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Written By Kastelon

Jan. 27, 2024, 3:47 p.m.(8/19/1021 AR)

Sanctum must stand. It is a simple thing to declare such, harder still to follow through. And yet I go to Sanctum, because it need stand - simple or no.

I have no illusion of any safety in this. I have been to war, and I have returned from war. And I will return from this, in one manner or another.

In the event that something comes to pass, letters have been left to privately handle my final affairs. But as I ought, I leave a thought (yes, I know, it rhymes):

A bear understands little more than that life is short, that there are needs and wants. And that survival is more than seeking out solely one's needs.

Be as the bear.

Where you go, we shall follow.
Kastelon Keaton

Written By Apollo

Jan. 27, 2024, 1:12 p.m.(8/18/1021 AR)

I have armored thousands in my time as a tanner. At my elevation I gave up my shop and mercantile ambitions in favor of the care of Nilanza and its people. I never did stop tanning and armoring, nor passing what I'd learnt to the tanners of Nilanza, the Crafters Guild here in Arx, and anywhere I found a tanner willing and wanting to learn. I simply don't do it for coin anymore. It was the first of my arts, and may always be my best.

There are those who stepped into my shop and had their armor out and never thought about it too much ever again, I'm sure. Not all armor appears to the eye as art, might not seem to have any story to it at all.

But every piece of armor I have ever made has a story. Is a story. It's a tale about the person wearing it doing difficult things. Things they're afraid of. Knowing that where they will wear it they may well find blades or teeth set on their devouring. A story about willingly stepping into danger.

A story about trust. Placed in me, and my work, and my will - not my hope, but my will - that they return from danger whole. That they bear into their battles and dangers some small peace, that their life will not be cheaply spent.

Some I have armored over the years have returned to me to tell me: I think this armor saved my life. I think I would have died. Death comes as she will, the stories of our lives end. I don't seek to deny Death her due. Only to see lives given a chance, stretched to their fullness, the potential of those souls in my care realized as much as they can.

Others I've armored stepped into their danger have met their first strike and died. Not for lack of skill or attention or my will that they survive but for luck, for being outmatched. I have grieved so bitterly, some of them, when I've known. Questioned my skill and the hours invested. Might I have done just a little more?

The answer is: I have done what I have done, the past written. And yet I make notes in the margins. Revisit old armor and give it new care. Put my best on them that have never worn it before, and them that have. My work continues, and will until the day is decided. Could I armor all of Arvum, the Dream itself, I would. I will do what I can.

If you wear my armor into battle - anything I've made into danger - know this. I would that you see your next day. That is what you wear, nothing inert at all. Wear it, use it, burn it, as you need. That is what it's for. Should it be spent, destroyed, protecting more than just yourself, I will celebrate, and armor you anew for the asking after the dust has settled.

Now, to the defense of Arx, and the Dream.

Written By Archeron

Jan. 27, 2024, 12:23 p.m.(8/18/1021 AR)

I hope I shall see Arx again, I will miss it. It was never home, but I had at least come to think of it as a pleasant resting place. In truth, I cannot walk around Tyde Tower without seeing Margot there in the corner - watching us all. I cannot unsee the spots where her blood was left after the attack by Dagon Thrax. Margot thought her marriage would bring the two houses together, end generations of feuding. Perhaps it did. But the cost was to lose her, and perhaps some of our hope.

Tydes have died for decades. Almost wiped out by Donrai Thrax, our lands taken by those houses who supported him and stand so nobly now. I do not blame them, that is the way of nobility. And it hardly matters at all now that it all comes crashing down - all that death, for what? Elton was not killed by the Duke of Tyde, he was loved. And loved a Tyde in turn. For this I suspect Donrai killed him. And saw his chance. Because the Northlands would enter on our side, honour old alliances, Donrai descended on Tyde Hall - paying Grimhall and Helianthus off with land and treasure. To keep that war going, he removed Alaric III from the way. The rest is well known, Tydes died. Some in battles, some in reaving. We committed our own horrors on our enemies and reaved in return. In the end, Donrai had Victus end all the line but for Margot and those few of us who escaped.

