Ren sees the true impact of her actions await her in a derelict prison on a cliffside, and she finally sees what she can no longer be.
It wasn’t meant to be like this. She was innocent, and even if she wasn’t, I was supposed to be able to protect her. I had the power to do so, but the way she looked at me in the prison was all too familiar to me. I gave her the soothing calm of absolute stillness, but her calling was not like mine. She was meant to inspire and to impose justice. I am meant to destroy.
A little dwarf girl grows in a town rife with foul corruption. She is handled like meat and passed from crime syndicate to crime syndicate, turning up the noses of any of the noble houses and their blasphemous titles. Nothing is earned in Malkara, and the rot is growing ever more malignant things. At least I know about the intentions of demons like Simon and Hansur - their ideals are pure and unwavering. What web of lies kept good kids like Eurydice down in the gutter? How can they tolerate that? How dare they!
We made our way back to Shoreline manor and found a silver dragon awaiting! The dragon had levelled the South Wing of the manor, and in a moment had transformed into a silver-haired woman. I feel sheepish in the presence of such a creature, and held my tongue. Mirryx Nylvalis, Rinn said, was its name. We struggled to gain additional information as we were swept into another soiree. The dragon would be attending with the TIP, though I did not know what its motives were.
I didn’t go to the last party at house del Dega. I was more stubborn then, and didn’t think I belonged with a bunch of pompous nobles. I was right, and still am. To celebrate the occasion, I went into town to an armourer. I had been going through some changes recently. It seemed like the effects of Hansur’s blessing had some unintended effects. My skin was becoming more pale, and my hair had gone completely silver. The quickness in my step had been replaced by a keener sense of my surroundings, but I couldn’t jump out of the way of attacks like I once did. I needed some additional protection.
The armourer sized me up and got to work. The shop was unadorned and unmarked, used by Tong brutes when they needed something to get in the way of things like arrows or heavy blades. She didn’t need to do much work - the Tong prefer not to engage directly - but I was assured that their work is masterly. I gave the armourer a small fortune and told them to make something that could stop the flail of Nurzhan! They laughed. Then they stopped laughing. They worked into the night.
I collected my new armour the following day. It was dark and sleek, like the sea on a new moon. Each piece fit well and was connected by finely smithed segments, but was otherwise unadorned. It needed to be thick and uncompromising. The armour had been oiled and darkened, reflecting the soft glow of a nearby forge. I saw myself in that polished form and took a moment to recompose myself - yes, Ren, this is still you. I put on the individual components, dropping my shawl on the ground. The netting had begun to tangle and grow more natted, but I couldn’t abandon that. Not after everything else. I had the armourer fasten a buckle and strap along my cuirass, and I reattached the shawl to it.
I reunited with the TIP at dusk. The party was beckoning, and we made our way to house del Dega one more time. Wretched excess surrounded me as the elite sipped bloodwine and cavorted like apes. I glanced up at Danger, who seemed to be enjoying himself as much as I was. I pitied him: how can he protect people if he’s behind the gates of an estate? The crackling power of the Justicar buzzed around him, and yet the wizards of the University hovered around him, making glances and hushed whispers and their saviour accepted yet another excessive offering.
As I was looking around, I caught someone operating under a similar pretense. They were elven and keenly aware of the surroundings - a stark contrast to the others. Were they Tong? I approached and asked who they were and what their intentions were. They were Shae, and I was sure I had heard that name before. Was it… no, the thought slipped away? Shae knew of Carson and the Tong but had other business to attend to. Their source of concern was Prophets, of which a false one was parading in front of us, or at least so she claimed. I had no reason to disbelieve her claim. She offered a bit of advice to me as well. I had one more chance to atone. But for what?
Vincent del Dega sent us off to fetch a prisoner to protect Danger from the thing that’s making him a Justicar. Dorian looked into it a bit, and the magic involved with keeping Danger a Justicar apparently was on the fritz, but something seemed off with the whole situation. I wish I knew what it was, but it was strange that Danger was not involved in the conversation. With our newly minted titles, it felt like Dorian was more eager to please this windbag than ever. He does not see what we are.
We made our way to the prison to pick up our prisoner. I had the opportunity to chat with Ake about his own pact, and his recent dreams. I had never felt myself much of a dreamer, but I now looked forward to sleeping. Ake had felt some adversity recently with his new Gift. I am suspicious of his devotion.
We were led to the annals of the prison by the ward and a guard captain. Down we went into the darkness. In an oubliette tucked away in a dank corner of the prison, we saw someone. They were our goal. Locked away for 20 years, was the extent of the explanation about why. But when I saw her I knew exactly why. I was about to demand an answer when a ruckus emerged from the stairwell. An ambush! I rushed into the cell to protect Eurydice from whatever was . A booming shout from a holy warrior emerged demanding access to the Justicar. They must have meant Eurydice. We had to protect her though, and these heathens must be punished.
But should they be punished? They are drawn to the Prophet and will protect them at all costs. Their mission is pure and they are unwavering.
I showed Eurydice the calmness that had been nurturing me since my encounter with Hansur. The still sea and the black night let one step inwards and let one come to terms with their true self. She deserved to see that after all that she had been through.
She didn’t listen to us, and with white fear in her eyes rejected our gifts. She was frightened and I would never be able to take that away from her. I hurt her, along with everyone else that I meet. It is who I am. I am the water, and there isn’t any light down there.