Avery's Completely Objective Personal Log

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Avery's Completely Objective Personal Log

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Avery woke with a panicked gasp, heart pounding against her ribs and the cold sweat clinging to her skin. By habit her hand flew to her mouth and squeezed her nose, stifling the noise of the frightened whimpers and gasping breaths.

She remained in that attitude a full five minutes, shaking and half suffocating, blinking away the nightmare and bringing back reality. One by one the memories were replaced by the present; the crashing of waves became the distant clatter of a paladin’s armour, and the creaking of a ship was only the gentle snore of another Radiant Heart soldier, three bunks down.

Her fear ebbed, but before it could melt into calm she clenched her jaw in frustration.

The nightmares should have stopped.

She was within the walls of the Radiant Heart stronghold, surrounded by soldiers and knights and paladins who had accepted her as their own; this was arguably the safest possible place on the entire Sword Coast.

She was safe. So why hadn’t the nightmares stopped?

A headache bloomed behind her sleepless eyes, and reluctantly Avery sat up and slipped out of bed. Why stay? Sleep wasn’t going to return tonight anyway. Quietly as possible she pulled her coat on over her sleeping clothes, and crept to the door.

The Stronghold was never truly silent, even at the witching hours in the dead of night. It was not only guards; at any time of night, one might spy Boots holed up in a room and going through endless rolls of parchment, cursing the reports she wrote. It wasn’t strange to see Nigel either, slipping out like shadow in the woodlands to do… whatever it was he did.

It occurred to Avery then, she was becoming one of these unpredictable night owls.

She slipped downstairs, crossing past training dummies and racks of weapons to the library, as if the towers of books would add an extra layer of security. Which they invariably did.

Reading couldn’t hold her exhausted attention though, and tidying the place and putting away books didn’t last long as it was already such a well cared for space - Erin would never let it fall into disarray. Eventually she fell into a chair at a desk, flipping through stray parchment and blank books.

‘You should talk to High Lady Alyssia about it,’

Kelian’s words filtered through her mind and she squeezed her eyes shut. It made sense to, of course. But whatever had given her the courage to tell him what had happened back in Aberwatch was gone again. The memories were splotched in black, and the words turned to sand in her mouth when she tried to say what happened out loud.

Candlelight glinted from the nib of a quill, and the glass of an inkwell. She knew that keeping a journal was one method of unloading that psychological burden; back at the Temple they had encouraged it among any of the patients who could read and write.

With some hesitation Avery reached for the quill, and moved some parchment to lay diagonal in front of her. She dipped in the ink, pressing the nib to the parchment…

…No words came. A dark black spot bled through the fibers of the paper, ink draining from the quill and creeping outward. How the hells would she start? What was she even supposed to say?

From the black spot she drew a line, looping it into her slanted, squiggly lettering.


I can’t f’king sleep.

Avery huffed a silent laugh at the words. Now that was an elegant start to a journal; how does one go about narrating their own life, anyway?

The bitter jab had been cathartic though, and for a moment her hand scribbled a few more cusses before quickly scratching them back out. After a little thought, she tried another opening line.


I feel like I’m…

…Scribble, scratch, blotted out.

I don’t know how I-

Quill froze again, then raced back and forth to erase the line under rivers of black ink. Avery growled; this was stupid, clearly not going to work. She didn’t want to think about how everything had made her feel, let alone write about it, let alone talk about it. Writing patient or scouting reports was so easy by comparison, there was no mess of trying to get her head-thoughts into ink-and-paper-thoughts.

Avery blinked. Slowly, she moved to a new sheet of paper. She drew a centering breath, reloaded the quill, and began.


Date: 19 Alturiak 1357

Location: RH Stronghold, S.E of Bauldrs Gate

Arrived at Bauldrs Gate. No record of the Damysus having docked here. Possibility of Damysus arriving at ‘Roaringshore’.

Secured position of Squire with Radiant Heart. Duties: provide support on patrols and battles. Complete reports. Continue study of healing, physiology, combat. Improve physical condition. Maintain connection to Tamara.

Hope you can be good enough to deserve Her mercy.


Avery paused, staring at that last line. There, a little of her guilt had spilled onto the page like a splash of wine. She hated the sight of it, and almost crossed it out, before forcing her hand instead to move on.

