Part 1: Marks

Day of Verdant Sun, Uatis

My love, it’s now been nine months to the day since we parted ways. I miss you terribly. It hurts to think about you, but I believe you’re still with me, even now. I know you never liked it when I do this, but I’m dressed up as you. Even wearing your clothes! Can you believe that? I know you would scold me, but it works. Besides, I think I look rather dashing right now.

Something awful happened. Mother and I got on the ship, like you and I had talked about. We sailed away from Ylisse. A storm came on us after a few weeks on the sea. I could swear I saw an angry face in the clouds. Maybe I was just panicked and scared. I fell overboard. A sailor tried to rescue me, but I lost her in the tumult. The next morning, I found myself drifting on the sea alone in the flotsam. I lost Mother. I pray she’s okay, or at least that she’s with you.

Some fishermen from the city of Ellandyr saved me, an old elf named Rastas and his grandson Eneas. Don’t worry, they didn’t see what I am. Rastas brought me to Ellandyr and told me I’m in the Emerald Isles. Just where I wanted to be! But without you or Mother, it feels strange to be here. But somehow it feels right, too. I cannot explain that.

Rastas led me to the Temple of the Five for assistance. I learned a lot about the Emerald Isles from the priests and priestesses here. The gods in the Emerald Isles are strange. Most are benevolent, from what I’m told, but not all. The politics of this place are divided into three by the main cities of Ellandyr, Altea, and Novarra.

What is most peculiar to me is that the Morninglord is completely unknown here. I had always heard of the gods as having their own domains, but having boundaries is something else entirely. But the clerics of the temple were very kind to me, despite our differing religions. They washed my clothes, fed me, and gave me a place to stay for the night.

In the morning, I’m going to go to the docks of Ellandyr and try to sneak aboard a ship back to Ylisse. Without Mother, I honestly don’t know what I’m doing here. But like I said, it feels right that I’m here. I just don’t know why.

14 to Wakening Sun, Uatis

Darling, this morning, I had the strangest thing happen to me! A strange mark of a dragon with two swords piercing it appeared on my right hand! It’s a beautiful design to look at, but I don’t remember getting a tattoo. Yesterday was a horrible day, sure, but I would remember something like that. Especially considering my current tattoo. I can’t seem to hide it naturally either. So, I went to the market to use what few coins I still had to purchase some gloves. Lo and behold, I met someone else with the exact same marking!

He is a very tall tabaxi named Shadow. He wears armor underneath a series of cloaks and hoods, and is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. But that seems to be a theme here, especially since no one knows what I really am. They would all hate me, I’m certain. But Shadow seems like a real gentleman. Gentlecat. Gentle cat I don’t know what to write.

Anyway, I introduced myself as Heath. He bought me lunch and we talked all day about the marks, how strange they are, and where we’re from. I guess he was a general in an army in the Emerald Isles a long time ago and he’s searching for his family. I felt compelled to want to help him, and he confessed that he felt compelled to want to help me get back to Ylisse.

As we talked, a messenger approached us and gave us each a letter. Strange, as he had just arrived in Ellandyr and I only shipwrecked two days ago. The letter was a summons from someone called the Oracle, and we were to meet other “heroes of prophecy” at a place called the Sour Vintage. I was ready to dismiss the letter, but Shadow seemed to think that meeting the Oracle was very important. He and I decided to travel together.

I admit, I’m happy to have a companion here in the Emerald Isles so quickly. Shadow seems to be a very nice person, but he carries a mean set of swords. He can probably handle himself in a fight. I only have the clothes on my back and the pack I took from our room when you-

Anyway, we are leaving in the morning to begin going northwest towards the Sour Vintage. I’m not overly excited to travel, but Shadow seems impressed that we really need to see the Oracle. I’ll go along with it until I can find a way to get back to Ylisse.

11 to Burning Sun, Voelis

Beloved, I’m so sorry I did not write lately! It’s been two weeks and travel has been hard on me. Shadow purchased some boots for me from a traveling merchant and that helped. Your shoes were ruined after just two days. Shadow kept telling me that I didn’t seem like the adventuring type that would go traveling on the road, but I took it as a challenge. I feel stronger already, and that’s just from walking!

We found the Sour Vintage in the evening. There was a tavern there that we were going to meet the other heroes and the Oracle’s handmaiden. Before we went in, I saw the most amazing thing! Well, two things. People, actually.

The first was a half-horse, half-girl named Briar. Shadow told me that she is a centaur. She’s amazing to look at! She has incredible hair, very long and kind of messy, but in a pretty way. But she doesn’t seem to like me or Shadow. Shadow said she’s one of the fey races, an immortal of some kind. She has the mark of the pierced dragon, too, but also has a strange marking on the back of her neck. Her hair hides it pretty well, but if you stare (like she caught me doing), it’s easy to notice.

