I sit here writting this facing the first crisis of confidence I've had in a long while.
Tomarrow, Lord Nik, Diedre, and Lord Tybalt shall very likely make their way to the Capital of Asternal to face Amalsand Jakoba, who the land has deemed ruler. They go with diplomatic intentions. In hopes of perhaps preventing war between Asternal and Calabria.
I cannot go with them. And that decision is probally the hardest I have ever had to make. I have sworn to protect those I am with and the land that I live on. And if there is a glimmer of hope that this situation can be salvaged...then I cannot let my emotions interfer with this trip. And they will, if I go.
I have struggled with the decision and the reasons why.
I know it is possible to make a fatal mistake and still achieve forgiveness. Remi and Cerise are two examples of this. But there is attonement there. Effort.
To have the woman responsible for slaughtering the Don and his Eldest and many servants sitting in a position of power...a position given to her by this very land I sleep on, shakes me to the core. While it may have been the magic of the blade I weild that was responsible for this change, I can't say I feel good about it. How do you reconcile the woman that was, and the woman that is? Redemption comes with a price. And that price is not always paid by the redeemed. Who has paid Amalsand's price?
I cannot honestly say I can sit across from a diplomatic table from Amalsand and pretend to be civil. I am not sure how Lord Nik will be able to pull the feat off. It was his friend she murdered. I have to have faith in the abilities of my companions. Because I do not have faith in my ability to remain rational facing that woman, I make this choice.
If I go along, and I take justice into my own hand, I could be responsible for the destruction of both Calabria and Asternal.
Everything in me screams this is wrong, that there is something clouding our eyes to the truth of this situation. But I do not believe I can convince my companions not to go based on instinct. They each have duty and heart's they must follow. Mine says I must remain behind.
We find ourselves on the verge of the unknown yet again. We camp outside the ruins of another place of power similar to the Gateway in the swamps. The key to perhaps going back to Teldecot? I am not sure. Tybalt has the words which Lord Niktopolian was able to extract from Lystragones mind. I have advised my companion's that a nights rest would be wise. I suppose it is as well they believe I issue the advice under the pretense of rest and gathering strength rather than fear and unease on my part. D shall take Lystragones home to Calabria to pay for his transgressions.
The rage I felt seeing Lystragones in that Ruin with poor Monica tied up and bleeding was almost horrid in it's intensity. This man had been responsible for Simon's death, the deception of the City of Treskelian, and the slander of the du Mercueur family. Seeing him there standing over the bloodied form of yet another of my companions snapped something in me. The analysis of these emotions afterwards scares me. At that moment, I meant my words. I was ready to kill him. After the battle, as I had his jaw in my hand, it took every reserve not to crush it so he could never speak profane again. I sit here now; glad of whatever willpower reserves prevented me from doing so. I do not like that feeling. It frightens me. I am not some sort of idealistic pacifist. I have killed before in defense of my people. I would gladly do so to protect anyone one of my companion's lives. But this pure hatred and rage towards Lystragones seems almost unnatural as if...
Whatever it is, I hope I come to terms with it. I would never forgive myself if my anger clouded my ability to make decisions that would protect my people.
Seeing Tybalt reunited with his parents was perhaps the highlight of this trip so far. I cannot help, however, feel a bit sad in recollection. Tybalt seems to be a product of breeding and upbringing. His parents seem very much like him and visa versa. I wonder how much different my life would have been if my parents and siblings were around while I was growing up. Would I have been different? Perhaps I would not have grown up so isolated. Perhaps I would not have this anger that so easily surfaces when I see wrong. Perhaps I would have grown up to be a great scholar or Wizard. Perhaps the ocean is really made of blue jam.
I do not understand Deidre and that misunderstanding and my fading rage over Lystragone's caused me to turn on her this evening. She has expressed more than once distaste for Calabrian politics. I have listened to her diatribes about my own house with silence. And I have on more than one occasion, sympathized with her opinions on the Avordupois. She objected to Lord Niktopolian's version of Lystragones' confession. I agree on principal that in this case, there was no need to edit the truth. Lady Vanessa's father is dead and I do not see the Don punishing the Feviere' family for the mistake of patriarch now at rest. I believe she is a good woman and if Don Rinaldi takes my advice, she shall make a fine Donna. The damage to Tybalt's family can be undone. Yet this minor modification to ensure the protection of a good woman's name was such an aethema to her, she scolded Lord Niktopolian as if he were a whelp.
