A Little Piece of Home

It starts with a Death,
It ends with a birth.

It was another day in Yu-shan, not perfect, not dreary, just another day. It was a few hours before sunrise back on Creation so naturally Ash was waking up. Sitting up, she took a deep breath and began to meditate.

Today is the day that I… She stopped. She looked around for a moment, seeing Sambar and the other trappings of her new life. She walked over to the mirror. She looked for a moment at the reflection in there, how she had changed since this all began. The curve of her face, the shape of her body: generally the same, just amplified: made perfect. Given the pallor of death. She closed her eyes a moment trying to remember the way she used to look: simple, just better than average.

She spent the mote of essence and opened her eyes. There it was, the perfect black circle on her forehead. The necrotic sore on her soul made manifest. There was also the lines of blood seeping out of the symbol of her greatest mistake, her death. She corrected herself: her death wasn’t her fault, and the mistake she made wasn’t dying, it was refusing to let go. Though she reminded herself that that wasn’t even true, she didn’t want to die, part of what made her what she is now is that she survives. No, her biggest mistake was accepting her former master and serving him with unwavering loyalty for 5 years. Her greatest mistake was giving up.

Today is the day that I live. It was a weight off her mind. She heard the sounds of Sambar moving. A quick glance in the mirror revealed what she already knew, that he was watching her. He woke up when she did.

“It’s still there. Have you tried soap?” Ash turned around, shooting him a flirtatious glare. He simply nodded and smiled.

“Listen, I…” Sambar cut her off.

“Stop. Stop that right now.” He got up, the distinct sounds of his footsteps echoed reassuringly on the walls of the manse. “For the past two weeks you have been saying your good-byes. So stop it. Look, I know this is going to be hard, something like this shouldn’t be. This is something that should kill or harm almost everyone that tries. Almost everyone, you…you are gonna make it.” He put his arms around her. “I have faith.”

Faith…

Faith was a funny thing. Seven years ago she had complete faith in the fact that Anathema were demons riding the bodies of loved ones, and that Dragonbloods were the rightful rulers. Six years ago she had complete faith that she was supposed to kill the enemies of the Neverborn. Faith wasn’t static. Now though, now she was worried—she had been for several weeks. What she was about to go through, what they were all about to attempt, it was all just so far from possible Ash doubted that she would truly be able to make it. Body, mind and soul: she had to commit to this, to commit wholly to this change. If anything was hesitant she would be consumed.

That thought scared her, more than anything else. Hesitant. It was easy to commit with words, and thought: she had seen people talk up and down about their devotion to a cause, to a people, to a faith or ideology. Though, once it came down to it only a handful of those people stood up, and smaller still was the group that made it out alive. How many people had she seen that knew what they wanted, spoke volumes of what they would do to get it, and then took the easy way out when it came time? Too many. Five years of indoctrination, five years of daily rituals and habits that were created to keep her loyal, and only within the past year was she truly shrugging of a majority of them. It worried her that there might be some small part of her that is still loyal, still subservient, still hesitant. She was scared that that part would be her undoing, a part that she couldn’t control.

It was a few hours past dawn, she found herself in a room on Creation. There was a vague notion of where she was: a manse, a Temple, asking for the glory of the Unconquered Sun. She felt a bit like the mouse in the cupboard, a strange mixture of excited and worry for being caught. She glanced over to Sagacious Jade and Adi who were collaborating, talking about the ritual to come, ensuring they knew what was to come. She read some of the Old Realm writing on the wall: “By your light the Darkness is washed away, in your Holy Ablution, cleanse and banish those Creatures Of Darkness that wish us harm.” It didn’t make her feel any better, something deep within her was reminded of how the light could burn her. How she was a creature of darkness. Her eyes caught Sambar, who had a simple reassuring smile. She took a deep breath.

“Are you ready? Calibration is starting, this is your last chance to back out.” The words were Sagacious Jade’s, there is was: the easy way out. She could get up, leave, and never have to deal with what was to come. She could worship Five-Days-Darkness as what she is, and continue down this road of damnation. She could give the shard to her new god, and upon her death force some other poor soul to go through this instead. She could take the same road of thousands of other people before her.

“Yes.” That one word hung heavy in the air. It wasn’t like Ash to not get her hands dirty. Fuck other people: even if this killed her, it would be on her terms. A final insult to the thing that took an idyllic life from her, she was taking it back. “Thank you again, I want you to know that…” She was stopped by a gruff guttural ‘bahh’ and a hand waving in front of her.

