- Several torn edges remain from prior missing pages *
For the first time it almost seems as if I can feel a cold creeping within me. Writing this entry is the hardest thing I’ve had to do, but silence seems almost worse. It feels like my quill moves of it’s own volition, like nothing I’m writing is really from me. This evening feels like a dream. I look at the still form of my brother laying beside me during this rest on the way back to the keep, expecting him to rise from his slumber, look at me with his intense gaze and announce it is time to continue on. This is the first time I’ve had to truly collect my thoughts to a semblance of sanity and calm myself and now all I feel is…nothing. I feel like I’m floating in an emotionless void. Outside, on the edges, I can feel a pressure pushing against me, urging my attention, and I know it is all the feelings of this night waiting to assail me. But for now, I need to ignore them, I need to make certain that this night is not forgotten.
This evening Emeric fought for what he believed in! This evening the two of us stood before an old keep filled with goblins and their kind, we struck down many of their number and fought for the lives of eight unfortunate souls being brought towards the gate! Though they were stronger than those we’d previously faced, our small group of Emeric and myself, with Malosian and his bear, were outnumbered from the start. The captives were being led by a number of wolf-riders, foot soldiers and a skilled goblin shaman. We thought we were far enough from the keep, but the archers atop its wall still could reach us and their arrows fell around us. Emeric charged forward on his horse towards the enemy line, trails of fire lingering behind him as he worked his skill as he rode. It was truly courageous!
The wolf-riders were upon us quickly, their spears biting into us. It was an ill-fated arrow though that started the cascade of unfair events this night. Somehow, some god-forsaken way, that arrow flew true across the space of snowy grass and pierced the side of Emeric, throwing him off balance, as astride his horse he stood face to face with a wolf-rider. The riders reacted violently, sniffing the air as if they could smell the blood and even as each was killed, it simply wasn’t fast enough. They kept rushing towards him, ignoring the targets between Emeric and them! I stood beside him in those moments trying to support him as he was thrown from his horse…
I remember being so angry, watching as the goblin shaman and the foot soldiers took refuge inside of their enveloping snowstorm. I didn’t care that I was riding into their midst. I wanted vengeance! I wanted them to just die! I still remember the shocked look on the goblin shaman’s face as I rode into the center of his spell and bathed his body in coldfire. His friends fell just as quickly, and it was tantalizingly sweet to let go. It wasn’t enough to just burn him. I drew upon the wintry snows surrounding us, letting them fuel my spells, increasing the intensity with which each orbs flames spun and flickered.
I was wrong I realize. So long ago I held the naïve belief that perhaps, just maybe, goblins were misunderstood creatures. Perhaps they simply attacked because they were hungry and no one reasoned with them, only attacking them on site. If someone could be kind or take a chance, ignoring all the stories they’d heard, maybe things could be different and a new world emerge. It doesn’t matter. They’re just blood-crazed savages. Ruthless brutes that just exist to hurt, maim and kill. And that’s just what I’ll do. Woe to any that might cross my path. My interest in speaking with them, with trying to understand their nature, is snuffed out, much like the life of my brother tonight.
I can’t help looking at these prisoners and feeling that the lot of them aren’t even worth a fraction of Emeric’s life…but I know we did the right thing. These people couldn’t save themselves and that’s why we rode north. We both knew the consequences as we watched them being led towards the keep that an attack now could be our end, that no magic would save us if things grew dire.
Not to help would have been the greatest evil of all, to simply watch as they were led to their fate, their damned shackles clinking in my mind to my day’s end. It is only knowing this, holding on to the reason for why I argued to head north, that helps me hold a grain of peace. I’ll always blame myself for Emeric’s death, knowing full well that he’d stay by my side no matter what, but I won’t do his memory the injustice of not recognizing that he is his own man. One who makes his own decisions and rises above the expectations of others. I hope to be half the man, half the mage, which he was and continues to be.