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Moth's Journal

22nd Ringare

And so Fate plays her hand, a fine hand with cards of ominous portent for us. It started out so simply today. We were to hand over the prisoners, see them judged, possibly stay overnight here, and then be on our way. But I find myself in a prison cell with Delnenn, who is now, with a little help, sleeping soundly. Gethyn has visited me here, to warn me that some of the peasants are demanding Erethor be hanged, for what crime, I do not understand. He has done nothing wrong! And while Gethyn has offered us a way, a means of escape, Hadrell refuses bluntly and so does Erethor. My determination alas, wavered, I would sooner see us escape and to never set foot in this town again than see the Rider even harmed at the hands of my people. And though I dearly hope it would never come to this, I would rather they take my life in his place, even. For he has a purpose in all this which, while I cannot comprehend it, is more important than my purpose. And too much grief it would cause between our peoples. But we are to wait for the morning and whatever judgement may pass. I cannot help shudder at the prospect. If I had faith in more than my magic, I would pray now. But I have no god, and a strong wall separates me from my companions. Delnenn may be here, but once more I am alone.

Frightful, fateful day, I hate this place and all that it has given me, all these secrets, all the pain, and never once diluted by the passage of time. Thicker, more cloying than ever it has become, and I could walk away now, not once looking back. I have seen this place for the last time, even if we escape from what awaits us. There is nothing here, those I love here are safe or dead and will remain ever so. For the female line is strong and my living brother has all he wants. And my father lies dying with no hope of salvation. No words could I speak to him, nor was he able to look on my face while awake. There is too strong a semblance to my mother there. I sat with him awhile, while he lay sleeping, drugged by the herbs Grandmother had administered, and while there is no love lost between us, I could not help but weep at seeing this once vigorous and proud man, this once warrior reduced to such a shadow of his former self.

Yes, it was fine for a while, to hold Rhedyn tight, to see how little she had changed. And Grandmother too, although she bore ill tidings of my fate within her embrace. A vision of myself and my companions in a barren and bleak place, like nothing she has seen before, dying, of what she did not say. It took much persuasion before she would even talk of it with me. And then she gave me a bag of herbs, enough for four of us, telling me I would know what to do with them when the time was right. She seemed less worried then.

She told me too of the man I had seen in my vision, that he was to be found in none of the directions, that he was not here but elsewhere. Yet still no name can I put to his face.

Of something else did I ask her. It no longer matters of my secret. There is no more reason to hide what I am any longer, it is too late now to be of any importance. If we leave here, I can at last leave behind the secrecy and put aside my disguise. Yet I swear were I to ever wear a dress now, I would trip over its skirts. The disguise is more of a lifestyle after all and I will find it hard to break. I suppose it would quieten Hadrell and Erethor, though, which would be a blessing. For they have badgered me and bothered me recently, Erethor about the secrets I keep back, taunting me, saying that a man’s word is his bond. Surely he is a fine one to talk, after we have both spent much of today conversing in Dunnish, this fluency in my language he has not mentioned prior to today. And so many things I feel he keeps back from us. I wonder, could Erethor be so quick in pointing out my failings, in order to hide his own? Yes, Erethor, indeed a man’s word is his bond. But I am a woman. You do not have that excuse.

Perhaps that is too harsh of me. Surely if our Rider is keeping secrets from us, then it must be for a good reason. I have no reason to distrust him, and he has nothing but reasons to distrust me. Sometimes I wonder how deeply he hates me….

 

They both learned of my true given name today. Yet, to my surprise, they still call me Moth, after I told them how little the name Rhidian felt like mine. They are good companions, those two, despite our differences. They even did me the courtesy of paying for a private room for me at the Red Wyrm, they need not have done so, but they respected my unspoken wishes. They watched too, with amusement and a little amazement as I was treated with the utmost respect, given drinks by Dordila, who remembered me well, and some of the folk here, some of the pleasantries being a little too much to bear, such as one man’s daughter…….I sank further and further into my drink and despair as Hadrell and Erethor looked on, eyebrows raised as I protested that I really didn’t need or want any of this. They seemed too, to link the strong powers of healing with the female line of the family, but then surely anyone could link the two together if they cared to think hard enough on it.

However, these are the least of my worries. I will conserve my thoughts and strength and wait for the morning, for whatever judgement is passed. I need my thoughts to be swift, there may yet be a way out for us all, if not at least for my two companions……………

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