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Written By Sen'azala

April 22, 2024, 6:23 a.m.(2/22/1022 AR)

***Six months later***

I found them.

Fitting that it's winter, deep winter, in a year where, to most people, the Northlands have never seemed colder. I was half prepared to keep walking from Farhaven. Fuck the danger. None of the horrors I've encountered since the Thinnest Point have succeeded in frightening me. Fuck the mountain pass; the demons found their way around the collapsed Spire, so can I. I was ready to walk back into the Everwinter alone, or alone with my Grandmother. I'm sure I still will, one day.

But I didn't have to.

Like Arx, like every one of the handful of surviving cities I've visited, Farhaven is swarming with refugees, and the few voices that want people to care about how many of them are treacherous evil outsiders don't carry far. The few voices that want to take the "opportunity" (hah!) for revenge on the Compact are drowned out. There's violence, sure, and the streets are hardly *safe*, even in the brightest, most obnoxiously pristine parts of Sanctum, people are people and a lot of those people are desperate, but the old hate all feels...temporary. Unimportant. It's unnerving, honestly. I don't know where that's going to eventually go. I don't know where all these *people* are going to eventually go.

Every time my responsibilities have brought me to or near a city, I've searched. It's all chaos. The sounds are deafening. The smells are familiar and alien and incomprehensible. I've lost track of how many times I've pulled someone aside, pointed at my face, and asked them if they'd seen anyone like me. The scars make it hard for unfamiliar people to see my markings, but that was an easy enough obstacle to clear with paint. Nobody cares if you're walking around with a painted face when they've had to fight actual, literal demons. That's not strange or scary anymore.

In the end it was some random street kid who led me to them. I hope he had a lot of warm meals from the coin he stole from me. I hope he'll have a lot more from the coin I planted on him when he did it. If you ever have the strange turn of reading this, Finn, and you didn't go and get yourself killed bragging about all the silver you were carrying, come and find me. I've been thinking about how many teachers the world's lost lately. I'm not *great* at teaching, but you're not great at picking pockets either. Maybe we can help each other.

The reunion was...complicated. There are people, people who've known me since I was a child, who were not happy to see me. There are others who went cold when they heard even a little of what's happened. More than a few were uncomfortable just being around me; maybe they thought I wouldn't notice. I expected all of that. How could I *not* expect all of that? Danger and death have chased us all since they took me in. They've lost a lot because of their kindness. There are faces missing because of their kindness. And I'm...not who I was. I'm not the Sen Venandi they knew, angry and eager and certain I knew the Way Things Were. I'm the Sen Venandi who grew up. I'm the Wolf, and only getting more so.

The rest though? The rest? There was shouting, and tears, and laughter, and far more hugging than I've ever tolerated, and it was...

It was like coming home when I didn't realize there was a home I could come back to. It's not mine anymore, not really, it doesn't fit, but I can stay a while. There's a place by the fire.

They intend to head back north when spring arrives. They can only tolerate the city for so long, and while it's dangerous, they're - we're - survivors. I don't know if they'll go as far as the Everwinter; I think not, not for a long time at least, but I'm not sure I'll see them again once I leave Farhaven. These goodbyes feel a little final. I don't know...I can find them. I can find them if I want to. If I need to.

Shara is coming back south with me; I told her that Arx was full of art and artists, even after all the fighting, and she wants to see it before the Wolfkin go. Mashti

*there's a large ink stain where the pen hovered too long*

Mashti is coming as well. I didn't ask her if she wanted to, and she didn't ask *me* if *I* wanted her to, but her goodbyes to the Wolfkin will definitely be final. She's old and getting older. This will be her last, longest journey, and she wants to walk it with me, however many years remain. When Shara goes back to the tribe, Mashti intends to stay.

