I thought it would be better away from Sandpoint and was wrong. I miss it after just a week of travel. It was quiet and I could enjoy my time alone without expectations.
This journey is changing everyone. Osanna is openly threatening anyone with a 7 pointed star while Thrune accuses everyone they meet of lies. There was a time they wouldn’t agree, now they work together with hatred. Religious fervor at its finest. Xander being kind is mildly disturbing. Then there is Ko…person in the form of a frog. I suppose that change is the only one that is obvious. At least he is becoming more of a friend as time goes along.
Mothers lessons have started making more and more sense. Breath slow and become light as air. Good fortune finds the willing. I am taking more after her than father every day. What was it that she said, ‘Those that impose harm will feel their own wrath”?
How humiliating. To think that I got ambushed by a fiend and used as bait; how did those newcomers make an enemy like that, anyway? They took care of it, but then that half-fiend with her foreign goddess thought she could treat me like a child. She would’ve been gored worse than I was if Xander’s retinue wasn’t there to protect her.
I’ve never been quite sure how to talk to him. How do you treat somebody whose life is going to pass by in the blink of an eye compared to you, knowing that he’s dealing with the same issue about everyone else he knows? It’s good to see he’s doing well, though. He’s reminding me more of his father nowadays.
More importantly, through sheer providence I’ve found where Jakardros ran off to. I believe he owes me some answers.
Camp. Bless you Mother. It’s been an exhausting day.
Osanna sits down, pulls her boots off, sits against a tree trunk near the camp fire, and reads the deed to the very first property she’s ever owned: The Church of Sarenrae located in the City of Monuments. She then smiles as she imagines the church completed as it is in her mind.
The exterior and the garden will need some extra decor and sprucing, I’ll wager. Perhaps a sketch first.
Osanna pulls a sketch pad, a quill, and some ink out of her backpack. After a few moments of sketching various statue and tapestry designs, she stares into the fire and drifts off.
“You aren’t the boss of me! I’m going north regardless!”
Osanna grabs Shalelu by her blonde hair and slams her gauntleted fist into the abdomen of the she-elf a half dozen times with bone crunching force. As the elf crumples, Osanna gives her a pair of kicks to the ribs, the latter of which propels Shalelu onto her back. Osanna presses her hand on Shalelu’s throat and whispers into her ear, “I almost had my guts ripped out in there by a demon hound on account of your arrogance, and two of my wards are only alive by guile and the grace of the Gods. (Shalelu gasps for air) Considering this and your current health, I’d say that I AM the boss of you. As such, you are thus ordered to consider today’s events in the future. Osanna clenches her jaw a bit. The next time someone risks their life to save yours, you will respond with copious gratitude and absolutely NO attitude! If I am understood completely you need blink only once. (Shalelu blinks, and Osanna releases the vice-like grip on her throat and walks calmly back to her tent).
Osanna gasps and tears her gaze away from the camp fire to see her compatriots and Shalelu all conversing normally and going about their business as usual. She looks to her hands to see talon-like nails receding back into her fingers and black veins receding back into her skin. She touches her face and realizes that she’s sweating and smells strongly of brimstone. After her vision clears, she looks to her sketch book to see the visage of an elf’s face marred by five claw marks in a scratch pattern. She immediately crumples the paper and throws it into the camp fire.
How can you apologize for this? We saved Shalelu, a little worse for wear, but it’s our fault she was even in danger. We let the Barghest out in the first place, failed to kill it, and now other innocents are dead and Shalelu wounded.
Just now, Osanna was nearly brought down because I wasn’t strong enough myself. Ko sneaking in with me is probably the only reason I wasn’t already dead.
The new demon friend of Shalelu walling off the ones behind us is the only reason we weren’t surrounded. And there’s another thing, how many demonspawn are there in Varisia anyways? I thought they would be rare, but it seems they’re everywhere now. Shows what good those Hellknights are, a half-demon on every corner.