“Thank me when this is over.” He began walking over to stand opposite Adi.

In the center of the room was a large sigil made of Oricalcum, a circle with lines and geomantic patterns to direct the essence to the center, into whatever poor soul happened to be there. Naturally Ash was that poor soul. She walked over to Sambar.

“Listen…I…” Ash started, stopping Sambar from interrupting her. “Listen: I just want to tell you that I…” It wasn’t easy for her, to say this in front of people: everything told her to be quiet, so this can’t be used against her, to keep her safe. “I…I love you, and I trust you.”

“I love you too.” He kissed her, much like he had at Carcosa. She walked away this time, sitting in the center of the geomancy, she heard Adi speak next.

“Trust in the Sun.” There was a simple maternal smile that she had which spoke of unwavering faith, and trust in Ash. There slight movement to her side, it took a moment to distinguish it as the shadow given form, Five-Days-Darkness. The Sorcerer and the Priest began speaking. The Oricalcum on the floor began to glow slightly and essence began to channel to the center: even though there was nothing but darkness outside, the circle began to fill with the holy light of the Sun. At first it was warm and welcoming, then the ritual began.

“The Soul within this circle,” Sagacious Jade had a definite purpose in his tone, directions that she could feel tugging at her, she tried hard not to resist. “is bound to this Spark. The light from this soul shall expunge the stain.” Her arms were suddenly heavy, she couldn’t move anything but her neck. Daylight was given off by his caste mark, it hurt her eyes.

“I speak on behalf of the Sun,” spoke Adi, “who sees this child and the evil, and darkness within her:” The full circle of gold now blazed with light on her forehead. “Be cleansed.” She said it softly, but the weight of the command resonated within Ash.

There was nothing gentle about the column of light now, it was fire: molten, and focused. She didn’t want to scream, she wanted to run, she wanted to hide. She wanted to find the cool shade, somewhere far from the light, somewhere far away from the heat. She heard something under the sound of the prayers and sorcery. She couldn’t tell what it was at first, but then she knew. When had she started screaming? She remained in the light. She forced herself to stay within it, defiantly, refusing to have her soul retreat to whatever dark place it could find. There was a searing pain across her body, everything was on fire. Her mind raced with the thoughts of her victories and losses: her battles, her challenges. Her Valor.

To her, Valor wasn’t confronting a fight head on. It wasn’t climbing the mountain because she knew she could. It wasn’t doing something because it was easy. It was facing something hard: physically and mentally. It was climbing the mountain because there was an herb up there that was needed, and the climb could kill her. It was doing something that demanded something from her, standing and fighting when she wasn’t sure if she would make it, to see that others would: fighting the Dragon that would kill her. It was easy to stand up to someone when you out class them. Valor was knowing the difficulty of something and doing it anyway because it was the right thing to do. It was not yielding to the armored behemoth though she has no weapons. Valor was courage in the face of something greater.

Her skin was red as the prayers began to die down. She knew it was night, near the end of it. Moments before dawn. It had been a whole day, but she was still there, alive and exhausted. The chanting and the light picked up, once more she was in the blistering fires of the Sun.

She began to panic: what if today was the end? Her body was being consumed by flames and light. Today could be the day that she waivers, where she hesitates, where she dies. She recognized her screams immediately now. It held within it the weeping sounds of a soul wanting to give up, wanting to simply burn away, rather then face the pain of the unbridled fire of the sun. She opened her eyes to glance around, maybe in partial panic, maybe in a desire to ask them to stop. Instead she saw Adi, Sagacious Jade, and Sambar. They were standing on the outside of the circle bathed in a light that didn’t burn. She was breathing deeply, dry, molten air singeing the inside of her lungs. She closed her eyes again, reminding herself that she can make it through this, that she wanted this. Her mind became flooded with thoughts, and images of her beliefs. How they had changed, how they had been challenged. Beside them were the thoughts of her desires and her motivations for her actions. Her Conviction.

Conviction is knowing the actions she took were just, while ensuring that they are. It is too easy to let one’s might mean they are right. She didn’t like that. It is about watching what you do and knowing that you are doing right, but could be wrong. People can’t be blind. Blind pure faith doesn’t mean you are right. Conviction is about being willing to change what you think, what you believe, in order to stay in line with what you want. Sacrificing anything to get it, but refusing to sacrifice everything. It was…this act. Sacrificing herself because she couldn’t sacrifice her Self. It was a balance. Somewhere between sacrifice and uncompromising integrity. It’s having doubt, having second thoughts, and knowing those are good things: because that means you can still adapt.

