This night brings shadows of what was and fear of what those shadows have become. Every new day adds to my knowledge of the atrocities of Khar’shan. She is manipulative, corrupt, cold, sadistic, and has little care for anything except for her ability to control everything and everyone around her. I hate her with every fiber of my being and I wish to make her suffer as I have. Every time I feel some semblance of joy, peace, and hope, the vicious deeds of Khar’shan snatch it away from me.
She has taken everything from me, except for my life and even that she hopes to be rid of. I just want to go back to the way it used to be. Do you remember our dryad pod in the Wyldwood? We all loved one another as family and we could never have imagined the horrors I have seen and withstood since then. It hurts too much to think about them, but after today, I can’t help it. I miss them so much.
- Jana: the beautiful and contemplative one. She was the oldest of us.
- Athis: the empathic and kind one. We viewed her as our older sister because she had the right temperament for it.
- Bito: the carefree and playful one.
- Glym: the starry-eyed and musical one.
- Kyra: the more serious one, but her smile would lighten up any cool day.
- Leda: the quiet writer. Her songs were my favorite to sing.
- Melo: the mischievous one. She was always getting us into trouble, although her twin brother Niko certainly didn’t help with this.
- Demas: the comedic one. He could make even the bluebirds laugh.
- Eryx: the dancer. He always looks like he was floating through the air.
- Faen: the curious one. He was always looking for new ways to improve our lives.
- Hylas: the artist. He could make anything out of nothing.
- Illus: the passionate and optimistic one. Nothing ever upset him.
- Niko: also mischievous like his sister, but was better at hiding his pranks.
Besides the twins Melo and Niko, we were the youngest of them. Now we are the only one left. There were 14 of s… 14 who loved each other so fully that at times it felt like we were one. Yes, there were 14… wait…
14? That’s the number of stars I saw in the vision from Kiora! But… that also means they really are all gone… and Khar’shan is responsible. Are they dead because of me? Is Khar’shan’s unyielding hate for me the reason they are dead? I… must not go there right now. Keep it together, Clio. This is very unlike you.
Anyways, I suppose I should tell you what happened today that unburied all of these feelings. Sometime during the night when Rendu played his sad harp music Dia must have revealed that she is his mother. When we all awoke to eat flapjacks that Briar had made we learned this revelation. I know that it must have been hard for Dia, but I know that her relationship with Rendu and the growth of this group in unity will be better for it. We learned from Rendu that Estor Arklander and his crew on the Gjallarhorn were cursed by Khar’shan. This deal was originally struck for them to be immortal in exchange for them to no longer massacre the fey. Now they live as ghosts on this ship wishing for death, but apparently not being able to break the curse. Dia let us know that Khar’shan and the Fates are probably the only ones who know how to break the curse. However, we need the ship in order to get there. This led us to decide that we would follow the map the king gave us to find the Gjallarhorn. We had a few things we had to do first: drop off Boreas’ body with the Temple of Khar’shan and search the graveyard.
The Temple of Khar’shan was just as terrible as I had imagined it. In the entryway they had a vat of wine that was deemed “blood wine” and was purposefully made to look like blood. We quickly gave the high priest Trellus the body, received the 1000 gold for our work, and I used my abilities to detect his surface thoughts. He outright lied to us saying that they would save the head of Boreas to help direct him in death by the lady of dreams. However, they really planned to use his head for an indoctrination ceremony on the Burning Sun. Is it possible that the children they are keeping will not all be sacrificed, but that they plan to indoctrinate some of them to become Children of the Night? Every one of these Children of the Night deserve death just like the mistress they serve. I also gleaned from his thoughts that Trellus was trying to entice us with his words to see how friendly we all were and if there was any opening for him to use us. I cannot wait for the day when we take that hideous grin off his face.
Later in the evening we went to the graveyard. While there we saw an ashen gray skinned and ghostly white haired nymph with black eyes. Instantly I was on my guard because in my past black eyes indicated the influence of Khar’shan. This nymph was chanting something in a language I did not understand, but I was able to at least determine it was abyssal. Upon moving closer to her, Toraq was able to determine what she was saying. Behind her was the Verdant Sun’s Avatar and it was still alive. Her chanting was a means to use the energy of the Sun’s Avatar and channel it into nearby stoned cultists. This made it possible for her to summon powerful cultist fanatics.
We first attempted to have Rendu speak with her to prevent a fight, but quickly realized she did not want to be interrupted. Some hidden cultists came to her aid. Our group quickly dealt with the cultists, but she managed to summon a few more. When I landed my first attack on her, she said something that didn’t make sense, “Well that wasn’t very nice sister.” From where I was standing and from her appearance, her speech seemed like another attempt at manipulation by Khar’shan. I told her,”I don’t know who you are, but you should keep your forked tongue behind your teeth, for anyone who serves Khar’shan doesn’t deserve to live.”
Rendu killed her shortly afterwards and as she was dying, she reached her arm out to me and said, “I’m sorry sister.” I went over to view her body. What she said confused me and I wanted to see who she was for myself. Up close she still had the ashen gray skin and ghostly white hair, but her eyes were no longer black. They… Clio, her eyes were the beautiful greenish-brown of a dryad. It really was our older sister Athis… Why… Clio ,why is Khar’shan doing this? What does this mean? Can she kill anyone, especially those I love, and turn them against me? Can she make them do horrible things so they can die again and die feeling guilt over their actions that they had no control over? I need to kill her. She needs to die, not just for me, but for my family.
Leef was there with me but, because of my confusion and grief, I unfortunately wasn’t able to listen to what he was saying properly. He handed me a gold ceremonial dagger with serpent scales and asked me if it said something about sandwiches in Sylvan. Bless him, he was trying to help ease the difficulty of the situation, but I was in a bad place. The dagger read: “Aspasia, Death’s Vigil, First of the Lampads.” I don’t know why she was given this name and I’m assuming that a lampad is whatever Khar’shan had done to her? I have never heard of a lampad and I have never seen a nymph look like Athis did… Why did she do this to her? Killing her wasn’t enough?
Leef tried to comfort me as I clutched at the dagger, but my mind was too far away. I feel so hollow, Clio. Leef said he wants to learn more about me and my life before all of this and he wants to hear me sing again. He let me know that if I need him, he is there for me. I know that speaking my truth to someone like Leef might help and he has been so honest with all of us, but… I… I don’t know. I just, I can’t.
Briar was kind enough to perform a funeral rite for Athis for me. We dedicated her burial to Eos, Leef put beautiful flowers into the fire, and Briar sang such a lovely song in Sylvan during it. I couldn’t help but feel grateful for my friends and their support, but also hollow and sad. Why do I always find myself back in this place? Back in a dark, shadowy place where escape feels impossible? My friends give me hope, but Khar’shan pushes me back into this desperate place. Clio, it would be so much easier to give up and I know that’s exactly what she wants, but… I’m so tired. I miss my family and I miss who we once were. Not this broken, insensitive mess that is only a shadow of who she once was. Please let me sit in this place for a little while… I’m sure by tomorrow I will put my neutral ceramic face back on and get back to work.