Pay for failure at Aberwatch.

Her throat got tight, but before the wretched feeling could rise up any further some protective part of her mind swept the thought away to nothingness. On she wrote.

Combat training noticeably reduces general anxiety. Rapid improvement with crossbow - make inventory of bolts & prepare poison cures when hunting wyverns.

Find sustainable supply of bolts with fire-damage; undead threat increasing.

Continue training with Kelian - protective, strong warrior, solid insight on Holy magic. Starting a new guild. Morninglord. Prone to melancholy; bring extra rations to make sure he eats. Friend.


Again Avery stopped, watching the ink dry letter by letter. F, r, i, e… Strange, the weight behind that simple word. Used so casually by everyone but was heavy with concepts of trust, openness, connection, happiness. None of that felt like it should apply to her life, or anyone in it. Slowly, her hand wrote out another name.

Asher

The quill hovered as she stared at the name. What to say? There was nothing new to say about Asher, and there never would be.

Jyn Rogue - want to train with her again, work well together. Bright, energetic, confident. Follows Lathander. Told stories of adolescent years, was fun, rebellious. Interesting.

There followed some slow, thoughtless swirls of ink, drawn with a hard hand with bridled anger, that soon morphed into the words:

Five Years.

The text returned to its normal cursive.

Have finally managed a mass-heal spell. Show Erin? Go with Lord Aaron and Boots on next possible patrol to test limits of the spell - can be used against the undead, important to get better.

Wyvern training today. Check with street kid on news from Docks.


She dusted the paper and once they dried, gathered the sheets up into a spare lambskin binder, the start of a new ‘journal’.

“You better hide this real good,” she grumbled, “Don’t want this lot finding out you’re bonkers.”
Iolanna: High Druidess of the Green Enclave, Arch of the Crescent Moon, Druid of Greenest, Faithful of Eldath

Elle Avery: Radiant Heart FNG, Cleric of Tamara and lover of Crossbows

Daigon: Guardsman of the Rocky Creek Trading Company
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Re: Avery's Completely Objective Personal Log

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Date: 21 Alturiak 1357

Panic attack today. May be considerable affliction. I was able to participate in a clearing of the Fields of the Dead with Radiant Heart, able to hunt spiders, wyverns, face Dracolich. Unable to board vessel 'Sirens Song' for gathering of factions.

Symptoms: elevated heart rate, difficulty breathing, unable to hear clearly, ringing, black spots in vision.

... Thought I was doing much better than that. Long time talking with Kelian, opening up about the Damysus. Thought I was getting a hold of it, moving forward. Getting stronger. But put one foot on the docks and just froze. Nigel passed by and said he would apologise to Lord Aaron for me. So, there's that, they know I have a phobia now.

Acquisition: Small pack pony, mare; white and brown paint pattern looks like mud, so, 'Piglet'. Intended to find a war horse... Piglet was a bit banged up and unable to be sold. Didn't want her to be food for hounds. Taka described her as 'happy', and a 'family horse', and gifted an apple to her. Glad she's happy. Nice company. Looks ridiculous next to Horseshoe and other warhorses, but they look like they get along.

Target practice in FoD with Kel instead of boarding the Siren's Song. Feel much better when shooting things. Kel on track to establish Rising Flame, and has started singing again, which I'm relieved about. Good to see him happier.

Encountered Skeleton named 'Frank'. Weirdly... sentient? Amiable even, expressed no interest in combat, annoyance at adventurers and necromancers alike, preference to read and retire to his crypt. Never seen his like before.

...Worrying implications.

Iolanna: High Druidess of the Green Enclave, Arch of the Crescent Moon, Druid of Greenest, Faithful of Eldath

Elle Avery: Radiant Heart FNG, Cleric of Tamara and lover of Crossbows

Daigon: Guardsman of the Rocky Creek Trading Company
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Re: Avery's Completely Objective Personal Log

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Date: 2 Ches, 1357

Exhaustive day. First scry in some years, on multiple objects and wicked beings. This is after a battle with the undead outside Fort Prominence. Had arrived with Lord Aaron and Boots to assess situation. Happy to say Lord Aaron removed our possible support after seeing a Drow there in their ranks, and the Dreadlord according to Boots.

