Translated from Zhander
It has been a long time since I have taken the time for deep introspection. And now I find a deep need for it.
My magic seems to have gone away.
A great deal has happened. We, Nakamura and I have left the goblin caves, and returned to find them, and the children gone. No sign of the Tea Mistress’ chest or the book. We march with the soldiers to the other end of the caves. She and I went on, and discovered more slavers, and indeed were taken by them ourselves. We escaped them after meeting a very disquieting man. They had gone, taken many of the slaves with them, leaving us with children and old men to return to the village of Naru. From there, we hired sell swords. It seems that they hold a much deeper stigma here than that which I am used to. But we hired a quiet female fighter, her companion, a thief and user of magic, and a True Healer of the Goddess of the Winds.
We sought a place that was called the Iron Halls on a small scrap of map we found at the slavers camp. So we followed the map for a long time. eventually coming to an ancient gate of the Mountain Warriors, the Beared Dwarves. To arrive here, the Spring has past, and we had entered summer. We thought to enter the Halls, and scout a bit to see if we could find sign of the slavers, or the slaves. Although I feel the book is important, it has mostly receeded from my thoughts as I think of these children in foul servitude to these men. Unfortunately, after stowing our gear in a place we could return and make a decent camp, tragedy, or whimsy, befalls us, and we are plunged down a stone chute, covered in some sort of oil. The oil catches fire from a broken lantern and we are pursued the length by black smoke and roiling orange flame. We come to an end in aroom with standing oil…and leave it, to find a cliff and a water pool.
And what follows was folly and luck. We encountered creatures, undead or demonic. Fortuneately, we find some sort of underground garden with water and edible plants, or we would have starved long ago. The level of the fortress we find has not weathered well. some of the walls have collapsed. We find a room full of torches, a clear but heavy oil, and mining supplies. All of us would have gone to the spirits if our healer, Masayasu, was not the holy man he is and willing to take our wounds upon himself. Sadly, the quiet fighter, Uschishige was slain, and he could not heal her wounds, but he seemed nearly willing to sacrafice himself for her…I know not how that works, but she was very dead when we reached her. I have lost all accounting of days. We sleep when wounded or tired, eat while resting. We move slowly so as not to trip or set off traps or cause an unstable section to collapse. We have fought many creatures. Including some sort of construct. It was fascinating, and I wish I could have examined it, but it was hostile, and it is what killed Uschi. I was knocked from a cliff, but do not remember it. I was run through by Asuka when she was in a frenzy. I have improved through the rigours, but I am despairing. I do not mind the fare we eat, but I prefer green to white and brown. I fell through a wooden floor into some oily water after being frightened to my very core by some being. The order blends together. But now, we are seing signs that we may be near the surface, but we encounted some sort of insect. Large as a hand, and hard as stone, they were able to fling stones the size of a head at us, and take large chunks of flesh in thier pincing mandibles. I attempted to inflict one with agony, but there was a flash that casued my whole brainpan to tickle, and I was laughing uncontrollably. I do not know if it cast magic back at me, or if my lack of training led to my mis-speaking a word or a failing to create a proper symbol, but I passed out. When I woke, we were in the room we had found earlier with some sort of cat skeleton. The skull was bigger than mine. But when I awoke, the spark was gone.
How do I explain. To one who understands magic, then maybe it is clear, but to one who prays, or focus’ the mind…I don’t know. Maybe the touch of your god is gone, or the surety of your self mastery is gone. What I reached to to weave power into the phrases and gestures…like pushing fire through a lace net, is gone. Cold as ash. When I attempted to reignite it, by sending my vision away from my corporea, there was nothing. Nothing to fan, nothing to strike with a spark. just ash. Perhaps, my teacher was right…my magic is wild, and it has fled, like a wild animal.
Either way, with or without my spark, I must continue. The slaves must be freed, and the slavers punished. And I am hoping to do this in sunlight, in fresh air, perhaps beneath a tree fat with apples…