A Fallen Light, A New Hope

The Tactician's Memoir VI
It's All A Blur

4th Day of Flamerule

Things have taken…a twisted turn. Oh by the forgotten gods, what have I done?

We went to see that woman and she…she spoke her twisted prophecies and of course had to bring up Iona. That wound being reopened and around her dark and foul magic it was like every single thing that had intruded my life these past few months suffocating me. I was so angry, so afraid. Everything is going wrong and it felt like I couldn’t even breathe. Much less take control back. I felt helpless, like I was back half dead in that cell again watching Mr. Starag be sliced open like…oh gods I can’t even continue.

We fought afterwards and I, we were struggling. The other team was skilled and beat us down quite harshly and then they began venting their rage on a small animal! The archer just, unnerved me. Her attitude reminded me so much of the sort of people we’ve been facing and then she shouted to kill us as well as the bird and I…

I saw red fury and nothing else. I saw every bit of pain, fear, and weakness in that woman and I struck with all my might. I don’t even remember how I did it, but one moment I was swinging my axe, and the next…she was on the ground and people were running out. That’s when I saw it, her arm was just….gone. Did I really do that? I couldnt have…no I did it. Just like every other time I’ve gone into this fury.

I act and then when I come back to my sense I can feel only shame and regret. Except this time it is so much worse. My actions will have consequences I’m not sure I’m ready to face, but I have to I suppose. I deserve as much for what I’ve done. What sort of monster have I become?

Iona, please forgive me. You deserve a much better woman to keep your memory alive.

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Healer's Diary VI
Mireya's Thoughts Vol. 6

6th Day of Flamerule

My hands are shaking as I write. I can feel the heat of an angry flush in my cheeks that has risen up anew as I recount in my head the events of the past few days and I fear that I may scream—of course I won’t actually scream, the whole house is asleep at this hour, but—I’m just—I am so… unbelievably… frustrated!

As level-headed as I like to tell myself that I am, losing control of my emotions at these times is a weakness of mine and something that I am not proud of… But by the gods, if I am ever allowed to be justified in it, I know no more fitting time than now.

Why does it seem that no one in my life is compelled to listen to common sense? There’s Anzo—I understand that he is scared and felt like he needed to get away—but to have run away just when I found what I assume he had set me out to find, the information that could implicate him and, in the right hands, be kept away from the eyes of the guard… How could he leave now? It doesn’t seem he told even his brother what he planned to do—Kosef must be so worried by now. Perhaps I should go by in the morning and tell him what I know and see how he’s faring. He may even have some insight about the note that was left to me—all it really said was that he was with a friend down south and he would come back one day. One day? What does that even—

Argh!

For a moment, I thought that Selise’s determination to get to Fort Baemore might serve as an excuse to get me down there so I could look for him, but now with her newly incarcerated status, I am not certain where we go from here.

And to speak of Selise, I still can’t imagine what possessed her to cut off that girl’s arm in the middle of a bloody arena match! Her actions since we met have only drifted more and more towards the violent and irrational and I honestly fear for the goodness that I know is within her. I can only hope that this event causes to serve as a lesson in what is and is not acceptable and that our actions have repercussions—if she makes it out of this trial in one piece, that is. I hate to say that she deserves this, but she does! And if things go off well, I pray that whatever punishment she is served fits the crime and that she may go forward from here with a renewed sense of conscience following her around.

If she cannot curb her anger… well, her path then is one that I refuse to follow.

Another thing I refuse to do: remain complicit in Aaron’s dabblings with that Bagoda woman. I can’t believe that Kara encouraged him to go to her again! Is she really as dense as I’ve come to believe, or is she herself under some sort of charm? One thing is for certain—she is no true friend to him if she would push him back into the arms of such a creature.