I told her she has to share the library, but she's welcome to keep the cat all to herself and out of my hair. It's not a bad place for an old shaman to retire. Grandmother is near, after all, and if they haven't all scattered by the time I get back, there will be the others too. Then the kids that (literally) drop in unannounced *all the time*. If you're reading this, TT, then I want to point out that you lot have *magic* and are therefore fully capable of figuring out the complicated human custom known as knocking on the front door. Or the roof. Or something a little less likely to give me a heart attack. It was not funny the first two dozen times you did it.

Written By Viviana

April 10, 2024, 10:06 p.m.(1/27/1022 AR)

I've a song in my heart.

Foot tap-tap-tap, boot thump-thump-thump. Heart thrum-thrum-thrum. Fingers on the pulse of the world around me for the moment, in rhythm, stepping into the training ring with the familiarity of greeting a long-lost lover. I circle the perimeter of the space, stretching my legs in a walk, curling my hands toward the sky above in a spine-lengthening stretch as I consider the faceless others training and watching. I offer anyone in the benches a bow, loose-limbed, duelist-cocky - removing the peace-ties on Gloaming before I salute them all with the blade.

I claim the space around me, presence emphasized by the live diamondplate that I wield for *fun* against myself. My smile is a lazy, privately amused sort of thing - for me, myself - alone. Tracing the tip of the rapier to the sand as I circle once, creating an outline as though the sword were quill. It isn't, but I must put forth the same meticulous care required for calligraphy - leaping once midway, a dancer warming up. I close the spiral, tight, switching the sword from my off-hand - the one that escapes the periphery of my sightless (but insightful) left eye -- to the left hand, dominant, and I start to dance with her blade, against an unseen opponent.

I turn - once, twice, and leap forward. A doe across rushing water. Some Lycene duelists give their various moves names that sound like poetry. Maybe it is. Thrust, to the heart of the unseen opponent, between the ribs. I hiss through my teeth, bright green eye narrowing with vicious joy -- shamelessly enjoying myself, this sparring match against a shadow of a cantrip that provides me with a passing entertainment. The shadow disperses like ink dropped into water. Then, a few steps ahead -- it takes shape again, edges glittering sky-iron sharp. I feint too soon, roll into a hit, then deflect the next strike and dance back --

Written By Patrizio

April 7, 2024, 8:43 p.m.(1/21/1022 AR)

Awaiting that which is to come is... tedious.

I thought that the waiting would end with the fall of those who would have enslaved us, those who would have destroyed us, and the other armies that have faced us... and now I find myself waiting for the spring to come. Setarco delights me - more than I could have ever believed - for being here in the winter. (To those who said that it is a better thing to want than to have... may the gods have mercy upon your souls. Having is so, so much better.). There has not yet been a celebration for our surviving, with so much to be done, but I await that as well.

Perhaps that is the matter I can rectify most, beyond helping to guide the rebuilding of our Compact and our southern isles - the preparations for a proper celebration of our survival. Nearer mid-summer, so that all can have time to be more prepared, with crops planted and rebuilding in full effect.

So let it be done.

Written By Mattheu

Feb. 22, 2024, 9:56 a.m.(10/14/1021 AR)

It is awkward and weird to be back within a city which we sought to be away from. A distance needed for the time after the many ravaging battles, and now one where we are securing the rivers once again. There will be trade again throughout the compact.

It is no longer as divided as it once was. Those small camps which we would run supplies to even if we weren't suppose to. ... it is far harder to turn one's back upon those that know of the damage within life that is a shared experience. No matter what the Compact once had to say in the matter.

I'm not hiding this journal away. In the years prior I would write similar to this then have it sealed. My words off my chest then no longer for others to see or read.

I won't hide this. There are many within the city now who need some assurance to know that we can grow from this experience. Our children's children's children might not know the specifics. They might not fully understand the songs that have been warped and changed over the years. I can only hope they are similar to the Ravashari songs of today which have told us of the stories of the times around the Dance of Skulls.

A song which many within the city always would put on a smile and nod, to tell my family and I - what a nice way to think of the lore.

Only we cannot speak of it as lore any more. We've all just lived through it personally. There is no turning back from this knowledge.