Not whelming myself in the complications of this battle - more experienced persons to manage that. Did have one use in aforementioned scrying.

Brain and eyes still hot, sore. Not used to the spell and tried too many items at once. But glad I could do something.


Avery rubbed at her eye, not just for her tiredness, but for the images burned there into her mind. The black haired woman, the vampires, that was one thing. But the image of the third vision intruded her thoughts constantly, as if illuminated by a lightning flash. Inevitably, the soft rumble of horror followed every time. As if to try and get it out of her head and onto the paper, she sketched the face she had seen. it was then scratched out and the topic changed.

Lord Aaron is to be my 'mentor'. Still not quite comprehending this... a Lord. As in, a Lord, one step down from a Duke? I know it's an honour, but how is it someone like me wound up with that sort of a connection?

We had been told at the last - my first - Radiant Heart meeting that such mentorships were being organised among the recruits and squires... I had assumed I would be placed with Erin. And know to be grateful for this but every time I attempt it, the whole notion is just unbelievable.

. . . I think I'm actually trying. Not just enough to keep my head down, fit in, hide behind them, but actually trying. Reminds me sometimes of being back home - it's nothing like home here, but every now and then I begin to feel part of something, not just blending in with something. I mean I sat across the table from the most ridiculous woman I have ever encountered for two straight hours and not once did I cuss her out. Because... good behaviour. Granted Kelian then had to listen to the deluge of what I thought about her afterward, luckily he found the tirade to be hilarious.

Tamara, I beg of your benevolence, that I may never have to speak to that woman again.

From there the ink no longer formed letters, but only lazy, thoughtless swirls; Avery yawned, still feeling thoughts and memories clumsily bumping into one another in her exhausted brain. Try as she might to get them down, the words would not form; eventually the young cleric's head dropped to the desk, the speckled imprint from half-dried ink staining her cheek as she slept.
Iolanna: High Druidess of the Green Enclave, Arch of the Crescent Moon, Druid of Greenest, Faithful of Eldath

Elle Avery: Radiant Heart FNG, Cleric of Tamara and lover of Crossbows

Daigon: Guardsman of the Rocky Creek Trading Company
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Re: Avery's Completely Objective Personal Log

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Date: 11 Ches, 1357

First lot of Balor shards worked through. more to come. Require:
  • Silk thread, catgut, (House Divine may be able to supply, catgut from a luthier)
  • Rounded cutting needles (Beregost)
  • Bandages, Cave Moss for Healing kits
  • Burn & pain treatments (Ashenie or druids?)
  • Rubbing Alcohol (brewer)
  • Cold Iron Bolts
  • Spells: Disjuntion, Greater Spell Breach, mass heal


RH & Allies likely to use same cave, must find way to cope with boats till then.


Avery set her quill down then, squeezed her dry and sore eyes closed, and cracked her knuckles. How the hell to go about that? She couldn't afford another panic attack like that, not again, not to just get to a tiny island off the coast. How, how could she have been trapped in a cave with Thrax, but it was a damned boat ride that made her sick with fear? It wasn't so bad as a ship, she had eventually gotten on board...


Self sedation, provided a reversal is available. Red mushrooms seem able to reverse effects of alcohol? Sensory deprivation. Practice. Tell Captain not to panic if I faint, just sail?

Too many serious injuries. Someone could have died. Being late is unacceptable.


Something hot stung her tired eyes, and her vision swam. The tears at least soothed the dryness, so much so Avery tilted her head back to stop them falling. She was tired, furious with herself, and did not want to admit that her own problems had actually put other people in danger. How long till she messed up, just from being tired? From the beginning these Radiants were just a hiding place, because who would come after her with so many powerful warriors around her? But they were friends now. And thinking of the horrible gash ripped open in Boot's side made her stomach churn in shame.


"You will care, and it will hurt, and you must remember that's a good thing." -Mother Cordelia

It's the mark of a good doctor, she said. Because it means you will always try.
. . .
Name: Mother Cordelia
Race: Human, Draconic bloodline
Occupation: Lead surgeon and physiologist, Temple of Tamara

Resided with the Temple from the age of 10, till her death at 64. Brilliant, intuitive, more academic than devout. Innovated her own sleep spells to keep patients sedated while performing invasive surgery. Saved Archie Cook's arm when everyone else thought it ought to be amputated. Climbed the Granite Eyrie every year, even when she was past sixty. Died fighting Damysus invasion.
. . .


