Good Mythical Morning

Progress Notes 2
Northen Exposure

I’ve never been slapped before. Scratched and bruised in, what did mother call them? Spirited disagreements with my many siblings, run ragged and broken in training exercises, bitten and stabbed by goblins, sliced and coated in toxic gnoll vomit … but never slapped. Not until yesterday that is.

Can’t say that I much care for it, part of me wants to be angry with him at the indignity of it, but I have to admit that I probably deserved it. Still it was either laugh or hit someone and I think I chose the better of those options. An altercation at the gates would have helped no one, but it would have made me feel marginally better perhaps.

I’d believed, there for a moment upon seeing the fortified and manned walls that they’d done the right thing. That upon hearing of this threat to their citizenry they’d mobilized from their far-off capital and brought the power of their nation to bear upon this northern foe. Thalron and Ladonia are no longer allies and that seems to be true as they’d mentioned ‘the Legion turning their backs on them’ something that merits further investigation later, but I well remember stories from the glory days of when they were. Allies that is. Tales of phoenix knights and battle lines that never wavered. Together we broke the southern empire and taught them that slavery and oppression would no longer be tolerated in this world…. what happened?

They were never perfect, we ourselves are not nor have we been PERFECT. The Coruscations teach us that perfection is a lie and an unworthy goal. This though? This is country and its practices are beyond flawed. How many were turned away at the gates before we arrived? How many more will be sent to fend for themselves now that we’re gone? And for what? Because sending more aid would be an inconvenience? Because of the nature of supply and demand or whatever other bullshit they’d like to spout to justify sitting back on the plump magical asses and not actually doing anything to save the people who rely on them?

We head north in hopes of cutting this incursion off at the source and investigate the faction that has caused this sudden southern push. I know that logically it is the right move, that it makes the most sense for all of those in this odd bunch I’ve found myself thrown in with, but … part of me balks at it. Part of me wants to stay here and push back, FORCE them into action even if doing so would ultimately solve nothing and likely result in all our deaths.

Jlyne cautions mercy and patience .. but after seeing those children on the tree I find that I have little of either. I want someone to bleed, for doing it, for letting it happen in the first place. Is that something new? Something related to what happened to us in that ruin? Undo influence by these new traveling companions? Or just a facet of myself I’ve not yet had to face before now? Either way I pray that the Undying Lady will give me the wisdom and fortitude to see this through, to not be blinded by this drive of … retribution.

Preserve life first, there is enough ruin and destruction here in the world.

I shouldn’t need to remind myself of this so often, but, well, as stated before none of us are perfect.

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Letters to a Lost Love - Issue 5
Wherein Peyton realizes that even when Uncle Alten doesn't win, he wins

Dearest Bryce,

I’ve been wrong. Wrong since I left I thought I’d outsmarted him, escaped without being caught or suspected.

I was wrong. In fact, I now believe that either way, Uncle Alten was going to win.

He either had made a strong ally through our marriage, or he’d be able to start the war of houses he’s long strived for by spinning my disappearance to his benefit. I suspect that this war was the preferred outcome.

I played right into his hands and there’s nothing I can do to fix this now. There is no action I can take which will halt the violence or set things right.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try. I’ll learn from this. I’ll move past this failure and I’ll try harder, do better, and I’ll ease what suffering I can.

This is the only way I know to go on.

I’ll be gone longer than I’d thought. Longer than I’d hoped. I can’t even state you’ll receive these letters, though I’ve no method in whcih to send them right now anyway.

As always, yours,

Peyton

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History Notes
Better late than never?

I will help those in need, regardless of race, religion or circumstance.
~ Teachings of Jylne – Second Coruscation~

Roughly 327 years 49 days ago give or take …

“You’ll need to keep it clean and dry. Change the bandage once a day for the next week and …” She could tell that the man was no longer listening to her, instead looking down at the bundle of salve and strips of neatly rolled cloth she’d handed to him. Mira didn’t bother repeating herself. It had become abundantly clear in the last weeks that she couldn’t MAKE people pay attention. He’d probably be fine anyway, most of their maladies were small things. Who knew that there were so many boils, gouty feet, and infected teeth in all of Thalron let alone in this small swath that they traveled through?

