Sebrienne's Journal

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    (attached are various entries from Sebrienne's journal)

  • Control

    Control over my power is slipping, like a greased rope through fingers. The weight of what I can do now is difficult for me to grasp. A slip of fear or anger is all it takes.

    I’ve spent the last week practicing as I was taught, but it only makes matters worse. The more I practice, the more power I draw to myself, which in turn makes it more difficult. If I don’t practice, slipping up becomes easier. The other day I got annoyed at knocking this journal onto the wet ground, and somehow ended up freezing my tea solid.

    Speaking of that…

    I’ve learned to harness that to some degree. I can’t aim it. I can only blast it in front of me, but if I focus it's powerful enough to freeze a gnoll or any lesser creature solid. Not very useful really. (note in the margin here – Fire Giants?).

    The real problem I’m having right now is that taking ALL of someone’s lightning away has become … easier. I never wanted it to be. After the chicken died it made me ill. But when Cormac and Kethro were fighting that Orc Mage … it just seemed like the simplest way to end the fight. Yet somehow, it felt SO wrong.

    I talked with my friends about it. No one seemed to think anything of it. The Orc Mage was dead, just as if Cormac had beheaded him. But it feels like a slippery slope into darker, more wicked things. How am I the only one that feels this way?

    Speaking of Cormac…

    He and I made up. It was a misunderstanding. Probably all my fault. I’m slow on the uptake most of the time.

    I read about a barbarian custom of a woman giving one of her braids to a man before a great battle. It was to let him know the she was with him, and praying to the spirits and ancestors for him. I don’t have any braids, so I cut off a lock of my hair and tied it in a cord, and gave it to him. Cormac is going to be fighting the fire giants for High Hold soon, and I wanted to let him know that I would be there in spirit and pray for him.

    I care about him more than I willing to admit sometimes. I hope his gods keep him safe in battle.

  • Crazy?

    So now I’m crazy. At least Cormac thinks so. I told him about the caravan. I relived it, the horrible images of dead men, women and children flashing before me. I left myself completely vulnerable because I care about him, and trust him.

    …and he called me crazy.

    I’m not sure what to think about that. His words hurt and cut deeply. There was enough anger within me, that I could feel control slipping, that tenuous grasp I have on the reins of my power slipping away. I knew immediately that I had to leave and get it under control.

    I’m not crazy. I was thirteen when it happened. Normal thirteen year old girls throw pottery when they get angry and lose control. Somehow, the gods saw it fit to give me the power to kill swaths of people when I did.

    I’ve tried to lead a good life to make up for what I’ve done. Perhaps that’s not enough.

  • Repentance

    It was exhilarating. To be able to unleash all my power at once in without the necessity to hold back. I felt my perception expand in ways I haven’t considered, and in one singular way which fills me with dread.

    Horgrim had gathered his forces to face the creatures from the Far Realms. But they weren’t enough. It was up to us to stem the tide. To do that, I unleashed everything I had at the multitudes of gibbering insanities that attacked us. Aoth, the Princess, Isolde and Jonni stood vanguard, and I brought forth lightning in swaths I not thought possible. In the end we stood victorious, spent … and happy.

    Before this all started, Horgrim said something that resonated with me. He was doing this, knowing it would probably cost him his life. “I’ve done some terrible things”, he said, “and this might provide balance”.

    At that moment, I saw him in a different light. A creature with a very dark past, but now repentant. I don’t know if the gods will see it that way, but it gives me hope. Perhaps someday, I can be forgiven for the innocent lives I’ve taken.

  • Dream

    I had a dream the other night. I was in a dark stone lined corridor with Cormac, Isolde, Reemul, and George. We were near one of the runes, and something went terribly wrong. Out of the multitude of sickening runes this great creature appeared. Huge, round with a slobbering mouth full of teeth, and long spiny tentacles. It grabbed George straight away and stuffed poor George into its mouth.

    I tried to take it’s lightning away, but it was no use. It hit Reemul with one of its spikey tentacles and he was paralyzed, and like George was thrust into its gaping maw. Cormac started singing this strange poem and wounded it with his axe, but the axe stuck into its blubbery hide. With a quick swipe of its tentacles it swiped Cormac off of his feet, then trampled him under its great bulk as it charged us.