She paused then, and stared at the name on the page. Mother Cordelia. How... grossly unjust that she wasn't remembered across the world. How despicable of herself, that she'd kept trying to escape that memory instead of honour it. Looking at the miniature dossier though, she was comforted to know that in some tiny way Cordelia wouldn't be quite so lost to history, and remembered somewhere other than Aberwatch.

The next she slept Avery dreamed of home again, but of anatomy lessons and sky-scraping climbs, instead of nightmares.

The next day, a note was added:




Use holy water, prayers, with healing practices
Iolanna: High Druidess of the Green Enclave, Arch of the Crescent Moon, Druid of Greenest, Faithful of Eldath

Elle Avery: Radiant Heart FNG, Cleric of Tamara and lover of Crossbows

Daigon: Guardsman of the Rocky Creek Trading Company
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Re: Avery's Completely Objective Personal Log

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Kilith ui ti drychihuerasti, kilith ui onelkatorra mrith wer ssej charis ihk thirku.
Mercy is not tolerance, mercy is forgiveness with the silent hope for change.
Drniyonkni kilith, yth alis irisvir, erekess irisvir, yth alis Tamara mitne.
Though mercy, we invite healing, through healing, we invite Tamara's light.

I have not been faithful to Tamara's word. A note to myself; picking fights with a friend is not, actually, a way of bringing the light of mercy into the world. I will apologise when I see Kelian next, and then leave him be. No good will come from inflicting my pain on others, and I shame Tamara in doing that.

Location: Eastern Farmlands
Complications with Red Wizards. One has abducted an elemental, 'Sparky', bound to Nigel. Suggested to Nigel to claim the elemental 'belongs' to him; a Red Wizard might consider theft of his property a crime they have committed, since they do not respect the sanctity of freedom. He claims he cannot own a sentient creature and the Forest Queen would forbid such. I wonder at Gods. Would the Forest Queen object to him lying about the nature of the bond, to save the creature? Have offered help, and will follow through.

Nalissa is a person of interest; be mindful when with her, and watchful for Thayans. She has suffered at their hands. I know that unique sort of fear. Give support where possible.

Ordered through House Divine. Unsure what result will be, have not been 'pretty' before. Nigel has ordered finery in solidarity; I will not feel so awkward at least, when fine clothes are called for.

Location: Winding Waters
Be mindful to attend social events such as the faire in future, good for mood. High score in archery. Jonah found a fine rapier - somehow have agreed to his 'story' that it was won fighting a dragon.

Difficult to figure him out... silver-tongued, and a performer. But back when we battled in the fields of the dead, was ill at ease and emotional afterward. He has a good deal of showmanship but I think he is actually sincere in it. Makes me laugh. Very kind, insightful when he talked me through some troubles. I think I am uncertain because he made me open up too easily, and maintained his own reserve.

Encouraged me to explain myself to Kelian though, both my feelings and my loyalties. I think i will try once I have those thoughts in order. Jonah helped me examine a good deal of what has been coiled up in my soul - my capitulations, what I want from my life, my failures, my guilt.

Now is the time to pray, and hopefully find the final answers in Tamara's benevolence.
Iolanna: High Druidess of the Green Enclave, Arch of the Crescent Moon, Druid of Greenest, Faithful of Eldath

Elle Avery: Radiant Heart FNG, Cleric of Tamara and lover of Crossbows

Daigon: Guardsman of the Rocky Creek Trading Company
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Re: Avery's Completely Objective Personal Log

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Avery stifled a yawn, setting her reports in place. Completion of such things always left her mind free from toiling over the information, and feeling the first suggestion of sleep encouraged her to finish one more.

3 Tarsakh 1357

Dangers of the Coast mercifully comparatively few. Trouble in well, report concluded in Radiant archives. Should speak again with the Ilmateri though.

