I must be cursed. Surely there must be some great transgression I have committed in this life or a life past, that has damned me to carry on with this journey from which I can salvage barely a modicum of sanity before I am threshed from my good senses yet again. It has been months since I have penned my thoughts in this book. I wonder if, perhaps, I chose not to record my experiences here for fear of revisiting the anguish that I had suffered just prior to our retreat into Sondassa. The desert has been good to me, reader. It has healed me, closing wounds that sought to bleed on for eternity, and I thank the gods above for the halflings and their hospitality.
But, now we enter into the fray again. The Protectorate has revealed to me that Amrit wishes to reconcile with the rest of Mindosia and enter into alliance against Mirabella and the forces of Cheolia. It seems that our work of deception in the city of Kakochan has far exceed our expectations. Amrit is sending a unit to wait in a Sondassan cave, expecting ambassadors from Mindosian leaders. I think we shall pay him a visit. Kraytol has been most resistant to the prospect of aligning ourselves with the leader of the northern tribes, and I sympathize with him, but he must learn not to be so headstrong. A great opportunity has presented itself for us. I worry for Ejnar, for she will not be accompanying us on this mission. It is ironic, that; I’d rather see her at my side in the midst of danger, than have her off on her own in assumed safety, where I cannot watch over her. She has grown in the time that I have known her…I imagine she must tire of my watchfulness. I wonder, is this what it is like to be the father of a child?
But more pressingly, it seems that I was not the only one who was made privy to new information this morning. Yablo, who has spent the past few months immersed in mischief, chose to grace us with his presence at supper. And he revealed to us that which now weighs on my mind so heavily; Aedra is alive, and she is being held in Frichosia.
I fear I may have seemed quite the fool when the words were first spoken, as I profess that I did lose myself for a moment or two. And now, as we leave the halfling city, I find myself in a state ironically similar to that which I was when we entered it. The life of the elf, the discord in my head, they endure similarly. You are well-versed in the sorrow I felt, reader, I need not deliberate on that any further. When something happens to a man that violently alters his accepted reality, his mind is slow to follow. A most rational man would be overjoyed to hear that a
(Something is scratched out here.)
person whom he’d regarded as dead did, in fact, still live and breathe. But after so long, the death of that person becomes that man’s reality. He bleeds the sorrow from his heart, and over this wound is placed the reconciliation he has mercifully attained. It is the mechanism that prevents sentient beings from losing their minds to grief. But then, to have that immense suffering falsified, to make meaningless the great pains that were taken to heal his soul…to shift reality once more, is to rend the man’s heart anew. And he must grow into that truth once more.
Is this a ruse? Does Aedra truly live on in Frichosia at this very moment? I confess that the only thing that kept me from fleeing the tavern and charging across Mindosia myself was a great deal of self-restraint. That and, perhaps, a curious question that arose, which I was forced to ask of myself. If the elf is alive, is that not the extent of my good fortune? It is true that some small dealings may have gone unresolved between the two of us, but nothing so significant as to cause the great upheaval in me that anxiously awaits our addressing of her situation. Our dealings as an officially conscripted unit are undoubtedly moot at this point in time. I cannot explain myself, reader, but I know that I must reach the human city.
I have to see her.