That is not the Thrax that is now. Not the Victus. I know in his hands Thrax will stand for what is good.

In the years since those losses, Tyde finally regained its name and place, and we gathered those we could. Our numbers began to restore...before the civil war of Thrax tore our heart from us. Many more dead. All that progress left. There are so few left, so many of them are children. Margot's. My own.

People, you see. That is the lesson of Tyde. Yes, revenge is pleasurable. Justice is noble. But. In the end? People matter. The family of Tyde, the people of Tyde Hall, the people of our isle. And I cannot leave them to face this all, which is why I'm going back to Tyde Hall to save them. Well, will have gone by the time this journal is placed on the shelves. I suspect my sister and some others may remain - they feel their duty is to Arx. And I respect that, and hold nothing against them and ask no-one else to hold our actions against them - though in truth, we still recovered from our civil war and I suspect are little missed from Arx's defense.

It is my hope we will see all our friends again on the other side, and will trade tales and stories of what was. To see Arx rebuilt, to see Tyde Hall recover. It is my hope that we all survive. But if not, well. At least it was a story, and hopefully someone lives to tell it.

Written By Preston

Jan. 27, 2024, 12:06 p.m.(8/18/1021 AR)

That which must be done shall be done - all that needs to be written has been.

We fight for the Gods, to protect the innocent people of Arvum. We pray for our honour to hold, even as the shouts of our foe reverberate in our chests. And we humbly ask Death to take us if the force of arms is not sufficient, and carry our souls home to the shining lands.

We are the Faith Militant, and for this moment we were born. We are the Faith Militant, and for the Gods we may die.

Written By Amari

Jan. 27, 2024, 11:46 a.m.(8/18/1021 AR)

Artshall held.

I think perhaps some people might have wondered at the wisdom behind even attempting to hold it rather than concentrating the defence entirely in Sanctum. Everyone versed in their history knows that Artshall has been taken, retaken, razed and rebuilt on more than one occasion.

Thankfully, it wasn't a decision born of pride but confidence in the most recent Lady Mabelle led effort to rebuild Artshall stronger than ever. It was a noble undertaking as well. Those who had already been swept from their homes in the south and west of the Oathlands needed time to flee. House Laurent saw what was required, and achieved it admirably with their loyal vassals.

When there's a moment of peace, we might have the time to celebrate that victory fully, and record it all in detail. What I recall most clearly is this:
There was Lady Mabelle's sacrifice, of course - and the dire bees in a vast swarm.
Duke Cristoph and his friend Tavalu who brought fire from the sky, and made the invaders face a wall of flames on every approach.
Lady Jael Laurent who raged furiously against the demonic tide, an unstoppable force.
Lady Lucie Laurent who commanded a spirited and effective defence that stopped a serious breach in the wall.
Legate Cassandra, blessed of Gloria; who stood that day a proud daughter of Laurent.
Dame Xandrine Morgan and Dame Ahren Granger who fought together at the gate, refusing to give even an inch to ogres and ettins and worse.
Marquessa Demura Lyonesse who never yielded, but battled stubbornly on despite being bloodied by a hail of arrows in the initial onslaught.
Prince Artur Redrain who was seen leading charge after charge through the shards, spear in hand.
Lord Richard Wyvernheart who persevered, tending to the wounded even while he himself was very badly hurt.
(and I helped a little bit too, but would have likely fallen if not for Jael and Cassandra's timely interventions. With the Legate, I might still have that demon imp clinging to my back.)

We shouldn't forget how bravely our armies fought that day, for without them and their unyielding resolve, the victory would have been a rout. To every one who rallied to the banner of their liege, from the knights who led by shining example, to the sergeants who held the lines together, down to the valiant men and women who brought nothing but courage and a spear to defend our land and lives to the last: thank you.

Written By Maharet

Jan. 27, 2024, 11:04 a.m.(8/18/1021 AR)

Relationship Note on Giorgio

I woke up and part of my world no longer shines like the sun over pristine beaches of azure waters, my laugh no longer has the same ease and depth so deep my stomach could hurt for days, my eyes do not shine with laughter and love but with tears I cannot stop shedding.