Deidre herself has allowed and even suggested versions of history be edited. I do not understand this situational morality. The ends justifying the means have occurred throughout history. What if Astranal and Thrane and Shen Charne not stood up against Hularia and Kenzatar? The ends justified the means then. Killing an enemy so they are not at your back, rather than remanding them to prison is an ends to justify the means. Having Lady Shelia continue as village chief of a group of Phelan till they were returned to the larger fold was an ends to justify the means.
I certainly think the ends to ensure the return of the true Don to Treskelian certainly justified the means to get him there. And I will continue to protect that secret, even if it means not telling the truth. I have to wonder if it came to a choice to protect her people...no...the Phelan, what sort of ends she would take to justify the means. I begin to wonder if we take lesser priorty than "her people." Her people have not been her people for basically a thousand years now. Even they have changed. We should be her people now. We who have fought beside her.
I suppose my anger with her comes from not knowing where we stand with her. What are we to Deidre?
I think I conduct myself with honor. But in order to protect those under my care, I think I would be able to do many things that would seem dishonorable. Would I deceive to protect? Yes.
I do not delude myself that the Bisclavert have not committed atrocities against the Phelan peoples, yet this continued animosity does us no good. It was one of my hopes that Deidres travels with us would open her to modern thinking and help bridge the gap between the her people and the modern houses of Calabria. I fear she deludes herself into thinking her people can return to the old ways. Her idealism is admirable, but deluded. Progress will not go forward by digging oneself in and hoping the armies march over you. Change has already occurred. Has been for thousands of years. The old ways should not be lost, but moving the wooden cart in front of the marching army of steel will only destroy the cart, not preserve its contents.
Lord Niktopolian and I have had time to chat more on this Journey and our discussions have strayed into the realms of magic. He seems a knowledgeable fellow on the subject and with our adventures dabbling in the realms of the ancient wizard rulers, the subject of Kyndranigar came up. This lead into an interesting discussion about natural wizards and made wizards, which in turn lead into a discussion of the merits of intuition vs. knowledge. I admit I am not the most learned fellow and reading and writing are new to me. Yet I seem to have developed a liking for both. But still, my ability to solve problems seems to come from an intuitive sense, rather than a learned sense like Tybalt or Daryl. It seems Kyndranigar felt there were certain virtues magi should have, one of these being intuition. Lord Niktopolian informs me he has been studying a form of magic based on this virtue. Now he is teaching it to me. If you had asked me months ago if I would ever be interested in learning magic, my answer would have been no. A lot has changed. So has my world view. This isn't flashy magic and that suits me just fine. I shall leave the fireballs and explosions to Tybalt and Andre (if we can find him again).
Lord Niktopolian and Deidre approach looking very much like they wish to discuss something with me.
Will the strange confluences of events never cease?
On our way to find Meki, up in the hills we discovered an old friend. When last we saw D, she had accepted a job to go out looking for our old nemesis, Lystragones. I should be shocked that I would run across her on Iriomote. Perhaps it is a reflection of a bit of a jaded viewpoint that I am not overly so.
After awhile, we discovered Meki trapped in some sort of cocoon. He has an unnerving habit of almost getting killed on me. After a battle with 2 of whatever created these cocoons and another few days journey, we arrived here at this village on the way to Ikitai-Totte. The bath was welcome as the creatures ichors smelled particularly unpleasant. Meals and sleep were enjoyed by all. The local villagers inform us the unusual storm the Zhongese trader warned us about began to dissipate a few days ago, seemingly in coincidence with our arrival here.
The ocean here is more pleasant to watch than while we were at sea. Most of the others are asleep. Meki sits with me this morning as I write, sipping on that cup of that herb that village "no-gee" recommended and that has kept Lord Niktopolian from Coffee withdrawal. The fruit here is quite good. I have not quite been able to palette the kelp. It's texture is odd. Meki seems to think I am missing something. This morning after the others arise, we shall depart for Ikitai-Totte.
Of immediate concern to me is the connection between Lystragones and Tybalt's birth parents, Lucas and Evrille du Mercueur. If what I am told is true, it is very likely that Lystragones had a hand in the besmirching of the du Mercueur name and their subsequent loss of status and self-imposed exile. And what connection back to Thrane, Praswynn (the good one), and the Sorcerer Merkuon. And what connection does this all have to Iriomote and the island formerly known as Teldecot?
