(attached are various entries from Sebrienne's journal)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Before and After
I don’t recall much about the time before. I had two older brothers, a mother and father. I remember one of my older brothers was good with boats, and my mother made jewelry from seashells. Then the typhoon came that almost wiped the islands clean. They’re all gone now.
There are horrible memories my mind has tried to close off, shuttered away and stuck in the back in the dark closets of my memories. However, there are bits of pieces that linger, and sometimes come unbidden into my dreams.
Like the market.
I try to forget that part, but the boys face haunts me to this day. After we had been rescued by the merchant ship, we were brought to shore in a very large city. I was given a shiny gold piece which I carried with wonder, and accompanied by a disciple of Oghma whose job it was to make sure we would find a place. We were to meet with some important person who was going to help us find new homes. I had never seen a gold piece before. I remember carrying it with such wonder.
The boy that knocked me down and took it was probably ten. I was four, perhaps five. He simply shoved me down, took it and ran, tripping over a cart in the process. I can still see his face looking back at me smirking…
…until it wasn’t.
The lightning bolt that hit the boy killed him in an instant. The bolt traveled through the cart, sundering the melons and yet leaving the proprietor miraculously untouched. The donkey pulling the cart didn’t fare so well though, and neither did the farmer and his children helping him unload the copper wares. The bolt took a slight turn, and arced its way through a lamp post and hit a crowd of people gathered around a vendor selling necklaces. Most of them died too.
No one else even knew it was me at the time. It was chalked up to a horrible and unfortunate magical disturbance. The screaming five year old child was simply traumatized by the loud noise and burnt husks of people.
But I knew. Somehow I knew. Five year old children shouldn’t have the kind of power that kills people when they get angry. The disciple held me tight and hurried me away from the market. He knew too I think.
That wasn’t the last time I killed people. The next time was on purpose, but that was horrible too. I’ll save that story for another journal entry.
Now I live in the time after. I study under Salin and others in a great magic tower called “Spellweaver”. I’ve seen real life knights and soldiers and princesses just like the stories in the library. My bestest friend is a girl with dragon blood named Mako, and together we slay wicked things and make the world better.
But deep down inside I’m still afraid. My power is growing too quickly and someday, I will lose control of it again. I worry that this time, if I do, something far worse will happen.