She tried to yell, but it came out as a scream. The whispered scream of a voice half scoured away. It was the beginning of the third day. Her skin was blistered and charred in some places, and she felt sorry. She could feel the fear and the terror within her, wanting to hide from the light, seeking to do anything to make this pain stop. Story’s-Heart, and Song-of-the-Hearth, and the Lunar Children of his, and his former wife: the feelings of hatred she held for them so many years ago. She thought of the truth of what had occurred. She came face to face with her Compassion.

Who was she to speak of compassion? Compassion was weakness, so she had been told, it was something to be manipulated, turned against others, and used like a tool to destroy. She didn’t believe that anymore: compassion, to her, was about understanding the consequences of your actions. Knowing that every action you take effects someone around you, and being willing to inflict that pain, suffering, or joy upon them. It is knowing that this death might prevent the war, but will cause suffering in those touched by that person. It was understanding. It wasn’t the willingness to do something, or performing those actions: it was understanding the aftermath. Most of all, it wasn’t prevention. It wasn’t sparing someone’s feelings, it was breaking the leg so that it would heal properly. Cutting off the hand to stop the infection. All the while knowing the temporary pain you inflicted, and the fact they will never be the master craftsman again.

The light faded slightly, as the prayers again became whispers. Her arms were heavy and leaden, her skin, now burned, was in pain at the slightest breeze. Her mouth was too dry, and her throat too hoarse to speak. Ash simply sat there, and the torture began anew on the fourth dawn.

She wanted this to be over. She didn’t want to wait anymore, to sit there and suffer constantly. the dark, evil thing inside of her wanted to act quickly. To forget any plans, and just run, or attack, or just do anything. She tried to breathe again, but it was hard. She forced herself to wait, to hold out for the reward at the end of all this. Soon her mind was flooded with the thoughts of her plans, her willingness to act, and her choices to wait. Evidence of her Temperance.

It was harder for her to focus on this aspect of her meditations. Not just because of the pain, but because she felt she understood this ‘Noble Virtue’ least of all. To her it mostly meant waiting to strike. Watching, waiting, and knowing when to hit when someone is most vulnerable, but that wasn’t who she was anymore. She was still an Assassin, but no longer tied to the whims of an angry ghost. No. Temperance was control. It was having an emotion, but not letting it control you. It was the expression of the Higher Soul. It was acceptance. It was letting the anger and sorrow of the past to exist, to be felt, but to not blind you to the actions and emotions of today. It was peace, it was calm, but not at the expense of emotion.

It was a few hours from dawn. Her body now had a patina of scab tissue. Most of the ritual was complete. The column of light was still present and beginning to pulse. Blessed-Lotus walked up to Adi, and handed her a scroll. The Priest read it out:

“The Unconquered Sun recognized this shard, and relinquishes ownership. Do you, Five-Days-Darkness, take this shard into your protection, and care?” The shadow given form nodded. There was another burst of light from Adi’s Anima. She looked right at Ash, through Ash. “Be Clean.”

Once again the heavy weight of her soft words hit her hard, and the river of unbridled sunlight came crashing down on the frail, near broken body in the center of the circle. Ash was so close to the end of this, she waited as the pain simply became more and more intense. Her mind began to wander to the events of the past four days.

How her temperance interacted not just with her valor, but with compassion and conviction. How they were forged and made stronger by something else. After a moment of contemplation she realized what it was: her Self, her Will. All these ‘Noble Virtues’ only influence and direct the Self, but it is the Self that comes to these decisions. It is the Will that chooses to enact the glorious examples of these virtues, and is burdened with not being overcome by them. Will is what makes it all work. It was her Will that brought her here, and by her Will that this will not kill her. She could feel the darkness within her scrambling to find somewhere to hide, but now, now there wasn’t anywhere the Sun hadn’t shed his light. There were no shadows here for it to hide in: it was then consumed by fire. Then she felt something that scared her: cold, cool darkness.

