A Fallen Light, A New Hope

An Alchemist's Tale XVI

I did it. I found where this mysterious purple cloaked person is… they are a recruiter for the enclave… I will have to get everyone to come back here eventually… I want to go now but i feel like there are more pressing matters we need to take care of. Like finding Anzo…

Speaking of which our trip to the ashen forest has gone quite well, with the exception of a dead guide, we have gotten some great information and leads for Arseni! I am hopping we can come across one of the secret laboratories of this alchemist as we journey, i would love to learn more about him.

there was a minor hick up tho, Mireya met with the arch fey.. and well she didn’t seem quite as happy afterwards… I couldn’t tell what was being told to her but I feel like she has a slight worry to her, I hope what ever happened wasn’t something to horrible.

I also hope Grandmother won’t be so upset with me when i get home I wish i had my sword with me, i feel like i could have gotten some information about where it came from here… I luckily haven;t needed the replacements i bought.. but I just wish i had my weapons, I feel like a part of me is missing… well maybe that’s not the weapons…

~Aaron Lyne

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A Blacksmith's Workings I
Brother

Work for Helm has always been tough. That last job though took me away from home for so long. I have returned to find that my brother is missing. I believe I know where he is and the trouble he has gotten himself into, I am going to need some help. I believe the people I am following will be able to help. It seems they have their own interest in finding my brother.

Strange things have sure happened since I left. This used to be a simple area and my life was simple. Now I’be traveled and visited the elves. I have fought bears that are touched by magic, visted a magic user, and traveled to the home of something called the archfey. Then there is the monster. Whatever it is, it isn’t human. It tore through our guide in an instant. It struck without warning, killing something that was clearly no match for it. I think it is best to avoid things in the forest. No good will come out of it.

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Chronicles of Solonaceae IV
Lost Hope

13th of Eleint

Mara refuses to release me. Maybe I should have assumed as much. I’m running out of options, especially after the way our talk with. Threatening my grandmother and possibly my friends…

If I can call them that anymore. I have the sneaking suspicion Aaron wasn’t the only one to see my letter. Arseni and Mireya have both made comments that lead me to believe they’re holding out a grudge with me. I have to say it hurts, but it also feels very deserved. I know what I’ve done is wrong even if I went in with good intentions.

I feel trapped like I’ve been backed into a corner. I’m considering something I never imagined I would, but with Mara’s grip so firm on me and everyone except for Aaron seeming to be against me, what choice do I have?

I guess I’ll have to come clean. They deserve that much from me before I act further. I dread to think what may become of me if I do what I think I must.

Was this how you felt, Selise?

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The Healer's Diary XI
Mireya's Thoughts Vol. 11

13th of Eleint

Things have gone so downhill after leaving Baemore these last couple of times, I wonder if it would not have served me better to listen to Father and just stay home with my family.

Not only do we find out that Iona has gone off and gotten herself (and likely us as well) into trouble with an assassin who lives just beyond our doorsteps, but I’ve been cursed or something by a vampire wench, threatened by a fey creature that I thought was a friend but is instead just insane, and am only marginally closer to finding Anzo than I was before. And now that Roy is with us, telling me that he’s actually back in Kestrel’s Corner, the realization of how useless coming here to the home of the elves was is all but crushing. I should have never come back to lay that flower at Aubril’nder’s shrine. Perhaps I would have had no choice, but knowing that by asking for the staff, he’s taken a price besides what he asked of me already —

If it’s what I think it is, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to forgive myself. Please, by the old gods, don’t let it be that.

I was told by one of the elves that if I can put him in my debt somehow, I can get the upper hand. But how can I possibly be of use to an arch fey — one who considers himself a god, no less? I can’t fathom a way, and yet I know I must figure it out, before it’s too late.

Going south may have to wait.

And in the meantime, I should really look for a healer… I feel worse by the day.

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Trappers Tales XIV
2nd 3rd day, Eleint - Questions, Not Answers

2nd 3rd day, Eleint

I met the person that Duke Arik sent me to see, and I’ve come away with more questions than answers, and certainly without the book I seek.
I do not trust the company the Duke seems to have kept. Between Bagoda and the White Lady I’m not sure if anyone he associates with can be trusted.

I was told that I could have the book, but only in exchange for my feelings of love. I’m not sure I’m willing to part with that, to be honest. What makes us human, in a manner of speaking for myself at the moment, if not for the range of emotions we can feel?

