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The White Lion …

The “blessing” of the White Lion.

It’s more of a blessing within a curse if you ask me. Many have bared witness to the power and grace of the white lion, and to the warrior that wields the mighty beast. The feats of this mighty warrior and the bravery he bestows are stranger to few. Many already know the tales, whether true or fabled, of the White Lion, the beast… the warrior… the “hero”.

That is why it is not the glories of the White Lion that must be told, but of the horrors. The White Lion is not some champion who rose against all odds, or who trained day and night to acquire the power he now exercises. The blessing of the White Lion is a birthright taken by choice by a foolish youth who wanted to make a name for himself.

If you know of the White Lion then you’ve surely heard of the Black Lion, a name that fills my very being with fear, disgust, and hate. The Black Lion is a coward who withdraws himself deep within the soul of an innocent, possesses it, and uses it as a piece of human armor to fight within. It is the duty of the White Lion to fight the Black Lion and the innocent puppet it has taken only to repeat the process the next day, again and again… for all eternity. I have wanted so badly to run away from the fight, to let the innocent, tainted by the Black Lions grasp, live.

However, it is impossible for me to do so. With every fiber of my being, from within my very core, I am pulled toward the Black Lion’s roars of battle. I am forced to engage him in a fight that only ends when I’ve stained my hands with the blood of some young girl or some elder man. Each new day brings a new death and, as if that weren’t bad enough, each battle with the Black Lion is a constant reminder of all my past “victories”, a list that will forever grow. Every now and then I’ll luck out and the Black Lion will assume control over the body of some wanted criminal or some cold blooded murderer, whose life I have little guilt in ending. That, however, occurs to few times to lift my spirits.

I have heard people refer to me as a hero. They couldn’t be more naive. A hero fights evil to protect the innocent. I fight the innocent to protect the name of the White Lion, only to have the same evil live day after day in some new unsuspecting soul. To form close bonds and friendships is nearly impossible for fear that they too will have their eyes blackened and their heart breached by the cowardice Black Lion. So this is what it means to be the mighty White Lion. To forever fight, to forever kill, and to forever… shed the tears of the White Lion.

Your “Hero”,

The White Lion (Edriq Thalonia)




I found this letter on him.

I loved that man like a brother.

Now, I am prepared to marry the woman he was so obviously in love with, and to take over responsibility for the child he never even knew he was going to have with her.

I love Roena. I do. So she’ll never know about this letter. Or her letter to him. Or the picture. Or the ribbon. Or the musical notes.

I’ll just be carrying them with me, in my pocket, and trying my best to fill Kelain’s shoes.

I hope he gets some kind of peace, knowing I’m keeping his warmest memories of Roena, his heart written down on parchment, as close to the woman of his dreams as I can manage without breaking her heart.

I have to hope that. Otherwise, I have to accept the fact that I’m marrying Roena, and it should have been him.

S’zeves Fluffy V’Destrii (Fluffy Knight of Imperia)




On Runometry

This is going to be a difficult tome for me to author. The main reason for my lack of confidence in this undertaking is that, quite simply, I have never practiced Runometry. I have never even studied Runometry. I have in fact, studied around it, because I do not trust myself with the knowledge. I would attempt to use the power for good, but history has proven that regardless of the caster’s intention, once they have wielded the power to alter reality, they are compelled to do so again and again until madness consumes them.

I should start at the beginning.

Over one thousand years ago Augus Dennshray was a librarian, archaeologist, archaeolinguist, and cryptologist. While excavating the ruins of the tomb of a former Phoenix incarnation he first theorized that numerical structure underlies everything in existence. According to the ambitious scholar it was possible to change these values to alter the fabric of reality. This would be essentially a two-step process. The first was identifying the mathematical formula that underscores a portion of reality with a series of runes. The next step was altering the sequence of runes to effect a permanent change to reality. I cannot stress the word ‘permanent’ strongly enough.

To use a hypothetical example, if a runometrist used an equation to change a flagon filled with water into one filled with Yale©. He could not then use the same equation to change it back because the formula for the original contents of the flagon, the one filled with water no longer exists.

This new scientific discipline flatly contradicted the prevailing view at the time, which contended that only the gods possessed such power. As a member of the Luminati, a society of sages and historians, Dennshray was stripped of his title and possessions. He fled Imperia with his family in disgrace to continue his research. Eventually his theory was validated, when Dennshray found incontrovertible proof of the theory of Runometry. Rather than restoring his families’ honor, the leaders of the world unified in their revulsion toward Runometry. Every nation and every religious group, fearing research into runes could lead to the destruction of the world officially declared Runometry as heresy, and it’s study or practice as high treason punishable by pain of death.

