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Gurtha, 122 - Afternoon, hr 8    
Our brother Rown has come...and gone again. With him he has brought sorrow, in the form of the bodies of our sister Lenia, and two of Rena's children. I feel for Milina, seeing her twin's limp body as Rown clung to it obsessively.

Oh Le, why did you leave us? I know Mili said you wanted to find Rown, but you should have consulted me before you left. Venturing out into the wilderness all alone... and look what it ultimately brought, another of my kin for me to send to the Moon's waters. Mili said Le told Rown that I named him and Asher Otherkin...why would she tell him a lie like that. Right before they left I told both Rena and Asher that they could always return to the Glade, and they, Rown, and their children would still be Returned.

And Rown... he is broken and emotionally scarred, so much anger at his brother Reed is pent up inside as well. I fear that he may do something rash. When he said he was going to leave again... I just let him go. He needs time to heal inside, though I hope he decides to come back one day... Milina seems to have touched a place in him that we will never be able to. I am suprised she did not ask to go with him.

All of this has the children a little confused, until now they have been fairly sheltered from things such as anger, pain, and death. Bless their bright little spirits though, they seem to have taken it all very well. I am so proud of them, and I know Alden is too.

Gurtha, 122 - Afternoon, hr 9    
She loved her sister. Lysette. The name would roll of her tongue like honeyed water. This new woman was a stranger occupying her dear sister's body.

She spoke with Lysette's voice. She smiled her sister's smile. For a while, Helena tricked herself into believing what her eyes beheld.

She stole their father first. 

The comfort of the sands was Helena's home for the long days her not-sister and father would spend in the city. Her companion was Sekah's cold and beautiful gaze, the sleeping form of Seshat and the occasional bustle of Callie and her mute mother. 

She knew well of waiting. Of feeling the soft trickle of sand over skin, the chill that seeped into the bones as the night chased away the sun. 

It was not the waiting.

The anger was slow, but the foreign emotion still burnt her. Though she felt it, it was, as emotions were wont to do, cryptic in its deliverance. She did not know where it came from. She did not know where to direct it. She only knew that the anger glutted itself on the time her family spent divided, the longer her not-sister and father dwelt in secrets.

And one day her not-sister emerged from the city, her belly swollen and her eyes bright with joy.

And Helena wanted to wrap her hands around Lysette's throat. And Helena wanted to squeeze and squeeze until the happiness drained from this stranger's face and her dear sister, her dear, beloved sister, returned to her.
Lasse, 122 - Sunrise, hr 5    
The pups' cries were plaintive but quickly silenced by sleep. She must leave, that much she knows. She has pushed too hard at the crack that had split them all apart, and has caused it to splinter into a thousand irreparable pieces. Their love, once the core of her strength, has waned, as soft now as a weak summer rain. She feels it leave her body in wet tracks across her sand-matted cheeks, dripping, hiding within the clefts of her helm. 

There is an unfamiliar hollowness. It is her peace, without a purpose. She cannot meet the eyes of the others, for she feels certain they are black with judgement and reproach. An anguished cry from deep in the desert brings her out of her wallowing. It is Callie. It is a child who should not know anguish. 

She looks back to the pups, then to where Sekah has all but faded behind Aten's fierceness. She remembers her father's forgotten duty. There is still one thing she can do to protect the remnants of her home.
Vasa, 122 - Sunrise, hr 5    
Her steel armor wears her patience thin, but Aten's will courses through her muscles, giving her the sleepless persistance of a dreamer caught in the feverish pursuit of some long-forgotten goal. 

At first she treks south, thinking to heed the Firewraith's words, hoping to see the form of a loved one following. Seshat follows. Seshat does not wake. 

She carries on, her thoughts occupied solely on reaching her destination. Her father speaks in her mind, in the same steel-imbued growl he used as he gathered the three of them, sword, axe, and hammer, behind locked doors, wielding words like Aten, duty and plague. 

