A Fallen Light, A New Hope

The Healer's Diary XXVIII
Mireya's Thoughts Vol. 28

24th of Ches

I am a violent coalescence of emotions these days, a fragile wooden boat set sail on a savage sea of alternating joyful serenity and uncontrollable chaos. My mind is all but unsure on how to cope with all of the ups and downs of these days gone past, so wildly have I swung lately between crushing heartbreak and perfect joy.

A beloved friend is dead, and then they are—by some marvel of a power that I cannot fathom as my own—once again amongst the living.

A brother and a sister are faced with certain death, and then delivered into salvation at the very last moment—but at what cost, and to the benefit of whom?

A father, an aunt, an assemblage of confidantes all courageous and dear, snatched from the claws of their doom, only to be faced with the inexplicable and mystifying loss of one of their very saviors in the effort.

A mother, a woman of whom my memories have been altered, known to be alive this whole time by one so close to myself, revealed stolen away by my one and only true enemy.

Being my one and only true enemy.

How can one cope with such rapidly interchanging bouts jubilation and torment so synchronously? Emotions, both good and bad, feel as if they have chucked me overboard and are ever driving me beneath the surface, drowning me in what I fear is an ocean of numbness.

I urge to take a gasp, to end my fight to breathe, to let the waters fill my lungs and deliver me into the comforting arms of relief and nothingness. But it is there in which the danger lies, more than anything else.

Perhaps more than any one terrible catastrophe, I find myself panic-stricken at the thought of losing the heart that makes me me. If I am to lose my empathy, my feeling, my love, the receptivity of my soul to this wonderful, terrible, ever-spinning world around me, am I truly myself anymore? If I cannot bring myself to fight, what more will occur around me—and will my troubles disappear, or only be passed on to the ones I claim to have loved most?

What happens to my friends, to my family, to my mother, to Anzo, to Briar—to Rowan, who may still be out there somewhere, waiting for someone to care enough to risk their lives fighting to bring her back?

I have been blessed with this wondrous power that should not possibly be wielded by such a mortal being as myself. It seems a violation of the laws of the earth that I possess it, and yet just as grievous a violation if I am not to utilize it to bring peace to those around me; even if my curse is that in doing so I never know peace myself.

Perhaps I must learn to come to terms with that my life is meant to be a restless one, blessed not by what I can do for myself, but by the blessings I have the capacity to bring to others.

Perhaps, maybe, as impossible as it seems in times like these to keep my head above water, it may

be my destiny

to swim.

Tales of the Huntress: The Final Page
The End.

In the rubble of a once strong building, there sits a single small book bound in leather under a plank of wood. The leather is scratched and the corners of a few pages singed. ‘Rowan Tallstag’ it reads on the first page, and contains her journal entries throughout her adventures on the pages after. Flipping through the half filled book the last entry reads as follows

I have been thinking a lot while on the road. So much has happened, and we are merely preparing for danger yet again. But through the worry and the grief I was struck by a strange feeling. I can’t explain but for some odd reason I am hit with the realization of how lucky I am as a person in this cruel world. I thought of all the people we’ve come across in our adventures, both living and dead. I thought of their own stories, how tragic so many of them were, but mostly I thought of the ones who were alone. I think that’s what made me feel lucky.

I have suffered, and felt some of the greatest pains in my life during this time. Both physical and within. But still, I am lucky. Because many people suffer, and are hurt repeatedly, especially in these times, but not all of them can go through so much and come out of it with what I do. A family.

I will never stop mourning the one I lost. I realize that now. Telling Roy about them helped me see just how foolish trying to forget them was. Randal, my sweet beloved baby brother, I will never forget you even if you have forgotten me. Not you, or our parents. I am sorry I tried. I don’t want to. I want to remember being yelled at for rubbing dirt on your scabbed knee when we were children, and helping father get the rodents from the traps because you were too upset by the dead animals to do it. The hunting trips where father taught me how to shoot a bow…half the reason I’m alive really. Mother putting us on our lap and reading us those old fairytales, that turned out to come quite in handy. There’s a thousand more I could name. I want to remember them all, and I want to remember my family. I may never stop missing them, but I can say I at least found happiness in a new family as well.

My new family is strange and gets me into all sorts of trouble, but I love them and I’m so happy to have met each of them.

I have an older sister who is actually younger than me. She cares so much for everyone around her, but is still willing to put you in your place. She’s done it to me quite a few times. She’s the most gentle and kind woman I’ve ever met, and yet the most fearsome spell thrower on the battlefield when it comes time to protect us. I will always be grateful for what she’s done for me. Despite all that life has thrown at her, she keeps go by for the people she cares about and there are not words that can properly say how much I admire her for it.

