I promised to keep Kronos safe and I vowed to see the plans of the Queens thwarted. I failed in both. At the moment when I should take action, I lay on the floor, moments away from reviving myself from the harm done to my body and mind in the final battle. But I digress, better to begin where I last left off this narration.
Corpses litter the cavern. I find myself relating to the rest of the band the truth of the creatures we’ve fought, the hidden masters behind this cult of Khyber and all others like it in order to better appreciate the nature of the threat we face and the depth of the danger. I speak the name of the Lord of Eyes, the daelkyr Belashyrra, hoping that knowledge will curb their willingness to perform the deed asked of them by the Daughters of Sora Kell. My narration over, we prepare to continue. The hole in the ground, torn open upon the eye’s destruction, beckons us ever deeper into Khyber. I spare a last look to the carnage we leave behind us to make sure that the symbiote tentacle that I crushed lies still. Satisfied, I turn to the stair and descend, alongside Gorbir. Darkness is heavy and so the decarch lights a sunrod but its light is swallowed by the blackness.
“I’ve exeprienced it before, there are areas of Khyber that smother light,” says Nairo and if anyone harboured doubts about where we are, the cyran dispels them. A memory of light awakens and my need is answered as my chest compartment opens and my docent sheds bright light in this dark place. Sourced by life, my light is dimmed but not swallowed and so we walk on. The descent is impossibly long, this dungeon wasn’t made by a mortal mind for mortal needs, that much is evident. Khyber dragonshards line the walls and ceiling and reflect the light, all of them pitted and worthless. Eerie and disquieting wails can be heard in the distance. We descend single-file, squeeze through the narrow passages, alert at first but fatigue sets in at the long, silent march.
The Dragon Below invites us to our doom.
It seems that a lifetime has passed as we descend ever deeper into the cold blackness in silence. Finally, the stairway opens to a chamber, the opening outlined by a dim red light. We step into the cavern to see two dolgrim sitting by a pool of crimson liquid, the source of this radiance. Our senses and reactions dulled from the descent, we’re slow to draw weapons and assume a battle stance which gives us the time to see that there’s no need. The two creatures ignore us and carry on a conversation with each other and with themselves in a strange language. The memory of dolgrim creation provides the answer as the unfortunate creatures originated from two goblins fleshcrafted together. Attempts at communication fail but it’s clear that we won’t be attacked.
Kronos’ interest is captured by the pool and he spends some time studying the viscous red liquid. In the meantime, the rest of us search the cavern and discover one intact dragonshard.
“This, this is the blood of Khyber which runs throughout the Dragon Below,” the apprentice proclaims and continues with an eager voice, “I’ve read texts that mention the restorative power of the blood. We should take advantage of it.”
Some of us are more reluctant than others to accept Kronos’ assurance at face value but in the end, the trust in the band overcomes the reluctance and we gather around him as he attempts to harness the power of the blood. Kronos kneels before the pool, his eyes closed, his poise tense; Slowly he rises, whispering, his arms spread wide and his eyes snap open to reveal black orbs. Faster than the eye can follow, Hark whips a hand crossbow, already loaded, from within the fold of his cloak and aims the bolt at Kronos’ neck. I overestimated the trust that Hark has invested in the band it seems. Noone reacts to this, some afraid to disrupt the ritual, others unwilling to provoke a reaction from Hark or Kronos. Like the others, I let the scene play out. In a few heartbeats, Hark lowers the bow. Kronos, unperturbed by Hark’s gesture, weaves threads of energy around us. In a rush of numbing cold that steals the breath from my companions, we are rejuvenated, our vitality is restored for lack of a better description. With deft movements, the apprentice fills two vials with crimson liquid,
“within them I captured the last glimmer of the blood’s power. It fades now and is gone but not for long, perhaps a day.”
They are akin to healing potions, he informs us and we share them. Kronos’ display of skill was masterful, his manipulation of the pool’s power, a feat to be both admired and feared. My suspicions deepen.
The ritual concluded, I turn to Hark. Noone has anything to say but if this matter is left unaddressed it will shimmer and boil beneath the surface. Better to deal with it now than let it fester.
“What are your reasons for your act?”
“I was afraid that Kronos was possessed and would turn against us. I couldn’t allow that,” is Hark’s answer and I can’t find fault with his logic. Kronos’ behaviour has apparently disturbed the swordsman as well as me. Since the apprentice has nothing to say on the matter, there’s no point in pursuing it further,
“You had reason then.”