All books and scrolls on Runometry were to be confiscated and destroyed, a task that fell to the Luminati. While it is believed he continued his research until the time of his death. It is not known where or when he passed away. According to legend however, he was decapitated by Regult Martok – my own ancestor. That same account states that by that time, Dennshray welcomed his demise because he was completely mad by that point. Apparently, the human mind was ill equipped to deal with knowledge such as he possessed.

Obviously that did not bring about the end of the practice or I would not be writing about it a millennium later. Different theories abound as to how Dennshray’s work survived. Some say the Luminati themselves conducted research based on the scrolls they seized. I have my doubts of the veracity of that theory in light of recent events. Others claim the man had apprentices or relatives who retained copies of his work. My theory was that those who were sent to confiscate and destroy the works of Augus Dennshray were sloppy, incompetent, or simply too greedy to pass up the opportunity to profit from this verboten research.

It doesn’t really matter now.

Identifying a Runometrist can be a challenging task. Over the centuries there have been many examples of people accusing their neighbors of engaging in this dangerous practice which inevitably leads to clashes and often the accused being put to death regardless of the truth. My brother Tarrik was shocked to learn that a member of his crew, a mage named Auriq Sinystre secretly studied Runometry for years without any of us being aware. Soon after, we all experienced tragedy firsthand when Crossel, a friend of my father’s, and a surrogate uncle of mine, was killed on Shidi Ma by a flawed runometric equation that had gone out of control.

According to Sinystre, the mistake was a misplaced exponent in the equation. The results, if left unchecked, were capable of erasing all of Creation itself. One small syntax error is capable of wiping out all of history, and closing the book on the future of Wyrmshadow. The scale of this menace is utterly indescribable.

How does one describe the ‘typical’ runometrist? In the Age of Enlightenment, reading and writing are widely accessible for the first time since the days of the Phoenix King, the days of Augus Dennshray, oddly enough. The Modern Runometrist would have to be intelligent to memorize the equations. They would need to be familiar with the tools of a scribe. While all scribes aspire to create a clear elegant script, for a Runometrist a single mistake could prove disastrous, both for themselves and the entire realm.

In the end I am forced to conclude that Runometry is a practice that is simply too dangerous for mortals to control. I believe it falls to me, as the new leader of the Luminati, to see that runometry, as a function of Creation, is destroyed. I intend to accomplish this without resorting to the use of the very art I seek to condemn to extinction. I pray to almighty Father that I am up to the task I have set before myself.

Melchior Martok (Leader of the Luminati)




Good morning, students.

(Pause to acknowledge anyone I recognize from the crowd)

I am Sir Maros Tempest, and I have been asked to come here today by Headmaster Galvan, an old ally of mine from the Liberation War. I have been commissioned to give a speech commemorating the Merus Wing of Saigen Hall. I can think of no better way to honor such an auspicious request than to tell the story of Merus himself.

Long ago, in the days when the shadows of the Legendary Wyrm still stretched across this land, there was the Dawning of Elven Kings. It was a glorious union of the wisest and noblest of the elven houses to form the great Southern civilization, Quae Elfien. The prominent and wise High Elves of the Valley joined with the venerable and regal Gray Elves of the Mountain in erecting a vast elven empire that spanned across much of the Southern hemisphere. It was during this time of greatness and success that the seeds of dissent began to flourish within the glowing halls of the Elven Kings.

Rhyse, the king of the forest elves, began to hear whispers that his people were being cast down as inferior folk. He sent his steward, Liel, to the woodland villages under a false guise to witness these events firsthand. When Liel’s duplicity was discovered, the king of the gray elves had him executed, accusing the wood elves of espionage. This caused a rift in the houses which would eventually lead to an uneasy exodus of several elven clans. Joining the wood elves in their dissent was king Merus of the aquatic elves, who was so infuriated with his pompous pale-skinned cousins that he left the continent altogether, choosing to build a city beneath the waves where none but they could survive.

While Rhyse went about building the forest city of Sud Ilras, Merus oversaw the construction of a grand city within the ocean depths, Merus Akuai. During the construction of this city, a number of changes began to occur in the very physiology of some elves. Those who were charged with the mining and construction itself were exposed to strange and powerful unknown energies released as the ocean floor was disturbed. This group of elves, already distanced from their fellow aquatic elves due to their station and chosen trade, came to differ from their cousins in more physically apparent ways. They grew broad-shouldered and long-legged, more humanlike in proportion, and their skin took on a tough leathery outer-layer. Their hands and feet grew beyond normal elven proportions, and they even began to take on different skin tones and hair colors.