I have two younger brothers. They’re both amazingly smart in different ways. One thinks of himself as some simple coward, despite being one of the bravest of us and the only one with any sense half of the time. I gave him a constant fuss and laughed when he gave it back. He always made me smile. He frustrates me to no end that he can’t see how special he is.

The other one is more frustrating, but only because he cares too much. He’s about as bad at me with big decisions, but he does it for the people he loves. He’s also one of the smartest people I’ve ever known. He’s been a guardian protecting us day after day, and a loyal companion listening and encouraging us. He’s one of the best friends I’ve ever had and I want nothing more than to see him happy and smiling again.

Then there’s one more. I met an amazing man who I love, and who made me feel loved. He’s not always the best with words, but he makes me feel safe and the happiest I’ve ever been just by being there. He’s a stubborn and troubled man, and it worries me to no end, but somehow it endears him even more. I don’t know how much time I’ll have with him, but I’m already so grateful for what time I’ve already been given and for how strong he’s kept me so far.

They say everyone is the hero of their own story. There are so many stories out there, many of them ending sadly, angry, or bitter. Despite everything I have gone through, and all that has happened,
I don’t think that of mine. I don’t know when my story will end, perhaps any day now, but one thing is clear; it will not end as a tragedy.

My story is a coming of age, an adventure between amazing friends, a horror tale nearly a few times, a magical tale of wonder, and for a part of it, a love story. I have laughed, cried, charged into battle, and picked myself up to rebuild who I am over and over. And I’m thankful for all of it. That’s what I will focus on.

I have so much hope for the future, and for my family both old and new. I can say honestly I truly believe in a good future where all the tragedies can end and we can have our happy endings. Even if my story ends someday for the sake of that future, I’m happy to have had the tale that I did.

The tale of a huntress.

A Blacksmith's Workings XXIII

Magic Again. I have seen the destruction it causes. The problems its caused for Mireya, Rowan, Arseni, and Aaron. But something is different now. After talking with mother about the Lich, she told me about the rune magic she uses as an inquisitor. With it I can fight back against Bagoda and people like Azir. Aaron took a potion to increase his strength. It appears the potion didn’t kill him, but the effects aren’t fully known.

We made our way south where we found the convoy and ambushed them. Arseni died during the fight, but then Mireya did something I would never expect. She saved him. She brought him back from the dead. Something that should be impossible. There are no words I can use to describe the beauty in the magic she wielded during the ceremony. But for once it has made me believe that magic may have use in this world.

When we returned our home had been ransacked. The signs of a struggle were evident and Egland was killed. We found my mother a short distance away. She had been injured by the attackers. Egland had betrayed us and brought The Black to our home. Mireya’s family and most likely the others have been taken to Baemore and will be tried as traitors. They will be hung. Our goal is clear. We have to stop the hanging at all cost.

Trappers Tales XXXVI
Ches - Dead Like Me


This will sound strange, and I guess it is, but truth be told I’m kind of glad that I died again. Well, not that I died, but at least now I know that dying wont bring me back to my original body, and I need to find another way back to it.

On the other hand, I’m a little sick of dying. It hurts, and if not for Mireya and a great deal of luck I wouldn’t be able to know I’m not back to me. I really do need to find a way to avoid dying in future.

That said, we’ve got more pressing things to look into first. I’ve never been a fan of fighting for money when we were at the arena anyway, but I thought this time at least it was for a cause beyond wanting to be wealthy. We should have known there was some shenanigans going on when we saw how disadvantaged we were trying to get the gems at the location we were told, but made the mistake of carrying on with it anyway, only to find out on returning home (from reviving me) that it was a ruse to get us out of the way, and unfortunately it worked amazingly well.

It seems the hideout was more just an out with less hide, and the forces of The Black were waiting for the right time to capture everyone there. Estelle was away when they came, and Rosa Marsk we found injured, but not captured. Everyone else, Sebastian, Myrcella, Kaleb, Anders, Annalissa and everyone else was captured. I hope they don’t treat Helm especially hard for having escaped the first time.

I’m assuming this is again to lure us out, as we’ve been told they’ll be publicly executed in a week. There’s no reason to wait that long unless it’s to make sure we act, so it seems like if we do try the straight forward approach I’ve recently complained about it’s unlikely to go well.

Hopefully I’m the only one that dies this week.