I admit that I do not know this witch well, but one does not need to know someone well to understand them when the air about them is so black as hers. She is a manipulator, a woman with her own plans and for whom we are only the vessels with which she wishes to carry them out. Everything comes with a price for her, and I am terrified to know what price Aaron will pay for what he has asked her to do. The memories I assume she took from him are only the beginning, I feel. The more deeply he gets wrapped up in her plots, the more it will cost, until his usefulness is spent and she throws him to the dogs—

Do I dare tell Aunt Estelle about this? I know in my heart that this is what is best for him, but the thought of losing his friendship and trust weighs heavily upon me.

No—I cannot be selfish. Aunt Estelle is perhaps the only one who can do something to stop this spiral down which Aaron has begun to spin. He will be unhappy with me—maybe hate me and never allow me to go off adventuring with him again—but it is the right thing to do.

This is all assuming that he is fit to go adventuring again, which he very well may not be. I cannot reason out an explanation for his arrest and the charges that have been leveled against him since we returned earlier today, but it does not put him in a good place. I will do everything that I can to assure the guard and the town of his innocence—in this, at least—but I feel more helpless than ever.

Please, I know the gods are no longer out there, but—

Could someone just tell me what to do?

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The Tactician's Memoir's V
Trouble Ahead

1st day of Flamerule

Today’s venture was quite successful if I do say so myself. We had a job from Tavion, who by the way I feel as though I’ve neglected as a friend recently. I think I need to see if he and Lander would like to spend some down time together in the near future. Having friends around might help take my mind off things.

Bran Helder was arrested and we were tasked with proving his innocence. The real culprit was a slimy noble, we ended up storming through his warehouse and fought some sort of spell aster who blew the place up! Magic is about ready to get on my last nerve I swear. The guard captain handled it from there and our efforts were rewarded.

Honestly the endeavor in the warehouse is more typical nonsense, my mind has been elsewhere.

What concerns me is the bounty of conspiracies that seem to be revealing themselves in town. The mooka trade, whoever is behind them, the bandits, and the necromancers, and then that figure in Mara’s shop. I could swear it saw me…

Too much is going on and my head is nearly spinning from it. Hopefully now that this mess is over I can enjoy a couple of normal days with the Westwoods and introducing Marta to Sebastian like Mireya and I spoke of.

A good days rest and then off to finish some incomplete business. I think I’m finally ready to settle a certain score.

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An Alchemist's Tale XI

What a Night.. I am glad to be in my room writing this after everything that happened… I short we found that some bandits were responsible for selling mookah in town, all thanks to mr. Helder He was wrongfully taken into custody… but with his help we got a lead.

Anzo was who we needed to talk to, and thanks to mireya she was able to get some information out of him.. we went into the warehouse that Mr. Helder had built to investigate, and after searching nearly everywhere we ended upon a room that had a few people in it. a Mage and some sort of fighter. during the battle with these individuals we heard Gideon’s name, this confirms the bandits were involved.

After a long battle and a quick escape The guard captain and the rest of the guards came in and arrested everyone involved. we are left with one simple task, find the ledger, figure out how to get it, and hand it in.. after I destroy any evidence that might target anyone i know… Justice means nothing if I lose those important to me.. and I know grandmother in in that ledger.. she has used mookah in a recipe or two.. This is my goal, and i will do what it takes to get to it, I just hope Ander Kaleb or Selise don’t try to stop me.

that isn’t all I need to talk about.. today I acted very out of character for myself… I had this unprecedented anger to my actions. I tried to trip Anzo for no reason as he tried to get away… I did it for the good of my family, we needed that information. but I feel like i might be falling down a slippery slope.