A weak response but the best I could manage. The bitterness and anger of losing your home, your country and your people runs deep in the surviving cyrans. Four years of mourning, alone and forsaken, all that you know turned to dust and the future empty. I see now how it is, the earliest memory after the fall, lost. They are lost. It’s not an excuse for anything but it will do, for now.
Preoccupied as I am with the tension and my thoughts, I disregard the dolgrims and I’m content to leave them unharmed. The others share my sentiment and so we all move towards the tunnel mouth that yawns on the cavern’s far wall to continue on this quest to rescue Talia ir’Markelhay. Even Gorbir and the brothers seem to have had enough blood and death for one night. Unbidden but prioritized by the survival codex, the cycle of tactical analysis that’s always running in my mind-matrix comes to the fore and the folly of our oversight is made clear. The dolgrims probably believe us members of their cult, else how could we have reached this far? A village like Blackroot, in the midst of this forlorn and empty land hasn’t offered any challenge recently and the aberrant servants of Belashyrra have grown complacent. The logic inescapable, the threat re-evaluated, I turn to the band,
“Halt friends, we must not leave the dolgrims alive. They block our line of retreat and we could find them at our backs should we engage in battle further on. I’d prefer to spare their lives but it’s clear that the deed must not be avoided,”
“No, they’ve offered us no challenge and are oblivious to us. I’m loathe to attack by surprise even creatures such as these. I strike at the front, never on the back,” says Gorbir with conviction, surprising me with his sentiment. I wouldn’t expect a goliath to follow a code of honour and demand fair warning be given to his enemy, like many a knight I’ve known in times past. The brothers are also reluctant but for more pragmatic reasons. Despite the decarch’s protests, I know that once we engage, he’ll give his all therefore I don’t worry. In order to address the worries of the rest, we follow the dark tunnel for a while to make sure that no enemies will be alerted and rush to aid the dolgrims. The tunnel snakes on for a long distance and is empty so we turn back. We emerge into the cavern again, our intentions clear. The dolgrims react without hesitation or fear and turn the table on us as each of them ejects another dolgrim from his body with a sick tearing of flesh. The aberrants demonstrate their dual nature in a most horrible display.
Despite this surprise, the result of the battle is a foregone conclusion. One dolgrim is torn in twain from skull to waist and falls in the pool, another is overcome by arrows and eldritch blasts. They fight well but they fall, one by one. Kronos performs devastating attacks and merges with the shadows, appearing and disappearing at will, across the cavern in the course of the battle. He hadn’t revealed such abilities before and he comments afterwards about the empowering effect that he derives from these caverns or perhaps from the smothering darkness, I couldn’t quite make out his jubilant mumblings. The deed done, another cavern is littered with the corpses of Belashyrra’s creatures. We move on, blood on our hands, blood on our steel, blood marking our path onwards.
We go ever forward, this tunnel is like the others, impossibly long, wide at times, narrow at others under the most oppressive darkness we’ve encountered so far since even my docent’s bright light is swallowed beyond a few paces around me. The ground is spongy at times and it gets spongier the further we descend into the Dragon Below. I replay in my mind-matrix a battle of the past, thousands of warforged fighting on the fields of Ren’shalla, fields covered by the corpses of slain giants, an uneven and treacherous ground of decomposing mortality. This is what it was like to walk on flesh. We reach the end of the tunnel and a chamber of unknown dimensions yawns before us, my light unable to pierce the total blackness for more than six paces around me.
Suddenly, Kronos collapses, his eyes become black orbs once more and he vomits liquid darkness. Somehow, the darkness coming from inside him is blacker that Khyber’s eternal night around us. I shut down for half a heartbeat, my fear constricting the ichor arterials but my emergency core jumpstarts the flow again. He mumbles about the strong flow of arcane in this chamber, “the power is overwhelming,” he says and I hear longing in his voice instead of fear. This proves to be our only warning as a cloud of darkness envelops us and my wan light dims even more. I raise my shield to keep out the dark, Gorbir roars beside me and Nairo yells “a Living Darkness” and then I float inside the light-eater, blind, wrapped in tendrils that suck the life out of me. A paroxysm of panic overtakes me and I fight for life. Fortunately for me, the tendrils are solid and can be wrestled. As I thrash about, I strike the floor and without a moment lost, I push with all my strength, vaulting into the air and wriggling out of the creature’s grasp. What follows in this chamber is an animal battle, blind, screaming to each other, stumbling towards sound, gathering around my light whenever possible and all the while throwing ourselves at the living darkness, striking the insubstantial demon, screaming in pain and fear and warning, swallowed into it and spat out again and again. Like a pack of rabid dogs against a bear, striking individually, put down brutally but not quitting.