Attended Ilmateri prayers and service... experience was bitter sweet. Longed for draconic chants, Tamaran clergy. Home. Comforted by reverence, sanctuary. Found much of Ilmater's dogma aligned closely with Her Benevolence.

...I'd like an altar for Tamara. Even a small one to myself. Granted, any sick bed may be an altar, and upon it we lay the wounded, and our work and love and healing magic is the offering given to Her. Still... presence of a deity and her followers is strongly felt in those places built for them.

Ori gifted me a small book she had written. Will study, pay Temple a visit again. Ori promised in turn, a prayer of thanks to Tamara. May need to teach her some Draconic.


She paused then, eyes closed to recall the words spoken by Orieanelle and Ashenie, and after a moment, centered a stanza on the page:

May our voices entwine with Your intentions.
For the fallen and the suffering.
For those who stood, and still breathe.
For those you love and wish to protect.
We pray, united.
Especially for those who are alone, especially those who suffer,
And those who silently carry the shackles of enslavement,
Please bless our swords to break the chains of corruption.


Begin to feel... connected. Meeting more like me, in philosophy or experience. Nalissa another such. Spoke with her at length, and discovered she'd had renewed pain, relived trauma, in duel with Red Wizard. Sanctioned duel. She was not ready though. Nalissa experiences the same as I do, when reminded too much of what happened. The... lose of senses, confusion, disassociation... the past suddenly there and real and happening all over again.

Must not judge. Do not think I could face my enemy either. But am grateful to know I am not the only one. Not crazy. Just not healed yet. Hope she can feel same relief.

Iolanna: High Druidess of the Green Enclave, Arch of the Crescent Moon, Druid of Greenest, Faithful of Eldath

Elle Avery: Radiant Heart FNG, Cleric of Tamara and lover of Crossbows

Daigon: Guardsman of the Rocky Creek Trading Company
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Re: Avery's Completely Objective Personal Log

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The dead of night, and the Radiant Heart stronghold had fallen into its quiet starlight vigil. As always Avery was awake, roaming, agitated, though this time unable to go beyond the confines of those stone walls. Before she had been too surprised, too self conscious of everyone around her, or even too stunned by the blow to the head the Balor had given her to have succumbed to real panic.

But at these hours there was nothing to detract what was happening from her mind.

The girl sat curled in the corner of the library, arms around her knees and head buried down. Her journal lay beside her, an attempt made with only a spill of ink as the result. She rocked back and forth, shuddering breaths to try and calm down, try and stem the flow of angry, frightened tears.

"Some people were going about the area here setting up posters and asking about you, Avery."


"Nigel went to follow them but then lost them in the city."

"We will find out who they are and what they want... we've got your shadows and your back Sister."


Avery knew what they wanted. She knew what it meant. Lord Aaron and Boots hadn't even interrogated her for the full explanation and had extended their protection without question... but such kindness couldn't fight off the terror that rocked her now.

For what was probably the fifth time, the girl reached for pen and ink with a shaky hand, hoping beyond hope that the whirling cacophony in her mind might be lessened, should most of it be down on paper. Word by shaky, illegible work, she wrote.


5 Tarsakh.

She's going to kill me.


Admitting that first belief brought new stinging to her eyes; Avery's body cramped with the exertion to suppress her shudders. It was one thought down. Bit by bit, the rest followed, each with varying degrees of rationality.


I could run inland. Cormyr. Can't be back on the Damysus, she wont let me go again if she finds me.

No. Safest here? Radiants won't let them take me.

Capt.Bennet wont give up. She wont let me get away next time.

Who are the hunters...? Others said, "One of them had a feel of a dock worker or sailor," and "Three that were looking ... a finger waggler dressed in purple, a half orc, and a human that forgot his boots and shirt."

First. Do not go into the city.


She sniffled, and rested her pen a moment. Each line had been like pulling teeth to get down but it begun to work; far from calm, she was at least not hysterical, and focus was beginning to return. It was shaded with bitter anger now, the next flow of writing coming a little easier.

Should stay inside stronghold. Safe.

Why? Why am I so scared? Why can't she just be a Balor or zombie? Why do I matter this much to her? I want to go in the city, I want to go on my patrols, I want to go and work in the infirmary. Why can't she leave me alone? The Radiants shouldn't have to be dealing with this.


