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Saturday, 3 March 2012

Mark's Journal #11: Supplies and a god's demands...

Mark’s Journal 12/11/09
I woke up in a basement of sorts. I could tell right away that we were underground by the dampness of the air and the stone walls at my back. Rolling onto my side, the next thing that I noticed was that I could do so easily. No blood on my face, no pain; movement was easy. I felt well-rested and healthy, at least physically. I must have been out for awhile for me to not even feel tired, after all that. Leviss and Avaron made their way to me, and told me that we were under the hospital, and that we were among the resistance. All of the instructors were there, Avaron said, and yes, I could just hear the faint sound of sarcasm mixed with, “Hmm, yes, quite.” Smiling, despite myself, I made my way to the table.
Grabbing some food, I met a cleric. Upon talking, he told me his name was Greg, which I told him was quite interesting as the head cleric from my temple was named Greg. We talked for awhile, him discussing his teachings, and I talking about Erathis. I confessed to him that I hadn’t always looked like this. I used to be less like a wolf, and my appearance didn’t scare children as much. He said I should be lucky, to have been blessed so. I asked him what he was talking about. He said that, judging by what I said, I had been denying a huge part of myself for my whole life. I had shunned every animal instinct that I had ever had. To illustrate, he told me a story. Long ago, Erathis was watching over a group of people that had just come together to make a city. Walling their city in stone, they made grand towers. Their city pleased Erathis as it was the peak of civilization. Looking over to the west, however, Erathis was not so pleased. Seeing untamed forest, and wild unpredictability, Erathis decided to raise her sword and smite the forest, to squash it out. Just then, Obidhi, (another god) spoke up, and asked Erathis what she thought she was doing? Erathis told him her intentions. He told her to look in his forest, see its bounty, see the creatures, and he asked her, “Do they have less value than your people?” “And consider this,” he said, “your people, what do they use to wall their city? to build their houses? to fill their stomachs?...they use my forest.” He told Erathis that his forest provided her people with all that they needed. Nature and civilization, the wild and the society, working together. Erathis lowered his sword, saying she had never thought of it that way.
And neither had I. Greg assured me that Erathis knew about my duality, and decided that I needed to face who I truly was, in order to reach my full potential. Instead of trying to tame the wild, I should work with it in order to bring order to the people, and to myself. I thanked Greg, telling him that he had given me a lot to think about. Making my way to a corner, I sat down and started meditating. I needed to sort everything out, and in my attempt, I tried to talk to Erathis.
I have never tried to address Erathis directly. Some people pray, and talk directly to their god, but for me, meditation was a chance to relax and let Erathis guide my thoughts through her wisdom. It took me a lot longer before I was fully relaxed, I mean, I had a lot to think about. Finally, though, I heard a familiar voice. It was Atlas! Here is what I recall:
            [Atlas] “Being a little hard on yourself, aren’t ya lad.”
            [Me] “Well, of course I am, but look at me, things have changed.”
            [Atlas] “Of course they have, and who better to adapt than you?”
            [Me] “This is different! I’m blind! I’ll…I’ll never see my friends’ faces again, I’ll never see the White City, or any of this world’s beauty again.”
            [Atlas] “Aye, you won’t. Not in the same way. Tell me, when you looked upon the white city, what did it look like?”
            [Me] “Well, not very white…beige, and crummy even.”
            [Atlas] “That’s what your eyes told you, what did you see with your heart?
            [Me] “Hope. And the potential for these people to work together.”
            [Atlas] “Exactly. Your heart was telling you what was truly there. Now, your eyes will no longer get in the way of what truly matters. You won’t be distracted. Now, you got friends out there, and a job to do, I suggest you get back to it.”
I awoke feeling refreshed and restored. I understood now, and with that understanding came an inner peace that I hadn’t felt in some time. My conviction was stronger than ever. Erathis and Atlas believed in me. Their faith restored my own and strengthened it. No longer would I be just a fighter. I would forever be an agent of Erathis herself, as I always truly have been: A paladin of the gods.
Feeling much better about myself and the situation, I called out for Leviss and Avaron. They were at my side at once and I asked them if they had seen Tori. They said they hadn’t, and that no one else had either. Reassuring them that the last time we saw her she was under the protection of giant tree-like creatures and that she was probably safer than us, I asked them what we were doing. Avaron told me that a meeting was about to start, so we made our way over to the instructors.
They were going on about how we constituted the resistance and that we had to get Aristaal back. But, in order to do so, we would need supplies or our resistance would be very short-lived. Outlining main sections of the city to think about, we, as in Avaron, Leviss, and I, decided that we would sneak into the storage area and steal back what we could. Giving us 4 magic bags, and a Red Cloak as a guide, we made our way. I wasn’t feeling completely confident as I still had no sword or shield, but knew that Fate was on my side.
Making our way around fires, and over charred buildings, we were able to sneak into the back section of the Museum. We were in a storeroom of some kind, and Jello, Avaron’s familiar, was kind enough to help open a box for us, revealing what Leviss said were old bones and other artifacts. Good to see that not everything was destroyed. Creeping down the hall, we managed a surprise attack on some goblins. It was a tough battle, me without sight or weapons, but we defeated them. Unfortunately, we lost the Red Cloak. Let it be known that he died honourably. We did manage to gather lots of food, weapons, and other supplies, and at the bottom of the pile, my sword and shield! We made our way back to the base, and were congratulated on a job well done.
And there you have it so far. A lot has happened, as I said. Tori is still missing, but I pray to Erathis that she finds her way to safety. I have changed, for the better I think. My god has entrusted me, and I will not fail her as long as I draw breath. Avaron, Leviss, the rest of the resistance and I are safe, for now, and determined to rid this city of the great evil that currently inhabits it, and hoping that we can work better together than ever before.
We will succeed. We will never tire. We are The Guard. 

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