The demon is unstoppable, its movement in the chamber unseen and therefore unpredictable, its embrace deadly. I stumble into a pitiful light generated by Gorbir’s flaming axe, glorious in my eyes and I’m heartened by the added advantage as we pool our light but the time comes when defeat is made clear – wounded, dispirited, on the verge of collapse. I call for a retreat to the tunnel’s mouth, hoping that the living dark is somehow confined to this chamber and cannot pursue us. A fool’s hope is all I have to extract the band from this slaughter. Kronos is the one that give us hope for victory at this, our darkest hour. What happens then will always be a mystery, a fit topic for debate among the learned and the magi. Darkness is summoned in the chamber by the apprentice, a darkness so deep, so total that illuminates the living darkness by virtue of its greater stature! There is no light, there’s only a clash of unfathomable dark against the deepest black and the price of defeat is to be seen by mortal eyes and be confirmed as the lesser. My light is swallowed but it matters not for I can finally see my enemy. I charge into the fray, alone, blind and all of my companions do the same – animals going for the throat. The tendrils grab me and I see no more.
The damage is repaired enough for basic functions to commence and I open my eyes. The others are alive and the darkness lives no more. I was defeated but the band triumphed. Everyone is jubilant and happy to be alive. We lie for a while until the horror of it all fades and life returns to exhausted, deadened limbs. Kronos is in a talkative mood (when isn’t he?) and he offers answers to my unspoken questions. He has agreed to a pact with an unknown entity. One thing was asked of him and he complied and two more will be asked in the future. In return for his compliance, he’s been given power. My suspicions are confirmed, Kronos has bowed before an entity and given himself over to darkness. No doubt, as others before him, he believes the pact to be worthwhile, the power rewarding. He’s made his choice. Just when I thought that I’d heard enough, he makes a shocking revelation; the first request made of him was to visit the Lonely Tower where he found and awakened me. I regret that I had any part to play in this corruption of innocence. I feel caught in the skein of destiny but I will untangle myself and then dues will be paid, for making me a part of this corruption if for nothing else.
A few words are exchanged and it’s made clear that the others are willing to continue and perform Alande’s quest. I’m saddened to hear that they’re still willing to perform the task set by the Queens as well. I shouldn’t blame them really; they’ve been lured by promises of glory, bathed in the presence of legendary power and enticed by words of prophecy. What man wouldn’t be eager to see it through to the end, hoping for reward, for greatness and the goodwill of those greater than him? Gorbir explains at length about his duty to find the Coat of Eyes and remove it since he gave his word to the Queens. The fact that both ours and Talia’s survival hinged upon our acceptance of the demands of the Hags is nothing to him. I marvel at his loyalty to word and oath. It cannot be called a virtue because it seems to be thoughtlessly given but it is to be admired.
The path leads ever deeper. We walk away from the chamber of the living darkness and tread on ever softer ground, on a daelkyr’s flesh. Hark even claims to hear a heartbeat when he puts ear to ground. I keep my light as bright as I can but it’s dimmer than torchlight, enough to see our way but nothing more. This tunnel leads to another chamber soon enough and we hear the harsh voices of dolgrim coming from it. After so many challenges won, after the hard-fought defeat of the Darkness-that-Lives, the band is overconfident, drunk with victory and heedless of danger. Before the rest of us have a chance to act, first Kronos and then Nairo charge into the chamber. They pay dearly for their recklessness. Three dolgrim bombard them with bolts, a dolgaunt eye-priest lets loose its psychic powers upon them but even worse are the hungry maws, opening up unexpectedly in the fleshy surface of the cavern and attempting to feast on those who come close enough, Kronos and Nairo in this case. The rest of us charge desperately into the fray. I take the lone dolgaunt on the left corner, narrowsly avoiding a hungry maw while Hark pulls Nairo and Kronos away from the mouths. Gorbir rushes the two dolgrim to the right and pushes one into a maw which opens wide and slowly devours the unfortunate creature. Our battle here is accompanied by the pitiful screams of the unfortunate dolgrim that’s eaten alive and the sound of his bones being crunched and his flesh being torn.