It was cold, and soft: like laying in the shade of a familiar tree. Opening her eyes she saw the familiar shape of Five-Days-Darkness in front of her, the pillar of light replaced by a pillar of shadow. Ash panicked now, she had just rid herself of that darkness, she didn’t want it back, she didn’t want to be evil. She couldn’t move, her muscles had been burnt stiff, and her skin was black. His hand was in her forehead, his palm where her mark should be, she looked into his face—where his eyes should be and understood. This is where she could have failed, this understanding, this which had been drilled into her Self by a vengeful, and angry Deathlord. A lie that was so easy to believe that it just felt natural.

Darkness isn’t Evil: what she was, and had in her wasn’t Darkness. It was necrotic, it was evil, it was dark in color only. It sought darkness not because it was darkness, but because that was the only refuge from the Light. It was now her job to protect the Creation where the Light couldn’t go. Evil finds refuge there only because the Darkness hasn’t noticed it yet. It wasn’t the light that had stopped the Evil within her, it had been her. It ran from the light, and she gave it nowhere to go. She could feel her skin being renewed, muscles re-knitting, and her hair regrowing. The coolness on her skin felt more comforting than the harshness of the pure light. As she stood sections of her scabbed over skin fell off, revealing the soft, living flesh underneath. She gasped and took a breath as her lungs returned to their undamaged state. The shadow removed it’s hand, and nodded. The Woman he was touching a moment ago smiled. It was the dawn of the sixth day.

Sambar went to her side, holding her clothing so she could get changed. The woman was surprised to see that he once raven black hair was bleached white, but happy to see that her skin had regained the pallor of life. Her tattoos, that once were prayers to the gods to give peace to this dead body, were now asking for the protection of the God of Calibration.

“Ash?” Sambar had noticed she was out of connection with reality for a moment there. She smiled, and nodded.

“Ashborn Nightingale.” She spend the essence needed to display her caste mark, a solid black circle that shed wisps of shadowy smoke off it. She couldn’t see the difference without a mirror, but she could feel it. She was a Deathknight no longer. She kissed Sambar. “I love you.”

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Here at the End of All Things

Here he stood, here at the end of all things. His blade felt like an extension of his arm as the subtle essences flowed through his body into the ancient sword. The black sky showed the endless chaos of the universe in flux. The gods were never so close, yet so far away.

Basou Marou let his mind wander to that fateful day, the one step outside of Nexus that led himself and his friend Taki on the whirlwind adventure that brought them to this primordial city of words. He thought of Sorrel and how none had changed greater than he since the start of this journey. He thought of each of his companions in turn, weighing his place amongst this fateful group. He cared deeply for each of them, working past his own mind’s propaganda and realizing finally that at the core of it all, they were all the same. The power to change the world, to change creation, lay with each of them

His mind wandered back to the past and the Jade Circle, everything he remembered from his dreams and the man his spark used to be. Battle, war and conquest weren’t his soul’s goals anymore, not in this moment. Basou Marou felt only he desire to live through it all. He wanted to live, if for no other reason than to help the people.

They all had power and the City of Words taught him that mankind came close to living in harmony once. He wanted to use his power to make that dream happen, but not for the Solars. He realized the horrid oppression laid down by those who once thought themselves gods. He realized his arrogance towards Herron who was also blinded by his doctrine. He thought of the Dragon Blood oppression of their caste system and those held sway by it.

There had to be common men and women who wanted their freedom. Ash had broken free from her master because she wanted her freedom at any cost. His heart welled with respect for her. Even Dream was fighting for her world that once was, now no longer alone, her assembly and this city were all that was left of her older happiness. Basou Marou hoped he had least helped her realize that she could form new memories and still find happiness in this Age. Sword Surfing did that much for him at least.

Even Maladin, fighting for his crew. He had proven himself a most crafty one and Basou Marou was hoping that their time fighting side by side could be an olive branch that would allow the first step towards peace. Finally, he thought of poor Taki, fighting for his family that was now being consumed by death. He would live for him, if to only be brother and friend, to prove that no one’s ever truly alone in creation.

The baleful green glow of the hated green sun grew brighter at a painfully slow rate as the witch lights danced upon the water. There is where he focused all his anger and sadness. The sick, both mortal and ghost alike, the plague victims, the oppressed and corrupted temples of Creation, all of these things flashed through his mind. He knew where his blade must strike for good or for ill.

There was no time for regrets, he thought of Mieyo and the Master. He knew he could never undo the tantamount number of mistakes made in his life but he prayed to the Golden Sun for just this moment. He prayed to be the Light of Truth by which others could see. He wanted to forge his purpose. He wanted to shape Creation and finally give freedom to those who couldn’t defend themselves.