Merus claimed this to be a sign that the aquatic elves were destined to make their permanent homes here in the depths of the Aega Trench, and proclaimed these aquatic elves to be Merusian Elves, a new breed that foretold the future of their kind. However, after eight hundred years of reign, the aristocracy of the aquatic people, learned as they were through their previous interaction with the Gray Elves of the Mountain, began to question the validity of their leader’s claims. These new elves seemed to be drawing further from the pure elven blood that sustained their kind throughout the millennia before, when they dwelled on the coast and in its shallow waters. These Merusian Elves surely could not claim that heritage, and thus could not be allowed title or office in the Parliamentary Commons.

Enraged by his own people’s defiance and lack of perspective on the very reasons they made the long and treacherous journey here, an aged Merus took up a miningstar, a magical trident used by the Merusian workers to break-up the solid basin of the trench in their labors, and showed that all of their kind could learn from the Merusian’s spirit of dedication and hard work. It was then that he too began to show signs of this change, growing to resemble the elves that bore his name more so than the majority of the aquatic elves he ruled.

The parliament, in conspiracy with the military leaders of the time, summarily replaced Merus’s entire family’s ruling status, installing Grelai Tesk (pronounced Gray-lay Tess-k) as the new Queen of Merus Akuai. Merus’s life reinvigorated by his newfound life among the Merusian Elves, he led his people in a massive number to far away waters, breaking ties with the city that bore his name altogether and constructing a new home in the temperate waters of the Gulf of Ilras. There, he rekindled old relations with the forest elves of Sud Ilras and also the Druidic City-State of Nas’Nos.

This new city, Normerus, grew from the bottom of the ocean to have the peaks of it’s tallest structures and statues rise many feet above the surface of the water, largely due to the dedication and worksmanship of the Merusian Elves. Merus passed away at the age of 1403, a full 300 years beyond the previous life expectancy of an aquatic elf. However, his legacy was doomed to live only a short while beyond his death.

On the surface of the world, a great chaos erupted in the form of a demonic invasion. Led by a monstrosity called only “Oblivion”, these terrors ravaged the land, razed the forests, and even managed to fell the Great Tree of Nas’Nos. In a terrible show of strength, the Phoenix King, an ally of Normerus, toppled the giant Oblivion, causing a massive quake that shattered the once beautiful Grand Cliffs into the Gulf of Ilras. Oblivion’s counterattack was even more brutal, obliterating the whole of the City-State of Nas’Nos. Their final battle was so fierce and unleashed so much power that the waters of the Gulf of Ilras became racked with an endless torrent of stone-shattering tidal waves. So it was that the city of Normerus was destroyed, and the race of Merusian Elves were all but rendered extinct.

What remained of the Merusians found their way back to Merus Akuai, where they were forced to endure the life of the untouchable. None of the prominent aquatic elves wanted to “catch” whatever had so altered their former kin, so the Merusians had to rebuild their lives in shanties built on the outskirts of the ever-growing city of Merus Akuai. By this time, the aristocracy had all but declared the Merusians non-elven in blood, and as such unfit to live in their domain. However, none were so capable at labor beneath the sea than these powerful men and women. Therefore, the Merusians were tolerated… for the time being.

Of course, I’m getting a bit off-topic, here. The plight of my people, the Merusian Elves, is not today’s topic, nor should I dwell too long on the issue. However, with my people finding new freedoms day by precious day, I have to think that Merus smiles upon us. If this is truly the Age of the Enlightened, then we should try to learn as much as possible from the great minds of the past, like Merus.

With that, I hereby declare the Merus Wing of Saigen Hall officially open. Thank you, and may the gods’ light shine brightly upon you.



Captain’s Log.

Entry 3,291. 7th of Winterdawn, in the 27th Year of Enlightenment.

I feel the fool still calling this a “captain’s log,” honestly. I’m not doing this anymore. I haven’t announced anything, but those closest to me… they can tell. I’m through with all this adventure. I, like my father before me, have developed a longing for a normal life. He bought a bar. I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do. I know that I’m feeling something that I haven’t felt since… well, since I was a kid, honestly. But I don’t know what I’m going to do about these feelings. I am an old man. I can admit this to my journal, even if I can’t admit it to myself.

