Journal of Adrian Baker

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zhazz
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Journal of Adrian Baker

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Journal of Adrian Baker
Thoughts and self-reflections of a troubled artist

--- ( Biography ) ---


8th of Myrtul 1356 DR
Halls of Inner Light, Baldur's Gate

It has been a while since last I wrote down my thoughts. Not due to any lack of desire to do so, but rather due to the myriad of experiences that this place has pelted me with. This place, The Sword Coast, has proven every bit as strange and overwhelming as was the lands of Damara did, when I journeyed there with my parents to expand the family business.
Unlike then, however, I have not had the luxury of a seasoned father, and a caring mother, to shield me against the hardships of the world around me. I knew from the very day I left my childhood home that I would now get to experience the world in a new and unsheltered manner. That I would likely find myself in situations I did not know how to deal with. That I would have to learn, and do so at a rapid pace, lest I be dragged down by the weight of the world.
How true those thoughts ring now.
I will not go into great detail about my experiences here. To do so would defeat the purpose of me writing down my thoughts — self-reflection.

Barely arrived in these lands I found my mannerisms endearing to some, and infuriating to others. Both have landed me in trouble, though the former have also brought me joy and companionship.

While I do not believe I have made any enemies in this place, there are those, whom I would wish to avoid associating myself with. Either due to their affiliations; their allegiance to unsavory groups, political or otherwhise; or simply due to their persona and morals, or lack thereof.
Many have ridiculed me for my aforementioned mannerisms. Making fun of me and my values. For my, I admit, naivé view of the world. While this has not made enemies of them, I still lament that I have had to endure meeting them. Their mockery and teasing has damaged my self-image, and some have even taken to spread false rumors about my person.

Fortunately I have made fast friends with many. Primarily among the elven and halfling races; among the females of the Coast. How or why that is, is still a mystery to me, given my relations with women thus far had been non-existant.
Those who are closest to me have often flatteringly called me adorable due to my mannerisms. While I can often be ignorant of the why, when it comes to the actions and motives of those around me, I do theorize that me being an artist, a painter, also plays a role. If for no other reason than the romantic appeal women might find in befriending a painter, who can capture their beauty and likeness on canvas?

Is that the kind of person, I want to be?
I do not know.
It is certainly not my intent to swoon the ladies of the Coast in the manner I have thus far. While I enjoy their company and attention, I am also made ill at ease by their affection, romantic or otherwise. My lacking social skills have proven a hinderance in these interactions, as I find myself unable to ascertain when someone is just being friendly, and when they are flirting.

At least I have had help along the way. The friends I have made, both male and female, have offered me insights. Not only in spotting when someone is flirting, but also to notice when I am doing so myself, without me realizing it. This along with helping me recognize cues in conversation to tell if someone is being honest, or trying to mislead me.
While many of those friends are now missing, presumably travelling far and wide for a time, I will always cherish the wisdom they shared with me.

There is much more to write, of course, but for now this is enough. The hardest part of any journey is to set foot on it. I hope my writings will continue, now that I have begun them.

I have much to reflect upon.
Adrian Baker - An innocent virtuoso (bio | journal)
Relyth Ravan'Thala - Bear of an Elf
Reginald McRuff - Wall of Mirabar
Timothy Daleson - Paladin Wand Maker
Cane D'astaro - In service to the Red Knight (Retired)
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zhazz
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Re: Journal of Adrian Baker

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9th of Myrtul 1356 DR
Halls of Inner Light, Baldur's Gate

"You are a tiefling."

Those were the words she spoke to me, when lamenting that I would not be allowed to visit the village of her people. Although at the time she had yet to join the village. Past experiences had stayed her decision to join the village. An elven village. Doron Amar.

"You are a tiefling."

Lylan spoke those words to me on the same day I had painted her portrait in the glade just outside her village. She had won the portrait from me in a sparring match, which she won easily. Not to say that I didn't put up a good show, or that I held back. Far from it. She was simply better than me. She still is.

She had not asked for the portrait out of vanity, or any sense of self-importance. No, she had asked for it to let me speak with my brush the words that there in my heart, which my lips could not speak.

Such has always been the case with me. Painting and writing come easily. Spoken words are more difficult. Even now, after much help from my close friends, I still find it difficult to pick the right words. There is so much to say, but words cannot convey what I see. What I feel. What I experience.

And she recognized this, as we shared wine and food at the roof top café at the Friendly Arm Inn. I was such a fool back then.