Maybe all this killing has taken its tole on me, or maybe it’s Iona’s death.. I felt it again during the fight in the office.. I didn’t have to kill that man, especially in the town I live in. I am actually glad it burnt down so no on would know what I did. out when it’s life or death in the wild I don’t have an issue doing what i need to survive.. but this time, I broke in. I had no reason to be there legally… had i not decided to do what I did, that guard would be alive right now…

What is the sense in protecting everything I love, if i lose who I am in the process. I refuse to sacrifice either from now on, I will protect my home and the people I share it with for as long as I can. but I will not change who I am. I am Aaron, I am an alchemists apprentice, I am intelegent, kind, curious, gentle. I am not a murdered for no reason. If i can spare a live I will. I try to avoid fighting if at all possible unless i know there is no other choice.

this i swear, and I will make myself, my grandmother and my mother proud of everything I have done with out compromising who I am.

I know this seems long, but i needed to write it out. I am good person, not perfect, but good. and i refuse to make any mistakes that will end up costing someone their life needlessly.. that mistake was done once, not because I used force, but because i didn’t speak up in order to save someone’s life.

~Aaron, Lyne
Alchemist’s Apprentice,

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Trappers Tales VI
1st 1st day, Flamerule - Bandits, buildings and burnings

1st 1st day, Flamerule

I don’t know where I expected the bandits to lead, but I didn’t ever anticipate it being Baemore, let alone the origin of the mooka flooding it’s streets.

Arriving back in town we were told that there were accusations flying around, and Bran Helder had been imprisoned for selling the mooka. As it was out of character, we asked permission to speak to him, to try and see where the issue would lead. He didn’t know much, but did give us a few places to start, with Anzo Marsk and Orel Haldon.

Starting with Anzo, things went rapidly downhill. As is usual for him, he was of course relaxing with Hrodgeirr. I let my emotions get the better of me, bickering with him, and wound up going outside to wait while the others found out what they could from Anzo. Seemingly he was helpful, as we had a location to head to and a ledger to find. It supposedly contained lists of people they’d blackmailed, with information both true and false.
With Selise unable to find out any information from Orel it appeared we had but one thing for it.

A little scouting from a spider on the wall, and we’d discovered that the warehouse was indeed what we’d been looking for, so we headed in. We found little of worth on the ground floor, but heading upstairs there was more than we’d bargained for.

Firstly, in a secret room, there was a letter. Apparently Giddeon is no longer going to trouble us, but it appeared we’d have bigger problems waiting for us. He had been replaced, and his replacement was in the building. If we waited til he’d gone, they were planning to drastically increase the guards, though, so our time was running short.

Less troubling, we were able to free a woman they’d captured, by the name of Thia. She said she’d been assisting with logistics for them, but had no idea what they’d been doing. When she came close to discovering it they’d locked her away. Unable to send her off through the building alone, she came with us. Hopefully she’ll be able to tell Captain Tresden something useful before too long.

Having done all this, it left us with but one final task to complete. There was one logical place left for the ledger to be, and unfortunately it was in a room full of enemies. Fortunately for us, the battle went well for the most part, until one of them men we were fighting decided to explode, setting the building alight.

Our headlong flight brought us out of the building, unfortunately leaving the ledger behind. I assume it’s now just ash, but hopefully Captain Tresden, fortuitously arriving with a force outside the building, will take our word for what we’ve found, else Mr. Helder may be in for some strife.

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The Healer's Diary V
Mireya's Thoughts Vol. 5

1st Day of Flamerule

It was foolish of me to think that coming back to Baemore would provide a moment’s reprieve from all of the insanity that has been going on. Oh, how wrong I was — and how scared I am to realize that trouble has followed us here, too.

It appears that the bandits have an operation in the city. This sort of danger is just what I had feared and what I had hoped that we were taking care of by flushing out their camp. Knowing that they have been operating on the very doorsteps of our families this whole time is the worst possible outcome for this situation. Not only that, but it appears that they’ve gotten townspeople involved in their illegal plots, whether it be by doing their bidding or by taking the fall for crimes not their own. It’s so difficult to tell what is the truth and what is a lie. Who can be trusted and who is covering up for these vile people?

I am deeply concerned by the fact that Anzo is so clearly involved in this, although comforted in a small way that I sense that he is not complicit. If he were truly one of them, he would not have given me the combination to that safe.