    Isolde and I ran down the corridor, fleeing for our lives

    Occasionally, I would turn and throw lightning at it. Anything really. It was wounded but so large it didn’t care. Maneuvering its great bulk down the corridor, it slowly gained on me and Isolde. Then suddenly, it was just me.

    Isolde had vanished somehow. Slipped through a secret door perhaps or been trampled too. Then a door appeared ahead of me. It was rune locked. I remember the runes because they were on a test Salin had given me. But somehow they were all jumbled up, and I was screaming at Salin to tell me the answer, but he wasn’t there.

    I turned and screamed. I threw everything I had at it. My most powerful blast of lightning barely slowed it.

    It reached me….

    I screamed again…

    I woke up…

    For moment, I thought I was still dreaming. What greeted me in the room was both marvelous and frightening.

    The entire room was covered in a thick layer of frost. I sat up, and the blankets crinkled. I looked down, and the chamber pot and its entire contents were sickeningly, frozen solid. Sun streamed in through a myriad of frost designs on the window, painting a kaleidoscope of rainbows and colors across the room. I could see my breath, as one can on a cold northern day. I felt my face, and even the tears on my cheek were frozen solid.

    What is happening to me? Did the monks know something they weren’t telling me? Maybe they had a good reason to want to kill me. Why in the nine hells did they keep me alive after all the horrible things I’d done? Why didn’t they send me away to get properly trained?!

    I’ll probably never know, but I shudder to think what would happen if I really lost control again.

  • Faces

    We were traveling west to Blackbridge. We faced giants and orcs, the usual fare of wicked creatures that roam the mountains between Peltarch and High Hold. We had slain many, and the group was in good spirits.

    As we got deeper into the mountains, about half way or more to High Hold, we came across a group of travelers. A well-dressed elf, a hin whose clothing had many belts and several others. Delighted to see other travelers on our journey, I smiled and waved, hoping to have a respite to perhaps build a fire and share stories.

    They attacked us.

    I stood there stupefied. I couldn’t believe what was happening and did nothing for several critical moments. I saw the elf cast a spell, and Kethro scoot up the hillside with great agility to engage him. Others rushed forward out of my line of sight, and I heard the clang of steel and the cries of the dying.

    The elf, seeing Kethro approach immediately turned himself invisible. I unconsciously hasted myself, and allowed myself to see invisible. Kethro managed to get a feel for where the elf might be, and struck rapidly. What Kethro didn’t know is that while invisible, the elf had put a wall of acid around himself.

    Kethro reeled back, his clothes and skin hissing. I hit the elf with a bolt of lightning, but while invisible he had also put a mantle up, and shielded himself. Kethro was now in full retreat, Rauvica had collapsed, and I heard Reemul cry out for help. Some dark angry cloud formed on the hillside, and I saw Kethro collapse in it.

    I stripped the elf of all his defenses. In a magical sense, it’s like pulling the loose end of a knitted blanket. His mantle and acid wall collapsed, and as he rounded the corner I put every effort into the largest lightning strike I could possibly make. With a scream and a grunt I threw it towards him.

    There was this moment between us, where we stared at each other across the field of battle. The noise faded into the background, as the overcharged, glistening ball of electricity arced its way lazily towards him. It lasted less than two seconds, but for me, that two seconds was an eternity.

    I saw resignation in his eyes. His face fell, as if remembering something sad. He stood there, staring death in the face, and at that moment, death’s name was Sebrienne.

    I’ve slain hundreds of wicked creatures. Giants, gnolls and orcs. All faceless minions of a larger evil. But for some reason the elf’s face haunts my dreams and waking moments. Death comes too easily these days. It shouldn’t, and I think the elf is a reminder.

  • The Necromancer

    Although I’ve done some bad things, I like to think I’m a good person at heart. When presented with options, I try to pick righteous one. But what would you do if there weren’t any good ones?

    There is someplace called The Far Realm, which is full of unspeakable horrors. This is where beholders and illithids and other nightmarish things come from. Someone, or something is trying to build a bridge between The Far Realm and ours. Who is helping us stop them?