Not now, at least, but when this is all over? I shall visit the golden remains of my childhood friend. My joy. My family. The one man so selfless, so giving, so strong. And Gods weren't you the smartest of us all? Now you have to go and be the symbol of hope for those of us that will survive this horror. I should be laughing on the sands and teasing you for being my Hero, throwing coconut shells at you as your pour over profits and scheme for greatness, not for yourself but for everyone around you. Now I will make sure you are my Legend. Their legend. I will demand songs and dance and history written in your memory.

You will /never/ be forgotten, not even if we ourselves are no more. Future generations will remember the name Giorgio Pontelaeus. His selflessness, his wit, his talents, and above all, his sacrifice. I shall love you until the sands of time become sparkles of dust over the turquoise waters of Setarco and beyond. My friend who always made me feel like family, loved and seen. Cared for and cherished. The truest Hero of my life.

Written By Denica

Jan. 27, 2024, 1:36 a.m.(8/17/1021 AR)

Tonight, I will challenge everything I thought I was and all that I am.
I will follow my heart to places unknown. Do the things I did not think possible.
I will face my first and last fear and test the very core of my being.
Tonight, I mix the colours together and paint a different story for Denica Thrax.

Written By Denica

Jan. 27, 2024, 12:28 a.m.(8/17/1021 AR)

Relationship Note on Victus

I will not hold back. All in.

Written By Raven

Jan. 26, 2024, 10:18 p.m.(8/17/1021 AR)

It's nice to know the unfortunate circumstances of my crossing hasn't interfered with my ability to help those who ask me for help. More luck a fucking relief. I know it's childish I worry over such quibbles when we're in the second reckoning but those I care about will always be the center of my reality.

Written By Acacia

Jan. 26, 2024, 8:07 p.m.(8/17/1021 AR)

Relationship Note on Kastelon

I swore. A lot. I might have broken a table and a good bottle or two. I cursed your name. A lot. Again and again. First in pain and then in loss.

Wasn’t supposed to go down like that. My brother in arms. My crewmate. My friend.

You were always the first to rise to defend and the last to leave the battle. You always wanted to hold the line until everyone was safe. I thought I might have to drag you out you were so determined to save lives. How the hell I would have managed wrestling a man of your size I have no idea.

You were, as you often said, a bear of a man. A proper one. A great one. Big, tough and strong as they come with a heart to match. Calm in your work and ferocious in a fight. Easy in own your skin. That subtle glint in your eye when you were amused or teasing the shite out of someone. Never knew if you were being straight or ribbing sometimes. I think that amused you.

You lost your eye and you didn’t let it stop you. I think in some ways caused you to see the world better.

One of the most honorable and damned loyal men I have ever met. You never ever wavered from your sense of duty and devotion to your people and family. Gave more than you ever got. Drove me crazy. Even got you killed. I still admire it. But you deserved better.

Generous, yes. With time, silver and kindness. Taught our wee ones in the Lowers and Torian’s orphanage how to track and hunt, use a bow, dress a kill and live off the land. Made time for them when you didn’t have to. You would have probably made a great father some day.

I can’t bring myself to tell them that the bear man is gone. They keep asking when they'll go out next. Where's Lord Kastelon? Kills me a little where I might have had a little heart left. They’re tough as hardtack, but this is gonna break their little hearts.

But you taught them well, and, when they are older and have their wee ones of their own, they’ll share your skills and tell them of the silky bear who bothered to make time for them.

Held your drink and friends well. Your smiles rare. Your advice sound. Your company always good even when the weight of the world lay on your shoulders. You never picked a fight nor picked on anyone. Always looking out for others. You treated everyone respect and earned it in the process.

You were unshakeable. And now you are not here.

I should have been there and had your back. Something I will regret till the day I die.

I should have kidnapped you and made you a Culler, but I know you. It wouldn’t take.

You could have sailed away, but you didn’t. You never would. You were your own man and your own solid sense of what was fair and right infused into ever fiber of your being. Resolute.

Know that you are honored. Know that you are always a member of my crew. Know that you will be remembered for as long as I live. For as long as each life you touched and made better endures. For as long these words live here. And, know that I will protect others if I can, as you would have done of you were still here.

