From the Journal of Malaena Lucidius
We returned from the siege of Redwall last night. May I never live to see another! So much loss at a time when we can ill afford it. But it is taken, and one less enemy lies at the gate.
We have news of another loss—Lord Demonbane. He was assaulting Fort Adamant, from whence disturbing news had come. Given what we guessed of his nature, though, I wonder if he is truly dead. I devoutly pray not; that would be a blow indeed.
There still has been no sign of Wren. Tomorrow we go to Phoenix, for the conclave of what remains of the untainted Luminairre. Leaders must be raised and paths chosen…
…I should not be surprised anymore when Wren is involved with the dark Watchers. This time, through no fault of her own. We were about to leave for Phoenix, taking with us Baron Gorgonmaster and Duke Ashlane, when a mysterious woman accosted Simon and told him that if he wished to find Wren, we should follow. The Baron and Duke were asked to wait for us while we investigated.
The woman was Ylchia. She had taken Wren during our travels north, and offered her now as a gift for hearing out the watcher’s deal.
The deal. Oh Mirala’ana, what shall we do about the deal? It is true that Rozerus is ill, and keeping him alive is draining more and more resources from Heaven. Resources that are sorely needed in the battle against the Outer Evil. Ylchia offers us Britteron and information that would stop the war in Qual-Evan (thus allowing the elves to join our fight against the threatening invasion) and that would allow us to rescue the priest from Takeo’s dream.
The price, though. Ylchia can bring Dusan to the mind of Rozerus. Dusan must only speak the truth of the situation. We all know what the likely result is: the suicide of Rozerus. We are now in Phoenix, and trying to focus on politics. But I doubt that any of us can truly think of anything else but what to do about the deal…
I don’t believe I have slept in 36 hours. Yesterday, it must be yesterday, was full of politics. There are the expected factions here, of course, along with observers from the Orcs and the black dragons. There are two from Milas Hostium as well, one who styles himself Warlord and who has brought about half the country under his command. Another is a former duke struggling to keep what was his.
That night, we received a summons to meet someone at a keep not far off. I was not familiar with it, but it seemed to make everyone else nervous. We rode there, and waited in the courtyard. The walls above were lit here and there by torches. Something large was flying, occasionally blocking the moon as it circled closer. At last it landed, and the dim light glinted off of gold scales.
The reports of Lord Demonbane’s death had been greatly exaggerated. He shows himself now in his true form, and we are to call him Primus. He also brought Dusan two Knight Lord swords: his own, and Octavian Luminairre’s. Primus, it seems, has also dealt with Octavian. The man is not dead, but will not be troubling us for some time. I take that to mean that Primus has Octavian locked in some other dimension for a time.
We paraded back to Phoenix at dawn, the red sun giving a ruddy glow to Primus’s scales as he flew above us. Dusan led, carrying the swords before him. Simon conjured some sort of drumming sound, almost at the edge of hearing, to accompany us. Our appearance made a sensation.
Today, more politics. Dusan’s name was now one of those spoken of as a potential leader for this true Luminairre. He does not say much, but I know that he must be troubled about whether to accept, and whether to accept in his true name.
And…we have decided. Simon spoke with his Ral’Tandrack, and apparently Ylchia has been making the same argument in Heaven, only also adding there that the bones of Rozerus could be used to make the weapons that can harm the Outsiders. We spoke to Serena also, who said that she could serve as a conduit to Rozerus, thus ensuring that what Dusan says to Rozerus will not be twisted. We go tonight….
It is done, and may Mirila’ana never discover my part in it. We summoned Ylchia, and took her deal. Dusan spoke to Rozerus. He has not done anything, but a wild storm is sweeping in. I do not doubt that Rozerus will do what has to be done.
We have Braterion, although Wren has been warned against using it? him? until we are within Wayreach and it is too late for the guardians Kal’Dan placed about it to discover the theft. We also know that Kal’Dan is behind the war between the hobgoblins and the Qual-Evani. His forces have been pillaging the black dragons, stealing their treasure and forcing them out of their lands. The treasure in turn has been used to pay the hobgoblins for their war. We have a schedule of the shipments.
We intend to intercept some, to create a payment for the red dragon that currently holds the trapped priest. He wishes to get back at his father, and what better way than to let it be known that his father disobeyed a direct order from the emperor? I’m unsure how Takeo will take the idea of letting the red dragon live, but it a less risky path. Eventually, we do plan to let the black dragons know where their treasures are being sent. Not, however, until the forces of the true Luminairre have taken their finder’s fee. I’m both amused and a bit remorseful for this omission of truth, but we need the funds too badly to immediately tell the black dragons about it. I believe Primus and others will be dispatched to handle the raiding of the shipments…
It is done. Rozerus is dead. It is done. My poor goddess. I spent most of the day on my knees, praying for forgiveness. But she does not know. Rozerus awoke one last time, to bid his family goodbye. Simon speaks sense, and I must keep this thing to myself. Mirala’ana does not know the part that Ylchia played, or that we played, and if I wish to be able to go to the final fight against the Source, I must not betray it. Ylchia must be pleased indeed.
A more ordered telling of events, before I forget. The storm raged last night, and in the morning, those who follow Rozerus were…strange. First as though nothing was there, and then, as though the full power of Rozerus flowed once again. Telarus fully took the mantle of his father. I can but speculate what that will do to those who are yet uncorrupted in greater Luminairre. Will they be able to see the evil their fellows have fallen into? Will they return to us?
Anyway, the Lady Fireborn summoned all to a great meeting, where she told all gathered of Rozerus’s death and the ascension of Telarus. Or, it would be more proper to say that Telarus himself spoke to us through her. The Watcher is dead. Long live the Watcher…
More politics. I weary of it, to be honest. But, there is momentous news: Dusan Luminairre has declared himself. He is trying now to see what his chances are of leading True Luminairre, trying to sway others to support his cause. I have been doing my part in this, but as a common-born cleric, I have not the facility for the work that others do. Still things look promising at this stage. More tomorrow, after I have slept away this boredom…
And today Dusan has been chosen. We could not win the support of either faction from Milas Hostium, which is not surprising. Our travels have not taken us back to my home, and Dusan’s deeds do not echo there. We may be able to win one side or the other, but that depends on how Dusan decides to deal with the Orcs and black dragons.
The Duke is opposed to any such alliance. I understand his point, but I think such an alliance will be necessary to front the forces coming from the Blood Plains. The Warlord, on the other hand, sees the necessity of such an alliance. indeed, he already has…permitted might be too strong a word…Orcs to settle in parts of Milas Hostium. Also, and perhaps more worryingly, he as been approached by ones with the strange symbols on their foreheads. From Rozeril. He has promised not to ally with us, in return for non-aggression from Luminairre. He…does not seem to trust those representatives, but neither does he have reason to trust us.
Have I not spoken of the news from Rozeril? With so much else ill, I might not have. Rozeril is shut down. The capital demands more and more tribute from other provinces, but provides no services. Knights and other have disappeared. And agents of the Red Friars have appeared, people with a strange sign on their brows. It is a grief to hear, and we know but half.
We work now on our final assault on the Source. Lady Fireborn says that she can use the last of her grace to create torches that the darkness of Wayreach cannot quench. The party sent to raid the ships has been dispatched. Once the treasure has been secured, we go ourselves to rescue the priest. I don’t remember if anyone will be speaking with the Qual-Evani now, or if we shall wait until several shipments have stopped paying the hobgoblin army.
We are running out of time. May all the Watchers grant that we have enough to do what is needful.