It was then Avery had surprised herself, a sensation when compared to all others was almost pleasant. Hadn't that been her whole reason for joining the Radiant Heart? To put a wall of noble warriors between her and her pursuers? The irony that now Capt.Bennet had caught up with her, she'd outgrown the sentiment. Somewhere along the way, she'd stopped being a little interloper sheltering behind the Radiants, and had actually started to become on of them. They'd cared about her. And wrestled friendship from her in turn.

...Crafty bastards.

Avery sniffled, ruminating a little more. She was braver than she had been, but that was the double edged sword. Cowardice was a much better trait to have when it came to staying alive, and there was enough of both in her now to make choosing a course of action all the more difficult. Her eyes closed. Another mark passed in this silence, and though she didn't sleep her mind had wandered.

The journal page closed with a small stanza.

Tamara of Light, Life, Mercy
Be with me now, guide my hand.
I pray your kindness bestowed on the deserving, your benevolence on the helpless,
And that those who mistake your goodness for weakness
Learn never to make that mistake twice.
Iolanna: High Druidess of the Green Enclave, Arch of the Crescent Moon, Druid of Greenest, Faithful of Eldath

Elle Avery: Radiant Heart FNG, Cleric of Tamara and lover of Crossbows

Daigon: Guardsman of the Rocky Creek Trading Company
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Re: Avery's Completely Objective Personal Log

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25 Tarsakh

Borus Cain is dead. And here I am, still alive. Odd that I haven't written in so long, though perhaps being locked down in the stronghold for those... three weeks? It doesn't give me that much to write about.

Ruminating on it all ebbed away some of that fear. It still comes now and then... when I sense her off the shore, or remember how Julian looked with his head crushed in by that damned metal rod...

He was probably like me. Like David, or Taylor. Someone who just wanted to get free of the bitch.

How much confronted in a single night... how could I get aboard a ship and accosted by pirates and near drowned by the tempest waves- I think my last entry was right. These new friends, they've made me a better person. Braver. I'd have bolted for Cormyr by now otherwise. And Boots, Izz, Nigel... even Blake and Jonah, none of them had to come and put their lives on the line like that but they did it, and without even questioning it. Well, Jonah questioned, but then again I've never seen someone so prone to fear and so determined to constantly confront it.

... Borus was sick when we found him. It's... I remember it so clearly. The sliver of light from the door, Borus catching sight of me the moment I saw him. He didn't even notice Boot's slipping like a shadow, taking his weapon away. He saw me... and there didn't seem much reason to keep waiting outside.


Avery closed her eyes a moment, the scene playing out in the darkness of closed lids and for the first time, the words moved clearly from mind, to quill, to parchment.


He'd been coughing. Blood coming up. His teeth were brown with blood when he spoke and each inhale crackled.

"All this time, and you come to me. Captain Bennet is sick, and you'd let her die."
Those were his very words... she's sick. Why haven't I thought more on that? What's wrong with her? Does she have the same sickness Borus had? Why do I even care? She can't, she can't still have a hold on me... if death come for her, it's deserved.

Blake stepped infront of me then; I couldn't take a step forward without him matching it to always be closer to Borus. How does he know when I move, is it a knight thing? Like he could hear me taking a step before I twitched a muscle. I knew Vanira was there even without seeing her, and Izzul was at my back with his wry comments. When the moment was still, Jonah's singing and Nigel's carousing echoed up from the tavern below.

I wonder if I'd have been so brave without them all there.

I told him he looked like sh-"


She paused and muttered to herself, 'Language, vanira.'

"like hell. He called me a monster. Maybe, I don't know. I've never treated a sick person like that before. He was deluded with loyalty to her...

"After she saved your life," he'd said, "traitors and deserters must pay the price of their duty, but you... the captain has something special for you."

I heard Boots move. I saw Blake move. I felt my heart lurch into my throat. She wants me alive. I tried telling him I was only a child, that I was stolen from my home... but what good is trying to convince a madman? There was one thought left, to try and treat him, see what was happening to him, get him to... tell us more. Where the Damysus was. And he looked me right in the eye and told me.

