Everfall: Rise of Nations

Tervida 13th Perla

Will update soon

View
Tervida 1st - 12th, Brother Logan

Signus has been kind to me, all things considered.

On the first, I was brutally awoken by a mad bugler at six in the morning. Jenny had the courtesy to return my clothes to me, but that kindness didn’t seem to extend to keeping quiet about the night before. What a disaster. Luckily all I did was say a few regrettable things to her, but I still needed to spend some time at the temple. Especially since I’d be missing mass that day, and all because of the harebrained, sadistic, psychotic Catilinian army. If I survive, I hope to Heaven that Father Marcellus has read my letter and taken pity on me, because this “ambassador” business is the pits.

At the temple, I prayed for strength. Given my recent failures, I was expecting to suffer a great deal in the weeks to come, and I needed all the grace I could hope to receive. I’d been sober for almost eight months—a personal best since leaving the monastery—but I hadn’t forgotten how withdrawal has affected me in the past. I had complete faith that I could endure anything with the Angel’s aid, but whether or not He was still willing to assist me was up in the air. No amount of doves some archon could conjure would convince me that I’d been forgiven so easily. I beat a man to death who was in retreat—the Hells gape for people like me. I would have to be righteous and stoic if I wanted to regain His favor. And I certainly couldn’t break any more vows.

When I met up with the rest of the group and the cavalcade of brutish military types that would be going north with us, we were introduced to a man named Specca, who detailed the route we would be taking. It was then that I found out we’d be walking for most of the journey. I assumed that the physical exertion would only enhance my suffering, but now I think it was some kind of benevolent penance. The persistent exhaustion kept my mind largely off of my other symptoms. All told, I kept most of my rations down and only lost about eight hours of sleep dry-heaving. It was a bad week, but it wasn’t my worst.

On the seventh day of travel we were given camels for the rest of the way. Three to a camel, two at a time. Corinth and Jenny graciously swapped walking duties with each other and let me ride the rest of the way. It felt so good not having to walk anymore that I hardly noticed the other stuff was getting better. Azrath’s whip was loosening from my neck once again. As St. Cedric said upon returning from the last Hell, “Praise the Sun, for though her binds may shackle me, and her lashes tear me, my faith be a key, and His Light a healing salve.”

We arrived at the place called Barazhad Bay on the 10th of Tervida. Here, Specca said, not in Leminster and not in the frozen hroggar homeland, was where we were to make our stand. It was a sprawling waste of a ruined city, but Specca insisted that it was an advantageous position to hold. Thankfully I don’t know a damn thing about war, so I kept my mouth shut.

General Pelior, who was leading this particular attack, gave us our first mission as the platoon’s “special ops” group. We were to scout a nearby tower. Racha came with us, which turned out to be helpful, since we were approached by a couple of hroggar riders. I hid behind a wall, but apparently she dealt with the two of them quite handily. Not handily enough, however, since she left their horses alive. When we returned to Pelior, he informed us that these particular horses could communicate with the hroggar, and that they had probably already informed any others about our presence.

All the prayers I knew began running through my mind. I thought I’d never be more afraid to die in my life. Then he said we’d have to infiltrate the hroggar camp without Racha, proving myself wrong. I swear even my beard must’ve turned white.

Given my previous experience with the members of this military, I’d been hesitant to talk to Pelior before, but now I spoke. I strongly objected to his orders, insisting that he look me up and down and tell me if I was suitable for infiltrating anything at all, ever, in any lifetime. Jenny took the moment to joke that I had been able to successfully infiltrate a bar, and I hope Signus was watching me then because it’s a testament to my incredible discipline that I didn’t blacken that eye of hers.

Pelior assured me that my presence would be necessary in case anyone got injured, but that otherwise I ought to hang back and hide nearby. The objectives he gave us were things I thought him daft to think us capable of, especially without Racha. Burning warships? Espionage? Taking prisoners? I was too old for this ten years ago! I had to get out of this madness somehow. As soon as we were out of earshot of Pelior, I posed to the rest of the group that we simply leave—take a sharp left on our way back to the bay and never look back. Jenny tried to comfort me, but I’d had just about enough of her shite and wasn’t hearing any of it. But, despite my objections, no one else was willing to desert the army, and we headed out to make camp near the hroggar boats they’d spotted from the tower.

Perla searched the rim of the bay, and found an underwater cave she said we could take shelter in for the night. I was nervous about having to be in the water, but the cave was deep enough I could sort of sink to the bottom and climb inside with the aid of a rope. It was indeed a big cave with a dry floor and a broad vault, just what we needed. Once Corinth turned on his lantern, however, there was a lot more of interest to see.

A set of enormous double doors—iron by the look of them—were embedded into the far wall of the cave. Surrounding the keyhole was a circle of strange markings that Jenny identified as Norna. Using a dictionary she received from Pelior she started working on translating it. Since we were staying here for the night I figured I’d get a head start on my dry ration for the evening. We’d been eating sparingly as per military protocol since we left the Imperial City, but I wasn’t quite used to it yet. I hated being hungry. Signus knows I make an effort but gluttony is such an insidious sin.

To my surprise, when I’d finished my meager portion, Corinth tossed me a second one, saying that he’d snuck out an extra just for me. I’d never felt so much love for the lad. He liked to mock me and I suspected that he was less than sincere about his faith in Signus, but I suppose he can’t be all bad. I still don’t trust him alone with Jenny, though. The lass is too naïve for her own good. I was a young man once, and I surely didn’t have all my impulses under control. But of course she thinks I don’t know what I’m talking about. I suppose I didn’t listen to my betters either, when I was a lad.

Anyway, she eventually came up with a translation of the markings on the door with the help of the dictionary. She read, “Jaegerbaad the eternal city, city of heroes, heroes of Jaegerbaad.” We speculated briefly on what that might mean, concluding that Jaegerbaad was probably the Norna name for what the archons were calling Barazhad, and that these doors were some kind of secret entrance into the city. We were told that the ruins formally belonged to the hroggar, but Corinth pointed out that the entrance was needlessly large even for a hroggar. The keyhole was about twelve feet from the ground—not even the tallest hroggar could reach that without help. I suggested that the doors might be old enough to have serviced giants in the past, since I’d heard that hroggar are half-giants, but no one seemed keen on that theory. I didn’t think anything of it at the time because I figured it wasn’t important, but more on that later.

I said my evening prayers in the dark and thanked Signus for allowing me to survive yet another day with the harebrained, sadistic, psychotic Catilinian military. And when I awoke, I prayed that I’d survive that day as well. As it turned out I did (praise Signus!), but we had more than one close call.

When we reached the beach (after some swimming difficulty on my part), the sun had not yet begun to rise, which was of course part of the plan. Perla and Corinth volunteered to do a bit of scouting to determine the best plan of attack. Corinth got back first with the news that he’d found a good place for us to plant ourselves. He lead us through the water—I bobbing near the surface thanks to the high sandbars in the shallows—and to a sliver of beach that rested against a high, rocky piece of land that cut the bay in two. On one side was the bay that was visible from Barazhad, while the other was filled with hroggar boats. Corinth said we ought to sidle up the side of the cliff for a better view of the ships, so we could nail a few of them with fire arrows. He tied us together, for the stated purpose of making sure we would all be safe if one of us fell off. The exception, he said, was me. If I fell off, we would all surely plummet to our deaths, dragged off the cliff by my immense weight. All the appreciation I’d felt for the lad last night evaporated. Thank Signus that I’ve been blessed with patience and restraint. If I were Corinth’s age…

Perla caught up to us, and after much strategizing on the part of her and Corinth, they decided to have her take jars of pitch into the ships from beneath them, so she could set a few on fire, while we rained down destruction from above. Well, Connor and Jenny would likely be doing much of the raining. I still couldn’t fathom why I was such a necessary asset to this whole stealth operation. If Corinth was to be believed, I might even have been a detriment, if something hadn’t gone horribly wrong.

Luckily not going to her death, Perla returned to the water while we made our way up the cliff face. We waited a long time for smoke to rise from the first boat Perla would hit. Jenny and I struck up a conversation to pass the time, starting with the common ground that neither of us had ever learned to swim. This would have been a pleasant break from my fear of the looming war, but as soon as I mentioned I wasn’t sleeping well she had the nerve to ask if it was because I hadn’t been drinking. It didn’t matter that her assumptions were correct, it was none of her business to ask in the first place. I don’t understand it—Connor and Perla had both seen me drink too, but neither of them were constantly pestering me about it. I might have to have a chat with Jenny about her prurient interest in my personal failures if we all survive this thing.

Anyway, something did go horribly wrong. We had just seen Perla’s first target go up in flames when we were set upon by two hroggar and their psychic mounts. Apparently Corinth’s little hiding spot wasn’t as hidden as he’d believed.

The hroggar wouldn’t have stood a chance against Jenny and Connor, but the addition of Corinth made the fight quite imbalanced. As part of my recent attempt to remain truer than ever to my vows, I stayed out of the fray and healed only when it was necessary—which wasn’t even that often. It was encouraging to see my friends land expert blows on their enemies and still manage to dodge deftly any attacks that came their way. It made me feel more comfortable with leaving them to return to the monastery, whenever I heard back from Father Marcellus. Clearly, they didn’t need me.

But all of that calm flew away from me when Corinth was launched off the cliff by a heavy blow from one of the hroggar. Before I could react to help the lad, Connor leapt after him, clutching his limp form in his arms before both of them disappeared over the edge. I froze, entirely helpless. I spent months mending Connor’s wounds and keeping him fighting every time he got knocked down, only for him to die because gravity got him? Before I could further examine this train of thought I remembered that Jenny was still fighting. Saying a quick prayer for Connor’s safety—he could land in the water, after all—I turned to keep an eye on how Jenny was faring. Somehow she had brought to his knees the hroggar that had thrown Corinth. She looked utterly livid, and was advancing on the flagging foe with a dagger drawn—I didn’t even know she owned a dagger. I could see what she was planning to do, and I wanted desperately to keep her from it: Jenny might be a thief and a hooligan, but I’m certain she’s never intentionally killed anyone. I rushed to move between her and the hroggar, invoking a power that I’m certain I shouldn’t be using on the way there. By the time I got there the hroggar had staggered to his feet and raised his weapon. Stepping in front of Jenny, I laid into him, probably breaking his jaw but putting him—alive!—on the ground. I’d have to pay my penance for perpetrating violence again so soon, but it was a small price to pay for Jenny’s innocence. Now if only I could keep her away from…

I suddenly remembered what had happened to Corinth—and Connor. I whirled around just in time to see Connor clambering back onto the side of the cliff, an unconscious Corinth in tow. Hail Signus! Praise His holy name! It couldn’t have been anything other than a miracle! Jenny sheathed her weapon and I hurried over to make sure Connor was okay—which he was, of course, bless the lad—and to attend to Corinth.

Before any of us could even take a breath, however, a massive harpoon slammed into the side of the cliff and yanked a large chunk of it away from the land—the chunk that we were all standing on. My first instinct was to panic as gravity took hold of me and massive shards of earth began to tumble around me. I saw my friends and Corinth all leap onto the chain the harpoon was attached to and, in an impressive feat of dexterity, run down the length of the thing to the ship that had fired it. Not daring to attempt something similar, I improvised, clinging desperately to the harpoon as it fell towards the churning bay.

I didn’t see what became of the others—I was gaining speed as I approached the surface of the water and took a deep breath, closing my eyes as I was about to break it. I was underwater for a few seconds when I realized that I still had the function of all of my limbs, and also that I was not dead. Praise Signus! Again! I finally felt that I’d gotten back on the Angel’s good side.
I felt the harpoon start to pull upward, so I opened my eyes to see if there was something else I could grab onto to avoid being yanked into a death frenzy of angry hroggar. Much to my surprise, I saw Perla waving at me beneath the waves. As horribly wrong as everything had gone on this “mission,” I was glad so many things were going right for me in such dire straits. Perla helped me swim over to the ship’s anchor and use it to climb up into the ship.

There were four enormous cannons on the ship that Jenny—thank Signus she’d made it okay—and Perla were struggling to operate themselves. I didn’t think about what I was doing, about all the deaths I was enabling, when I pulled two of the guns out for them to load. My only thought was for Connor, who was probably under siege above deck with Corinth. Up top I saw the damage: Corinth was hiding unharmed behind the mast, and Connor was lying in a bloody heap, spears sticking out of him at all angles.

I dropped on the deck when a spear whizzed past my own head. As I crawled across the ship to reach my fallen friend, I heard the explosions down on the beach surely caused by the cannons Jenny and Perla had commandeered. But—by the Angel—Connor was still alive, and I managed to shake the spears from his wounds with the light of Signus.

By this time only a small platoon of hroggar were left on the beach, while a handful had piled onto the ship. Corinth told us quite forcefully to get off the ship while he blew it up. Not one to argue with a man who plans to set something on fire, I agreed and followed my friends off the edge of the ship and into the water.

There was a tense moment when I feared that Corinth wouldn’t make it off the ship in time, but he dove in after us just as the ship lit up. He was pretty banged up, though, so we had to help him back to the beach and limp back into the ruins.

We couldn’t even rest there, though. We returned to find the Catilinian front under siege. Connor, ever the bravest, told the rest of us to hide under one of the crumbled buildings while he ran ahead for help. While we waited I tended to the less severe of Corinth’s wounds, and it occurred to me, in this first moment of rest, that I hadn’t yet had anything to eat that day.

Connor returned quickly, though, tailed shortly by Racha, who seemed to be wearing a suit of armor made entirely out of stone. I didn’t question it—it was the only time I’d ever been happy to see her. That earth-suit seemed to make her practically invincible, and she carved a path straight through the ruins—and any hroggar we happened to meet—back to the relative safety of General Pelior’s keep. We were all in complete awe of her power, but she deflected any compliments by insisting she was out of practice and that she wished she could have a drink. I’m ashamed to say that, in the moment at least, I sympathized with that sentiment. It had been a very long day.