I just arrived at the Grand Temple of Draconius in the center of the Holy City of Drogynia. This city is named after my father in his former life, the temple after my father in his new life, and yet here, perhaps above all other places, is where I feel least at home. Under the great shadow of my father’s legacy, I have never felt comfortable. Not really. Don’t get me wrong. I respect Drogyn… Draconius… whatever you want to call him. I love my father. That, too, is an admission I can only really make here in my journal. It’s also one of those things that the people closest to me already know without my having to spell it out for them.

This massive stone structure, considered to be a sacred place, was usually filled with worshippers from all over Wyrmshadow. They come to invoke the God of Justice for his aid or protection. They come to let gods do what they cannot do for themselves. I once believed that there was nothing a determined man could not accomplish with his own two hands, but I have been proven wrong on enough occasions that I have to admit it: we need the gods as much as they need us.

So, this place is usually the center of a massive number of pilgrims and worshippers, especially right about this time of year, but instead these halls were eerily silent. So much the better for my purposes. I needed to speak to him privately, anyway.

I pushed past the gate and made my way down the center aisle, past hundreds of empty wooden pews. If there was anyone watching, they would think I was a man on a mission. I didn’t much care for etiquette at the moment. My business with my father was my own, and, at least to my reckoning, it was important enough to barge down this aisle and demand his attention.

The temple was illuminated only by flickering candles held aloft on ornate carved brass sconces. There wasn’t much light coming through the stained-glass windows. It must have been getting late in the day. Or early? It didn’t matter, and in my current state, I didn’t give a damn either way.

I felt small surrounded by the statues of all those who had given their lives for the noble ideals embodied by the Order of Draconius. Martyrs, they call them. Well, a hero is a hero, no matter his cause. I found myself pausing before a tapestry illustrating the events from the final hours of the Liberation War. I was there, but in many ways, I wasn’t. I knew all this, but here, now, it seemed like I was learning of all of these events anew.

The woven images depicted the Drao Queen, Mehdranna Nus’Naveidtra (a name I can’t say without scowling) altered into a hideous beast. She lay impaled with a shattered lance, my father standing above her, sword raised ready to deal the deathblow. In the skies of Arcadia above, the Archdemon Testament was being torn to pieces by a flock of ravens summoned by Veil. I reached out, grabbed a handful of the tapestry, and found myself tearing it from the wall.

“I’m tired of this, Father.”

My voice was a harsh rasp. His response, as expected, was naught but silence.

“You can’t just ignore me. You can’t act like I don’t matter. Not after all I’ve done for this world.”

I closed my eyes.

“I’ve sacrificed enough already. I shouldn’t have to sacrifice any more.”

I was keenly aware of how pathetic I must have looked at the moment. If anyone was in the temple, they would see a man so disheveled that I could easily be mistaken for a village drunk. Of course, they would notice the weapons I wore as a contrast to my current appearance. I grew up with a pair of flintlock pistols, but now, I had a darksteel revolver with a dragon’s tooth grip. On my back, of course, was my Gunblade, forged by the dwarf Master Smith, Bulroq T’Orn. If ever there was an indication of my identity as the “Hero of the Liberation War” and, now, the “Threatsender of Fa’Sado’s War,” that gunblade would be it. Not this haggard mess that wore it on his back.

“No more!”

I screamed that last part. I drew my gunblade and fired it into the symbol of Draconius hanging above the altar. The bullet ricocheted and I flinched, half expecting to feel the bullet slide into my chest.

Considering where it did find purchase, I kind of wish it had caught me in the chest instead.

The bullet landed directly in the center of the statue of Saint Fliq. Fliq. My little buddy. He died during those final moments of the war. I wasn’t there. I… should have been there. I just shot his statue. I felt like I was just slapped in the face.

“I didn’t mean…. It was…”

I couldn’t contain myself. I fell to the floor, on my knees, and shook my head in disbelief.

“Do you feel any better now?” A voice whispered into my ear.

I looked up in surprise. I didn’t hear anyone else enter the temple, but this was no mere worshipper I was looking at. It was an angel. My father heard my plea, and he sent this angel down to speak with me? He sent a damn lackey?

“Who the hell are you supposed to be?”

“I’m an Angel of Justice. My name is Shaleria.”

“Shaleria? Never heard of you. So, what do you want from me, Shaleria”

“I want you to answer my question,” she replied with a smile. I cracked my neck and got up to my feet.