A close friend; my best friend ... my first friend, had told me just two days prior that Lylan had described me as cute, during our first conversation. She had done this in the language of the Celestials, which I did not understand, and still doesn't. And so this halfling woman, Maealyn Cloudcreek, had approached me and told me of Lylan's words about me. We journeyed together for a while, me and Maealyn, and became fast friends.

Between then and me inviting Lylan for a drink and a talk, I had met with another elf. One who would soon come to be a close friend and advisor — Alarielle Nulei'ren, the Councilor of Doron Amar. I had asked her what it meant when an elf called someone cute, and she had teasingly told me that it either meant the elf wanted to eat their heart, or that they liked the person.

I was such a sheltere fool. I believed both, and saw no other way to settle it than to ask Lylan herself. My awkwardness aside it turned out to be the start of a wonderful friendship. One in which she did in fact not wish to eat my heart, but rather found me adorable. A sentiment later shared by several others, sometimes to my chagrin.

Following our time at the roof top café we had proceeded to spar together at the Bladestone Foundation. And there we had wagered on who would win. She asked for a portrait to let her know how I saw her, since my words had failed to properly convey it. In return, should I win, I only asked that she sit together with me to watch the sunset, while holding hands.

Why am I writing all of this down, I wonder?
Just yesterday I wrote I would not go into details, but here I am, retelling the story of how I met the most beautiful being I have ever laid my eyes upon. A being, in whose chest beats the most honest, loving, and caring of hearts I have ever met.

Why am I writing all of this down?
Because it is significant. Several others have described me as adorable. She was the one, who did so to help give me confidence. To help me find my own words, through painting, and later on speech.

And so, when she said those four words.

"You are a tiefling."

I believed her. I didn't at first. Growing up my parents had always claimed me human. I possess none of the typical traits found in tieflings. No wings, tails, fangs, or horns.

"You are a tiefling."

She told me. And changed my life forever.

Despite the hardships I have endured since then, as a result of that revelation sparking an awakening of my tiefling heritage, among other and darker secrets of my past, I remain grateful to her. For opening my eyes to the truth. For staying by my side, and not losing faith in me.

She changed my life forever. While there are many more tales to tell of the past few months, this was the most important one. And thus the first I would write.

"You are a tiefling."

She had faith in me. Now it is time I prove to her that her faith was not misplaced.
Now it is time that I make up for the hardships I have made her endure.

"I am a tiefling."

I know that now, thanks to you, Lylan.
Thank you.
Adrian Baker - An innocent virtuoso (bio | journal)
Relyth Ravan'Thala - Bear of an Elf
Reginald McRuff - Wall of Mirabar
Timothy Daleson - Paladin Wand Maker
Cane D'astaro - In service to the Red Knight (Retired)
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zhazz
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Re: Journal of Adrian Baker

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11th of Myrtul 1356 DR
Halls of Inner Light, Baldur's Gate

It is a strange thing to suddenly be faced with the reality of my heritage. To be told, and later shown, that what I thought I knew about myself was in fact a lie. Not a malicious lie, I believe, but rather one of compassion. I say that with conviction in my heart, for I cannot imagine any reason why my parents would ever lie to me about my heritage, if not to protect me from the hardships and dangers of the world.

I do not recall ever hearing about Tieflings in Mirabar. How would it have been for me growing up in Mirabar, had I known the truth of my heritage? Did others in the city know? Do my troubles making friends as a child stem from me not knowing the truth of my heritage, and thus not knowing who I was? Or did the other kids know, and thus they kept their distance?

The answer to those questions is one and the same: "I do not know."

Here on the Sword Coast my kind are common, even though we do not share the same ancestry. Edelgarde, an accomplished mage and valued member of Candlekeep; my friend no less, is also a Tiefling. She is well respected throughout these lands, and I have yet to hear of any bearing her ill will. And there are many more, of course. Reiker Vexx, Jalib, and of course Lylan's wife Niyressa, to name a few.

I wonder if the Sword Coast is wholly unique in that regard? Does it attract my kind, as it attract so many others from strange lands and origins? Are the hardships faced by all who inhabit these lands a result of the Sword Coast being a melting pot for people from strange lands and origins, where only the strong survive? Is this place I now call home a refuge for those, who have no where else to go? Or is it a purgatory wherein we struggle to make a life of our own in the only place that will have us?

My answer remain as before: "I do not know."