He thought of the people…and his soul filled with the light of Essence…

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Darkness
walks silent and creeps beneath

A change is made.
For Good or bad. There is no turning back.

Regret. It weighs heavy.
I almost fall under the weight.

Sorrow. I’m filled with it.
It almost spills out of me. Must hold it all inside.

Love. I’m told it’s wrong.
But it feels right. It can raise me from perdition.

Trust. It will be my downfall.
But I cannot help but trust.

Fear. It coils in my cut like a snake.
It is posion that I cant seem to escape from.

I am fading.
I’m becoming somthing I swore I never would.

I can’t keep my promises.
My happiness no longer matters.
I’m fading.
I see the dead around me. Sighing in lament.
She is strong and I’m fading.
I’m breaking, I can’t save myself.
But I can save them.
I’m fading…..

A light in the percing darkness…Bright and powerful as the sun and it saves me.
I gain true hope, I gain faith, I gain justice.

A dream within a dream within a dream…It glows a heathy blue and it saves me.
I gain compassion, I gain perspective, I gain outlook.

Darkness once feared… now flying on white wings and it saves me.
I gain understanding, I gain empathy, I gain trust.

The moon shines bright…sturdy and loyal and it saves me.
I gain strength, I gain wisdom, I gain companionship.

A passion once young and naive…now maybe ruined but it still saves me.
I gain caring, I gain loyalty, I gain love.

This compasion will destroy me. Yet I linger like a moth to flame and won’t turn away.
If this is destruction…let me be beside them when I fall.

I’m no longer fading.

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The Dive

The Dive

Basou Marou had to admit it. It wasn’t one of the best fights of his career, nor one of his best laid plans. The cursed ghost had done well enough to sap his essence, that at least made Basou Marou feel weak and faint. At least he didn’t have to fake that part of it at all. It was setting Sambar up to give him a wicked shiner and make it look good. That, oddly enough was the easy part. Unfortunately, not telling Sambar of his plan probably turned out to be a major oversight. Laughing quietly through the sore ache in his… everywhere, Basou Marou tried to go over the details of the fight in his mind.
No hooded looming figures in the audience or offers of Malachite as the prize didn’t help. There just weren’t many leads and the fancy party involving every single Death Knight in the city was soon. He could still hear his master’s lessons on “seeing the unseen” playing over and over again in his head, like an annoying song that you just can’t forget.
Forgetting… the shear act of trying to forget one memory led others flooding into his mind. Mieyo was here in the underworld, a Death Knight of all things. Not only did he fail her but he lost her irrevocably. This whole journey into the underworld just seemed one tragedy after another. Maybe it was because they didn’t have Saurel any more. Maybe they needed a down to earth spear chucking mortal ton help keep everyone balanced. Basou Marou thought of the Dragon Blooded Pirate King but figured he didn’t know him well enough to try and come up with a funny name for him. Everything hurt as Basou Marou winced in his unconscious stupor.
Losing his noble herd felt like the last straw as Basou Marou unconsciously gripped Edge Crusher in a death grip and fought to regain his mind. He spiraled in fever dreams where he was helpless to help anyone. Beyond being out of his element, the Underworld seemed out to claim him.
Every thought of sadness and regret seemed amplified in this grey place. He knew he missed the glory of the sun. His memory of Mieyo’s stubborn pouty face was replaced with the dead sightless eyes of the Death Knight she had become. Every pleasant memory was washed over in sadness and viewed through eyes that saw only in black and white. Basou Marou struggled to pull his energies together to help focus himself. He was lost in a prison of his own making and even Taki couldn’t offer up the sage advice that always kept him from doing something stupid.
Even trying to remember his master’s words, the sound came on as rushing waves, distorted and chaotic. The essence just wan’t flowing here as it did in Creation, he was still getting used to it. The slow ambient trickle was not the same as the warming waves of first dawn. He struggled to remember.
He wanted to take the dive, but he was struggling to remember why…
The welt that was his right eye throbbed with nerve racking pain and his master’s words of “seeing the unseen” played itself again, like a broken record. His pain wracked body brushed up against his belt sash, no, not his belt sash, but the spirit sash his master had given him! That was it, a good crack on the head always gave Basou Marou the good idea he needed. He had the tool he needed to find his friend, his Simata, Malachite.
Now it was just a matter of waking up and remembering…

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Data log of Dream Part 6

We have been staying in the town of Hollow these last few nights, trying to track down Basou Marou’s missing somata, Malachite. Infuriatingly, he has been well hidden, if in fact he is even in the city.

