was not happy. Too many people to watch, too much noise, but it was lovely. Until I learned that it was in honor of The Calling. Strange to see the event celebrated so. I can still hear Father’s voice with its edge of contempt with the faintest shadow of fear warning me from ever touching one of those testing stones. Then again it was the same tone that he used when talking about all things related to Axora so it is sometimes difficult to judge the severity of his cautions.

Then everything went … wrong.

I did not see the man ride in, the most lovely meat pastry had my full attention then, but I DID see him disgorge a mass of writhing … things upon those gathered. It’s astounding how quickly it went from party to nightmare. People screaming. I saw a man chopped in half, not for the first time but the sight was still disquieting. It was the first time that spiders poured from his corpse (and I hope the last because that’s just disgusting). There was fire, and running, and trying to get people to move away from the carnage.

Hanna was unflappable as always, I was reminded again that without her I should be dead ten times over. still I think I did quite well for myself. I’ve been practicing. Conjuring has always come easy for me. Light and water I’d mastered before I was eight. But everything is so chaotic in battle…

There were others there of course who also aided in diffusing the situation. A man who attempted to organize the efforts by shouting from the tables. His voice commands attention and there is no denying that his knowledge and ideas are useful .. but is it terrible to admit that when I hear him all I see is my Father’s face and the thought of being patronized and sheperaded by someone who ‘knows better’ sets my teeth on edge. I’m doing my best to repress that, but I fear part of my brain is set on mutiny.

A DWARF. Of all things I expected of this town this was not it, and yet there he was. It is possible that all the books I’ve read on their culture were wrong for this one was onthing like what I’d imagined, what with the leaping through fire and hacking guards in half.

One of the women from the town also joined in the fray. I’ve read about alchemists fire, but never seen it in use. I … am not sure I want to think about that right now actually though. The panic, the smell of burning parchment and wood, it brings back things that I’m not quite ready to anaylze. She seems a nice enough sort though. Her eagerness to be tested is worrisome. She dreams of attending the college and … but what would I say? There is yet time to deal with that though. I hope.

The … archer? I had a hard time picking him out of the fray at first. By design perhaps? He strikes me as a man well used to blending in. Am fair certain he’s not here for The Calling, nor does he seem local, but that can be a good thing I suppose. With so many near strangers together it is permissible to have secrets and your own agendas. Right?

And then the cleric.

All of Hanna’s hopes rest on the half elf’s shoulders. She’s the only reason that Hanna encouraged me to travel with this lot on their college handed quest. Of all of them she hopes that Nathalia will be one who is capable and willing to care for me when she is forced to be absent. They are all competent and nice enough in their own way, but surely a servant of Jlyne is bound more tightly to the preservation of life more than any other? We shall see though. She seems quiet and more … severe than I’d imagined. But Hanna is relieved and for the first time seems to hold out hope that my ‘mad plan’ might work.

She’s cautioned me to not tell them the truth yet. It has only been a day and that is already becomming worrisome for me, but I understand her caution and feel it myself. Still, for the first time in months I myself am cautiously optimistic.

Well, it is time to break camp and I should wrap this up. There will be more later I’m sure for I’ve missed the familiar action of writing and my mind is indeed more clear for the exercise. You were right Father. I tire of saying and thinking those words, but you were right.

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