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Written By Valerius

Jan. 29, 2017, 2:17 a.m.(10/15/1005 AR)

I was bested in a drinking contest today, by one of our own, no less. Luckily a Princess was there to mend my damaged ego. I fear what might have come of it otherwise.

But I promised once that the next time I lost a wager I’d commit a particularly entertaining night to writing. A gift to the women of the realm, courtesy of Prince Valerius.

<What follows is a particularly detailed and sordid account of a debaucherous evening full of drinking, gambling, and women. Of note, many references to the Prince are accompanied by pointless explanations and long-winded gloating clearly meant to make himself look good>

Written By Bethany

Jan. 29, 2017, 12:32 a.m.(10/15/1005 AR)

After Serafine took back her sword, we stepped inside the keep. Aslaug remained behind. Serafine took point, and I a step behind. Quill drawn. There was the snap of a trap, narrowly avoided. Another curse. The stench was terrible. Like, decay – like sweet meat gone to rot – and there were long tables. Like tables at festivals and feasts. There were lumps chained to those tables. Three – or four. One was moving. Princess-Knight-Princess approached, sword drawn.

The lump moved again. It yelled. It was Merek. The lumps were men.

They were stripped of skin and flesh. After we freed Merek and regrouped, we started our explorations again. A peer into one room, a hallway. Too dark. Another set of double doors that we were all drawn to. Merek and Serafine took a door – I was ducked behind the Princess-Knight-Princess. They each pulled. Merek’s door didn’t budge. Serafine broke the door off the hinges. Push, not pull. Merek took a step into the next room. Quite gracefully, as if he was dancing with an unseen partner. He stepped in--

--and someone was swinging at Merek. Someone with an axe attached to a pole. The noise was not pleasant. It rattled. Serafine was in there a moment after, and I ducked behind the safe half of the door. I didn’t see what happened next, but I heard the clatter of steel to steel. An inhuman sounding yell. Silence followed. Serafine dispatched the attacker and I stepped into the room. That only created enough of a racket to cause an ambush. Four on either side, with all of us in the middle. I think Merek shouted, I think. It prompted all of us to go in his direction. Honestly, it snapped me out of my terror –

And all I did was follow them in.

--I don’t wish to recount all the blood. It made me nauseous. Merek and Serafine did all they needed to do to ensure our continued safety.

I ran. I climbed over some debris. I ran some more until I wound up in an empty throne room.

There were books. I gathered them up.

They didn’t provide nearly enough answers. It will require further study.

Written By Bethany

Jan. 29, 2017, 12:31 a.m.(10/15/1005 AR)

[ From the field notebook of B. Mercier - would-be Scholar, amateur Apothecary, and semi-professional sidekick:]

If something happens, PKP, make sure you bring this to the Scholars. And the letters for J.

Otherwise, I will.

The trip to the ruins was long, cold, and damp. I was extremely grateful for the cloak of silver fox fur and it kept me cuddly. I just needed to forget that I was wearing a cuddly animal and I thanked Petrichor profusely for its sacrifice. But, the company was excellent. it was good to be out of the city with Princess-Knight-Princess Serafine and Says Little Aslaug and Has-No-Nickname Merek. The food - ah, not so much. I learned what hard tack was and had some for the first time. Dry molar breakers, but they were sufficient when paired with dried meat and tea. Yes, I brought tea. I also brought iced honey-cakes. But, those didn't last but the day.

The camp was abandoned. The fire was cold in the grate. The tracks - per Says Little - were old. The papers that were scattered about had gone to mold and moss and Princess-Knight and I knew there would be nothing of use to tell us what had happened to the scouting party. We walked through the camp - slogged, really, and the mud was practically up to my ankles - toward the ruins. A crumbling forte maison that was taken over by nature. Between two Explorers, me. I have never felt more safe in my entire life. Also, I have never felt more frightened. Thrilling combination of emotions, to be sure.

Against the tower was a lean-to, covered with branches and leaves as a makeshift shelter. Shadowy. Princess-Knight-Princess did us all a great favor by peering into it - and there was a man. A former porter of the lost party. Or, the body of a man with whatever was left of his mind. Utterly mad. We fed him, watered him, and asked him questions -- he led us toward the ruins and I will admit that I was the most curious to follow. Merek remained outside as a set of eyes. And Princess-Knight-Princess, I, and Says Little entered the main entry. A long - wide tunnel - with those narrow slats set high in the walls. Arrowslits, I think. Or murder windows.

Then - it all went to hell.

