Politics—not my strong suit. Just putting that out there. Add it to the list of things I’m not entirely good at, along with diplomacy, higher math, remembering names, chess, proper punctuation…I guess the list goes on and on. Come to think about it, my strong suit seems to be limited to perforating things. At least I have a place in the world.
But gods journal, politics seems to be what we need right now. Jacek is working hard to get Varnhold back on its feet. To do so he’s had to convince the Nomen to join up (at least partly), convince Brevoy that we’re no immediate threat, and convince the Varnlings that we’re not simply taking them over. Since returning from Varnhold there’s been a steady stream of people into and out of the Duke’s chambers—it seems Jacek’s determined to interview the whole of the River Kingdoms if that’s what it’ll take to get the positions in their government filled. I’m trying to be supportive, but to be honest, the whole thing makes my head spin.
It’s interesting to see how everyone’s found their own particular pocket in our political billiards game. Gaeren’s made a home for himself and Tangsen in Varnhold (maybe to Tangsen’s chagrin), Leilania’s got her eccentric friends in Tatzlford to keep her happy, and Ulgar’s got Shrikewatch’s construction to oversee. These days Jacek is occupied by matters of state more even than I think he prefers, and Katya—the good duchess—is always busy rallying people to support him. Among the major ‘players’ in Tuskendale, I’m the only one currently unburdened by the weight of state, as most everyone gave me up for hopeless ages ago. Assigning me the position of official flag was probably the wisest move anyone could have made for me.
I should walk that back a bit…it makes me sound like I’m ungrateful. Honestly journal, I’m proud to be Ursundova’s Champion, maybe prouder than I ever thought I would be. I may just be a flag, but I’m a good flag, and in doing so I’ve finally become someone that people look up to. Young warriors come to me looking for advice; children pretend to be me when they play. Hell, they sell little fabric dolls in the market that are supposed to be me. When I first came to the Stolen Lands I was looking to become a hero. Nothing went the way I thought it would, and it certainly wasn’t easy…but here I am, the Champion. That’s not me bragging, Iomedae’s Acts don’t allow for that. That’s just me saying ‘Thank You’ to the powers that be. I am truly blessed to have what I have and be where I am.
And speaking of blessings, these last few months have given me the chance to finally spend real time with Nina. We have become closer than I would have ever hoped possible, sharing ourselves in the embrace of honest love. I am a man blessed by many joys, but if the fabric of my life were stretched across the night sky, Nina would blaze as the brightest star in the heavens. When I am with her, my worries and doubts slink away like shadows before the sun. Nina has become the light that guides me and the wellspring of all my happiness.
In case you haven’t noticed, love brings out the metaphors in me.
There is one other thing that I should mention. As I’ve mentioned, Gideon’s remains have been taken by Marcelina to find someone capable of resurrecting him. Such a journey will surely not be easy, but I wish her the best. It is more than Marcelina and her family that needs Gideon to return, but Ursundova as a whole. His loss has left a grievous wound in the heart of the temple district. The sooner he returns, the sooner the worshippers of Saranrae will shine again.
Sadly, Daargan was given a different fate. We returned his remains to Candlemere to be interred so that he might find peace. Unlike Gideon, Daargan had no wealthy ally to pay for his resurrection. Jacek and I discussed pulling money from the treasury, but ultimately agreed that it would not be proper. If Daargan is to be raised, the responsibility for the ceremony must fall to his friends. And though I counted myself as such, I do not think it would be wise for him to return.
I do not say this easily journal. Daargan was my friend, and had I been given the choice, I would have sacrificed myself to save him on the day he was lost. But that was not my choice, my choice was flee or die beside him. Had I to do it over again, I may have made other choices. But I expect that Daargan would have as well.
Such was the story of Daargan’s life. His choices were not always wise and not always good. His temper was sometimes short and he held vendettas long. He made enemies through lapses in judgment, and I fear that his rebellious ambition sometimes led others astray as well. There is now a new magister in Daargan’s tower, one whom Jacek hopes may make more enlightened decisions. I pray he learns from Daargan’s tlae.
As for Daargan, I will always call him friend. I will visit his grave as I do the others and wish him well in the next world. And like Sasha, Dyimi, Anton, and Variel before him, Daargan’s memory will be enshrined forever as a hero of Ursundova. For all he did, and despite his failings, Daargan deserves that much.
I only hope that he can forgive me. This is the most honorable fate I could find for him.