Upon our return from the caves beneath what’s left of the Keep north of Secomber, it was nearly all I could do to meet with Captain O’Neil before requesting that Mildah draw me a bath. I needed to speak with the good Captain though; he was better than his word, a full three thousand men were laboring in the city streets when we rode through. The loss of his ability to fight on the front lines weighs heavy on his mind, but it is fortunate for me that he will be here to run things. He is a good man, and has a steady head on his shoulders.
The bath was wonderful, it may be the last chance I have to enjoy the luxury of a real bath in a real tub so I took full advantage. It was slightly startling to have Kain stroll in munching on a piece of bread and offer to heal me. Luckily I was too tired to care; I don’t want to seem prudish, especially in front of one who I hardly know. First impressions are lasting impressions after all and it wouldn’t do for a leader to appear shy. I attempted to requisition his commission from the Captain but was informed that he was not yet truly among the ranks of The Reborn. Must remember to ask him to join us tomorrow.
I awoke sitting just inside the door, Shadowsliver leaning comfortably against my shoulder. The towel I had wrapped around myself the night had long since slid to the floor and Vilhelm responded with a typical complaint about my state of undress. I laughed and told him to take a bath because he smelled terrible. Someone had left me some new clothes and cleaned my underthings, I would put gold on Mildah who seems to be worth her considerable weight in it, and although the green and gold trimmed red wrap and breeches are a little ostentatious for my taste they seem to fit tolerably well. Relieved as my old clothes were demolished when the building fell on me.
Practice was strange this morning. My first time running the Korumn without my hair, my balance felt off. I never thought of myself as a vain person, but I miss that hair. I used to cut it short before I met Jorda, but her gift seemed to restore it to full length overnight and I had long since ceased attempting to crop it. I’m sad to see it go, almost as though it’s the last vestige of my devotion to my Goddess, although it is nice to feel the winds tickle the back of my neck again.
Kain was staring at me the whole time I was practicing; or at least he was watching when I began and still watching when I finished. I appreciate his healing arts enough to overlook the odd behavior. I suppose a woman who is a warrior is a strange enough sight to most even though it has been some time since I encountered anyone who took notice. I asked him if he knew of the Korumn and elaborated to ask about the Dance of Battle when he looked confused. It was too much to hope that perhaps he knew some of the rudiments of Weaponmagic, I still feel a pang when I think of my Glarian. I wonder where he is.
Holt told me that he and Orose had sighted the Caravan coming a few miles out of town. At first I was overjoyed to know that they had made it safely, but then he warned me that the sixteen year old girl who had been possessed by Morde rode at Mistress Ping’s side. He insists that she is alive and that Morde no longer possesses her body, but I am still wary. Morde is not to be trifled with. Holt, in spite of his experience, has never seen a God die. I confess I am swayed by the strength of his convictions however. The man has some ability to cloud my normally clear mind with clutter. Something about the way he looks at me is distracting; I often wonder what he sees.
Captain O’Neil asked us not to go today. It was difficult for me to turn down such a plea, especially since it was truly heartfelt, but even if his heart was in the right place his tactical mind was not. As Orose put it, ‘Waiting in a hole to die is not a sound tactical battle plan.’ Not very tactful, however not surprising either. The old man doesn’t seem to have any sense of tact. I think he and Kain will get along swimmingly. I refused the Captain, citing the fact that the city had already repelled his army of over twenty thousand. I don’t think any marching force will be able to overwhelm the Spawn that circle Waterdeep, subterfuge and stealth will be needed if we are to gain access to the city. I hope I can reach The Trickster’s Pipe, or that her sending will be stronger once we approach the city. Or maybe Reed can speak with her since he seems to have attuned himself to hearing her more than I ever was able.
I asked Reed if he wanted to stay behind where it was safe. I didn’t want to put him in harms way and he has friends here. He hasn’t mentioned Kristine and I haven’t seen them together since Cronos died but I know they have a connection. He also seems to be attached to Mildah, although in a different way. I fear I may have insulted him, he wouldn’t hear of it and accused me of trying to ‘Leave him behind’. I was quick to express my relief at his accompanying us, and it is genuine… the only reason I asked is I wanted him to have a choice. I’ve lost one little brother, I can’t stand to lose another.
