I did not wish to write this entry, but the clerics here said it's a good idea, to help me let go of falsehoods. I don’t know what that could be but it does not sound appealing.
A terrible thing has occurred. The worst thing that could have happened, in my view. My soul is in grave peril. In my blind curiosity, coupled with my desire to attract an Arkati, I foolishly and impulsively, prayed to the soul-eater on accident. There are no words to express the regret I feel for what then happened, and has happened since then.
I am sure I am cursed now. The dark thoughts that creep into my mind, while I lay in my bed at night, are not only my imagination, they are a clot in my soul. The divine or celestial sign I sought, to make my destiny known, finally manifested as one of pure blind hatred towards me. Not only does my mysterious Arkati not see me, the ones who do see me,hate me.
One of the teachers told me, they've seen far, far worse amongst the younger grades, and from one of the old clerical families of Ta’Vaalor, they had to break up a cult of teenage V'tullians who were trying to sacrifice their sister for favor, in order to gain entry into a prestigious military teacher's class. I didn't go that far, but knowing the fact that there are far worse than I doesn't seem to help much.
I will try to explain how it happened, so that other students do not make the damning mistake I did. I was resting in the park in Vaalor, where all the cunning women sit in order to work their herbalism, and empathic magicks. I had a problem with my arm, but it was all scarred up from the magickal herbs I had eaten out in the field, so that the empaths couldn’t do anything about it. One of the ladies at the park felt sorry for me, so she gave me some of her healing herbs, which are quite rare, so that I might regain the use of my arm. So I sat there watching my arm heal, watching the people go by, wondering if I should go to the temple and pray. I was feeling especially anxious about my lack of a divine patron.
I noticed a kindred folk walk up to one of the empaths, he stuck out because he was dark skinned, like the Faendryl I hear tell of and have seen pictures in books, I couldn’t tell if he was or not. He was wearing the symbol of a little green snake on a bronze medallion.
In my family, we know Luukos as the soul-eater, I don’t have any illusions about that. My mother says his purpose is to teach us respect, and, to punish the evildoers. My father doesn’t agree, says Luukos is a moron, yes, a moron, an Arkati gone mad. He prays to Jaston, because, he says, “At least he’s one of us.” and “The Lady is too busy we needn’t bother her with our grievances.”, meaning, our mother, Imaera. Neither will speak any more about it, lest a quarrel ignite.
I greeted him, because my curiosity forsook me, and I wanted to ask him about the symbol he was wearing. I’d heard about the folk who worship the soul-eater, but I’d never seen one myself. He turned and looked at me and I felt a heat in my chest, like someone had stuck a hot chunk of food in there, like when you take too big a bite of something and it doesn’t go down right all the way. That’s the best way I can describe it. I don’t know what it was.
I immediately thought the cursed prayer, that I would never say aloud to anyone in Vaalor, “Lord Luukos please send me a sign that you want me to work for you if this is the sign you have sent me.” After all the dark skinned elf had appeared right after my arm was being healed up. I don’t even know what made me pray such a silly thing, whether it was my own daft brain or something else, but it worked immediately. The most dreadful thing occurred: the lady who had been so kind to me dropped dead within a second after the thought crossed my mind.
My heart leapt into my throat and I nearly fainted from terror. I thought theywere all looking at me, it felt like, and I screamed “Oh no, I’ve killed her!”. They all immediately denied it. But how could they know? The ghost of the lady reasoned it was her own fault, for taking too much blood loss, by healing too quickly, but I knew better. It was Luukos answering my prayer in a cruel way, making her forget herself or something.
I turned and ran, though I don’t care to admit it. I ran all the way back to Koar’s altar and prayed there for an hour before heading home. At religion class the next day, the master noticed me all red-eyed from the night before and had me stay after to talk. I didn’t want to tell him what had happened but I didn’t know what else to do.
He was put off by what I had done, I could tell, but he didn’t say so, he just told me to stop praying to Luukos and focus on my studies. It didn’t help that I argued with him and said that I *don’t* pray to Luukos, not *normally* anyways. He also thought it would be a good idea to separate me from the class for a while, so I’m being sent away, with a more senior class of students, on a field trip to Solhaven.
This is to be considered a punishment I suppose - the cleric guild requires students to have familiarity with at least one foreign city to get experience travelling for battles, they teach us to march for weeks on end, and then to take the edge off they go somewhere that’s supposed to be fun - but not very many Vaalorians wish to go to Solhaven, or any of the Western cities. The thing is, the Cleric’s Guild isn’t run by the Vaalorians completely, they have their own administration, so they do have some trips that run there, though not as often as in other cities. That does create problems for visiting clerics, who need to return home, as it’s a dangerous trip and one can’t go alone unless they are very heroic. So they end up staying for months waiting for the roster to fill up, and then it’s about a few week’s trek to Solhaven. Young guildies get punished by being sent off for a stay.
The older students know how to march, and use their spells, and I don’t, but I’ve been assured by the head ranger that he won’t leave me behind. Besides I’ve trekked along on many a fast paced hunt back home so I think I will have no trouble keeping up.
I’ve also been told to join the Order of Voln. I went to see the grandmaster and he was very kind to me. The acolytes gave me a schedule and told me to see them again after I'd attended a few hunts. That spooked me. I haven't been brave enough to go on the hunts to the graveyard. I’m not required to go undead hunting until next year, anyways. I’m very worried about it. I feel as though I’ve been cursed by Luukos and now that I’m tainted no Arkati will lend me their aid.
Such is the lot of a sylvan who dares leave the woods. I’ll be fine. I’m too exhausted right now from the nightmares and sleeplessness to be excited about Solhaven - they are rumored to have some of the finest temples in the world, funded by the human emperors and empresses. They even have temples to the Lords of Lornon. The master here says, “They foolishly believe that building elaborate temples to the dark Arkati will slate their unconscientious blood-letting and disobedience to Koar. Well, time has proven that that isn’t the case, it only makes things worse.”
I don’t know about all of that, but I for one will be especially glad to get some fresh seafood instead of the pickled and dried stuff available here - the fresh fish is too expensive around here. I can live on manna bread, but it will be good to have some affordable food around for once.
Speaking of manna bread, I try and try and woefully keep producing these terrible little seeds covered in a mixture of sweet and pepper. They’re really awful. I found a dwarf who liked them but you know how they are. I have prayed to Koar to grant me the ability to make just plain manna bread, so I might do something right at least. All the other students in my class can make perfect white loaves. The teacher went ahead and passed me since the seeds seem to be manna-infused sufficiently , but it was very embarrassing. They all think I’m backwards and shabby.
I will try to calm the dark cloud cast over my life right now and look forward to seeing the splendorous temples and the famous markets of Vornavis.Perhaps I'll even find the favor of an Arkati there. One can always hope. If all else fails I can always move back to the forest, but I would hate that.