On the occasions she recalls the anger in the canine curl of his maw, and the sob that was Lysette's only farewell, she guides her memories to those times. It was talk of battle, yes. But there in that old, underground keep were the precious moments where her father and her sisters were all together, their love unshatterable.
Losse, 123 - Before dawn, hr 3    
Ooh, Jian make biiiig reeeng and Dai help.  Now, Dai mak biiig reeng and Jian help.  Issss hard, tak loong.  Zai no liiiike, call Dai ssstupid.  Dai no ssstupid, no know haow mak sssharpsss.  Want learn haow.  But firssst, Dai finisssh mak big reeng.  Isss firssst noht-fuud Dai mak.
Vasa, 123 - Sunrise, hr 4    
She opens her eyes, knowing that she is not alone in her new cave.

"Get up!"

She rises quickly, turning toward the voice with a loud hiss, drawing her blade keenly.  The voices owner now before her eyes, A tall woman, a softskin, in her hands a pair of jade daggers. She sneers at the woman.

"Leave me be sssoftsskin! I am of no concern to you, now leave, or face my blade!"

The woman simply laughs, "Come then, if you believe yourself so inclined."

She hisses once more and leaps at the woman, bringing her blade down swiftly as the woman vanished from beneath it.

"You will go back to Magrathea, you will go back to your children." the woman spoke calmly from behind her.

She swings backwards quickly, only to find her arm caught in hand of the woman as the woman yelled, "Enough foolish, weak, and ungrateful Daughter!"

She suddenly found herself unable to move, caught in the womans gaze. The woman suddenly pulls a dagger, cleanly cutting off a finger in her grasp.

She screamed, scrambling away from the woman, "You are a demon!"

The woman yells, "I gave you my spirit, and I gave you life Myka of the Set, and I gave you the gift of children, you will not cross me!  Your finger is the least of your worries! I could easily kill you and remedy your pain..." The woman points at her, "Your petty squabbles do not matter, your life is short so do not dwell on them.  Go back, and be what you were made to be."

Before she had a chance to respond the woman disapeared in a flash of light.

"We ssshall sssee..." She looks down at her missing finger, the wound healed. "after ssssome ressst..."
Naur, 125 - Midday, hr 7    
Selections from a Journal

When one travels, it can sometimes be difficult to remember to keep up with my own musings. Today is a good day to catch up.

I have come to meet a most intriguing family unlike any I have ever seen in my travels. Their skin reminds me that of a gecko or alligator, though they are as tall as the Noljini. I wonder if these are the creatures they seemed so fearful of…outside of Anu, that is. That name they called me…relating to some daemon thing? All in the past.

At first, I was a bit concerned being met by a spear tip and the mention of food - as in me being food. Minus the latter, images of Nolja flashed through my mind.

However, given the chance to prove myself in their eyes by the eldest male of the group, I believe I have earned a bit of their respect. They are quite kind - a strong, proud race…in that case, they remind me very much of my people, their younglings reminiscent of pups back home when they first learn to hunt, and all are curious and excited to learn. I hope to teach many things, everything I can…how to make sturdy tools, armor to hunt in, salves for healing…

I had turned to return home...I feel as though Sekah led me here on purpose.

I know they will be able to teach me many things about their people for my writing. I feel as if I have learned much in a short time here.

They are calling me Eko-Aki. I can tell it is an honorable name as Eko is their creator. Admittedly, I do not feel worthy of such a title...but, it is a nice feeling being given a name by those once strangers. Like a gift of trust.
Naur, 125 - Evening, hr 10    
Looking down at his grand fathers emancipated corpse he wept bitter tears at the cruel injustice that had been visited on their village and wondered what they could have possibly done to deserve to lose so many... He clenched his fists then dashed the tears from his eyes and he heard his mother stiring behind he would be strong for her, he had to be this would hit her hardest of all.
Elen, 125 - Afternoon, hr 8    

Indigo was thirteen or so when she left, she remembers. It wasn't exactly that she didn't like her home, or her family--indeed, to her family was one of the most important things in life--but ever since she found out about her half-brothers, much older than her and living far away in a place called Lorelei, she'd wanted to find them and rescue them from the imagined horrors of the outside world.