In the end, this cavern of flesh is also littered with the corpses of our slain enemies and the uncaring hungry maws. In the end, it’s another battle won while the object of our quest remains elusive, ever at the end of the next tunnel. Many are chastised by this battle and so I make a speech to the band, to lift their spirits,
“This dungeon is a crucible, a test of sinew and will and with each victory we grow stronger and bolder while our enemies lessen and weaken. Our course is set and the need for words is past, our triumph is inevitable.” With morale high and with precious lessons learned, we move on, down the next tunnel, deeper into Belashyrra’s prison. When the tunnel opens again into an irregular cavern where dragonshards reflect the light, we’re hailed by Toraash’Dorrm, Reeve of Blackroot,
“Outlanders, your futile battle is over. Lay down your arms or the prisoner will be slain. The Harvest is upon us. Come, lets us show you the blessings of Belashyrra and teach you to see with new eyes.”
The scene that greets our eyes is grim. Toraash wears armour of raw muscle, studded with blinking eyes and a dolgaunt stands by his side, his tentacles raised high and an unconscious woman bound and gagged at his feet. It can only be Talia. Human, orc and half-orc cultists, seven of them, stand ready to fight and die for their demented masters. Galvanized by the sight of Talia and the danger she’s in, I rush forward shouting a battle cry and slam into the blind dolgaunt, pushing it away from the bound girl. I turn to Talia next and inspire her to strive and never yield, bringing her to consciousness. “Toraash wears the Coat of Eyes,” I warn the band before I’m surrounded by the cultists. I stand over Talia’s body and invite punishment in order to save her. Obsidian daggers and tentacles bite into my stone and steel, maddening whispers and psychic phantasms torture my psyche and each heartbeat is unsure if the next will come. The band joins the fray in earnest and a chaotic battle ensues with me at the center, occupying a vulnerable position, surrounded by the enemy and unable to do anything about it as I fight for survival even as the others fight for victory. Hark pulls Talia away from the fray and the fanatics pay him no mind, focused on bringing me down as they are. Alas, the battle for me ends with a cultist’s dagger strike below my breastplate’s rim, straight to the wooden fibers of my abdomen. I fall but the band fights on.
Although I didn’t witness the battle, I heard of every deed in the following days. They were magnificent, standing tall and unbowed by the numbers and powers of the opposition. Gorbir carried the day, a rock upon whom spell and blade struck again and again but courage and strength are his birthright and he endured. Thanks to his efforts, the rest of the band mowed down the villains, the minions of the lord of madness. Hark’s swords carved a bloody swath of carnage, Nairo’s arrows were a message of pain and Kronos’ spells spoke and kept a promise of doom. Even Talia participated in this drama, freeing herself with a dead cultist’s glass dagger and throwing herself at Toraash, her tormentor and would-be executioner. Hers was the final strike on the mad orc, a cut of the neck, the gushing of blood and spit upon the dying reeve, “I told you that I’d kill you, you bastard,” were the last words he heard, as fitting an epitaph as any for Toraash’Dorrm.
However, that moment was a beginning as well as an ending. Upon Toraash’s last breath, his flesh armour, the Coat of Eyes, detached from the corpse and crawled on the ground, eyeing the band. Kronos stated that only Belashyrra could have crafted this but that didn’t deter him from accepting it and the power it offered. It didn’t deter him from fulfilling the demand of the Daughters of Sora Kell. The foolish apprentice, although ‘warlock’ would by now be a better description, let the creature crawl on his body and merge with his flesh. His screams fill the air and rend the soul.
Before my revival operation is completed, I’m given a healing potion and the mystical liquid replenishes me. I regain my senses only to see that despite our victory, I have failed. Kronos is on his hands and knees, screaming pitifully in pain.
“Was it his choice or was it forced upon him?” I ask although I don’t want to hear either answer,
“His choice,” comes the answer and I feel regret but not pity for him. I reserve all my pity for myself for I failed two vows. I hear the silence once the screams end and I see him stand up and transform the Coat into various forms until finally settling in a simple, hooded cloak. His smile seems innocent still but it can’t be, not anymore. The fool. Overwhelmed, I question my strength and my resolve and it will be some time before I forgive myself. Talia is alive and well and in that at least, I find comfort. Young and reckless, stubborn and opinionated as was to be expected. The following events pass in a haze, my failure leaving me numb and unresponsive. Beyond this cavern lies a chamber where alcoves line the walls and coffins studded with pulsing dragonshards are placed within them. Terrified villagers are trapped in some of these coffins behind glass panes. Mystical energies flow from the coffins to a crystal outcropping in the center of the chamber. This is Belashyrra’s prison, her malignant presence is felt as we struggle to free the people. Our efforts spare the people from their dark fate, from having their souls harvested to sate the daelkyr’s hunger and their bodies fleshcrafted to serve its demented desires. We lead the people out of Khyber, to Eberron, with Belashyrra’s rage haunting us, spurring us onward.