At first she had been horrified. These things were easily treatable and yet people had been living with them for years in some cases. Some villages had ‘healers’ who were little more than hacks (quite literally in one case, the man was frightfully fond of amputation) for every legitimate cleric or alchemist there were three who seemed only capable of fleecing people out of money they don’t have.

Charging for care? Just the concept was foreign to her and it had been awkward returning the coin that the first few grateful men and women tried to press upon her. Every town in Ladonia had at least one cleric or paladin, often times several, who provided similar services. Hell she was given yearly checkups even when she was healthy and it had never occurred to her to give more than a thank you to the volunteers.

They weren’t at home any longer. These people lived … very different lives. They did what they could as they traveled, staying in random towns along the way. Evenings were spent turning taverns into makeshift clinics. Those who suffered from disease or large injuries were generally tended by Gerik while she worked on those smaller persistent hurts that people brought in.

The worst had been in Whitsburg though. It was technically the last town on their journey. The gnoll band had last raided a few days ago and there were a few with legitimate battle wounds … slices… bites. Those were easy to tend, most were new enough that a simple channel mended the flesh. But the boy … he’d broken his leg well over two months ago in some silly climbing accent. The bone had been set improperly and his foot appeared twisted oddly, he’d never walk properly … unless they rebroke it.

Mira hadn’t the strength for it, but there was no quip to her nemesis about how he should be good at breaking things by now. She had come to resent him a bit less along the way and she thought that the paladin might be sick as the boy’s limb snapped again beneath his hands. They cry wasn’t loud, but the pain had broken through the small measure of Jylne’s virtue and the herbs he’d been given to dull his senses.

How did people live like this? Out here in the middle of nowhere without guidance and support? Gerik lectured here that it was unfair to judge everything based upon how she was raised, but these people, this country, they were supposed to be allies. GOOD people united toward a worthy cause. She’d been regaled with tales of their marvelous floating city … and yet people lived like this.

They’d traveled for weeks to reach this border town and the people there were still a bit shocked that anyone had responded to their requests. They were used to doing for themselves, making their own way in the world, and that was admirable in a way, but it was also … so very futile. At least it seemed that way to her.

They were building a church in which all the gods might be worshiped. Lovely. But what if they could not attract a worthwhile cleric to man it? They were building a wall to deter raiding? Again, good for them, but it was, well at best a palisade and it drooped in places. Her companions spent the morning before leaving hammering in supports more firmly and giving advice about joining the gate so that it couldn’t simply be pushed down.

“We’ll return, when the gnoll threat is quelled Mira, then we can return here and see what else we can do before going home. With their elders, with that damn wall. Perhaps one of the locals can be trained further and future mistakes can be avoided. We cannot save all of them though…” Was there a thread of anger even in her mentor’s voice now at this? Good to know that it bothered him as well and she took more comfort in that than his actual words.


Late, so very late, but she was returning finally.

The gnolls had been monstrous, they’d tortured their captives, sacrificed them to … whatever had been in that chamber below the ruin, but this, NOW? Things were so much worse. She’d seen horrible things during the goblin incursion, prisoners who had been .. gnawed upon. Children who had been tossed into the cages with their own almost feral young.

But these were humans. Men who had nailed those children in the town square, who spitefully sacrificed dozens of chained captives. Just thinking about it made her want to weep again. We can’t save all of them … she had to keep reminding herself that. They’d done the best they could under the circumstances, the people in the wagon were alive and free due to their actions. That meant something right?

Some of the others in this strange group she found herself in viewed the flag flying from the city’s walls with trepidation, but Mira couldn’t see it as anything but a good thing. Finally, finally they’d done something for these people. Now someone just needed to teach them that an army’s place wasn’t behind fortification but out in the world actually DOING something.

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Arden's Written Account #6

I’ve seen some pretty impressively horrific shit in my day. Participated in some of it, too.

But nothing I’ve seen or done before could have prepared me for a goddamned fucking tree made of dead children.

Even someone like me has their limit, and that’s pushing a few leagues well past it. Even so, there’s little more we can do that we’re already doing. And even then, there’s a limit to what I’m willing to do. I don’t hold anything against slavers, even having been a slave myself- I was weak, they were strong, and the strong make the weak do as they please, until the weak break or they become strong themselves.