And thus to see someone still wandering around the city without peace-bonding their weapon. It is a slap to everything which we have fought to preserve. We are to be peaceful to our own. We are to build a better world.

We can only do so in all following the same civility.

Else everything we have done to this point is going to be lost all over again.

Written By Mattheu

Feb. 22, 2024, 9:47 a.m.(10/14/1021 AR)

Relationship Note on Eshra

It was never a moment in which I meant to scare you. Never a time in which my games to play upon my brothers where I would hide, you would always know where I was. You were my protector, my teacher, my closest friend and the one to introduce me to the sisters to be my guardians when you could not.

It became a game in of itself. To find a new dance, and new treat, and fashion to how fast I could hide. Then turning into how to train and how to protect our family so -that- would never happen again.

When the time came to take to the waters and rivers, we had already seen loss at Sanctum. I reached back to the Expanse to grab the one thing which I didn't bother to pack at first. Perhaps I thought we would come back to the city after. I was naive.

And in that. I am sorry for making you worry about me.

I was never supposed to be our family's protector. Yet here we are. And I while I might seek to change one thing from a time before where ours was not of our own to choose. I can never change that you raised me when our parents were busy in their own tasks. I can never change that it was your song that would calm me when we were younger.

It is from that alone that I thought to stay and seek to protect those that I call friends.

Written By Mattheu

Feb. 22, 2024, 9:41 a.m.(10/14/1021 AR)

Relationship Note on Ann

In the days and weeks past our nearly new adventure, and a slip of paper to be sent when we thought all was lost. Words upon which were the truest of all my words ever spoken and from the heart were read.

To awake within a moment where your nephew gives a warning, and your sister a word of advice to guards that - you can be dropped - ...

You're given a renewed chance. A third direction was given that day. While the world sat in near pause and ready for their goodbyes to each other even if another battle had been thwarted. There would be more to come.

We took to the waters. Where our home has always been. Where lands once thrust upon us long gone, our people seeking to get back to which we know and have known for far longer than we've ever been upon land which moves weirdly.

A magic between us shared.

It's the children who keep me smiling, Ann keeps me dancing.

Written By Jan

Feb. 18, 2024, 9:35 p.m.(10/7/1021 AR)

I know eventually I'll get tired of the quite-but it hasn't happened yet.

Written By Jan

Feb. 18, 2024, 9:34 p.m.(10/7/1021 AR)

I broke the good news. Gods willing things will remain quiet while everyone rebuilds and I can eat my fill and devise a way to best my amazing husband at stones. I haven't heard from Ian or Wash, and I can't help but to worry.

Written By Ann

Feb. 18, 2024, 2:10 p.m.(10/6/1021 AR)

Living the life of the sea is different than that of the land. But much of it is the same. As long as I have my family with me? All is good.

Written By Renata

Feb. 11, 2024, 10:13 p.m.(9/21/1021 AR)

Nearly twelve years ago, I found myself with fears and horrors of the waters. Of what might be possible to come from being close to the water. I boarded a ship to come to the city.

Part of me hated my beloved Belladonna when I read the contents of her letter over my breakfast in Setarco. A letter so casually and so easily written by her hand, but which killed a part of me on its reading.

For so long, I would find myself to be lost within the city. To be surrounded by those that I didn't know who might be a friend or foe. A feeling that is so distant in the now. Knowing of what my younger self was about to go through, the dances of those she thought were to be loved. Only to be left so quickly when telling them that they were loved.

To be told that she was possibly cursed. As they did not understand as I did. Even to not know Who she was then.

I only wish to be able to wrap her up within a large blanket. Be able to sing to who I once was. To be able to calm her from those fears.

Written By Jan

Feb. 11, 2024, 9:58 p.m.(9/21/1021 AR)

I married into the right house. So much citrusy goodness.

Written By Jan

Feb. 11, 2024, 9:58 p.m.(9/21/1021 AR)

It is nice to have plenty to lend my hands to without anyone dying this time around.