    Horgrim the Necromancer

    Horgrim is a large ogre, who has contracted with very wicked magics which animate the dead and turn bodies into mindless soldiers. Isolde, who I also consider a good person at heart showed kindness, sympathy and trust to him, which I honestly don’t understand. Horgrim is diabolically wicked. The only thing that matters to him is the end result. All the measures taken to achieve it are consequential only if they further success to the goal.

    I thought we were all better than this. A paladin, a holy knight, would turn down his help and try to find another way. But I’m not smart enough, and apparently neither are my friends. We are going to let the necromancer help us because it’s the only road we see in front of us, and the stakes are really, really high.

    The thing is, the road we take in life matters. We are judged by the gods for our deeds and actions, not for our intentions. I know this, for the gods have judged me for the things I’ve done, even though I lacked intention to do any of it.

    So I stood there shaking and terrified, trying to follow along, and listening to the plan to understand what needs to be done. I said nothing in protest.

    I hope I can help. Every day my power grows, but it’s growing faster than I can control it. I study and attend the lessons, but the only thing they accomplish is to let me see what’s happening to me more clearly without any way to fix it.

  • Coronation

    I was blessed to be able to attend the coronation of Prince (now king!) Thalaman. It was a grand ceremony, and both the princess and the new king gave great speeches. I must admit that I was beside myself and overjoyed to witness it.

    Both King Thalaman and his brother, prince Kasimir are very handsome young men, a year or two younger than I. It was the first time I had seen them, and I must admit to being over awed at being in their presence. After the ceremony, the new king opened the coffers and had a feast for everyone in attendance.

    Most everyone of importance was there. I was shocked to see both Cormac and Reemul in attendance, having seem them both leave with Eric’s troops, but no one said anything about it. That gave me some hope that perhaps, the new king will see the value in peace and friendship.

    This was followed up by two embarrassing moments of my own doing.

    Prince Kasimir was talking to Prince Adrian off to the side, and I had gone up to the table to speak with the princess and others. Unbeknownst to me, Prince Kasimir approached on my left and introduced himself. I was so beside myself and taken aback at the moment, that I stood there in silence, completely at a loss for words. I blurted out my name, and the prince commented that I looked like a faun, and I totally didn’t know how to respond to that.

    Ugh! Sometimes I can be such a complete idiot! I had such hopes of making a genuine first impression. I had gone over countless scenarios in my mind. What I would say, what the prince would say, how I’d bow and present myself … and I went ahead and blew it.

    So I made the dumb mistake of drowning my embarrassment with wine. Let’s just say I made a mess outside the west wall and leave at that. Nothing that some juice and willow bark tea won’t cure.

  • High Hold

    I grew up in one of the worlds greatest libraries. Almost everything I learned about the outside world and other lands was from books, tomes and manuscripts. My favorite were the diaries and first person accounts of historical events. People’s perceptions made the events seem real to me. But I recall nothing about this land I am in, save for an old empire and wizards that bound demons. But I’ve seen little to none of that here.

    What I did see a few days ago left me very sad though. There is a town called Blackbridge and a castle called High Hold many leagues west of Peltarch. I am told that generations ago, they belonged to Peltarch. A province that swore allegiance. But through rebellion they’ve become independent.

    The princess is trying to get these lands back. She even made a declaration and gave a title to a great balding general named Gom, naming him Lord of High Hold, even though High Hold doesn’t agree. I didn’t understand this at first, but after thinking on it a for a few days, it kind of made me sad. The general is being used as a political message. I suppose it would be okay if he agreed to it, but he seemed pretty surprised in court.

    What made me even sadder was watching my friends choose sides. Mako closed her market and stood with the troops from High Hold. Fred the Paladin was already with them and stood beside Eric. Reemul followed them when they left.

    I’m not going to fight in any stupid war, particularly when my friends are on both sides. If a war starts, I’m going to sit my ass in Norwick until it’s all over.
    Why can’t High Hold and Peltarch be friends? Together, they could fight the giants and clear the lands between. They could trade with each other. Instead of having this stupid war they could have tournaments, and the soldiers, knights and adventurers could laugh about victory and defeat over ale and stew and say “I’ll get you next year!”. Why can’t it be like that?

    I think the best way to settle this is to just have the princess marry Eric, Lord of Highhold and make an alliance. I read a lot of stories about marriages sealing relationships between kingdoms. I think I’ll suggest it to the new king once he gets crowned in a few days.

