Gavin’s Journal – Loss of A Friend

The following are two journal entries made by Gavin, a cleric I played in a pretty sweet D&D campaign with some friends. One of his party, a young monk by the name of Josiah, died, and the rest of them were on a quest to resurrect him, because he held deep in the recesses of his mind some secret that would save the country from a dire peril. And this was at least six or eight years ago, so I apologize for the dramatic, over-the-top writing style. heh

 

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December 2, 1483

A few weeks since…

 

It has been a long and silent voyage home, our grief masked only by the crashing of the waves against this ship and the beating of this icy air over the deck. It is the beginning of December now, and I can feel a crispness in the air that makes me hope we reach our destination soon. The captain says we shall reach Calabria within a week’s time, though I’m not sure how long it will take before we all can fully grasp the terrible truth of Josiah’s passing. I have never felt so broken, so helpless as when I lifted the poor boy’s beaten body off the floor on the night of our flight from that horrid place. I can still see the battle before my eyes, the unarmed Josiah fighting to the death against the formidable eunuch, and then as the world seemed to stop, I watched helplessly as both combatants fell to the ground, neither the victor. I stood by and watched… all I did was stand there… and watch…

We are each handling it in our own right I suppose. The lady Velora is taking it hardest of all I believe, as none of us have seen much of her since we set out to sea a few days past. She rarely if ever leaves her chambers, and though none of us have taken in much sight of her on this voyage, I have on more than one occasion heard the mourning come drifting vaguely from her chamber in the last stretch of night as I begin my morning prayers. Boot is his usual quiet self, though somewhat more reserved and slightly more unapproachable than normal. The man has much to bare, having grown quite close to the youth in their apparently many journeys together. Leoril has taken to the rigging, as always trying to take in any new thing he can about sailing or the common tongue of the people we left, though I have no desire to learn more than that one phrase in this tongue, one I have no need of yet. I believe that Leoril does this partly out of his genuinely curious nature, but mostly with the hopes of distracting himself from that horrible scene we all now have embedded in our minds…

I can say with all honestly I have never felt a fire burn in my soul and spread through my body like fairy-fire as rapidly as this desire for revenge of an immeasurable magnitude against the magistrate who dared defile that battle proclaimed to be governed by the gods. Gods indeed! The filth shall soon know what it is to stand before a god in judgment, and he can be thankful it is not I enacting the sentence. One who believed in the gods and their terrible wrath would not mess with an affair of such, and you most certainly do not hurt one of my friends in the process! I question not only the man’s integrity, but his allegiances in king and country as well.

That lying perversion of the priesthood will not live to see the changing of another season, I swear by my father’s mace, as was his father’s before him as it has been the legacy of house Nye to use its blessed power even before my father’s birth to right the wrongs of this world. Ever since the first Nye received this precious gift for reasons lost to the history books, First Light has shed its splendor across the land for sight and restoration of peasant and priest alike.

And it is on this, the second day of December in the year 1483, standing at the bow of the mighty Wyvern’s Dream, a Lithican merchant ship we happened upon resting at birth in Sascoba stocking for their return voyage north for the winter season, I swear here and now that First Light with the holy blood of my ancestors pulsing through it that I, Sir Gavin of the house of Nye, son of Sir Khoran Nye, grandson of Lord Tyyran Nye, will be responsible for finding the man who murdered Josiah and delivering the killing blow… again, and again, and again if necessary. Come wizards, demons or dragons, none shall stand in my way until Josiah is once again restored to us, and the evil who tainted that battle and sent the youth to his premature after life shall never again walk the lands of this world.

By all that is holy, I shall use everything in my means to send that accursed creature to the netherworld as assuredly as he did Josiah, and I can guarantee that when the times comes and he kneels before me begging for his life, I will not think twice about the sentence to finally be brought to pass as his body is rent in two by one swift stroke of the full might of Lathander’s justice. And in the midst of my own inescapable anger, I only hope I truly am merciful enough to let him die in one stroke, rather than face the alternative I feel seeding deep within my heart, but know I am above exacting. Or rather, I hope I am strong enough to deny this new feeling of vengeance, an antipathy so enraged, I have not felt its equal since the passing of my own father to the hands of that condemnable hell spawn on an equally fateful day so many years ago. Save only that while it was a gallant fight betwixt Josiah and his adversary, there was no honor in his death, only murderous treachery that I pray with Lathander’s aid will soon be rectified as only the power of a vessel for the divine can. I am not a vengeful person by nature, and it was only through the influence and teachings of Lathander that I was able to overcome the hatred boiling inside me after the untimely death of my father.