However, she did try and talk me into it, the same underhanded tactics that Bagoda uses. Saying if I find the book I’ll lose the emotions anyway, so I might as well just give them to her. Something about seeing things in black and white, compared to Arik?

All these lofty things keep going over my head, and I feel, yet again, that I’m not equipped to deal with any of this. But still, isn’t that part of why I’m after the book anyway? I’m not equipped to deal with the hand we’ve been dealt. As Arik said, I’ve never been as good with my bow as I’d liked to pretend, and I’ve fallen even further behind my friends relying on the magic I’ve managed to control, so I need to try and learn more from this book.

And besides, it’s just a book. What is there to fear from reading it?

Regardless, it seems I’m going to have to find it the hard way. I’ll need to speak to The Duke once more, to try and nail down exactly what I need to look for, and maybe get pointed in the right direction again.

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An Unsent letter

Dearest grandmother,

I am so sorry we had a fight, and I am sorry i have caused so much pain for you and my friends. You accuse me of being immature and making bad decisions and you are right. I have made some terrible choices these past few months. I have been blind to how my actions and how the have hurt so many people…

I want you to know that I have been honest with you about everything I have done because I trust you with everything and to keep me on the right path, but the recent events have shaken that trust. I know you are hiding something from me, and I don’t want to pry into your affairs, but what ever you are hiding is stressing you and I am worried.

I… don’t want you to forgive me as i don’t deserve it. but what i do need is to know that no matter what I do that when i come home I have someone i can talk to, like before. I know you won’t ever understand why I have to do what I do, and I know what i am doing is probably foolish, but I can’t stop. I have seen what kind of problems are out there, I have seen what happens to my home if these people go unchecked… I have lost so much in payment for these adventures, but i fear that had i not gone on them the cost would have been worse…

I know about Kaleb… and I was hopping i could talk to you about it, but after our fight I thought you wouldn’t be interested in hearing any more of my problems… but Callum has sent him and Ander away, the moment we returned. It hurts… a lot more than I am letting people know… I… I have lost all 3 of the most important people in my life… I got 2 of them back but i fear i may have lost Kaleb… I am trying to be strong, but I need your strength grandmother…

I need you to understand that despite all of this I Love you, I understand where your frustration comes from, I am trying to change my way of acting for the better… but I need you to be ok with me leaving, at the very least accept it, and welcome me home and listen to my stories to help me stay in check and not make worse decisions that i have made. I need you grandmother, but please understand I can’t stay in Baemore and do nothing with everything going on around the island

~ Aaron Lyne

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Trappers Tales XIII
1st 6th day, Eleint - Power Plays

1st 6th day, Eleint

I’ve been thinking a lot about power, good and evil, recently.

It stemmed from my discussion with the Duke. I was worried about the, now two, times I’ve sucked life from people, and fed it to myself. Obviously it was unwilling on both sides of the line, but it felt good. It made me feel powerful. I felt bad about it, especially when it was only my friends, but it still felt good.

He pointed out that Iona kills people, and she’s still a good person. I did find it weird he singled her out, maybe because of her time as a vampire, but he makes a valid point. She uses some underhanded moves, but at the end of the day she’s fighting for the right cause.

Duke Arik think’s it’s nothing to worry about, and if anything I should embrace it. He said that he doesn’t think of any kind of power in terms of good or evil, it’s all mindless and depends on how you apply it (I think. I seem to get lost talking to him). I can’t even relate what it is exactly he means, but it all makes so much sense when he says it.

He pointed out I’ve fallen behind my friends with my physical abilities, so he’s given me some light reading to do, that should help me channel my power in certain ways. I’m to find the White Lady with the elves, the ones that we delayed overlong from visiting (His previous task for us with them has apparently been rendered moot). I don’t know what the book is about, but I figure it can’t hurt to do a little more study on the subject, right? I’ve already looked into tutelage under him, and he seems to have taken a liking to me for some reason, so I don’t –think- he’d lead me wrong, and even if he does, it’s just reading a book.

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Chronicles of Solanaceae II
Dark Decisions

Eleint 4

I’ve been thinking about a lot of things the past few days. My regrets haunt me, in both daylight and within my dreams. I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night, cold and filled with dread every night since I returned. I wasn’t able to remember what I was seeing in them at first…

Now I remember everything. I see the light leaving their eyes, feel blood on my hands or the rope chaffing my palms, and hear their chokes, gasps, and pleas. It’s all come back to me.