  • Court

    I attended court today for the first time. I got all dolled up, put on a clean gown and my best jewelry. It was exciting to see the people petition, titles handed out for great deeds done, and sit with the great heroes of this region, a few of whom I call friends.

    I made a petition of my own, to be admitted into the court magocracy, and was flatly turned down. I was a bit disappointed, but my youth and inexperience weighed heavily against me. Nevermind that I’m obviously a foreigner. I consider myself both powerful and unique amongst the magically gifted in this region, and helped bring down the wicked Jessica Whyte, but as the princess pointed out, I’m still in training.

    I was told to speak to Jonni Aethasson about a position with the Cerulean Knights, but I’m no soldier, and I’ve spoken to Leofric a few times, and honestly don’t measure up. Their duties include investigation and analysis, something that will be forever beyond me. I’m raw power and little more.

    When I was sitting in the crowd watching, I began to realize they probably don’t even have court wizards, which seems a bit silly. They have the Kingsguard, which protect the royalty from physical danger, but what about magical? Are the Ceruleans used for that too? I’ve read that the Syl-Pasha’s court has powerful mages. This place is probably too small for that. Calimport is easily ten times the size of Peltarch.

    As I write this, I’m thinking that I was perhaps a bit silly to make that petition at all, and I’m finding myself a little embarrassed. But as a wise man once said, a turtle doesn’t move forward unless it sticks its neck out.

  • A Change of Clothes

    I bought a nice, magical outfit at Seth’s, and decided that I would have it tailored in traditional Calishite fashion. I know most Calishites are dark skinned, and the clothing isn’t very suitable for this region except for high Summer, but since I no longer feel much of the cold anyway, I thought it would be fun to go back to my heritage. My accent is horrible and speaks “Foreigner!”, and the robes I was wearing were imposed by the monastery anyway.

    Well, one would have thought I had grown two heads

    I could tell almost immediately Cormac disapproved by the little telltale downward turn of the mouth. Erilo just stared in shock, and George was at a loss of words. Everyone was staring. It was like they all disapproved, but were trying to be polite. I was truly disappointed, and moped around afterwards trying to figure out what custom I was breaking.

    But then I kind of … got it.

    I walked into the market, and a man carrying a sheaf of arrows was looking at me instead of watching where he was going, and tripped over a bucket. One of the guards followed me around, and kept looking away and pretending to shop when he thought I was looking in his direction. I walked into the docks to take the riverboat south, and most of the sailors on the ship docked at the next pier just kind of … stopped working.

    Is this how Isolde feels? I feel both self-conscious and empowered at the same time. I also understood why I saw disapproval in the faces of some of my friends. I’m not their little weather girl in the pretty dress any more.

    Then again, I never really was, was I?

  • Last Straw

    I am sick of it. All my life, everyone has been telling me what I can and cannot do, who I can and cannot see, what I should think of someone else. I’ve been in a prison most of my existence, surrounded by people who thought they knew what was best, but in truth were simply afraid and did their utmost to make me fear them, and not the other way around. The fact that two of the five council members voted to have me “put down” speaks volumes.

    That ends now. I might not be as smart as many, but I am not a child. If I want someone’s opinion, I’ll ask for it.

  • Legacy

    I had a talk with Cormac the other day at the Ferret. We sat at a table for a little bit, and talked about how we would be remembered. Cormac seemed particularly concerned about making his mark on the world.

    I have full confidence he will

    There are others, like Mako, who I am sure are better warriors. They will slay greater beasts, accrue greater treasures, and perhaps even live longer. Few however, will be as remembered as Cormac. He has the quality that many of those greater warriors lack…


    With his larger than life appearance, strange barbarian makeup, hearty laugh, and surprisingly amazing singing voice, Cormac stands taller than most any other warrior I have met. His name might not be written in lines of succession or archives of great heroes, but they will be remembered by others in tales, songs and deed. Many will be exaggerated of course, and not entirely true, but it won’t matter. Cormac’s memory will live on in ways others will not...

    …Like mine

    Every day, it is like I am driving a carriage pulled by a team of horses. Every day, I get more experience, and learn to better handle both. Yet also every day, the carriage is made bigger and heavier. More horses are added, and they are made larger and stronger. Some days the road is a steep hill, others with tight curves, and it is all I can do to manage.