But now that I think on it all these years later with a clearer conscious of mind, was it really untimely? Had it not been for his death, my family’s lands would now be in ruins, everything I have come to know and love gone in a fiery blaze of Infernal devastation. And had that not happened, would I ever of chanced upon meeting my new found adventuring companions? In all likelihood I find those chances slim indeed, and sadly so for I have grown quite fond of them. We are a very capable troupe, though while thinking back over this last misadventure, I have somewhat overestimated our own abilities, particularly my own, and quite underestimated the vile straits our adversaries will reach in their ever present quest to stop us from ours.

My only solace through this is a distant memory the Lady Velora mentioned about a city, or temple rather of some priestly order far off to the distant East where the dead are made to walk again, not with the malice of the undead, but fully restored to the living! If there is even an inkling of a chance this information is most indeed valid, I hope we reach them in time enough to bring the poor boy back to us. Would that my own divine powers were strong enough to save us the trip, for while I can mend and cure and bring an almost dead warrior back to full, augmented life, the power to bring people back from such a state as Josiah’s has been reserved for far more powerful than I.

But his death shall not be in vain, nor go unpunished. I will hold to my sworn vows, and I’m sure the others have made similar silent promises. In fact, even now Leoril is standing atop the mast swearing, though I find myself glad I am not adorning my helm, lest I understand him and feel slightly inclined to chastise him for the outburst.

But alas, it is getting a bit dark, and the looks of an early winter storm are fast approaching on the horizon, readily present in the even stronger chill in the air as a thousand frozen lances of sea-spray pelt me with each monotonous rock of the ship.

Gavin pulled his cloak tighter around him, synching it close at the neck in a desperate attempt to keep out the sharp sting of the crisp sea air. He waited a few more minutes to depart as he watched the glory of a sunset at sea. The deep reds and purples casting their blazing colors over the skies above and stretching from one horizon to the next like a blanket of heavenly turmoil, vividly changing the color of the great ocean itself, falling down and resting upon even the faces of the men around him, giving them the same deep red shade in the eerie light, the whole ship washed in the saturating red. For a single moment, the whole world became red, somewhat symbolically for Gavin as this was the beginning of a new feeling for him, a new chapter in his life, one hopefully to be short lived. The sun finally sank into the depths of the ocean, breaking the moment as the crimson clouded sky gave way to burst forth with tens of thousands of stars in an equally moving display, though this one of beauty and not ugliness of malice. But there was no beauty to behold right now, not on this day, for not much could hold any beauty in the eyes of ones struck so deeply with the ugly truth of life’s mortal frailty.

I bid thee farewell, beloved sun, for I feel your warmth no more,” Gavin whispered in a silent, steady tone, the indefinite, heavy words floating weightlessly away on the wind. And with that final thought he turned, and without word to those who made inquiry of him as he passed or to anyone at all, the gallant knight, grief-stricken and wrought with sadness once again, strode below deck.

 

December 8, 1483

 

Dark will be the day we come to find that a boy so young, holding such a world-shattering secret past would be lost to us forever, leaving the earth with no hope for what lies ahead; no hope for any conceivable future or possible reconciliation. The pressures he must have felt in life are now relinquished to us with his passing. The burden of his death has weighed heavily on us all, as even now I have quite the burden firmly affixed on my back, his body awaiting safe passage to people capable of healing it. Fittingly, after – or rather as part of – Leoril’s beautiful burial ceremony, the boy was placed inside a magical compartment of his own carrying sack, preventing his stiff remains from further damage or possible hampering or sabotage on the undoubtedly perilous journey we have ahead. It is a weight I will allow none other to carry.