Without the numbing of enthrallment, it’s difficult to stomach. I suppose that’s putting it mildly. Every time a twig snaps, I can swear it’s breaking bone. I consciously stop myself from flinching everytime Mara’s “gift” brushes against my skin under my sleeve.

I never noticed just how cold steel was until recently.

Is this really who I am now? Is this the woman Selise gave up her life for? Or the little girl my grandfather lifted on his shoulders and strode around the tavern with during the dead hours? I can’t even imagine how grandmother’s heart would break if she knew.

Our new companion only increases my agitation. It seems like everything she does or says forces me to see something in her that I feel I’ve lost in myself. How infuriating to be the be the bitter cynic next to the pure maiden it is.

I almost thought I hated her for a moment…but no. She’s not the one I despise. That person is a bit closer to home.

Grandfather always said people over complicate things. If you see a problem, fix it. Maybe you won’t like the outcome, and maybe it’ll be hard on you, but in the end you always do what needs to be done.

Reflecting on them, those are perhaps some of the wisest words I’ve ever heard. I think it’s time I take them to heart. It’s time to fix my problem.

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The Healer's Diary X
Mireya's Thoughts Vol. 10

6th of Eleint

Finally, a lead… Until now, all I had to go off of was that he was with some friends in the south, but thank goodness I talked to Kosef — he’d heard something, suspects that he’s in Kestrel’s Corner or…

Or Hull.

As little as I want to be here myself, I’m even more worried to think that he might be here as well. The only thing that concerns me more than that thought is that I may be too late to help. If what the innkeeper said is true, all of the gangs have already fallen to the unspeakable evil that has overtaken this depressing shell of a town. Admitting such things about myself is uncomfortable, but had I received this information while we were still in Fort Baemore, I know that I would have come sooner. Even if I had to go alone, I would have at least tried to do something to stop her before she —

But I must hold out hope. There’s little that it seems we can do here unless we want to come face to face with Persephone directly, and it is possible that he’s not here at all. There were plenty of gangs that I heard about in Kestrel’s Corner so perhaps he’s there after all. I hate to think that he’s with a gang of all things, but I would rather he be doing that than having become the unwilling servant of a vampire witch.

If we come up with nothing here, I’ll have to find an excuse to stop back in Kestrel’s Corner on the way back up north. Hopefully I won’t be so distracted this time, perhaps get some more information. It’s difficult when I feel so anxious lately; not only about Anzo, but what that arch fey said as well… It feels like he’s pulling me towards the promise I made him, urging me to fulfill it, and will not let me rest until I do.

It’s the least I can do, I know. Without his staff, we easily would have been killed during the fight with Caldwrath. At the same time, I pray that he will be patient just a bit longer. There is so much here to take care of…

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Trappers Talex XII
1st 4th day, Eleint - Letter in the mail

The page is ragged, as though torn from a book, and has crease marks where it was folded to fit into an envelope

1st 4th day, Eleint
Sent from Kestrel’s Corner

Dear Ms Lyne,

I’m sorry for going out of town with Aaron, when clearly you wish him to remain at home. I know you didn’t want to talk about it, or hear our reasons, but I hope you will read my letter.

I understand, I do. By the gods who abandoned us, there would be few that would wish to undertake the journeys, the trials and encounter the problems that we have, and even fewer more reluctant to undertake them than I am. Those same gods know that our decision making hasn’t necessarily been the best, of late. We’ve tried, but not succeeded as admirably as you, Mireya and I myself would have wanted. Aaron has become increasingly aware of his poor decisions of late, as well.

But I feel the need to explain why I, at the very least, keep going out.

I don’t know how we came by these strengths we’ve been given, and as often as not I deeply, honestly wish we had not. But now that we have, I feel that we, or at least I, have need to make use of them to benefit others. Gifts are not given to be locked away, hidden in the back of the cupboard.

If we had tucked them away for fear of use, not for the information we had uncovered by using them, prior to the assault on the town by bandits, what would have happened? Many died or were wounded, left out of home, but how many more would have been killed if not for the assistance of Aaron? I can sincerely say we could not have defeated their leader without him, and the town would still be in the grips of the bandits or worse.

I’ve heard it said, I don’t remember where but potentially from a lesson at your own knee, that all that is required for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. Aaron is a good man; no longer a boy but a man, and he is doing as well as he can to fight the rising tide of evil.

Once more, Ms Lyne, I am sorry for letting him disregard your wishes, but I hope you will understand.

Arseni Evgenii.

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