    I fear that sadly, my legacy will be different. I will be remembered for the times I lost control. Likely, the last time I lose control. Each time has been greater than the last. I am sure the last time will be tragic in ways I can’t even imagine…

    …and that’s how I will be remembered

  • Chickens

    I try to forget some of the things I did in my youth. I know I can’t, because I bear the consequences of my actions. I know the gods judge me for the things I’ve done.

    Erilo came to me today and said someone had told him that I’ve killed children. Instantly, images of the marketplace came up, and he could see by the look on my face that it was indeed true. I try not to think about the caravan and the soldiers. That was much, much worse. My power exploded during puberty, and I had no one to teach me. The monk brought in a few people, but they gave up.

    Erilo was shocked and appalled. I told the people at the table what had happened, but I left out some of the details. I was so young when some of it happened. Isolde told me not to blame myself, but I have to. Even recounting the story brought back all the feelings of fear and rage. I could feel the power build up inside me again, like a tornado funneling from the clouds. I didn’t tell them that either.

    If I don’t learn to control this, I’m going to be a danger to everyone, even my friends. It’s an awful conundrum. The more I use my power, the faster it grows. However, in order to practice my control, I must use my power.

    So here I am outside farmer Cartwright’s chicken coop. It’s a warm sunny afternoon. It’s peaceful. The chickens are strutting about looking for food.

    I have found that I can add or take away lightning. It’s how I think about it anyway. When I focus, I can make them go faster and slower. Once, I made them all go faster, but I haven’t been able to replicate that again. I find that stilling one is easy, but I can’t do them all. I can make them all move slower though.

    I do this when I help my friends fight the wicked things that plague this land. I can “add lightning” to my friends, and make them fast and hard to hit, to take it away from creatures even as large as giants, and slow them down to a standstill. Working with the farmer’s chickens is much safer than fighting giants.

    I have been focusing on this large hen, who seemed oddly delighted when she could move fast and peck at the ground so quickly. Then I went to take her lightning away and make her stop, but something clicked inside me. An epiphany I think they call it. I wasn’t taking all her lightning away, just most of it.

    …so I took it all.

    The large hen, which had been strutting around happily moments ago, simply fell over. I felt a drain in my power as significant as splitting the air. A cold feeling swept over me, as if I had just done something very, very wrong.

    I opened the gate to the coop, the hens scattering in protest. I knelt down and placed my hand on its it’s body. It was … cold. I suddenly felt sick and threw up.

    I paid the farmer for the large hen, twice what it was worth, along with a profuse apology. I couldn’t bring myself to go back to Spellweaver that day.

    Akadi help me … Please never, ever let me do that again.

  • Devilry

    I remember meeting Eric, one of the officials from High Hold back when I first arrived in Narfell. I was in the city of Peltarch, and he was talking to Isolde and others, people I didn’t really know back then. He was handsome, dashing and personable, and I instantly took a liking to him.

    Then the devils plagued the land. I guess they have been for some time. Whispering to people. Giving them false hopes and ideas. Telling them things they wished to hear. Somehow, Eric and several others from High Hold were “slain” by these devils, and their spirits put inside stones. We rescued Eric’s stone from a very wicked devil called an Erinyes. Isolde is trying to figure out how to get him back. I don’t see how though. I’m sure his body is long dead, being without food and water all this time.

    When we faced her, I remembered Salin’s lecture on targeting and control. For me, when I use my power, on rare occasions the target feels “slippery”. It’s the best way to describe it. To make it “stickier”, I was taught Spell Breach. I picked it up right away, causing untold jealously for my classmates at the time.

    When I saw the Erinyes, she instantly felt slippery. So I fixed that, and made her stickier. Then I did it again for good measure.
    Then I took all her lightning away, and she stopped moving.

    It was the best move I could make I think. She had this terrifying sword that dripped acid on the floor, and she was using it with terrifying effect on my friends. With all her lightning gone, she couldn’t fight back, and was soon on the floor herself in a puddle of acid made by her own sword. I totally saved the day, and was insufferably proud of myself for a week.

    But the devils are still around, and I watched something horrible today. I watched a knight, a paladin no less, despair and lose hope. I watched him fall from grace.