My mind aches. If philosophers and scholars must riddle puzzles like this on daily basis, I envy them not. If Lystragones is on this Island to stir trouble, it may be his fatal mistake. Lystragones has caused trouble for D's and Tybalt's family. If there is harm done to the du Mercueurs, that man will not leave this Island alive.
I hate not knowing where my people are. It's a funny turn of phrase. Lord Niktopolian often uses the term to refer to those he has doing the work behind the scenes. I am no noble, and claim no "ownership", but they are still my people to protect. Deidre maybe the one person who could understand the concept behind what I mean, but I have difficulty putting it into the right words. As much as I wish to return home to search for Remi and Cheryl, my desire to find the others of my traveling party is equal. I have spoken of duty in the past and I think the word still rings true, but it is different than the duty one has placed on them from a Lord or a Master.
I hear the groans of diplomat whose skills are not yet functioning without his morning stimulant. I shall bring him a cup.
I am sitting writing this by candlelight in a lovely village on Iriomote. I have no idea how we got here. I have no idea where Andre, Monica, Princess Bianca, Lenth and 2 ships full of Calabrese are. With me are Lords Tybalt and Niktopolian, Deidre, and Anuska. The village "no-gee" tells me that Meki is some where east of here. I am grateful for that bit of good news.
The island nation of Teldecot does not seem to exist as Teldecot anymore. The Island is still there, yet it has an Iriomoten name that I cannot remember and probally will not bother too considering the whimsy of time. History has changed some how, and it appears the Island is named something else and free trade has been occurring between the nations of Zhongo and Calabria for sometime. After learning this fact, we decided to head back to our ships when yet again our fortunes decided to turn and Katya Jakoba went and got herself possessed
Katya Jakoba's location is also unknown, but at this point, even with my respect for Vaslov aside, I am rather hoping their entire clan is "Up". Down would suffice as well, though I suspect Daryl would be cross with me for suggesting it. It is my frustration that allows me to such bold words to paper, and my current foul disposition provoke such ill wishes. I believe fate is playing some sort of odd game with Amalasand's brood. This is the second of her children that has been possessed by some long winded megalomaniacal yellow glowing eyed spectre. Said spectre gave us a rousing speech on our meddling and the dire consequences of said before those magically inclined in our party decided to creatively edit the speech.
Andre in his typical mysterious manner informed us the glass was about to break and the world went dark.
And here we are in Iriomote. And again I am further away from Calabria. No closer to getting home and looking for Remi and Cheryl. Damn. Damn. Damn!
I must admit, I feel more at home traveling in the mountain jungles and rainforest of this place than I did in Teldecot. There is a sense of spirit around this place is very different than in Teldecot. There are omens around almost every corner. Good ones. I claim no knowledge of the spirit worlds such as the Princess, Deidre, or Lenth yet there is something about this place that tugs on the more supernatural senses.
If history has been indeed changed the way we think it is, I fear I am almost selfishly relieved in a way. The situation on the island once known as Teldecot seems far more stable than it did . Trade Routes have been established. There is a governess. The political infighting of the Calabrese houses over this island do not seem a threat now. I wonder how Lord Niktopolian would assess this situation in his "best possible solution" for everyone scenario.
A12 year old girl should not have to have the responsibility for an entire emerging nation. That is no way to grow up. Yes, I know my own Duke is no more than a child himself. He has my loyalty, but it does not mean that I agree with placing the burden of a people on someone so young. Tybalt will make a fine leader and nobleman not just because he is a good person, but because he has gone out an experienced what the world has to offer. He has not been tied to the responsibilities of maintaining a house. I think Lady Shelia has gotten the 2nd chance to do some of that with Lord MacWendelton running the estate now.
And if the land of Teldecot is no more...just how is that we came to be there at all?
My fears that we are getting into something more than is beyond our ability continue to grow. We arrived to find the rebellion essentially destroyed. Those who had taken over the palace were found dead of unknown causes.
I have to wonder our propensity to rush off to face enemies we know nothing about. I am quite fond of my life, and rushing off to mountain tops being struck by inexplicable lighting does not make sense to me. Nor does confronting an enemy who can apparently become one of us. From what Lord Nik described, the person we ran across in the Throne room literally had the mind of Princess Bianca. This was no mere borrowing of one's guise, but a becoming of someone else.
The mountain top was as frustrating a mystery as any we had faced. Time apparently plays very unusual tricks with the land of Teldecot or at least its mountain shrines.