Once we got ahold of Pelior, Perla unloaded all the information she had recovered while she was setting ships on fire. I was sure to mention the iron doors we’d found beneath the ruins, but he didn’t seem interested, more concerned with any news that could be had from an advisor who had arrived alongside us. I tuned out after that. I don’t know anything about war or strategy, and that’s all they seemed to want to talk about. I heard something about an axe that could cut through stone, which I put down to fantasy, like that mythical Black Axe these military types kept going on about, but they seemed genuinely worried about it. They said they feared even Racha wouldn’t be a match for it. Now, I may not have the faintest idea what they were talking about, but that scared me.

There was a loud rumbling outside the keep, and Pelior mentioned that we’d probably pushed the hroggar back for now. In my boredom and hunger my eyes wandered to the sheaf of papers that Perla had recovered from the warships. I saw some markings on one that bore a striking resemblance to those on the iron doors in the underwater grotto. I knew Pelior wasn’t concerned about that, but I pointed it out anyway, trying to be helpful. Jenny agreed that they were very similar and after consulting her dictionary translated this new set of circular words: “door locked by key, key heralded by flame, flame lights the door,” she read.

Now Pelior was interested all of a sudden. He concluded that the doors must be important if the hroggar intended to open them, and promptly ordered us to go back to where we’d come from and examine the doors. I’d had just about enough of being sent around at the harebrained, sadistic, psychotic whims of this man, and on an empty stomach, too! But I’d been shown before that my objections are meaningless in the face of my friends’ curiosity and sense of duty, so all I asked was that we eat before we headed out again. Apparently they didn’t think that was an unreasonable suggestion, so we grabbed our dry rations on our way out and—once more—headed to the beach.

Once we’d returned to our cave—minus Corinth, who’d been escorted to the infirmary—we noticed that half of the words on the iron doors were now lit up, as if my candlelight. We tried all manner of cockamamie theories to get the other half of the words to light up, most of them involving fire of some kind. Perla tried to light up the other half with her gun, Connor tried to grab the door with his fists on fire, we tried to reflect a shaft of light onto the door… After much worthless experimentation, Jenny suggested we just wait a while to see if it’s on a timer. We waited until nightfall with no results, so we spent the night—again—in the cave.

Apparently sleeping on it was the right decision, as Jenny came up with a plausible theory almost as soon as she awoke: that as signal towers, like the one we scouted the other day and of which there were four, were lit, the door slowly unlocked in quarters. We all agreed that it made plenty of sense, especially since the hroggar had been scouting the towers as well. Armed with this new knowledge, Connor voiced an uneasy question that must’ve been on everyone’s minds: what’s behind these doors that the hroggar want to open them so badly?

I don’t want to imagine an answer to that question. The miracle of everyone’s survival yesterday made me complacent about what we’re doing here. I crossed myself and prayed for a different kind of strength than I asked for in Catiline; I have a feeling keeping my vows is going to be the least of my problems while we’re fighting this war.

View
Felvida 31st

The sun is shining as it filtered in through my curtains on the last day of Felvida. Tomorrow we would be heading out in the morning to go head off the Hroggar, I wouldn’t have time to have a nice proper ritual for Nocturne. I grumbled as I got dressed, there was a ‘Slam!’ from down the hall. I trudged over to look out the door and see Connors naked ass scurrying back to his room, I guess Racha kicked him out. I retreated back into my room to wash my face with soap hoping that the sting will cause me to forget that memory. I know I don’t get much action, but I still don’t need that being the last piece of ass I’ll ever see. I get dressed and walked slowly downstairs trying to forget that I ever saw anything, unfortunately it burned its self into my retinas and no amount of cleansing would ever get it out. Corinth walked out of the kitchen with a large plate of blueberry pancakes and I followed him into the dining room. He served me some pancakes and I start to eat trying to avoid Connors gaze at all, it is all the will power I have in me to not comment about him running down the hallway naked, not that he would ever be ashamed of it, he’s too confident for that, he would probably own it and wear it with pride. The whole swagger of “yeah I fucked a war goddess.” As if his ego couldn’t inflate any higher. As the last set of footsteps trudged down the stairs interrupting my thoughts and Racha sat down and ate with us, her glaring gaze directed across the table at Connor, who seemed to be avoiding her stare, I guess I called that wrong. This made for a really awkward breakfast, no one talked much. As I finished my meal, I politely excused myself from the table and I headed out to the bathhouse to take a bath. After I get in and settle down in the warm soapy water Jenny, Shaelith, and Dahlia join me. It was quiet, peaceful, and relaxing.

After I got out and got dressed and I head out to the lobby. Jenny caught up to me asking if I would show her where I got the rings I bought for Connor and for Logan. She was wearing that green dress of hers; she looked really… different I suppose would be a good word for it. Not the bad kind of different where you’re served Escargot and told it’s something wonderful and then you bite into it ravenously to find that it is not wonderful, but more along the lines of seeing a flower as a bud and then seeing it after it has bloomed. Different, but still beautiful. I agreed to help her, feeling bad that I only got her some simple smoke bombs rather than something nice like what I got for logan and Connor and we head off into town towards the jewelry shop. As we walk I notice several people staring at the two of us. A mer and a lady, I don’t think Jenny noticed the people watching her as she strode past them with confidence. We reach the shop with ease and Jenny went to talk to the shop keep, I gave him a little wave but he doesn’t seem to recognize me from yesterday so I start to peruse the amulets on display in sheepish embarrassment. They began to chitchat about the different jewelry and I tried not to listen too hard as it was a private transaction. Although when Jenny asks him about a ring like what I got Connor and the guy says that the triune healing wouldn’t fit with her very well. So instead Jenny bought two very nice rings, I didn’t quite catch what they did but she at least seemed pleased with her purchase. She then asked about the amulets and saw one that she likes and she put some cash down to hold the item and then we both go back up to the embassy. Jenny says she doesn’t have enough to buy it and she asks me to show her where the Job Posting board is, I agree to help her out to get the money, again feeling very guilty that I didn’t get her anything nice yesterday. As we approached the embassy we ran into Logan who was pacing about outside, he asked what we were doing and I told him we were going to the job posting board and asked if he wanted to tag along.

After Jenny got changed into her regular clothes the three of us headed out to the job posting board and as we approach it there was only a job to clean the graffiti off the city walls that we could get done quickly. So we headed up to the city municipal building and tell them we want to take on the job. We get our buckets and brushes and we accompany the Forman to clean the city walls all day. It was hot, hot enough to cause me discomfort as I’m normally used to cooler more humid climates but I kept my discomfort to myself. In order to get enough money for jenny to get her amulet she and I skipped our lunch break and sent Logan to go get us food while we worked. By the time he came back there was a bite mark in my sandwich, clearly obvious that mister gluttony over there couldn’t contain himself on the walk back. I sighed and I returned to cleaning the graffiti off of the side of the wall. Jenny tells us a little bit about her night with Corinth and how it was really magical. Logan was suspicious that something happened but Jenny kept saying that nothing like that happened and that they were in the center of town. We all chattered on and Logan decided to sing a song in some sort of language I couldn’t understand thank Nocturne. During the middle of Logan’s 54th verse of the song I heard the supervisor say “hey wait” and I turn around and we all see Connor trying to come clean with us. Jenny says to go to the courthouse to sign up. Connor begins to prattle on about how he didn’t have to work to earn all his money and how he won it in a deice game. It obviously didn’t take him that long to get over his spurn from Racha, although thinking of that made me realize that I needed to scrub the walls and pretend they were my eyes so that I wouldn’t start thinking of Connor’s Naked Morc Butt dashing down the hallway. Connor inquires about why we are scrubbing the walls and I let it slip that jenny has an amulet that she wants to buy. Connor asks where the jewelry shop we went to is and I told him to wait till we’re all done and we can all go together, but him being Connor became impatient and left. We keep cleaning all day long until we get to go back to the courthouse and return the buckets and brushes and get paid.

By now it was later in the afternoon and slowly pushing on evening so Jenny and I rush over to the shop to pay for the amulet. Well Jenny didn’t realize that it wouldn’t help her in the right way so she left it. She told me to agree with her that the necklace was sold to someone who paid double, as to not arouse Logan’s suspicionsabout her wanting to practice something darker than what Logan is used to. Lying to a priest, she’ll need to go confess that . How ironic. We got back to the embassy just in time for dinner which was a nice fat and plump Roasted Duck. Shaelith decided to implement salads for dinner as well which is good because one of us was a glutton earlier. Jenny and Corinth start talking and Corinth says that he was interrogated by Connor about where his money was. The topic changes to Vineet and his really odd choice to wear a facial mask at the dinner table and Vineet doesn’t say much of anything on the subject, he always was the weird one of the group the city sent us. Jenny and Corinth were sitting next to each other for dinner tonight. She’d somehow found the time to change back into her dress before dinner. Seeing how they both look at each other is really something, they must really like each other a whole bunch. Connor then piped up and decided to have a big talk with everyone about when we go out tomorrow. Connor brought up that he was a bit wary of Corinth coming along; I don’t understand why he doesn’t want someone who is good at gathering information coming along. The two of them bicker for a while and Logan rushes out to go pack because apparently he didn’t know we leave in the morning. We ask Racha, who’d been sitting quietly glaring at Connor her opinion on the matter and she seems to like the fact that Connor isn’t happy with it so she says that Corinth gets to go, Or Else.

Jenny tries to excuse herself and Corinth to leave when Logan asks what kind of book they need to read. Jenny shows the book to Logan and he started asking about it and I could tell jenny was beginning to get uncomfortable with telling him about it so I begrudgingly offer up the rest of my dinner to get logan’s mind off of it. Logan handed the book back to jenny and my plate. And so gluttony prevails, it’s odd really, Logan preaches a whole lot about not sinning yet in the past week he has committed several sins himself: Breaking his vow of not getting drunk by storming off to that bar for no apparent reason. And on top of that his incessant need to gluttonize all the food he can find. Personally I think he should re-read his own book of signus. Connor continued his investigation by questioning the rest of the help, including the twins, Old Man Lynn and Shaelith. Once Connor can’t find out who did it he gets up and storms out of the dining room. After his tantrum I get up and I go upstairs to my room. I open the window and I start doing early meditation of Nocturne, I pray that we are kept safe on our journey, that we will survive and that we may be victorious in her name. after a while of meditating I stand up and close my window and head to bed, not eager to start the next day and the trip it entails.

