The long, cold months of almost witless wandering in the Long Winter finally ended with my imprisonment in that strange community in the mountains, but at least I was fed and watered. As I look back on those endless nights it is all I can do to fight down the rage and the despair that threaten to overwhelm me. I have failed at my task and my life no longer has purpose or meaning. Well, that is not really true; I have one task still to perform. I must rid this world of magic and its evil.
When those of us imprisoned by that cult of madmen finally realized that we were not to be freed and integrated but instead to be sacrificed to their non-existent gods, it was time to leave. And we did. For that I am grateful to Maral for getting free of his cell and not abandoning us, although it shames me to admit that I might not have done the same for him; Peaks Above! that Mongrel drones on and on about farming, and hoes, and farming, and hoes… It is enough to make one want to tear off your own ears! He is simple people, but good at heart I believe. I, however, am no one to judge a Mongrel; we met so few in the village…
We make an odd group indeed, but it is only in numbers that we will survive this endless nightmare and to that end I must find my place within this group and keep it safe and healthy, for that is all I know how to do. That giant, (and hideous, I must admit) Mongrel, Karnak, seems to me to be a noble’s son, possibly a tribal chieftain in his own right… or at least he was. He wants to take charge, and to that role he is welcome; although, his tales of looting villages and such ring strange and alien to my ears. He seems to think that he can go back to his old life in the Warlands, and it pains me to have to correct him in this: his old life, all our old lives are gone, destroyed in that godsforsaken Apocalypse. The damned Empire and its meddling mages… they did this to us! To me and all those gentle, peaceful women of the Barren! To everyone! To even think of it now… I can feel the rage building up inside… a rage so potent it threatens to burn me away… kill… kill them… kill them all!!!
But no… no… I must regain my balance. Meditate. Remember what was, not dwell on what is. That, of course, would be simpler if that crazy old man who calls himself The Gardener (what is that, anyway?) would stop prattling on with his nonsense about the Night of Fire being a blessing. It is nearly all I can do to not throttle him into silence when he starts on with that. He has skills, clearly, and is a valued member of our little fellowship to be sure, but clearly he is insane. I will try to remain calm and learn what skills of survival and medicine I can from him, for he knows more than me and I am not ashamed to admit that!
The one who fascinates me though, is Trevor, a mercenary from Cushulain if I am placing his accent correctly. A callous, hard man, and no stranger to killing to be sure. I was shaken at first by the appearance of those women in the kitchen… so like in my old life, but I don’t think they needed to be killed. In that, though, he reminds me of my brothers, but I am not sure if he would have survived the Shattering, as so few of them did. He is strong, but I fear not that bright, and he will need someone to watch his back. Can I trust him to watch mine? He seems to be one who will work for whomever will pay him, and that can indeed be a noble calling, if one is doing noble deeds. As I no longer have the Barren for whom I was to be a Guardian, his way of life is most likely what I will have to adopt. Obviously he knows how to read people and their ways better than I do, for I have spent but a little time away from the village.
The village. The only troubles there were the small gossippings and ramblings of women. Such beautiful, kind, and magnificent women, but sad too. The Barren were mine to keep safe and I failed them. I failed. What is there left to live for when one has failed as utterly as I have. At times, I think there is nothing to live for… nothing.. only the emptiness that battles the rage within me. There must be some way to redeem myself from that failure. Some way. Maybe the mercenary path holds the key to that… working for others to help, save, and secure their future. And my own.