Yet I prefer to believe that the Sword Coast is no different than any other place in our world. That for all the people here, from strange lands and origins, it is simply a place like any other.

I wonder why I prefer to believe such. Is it due to wishful childlike thinking so that I will feel better about myself? Is it a shield I can hold in front of me to bar others from seeing, who I really am?

The answer to both those questions is a simple one: "No".

For I have grown in my brief time here. Through the trials of these lands, and the trials of my heritage revealed. With the support of the friendships I have forged, and the love I have found. From those things I have grown. No longer am I a sheltered young man, as Alarielle had once called me. No longer am I innocent in the ways of the world, as Eddy once told me. I have grown.

However, I still have much to learn. About the world, and the people in it. But such a task is made easier now that I know who I am. Although, until the issues of my heritage have been resolved, who I am is perhaps still in flux. But I know what I am, and such is even more important. For in understanding and embracing what I am, I can truly being the process of figuring out who I am, and who I want to be.

In that regard, having learned the truth of my heritage, I have been set free. Free from the burden of a lie of compassion. And while there is still a long way to go for me, I can now see the road ahead of me.

The first steps have already been taken. Many more remain, but I am free to walk at my own pace. Or at least I will be free to do so, once I have resolved the issues of my heritage, and what was done to me.

I do not know the name of my fiendish ancestor. But I hope he is watching. I hope he is listening. I hope he will take notice, when I say this:

"I will free myself."

The words have been said, the path laid out before me.
I can think of no better place to walk that path, than here on the Sword Coast.
Adrian Baker - An innocent virtuoso (bio | journal)
Relyth Ravan'Thala - Bear of an Elf
Reginald McRuff - Wall of Mirabar
Timothy Daleson - Paladin Wand Maker
Cane D'astaro - In service to the Red Knight (Retired)
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zhazz
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Re: Journal of Adrian Baker

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3rd of Kythorn 1356 DR
Halls of Inner Light, Baldur's Gate

Nearly a month has passed, and once again I find that it has been some time since my previous entry in my journal. Not due to any lack of desire to fill out the pages with my thoughts, but rather from a sudden increase in activities during my day.

As strange as it has been for me to be confronted with the knowledge that I am in fact a Tiefling, and not a Human, it pales in comparison to the strangeness of having daily conversations with another personality inhabiting my thoughts. Another me.

This other me. This Adriano — as Lylan once named him, is what was pulled from my personality at a young age. All the evil from my fiendish heritage was sought expelled through an invasive medical procedure. A procedure, which went awry. Rather than expel the evil from me completely, as my parents had hoped it would, it instead split my personality into two parts.

What remained of my personality filled in the gaps as best it could, forming who I am today. While the rest was sealed away by some magical force. Locked away in the deepest recesses of my mind to be but a spectator for all my life since that fateful day. A presence I did not even notice was there. Hidden from me until Lylan questioned my heritage, and claimed I was a Tiefling.

While only a few months have passed since that day when her words spoken to me, it already feels like a lifetime ago. Even more so during the past two tendays, where I have been able to silently communicate with my other half. Together we have explored the memories that were also sealed away alongside him.

Explored is perhaps a poor choice of words, as I cannot delve into them in a manner similar to the dreamwalks I have had with Linetheil. Rather details of those memories are retold by my other half. While I am still reluctant to believe every thought and word shared by him, I do find most of what is shared both compelling and convincing. The mental strain of having to fit a memory two decades old with my current memories, however, is no small thing. Often we have to go over the same memory again several times, before I find a comfortable spot for it.

As strange, and sometimes off-putting, as it is to have that second personality inside my mind, it is also a great boon. I have often found myself better able to reflect on choices made, both past and current, as that second voice adds its assessment and insights.

Thus much of my day is spent in such reflections, and retelling of memories that were once lost to me.

It is my hope that this symbiotic relationship that has formed between us will help guide the merging of our two halves, when it is time for such to take place.

I wonder what the result of such a merging will be. Some have speculated that both of us will cease to exist, and instead join together as an entirely new personality. If such is the case, what does this mean for the friendships both of us have formed? For the relationships both of us have formed? Will his feelings towards Hoppy stay the same? Will my feelings for Lylan stay the same?

All questions to which I do not have the answer. Do anyone?

Others have claimed they will do whatever is in their power to ensure that the personality they know and trust, mine, will be the dominant one after the merging, retaining all my memories, feelings, desires, and skills. Augmented by the best parts of my other half. If such a thing is possible it is fair towards the other me?

