Land of the False Star

Again in Ravental —

:: the journal entry is broken into segments, as if added when possible or on a whim, differentiated by the fluctuating & implied mood of the handwriting. ::

Back behind the stifling enclosure of stone walls & dubious safety. Our companions celebrate having managed to not only complete but ultimately survive our ‘heroic quest.’ The human lord does us the practical courtesy of tending to our injuries before ‘rewarding’ us with the opportunity to become lax & complacent, to become fat on meat, ale & the inflated pride of this underwhelming victory. At least I get a bath out of it, I suppose — that & my missing property back, as the questionably sensible little halfling had a spontaneous fit of remorse after attempting to pilfer from her paladin ‘friend’ & returned it all. Bemusing.

I hold some hope that the lord might be capable of providing information regarding the mysteries that awaiting being investigated beyond Ravental — more information on this ‘Jester’ & who it might serve, stories of Forbandheim & the strongholds that simple folk dare speak of in superstitious whisper, hopefully even of the structure, that nearly beckoning tower, that this group seems content enough to overlook in their ‘adventures’ — or even of Ravental, given how this place seems to hold a precious stock in secrets. Simply to have an opportunity to discuss what I’ve, until now, only been capable of knowing through distant study would be thrilling… although I doubt that those who have spent their lives hiding behind walls from the terrors lurking outside are the sort of reasonable & intellectual voices that I ultimately crave. The human lord didn’t even seem capable of speaking of the mere concept of magic without fearful ignorance lending a sneer to it.

Still, it may be that if the conversation inspires his fear, if he can paint a compelling enough portrait of the boogeymen merely waiting to pounce on the ‘hapless innocents’ of this ‘grand city,’ the paladin will feel recklessly inspired enough to investigate. Although I am left continually puzzling over him, uncertain of whether I should be wary or no; this paladin is the same man who will leap to violent resolution when witnessing a bartender being harassed, but turn around & pet the halfling thief on the head as indulgently as a wayward child when she is caught having stolen from him & the rest of her companions. I find myself incapable of determining where the line of his tolerance exists. It is unpleasant, having to wonder if he’ll attempt to one day destroy me or not depending on precisely what mood he is in.

We must hold court over dinner. Tedious. Darius & I have left our ‘luxuries’ in Mist Veil. Perhaps the human lord will know it’s honor enough to share a table with elves, useless fripperies aside.

:: break. ::

The ‘adventurers’ squabble over gold. I suppose when the measure of one’s worth is in one’s material belongings, such riches hold some degree of weight. More wine for me, then, while they debate who’ll get what & how much more significant it will make them feel, since studying it out of the question.

I feel the poison still circulating; it’s sluggish, wearisome. Inconvenient. Intriguing. Like a whisper of death residing in me, so weak as to be inconsequential, yet nonetheless possessing the potential to become if properly nourished — & I wish I could feed it, that I knew enough, were powerful enough to strengthen it, to direct it, to host it like a child inside of me, to discover what I could make of it, what it could make of me.

Some would label it a ‘suicidal’ notion, I’m sure.
Others would know better. Others would understand.

:: break. ::

It is Darius’ ill-fortune to serve me. The Magocracy of Mist Veil does not swerve from its traditions, even if it all but curses a guardian to swear his life to protect a wizard whose passion exists in death. It’s exquisitely manipulative. They will not — cannot — refuse me my learning, but they can disapprove of it &, through their ‘laws’, effectively attempt to rein in my potential with Darius. He is as much my responsibility as I am his — is it not our obligations to others that serve to curb the selfishness of too much self-discovery?

It pains him whenever I am injured, whenever I come to harm while in his charge; he takes it as a personal blow, a failing on his part, evidence that he is not performing his duties as adamantly as our culture demands. Nevermind that it’s so often my own fault. No, I could try to endlessly convince him that he isn’t to blame for my actions, but he, being trained, being conditioned as he was, would never (possibly could never) accept it. He cannot allow ‘excuses’ for his supposed flaws; he never could, not even as a boy.

Yet I cannot explain it to him. I cannot explain that death is an acquaintance, that it & I have known one another for a while now, but that it still remains, frustratingly, enigmatic. That to master something, one must know something, one must touch it, gaze into it, wear it like an embrace or another skin. That for all some view death as an ending, it needn’t be so, it absolutely isn’t so, that impossibilities are the realm of the unimaginative. That there’s more to it, that there’s substance buried in the shadow, all within reach if one is brave enough to grasp for it. I can master nothing if I cower at the prospect of death — if I do, a simple acquaintance is all it will ever be. A life of ruined, stunted potential: that is a grim fate.

He would not understand. I cannot explain, am weary of trying to explain. It doesn’t matter. It isn’t his duty to understand & for all that it is continually selfish, the possibility of frightening him away — my childhood companion, my solitary friend — is not something I’d ever want to actually consider.

At least my now having a bow will provide him some small relief. Temporarily, at least.

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