    His name is Sir Pendergast, a man with a piercing gaze and cold demeanor. A devil had been playing herself as a trusted informer by giving all sorts of good information to manipulate him. When she revealed herself, I could see it his eyes. That haunted look of total despair. The realization that all along, he was working towards the devil’s agenda. Despite objections from Isolde, he immediately turned himself in to confess. The princess took him to the guard herself.

    I’ve been told many times that confession of one’s wrong doings is the first step on the road to redemption. Sir Pendergast HAS to confess his crimes before the magistrate and his god. Then, and only then, can he continue on the path of redemption. I don’t know why Isolde didn’t see this. She’s a great deal smarter than I.

    The devils are still out there, and probably in greater numbers than anyone cares to admit. They whisper to good people, tricking and corrupting them into doing wicked things.

    Hopefully, I will be ready when it comes time to fight them.

  • Wicked or Not

    When I studied (or rather suffered) philosophy at the monastery, there was a chapter on “Good” and “Evil”. It often opened up a lively discussion with the students there regarding intent. But the gods look upon the actions themselves, and not the justifications behind it. The barbarians around Silverymoon put it succinctly – “Deeds, not words”. It’s what you do, not why. People can justify anything to themselves.

    The problem with philosophy, and me in particular, is that I often figure out things long after they matter. I wish I was whip smart, thought quickly on my feet, and understood things right when they happened. The masters and instructors at the monastery were sometimes forgiving. Brother John and Elijah in particular. They understood that for whatever reason, it took me longer to “get” things than others. My short temper didn’t help matters either.

    This brings me to two incidents I want to write down.

    The first was in the Witch and Seer. A woman, I gather wrongly, told Rayella that Jonni had fired her and she was there to take her place. Rayella was devastated.

    The other woman however, was remarkably competent, and was an amazing host. Word soon got around, and the Witch and Seer became quite busy. I would have thought that the Princess, Isolde and Asha would have been happy to see the place prosper, but they sided, rightfully I might add, with Rayella because she had been wrong and lied to. But there was a darker motive behind it all which surprised me. They wanted the place for themselves. Isolde even told me, “Sometimes, one has to be selfish”

    This didn’t sit well with me, but it was all very confusing. As I write this, I still can’t sort the experience. On one hand, Rayella had been wronged. On the other, the place was prospering and a lot of people were happy.

    Eventually, Rayella screwed up her courage and tossed the woman over the bar. As I helped her up, Rayella’s ubiquitous caustic demeaner drove the other customers out. Isolde, Asha, the princess and Reyalla were happy.
    Many others were not. Including me.

    I walked away from the situation and wrote everything down. I still can’t figure it out. I’m sure Elijah could explain it to me. I wish he was here.

    The second incident involved the Lady Knight Varya and Vindel.

    Vindel has been traveling companion and a friend of mine since I arrive in Narfell. Not a close friend, but a friend nonetheless. I was delighted to meet a priest of Oghma, as I spent most of my life in a monastery of one dedicated to learning and knowledge.

    Apparently, he has a very dark past. So much so that Varya saw through it right away, and demanded justice. I thought she was going to kill him on the spot. The situation was defused without anyone being injured.

    Vindel sent me a long letter explaining his past. I’ve read through it twice, just to make sure I understood it. He’s done some ugly things in his past, and it’s stained his soul. Varya, with her holy sight, can see that.

    As I wrote at the beginning of this journal entry, it’s your actions that matter, not why. He did those things which darkened his soul, and has not redeemed himself in the eyes of the gods by doing good deeds to remove it. The dark stain is there and remains.

    I’ve always considered myself a good person, but in the eyes of the gods I am not. There is a balance between the good I have done and the darkness I have succumbed to. I am quite certain that the gods judge me harshly for all the innocent people I have killed.

    I hope that Vindel does enough good deeds to remove the stains of his past. While I wont’s judge him, I will be wary. I have been deceived before, and I have no doubt it will happen again.

  • Unrestraint

    Today, I didn’t hold back

    I sat in the courthouse hoping for the best and thinking the worse. When the explosions started, I realized with horror that all of Jessica’s enemies were in one spot. I know I learn slowly, but I’m not stupid. People see the pretty blonde with the loud voice and the first thing that comes to their mind is “ditz”, but I’m not. It may take a little extra effort … OK, sometimes more than a little, but I do learn.