I ask this because he seems genuine in his desire to live a life, where he is in control of his own body, unshared with another. A desire, which I share, and thus cannot fault him for. And thus I ask again: is it fair that he should become only a minor part in a personality that is otherwise wholly mine? Would that not be similar to dooming him to oblivion, with only the memory of his existence living on in those, who briefly met him?

I do not know the answers to these questions either. I hope and pray that by the time the merging is ready to proceed that I will have found those answers. And more importantly that those answers fill me with relief and calm, rather than apprehension and doubt.

Until then I continue my reflections.

Until then I listen, and observe.

Until then I learn, and grow.
Adrian Baker - An innocent virtuoso (bio | journal)
Relyth Ravan'Thala - Bear of an Elf
Reginald McRuff - Wall of Mirabar
Timothy Daleson - Paladin Wand Maker
Cane D'astaro - In service to the Red Knight (Retired)
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zhazz
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Re: Journal of Adrian Baker

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13th of Kythorn 1356 DR
Warrior's Rest, Lion's Way

It is a curious thing to make friends.

Only a few months ago I had none, whom I could call a friend, let alone a close one at that. Then I arrived here on the Coast, and somehow bumbled and stumbled my way into making friends with several people. Some of which were entirely unexpected, while others felt as if it was meant to be.

Growing up in Mirabar I never had any close friends, and the few people I got to know during my time with the Mirabar garrison came so late in life that I felt woefully unequipped to consider what they even meant to me. There was a sense of camaraderie there, certainly, as is necessary for any army to have. But I wonder if any of them were truly ever my friends? I didn't think of them as such, but maybe a few of them considered me thus?

It is a curious thing to reflect back on one's own life, and see it through the lens of another. As I have done over the past tendays, when conversing with the other personality inhabiting my mind. Through that lens, and in examining in what I wrote above, I come to a new realization:
ImageI had friendship offered to me earlier in my life, but I did embrace it.

Was it my own insecurity that stayed my hand back then? Was it my sheltered upbringing that made me wholly unaware of many social constructs and cues? Or was it the few encounters with other children during my childhood, whom would often tease me for being bookish and "strange", which made me fear reaching out to others for friendship?

I do not know the answer to any of those questions. But I am learning, and finding my way through those past experiences. Adding context through the lens of my other half. Other half... I have often heard that phrase used to describe a partner or a spouse. Which is certainly not the case here. He has been called other names by others: The Dark One, Evil Adrian, Demon Adrian... I think I shall call him Adriano, like Lylan named him. That at least seems to make him less upset, though he will still occasionally insist that he is the one named Adrian, and I should be given another name.

Still, I think it easier for myself to consider him as Adriano. And I suspect anyone, who reads this journal might as well. Hoppy, however, I am told by him prefers to call him Adrian, for that is how she knows him. Yet on the occasions that her and I have spent time together she has also referred to me as Adrian. It must be strange for her to consider both halves of us, seeing the same face, but knowing there are two. Yet she doesn't seem to mind, and simply does the best she can with what is before her.

Looking back at my experiences in Mirabar, I think I did the same. I didn't know how act during social situations. And so I kept mostly to myself. That has of course changed since I arrived here on the Sword Coast. I still do the best I can with what is before me, even if it sometimes terrifies me, or makes me feel uncomfortable. If I didn't then I suspect I would not have been able to maintain and grow the friendships I have found here.

One such friendship is Atria. Someone I barely spoke with, but would occasionally spend time with as she spent time with others I called friends. Through our mutual friends we became friends. And then even closer friends after that. I cannot pinpoint the exact moment when we became friends, and I doubt anyone really pays much attention to such details. I likely shouldn't either, but it still irritates me that I cannot remember it.

I do, however, remember when Atria became a close friend. A friend, whom I love and cherish greatly. Not romantically of course. Such is not her interest, and neither is it mine. But she is like family to me. Not the family I was born into, but the family I have chosen to surround myself with. And though it took some time for me to tell her how I felt, I realize that me considering her a close friend come from a spark that was seeded just the day before I became a patient at the Ilmateri Church.

She was seeking comfort and reassurance that the world hadn't gone mad and turned itself against her. Not the entire world, of course, but part of it, which still mattered to her then. Candlekeep. She felt alienated due to her views and beliefs clashing with many others at Candlekeep. I tried to make her feel better, and explain to her how there are always multiple ways to view any given situation. That two observers can view the same object, but experience it vastly different, because they are viewing from different points. Individually they hold a piece of the whole. Together they are closer to the truth.

