Fall From Grace, Rise The General


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| Reader Note: This has been
| sent to Brother Malkin, chronicler.
| At the Library of Bletherad.
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Good Master Chronicler of Light,

What does it mean to be in a War?

I’m sorry maybe you never had to deal with this during a previous chronicling because the scribing of events happened well after the events in question. Members of that august team had time to come to terms, reflect, and heal before revisiting the events for others to read about. According to Callandor, I sound like a whiny apprentice, however, he has the luxury of knowledge of his purpose. I had no intention of becoming the general. Fate, it would seem has different plans for me since my adoption of the moniker, War Wizard. I was just trying to have my magic make me a into a better fighter so I might not dishonor any palladin I stand with. In the fantasies of younger days I always pictured that would be Zeelik next to me, but I know that is also no more.

I keep the burn marks on my back, left shoulder, and left cheek of my face to remind me of the abuse of power. I did not understand till it was to late to stop the swath of destruction in the Yin-Sloth Jungles. I thought I had learned my lesson when we opted to make precise attacks on the buildings of the Jotan Necromancer, but even that was even more destructive than we could have imagined. I shudder when I think of history and the “War of the Fair & the Strong”. The magicks unleashed that make what we can do seem like child’s play. I no longer doubt the grandiose prose of the Tristine Chronicles . . .

“. . . And when the dogs of war were laid dead, and when the battle weary stopped to survey what they had wrought, both Elf and Dwarf wept. The great cities above and below the ground were laid to waste. The rivers ran red with blood, and corpses did litter the land so that one could not walk ten paces without stumbling over the dead, or the bloated carrion that fed upon them. Not since the sins and darkness of the Great Old Ones had the world witnessed such wanton wickedness, blind power and darkness.

“And lo, what was once 100 million Elves was nine million, and what was 240 million Dwarves was six million.

“So great was their sorrow that the Dwarves vowed to forever forsake the dread ways of magic, for it was the madness wrought by their own hands that savaged both Elf and Dwarf nations. For he who had called forth the beasts from the abyss could not control them. And when the beasts had done their evil unto the Elves, they turned to ravage those who would claim to be their masters. Thus, the forces of darkness swept down upon the Nation of Dwarves and suffered upon them a wrath a hundred-fold more terrible than they had visited upon any other.”

Generals. Kings. Leaders.

How many times did they make that call? The one where they knew by giving an order they were sentencing others to die! Did its repetition make them numb to the guilt or sorrow? Did they save ten, a hundred, or a thousand score more and use that to drive away the nightmares? Did it help to not be familiar with the troops on a personal level so their sacrifice would not make them think of retching their insides?

Vequana

This is the word I intend to have tattooed upon my left arm around my the base of my bicep just above my shoulder in the scarred area, written in the Western Trade Tongue of the Hoomans of that land. When I gave the command, accepted the idea to retreat to safety via teleporting magicks, I made a conscious decision to save the Lawgiver’s Left Hand over the crew picked to bring us to the Isle of the Cyclops. I want the reminder because I never want the pain to get easier, I don’t want to be numb. I had to treat my friends as objects to be a spy. I had to kick one – really hard – to make everyone in that filthy town feel as though we belonged. I keep telling myself I tried to heal him but the look of disgraced indignation, of familiarity with a boot to his stomach from someone bigger than him was almost more than I could bear. Record the ship name truly and Master Burlap’s as well. For these are the first stories I would tell my savior when he awakens, of those heroes that died or suffered so he could come back to life against other GODS wishing his extinction!

It will always be the General’s burden to make the call no one else can make. I feel I made the right call to save the piece of the God of Light, however, I hold my tears back until I am in my true form. Only when seven feet separate me from the man that endured slavery’s kick at my direction to become a hero. Only when two feet separate me from the other man that endured slavery’s cage at my direction to become a hero as well. To a God of Light, to me.

I may not be eloquent enough to find the words to describe what it means to be at war, but I am in one. For all of those that have paid the cost in lives, morality and their souls I will win this war! I only hope I have a soul left worth redeeming when we succeed. However, my biggest fear was actually realized. The Lawgiver, himself, appeared when the we were dragged to the Pyramid of the Great One in Sekti-Abtu by the pieces in our possession. The Pontiff had come with us and everyone was present when the Lawgiver laid his rebuke upon me.

We do not cast aside those that assist us so easily. Be careful for that is the way of the dark.

Once I had realized it was the source of order and society. The source of allowing discourse between all races with his rulings. I prostrated myself before him knowing I was not worthy to look upon what I am told was a ghostly apparitions with solid parts where the pieces became flesh and animated via their true owner. I really have nothing more to fear, that was oddly liberating. I have been among the long list: stabbed, rent nearly in half, cursed, slain – twice, tortured, and now rebuked by my savior for the manner in which I chose to secure the left hand he used to pass judgement. I’m not angry, that’s what really surprised me I am not angry!

Do you know why?

I deserved it! I was terrified and you know what they say:

“Morals and ethics are what you do when no one is looking.”

I failed and I am unworthy of the Lawgiver. No one in the group realized when I started joking around is was to hide the pain I felt and internalized because they needed me to have it together. I know in time they’ll read this in the books but I can’t share everything with them and be “in charge” around them or frankly anyone. There are lessons that my Father tried teaching me about perception and the truth that are beginning to make much more sense now.

I would like to write down officially, to my friends in CrIsis and the crew of the Vequana that I am sorry my morals were crippled by my stupidity in figuring out a better way of solving the Cyclopean Gambit we were in.