    I did what I could to protect Edwin and the crowd, then took the stern knight’s hand and escaped. After that, I let myself go
    The seafarers loyal to Jessica opposed us, but in my mind they were simply all wicked. They were orcs, giants, the bad people in the many stories I read. I comforted myself with every lightning bolt I unleased that Jessica was the evil villain in the story and these people I was killing were the nameless minions. I measured my strikes slowly, conserving my power just like Brante taught me.

    There would be no rest for the weary here.

    We suffered many casualties, but the wicked seafarers fell to our swords and my lightning. When we entered their headquarters and the archers had barricaded themselves behind cover, I slammed them all against the wall with a wind shear. I measured my rage but let it flow unrestrained.

    We eventually found Jessica in a room. She sat at the end of the table waiting. She had poisoned herself, choosing justice at her own hand than trial and the hand of others. I had saved enough power to obliterate her on the spot, but stayed my hand. My friends seemed to think talking to her mattered. The villains always get their monologues in the stories after all.

    There are celebrations and feasts. The princess, Isolde and my friends are happy. There are talks of the prince returning to become king. Will I get to meet him? What will he think of me? I get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it! My life truly has turned into one of those great stories that I read in the library.

  • Restraint

    I split the air

    That was a new one. All I wanted them to do was stop. We were trying to get an antidote to one of Isolde’s friends. He’d been poisoned. They wanted to deliver it in person, but the estate guards were being uncooperative.

    Then something happened. I’m not entirely sure what. I had turned to Eliro, who is the sweetest half orc I’ve ever come across, and suddenly the princess was fighting! People were piling on, and she grabbed one around the neck and twisted, and the man fell limp, dead I assume. People were dying, she was angry, Isolde was upset, Salin was beside himself, and everyone was treating the princess NOT how a princess should be treated and really, I just wanted it all to stop.

    I remembered that feeling. The one in the market. The one on the cobblestone streets of the monastery. The one with the soldiers. It’s fury twisted with rage and a side order of helplessness., sprinkled with anxiety and garnished with dash of intent.

    The weave pieced itself together for me. Subconsciously almost. Make…everything…stop.

    I’ve been told that when lightning strikes, it heats and splits the air. That’s what makes the thunder. But I didn’t want to kill anyone this time. There was a dark part of me that Brante would have encouraged that whispered, “Kill them all. That will make them stop…”, but I held back, and split the air without the lightning.

    I screamed.

    The air split.

    The noise buckled everyone to their knees, deafening the lot, and caused untold confusion. I was so stunned by the result that I was still standing there when a nearby guard came to his senses and tackled me.

    So now I’m in jail with Eliro and the Princess awaiting trial. Me! With the princess!

    How cool is that!

  • Brother John

    I’m at the top of the hill in Norwick without a stitch of clothing on. To feel the cold morning air against my skin is beyond exhilarating. Unfortunately, I’ve lost track of time, and now the stares, hoots and hollers are rising from below. Timmot is going to come “Give me a talkin’ too”, despite some of the farmers jeering him to “Leave the nekkid lass alone!”. I don’t care. They think I’m all loud and crazy anyway.

    I’ve been up here recollecting my first years at the monastery, particularly brother John. Despite the many years past knowing him, he was a bright spot in my memories. But there is darkness there too. Too much of it.

    The first years of the monastery were good ones. An arcane scholar named brother John worked at the library, categorizing books and old manuscripts. He was bright, young, and very patient to this young girl who had trouble learning. He became almost a second father to me, for the four short years that I knew him.

    He taught me my letters and numbers, though the latter has always been hard. He showed me books, and the stories and tales left behind by many authors long dead. Best of all, he taught me about … me.

    He found it curious that my powers started so young. He never did discover the catalyst for it. I lacked any semblance of dragon blood, infernal or abyssal ancestry. I simply came with power, an attunement to all things weather related. That I had the power to blow a hole in the garden fence with lightning at the age of five was most disconcerting.