…or would he? The papers inside; they are evidence that he would not want to end up in the wrong hands. Evidence that would condemn not only himself, but Arseni’s brother and sister, for crimes of theft. Petty though they may seem, they point to their larger crime of being involved with the bandits, which will certainly cost them a much higher price. Convinced that I was going to the warehouse whether he liked it or not, could he have given me the combination knowing that this was his best chance to put the information into the hands of someone who may not report it to the authorities immediately?

No, I feel so sick imagining being used in such a way that I can’t bear to consider it any further. Surely he would not do such a thing. Troubled though he is, I have to believe that this is not Anzo’s way.

At the same time, I also admit that I cannot tell if Anzo’s motivations for confiding what little he did are true regret for his involvement or a concern for myself. I was too preoccupied with worry for him in the heat of the moment to realize it, but with a step back, I now recall the way he held my hands, the way he looked into my eyes… It was different from usual.

Intense, I think is the word. In the midst of everything else that is so confusing about this situation, the one thing that I am completely certain of is that he cares more for me than I ever realized or imagined. Perhaps it took the danger of the situation for these feelings to bubble to the surface, but the rawness of them makes it all the more convincing.

Despite myself, I flush as I write these words. I know that I have so much else to worry about besides romance, especially with the situation that we find ourselves in now. And even were I not suspicious of the depth of his involvement in this plot and the meaning of this evidence I’ve found, I have my family to worry about. I feel as if I’ve terribly neglected Sebastian and Father (as usual, Marcella neither requires nor wishes for my mothering) already since I began running around with Aaron and the others. Even in a perfect world where Anzo were not wrapped up in all of this mess, I could never justify to myself allowing myself further distraction.

This is how it always has been.

But is this how it always must be? When will I feel that I’ve done enough and be able to get past the guilt of moving on?

It doesn’t make sense to worry about it now. First, I must decide how I am going to confront him about these papers… and what I do if he admits to the crimes. I have to share this with Arseni too, but not until I’ve spoken to Anzo. I do not know Arseni well enough yet to know what he would do with the information. My heart wants so badly to believe that the information is fabricated and that we can simply burn it, but there will be no chance if it’s reported immediately.

Hopefully I’ll be able to get some sleep tonight. I feel I’m going to need all the rest I can get come tomorrow.

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The Tactician's Memoir IV
The bandit town

Picking up the pen is more of a chore than a relief this time. The trip to the bandit camp didn’t go over as well as we had hoped. Tresden allowed us to bring Ander for returning Tilly’s taxes, which was a great help, but we still failed to get through the day unscathed. I managed to cook up a nice meerkat stew before we got there at least, the journey was uneventful besides that.

Things took a downward turn after we reached the town the bandits had taken over. We snuck in and tried to skulk around unnoticed. It didn’t work out. Several of the towers spotted us and we had to fight off about a dozen lackeys in the end. It was a near fatal failure it turns out.

The man responsible for the fires had an accomplice, and she decided to attempt to butcher us. I knocked the putrid scag into the dirt where she belonged. Unfortunately she got up and knocked me down with some sort of ice attack. Magic perhaps?

I was out for the rest of the battle, but when I woke up everyone was alright. Aaron and I have sustained injuries, but Mireya has done her best to get us back into shape. I think we may need to rest up in town before venturing out again. However, first we may need to make sure we can get back to town. I think hunting the vermin for Kosef is out for now…

For now, everything is sore, and I’m ready to leave this wretched place.

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An Alchemist's Tale X

28th Day of Kythorn

We did it, although i somehow feel like we triggered something worse.. we cleared out the bandits, but something was amiss, the bandit leader he was the one that attacked Baemore before, I am sure of it. He got away, and i am sure will show his face again at some point. we did find a map to a legendary weapon we can only chose one. but it seems as though these bandits planned to raid all of them to take everything for themselves.. I hope we can stop them before it gets to that point.