My travels brought me to Bitter Orchid, owner of the Brothel of the Mind, and host to a party following the annual tournament that we had arrived in town for. Bitter Orchid was looking for missing party paraphernalia, some of which matched my initial expectation of the food required to keep to somata well fed while it was kept in the city.

My research led me to track down the whereabouts of a assistant quartermaster living in a nearby district, but the trail ran cold.

I visited the Brothel of the Mind with our new part member, Maladen and Taki. We were entertained by two courtesans, Fall from Grace and Sapphire Snow. We learned a bit of how the brothel worked, and I was able to identify later that the documents regarding Fall from Grace were forged or tampered with, and she is not who she claims to be. I pointed the impropriety to Bitter Orchid’s assistant, Rue, and moved on to pursue other leads.

Sambar and I visited the Gauntlet Meeting House int he Capital District, which we were able to identify is the location of a meeting of Death Knights. Ash has shown an interest i this meeting and has been conversing at some length with many death knights as they have come into town, including the Confessor, who had joined us at Black Blossom. Sambar and I found evidence of a planned assassination. Discussion with Ash revealed that she may in fact be the suspect in this attempt at suicide.

{Analysis: Cross Reference: DeathKnight.db SheWhoFliesOnTheAshBornWingsOfDecay.db}
{Probability of success at assassination of a death knight at this meeting: 92%}
{Probability of successful escape from remaining Death Knights in attendance: 51%}
{Probability of successful escape by entire party from Hollow with somata: 0.01%}
{Conclusion: Unacceptable Risk}

I can not allow Ash to complete this assassination plot, if it is in fact her trying to commit it.

I was then called to watch the tournament. Basou Marou, Ash and Sambar had all signed up as participants. It is my right and privilege as their assembly mates to watch and review their combat prowess.

Ash and Sambar performed admirably. As did Basou Marou. But, as stubborn as he can be, became far too exhausted by the time he came up against Sambar in the lists. I was expecting one of them to take a bow, but Basou Marou does not back down from a fight. Ever. He fought valiantly, but in time, he succumbed to his injuries and Sambar was able to defeat him.

Ash won the tournament, which earned her a fair amount of Jade and some level of fame for winning, which has been most useful in acquiring formal attire for Bitter Orchid’s party later tonight. I write this now from our rooms while Tkai looks over Basou Marou and his injuries. Wait, here came Tahmin, she’s saying something is wrong with Taki…

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Data Log 05
{Background system override}

>> Active Systems:

<< Sensor Array
.Aim-Calibrations Sensors
.Dedicated Harmonic Targeting
.Optical Enhancement
..Microscopic Lens
..Telescopic Lens
..Motion Tracking Targeting Glance
..Crossphase Scanners
..Light-Intensification Filters
..Flash Shutters
<< Defense and Operational Systems
.Omnitool Implant
.Integrated Artifact Transmogrifier
.Transcendent Multimodal Artifact Matrix
..Adamant Sky Cutter

>> Active Processes:

{Emotion.db}
{Language.db}
{ScanSuite.exe}
{MotorCont.exe}
{BasicIO.exe}
{Log.txt}

>> Deactivate Emotion.db

<< Unable to comply. This process is active and cannot be interrupted.

>> Override

<< Unable to comply. Emotion.db remains active.

>> Create Logfile005.txt

{Logfile opening… Please wait.}

I am unable to deactivate the malfunctioning {Emotion.db} subsystem. Overrides are not working. It has caused an override to my Threat-Assessment and Decision-Making subsystems. I must find a way to reconcile this issue or risk being overcome with unwanted emotional responses.

Recent events have shown that these responses have led to feelings registered as Guilt, Regret, and Sadness {Ref: Emotion.db: Guilt,Regret,Sadness,Loss} I shall log in further detail here in the event that further diagnostic tools and/or system restoration becomes available at a later date.

We have been in the Shadow Land for many days now, staying in the town that was once known as White Blossom. It has triggered a restored memory fragment. It is one I wish I could now forget, according to Emotion.db.