Reginald shuttered the iron gate. It clashed down and cracked on impact. There was black stuff - oil, I think. Something ignited and caught fire. Something burned. The way out was limited to us until the fire was put out. Reginald was jabbering aught about bringing guests - and there we were - and then. The swinging log. I do not recall if this was before or after the fire. All I recall was that my very brief life flashed before me and that Says Little-Saves Big pushed me out of the way. I mean, being smashed could have been quick, right?

I cursed rhymes. I'll admit it. A terrible influence from a poet, perhaps, and it did much to soothe my nerves. However, Princess-Knight-Princess had enough - we all did - at this point. Reginald was dancing around in the courtyard until Serafine threw her blade at his head.

--It made a sound like cutting open a ripe melon.

Written By Natalia

Jan. 28, 2017, 11:57 p.m.(10/15/1005 AR)

Do you know that feeling, when you are bare of foot and just barely miss stepping in a large pile of steaming shit left behind by an animal?

I find myself feeling that same relief in having realized my careless mistake in letting my emotions get the better of me. Princesses aren't meant for such trivial wishes, for hopes and dreams. I hope whoever slips in the pile doesn't get their pretty neck broken from carelessness.

You should always be well aware of the world around you.

Written By Merek

Jan. 28, 2017, 11:38 p.m.(10/15/1005 AR)

Relationship Note on Bethany

I met Bethany at the meeting of the Scholars, but it wasn't until seeing her after we were asked to escort those from the Society of Explorers to find their people I got to know her at all. She is kind, if a little bit much like a scholar. Which is normal. She is one. We managed to figure out what had been happening for the most part.

Written By Lailah

Jan. 28, 2017, 11:21 p.m.(10/15/1005 AR)

I cannot believe this is the first time I've written anything since I've arrived back in Arx. Things were uneventful here for a little while, but that was all bound to change eventually. I need to write this all out to center my thoughts and keep focused, but I also believe it's best to keep these things recorded for the sake of record keeping. Being as this is a matter of public record, I shall try to keep this on matters at hand that are actually important.

I had a dinner recently. In this dinner my family was to discuss a trade agreement between two houses. The Bislands and the Fidantes. Mother had contacted me and asked specifically for me to come. I thought it strange, as I have no diplomatic ability, am terrible with people, and I have no negotiation skill. She'd led me to believe I was there to learn, observe, and help make the family look good. When I learned that the dinner was being hosted by one Angelo Fidante, I'd begun to grow suspicious of my mother's intentions of arranging this dinner. What good could possibly come of my attendance that made my appearance so essential?

A few days, or perhaps even a couple weeks previously, my mother, Iona, had spoken to me that the time to find a suitable courtship for me was at hand. I know I've never been very proactive in finding a man in my life, and I'll be honest, I've never been inclined to take a lover. With my studies my first priority, I just never sought anybody out. The idea that a man will be chosen for me now, however... it's a notion that chills me to my bone. It wasn't a bad talk, I feel as though I make it sound bad, but really, I understand my mother's concerns and I suppose a part of me looks forward to it. I don't have to choose and I know my mother will find somebody good for me. Father... perhaps not so much.

So, the dinner went well. For the most part. The trade deal was made and that went through without a hitch, but as I arrived, a space had been saved for me at the table. Right beside the host. In that moment, I knew my suspicions had been right, and that this was an attempt to get me in the same room next to a man my mother intended for me to marry. I felt my heart leap into my throat in that moment and I had to fight the urge to run far away. And yet... When I sat, and we spoke, I was immediately intrigued. He struck up a conversation about books and well... all my fears evaporated. I realized this was a man that I had interests with, that I could get to know. For the first time in a long time.

I know that my purpose at the meeting was to introduce me to a potential suitor, and though I hated Mother for it at first, I no longer do. I don't know if we will marry, or if the arrangements will go a different way. I only hope that at the very least, I've made a good friend that I can continue to confide in and get to know. Angelo, if you are reading this, I hope this doesn't put you off. This isn't a declaration of love, or anything. It's simply me, notating that as of this time, I don't know where I stand, but that for the first time in my life, I can see myself building a friendship, and an alliance with somebody, to marry and start a family with. This is all so strange and new, and I don't know if this is the stirrings of love, or just a wish to do my duty to my family. What I do know is, we agreed to meet again, we spoke and we connected again... after we'd disastrously both misunderstood the other's feelings and nearly ruined everything. I'm glad to have met you, and I hope we meet again many more times. I hope that this is the start of something special.

I know not if this is really an appropriate note for public record, and yet here it is. I know not what the future brings, but for the first time in my life, this uncertainty both frightens and excites me. I think I like it.