Rest well, brother bear. Rest well, my friend. Feel better soon. This is not the end.

Written By Victus

Jan. 26, 2024, 3:28 p.m.(8/17/1021 AR)

There's no reason to hold back when there's no guarantee that tomorrow will come. Everything that's been done, every bit of history ever recorded; none of it matters if we don't get this right.

We go all in.

Written By Kenjay

Jan. 26, 2024, 1:24 p.m.(8/16/1021 AR)

I have seen many places, but Nefer'khat was like none of them. We found a great and beautiful city, set in a land where even the night sky is a thing of beauty and legend. And yet, some parts of the culture brought memories back to me that I had never expected to face again. Still. Bear has chosen me, and I have chosen Bear, and my scars are all healed - including that one. There is a joy within me, a wholeness of spirit that I had thought destroyed forever by Skal'dajan whips and Skal'dajan writs.

I have been given a sacred trust, and I will do everything that I may in order to keep it. But first, one of the islands on our way out had bushes and bees. I rather fancy bread with honey and berries, not to mention a week's sleep.

Written By Duarte

Jan. 26, 2024, 5:58 a.m.(8/16/1021 AR)


It was several days' ride to the place mentioned on the map. Luis Igniseri attended myself, Rinel, Lady Olivia Ashford, and Violet. Olivia, Violet and myself, of course, covered our blighted flesh for the journey. We had grown quite used to it. And we had grown used to the rations of broth and tea concoctions for sustenance, as well.

North of Greenhaven was a ruined temple. A young shardhaven, by my estimation, but familiar to me from my vision in the Shrine of Vellichor nearly three years prior. We were nearly two years since our affliction took root - literally - in the pits of stomachs. A sense of dread suffused the land around the temple. The growth of nature about started to darken. Odors of forest shifted to the stench of a marsh. There was something hateful and parasitic about the trees and vines. It all looked lush, and yet fetid. I wanted to go back, but Rinel goaded me forward.

The door into the temple was rotted and decayed and held in place by the same blighted vines that seemed to line the forest floor itself.

Again, our instincts told us to pray. And so pray we did. And like last time, the mention of Petrichor sparked something within the land itself that shot anger into our hearts.

My companions, I must admit, were more steadfast than I. The searing hatred I could not stand and I sought to make Rinel stop. But she was relentless in her devotions, as were Luis, Olivia and Violet. Eventually, the prayer ceased and the grip of resentment lessened in my breast. But Rinel was stubborn in her insistence that I lurch forward - she rapped me with her cane. Several times. To impel me deeper into this ruined and blighted locale.

The voices came and they were deceitful and strong. They turned my ire against my party. There, in a once lovely antechamber that was now stranged by that same lush-yet-putrid overgrowth - Violet and Rinel once again began their canticles. And it broke me.

Sullen and full of hate, we moved to an abandoned storeroom where mold, mushrooms and rot grew in the walls. It smelt of decayed flesh of the half-eaten animal carcasses strewn across the floor. From there we came to a room of animal pens, clearly in some recent use as droppings were underfoot. A large raccoon appears and seemed to share a strange kinship with myself and Olivia - so, of course, I ordered Luis to kill it. It was an ill-fated ask as he split the rodent shard in half sending its innards in a collision course for my face. It took weeks to get the taste out of my mouth.

But soon enough, in an antechamber of warrens, Rinel was literally getting the taste out of her mouth. She had been our anchor - inexplicably resonating with Faith - up to the point she started retching and puking up blood in that very room. At once and immediately the hatred poured back into my heart and my mind, and Violet's as well. Somehow, it was stayed. It was stayed by devotions uttered to Petrichor. Words the shardhaven did not want to hear. It shook immensely - like Halfway House had done - and collapsed a wall to reveal a library. And then, I felt the touch again - as I had once before, years before. The presence of Vellichor. It pushed me to the wall where a faint outline indicated a stowage space. Pressing this, we unearthed several pages long hidden away by Azazel. Many of them rotted and crumbled to dust, but many remain in tact.