Days later she came to the Ilmateri Church to visit me, while I was bound and gagged to one of their beds. She showed me kindness, and the warmth of her heart. To say that I love her like family is the only way to truly describe how much she means to me. She is a close friend. A sister; like Maealyn, Carmine, and Firozara.

Maealyn, Carmine, and Firozara. Three friends I have not seen or heard from in a long time. I can only pray that they are safe, and that their paths will once again lead them to the Sword Coast, so we can share stories as the close friends we are.

It is a curious thing to make friends...

You never know what to expect, but once you have them, they become part of you. And in their absence part of you feel empty. Gone. Missing. I often wonder where my long-lost friends are, and I get sadder for it. Sometimes so much so that I will cry myself to sleep.

With such great sorrow in their absence, would I be better off without them, I wonder?

It is not a question I have to ponder for long before finding the answer. And that answer is a resounding:
ImageNo.

It is a curious thing to make friends... and a wonderful experience.
Adrian Baker - An innocent virtuoso (bio | journal)
Relyth Ravan'Thala - Bear of an Elf
Reginald McRuff - Wall of Mirabar
Timothy Daleson - Paladin Wand Maker
Cane D'astaro - In service to the Red Knight (Retired)
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zhazz
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Re: Journal of Adrian Baker

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3rd of Flamerule 1356 DR
Halls of Inner Light, Baldur's Gate

The abyss.

Not the abyss that is the home of demons, but the one at someone's feet, when they think they have nothing left to lose. The place where the mind wanders on occasion as the troubles of the world around you seem unsurmountable. When the deck is stacked so heavily against someone that they find themselves glancing towards that dark gaping pit at their feet.
Just every once in a while... at first — but then with greater frequency, until they one day find themselves gazing into the abyss as if it was a warm and welcoming home. How wondrous it would be to just take that final step, and let themselves plunge into the dark, where they are alone, and the troubles of the world cannot reach them.

I wonder how many have stood where I stand now? Able to look back on the troubles they have faced, realizing only now how far they had fallen? How close they had come to taking that final step that would plunge them into the abyss. A place so dark that no pleas for them to return would ever be heard. A place so cruel to their sanity that they would lose their sense of self.

Undoubtedly many have stood with their feet at the edge of the abyss. As I have.

I have joined those, who took a step back. Avoided the abyss, when it would have been easier to just let go, and let the darkness consume me. I gazed into the abyss, as the abyss gazed into me, and when the abyss whispered 'jump', I answered:
Image'No'

While I can wonder what made others do the same, I know fully well what made me step away from it: My friends.

They have been there throughout my troubles. Some more than others, but ever there. Some would come to visit me, and help pull me out of the darkness. While others would wait for me to take a step away from that darkness, and towards them. I think both types of friends are needed. If everyone sought to guide at the same time, they would get in each others way. Likewise, if everyone sought to encourage the stricken to take the first step, no steps would be taken.

My friends have helped me through my own darkness. I am not through it yet, but I have come far. None, however, have helped me more than the one, who have become as important to me as breathing:
ImageLylan

I will be ever thankful that this elven woman; this beauty that mere words cannot do justice, saw something in me, and decided to nurture it. Words cannot describe how I feel about her, try as I might. Something she recognized on the very day where we had our first proper meeting. I was so inexperienced back then. I still am, but back then it was much worse. She recognized my loss for words, and asked I speak them with my heart instead as I painted her portrait. A portrait she won fairly in my first duel here on the Sword Coast.

How different our courtship has been from the many romance books I have read. How different has it been from the grand adventures I have read, where the hero of the story finds his happiness and forever-more with the princess of the lands he saved. Ours has been a rocky road. No straight and true path, but full of potholes, broken wheels, and rainy days that threatened to bury our carriage in a landslide.
Yet we have persevered, and while I wish a great many things would be different now than they have turned out to be — chief among them her breakup with her wife Niyressa — I must admit that the love we have for each other now is all the sweeter because of the trials we have faced together, or helped the other through.

It has been more than a month of training together with Lylan, and just like she predicted, as my body has grown strong again, so have my mind, and my ability to control the darker side of me. My ability to control my other half: Adriano. He is still in there somewhere in my mind, and I suspect he will be until we are finally merged into one being again. He is helping me resist the influences of my fiendish ancestor, by teaching me ways to fight back, and to fight in my stead, when I sleep.