Written By Monique

Jan. 28, 2017, 10:09 p.m.(10/15/1005 AR)

Its been an... interesting and very full day. While I consider myself a pragmatic above all, I cannot deny the things I've seen. Things both terrible and wonderful. And through it all.. I am left with hope. Such an odd feeling.

Written By Valencia

Jan. 28, 2017, 9:12 p.m.(10/14/1005 AR)

Well, I suppose it is better to know where you stand rather than stepping off a cliff in the night.

Though the gut-wrenching fall before true disaster may still hurt, you at least live to tell the tale.

On the other hand, someone's loss is another's gain. What's more, is I have learned something new and very valuable.

Isn't it funny how the world turns.

~~~~<~<@

Written By Ferrando

Jan. 28, 2017, 8:46 p.m.(10/14/1005 AR)

I usually prefer to record my more positive feelings in this journal, but I cannot help but report that we have had an almost unrelentingly disastrous time of it here in the capital lately. A High Lord assassinated, a Grand Duchess missing, some sort of disturbance in the Redrain ward, riots in the Boroughs...

To make matters worse for the Lyceum, it seems almost too much to hope that Her Grace will be found before her wedding if she has not been found by now. I fervently hope I will be proven wrong, however.

Written By Sylvie

Jan. 28, 2017, 8:45 p.m.(10/14/1005 AR)

Relationship Note on Donrai

A man that sees me for what I am is truly rare. A man that sees past even that is rarer.

You were a brilliant man. I will never forget your advice.

Written By Sylvie

Jan. 28, 2017, 8:33 p.m.(10/14/1005 AR)

The Velenosan dinner was eventful, but it helps to remind us at a time like this that we all stand united. That even vassals may sit amongst family and worry over the little information that we all have. That we are agreed even in chaos, about the things that truly matter. That no one may touch the Lyceum unpunished, that we stand together-- And that no one appreciates the Artiglio sense of humor.

I tease, Blacktongue. Talen.

Written By Eleyna

Jan. 28, 2017, 7:04 p.m.(10/14/1005 AR)

I really think the only way that dinner party could have gone better is if it were Talen's -other- snake that had gotten loose.

Written By Cassius

Jan. 28, 2017, 6:31 p.m.(10/14/1005 AR)

I have attended my first dinner among the families of the Lyceum. There was confusion about tables, then a man picking at any discomfort he could find, and then a woman splattered in blood, and then a very literal viper loose.

I was not expecting that.

Duke Cassius Pravus, KoS

Written By Jaenelle

Jan. 28, 2017, 5 p.m.(10/14/1005 AR)

Relationship Note on Donrai

After you informed the populous that you were still alive I messaged you. I informed you that I was glad you were, and that when you did die you would be mourned. I adored you, grandfather. I adored and looked up to you, and will always do so. I will mourn you, even if others seem unable or unwilling.

Written By Lark

Jan. 28, 2017, 3:11 p.m.(10/14/1005 AR)

What happens to a pawn when it makes it to the other side of the board?

Written By Jasher

Jan. 28, 2017, 2:42 p.m.(10/14/1005 AR)

Donrai is dead, murdered along with two of his guards by an assassin. Or maybe more than one.

Dagon was heir and claimed the title of High Lord but was challenged and lost.

Now, House Thrax stands united behind High Lord Victus, our blades ready. We will find out who killed Donrai and take the appropriate action.

Written By Dominique

Jan. 28, 2017, 2:19 p.m.(10/14/1005 AR)

The study of Floriography and flowers. Nightshade is deadly. The toxin is know to cause bizarre delirium and hallucinations... perhaps feeling of love. Love or Delirium may be the same thing. I haven't experienced either, so I wouldn't know first hand. This is why you do not trust flowers.

Written By Belladonna

Jan. 28, 2017, 1:59 p.m.(10/13/1005 AR)

Relationship Note on Donrai

I cannot believe it, but I think that denial is part of the coping process.

I wish I had seen you one last time.

Written By Tristram

Jan. 28, 2017, 1:11 p.m.(10/13/1005 AR)

Relationship Note on Sophie

If it were not for Sophie, I would have made more mistakes. Alis is great; Edain is a leader worthy of the title, but it is my cousin Sophie that keeps me grounded.

Written By Tristram

Jan. 28, 2017, 1:10 p.m.(10/13/1005 AR)

Relationship Note on Cassius

Cassius is a stalwart Knight of Solace, with more strength than I think he gives himself credit for. I hope I can, in some small way, ease the burden he carries with him.

Leave blank if this journal is not a relationship

Mark if this is a private, black journal entry