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From the Journal of Halder Dernam...

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I was tricked.

Madriel appeared before me awash in brilliant white light, her hair the color of the sun. She looked just like she did the first time she appeared before me, when she saved me from a wretched existence in the slave pits of Calastia. She led me out, and then, led me to her. She gave my life purpose and I couldnít have been happier or more devoted to herÖor could I?

When Madriel asked me to seal our pact with blood it was the easiest thing I ever had to do to accept. Blessing me with her presence, I had never felt closer to her than at that moment.

But then, everything changed and the vision before me was not of Madriel, but her wicked sister, Belsameth.

I was tricked.

How did I let this happen? Was there some sign I should have paid closer attention to that would have allowed me to recognize the illusion? There must have been a way, but I refused to be suspicious. I wanted it to be Madriel. I yearned for it to be Madriel.

I was too proud to believe any explanation other than my god has placed my well being above her other worshippers and came to me personally to aid me in my quest. How vain I had become. And now, the pact was sealed in blood and there was no turning back. I was in league with the enemy of my God. The goddess that has given my life meaning, a reason to exist, a reason to look forward to the afterlife has to endure the insult of me carrying out the wishes of her nemesis.

Since that day, nothing has gone right. During the evenings, I feel Belsamethís gaze upon me. Her waxing moon ever increasing my unease and nothing I do seems to help. I feel the heat of Madrielís touch growing colder inside me with every passing day. Is she losing her love for me? When I invoke her name, the cleansing flames wreathe the tip of my spear as always, but are the flames as hot as they once were?

While entering the blood steppes we were set upon by blight wolves. Their savage howls filled my heart with fear and I ran, leaving my comrades to fight them without me. Would their howls have rattled me so if my heart still felt Madrielís empowering warmth like it once did? Did they believe I was compelled to flee, or am I now just a coward in their eyes?

Of course, this has all been great entertainment for Phoenix, who basks in the irony that I, the most pious zealot, Halder Durnam, was the one among us that has betrayed his god. His wry grins further my shame. I once thought that Madriel had a plan for him, but since his refusal to talk about his time in the afterlife I no believe that true. Lavidia believes he is hiding something, but what?

Three days later, in the middle of the night, our camp was plagued with dissention between Phoenix and Karel. Soon, the whole party was involved, our raised voices bounding off the nearby hills alerting who knows what to our presence. Fortunately, we were not attacked at a time when we were clearly not prepared to defend ourselves, but I feel the group is at a breaking point. The bickering is happening more often and the disagreements are getting louder, putting us all at risk. And Belsamethís moon shines on.

Later still, Karel was taken from camp by his very own bodyguard, something that has never happened before. The enigmatic tome, the very reason for our union was taken as well. Through payment of blood and an unholy alliance, we were able to recover Karelís bruised and battered body and retrieve the tome. Although Karel was moments from losing his life he should recover completely. His bodyguard, however, was destroyed in the process, leaving him more vulnerable than ever before.

If all this wasnít enough, Lavidia has left us. She walked through a shadow, preventing me from following. I would have torn the rock asunder with my bare hands if it meant I would have reached her. A note appeared at the foot of the shadow. It was from Lavidia. She informed me that she was needed elsewhere at the moment and could not continue on with the group right now. I have to accept that she must follow her own path, but how could she leave me now? I feel my connection to my god, the essence of my being, weakening, the party is at odds with each other, and now my best friend and the only confidant Iíve ever known has left me as well. Her note has offered me some consolation, but where my path was once illuminated and clear, I now feel adrift in an ocean of blackness with no knowledge of which way to go, and the sun is fading. And Belsamethís moon shines on.

Safaria, Rutgar and I have formed a bond. We support and protect each other as comrades should, but I worry about Phoenix and Karel. Their constant antagonizing of each other will continue to plague our progress unless something changes and I fear they may be placing their personal interests ahead of the groupís interests which leave all of us vulnerable.

I have no choice but to soldier on. I can only hope that my part in the pact made with Belsameth can come to light soon so that I can end my dealings with her once and for all and pray that my connection to Madriel will be secure once again. I continue to look to the sun for her strength and guidance, and now, I will look to the shadows cast by that sun, in the hopes that Lavidia, little sister, can give me strength and guidance as well.

Madriel, forgive meÖI was tricked.

This was written by the player of Halder in an attempt to get more in touch with his character and how he feels about recent in game events. I really enjoyed the read, and I hope you all do too...

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Updated 09-13-2009 at 11:10 PM by RMajere

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