On a different note, Bagoda wanted to see me. she made the fist fighting female we fought speak to me after we had killed her… I.. I don’t know how i feel about it, Grandmother said to avoid her at all costs.. but, i don’t think angering her is a good idea.. especially if her magic can reach that far. I feel like i have no choice but to go.. I wonder what she wants from me..

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The Healer's Diary IV
Mireya's Thoughts Vol. 4

28th Day of Kythorn

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any more difficult, they do. Against my better judgement, the group chose to return to the bandit camp, even after Arseni got that strange marking on his hand which worries me very much — I really have no idea what it is, but I know it can’t be anything good. I think it must be a sort of tracking spell, or a brand of some kind that allows him to be targeted easily… but even if it is not, it strikes me as the definition of stupidity to risk it when we know that the mission we are trying to complete is nearly impossible already.

Then again, I suppose the fact that I would back down and accompany them despite my misgivings makes me just as stupid as the rest. Sometimes I wish I were better at debating, more assertive, and less of a pushover, as I’m certain that my inability to convince anyone of seeing sense will be the death of me.

Now it is Selise and my dear cousin who have had a brush with the very edges of death.

As I watched them laying there on the ground unconscious, I knew that something must be done quickly. Meanwhile, myself spent of my energy to cast spells, Arseni taking the brunt of her hits, and Ander distracted with other pressing issues, it was no small miracle that Aaron’s owl was able to finish off our opponent just in time for me to reach them before they had passed beyond the point of no return.

The victory feels empty. No one may have died this time and we may have defeated this foe, but she and that wizard are clearly under the control of this “Gideon” person. If we had such a difficult time with them, how can we ever hope to take down their boss? Certainly I want to make sure that the town is safe, but what good will it do if we fall in the process?

All I can say is just that I hope that we are headed back to Baemore soon. After such a harrowing experience, all I want is to go home, hug my family, and forget all about this for a few sweet hours.

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Trappers Tales V
3rd 8th Day, Kythorn - This one time, at the Bandits Camp...

3rd 8th day, Kythorn

It’s been some time since I’ve written. Almost a month, by the dates I’ve entered, but I know it’s been longer than that. The days, months I spent with Duke Bastion seems to have been nothing. It has kept me busy, and thinking on those lessons has kept my thoughts from most of those of Iona, though.

Following Iona’s funeral, and our daliance with a mage calling himself “Peeksies,” we regrouped, gathered Ander, and headed back out. We followed the path, in a manner of speaking, to a small town that seemed over run with the bandits, and attempted to quietly tale out the towers. I use the term attempted, but we did a poor job of it, but the towers eventually fell regardless, with Ander throwing two people off the top of a single tower, at one stage.

However, that was only the start of our troubles. In an attempt to get a better look at a statue I aroused the suspicion of a few people, and was interrogated. My upbringing was helpful, as it lead to my skills as a liar being better than people suspect, and was able to bluff my way through, but I did get separated from the rest of the group, and by the time I’d found them they were basically already embroiled in a fight.

It was a close run thing, and I fear if not for a few lucky breaks Silese would have gone the way of her beloved, with Aaron not far behind. Ander once again proved himself capable in a fight, while I was able to use some stick we’d found in our adventures to incinerate a number of the thieves.

Their leader, though, was made of more stern stuff. A bit of a brawler, she was good with her fists and feet, and had some kind of affinity for ice.
She kept making statements that made me think she was keen on me, then she’d hit me. It was rather confusing. Laying low Silese and Aaron as I said, she’d had me on the ropes and seemed to be doing a good job of taking care of Mireya, Aarons cousin, when his owl came out of nowhere, and somehow hit her hard enough to knock her out.

It was good news, but not all is coming up rosy. It appears she’s been in cahoots with someone interested in us, and we have a feeling he’s the arsonist from town.

I gather we may have to meet up with him soon, which is rather worrying.

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