When she learned that Fiona and Duke are leaving for Lorelei, just for a visit, she’d jumped at the chance to come with them. No matter that her mother said Lorelei was a bad place--mothers were wrong sometimes, weren’t they?

She wishes now that she had stayed with her parents, with her Papa especially--he'd never wanted her to leave. She wishes more desperately than she's ever wished for anything that Garth had forbidden her, or Fiona had left her behind.

Because now Fiona is dead and Duke is dead and she is cold and lost and has no idea where Lorelei even is or where home is (but she remembers Fiona saying to follow the ocean and so that's what she's doing) and she hears her mother's voice in her head telling her that Garth is dead too, along her little brothers and sister, and her mother sounded so tired and the lot of it makes her wanted to curl up in the snow and die.

But she takes her companions’ food and goes on because she's never been one to give up (though she talks to herself more now than she should) and because she's never been one for silence and stillness (her father would undoubtedly agree, if he was alive, though she doesn't know this because she was tiny when he called her noisy like it was a synonym for perfect) and now she's even more lost than before.

It scares her when she finds a body, a Kindred like herself, frozen stiff and solid and the first thing she does is laugh and laugh and that's the second and third thing she does too, because it takes her more time than it should to control the euphoria of seeing hard evidence that someone else had been here.
It scares her that it takes until she's kneeling by the corpse and poking through its belongings for her to realize that this is a dead person, someone's friend or daughter (or worse, someone's mother) and she should care more.
It scares her that as soon as her hands find the old parchment covered with two small maps--the parchment that could be her saviour--she forgets this revelation entirely and is deliriously happy once again.

She's still lost, because she never did learn to read (oh damn her childish stubborn streak) and because she doesn't understand what any of the symbols mean, but she keeps following the ocean--though she has a terrifying, sneaking suspicion that she's missed Lorelei entirely and is wandering farther away from society of any kind--and the worn parchment in her hand reassures her that she's not the only one, not the only person in the whole world, even if it feels that way.

Rosa, 126 - Afternoon, hr 8    
She recognises him, despite the age that has weathered his skin into leather, and the voluminous robes that cover his body. She sees hims wreathed in darkness, the plague that her father spoke many times of. His words mean nothing to her; they are the lies of a filthy ka-kem. It is Sarriah who first stays her hand. 

The half sister she had not seen since her teenage years, grown and more painfully reminiscent of their mother than ever. Marks that do not appear to be wounds of battle scar her belly however, and she has lost her youth to haggardness. It is this place that has done this to her, this blight upon Aten's land, and the Ka-kem who taint it. 

Still-sharp anger surges in her, warhammer gripped tightly in her hand. She growls out words she herself does not hear, smelting her words with the same weight her father's voice once had. 

And then she strikes. Her hammer is a nostalgic weapon at best, lacking the deadliness of her sisters' bladed sword and axe; she uses the large spike sparingly, silently willing the ka-kem to surrender. 

He does not. He parries her blows, disrespecting her in the same breath he uses to tell Sarriah to take the children inside. What hits do manage to cut her are nothing compared to the glancing blow Sarriah deals her, slicing at the knee in the vain hope it would slow her. 

She knows now the full extent of the ka-kem virilance, but she still cannot stop her face twisting at the betrayal. Her steps become heavier, the swings deal more force, the twist and spin of her body carrying her hammer forward in strike after strike. Soon, she realises he lies motionless beneath her attacks, he is bloodied, swollen and at last, dead. 
Lote, 126 - Sunrise, hr 4    
She blinked as her children ran from the door, only just hearing of their father's death. Jason, the Fal'Cie of the Set, and Myka's former mate, was slain.