Will do tags later sorry

View
Felvida 28th-29th Jenny Cross

Felvida 28th
I awoke groggily, later than usual, still coming to terms with the fact that I had killed two men. While my code grants exception to murdering people when necessary, I’m finding it difficult to justify killing two men over less than 40 cael, even if their deaths were unintentional. More and more, I’m beginning to realize that there may not be room for thieves on the battle field; I may have to become something more sinister in order to adapt to my current situation. These thoughts plagued my morning reading, and made it difficult to glean any useful information from the text. My thoughts were fixed on how I cut that man down, how he bled out on the ground in front of me. 40 cael…so much blood…blood…My mind became transfixed on the fact that his blood was still caked onto my sword and I could not focus until something was done about it. I took my sword downstairs and washed it thoroughly before returning to my room to resume reading. Unfortunately, my esteemed colleagues awoke in their usual, peaceful fashion, by shouting and causing an unnecessary commotion. I cracked my door and looked outside to see a bandaged up, nearly naked Connor limping along with Perla, who was hefting a semi-conscious Logan into his room. No, not today, I am not dealing with this today. I left my door cracked, just in case I was needed, and sat back down to read. Almost immediately, Connor came limping in on a staff and plopped down on my bed. He looked like some kind of battle hardened king wielding a wooden scepter, minus all the kingly aspects of grace and regality. Come to think of it, I believe a beggar or deranged lunatic would be a more apt description for how he looked in that instant. I asked him not to sit on my bed, hoping it might possibly cut our friendly visit short. Connor implored me to talk to Racha about the money she stole, to which I begrudgingly agree in order to get him to leave so that I may return to my peace and solitude.
I went downstairs and sat with Racha as she ate her breakfast and proceeded to have a wonderful conversation! She agreed to return all of Connor’s money, admitted that she was a psychotic drunk and needed help, and in general apologized for all the headaches she’s caused my friends and I recently. She even agreed to stop free loading and find her own damn place! Oh, wait a minute, I was talking to Racha…that’s right, none of that happened and the conversation eventually devolved into her reminding me that she is Racha and there’s nothing I can do to make her give Connor his money back. She also mentioned that Connor was stupid enough to pass out in her bed and was adamant about having never touched a cent of Connor’s money. I decided that I enjoyed having my head firmly attached above my shoulders, and that I should just take Racha’s word for truth and left her to continue eating her breakfast. I informed Connor that my conversation was fruitless and agreed to take him to the hospital and pay for part of his visit if he promised to leave Racha be. He told me he was finished chasing after her, but, knowing Connor, he’ll be right back at it as soon as he’s fix up and ready to be crumpled again.
The hospital bill came to 150 cael in order to have Connor’s wounds healed immediately. I did not have that much money, and knowing that Connor’s promise was hollow and worth essentially nothing, he’s lucky I agreed to pay the 50 cael I did. I decided that, since his word was useless, he would work off the cael I had paid by helping me read. In hindsight, I don’t know what made me believe he was even literate to begin with. The joke was on me, however, when he successfully finished Dark Watching and was able to essentially recite the entire book’s content from memory. I, on the other hand, passed out mid-sentence and proceeded to nap for almost the entirety of our time spent reading together. Connor Grey, the Murderous Moronic Morc is more literate than I am…I could feel my ego shrink and disappear as he recited, from memory, a book I had utterly failed to penetrate in the slightest.
After listening to Connor’s description on what exactly this form of scrying entailed, I decided that it wasn’t worth the risk just to find my old master. Still, it could prove useful in the future. Connor hastily left my room afterwards, visibly disturbed by the contents of my book, and I decided I should probably go eat. I was seated near the embodiment of femininity, poise, and grace that is Racha, who was drinking alcohol straight out of the bottle all throughout dinner. Such class! I sometimes feel I am not worthy to be in the presence of such a prim and proper lady! Perla handed all of us gifts, except for Connor, stating that his was being prepared. I’m still not quite used to this whole gift giving thing; the sentiment is nice, but I’m starting to feel like a bad person for never returning the favor.
Corinth asked if I would be interested in a walk, and apparently Logan could sense my legs spreading underneath the table, as he insisted on being my chaperone. Chaperone? Really? What am I, five? Does he seriously think that if he turns his back on me, he’s going to turn back around just in time to see me strip naked and throw myself at the nearest man? I decided that I would just ignore Logan’s comment and attempt to remove myself from the room without him noticing. I got my chance when Connor mentioned that Logan was attempting to steal a bottle of alcohol from Racha’s room. With his recent refusal to help us during most of the battles in the coliseum, along with this theft incident, I saw my chance. I questioned Logan’s devotion to our group, causing everyone to argue with him about whether he would be able to stand and fight with us against the Hroggar. During the commotion, Corinth and I slipped away from the table and out a nearby window. Really Logan, you’re just too easy sometimes.
Cornith took my hand and led me quickly through the streets. Had he not been pulling me behind him so quickly, I might not have been able to move at all of my own volition; my legs had gone limp and my mind had turned to mush. God Jenny, pull yourself together! How are you ever going to be with this guy if this is how you react to him holding your hand? Not that I WANT to be with this guy…well, not that I don’t want to be with this guy either, there’s nothing wrong with him or anything, on the contrary, everything is just right. Oh god Jenny, are you even paying attention to where you’re going at all?! I snapped out of my own day dream when Corinth stopped near the city’s clocktower. I honestly had no recollection of the walk there; no idea how long it had been, which streets we had taken, nothing other than the fact that he was holding my hand and I apparently floated behind him. He asked me if I was able to climb, to which I respond that I wasn’t very strong. He said that wouldn’t be a problem, opened a manhole cover nearby, and beckoned me to follow him into it. Wonderful, our date will commence in the refuse and waste of the city! Truly a night to be remembered! I was somewhat reluctant to follow him into the sewers, but I couldn’t exactly turn back, since I had no real idea how I had gotten there in the first place.
I followed him down and he led me through several access tunnels which eventually opened up inside the clocktower. It was a wondrous sight to behold, all the crank and gears and levers all combined to serve the one simple, yet intricate task of telling time. I had little time to stop and marvel at this masterpiece of modern engineering, as Corinth once again grabbed me by the hand and I turned to mush. He led me across numerous gaps. I followed him through the intricate interweaving of parts, soaring, tumbling, freewheeling through the tower until we reached the top. At several points, it became evident that my limp legs and clouded mind were not suited for such coordinated movement, as I nearly slipped and fell numerous times. Luckily, Corinth was there to catch me with his big, strong arms…anyways, we eventually made it to the top of the tower where a small camp has been set up.
Corinth led me over to the transparent clocktower face and placed his arms around my side as we looked out over the city. In that instant, had the sound of gears cranking filled my ears, I would have been convinced that I was floating somewhere high above the city. I snapped out of my dreamy stupor as Corinth led me to a table he had set up near his tent. He pulled out two danishes and apologized about it not being very much. He leads me through the city, takes me on one of the most fun adventures I’ve had in quite a while, and brings me to a place overlooking the entire city of Cataline and he thinks I’m going to fault him on feeding me a danish? Either he has mistaken me for someone who is much more high maintenance, or he’s trying very hard to impress me. Please be the latter, dear god I hope it’s the latter, because if it is, he’s gone above and beyond impressing me.
We made small talk while we ate, he asked me about my book and I told him it wasn’t worth the trouble. He talks about how he found the clocktower entrance, but decided the way he had taken me was much more fun. I attempted to dispay my peerless wit and wry humor by blurting out “You’re fun!” Oh yeah Jenny, real smooth. He chuckled a bit, and I could feel all the blood in my body rush straight to my face. I then slyly diverted the conversation to the cleanliness of the clock face, and rambled on and on about how someone must come up here to maintain it. I wanted to stop, I really did, but my lips just kept moving and words just kept spewing out. Goddammit Jenny, just stop….just stop…please? No? Okay then, just keep talking about the clock’s cleanliness. Somehow I managed to clamp my fat mouth shut long enough to notice that Corinth was scooting closer to me. I followed suit until we were both right next to each other. He pulled me in close and we kissed. It felt as if the entire world had slowed to a grinding halt, as if all the gods hand stopped time and space for a mere instant to add weight and gravity to our coupling. We parted after what felt like minutes, but what was in fact merely seconds. Corinth stood and beckoned towards a nearby window. I, however, curled up into a ball and put my face into my knees to hide just how red I was. Corinth snickered a bit to himself, causing me to curl up tighter. I sat like that for a few minutes before awkwardly responding that I would like to do that again. Corinth took my hand, whisked me into his arms, and we locked lips yet again. Had he not been holding me, I probably would have hit the floor. It really helps that he’s so smooth, it makes up for how clunky and awkward I keep acting.
After he let go and I managed to compose myself slightly, he informed me that there was a zipline that ran from the clocktower to the center of town, which was exactly how we were getting back. We ziplined down and arrived back at the embassy shortly after. Corinth went to his room after saying goodnight and I took the time to admire his back side as he moved to his room. Everything checks out, this man is gorgeous all around. I floated lightly to my bed and passed out with the biggest, stupidest grin on my face.
Felvida 29
I awoke roughly to the sound of Racha breaking down Connor’s door. Oh good morning, goodmorning, to you Racha! I decided that the best course of action would be to wait until things calmed down a bit before going to Connor’s room to scrape the bits of him that were left into some sort of sack or vase. After checking on Connor and finding that he was, surprisingly, okay, I went into the shop to buy supplies for our trip north.
I ran into Corinth and Corlin while I was out and Corinth, thankfully, didn’t make a scene in front of Corlin. Corlin informed me that he had a job for me to do and I decided that I would tell him about me and Corinth then. Corlin…Corinth…Corlin? God, this is getting confusing. Corlin led me into a room in the embassy and informed me that my job would be to file various papers for a couple hours. I tried numerous times to inform Corlin that me and Corinth were together, but he was just so dense that I got frustrated and blurted out that me and Corinth had kissed. Dammit Jenny, you were supposed to let him down easy! I could see the hurt in Corlin’s eyes immediately and I felt like the lowest piece of trash in the bin. I tried to talk to him about it, but he locked himself in his room and wouldn’t come out. I tried, in vain, to disguise myself as Perla in an attempt to get him out, but I did a very poor job and he remained locked away in his room. Corinth met me in the hallway and, seeing that I was visibly upset, asked what was wrong. I told him about the current situation between me and Corlin and he responded by saying that he may have good news later before kissing me and heading off. That helped improve my mood substantially, but I still felt bad about hurting Corlin like I did, however, I decided that it would probably be best if I left him alone. He probably didn’t want to see me after what happened anyways.
I ate lunch and set out to find another job, only to find Connor doing pull ups on our awning. I would have made a comment about his lack of intelligence, but my ego was still writhing in agony at the fact that Connor was more literate than I was, so instead I merely told him to stop and be more careful, to which he responded by ignoring me. I searched unsuccessfully for a job before running into Perla, who was holding a sign advertising a nearby restaurant. I asked her if there was a job open for me, to which she responded that there wasn’t and that I should check the job posting board in the center of town. Job posting board….in the center…of town…if my palm had hit my face any harder, I would have broken my nose.
I proceeded to the job posting board and a notice caught my eye. I took it, followed the description listed on the parchment, and came to a shop headed by a male earth Archon. I asked him about the job and he pulled me into his office, where he informed me that I would be stealing a replica of the dwarven floating ship from some scumbag named Benedict. This job sounded too easy and I took it with glee. After arriving at Benedict’s establishment, I surveyed the outside and noticed that there was no way up to the second story from the outside. I went inside to get the general layout of the store and notice that there also appeared to be no entrance to the second floor inside here either. The sleazy shop keep came up and started asking me if everything was to my liking and I could feel him attempting to burrow his eyes through my clothing. I said no and promptly left; had I not been on a mission, I would have ran back to the embassy to scrub the first two layers of my skin off after that lovely encounter. I found a wind archon street urchin and asked if he would be interested in helping me with a job. He agreed and said it would cost me 5 cael. I gave him ten and instructed him to go into the store shortly after I did. I entered, only to be greeted once again by the prying eyes of Mr. Benedict, who wasted no time in attempting to help me with whatever I needed. I had to steel myself slightly in order to not vomit in my own mouth. The child entered shortly and began breaking several items before grabbing a particularly expensive piece and fleeing the shop. Benedict ran after him and, noticing that everyone else in the shop was also looking toward the source of the commotion, lept over his desk and quickly and quietly opened behind the counter. I turned around after easing the door shut and found the stairs leading up to the second floor. I followed them up and peaked through the door leading into the second floor which was at the top of the stairs. Inside, I was able to locate the replica as well as the imposing dragost guard that my employer had warned me would be waiting inside. I knocked in the door, readied a smoke bomb, and gassed him as he opened the door. I was able to catch him and redirect his fall in such a way that it made very little nose whatsoever. I quickly went into the room, secured the replica, and exited the window of the second floor after making myself invisible. I hit the ground and blended into the crowd. Pfft, what a joke. That was, quite possibly, one of the easiest thefts I’ve ever performed, and here I was hoping for a slight challenge to help hone my skills. Oh well, easy money is always nice.
I walked back to the earth archon’s shop, where he paid me a hefty amount of money and quickly ushered me out of the shop. I returned to the embassy and ate lunch with comrades. Corlin stood abruptly during dinner and unceremoniously announced that he was withdrawing his combat status with the group in order to stay at the embassy. I sunk in my chair and kept my gaze to the floor. This is entirely my fault, he’s leaving because I hurt him and he doesn’t want to be around me anymore. I wanted to say something in protest, however I realized that this was probably for the best; Corlin was never much of a fighter and he’ll be safer from Exe here at the embassy than out on the field of battle. Corinth took this as his cue to announce that he was joining our group as a permanent member, and while I was incredibly excited about this new revelation, I decided to keep it to myself, lest I hurt Corlin’s feelings even more. I told Perla about my job and she told me about the gifts she had bought for Logan and Connor. I was intrigued at their magical properties and decided that I would visit the shop tomorrow myself to see if I could get something just as fantastic.
I went to my room and attempted to read, but I was interrupted, yet again, by a ruckus being caused by my ever so considerate friends. I left my room to see Connor in a bloody heap outside of Racha’s door. I quickly helped him into the nearest room, where Logan healed and patched him up. Goddammit, that does it! I don’t care who this bitch is, or who she thinks she is, she’s got to go and she’s got the go now! I asked Connor what he had done to warrant getting stabbed. He informed me that he had broken into Racha’s room numerous times, she had pulled a knife on him and gave him fair warning to leave, and that he responded by lighting his fists on fire and waving them at her, vaguely insinuating that he wanted her to shake his hand. She responded by stabbing him. My rage was replaced by deep frustration and contempt for the idiot sitting in front of me. Fuck this, fuck you, I’m done. I left and went to my room in an attempt to sleep through the stupidity that was leaking from Connor’s side and dripping all over everyone he came in contact with.
I awoke to Racha screaming about how she was going to murder Connor. I lept from my bed and bolted to her door. Perla met me there and we began banging and screaming incoherently against the door in an effort to get Racha to spare my idiot friend’s life. And then, there was silence. It felt as if I had swallowed a rock; Racha had killed Connor, I knew it, I just knew it. I braced myself to have her throw his bloodied corpse outside her room for us to deal with…and then I heard incredibly loud moaning and creaking. Oh…oh my god…they’re…he…but…I turned to Perla and pulled her into my room. I made it very clear to her that we saw nothing, heard nothing, and were asleep the whole time. In fact, I’m just going to scratch that part out of my journal…actually, I’m going to tear this whole page out and burn it, because I was clearly delusional when I wrote it.