In the First Age, my original assembly and I apparently worked for the Yellow King in cleansing this village of a plague that had taken hold of it. We were told to eradicate all of the citizens. My assembly carried this out with extreme prejudice, except for myself. I had befriended a man, Fen, who I later was forced to betray as the village was culled. Regret. It cripples me as I think back. Sadness. It makes me weak. I must ignore this and—

I cannot ignore it. It overwhelms me to think of it.

{System Idle…}
{Warning minor Ocular Fluid leak detected}
>> Override Ocular Fluid Leak
<< Compliance.
{System Idle ends, total duration 3:27}

It appears the adage of history repeating itself has manifested here. I find myself in this same village with an assembly again while the village is in the grip of seemingly the same plague, but now stronger, more potent, able to affect the dead as well as the living. Taki has been hard at work to heal the sick, and he seems to be successful thus far, as Serenity was never able or willing to do. Basou Marou has been very helpful in finding a necessary herb to aid in the healing, though I must admit, I have not seen as much of him as I would like. {Emotion.db has triggered a response: Desire, Fondness}

Ash and I have been working together to investigate why this plague has returned, though Ash was only just notified by me that this is a recurrence, and not the first time these people have suffered in my presence. Our investigations led us to find Bitter Fen outside the village limits. I was certain that Fen had perished in the culling of the village in the first age. In the Shadow Lands he has endured and cultivated his {hatred} for me and my original assembly.

I can scarcely blame him. I have decided to do all in my power to make his afterlife easier for him than his life was.

As it turns out he has a working antibody to the plague. With a lot of convincing, he has been working with Taki to aid the sick, and is the reluctant hero of the village. I am {glad} he is still able to put aside his hatred and mistrust to save his town.

We will complete our investigation and move onwards on our quest. I now find I have a connection to the events unfolding around me, and a responsibility {Ref: regret,desire} to make things right as I was never able to.

I must do this, for Iahzir. He put me here to right this wrong. I know this now. I must bring Justice and recompense for the wrongs I witnessed so long ago to these people, but seemingly yesterday for me.

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Data log 04
Reconciliation of Emotion.db

{Decompiling Emotion.db  Please wait.}
 
 
>> Create Logfile004.txt
 
{Logfile opening… Please wait.}
 
I am currently decompiling my Emotion.db as it appears to have surfaced several bad sectors and caused irrational responses to a situation that defies logical explanations.  Once I have scanned it for further errors I may bring it back online.
 
We returned the Smiling Boy to Uol of Many Lives, The lord of a particular Wild Zone we must access to reach the Shadowlands, continuing our quest to find this hidden city as charged by Blessed Lotus, whom I still can not bring myself to trust implicitly as the others do.
 
Uol charged us with resolving an outstanding dispute as payment for passage through his lands.  We agreed, and were presented with a battlefield with a single old goblin, a General Custer, versus an army of other goblins.  We were to assist Custer with winning the battle.
 
{Error found in Emotion.db; potential “Care”/“Love” paradox found.  Attempting reconciliation…}
 
I was advised by Cathak Taki that when one cares for another, you must keep them close.  I decided to put this theory to practice by remaining close to Basou Marou while he slept on the evening before the battle.  This caused an unanticipated reaction in Basou Marou however, and requires further analysis.
 
The battle itself was difficult to describe, as many of what we encountered defied explanation. 
 
{Emotion.db has encountered and error; “Amusement” = “Fun” reconciling…}
 
I do recall a sense of what I believe to be satisfaction.  Of the highlights, I do recall deceiving the Goblin enemy leader into peace talks, and unbalancing him using my Sky Cutter, and forcing the enemy goblin forces to clog their own weapon batteries by using a technique taught to them by She who Flies on the Ash Born Wings of Decay:  “The Hug”.  I have stored this technique for future applications.
 
Also of note was an instance wherein the the entirety of the assembly was granted excessively large and glamourized anthropomorphic machines representing ourselves that required shouted commands to operate.  Despite its inefficiency, I still found it to be {fun}.
 
{Error found in Emotion.db; “Anger”. Reconciling bad sectors, please wait.}
 
We were then put into a third round of the battle fighting overly strong fair folk of differing types.  We each took one on as best we could.  I experienced great difficulty in overcoming my opponent, best described and a goat-man with the lower body of a large spider.  He used a series of close-combat techniques that overcame my {combat.dll}, forcing me to use {improvise.dll} instead, at increased risk to major system damage.  Emotion.db at this point caused a memory overflow issue, causing the database to overflow wildly with my other systems. 
 