    “Sorcery”, he said, “is the lens of emotion”. For some, it was poetry, beauty, curiosity or art. Mine sadly, was anger and rage. So brother John, in his fatherly and caring way, taught me to be at peace, as much any child at that age could. I helped with the gardening and read my stories. I cleaned, cooked and helped serve the meals. My power grew as I aged, slowly and controlled. When frustrations mounted over small tasks, he taught me to breathe, pray and meditate. Akadi became my savior, and I asked her every night before bed to help me not hurt people any more.

    For four years, life for me was good. That all changed when “they” came.

    I don’t know who “they” were. Adventurers, bandits or mercenaries bent on greed, convinced that the monastery held some mystical artifact they needed or rather, wanted.

    They had arrived one cool morning, pushing past the lookout at the gate, weapons drawn. A few of the disciples went to meet him. I was with brother John tending the garden at the time. He bid me stay behind him as he approached their leader, a large man with a beard and several prominent scars.

    I heard some kind of argument, and ventured a bit closer to hear. The large man was getting insistent and kept pointing to the library. The others with them looked at the ready, and brother John was shaking his head. The leader pointed to two of his men and ordered them forward, and that’s when brother John made his mistake.

    I saw his hands move. He said something soothing to the leader, and for a moment, his face relaxed into a rather uncharacteristic smile. But then he shook his head, grew angry, and with a quick motion, stabbed brother John not once, but twice. As brother John slumped over, the leader leaned in with a cruel smile, and then cut his throat.

    That was the moment my world ended.

    I remember the rage, shock, and terror. Worse was the complete unbridled fury. I had just lost my father all over again. Suddenly, everything looked like it was moving in molasses.

    I know now that I had unconsciously weaved a haste. The feeling is familiar to me now, but not then. At that point, I screamed.

    A wind shear came down and scattered everyone, disciple, brother and bandit alike. The leader miraculously kept his footing, but was sprayed with brother John’s blood. He turned to me, ever so slowly in my view, a puzzled look on his face. I saw alarm as his eyes widened, and go to throw the knife, but it was too late.

    The lightning bolt that hit him was far, far beyond what any nine year old child should have been able to muster. It tore through him, forked and hit several others. He staggered, the knife fell.

    But I had just gotten started.

    Lightning, raw magic, and ice tore through them all. My screams created a cacophony of power that ripped everything that I turned my attention to apart. Most of them were dead after the first twenty seconds but I didn’t know that.

    Soon though, my power was spent. I didn’t have the reserves then that I do now. I remember crumpling on the cobblestones, my fist clenched, trying to will brother John back to life. But he was gone. I try not think about the possibility that he could have been saved, and that my power had killed him.

    One of the things that sticks in my mind was a dark, almost comedic moment when Elijah, the septuagenarian accountant walked up to one who had miraculously survived and was crawling away. He hit him with his cane until he stopped moving. For some reason, it bothered me that I hadn’t killed them all.

    That event precipitated the meeting that would change my time there, and not for the better. But that story is for another time.

  • Magic Map

    A large curio shop in the city of Peltarch sells a magic map. On it, it shows other people who are also carrying the magic map. If you set it down, put it on your night stand, the chest by your bed, or anyplace else, it won’t work. But if you carry it, it tells everyone else with one right where you are.

    How neat is that?

    I’ve been keeping it on me all the time so people can find me, even just to chat. Even though I’ve only been here a few months, I feel like a stranger. However, the other day it kind of got me into trouble.

    I saw all sorts of people I knew at a place east of the city, so I followed the map. It turned out that it was the royal estate, and the princess and all of her friends were there. There was Salin, one of my teachers from Spellweaver, Isolde, a cheery sort who seems to be close friends with the princess, Varya, an honest to goodness lady knight of Chauntea, and of course the princess herself. She’s not a “lady” princess, but a huge warrior princess. Some awful things have happened to her lately, and I butted my opinion in where it didn’t belong.

    I tried to express what I was feeling, but even though I am well read, sometimes the words don’t come out like I mean them. I must have really insulted her because she asked me to leave. I started to get angry, but I know that bad things happen when I get angry, so I just walked away. I really should track her down and apologize though. She lost her father, her family, and her kingdom over things I really don’t understand. She’s the princess! With the royal family gone, should she be on the throne? Instead, there are merchants ruling the city. I tried to listen and understand, but most of it went over my head.

    Maybe Salin can explain it to me. He’s patient.