View
Connor Grey Felvida 27th

Felvida 27th
I awake the next morning to the spicy smell of food. I hurry down to eat what looks like an Omelet…maybe a Tostada…? Something delicious is all I care about…I look around for Jenny so we can cash in on our “deal” but she seems to be missing. I scarf down my food and head up to her room. I knock on the door, but get no answer. I knock louder and put my ear up to the door to listen for movement. As my ear nears the door, I feel a smack on the back of my head and fall to the floor only to see dear Racha standing over me. She threatens me, telling me to shut up, but I pay no mind. I go downstairs after dealing with the pain to wait for Jenny. I hear Corlin talking about “juggling all of these problems.” Humf…Juggling isn’t that hard. I go grab some fruit and begin to teach myself how. After a loud “release” is heard from the bathroom, Logan walks out. I show off my juggling skills to Logan, who congratulates me. After a while, I realize I’m still waiting on Jenny. I throw an orange into the rafters on accident and notice Jenny standing there. I offer her an orange, and throw it up to her. The orange smacks her dead in the face. As it bounces back to me, I throw it back to her, but it smacks her in the face again. She groans down the stairs and eats the orange before I have a chance to get to it again. I tell her it’s time to go cash in, and she agrees. Logan asks her about a hangover, and she almost falls down the stairs. Luckily, I am there to save the day…again…I barely catch her before she faceplants. Logan walks up and slaps her in the face, saying it will “Cure the hangover!” Dwarves have an…odd way of dealing with problems. Now that I think about it…how does Logan know how to clear up a hangover? I thought those signi people aren’t allowed to have fun…As they fight about how she wasn’t going get better by getting hit, and how she wasn’t drinking, I bring up how we need to be heading to our “friend.”
She says she isn’t feeling so good, so she gives me directions, and leads me to the break point. Logan follows behind us. She talks about her monocle causing her “sickened state.” We reach the seedier part of town and Jenny decides it’s okay for her to go with us. The poor begin begging as usual, but the sound of coin catches my interest. We turn around to see Logan handing out money to the beggars…Fuck. We take off trying to evade the beggars who begin to mob behind us. A whip sounds and thugs come out demanding our coin purses. I pull out an arrow, point it at him and say to let us pass. He whips his cane up, shoots me, and we begin our attempt to survi……

I awake to a gun pointed at my face. They take all of our money, and begin to disperse. We jump at the opportunity to capture some of the stragglers. Logan begins a fist fight with one, while I effortlessly take out an archer up top. I knock him out, only to see Logan’s bloody fists and the dead…guy…He really let himself go…We make it to the Tenement building to cash in on my crime. The archer I knocked out is along my shoulder. He pays us, but I pay him to find out information on the guy who robbed us. His name was Hagan MacEntyre, and I learn where his old hideout is. I carry his henchman with me, but Jenny and Logan ditch me.
As I walk through the residential district, guards stop me and question me about the henchman I have on my shoulder. I explain about how Hagan MacEntyre robbed us and I was turning in his man to the guards after getting some more…Information. The guards whisper amongst themselves and tell me to take care of my drunk friend. Heh…oh I will. Some other guards stop me further along but refuse to give me the same service. Oh well…looks like I’m doing this in public. I sit him down in an allyway and wait for him to wake up. As he wakes up, he sees me and starts to run away. I pull him back, and start to try and interrogate him. He gets away, but not before I stab him in the shoulder…he won’t last long…I head back to the embassy.
I reach the embassy, and ask about my money. Jenny tells me about it being on my bed. She seems dull…I don’t know what happened but I need to count my money. I go in to check for my money but it is missing. I tell Jenny, who decides to help me look. We ask the servants about it but nobody seems to know anything about it. We reach the deduction that Racha stole it. Great…Just my luck. We smell dinner. I don’t really care about dinner. I wait for Racha. We talk about how I got my money, and about how the stupid Elf Corinth gets his money. Racha bursts in the door, drunk as usual. We all notice her wonderful NEW armor. Must have cost her a fortune…She crawls upstairs, and I follow behind her. She goes in her room, and I start to knock on the door. She opens up, smelling of alcohol with a bottle in her hand. I ask her if I can drink with her, and she asks me in…for some reason? Her room looks just like mine…but more alcohol. Maybe we are somewhat similar…As we start drinking, Logan tries to steal her alcohol. She quickly puts him to waste as he breaks the bottle on the ground. She slams the door, and goes back to drinking. She notices how I am drinking a little and forces it down my throat. I…I she stripped?…No…yeah…Anyways I see a bed and slepp.

View
Felvida 25th-26th, Jenny Cross

25th Felvida
I awoke to Racha pounding furiously on Connor’s door, obviously irate and clutching a letter in her hand. Dammit Connor, what have you done this time? I cautiously approached Racha and prayed I would be able to convince her not to murder Connor for whatever he’d done to upset her. Upon noticing my presence, Racha thrust the letter she had been holding in my face and demanded to know why we hadn’t invited her to kill Hroggar with us. I was absolutely stunned, I had been contemplating how to convince her to join our cause for quite some time and, just like that, she agreed to help us. My elation at having Racha on our side was replaced with a slight curiosity, however. Why wasn’t Connor answering his door? I swear to god, if he’s fighting in that damn coliseum, he’d better hope that mammoth kills him before I do. The thought of Connor killing himself in the coliseum worried me, and I decided that I would grab some breakfast before setting off to the coliseum to hopefully stop him. I walked downstairs with the visibly offended Racha when, much to my suprise and relief, Connor stumbled in and passed out on the couch. I attempted to wake him, first by nudging him and calling his name, and then by suggesting that Racha wished to speak with him. Nothing, absolutely no response. I figured if the mention of his love pining after his masculinity wouldn’t wake him, nothing would, so I gave up and went back to eating my breakfast. After finishing, I set out to Max’s shop to purchase the rust potion he had been making for me. I sincerely hoped that, for the price, this potion would help us should Exe chose to show his face again. I arrived at Max’s house and, after a considerable amount of knocking, he answered the door in a pair of pajamas. He seemed irritated and rudely closed his windows in my face after the transaction was completed. I guess the poor princess was upset about losing her sleep. I headed back to the embassy, excited to start working with Corinth in order to find my master. The oddest thing occurred as I reached his door though; my heart was pounding as if I had just sprinted a mile and it felt as if I was being overcome with nervousness. I shook off my feelings, I had a job to do after all, and knocked loudly on his door. After knocking a few more times, I figured that he must be doing chores around the embassy and began questioning the other servants as to whether they had seen him or not. Much to my surprise, no one had seen Corinth all day. I began to worry about him, as I feared he was out wandering the city without one of us. I shouldn’t worry, he’s a smart guy, he wouldn’t get caught right? I sat on the couch next to Perla and waited for Corinth to come back. I was lost in thought when Perla asked me about the author of her book. I told her his name was Pirus and went back to my thoughts. I hope Corinth is alright.
The door to the embassy opened and I immediately jumped to my feet, hoping that Corinth would walk stride in and alleviate my worries. Much to my chagrin, it was only Logan. Apparently I was wearing my emotions on my sleeve, as Logan inquired as to what was wrong. I lied and told him it was nothing and went back to my thoughts. Logan informed us that he wouldn’t be preaching today, but I hardly heard a word as I was fixated on Corinth. Was he arrested? Did he get mugged? Why isn’t he back yet dammit, we were supposed to work together today! He’d better have a good reason for going out on his own and ditching me like this.
 I became fed up with just sitting and waiting on Corinth and decided I would go find some work to help occupy my time. Not many shops were opened for business, but I did manage to wonder into a general where a family of hobbits was arguing vehemently with each other. I took this as a sign that something needed doing and, after a few attempts, managed to get their attention. One of the women asked me to deliver a letter and offered my 10 cael for my time. I figured the job wouldn’t take more than an hour or so, and 10 cael seemed like good money. I accepted the job and made my way to the address she had given me. The streets began to turn rough as I approached my destination, so I kept an eye on my money and a hand on my gun and proceeded with caution. Some amateur jumped out of an alley and attempted to mug me, to which I responded by disappearing and continuing on my way. I noted the alleyway and figured I’d teach him a little lesson on my way back. Hopefully he’d learn a thing or two about mugging strangers from me before he ended up dead.
 I eventually found the address and delivered the letter to an imposing looking Dragost. He opened the letter, read it, and became infuriated by its contents. He burned the letter and demanded that I murder one of the hobbits with a special dagger of his. I attempted to get out of the situation by mentioning my ambassadorial status, but he didn’t even seem fazed, which was likely due to the corrupt nature of the politicians in Catiline. I could sense that if I didn’t accept his job I’d likely end up with that dagger between my own ribs, so I decided that I would offer up Connor’s services. The Dragost seemed pleased and agreed to pay me a 10% finder’s fee and paid me for the letter’s delivery before sending me on my way. Normally I wouldn’t be comfortable accepting blood money, but I was low on funds and reasoned that I wasn’t the one doing the killing, therefore, I wasn’t breaking any of my tenants. As I approached the alleyway where I knew my mugger friend was lying in wait, I drew my gun, stepped around the corner, and pointed it at his face. The look he gave me was pathetic; this was probably the first time anyone had ever gotten the jump on him before. After explaining that I wouldn’t hurt him so long as we didn’t have any problems, he agreed to my terms and I left. He’s lucky I was the one pointing the gun at him, had it been someone like Connor instead, he would almost certainly have died. As I rounded the corner, I saw a large crowd forming around two people laying into each other. I’d seen things like this before in Escula and I knew I had to get out of there fast before I was caught up in the coming melee. As I began to flee the scene, sure enough, a gang war broke out. I managed to slip away with little incident and, after the violence had died down, I resumed my walk back to the embassy.
 After arriving back at the embassy, I immediately headed up to Corinth’s door to see if he was back yet. Much to my distress, he wasn’t back yet and I was almost sure he’d been arrested. I could feel my anxiety building rapidly, but I tried to keep my cool and decided that I would break into his room after diner. I absentmindedly ate my meal and waited for Connor to finish his. He just kept eating…and eating…and eating. It appeared as if he and Logan were having some sort of fattastic competition. After downing god knows how many bows of stew, Connor finally stopped eating and made his way to where I was standing. I led him upstairs and described the job I had obtained from the Dragost to him before handing him the dagger. I then asked if he could help me break into Corinth’s room, to which he seemed a bit too eager to help with. Though I was slightly suspicious about his eagerness, I wasn’t about to complain; Connor was being very helpful and I saw no need to question his motives. I had to stifle a small laugh after Connor failed at kicking the door in. As much as I wanted in that room, Connor’s blunder was a welcome sight, as the silliness of it all helped alleviate a small amount of the stress which had been plaguing me all day. Logan quickly came up stairs and mentioned a master key that Corlin had in his possession. I could’ve buried my hand so far into my face as those words left his mouth, why the hell hadn’t I thought of that before?!
 After acquiring the master key from Corlin, I opened the door to Corinth’s room to find all of his possessions neatly organized and folded. Had I not been so worried, I would have been impressed by his cleanliness. After looking around his room for a short amount of time, it became apparent that Corinth left of his own accord, as there were no signs of violence or any sort of struggle. Corinth’s fencing kit was nowhere to be found, so I decided that I should check the dojo to see if he was maybe training there. Connor and I rushed to the dojo, only to discover that no one matching Corinth’s description had checked in that day. I was so frustrated I could’ve screamed. On the way back to the embassy, I tried to scan the crowd in an attempt to spot Corinth when I noticed that Connor had asked me a question. I blinked and asked him to repeat himself, to which he suggested that I show him the shop where the hobbits worked at. I absentmindedly led him there and continued looking for Corinth along the way. I noticed Connor was eye balling an old hobbit man standing near the shop and was instantly reminded of his inability to make distinctions between some of the races. He began questioning the old man and I became worried that Connor was going to knife an innocent man. Dammit Connor, you’re going to get us both arrested! After informing Connor that the old hobbit wasn’t one of his targets, I could feel a slight headache coming on. Corinth is nowhere to be found and now I have to worry about Connor the Blood-Crazed knifing random stranger in cold blood? Ugh this day is a nightmare! After guiding Connor away from the poor old hobbit, he suggested that we ask the guards about Corinth’s whereabouts. I was torn, on one hand, if Corinth had been arrested then this would be a wise decision, on the other, if Corinth hadn’t been arrested, then he sure as hell would be once the guards caught wind about him running around without an escort. I decided that, at this point, it would be a good idea to ask the guards and go along with Connor’s plan.
 We questioned the guards and went to 2 different holding areas in pursuit of Corinth, only to turn up with nothing. We decided to head back to the embassy and start the search anew tomorrow since it was getting dark. On the way back, Connor started questioning me about my relationship with Corinth. Fuck, is it really that obvious? What am I saying? I’ve been looking for this asshole all day, of course it’s that obvious! I tried to act like I didn’t know what Connor was talking about, but I could tell by his persistence that he didn’t believe me and I could feel my face starting to flush. Dammit, why is my body so uncooperative! I was thankful that it was dark out, as I had hoped the darkness was shrouding my embarrassment. Connor kept bugging me and finally brought up me and Corinth holding hands. I quickly grabbed Connor’s hand, hoping to end the conversation with that. The ensuing awkward silence worked its magic and Connor finally dropped the subject.
 After arriving back at the embassy, I checked Corinth’s bedroom one last time and, lo and behold, he was back. I couldn’t decide whether to punch him in the face or hug him, so instead I asked him where the hell he had been all day. He pulled me into his room and explained that he was a masked fighter that had been fighting in the coliseum for quite some time. He explained how he even managed to fight while imprisoned, which is how he managed to pay his bail. I was shocked at this revelation and incredibly impressed. He’s such a sly man, I bet he’s never lost a match! I asked if he would mind if I came to watch one of his fights, but unfortunately that could link us together. I was slightly disappointed, but I didn’t want him to get caught. Satisfied with Corinth’s explanation, I asked if we could begin searching for my master the next day, to which he agreed. I went back to my room and laid down for the night…until Connor started banging on my door. I opened my door and Connor began making accusations about Corinth stabbing him. I was briefly concerned, until Connor explained that he only got stabbed because he was breaking into Corinth’s room. I tried to explain to him how that was entirely his fault, but he wasn’t having any of it. He asked what business I had with Corinth and why I was looking for him all day today. Great, here we go again. I decided to save some time by merely explaining to Connor that what I chose to do with Corinth was my business only. Connor decided that the only logical conclusion to be drawn from those words was that I was having sex with Corinth. Why does everyone think I’m so goddamn easy?…perhaps it’s the leather, now that I think about it. I denied Connor’s accusations and went back to bed, but my own imagination would not allow me to rest. I waited for my…thoughts to clear up and went to Connor’s room. I asked him about the concept of dating, which I must admit I knew very little about. Connor explained everything there was to know about the subject and asked if there was any specific reason I was asking him about this subject. Connor, you know exactly why I’m asking you these questions, stop trying to embarrass me! I managed to fall asleep shortly after lying down in bed.
 Felvida 26th
 I awoke to the sound of a bugle coming from downstairs. Confused by the noise, I left my room to see what the hell was going on. As I reached the banister overlooking the main room, I saw a man in ceremonial armor holding a bugle standing next to Racha who was also wearing decorative armor. I started to walk downstairs to question what business this man had blowing a bugle in our embassy, when Connor came barreling down the hallway. He lept over the balcony and gracefully, like a beautifully choreographed dancer, caught his leg on the banister and broke his arm. I felt such a performance deserved a standing ovation and clapped slowly whilst laughing to myself. My amusement turned to pity after he started blubbering like a child and I kind of felt bad for mocking him. Perla went to find Logan while Shaelith was kind enough to bandage Connor’s arm up in a sling. After Racha berated Connor for his stupidity, Shaelith led him out towards the hospital. Perla arrived back downstairs and informed us all that Logan was nowhere to be found. I was unconcerned about a party member’s absence for once, for I knew that if Logan was missing he was likely off at some temple praying for our wretched souls.
 The bugler informed us that he was sent by High General Marcus Septimus and that his name was General Pelior. He briefed us on the current war preparations, stating that we would be leaving in four days along with a company of 120 men. A sense of urgency washed over me, as I had been hoping to find my master before we left. I hoped Corinth could help me find him fast; he could be of great help to us. Connor arrived back during the briefing, fully healed. Pelior briefed Connor on the situation and advised him against any more acts of stupidity. Obviously this man has no idea who he’s talking to. After the general departed, Connor attempted to get me to help him with his job, but I informed him that doing so could arise suspicion, which is the last thing we want to do. Connor found this response to be acceptable and set out to accomplish his task.
 I went to Corinth’s room and began discussing how we would find my master. Unfortunately, I knew next to nothing of use and Corinth informed me that he would require more information to find my master. Corinth then began questioning me about some sketchy magic and I started to become weary of his intentions. He explained that he was a spy sent by Leminster to retrieve a certain book which contained the spell Leminster used to stop time. I pondered his words briefly and decided that he was telling the truth. He began to explain how we were going to work together in order to obtain the information we both desired and I couldn’t help but recall Connor’s description of what a date was. It seemed like a long shot, but I couldn’t help but ask Corinth if he was asking me out on a date. His confused expression answered my question long before the words left his mouth and I could feel my heart sink into my stomach. No, he was not asking me out on a date. Figures, I can’t believe I just embarrassed myself like that. Sensing my disappointment, Corinth informed me that he would be more than happy to take me on a date after the heist. And just like that, my heart shot from my stomach straight into my throat. He then followed up his proposition by giving me a hug. I never thought myself to be the type to fall so hard, but I’ll be damned if I wasn’t melting in his arms at that point. I tried to play cool after we parted, but after getting far enough away from his room I could feel myself start to skip. I felt like a little girl and my elation was unmatched by anything else I’ve ever felt before.
 After walking off my blush, I returned to Corinth and we set out to the arcane library. He informed me that, to keep from getting in trouble with the guards, he was going to wait outside in his armor and sign autographs after helping get a key from one of the librarians. We successfully managed to lift a key from one of the assistants and Corinth waited outside while I sat and watched the clock tower intently, not wanting to miss my opportunity. I grew hungry after a while and went to get something to eat. On my way back, I figured I’d stop by Corinth and make some silly remark about him being my knight in shining armor or something, just for a laugh. As I approached, however, I was at a loss for words. He was just standing there…in that armor, with that look in his eyes…I completely lost my train of thought when it came time for him to give me his autograph. I must have looked like such a babbling idiot as I tried to find something for him to sign. I eventually managed to spit out that I wanted him to autograph my scabbard, to which he obliged. I quickly took my sword and dashed back in the library, hoping to piece back together my broken pride and dismantled dignity in solitude.
 I returned to my original seat in order to watch the clock tower. I sat in silence and anticipation, hoping that I could pull this off on my first try. The clock struck 6 and I pinned my shadow to the floor. I was teleported out of the library and was almost immediately yanked back inside. I held my head high and smiled for a moment, proud of my success only to realize that all of the light sources inside the library had been snuffed out. Thankfully, I remembered the strange monocle inside my pack, pulled it out, and placed it over my eye. The library lit up for me and I made my way to the restricted section. I used the monocle as sparsely as possible, as I enjoy being able to sleep at night. When I came to the door, I placed the key inside the lock and opened it with little effort. I scanned the room, hoping to spot any traps that may set off an alarm and alert the guards to my presence. After a short amount of time, I could see that there were no such devices and made my way quickly to the section where I thought my books would be located. I found three tomes, two on shadow binding and one on which seemed the most likely to contain a method which I could use to find my master via the shadows. I then began searching for the tome Corinth desired, which didn’t take very long as it was situated on top of a pedestal. I was weary of its placement, thinking that lifting the book could perhaps set off some sort of magical trap. I left the book where it was and found another book of similar size and shape. I returned to the entrance of the library and pinned my shadow to the ground, figuring that if this was some sort of trap, I’d better have a way to quickly escape from this room. I bolted for the pedestal and quickly switched out the book I was holding with the book on the pedestal and was yanked out of the library via my spell. I waited nervously for some sort of alarm to sound. After realizing that no visible trap had been triggered due to my actions, I closed the doors to the restricted section and locked them before making my way to the nearest window.
 I peered outside and didn’t notice any guards nearby. Thinking I had better be careful, I cloaked myself in shadows before nimbly leaping from the window down to the ground below. I landed softly and began running towards the nearest alleyway, keeping my invisibility up the entire way. When I allowed myself to reappear, I noticed Corinth was right behind me. We returned to the embassy, where I gave him the tome he desired. He placed the tome inside a leather satchel underneath his bed and remarked that it would be difficult to get the package back to Leminster. I mentioned that my party was in good with the Master of the Post, but Corinth said that it would be ill advised to trust such a valuable package be delivered via mail. I agreed and asked if he would allow me to read in his room as I was unsure what effects the monocle would have on me. Corinth didn’t have a problem with me staying and so I began reading one of the tomes at his desk, hoping to glean some information on how to find my master. I must admit, though, that being in the same room as Mr. Hero was slightly distracting, but I managed to hold my focus on my reading due to the urgent attention I felt my task required.
 Connor arrived within the hour and began knocking on my door. I poked my head out from Corinth’s room to inquire as to how the job went. Connor told me his job was successful and then asked, yet again, if Corinth and I were having sex. I’m beginning to think Connor has some strange fantasy about me and Corinth being together due to the frequency of his questions. I then realized that I was in Corinth’s room and it was pretty late at night…so Connor’s question was legitimate. I informed Connor that I was studying in Corinth’s rom because I was forced to use the monocle today and I was worried about the effects it might have on me. Connor nodded in what I hope was understanding, and not skepticism, and retired to his quarters. I read till late into the night before finally becoming tired. I packed up my things and went back to my room where I collapsed on my bed and fell asleep.