Was it not for Lylan, however, we would have continued to fight against each other until one of us had perished. Though that very nearly happened anyway, it also served as the catalyst that started us down a better path. Not only a better path for me and my darker half, but also a better path for me and Lylan.

We have spent as much time together as we can, whenever we can. Training most of the time, but sometimes also just enjoying the company of the other, and finding much needed comfort and acceptance in the other.

While I still have a lot to learn from Lylan, both when it comes to loving someone, and furthering my fighting prowess, I do believe that the latter is already progressing more rapidly than I could have hoped for. This became quite evident during the Blackrose Martial Tournament held in Soubar just a few days hence. While I did not win, I still hold my head high in the knowledge that I did far better than I had thought I would. There were some painful losses, but also moments of brilliance, where our training together paid off.

Could I have done so well in that tournament, and Soubar in general, without Lylan's guidance prior?
ImageI doubt it.

Though the answer to such a question is impossible to know, since I cannot go back to relive that tournament as a different me, I find that I do not need to know the truth. My heart guides me, and it tells me the answer above.

In just a few hours from now I will be meeting with Lylan again. Our first meeting since Flint and Carah's wedding the day before the tournament. I look forward to seeing her again. Not just due to how she makes my heart sing, although that is what makes me smile the brightest. No, it is also due to us resuming my training with her once again.

Lylan, I know you will likely never read this journal, but if you do then know that I am made stronger by your belief in me. Made stronger by your love for me. Made stronger by the love and belief I hold in you. Whatever the future has in store for us, I look forward to spending as many hours of it together as we can find.
Adrian Baker - An innocent virtuoso (bio | journal)
Relyth Ravan'Thala - Bear of an Elf
Reginald McRuff - Wall of Mirabar
Timothy Daleson - Paladin Wand Maker
Cane D'astaro - In service to the Red Knight (Retired)
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zhazz
Posts: 451
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Re: Journal of Adrian Baker

Unread post by zhazz »

13th of Flamerule 1356 DR
Warrior's Rest, The Lion's Way

Throughout this journal I have been writing my own experiences, and the people I have met through those experiences. Such writings are often a good exercise to help perceive a past situation differently. A bit of introspection, which I have also previously done in this journal.

While I want to return to the experiences I have had with other people, and how they have shaped me, and how I expect them to continue to shape me, I want to take a break for any such introspection. Instead I want to focus on a topic that has always interested me, but has thus far eluded me as a personal goal to achieve.

ImageMagic.

During my adolescent years I found myself capable of drawing upon the mysterious force that is commonly known as magic. It was but a minor incantation of darkness, which I manifested, but one that would spark a curiosity within me, which I very much doubt will ever go away. My father, ever the pragmatic man, of course recognized my potential for magic, and thus hired a tutor. A tutor, who arrived within just a few days.

I spent nearly a year with my tutor, being taught the fundamentals of use of magical energies. A year of mixed excitement and frustration on my part, and only frustration for my tutor and my father. A year gone by, and hundreds of lessons, and all I could do was conjure a patch of darkness with better precision and greater intensity. And that was it. No grand conjurations of lightning or fire, like I had read about in many of my books. No manifestations of illusions to trick the senses. No warping of the air around me to conjure a protective shield, or make my skin as hard as stone. Nothing. Only the darkness.

A year gone by, and nothing to show for it of worth or value. Hundreds of gold coins spent by my father on those lessons. Countless hours spent in vain by the tutor. Days gone by practising incantations in my room, to no effect. A year wasted.

ImageWas I a failure?

Such was a question I often posed to myself during sleepless nights for many months to come after my tutor had left. It is a question I still ask myself on occasion. Not in an effort to undermine my sense of worth or accomplishment, but to ask myself:

ImageCould I have done more?

I find such questions are important to ask of oneself. In all aspects of life. For while the answer might be discouraging, it also an opportunity to reflect, and vow to do better next time. An opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the past.

I never stopped dreaming of one day using magic to make my life easier. To make the lives of others easier. Years came and went, where I read many more books of grand adventures. Some fairytales to be certain, while others were accounts of distant wars and struggles fought by might heroes and wizards. Exaggerated accounts to be certain, yet I did not know them to be at the time.