“What was your question? Do I feel any better? What the hell is it to you?”

“I just want you to tell me how to help,” she said, her words sincere. She meant it. She wanted to help me.

“So my father won’t talk to me directly, but he’ll send some flunky to deal with me. Well, unless you’re lonely and want to defile this temple with me, you can beat it.”

“Let me guess,” she said, sitting down next to me on the seat of a pew. “You want your father to open a portal to Infernia so you can throw your life away trying to rescue Crossel, Sir Laurence and the other members of the Order?’

I stared at her. Hard. She was right. That meant that my father already knew what I wanted. I didn’t have to ask, and I already had my answer. It was no. That bastard… he wouldn’t do it.

“He could do it if he wanted. If I want to sacrifice my damn life, what business is it of yours?”

“The Elder God of Justice has bigger responsibilities than to see to the well-being of his family on Wyrmshadow.”

I stabbed my gunblade into the floor at my feet. I was furious.

“I’m not asking him to provide me with food and shelter! I’ve always taken care of my own. I’ve always had to! But unlike him, I don’t abandon my family.”

“Abandon,” she said inquisitively. “That’s a curious word to use. Are you sure you’re running toward a goal? Or are you running away from something you fear?”

“You can shove your accusations down a hellryft, lady. You don’t know anything about me,” I said while I retrieved my gunblade. “And don’t change the subject. We’re not talking about my life, here. We’re talking about Crossel, and Laurence, and all the others my wonderful father would let burn in the fires of Infernia.”

“You remind me a little bit of your father,” she continued, as if she didn’t even hear what I was saying. “I traveled with him during my mortal life.”

Fine. I’ll bite.

“You did? Must not have been that big a deal, then, because I’ve never heard of you.”

“I’m not surprised,” she said with a smile. “I wasn’t with the group for very long. Your mother and I were never close and your father resented me.”

“Drogyn resented you,” I smirked. “I like you better already. But despite his reservations, he still let you tag along with him?”

“It’s a long story.”

I sat down next to her.

“Apparently I’m not going anyplace.”

“My father was a Rakshasa Lord named Shakaar Hakkari,” she said. “He and my half-brothers kept me as a prisoner and forced me to commit atrocities. When Drogyn and the others killed him, I was free, and fell deeply in love with Drogyn’s comrade, Sharakh Hexen.”

“So what happened,” I said, trying not to let slip the fact that I actually was a bit intrigued.

“My brothers Sarazot, Soralov, and Sin’Shaza hunted us down looking for vengeance,” she continued. “They slaughtered everything in their path, including an innocent tribe of blackscale Lizardfolk. When they caught up to us, the battle was ferocious and Drogyn’s closest friend Tarrik Broadleaf was slain.”

Ah. That’s why he chose to send her. The namesake.

“That story I’ve heard. Crossel was the only survivor of that blackscale tribe. Later that night my mother told Drogyn she was with child for the first time. That’s why I was named after Tarrik. Strange that you were never mentioned, before, though.”

“Not really,” she explained. “After the death of Tarrik Broadleaf, Drogyn resented me deeply. His best friend had died defending me, and I didn’t even bother to say thank you.”

“Wow,” I said, cracking my fingers and lacing them behind my head, as if I was about to take a nap from boredom. I couldn’t let her know that I really found this fascinating. “What a bitch! Guy dies to save you, and you just carry on like nothing happens? And you’re an Angel of Justice?”

“Like I said, it’s a long story,” she said. She was undeterred by my false disinterest. “The only person I trusted was Sharakh, and that deepened the widening gulf between Drogyn and his Weren friend. Not long after, I fell in battle at Sir Drogyn’s side. He suddenly came to the realization that, as the leader of the party, he was responsible for the actions of his allies, Tarrik included. Tarrik’s sacrifice was not my fault. My sacrifice… was. I sacrificed my life as a gesture of repentance. I wanted to give him back his friend. All I could give, though, was my life.”

“Like I want to,” I realized where this was going, now. “If I sacrifice myself to save Laurence…”

“Your father will feel responsible for your sacrifice. You are all his children. He cares for you all, Tarrik. Crossel, Laurence, and the others went into that Hellryft of their own accord. Like your namesake, they made a choice. If your father allows you to do the same, knowing as he does what would happen as a result of your actions.”

“My death would be like yours,” I said. “A regret he would have to live with.”

“And for a god, whose life is eternal, such regrets are far deeper than you or I could possibly know.”

