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Written By Isolde

March 18, 2017, 7:24 p.m.(2/12/1006 AR)

In the Lyceum, the Thirteenth became the god associated with Last Rites, evidently when whatever shenanigans went on that took the Queen of Beginning and Ending from us. It is something I hold in somber regard, even with most of the compact turning to Lagoma, Mistress of Change. I think there is a place for each in our thoughts on Death. I would like to see the Faith embrace them all, for death is the greatest of changes we face in our lives, and the Thirteenth separates us from the lands Beyond, be he guardian, shepherd, or what we have yet to relearn. The Queen of Beginning and Endings seems obvious, and all seem to have a place in providing comfort, and ushering a soul into their next fate. It is a concept I hope to have the luxury to explore more, but for now, as I work with wounded soldiers, and they need comfort in the transition, if all else fails, I keep in my heart, my mind all three, that the soul knows peace.

Written By Isolde

March 18, 2017, 7:15 p.m.(2/12/1006 AR)

Beginnings and endings.
It seems an appropriate time for these things.
Difficulties, joyous things, it is an interesting thing, these beginnings and endings.
I find it utterly impossible not to embrace this return.
There is utter beauty and heartache in beginnings and endings.
I do love a good duality.

Written By Frederik

March 18, 2017, 6:37 p.m.(2/12/1006 AR)

Relationship Note on Sara

Steelharts tend to die, especially the ones who go out to fight. Due to this Frederik's more then a little protective of Sara, especially after the deaths of her mother and brother. Despite that, the Steelharts have a long history of military service, and Frederik knows a dog of war can't be caged.

Written By Valery

March 18, 2017, 6 p.m.(2/12/1006 AR)

I think everything smells like smoke in my room, now...

Written By Waldemai

March 18, 2017, 5:47 p.m.(2/12/1006 AR)

Lady General Calypso suggested that I should get my butt away from the forge for a while. Did I say suggested? Well, when you patron "suggests"... With all of us heading to the front soon, a Rite to Gloria seemed like a good idea. I went to the main training center downtown and challenged all comers. It turned out there were some very nice people willing to help me out there. I remember (and I don't remember much, since I didn't win many of those duels) a Mathias, and a young woman named Umay, their friend Agnarr, and a woman named Esoka. There was a lord and lady there, too, but I never got introduced. So I fought the duels, and learned that I need to get out of the forge more, for training and exercise, or I'll never ever win a duel with anyone. But with luck the goddess was pleased with the fact that we tried.

Written By Valencia

March 18, 2017, 4:54 p.m.(2/12/1006 AR)

The Golden Hart opens tonight and I am filled with a mix of emotions. I feel such great excitement, joy, anticipation, apprehension, amazement, dread, sadness and so much gratitude and hope…. so much excitement, gratitude and hope. My head would be swimming if I did not have so much work to do.

It is strange to see this day come. Soon we will open our Hart and we will begin to do all that we can to raise the spirits of the people and support for good causes. I am told again and again that these things are needed more than ever now and I am determined to do what we can to help the people of the realm. And, with good grace, hard work and an abundance of luck, we shall welcome all of Arx into our Hart as well. It is my deepest wish that all know that they are welcome here.

It was a long journey, one far from done, and not one taken alone. I am so grateful to those who have walked with me, cared for me and loved me so much. To those who have supported me and without whom the Hart would never be. I do not know what I did to deserve such kindness and I pray that I will make them so very proud and find way to replay their kindness.

It is a strange night. One that I hope will set a good, strong course for success for the Golden Hart and all that she stands for and hopes to do, and perhaps in a little way for me as well.

