It’s odd, thinking back on it. I never wanted to come to this place – when Bill told us that Runeforge was located on a separate plane, one that no one had ever returned from, and that we may never be able to return from, my first instinct was to run. I couldn’t return to a place like that – a nightmarish pit with no escape. Just like Abaddon. But I couldn’t abandon them, either. Not after everything we’d been through together. Not after everything we’d seen, and knew would come to pass if we didn’t stop the Runelords. They had the power to destroy everything – everyone we knew and loved and care about. Our homes weren’t safe. Varisia isn’t safe.
Home. What was I talking about? I didn’t even have a home. My entire life, I never truly felt like I belonged. The streets of Magnimar, the Balthazar manor, the Rusty Dragon in Sandpoint. Even the temple of Sarenrae in Magnimar. All of them were welcoming, at one point or another, but none of them were home. I’ve never had a home.
How very odd that I would feel most welcome, most at home, in the halls of this place that I dreaded coming to just days ago. But it’s true; even upon first setting foot in this particular passage, that once belonged to Alaznist – even more ironic, as she was the one responsible for the curse that tormented me for so long – I felt a certain…affinity. Like I belonged here. Now that we – I – have defeated the previous keeper of this hall, the feeling has only grown stronger. This is my home.
It’s not just a sense of belonging, however. Something else happened when I struck the evoker down. I felt a power flow through me, one I had never experienced before. A peculiar rune faded from the previous keeper’s forehead, and appeared on mine, and the warriors who live here and had previously stood against us now call me ‘lord’ – hah! It is apparently some inherited power and title that is passed from one champion to the next when the previous is defeated in combat, and the warriors who defend these halls swear fealty to whomever bears it. Xander said it seemed similar to what happened to him when he read the cursed book and was taken by the soul of Zutha.
I admit, I am torn. I feel there is an incredible amount of potential from this power…but at what cost? Xander nearly lost his body, mind, and soul when he tried to take Zutha’s power, and I was the most adamant among us that he should have asked us for help rather than taking on such a great burden himself. The others are wary and worried of this newfound power I have inherited, perhaps rightly so. But at the same time, this is not a Runelord’s soul that has possessed me, as happened to Xander. I don’t fully understand what I can do with this power – I think Bill could help me, if he would but try, but again he is reluctant and I am hesitant to experiment on my own, with as little knowledge of the arcane arts that I have.
I can’t help but feel that this power could be used for good, though. The summoning circle that the evoker used…it supposedly has never been used to summon anything other than demons and other terrible creatures of evil. But has anyone ever tried? Rune magic, or sin magic, or whatever it’s called that these Runelords wield, was born from something better, something good and pure and virtuous. The Runelords corrupted it, but could we not reverse the effect so that the magic could be powered by righteousness once more? It may be a vain attempt, but we will never know unless we try, and we may not be able to fight against the Runelords on their level unless we have magic as strong as their’s.