Then we travelled to Damara. What a change that proved to be. We arrived just a few years after Zhengyi the Witch-King had declared war on Damara. As the tale goes he erected his mighty fortress in the northern parts of Vasa in just a single night. A fortress that the locals in Damara had named Castle Perilous.

What a mighty feat of magical prowess that was! The work of a lich, carried out by demons, and thus wholly an unsavoury creation. But the magic required to perform such a feat in just a single night would be astounding. Such power and talent, however twisted and cruel its source, is certainly worthy of notice.

We spent two years in Damara, where I helped my parents in our business adventure to procure trade deals for the mineral known as Bloodstone Ore. During the day I would perform my function as scribe and translator for my father. But at night... at night I would sit in the tavern and listen to the tales of other patrons. Listen to their tales of knights and wizards battling against Zhengyi.

I would not use magic myself, and thus I had my thirst for magic sated through these tales. Tales that I gradually wrote into a small story of my own making. Perhaps one day I will refine that story, and publish it. But such is not the topic for this journal entry, though it is an interesting one to cover later.

ImageMagic.

I have met many here on the Sword Coast, who make use of magic for various means. To say that I admire many of them for their talents is an understatement. However, there is one, who, despite their antics and general unlikeable persona has helped me view magic differently. Not just as something learned through long studies, but as something that can come from many sources.

ImageThe somewhat crazy arch mage Salim.

An annoying and sometimes downright foul person to be around due to his antics. Yet occasionally he has proven himself to be more than a lingering and grating headache. Many do not have the temperament or patience to steer the conversation towards a reasonable one. But on the few times I have been able to do so, we have had some interesting talks. Some of which have been on the topic of magic.

While I don't speak much with him these days, I expect that I might one day again do so. At the very least to offer him my thanks for helping me expand my mind, and see other possibilities when it comes to usage of magic.

Recently I have begun studying the usage of magic through wands. My tutor here is of course not Salim. No my tutor is Atria, a close friend, whom I have mentioned before. Through our lessons we have delved deeper into the theoretical side of magic, to give me a better understanding of magic, where it comes from, how it is used, and what its limitations are. It is with her guidance that I am now learning how to employ a wand to cast magic. And in time, perhaps someone will teach me how to read scrolls too.

ImageMagic.

I might learn how to wield it yet. Differently than others perhaps. But wield it I may.
Adrian Baker - An innocent virtuoso (bio | journal)
Relyth Ravan'Thala - Bear of an Elf
Reginald McRuff - Wall of Mirabar
Timothy Daleson - Paladin Wand Maker
Cane D'astaro - In service to the Red Knight (Retired)
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zhazz
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Re: Journal of Adrian Baker

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11th of Elient DR 1356
Warrior's Rest, The Lion's Way

It has yet again been some time since I found myself capable of sitting down to make additions to my journal. Not for a lack of want, but rather a lack of time and clarity of mind. A lot has happened in the past two months since my previous entry. Too much to write about here. Yet I will try to summarize. Hopefully by doing so, I can bring some clarity to my thoughts, and look towards the future.

Aside from attending a few tournaments, and doing quite well for myself, despite not winning, most of my time has been spent honing my blade skills. This has happened both at the Bladestone Foundation, where I study the martial arts with Lylan as my teacher, and out in the wilderness with allies and friends, as we sought to bring down one dangerous monster or another.

While I never stood alone against such terrible foes, I have found pride in my ability to stand my ground, and hold my own. These terrible foes, who are they then? Too many to count, yet among them are a mighty Balor, and a monstrous White Dragon. Both providing their own challenges, and requiring a keen mind and quick reflexes to avoid being torn in half.

I would be lying, if I claimed to not be frightened, when staring down such foes. Or rather, staring up. I think it only natural to feel a growing sense of mortality when faced against such foes. Yet in those moments I found a clarity in an unlikely place. My other half, Adriano, came to my aid each time. Spurring me on, driving away the mental fatigue and terror. Pushing me forward, until I found that his words was no longer shared in my head, as I had found my own confidence through his push for persistence.

Later when I spoke with Alarielle about my exploits, she spoke but a few words, which made me immensely proud.

Image"I'm kind of scared of how strong you'll be once everything is sorted."

Lylan of course was equally thrilled hearing about my exploits, yet rather than merely congratulate me on my achievements, she asked questions of me as well. Asked me how I fought against them, what tactics I employed, what I learned, and what weaknesses I saw in my own and their fighting styles.

