An entry from Erin, cleric of healing, shortly after the misadventure in the spider infested caves.
Where to even begin?
Have you ever had your every failing and weakness laid bare before you? Two days ago, I fancied myself a hero, a warrior, an adventurer. I imagined myself worthy to walk along side great people and do great deeds. I have been humbled and shamed.
In my arrogance I thought I could protect Billy and co., that my faith and power could shield them from harm. When I has found wanting, I refused to accept it and instead enlisted villagers to rescue them. I begged, no, demanded that common folk risk their lives to correct a mistake that I had made.
In the darkness below the ruined city, beset by unnatural and monstrous beasts, I was shown all that I am not.
Tails, the guide that brought us there the first time, was so brave that he joined the rescue mission without hesitation or compensation. He dashed into the heart of the spider's nest to rescue Burg where I could not muster the courage to take a single step. Even in the horror of that place, his every movement was graceful and joyful. Every slash of his blade was a celebration of a life lived without doubt or regret.
Mallow, a simple minstrel, moved with a purpose and confidence that I believed could only come from knowing that one had the power of a god supporting them. She waded in to the fray to rescue Burg alongside Tails, armed only with harsh language and those beautiful and terrible eyes. She turned them on me once and for that instant I knew what faith was. She believed more in me than I had ever believed in anything. In that moment I knew that I could accomplish the impossible simply by the strength of her belief in me. I have wept thinking what she must think of me now.
Mr. Brokofski, a blacksmith, showed me the devotion that I lack. In the thick of battle he moved with such precision and certainty as to be mesmerizing. I first believed his crossbows to be enchanted when I saw him fight. The he was able to fire, reload, and fire again with such speed and accuracy that it seemed impossible without the magic. But the truth of it was that his skill is the result of dedication to practice over a lifetime; every of a thousand movements drilled and honed to perfection. What I called devotion to my studies and prayers must seem laughable to him.
Strago, more a vintner than a wizard and so frail that a strong wind could snap his limbs, he showed me what a true protector should be. He came with us, not for glory or reward, but so that others would not have to. He fought, not because he was strong, but because he believed it to be right. In battle, again and again, he put himself in harm's way to save others, and fell. But unfailingly and without hesitation, he pulled himself back up and re-joined the battle. He could have run. He didn't. He could have left others to do the fighting. He didn't. He made sure that if any were to fall, it would not be until he hadn't a drop of blood or whisper of breath left in him. Could I ever be that strong, that bold, that selfless?
Celandrial, a barkeep. She's the worst of them. She had not right or reason for being there and yet she saved my life. She looked lost, and out of place in those caverns. She fumbled in her satchel of tinctures like a novice sister searching for a quill. Even so, she fought not for herself, but for her companions. She wasn't there for the glory of her god, or out of some foolish act of pride. She was there because she cared. There in the black, spider-filled pits she was a beacon of compassion and hope, carried by her own inner light. She was, and is, who I believed myself to be.
Mauritius, the so called Earl of Wending... I changed my mind. He's the worst of them. Where the others are reflections of of who I should be, Mauritius is the one holding up the mirror. He knew before we left exactly the mistake that I was making. He knew what was going to happen. He knew and he let me lead he and his people into the depths to die. He went through the motions like it was all a puppet show that had been repeated too many times. He acted like nothing was a surprise. He fought as though every action had been scripted in advance and rehearsed to the point of boredom.
In the end he had the audacity not only to rush me to safety while his friends ran back into danger to fulfill my mission, but to forgive Torvar for his betrayal where I cannot. If he could just say "I told you so," or to scream at me for endangering his town and his people, to strip me of my holy sigil and send me into exile, to shame and punish me as I deserve... but instead he just looks at me with those bored, sad eyes, knowing exactly who and what I am, and offers me a place to stay for as long as I need it.
Is this a test of Almaz? Are all of these people just an object lesson in humility? I could ask her. I should ask her. But I did not pray for her grace this morning. I was afraid that she would not grant me her gifts after this failure. Or perhaps I'm more afraid that she will, though I know that I do not deserve them.
I will concern myself no more with these thoughts today. Tonight I will drink to the memory of Billy Braid as I imagine he would have wanted.
Tomorrow I will ask for the guidance of Almaz.
Tomorrow I will begin to make amends.