Leoril, while proving himself strong of heart in recent encounters of both the body and the mind, I doubt would feel terribly comfortable with such a task. The man has little belief in his amazing talents, and I believe he would not think himself up to the task, as able and completely competent as he is. And Mr. Thimblefoot, while as big of heart and strong willed as any giant I have ever encountered, knew the boy intimately in life and I fear would draw too much of a personal connection to the satchel’s precious cargo, bringing about more inner turbulence than any one of us should have to bare, all of us needing to keeps our wits most definitely about us in the treacherous days ahead.

Then there is the lustrous and resilient Lady Valora. While she is more than physically capable, I would never allow her the emotional taxation of such a sentimental burden. She is a strong one, stronger than even I gave her credit for originally, on the day of our first meeting when I swore my allegiance to her in her endeavor. Our fathers had been close once in years past, not as friends of yore who share boisterous stories of each other around a great fire in the dead of a frostbitten winter’s night, but as combatants who held a mutual respect for each other both on the battle field and off. And it was this deep respect my own beloved father held for hers – coupled with the Lady’s own magnificent presence – that I found myself more than willing to aid her in her quest the moment she found me worthy of asking. It was a distant fondness my father felt towards hers, though I feel my affections for the lady growing with each passing day, not as a desire to be her lover or consort as Josiah did (and, bless the gods, will once again), but as a fellow combatant, equally matched in righteous power and our desire to rid the world of darkness. And it is in respect to those various connections that I would not allow her the burden I now bare on my back.

Though in forethought, standing here on deck and contemplating the great scope of life and not my own meager problems, it is a small burden I carry to be sure should our efforts prove fruitful and the young Josiah be once again restored to us. It will be a glorious day indeed when he can once again walk among us, to share in a hearty laugh and well-over-exaggerated recounting of our battle to restore him. Yes truly I say, on the fateful day of Josiah’s rebirth, the glory of Lathander will shine mightily across the land, from the western most shores of the Sea of Promise to the farthest stretches of the Land of the Mountain King. Though in truth, it is all I can do to keep myself from going mad thinking of all the days that lie betwixt that celebrated day and the undoubtedly grievous one just now birthing on the horizon.

But alas, the sun is rising, and it is time for the beginning of a new day, one I am sure will be filled with not nearly enough things to distract each of us from what it is we really wish to speak of. The time for that conversation will most assuredly come though, and soon it seems, for the captain says he expects us to reach port by mid afternoon, the birds already beginning to circle high overhead these few days past.

And yet already here we are it would appear, for someone almost as high overhead is yelling something of land. I can see the other members of my party now beginning to move about as the morning begins.

The Lady Valora is rising above deck to catch sight of our home, though she wears a much more apprehensive face than do the rest of us, for as responsible as we all are for the grim fate which hath befallen us, it is inevitably she herself who will have to break the devastating news to Lord Turalius, a position I neither wish on her nor envy in the least. I suppose the news will be spoken in private, the two of them in audience with each other as the two often are, and only someone of her well-earned social standing and renown could. One day I aspire to be of Valora’s fame, though I am finding the journey to such fame is not easily won. And if such travesties as the untimely death of this poor boy be part of the price of such prominence, I would gladly continue my meager existence defending my family’s keep. I only hope once restored to us, Josiah will find it in his heart to forgive me for letting him down, unable to help him in his hour of need. His last hour of need…

But I fear I am letting my emotions on such a matter show far to well, and in truth I think Leoril is looking over at me again. There is something all but unnerving about the way the elf seems to read me, almost as if he can sense my thoughts. An ability that could prove most useful once directed elsewhere, though none the less eerie at the moment. Whether it be the strange feeling of my virgin sea-legs or simply a hint of divine intuition, I think I have more than once caught the slightly youthful half-elf giving the Lady a subtle – if not carefully hidden – fanciful look. Vague in nature, it is nothing so noticeable that any of the others might see, but I sometimes wonder what his true feeling for Valora are, and how deeply they lie in that complex head of his.

But that is a mystery that must wait for another time, and one that I believe is better left alone at the moment. The day is fully at hand and the commotion of the ship in full swing. Given the already slightly increasing temperature, I feel it is yet going to be the most beautiful day of our voyage. Though disturbingly, and for some unknown reason I find myself momentarily terrified of, I feel the sun will bring me little warmth anymore, if ever again…