Are we actually making things better? Or is that what we tell ourselves in order to feel better? So far, I think our good has outweighed our mistakes, but for how long? This whole thing just seems too big. I’m still no closer to understanding the Thassilonian curse on Mother, and now it seems like an entire Fort may be under siege or worse by another cultist. I pray Desna knows what she’s doing, and any other goodly gods that happen to be listening. Not that it seems like they really care about this corner of the world, with all that is going on.
(Spoken to an uncomprehending bird)
It begins again. I came here for peace, to get away, to let my mind heal from Storval and… elsewhere. How many allies do I have yet to lose? How many that I can’t save? How many more walls broken, homes burned? Valani, I don’t know if I can do this again.
And they’re going back towards Storval. Am I even capable of going with them? Could I live with myself if I didn’t? I just want to run, to go someplace where there aren’t any thrice-cursed goblins chewing up innocent people, no ogre-smashed bodies, someplace where the towns have been thoughtfully laid out and no one tortures anyone else for fun. Or for any reason.
(She sits silently for awhile)
They’re so brave. The half-elf, going alone – even if only for a little while – for the sake of another. I was so struck with fear for him that it didn’t even occur to me to have summoned allies waiting at the cave mouth. At least it ended with Shalelu alive and without any of the rest of us dying, though Osanna came close. I’m thankful she had the sense to retreat; some don’t. Poor Galstehk…
I have no idea how the hellknight and the paladin have fought alongside each other for longer than a day. Perhaps his respect can be earned. I’m not sure it’s worth it; it’s not like I haven’t put up with his sort of attitude before, and what’s one person’s opinion in the face of preserving innocent life? I suppose I should ask Osanna how she got him to stop giving her the hairy eyeball. Assuming I can keep my shit together long enough to stay with them. Valani help me.
Osanna tests the pull of her newly enchanted bow and lets loose an arrow that pierces clean through the target. She nods and smiles.
Greed. Murder. Corruption. Butchery. Eldritch creatures of days long past. I’ve found all of these and more in Magnimar. This is a testament to an old saying in the scriptures. “In the absence of light, darkness propagates.” There is so little light in this city. So little hope. Her house remains empty. Iomedae’s forces remain stalwart but neigh unable to influence change. The good people are strangled and oppressed by the inadequacies of elected officials and ambivalent upholders of the law, then silently extorted and murdered by the lurkers in the darkness that are allowed to flourish.
She then sits and begins painstakingly polishing her newly imbued armor and shield, content with the accurate engraving of the Angelic Ankh on the breastplate.
I am profoundly needed here. I can feel it at the very core of my being. It pains me beyond measure to know of the injustices that these poor people must endure on a daily basis and to know that Her house is dark, abandoned, and absent of the up-turned smiles of the Sarenites of the west. Yet I am compelled to return to Sandpoint once again so that I might guide its people in what way I may and to see my companions through to the end of this journey.
I admit to myself now that it is my hope that I am able to return here to Magnimar after all loose ends are tied up in Sandpoint and begin the no doubt arduous task of rekindling Her faith and…Gods help me…assisting The Hellknights in combating the corrupt forces at work here. I have done what I have set out to do upon my arrival to Sandpoint and my joining with this wayward flock of mine. My friends are safe and hale as is the town of Sandpoint and its people, and my friends are strong enough to walk their own paths under the sun. Her faith is burgeoning now and the townsfolk seem…happier. Indeed, our numbers have more than doubled since the time of my arrival!
Something in the very pit of my soul tells me that I am merely dreaming. The machinations of Greed are still at work and I sense that my stay in Sandpoint will be short. And is that selfish of me? To dream that Her plans for my life coincide with my own? If so, well, I will say that I’m far from perfect and inside this woman is a little girl with her face upturned toward the noonday sun with closed eyes and a smiling face.
She the dons her armor and gear along with the newly acquired belt with a bull’s face on the buckle and makes ready to travel north.
Dear me. I thought they said that full plate was supposed to be heavy.