The caravan arrived shortly after my conversation with Reed ended. I was attempting to gather everyone together, a task which was interrupted by Orose causing a tree and a sward of green grass to grow in the center of the courtyard when the unmistakable rumble of the wagons could be heard. Orose named the tree some unintelligible string of liquid syllables that he says means ‘First Harvest’ in Sylvan which I gather is the language of the elves. I saw the little girl Dawn on Mistress Ping’s knee and although I watched for her the girl who had been Morde was not in evidence. Against my better judgment, I allowed the Mistress to send us off before I had the chance to find the girl and speak with her. It gnaws at my mind that I was unable to make certain we are not abandoning these people to fall victim to that thing.
Orose managed to flatter and frighten me at the same time. We were on our way out with the wagon Reed had loaded with supplies for us. Reed sat on my left and Orose on my right since neither of them has experience driving a wagon. The old man first apologized for offering to bring Cronos back, saying he had meant no offense and that he couldn’t have forced my brother’s soul back into his corporeal form. I was able to only barely keep a quiver out of my voice as I forgave him. Having Reed lean against my side helped. Absent Gods I’m glad he declined my offer to stay behind. I told him that I should have seen the signs of his depression and acted on them myself, but that I knew he wouldn’t have wanted to return. He commented about me very nearly escaping a similar fate and I confess I was touched by his concern.
Orose then proceeded to tell me that he was changing into some kind of monster. He actually fears that he will lose his mind at some point, becoming a danger to us all… I am not worried about that, as his magical prowess is the only real danger and I know well how impossible it is to harness the Weave if you aren’t in your right mind. Watching him pull off a section of his strangely translucent skin was quite disturbing however, his body is beginning to resemble … some sort of slime. He mentioned his strange pet and that it might have somehow absorbed itself into him when it was destroyed. He also said that Holt was aware that we might have to take drastic steps if he truly lost himself and began to behave erratically. I promised to do the same.
I’m glad the men logging at the outskirts of the High Forest are doing so respectfully. Regardless of the need for lumber to fortify and rebuild the city I know Orose was barely able to hold himself in check when he saw them taking axes to trees. He and Holt move through the trees like ghosts. I can tell they belong here.
We finally laid my brother Cronos to rest beneath a waterfall as I wished. I think he will like the view from Starmount and he has a water spirit to keep him company. Orose has been very helpful as of late; he even said some words of prayer that I couldn’t muster over my poor brother. Grief made Vilhelm backslide into his old habits for a short moment and I greatly feared he would attempt to do harm to the unassuming and nonthreatening spirit whose domain we had invaded to use as a burial ground. She took his outburst with good humor and he apologized, something that is as rare as a falling star.
She is, according to Orose, the river itself, and after her demonstrations of power over its flow I believe her. She has agreed to watch over our brother in return for us cleansing the foulness of the Abyss from her mouth where it enters the sea. I suppose that means we will have to visit Daggerford; the delay chafes at me, I know we should be making haste to Waterdeep. If Dergeras wants to keep us away he must have a good reason, I doubt he would expend so much energy distracting us if it wasn’t important.
I regret not asking Reed to join us here, I have been wrapped up too tightly in the coils of my grief to give my friends the attention they so desperately need. Now that Cronos has been buried I resolve to put his death behind me and move forward with my life.
After some discussion about teleporting (Reed) and the benefits of traveling by river as opposed to by wagon and horseback we have come to an agreement. Since we don’t really know the situation on the ground more or less anywhere and the only person’s word we have to take is that of the traitor Leon, we have decided to follow the river to Daggerford, relieve the city of whatever abyssal spawn might remain, thereby meeting our obligation to the river spirit and then make our way down the coast toward Waterdeep. Very tired, must remember to ask Reed about contacting Trickster’s Pipe before we get to Daggerford. Maybe I can find something in the books Cronos gave him. Have watch in a few hours, need to rest for now.
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