The battle was eventually won with the hard work of the assembly, minus myself.  We were granted boons for helping Uol reconcile his issue and permitted access to the Shadow Lands at the border of his lands.
 
At the border of the shadow lands, we encountered some of the dead, seeking a way out. Fortunately there was a line of salt preventing them from bleeding back into creation.  While I did feel a brief surge of {pity} from {Emotion.db}, {Justice.dll} bypassed the script, and I was able to rationalize the situation and move on. 
 
I have decided to keep {Justice.dll} activated fort he time being, as it is my primary function and operating within expected parameters.  It has Identified She Who Flies onthe Ash Born Wings of Decay as a threat, and marked her for later judgement.  It is clear that she poses a great risk to the rest of the assembly, and to creation itself.  She continues to take unnecessary risks, despite the repeated warnings of Taki, who remains the tactical point of contact for the assembly.  In the event that she grossly breaches the interest of the assembly again, {Justice.dll} requires that I take immediate and decisive action.
 
{Warning, potential disparities between Justice.dll and Emotion.db found.  Manual intervention required for resolution at any conflicting juncture.  Continue? (y/n)}
 
{Emotion.db has activated line 025:  Hopelessness, loss}
 
I do hope that I can recover my memories soon, or at least restore a sense of balance.  This place is bleak, and I sense that it will have negative repercussions for the assembly if we remain here for too long.  What is my place in creation now? 
 
{Decompilation of Emotion.db complete.  Emotion.db is temporarily offline at User request.}
 
>> Close Logfile004.txt

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A Moment of Sword Zen

The mountain’s reflex
many arms it may remove
undone by silk thread

silk thread sword dancer
you are pinned by the mountain
your dance is no more

spider leg-ged goat
your horns are fearsome and sharp
undone by machine!

Crystal song of pain
your flute is usless, hand-less
Taki has claimed is

Lion roar your curse!
You spurn your allies with rage!
Shadow dance does slay!

Quick and nimbles eyes
Your friends are just as nimble
but now, all is mist

The one I forgot
I’m sorry for the rudeness
I am a dumb sword…

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Data Log 3

>> Create Logfile003.txt

{Logfile opening… Please wait.}

I continue to gather data about my current situation. Creation is very different than it used to be. It is also exactly the same. From the events and memories I can recall, at any rate.

I can been reconciling the errors in Emotion.db to some success. I have interacted with the Fair Folk known as the Smiling Boy as a test of several emotional responses. I have identified mistrust, doubt, and dislike {REF: Hate} while interacting with him.

We were visited by Blessed Lotus, a Sidereal of undetermined power, who has asked that we make haste with an amulet owned by Yelin Green-and-Golden for a city made of a god, hidden from the world somewhere between here and the Underworld. I am unsure as to the exact reason this band has been instructed to do so, and I am {wary?} of blindly accepting what she asks, possibly due to old programming.

Some things never change after all.

I go forth now to ply my trade and make repairs to the cart, make it as efficient as possible.

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Inner thoughts
of a little Twilight

I hate to say it but I feel myself unraviling. All the stress and the weight of our situation is finally getting to me. I put on a serene face for everyone even though I feel like I’m withering from the inside. Sorrel is leaving. I’d rather have him up in heaven with blessed lotus…safe, instead of going with us to the underworld. He hasen’t even left yet but I can feel us drifting apart already. The weight of the realization is crushing me. I am certin now that I love him, but love can be misplaced. I cannot comprimise my people in passion or in haste. I could be his life companion anywhere but where we are going and on the path we have traviling.

I have thought of such things…though I try not to. I now understand how my father must have felt watching me grow and not exalting like my brothers. I would grow old…I would die and he would watch his youngest child turn to dust. I feel this way when I look at Sorrel. He would be better off living life without me and my heart would rest easy not having to worry about him.

These thoughts…they are not right though. What is right for him and me may not be what we want. I will follow what I want and forget what my brain tells me. Even though it will hurt to loose him, I would not give up a moment of the time I spent with him. Those moments and memories make me happy…happier then I ever was on the blessed Isle. I was always on the outside looking in back home…locked away from the world by an overbearing protective father.

We will part ways…but I prmosied him that I would hold him in my heart. I can only pray he does the same for me. When we meet again…it will be just that much sweeter. I know he’ll be waiting for me and it gives me something to look forward to.

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