Kronos wasn’t controlled by the Coat as I feared, he didn’t turn against us and so I’m left to wonder whether these were his decisions or if the daelkyr allowed him free reign in order to gain an agent on Eberron. Only time will tell.
The return of the people to Blackroot leads to a tearful reunion with family and friends. The new reeve and the villagers are more forthcoming and hospitable and we pass a quiet, restful night, followed by a sumptuous feast in our honour. Talia and the villagers fill in some gaps in this drama. Toraash was harvesting people for his daelkyr master for the last ten years. Blackroot sits on a manifest zone and upon the alignment of Mabar and Xoriat, a deep gate opens and the Harvest takes place. I seize the moment during the feast to speak to all the assembled villagers and try to persuade them to relocate their village, to escape the gate that opens into Khyber at the night of the conjunction. The reeve refuses to leave the place of his birth and the reeve speaks for all of them.
After the feast we’re led to a statue of a knight and we’re told the story of Blackroot’s founding. As village lore has it, centuries ago a knight fought a horror at this location to free the people that the horror had enslaved. The knight won the battle and bade the people to build a village at this location. The villagers built a statue in the knight’s honour and he left something hidden within, to be offered to the saviours of the village, should it ever be saved from a great evil. So it has passed down orally from reeve to reeve since then. We’re taken to the statue and the strangeness that accompanies us like a shadow, is felt again. Kronos and Gorbir recognize the statue as the one that stands at the falls of Fallcrest only this one is cruder. They both agree it’s the same statue, the same man. The reeve with trepidation and reverence follows prescribed actions handed down in the oral tradition and presses two stones on the base. The stones fall inward, and his groping hands pull out a thin and long object bundled in rotted rags. The villagers pull their caps off and kneel and mumble prayers as the reeve leaves the bundle at our feet and kneels before us. We unwrap the object and see an unstrung compound long bow, lovingly made and untouched by the ravages of time.
Nairo reflexively reaches down to take it and at the last moment he stops and stands still for a few heartbeats, wrestling with himself. Coming to the decision that he should allow the band to have a say in this he turns to us and meets our eyes. His rights confirmed, he takes the bow, strings it with one of his spare cords and with a deft movement, he pulls. He cuts a striking figure, the bow’s proportions seemingly tailored to his height and length of arm. A gasp escapes the villagers and some of the band as an arrow appears out of nowhere at the moment that Nairo settles his pull, an arrow of magic. Allowed to fly, the arrow strikes true and drives deep into the trunk of a blackwood before disappearing. The tree’s wound is all too real though. Pleased with this gift, we say our thanks to the reeve and the villagers and are answered by cheers.
With nothing more to be said, we take our leave. The band wants to return the same way we arrived, despite my urgings to cross the Marches and enter Breland at the southern end of the Graywalls. So be it. It will be a chance to gauge the reaction of the Queens and pay a visit to Orcbone Keep besides. Our journey through Droaam is uneventful. We’re watched of course but there’s no threat and no contact. Every step I take in this land is a step taken in the shadow of failure. The Queens cackle in their cavern palace, to see their will done, their desires obeyed at no cost to themselves, at nothing given and nothing lost except by the pawns they used. Talia and the others are pleased with themselves and happy with the sealing of the treaty between Droaam and Fallcrest. I share neither sentiment.
Upon entering Breland, I take my leave of the band to visit the commander of Orcbone Keep. The others and Talia disapprove of my decision. I can understand why the band disapproves but Talia surprises me. I see in her the current generation of Breland. Untouched by war, raised in the final years when Breland’s borders were inviolate, Boranel’s armies fighting far away, news of their victories expected and received. There were no defeats, only setbacks as Breland was on the path to claim lordship over the five nations. There was no tragedy when the letter that the son was killed in action was read, only grief and mourning. By then war was a profession, not a calling. Raised with war as a romance story, the bounty of the land and the daily routine the same as at peacetime. She thinks that speaking to an officer of the army that guards her and her own from the monsters of Droaam is a mistake. She thinks that I’ll endanger the ridiculous treaty struck with the Queens. Instead of turning to her King for help, she thinks she can and should handle it herself. I say nothing, what’s there to say? I turn away with a simple farewell and ride to Orcbone as the band continues to Fallcrest.
