Lem vs. Introspection - Round 23

Lem Faces Victory and Grief.

Dear Journal,

Vordekai is dead…again…which is a relief beyond measure. We faced him in his inner chamber and vanquished him without a single casualty from our ranks. It seems that the wicked old fool dramatically underestimated us. I hadn’t dared to hope we would win this fight. Now I’m wondering how we could have failed so miserably the first time.

It wasn’t that it was easy getting back into Vordekai’s tomb. We chose to go the high road rather than try our luck again with the river, and quickly found ourselves back in the chamber where we lost Gideon and Daargan. We drew a few of the dread zombies into easy kills from the door then hit the room like a tornado. Gideon’s zombie was with them, but it seems he wasn’t prepared for Gaeren’s magus tricks. We dispatched all five with barely a scratch. Beyond that chamber there was an elemental laying in wait, but the combined force of our arms and magic quickly tore it apart..

We ascertained that Vordekai’s chamber was in the room beyond, and so we prepared ourselves with warding spells and other magic to ready for the fight. When we threw open the door, Vordekai tried to intimidate us with a speech, but we were well past a time for listening. From the back of the room I put a quiver full of bolts into him, but I can’t say that it made much difference. It was Nibbs, Ulgar, and Gaeren that did him in, with Gaeren’s spell counters rendering him all but helpless to the swarm of blades and hammers that surrounded him. The arrogant fool fell without so much as rising from his chair.

Afterwards there was silence for a time. We recovered Daargan’s remains (such as they were), and discovered a room full of jars containing the captured spirits of Varnhold’s citizens. To find so many alive and relatively unharmed was a relief to say the least. Searching the rest of the chamber led us to other discoveries, including a wealth of gold and magical items. Gaeren also discovered the hiding place of Vordekai’s phylactery, which Jacek smashed without further debate.

No, the debate came when Gaeren identified the Oculus of Abaddon in Vordekai’s skull. We were told that this relic of the evil gods allowed for the mass control of people at a distance. Jacek claimed the eye for Ursundova and declared that he would commune with Abadar to decide what to do with it, at which point Gaeren made it known that he had no faith in Abadar or us to make the right decision. Apparently Gaeren was of the mind that only he knew what was best.

It has taken me some time to get used to the idea that I owe my allegiance to anyone, let alone Jacek. But after studying Iomedae’s acts I knew that I had to stand with my Duke. Ulgar rose with me, and between the three of us Gaeren was convinced to back down. I saw Jacek and Gaeren talking afterwards, and while it seems they’ve come to an understanding, I still sense tension between them. I cannot say that Gaeren has earned my trust yet, nor will he if he continues to question Jacek’s authority.

…of course journal, I remember a time when I was the one questioning authority and confident in my righteousness. To stand with Jacek against Gaeren made me realize how much I’ve changed. And for moment, there was regret.

Clearing the rest of Vordekai’s lair was a chore, but it was accomplished without too much sweat or blood. Far more difficult was the removal of all of Vordekai’s soul jars such that they could be transported back to Varnhold. We also discovered the missing princess of the Nomen in the lower lair of the crypt, and with Jacek and Leilania’s skills she has been nursed back to health. We will visit her people first and then take the Varnholdians home. Then it will be back to Ursundova for some well-earned rest.

It’s strange. Despite Vordekai’s defeat, I find my grief over Gideon and Daargan’s deaths has not abated. If anything, their loss has become a sharper pressure in the back of my mind, like a dinner knife pressing in on a dull point. When Vordekai was alive I had honor and duty to guide me. Now that he is dead there is only the sadness they are gone. We can tell the story however we like back in Tuskendale, but Leilainia and I know they died for no reason. There must have been something we could have done differently. They surely didn’t have to die.

Iomedae’s Acts do not speak against grief, rather, they encourage it. They say that to turn from grief is an act of cowardice, and to push it away is to dishonor the lost. The acts say that tears unshed will become a poison in the blood. I will not let the others see me grieve, but I will do so until I find the tears run clean. I fear it may take some time.

That’s all for now journal. I will write again when I need to.


kitsuki Bookkeeper

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