Following my success with such skirmishes, I felt at the top of the world. Nothing could bring me down. Not when I continued to learn, and make my friends proud. Or so I thought.

It's been a month now since I received a letter from my father. I would say finally, given I sent him a letter months back requesting aid for the dwarves of Kraak Helzak, but such tardiness is not important here. It was great hearing from home once more after two and a half years away. Except for one detail in the letter.

Image"Your mother is sick. We don't know what the cause is. If you can, please return home."

I was devastated.

Of course I wanted to pack my things right then and there. Leave a message at the Bladestone Foundation of my whereabouts, and just catch a caravan back home right away. Or enlist the aid of Alarielle, Sirion, or even Salim! Get them to create a portal back home for me to rush through.

Yet I couldn't.

Not with my current condition. Not when we are so close to finally seeing my ancestor's influence over me destroyed. Were I to leave before that goal was realized, I would endanger it's success by giving my ancestor more opportunities to haunt me. Or worse yet, he might break through my mental barriers, and make me hurt my parents. I couldn't allow that.

A few days later I met with Lylan, and told her of the situation. I cried on her shoulder, and when my tears dried up, she held me close, and made me cry once more with but a few words.

Image"When we are done with this business with your ancestor, I will come home with you."

I thought to ask her myself, of course, but to hear the words from her, unbidden, reaffirmed what I already knew in my heart: "I love her." — Not a day has gone by since then, where I haven't thought back on that moment. We've continued to spar, train, go out on dates, and seek each other's company in the dead of night. And each time we do, those words ring all the more true in my heart.

Recently she has been there for me again. Been at my side at night. Comforting me. Calming me. Giving me her love, while nightmares ran rampant in my mind. For once not nightmares of my heritage, though I have not had such for months now. No, these were nightmares of a different kind.

Drow.

I had been travelling with the elf Boots, and Aaron Lyonaler for a time. Just a short excursion to the mines outside Nashkel. A place I had travelled to before. A place where a Pit Fiend makes its home at the very bottom. A Pit Fiend that I, like the Balor and White Dragon, had helped slay at least once before. With such grand company as Boots and Aaron, I felt it would be a quick and safe journey through those mines.

For the most part it was. When we finally engaged the Pit Fiend, I did as I always did. I ran in to draw its attention, and dance around it, using my speed and agility to keep it from hitting me, while my allies would move in to flank it. One step to the left, a quick one to the right, duck down, roll over my left shoulder, and let the momentum carry me along for three quick steps to make the Pit Fiend turn to catch up. Except the roll did not go as planned.

One moment I was there, with the Pit Fiend, and my allies. The next I was surrounded by pitch black darkness. Scampering claws, and sniffing whiskers heard all around me. Before I could get my bearings Boots joined me. She was quick to get hers, however, and cursed before slinking into the shadows. Aaron followed soon after.

Somehow we had ended up in the Underdark. Likely through a teleportation circle of some kind left behind by a sinister mind. I don't remember much following that. Save for a feeling of dread and terror as Drow closed in around us. I must have blacked out, for the next thing I remember was waking up at the Bladestone Foundation, bathed in sweat, and trembling.

Adriano fortunately filled me in. Explained how Aaron had spoken with two of the Drow, and secured us passage back to the surface. I had retreated into myself, and let Adriano take over. Something, which hasn't happened in a long time. I was glad that he did, however, as I doubt I would have had the courage to trust the two Drow. Not that Adriano did. He rather despised them, according to what he shared with me. Even scolded Aaron for sharing a bit too much information about himself.

That was but a few days ago.

I feel better now. Less plagued by nightmares of that encounter, though I still see shadows out the corner of my eyes. Red orbs burning in the dark, waiting to strike. Only to disappear as I turn my head to look. I know they are just figments of my imagination. Or so I hope at least. For as I write this entry in my journal, I have heard whispers in my head. From someone I don't recognize. Friendly enough words, but I worry about the source.

Image"First, you're safe... ish? You were the most visibly affected. Second... there's no second yet."

I hope and pray that it is not one of the Drow. For if it is, then I fear my earlier nightmares might have been nothing but a prelude to something far far worse.

Tymora, I beg of you, let it not be Drow.
Adrian Baker - An innocent virtuoso (bio | journal)
Relyth Ravan'Thala - Bear of an Elf
Reginald McRuff - Wall of Mirabar
Timothy Daleson - Paladin Wand Maker
Cane D'astaro - In service to the Red Knight (Retired)
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