The Eclipse of Hope

Empyrean's Journal, Cycle #1777, Day #184

An Ambush...

We’ve been on road just a few days now and are west of Fallcrest an estimated 50 miles. The terrain has become more rugged, the hills rising as we travel westward toward the small village of Winterhold. We were ambushed nearby earlier this eve, as the sun sank to the horizon. Three gravestones were set off the road a bit – the dirt seemed newly turned. As we stopped to examine a bit, I could feel there was something a bit off – almost too late did I realize the danger. I cannot make the same mistake again. Caution has always served me well, and I have had too little of it lately. The kobolds that came for our lives gave theirs instead, thank Pelor. One or two escaped, but I doubt they’ll be much of a nuisance from now on to anyone.

Tonight we rest again in the fold of a small hill, earth and stone at our back. My companions are becoming more familiar with each other as I gain understanding of their weaknesses and strengths. It’s a difficult thing, growing to know others through battle, hardship, toil…

Yesterday, as we ended the day yet again not having met even a soul on the road, Grauple finally relaxed a little. He hasn’t stopped looking over his shoulder as we ride; perhaps there are still those that would seek him out this far from home. Certainly though, as he rides further away from the houses and people of Fallcrest (and into the wilderness), he demeanor becomes more relaxed. I wish it were so for the other “Moon”, as I’ve come to call them, at least in my own mind.

Reynaldo continues to brood at times. He is no more comfortable here in the wild than he was in the city. I wonder if he feels the call more strongly out here, away from the street-lanterns and taverns; feels it pull him – as though to take him forever. It would be a hard thing to master, this form of lycanthropy that plagues him. Yet I remember others like him from my past – dark and brooding though some were, I can remember the Others… We camped on the cold plateau in the dark of night, the moon had risen and was nearly full, yet they welcomed it, welcomed the pulse of blood in their veins, full of life and the world for a just a while, at least. Their golden fur shone in the pale light, the silvered mail upon their chests heaved with breath, and, as one, their heads rose together – howling…

Across from me, chaos stirs – tonight his hair is black and there is no moon in the sky. He has been a good companion so far. He searches the world for something though… perhaps that Card of Fate will lead him to it. He fondles it so that one would think he sees his death there – or his salvation. Maybe for this one, they are the same.

The Horned One is near me, as always. Behind me, 5 paces to the left. His eyes are on me, I can feel them. It is good to have one of Mayaheine’s with us. His arm may flag, his shield may give way, but his will, like hers, is unbendable like iron – it will need to be… the dreams still come to me every night; the future is darkness.

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