With life, love and luck…. and a warm, full heart.

~~~~~<~<@

Written By Dulcinea

March 18, 2017, 4:05 p.m.(2/12/1006 AR)

Relationship Note on Artorius

Dear Me,

Everyone is riding out and it's so alarming. May Gloria bless and keep them.

I met the most charming man, just before he departed. He does seem in every way the soul of modest, knightly virtue. To him a gave a favor, asking that he carry it not only for himself, but for all who are departing to fight so bravely. Would that I had a hundred thousand such tokens.

Now I must go back to reading about axes. And weapon designs and runes and symbols and things.

Because reasons.

Tedious, tedious reasons.

I think I shall ask Lourche to bring all the brandy again. It helps to keep him busy.

Affectionately,

Me

Written By Caelis

March 18, 2017, 3:49 p.m.(2/12/1006 AR)

Relationship Note on Calypso

Under her direction I lead our ships. Under her directions I fight. Lady General.

I'm amazed at how she's grown. She's so fierce and tough. I chased after her as a child and I feel little has changed. There's so much to admire in Calypso.
I have every faith that she will see us through many battles in the days to come and as long as she is my general, we'll see it through just fine.

Written By Caelis

March 18, 2017, 3:45 p.m.(2/12/1006 AR)

This week has been a whirl wind. So many things happening....and not happening. So much to plan for. I feel like only recently my birthday passed and I am ages older. In all that is happening somehow I have managed to have some fun. Perhaps I should visit the training rings more often.

May your hopes find safe harbors.

Written By Caelis

March 18, 2017, 3:45 p.m.(2/12/1006 AR)

This week has been a whirl wind. So many things happening....and not happening. So much to plan for. I feel like only recently my birthday passed and I am ages older. In all that is happening somehow I have managed to have some fun. Perhaps I should visit the training rings more often.

May your hopes find safe harbors.

Written By Dulcinea

March 18, 2017, 2:17 p.m.(2/12/1006 AR)

Relationship Note on Simone

Dear Me,

Every member of the family that welcomes me back, I feel more complete. Soon I'll be whole. I'm so happy!

I've missed me.

Also Simone. I've missed Simmy so very much. And now I can forgive her, which is lovely. I had a horrible pain in my heart.

Unfortunately, our last visit was too brief. Lourche brought all the brandy just a fraction too late, and I had to make him put it all back.

It was a /lot/ of brandy.

More soon!

Happily Me,

Me

Written By Fortunato

March 18, 2017, 12:07 p.m.(2/12/1006 AR)

I have always understood the desire, no, the need to run away.

Relate to failure. Falling short. You get into patterns of feeling insufficient, get into patterns where you avoid offering proof of your insufficience. Live on potential. Live on hopeful starts, and you didn't finish this time, but it was a beautiful start and you aren't bound to finish and everyone hopes one day you will fulfill your potential.

Uncertainty in this context is crippling. You feel the fulfillment is impossible. You leave before it has any chance to occur, you leave leaving people with the idea that if you'd been able to push through, you would've changed everything. You would've been everything they needed.

To maintain a certain, hm, self-image, ironically, you have to be continually giving up. Stopping before people can see you fail at the height of your effort. Stopping before anyone, including you, can see what you're capable of and what you're decidedly not capable of. Yet.

But growth is a product of failure, of effort beyond what you're comfortable with and what you can spare.

I've said that the need for control is the same as fear. But fear is always what holds us back. Fear of failure, perhaps more than anything. In these cases, sometimes having too much choice, being marginally capable at too many things, gives us a kind of soft permission to walk every path for a few minutes, and then drift back to the next and to the next, participating shallowly, never progressing further toward any one destination. You can survive this way. You can even have a pleasant life, this way.

But how I feel when I'm painting deep, painting with my whole everything, makes the shallowing, the early departures, the step-backs and failure fears, it makes the parts of my life where I do not /try/ feel so empty. It's a lesson. Another one, another one.

Written By Ailys

March 18, 2017, 11:27 a.m.(2/12/1006 AR)

Relationship Note on Ainsley

Brother I have had such an impending sense of doom since our return from the shav camp. I can not shake it, and you, you have locked yourself up. Why wont you see me? Why wont you take council from myself or from Lark. You are so much more then a voice, you are my beloved brother. Please I pray whatever is wrong you find it in your heart to speak to your family. We love you.

Written By Calypso

March 18, 2017, 11:26 a.m.(2/12/1006 AR)

Gray River North - War Camp

The location has been scouted and selected. More ships arrive by the hour. 25,000 troops on nearly 2000 ships. Banners from nearly every house in the Compact fly with ours. This uniting of forces far surpasses any I have witnessed thus far. I am at a loss for emotions or thoughts to write down as we set up camp. My mind is honed in on the task at hand. We have planned, coordinated and done all we can to anticipate the moves of our enemy to counter them properly. There is nothing more to be done than stick to it and return victorious.