She finally shakes herself, focused, determined.  She quickly picks up her Windcleaver, sprinting out of the caves.

At first all she saw was the bright light of the sun, shading her eyes to see Jason laying on the ground, his head turned, his eyes dead. Her heart sank, so many children now fatherless, and two mates, now alone.

She gritted her teeth, hissing lowly as she approaches, "You have taken something that once was mine, now you shall see what a mistake that was." And with a quick swing of her blade removed the attacker's head from her shoulders.

Thus was it that Jason the Prophet fell...
Lote, 126 - Sunrise, hr 4    
She is so tired.

The ka-kem's body lies at her feet, but her duty has only just begun. The horror in her half-sister's face should evoke something more than fatigue, but it does not, and a small part of her wonders why she has not begun to fear herself. 

Sarriah kneels by the body and asks why. Why? The weight of such a question swallows her whole. 

She is so tired.

Aten gave her strength and Sekah lit her way. She does not need to know why. Sarriah would have never understood. She was only half her sister. 

Movement behind draws her gaze and she hears her weapon call out for vengeance. The ka-kem who stole half her mother's heart is now old and wrinkled and dilapidated but that will not stop her. Young or old, she must tear the roots of this place asunder and make sure none may rise again to cast a shadow across Aten's glorious land. 

How many more? One, two-- she barely has the energy to stand, let alone count. How many would be hidden in the city? How many underground? 

She is so tired.

A woman clad in steel comes rushing at her without a word; scarcely a strike is landed before she scurries away back into the hole of their city. She feels like a dying bird being picked apart by ants. 

She stares down at Jason's body and thinks, this is what I was trained for. I did it. Surely that is enough. She senses eyes watching her, filth and scaled monstrosities rising from the periphery of her vision.

She will die in this forsaken place if she must, her blood another spear parting the darkness of Magrathea.
Kuile, 129 - Midnight, hr 1    
I press on westward, the frozen coastline to my left…and a mysterious wall of darkness to my right. Have I reached the edge of the world? I fear to see what lies beyond, so I continue to pick my way along the narrow band of ice and snow.

The cold does not bother me… but the loneliness bites at my insides. Even the beasts seem to avoid this place. I wonder if I will ever see another of my kind, are there even any others out there?  All of my family are gone… killed…starved…vanished… leaving me behind when I was barely old enough to hunt small game.

But I am a clever girl, and I learned fast how to survive on my own…
Naur, 130 - Afternoon, hr 8    
Selections from a Journal

Again, time gets away from me. Allow me a moment to catch up.

The Garrakan elder instucted me to leave once I had completed a set of armor for one of the Zai-Jian, one of the younger of the group. I feel not out of anger, however, but more of a fear. The youth were excited to learn and anxious...perhaps he wished to keep that exuberance within their kind. This is something I can certainly appreciate.

However, one of the younger females called Lai was told to travel with me. She is strong. Very fit to travel, and has been wonderful company on my return home.

I took great care in avoiding Nolja and have noted it in the map I am detailing for Lai. I am well aware they would likely kill Lai on sight if not both of us. If anything were to happen to her in my care...

We have made it to the mountains and have come upon a lovely hot spring. Lai suggested we relax and enjoy the surroundings. It is such a pleasant area, I was unaware of others approaching our little camp.


Of all the beings in this world, why did Noljeni have to find us?
Kuile, 131 - Afternoon, hr 9    
She caught a glimpe of movement from the corner of her eye...the wolf again... a bit of white on white flitting through the snow. This had been going on for some time now, but after no attack came, she let her guard down and curiousity took over.

Well, no time like the present to do something about it.

She spread a hide on the bare ground to sit comfortably, and digging around in her pack, found a few pieces of dried seal meat. Clicking her tongue, she tossed a chunk of meat into the distance. The wolf made no movement, content to sit and stare back at Khione.

She closed her eyes... Patience .... she settled into a comfortable position, never looking directly at the eyes watching her every move.