View
Felvida 23rd

Felvida 23
I awake in the infirmary, or what I guess is the infirmary. I sit up to look around, but am still in a lot of pain. Best cure for pain? Sleep obviously! I lie back down and try to sleep it off. I awake some time later and head off to find the party. As I ask around, it seems they were in much better shape than me and had already left. I leave out the infirmary to go find them, but the growl of my stomach leads me right to a baker’s stand. It’s always the bread…The fresh baked Pomegranate muffins smell too good to resist so I put down some money and enjoy the delicious muffins. After finishing, I feel like I should go grab some more bounties for the party. I question some guards but I think they were speaking some other language. I just nod politely and wonder off in a random direction. Maybe I’ll get lucky or something. Unfortunately, I make it not to the bounties, but into the residential district. Maybe I could stop by Max’s shop and see if he has anything for me. As I start walking throughout the district, I remember my other bounty about Panthera and how I need to find the conspirator. I pull out the ripped paper and compare it to the few Panthera I can see. The first one I see…PERFECT MATCH! I walk up and begin to question him about his actions, and he just shrugs me off. I guess it wasn’t him…BUT NO FEAR! I look upon the crowd and spot the REAL criminal! As I begin to chase them, they dash off and start running. Now if that doesn’t spell guilty, I don’t know what does. I effortlessly follow this bandit, as they dash into some back allies and eventually make it into some random house. It has to be the hideout…of ALL of the bounties! I knock on the door and a huge Panthera answers the door. I ask about the criminal and get the door slammed in my face. When I knock again he threatens me and slams the door again. It seems I need to go at this from a different approach. I put on my Shifting Sands robes and pull up my cloak and try again. As the door opens, he grabs my head, looks me in the face, and –

I wake up dizzy, and my nose hurts. When I touch it, I know it’s broken and I can just taste and smell all the blood. I brace myself, and pop my nose back into socket. The pain is enough to make a normal man to cry but I am no normal man. I go to a fountain to wash off the blood and notice my right eye is blackened and my right tusk is chipped. That bastard…but I must admit I do look pretty rugged. Maybe Racha like the rugged look. Eager to find out, I wander back to the embassy only to find Logan preaching about how Signus is a pushover or something. I ask him how long he’ll be and head off in search of Racha. It seems as though she is sleeping, so now it is time to bring the Panthera to justice. Jenny would help, but it seems she isn’t in her room. I ask Logan again but he seems to be getting frustrated with my constant questioning. I find Perla reading and ask her about the bounty and if she will help out. She doesn’t seem interested. Racha wakes up as I am talking with Perla. She heads out the door without saying a word to anyone. I need to make sure she is okay…I get up and go to follow her. As she walks into an alleyway, I follow her and am suddenly on my back. She is pinned on top of me, and just sighs. She says the next time I do that, she’ll kill me. So much for me trying to help. When I reach the embassy, Logan is finally done. I sit back down with Perla about the location of Jenny. As we are talking, Logan sits down with us. We get into a discussion of the bounties and his lack of wanting to help. I bring up yesterday and how a few of us could have died and how he didn’t want to help. All he keeps saying is something about Signus and I can’t hurt people blah blah blah. So I agree to look for some “noble” bounties and not killing people and what not.
I head off in search of the bounty books. I find some better guards who tell me where to find the Adventure Command Center who will have all that I need. I set off for the Center. I arrive and find the Felvida Low, Medium and High danger bounty books. I grab the Medium and High and rush back to the embassy to start looking for jobs. When I get back, the servants have made some nice ham sandwiches we all partake in. I find a job about a group robbing caravans. I tell Logan about how they’re robbing religious people and religious caravans but he doesn’t go for it. I see Jenny enjoying her sandwich and ask her about the bounty, but she just asks me about shadow binding. I tell her I know nothing about that. I ask the servants about it and Corinth says he prefers to do his fighting face to face. Talks about some “fencing” or fancy fighting. He brings up a challenge for me, a duel of sorts. If he wins, I listen to Logan preach. If I win he becomes my personal servant for the week. He agrees, grabs some case from his room, and we head off towards the dojo. Logan follows for some reason. I thought he hated violence, but I guess we’re not all perfect right? We set up, and the duel begins.
Somehow he ends up winning, and I talk about how I just have to be there as Logan preaches. He threatens to “take off the point.” Wow…so scary. I should rip off his arm or something just to show him some true fighting. I bet he’s never even fought outside of dueling…Wooden weapons are one thing. He couldn’t stand up to my skill outside of rulings. I offer to take everyone out to dinner, and we end up going to the Palace of Meat. I find the most expensive thing on the menu and order it. If it’s expensive it must be good right? Logan gets something called a Meat Tornado. I look over at Corinth who orders chicken wings…? Somebody is a little bitch. We chow down and Corinth carefully picks off the meat from the bones with his fork and knife. This man needs to learn how to be a man…Once we finish and I pay, we head back towards the embassy. I start researching up on some bounties and find one about a grave robber. Racha might like it if I get grave robbers right…? I ask Corlin for a map of nearby territories and borrow it for a while as I start to try and trace down where the criminal has hit and where he will hit in the future. I decide to head south after Logan finishes preaching tomorrow. As I am trying to solve the puzzle, Jenny shows up and asks me about the alchemist Max. I lead her straight to him and she asks about rapid rusting. Odd thing to want if you ask me. I ask Max about any new potions and he gives me some green mixture. As I drink it, Jenny tries to stop me. Not sure what her problem is. I feel a bit weird…as Max brings out some plant. He tells me to talk to it. It turns out I can now talk to plants. I start to talk around and Max shows me a mirror. My veins have turned green like grass. Side effects but who cares when I can communicate with other forms of life now! Max hands me a bucket, and I puke everything into it. He bashes me for eating so much meat beforehand. I can’t believe I wasted so much of that steak…we head back to the embassy and Racha stumbles in drunk and plops onto the couch. I try to pick her up to carry her to her room, but she grabs my arm. I look at her, but she’s still asleep. I grab her again and end up on the floor…again…and she wakes up and apologizes. She stumbles up the stairs, and goes to bed. I go to bed and try to prepare for the next day of torture from Logan.
I awake up and head downstairs to listen to Logan preach. “Non-violence?” “Other gods” “Lesser Gods?” Really? Is that really what Signus is about? How can anybody like that? After the preaching, Logan talks to me about his preaching but Corinth catches my eye has he runs out with his tiny sword case. I go to sneak after him and notice Jenny is with him. Logan starts to follow me. He doesn’t really understand what “stealth” is but that’s okay. I wouldn’t expect somebody who follows non-violence and what not to know anything about combat and how to get the upper hand with surprise. Jenny starts holding Corinth’s hand and we overhear things that they say they are going to do in Signi temple. Logan gets flustered and rushes up to them. They say they’re only going to go duel, but Logan and I follow just to be sure. Jenny and Corinth duel, and Corinth wins again. He wants to challenge me, but won’t go all three. He ends up winning, but that’s because of the roof being too low. He thinks he can win just because he’s beaten me in this tiny room. I know I can kill him. It would be easier to kill him than it would be to break a twig…I set out to go find the grave robber from the bounty.
It is a long and boring walk, but eventually I make my way to the town. I talk with the mayor, and he agrees to let me help. He sets me up with a militia for the watch at night. I eat some potato soup and get ready for the night. Jethro, an earth archon, is who I am set up with. He leads me to the cemetery, and I explain about the bounty. He points me to where I would like to hide, and I effortlessly climb up into the tree. Jethro can’t seem to get up, but turns himself into stone it seems and then seeps into some surrounding stone. That seems like one of the most useful things…I wonder if I can ever learn how to do that? Probably not. I’m not made of earth and stuff. We wait up all night, and it seems nothing happens. Dawn rises up, and Jethro comes out of his spot. I jump down, and congratulate him on his amazing ability. He heads off to town to sleep and I set off back to the embassy so I may get a nap before having to listen to Logan preach his false beliefs on everyone. I wonder how he would feel if I preached my beliefs onto him…

View
Felvida 21st & 22nd, Brother Logan

Sern’s ashes were delivered to the embassy yesterday morning. I put the urn next to a potted plant on a shelf in the main room, which I thought was about as tasteful as I could manage, given the circumstances. I had expected that arrival—I did not expect Content Not Found: javik-jenkins to stroll into the embassy shortly thereafter, however.