And nearly as suddenly as I was stricken by insight, I was plagued by hatred. Extreme and leeching, it festered in my very soul. The knowledge I sought became like a ward, and I was the demon. I backed away frightened and vengeful. "NO! Leave it alone!" I demanded of Violet. I drew my sword.

I - me, Duarte Amadeo - drew my sword against Violet Farwatch. And then a taunted Olivia withs its blade. "Leave it be," I ordered in as fierce a way I could become. I even waggled it at Luis. And then, I touched it to Rinel's bad leg and threatened to amputate it on the spot - promising to finish the job the highway men that took her beloved Wynna had begun.

Written By Duarte

Jan. 26, 2024, 5:21 a.m.(8/16/1021 AR)


As she told it - she awoke with a start to loud and sudden thumping. It was the beating of her heart pounding like it might leap from her chest. But what it was doing was urging her from bed, out her front door, and into midnight streets bathed in silver.

Rinel strolled from her Upper Boroughs abode, through the outrage, and toward the City Center in her sleeping gown and hat. She put on slippers as an afterthought before her heart pushed her through the door into the night, impelled toward the Great Library of Vellichor. And though she strolled this path hundreds of times, the taste of fear lingered on her tongue. For her path wasn't merely to the library, but down the stairwell. Was he still asleep? Was that a toothy grin she saw in the darkness? These doubts and more assailed her mind while her body only knew to do one thing - yield to the insistence of her heart's pounding.

The silence of the hallway was oppressive. She daren't speak. She barely dared breathe. Walking with a purpose that eluded her, she found herself impelled to a table piled high with books in various states of disarray. One, in particular, beckoned her.

She awoke, in bed, as if none of it happened. Yet, she clung to her bosom the very journal she took from the table in her dream. A Scholar Wilhelm's Journal. In it were his laments of an assignment to Sanctum, and then North past Greenhaven. He was to go witness a cleansing - and he was none to pleased. Pages of ravings against the Archlector tasking him to do such a thing. There was a time we would only receive such snippets, and so the context cannot be placed entirely. But the nature of Wilhelm's doubt hinged on a fear of turning into that which we fight - and that fear resonates with me today.

I found Rinel the next afternoon sitting amongst clutter in her cottage house. The journal, of course she shared. But the peculiar thing was a map.

Written By Cambria

Jan. 26, 2024, 12:18 a.m.(8/15/1021 AR)

Relationship Note on Miranda

Your heroics on the field of battle were, quite simply, the stuff of legends. Even from my vantage point, I was able to see some of what you accomplished as that mockery of our sigil sought to break the Gate of the Sea. It was hard fought, and I feared that it would succeed in its grim task and allow countless monstrosities to pour through. Yet you never relented, even in the face (faces...) of such terror.

More, you did what anyone else would call the impossible. You slew that creature, you defended our home, and you did not allow them to break through that gate.

You are an inspiration to us all, and your feats of bravery should never be forgotten. You are a hero to so many! Though our days are uncertain, it is my wish that you should live a long life - with Marzio, your children, and all of your family and friends.

Written By Cambria

Jan. 25, 2024, 11:53 p.m.(8/15/1021 AR)

Relationship Note on Theron

Theron, I heard what happened. Of course I did - Garibaldi told me. I refuse to believe it was just because it was a very large boulder, or that it was a particularly ferocious demon. You know that I know that you know that I know that you know.

There are darker days yet to come, and you shall be needed by my side.

I always have needed you by my side, though, and you know that. There were moments in your life where I knew you had deeply desired to explore other paths, but that it was I who stopped you from doing so. I don't regret it, not a single instance of it. The life you created, the family you built that will (we hope) carry our legacy into the future was always rooted in Ostria.

This is why you bear Allegiance.

Written By Cambria

Jan. 25, 2024, 11:44 p.m.(8/15/1021 AR)

Relationship Note on Marzio

For years we had worked to achieve a cavalry worth the name. We always knew that dark days were ahead, though I doubt we quite realize just how bad things would become. It is only too easy to say, if only we had more time, if only we had more silver, if only we had more steel, if only we had more silver, if only...