A rustle.... a glance from the corner of her vision revealed the she wolf creeping up to the meat, body pressed low to the ground.

With slow movements, she tossed another hunk of meat, closer now. Repeating the cycle until the distance is closed to only a few feet. They watch each other closely, pale blue eyes locked into her own purple and green ones. She will not back down now.

Holding out a hand she waits....a warm breath brushes across her fingertips. Have I made a mistake? Will I just loce a finger over this foolishness?

Her fears are relieved as the wolf butts her head into Khione's hand, sniffing around intently for more meat.

She sighs in relief, rufflng soft fur and rewarding the wolf with a large chunk of meat.

*Are we friends now pale one? It would be nice to have someone to talk to out here." she smiles, her journey into the unknown having become alot less lonely.
Urnu, 131 - Midday, hr 6    
Selections from a Journal

It has been very tense for the time we have been here. To be honest, I am still fearful that the Noljeni people may snap at any moment and kill either myself or Lai. Even so, there is a bit of understanding...now that their bows are not trained on the two of us.

Once again, however, Sekah has her way of turning the worst of situations into one of wonder. Upon our camp has also come an Avathean (or Magrathean...I believe they must be one and the same) called Lionel, Prophet of the One. I have been watching him mark the skin of Venrod - the male Noljeni - with needles and ink. Beautiful, but very (and obviously) painful for the receiver.  Such markings would not show up on the fur of our people as the ink is imbedded into the skin.

The Prophet has such incredible information about the One, however! I am unfamiliar with this being, but It seems similar to Sekah, perhaps Aten as well. Maybe even a culmination of the two or all deities!

...not to say that Sekah does not actually exist. Or Aten. That would be silly.

He is rather well versed on Aten, Sekah as well. I have never met one outside of our people who even knows of them. I shall enjoy our discussions.
Gurtha, 132 - Afternoon, hr 8    
Clever was a boy born with no name.
Punished and beaten as a babe.
He grew up being called a useless thing.
Those who fed him barely left him.
And he had to learn to hunt and fend for himself.
A bow he made, of strong yew wood.
And a copper helm, with a large pair of antlers jingiling above.
They said he must be a clever boy thing, so that is what he was.
He left the few siblings of his that slept
And went to the bones of the earth to see what there was to see.
There nothing was found; except the wind, snow, and barren earth.
Here, Clever has found his last place. The snows pile up and his stomach growls without end.
Khelek, 133 - Afternoon, hr 8    
I bit into the mango I'd just peeled, savoring the cool juice dribbling down my chin. My meals had consisted on basically meat and boiled eggs, both hearty and wholesome. But this mango... It was sweet, juicy, and had this consistency that went perfectly with the flavor. This may very well be the beginning of a long love.
Naur, 134 - Midday, hr 7    
Excerpt from a Journal:

"I chose to leave the home I had built within the cavern because, after so many years of solitude and darkness, I found need to stretch my legs once more and feel the sunlight on my skin. I was born of the Light, and my time away from it turned my thoughts towards sorrow far too often..."

"...but now I have arrived at a place where the rolling plains I have been enjoying so well gradually rises to a hill, with a crown of trees to offer shade, while a river skirts around it. Thinking to rest and even wash properly again like I once had done, I found a little gully where the winds were not so wicked, and where even a giant like myself might make a bit of a camp..."

"...it was while I was gathering wood for a fire that I first heard the tremendous crashing through the trees. I readied my weapons and stepped closer, only then realizing that I had seen so very few creatures about until that moment. When I closed on the clearing at the top of the hill, I discovered just why, when my eyes beheld the sight of a giant thing at least twice the size as myself! I was lucky and able to hurry away before he spied me, but this might change my plans now after all. Perhaps if I dug in..."
Elen, 134 - Evening, hr 11    
Merri be borns wit' me too. Merri be my very faovrite sister ever! Merri so happy too...Merri understand Rodi
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