We all expressed our relief that he had survived the explosion back at Port Cael, but we were curious why and how he’d found us again. As he was telling his story, though, Jenny made it clear that she absolutely needed to talk to me alone. Of course I was suspicious—ever since I’d let it slip to her that I’d been to prison, she’s taken every opportunity to remind me of her knowledge, as well as her capacity for keeping that knowledge secret.

I followed her into a meeting room, prepared to deflect any requests for further information. I was quite surprised to find out that she wasn’t attempting to pry any deeper, but only offering me a gift. It was a lovely Paxist cross backed by a sunrise, surely more striking than what I currently wore. I replaced my old necklace immediately. I was moved, of course—I certainly didn’t feel like I deserved anything from her, especially since I’d been assuming the worst of her for the past few days. Perhaps I ought to be more trusting.

After what felt to me like a rather awkward thank-you, we returned to the main room, where Connor was talking with great pride about the “resurrection” of Racha. Apparently word travels quickly and far in Catiline, as Javik had heard about our most recent escapade and was in as much wonder as we all were about the war hero’s return. I still had my suspicions—no necromantic magic, indeed! What other kind of black practice could allow a dead woman to return to life? Even as… whole as she claimed to be, I couldn’t believe that there wasn’t still some taint of death on her.

Javik passed around a bounty booklet that he’d picked up on his way here. Mercenary work was sinful beyond measure, of course, but I knew my friends well enough by now to realize that they would do many things for pay that I would never consider. So I wasn’t surprised when they agreed to go after an art thief wanted for 500 cael. Sure, it was a sizable sum, but why would any of us need that kind of money, especially while we’re staying at the embassy? I didn’t press the matter: they could do what they pleased while we were here, as long they stayed safe and didn’t get the embassy into trouble.

At some point during this conversation, Connor took note of the necklace Jenny had given me. For some reason, it seemed to upset him that Jenny had given me a gift. He insisted that there was no reason for her to have done so, and that I was already wearing plenty of nice jewelry, citing the ring I had miraculously received before we left Leminster. In the moment, I was baffled by why my adornment was any concern of his, but later it occurred to me that perhaps the ring I thought had been a gift from Signus himself was actually a gift from Connor. I felt a bit sheepish at the idea—the lad had been trying to gauge my opinion about the ring for a while now, and I’d completely skimmed over it. I’ll have to remember to thank him for it when I get the chance, even if it’s a little belated.

After that somewhat confusing and awkward conversation, Corlin arrived to remind us that we had a meeting with the High General of the Catilinian Army today at noon. He wouldn’t be able to attend, he said, because of some other important meetings that he’d scheduled for himself. I scolded him for not leaving this time slot open, but now I think I was a bit too rash. The lad had been handling all the more formal aspects of running an embassy, after all, so I’m sure he knows what he’s doing.

Javik, hearing all of this, asked if he could attend the meeting with us. Since we had two plus-ones available to us, we all (sans-Corlin) headed out together for the royal armory, arriving about an hour early.

The extra time turned out to have been rather necessary, as there was a long line to get through before we could even inform anyone that we were here to see the General. Even after all that, we still had to wait until our time arrived. I’m really becoming quite sick of all this bureaucratic nonsense. I couldn’t wait to be back in Leminster, that’s for sure. Or anywhere else.

While we were in line, Jenny was still trying to convince me that taking bounties from the government was a good idea. She brought to my attention a reward posted for bringing to justice a thief who had been stealing tithe from the Signi temple. I simply couldn’t allow a crime of that degree to continue if I could have any say in it, and since the rest of the group was so willing, I had to agree that this was a job we probably ought to take.

Once we’d made it through the line we were hustled into a waiting room. I sat down on a bench and was immediately flanked by Jenny and Connor. Apparently Connor took issue with Jenny bringing a bounty to my attention, and started up a similar argument to the one they’d had earlier. I couldn’t understand this newfound popularity—Connor seemed averse to any contact Jenny was having with me, and saw fit to suggest that she and I were having some kind of unsavory relationship. The implication was most unsettling to me, not to mention quite untrue, and in my fervor to disprove such a claim I evacuated my place between the two of them and scurried over to another bench to sit alone. Luckily we were called in to the general’s office not too long after, so I didn’t have to remain in that uncomfortable situation. I hope they’ve all forgotten about that by now.

There was a stuffed mammoth in the general’s office. I hoped Connor could remain focused on our purpose there. Sure enough, though, the first thing out of his mouth was to ask the general if he’d killed that mammoth. High General Marcus Septimus, a strapping earth archon lad, didn’t tolerate the distraction, and proceeded immediately into our business.

It became clear very quickly that we had absolutely nothing to offer Catiline in return for military assistance. I had assumed that Jenny had a plan of some kind, but she was just as unprepared for it as I was. Corlin probably would’ve known what to do. As it happened, I made a rather serious gaffe when addressing the general for the first time, and decided to remain quiet for the rest of the meeting, since he seemed… violently angry.

The only thing that saved us was Connor bringing up the possible existence of the Black Axe. The general immediately became interested in fighting off the hroggar once he realized that the Black Axe could be acquired for the Catilinian military. I was disturbed by this revelation—if anyone could defeat the hroggar, it was Catiline, but the idea of such a powerful nation with access to a weapon of that magnitude terrified me.

But, this was our best bet for Leminster’s survival, so I held my tongue. Jenny had mentioned that Leminster was concerned that Caeloth was preparing a crusade, so the general decided that he would send an envoy to Caeloth so the two nations could coordinate their first strikes before the hroggar were prepared. I also wasn’t a fan of encouraging the Werosan regime of Caeloth to pursue a holy war, but once again I kept my mouth shut. Perhaps it was cowardly of me, but I’m certain that Signus would guide the king to reason if he would listen. Whether or not he would have the wisdom to listen is another thing entirely.

All in all, it seemed to be going rather well for us until the general decided that he was going to appoint us to organize a task force. I wanted to ask what he hoped to accomplish by creating a military task force composed of a group of ambassadors, but, again, I didn’t say anything. Finally, he told us that before he went through with any of this, he wanted to “test us in battle,” and that we were to show up at the coliseum at noon to fight a series of matches against some of his men. This was one moment I couldn’t stay silent. I said—I thought rather firmly—that my religion prevented me from participating in a spectacle of violence. Much to my displeasure, he told me quite plainly that he didn’t respect my beliefs and that I had to show up if I cared at all about the fate of Leminster.

It was at that moment that I began to think about returning to the monastery. But more on that later—before I could really begin to think through that possibility, Connor was on about the mammoth again. The general brought him to an empty corner of the office and drew a sword. He told the lad that he would tell him how he managed to kill the stuffed mammoth if Connor could land a blow on him before he could knock Connor down.

Needless to say, Connor could not best the leader of the most powerful military in the world.
As soon as we were dismissed, I got out of that office as fast as I could. We made it back to the embassy by 1:00, which of course meant that I’d missed my only opportunity to preach to the convicts. This wouldn’t have been such a big deal if I wasn’t already having a rather awful day, but regrettably I took out my frustrations on Jenny, who I saw as the reason my preaching opportunities were so limited. I feel very bad about it now, and I still haven’t apologized to her. I have a lot of apologizing to do, really.

After stewing over lunch and bitterly agreeing to go to the coliseum tomorrow, I headed up to my room to pray a little bit. I needed to figure out where I was, spiritually. It was becoming increasingly clear to me that no one in the party respected my beliefs when it was even a minor inconvenience to them. This whole coliseum thing was a perfect example: as long as I prayed quietly and went to church alone and didn’t talk to them about their sins, they were fine with me. But if I didn’t want to accompany them in a stunt that was fundamentally against everything I stood for, suddenly they couldn’t understand my convictions and thought they were significantly less important than ensuring we had a place on some military task force. I recalled the thought that had occurred to me during the meeting with the general, that I might be better off at a monastery. I know I’m technically not allowed at Darden Abbey anymore, but perhaps enough time had passed and Father Marcellus had forgiven me. Perhaps he wouldn’t think of me as an “embarrassment” anymore.

I tried to keep all of that bitterness out of the letter I wrote to him. I stressed my continued sobriety and my commitment to nonviolence, deciding not to mention the necromancer we’d had to deal with a few days ago. I don’t think the abbot would fully understand the complexities of traveling with an adventuring group.

When the letter was finished, I headed down to the mail slot outside the embassy. Jenny was there too, also sending a letter. This would’ve been a perfect time to atone for my earlier anger, but I wasn’t sure how to approach it at the time, especially since I still had leaving the group on my mind.

I remembered that she and Connor had wanted to spar with each other in preparation for their fight tomorrow, so I followed them out. At the time I justified it by telling myself that the two had had their disagreements in the past and I wanted to be there if things got too heated, but in light of what happened the next day I’m beginning to think that I was looking for some stress relief. Not a terribly healthy option, but I know what I’m about.

As I watched the fights unfold between Jenny, Connor, and Javik, I found myself engrossed in the action. I was reminded why the spectacle of violence is so sinful: it inevitably leads one to crave violence. I thought, for a moment, that I wanted to get into the ring with one of them, but I tried to push it from my mind.

Connor seemed to sense that thinking in me. When he had finished his fight with Jenny, he asked me if I wanted to get my “fists dirty.” I had to tell him no, of course, but I wondered if I could take Connor in a fight, without weapons or magic. Again, these were not healthy thoughts to dwell upon, for either my soul or my ego. Being here at all contradicted a lot of what I’d written to Father Marcellus about my progress, but I suppose this was another detail I could omit if necessary.

As I prayed that night, I made the decision, contrary to what I’d told the others earlier, not to show up at the “proving.” I wasn’t really concerned with whether or not I earned the respect of the uppity general. If I wanted any chance of being accepted at the monastery again, I had to get back on the path of nonviolence, and there was no way I could accomplish that if I willingly went into a public fight. I left early in the morning to spend the day at the Signi temple, and I prayed for my friends’ success against whatever opponents they faced, as well as absolution for their souls.

Unfortunately, they all seemed to know exactly where I was, and they hunted me down to harass me. They attempted to guilt me into going in the same way that the general did, but I knew that he was far too interested in the Black Axe to call off his attack just because one of us didn’t participate in his little show of brutality. When they asked me to step outside for a minute just to talk, I did so. It wasn’t an unreasonable request, and I didn’t want to alienate them completely. They dropped the guilt stuff and told me how angry the general would be if I disobeyed him. I wasn’t worried about that—he couldn’t do anything to me as long as I stayed in the temple. That would’ve been a fine excuse in Caeloth, but Javik informed me that churches were not considered sanctuaries in Catiline, and that the general had complete authority over me while I was staying anywhere in the nation. That certainly didn’t seem right to me, but I had no defense against it. Reluctantly, I agreed to go with them. I remained silent the whole way there. I was running through all the prayers I knew; my soul was in great agitation already, and I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to hold it together at the coliseum, especially with a crowd cheering us on.

Once we got there, the general gave us a brief rundown of how it would go. None of the matches were to-the-death, which was somewhat comforting, but only the barest amount. To introduce the fights, the general himself was to give the crowds a “show.” I turned around, not wanting to participate in whatever sin he was about to enact. Apparently they were releasing a band of orcs into the arena with him, and he was going to take them down by himself. I heard a quick series of slashes and shouts and thuds, and then a roar of the crowd. I was frightened—I wasn’t sure how well I’d be able to handle that enthusiasm. I decided that the best way to handle it was to not participate at all: I could sit down and read my Bible and tune everything out.

That worked rather well for the first fight. I read aloud one of my favorite chapters from Sermons, and although no one probably heard me, at least it kept my focus away from the violence. The only issue was that a few of the others had gotten knocked out of the fight without my healing. I didn’t want us to lose, so for the next fight I kept my Bible at my side, only kneeling down to watch the action, in case I was needed.

I was. This fight was a little rougher than the last, but we pulled through. I was so far impressed with my self-control. The voice of the crowd was powerful, but I was confident that my faith was stronger. I determined that for the final match I wouldn’t need to try any meditation tactics, I could fight alongside my friends as I usually did.

Unfortunately, the final match didn’t go according to plan. We were rushed back into the arena by a guard after being healed, with the general nowhere to be found. I didn’t think much of this, but the announcer told the crowd that there had been a change, and that the next fight would be to-the-death. At first I was terrified, and then I was angry—I was certain that the general was behind this madness. Out of the other side of the coliseum a massive beast came crashing toward us. Before we can react to anything that happened, a familiar blue force field encompassed the arena and silenced the voice of the crowd. While I was still gazing up at it, wondering how Exe could have had anything to do with this, I spied the general in the announcer’s box, yelling at people and looking about as frightened as I felt. My anger immediately dissolved and I realized that I wouldn’t be able to avoid giving the voyeurs and gamblers and addicts the show that they wanted, if I wanted to preserve my life and the lives of my friends.

