Liberty Journal 19

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7 Wealsun, 595 CY

Dear Connie,

I know, I know, I just finished writing you – but this is important. Ekaym just told us his real interest in Loris Raknian: Ekaym’s sister, Lahaka, was Raknian’s lover, until she vanished last year. He doesn’t hold out much hope that she’s still alive… I’m sure it pains him not to know, but he hides it well. I have to help him… I hope that finding Lahaka brings him the joy I know our own reunion will bring. And, if her fate is already sealed, maybe he can find comfort in that closure.

As for me, there doesn’t seem to be comfort anywhere. Xan’s got me dwelling on my reasons for burning Korush and Arcane Auriga, and I’m not sure what they are. Or maybe I am, and I’m trying to avoid the truth.

I always thought my blood was touched with fire, but it runs deeper than that. Out on the field this morning, I became fire. I only wanted to destroy our enemies – and a man we claimed allegiance with, but would have to defeat in order to move on, which made him an enemy, too, in the eyes of the fire.

It terrifies me, but I can’t tell the others. Not yet. And I’ve got to hang on to my humanity. If everything on Oerth starts to look like kindling, I’ve GOT to keep myself from consuming it.

So we had a look around the complex, but we didn’t find much – a side chamber called the Titan’s House, with underwater tunnels too long for us to swim without the aid of magic. Some of the gladiators use the dark seclusion of the Titan’s House for… trysts. As embarrassing as their noisy lovemaking was, I still got a bit stirred up, thinking that I might be more at peace if I’d gotten my fire quenched (as it were) before we came here.

What am I going to do about Ilya? Should I do anything? Maybe she’d be better off without me…

We’ll wait to mingle with the other gladiators after today’s bouts, see if we can find out what we’re in for next time.

[this next part is clearly written later]

Fucking bastard! Auric’s Warband donated their winnings to the widows and orphans of everybody we – all right, I – killed in the first round! It drives me crazy because it’s got nothing to do with charity; it’s all about making himself look good, and us (me) look bad. I know that, if I’d pulled the same stunt, I’d just look like an ass, rubbing salt in a wound. You know, like Auric is doing.

I feel less strongly about my promise to Tirra than I did when I made it, but I’ll still honor it. Stomping Auric’s smug, famous face, then letting him live with the shame, has an appeal all its own.

Unless you’re with him, in which case I’ll go easy on him. Easier.

We poked around the complex some more after lights out. It was worth it to get a better idea of the place’s layout, but we didn’t find much – except for a deaf, mute madman we found in a holding cell. At Xan’s suggestion, I used one of my detect thoughts scrolls to see if I could learn anything helpful.

It was like being in someone else’s nightmare, but it’s one he never wakes up from. There were worms (I think they were green), and a demonic jailer… the worms turned someone in another cell, and the jailer led them out into a barrel? Or a bottle? It turns my stomach to even think about it, but I’ve got to write it down now, because my mind is already trying to protect itself by scabbing over the memory.

The cult of Kyuss is here; I’m sure of it now. Raknian’s interest in the Apostolic Scrolls has to tie into it. I think about how much suffering they’ve already spread to bring about this Age of Worms… we’ve got to stop them before it gets any worse.

(Their presence is downright harmful to my hope for Lahaka, too, but I won’t abandon all hope.)

I don’t want to sleep. My dreams have been horrible, ever since that chimera nearly killed me. I’m sure what I saw in the madman’s mind today will only make it worse… but I’ve got to try. Xan needs me “at the top of my game,” and troubled sleep is still better than none.

All my love,

8 Wealsun, 595 CY

This will be the first letter, hopefully of many, that I’ve specifically written for Tirra to give you. Please don’t be mad at her for letting your secret slip. I’m putting a great deal of trust in her to bring these messages to you; I can only hope that you’ll do the same.

You have your reasons for what you’ve done; I understand that. And I know you have your reasons for keeping me out of it. If you want to carry on that way, I’ll respect your decision. But, now that I know, I hope you’ll reconsider. I can take care of myself now, and the fellows and I could be useful to you in your work, whatever form it’s taken. If you choose to reply, Tirra knows where to find me.

I am still yours. Nothing can change that, and nothing ever will.

All my love,

[the following is translated from Elven. The penmanship is much better on this letter]

8 Wealsun, 595 CY

Dearest Ilya,

My deeds at the Champion’s Games shame me. Knowing that you witnessed what I did shames me all the more.

This was no lapse in judgment, no mere error. I embraced something dark within myself, and my opponents suffered for it.

I know you were frightened by what you saw. I write you to say that I frightened myself. My own power took me by surprise. I will not let it happen again.

Strong as I am, my feelings for you only make me stronger. If you cannot forgive what I have done, I will understand. But, if you can, then I look forward to our reunion when these games are over.

I remain yours,

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Liberty Journal 19

Worms: Apocalypse DarthKrzysztof