An Alchemist's Tale XXXVII

He died…. again… why does it always happen to him. I feel responsible… We should have known not to fight them when we saw they had the advantage. but we fought anyway, and we lost him… to be honest we almost lost mireya as well… We shouldn’t have split up, I should have been there to protect them. that’s what this armor is fore. It’s to protect me so i can protect them. What’s worse is i let my guard down… and now I have this injury that won’t heal itself, at least not fully. I worry what the consequences will be… I pray nothing like Roy’s that is the last thing we need.

But why did all of this have to happen? Why did Egland betray us? did he betray us? he told us it would be an even fight, clearly it wasn’t. Rosa said he pointed out where everything was in the camp to the black when they attacked… but why? He also left the note for me to drink the potion… yet I still stand, and with a body that is clearly changing… Blue in my blood is not normal… I don’t know what I am supposed to think. I can’t help but be suspicious, not that it matters now that he’s dead… but what will become of me? Have i been tricked and await to die at any moment? have i survived the potions test and await new powers? I guess only time will tell.

What ever may happen, we need to focus on the next week. We need to rest, we need Rosa to rest, we could use her in the fight. we need to figure out where they are keeping everyone, and who they have. We need to find Grandmother, she will be extremely helpful in all of this…But what’s most important is saving them all… do they have ander and kaleb? do they have annalissa? tresden? my little cousins? They all must be found and saved. no exceptions. otherwise what is the point of fighting. If we can save them maybe the public will be more willing to fight back, maybe even revolt… These are all thoughts that must be discussed. and action must be taken. and fast.

Heat of the Moment
A moment in time

If all else fails you can always just jump behind me and hide!

She’d laughed then. She’d smiled and nudged him like always whenever she poked fun at him and kept going thinking it was going to be like any other fight. They’d take a few hits, get back up, and beat the other guys down until they stopped hitting them. Simple. They’d done it a million times. So why did this have to be different?

Duck, weave sprint…a blade to the side. Like fire under her skin the pain explodes and she’s fairly sure she feels a steady flow of blood rolling down beneath her armor. Typical repairs will be needed. It’s a nasty thing but there’s still too many up to take a knee and Aaron’s just about slaughtered the one attacking her anyways. She fires two more into that woman. Arseni is down. Mireya is down. They have to hurry.

The adrenaline had powered her through it, she’d been going strong, so why couldn’t she have gotten there sooner? She knew they were in danger. She knew.

The leader goes down not a second after giving them a death sentence. She could practically worship Aaron for his timing. They’ll have to laugh about it later. She sees the path to them open and bolts. She turns to the line gathering to box in Aaron and fires two shots back every few steps. Run, shoot, miss, hit, run, shoot, hit, hit-

Sodding javelins! It pegs her right in the thigh and she stumbles yelping. Another one flies less than a few moments later this time the side of her neck gets a clean swipe. She hears her heartbeat pounding and feels the familiar heaviness settling her body that tells her she’s on her last limb. She picks herself up. Everything is fuzzy. Is that Aaron screaming? One glance back. He’s holding his shoulder.

Two more shots. One more horseman. One miss and one great hit right between the eyes. She’s too dizzy to think about the man she just killed and keeps wobbling to Mireya. A shaking hand already getting a salve from her pack. It’s a new recipe, longer to make but about twice as strong. It’s almost over, they’ve won.

They lost him. She let him go. She was supposed to keep him safe. Protect Hordegeirrs little brother, like he was her own younger brother. Then again, wasn’t he?

She’s plucking arrows up, two missed shots from the ground, and one that sailed clean through and managed to not get too much gore to ruin it. The last she salvages from a soldiers shoulder right as Mireya screams out. She turns quick and sprints over. Mireya’s healing really can perform miracles if one surge can have her moving this quick after the beating she took.

They need one more miracle it seems

Now she’s kneeling, weeping, and begging to every god that has ignored her prayers so far for one thing in her mind.

Please give him back.

The Healer's Diary XXVII
Mireya's Thoughts Vol. 27

Date Unknown

Contrary to what my experience in life so far would tell me, it seems that there is a chance for what should be disaster to turn out for the better.

By no fault of mine, Mrs. Marsk seems to have found out about Briar and the whole unusual circumstances surrounding his birth, as well as my current nightmare of a situation. I keep telling myself that I should be furious with Aaron for letting this very personal information slip into the hands of such an imposing woman. She may be Briar’s grandmother, but this was not his place to say.

