My frustration grows. My deafness affords me a contemplative world in which I can easily ignore outside distractions, but it comes with having difficulty drowning out the noise of my own thoughts. This is part of why I keep this journal: organizing my thoughts on paper helps me maintain clarity among a cacophony of ideas.
Deafness is isolation, isolation can lead to despair and madness, but even madness has its use in the form of insight. Insight about Baba Yaga, witches, my companions, our destinies. I seem to be the only one who asks the questions that need to be asked. I may be deaf but my companions are blind.
Should we be following Baba Yaga’s trail or should we be pursuing a different agenda? Baba Yaga is selfish evil beyond measure, a woman who would serially kill her own children for her own purposes. This is an evil that should not be released from containment, yet here we are attempting to do just that. Could we find a way to stop the White Queen Elvanna and her reign of winter without freeing Baba Yaga in the process? How deep does our pact with Baba Yaga go and what are the consequences for bending or breaking it?
Selene, the righteous avenger, has no qualms about involving herself in a war that is not hers – killing natives of an alien world while she herself is an outsider – yet she continues to hold me in suspicion. I have learned much from Seph’s tutelage and I notice the frequency with which she scans me for evil intent with her soulseeing eyes. After all this, the blood and battle, the trials and tribulations, she cannot accept what I am?
She fears me because she fears my darkness, but she only fears the dark because she lacks understanding of its true nature. She naively lives in a world of black and white; light is good and dark is abhorrent evil. This is a child’s worldview. The truth is that shadow is the origin of all things. It existed alone at the beginning and gave birth to the light. The perception of darkness has been turned by sinister minds who have used its ample bounty for malign purposes. I am not them.
Fenn seems too preoccupied with books and the pursuit of power to live in the current moment. Perhaps it was his upbringing in a world where your parents and then your mentor can be killed at the whim of those with more might that made him see power as the only worthy goal. This is myopic. He seeks power in arcana and misses the potency found in fellowship. He ignores the signs suggesting a shared history with Seph. Is it that Seph’s constant harping reminds him of the late wizard mentor who never wanted another apprentice? The friendship we once shared has been tainted by this witchcraft.
What is Taryn thinking? She remains my greatest mystery. Though we have travelled together for some time, I cannot say I really know her. She outwardly appears to live and breath for brawling and ale, but that cannot be everything. She could have stayed in Irresen or anywhere on Golarion for that kind of life and it would have earned her more prestige than possibly dying on an alien world as an unknown and unremembered stranger.
I have come to think of her as Baba Yaga’s Wolf. If Fenn, Selene, and I have become her Riders then that would make sense. The Riders are solitary figures, never really working together in previous accounts I found in the hut’s library. The only thing that would bring riders together is the hunt, and every hunt needs a hound, leading the chase with teeth bared.
I wonder often about my father and the Black family curse. Is he even still alive after all these years, or did the madness that consumed his mind finally overwhelm his body? My mother took my hearing to stave off the voices that were working on my young mind, but perhaps the family curse is more insidious. It’s not the voices without but the voice within that haunts me now. This journal is my sanctuary.