Grim and functional, the Keep rises from a bare plain, a lonely guardian of Breland. Wide ditches that channel the besiegers into columns, easily slaughtered by cavalry are constructed around the keep to make up for the utter lack of natural defences. I’m received courteously but guardedly, surrender my weapons and I’m granted an audience with Lord Veirner ir’Tajar, commander of the Keep and its infantry. A hawk-nosed man with an aristocratic air, he listens to me giving my credentials with a calculating expression. I give my name and rank, the names of officers I served under and state my ignorance of how I survived the Day of Mourning and of events of the last four years.
“A moment if you please Book, or Crow if you prefer,” says Veirner and directs his aide to summon decarch Stent. We wait in silence, the lord sipping a goblet of wine while I stare at the mountains out the narrow window. A knock on the door and at the lord’s invitation, a grizzled shifter with amber eyes walks in, stands at attention and salutes. Veirner runs a tight ship.
“At ease decarch. You served under Bastion in the final incursion into Cyre, did you not?”
“That’s correct Lord.”
“5th Legion, 1st Century, do you remember its commanding officer and whether or not she survived?”
“It was a ‘he’ sir, not a ‘she.’ A warforged by the name of Crow, a name that did the rounds at campfires. I fought with him against the 18th Cyran Legion at Tremel’Kaas. He couldn’t have survived the Day of Mourning sir. Unlike the bulk of the 2nd Legion and the 4th’s light cavalry, the whole of the 5th was deep into the border,” Stent throws curious glances my way but I can tell that he doesn’t recognize me. I remember him though, a ferocious fighter, only a soldier then, a few weeks for me but more than four years for him.
“Is this warforged, the centurion you spoke of Stent? Do you recognize his ghulra?” Stent eyes me and thinks for a moment, but in the end he shakes his head, a hint of apology in his eyes,
“No sir, I can’t rightly say that I do, I met him only once and he had his helmet on,”
“You said that this Crow was an oft-spoken name so any number of warforged could have heard of him and adopted the name,”
“I suppose so sir,”
“That is all Stent, thank you,” with a salute, Stent leaves.
“Continue your report Book, if you please,”
I continue with an edited narration of recent events. I speak of my suspicions about the presence of droaami spies in Fallcrest and possibly the rest of Breland but I focus on my first-hand experience and analysis of the Queens, their strengths and weaknesses as were revealed to me, the location of their cavern palace just 5 hours from the border and the disposition of their forces there.
“Valuable information Book, to be sure. I hope that your former credentials check out and I can give weight to your report. It will take some time to check with the royal archives in Wroat. If you are who you say you are then you have my thanks for your service to the crown. If you aren’t then you’d better have given me a fake identity because I will send word to Fallcrest for your arrest. You are free to go.”
I stand up, snap to attention and salute. Veirner stands as well but doesn’t return my salute,
“This is not necessary Book, you aren’t in the military chain of command, even if you once were,”
“The archives surely list me as missing-in-action sir, but I was never discharged from the army,”
After a long look, Veirner returns my salute and I leave his office. I pass the night in the keep in familiar surroundings and familiar faces, no matter that they’re strangers. To dice and drink and grumble around the campfire or in the barracks with brelish soldiers was my life until a few days ago, until the cursed Day of Mourning. All the soldiers I led into battle, all the soldiers that I tried to keep alive, all of them gone, their graves empty. Another failure.
There were times in years past that I wished I could shed tears, but I see no use to an expression of grief anymore. Grief, pain and suffering are abundant in this world, the evil that men do upon their brothers is a constant of mortal life. I’m used to all this, they can’t touch me anymore, not deep inside where it matters. Failure though, this bastard always brings me low. ‘Take from me Love, take from me Life but I beg of you to spare me from Failure,’ from the song that the bard Andra composed for Karrn the Conqueror. He wasn’t spared from failure, no one ever is. Times like these I wish for flesh so that I can find oblivion in a bottle and stay there, times like these I curse my makers. I leave the soldiers to do the drinking for me this night, I’m grateful for that at least.