“So how did you become an Angel of Justice, if you died before my father’s ascent to divinity?”

“He performed the sending ritual for me. That was intended to guide my soul safely to the afterlife. But I was reticent. I chose to linger, and my soul remained trapped on Wyrmshadow. After Sir Drogyn, Vale and Boris ascended to Arcadia he found my restless spirit and offered me a new life.”

“So my old man had a conscience after all. But what does that have to do with me?”

“Like you, I was afraid of what came next. That’s why you really want to go to Infernia. I am not doubting that you care for the members of the Order trapped there. I know you do, especially Crossel.”

“So you think I’m running from something? What is it you think I’m afraid of?”

“You said something earlier about abandoning family didn’t you,” she asked. “After the Liberation War, you didn’t see your wife and daughter much. You were away on the Peregrine so much that sometimes you only saw your family a few times a year.”

“The world needed rebuilding. The people still needed my help. Besides, Morik and Roena were the same age, it would have been cruel to separate them. The places I went were far too dangerous.”

“The world could have gotten by without you for a while.”

“Bullshit.”

“Excuse me,” Shaleria said, actual surprise in her eyes.

“You’ll have to excuse yourself, because I don’t make excuses. You think I’m ashamed of what I did? I’m not. I did what had to be done, because nobody else could. If it could have been anyone else, then I would have welcomed the rest. I didn’t go off cavorting on my airship because I was afraid of raising a family. I’m not making excuses. This world was in ruins. Its people were scattered. Monsters plagued the land. If I didn’t do what I did, the world would still be that way. My father might be too ‘big’ to think such things are important anymore, but I am a human being. I couldn’t let my daughter grow up to a world as bad, if not worse, than the one my father left me to grow up in. So, I’m sorry, Shaleria, if it upsets your plan to convince me otherwise, but I am not wrong on this one. My grandchildren will have a better life because of what I did. That’s not a mistake, and it’s nothing I should feel ashamed of.”

“Melchior managed.”

What?

“What?!”

“Melchior did as much as you to rebuild the world. While he did so, he managed to not only nurture his marriage and raise his own child, but also your own Roena.”

“When I was young, we had to run and hide every single day of our lives. I believed we were sacrificing ourselves everyday so that one day, our children could have true freedom. But then we won. The war was over.”

“And then you had it. You gained true freedom to go where you pleased and do what you wanted. And you couldn’t bear to just give it up,” she said. Maybe she had a point.

“So what does that have to do with now?”

“You’re doing it again,” she stood from the pew and walked in front of me. “Eilora needs a husband. Edriq could use a father figure. You need a family. But you’re afraid you’ll fail again, so you want to run away and sacrifice yourself for a noble cause.”

“The cause isn’t an excuse,” I said. “Crossel needs me.”

“No,” she insisted. “You need Eilora. She needs you. Crossel’s fate is his own to make.”

“Bullsh…”

“Stop,” she said, holding her hand up. “You are not a god, Tarrik Martok. You cannot decide the fate of other men who make decisions of their own. Crossel is not a member of your party. He is a member of the party of Sir Laurence Van Drake. You are not responsible for any sacrifices made by Laurence or Crossel or anyone else. Your party now consists of the woman that loves you and the young man that deserves a positive father figure in his life. They are your responsibility, now.”

“But…”

“Remember Kurai,” she said. “She was a member of your crew. When she died, absent from her husband’s life, it nearly destroyed Daythin. Reks had to grow into adulthood without his mother’s guidance and love. Could you do that to Eilora? Could you rob her of the last chance she’ll ever have at love?”

I was silent for a long time. I… I couldn’t argue when I knew what she was saying was true. I wasn’t wrong for making those earlier sacrifices. I would, however, be wrong for making this sacrifice. This was where I belonged…

A flash of light began to shine through the stained glass windows of the temple. It was either the sun setting or rising. I couldn’t tell, and I didn’t care. I had to shield my eyes for a moment, the brilliant glare causing them to…

My eyes? Plural? Meaning, more than one? I lost an eye in battle a few weeks ago, didn’t I? Why couldn’t I remember?

The light washed through the temple and overwhelmed me. Suddenly, I sprung up from my bed, opening my one eye, and recognized that I was in my cabin aboard the Peregrine. Eilora stirred next to me. The sun was just beginning to rise through the window.

“…thanks, Shaleria.”

“Hunh?” Eilora cooed in early morning confusion.

“Eilora, wake up. There’s something I want to ask you.”

...from the Logs of Captain Tarrik Martok.


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