Liberty Journal 20
8 Wealsun, 595 CY
The fire in my blood has frozen over. It takes everything I have to set quill to parchment, but I still feel that I must.
I can’t remember when I wrote you last. I don’t think I said anything about the ghouls, or the spawn of Kyuss that confirmed my suspicions about the cult’s presence here. I didn’t mention the tiefling priest, or the cursed greatsword that led Mom to cut me down. We found Lahaka, too, or what was left of her… a shuffling zombie, strangled and reanimated.
It broke my heart to see it, for I know firsthand the loss Ekaym will feel when he learns that his sister is dead. He seems to be a man of means, so maybe he can bring her back – still, this is a sight not meant for mortal eyes.
[A serpentine sigil is sketched into the margin here, with the caption: “Mom saw this mark on Lahaka’s neck. I don’t know its significance; maybe Ekaym will.”]
It’s not my place to want to ease his pain, but maybe I want it to be.
A magically trapped trunk absorbed Xan into the hellscape painted on its sides; once I stopped panicking, Mom and I managed to dispel the trap long enough to get Xan back… though he reappeared naked. Which I guess makes us even for the time he broke into my house, back in Diamond Lake. That feels like a thousand years ago…
(Not to gossip like a fishwife, either, but Xan has nothing to be ashamed of. Drake just had to poke fun at me, too, “like I’ve never seen one before,” when I haven’t.)
Anyhow, Xan managed to open the trunk, and once we sorted out the goods, we pressed on.
We were unprepared for the demon.
It’s called an alkilith. It filled the room with noxious gas, taking me out of the fight at once. Nobody seemed able to hurt it – not as badly as it was hurting us, to be sure – so Mom stood his ground to cover our escape, paying for our lives with his own.
Mom’s dead, Connie.
We made it back to the Coenoby, weary and wounded, Drake carrying our fallen friend the whole way. Our plan is to ask Ekaym to bring the Kordites for a raise dead in the morning.
But what if he won’t come back?
Mom’s with his god, and his long-departed mother. He knows how badly we need him, still… how badly I need his guidance and wisdom… but what do we do if he won’t come back? Will they let us compete without him? Can we make a substitution?
I’ve gotten pretty fucking arrogant, ever since I threw my first fireball. I keep thinking that nothing that burns can stop me… but that demon barely burns, assuming I can hit it with a spell at all without throwing my guts up first. And I’m afraid that, to recover Lahaka, we’ll have to face it again.
I can’t sleep. I can’t ever sleep. I’m still dreaming about the damned chimera, and everything else that keeps happening… there are so many people I care about now that have been hurt by this cult, and so many others I don’t know who’ve suffered.
And now Mom – brave, strong, sweet, forthright Mom, favored by Kord himself – has been snuffed out, easy as a candle. This is what we’re up against, power like this.
I need to rest. I need all my spells back. But all I can do right now is miss my friend, and pray to whatever gods will listen that he comes back to us tomorrow.
St. Cuthbert’s retribution appeals to me all over again.
I will keep writing, even if you won’t.
All my love,