As the massive creature charged for us, I saw Connor sit down and begin to meditate. What conviction! I was impressed with his faith, but distraught with his lack of foresight. I didn’t want to interrupt whatever he was trying to do, but I had to push him out of the path of the beast, lest he be crushed beneath its feet. After Connor was safe, I made some loud noises to distract the thing, at which point it charged at me instead. Not really thinking about what I was doing, I leapt upwards, grabbing onto the large frill that protected the creature’s face. This seemed to work well—it stumbled around confused and distracted for a bit, allowing my friends to attack it more effectively. He shook me off eventually, but I decided to do it again so they could get more hits in. The next time I leapt up, I ended up clinging to one of its horns, and wasn’t as effective as a distraction. So, on my way down, I slugged it in the eye. That was even more effective than merely clinging to it, so I prepared to make the maneuver again once the beast recovered. When he charged at me again, I readied myself to leap on top of its frill again, but I wasn’t quick enough that time and got punted halfway across the arena.

I was pretty badly hurt, but I managed to struggle to my feet. So far I had invoked the light of Signus the second anyone sustained any injuries, but now healing was far from my mind. Perhaps it was a combination of the adrenaline from my injuries and the recent frustration of my soul, but my immediate goal, then, was to do harm. After I got myself to my feet, I saw everyone else shatter the protective frill of the beast through their combined effort. It looked significantly more vulnerable without its natural armor, so I charged back into the fray. Javik had its attention at the moment, but as I approached it scrambled to keep both of us in its view and swung its horned snout at me. With no frill left to leap on, I threw a punch to counter the force of its attack—much to my surprise, my fist completely deflected the blow, and the beast reared back several feet in obvious pain. The others ran after it, taking advantage of its momentary confusion to get in a few more powerful hits. I could see that it was slowing down and bleeding heavily, so I wound up another punch and clocked it in the face. I felt some of its facial bones crack under the force, and it stumbled backwards helplessly and collapsed, dead.

The victory felt fantastic. I was barely aware of my own injuries. There was a moment of stillness, then the blue barrier that had closed around the arena vanished, and the roar of applause flooded the coliseum. While I was basking in the accolades, Jenny came up from behind me and held my right arm aloft. Not really thinking, I lifted up my left arm as well, enjoying the cheering of the crowd immensely, despite myself.

We were taken to the infirmary at the royal armory where the general apologized profusely for his utterly inept handling of the event. Once the intoxication of the battle with the Terrahorn (the name of which I found out now) had worn off, I realized that I had hurt my hand pretty badly and that it probably needed to be attended to. Once the nurses had finished up with Connor and Javik, one of them bandaged up my hand. I began to feel very guilty: it had been ages since I’d fought so hard I actually damaged myself. It seems that I was right to have been concerned about my self-control –even more than before, I was certain that returning to the monastery was the best thing for me. I couldn’t be seduced by Raio if I was protected from his influence.

Tonight, we sleep in the infirmary. During my evening prayers, I asked that Signus speak with Father Marcellus on my behalf.

View
Felvida 18th Perla

Felvida 18th:

I woke up this morning to the sun filtering through the curtains. I stretched and got dressed and headed downstairs for some breakfast. I see Connor waiting downstairs waiting, he approaches me eagerly, he talks to me about betting at the coliseum and I tell him that I have no money. I tell him to try Logan for money. I tried to help with breakfast but was refused when I found a note that came for me from the Coronaeum, and then ate breakfast. Reading over the list of materials it looks like it will be interesting trying to get these materials for the mind scry. I went to the mail house to see if anyone has requested our help for a job. No more mail, Corlin took the rest. I head to the market district to get a job to get money so I can pay for all my things. I find an empty art shop. after looking around more no response I’m about to go to the back when a Walri harrumphs. I ask if he needs help and he says yes, and that he’d pay me for delivering paintings since his delivery boy has gone missing. his name is Rog I tell him my name is Perla Venevicci. I get the paintings and I head off to deliver them all. I head into the west half of the city and I look for a law firm to drop off the painting. Head to the south drop off a painting at the tenement place the land lord tips me a crown and then I head to drop off the second one in the same area at the really rich guys house. The painting I dropped off is of the Sand-Stone-Monastary and the Panthera butler paid me in rolls of Cale (it cost 800 Cale) and then I headed to the north to continue my route,its barely after noon, so I’m making good time. I stopped for a quick lunch at the soup kitchen and eat their beef and onion soup, which was extremely tasty. I found the next house, but no one was home. So I try the other house that was nearby. I get stopped by a seedy guy and he attempts to mug me but I pull out my guns and send up a shot from Ragnoth-the-Red as a warning and he gets scared and backs off and as I go around him he lunges at me and I shoot him square in the chest and he’s sent flying backwards. Two guards come asking about the flare I sent up and I tell them that the man tried to attack me and they say be careful as the houses around here are wooden. they let me on my way. I go to the next house and an old lady answers and I tell her about the painting and she says it was supposed to go to her son in Port-Cael. I tell her I’ll check with Rog to see if his other deliveries go there so that it can be delivered. She gives me a muffin for my time. I head back to the other house and find a wraith in the garden. It pays 100 Cael and takes the painting and I head off to the Coronaeum. I jog down to the Coronaeum and up the stairs. I wait in line and then I go and wait in line some more. I hand it off and they pay me with one coin and its worth 100 Crown so then after getting paid I take the one painting and I hustle back to Rog’s place. I get everything back and I give Rog the other painting but I didn’t get the address in Port Cael. I get paid 24.5 Cael. I ask if he needs me to pop in tomorrow he said he’ll see, and I go to the embassy. Dinner is getting ready, ribs potatoes and sprouts and red wine. I tell my story and they tell me that Connor took a drug and was able to leap up to the roof where he then fell and Logan caught him and Connor got hurt. After dinner I took a bath. then I went to bed.

Felvida 19th:
Something smells good and I wake up to oatmeal and I eat some. Mail comes and Leminster says hes sending a replacement. Connor got some mail too. Logan says hes doing a wedding, I say I can try to make it. A man knocks saying he’d like to hire us. Grave Robbers in the mausoleum. 75 Cael to each of us to pay for it. Catacombs. awesome. Jenny says she has something to do at the Colloseum So Me, Connor, and Jenny head over there. Connor and I pay a Cael to get in and he immediately heads off to go bet. The jousting is boring. Jenny seems to be having fun, Connor keeps betting and he keeps going up and down with his money. It’s still rather boring. Jenny’s knight ended up winning which was a surprise to me seeing as how he was injured earlier. But anyways now we have to get ready to go to the mausoleum.
Took us 3 hours to get there but the guy comes to meet us handed Logan the Key to the Mausoleum. Logan unlocks it there’s a stairway that leads down, Connor leads as we go down the stairwell and into the catacombs. there was a big Iron door and as Connor opened it an Arrow shot out on him. Logan heals him. There is a small wooden door and Connor throws it open and I go in to investigate large coffin and another large iron door. Connor finds another door and he opens it. Messy room that people seem to have been through. jenny finds a foot print in the ashes. Connor shoots the doors with arrows. Something grabs at Connors foot and a bunch of the dead bodies start to stand up.
We fought and we won.
We head off through the right door there was a large coffin Logan healed us up. There is a door in the back right corner of the room. there is a large room the main hall of the mausoleum. there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of movement. we make our way towards the left hand side. through the hallway there is another door. Connor opens the door there was a floating skull, we head to the left and then we find a round room and a guy with a book was standing in there. he seems uninterested in us but he cackles evilly. He shots us with something and it knocks me and Connor and Jenny to the ground. He knocked Logan back and unconscious. we decide to go in the straight ahead door. there is a green mist in the room. Connor throws a pot into the room and when he drags it back it starts to rust. Jenny and Connor keep trying to figure out how the mist works.Connor burst through the door there were people looting we ran back through the mist room. they re-barricaded the door I say that we try to light the gas possibly. The gas exploded hugely I got hit kinda hard Logan heals me up and then we rush into the room that the looters were in. One of the looters was lying on the floor.
we fight
We win. Then we find the necromancer cackles about Racha the Goddess of War to come back. more Draugr come out.
The War Goddess chick came back to life, she asked us how she came back we explained. She says she’ll help us fight the Hroggar only to help Cataline. Its been about 3000 years since the last Hroggar invasion. Jenny took the book that the dude had. Racha says that the black axe cannot have come back as it was destroyed. There are no family members of Oldolf.
We head back to the embassy, Racha carries the necromancer and we aren’t really stopped when we get in as Racha says it’s a bounty. We eat food. He comes to, I give him some water. hes flabbergasted that shes alive.Racha goes to go take a bath and Jenny goes and fan girls after her. Racha got mad at Connor since hes trying to make a pass at her. She knocks necromancer out again. She heads to bed after her bath and we move the necromancer up onto the couch. we then all head to bed.

Felvida 20th
The next morning we find Racha downstairs sipping tea. Two notes left, one from Corlin about meeting with the General, the other about Picking up Sern’s body. We bicker over Logan being able to throw a punch, Racha gets mad that we don’t respect the clergy.

The day passes and Racha comes back and she tells us she left the necromancer at the Coraleaum. there are no traces of necromancy on her and shes perplexed. we look into the black dragon and its role in the Axe. we speculate that shes not an actual undead and that she feels pain. trace elements of divine magic.

View
Felvida 16th and 17th, Brother Logan

I made sure to wake up and take care of my morning prayers early, since I’d signed up to attend the sermon about giving sermons at the temple. Of all the silly obligations… it seems even the Church is fraught with bureaucracy here in Catiline. No matter—I’d slog through whatever I needed to in order to continue doing the work of Signus.

I was on my way out of the embassy when I heard something of a ruckus going on outside. It woke the rest of the group up (except for Corlin, who appeared to once again have visited the library), and we all went out to investigate the source of the commotion. We followed a crowd of people running to and fleeing from a large fountain. There was a hooded figure and a burly panthera standing atop the fountain, the former seemingly channeling some kind of spell on the latter. I didn’t think whatever display was going on concerned me, so I made my way through the crowd, realizing I was on a schedule. However curious I was, Signus came first!

Of course, as soon as I was nearing the edge of the crowd, the hooded figure announced that he would be forcing the panthera to kill one of his friends. I didn’t know the lad, but I didn’t want to see anyone get hurt. Paxism is more than merely avoiding violence—St. Hashim teaches us that preventing violence, even to the detriment of one’s own well-being, is the ultimate pursuit. I pushed my way toward the fountain, through the pack of onlookers. I tried not to be too judgmental or disgusted by their intense interest in the spectacle of the crime about to be committed, but it was difficult.

Arriving closer to the fountain, I manage to clear enough of the crowd to gain a full view of the fountain. To my horror, I saw that the panthera was holding Sern up by the neck. He seemed to be struggling internally, as I saw tears streaming down his face as I pushed closer through the crush of people. I couldn’t get close enough—there were still rows and rows of onlookers blocking my way when I saw the panthera thrust his arm through Sern’s chest and crush it into slime. I forced my way through the taller people still blocking my way but found myself stopped in place by a row of hooded men bearing large shields. I was helpless as the panthera pulled his arm out of the hole in Sern’s chest and the body fell unceremoniously into the fountain. I thought the horrendous display was over when the hooded figure on the fountain announced: “Let this be a lesson to all! Do not betray the Will of the Emperor!”

But I was wrong. Without warning the panthera pulled a dagger from his waist and, crying out, presumably in resistance, plunged it into his chest. He collapsed atop Sern.

The men with the shields in front of me charged forward, pushing the crowd back. I was only tossed aside, and as soon as I was back on my feet I ran over to the panthera—if I couldn’t save Sern, perhaps I could still do something for this poor lad.

When I reached him, I found him still alive, but rapidly losing blood. The dagger was still in his chest and I knew there could be no healing done if that remained the case, so I quickly retrieved a needle and thread from my pack and carefully slid out the dagger. I worked hard to sew up his wound, but the fur that covered his body made this particularly difficult. At some point, Connor had made his way to the scene of the crime and offered me a vial of tranquilizer. I took it, pouring the stuff into the dagger wound, and asked Connor if he could shave off some of the fur surrounding it. He did so rather skillfully and I had a much better time stitching him up.

I heard a voice nearby ask someone to stand aside. If they were talking to me, I’m glad they didn’t press the issue, as I still had a lot to do. Once the wound was closed, I abandoned medical healing and filled him with the light of Signus. If I’d had more time, I might have been able to save him, but he’d lost so much blood, and he looked to be bruised all over his body—he seemed to have sustained far more damage than merely what the dagger had caused. As I charged up another heal, he gasped and fell still. When the light from my hands wouldn’t enter his body, I knew I’d failed.

I’m sure he probably hadn’t been Signi in his lifetime, but I gave him a final blessing all the same. At some point Jenny had made her way here as well, and two guards. They helped me up and asked me to back away from the bodies. We were asked if we knew either of the victims, and we answered regarding Sern. They gave us there condolences, and said we had to leave the market district until the investigation was complete.

Losing someone I’d set out to save wasn’t a new experience. It hasn’t gotten any easier, but being completely helpless as Sern died felt even worse. I’m sure if I hadn’t ignored the demonstration initially, I’d have been able to get closer, faster, been there to stop the panthera’s unwilling grasp or to distract the man who made him do it… Signus, be with me.

Jenny didn’t stick around long. She headed back to the embassy almost immediately. None of us had gotten to know Sern very well, but I’m sure she was just as upset, if not more, as I was. It’s hard enough watching anybody die, but Jenny was just a lass, probably totally innocent to violence on that scale. If only we’d all been so lucky.

Perla, too, seemed to have been deeply affected by what had happened. Apparently the guards perceived her distress as potential hidden knowledge about the crime, and wanted her to go to a place called the Coroneum to get her mind probed. Why anyone would mistake womanly emotion for actual information is beyond me, but I didn’t say anything lest I upset her further. She wanted me to accompany her, after all, which I thought was a little sweet.

