So here we are again, me staring at you, and you staring back. I had told myself that writing in you more or less daily would help me get a hold of myself. So why is it so hard to decide what to write?
It’s not like there aren’t things to write about. It seems intrigue is back in style in Ursandova, this time in the form of a Cult of Gyronna. We busted it up without a problem, but it didn’t go smoothly. And there were complications. Turns out Lily Teskerton had become a cultist while I wasn’t paying attention to her. Is that my fault? She thinks sure thinks so. Maybe if I had been more upfront with her about how I felt about Katya, then she wouldn’t have turned to Gyronna with her anger. Or, maybe she would have gotten even angrier, and things would have turned out worse. I’ve been told that I’m really hopeless with women. If that’s true, why do women keep expecting me to know what the hell I’m doing with them?
But let’s put that aside for a second. The real crisis at the moment is my…what should I call it…treason? That’s not a fun word, but maybe it’s the right one. You see, while the others were gathering up the cultists, I was letting Lily get away. It was a snap decision, the kind I used to make all the time. I should have known better.
It’s not like there weren’t extenuating circumstances. These particular cultists had chosen a barn’s basement to do their meeting, and the plan we hit upon was to put Gideon, Daargan, and Ulgar downstairs to wait for the cultists while Lani and I kept watch above and cut off their retreat. The first part of the plan went pretty well—the cultists showed up as expected and went right downstairs. Lani and I moved in and waited for the signal.
Turns out the signal was Lily getting cracked in the back of the head. I heard her scream, and by the time I got downstairs she was lying in a pool of blood with Ulgar standing over her. There was a fight going on on the other side of the dwarf, apparently between Gideon, Daargan, and the cultist-in-chief. I couldn’t see much of what happened, other than a searing beam from Gideon and a command not to kill any of the girls. After that there was just a bunch of shouting, screaming, and cursing from the dwarf.
Journal, I was acting on instinct. Lily was badly hurt, and I was the closest one to her. I pulled her out from under Ulgar and immediately set to binding her wounds. Lani stepped in and helped with a curative spell. That brought her back into consciousness, but not by much. While Gideon and the others rounded up the girls and tended to their leader, I took Lily upstairs. I put her on my horse and told her to run for it. Again, this was all instinct. I had counted Lily as a friend once, and seeing her in trouble, my gut told me to help her get out of it.
My decision didn’t go over well with my comrades. Ulgar was angry, Daargan was flummoxed, and Gideon…well, he was just sort of disappointed in me. We took the other cultists back to the castle to decide what to do with them, and then I went to wait for Lily at her house. She didn’t show up. At Gideon’s urging, I decided to go after her. Velimir and I are out right now trying to track her down. With luck she won’t have done anything to make this worse…but luck hasn’t been on my side of late, so I’m trying to prepare for the worst.
And in the middle of all this craziness…I think I may have made some progress with Nina. Wait, what’s that? Progress? What am I even talking about?
Well, it’s like this journal: Nina may be the only person left in the Kingdom that I feel like I can be myself around. I hardly ever see Katya anymore, and everyone else here has come to know me either through story or title. I have to be the ‘Champion’ when I’m with them—I have to be the person that Ursandova needs me to be. I have to carry on for the ones we’ve lost.
Nina’s the only one who’s been there the whole time, the only one who’s seen me with my pants down (literally…she snuck up on me once while I was bathing…but that’s another story). I mean, other people have been around—Oleg, Eoghan, and the like, but none that I would call close. Nina might be my only friend at this point.
So now I’m trying to what, woo her? Romance her? Ugh. It makes my stomach twist just to think about it. I’m terrified I’m just going to mess this up like I messed up things with Katya. Then it’d just be me and the bottle. That’d be fun.
But you know journal…honestly I might be more terrified of the alternative. What if she does like me? What if she does want something more? Does she even realize what she’d be getting into? Nina’s right, I am clueless with women. How long would it be before she got hurt?
And then there’s the rest. You know journal, I still have nightmares every night. I still see things sometimes. And I go down into the catacombs to talk to Sasha and Dyimi way more than I should. I’m trying to not be this way…but I might actually be pretty messed up. I can’t even trust my instincts anymore. What good is a ranger who can’t trust his instincts?
Nina’s got to be able to do better than me.
Of course, the same went for Lily Teskerton.