Teldecot as its own magics, as mysterious as any from our own lands. The Iriomoten and Teldecotian mystics baffle me just as much as the magics Lord Nik and Tybalt wield. The seem closer to the magics Deidre wields. At least the sort she wields that do not remind me of Zhoo Ling. I begin to wonder what sort of connections these Islands have to Calabria's past. And why do I have the uneasy feeling that somehow Teldecot and Iriomote are some how tied to the Kingdom of Astranel. I had gotten used to dreams of Aeril of Thrane. I believe Aeril was a good man, and am pleased to have completed what he was not able to when he was alive, but to have dreams of Illandru of Astranel concerns me.
I am concerned about our companion Andre. He seems to still be able to wield the achient magics of the swamp. While I am glad that he was able to pull Tybalt back from where he was stuck in, it does not sit well with me that he is doing what he should not be able to do. I remember his words clearly when Deidre asked him if he was Toletev near Shen Charne after the encounter with the abomination. "No." He said. Then just who is he carting up in his head. Andre is my friend. But so was Marcel, supposedly. I do not think another betrayal by anyone our group would sit well with me.
I am not a man of charm or wit, but I find it baffling with all the warnings about not advertising one's necromantic powers, that one would announce the need to dig up corpses to a nation of essentially spirtualists. Deidre is a fine warrior, and her concern for her people was admirable, but I fear her inability to grasp the constraits of our time will be her undoing. She must learn to adapt to the tenents of our society of she is to survive among us outside her people. I am still stunned she pulled the equivilant of walking into the middle of a Church and waving a copy of a book of black magic and shouting "Free Resurections, 2 for the price of one Denar!" She must control herself, or she will find herself burned at a stake with her companions unable to defend her.
I cannot shake this feeling that we of Calabria should not be making promises to this nation.
Those words seem so incongruous with the concepts of duty, but I do not like being here under the auspices of a diplomatic mission. I, Roen, doing a favor for the princess of Teldecot bothers me less than being Sir Roen of Calabria, part of an entourage who's purpose I believe is to make Teldecot a protectorate of House Rinaldi.
The sooner we resolve these issues and return to our island, the more at peace I will be.
Lord Tybalt says that keeping some sort of journal will help improve my writing. With very little to do on this sea voyage except occasionally assist with the ship duties, I find myself with large stretches of time to do nothing. I have seen the ocean enough. It is blue and wavy and very little of it changes.
My companions seem to be adjusting to the voyage well enough. They transition from one situation to another does not seem to phase them. After dealing with Toletev and voyage to undo our earlier interference, I had honestly hoped for time to rest. Yet here we are, on the way to Princess Bianca's land to offer our services yet again for potentially the greater good. I wonder how much good our interference actually does. Almost let loose two madmen with untold power on our lands. Almost cost us Meki's life.
Yet here we sail under the flag of diplomacy into unknowns. I have to speculate as to what harm those of us from Calabria might cause by our meddling. Lord Nick appears earnest in his desire for the best possible resolution, but in all honesty, our duties are supposed to be to Calabria, and not Teldecot. I find myself uncomfortable with the whispers I have heard about Calabrese Lords and Ladies relocating to Teldecot. What happens when one of those damnable Avoirdupois lords decides that they care not for the beliefs of the Teldecotians? I suspect the history of Wenflower might repeat itself.
Wenflower. Remi. Remi is alive. And possibly Cheryl.
For the longest time, my memories have been fleeting of my family, only that they were killed. So I moved on. Became part of another family because I had none of my own. The pool at Thrane allowed me to regain some of those memories.
And now this information surfaces that some of them maybe alive.
And here I am on this boat. Sailing away from the place that they are suppose to be.
Duty to my house and my country before my family. These are good people, my friends. And it is my duty to see them safe, but all this idle downtime on this voyage has left me wondering about my priorities. I have been treated well by Lady Sheila and Lord McWendelton. And Tybalt will grow into a fine nobleman. And Meki I am honored to be called brother too.
Yet, there is very much a part of me that wants to turn this ship around and go looking for Remi and Cheryl. I suppose in compare to great events, it may seem a very selfish desire. I suspect young Tybalt may understand this as we have spent a good deal of time trying to find his family.
But I am Knight in the Service of the King of Calabria, and member of house Bisclavert, and I will complete my duty.
There is a knocking at my door that I suspect is a meal call.