"I'm dying kid. Poisoned and given my final orders... I honor you by finding me and coming this far... So I'll tell ye this before I kill you. She aint ever going to stop.. And since she knows where to find you, its only going to get worse."

...He's dead now. It's what happens when you pick fights but I think maybe he was ready to die after all, or at the least, knew it was coming. Wanted to go with a weapon in hand. Wanted to die on his feet.

The bastard had an amulet from my home... my amulet now. Something from Home, and something from Tamara, and I swear to her I will not lose it again.

...I don't know what comes next. One moment I think I can take on whatever comes my way but the next... that cold, claustrophobic feeling is back.

She's going to keep coming. But I have a place here now. I have to promise myself no matter how scared I get that I can't run this time.

There's still David and Taylor out there, who might not have Radiants watching their six.


Iolanna: High Druidess of the Green Enclave, Arch of the Crescent Moon, Druid of Greenest, Faithful of Eldath

Elle Avery: Radiant Heart FNG, Cleric of Tamara and lover of Crossbows

Daigon: Guardsman of the Rocky Creek Trading Company
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Re: Avery's Completely Objective Personal Log

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It was a worrying echo of an old pattern; up an pacing in the dead of night, shaking off a cold sweat of a bad dream. Avery crept back down into the basement of the Keep with her journal tucked tight to her chest, hoping writing might help bring back sleep as it used to.

Once settled in the library with ink pot, quill, and warm candlelight, she found pages of the notebook stuck together from disuse, and her brows rose in surprise at the date of her last entry. Then, inevitably, eyes flickered over the recounting that followed the date.

Had three moons truly passed since then? Life become so comfortable? With a frown and shake of the head, she let the ink continue her train of thoughts.



2 Kythorn 1357

So, why are the nightmares back?

Not quite the same, so the past days the details have been slipping away from me before I can write them down but-


She squeezed her eyes shut, knowing the details would soon be gone entirely and jotted down what was left.


The Asher dream. But it's Blake. And the knife is in my throat, not his, but he's the one bleeding.

It's not the first time the people I know now take places of others in my dreams. Boots Is always somewhere in the Temple now when I dream of it. Or a thought of Eddie and how grown up he must be by now crosses my thoughts, and for some reason he just happens to look like Nigel. Even though Nige' must be five times his age at least.

My dreams have never been prophetic, so... no, this wouldn't be a sign that Blake's in danger. Well, nothing beyond the usual kind, that is. I've come across no broken eggshells, not heard the cries of hatchling dragons. It's been the past four nights or so the dreams have come back, since we had that talk by the Keep, so...


Her quill hovered over the parchment as her mind wandered back, a drop of ink threatening to fall. The next words etched down were a return to the cryptic style of entry from months before.

"Couldn't bear it"

She leaned back in her chair, fingers toying with the quill as whatever was on her mind in that moment wasn't something that she could turn into words on paper. Thoughts latched instead to something more sensible and concrete.

Greensteel research is slow going; any information I find about it says much the same thing so I could have a hundred resources and not learned anything new. At least for now, I can plan, and it's maybe something to speak to Alyssia about. If Greensteel wounds can spark epidemics of disease, a quarantine area outside the city gates should be ready to go up on a short notice. Holy magic won't work, so any healers who are reliant on it ought to be refreshed on surgery techniques, and I can certainly help there. The wound care and treatment of illnesses, I think I will need to ask Sister Ashenie about. I might know medicine but something tells me her breadth of knowledge is far wider there.

I really need to meet other healers, I think. Alyssia surely would know of the other prominent ones in the city, and Cordelia always told me to take the chance to share knowledge with others in the craft. "You'll know plenty, but you'll never know it all, Ellenia."

Yes, all those ducks need to be lined up. Tivex's eggs are due to hatch soon and Tamara will be disappointed if I am not there to help the blossoming family. A hatching! There are ceremonies to observe there, how can I manage that all on my own? I mean, I'll have to. Suna surely would know what to do and likely have something planned, but it wouldn't be right to not have a blessing ready for them, and a gift for the naming.