Come what may, I am proud to fight beside these 25,000 brave souls.

Written By Tikva

March 18, 2017, 11:25 a.m.(2/12/1006 AR)

When I was a little girl, I wanted nothing more than to run wild and free. Across the beaches, the stones, the forests around Brighthold. I wanted nothing to bind me, but of course I was already bound. The ties of love and family connected me stronger to my brothers and sister than anything could have.

When I grew older and came to understand the duty that I held, it was as an adopted child recognizing with every ounce of her heart, every fragment of her being, that some debts cannot be repaid, but must be paid on.

Then I grew older still, and because I was a teenager or because I fell madly in love, I knew -- KNEW -- that the oath I must take would draw me away from those ties, to a new family, that I swore myself to serve. Now my love is gone, though his mark will live on my heart forever, but I still get ... some solace from serving that oath with all my might.

But of course, true love is Tiber. Who literally has heard me talk about gods so much that he tried to say Limerance yesterday. At least I think that's what he tried to say. "Limance"?

Maybe I should give the kid a break ...

Written By Aureth

March 18, 2017, 11:13 a.m.(2/12/1006 AR)

A note on the Queen of Endings for the uninitiate, which, I should probably remind the world in general, is probably ALL OF YOU:

She is Death, which does, indeed, make her the end of life. The moment of transition between your life and what lies beyond. The last instant before your heart fails as your eyes look into the gathering shadows and see-- what those of us who still live will never know and likely never remember.

But she's not going to keep you alive. She's not going to protect you from dying. She's not going to haunt your enemies. She is the weaver of souls, the guardian of the Wheel, the hand that will guide you to what lies beyond . . . she will protect your soul, because she loves it, as she loves all souls. But she's not interested in whatever bullshit is happening around your dying. Souls belong to her. The lamentations of your enemies do not.

I highly doubt she would not even find them interesting.

The only exception is the Bringers, really. Kill them, tan their hides, stuff them and mount them on your walls: Death will thank you for it.

Written By Freja

March 18, 2017, 10:36 a.m.(2/11/1006 AR)

-The Woading of Warriors-

As time marches on, that steady and irrefutable drum, traditions become old and antiquated - subject to rust just as much as the blade. Brittle, worn, hung on the wall more for decoration and a sense of hereditary obligation than actual use.

Redrain is not so. We do nothing without purpose, even if the means to the end will be written off as 'savage nonsense' by those who harken from outside our borders. Back home in Farhaven I remember father taking red clay from the courtyard while one of the Shaman of the house spoke the words, the ritualistic marking and Woading of his three children to each receive the three red marks of our House on our face for all to see. We would enter the fray, the reminder of what we fight for written on our skin for all to see. He always found it worth a chuckle, father that is, he had enough children with fighting spirit to 'embody the three drops of Redrain'. "Torrud's Bloody Brood" as some back home would call us. Charming, but doesn't really inspire the suitors to come piling in.

When I began my steps to follow Aunt Drea into our Path of Shamanism I was honored, overjoyed that I could learns the words to match the woads father always insisted we paint on our skin before battle. My tradition would not rust. I will see carry on as much as the blade Fergus now carries.

That said, and with the host that now marches towards our gate, I will extend this tradition past "Torrud's Bloody Brood". I invite all those of Northern blood who have fealty to Redrain, whether through direct oath or our esteemed and honorable vassals, to join me at the cusp of light's break at Redrain's Grove to receive the ritualistic markings as I beseech the spirits for their help to guide us, to help us, to make the flight of the arrow swift and the arc of the blade true.

Redrain will march, Redrain will fight.

We will stand - Until the Last.

Written By Frederik

March 18, 2017, 1:03 a.m.(2/11/1006 AR)

Relationship Note on Gregor

While they were friends growing up, Frederik was always a little resentful that Gregor held his father's favor. The fact that he killed Padraig, Gregor's son, in an honor duel makes the relationship between the two that much worse. Still, it was Frederik who knighted Gregor, and he isn't taking the rank Sword of Highhill away from the man any time soon.

Written By Arcelia

March 18, 2017, 12:19 a.m.(2/11/1006 AR)

Every time I step outside and see the snow and I cannot help but miss home. I am not used to this cold but there is a certain beauty in the snow as the moonlight reflects off its surface. It is a sight second only to the sight of the moonbeams reflecting off the ocean and lighting up the sand. But as beautiful as Arx is, it is not my home, and I miss my home very much.