The Thousand shall ever be a point of pride for me, as I know they surely must be for you. The people that you and the Thousand were able to escort safely on their way in the days leading up to the assault on our walls are the precious people of Ostria, and other refugees making their way to Arx besides, and there can be no understating just how vitally important that task was.

Amidst the walls of our city, you took the unenviable task of assembling within the Outer Round - a place certainly not best suited to the cavalry!

You could not have seen it, but my heart swelled with such fierce joy as I saw you at their forefront, as I heard the beating of the shields until that sound drowned out all else for one sublime moment.

In the chaos of battle that followed, while I was not able to follow your exact movements, I witnessed from on high the true might of our people and I knew that you were leading them. I never doubted for a moment that you had fallen, and this gave me more heart than you can imagine.

In the days to come, you shall be needed more than ever.

Written By Aconite

Jan. 25, 2024, 6:54 p.m.(8/15/1021 AR)

He's dead! My bane, my hunter, my nightmare is gone! I did not know that he was my creator for a very long time but I did not know for as long as I have known I felt the cold blade of the huntsmen at my back and worried what might happen should he find me.

But He is gone. They are /gone/. My estranged, distant but beloved family are free. They will rebuild a new dream for themselves under the strength and sovereignty of their brave and blessed Queens.

There were many losses.. May they return to the wheel comforted that the did not sacrifice in vain!!

There's still much to do. Cults and Magisters to route and raze...

May Eurus and her people ever prosper. Especially those friends and refugees who can return home now.

My heart aches with joy.

Written By Cufre

Jan. 25, 2024, 6 p.m.(8/15/1021 AR)

Relationship Note on Claude

Master Claude,

I pray to Death that you can't read this. I hope you've left here wholly and have found the peace of the Shining Lands entire. This here is for me.

It's for me because the first time I wrote about you, in my black journal, it was because I felt cheated by you. I thought you, in a way, had stolen from me. It was the other way 'round, too: you thought I was cheating you, asking you for payment anew on top of a payment made.

It's for me because that anger was strong enough for me to put it down with the Scholars, but the friendship that grew after we both spoke our way of seeing it, after we found the truth of it, that friendship and my thankfulness for it never made it to either journal before now.

I didn't write about our talks in your shop, talks about Skald and about the Queen of Endings. I didn't write about that brandy you gave me, that we shared in place of tea one day. I still have the bottle. I didn't write about your going to speak to the Abandoned on behalf of my family — I really should have written about that, how you came back with tales of the Yorn and of the Kous. I didn't write about you letting me sell your mystery toys in my shop so us Lowers folk had a local shop, a local chance to get them. And I didn't write about the one toy that never made it to a mystery box, the only one of its kind. I keep that one in my family's shop, on my work table. A surprise, an honor, and a reminder, that.

I didn't write about missing you these last few years, about writing to you even though I knew you left the city, about not hearing back.

I didn't write about seeing you, at last, at the camp near Harrow Hall, and how hard it was to say goodbye knowing it would be the last one.

I never got a chance to tell you about the threads of golden light She let me see. And though I can't see them in that way, anymore, I see them now in laughter shared. In hands held, in secret smiles. In discounts offered. In practice fights, in friendly boasts. In stories shared.

Though I can't see them in that way anymore, I know there was a single, bright golden thread that ran from me to Bastion. To you.

I will do my best to look after Lewis, to help him do right by your shop and justice to your training.
I will do better, I think, at looking after Echo. I've no shortage of homes for her to make her own.

If I survive what comes to Arx, I promise I will go to Old Oak and speak blessings for those who died in its fall.

But I dearly wish you were there to speak them beside me.

Written By Renata

Jan. 25, 2024, 5:42 p.m.(8/15/1021 AR)

Relationship Note on Sabriel

Amongst the many who showed their bravery in Setarco I would not be here to write of those brave moments if it wasn't for Sabriel Stormborn. In a moment against my nature of life and course within my every being. I attempted something within the first steps of the battle which proved horribly wrong for my livelihood.

Sabriel, took it upon herself to ensure that I was safely pulled from harms way.

I owe her a great debt in this.

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