As I sit this morning, head throbbing and mouth filled with cotton, I feel I should write down my thoughts on the last few days as I have experienced a spiritual awakening like none other in my lifetime.
I remember little of the past 36 hours. I do remember that there is not a warrior in Spurhorn that can out drink me. I also have vague memories of posing a passed out Fenn and Seph in several “compromising” positions and bribing a talented artist to capture them forever in portraits. Nobel insisted on keeping those, something about “when the time is right”.
Cayden’s cup was put to good use, fights were started for no reason at all (mostly be me). Many a man lost a bet (and usually a finger) playing five finger fillet with Selene. The commander seemed very put out after the first day. Yelling something about never before has he seen such wanton disregard for order and discipline, half his men can’t get up and the other half cannot stop spewing and shitting… I took it as the compliment I’m sure it was meant to be.
Now 2 days after the battle I sit drinking of the magical elixir my God has provided for me, the warmth of its healing powers spreading through my limbs and the throbbing in my head fading away to a gentle focused calm. My faith having recently been tested I feel truly blessed this morning to know that my God is not only still with me but approves and supports my task as well.
You see upon arriving here I found myself sinking in to the depths of despair. This current task that has been set upon me has led to doing the bidding of an evil crone. I feared that such dark company would cause Cayden to look upon me with disappointment and scorn.
Then my despondency only deepened as I was sent to an unknown realm to fight a battle that was not mine, for a people whose code of honor was unknown, in a society that has no readily available spirits or ale. Truly I have been forsaken; Cayden Caileen has abandoned me for my evil choices.
My comrades did not, out of necessity, know my despair. With the impending battle ahead they will need me and it would shake their confidence in me to know the true doubt that now permeates my very soul. So I will fight and possible die this day. Death with honor will be a welcome reprieve from this despair and godlessness.
As we head off to battle, the Spurhorn commander pulls me aside to inform me that if there is a victory this day there will be drink and celebration. A flicker of hope, a tiny flame easily extinguished, will it be enough?
The battle itself was grand; we slaughtered our way through dragonkin only to come head to head with a pair of dracolisks. The battle took a sudden turn for the worse and as I charged forward and struck out at the nearest beast, it slowly turned its gaze upon me. Suddenly all was darkness and silence. Was I dead, I must surely be dead? And an eternity in this void is my just reward for aiding that evil crone.
I began to pray, asking Caileen’s forgiveness, in my heart knowing that aiding this vile witch was the wrong choice. My only thought is for a second chance, a chance I would spend plotting and waiting for an opportunity to rid the world of Baba Yaga’s evil forever.
As suddenly as it began the darkness was lifted and the sounds of battle came flooding back. Was this Cayden’s doing? Were my prayers answered? Could it be that my god was with me after all? There were no sure answers but there was now hope. There would be time to contemplate this later, now there was dragonkin blood that needed spilling.
Exhausted and drained of resources we watched as the Drakelanders scattered, stinging from the complete routing Spurhorn had dealt them. The commander then approached us. Expecting a thank you and payment we were instead greeted with yet another request. The route was not enough to satisfy him, he wanted the Dragonkin commander dead; he wanted the opposing army completely demoralized. Covered in blood and barely able to lift my arms, I could only smile, here was a man after my own heart.
Heartened by the recent hope that Cayden was still with me I eagerly headed off with my companions to slay her. And slay her we did, it was a glorious battle that came to a magnificent end when Fenn used his fire magic to burn the life from her high above our heads for all to see. We returned too much cheering and revelry, the people of Spurhorn touted us as heroes, truly a wonderful feeling.
My pain and doubt from earlier this day had faded somewhat but were still there. Then something truly miraculous happened, the spiritual awakening I mentioned earlier. I was presented with a mug, thinking this was the mug of ale I had been promised I was filled with joy and very grateful to finally have a drink. As I took hold of the mug however I was immediately brought to my knees, and there I knelt covered in blood and openly weeping. For this was not just a mug, this was Cayden Cailean’s cup! His spirit filled me with warmth and healing the moment I touched it and I knew immediately that my God had not abandoned me. His presence in my mind said to me “Do what you must, a means to an end. Those that would infect the world with darkness and fear must be brought to justice… at all costs. But for now, drink and celebrate”. I knew then what my choice must be.
As I finish writing this it occurs to me that my companions upon seeing me fall to my knees and weep must have assumed that my joy at being reunited with drink was positively overwhelming. And to be honest it did feel quite good to have a drink in hand but, the tears were something more. A profound release, a release of despair, self-doubt, and great loss. I will let them have their assumptions, that moment was for me. I will continue forward on this path with a renewed fire in my soul. But for now, I must renew a fire in my belly…