I admit there is a reason beyond simply missing my mother and father or the warmth of my home. My stomach is all in knots right now, butterflies attempting their escape and caught in the twisting maze. That reason is that I came to Arx to find a husband and someone has finally expressed serious interest in taking me as their wife. I have never been too keen on the idea of being married and it is not something I have reflected deeply upon so that is what I am doing right now. I am thinking about why the idea of getting married makes me so nervous.

First, what I do know is that I am afraid of falling in love. I have seen that it has a nice bright side but I know that the light can be taken away from you as quickly as it is given. I have seen people suffer not being able to be with their loved ones because of station, I have seen people ripped away by Fate. And so the idea of letting myself fall in love is insanity to me, I do not want to feel that ache.

Perhaps my next fear is of what time will do to the marriage. Will I be a good enough wife? Will I live up to the expectations? Will I still be desired in ten years when my hair begins to gray? Will I fail my husband and find him hating me for it? Will I fail my family? These are questions that keep surfacing into my mind and I do feel guilty for it, I admit.

I am also afraid of the loss of my own independence and having to change. I will be married, I will likely have to move to living with new people that I know nothing about. I rather like my present family and home, moving from them will be difficult for me.

And then the thought of children... beautiful creatures that grace our society, they make me smile when I see them. But... when I think about having a child of my own I cringe. What if I am a terrible mother? What if I hurt them? And then there is the rather natural fear of pregnancy itself. I am not afraid of being fat, I think pregnant women are very pretty, but the idea of something growing inside of me is horrifying.

My biggest question is just this... Will I be enough for my future husband and children?

With marriage being a serious topic of my life right now I keep thinking about this... The butterflies attack more and more and I have to resist the urge to run away from it. I won't, of course, I love my family and will serve my House in any way I am able. If this is how I must serve them than this is how I will serve them. And I will not complain about it because it is my duty to them.

It is not that the man is bad either, though I think he would have the world believe he is a terrible jerk. I know better, I have seen otherwise. We met in The Grotto... of all places. And we were naked... of all things. You would think that this might mean that there was fondling and sex but we never touched. Our first... date? We went sailing together and found ourselves caught in an abrupt storm. He suffered the cold to warm me and helped me warm back up after, still no sex, just the respectful and kind act of thawing me back out. After we took a nap together, clothes on, and just kept one another warm while we regained our strength. We laid in bed together and talked about somewhat philosophical topics and I admit I got some kisses but even his hands did not travel away from my back and side.

Then I was on the beach, sitting by a fire, and the man crawls out of the water! He jumped off his ship to swim over because he could see me on the beach. He was like a small sea monster! He nearly scared the life out of me! But then he was sitting next to me and asking me if I would be okay with being his wife. I was shocked into silence, I didn't know what to say, but in the end when the silence broke I told him that I did not think he was repulsive and I would gladly be his wife if he could get permission to have me. Then... he told me he had already sent Baroness Kima a letter asking. Which I find amusing. And then there was kissing again, still very respectful and sweet.

I will mention that he has been teaching me the Shav of the Isles but I will not go into detail. It is exactly as it sounds. So, the next time I saw him was an accident. I had just been working with his sister at her forge and she was showing me how to make a ring. I ended up doing designs with him in mind, a yellow moonstone with little waves around it. I had never done it before so it was a bit lopsided. He came into give his sister some supplies for something he was having made for me and I got to give him the ring right after it was made. He seemed to like it even though it was lopsided, I am glad because I am proud that I actually made a ring, lopsided or not. His sister is interesting, quiet and a bit like a mouse but very sweet. I like her.

And today... today he CLIMBED up the side of Saik Tower, I can only imagine after telling the Guards what he was up to because he didn't get turned into a giant pin cushion. But he CLIMBED up the side of the tower to tell me that he was leaving for battle with everyone and he gave me a gift.

The gift was in a black box, a beautiful ring, the most beautiful thing that I have ever or will ever own. I promised I would wear it and so I am, proudly so. But he did not need to do that. I love it but he didn't need to do that.

Conclusion... I am nervous but hopeful and I am going to try and trust myself and my family. I already can honestly say I care for him. IF I end up marrying this man, I hope that love follows for both of us.

Wish me luck!

Written By Silas

March 17, 2017, 11:46 p.m.(2/11/1006 AR)

So many delectable gifts.

I have good friends.

But I feel the flab encroaching.

(Still worth it.)

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