Instead, however, I find myself relieved. Reluctantly though it may have been, it would seem that my son’s existence has turned her opinion around to my own… although I admit to being a bit taken aback to know that it was she who has been behind my inability to pin down Anzo as of late. With what little I know of her, I should not be surprised, but it would be just like Roza Marsk to always astonish me in new ways the longer I stand within the shadow of her formidable presence.

Nonetheless, it seems that I may have more allies on my side than I could have ever known. Not only did Analissa confirm that she and her people have begun the search on my behalf, but indeed Mrs. Marsk herself seems determined to join the hunt to bring Briar home again.

I know that this should be my fight, and mine alone. But especially after this lost year, especially after the vision I had of him back in the book world, I know in my heart that it will be impossible to muster the force necessary to take down Bagoda myself. Try as I might, I am still so weak, still so fallible. And hate her as I may, I recognize that she is far out of my league and the league of all of us here.

I hope that Mrs. Marsk is as powerful as she claims to be. I hope that it is not a mistake to agree to her involvement.

I hope it is not a mistake for her to bring Anzo here into the midst of this resistance, and all of the danger it carries along with it. I so dearly wish to see him again, but I know that in the past, the closer he has gotten to me, the more precarious the situations into which he has been drawn.

And, of course, I must fear his reaction to all of this news. I never had a chance to see him again after he received the last letter I wrote him, nor have I received any response in return. Where I was unsure of him knowing the truth before, now Mrs. Marsk is determined that he will understand the meaning behind everything. He will be forced to face me with the knowledge of every last detail, and an obligation imposed by his mother to do something about it.

In the last letter, I had offered myself to him in response to his proposal, if he would still have me.

After everything, and under the pressure of Roza’s iron-clad will, will he still want to go through with things? I would not blame him if he did not.

Trappers Tales XXXV
2nd 6th day, Ches - Subtlety

We are not subtle.

Sure, Rowan and myself can sneak around, and the others to some extent, but we don’t tend to use it to our advantage. “Just going to scout” we said. Oh, no one here. Better look further. Deeper. Oh hey, here’s some scary, dangerous people. Better not just leave silently.

I didn’t even think about that option, which probably makes it worse. We’ve become too quick to turn to violence, I feel. I don’t know. Maybe the doors back the other way would have been shut and we couldn’t turn around, but we didn’t even try.

At least it turned out okay this time, I guess. We didn’t lose anyone, and took out the creepy guy in the strange hat, and Mara is also dead (again). Hopefully that’ll slow the undead in the Crestwood, too.
However, I’m not so sure it will, after having gone further north. I don’t know what that thing was, but I do know I don’t want to tangle with it again. Until it’s gone, though, the forest will never be safe.

An Alchemist's Tale XXXVI

More reasons to hate them… I am mad at myself more than anyone else… It’s not Roy’s fault he was entranced by that thing. That servant of the drow god… one thing is sure I need to stop trusting Drow. I have met maybe one that hasn’t had evil intentions,… It doesn’t help that they all seem to be able to lie like its the truth. I realise that she wasn’t actually a drow this time… but she served the same god as they do. if anything she is worse. I will come back and kill her when I am stronger. we know she stays here. I vow to eliminate everything drow from this island. starting with the elven city once the attack is planed.

Mara… I didn’t know very well. and I know you were not the best person in the world. but you deserved better than what you got. Iona was selfish. and honestly worse than you in my eyes. and with what she has become that statement has been reinforced. I will always love Iona and care for her, I want her to rest in peace, but she is still a horrible person that needs to be put down…for good. I hope you found peace Mara, because I at least understand that with you gone someone else, perhaps even worse than you is taking your place in my home town…

On a positive note, I feel like I am getting used to this magic stuff. I feel it growing everyday. I still feel however like it’s not enough… I look at Arseni and Mireya… and they are so powerful with what they can do, and I can do so little. I guess you can say I am a little jealous of them, but I guess i just need to find my true calling in the art. I am sure it will come to me eventually.

A Blacksmith's Workings XXII

Every time I close my eyes I see the image of Rowan collapsed before me. Whatever that creature was it took hold of me and asked me to do unspeakable things to my friends. And I just agreed to do it all. I attacked Mireya without hesitation. I then lied to them and after they trusted me I took my hammer and went after Rowan. I struck her down amidst her pleas for me to stop.

No matter if I had control or not, I’m to blame. How can Mireya trust me after I attacked her? Will Rowan look at me the same way after I told her I would kill her? We accomplished something so great, but it doesn’t matter anymore. We defeated Azir and Mara, we stopped him and his control of the undead. But now what? The alchemist’s lab is out of the question, I don’t think we will get away that easily from that monster again. I guess I should talk to mother.


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