But that atrocity?

No, that’s just plain evil.

Even so, if the do-gooder fools in the group wish to hand themselves over to people that would be just as likely to dissect us for what we now possess than to be grateful for saving a handful of villagers from slavery or worse- or more likely, handing them a whole bunch of other mouths to feed- then it’s time to move along and find something else to do.

Not even the Paradisium is worth risking that from a bunch of high-falutin’ mages.

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The Return
Or something like it, I guess. It's been months, hasn't it?

Following our ordeals inside of that, as Mira put it, prison, I could not help but feel as if something had changed. Not just because of the obvious wash of energy that covered each and every one of us but something else. Something less apparent. I can’t help but feel there’s something binding us all together now with one-another in some shape or form. Even with her, that short little cleric from hundreds of years ago apparently.

It’s strange, knowing how long we’ve been gone, I can only imagine what she feels like.

More thoughts for another time, after all more immediately pressing matters are at hand. Villages burned, children hung from trees, made to suffer. Disgusting work. I think we’ve all agreed to make the perpetrator’s pay for their obvious crimes.

Cayden and I may like to partake in revelry, but sometimes you just see something so heinous that you have to take action. This was one of those things. Those children never got to experience even a small amount of what it means to live.

A few of the more arcane inclined people in the group seem to be wary about whatever new power we may have, and it makes me wonder if they’re afraid of using these gifts to aid people. I may have forced their hands by bull rushing our cart in to a line of soldiers complete with slave-wagons. It’s far better than inaction. I’d rather people hunt down us few than torment those that can’t fight for themselves.

That being said, it seems there’s a lot of what’s the word, apprehension in our approach back to the town that for lack of a better word erupted in to spiders. I’m going to go in there and state our business, exactly what we need and what the people need and make it known that they’re under our protection. I know at least one or two of my companions will side with me.

Well, at least the two clerics may. We’ll find out.

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Letters to a Lost Love - Issue 4
Wherein Peyton reflects on what may no longer be safe to record

Bryce,

I’m no longer certain it is safe to write to you. Not because doing so tugs at my heart, reminds me of my place in life and what I’ve been urged to do. Not because I miss and care for you. Not because of the way my heart races when I think of you. No, not for all of those reasons, but because of what I have said, what I’ve described, what has happened, and because of what we’ve found.

I wish I could tell you of it, but it’s not safe. I fear that mentioning it, even the barest details, if found, could have someone seeking what we found, trying to put those pieces back together, and I cannot have that. The things that we saw, the po It is all best left unwritten, and perhaps best unspoken.

I cannot even state what day it is, or how long we’ve been gone. Time passed in a strange way and once we emerged, the seasons, the snow that greeted us was unexpected. So too was the smoke upon the horizon, in almost every direction.

We knew not the horrors we would face when we headed towards them. I understood the destructive power of fire, but this was more, It wasn’t just the winter wind that chilled as we walked into the first village. Just outside, we found the bodies. They were frozen, bodies still on the ground from where they’d fallen, let to drop from the swords which had pierced them. The blood crystallized in the surrounding snow and ice.

What we found in the next village was worse. A tree, each branch desecrated with the body of a child. Some strange necromatic decoration. There wasn’t much we were able to determine save that the abled body of the towns had been taken and the rest slaughtered.

There was no trail we could follow, but we looked to the horizon, noticed where the fires still seemed to burn, and headed not away as would have been wise, but towards, to see what we could do to help.

We came across a camp of them. Ran right over them and their men with our cart. Gliaran soldiers and the young men and women they’d rounded up and imprisoned. We also encountered the necromancer. We fought, and we won, but we were unable to save all those people before the necromancer’s last act to burn the wagons in which they’d been imprisoned. Too many lives were lost. More than I’d ever want to see taken. This is what is happening in our homeland, to our people. And yet nothing seemed to be done to stop them.

These people required help and protection, and so we’ve returned to the village from which we set out months ago. Just in time to see the army appear to take control. I can only hope they have an interest in saving these people, rather than just holding a line preventing Gliara from encroaching further into Thalron.

