We finally set forth from Cor Draconis for the horrors of Wayreach and the ruined monastery. The initial part of the journey, in the county of Draco Nidum, went uneventfully. I confess to a certain amount of anxiety here: I wish only to finish this mission as quickly as possible so that I might be able to devote my efforts to breaking Countess Briartame’s siege of Bloodmark. I have come to regret my decision to have Squire Silversmith remain behind in Maledictus Petram to assist in reconstruction as we made our way to Cor Draconis, but I even upon reflection I cannot find a better option. Perhaps it is just as well; Thorn must be allowed to work on his own if he is ever to be allowed to become a full member of the Knighthood.
As we approached the border into Wayreach County, we found our way blocked: a squad of guards manned a barricade preventing further travel by road. The guards, wearing the colors of a Baroness Ironfist, thereupon issued a verbal warning to return to Draco Nidum. We circled horses and discussed our options at that point. Having seen the desecrated bodies of fellow Knights appended upon the roadblock, I was loathe to simply leave them there; I did, however, present my case to the rest of the group rather than simply do what I felt must be done. Placing the lives of my friends and companions in danger is not something I do lightly, and it was only fair to allow them to make their cases to go around, as well as leaving the final decision to a vote.
I feel the need to explain my actions here, where I can, rather than burden or distract my companions at this moment in time. Given the inattention of Rozerus in these trying times, as the Just One is, due to his actions requiring the whole of his care or due to an act of malfeasance heretofore unknown, unable to give his servants the consideration and responsiveness he has previously bestowed upon them, it would be easy to ignore or simply fail to uphold the minor tenets of my oath to Watcher and Empire. As the cursed State of Trigonum has shown to us, through the actions of its Lord Knight down to the lowest Squire, there will be no punishment from On High for any violation of our oaths: neither the Shield of our Faith nor the Blade of our Wrath will be blunted by the tarnishment of our immortal souls for our Sins against our Oaths or the people we were sworn to protect. I cannot, however, indulge in the excesses allowed by our previously unexperienced leeway in our interpretation of our oaths. I cannot begin to walk the path trodden by Lord Octavian and his minions, or else I would have no moral ground to stand on in opposing his desired ascension to power. As Prophet Brighton the Exalted said and is recorded in the Second Book of Temporal Injunctions: ‘It is not how we act when our father is watching, ready to punish any transgressions, but how we act when we no longer fear punishment that determines the true shallowness or depth of our morality.’ I see no real choice but to hold to the Code of Light as best as I am able to.
As we discussed our options, the watchmen at the barricade loosed an arrow at Dragon . Our discussion came to a halt, and we moved to engage. Within a matter of moments, the enemy, who had provoked the engagement, were routed save for their leader, with whom we opened discussion for terms of surrender. It was there that we became aware of how deeply the Taint of Kel’Dan had permeated the people of Wayreach: all of the soldiers there showed signs of mental stress caused by taint, and their leader had developed a sickly and unnatural fixation on his sword.
Simon conjured a wall of ice to prevent the remaining guards from fleeing as we discussed terms with the leader of the tainted soldiers. As we came to the slow but inevitable realization that we would be unable to adequately negotiate terms amenable to both sides, a call to action on our part came from the most unlikely source: none other than Caiden put forward the notion that the leader of the border guards was too far tainted to be allowed to act freely.
I cannot remember who attacked first; perhaps it was simply inevitable that violence was going to happen at that place and time, and we acted as had been predetermined. Against the martial might of Takeo, Lauren, Derek, and the unbridled bestial power of Dragon, their leader was quickly subdued. After he was stabilized and restrained, we set about implementing the terms of their surrender, gathering weapons from the guards, and all of the relevant belongings of the leader.
From there we set forth. Our route took us near stables just one quarter of a mile past the blockaded gate; there we gathered the horses present to take with us. The reasons for our acquisition were twofold: first, to have horseflesh in reserve should any of our mounts fall in Wayreach, and second, to deny the remaining guards mounts so that we might have longer in Wayreach unmolested by the guards’ superiors.
We are now in Wayreach County. May the Watchers be with us in our mission, for we must succeed or all of Trigonum will fall, and with it, the Empire.