It was while we were walking there that I realize my robes and hands were covered in the panthera lad’s blood. I didn’t really think about the legality of what I did next (which, in hindsight, was a terrible lack of foresight, in this place), because my plainclothes were already stained with blood that would never come out, and I was feeling a little frantic in the necessity to get my robes—the only thing covering up those other stains—clean. I spied a small stream of water carved into the stone street, and dashed for it, splashing myself liberally until I could see no trace of blood on me. My hands were still sticky. I didn’t want to think about it, but it plagued my thoughts all the way to the Coroneum. Signus, be with me.

We had to take a carriage to the Coroneum, as it was about a mile outside of town. Once inside, we were greeted by an earth archon woman, who lead us through a confusing set of corridors into a room with another lass, this time a frost archon, meditating. I hung back while she and Perla talked about what Perla’s issue was. Apparently she wasn’t just upset by the events—she was seeing a pair of eyes, periodically. I was briefly concerned that my exorcism hadn’t been completely successful if she was having hallucinations now, but convinced myself that it was just her emotions overtaking her logical processes. That’s probably what Corlin would’ve said. Nothing demonic. Surely.

I heard the lass ask Perla to prick herself with a dagger and allow a drop of blood into one of the water basins on the sides of the room. My suspicion was aroused—I had assumed that this thing would be a strictly magical matter, but I know of no schools of arcane magic that require blood in their rituals. Granted, my knowledge on that topic is limited, but the blood thing seemed a little too dark for me, all the same.

As Perla made her way to one of the basins, the lass turned to me to give me a quick rundown of the process. My fears were dispelled. It was an Ethalistic ritual. Not dangerous to anyone, just a waste of time. I tuned out, nodding occasionally but not saying anything. I could humor Perla and this kooky mystic for a while as long as neither asked me to participate.

After the ritual, the archon told Perla that her issue was trauma (which I could have told her, if she’d have asked me…), and that she would send a list of ingredients to the embassy for Perla to collect if she wanted to memory targeted and dealt with. All right. At least that gave me some time to convince Perla not to waste any effort or cael on this mumbo jumbo. As we left I offered to take her to the Signi temple to have some priests pray over her, but she dismissed my offer, saying that she’d rather try the Ethalistic remedy. Well, she wouldn’t let me help her spiritually, so I offered her two cael. I’d noticed that she’d tipped the charioteer that had gotten us to the Coroneum, and that her money purse was a little thin. If she was really going to go for some crackpot medicine, she’d need some money for the ingredients.

Perla wanted to walk back to town. I did not. Recommending that she visit the Signi temple reminded me that I had completely missed the sermon about giving sermons. I took the chariot back to town and made my way as quickly as possible to the temple, where I found Brother Macentyre. He didn’t seem to remember me, nor was he upset that I’d missed my appointment. No matter—he said he’d send word to the embassy the next time the sermon was being offered.

Grateful that the day’s tragedy had not entirely barred me from preaching in this city, I settled down in an unoccupied pew to pray for a while. Foremost, I prayed for the deliverance of Sern’s soul. I know that he hadn’t been a believer, but he hadn’t dismissed me the only time I’d talked to him about Signi, so I had hope that perhaps he’d come into the Light in his final days. I had no knowledge of the panthera’s beliefs, but I prayed for him as well. I prayed for Perla and Jenny, too—they both seemed to have been deeply affected by the events of the day, and I asked that Signus comfort them in their sorrow and fear. I prayed for Connor and Corlin as an afterthought: Connor was too tough for Sern’s death to have affected him too much, and of course Corlin hadn’t even been around to witness it. I prayed that eventually the two of them would see the truth about Signus and come into the Light.

On my way back to the embassy, I ran into Connor, who said he needed help reading a book about mammoths. I wasn’t sure why he needed my help or why he was researching mammoths, but I didn’t have anything else to do so I went with him to the library.

He had me paw through a book called “Tiberian Jungle Mammoths.” By Signus, I couldn’t understand a damn word. Luckily, I didn’t have to admit to my deficiency, as Connor said he’d gotten something out of the book he was reading. I was happy for him, but I was still curious as to why he needed to know anything about mammoths. He said that he wanted to fight one in the coliseum.

Of all the irresponsible ventures! I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised. I expressed my disapproval, but he seemed determined to throw away his life—he even tried to convince me to heal him from the audience while he fought. I refused, of course, reasoning that if I didn’t want him to hurt himself, I certainly wasn’t going to help him do it. In his continuing attempts to convince me, he asked me to come watch one of these animal fights just to see how safe it is. Once again I told him that I couldn’t: willingly partaking in spectacles of violence is wildly against everything I stand for as a Paxist minister. He was disappointed, but I had to remain steadfast. I could afford hurting him emotionally if it meant I could prevent him from hurting himself any other way.

The two of us returned to the embassy. Once inside, Connor immediately began to question Perla about whether or not fighting a mammoth in the arena is a good idea. Fortunately she agreed with me, and Connor huffed off to talk to Jenny about it. Needing a break from conflict and excitement, I sat down to read from the book of Silas, who speaks at length about the necessity of a stoic mind in restraining the passions of the body. Connor could stand to learn some stoicism.

I read until the evening, ate some of the pork stew Perla had made the night before, and said my evening prayers before lying down to sleep. I prayed especially hard for Connor’s powers of reason. Signus knows that lad needs some sense.

I was awoken in the middle of the night by Connor. He was holding an obviously unconscious Jenny, saying that she’d swallowed some tranquilizer. I jolted into consciousness. I asked how long ago she’d taken it, and Connor said he didn’t know—maybe four or five hours? I took her from him and carried her into the bathroom, setting her down on her side next to the bath. I stuck my fingers down her throat in an attempt to make her throw up, which worked. Much to my horror her vomit seemed to be mostly blood and tissue, and she didn’t stir. I turned her on her back and tried to perform CPR. When this also proved ineffective, I picked her up again and we all went outside to find someone who could show us to the hospital. We found a guard who lead us to a small hospital, seemingly the only place open at this time of night. Once inside, a few nurses swarmed me and Jenny and told me to set her down on a gurney. After I’d done so, they asked us to wait outside. I wanted to stay behind and do whatever I could to help, but they told me that I wouldn’t be necessary. I caved and went outside with Connor and Perla.

While we sat outside, I prayed silently for Jenny’s life. I didn’t think I could handle it if yet another person died on me today—especially if it were anyone in our little group. The others were silent as well, and I wondered if they were also praying. I suppose it couldn’t hurt, even if their prayers fell on empty air.

Eventually the nurse came outside to tell us that there was nothing they could do at the moment, except for a rather dangerous method that they don’t normally use. Bottled lightning, apparently, can arouse people from very deep sleeps, but kills them one in four times. We all agreed that it was better to risk it than to let her die slowly while we waited for the morning. Back inside, they bared Jenny’s back and brought out this little bottle filled with yellow sparks. As the nurse held the vial close to her, I readied myself to shield her with the light of Signus should anything go awry. The nurse popped the cork, and a bolt of lightning leapt out of the bottle and struck her back. She groaned, but seemed to be alive, so I relaxed. Unfortunately, she didn’t awaken, so we were forced to stay the rest of the night at the hospital.

When morning came, Jenny still hadn’t woken up. The nurses told us that if we found an alchemist who could make an antidote, that they could administer it to her. Willing to try anything and everything, we split up to find one.

At the Imperial Apothecary, I had to wait in line for an hour to get to one of the alchemists, and then the lad had the gall to take a fifteen minute break for lunch as soon as I was next in line. Once he’d come back I gave him the tranquilizer sample Connor had given me, and he said that I’d have to wait until tomorrow for the research to be completed. I didn’t have the money to expedite the process, so I left, hoping that either Connor or Perla had found someone more effective.

After another hour or so, Perla and Connor were both back, and Connor had a vial of pink liquid that he claimed was an antidote! There was some kerfuffle about whether or not it had to be ingested or injected, but eventually we were able to give it to her appropriately. The nurses told us that we had to wait, but I was hopeful. I couldn’t believe that Jenny would still die after all we’d done to save her.

We went out and got breakfast, and by the time we returned, the nurse told us that Jenny’s condition had improved, and all we had to do was wake her up. They waved some smelling salt in front of her face and she finally came to. Praise Signus! Finally, something positive in what has been a rather hellish few days.

We returned in relative silence to the embassy. I was happy that Jenny had survived the ordeal, but I was disturbed about what had caused her to do such a thing to herself. I was afraid that she’d taken Sern’s death far harder than I’d thought.

Corlin had returned from the library, and with him there were six people I’d never seen before, all doing some kind of household chores. He told us that they were the Leminster convicts that were to serve out their sentence assisting the embassy. I was quite eager to hear that they’d be staying with us—I always loved having the opportunity to talk to people who’d lost their way in life. In my experience, criminals, if they can be convinced, turn to their faith with more zeal than any others.

Some of them seemed to be engaged in making dinner, so I took the chance to slip into conversation with them by giving them the remaining pork that I’d bought from that hobbit the other day. I didn’t beat around the bush, asking them right out what they had been arrested for. The wood elf lass and the two human siblings (or at least I assumed they were siblings) didn’t seem interested in talking about it, which I could understand. There was an old perindel man with a cane, however, and he answered that he had been rigging bets at the coliseum. I was about to launch into a sermon on the evils of gambling, but Jenny chose that moment to interject by asking the names of everyone.

Well, I certainly felt a little rude for not doing that myself.

The wood elf lass was named Shaelith, and the two humans were siblings after all, named Darion and Daliah Garret. The perindel who had admitted his crime was named Leonard Masters, although he liked to be called “Old Len.” Finally, there was a Rothan man who looked about my age sitting at the dining room table with Corlin. His name was Vineet Hugo. I’d seen a high elf lad puttering about earlier, but he seemed to be elsewhere at the moment. Jenny, again seeking names, went off to find him, leaving me alone to talk to those in the kitchen.

Realizing that I wasn’t going to get anywhere by prying into their past, I flipped open my Bible and began to read the passage from the book of Noledzar that discusses how obeying earthly laws allows one to more effectively worship Signus. As soon as I mentioned the Angel’s name, though, I heard a distinct groan from Vineet. I could have ignored him, but I didn’t want to alienate any of these potential converts, so I asked him if he had a problem with Signus. He told me that he was a Torist—I shouldn’t have been surprised; I’ve found that Torists are often the most resistant to the ideas of other faiths.

Speaking of Torists, as soon as the name of To’ar entered the arena, Connor began to prattle on about Torism to the people in the kitchen. Daliah told him forcefully to back off, and that she knew what she believed in. I agreed wholeheartedly, shooing Connor out of the kitchen, and continued to talk to them about Signus. I flipped to a later part of the Bible, and began to read a passage from Sermons about the importance of repentance. I’d read that particular chapter in some of the rural congregations in northern Leminster, and there was a certain part where I liked to pause, because the people would usually be moved to shout “Praise Signus!” in their inspiration. Out of habit, I paused there as I usually did, and to my surprise I actually heard someone intone “Praise Signus!” in the appropriate spot.

I turned around quickly, to see the high elf wave from the kitchen doorway, and walk away. I thought that perhaps I’d only have to work on five of these criminals, if one of them was already Signi. Maybe he’d even help me!

Before I could go on, Jenny beseeched me to preach at a different time. After a few minutes of discussion I realized I was outnumbered, so I agreed to only preach between the hours of noon and one, although I managed to negotiate a ten-minute grace period. I didn’t press the matter further. Father Marcellus used to tell me that I ought not to speak unless I spoke in the name of Signus. In hindsight, I don’t think he liked me very much.

I noticed that most of the criminals had at this point said something about how much better community service was than prison. Thinking perhaps they had been subjected to horrible conditions, I asked them what the jails in Catiline were like. They described the place that they had been staying: one-person cells connected by partially penetrable walls so that they could talk to each other, various activities to choose from during “free time,” and two full meals plus snacks throughout the day. I couldn’t believe that any criminal would complain about that kind of treatment from the nation that convicted him! Between doing backbreaking labor eighteen hours a day at Grimstone and nearly starving to death in the Block, this Catilinian prison sounded positively luxuriant. I made the mistake of saying so out loud, and the conversation immediately halted, and everyone in the room gave me a strange, scrutinizing look. In my sudden anxiety I made the sinful decision to lie in order to escape the situation. I pretended that I heard Corlin calling for me and I dashed upstairs, ducking inside his room to hide.

 
Jenny followed me. I made a “ssh” motion at Corlin, but he didn’t seem to get it, as he was very easily conned out of his room by some other lie Jenny made up. She slipped inside after he left, effectively cornering me by locking the door behind her. After some tense back-and-forth between the two of us, during which I was probably more verbally aggressive than I should have been (Signus forgive me), I was forced to admit to her that I had indeed been to prison. She also tried to get me to tell her why I’d been in jail, but that was certainly a road I wasn’t ready to go down with anyone in this group yet. If ever. I left the room forcibly, returning downstairs.

Jenny followed me again, and sat down across from me at the dining table. As Shaelith rang the bell for dinner, Jenny mouthed wordlessly at me that she “won’t tell anyone.” I didn’t believe her then, and I’m still not sure I believe her. She’s a good lass, but a little slippery.

We ate, Jenny and Connor making conversation with some of the convicts. I listened carefully to anything they said about their crimes, hoping to specialize my sermon for tomorrow. I returned to my room afterward and made sure to extend my evening prayers appropriately. Once again I prayed for the souls of Sern and the panthera, but I added a prayer for Jenny’s happiness and health, and a prayer for the conversion of the convicts I was to be living with for the next few days. As an afterthought I prayed, too, for myself, and my ability to keep my own secrets better.

I had just settled in to sleep when Jenny knocked and came in, asking if she could sleep in my room tonight. I resisted at first, because I was certain she just wanted to grill me more about what I’d let slip earlier. Although I suspect that was part of her reasoning, she told me that, because of the events of the past couple of days, she didn’t want to be alone. Despite my other concerns, my guilt and compassion overcame me, and I had to agree, offering her my bed. I slept on the floor.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.