I can also hope that they take little notice of me and have no desire to return me to my family.

I do not believe my journey has ended. I fear that Faenor holds more in future for me. I feel the touch of the gods upon my shoulders, urging me to action’ I know not yet where that touch may lead.

I wish you well and keep you in my thoughts,

Peyton

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Arden's Written Account #5

I don’t know what in every fresh hell that was, and I don’t think I want to know.

I can’t change the past nor know the future. I can only deal with the present and how I carry on with it. I don’t have to like it. There’s been an awful lot of that over the years, but it seems to trend upwards of late.

I didn’t ask for what I was given, I don’t even want it. But there’s no use caterwauling over a spilled mug of ale. I’ll accept it and move on, no matter how much I may despise this “gift.”

I’m in it up to my scrotum, at the very least. Best see it through for now, at the very least until that Paradisium is sold and the profit from it comes back to me. After that, who knows? If it’s in my best interests, I’ll stick with them. Otherwise, I’ll simply be gone one fine morning, and best of luck to them.

At least the new one doesn’t seem incompetent, and there’s also something to be said about stopping some potentially cataclysmic event from happening.

We’ll see what we’ll see.

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That happened
And now, I'm never going home again.

Whatever those spirits were, they can rest now.

Whoever this girl is. We’ll get her out of here, and then maybe I’ll just go drink myself into a stupor.

In the end, we were given something. Falei knows what, but it’s powerful. Powerful and easily sensed. Going home was already hard enough. I just can’t now. Not with this. Between my parents attempting to sell me off for stock, and the college wanting to undoubtedly split me open and find out WHAT it is I’ve got….

Right, can’t think about that. What I can think about is what next. This gift, whatever it us…it’s changing me. Subtle, but it’s there. I feel…well I guess the term is alive. My usual magics feel more substantial, and otherwise…well otherwise there is some testing to be done. In a place where it can neither been seen nor scried. The potential is endless, I feel.

But is the capability worth the risk?

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Progress Notes
Day 1

I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection. ‘Perfect’ is unattainable, we can only be better than we were yesterday and hope that is enough …
~ Teachings of Jylne – First Coruscation~

We are taught early on to acknowledge our imperfections. Like most enemies they must be understood to be overcome. My failure in paladin training forced me to come to terms with my physical limitations and find a new path to travel. Mental and emotional deficiencies and abnormalities, those can be more difficult to define and work upon and I, despite my years in the temple have no shortage of them.

Anger. Often misplaced and irrational. It is so much easier to embrace anger than it is to admit confusion, sadness, or incompetence. When I feel out of my element I turn to anger to push me through the situation. Gareth says that it is my chief weakness and that … no. Said. Past tense. I will have to get used to referring and thinking of them in the past tense now won’t I? Gareth, my other companions, they are well and truly gone. All of them are gone. Friends. Family. My king. For perhaps the first time in my life I am unfettered.

Even writing this I feel the urge to let go of any pain that thought might cause me and embrace anger instead. Anger at these strangers who have questions instead of answers. On some level anger toward my goddess, for if truly she had a hand in this as the appearance of her avatar yesterday seems to suggest … why? Why me and not one of the others who are assuredly more worthy of being saved? Why this place and time? Why simply leave and give no other words or sign? What am I supposed to do now?

She would not begrudge me these questions and would likely answer them if she could. But the resentment burning under them? Well, just writing this has lessened that and it will fade in time as well.

They have been kind enough to offer me food and their company in this place. I will focus on being appropriately grateful for their assistance and do my best to be useful as I adjust to this new life. I will be better than I was yesterday … there is something to be said for starting with an incredibly low bar…

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Adventure Log - 3
Not enough booze

It’s going to take years of drinking to wash the Ettercap memories away, but at least frying him to cinder helped. It’s a shame the gladiator took both of the decent blades, everything else in here has been shit.

Except the Potentium.

I mean…we found Potentium.

I don’t think he or any of the non-arcane inclined know EXACTLY how much that stuff is worth. Even a SHARE of it is going to fuel a delve or two.

At the least, it’s not ettercaps.

Fucking Ettercaps.

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