Wonderful, now I have woken myself up more. Best get to work, then.
Iolanna: High Druidess of the Green Enclave, Arch of the Crescent Moon, Druid of Greenest, Faithful of Eldath

Elle Avery: Radiant Heart FNG, Cleric of Tamara and lover of Crossbows

Daigon: Guardsman of the Rocky Creek Trading Company
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Re: Avery's Completely Objective Personal Log

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6 Kythorn, 1357

“Watch for the hearts of true repentance; watch for the seed of hope in them, the burden that is their will to change. The road of penance and rebirth is difficult to walk alone, and its your duty to Her Benevolence to help them.”
Fifth Scroll of Aaz-Kun


First time I’ve found the teaching of any one of the scrolls deficient.

They advise on duty, they advise on how to help The Willing to heal. There’s not a single warning that these people could change you too, or how deep that connection starts to run, or how one might make your stomach jump into your throat. Perhaps Aaz-Kun became a little arrogant once she reached enlightenment. She didn't warn us how caring about

…Admittedly it was a long while before I really trusted Blake’s motivations with us and a while longer still till I understood them. You’d think it was being there with us on ship in the storm, or the reliability of him every day under the watchtower. But it was smaller, simpler. A moment on patrol.

There’s a ward he always casts on me, and I supposed it to be a spare shield that mitigated injury or thicken my skin. If something hit me the pain wasn't half so bad as expected. I’d not even waste magic on the bruise. This time the patrol was fighting off gnolls in the Reaching Wood and one had managed to surprise me. I'd fended it off with some bolts through the chest, just enough injury to get some space between myself and it but not before it had snapped its stinking maw at my neck.

It had actually bitten more of my jaw than throat (lucky; I'd still prefer a broken jaw to a crushed trachea or carotid) before I managed to get away from the thing. The skirmish had ended and as always, when I checked the wound it wasn't half as severe as it should have been.

But looking over everyone else, I saw the blood on Blake's face and in his beard; the pattern of bruises and cuts, distinct and a perfect duplicate of the injury I was nursing on my own cheek. I knew it wasn’t a coincidence. The wounds were too perfect in place, mirroring the sting and heat on my own skin.

That was *my* injury.

That was where all that pain was going. He’d just been… taking it. To keep me alive.

There was a time I should have had three ribs broken, or a bruise never appeared where it should have. Where I thought I was lucky or quick and the whole time he was hiding that damned bloodshed under his armour, and never said a word or asked for help.

Should never have had to see him hurt just to understand properly what it means to protect someone. Morgana used to always tell me she was ‘protecting’ me, the one thing between me and a ships crew of violent men. As if telling someone you won’t hit them is the same thing as keeping them safe.

…That was the connection that started it though. She always said, ‘I’m what’s keeping you safe’ but Blake just did it without any expectation in return. Just like how when I start rambling on about... about dragons or brain-mapping or sewing limbs back together or mercy knows what else... he listens. And I write this now like its some bizarre revelation when I know it’s not; I’ve known a long time, that caring about someone isn’t possessing them, that protecting them isn’t blackmailing them. It's just not always easy to believe. Only, maybe, when people start showing it.

I’d asked Blake how he managed his past and let himself move on from it - (not so eloquently, I wish I could always move my thoughts into words). I wont put in ink what he told me… the memories are ultimately his. But his healing stated with honesty.

I told him about her. Or, I think I did, it was probably just some absurd jumble of words, sometimes when I try remembering everything I can’t recall it neatly. Probably why this log is half scribbles and singular notes… but, honesty, right?

No judgment. No hard looks. No laughing it off, or agreeing it’s ‘normal’.

There’s just a new… a

I wish I knew how to act around him. Wish I could stop thinking about What Morgana expected. Or wondering if he expects the same. I know I could ask because he will tell me the unfiltered truth but how the hell do you go about asking that sort of thing?

...By asking. I guess.

I never even held someone’s hand without some motivation of manipulating or pacifying them. Now what?

...Well, he asked to kiss me - I didn’t think people bothered to do that outside of novels - and if I like that tradition so much maybe I should just keep it alive… till there’s something of an ‘understanding’ here I mean.

Iolanna: High Druidess of the Green Enclave, Arch of the Crescent Moon, Druid of Greenest, Faithful of Eldath

Elle Avery: Radiant Heart FNG, Cleric of Tamara and lover of Crossbows

Daigon: Guardsman of the Rocky Creek Trading Company
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