The other is a dryad (another fey race) named Clio. She is remarkably pretty, but I am absolutely certain that Clio hates me. She has the mark of the pierced dragon, too, so I tried to talk to her about it. She was very curt and spoke in some secret language that only she and Briar could understand. But like I said, she’s really very pretty. Her clothes are made of leaves and flowers, and I find it very hard not to gawk.

We introduced ourselves, Shadow and I (Heath). The four of us went into the tavern and found it full of people. We met the handmaiden of the Oracle, a platinum haired woman named Dia. She wore a long yellow coat and was absolutely beautiful, too.

When I write these things, love, I don’t mean that-

Never mind. I suppose I need to do as you once told me and move on. It doesn’t matter anyway, does it?

Dia was with a man dressed from head to toe in heavy metal armor. He was Actaeon and was another of the heroes of prophecy. Dia told us that the Oracle meant for us to come meet her, but had a test of our heroism first. A ceratops called the Wakening Sun’s Avatar had been ravaging the local farmlands and we were supposed to defeat it. The “oath of peace” in the Emerald Isles is waning and we’ve been called to help save the land.

I wanted to back away and leave the Sour Vintage immediately, but everyone else seemed interested and were all more than capable. Actaeon had a huge pack of spears next to him. Shadow had his swords and longbow. Briar had an enormous staff with runes etched on it. Clio had only a crossbow but a sharp look from her might be enough to slay a beast.

Dia had found a pair of rangers that were willing to help us track the ceratops in the morning. Shadow and I bought some drinks (the Sour Vintage has some very strong drinks) for everyone, but everyone just went to bed.

Heroes of prophecy. I wonder what that means.

10 to Burning Sun, Voelis

It was terrible! Here I am, sobbing again, in the tavern. Shadow keeps knocking on the door asking if I’m okay. He must think I’m such a fool, and he’d be right. What am I thinking, coming out here?

The rangers and Shadow were able to track the ceratops this morning. We found the beast in a cave. It looked like a large terrible lizard full of armor. It had spears and arrows already lodged in it. The two rangers were killed very fast. I couldn’t save them. I don’t even remember their names. Clio got behind it and fired her crossbow. Shadow and Actaeon got in close. I hit it with a blast of fire. Briar did too. She’s a spellcaster like me!

When it died, we all heard an eerie voice in our heads:

Know this, mortals. You cannot atone for your sins. Ancient power sleeps in the Emerald Isles. When it awakens, the age of Ellandyr will come to an end. All mortal things will come to death and darkness.

The monster, the Wakening Sun’s Avatar, its presence itself an omen of death and destruction…

The rest of the day was a blur. The natives of the Emerald Isles sacrificed the body to Aminatou, the goddess of wisdom. I tried to help but I think I only got in the way. Briar kept trying to tell me where to put the sticks, and in the end she just did it herself. I said a prayer for the two rangers and we buried them in the earth underneath the sun.

The people in the tavern were overjoyed to hear the Wakening Sun’s Avatar had been slain. They called us heroes, and Dia sang our praises all night. It was fun at first, until she said that we were to travel to meet with the Oracle tomorrow. I still don’t feel like I’m ready to do this.

I started crying in my room and almost lost my voice when Shadow came to talk. He thinks I’m a soft person from some far away land, and says that traveling together will toughen me up. Maybe he’s right. I’ll try harder tomorrow.

7 to Burning Sun, Voelis

My love, it’s been four days since we slew the Wakening Sun’s Avatar. We’ve been traveling together as a band of heroes and it has been… interesting. I keep trying to talk to Briar and Clio, but they’re both very aloof. If we’re going to be heroes of prophecy together then I’m going to make friends with them! They spend a lot of time talking to each other in their fey language. Shadow learned that I speak darastrix1 so he and I began to have our own little secret talks. Clio got angry with us and asked what we were saying, but we were only talking about fishing.

Actaeon doesn’t speak much. He knew the Oracle personally, but whenever we’d ask about her, Dia would answer instead. The Oracle, she said, was a water nymph named Versi. She was the daughter of Amalj’aa, the Lord of Storms. But while Amalj’aa was angered at the mortals and seeked to rule over them, the Oracle was a friend to the mortal races. She sometimes had visions of them. Her most recent vision was a prophecy that we, the heroes, would be the ones to save the Emerald Isles.

We just arrived at the Temple of the Oracle. I’ll write more later.

1 Draconic: “Dragon tongue”, literally the name of the draconic language