Good lord can’t you…

SHUT UP! Stop acting like you even remember your life before your reforging! I have your memories and you have mine! I know that hurts you and I am sorry but you didn’t decided to send those men to their graves! I did! I murdered them! This is my sin! I have tainted by deed my savior’s left hand because I am the dumbest wizard in the known world! Yes I feel Magos, helping it is the reason I have not fallen upon you in grief killing myself! The path to Hades is paved with the intentions of the Greater Good and I laid another stone on that road!

This is war Xerx’ses! Like it or not my repentant friend you and CrIsis will likely become generals in this war. These actions are sometimes necessary. He just warned you to not make it a habit.

I didn’t use to be like you. . .

When you bond with a rune weapon it is said facets of your personality and the weapon will merge and in some stories swap from what I can read of your memories. I am actually sorry if you feel I corrupted you.

. . .no. No, I was not smart enough to stay principled, ethical, moral, and upright like my family and friends that were Palladins. I will never blame you my friend for a failing of my soul and mind. I already sent my brother on such a mission and killed him because I didn’t forsee all the angles. I did consider that if we ran to the Vequana we would not be able to leave in time and all might be lost. So I elected to not mention my fear for the ship when I hatched the amulet plan to save the piece we just got and the others we had.

Why did you go back for “those” items?

Yes, “those” items were me trying to bring joy to their lives and Master Jidian Kulder could not believe the lengths I went to in order to resurrect such a tradition among CrIsis.

Before he teleport home from the Temple we arrived at he wished me luck. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “I know the choice you made, and I have been sorry for everyone I know that gained such knowledge for it can never go away and changes you forever.” Then he was gone. This must be the sin of leadership, making the call for the greater good. I never want the pain to get easier, I will have to ask Tiny our host in Haven after meeting with Bishop Rose Nodeki where to get the branding or tattooing done.

Master Chronicler of Light, please excuse my ramblings and non-detailed notation of events in this missive. I am tired from casting a Teleport spell, ReSet attacking and being driven off, and meeting with the Bishop regarding having Lord Raulf’s placement of a piece of the Lawgiver in the Antes Temple as a perfect sign of peace since he is a noble among the Iron Claw Tribe. Now I am laying down to sleep in a room with a stone floor like home.

May I ask a favor? Hmm, that seems stupid as well since I will ask it before I actually hear if you would acquiesce to my request. Well then, here goes. I have been working on my “version” of a song I heard a soldier of the Middle Kingdoms sang. Could you pass on my adaptation of “Wayfaring Stranger” to Commander Terramore which is the only way I can grapple with the thoughts and emotions spinning around in me. Yes I thought of suicide but I won’t give in to Anubis and what he might do with my portion of my soul not bound to Callandor. Below you will find my adaption and additional verse of the lyrics I heard.

Wayfaring Wizard

arrangement by Xerx’ses Goldenhorn

I’m just a poor wayfaring wizard,
Wandering through this world of woe.
Yet there’s no sickness, toil or danger,
In that bright land to which I go.

I’m going there to see my mother
Said she’d meet me when I come
I’m only going over Ma’ip
I’m only going over home

I know dark clouds will gather ’round me
I know my path is rough and steep
Yet golden fields lie just before me
Where the redeemed of Isis ever sleep.

I’m going there to see my brother
I’m going there no more to roam
I’m only going over Ma’ip
I’m only going over home

I want to sound the horn of glory
When I get to that good land
I want to shout CrIsis’ story
In concert with that blood-washed band

I’m going there to meet my Saviour
I am going down no mortal road
I’m just going over Ma’ip
I’m just going over home

I’ll soon be free from every trial
This form will rest beneath the sun
I’ll drop the Ankh of Self-Denial
And enter in the House of Ra

I’m going there to meet Osiris
To sing his praise forever more
I’m just going over Ma’ip
I’m just going over home

Here’s hoping they’ll let me in,

Xerx’ses Goldenhorn,
War Wizard of CrIsis,
aka: Captain Osric Orghallar of Rogtilda


>> Written by Xerx’ses Goldenhorn, upon the night time of the 6th of Od, 70th Year of the Wolfen Empire, 2nd year of King Guy the First of the Timiro Kingdom, 343 year of the Dominion of Man, and 23rd Year of the Western Emperor Voelkian Itomas II. <<


Rod Rambler picture by AZ-Rune Art, commission him at artist@agodrebuilt.org
Tristine Chronicle text from The Palladium Fantasy RPG®.
Wayfaring Stranger Lyrics from Wikipedia, custom arrangement and lyric alterations by AZ_RUNE. To hear the song sung by the great Johnny Cash click “here”.
Osiris ghost by ThatZeta on Deviant Art.
Picture of the dwarf “Tiny” by Jankolas.

2 Responses to “Fall From Grace, Rise The General

  • As dark as this gets (suicidal thoughts), I hope people see that he is working hard to find ways to cope with emotional pain. Imagine if your lord and god stood before you and said, “You disappoint me.”

  • I, the player and PC thought about it. Rather than risk

    • the pieces
    • our group
    • the other ships at the docks (remember the knife that goes boom).

    I decided that sacrificing one ship to save everything else was required. So, during the discussion to evacuate I left out my fear of the docks on purpose. To prevent any “last stand/we all go home” heroic attempts. Xerx’ses feels he was a coward, however, his brother’s death has reminded him that “dead is dead” and not everyone can be rebuilt.

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