Written By Mattheu

Feb. 9, 2024, 12:48 p.m.(9/16/1021 AR)

Who knew it would take a world ending possibility to find and be able to claim the rivers back.

There are skirmishes of demons floating around, they are quick to learn the rivers are not safe for them. The Rivenshari will be stronger than before, and soon we will have passage upon them safe for any who seek.

Written By Viviana

Feb. 4, 2024, 10:29 a.m.(9/6/1021 AR)

To the enemies of the Compact, past and future --

Get well never.



Written By Fatima

Feb. 2, 2024, 5:56 p.m.(9/3/1021 AR)

**A journal submitted from across the sea**

The world survives. The stars no longer spin crazily in the sky, and the world no longer trembles. While we are far from a goal of peace, and there is much cleaning up to do, the people of the world are truly free to choose their own paths.

It is now up to those of us who remain to forge a way forward, to leave a lasting legacy for those who come after us.

Let us ensure it is a legacy to be proud of.

The people of Petrioch have accepted me as their Queen. We have established a mutually beneficial arrangement. Lord Volya and Lady Nebulosa Sha'vhan remain by my side, doing the good work we came here to do.

In time, perhaps the people of Arvum will see me as an ally. Until that day, we shall remain in Eurus, content.

Written By Raja

Feb. 2, 2024, 10:33 a.m.(9/2/1021 AR)

I have received a letter from my mother. It is basically a good-bye. Now, I was raised since I was a tiny thing without her presence in my life. I know that she is not someone I can ever truly count on, simply by the nature of who she is. So, why does it make me sad? Yet, I also feel that she also knows who she is and she understands her own nature. This letter is an act of love. It shows that we are all complex creatures capable of many things that surprise even ourselves. I just hope that my mother finds what she is looking for. I hope she finally finds that place where she feels she can truly belong and to feel love.

Written By Raja

Feb. 2, 2024, 10:23 a.m.(9/2/1021 AR)

It is over. The biggest event of my life is over. I survived. Honestly, I am quite surprised I survived. Yet, here I am. Now, with the world pretty much turned upside down, I have only one regret. I regret that I will not live long enough to see what our children make of this world. We may get to lay the foundations, but our children and our children's children will be who really build it up. However, our children will have a word to build. The alternative.. was not acceptable.

Written By Renata

Feb. 1, 2024, 10:33 p.m.(9/1/1021 AR)

I've never been called selfish before. This is a feeling I don't know how to explain. Other than I suddenly feel understanding to why my cousins enjoy turning to fire.

Written By Renata

Feb. 1, 2024, 9:58 p.m.(9/1/1021 AR)

Relationship Note on Titus

Lord Titus was a man of contradictions, a complex tapestry woven from threads of ferocity and compassion, of strength and vulnerability.

He was a storyteller, a weaver of words who sought to capture the essence of life's beauty and intricacies. In the quiet moments of reprieve from battle, he would regale those around him with tales of love and longing, of triumph and tragedy, his words painting vivid images that lingered in the minds of all who listened.

Despite the harsh exterior he often projected, Lord Titus harbored a deep capacity for love and compassion. He sought to embrace all who crossed his path, to offer solace and camaraderie in a world torn apart by strife and conflict. And when the time came to make the ultimate sacrifice, he did so willingly, laying down his life to protect those he held dear, a testament to his unwavering devotion to the greater good.

In the memories we hold of Lord Titus, we see not just a warrior, but a man of depth and complexity, a soul touched by both darkness and light. And though he may have departed this world, his legacy lives on in the tales we tell and the lives he touched, forever etched into the fabric of our shared history.

May his spirit find peace amidst the chaos of the eternal battlefield, and may his stories continue to inspire generations to come.

Written By Tesha

Feb. 1, 2024, 9:20 p.m.(9/1/1021 AR)

For too long I have lived for others.

It is time to live for myself and to enjoy what years I have left.

For now, we go to Cardia to beat back Malar and so that I can have a semblance of my happily ever after with Calumar.

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