The 15th day of Tarsakh in the Year of Risen Elfkin
This is the first entry in my new journal. It seems unfortunate that, having survived harrowing battles against fearsome monsters and treacherous journeys across perilous terrain, my former journal would fall from our carriage and be lost in the vast desert while we flew through something that Mikas referred to as turbulence; an event that displaying the fickleness of fate, and proving just how powerless the so called gods are. Thankfully, even without the written account of my travels, I still have my memories of the events that I have endured, as well as the friends that I have lost; no mere turbulence can take such from me. All that shall suffer is the chronicle I plan to order penned, that my name shall be remembered for all time, for I certainly do not have the time to recompose my lost manuscript at this time. Perhaps in the future, should I manage to survive to an old age and retire to my manor, forsaking the life of danger that I now flourish in, I will take the time to commit my memories once again to parchment, thusly providing a written account from which the delineation of my life may then be authored.
I, along with my companions, returned to Tilverton today, having defeated the Shadovar and laid low their nefarious plans, in the midst of the usual triumphant fanfare, to which I have become inured. Do they not understand that do these things not for their praise and felicitations, but for my own needs, as a means of raising my estimation in my own eyes and proving my worth to none but myself? Can they not see that I bear up under the hardship of ruling this backwater border town, not to provide them with the benefit of the wisdom of my years, but at the Steel Regent’s royal decree? Is it truly so difficult for them to understand that I am little different from they? That I desire things, first and foremost, for myself before others? Or perhaps the reason for their frippery is less about celebrating my successes, and simply about the celebration? Is it possible that living in the hardships of frontier life has made for a people so needful of cause to revel that they will latch onto anything? Even me?
I digress. As is my custom, upon my return I retired to the arboretum, wherein I was given the usual report by Hadarai, informing me of the events that had transpired during my two tenday absence. Oh how I wish that Alusair had seen fit to appoint Hadarai as lord instead of me, or that Grageon had not left on his quest of knowledge or whatever nonsense he spouted before leaving me to rule this place on my own. If only Lythar and Van hadn’t lost their lives during our return from the Plane of Shadow. Anything to alleviate the insipidity of the task of running this fief. Thankfully Hadarai is efficient and intelligent, well suited for his duties indeed. Making just enough decisions to keep the city running smoothly, without doing anything that could be construed as attempting to usurp my authority. Oh, how I wish the man were more ambitious.
Following the steward’s reports, I was introduced to Sir Marren Hart, Knight Commander of the Purple Dragons. The Lionar seems very capable. Already he has begun construction on fortifications along the North Ride, allowing for better protection of our trade caravans as they travel south from the Dales. He admits openly to a calculating and efficient nature. Though his zealous execution of his duties might seem to be ruthless to those of lesser disposition, I can see it for what it really is, a deliberate, incisive response. If more people could as easily cut through the shades of grey to the heart of the matter, and have the testicular magnitude to do what needs to be done, this world wouldn’t need gods or kings.
While speaking with Lionar Marren, a Blade stumbled into the room, slathering and spouting madness. He spoke of a “skull wreathed in purple flames”, no doubt a reference to that upstart Cyric, the so-called “Prince of Three Crowns”, as well as spiders and a path of fire rending through gossamer webs. The man was clearly mad. Marren was distraught by his appearance as well, and not simply out of concern for his man, but because this was one of the men that had been dispatched to the Spider Haunt Woods mere days before, a man who should not yet have returned. Lunatic prophecies aside, any reference to that liar among liars is an ill omen. I thought that I had put that part of my life behind me, but it seems that the Black Sun wants to go another round. The fool always was a glutton for punishment.
Within moments of delivering his mad oracle the Blade collapsed to the floor. Out of concern for the soldier, Lionar Marren had the man transported to the Temple of Helm. My concern lies more in the stains that might be left upon my paving stones than the health of any man who would dredge up the unpleasant memories that the name of that blasphemer of blasphemers invokes. No matter the differing reasons for the man’s removal and subsequent tending my the Helmites, there was clearly something amiss in the Spider Haunt Woods. A search for witnesses brought in three people who claimed to have seen these abductions for themselves, Boti, Myrra Iansten and Zira Thellier. Their testimonies were full of much useful and relevant information, I am sure, but I found myself to distracted to listen, so upsetting was the reference to the most hated of all the gods. Mikas even had information regarding the plot at hand, even going so far as to invoke the name of his missing sister, although that name has lost its effect since her inexplicable absence from the drow stronghold beneath the Twisted Tower was discovered.
Cliff, Duhdum and Donnathon, have agreed to accompany Mikas, the Lionar and myself on our investigation of these strange and disturbing disappearances. I am loathe to admit it aloud, but I welcome the opportunity to slay more of the Mad God’s followers. I truly hope that for every one of his followers that I bleed out upon the forest floor, he feels pain, and that over the course of a thousand such deaths he will be tormented as if pricked by a thousand needles. This shall be the announcement of my coming, for now that he has riled me yet again, now that he once more has my attention, I intend to seek him out and slay him. I will have Cyric’s head upon my wall before I draw my last.
The 16th day of Tarsakh in the Year of Risen Elfkin
The day is still young, yet already my hands are stained crimson with blood. It seems that this is my destiny, to take the lives of others and speed them along their paths to whatever gods to whom they bend their knees. Sir Marren was careful with his blade as he danced with those formally under his command, now turned raving mad men, striking to incapacitate rather than to kill. I have no such compunction. The man fool enough to stand between me and my intended quarry bore the full brunt of my anger, losing an eye, the back of his skull and all between in the process. Even the deranged should know to fear me; I am death, swift and sure.
Their were two whose eyes gleamed with intelligence and lucidity, clearly the orchestrators of the madness around me, who stood in the back, enjoying the protection that their all to willing shields provided. Cowards! Do they not have the courage to face me? Would they fear for their lives should their shield fall? They should. They did. I could see the fear in their eyes as we broke through the bulwark of maniacal men, and stalked them like cornered hares. I could even smell the urine trickling down the leg of the last, as he broke into a run and left his fallen companion behind. Although I did not manage to take their lives with my own hands, I relished every moment as Cliff, the instrument of my reckoning, laid them low. His axe driving through flesh and stealing the light from their eyes.
The two proudly displayed their allegiance in badges upon their chests, holy symbols to the Prince of Lies, as if the power of their mad god could protect them from my wrath. Fools! Those tin markers were not protection, they were targets, a focus for my boiling rage. They were not capable of turning aside my blade, or those of my fellows, as we chopped into their ragged flesh again and again, tearing strips of meat from their bones. They do not defend the men now, as they prop open the mouths of their former bearers. They, along with the heads in which they reside, stand upon shafts at the entrance to this passage, staked their as a warning and promise to all who pass of what shall happen to all those half-witted enough to follow a similar path. I hope that the god of those men takes them to be with him in his realm, so that when I march there radiant in my power and terrible to behold in my fury, they can tremble in fear, and despair as I slay their god.
Our rest is almost over. It is time to rise and kill again. Perhaps I have been in this life to long. Perhaps I myself have gone a little mad. I look forward to the coming battle. I relish the chance to bring pain and death to the servants of my enemy. With every stooge I slay, Cyric’s fear of me grows. I can already feel his heart quicken, a low thrumming in the fabric of the universe that will soon reach a high pitched whine. Soon, very soon, I shall prove just how much he has to fear.